Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Night Bored Baking

My mother has an incredible collection of Gourmet magazines.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you she has every issue since 1941 (she was born in 1949, for reference).

you thought I was still exaggerating, but that's them, all along the bottom

Way back when, she used to cut the recipes out of these magazines and file them into boxes to be tried later.

Sometimes I like the idea of diving in there for a recipe because, compared to the many recipes that will come up when you Google them, these have a very legitimate source standing behind them.  Gourmet is a magazine that really knew their shit, especially compared with Joe-Schmoe-Started-a-Food-Blog.  On top of that, I feel less apprehensive that there aren't tons of reviews because I think being in Gourmet is all the review you need.  Sometimes I find myself obsessing over reviews and trying to figure out whose tweaks to use and whose to ignore and it's all just very stressful - this, now this is easy.

These chocolate cookies come from a reader request recipe and my mother helpfully wrote "GOOD", then crossed it out, and wrote "EXCELLENT" on the top.  I like the little stories behind the recipes because they tell you the name of the restaurant and where they're from.  These cookies were made by Karen Mitchell of The Model Bakery [sidenote: that book looks amazing!] in St. Helena and apparently, according to the writer Rosemarie Firth, the cookies were on almost every menu in Napa Valley.  The writer refers to these as oversized - I think that's an understatement.  Maybe I made mine too big but I honestly gasped when I opened the oven and saw the size of them after the timer went off.

this is a regular sized plate

crackle-y and crisp on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside

These cookies were great, truly.  They were able to be crisp and dry on the outside while maintaining some serious moistness and melted chocolate ooze in the middle.  Fresh out of the oven, the melted chips really added to the variety of textures of this superrich and super chocolaty cookie.  I am curious how they will be once they've fully cooled but I would guess they maintain the texture difference that makes them so unique and so friggin delicious.

Chocolate Rads
taken from Gourmet Magazine, December 1992.  Makes about 16.

  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso or instant coffee powder [GE: I omitted]
  • 1/2 Cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 14 ounces (2 1/3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) chopped walnuts [GE: I omitted]
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs [GE: I stuck with medium-high for this] until pale yellow and thick, about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in the chocolate, melted butter, vanilla, and espresso powder.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
  7. Refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Drop batter by 1/2 cupfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing evenly.
  10. Use moist fingertips [GE: moist is not optional, it's necessary here!] to form 3.5-4-inch rounds.
  11. Bake cookies until tops are dry and crack, about 16 minutes.  
  12. Allow to cool on parchment.  Cover and store at room temperature.

Uniform Isabel Marant When you on the Team...

I had a doctor's appointment this morning on the Upper East Side and was then meeting a friend for lunch downtown.  Since I finished early, I took the opportunity to do something I haven't been able to do and have missed doing since I started work: walk.  I walked the 60 blocks from E. 72nd down to E.12th and, besides the obvious reward of a margarita at the end, relished the chance to just people watch and look at everything and how all the stores have changed since I first started regularly going up there.

The most major change I noticed is that the Juicy Couture store that in 2006 took up so much of a Madison Avenue block now appears to be a tiny, one floor shop with hardly any store space.  It's funny how things like that change when so many stores that are on Madison in the 60s and 70s have really been there forever.

Sweater: Isabel Marant // Blouse: Giorgio Armani // Bag: Fendi Chameleon // Jeans: Rag & Bone // Boots: dv by Dolce Vita // Bracelets: Hermes and Kate Spade // Necklace: Monet // Sunglasses: Vuarnet

this would be a better blogger pose if I was pushing my hair back but I forgot

Nails: Chanel Peridot // Ring: David Yurman Color Classics in Peridot

On the way, I stopped at Laduree on Madison for some macarons.  I've heard nothing but good things about them but never got around to trying one for myself.  Despite the hefty price ($2.80 each for a tiny little thing!) I have to say they were worth it.  They were softer and more decadent than I could have imagined, and I wish I had waited long enough to get some pics of something more than the bag.

yes please.

I am supposed to go to a dessert party tomorrow night but I am not sure if I will because of the traffic issues this weekend.  If I do, I may have to make some macarons.  I've read they are very difficult to make, has anyone tried them?  If so, how have they turned out and can you offer any tips and tricks?  I could use them!

