Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 17

This is the last week of the fashion challenge, and while I'll still try to wear some new outfits in the new year, I'm not going to be so strict with the "no repeat" rule. Also, it was another week (weak?) at school, and I saved all my photos for the end, hence the same hair, make-up, and lighting. On to the outfits!

Monday (Day 54):
Gray button down from Old Navy, black jeans from J. Crew, and a scarf that Daddy Pattiwagon brought me back from Uganda. And tennies, because it's standardized testing season. Only happens, like, six times a year.

Tuesday (Day 55):
Black top and sweater from Target and blue/black skirt from the Unclaimed Baggage Store, leggings, and black booties. It has gotten a little large (well, I've gotten a little smaller), so I took some alterations practice and took in the sides to maintain a snug, high-waisted fit. 

Wednesday (Day 56): 
Black Banana pants and tunic made by Mama Pattiwagon with a pattern reminiscent of deviled eggs or avocados. The Clayton ladies may all have matching ones. It's one of those shirts that I really like but can't wear so often. See: memorable print. 

Thursday (Day 57): 
For my last day of the challenge, I chose this black skirt with exposed gold zippers on the sides. Exposed gold zippers are a fashion trend I plan to keep, even if I have to add them myself. I believe this skirt was a purchase Mama Pattiwagon made at her favorite consignment shop. It was a little big for me, so you can see more of my alterations handiwork this week. The skirt is form fitting with an elastic waistband, so I just took one side in a couple inches. Definitely not a professional job, but this is a fashion challenge, and I wasn't going to pay for that! I'm wearing it with a Bargain Barn top and cardigan from Target. 

So that concludes the fashion challenge, Pattiwagoners. Thanks for following along! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 16

Despite the nearing conclusion* to the fashion challenge, I've got four brand new outfits for this week.

*Debating on whether or not to continue the challenge in January. I've got the clothes to wear, but I'm longing to pull out some of my old favorites for a re-wear. Stay tuned for my decision.

On to the outfits!

Monday (Day 50):
Baby blue cable-knit sweater from the Gap that I'm thinking was a Christmas present many years ago and gray plaid pants from my dear Target. Topped with pearls, I'm ready for Chapel Hill.

Tuesday (Day 51):
This dress was given to me by a colleague last year. It is a bit too big, but I remedied the length by just hacking a few inches off the bottom. Polyester blend means no hemming needed! Wore it with a black Banana blazer.

Wednesday (Day 52):
Another Christmas sweater from Ann Taylor Loft with J. Crew black pants and my beloved Target riding boots.

Thursday (Day 53):
Super cheap (and poorly made) dress from Target that has somehow survived many wearings over the last ten years. I love this dress, but it defies the laws of nature. I'm not complaining though; hopefully it'll last me another ten years. In the winter I wear it with leggings and a sweater, here a camel-colored Limited cardigan (which, yes, has appeared before in the challenge).

Saturday (Bonus (brag) Day!):
This was my outfit on Saturday for the St. Jude (half) marathon in Memphis. While I was signed up for the full, I decided in October to downgrade to the half. It was disappointing at the time; however, the half was so enjoyable and manageable that I may just opt for that distance for the foreseeable future. We shall see.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

May I Introduce you to Freekah?

(That is if you don't already know it.)

I first ate freekeh at book club a few weeks ago, prepared by my friend Jamie. She served it with some delicious Cuban food, and I immediately knew that I needed more freekeh in my life. It's a Middle Eastern grain similar to rice or quinoa, but it has much more earthiness and flavor. Jamie recommended I order it on Amazon, so as soon as book blue ended, I primed it straight to Charleswood. I've been eating it ever since.

While the instructions on the package say to use a 5:1 ratio of water/broth to freekah and cook "until done." I followed that the first time (using chicken broth) and cooked it for about 30 minutes. The freekah appeared "done," but there were still about 3 cups of unabsorbed broth in the pot. I just strained the freekah, and it tasted great.

The second time I made it, I used a 3:1 ratio and only had to strain out a little broth. That part of freekah still a work in progress, but so far, it seems to be very forgiving and difficult to screw up (a godsend for a by-the-seat-of-her-pants chef).

Once the cooked freekah is in hand, it becomes your palette. The first time I made it, I paired it with roasted butternut squash, sautéed spinach (with a little onion/garlic goodness), dried cherries, goat cheese, and a dressing of honey + brown mustard + mayo.

The next time I made it, I made it just like I did above but added chicken.

The next time I'll make it (literally as I type this right now), I think I'll do the same.

