The Borrowed Closet

When I was younger, I always wanted a sister. I imagined a playmate that would share my enthusiasm for dolls and dress-up and all things girly that my brothers vehemently eschewed. I imagined a confidante who would stay up late with me in a neighboring bed sharing giggles and gossip. And I imagined somebody who I could fight with over a shared wardrobe, just like sisters always seemed to do on television. Alas, ’twas not to be.

By the time I was in high school, however, I realized I didn’t really need a sister.

I had my mom instead.

I know that parents who try to be friends with their children rather than authority figures is kind of a cultural flashpoint, but my mama really has always unequivocally been both my mother (I definitely did not call her by her first name) and my best friend. And now that I’m an adult and can understand so much more of who she is as a person, I feel even closer to her and depend upon her advice and wisdom that much more.

One of the great side benefits of having such an awesome mom is that there is a lot of overlap in our aesthetics and sense of style, and she’s always happy to let me raid her closet.

This weekend Yubo was out of town for work so the kids and I spent most of the weekend at my parents’ house, and my mama was kind enough to let me borrow this chic Carolina Herrera coat, her favorite Marni purse, and this black cashmere turtleneck. I feel really lucky to be able to wear such nice things, most of which would be out of my reach otherwise, and I know my mama likes to see me wearing her clothes. That’s the nice thing about borrowing from your mom rather than your sister. My mama never resents me for borrowing her clothes, and – at least on TV – sisters seem to get mad about that sort of thing.

My poor dad, on the other hand, always goes a little bug-eyed when he sees me making off with something of my mom’s. I think he worries I won’t come back with it, but I really always do!

Anyway, I wore this outfit to work today and then to pick up the children from school. It was really cold in the morning and looked like it was going to rain, but by the time I left work it was hot and sunny. I was kind of dying in the jacket and turtleneck while taking these pictures.

At work today I taught my students how to respond to other people’s ideas in a persuasive essay and how to transition from other people’s ideas to your own and from one topic to another. I created a handout on responding and then wrote a sample paragraph on health care reform. They were asked to break apart the paragraph, identifying transition words and phrases and labeling different parts of the paragraph (i.e. topic sentence, analysis, counter-argument, etc.). Then they were given time to work on their own essays (while hopefully practicing some of these transitioning skills). I was really kind of proud of the whole lesson, and from the questions I was getting while the students were working on their papers, I felt like they were getting what I was trying to teach them.

So that was fun!

I find that I really, really enjoy teaching. I guess even though I always wanted to teach in some capacity, I didn’t really know if I would like it or be good at it. It’s nice to finally be doing something that feels like it fits.

Coat: Carolina Herrera navy wool and cashmere peacoat (from my mama’s closet)
Top: Neiman Marcus black cashmere turtleneck (from my mama’s closet)
Vest: Moyna lace vest from Anthropologie (old)
Jeans: Pilcro skinny jeans from Anthropologie (old)
Shoes: Modcloth wedges
Purse: Marni (from my mama’s closet)
Accessories: pearl necklace (gift from grandmother), dogeared heart necklace
Nail Polish: essie licorice and deborah lippmann shake your groove thing
Lipstick: Cle de Peau Lipstick 16 and Chanel Gossimer Wild Rose (119)

Weather Confusion

It feels as if LA can’t decide whether it wants it to be winter – cold and blustery with rainclouds perpetually threatening – or spring. The flowering trees and bushes in front of our house are in full, triumphant bloom. This weekend and yesterday were balmy in the high 70s. Today, however, was cold. (But, you know, LA-cold, which is, um, in the 50s? Don’t laugh. I’m an Angeleno. It’s my right to complain when the weather dips below 65 degrees.)

So, anyway, this is all to say that even though I was wearing a coat and a scarf today, I was very cold. I really don’t like being cold! This is the whole reason why I can’t move away from Los Angeles, and then it has to go play this dirty weather trick on me.


Enough about the weather, yes? This is what I wore to work today to conference with students. This skirt I’m wearing is pretty awesome. I love the little white leather circles that are sewn in layers on the skirt panel. It feels fun and feathery (alliteration!). And I was so excited that all I needed for work today was a folder full of essays and a purse. Usually I’m dragging several folders, a few books, maybe my laptop, various school supplies, plus all of the stuff that always goes in my purse.

After work, I went to pick up my boys at school.

I’ve set up a new points/rewards system for my eldest son so he was all eager to get home and start his homework. It was rather entertaining.

Basically, he gets a point (indicated on a calendar by a sticker) for fulfilling various responsibilities; homework and piano practice are the main ones, but he can also get points for reading a book or doing extra math worksheets or being caught doing something particularly good. I thought about adding points for doing chores such as setting the table or cleaning up his toys or making his bed, but he’s still at the age where he’s really eager to help around the house so I figured if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

The points he earns can be exchanged for limited amounts of “screen time” (TV or games on the ipad) or other small rewards. He seems pretty motivated.