What on Earth I Actually Do

Well I got a few emails from people asking me what it is that I actually do, beyond "engineer".  The short answer is, eh don't worry about it (this is the one I typically go with).  The long answer is a bit more complicated.

When you're running a plant, you don't want the operators to have to do everything because that leaves a lot of room for human error, so you automate everything.  You get some PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and toss them in there and have someone develop the logic to control your process.  I am that someone!  I develop the logic using the software seen above, and this is a picture I took of a hilariously complicated module so many of them are much simpler and have way less lines.  You can really program most anything here - get a valve to open for X amount of seconds once the pressure reaches a certain point, discharge a certain amount of ingredient into a big reactor once the temperature is high enough, even just keep the temperature within the right range based on the product you're trying to make.

What my boss is interested in working on is something that will revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry and how they manufacture.  Right now, pharmaceutical plants will make batches of product and choose three random samples per batch to test for quality - if all three pass, then the batch is considered good and goes out to the consumer.  The problem here is that if one sample fails, the entire batch must be thrown out and so they basically just wasted a bunch of time and ingredients.  Process Analytical Technology (PAT) allows the manufacturers to test and analyze their products online so that no bad batches are made.  Using statistics, the critical variables are determined and these are controlled to ensure that every batch comes out right.   

The hardest part of this is really developing a model to represent your process so you can determine the critical parameters and control them in a way that assures the same quality of product each time.  That's the FDA's big thing - product quality.  They don't want to let you just sell anything, they want to know it's good.  PAT allows that since no bad batches are made.  We are trying to get in on the ground floor of this and fortunately for me my boss is interested in having me work with him directly on these types of projects.  All the pharmaceutical companies know they need to start doing this, and they know what it is, but the problem is how to actually implement it so it meets FDA standards - that's what they don't know how to do (yet) and what I hope to help them figure out.

Also what I do is friggin paperwork.  The other thing about pharmaceutical manufacturers is that every single thing they do has to be documented so they can prove at a later date that they completed every single step in the manufacturing process to ensure that their products are reliably safe.  

As an example of the ridiculousness of this, something I spent a few weeks doing was installing Windows onto servers for a new process control system (tough work).  I had to take note of every single thing I did, every selection I made including changing the time zone, and then blow it all away.  I printed out my test spec I wrote based on everything I did and then I had to redo everything, this time signing off on everything and initial-and-dating every little thing.  I may have gotten carpal tunnel then, but I'm not sure.

Next time you pay a ton of money for a prescription, remember that the pharma company is using that to hire me to do all this tedious work like installing windows and signing off that I made the language "English".  Really makes you think.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sample Review: Benefit The Porefessional

Sephora describes Benefit The Porefessional ($30, 0.75 oz) as "a professional balm that minimizes the appearance of pores".  This is a pretty vague description but I can tell you this much - it doesn't minimize the appearance of pores.

A decent sized sample, I was able to use this for the past week or so so I can give a good assessment, having used it in different situations and even just using it on its own one day.

It feels like a regular primer to me with a slight nude-colored tint that seems to serve little to no purpose.  It does work fine as a primer - it kept me looking matte and helped my makeup stay throughout the workday without needing touchups for after work dinner - but it doesn't minimize pores, or it doesn't minimize my pores anyway.  For the money, there are better primers out there.

Finally, I've met a makeup product I didn't like!  I will not be considering buying the big version of this.

Everyone Is Hanging Out Without Me

I have never been good at keeping friends.  I make them relatively easily, but it's always pretty superficial - we talk when we see each other but rarely beyond that.  I have two best friends from high school I am still in touch with but that's really it.

Among my boyfriend's friends, many of the girls are very close with each other and text and hang out all the time but no one really does that with me even despite my efforts.  With my ex boyfriend, I remember going into the bathroom in a bar and crying after realizing that all the girlfriends had gotten together and gone shopping before meeting up with the boys out and no one had even told me even though they had my phone number and even though they knew I was alone and not doing anything since my boyfriend was at work and even though it was the day before my damn birthday, I was left to just go in alone.  Actually, I remember that birthday - it was my 21st and I ended up sitting home with my boyfriend, all dressed up with nowhere to go after I was told that going where I wanted to go was stupid because it would be dead.  No one else asked me what I was doing.  No one ever does.  This isn't to say I care about birthdays because I don't at all but it would be nice if a few people cared once in a while, especially since I like to make a fuss over other people.

