Saturday, April 19, 2014

Black Apple

For years, I've wanted an Emily Martin/Black Apple original painting. Once I had my chance at a Brooklyn craft fair but rain was forecast and I didn't want to damage the painting. Plus, as lovely as it was, I really coveted one with a girl and a cat (any of her girl/cat combos) and this had a girl, boy and an umbrella. I wish I had pounced and got a cab home but hindsight is always best. Her work is increasingly had to find as she seems to have moved more in the direction of picture books and it always sold so quickly anyway that after a period when I'd go to her Etsy site and refresh until the store was updated only to find that the paintings sold before I could even see them, I just gave up and obsessed over other things. While some people were able to buy multiples, most fans like me couldn't get anything.

I bought my niece her first book (Oddfellow's Orphanage) and she loved it. Severin is way too young for it right now, but fortunately she has a new and beautiful picture book, Dream Animals. It arrived a few days ago in perfect time for Easter and I had to give it to him just a little earlier. It still may be a little too difficult for him, but it is so beautiful that I hope he'll cherish it forever.

Now I just have to save and hope that I can one day own an Emily Martin original painting. I imagine they cost a lot more now and are even harder to get.

Friday, April 18, 2014


I know it's a good idea to buy seasonal winter basics on sale in the spring, but when it still feels like winter, it's not particularly thrilling. That said, Club Monaco had a couple of cashmere sweaters on sale for $99 with an extra 30% discount, meaning I had to bite. I'm pretty certain I'll get some wear out of them before the semester is over.

I had already purchased this in camel from an earlier markdown. I'd liked it at the original price but now wish I'd waited just a little longer.

I've not seen this one in stores (not that I have much time to shop these days with Severin and work--any free time is for writing, cleaning house or maybe sleeping) so I hope the quality and fit is decent. It's pretty much a basic so it should be useful.

Although the trees are blossoming, it doesn't look like I'll be out of sweaters for some time yet.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Severin's latest obsession

He's only allowed a little television and this programme is his big treat. I think if he had his way, Severin would watch it almost all the time. There are only a few clips on youtube so we brought him a dvd last week and he's (too much) in love with his Waybuloo. The BBC make the best children's shows.

And here is the little Waybuloo fan himself. 15 1/2 months old.

Friday, April 11, 2014


I'm in Columbia, MO for a conference--away from the boys for just a couple of days. I've realised I wake at 7 or so, expecting to hear Severin's cry so my (one) opportunity for a lie in didn't happen. I'm presenting tomorrow morning so I'm getting up early, eating a big breakfast (I'm staying in a B&B that makes amazing breakfasts, including a baked oatmeal blueberry custard), packing, presenting and then heading home. Two flights, a time change and Saturday will be over. I'm missing those boys a lot and it will be lovely to see them again.

I'm finally getting a taste of spring too--it's in the 70s and sunny and tomorrow I'll be teased by a warm morning (it will be 80 here but I'll have gone by then) before heading back to something a little less spring-like.

As a non-Facebook user, I'm always a bit peeved by the ways social media has changed conferences--less ad hoc gatherings of old and new friends as everybody prearranges their dinners and lunch dates. Last night, I met a great woman and had dinner, so tonight I'm fine with reading over my paper, watching TLC and walking the 15 minutes or so to the small college area and picking up a sandwich. I've realised I can't carb watch away from home, where there are no grocery stores and all the food is aimed at the fast metabolisms of college kids.

I have a magnolia tree outside my window, a couch to sit on and feel lazy enough to just stay in. But that would leave me the bad option of granola bars for dinner...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Sweaters

With so few glimpses of spring, I've become tired of the same old sweaters, jeans, layering t-shirts and skirts/leggings combinations. After a couple of years of limited options (pregnancy, breastfeeding, post partum figure changes and their aftermath), I'm ready for a spring where I could just enjoy dressing. The few decent days we've had have actually confounded me as my spring clothes are either buried somewhere or still don't fit, so I finally broke down and ordered a few sweaters from Zara. It's always nice when the big boxes arrive, but also sobering when you purchase based on digitally altered images of clothing pinned to size 2 teenage models. I'm currently deciding which of the following items to keep:

I spotted this on Joyce's blog and couldn't resist at the price ($59.99), especially with it being 100% cotton. Alas, it looks like I've borrowed one of my mum's 1980s jumpers. It's probably going back but I just wish I could find a way to make it hang just so rather than being too boxy.

