Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving in Boston: The Freedom Trail

My Boston/American History adventures conclude with highlights from the Freedom Trail! We walked the entire thing, all 2.5 miles, following the skinny red brick road the whole way. We actually did it backwards - starting at Bunker Hill and ending at The Boston Common - since we wanted to end up at South Station to take the train home. We didn't spend too much time at each individual site, choosing to bypass some of the mini-museums and exhibits along the way in favor of actually getting through the entire route without killing each other.

But man oh man were my calves and ankles and feet sore! I know 2.5 through the city doesn't really seem that much, but something about the hills and brick and all that history that really wears a girl out! After 3 solid days of pretty thorough sight-seeing, I was D.O.N.E. And so were my boots, I think. I'm quite certain I've worn out my wonderful, perfect, cognac riding boots. They're now warped out of shape, worn down in the heel, and badly scuffed in the toe. This makes me sad, since these were truly the happiest shoes I've owned. I probably won't stop wearing them, but it does give me an excuse to just get a new pair. ; )

Striped tee - Banana Republic / Infinity scarf - Dorothy Perkins / Ponte skirt - Lane Bryant /
Belt - Lane Bryant / Boots - Ciao Bella (via DSW) / Handbag - Furla (via Filene's Basement)

Nearly-ruined boots aside, I think I chose my outfit well for the long day of walking through history. (Read: I did not look like a tourist.) I felt amazingly comfortable (Go ponte! Go boots!) and yet just stylish enough to blend in with the well-dressed Bostonians enjoying Starbucks in the financial district. The same main pieces as this outfit (a fail-safe combination for me), I just swapped out the belt (the only one I brought, mainly for another outfit) and scarf (okay, this was one of three I brought). Of course, the top half is completely copied from this other favorite outfit of mine. I'm pretty sure I wore the striped top at least 3 times during the trip, too. Hey, when it's love, it's love! And isn't that the idea behind living out of suitcase anyway? Wear your best, your favorites, and remix them to high heaven. I strongly believe a striped top should always be a part of that equation. =)

My favorite places along the tour were Bunker Hill (though I came away without a picture), the USS Constitution, Old City Hall, and Faneuil Hall. Majestic monuments, breathtaking ships, inspiring halls. History is neat. And beautiful.

To top it all off? Neither nature nor structure, but some of the most amazing food I've eaten to date. Dinner at O Ya with friends (followed by cocktails at the so-me Cuchi Cuchi in Cambridge) included this orgasmic White Truffle and Toro Tartare. Seriously sublime.

All in all, an extraordinary trip and lots to be thankful for. =)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in Boston: Plimoth Plantation

My Thanksgiving in Boston adventure continues! Or, my American history lesson, rather. I'd actually never been to see the Mayflower or Plimoth Plantation, but it was a timely and enriching way to spend Thanksgiving week. (And it's something Bob's been bugging me to do with him everytime we've visited Boston - even though he's been there countless times... The irony is infinite.) All myths/legends/truths of the holiday aside, I think the curators of Mayflower II (a replica of the original that was built in England and made the same trip of the original in 1957) and of Plimoth Plantation (including the Wampanoag Homesite and 17th-Century English Village) have done a wonderful job of presenting all sides to the story in an ultimately rewarding way. I'll not go into that any more here, but do check it out.

It was a cold, blustery day, made even more so by the coastal weather. Thank heavens for my (new) big cozy infinity scarf and multiple layers! Since I've really come to love the majesty of ships (you'll see more in tomorrow's post), I braved the elements long enough to see as much as possible inside and out, and even get a few great pictures.

I wasn't about to take off the trench, so this is closest I was able to get to an outfit shot at the harbor. This was also about the 7th of 10 attempts to get a picture of me without hair blowing all over my face. There's no feigning the cold, though!

