Thursday, March 27, 2014

OOTD: Casual Pulled Together

I'm definitely in the part of the semester where 8 am just seems too early. Way, way, way too early. But even though I'm rocking the half pulled back, kind of greasy hair, and the absolute bare minimum for makeup, I like to have an outfit that's casual enough for a review day in class, but still pulled together enough that I don't feel like a slob (even though I kind of am today). Enter the "casual pulled together" outfit. I have a whole set of these, outfits that I can throw on with a swipe of mascara and some blush and still feel like I can conquer the world. 

Or at least my morning classes.

OOTD Casual Pulled Together

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Good News Day

Today I got some really good, really matters, really important good news. And some "yay I'm awesome!" good news.

*Even better than finding a minion pinata. Which is pretty damn good news. 

I'm sort of winning.

*Even more than when I have coffee. 
**I clearly get excited a lot and take pictures with things. Go ahead and judge. 

Right before my second class today (where we watched part of the "I'm Spartacus!" part of "Spartacus" and one of my students actually teared up) I got an email about a fellowship I had applied for at school.

I got a one semester fellowship (freedom from teaching responsibilities) for next Spring!

This means I can have a semester to travel (London, Paris, maybe Germany) and then come back and write uninterrupted, while still being funded. This is great news for me, since I'm teaching two classes (70 students) and it's hard to write and find time to travel with that course load.

I did the Kirk Douglas single tear a little:

Then I got an email from Yelp, inviting me to be a part of the Yelp Elite for 2014!

*People know me. 
**Check out my reviews here!

So, of course, in the long run, one of these matters more for my career and my degree and all that. But being recognized as a serious scholar with an academic future, and as someone who is fun and sensible and a part of this community are both amazing feelings!

Via Society 6

Friday, March 21, 2014

"Real Women"

Yesterday I posted this picture on my Instagram:

I love this campaign by Aerie (and they have panties on sale - get thee to the mall!), but I wanted to talk a little about why, and some campaigns I don't like. 

For those of you who haven't seen it, Aerie is doing something a little different with their models.

Their #aeriereal campaign states: 

"We think it's time for a change. We think it's time to GET REAL and THINK REAL. We want every girl to feel good about who they are and what they look like, inside and out. This means NO MORE RETOUCHING OUR GIRLS AND NO MORE SUPERMODELS.

Why? Because there is no reason to retouch beauty. We think the REAL YOU IS SEXY."


They're also, in a really revolutionary move, showing bras in all their sizes. So you can look at a bra and see what it looks like on a A, B, C, D, and DD. 

Which means I get to see something I've never seen before on a website. 

A woman wearing a bra I could wear. 

Via Aerie
Also, how beautiful is this girl? With her own arms, that little smoosh under her arm that we all get when we pull our arms in, with great lighting but without an alien stomach? 
I'm all about looking your best with makeup and some good lighting if you want - but photoshopping people into strange rubber creatures is just horrifying. 

I'm just unbelievably happy to live in a world where at least one company is taking a stand against photoshopping their models into oblivion. And a company that shows a variety of women, and argues that they are ALL REAL WOMEN. 

Because another company that I occasionally shop at does the exact opposite of this. 

Lane Bryant is one of the WORST about shaming women's bodies in their advertising - and the way people talk about them doesn't help. 

Yeah, Victoria's Secret doesn't have any models above a certain size. But they aren't saying "Only skinny women are REAL WOMEN." 

But Lane Bryant has "Real Women Dollars" and talk a lot about what real women look like. Everyone I know who shops there a lot, or works there, says they're a store for real women. 

They're body shaming while pretending to make people feel good about themselves. While pretending to promote feminism and body appreciation.

And that's even worse than not selling or showing bras in a more average size than VS does. 

Now don't get me wrong. I shop at Lane Bryant. 

I usually am too small for their clothes (and also, I've never understood why things any bigger than a large have to have tigers or rhinestones or bedazzling of some those ugly studs are going to make people think you're smaller?) but I do buy bras and occasionally an accessory or two there. 