IT IS THAT GOOD. And it has that so elusive combination of healthy + delicious. You know how sometimes when you're at a county fair eating a funnel cake, you can just feel your arteries clogging? This has the opposite effect. You can feel the vitamins and protein coursing through your body. Maybe not, but it is genuinely healthy and genuinely delicious.

Thanks to Jamie for introducing me to a food that will be in my rotation for the foreseeable future.

Rejected Titles for this Post: (You're welcome.)
Lady in the streets but freekah in the sheets
Get Your Freekah On
Freekah of Nature
Control Freekah
Freekah Friday
Freekahs and Geekahs
Freekah by the Speaker

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 15

Alright, Pattiwagoneers. We are nearing the end of the challenge. I have only two normal real weeks of school left plus a week a finals, in which I assume I'll be getting some jean days. The post covers the week before Thanksgiving break. I hope everyone reading had a restful and delicious Thanksgiving. I certainly did, enjoying time with both Andy and my family. On to the week-old fashion: 

Monday (Day 46): 

Black pants from J. Crew, aquamarine sweater from Banana received as a Christmas gift from Laurel a few years ago, and old standby Sperry's. I added my "Put A Bird On It" necklace (also received as a Christmas gift from Laurel) to complete this relaxed look. 

Tuesday (Day 47): 

This is a Bargain Barn special I dug out of a bin for a dollar about five years ago. I wear it sparingly (see: quality, poor), but I chose the right day this year, as I found out at school I would be giving a speech at the middle school NHS induction that same evening. Thanks to kismet I was already looking professional. 

Wednesday (Day 48):  

I documented the creation of this $8 vest on the Pattiwagon here. It's one of my proudest creations, and three years later, it's still going strong. I'm wearing it with a black cowl sweater, black J. Crew pants, and my favorite booties. (And yes, I'm still dressing for the weather I want. It was almost 70 degrees on this Wednesday.) (Both the sweater and booties were Christmas gifts from my parents. Really getting into the Christmas spirit this week!) 

Thursday (Day 49): 

This Thursday look was sponsored by Target. Shirt, pants, and vest are all Targe. (Confession, the vest is a repeat wear from Week 6. But you won't hold that against me, will you?) Shoes are my favorite mocs. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 14

We're scraping the bottom of the metaphorical clothing barrel this week, but the fashion challenge surges on. I'm featuring some hand-me-downs, both intentional and accidental. Also find some tips on savvy shopping. Read on!

Monday (Day 42): 

Simple look of yellow and gray sweater from J. Crew (Christmas present from Laurel) and black pants (intentional hand-me-down from a teacher friend). If you vocalize that you don't buy clothes, you'd be amazed at the sympathy (pity?) that drives people to just toss some clothes your way. I approach free clothes like I approach free food. Where is it? And how can I get some? I also wore my favorite boots, two gems I found at a Target in Florida for less than $15. I think Target must have made only one pair of these (real leather) boots, and I happened upon them (in my size!) one day about six years ago. My mini lottery win.

Side note: The best place to buy winter clothes? Florida. Follow the logic: 1. People move from colder climates to Florida and quickly realize they don't need their winter clothes (See: furs.) 2. Said people are often wealthy and donate said furs to Goodwill. 3. Savvy shopper Pattiwagon swoops in and buys said furs for next to nothing.

Tuesday (Day 43): 

H&M dress and jean jacket bought in Germany in 2004 when "Hah und Em" was the holy grail of savvy shoppers. Some (more recent) items of H&M clothing last one wearing, but these are still going strong after thirteen years. It was a different time. I do not recommend the current incarnation of H&M to savvy shoppers.

Wednesday (Day 44): 

Another hand-me-down alert. These plaid J. Crew pants migrated into my wardrobe circa 2009 when Laurel was cleaning out her closet. I'm pretty sure they were old then. I'm now holding on until the wide leg fashion cycle comes back. Until then, though, I'll just keep wearing them. Red sweater from Gap and black flats complete this teacher look.

Thursday (Day 45): 

Bargain Barn refashion alert! I altered this skirt from a Bargain Barn special a few years ago. Confession not included in the original post: the first time I wore it, I sat down in my car and completely ripped the zipper out. Oop! That's the price I pay for my careless sewing. However, I fixed the zipper, and we've been good every since. I'm wearing it here with a deep purple top I bought in Scottsboro, Alabama at the Unclaimed Baggage Store (another holy grail for savvy shoppers). This top would be the "accidental hand-me-down" of the week. I'm also wearing black leggings and an olive green sweater from Banana. I like this look.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 13

Another week, another four outfits. This was the first week that I struggled with my wardrobe. My dress/skirt options are waning, and I know that I could just wear black pants and a different sweater every until the end of the semester, that's just too boring. I have two free weekends coming up, so hopefully you'll find me busy at work in my sewing room. On to the outfits! 

