Monday, November 15, 2010

Nostalgia: Dorm Edition, Avec Ma Belle Soeur

My classes are writing Proposing a Solution essays right now. Many of them select campus-related issues, and it never fails that every year I get plunged into nostalgia for my dorm years. I lived in one dorm all four years of college, in the same room for three, and had classes strewn about the Michigan State campus.
One essay in particular was about bike travel on campus; the student mentioned the lengths of walks to class here at BGSU, with the tops being about 20 minutes. MSU, of course, is giant in comparison, and I was reminded of my long hikes, particularly in driving snow and frigid temperatures (though not barefoot, uphill both ways). For instance, one term as a freshman I had to walk from my dorm, Mason Hall, to Wonders, clear across campus, which is about 1.15 miles according to a run mapping program (and if I'm remembering my route correctly). Then, I had to walk from Wonders to Brody, an additional .65 miles. After this, I had to walk back to Mason, which was about 1.35 miles (again, I had to guess at the route I would have taken, which may not have been the most efficient and may have even been longer). Sometimes, I recall, I shifted my route to avoid wind gusts, especially heading out to Wonders.
When you're walking with a backpack and early in the day (this was all before lunch), this takes you some time. I remember it took me about half an hour to get out to Wonders, 25 minutes on a good day, and an additional 15 minutes or so to get to Brody. Then it easily took me forty to forty-five minutes to get back to Mason, as they were quite literally at opposite ends of the campus. I'm a fast walker normally, but I definitely remember trudging in the winter, certainly not at top speeds.

In my mind for the last few days has been a very distinct memory of one such day. It was bitterly cold, and snowy to boot. I was wearing one of my giant wool sweaters. On my way back to the dorm, all I could think about was lunch, something hot from our good cafeteria (dorm food, and the way they pay for meals, here at BGSU is not so good--I was spoiled). I wouldn't even go to my room, but take my exhausted, hungry self and bag straight into the dining room. As I was scanned in, I noticed that my sister and her friends were seated at a table. If I was in the cafeteria today (although it doesn't exist anymore), I could show you exactly where they were: righthand side of the righthand long tables, between the pillars.
My sister and I lived in the same dorm for a year, one floor apart, I as a freshman and she as a senior (it was not considered unfashionable to live in a dorm the whole time you were at college, especially when you lived in a nice building like ours). Yet, we hardly ever saw each other. She and I had very different schedules. We very rarely ate together, especially since I was at dance classes all evening, right through normal dinner times. But for once, we ended up at the same place at the same time.
I was welcomed at their table. I remember specifically that I had clam chowder. My sister and her friends were very kind to me, asking me about how things were going and commiserating with my ridiculous walk. It was a few minutes' oasis in the middle of a busy day, and I have always been grateful for it, being accepted by senior honors students and treated like an adult and a friend.
I often think of that lunchtime when it is bitingly cold and windy here on my current campus, remembering how comforting the environment was, and wishing the same sort of warmth for my own freshman students.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shabby Apple All That Jazz Dress Guest Giveaway

Shabby Apple All That Jazz Dress Guest Giveaway

You probably know me well enough by now to know that I am very fond of thirties and forties fashion. Why? I don't know. The fact, though, is that I own several pairs of shoes, have bought dresses, and have made dresses from this era.
Shabby Apple, which I found through Grosgrain, has just come out with a new, beauteous line, which is right up my alley. Svelte but modest, each dress has a little fire and sass and a yet is eminently sensible. How can you not love this?
We have Ain't She Sweet to the left, and below is Syncopation and De'Lovely. The best news of all is that Grosgrain is doing a Giveaway! Resistance is futile! Check it out, mes belles!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Questions from Cloud of Secrets

Two for one blogger day. I got tagged!
Cloud of Secrets tagged me to answer some "I love your blog" quiz questions. Thank you, Sister!

The rules:- Do an entry with the prize.- Answer the questions.- Give the prize to 10 blogs.

1. Why did you create the blog?
To be truthful, it's because I like talking about myself. Also, many of my friends had a blog, and I thought it would be nice to stay in touch with their inner thoughts, and share some of mine. Indeed, my first blog entries (and probably many of them since) are intensely chattery. I'm terrible about keeping a journal or diary on a regular basis. Blogging is more manageable.

2. What kind of blogs do you follow?
Mostly family and friends that I know in person, but I also follow Grosgrain (Kathleen is so clever, and she and I kind of look alike) and {this is glamorous} (for a bit of enchantment).

3. Favorite makeup brand?
I guess it's still Cover Girl, even though I seem to be allergic to some of their products. For eyeshadow, though, I have a great Physician's Formula set for blue eyes, and for lipstick I now wear Revlon.
If you ask about bath products, I will say LUSH (who do some cosmetics also).

4. Favorite clothing brand?
Difficult to say. I guess I buy most of my clothing at Forever 21 at this point. Is that sad? I don't know--it's awfully hard to find clothes that really fit me in department stores because I am juniors-sized in a lot of areas, even though I don't follow their trends. Some seasons it's completely a no-go.
I used to buy tons of stuff from the Victoria's Secret catalog, but lately I haven't seen as much that I fancy. I'm not sure why. Their boucle sweaters are still my go-to.

5. Your indispensable makeup product?
Um...I guess some kind of lip product. I really rely on concealer, powder, mascara, and lipstick, but on days when I go mostly makeup free, I still put on some lipgloss or something, although it doesn't always look that great when my face isn't made up. For work I definitely rely on colorstay liquid lipstick, with a gloss. As my sister confessed of herself, I have pale lips and have no idea how to make that work without some color.

6. Your favorite color?
Easy. Blue. Is it because I have blue eyes? I don't know. But I love blue. My niece and nephew's gift to me last year was a few delightful lengths of blue printed quilt fabrics, basically combining two of my favorite things in the universe.