In college I made friends, but they always seemed closer to each other than they ever did to me.  I wondered if it was because I wasn't trying hard enough so I tried harder, which in hindsight probably only made me more unlikable.  I would go to things I was invited to but often feel left out and alone, and then I eventually lost touch with everyone.

But was it me losing touch?  No one else seemed to lose touch, so I would tend to blame it on myself.  Looking back though, I think it's probably more likely that no one ever really liked me enough to care about keeping in touch.  That's okay, and I can accept it, but it makes me really fucking sad to realize.  Why couldn't I find people who liked me like everyone else did?  

I recently started searching out old friends from college on Instagram and it just made me super upset to realize how close they all still are and how mcuh I was not a part of any of their experiences.  They made huge impacts on me but I doubt any of them think of me at all anymore.

I know that's just life, and not everyone will always like you, but what am I doing wrong that this happens to me all the time?  I want to rectify it, I want people to think to invite me to things and seek me out to hang out and not just say "Yeah, definitely!" and never do it when I text them, but I just don't know how to do it.  My boyfriend has been in Thailand for weeks and I haven't even seen a single friend - that can't just be because we're all busy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wishing-it-was-Spring-Already Watching

  1. Buckle Enamel Bangle available in mint and pink, sold by sparklesjewel; $14.99 Buy It Now.
  2. Rebecca Taylor Orange Colorblock Sweater (new), size M, sold by BHFO; currently $2.24 and retails for $275.  Ends 1/31 at 9:56 AM.
  3. ALC Gillian Washed Silk Floral Print Blouse (pre-owned/excellent condition), size S, sold by als_great_stuff; currently $26 and retails for $365.  Ends 2/1 at 6:32 PM.
  4. Rag & Bone Jefferson Leather Panel Beige Colorblock Blazer (new), size 4, sold by ajmfashions; currently $53 and retails for $795.  Ends 2/3 at 9:01 PM.
  5. Elie Tahari Holly Lime Dress w/ Neon Trim Zipper (new), size 6, sold by BHFO; currently $20.50 and retails for $368.  Ends 1/31 at 1:46 PM.
  6. Rebecca Taylor Python Print Cap Sleeve Dress (new), size 4, sold by BHFO; currently $15,73 and retails for $450.  Ends 1/31 at 3:06 PM.  
I think I am definitely going to get that buckle bangle.  I am really into bangles lately, especially colored enamel ones, and this one is a cute design and I appreciate that it's the hinged style rather than the kind you just slip over your hand.  Unfortunately the leopard one is sold out but may come back in stock so I'll have my eye out.

Most of these things would make for great interesting work pieces.  Having something with a pop of color to wear every once in a while is important in an otherwise dull work wardrobe, and probably helps with bad cases of the Mondays.

I can't believe it's Wednesday already!  I am working from home tomorrow and Friday to avoid the "Big Game" traffic so I will try to get out of my pajamas so I have something to post here.  I am taking a coworker to the Cheesecake Factory for his first time tonight, so I'm pretty excited to get some of their Deep Dark Fudge cake as it's a personal favorite.  Everyone is surprised my favorite dessert there isn't the cheesecake but this fudge cake is insanely good - if you haven't tried it and you like rich things I highly recommend it and I doubt you'll ever get that silly cheesecake stuff again.

New Watermark/New Blouse

I made a few little watermarks I will maybe start using on some of my posts to help better differentiate them.  I don't really know what I'm doing here so have patience with me!  What do you think would be a better way to differentiate posts?  I looked into putting pics in the titles but the HTML coding involved is pretty intense and probably more trouble than it's worth.  Anyone have a preference?  The button is easier to read but the plain text blends in more.

I'm wearing two things I got from my Alexandria adventure today plus some velvet loafer heels I haven't been daring (read: confident) enough to wear yet that I got a few weeks ago.  I need some belts pretty badly, besides this leopard one I have two blue ones and then I think that's pretty much it.  Where does everyone get their belts from?

