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Life of Colleen: August 2010

Posts This Month
· Week in review
· phooey
· Duck!
· Summer Soles Fragrant Footings review
· What to wear today?
· Purple and brown
· Hey, I want to try these...
· J.Crew Buffalo Check Boy Shirt review
· Get outta my dreams, get into my car
· MP Checkered Pattern tights review
· Vintage Shoe Company
· Random wardrobe meanderings part 18
· Pike Place Market
· Jimi Hendrix Memorial
· Bremerton, WA

OOTD pics
Work wardrobe pics
Weekend wardrobe pics


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Week in review
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 7:08 PM (Pacific)

earl miles

I had a "brush with greatness" last Tuesday, when Earl Miles presented at the Berkeley Drupal Users Group meeting. I didn't actually do anything with the greatness, rather sat like a tongue-tied idiot and watched the presentation, but overall it was pretty cool.

Prior to this, my brushes with greatness consisted of the late Joe Strummer, and Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

Work Wardrobe Notes

J.Crew continues their Final Sale Blow-Out. Some items don't appear in the Sale section; go to Gigi's Gone Shopping and check for links there.

Scooped up a Jackie Shell in Dark Charcoal...hesitated, wondering if the result would be a Gothic Jackie twinset:

j.crew jackie cardigan in dark charcoal
j.crew jackie shell in dark charcoal

...but it came out nicely, since Dark Charcoal isn't the dead dark grey in the images. It's a slightly greenish, bluish grey, went well with the Nico "Black Blossom" skirt here:

j.crew nico skirt in black blossom, museum of flight (seattle)
b.ella codori tights in ivory
cydwoq recess

...B.ella Codori tights in ivory, and Cydwoq Recess shoes. I had an Iranian necklace (silver and onyx) to go with.

More thoughts on wearing socks and sensible shoes

"Theories have four stages of acceptance. i) this is worthless nonsense; ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; iii) this is true, but quite unimportant; iv) I always said so."

I've been a bit amazed how quickly this idea seems to have caught on. As of this post, the primary Google image of brogues tended to be:

brogue shoes

Try it now, and find a metric ton-load of pics of ladies' shoes, and of fashion bloggers wearing brogues.

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posted by Colleen Shirazi on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 9:54 PM (Pacific)

Okay, I wanted to do an OOTD pic today, but got sandbagged with all the sundry sandbags you can, well, throw a sandbag at. Apparently, if you have AAA, they feature some in-office DMV services—faster than waiting on line at my fellow California state workers' furloughed-out offices.

Arriving home, I was greeted with the mom stuff. So I did mom stuff, and now I'm gonna do laundry, after I'm finished writing this.

So...drat! Today I tried two wardrobe items I'd been meaning to: the little socks with sensible shoes idea (scroll down) and my Tulle paper-bag skirt:

tulle clothing paper bag skirt

Both fared surprisingly well. I decided to go with Cydoq Category (worn here, though it's difficult to discern the larger-than-life cutout design) as my sensible shoes, because
  1. Was too lazy to install Summer Soles in my Recess (worn here).

  2. Figured giant Category holes would ventilate my feet, should the day morph into an encore of yesterday's Bay Area Inferno (okay it was a bit warm yesterday).

The fact that wearing little socks with anything resembling a skirt, and not appearing Valley Girl circa 1983...that was encouraging.


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posted by Colleen Shirazi on Monday, August 23, 2010 at 10:38 AM (Pacific)

the museum of flight, seattle

I wasn't gonna say anything, but I don't think these guys know how to fly. They're wayyyyy too close to each other...

More on the Museum of Flight (Seattle) later on.

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Summer Soles Fragrant Footings review
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Friday, August 20, 2010 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

Yes! I tried the Summer Soles, using the particularly brutal "stockings and Cole Haan flats" test.

summer soles fragrant footings

These were impressively easy to trim and install. I knocked a bit off the outer upper edges, and about half an inch off the bottoms. They are sticky, but not dreadfully so; you can easily lift them out as you're trying to position them.

The Absorbent Fragrant Footings are felted synthetic material, to wick moisture away from your feet and dissipate it. I got Jasmine (there's a Mint, as well). They smell of natural flowers, but I'll guess the effect is more dramatic with sandals. With closed shoes, you don't smell them at all unless you take off your shoes.

Hmmm... Definitely an improvement. I don't get massively sweaty feet, but stockings and closed shoes are not good for your feet. My feet remained quite dry. The Footings are sufficiently thin not to squeeze your feet against the tops of your shoes, but do provide a bit of cushioning.

