My Academic Uniform

Sunday, November 12, 2017

With the latest move in apartments, comes a slight move in job appearances. In my current posting, the need to differentiate oneself from the students is not as pressing as at other institutions. This is likely both a departmental and an institutional thing, so it's enough to make me find TheProfessorIsIn's post on 'What Not To Wear' far afield and perhaps overly judgmental (my haircut is apparently not de rigeur enough for the humanities, lol).

4 days a week I am wearing Keds, chinos, a dressy tank, and a cardigan. The fifth day I throw in a skirt or dress and nicer shoes. Or toss it all out the window and wear dark wash jeans and a blazer. This process has the benefit of maximizing the amount of time I can spend on sleeping and minimizing the time spent on decision making. I literally have 5 of the same tank top, in 4 different colors.

As an undergrad it was jeans and t-shirts, as a graduate student it was jeans and slightly nicer t-shirts/blouses, at the next post it was chinos and cardigans. Now is more of the same, but with slightly nicer tops and the occasional blazer thrown in for extra gravitas.

Why am I such a BodenUSA fangirl? (1) They have a very generous, 365-day free return/exchange policy. This makes online shopping waaaaay better. And (2) colors, prints, creative details, and quality! I also turn to J. Crew Factory as I can try stuff in store, and then wait for a good online clearance/sale. I don't purchase clothing that's mostly man-made materials, and these two places, combined with LandsEnd, typically have a decent collection of natural materials.

Also, I now live nowhere near any good clothing stores, so the Internet is where my clothing comes from. Some notes on how I scour the Internetz for well-fitting, solid quality attire:
  • Pants: LandsEnd Women's Mid Rise Chino Straight Leg Pants are the best priced for solid chinos (and shorts for the summer), if you wait for a 35-40% off sale. They often hit clearance for less than $30. LandsEnd chinos also come in custom inseam lengths, so if you're someone who needs the extremes of the 26-34" inseams, these are the best! I own 4 pair, plus 3 pair chino shorts.

    LandsEnd will occasionally have printed chinos as well, but BodenUSA pretty much always has some version of their printed Richmond Pants on clearance or coupon code sale (or better yet, BOTH clearance and coupon code). Boden's Richmond tall-size has a 32.5" inseam, which is respectable.
  • Skirts: I don't wear skirts/dresses often, but J. Crew Factory pencil skirt in double-serge wool or a Boden modern pencil skirt or Boden tunic with leggings and ankle booties are my go-to. The end-of-season sales/clearance can be pretty great for these.
  • Cardigans: LandsEnd does supima cotton cardigans in tall-sizes, so you don't have to always roll up the sleeves. I also like Boden's machine-washable cashmere cardigans or their printed sweaters, when that style is available.
  • Blazers: Boden's tweed blazers go on significant clearance at the end of winter ($80!). J. Crew Factory's Schoolboy Blazer is also a nice option for a simpler wool (or linen) look. Fit is most important with blazers, and these are the two that have a decent fit for me right off the rack.
  • Tops: I pretty much just browse Boden's long-sleeved tops looking for a good clearance/sale. The quality on their t-shirts is nice, and they often have decorative t-shirts, or comfy knit blouses that look a step-up from the t-shirt category. It's always good to have a couple stripey shirts, and Boden is great for the colorful Breton as well.
  • Sleeveless: In the summer, I found these Drapey tank tops with silky hem from J. Crew Factory and promptly bought 5 of them when they went on sale. They have a higher-neck, so I can bend over at my computer without flashing the audience. They're a relaxed fit, which is forgiving. And there's little details like the center seam, silk trim, and keyhole back that make it look a bit dressier than a standard ribbed tank. J. Crew Factory also has similar styles with a ruffle, or eyelet trim instead.
  • Shoes: A generic ballet flat or, my preference, Ked's Women Crashback Leather Fashion Sneaker. Sometimes Amazon is cheaper, sometimes DSW. I'm on my second pair, as the cognac color pretty much goes with everything and the shoe works in all seasons except winter. For winter I'll probably return to my La Canadienne boots from the interview days, or just wear a pair of snow boots for commuting.
  • Sock Liners: Hue Sock Liners are the best non-saggy sock liners I've found. You can usually get 4 pair for less than $10 on eBay, which is great, because the tiny sockies get lost all the damn time.

Success: Peach Cobbler

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Peach Cobbler
An oldie, but a goodie this a peach version of the old stand-by, usually done as nectarine cobbler from Epicurious. Peaches instead of nectarines, and dropped the lemon juice, still came out swimmingly. The buttermilk biscuit top is perfectly under sweet to compliment the jam-like consistency of the condensed peach juice.

Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler

Rhinebeck NY State Sheep & Wool Festival

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Herding Dog Show
Living in California for the past two years, I was a bit unprepared for the intense yarn-ness that is the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival. However, I rustled up some on-the-spot inspiration and bought the two skeins required for the Uraidla Shawl from the O Wool booth. Next time I'll come more prepared. I've got my eyes on those skeins of undyed wool in different natural shades.

The festival is full of stuff for yarn lovers - infinite quantities of yarn, dyed in the colors of the rainbow, or undyed, or sea-dyed in muted tones. You can shop for yarn by type of sheep. You can buy fleece, or carding machines, or spinning wheels or needles or needle cases or premade sweaters or shawl kits, or nearly any yarn-related items you can think of. There's also angora bunnies for sale, and sheep shows and alpaca and goats. We watched a sheep herding dog demonstration, a sheep breed parade, and a weird theatrical piece in which people pretend to be sheep.
Rhinebeck Festival
Rhinebeck Tents
Inside a barnYarn booths
O Wool Booth
Lots of undyed wool!
I also picked up a pair of wooden Knitter's Dream interchangeable needles to round out my set of KnitPicks Options. It turns out that Knitter's Dream interchangeable needles have a wider range of sizes than KnitPicks, but are also compatibly interchangeable with them as well.
Sheep Parade
Sheep Closeup
Spinning at Rhinebeck
Sheep Show
Angora Bunnies
Sheeple Show

Success: Apple Cider Donuts

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Apple Cider Donuts

I love apple cider donuts, and if you live in one of those lame places that doesn't really do them (i.e., Pittsburgh), don't despair! It's possible to make your own, provided you can find boiled/condensed apple cider. J made up these Vermont apple cider donuts from New England Today and fried them up in the Le Creuset. They came out wonderfully cake-y and old-fashioned style.

Apple Cider Donuts

Drying Basil

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A follow-up to the post where I document drying flowers - I actually more often am drying fresh herbs. Plants like basil and rosemary are a little happier if you relieve them of some of the weight of their leaves from time-to-time and after taking home 3 basil centerpieces from a summer wedding, I ended up with quite the basil farm.

Basil is best fresh, but if you have too much, drying them in whole leaves and crumbling just before use is a fine second option.

1. Pluck basil leaves.
2. Rubber band in bundles, place paperclip hook
3. Hang in cool, dry space
4. Wait a couple weeks until dry, toss out the yellow-y leaves
5. Place in airtight container, whole.

Pocket Scrapbook

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pocket Scrapbooking

We had all those lovely advice cards from the wedding, plus some advice coasters from a bridal shower, a pile of printed photos from the photographer, assorted wedding programs, invitations, Save the Dates, leftover escort cards, cookie bags, bird origami, and these objects weren't going to make it in another picaboo photo album. So, I browsed JoAnn Fabrics and found a Project Life Value Kit with core cards and woodcuts for $8. A few months later, I stumbled upon a 12x12" Recollections photo album for $12 & the Project Life Photo Pocket Pages Big Variety Pack 2 for $15. So for $35, I had myself a pocket-based scrapbook. I happened to have a piece of paper in the perfect confetti color scheme for the value pack, so I cut it into a couple 4x6s, but mostly 3x4s, used it as a bit more pocket filler.

I don't care much for scrapbooking as a pastime, but if I have to do it, pocket scrapbooking is by far the least painful avenue of attack.
With a few different pocket arrangements provided by the variety pack, and a random smattering of cards, photos, woodcuts, coasters, and advice notes, each page looks different enough from the other. I made the pages double-sided, so I used fewer pocket pages, and thus ended up with lots extra for some other random event, I suppose.

I'm really loving the canned sayings on the core cards, as they relate to the wedding theme. "Why not now?" "Follow your dreams". Likely meant for a different sort of photo album, but it works here in a rather silly manner.

Pocket Scrapbooking
Pocket Scrapbooking
Pocket Scrapbooking
Pocket Scrapbooking
Pocket Scrapbooking

The part I was least enthusiastic about was that all these cards seem to demand personal notes to be written...and I'm just not much for verbalizing this stuff. So for the most part I scripted in captions for what was happening in the photo layout, or the location, or the date, or the names of the bridal party. And then I also added in some song lyrics from the evening, the dessert options, the readings & readers, and our vows. I suppose I could also squeeze in the food menu somewhere, lol. All information not stored in the Picaboo album!
Pocket Scrapbooking
Pocket Scrapbooking
Pocket Scrapbooking
Pocket Scrapbooking
Pocket Scrapbooking

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