Blouse: Miss Wu by Jason Wu Tie Neck Crepe de Chine Blouse ($39 at Nordstrom Rack... originally $195) // Sweater: TSE // Pants: Theory // Belt: Tommy Hilfiger // Bangle: Hermes // Watch: Michael Kors

Shoes: Cole Haan Air Morgan 90 Velvet Pump ($20 at TJ Maxx, originally $328)

I normally don't like tie neck blouses like this because I feel like I never know what to do with the tie.  Do I button the top all the way and tie it in a bow at the top?  Have a hanging bow like to do now?  Just make a big knot and really let the ties hang?  I don't know I feel like everything I try looks weird.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Your Guide To:

Sometimes I marvel on the things I used to spend money on in high school, or things I thought would be valuable one day so they were worth getting then.  Actually, this started way before high school.  I believe it started with this:

Note: If you intend to use this post to help you sell Beanie Babies, stop right now.  They're worthless.  It hurts, I know, and I know you have the whole collection, but really - they're worthless.

After I tired of these guys, I moved on to the things that all the cool girls in high school had, like Coach bags and Tiffany bracelets and a wardrobe full of Abercrombie & Fitch.  Now, I have a drawer that looks like this:

...and I don't wear any of it.  This isn't because Tiffany doesn't make lovely jewelry because they definitely do.  However, the stuff that was popular when I was buying lots of it (or, rather, asking for lots of it for holidays), was the stuff that was covered in giant T&CO logos and just obnoxious and not really my style.  These items have a time and a place, and that time and place is in high school.

I know things haven't changed so much that girls in high school aren't still yearning for these things, and parents aren't still spoiling their kids with things they know they'll hate soon.  That's why I decided to take my eBay obsession to the next level - selling. 

I've gone through the process a few times now (two Tiffany items and a Coach bag all from an ex boyfriend down!) so I will explain it here to help it seem less daunting.  I should have started doing this so long ago rather than let items sit in my closet, but it just seemed like a big scary process.

Figure out what you have and what you want to get rid of.  If you're anything like me, when you look at your clothes you see dollar signs.  That logo Marc by Marc Jacobs isn't just a bag you never wear anymore, it's something you spend money on and represents that money spent.  Getting rid of it, knowing you'll get less than you paid for it, just seems wasteful, doesn't it?

In short, no.

That bag is being wasted just sitting in your closet, never being used.  You are better off with $40 in your PayPal account than a $350 MSRP bag sitting in your closet, forgotten.

Take out all the items you haven't worn in a while, especially the bags, jewelry and other "big ticket" items.  Put everything in a pile and move on to the next step.

You have to be honest with yourself.  The Endowment Effect causes us to think of things as being higher value than they really are because we own them. 

From Wikipedia:
One of the most famous examples of the endowment effect in the literature is from a study by Kahneman, Knetsch & Thaler (1990)[2] where participants were given a mug and then offered the chance to sell it or trade it for an equally priced alternative good (pens). Kahneman et al. (1990)[2] found that participants' willingness to accept compensation for the mug (once their ownership of the mug had been established) was approximately twice as high as their willingness to pay for it.
Try to be as objective as possible.  Keep in mind that while you are selling to get the best (maximum) price for your stuff, people are buying to get the best (minimum) price for their purchases.  Try and find something in between by figuring out your minimum and listing for that.  In an auction format, an item with a lower starting price is more likely to sell for higher because people will be bidding on it and get caught up in the bidding process.  Take advantage of this, but also keep in mind that since you are a new seller you won't be getting bids on your items in the same way experienced, well known sellers do.

The last thing you want it for someone to accuse you of misrepresenting your item.  Take pictures of any and all damage, even the most minor, as well as pictures of the item from every angle.  Leave nothing here to guesswork for your buyer.

You want to get an idea of what you can list your item for, so first you have to search for similar items.  You want yours to be a good price comparatively so people who sort their searches by price low to high will see your listing, and remember to compare the condition of an item when you're trying to figure out what to list it for.  Something brand new should be going for significantly more than something well-used, so try to make sure you're comparing apples to apples here.

Yes, go to eBay.  Click on "My eBay" at the top and then, along the left hand side under the "Sell" category, click "Sell an item".  By now you've taken pictures and analyzed your item in the process, so this part should be pretty easy. 

Give your listing a title.  If it is a "brand" item, I've found it helps to put "Authentic" in the title since so many listings for counterfeits exist.  This lets the buyer know you stand behind the authenticity of whatever it is you're selling.