Monday (Day 38):

Last week, I told the story of the bedbug dress. On this Monday, I wore the Mardi Gras vest. I bought this vest about 10 years ago and immediately loved it. It's chunky cable knit with big nautical buttons. I was going to Mardi Gras that year, so I made sure to pack it as a cute cold weather option. I climbed up on the ladder on St. Charles to watch a parade and promptly spilled an entire beer on myself. (No surprise there.) I didn't mind smelling like beer for the rest of the day. (Blame Credit the beer for that.) But when I got home and washed the sweater, I still couldn't get the stale beer smell out. It was ingrained, and I didn't want to wash it too many times, lest I destroy it. I had only gotten to love the sweater a short time, so I wasn't willing to give up on it. I faithfully put it in the back of my closet and waited for time to heal that stench. And, tada, it worked! About a year later, I got it back out, and the smell was gone. I have worn it often every since. So, no fear, serial spillers, there is hope for your clothes! I'm wearing it with a royal blue sweater from H&M (Germany, circa 2004) and a denim skirt from Gap. Steve Madden booties and brown tights on my feet. 

Tuesday (Day 39): 

*Homemade alert* This shirt was made by Mama Pattiwagon (aka Sewing Sensei). It is so beautifully constructed that I accidentally wore it inside out last year and didn't notice until hours into the school day. Oop! I paired this teal top with some navy pants from Banana and black (navy and black, the horror!) shoes from Rack Room. 

Wednesday (Day 40): 

Black skinny jeans from J. Crew, boots from DSW, and tunic from Modcloth. This is a beloved top worn very rarely, just to keep it fresh.

Thursday (Day 41): 

Army green dress from J. Crew with a black cropped blazer/sweater from an unknown store. I can't for the life of me remember where I got this, but if anyone has a tip on where I can find another (this one is getting tired), hmu. Black tights and Nine West flats complete the ensemble. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 12

Confession: I had a very tired start to my week and ended up not taking any photos throughout the week. However, I didn't stop the challenge. I also didn't want to let down my loyal readers, so I recreated my outfits on this Sunday afternoon. Hence, the hair, makeup, and lighting are quite consistent in these photos. ;) 

Monday (Day 34): 

Cream colored cable knit sweater with button details on the back with black jeans and brown booties. Love this fall outfit. Sweater from TJ Maxx, I think. Jeans from J. Crew, and booties from Rack Room. 

Tuesday (Day 35): 

I was happy to recreate this look, as my 3:40 alarm clock did not leave much time or energy for hair and makeup on this day. Sorry, colleagues and students, I was looking, as the dogs say, rough on this Tuesday. But I didn't mind, because I got an extra day with an extra special houseguest. <blushing> Back to the look. Light blue sweater from Loft was a Christmas gift from Laurel a few years ago. Pants are simple J. Crew black. And flats are Nine West. Topped it off with pearls. 

Wednesday (Day 36): 

Every piece of clothing has a story. This dress has a STORY. The year was 2012. I was sitting on an airplane on the way back from New York. I was bringing bedbugs back to Memphis. For the second time. (That's another STORY.) This time, I was determined not to bring them back to my house, so as I flew itch-ily through the sky, I developed a plan. I can't remember every step in the plan, but it involved going to Target to buy the cheapest dress I could readily find. This dress was an angel from heaven. Six dollars and hanging in the front of the store. TMI alert, I stripped all (read: all) my clothes in the laundromat bathroom and wore this dress as I laundered all my clothes and sprayed all my shoes, suitcase, carry-on bag, and car upholstery. All this at 11PM at night. I'm sure I looked deranged. But I successfully decontaminated myself and all my belongings before I came back home. And I added a great dress to my wardrobe, so I don't care how crazy I seemed. Conquering bedbugs twice is a feat of which I'm very proud. But for obvious reasons, I don't much like to publicize it. 

The dress had a longer hem in the back than in the front, a feature I don't generally like, so I asked Mama Pattiwagon to straighten up the hem, which she did graciously. I paired the dress with dark red tights, brown boots (another STORY for another day) and a Limited camel cardigan I've had since college. 

Thursday (Day 37): 

The stories here are not that interesting (or memorable...), so I'll just give it to you straight. Color block plaid button-down from Modcloth, black jeans from J. Crew, and black booties from TJ Maxx (maybe?).