Trench - Banana Republic / Infinity scarf - Gap / Dark skinnes - Gap / Boots - Ciao Bella (via DSW) /
Ring - Ruche / Handbag - Furla (via Filene's Basement)

On to the Wampanoag Homesite, the first section of the Plimoth Plantation area...

And then a few choice shots of the 17th century English village: one of many lush (for November!), well-tended gardens...

The village rooster that even posed for me...

Just a few canons poised for action...

And atop the hill in the meeting house overlooking the village and coast, where the sun finally came out for us.

And so I shed my trench for a little outfit shot. Not my best ensemble ever worn - had I not planned to wear the trench all day, I might have worn a belt or a different under-layer - but the layers, flat boots (and thus skinnies) were totally necessary for the day. And just nautical enough.

Mustard cardigan - Cable & Gauge (via TJ Maxx) / Infinity scarf - Gap / Blue long-sleeved tee - LOFT /
Ring - Ruche / Dark skinnes - Gap / Boots - Ciao Bella (via DSW) / Handbag - Furla (via Filene's Basement)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in Boston: At Walden Pond

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Both Bob and I had all of last week off, so we headed to Boston to spend the holiday with his family, something we've never done in our seven years together. It was a jam-packed week of food, friends, family (and lots of incomprehensible Korean), Patriots football (it's SO much more fun to be able to watch the game with fellow fans around you, screaming at the TV in unison), and a lifetime's worth of historical sight seeing at Concord, the Mayflower, Plimoth Plantation, and along the Freedom Trail. What does this mean for a wardrobe that needs to fit into a suitcase? Flat boots or tennies, lots of layers that are remix-friendly, and pieces that I know will look good on me no matter what.

It was hard to whittle down a selection of pictures that succinctly captured each adventure and outfit, but because I do want to share them with you, I thought I'd break up the trip into a few blog posts rather than just one. I will warn you, however, that our first stop, Walden Pond, is one of my favorite places in the world. It was such an unbelievably beautiful afternoon that I got to take my camera out for a real spin, and I therefore have the most to share here. Besides, idyllic nature shots plus golden hour equals a prized blogger location, does it not? ; )

Traipsing along trails and water's edge for an afternoon means tennies for me, which also requires a perfect average-length jean and casual top layers - definitely an ensemble you don't see often on this blog! A puffer vest isn't always the best choice for a large-busted, thick-waisted girl like me, but the added layer was perfect for the day.

Curvy dark bootcut jeans - Gap / Pink Breast Cancer Awareness top - Old Navy /
Gray puffer vest - LOFT / Tennies - Skechers

Ah, railroad shots (of the T mind you - there's something wildly incongruous about that). I tried my best to mimic the best of JoAnn and Kyla, but I don't have the greatest sense of balance when a train might bulldoze me over at any moment and kept falling off. Consider these outtakes. =)

Ah, Concord. When If I ever make 7 figures, I would happily spend the rest of my days in this quaint but deeply historic town. We had meant to also visit Lexington and other important locales in town (Old Manse and Old North Bridge, to name a few), but Walden Pond took up the bulk of the daylight hours and we had no choice but to call it a day and venture downtown Concord instead. Among our stops, the famous Colonial Inn, where we had oysters and Guinness, and the impressive Concord Free Public Library - most of it taken over by its "Local Authors" section! This punderful little antique shop was one of my favorites, though.

Uffda. I know that's a lot! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did - I really love some of the nature shots I got! I'll have 1-2 more Boston posts - including the Mayflower, Plimoth Plantation, and spots along the Freedom Trail - before I return to regularly scheduled blogging. In the meantime, enjoy the wonderful holiday season! Has anyone put up decorations (I have!) or started (gift) shopping yet? Hooray for Cyber Monday, I say!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The First Time

I worked in retail for over three years in three different stores: Lane Bryant,  LOFT (Ann Taylor Loft back then), and finally Banana Republic. Three years of associate discounts expanded my wardrobe exponentially and broke my bank simultaneously. It was while working at LOFT that I really began to find my own style: a love of pencil skirts, fitted silhouettes, streamlined classics, and just a touch of daring. One holiday season (nearly 4 years ago now), I started wearing belts at my waist. Right at my waist. I remember feeling self-conscious about this, like everyone working and shopping thought I might be making a huge fashion faux pas. I continued to do it, relishing in how the styling highlighted my curves, accentuated my waist and was the easiest kind of accessorizing. I was still hesitant, but I was hooked. This was the exact outfit I wore that day, that first time for a now frequent styling.