Once you're made your title, eBay will offer some categories to you so pick the one that best describes your item.  Specify the condition and as many "Item specifics" as possible since people often will sort their search results by these subcategories.  Upload your pictures and write out a detailed description, including measurements as needed.

If there is any damage to your item, be sure to mention what picture it can be seen in in your description.  The more thorough your description is, the less likely it is that someone can make a successful case against you with eBay if they are unhappy with their purchase.

Put in your price and choose the listing duration.  I've been liking 5 day listings because I don't have to wait as long but 7 is the more typical choice.  There are pros and cons - with shorter time periods people are more likely to bid impulsively because when they first see the item they think it's ending soon, whereas with longer time periods you are giving more people an opportunity to find your listing.  Decide what's best for you!

Select your shipping.  I have been using a fixed rate for shipping because I like to ship by USPS Priority Flat Rate boxes.  Try not to charge too much for shipping because it turns people off; if you feel you will have to absorb some of the cost to keep the shipping price low then you can always increase your starting price a bit to make up for that.

Click "List it"!

You can see how many people have viewed your item and how many are watching it in the "My eBay" section by clicking "Active" in the "Sell" category.  Try not to work yourself up too much because lots of items go without any bids until the last 12 hours.

While you wait, pick out some way nicer new things to buy with the PayPal credit you'll soon have once your items sell.

Happy selling!

50 Shades of Brown

Yes I am in love with this bag.  So much so that I want another one in a different color scheme.  Which I know is crazy.

Sweater: Vince // Pants: Vince // Bag: You Know By Now

Boots: Coach Weslyn

I bought these boots in 2007 and, even though I got some salt on then this morning, they're still in surprisingly good shape.  I am going to try to use the leather cream i got for my Balenciaga on these later when I get home, but does anyone have a good suggestion for a way to help get them in better shape?  I like them all worn and roughed up looking but maybe they're starting to exceed the allowed roughed up-ness.

Unfortunately since I bought my navy bag I haven't been buying a ton of brown clothing, so I am going to have to start up on that again!  I think this bag will look great with an all black outfit though, and I definitely have plenty of that.

Polish Preoccupation

I started getting into nail polish in college.  All throughout high school, I had a terrible habit of biting my nails.  I would bite them until they bled, I would bite them in class, I would bite them out at dinner, I would bite them on the bench during basketball games.  It made me look stupid and I hated it but for anyone who was ever a nail biter, you know how hard of a habit it is to give up.

In addition to my nail-biting habit (and my desire to get rid of it!) my mother and I also have something of a compulsive buying habit.  That's how I ended up with this:

the ladder of nail polish


China Glaze! Somehow the focus ended up on the penguin in the background oops

Glitters and Chanels and random brands


OPIs and top coats/treatments


Now as you can imagine, it is very hard to get to using all these colors so I do have some favorites that I will share here.  I definitely have a good enough sample size to be something of an authority!

the basics
  1. Essie Fiji - a creamy pale pink that looks best on tan skin
  2. China Glaze Shocking Pink - a neon pink that makes any skin look tan
  3. Essie Lollipop - bright red creme with the vaguest orange undertones
  4. Essie Masquerade Belle - gorgeous, deep red with slight purple undertones.  Nice and vampy for winter time!
  5. Chanel April - formulated for the upcoming spring month, this is a dark pink bordering on red creme
  6. Chanel Vamp - the original blackened red, complete with the signature Chanel subtle shimmer
  7. OPI A Grape Fit! - made to match a color of Paige jeans, this is a true, light royal purple with equal blue and red undertones.
  8. Essie Neo Whimsical - a pink-toned lavender that looks especially nice on yellow-based skintones

the new classics
  1. Essie Little Brown Dress - a super glossy almost-black brown creme
  2. Chanel Particuliere - a light taupe-y brown creme.  This was a tough call over the similar but more brown-toned Essie Mink Muffs and the similar but more grey-toned OPI You Don't Know Jacques
  3. Essie Playa Del Platinum - the Particuliere for the summer months, a lighter version of the taupe creme classic that resembles sand on your favorite beach
  4. Essie Chinchilly - very vaguely purple-toned, not too dark and not too light - the perfect grey creme
  5. Butter London All Hail the Queen! - a light brownish beige with fine holographic glitter.  You don't know you need this yet, but you do.  Trust me.
  6. Essie Smokin' Hot - a darker, more purple version of Chinchilly that's great for winter months
  7. Essie Power Clutch - a dark but definitely not black true grey creme
  8. Butter London Chimney Sweep - charcoal grey with a sooty metallic finish