7. Your perfume?
My favorite scent is from LUSH's Something Wicked This Way Comes...only it's not been made into a perfume. I wish! I have a number of perfumes that I wear off and on, but like my father I am sensitive to heavy fragrances. I like my Ginger, spritzed into the air and walked through (it's strong). I also like my Potion lotion as a fragrance (both by LUSH).

8. Your favorite film?
This question is so hard for me to answer. I usually say it's a tie between Jaws and Sleeping Beauty. Jaws is a very complete film. It is adventurous and horrific, but also includes a study of humanity. Sleeping Beauty is beautiful and lush, adorable and also a little spooky. I still get a little creeped out during the green-light-following scene.
I also love the Ehle-Firth Pride and Prejudice, Fantasia, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, Star Wars...I'm all over the place.

9. What country would you like to visit and why?
Egypt. I have always been interested in Egypt's mythology and attitude toward the dead. I am also fascinated by the idea of a souk. How can you not want to go to someplace called the Khan el-Khalili? (Although I'm more interested in Luxor than Cairo, generally).
At the same time, the idea of such a trip terrifies me. It's not someplace I think I could go alone, as I generally travel, and the undertaking involved when I don't travel well anyway is daunting. It's also less safe than most of my journeys, with more difficult travel arrangements, more ways to be ripped off or misunderstood, and fewer things that I can eat safely. Someday, if I have the money and sense of adventure, and health, I might make a go of it.

10. Make the last question and answer for yourself.
What is a talent you suspect you possess but have never thoroughly explored?
A recent conversation with my Dad made me think of this--I suspect I could become good at handgun shooting. He taught me to shoot once, and I wasn't so hot with a heavy rifle, but I did pretty well with the handgun, especially for my first time. We even tried me on shooting a piece of wood going town the creek, and I got it after a couple of tries.

A couple of blogs I'm tagging for fun:
Carrie (or Paul) at Chasing Paper
Kathleen at Grosgrain
Jill at Tales of a Librarian

Mall Crawl

I gave myself the privilege and pleasure of having a real weekend. Very little work, two hockey games, lots of relaxing on the couch and reading/watching TV/doing word puzzles, and...the mall.
I haven't been to the mall in Toledo for a while. The last couple of times were associated with doctor's appointments, since my gastrodoc is right next to the Franklin Park mall, and my mood wasn't exactly the best. But I'd planned for a week and a half to take this chance, since I know this week is going to be bat-crazy, and future weekends are tied up.
I dressed simply--dark jeans, basic ivory sweater, ivory and pink scarf from London, pink and gold bracelet, brown boots, hair in a top knot. I wanted to look smart but not too smart, sort of svelte but in a lithe, carefree way.
I had a blast. Three and a half hours or so of madcap shopping. I started as I have recently always started, by buying a chai latte to carry around with me. This at least stops me from picking up too many things initially. I took myself off to Victoria's Secret and had a browse, settling on some cotton undies. I then stopped in to New York & Company, and here I had a surprise. In the past, I've found things there, but lately, not so much. The colors just weren't right. But their fall stuff is really great for someone like me, craving soft, feminine, but practical career clothes. I bought a great pair of wide-leg trousers in a sort of dark denim color, a blouse with sparkling pinstripes, a wonderfully soft acrylic (how is it possible?) baby blue cardigan with a ruffle front, and, lo and behold, a brown cardigan--People, brown cardigans are NOT easy to find right now, and I really needed one, in a pure brown color. And there it was--on the sale rack! I could not have been more delighted with my purchases, and probably could have gotten more, except that I was so in love with what I'd already gotten.
I hit up all my usual stores (Charlotte Russe, H & M, Forever 21) and came away with a gray cardigan, a burgundy cardigan, a black zip cardigan (my sister will laugh--I'm a cardigan addict! And two out of three or those are ruffled), a beige sweater dress, a blue pinstripe shirtdress (a bit of a gamble), some lounge pants with owls, some tights, and goodness knows if I'm forgetting something. I also popped into Sephora and bought a couple of Philosophy things to round out my bath and shower options for a while. Wet Seal was a bit of a disappointment this time, and I failed for once to find anything at Love 21, the accessories store (although that was probably because it was my last stop of the day).
I also had a hilarious encounter with some gentlemen at Ticknors. They had a long, black frock coat that had been made for the wife of a customer, though evidently she changed her mind. It was very small, and I'm sure I was the first customer to come in that it would fit, so they absolutely had to put it on me. I duly walked it for them for a few minutes, until I was so roasting hot I had to take it off. "Only" $350, and the sleeves were a bit short so they'd need to be let out, but the length of the coat itself was, in the words of their leader, "perfect."
The hardest part of the trip was part of my mission for being there: brown boots. For some reason, there are all kinds of black boots in the shape I wanted, but no suitable replacement for my brown ones. Finally, I hit up JC Penney, and I was sorry I hadn't tried them earlier, because I found boots that were about as close to the ones I have, which are shredding, as I could get. I got a $100 pair of boots for $40! I'm really hard on boots, so it's important that I don't pay too much. If I get an expensive pair that will last forever, they're going to look awful and I'll get tired of them, so I like to keep it cheap. I was so excited to cross that off my list.
By this point, I was carrying seven shopping bags, the boots themselves being quite a large item, so I hit up the last few spots and carried myself on out, after a brief twirl around Dillard's dresses.
I admittedly looked like a train wreck. A top knot is not the best idea when you're going to be trying on clothes, and I somewhere lost two bobby pins, probably when I almost got stuck in a dress at Forever 21 (small really meant small). But who cares? I had a blast, and birthday amnesty month (in which I can buy whatever my little heart desires, within reason) has been a smashing success!