I also like the idea of extending the life of the shoe. You're supposed to swap these out; how frequently, I've no idea at this point. I almost always rotate my shoes (trying to prolong their lifespan) so I'm hoping to extend the wear of the Footings too.

I got some regular non-scented Summer Soles; the more expensive Fragrant Footings were for the Cole Haans and my waterproof boots. (The regular ones are cheaper bought in bulk.)

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What to wear today?
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 9:49 PM (Pacific)

For a man, I always imagine it goes something like this:

"Hmmm, what's clean? Do I have to look good today? No? Great. Shirt from column A, pants from column B... Okay, I'm done."


Of course, for women, nothing is simple. :) I've distilled my process to one or more of the following:
  1. My brain is fried; or, something important is happening today. I'll choose an outfit I already know will work.

  2. An item's been sitting in my closet far too long. Let's take it out and show it some love.

  3. I have something new I want to tinker around with.

  4. Sentimental item(s).

Today's OOTD is a combination of #2 and #3, and lame posture (I was a bit tired).


Top: cotton tank made in the Philippines (tried to show the lace detail at the top)
Cardigan: J.Crew Jackie in Pearl
Skirt: J.Jill olive silk
Shoes: Cole Haan

Since the glare was bad, I'm including a detail:

ootd detail

Okay, the detail is glary too...crap... I made this necklace.

The white part consists of tiny pearls, I want to say bagel-shaped? They're round and flattish, good nacre. The red beads are faceted garnets, alternating with tiny 14KT gold beads. The pendant was constructed from a prehnite bead carved to resemble a lotus, couple of spacer beads, plus a vermeil bead similar to these, only longer:

shiana origami bead

Same place I got the bead (

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Purple and brown
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 9:27 PM (Pacific)


I was going to title this post: "Come over here and say that...punk" but, what do you write after that? "You want a piece of me?" lol So I came up with something a bit more practical.

Top: J.Crew Crinkled Chiffon Tunic in Orchid Shadow
Cardigan: J.Crew Jackie in Wild Mushroom
Skirt: gift from husband
Shoes: Cydwoq Recess

The top is my 'Crew Final Sale purchase, where I got a size 10 and shrank it in the dryer. As you can see, I have to wear a camisole under it, but it's not the end of the world. It's amazingly comfortable; feels like nothing.

My Summer Soles arrived today (that was blindingly fast). I'm going to try them out tomorrow.

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Hey, I want to try these...
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Monday, August 16, 2010 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

summer soles

These purport to be insoles which keep your feet from feeling sweaty. There are several kinds...the classic Summer Soles, then 'Soles resembling suede (supposed to be better for high heels). The third type is a scented 'Sole, in either Mint or Jasmine; these also come in several shapes and fabrics.

According to the 'Soles folks, the insoles can be trimmed to fit (there is also a wide-sized 'Sole), and are peel-and-stick (but are not supposed to leave residue, so you can swap them out any time you please).

Classic 'Soles come in basic colors; suede 'Soles feature prints as well.

If these work, they will surely pay for themselves. I found some coupons on retailmenot and also tjoos.

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J.Crew Buffalo Check Boy Shirt review
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 5:46 PM (Pacific)

j.crew buffalo check boy shirt in celestial blue
J.Crew Buffalo Check Boy Shirt in Celestial Blue

Ugh. Did I really diss this shirt, earlier on? I should hang my head in shame, since I confused this with the Suckered Gingham Shirt, which really does, ah, kinda suck, quality-wise.

Buffalo Check Boy... is a beautiful shirt. I checked it out today, since I had to try on the Katelyn Ruffle Cardigan (more on the latter, later).

Of the other plaids at hand, nothing else appealed just yet. I tried on the
Flannel tuxedo tunic
--it's relatively huge. I got into a size Small, before realizing it could make an interesting dress in a larger size (yup, it's long too). But am I in the market for a plaid dress? I like the idea, but this is not the one.

Tomboy plaid boy shirt--pleasant, but too casual to do much with.

Herringbone plaid boy shirt--likewise.

What I liked about Buffalo Check Boy... is that it really was different from a man's shirt, but in a good way. It was its own shirt. I liked the blue one best; the blue was just a tad too bright to be worn by a man. Rose Dust looked pretty, but felt less useful to me personally. I didn't spot the other two colors, but was pretty sure they'd had Autumn Sunset and the black-and-white one, last time I'd gone (hadn't gravitated towards either).