the exotics, and my favorites
  1. Essie Lapis of Luxury - gorgeous cornflower blue creme from the collection that brought us Playa Del Platinum
  2. Essie Mint Candy Apple - a gorgeous blue-toned mint pastel creme; this is the only polish I've ever bought twice because I loved it so much, and it's still easily my favorite to wear.  It's from the winter holiday collection from 2009 (same as Lollipop!) but it's amazing year round.
  3. China Glaze For Audrey - meant to be the perfect Tiffany box blue, this comes pretty damn close
  4. China Glaze Of Coarse - this bright blue is one of China Glaze's texture, so it dries like you have sand on your nails and it's kind of weird but I love the color and the texture for summer
  5. Essie Go Overboard - a dark peacock blue creme that's gorgeous in the winter months
  6. OPI Russian Navy - deep navy with gorgeous shimmer
  7. Julep Char - a true navy blue creme without any black, despite the confusing name
  8. Essie Sew Psyched - a greyish green that flatters any skin tone and makes green work appropriate
  9. China Glaze Celtic Sun - a super bright neon yellow-green that needs to be layered over white polish to give you the full effect but literally glows in the dark as I accidentally learned at a very fancy graduation party.
  10. Butter London Trustafarian - holographic sage green that is unexpectedly gorgeous
  11. Essie Navigate Her - light lime green creme
the fun stuff
  1. Chanel Graphite - a super beautiful mostly silver glitter with some gold and bronze thrown in for good measure
  2. Chanel Delight - a limited edition rose gold glitter shade that's gorgeous year round
  3. Essie Beyond Cozy - super fine silver and gold glitter, one of the best glitter formulas you'll find because it's really dense and offers great coverage, and it shines different colors in different light
  4. OPI Glitzerland - true gold metallic with fine gold glitter in the mix
  5. OPI Mad as a Hatter (photo credit: Michelle from [a fellow chemical engineer!!!] and I'm sure you could tell this wasn't mine due to the impeccable cuticles) - this guy was apparently super limited edition so I was lucky to snag it regular price when it first came out since it's selling for $70+ on eBay now.  This is my yearly New Year's Eve polish - tons and tons of glitter in all different colors with the finished product leaning purple/silver.  Awesome coverage in just a few coats but beware that this polish is an absolute bitch to remove.
  6. Chanel Peridot - another limited edition, and also my birthstone, this color is gorgeous because it looks nothing like the real peridot.  It shines green in some light, bronze in others, and is all around amazing.
  7. Chanel Quartz - came in the same fall 2011 collection as Graphite and Peridot and is a beautiful pale brown milky metallic that's subtle enough to go unnoticed at work but pretty enough to make a statement.
And for some of my favorite nail blogs that have great swatches and reviews on pretty much any polish you could ever be looking for:
  • All Lacquered Up - as previously mentioned, the author (Michelle) is a fellow chemical engineer and her science minded reviews are very helpful when you're trying to figure out how the formula of a clearly really pretty color will work for you.  Hers was the first blog I seriously started following and I was so distraught when she took a break from it so I'm so glad she's back.
  • Polish or Perish - these girls are all also similarly highly educated (I wonder what it is about nail polish that attracts smart women?) and offer a great blog to inspire you for what you should do with your own nails.  Their posts are more "manicure of the day" than hardcore reviews of collections so they help in that they remind you to go whip out that polish you have that's been languishing at the bottom of the drawer and show it some love.
  • Polishaholic - great writing coupled with great swatch photos makes this blog a must.  Not only are her nails beautiful but her dedication and polish collection are both super enviable, as well as her self-manicure skills.
What's your go-to polish or favorite category of polishes?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Less than Human

While I'm currently being dehumanized by being forced to sit in a waiting room after work, when I finally get to go the fuck home, for hours waiting for my doctor who either can't figure out how time works or intentionally schedules terribly, I got to thinking about how dehumanizing work has become for me since the incident.

