Saturday, August 26, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 4

It's a short week for the fashion challenge, because I missed school on Monday and Tuesday. The Clayton Clan coupled their annual canning camp with the solar eclipse in Madisonville, so we enjoyed three days of tomatoes and two minutes of totality. The eclipse was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. Nature, man. And as far as canning goes, it was a very productive year. I'll post our stats at some point. (Really need to update this post...) 

On to the fashion challenge!

Wednesday (Day 9): 

This week saw another Pattiwagon (+parents) original. This shirt began in 2014 in Uganda with Daddy Pattiwagon purchasing some beautiful emerald fabric for the seamstresses in his life. The fabric patiently waited for a year until Mama Pattiwagon and I started this peplum top with exposed zipper at a rendition of sewing camp two years ago. It was a great pattern and a great fit, but I made the whole shirt assuming I could buy a zipper to fit in later. Not so. So, the semi-completed top patiently waited until I got motivated this summer to finish it. The fix did involve superglue, a tried and true Pattiwagon technique. But I made it work, and I'm so happy with how it turned out. 

Pants are black J. Crew, so you'll be seeing those again. Shoes are a DC Rack Room purchase, a purchase I won't soon forget, as it involved losing my phone and seeking out a man (or more accurately, a guardian angel) named Malachi to find it. (Yeah, that's a long story. Thanks, Malachi.) 

Thursday (Day 10): 

What I'm enjoying most about this challenge so far is how varied I'm making my outfits. I haven't worn this blazer in a couple years, but I think it works with this look that channels Lily Tomlin in Big Business. (Side note: How does that movie have only a 6.3/10 rating on IMDB???) The pushed up sleeves make it just casual enough for school. Dress is linen, from old standby TJ Maxx. Blazer is from J. Crew, and shoes are nude Nine West flats. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 3

Monday (Challenge Day #5): 
Monday night was open house, so I was aiming for professional, comfortable, and cute. Oh, how things have changed since my first year of teaching when I aimed for old, old, and old on open house night. I think I wore a suit (!). Thankfully, I no longer have to overcompensate for my youth with my fashion, so I opted for this Target dress from last year with a pair of mustard yellow flats that perfectly match one of the colors in the dress (as well as my hardwood floors). 

Tuesday (Challenge Day #6): 
I went coastal casual chic with my seersucker cropped pants (definitely second hand, probably Goodwill), a white linen shirt I bought on Amazon, and some simple Target sandals. Easy Breezy. 

Wednesday (Challenge Day #7): 
This day sees the first Pattiwagon original fashion. I made that chambray skirt a few years ago, and it may look familiar, as I have shown it off on the blog previously. Chambray is definitely one of my favorite fabrics to wear (and work with). I found a bunch of it on sale, immediately made the skirt, made (now forgotten) plans for the rest, and then immediately put it in fabric purgatory. Currently seeking chambray inspiration if anyone can offer. Until then, I'll just love this skirt, which I wore with well-loved plaid shirt from Gap and my red Tieks. 

Thursday (Challenge Day #8): 
Maxi skirt and plain black tee from Target with Aldo sandals. I was feeling comfort on this day, and this skirt always brings it. 

Side Note: I feel like my photography is perhaps getting worse with each week. I blame it on the fact that it is still dark outside when I take these photos, and my indoor lights aren't exactly photo studio quality. So I guess we'll be suffering until DST ends in November. Buckle in for more shadows and blurriness! 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 2

Monday (Challenge Day 2): 
Navy J. Crew pants with a striped sweater-ish shirt from Express. Necklace is a red leather flower with an unknown origin. As this challenge goes on, you'll notice that I don't wear a lot of jewelry. It's strange. I'm not at all picky about buying clothes. (Looks halfway decent, fits halfway decent, and is affordable? Sold!) Jewelry and shoes, on the other hand, can be an excruciating purchasing process with eternal hems and haws. Luckily, I found some shoes that pass the Pattiwagon Pickiness Test for this outfit: Tieks. They are super comfortable leather ballet flats with a teal sole. My look was dubbed "Perfecty Patriotic" at school. 

Tuesday (Challenge Day 3): 
Could I look more like a teacher? Cotton dress is super old from Old Navy (like, at least 10 tag designs ago). The belt came with a shirt that I don't really like so much from Anthropologie, so thank goodness I like the belt and thank goodness it was on clearance. (I did have to put some interfacing on the inside of the belt to give it structure. Pattiwagon Sewing Tip of the Day: if you don't like the look or feel of something you own, experiment with ways to improve it. The worst that could happen is you ruin it. And, well, you didn't like it to begin with.) The little sweater is favorite from Gap. Shoes are a random brand from DSW. 

Wednesday (Challenge Day 4): 
I found this outfit right before I started my challenge in the clearance section of Target. Pants: $12.98. Shirt: $4.98. Yes, I know, a little pricy for me. But I think I'll get a lot of wears out of the pants (on the weekends, of course!). Shoes are tan Sperrys, making an appearance in Week Two. 

We had a big "Minute to Win It" competition at school today, so my principal allowed us to wear jeans today. (FYI, this happens fairly frequently at school. Don't mean to harp on this so much, but during the school year, we teachers are overworked, and there aren't many tangible carrots to dangle in front of us. Fortunately, we can be bribed, assuaged, and cheered with the currency of denim. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017


It's early August. Late July has come and gone. You may be wondering about the most wonderful time of the year, tomato camp. Well, due to the eclipse, we moved tomato camp to coincide. (Hopkinsville, KY is among the best places for viewing, what?) So, with tomato camp being moved to mid-August, here's a tomato pie recipe to tide all of you tomato fiends over.