Sweater - LOFT / Belt - Lane Bryant / "Perfect" black pencil skirt - Simply Be / Handbag - Furla /
Shaping Sheers - Spanx / Heels - Nine West

A couple weeks after I debuted my belted waist, a fellow LOFT associate wore the exact.same.outfit. Right down to sweater (it WAS an ATL sweater after all), skirt and placement of belt. I'm not going to lie - at first I was uber annoyed, especially since said associate was of the tiny, gorgeous, long blonde hair and long fluttery lashes variety. Let's face it, I was also jealous that she seemed to rock my outfit idea so much better than I did and possibly threatened that my personal sense of style had been usurped. But the more I thought about it - and continue to think about it -  the more flattered I am. I, the resident curvy girl, seemed to set a trend. I, the resident curvy girl, rocked that trend in a way that made other (skinny) people want to wear it too. Shocked as I am by the realization (as one who continues to battle self-esteem and body image issues), I can't deny that it was moment that has defined my personal style and, more importantly, self-confidence in that style.

I actually haven't worn this outfit since then, though I have most certainly worn variations of it. Wearing it again makes me think about how my personal style has changed, how it has stayed the same, and how it has given me a kind of identity. I find such contemplation ultimately important for this, my 200th post. It wasn't intentional, interestingly, but that makes it all more special. Serendipitous. The reasons I started this blog - as a way to subconsciously confront, and hopefully someday squelch, those pesky self-esteem and body image issues of mine - continue to carry me through and inspire me, and to provide proof that it has done so. As we approach the season of giving thanks, I find myself thankful for the endeavor, and for you, the community of bloggers and readers that bolster it.

Ring - Lane Bryant / Necklace - Talbots / Earrings - The Limited

I'll be taking a little hiatus next week for the holiday (we're traveling to Boston to spend time with Bob's family and friends), but you can be rest assured that I'll return in all my fancy holiday-dressing glory as I work through another busy Nutcracker weekend. I hope everyone has a wonderfully thankful Thanksgiving until then. =)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Red Hot

The nice thing about a freezing cold, sunny day is that, if I do choose to brave the elements for outdoor pics, I know that I'll be done in a blink of an eye. My eyes might be watery and skin paler than usual, but gosh darnit at least I've got sunlight on me.

"Marilyn" sweater - Lane Bryant / Flare jeans - Lane Bryant / Patent snake belt - Lane Bryant

The morning light threw off my usual locations, though (to good effect, I think), and the chilly wind kept flipping up my portrait collar on this new sweater of mine (to less good effect). I don't really own much red, and since I could never say no to three-quarter length sleeves and off-the-shoulder styling, I snagged this Lane Bryant "Marilyn" sweater during their 40% sale as quickly as I could. I'm planning oodles of ways to style it (and I know you know a pencil skirt will be involved), but for its first outing on a casual day, I chose jeans, a wide black belt (much like the product picture) and fabulous leopard print heels.

Leopard print pumps - Max Studio (via DSW) / Ring - The Limited / Earrings - Lane Bryant

And say goodbye to my beautiful ostrich Furla. It's on its way back today! Thank you for a gloriously caramel, zippered, textured month, Ms. Amazzone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reese's Pieces

I'd been itching to wear this Tracy Reese Anthropologie sale find again for a while now. I really wanted to pair it with some white ankle pants over the summer, but I never managed to find a pair I liked on this bod of mine. I gave up that particular search, hoping I'd get some wear out of it in the fall. Since I'd already done pants, I decided to try one of my ever-faithful pencil skirts for its second outing.