I'm now the whiner. The whiny girl who can't hang or get along with anyone. I went from being fine and getting along with people well enough to now being a total loner, isolated from my coworkers and left out of everything. I'm not even included in email chains anymore, and the people who I used to have a good rapport with don't even say hi or bye. 

Maybe it's my fault. I have trouble keeping friends too - maybe no one likes me? But I tend to think that none of this would have happened if I weren't a girl. 

Certainly my disgusting former cubicle mate wouldn't have been so aghast at having to give in to the requests of a fellow man, and certainly he would have treated me with more respect and not acted like I was just being over dramatic if whatever else. Certainly I wouldn't have been so annoyed over stupid shit had I not had to listen to him wax idiotically about women's roles in the workplace and society endlessly. Certainly I wouldn't have had to have been the one to move if I wasn't just the little girl. 

I fucking hate it. I'm trying to deal with it but no one respects me, no one asks me anything, no one (save for one person who I know will read this and hope won't take offense!) acknowledges my existence as a coworker.  One guy who walks over everyday says hi to everyone else but won't even smile back at me. 

It's exhausting feeling so worthless everyday. I'm exhausted when I leave work mainly from this, not even from a long day of work done. Would I be so worthless if I was a man? Would I be included in email chains and after work plans?

So I'm left with two options - it's me, or it's that I'm different from everyone else. And boy do I hope it's the latter. 

Back to Work

I am in a good mood today; I used my new bag, I listened to Beyonce the whole ride up and discovered her stance on feminism hidden in the song Flawless which makes me love her exponentially more, I am wearing a new sweater from IRO that I love a lot more than I thought I would, and my new Stuart Weitzman shoes are very comfy.

Sweater: IRO Bianca // Pants: Lafayette 148 Bleecker Pants // Shoes: Stuart Weitzman // Bag: FENDI CHAMELEON

I got these pants from BHFO on eBay and they were a great deal and I love them but I regret buying this size.  I hate the sizing variation between different brands but by now I should know that I am a size smaller in all "work/career" brands not also considered contemporary (i.e. Tory Burch, Lafayette 148, St. John).  These are still doable but I wish they had belt loops!

How is everyone else's Monday going?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Update

Well I am home from Virginia.  We had a really great time and I am looking forward to going back sometime soon, perhaps when it isn't so brutally cold that we didn't even want to shop or walk up the block for a drink.

Saturday night we went to Vermilion Restaurant for dinner.  This place is seriously popular and so we were only able to get an 8:45 reservation.  The food was phenomenal; I had pork belly with littleneck clams, a striploin, and the "cookies and confections" dessert which probably would have been great had we not gone back to Society Fair for some amazing cake beforehand (pics of that later).

Jacket: Joie Mehira Leopard Print Blazer // Tank: Alice + Olivia Zip Back Tank Top // Jeans: Rich and Skinny // Clutch: Rebecca Minkoff "Markey" Envelope // Booties: Bourne Collection "Agatha"

I'm kiiiind of into leopard print

Our last day was spent walking around Old Town and hitting up consignment shops, where I got a few things for some steals.  The thing I hate about consignment shops is that they seem to either have all junk or have extraordinarily high prices.  

At Encore they were definitely the latter.  Nice Tory Burch blouse but it's from 4 years ago, has been worn, and you're still charging $199 for it?  It probably barely cost that new.  Same thing with the MICHAEL Michael Kors shoes I saw being sold very used and considerably above what a reasonable retail price would be.  

Next we went to Zoe Boutique where the prices for things, BRAND NEW, were honestly considerably better.  They had beautiful items and super helpful sales associates but unfortunately the things I liked best were not there in my size.

The next one we went to had tons of stuff and good prices but it was much more of a hunt.  I came out of Diva with a very cute Dolce & Gabbana pencil skirt, Stuart Weitzman tortoise loafer heels, and a black TSE sweater for $85, so not bad at all.

And now, before I get to the cake and the beauty waiting for me when I got home, some photography practice"

Moleskine and a Mocha at Misha's

This cake.

Oh my God.

Big Ass Chocolate Cake.  Very aptly named.

And look what was delivered while I was gone!!!!

The colors are even nicer in person, and thankfully the leather was pebbled and not smooth.  I'm not into super smooth stiff looking leather, I live everything smooshy and wrinkly like a shar-pei, or a Balenciaga.

I am in love.  This bag is gorgeous.

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