This tomato pie is legit. It combines four of my favorite things: pie crust, tomatoes, cheese, and most of all, mayonnaise. But, all you mayo haters out there, you really can't tell. It just melds into the pie like velvet. The whole concoction is one velvety, cheesy, tomato-y delight. (Yes, it is an indulgence. And, no, it's not on the diet.) This recipe comes from my parents' friend, Martha, and it is my kind of recipe. No measurements. No times. Just eyeballing. I've eaten it a few times, but this was my first solo flight.

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), I did have one in a long lineage of pie crust fails with the recipe. Martha's recipe stated to use Mark Bittman's pie crust recipe. I respect Mark and all, but his pie crust uses sugar. Sugar not really being my thing in a pie crust, I found this New York Times pie crust recipe that had all the hallmarks of Bittman other than the sugar. Followed the directions to a tee, until it talked about pie weights. Umm, who needs pie weights when you can just prick the bottom and sides with a fork? Well, me apparently, when I make this recipe. Because, here's a before and after. 
(Just spent a cool 45 on that braid, nbd.) 

Better Homes and Gardens recipe, why do I betray you? The NYT crust tasted delicious (So! Flaky!), but clearly, it was not going to be filled with tomatoes, cheese, and mayonnaise. So, one in a long lineage of emergency Kroger trips was in store. Pre-made pie crust in hand (sigh), I made the pie. Here's what I did. 

First, bake the pie crust according to directions. As soon as it comes out of the oven, lay thin slices of provolone cheese on the bottom. This will prevent future sogginess. 
Then, prepare the filling. I sliced two tomatoes, placed them in a colander, lightly salted them, and then let them sit for about 10 minutes. After that, I placed them between two paper towels and soaked up any moisture. This, like the provolone, is a sogginess prevention technique. 
While the tomatoes are soaking, grate some Jarlsberg. I used 8oz total. Mix the grated cheese with a bit of grated pepper and some mayo. Hellmans. In a jar. There is no other option on mayonnaise. I used about a cup. (Note: this picture was my first "eyeball." I ended up using about double this amount.)
Now you're ready to pie. Place one layer of tomatoes in the pie crust, followed by a layer of chiffonaded basil and about half the cheese/mayo mixture. Repeat the layers once to complete this savory delight. 
I baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes. Notice, I put tin foil around the crust about 15 minutes into the baking because I noticed the edges were getting crispy. Also, I baked it on a cookie sheet, again, to prevent sogginess. (Sogginess is clearly the archenemy of this pie.)
Bake until it's lightly brown and bubbly on the edges. Before you enjoy, be sure to complete the most important pie-making step, #posewithyourpie. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 1

There is a saying in the teaching world (not sure how commonly known it is outside of our realm) that teachers are supposed to dress only in black until December. You know, to inspire the funereal atmosphere that is a hallmark of all educational institutions. 

Clearly, I don't subscribe to that tenet or that attitude. And, after eleven years and two days of teaching, I think I'm mostly doing alright. However, I did subscribe to the all black look on the first day, mostly because I just love this dress. (See you in January, buddy.)

The dress is a classic shift design with exposed gold zippers on front pockets and up the back. Unfortunately I can't remember when or where I bought it, but it's been a fav for several years. Shoes are my beloved peep toe Nine West flats with gold detail. (You'll be seeing these a lot.) 


Although Fridays won't count toward my fashion challenge, here you can see my typical Friday aesthetic. There are not a lot of perks in the school year for teachers, so jean Friday is one we hold sacred. These are J. Crew toothpick-fit jeans, paired with another beloved shoe, my light brown Sperrys. (You'll be seeing a lot of these, too. Just wish you could see more of them in the photo. Clearly I need to work on my photo taking skills. Good thing I'll have lots of days to practice.)

Week 1 is complete; 17 to go! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New School Year = New Challenge

As my loyal readers know, Pattiwagon loves a bargain, and Pattiwagon loves a challenge. You may remember my two No Spend Month challenges a few years ago, both of which resulted in some very interesting meals. (Did I really eat a condensed milk sandwich? Yes, yes, I did. And I loved it.)

It's a new school year and a new resurgence of the blog, so I'm embarking on a fashion challenge. You may be familiar with the idea of a capsule wardrobe. While I love that idea, I currently have what I would consider to be the opposite of a capsule wardrobe: so many random (and cheaply-made; see: Bargain Barn) clothes that don't really go with anything else. So, I'm turning my clothing collection frowns upside down with this challenge. 

Here are the rules: 

1. Wear a different outfit every day of the school year from now until Christmas break. 
2. Do not purchase any new clothing. If I would like a new outfit, I can either hit up the BB and refashion or make something from scratch. 
3. Document my outfits with weekly blog posts. Starting Friday! 
4. At the end of the challenge, donate/discard any (school-appropriate) clothing I didn't wear. 

Here are the exceptions: 

1. Fridays will not count on the challenge, because those are jeans + staff shirt days, and I'm not going to forgo that teacher treat. (So that leaves approximately 72 different outfits to come up with.) 
2. I'm allowed to repeat my black pants, black leggings, black t-shirt, and any shoes. 
3. I'm allowed to buy new running shoes/equipment. (Marathon training, yo!) 

Wish me luck, loyal readers! And please don't make fun of me when I wear the clothing equivalent of a condensed milk sandwich. 

And, for good measure, here's Baby Pattiwagon on her very first day of school: 
The pinnacle of my modeling career. I am giving the camera everything I have.