Dress Pants Blues

Confession: I hate dress pants.

Rather, I hate most dress pants. They fill my soul with dread. Seeing as it’s still cold in New York and I work in a business-casual office with an emphasis on the business and not the casual, I usually just have to suppress my loathing and make it work one way or another. With that in mind, I present you with four pairs of generally work-appropriate pants (for me) that manage to sustain my love of aesthetics.

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Left to right:

Vero Moda vintage flower pant
Les chiffoniers bonded tape and stretch-twill trousers
Balmain Houndstooth tapered-leg trousers
Alexander McQueen Hummingbird leggings

 

Now, for the part that makes my heart sing, outfits. Yes.

To put myself in an imaginary spring mindset, I begin with floral:

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Vero Moda Flower Pant

Witchery Sleeveless Pelmet Blouse

Monki Lorena Jacket

Topshop Nowhere Nude Strappy Sandals

Ted Baker Mini Bowler

Marc Jacobs Enamel Daisy Ring

Tiffany Enchanted BangleScreen Shot 2014-03-28 at 7.13.07 PM

Les Chiffoniers Stretch-Twill and Bonded Tape Trousers

DKNY Color Block Stretch Silk Blouse

Givenchy Black Envelope Clutch

Casadei Blade Patent Leather Pumps

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Balmain houndstooth trousers
Oasis lace collar jumper
Iro Staccia Open Suede Booties
kate spade new york Sparkler Glow necklace
Marc by Marc Jacobs Baker watch
Wham Bam Glam earrings

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Helmut Lang Crepe Blazer with Ruched Sleeves
Dolce & Gabbana sleeveless pussy bow blouse
Alexander McQueen Hummingbird leggings
Uniform Wares 103 series watch
Witchery Block Metal Earring
David Yurman Cable Wrap ring
TIBI Piper boot

 

Yes, I realize the last is semi-cheating because they’re leggings, but throw a blazer and boots (read: not mid-calf or higher) on and I assure you no one will object.

 

 

 

Just another Manic Monday

Because quoting terrible Bangles songs is SO CURRENT. I know.

So, today yields a genuine recipe now that I’m back on my feet (literally).

Beef and Broccoli

I took the idea from a combination of my love of stir-fry experimentation and a recipe from Ruth Stahl. Bon appetit!

  • 1 lb angus or chuck steak (I went with angus for this one).
  • 2-3 large heads of broccoli
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

Beef and broccoli

  1. Stir together 2-2.5 tablespoons of cornstarch, granulated garlic, and 3 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl
  2. Cut the steak into thin strips, roughly 3 inches in length
  3. Add the steak strips to the bowl and toss until coated with cornstarch mixture
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil (I like to use Sesame Oil in my stir-fry) in a large skillet or wok and add strips of steak
  5. Stir-fry the beef until cooked thoroughly (I am a well-done type of person, but that’s your call)
  6. Using the same skillet/wok, set aside the beef and cook the onion and broccoli until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes
  7. Return the beef to skillet and cook, adding water if the liquid gets too low
  8. Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, ginger, chili powder and flakes, and minced garlic and add the remaining water and cornstarch; add to skillet
  9. Cook for a few more minutes
  10. Bask in your sense of accomplishment

 

On Perseverance and Underdogs

It seems I’ve gone entirely off-theme this week, but we’re rolling with it because I said so. So there you go.

So let’s talk about underdogs and perseverance, shall we?

As someone who was written my fair share of cover letters, I am well-aware of the fact that people love to tout how “motivated and hard-working” they are, but that words are just that. Saying something and proving it are two entirely different things.

I have been thinking, and brewing to some degree, about this for a bit now. At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, I have always been that person. Not just because I say it, but because I thrive on achieving my own idea of success. By that, I mean, I like to feel like I am doing something, and I like nothing more than doing it in spite of any and everything.

As my last post discussed, I have been feeling rather down of late for more reasons than I care to list, but it made me realize something: I forge ahead. It’s what I do, it’s what I have always done.

I will be damned if anything but myself stands in my path, and for the first time in months, I have clarity. So this is a call-to-arms of sorts, if you like. I am not satisfied being stagnant and confused, and I will be damned if I don’t fight tooth and nail to change that feeling.

So it changes today.

When I was a freshman in high school and I got an 88 in my hardest class, I swore up and down I would get a 95 the next semester. So I did.

When I was a kid, I started kindergarten without even knowing English, despite being born right here in good old New York. So I learned to read and read any and every book I could. When I ran out, I read the Encyclopedia.