Buffalo Check Boy... was cotton, but I had to double check the label; the fabric felt as if it had been blended with rayon or silk. Another plus, since that made it more work-friendly.

Size 10 fit me comfortably (34DD), with the sleeves slightly long (I have average-sized arms, nothing special). The body of the shirt was on the long side too.

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Get outta my dreams, get into my car
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 6:52 PM (Pacific)

Uh know who you are. Stop standing there and looking so cute. :)

j.crew katelyn ruffle cardigan
J.Crew Katelyn Ruffle Cardigan

I'm glad I didn't try this on I should have tried this on. I see it's on Final Sale now. Heck, it even looks cute from the back, with the little ruffled collar:

j.crew katelyn ruffle cardigan back view

See how they styled it with a striped shirt? (And those infernal J.Crew shorts? who gets to wear shorts to work?!) I really like this kind of shirt though.

I dunno, if I'm not too tired, I'll see about trying it on b-&-m-wise tomorrow. Though it looks frilly and frivolous, I'm intensely interested in the pima cotton and wool, machine-washable aspect. The teeny patch pockets in front don't hurt either.

j.crew seth plaid boy shirt
J.Crew Seth Plaid Boy Shirt

It's a plaid, plaid, plaid, plaid world. Yay! Usually I hate trends, because they tend to be, well, short-lived and stupid. But the trends lately have been wonderful...menswear, olive green, oxford shoes, plaid, even ruffles when used judiciously. I like how 'Crew has presented soft, barely styled hair to go with these looks.

Yes, I did observe they paired this particular plaid shirt with what appear to be sequined pants. I'm goin' to the disco in my plaid shirt? I'm okay with that actually...what irritates me is it's "catalog/" only. Still, looks quite dishy.

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MP Checkered Pattern tights review
posted by Colleen Shirazi on at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

Got these when sockdreams had their 10% off coupon, and wore them like this:

j.crew jackie cardigan in wild mushroom
J.Crew Jackie cardigan in Wild Mushroom

pink ballet neck tee shirt
A pink ballet neck tee shirt

handmade mahogany obsidian donut pendant
Handmade mahogany obsidian donut pendant

tulle clothing paper bag skirt in black
black Tulle Clothing linen paper bag skirt

mp checkered tights
the tights

tulle clothing paper bag skirt in black
Cydwoq Recess shoes

I fully appreciated the shoes with this outfit; they're brown, but contain enough black to not look funny with black clothes.

I added the brown cardigan as an afterthought, and because it went so well with the pale pink shirt--got this idea from ModCloth's many combinations of Neapolitan ice cream shades (light strawberry pink, creamy chocolate brown, vanilla off-white).

Back to the tights...I wasn't actually expecting to love them that much. They seemed practical; unusual texture, yet easy to pair with skirts, high cotton content (80%) to weather our split-personality weather: cold in the morning, hot or cold in the afternoon, cold again in the evening...

But, they're really nice. I got Medium, and it's a generous Medium (they're preshrunk btw). Not baggy-generous, just more like a Large-size generous. Quite comfortable.

The texture evokes neither checkers, nor basket-weave, to me; rather, it recalls a brick wall with small bricks and lots of mortar.

They're not as sheer on me as in the sockdreams image, but, as I say, the size I got is generous. It may be possible to size down, and stretch them more when you put them on.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with them. I don't see myself buying scads of cotton textured tights...I'm picky about them, since they're harder to match to outfits than plain tights. I might fancy one more pair (of which color and texture, I've no clue).

images courtesy J.Crew,,,

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Vintage Shoe Company
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Friday, August 13, 2010 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

Hermmm...I stumbled across this, in my neverending quest for made in the U.S.A. footwear:

vintage shoe company on facebook
Vintage Shoe Company on Facebook

The prices I saw on the Net were mid-range, to the higher end of mid-range--not cheap, not horribly dear either.

Now do I sound smarmy? Much of my wardrobe is foreign-made; not sure we can compete as much with foreign clothing manufacture. But shoes are different. Since I don't care to own a lot of shoes, I am willing to put aside, and ponder endlessly which special shoes to buy.

Wonder how these compare?

Vintage Shoe Company:

vintage shoe company oxford

J.Crew "brogues":

j.crew oxford shoes

Despite the 'Crew's superior photography, and more detailed design, I would loooove to try the Vintage ones on. They look a bit wider, too, which would be better for my feet.

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Random wardrobe meanderings part 18
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

Still need to go through my Museum of Flight pictures, as there are tons of them. In fact I'd like to go there again; you'd need several days to fully appreciate everything. It is an amazing place.

