Monday, July 25

this week's clicks.

get your week off to a colorful start...
WATCH.

  • Thank you, James Corden, for the gift to humanity that is Carpool Karaoke! Have y'all seen this one with Michelle Obama and Missy Elliot yet? These folks are having so much fun with "Single Ladies" and "Get Ur Freak On!"

SWOON.

SMILE.

FLASHBACK.  

Friday, July 22

Potter Month: Harry Potter Spells Book Tag


5 Fandom Friday is a weekly prompt challenge for female geek bloggers hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick. You can learn more about the Female Geek Bloggers group here. This month, we're doing things a little differently and zooming in on one fandom (which just happens to be the most amazing universe to be a fan of) for Harry Potter MonthKristin from Super Space Chick posted one of the coolest book tags every in honor of this month - the HP Spells Book Tag! 


AN UPCOMING RELEASE YOU WISH YOU 
COULD GET YOUR HANDS ON RIGHT NOW

I'm obsessed with Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series and can't wait to read book #5 when it comes out in September - the stakes have gotten higher for the characters with every book, and Aerin is one of my all-time favorite heroines.


FAVORITE SERIES STARTER

Diana Gabaldon has had me under her spell from the very beginning. The Outlander series is such an amazing blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance, and the first novel sets the tone so well. 


A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU ALL THE WARM & FUZZIES

This category was really hard for me... I just do not read warm and fuzzy books! Meyer's Lunar Chronicles are fairytale retellings with a science fiction twist, and my favorite pairing are Cress and Captain Carswell Thorne - innocence and trust meets swagger and cockiness (please recommend your favorite warm and fuzzy books in the comments!). 


A BOOK THAT MADE YOU UGLY CRY

Oh, goodness. I checked this one out from the library after seeing the trailers for the film, and I'm glad I did because I don't think I would have been able to handle this story in a theater. I read it in one sitting, and it completely wrecked me emotionally.


BOOKISH HERO OR HEROINE YOU WANT 
AROUND TO PROTECT YOU IN REAL LIFE

Stephanie Plum is one lucky bond bailswoman - whenever she's in trouble, she has two hotties who are already there for her - while I love her banter with her on-and-off fiancee, Joe Morelli, I think if I needed protection I'd call on dark, mysterious Ranger and his never-ending supply of Land Rovers and weapons.


A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD MAKE EVERYONE
READ BECAUSE YOU LOVED IT SO MUCH

One of my all-time favorite books, from my favorite YA fantasy writer. The Scorpio Races is so unique and beautifully written, with amazing worldbuilding. I think its length is off-putting to some people (it's a doorstop!) but it's definitely worth the time it takes to read.


A BOOK SERIES YOU WISH NEVER ENDED

This was such a creative YA series - sci-fi, romance, and dystopia. I loved the characters, Petty and Aria, and their unlikely romance, and definitely could have read more books about them having adventures together!


A BOOK WITH AN UPLIFTING MESSAGE

I love reading about strong women, but I love books about women becoming strong even more - especially when they're true stories! Even though I had a little bit of trouble getting into Cheryl Strayed's memoir at first, I am so glad that I read about her journey hiking the Pacific Coast Trail solo.


A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD FORGET YOU EVER READ

I was such a big fan of the first two Divergent books, along with many of my students, but I thought the final book was such a let-down. I did not like the ending at all, not just because it wasn't a happy one but because it made me feel like I'd wasted my time investment as a reader.


AN AUTHOR WHOSE BOOKS ALWAYS GET YOU OUT OF A READING SLUMP

There's a reason Neil Gaiman is a living legend - is there anything he can't do? Novels for adults, collaborations, story collections, graphic novels, YA, middle-grade, and even children's picture books - there's a Neil Gaiman book for everyone, ranging from whimsical magic to the terrifying paranormal.


A SWOON-WORTHY HERO OR HEROINE

Henry DeTamble, always and forever.



A BOOK THAT CAUSED YOU TO STOP DOING ALL 
OTHER THINGS UNTIL YOU FINISHED IT

I tend to be a marathon reader anyway, but this book was insane and I had to knew how the conflict would be resolved and if my favorite characters would survive. As soon as I finished it, I was on Facebook recommending it to all my friends.


A BOOK THAT WAS PAINFUL TO READ (FOR 
WHATEVER REASON) OR BROKE YOU

This was one of the first books I received as a digital ARC through Netgalley, and I felt obligated to read it all the way through so I could give honest feedback. I'd just finished watching the Astronaut Wives Club  television show and was interested in this book because of the Cold War setting, but the plot was so slow and the narrator was, quite simply, a boring man. Even as interesting things were happening around him (his wife's mental illness, his secretly adopted daughter's biological mom returning, his daughter dating a Cuban refugee, a shortage of gas at the gas station he ran), his "I'm a good guy, I have to do the right thing" reactions weren't interesting at all.