When I was in college and wanted to intern while keeping my job, I made it work. While writing an undergraduate thesis. I then proceeded to graduate early. Why? Because I wanted to and I could not and would not be satisfied until I did. Even if it meant going for days and weeks on end with no sleep, subsisting solely on peanut butter and espresso.

This is not to trumpet my own motivation. This is to prove a point. When you want things, you make it work.

So, let’s make it work.

On resilience

Remember  when I said I was setting out to be happy? Well, I’m going to be perfectly honest:

Today was not an especially happy day. Not that it was exceptionally sad, but for many months, bubbling beneath the (usually) composed exterior, I have been profoundly sad. It doesn’t come all at once, it just lies under the surface waiting for even the slightest reminder, a provocation so that I suddenly find myself heartbroken again, like I was a little over a year and a half ago.

At the beginning, it began as sadness and anger. Anger, resentment, confusion all rolled into one confusing and complex and difficult ball of emotion that I was nowhere near equipped to handle. But I did, I did because I had to and because there was no other option and because despite what my grief-stricken mind expected, life kept going.

It felt like it shouldn’t and like everything should stop and I wanted nothing more than to crawl under my covers and hide until everything got better. More specifically, I really wanted to crawl my childhood duvet that looked like the ocean because it would make me calm and I was anything but.

Yes, I inched slowly forward and I stopped weeping and staying up until well into the afternoon. The summer ended, I went back to school, I started classes, I went back to work. I wrote my thesis. I interned. All the while, I was still lost and heartbroken, but I went through the motions and I tried to claw my way out, or at least to the top of, my grief.

Yet, no matter how hard I pushed and continue to push, it comes back. Unexpected, unannounced, it just rushes and bursts forward, sending me careening off into terrifying and heart wrenching territory that I otherwise try to avoid at all costs.

What was it this time? My sneakers. My sneakers from middle school, a birthday present that at the time made my heart soar and my happiness burst to the brim, barely contained. Looking at them now, I still, in full detail, recall my happiness seeing them in their box in the shopping bag as my mother handed them to me. My utter surprise and delight, and her thrill to see just how happy and shocked I was. I forget for a moment my sadness, only to recall moments later.

Then the rude awakening.

To this day, there is some forgetful disbelief lodged in my mind that makes me forget only to remind me in the cruelest way possible that I will never see that smile again, that it is gone and in its place only the bittersweet memories and picture frames remain.

It begins again

Happy Monday and all that.

So, remember when I decided to embark on the 100 Happy Days in all its glorified cheesiness. Well, we (I) shall reembark post-sickness-hiatus, starting today. So, what has made me happy today?

Plenty, in theory. For today, I managed to get back on my (stationary) bike, which is semi-cheating, but I can’t really ride bikes anymore so spinning is my preferred method. ANYWAY, I decided to try complete with medical shoe and did pretty respectably if I do say so myself. One day at a time and all that jazz. That makes me very happy and optimistic, so today’s happy thing it shall be.

For Day One, anyway. Until tomorrow.

The Boys Are Back In Town

Except that rather than the boys, it’s me. Far be it for me to decline a Thin Lizzy reference. 

So, massive apologies for my pseudo-disppearance. I’ve been a special brand of sick and cold that meant I pretty much dragged myself to work, then back to bed with lots of tea because I seem to be a strangely sickly person of late. “Late” being the majority of my life, of course.

What’s new, you ask? (except no person ever genuinely asks that, it’s a cop-out rhetorical question segue. So sue me.)

Well, surprisingly little. Life is a tad monotonous if full of germs for the past while, sorry to say. There are few if any tales with which to regale the blogosphere(is that a thing? Am I just pretentiously making up words? Perhaps). 

On the bright side, there has been plenty to make me semi-happy, in spite of the sadness that seems to swirl endlessly around us all. Case in point, Jason Collin’s jersey being the number-one seller in the NBA. How’s that for a cheerful bit of news? I won’t try to deceive anyone by claiming to be knowledgeable, or even fond of, basketball, but I have massive respect for Jason Collins. Part of me wants to buy his jersey just for that (which I suspect some people have in fact done). I admit I am a soccer person if anything, not that watching matches has provided much consolation this season. On the bright side, Rooney has signed with Man United again, which means two things– 1. we’re not completely drowning (just, you know, slightly) and 2. I can continue to feel a tinge a guilt every time I laugh at a joke at his expense. Let’s face it, he is just so ripe for mockery, and I say this despite my adamant support for Manchester United and my appreciation of his talent.  

But then I watch something like this, and even I cannot contain myself.

On that note, I bid you farewell for the weekend.