Again, I'm on the shelf. On the plus side, there's some nice detailing and it doesn't look that different in person. But the sleeves are considerably shorter (above the wrist) and it feels like it would work better in a more temperate climate as you could not wear a jacket or coat over the top. I also have a cashmere cardigan that has a similar feel and it tends to fall off my shoulders, something I suspect would happen here. At a penny under $80, I may send this one back.

OK, I really want this one to work. I love this look and how it fits into my imagined personal style. But it is yellow and I'm not sure if it makes my face look too pink (in a bad way) although I feel I can just carry it off. It's nicely detailed with two notches in the back and it's 100% cotton. I think it almost works but it is super heavy (which may be good if winter lasts forever) but it may also be too warm for our very overheated apartment. If I don't wear it soon, it may be too late. If it was in the pink and was a little thinner, it would be a no brainer, but there is something about this one that makes me want to work with it. It's also one of the two pricier pieces at $79.99. Granted, none of them are that pricey but I don't want to waste money on items just because they are cheap.

The keeper. This one I wore today--it's also 100% cotton, quite thick and has beautiful cables. I've been looking for something like this for a while (there is a green in store and I may get that too). It's very good quality for a $60 sweater and is both warm and spring-like. But it's also the easy option and not as daring or on trend as the other two sweaters, so am I just being conservative or am I just aware that some trends are just too ephemeral to invest in? Or is it just that my body is no longer in a fit state to showcase the baggier options without looking like I'm trying to hide the lumps that they effectively highlight more than something more form fitting?

Thursday, March 6, 2014


When I was pregnant with our darling little Severin, Evan and I had the greatest difficulty agreeing on names. If he'd been a girl, we'd have had an easier job (we already had a name we could use if we couldn't think of something better that we both liked) but the anatomy scan forced us back into the more difficult territory of mutually liked boy's names. It became the topic we postponed discussing until it couldn't be postponed any longer. I looked everywhere for inspiration, finding it in the most unlikely of settings--a screening of Belle du Jour in my Media and Fashion seminar.

Little did we know that Catherine Deneuve would hear about our lovely little boy from a dear friend--and that she would be pleased about our inspiration. Sometimes it is a very small world.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I don't know if it's this interminably long winter, but I'm lost as to what to wear these days. My body isn't at an optimal weight or shape for the clothing I'd like, I don't have the time to shop (not that I really mind too much) and I am not even sure where to shop right now. I know I'd like to have some nice new cashmere sweaters but anything I really like I can't afford (and if it hasn't been reduced now, it's not happening). With near continuous snow and/or cold, I've rotated through the same jeans/trousers/sweaters or leggings/skirts combinations.

I'm even revisiting the items I wore when pregnant, partly because they are warm and forgiving on a figure that's more lumpen than I'd like--but partly, I believe, because I'm nostalgic for those days and yearning for another pregnancy, another baby. It's almost like I want to get back into that skin again.

I'm also sadly aware that I may not look good in the pieces I like. Whether it's simple, pared down winter wear or pretty dresses, I've got used to a disappointing reflection that reveals the combination of sleep deprivation and very limited exercise. But it's increasingly dawning on me that I don't know what's out there, where to go or what to look for. While I've invested in a few pairs of Fiorentini + Baker boots, I'm either wearing too many cut rate bargains or pieces that are beginning to look old and worn. I'm at the point where it's just easier to shop Zara online and return what doesn't work, but I suppose I'm more aware that I jus don't have a clue what's out there apart from the fast fashion chains and the ready to wear collections that are out of my price range.