But saying that it's a store for "real women" basically excludes a ton of women from shopping there. Most of them would be excluded anyway, but...are thin women not "real women"?

Real woman. 
(Also - hooray tattoo acceptance!!!)

Real woman. 

Real woman. Maybe photoshopped, but a real woman. 
Via VS.

Real woman. And a badass.

Real woman. 

Basically unless we're talking about the Buffybot, if you're looking at a picture of a woman, she's a real woman. 


A woman and a person who probably has body concerns just like you do. 

Just like I do. 

That doesn't change because you're thin. 

Or because you're heavy. 

Or because you have tattoos. 

Or because you are a supermodel. 

Because no matter what, you're a real woman. 

And shaming other women for their size, whether you are shaming them for being too skinny or too large, is hurting us all. 

I'm guilty of this. 

I bet you are too. 

It's time to stop. 

Let's recognize that ALL women are REAL WOMEN. 

Whether we're models or grad students, we're all women. The exclusion of supermodels is my only problem with the Aerie campaign - they're people too. 

We have to stick together, ladies. 

When we say some women aren't real women, whether because of their size or their perceived femininity or their height or whatever, that causes all kinds of problems.

Only "real women" can shop here.

Only "real women" have curves.

Only "real women" are people.

Those "fake women"?

"Fake women" are sexual objects. 

"Fake women" are just a pretty face. 

"Fake women" aren't really people. 

"Fake women" are sluts. 

"Fake women" are asking for it. 


By saying some women are real and some aren't, you're, in the extreme, being a rape apologist. 

Think about that. 

So let's all stop. 

Stop confusing fake women: 

Buffybot. Never forget.

Not because of her size, but because she literally isn't real.

And real women: 

Stop putting down other women. 

Because when we stand up, and help each other stand up, we're unstoppable. 


*Of course, if you have a friend you suspect of having an eating disorder, talk to them, or get help. Not just someone who is "too skinny" or "too large" but someone you think might be hurting themselves. Someday maybe no one will photoshop, and maybe we'll stop being so concerned with what our bodies look like compared to everyone else and start celebrating the magic they're capable of, but, until then, don't be afraid to help your friends help themselves. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Memphis Nosh: The Majestic Grille (and Wicked!)

Wicked is one of my very favorite shows of all time. I saw it in London on my birthday last year, and it was amazing.

(Yes, I am that person who cried multiple times. Feel free to judge.)

I mean, it's amazing.

Both technically and musically, it's my favorite show. And I had fantastic seats:

Before I went to the show, though, I knew exactly where I wanted to eat. 

This was sort of an early birthday gift to myself, so I wanted to go someplace a little fancy but that I knew I would love. 

So The Majestic Grille it was!

Majestic is one of my favorite places - I've gone there on fancy dates, lunches with friends, by myself for a treat. And they have a great prix fixe menu for Orpheum shows!

I went with the caesar salad, the ribeye, and the chocolate mouse dessert glass. All of it was so good!

And they have a fantastic wine list. This is where I discovered my favorite type of wine, Malbec, and they never disappoint. This time I had the Turlo di Salviano, Umbria, 2010. So so so good. 

One of the only problems (for me!) about Majestic is the lighting makes it very hard to take appetizing photos! I apologize in advance!

Of course I brought my book to read, since I was alone. I was reading "The Distant Hours" by Kate Morton, and it is FANTASTIC.

Some bread to start - really good, warm bread. 

My huge caesar salad!

One of the coolest things about Majestic is the building. It was a movie theater, and they still show old black and white movies on the screen. The whole restaurant has a kind of 1930s Hollywood glamour look to it. 

Also, the ladies next to me were fantastic. 

They even let me take a picture of their onion rings, which were were literally the size of donuts!

But then it was time to get serious. Because THIS had just come out: 

*I have a bernaise sauce addiction. 