Draw the Line Cowlneck - Anthropologie (Tracy Reese) / Pencil skirt - Talbots

Ironically, I didn't initially think a pencil skirt would work with the top. I just figured that the top was so voluminous that the proportions would be off. However, its exaggerated wide waistband really keeps those proportions in check - it brings up the waist up and lengthens my lower half, while also managing to camouflage and smooth out my midsection. Besides, when has a pencil skirt ever done me wrong?

Handbag - Furla (via Filene's Basement)

I thought about incorporating bigger pops of color (yellow? cobalt blue?) in other accessories, but I couldn't quite come up with anything other than these albeit amazingly comfortable brown faux-suede pumps. I just love how turquoise looks against the oranges and dusty browns, though, so I made sure to wear my favorite turquoise pieces.

Ring - Banana Republic / Earrings - Dress Barn / Brown gold buckle pumps - Christian Siriano for Payless

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Infinity and Beyond

Tornado watches and warnings swept through our area yesterday. Crazy, crazy weather! I think Mother Nature is angry that Christmas seems to have skipped Thanksgiving this year, and as a result is threatening us with the humid, upper 60-degree weather and storms of late spring to really throw us off. No? Mother Nature doesn't care about the rampant commercialism that muddles the holidays? Oh, well, that explains a lot.

Striped tee - Banana Republic / Infinity scarf - Dorothy Perkins (no longer available) / Flare jeans - Lane Bryant /
Boots - Laundry by Chinese Laundry / Handbag - Furla (renting via BBOS)

I wore this outfit a couple weekends ago, pretty much as soon as I acquired not only the most perfect Breton tee known to man, but also this fun printed infinity scarf from Dorothy Perkins. I loved the casual chic vibe so much that I wanted to wear it again as soon possible, especially to document it here. Classic stripes and colorful dots make my world go 'round these days, and the pattern mix of the two pretty much makes my head explode with glee. Plus I'm the biggest sucker for infinity scarves - they're idiot-proof scarves in my book. If only all casual dressing was this easy.

Ring - Ruche / Earrings - The Limited / Nails - "All Hail McQueen" (Butter London via Ulta)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Laced Down

Well, I got through an extremely rough week, capped off by a truly challenging day on Saturday. I'm still kind of reeling from it all, to be honest... This week, Bob is away on business, and while I'll miss him terribly, it does mean I have the apartment to myself! I have big plans: mega-cleaning, rearranging the living room (with the purpose of having a functional indoor photo location), eating too many Totino's pizzas (a guilty pleasure that lingers from my single days), hem and hang my bedroom curtains (finally), and - if at all possible - start decorating for the holidays! We leave for Boston on Saturday to spend Thanksgiving with Bob's family, so if I'm going to decorate, it'll have to be sooner rather than later. I just can't believe the holidays are almost here again!

"Fiona" Dress - LucieLu / Denim jacket - Theory (eBayed) / Grey tights - LOFT (?) / Flats - LOFT

I thought I'd try dressing down this lace dress today, so I started with a denim jacket. Tights were a must, but they made my shoe choices more difficult. I didn't want to wear boots, and I toyed with wearing sandals, but I was totally self-conscious about the tights-sandals combo, regardless of how popular it currently seems to be. So I opted for my trusty flats. Between the jacket and sandals, I think I succeeded in putting together a pretty casual look.

Ring - Banana Republic / Ginko and Gunmetal necklace - chrdesigns on Etsy / Earrings - Lane Bryant

And yes, you sure have seen a few versions of this dress before: the "Amelia" in grey and white and the "Piper" in black and pink with cream embellishments. I love the lace overlay, the straight skirt that hits perfectly below my knee, and the pretty embellishments that make each dress unique. I continue to experiment with more ways to wear them!

Handbag - Gustto