So, let's take a break and return to wardrobe randomness. :)

/* how to pack lots of stuff into a small bag */

(bunch of Farsi goes here)

It's in Farsi, but fortunately there are many pictures. I tried it on my furlough trip; it works.

/* wardrobe drooling starts here */

Since we San Francisco Bay-Areans didn't have much of a summer...frankly, Seattle was warmer (never thought I'd say that)...drooling over fall clothing should commence sooner for us. Heck, we could wear some of it right now.

/* plaid */
plaid shirts

I was disappointed in the plaids at J.Crew thus far, and hope the plaids above don't turn out to be the same, well, cruddy quality. A plaid shirt should be a minor work of art.

/* textured tights */
textured cotton tights

These appear identical to the B.ella Codori Crochet tights I own in ivory; only they have the espresso brown ones (not the graphite though).

/* corduroy skirt */
j.crew cord atlee skirt
J.Crew Cord Atlee Skirt

Tried this on last time I visited the b & m; didn't like it. Nice color (dark navy blue; blue-dark, not black-dark), but too short. I wish they had this at the b & m's instead:

j.crew cord pencil skirt
J.Crew Cord Pencil Skirt

I know, making clothing more season-spanning is a good thing, but, when it gets cold enough to wear corduroy, I don't want to wear a short skirt?

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Pike Place Market
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

pike place market

pike place market

pike place market--rachel the pig

Can you believe I went to Seattle without bringing a raincoat? I have a raincoat (it's green and dates to the time I lived in Washington). rolls eyes

Pike Place Market is a tourist trap, of course, but I liked the rain. Kind of miss that. There was a cool cloisonné stand I wanted to check out, but that will be for next time.

Daughter's OOTD features J.Crew Embroidered Zafrina Skirt in Bronzed Clay (she had a nice beaded tee over it too).

pike place market

pike place market

pike place market

Hey, it's my brother-in-law! (Pic #2 above, far left) Sorry dude, have to crop you out for the OOTD...

Dress: Garnet Hill super baggy linen shift
Belt: ? it's woven leather
Tights: B.ella Codori tights in ivory (good thing I brought these)
Shoes: Cole Haan (and these)--worn here before

pike place market
Hammering Man, downtown Seattle

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Jimi Hendrix Memorial
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

jimi hendrix memorial

This is out of sequence; we visited the Museum of Flight, but I'll have to go through those pictures when I get home.

Little of this memorial existed, back when we lived in the Puget Sound area in the early 1990's. There was but the simplest gravestone for Hendrix, barely distinguishable from any other stone. The only commonality is the sundial...pretty sure that was there before.

jimi hendrix memorial

If you go inside, you can see engravings of Jimi; each portrait is covered with lipstick kisses, many shades of red, pink, violet...

jimi hendrix memorial

jimi hendrix memorial


White tee shirt (a European brand)
J.Crew Jackie cardigan in Pearl
J.Crew Embroidered Zafrina Skirt in Stone Blue (also worn here)
Cydwoq sandals

I felt this was an uninspired outfit; love the skirt, but the rest of it came out too plain. Even a little frou-frou at the neckline would have worked. Since I never go anywhere, I never got good at packing. At least the vivid blue of the skirt complemented the carefully-tended blue petunias circling the memorial.

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Bremerton, WA
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Monday, August 9, 2010 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

uss parche sail at bremerton

We didn't get to spend much time here, because we were taking the ferry to Seattle. It's well worth doing that (okay, we never did when we were living in the Puget Sound area). It's quite beautiful, particularly since we lucked out on the weather this year.

uss parche sail at bremerton

This is the sail of the decommissioned submarine USS Parche--the most decorated ship in U.S. Navy history.

bremerton maritime park

bremerton maritime park

bremerton maritime park

bremerton maritime park

bremerton maritime park

My OOTD (all J.Crew):

* Tissue tee in a light lavender. Forget the tee? It features a small, rather non-functioning silk pocket, and layers of silk around the neckline. A totally handy shirt, since the silk makes it formal enough for work (business casual).

I've come to think of purple, particularly lavender, as its own "neutral" (much as I do olive green or navy blue).

* Same old Jackie cardigan in Pearl
* Nico skirt in Black Blossom
* Same old Cydwoq sandals (worn here before)

Daughter's OOTD:

* J.Crew art tee of some sort (smoky purple with silver beads)
* Red cargo shorts ?

Son's OOTD:

* olive green tee shirt
* school uniform pants

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