*cooked in that perfect zone between medium rare and medium

This is the steak mothers tell their children about to make them happy. 

This is the steak men propose with. 

This is the steak of dreams. 

Add some garlic mashed potatoes and some fantastic sauces and, was very embarrassing the amount of noise I was making over a steak. 

Not quite this bad: 

But I was definitely (and not at all faking!) enjoying myself!

My dessert shooter!

Like really good chocolate pudding. Yum.

Then it was time to walk the block to the Orpheum!

Just a beautiful theater!

A great show, a wonderful meal, and a fantastic early birthday celebration!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Break!

So last week was Spring Break for me. I spent it doing work, but also sleeping in and drinking too much beer and eating a lot. 

Technically, I'm still on break, so I'll see you cats with a real post tomorrow!

Until then - let's all pray for spring!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

29th Birthday Reflections and 30 by 30

So yesterday was my 29th birthday.

(My "baby" brother turned 22 the 3rd - we're probably 8 and 1 in the first picture, maybe 1993?)

It wasn't a terribly exciting day, and I have a tendency to really build up my birthday (my parents make a HUGE deal out of my and my brother's birthdays, so this has always been a thing), so I was a little disappointed with some things, like having to go to campus and deal with the constant ineptitude of other people, but Kirby and I had some fantastic pizza and a Muddy's cupcake so all is well in the universe.

And she got me Mastering the Art of French Cooking, so expect delicious food coming soon!

In the spirit of birthdays, and of only having a year (minus one day!) until I turn 30, I've decided to do a 30 by 30 list.

I'm not freaked out by turning 30, but it is a turning point, so I want to use this list to both reflect and make the next 29 even better.

(Although thanks to this Buzzfeed article, I feel pretty okay about 29!)

1. Go to 3 new American cities.
(I should be going, at least, to Boston, New Haven, DC, and New York this summer.)

2. Travel to another country, bringing my total to 6 in the past 3 years.
(Might have to make a pit stop in Canada for this one!)

3. Eat something green (that's not gummy and shaped like a bear) every day.
(Or that's covered in cheese...)

4. Really pare down my closet.

(This shit is bananas.)

5. Write 3 chapters of my dissertation.

6. Start a savings account.

7. Go to the gym regularly. For me, that's 3-4 times a week, no excuses!

8. Volunteer for a charity/charitable organization. Anyone have any ideas?

9. "Run" a 5K. I am NOT a runner, so maybe just do a 5K?

(That's how Petunia actually looks.)

10. Get an article published in a peer-reviewed journal.

11. Be better at writing thank you notes and follow-up letters.
(And Tiny Prints has thank you cards 40% off today!)

12. Learn to accept a compliment.

(Also I was 19 when Mean Girls came out. Wrap your minds around that.)

13. Go a week without complaining about anyone/anything.

14. Eat breakfast regularly.

15. Read 25 new books. I have a bad habit of rereading my favorites and not trying anything new. Time to change that!

(Maybe I'll do the Rory Gilmore book challenge!)

16. Get my French back to conversational level.

17. Learn enough German to have rough conversational skills.

18. Make schnitzel.

19. Make magenflasters like my gramma's.

(Basically just cook all of the things like this woman.)

20. Finally figure out how to use my "grown up" camera.

21. Take a spa day - massage, mani, pedi, facial - and just enjoy it, no phone, no conversation.

22. Visit all the museums in Memphis.
(I've been to the Brooks and the Pink Palace, but there are a ton more!)

23. Blog at least twice a week.

24. Work on my faith.
(Which is vague, but I'm really private about my beliefs.)

25. Take a trip to the Gulf Coast.

26. Try a new hair color.

27. Find the perfect pair of jeans.

28. Make at least 3 projects for myself with my sewing machine.

29. Start (and maintain) a book club.

30. Stop letting people take advantage of my kindness, just because I'm afraid of being alone.

I'll keep everyone updated on how they go!