Most days I have to do quite a bit of cajoling to get him to start on his homework and practice piano, but today he had done everything within an hour of getting home. An hour after that, he had done 4 pages of a math workbook and read a book. I had to insist that he stop and go play.

Coat: Burberry (also worn here)
Shirt: Mikkat Market (also worn here and here)
Skirt: Zara white leather skirt
Tights: J.Crew
Shoes: Modcloth
Bag: Modcloth
Accessories: Esprit outlet scarf (old), silver bow hair clip (gift from my mama), Herkimer diamond earrings from Principessa (gift from Yubo), Dogeared heart necklace
Nail Polish: essie licorice and deborah lippmann shake your groove thing
Lipstick: NARS Jungle Red lip liner and Red Lizard lipstick

White Lace, Red Tights

I’m really enjoying this semester so far even though I’m not taking any literature classes. While I do feel rather lit-deprived, the pedagogy course I’m taking has made teaching so much fun. It’s odd because the reading for the course often puts me to sleep it’s so dry, but the stuff I learn I then try out on my students and – lo and behold – it works! It’s so awesome!

In addition to the pedagogy course, I’m taking a required course in linguistics. I took a year of linguistics in college for my math GE requirements (I know, it’s weird that linguistics counted for math, but I was beyond thankful it did). I didn’t love it back then, but it was mildly interesting and it’s kind of a neat trick to be able to translate things into IPA. I can’t decide how I feel about the course I’m taking now for my graduate program. I see the usefulness in being able to understand the back-end, so to speak, of English, particularly when it comes to grammar, but my professor likes to go on tangents, as do some of my classmates, which means that often we spent half the class discussing things that have nothing to do with anything remotely associated with linguistics. It’s not that I mind tangents as a rule, but when it wastes half of a three hour class, I get irritated. Every wasted hour is time I could have spent eating dinner with my family, tucking my kids into bed, or watching Downton Abbey, dammit.

Aside from that particular life-shattering burden, school and work are engaging and fulfilling. I’m tutoring in the freshman writing lab this semester as well, and it’s nice being able to work one-on-one with students. And the discussions in my pedagogy course are so fun, mostly because my colleagues are amazing. It’s so great to be a part of a group of such motivated, engaged, hard-working, and yes, idealistic people. I know that in all probability we will all eventually end up grumpy, cynical, and bitter, but I really, really hope not.

Actually, if I ever end up like that, I hope I stop teaching and go do something else that I can be idealistic about.

This outfit was inspired by this Valentine’s Day-themed wedding shoot I stumbled upon while doing research for my parents’ upcoming 30th wedding anniversary party, specifically this photo. I loved the combination of the white lace dress with the red tights so much and her dress looked so similar to the one in my own closet, that I figured I could pull something similar together.

This dress is so soft and feminine, and I like how the red punches it up a bit and cuts down on some of that softness. I feel so different wearing this dress styled this way than, say, this way.

My hair is based off this Refinery 29 tutorial – I first did my hair like this for the holiday party my girlfriends and I throw annually. It’s super easy and even though my hair is still pretty short, I can still just manage to make it work. I like that it’s sort of messy; it feels very feminine, but in a un-fussy I-did-my-hair-in-under-a-minute type of way. Which I did!

I also really like the way it sets off this headband. It feels very Grecian.

Can you see my sunburn setting in? Stupid uber-pale skin. Nah, I like my blindingly pale porcelain skin, but its tendency to burn is kind of a pain. (Mind the puns!) Must remember to apply sunscreen to my shoulders now that the weather is nice enough not to require layering.

Dress: Anthropologie (also worn here)
Blazer: Madewell Academy Blazer (also worn here)
Tights: J.Crew
Shoes: Zara wedges
Bag: vintage (from ebay)
Accessories: Anthropologie headband (old), Forever 21 hairpins (old) and scissor necklace, Herkimer diamond earrings from Principessa on Abbot Kinney (Valentine’s gift from Yubo)
Nail Polish: essie watermelon
Lipstick: NARS Heat Wave

Lovely Lace

Yesterday evening we had dinner with family at Yubo’s aunt’s house. This is what I wore.

The trench coat was a gift from my mama. It’s warm and cozy and edged with beautiful crocheted lace.

The lace-inspired chandelier earrings were a gift from my grandmother to wear on my wedding day. Whenever I wear them, I think of her and of that beautiful day.

The ruffle-edged gloves were a Christmas gift from my friend Katherine.

Underneath I wore this white lace shift from Anthropologie, with a black ribbon tied around my waist with a bow. I’m one of those odd people that keeps pretty ribbon and wrapping paper from gifts, but see how useful it is sometimes?

I love how delicate and proper I feel when I wear this dress.

Or not.

Coat: Burberry (gift from my mama)
Dress: Anthropologie
Purse: vintage (ebay)
Gloves: no label (gift)
Shoes: J.Crew
Hosiery: Calvin Klein
Accessories: earrings (gift), found black ribbon