A BOOK THAT HAD YOU LAUGHING OUT LOUD

Do I even need to explain why?



A BOOK THAT MADE YOU WANT TO SEND 
IT (OR YOUR E-READER) FLYING

When I was in eleventh grade, I threw The Scarlet Letter out the window of the school bus. Then I got out and got it because it was the school's copy and I didn't want to have to pay a fine. When I was a sophomore in college, my boyfriend told me I looked like how he imagined Hester Prynne when he read the book. That relationship did not last.


A BOOKISH WORLD YOU WISH YOU COULD VISIT

It's not a very creative answer, but Narnia for sure. In reading the Magicians books by Lev Grossman, I've realized just how much I have in common with the main character, Quentin, who feels such a sense of ennui because the real world never matches the fantasy worlds he's read about in books.


A BOOK WITH A SHOCKING TWIST OR ENDING

My mom had told me that this was her favorite book for years, and has always assured me that it's not where she got my middle name. I finally got around to reading it a few summers ago, and it actually made me look at my mom in a whole new light (I started recommending things like Girl in the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl to her afterward!)


A CHARACTER DEATH THAT DESTROYED YOU

This novel really made me think about how we need more strong female friendships in YA novels. I felt the loss in this book so keenly.


BEST SERIES CONCLUSION

This series by Sarah Rees Brennan was so fun to read after following her publication process on Livejournal, and I love the way she tied everything up (especially for Nick and Mae).

Tuesday, July 19

Style: Building a Business Trip Capsule Wardrobe with Stitch Fix (#7)


As most of you know, my "day job" is teaching eighth grade English. Last month, I got an early-morning phone call from my school division's director of secondary curriculum. Once I recovered from the confusion of being woken up by someone who wasn't a member of my immediate family, I processed what she was offering: an opportunity to travel to an educational conference for the network our school is preparing to join - in Orlando, Florida! I would have been crazy to say no, and I soon as I completed my conference registration, I set up a Stitch Fix request. 

Curious about Stitch Fix? 
When you sign up for Stitch Fix's personal styling service, you pay a $20 styling fee and fill out a profile with your detailed size, style, and price preferences. Whether your closet leans toward classic, glam, preppy, or bohemian pieces, or you're looking to add more of a particular style to your wardrobe, the Style Profile is the place to give your personal stylist insights on what you're looking for. When your Fix arrives, the $20 styling fee is applied toward the cost of any items you decide to keep from your shipment. If you decide to keep everything, you'll receive a 25% discount! If not, simply send anything you don't keep back to Stitch Fix in a prepaid Priority Mail envelope. I definitely recommend giving this service a chance if you're trying to find your personal style, simplify your life, or get on board with new trends. One of my favorite things about Stitch Fix is that unlike many subscription services, you can schedule as many or as few Fixes as often as you want - there's no obligation to keep paying the styling fee every single month! 

Business Trip Capsule Wardrobe
In my note to my stylist, Heather, I explained that I needed to step up my business wardrobe game for this national conference. I wanted to stick to a palette of mostly neutrals, navy, and green, and also wanted to try a blazer. I set to work filling my style Pinterest board with inspiration. Two resources that ended up being incredibly helpful to me as I decided what to pin (and later, what to pack) were the 5 Levels of Business Attire infographic from Business Insider (I decided to follow the "+1 rule" and wear "executive casual" pieces on my trip) and this spring business trip packing guide from Anne of In Residence.

When my Fix arrived, I was so excited that I forgot to snap a picture of the unboxing! This Fix ended up reminding me a lot of my fifth fix from this spring - the styles, colors, and patterns were absolutely perfect and just my style, but there were some fit issues that kept it from being a 5/5 (That's Stitch Fix speak for "I kept it all"). Stylist Heather had really put together a capsule wardrobe of pieces that could mixed and matched to create several different outfits throughout my business trip.



Stylist Heather's sweet note reflected that, as usual, she had read my note and paid attention to my Pinterest board. She is so kind and good at her job!


#1: 41Hawthorn Lucida Colorblock Knit Dress

This was the first piece I tried on and I knew it would be true love - I'd pinned several sheath dresses and usually wear my favorites to work at least once a week when the weather is warm. I loved the modest cut and easy knit fabric of this dress - like a thick, high-quality t-shirt. It zips up the back, but I didn't have any problem slipping it over my head. I like wearing navy as a neutral and the pop of teal matches the accent on my glasses. This dress was definitely a keeper, and I think it's one of my all-time favorite Stitch Fix pieces!



#2: 41Hawthorn Teegan Draped Blazer

I haven't worn blazers much since college - it's hard to find one for a petite body that doesn't make me feel like a box! I pinned several blazers that were made of softer fabrics. I wasn't sure how a draped blazer would look on me, so I paired it with the Lucida dress for a business look. I loved that the draped style kept the blazer from looking too formal or stuffy, and the fun polka dot detail on the three-quarter sleeves. Consider me a blazer convert!



This was Mr. Q's favorite piece in this Fix - he predicts that I will wear this blazer more with casual outfits this fall than I will to work, and he's probably right. The Stitch Fix style card shows it styled with a sheath dress and with jeans to show what a versatile piece it is. Though the price was a little higher than I'd typically pay for a jacket, Mr. Q pointed out that I'm unlikely to find something so cool looking in our small town. It's nice to be married to a guy who believes in #treatyoself, so I decided to keep the blazer, too.



#3: Papermoon Bastille Tulip Sleeve Blouse

I was really glad that stylist Heather sent this blouse my way. I'd pinned several floral short-sleeve blouses and not only is this print totally adorable, it fit right into the color scheme I'd given Heather in my note. I was a little worried that the blouse gave me linebacker shoulders, but after seeing the photos I decided it was a keeper as well. Like the Teegan blazer, it's a piece that can be dressed up or down. I typically don't keep Stitch Fix pieces unless they can go from the classroom to the weekend, and the Bastille blouse fits the bill.





#4: Margaret M Deandra Textured A-line Skirt

I tried on the Bastille blouse with the Margaret M Deandra skirt, which is made with the same fabric as Margaret M's insanely popular Emers pants. The skirt I received was a very pretty black and navy jacquard pattern. The fabric is stretchy and very comfortable. What kept this skirt from being a keeper for me is my personal modesty factor - since I work with thirteen year old boys, I try not wear above-the-knee skirts to work, and I couldn't see myself wearing such a formal-feeling fabric on the weekends. For reference, I am 5'1".

Then I got photobombed by my neighbors' cat.



#5: Crescent Croatia Lace Bib Blouse

Papermoon/Crescent is my favorite brand that Stitch Fix carries (they're also really sweet to me on Instagram!), and I'd pinned a LOT of emerald-green blouses, so I had high hopes for the Croatia. The color was beautiful, as was the lace detailing on the chest. However, this was a case of a piece looking better on the hanger than on my body - the bib detail ended too high on my chest and the flowy style kind of gave me maternity vibes. I tried pairing it with skinny jeans and it wasn't much of an improvement.



Here's a side profile shot so you can see how the hem is lower in the back. See how much the front of the shirt drapes away from my actual body? Along with the Deandra skirt, the Croatia blouse ended up being sent back to Stitch Fix. 

Overall Impression of this Fix:
I loved the pieces I kept and the inspiration I got from the capsule wardrobe stylist Heather put together for me. I felt prepared to take on the world - at least the world of project-based learning - at my conference, and I'm looking forward to signing up for a back-to-school Fix soon.


Please excuse the kitty booty. Do you ever have to travel for work? What are your go-to business trip essentials?

Weekend Wear with Posh Classy Mom                            Elegantly Fashionable 


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I signed up for Stitch Fix and purchase each of my Fixes myself. My opinions on this blog are always honest. This post does contain referral links - for each new sign-up I will receive a credit towards my next Stitch Fix.



Monday, July 18

this week's clicks.

get your week off to a colorful start...
LISTEN.
  • This is my last real week of unstructured summer freedom - although I do plan to spend some time at my new school setting up my new classroom, I don't have any actual work meetings or appointments, and I've even got a Charlottesville day planned with my college fellowship sisters. I had this song on my head all weekend and couldn't figure out the title, but knew it had to be Jess Glynne - her powerhouse voice and slightly retro pop style are just unmistakable. Have a great week, y'all!

SWOON.

SMILE.

FLASHBACK.

Friday, July 15

Potter Month:Potter-Inspired Books


5 Fandom Friday is a weekly prompt challenge for female geek bloggers hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick. You can learn more about the Female Geek Bloggers group here, join in on our Instagram photo challenge for July. This month, we're doing things a little differently and zooming in on one fandom (which just happens to be the most amazing universe to be a fan of) for Harry Potter Month. This week, I wanted to share three books/series I have enjoyed that probably wouldn't exist without the world of Harry Potter.


1. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare - When I read City of Bones for the first time, I had no idea that there was controversy online about sections of the book having originated in her Harry Potter fanfiction trilogy and Clare having been banned from Fanfiction.net following accusations of plagiarism (Refinery29 has a pretty good round-up of the whole story). Even after reading about the kerfuffle on Livejournal (which was where fandom lived before Tumblr), I was already hooked on the characters and Clare's witty writing style. Jace Wayland may have been inspired by Draco Malfoy and Clary Fray by Ginny Weasley, but they have taken on lives of their own and Clare has given us wonderful original characters like everyone's favorite High Warlock, Magnus Bane. (Clare denies that any of the TMI characters are derived from her fanfiction). The Mortal Instruments is definitely aimed toward an older audience than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and it's been very popular in my middle school classroom library - surprisingly, with both girls and guys. I enjoyed the film version, which I thought was perfectly cast, and I've warmed to the TV adaptation on Freeform even though I was a little skeptical about some of the changes (like the Institute being all modern and computer-y instead of Hogwarts-y) at first. As a fangirl herself, Clare seems to be kind of supportive of her own fans - I like that she often features their fanart on her social media, and I *love* that she makes sure characters who are POC in her books are not whitewashed in adaptations.


2. The Magicians series by Lev Grossman - While you really have to squint and look sideways to see Harry Potter similarities in Cassandra Clare's books, The Magicians is a tongue-in-cheek American college version of Hogwarts stirred together with the Chronicles of Narnia - written for well-read geeks, by a well-read geek (I squealed over a Star Trek reference in the second book, and Grossman has listed all of the hidden literary and geeky allusions in the first book online). The main character, Quentin Coldwater, has lived a mopey, humdrum life in New York City until a normal Princeton interview turns into an exam for a prestigious magical institute, Brakebills. He gets accepted into a cool house with quirky friends, and there's even a magical sport, but there's also drinking and swearing and sex (in both human and animal forms) that would never fly in anything published by Scholastic. Quentin's obsession in the non-magical world was a series of books about the land of Fillory, which turns out to be very real, very dark, and very dangerous. As he told Jessica Woodbury in this interview, Grossman uses the Magicians books to tackle the things that bother him about the Narnia books - "Lewis’s sentimental obsession with childhood innocence, his fear of adult sexuality, the fact that Aslan sometimes lets the people of Narnia suffer when he could be helping them." He also explores the magical quarterlife crisis - Quentin learns that after a lifetime of dreaming of entering the world of fantasy he loves, being able to control magic has not actually made him any happier. I started reading the series after seeing a few episodes of the television series on the SyFy channel, and both are worthwhile - there have been some big changes (like Kady's character) and completely original episodes of the TV show (such as the amazingly creative mental hospital episode), and the timeline differs from the books (The Magicians covers Quentin's entire college experience, so some of the things that happened to him as a freshman in the show actually happened later in the novel). Lev Grossman himself and Hillary Busis of Mashable have both posted about some of the key differences. The second book, The Magician King, catches up with Quentin in Fillory and shows off Grossman's knowledge of European mythology and legend. Though the plot got very dark indeed, I am looking forward to finishing the series with The Magician's Land.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I'd been on my local library's waiting list for the Ebook of Fangirl basically forever because I knew I'd love the premise: Geeky fanfic writer Cather and her twin sister Wren drift apart when they enter college, and Cath stubbornly clings to her online life rather than trying to forge real relationships. Since my college bestie Tiff and I were rabid Harry Potter fans who used to actually recommend fanfics to each other to read (she was the one who gave me one of her Livejournal codes so I could join the site back when it was semi-exclusive), the novel brought back happy memories of those moments when I felt like I'd found "my people." Cath and Wren (their mom, Cath quips, only chose one baby name), away from home for the first time, deal with the fallout of a messed up childhood in different ways - Wren's visiting frat parties on a nightly basis, while Cath rejects her cool-but-prickly roommate Reagan's invitations, preferring to stay in the dorm and work on her Internet-famous story, which is basically Harry/Draco slash fic. She's landed a spot in a competitive creative writing course, but butts heads with her professor over whether or not fanfiction is a form of plagiarism - Cath feels like the world of young wizard Simon Snow is more real to her than anything she could create from scratch. Just when I thought Rowell had completely charmed me with a character who was even geekier than my 18-year-old self, she threw in a reference to The Outsiders and a cute farm boy reciting the 4-H pledge. Has Rainbow Rowell been stalking me and taking notes on the things I love in order to write the perfect YA novel for me to read? Probably (okay, definitely) not, but she sure did pull it off.

Have you enjoyed any works that probably wouldn't exist
if not for the brilliant mind of our queen, J.K. Rowling?




Monday, July 11

this week's clicks.

get your week off to a colorful start...
I curated most of this post well in advance of this weekend's tragic events in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas, and I'm still at a loss as to how to address my feelings about the state of my country right now on this blog. Even on a lifestyle blog about color and celebration, there has to be time for quiet, time for mourning, time for real. This week, I am longing for balance.

CHERISH. let these links brighten your day.

BREATHE. take time for simplicity and reflection.
"I don’t know what to do to fix it. But I know I was given a voice. We all have that in common too. See how alike we are."
FLASHBACK. favorite posts from the past.