Thursday, March 28, 2013

Optimistic red-velvet walrus night

Top: J.Crew Factory | Skirt: JCPenney | Flats: Gap Outlet | Lips: NARS Heat Wave

I don't usually watch tv series in a normal manner. I marathon them, watch them in weird chunks at the 3am on a Saturday after SNL, pull up 15 minutes' worth on Hulu. Right now I'm blasting through every available episode on Hulu of Happy Endings, which is currently hanging very close to the chopping block. I've waxed poetic on Happy Endings before, which is absolutely amahzing, but in case you're just joining me here at Animated Cardigan--well, listen. My favourite show may be cancelled. I've gone through this before with Arrested Development, which broke my heart and which also met its fate after its third season, but Happy Endings has a chance. (AD never did, let's be honest.) So help me save Happy Endings. Watch it Friday nights at 8pm/7pm Central, since I'll be at curling (and wishing Happy Endings was projected onto the wall in the ice house). Your brain will thank you, and so will I.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In somno securitas

Necklace: Hearst Castle | Top: Old Navy | Skirt: JCPenney | Tights: Target | Wedges: Target | Lips: Maybelline ColorSensational Are You Red-dy

Every single morning, I wake up and think about when I can go back to sleep again. I guesstimate how good my week is going to be based on how many days I will be able to sleep in. So many people say rest when you're dead and all that whatnot, but when I had insomnia in college, I always vowed that if I could just sleep just let me sleep please, I would never, ever take sleeping for granted, no matter what. And to this day, I love sleeping. There's something about it that wonderful. You know? It may help that I have an epic Sleep Number bed (best hand-me-down from my parents ever) and it's like sleeping on god's garden, but no matter what, sleep is still da bomb dot com.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blown away

Cardigan: Target | Top: J.Crew Factory | Skirt: JCPenney | Tights: target | Wedges: Target | Nails: butter London Come to Bed Red | Lips: Maybelline Lip Whisper (wtf.) Pink Possibilities

above: facing exceptional wind
below: turning away from exceptional wind

Style Imitating Art: Yellow Roses in a Vase

STYLE IMITATING ART IS HERE. As a reminder, this week's inspiration was Yellow Roses in a Vase by Gustave Caillebotte. Gorgeous work with gorgeous results. Let's get started!

First and foremost is Jen of Librarian for Life and Style, who encountered the perfect floral background for her photos! Is that mountain laurel? Whatever, either way, it looks awesome.

Next is Krista of This Mumma's Style, whose skirt is like whoa. I love it.

Pao of Project Minima is not a fan of this outfit, but I kind of adore this skirt. I love the length and shape of it!

Val of Late Blooming Sparkle (love the name, Val!) is joining us at SIA for the first time, and bam. What a fantastic first entry!

Noelle of Tilly's Notions always has great colour combinations, and this submission is no exception! Mustard and mauve. Beautiful.

Rebekah of From the Mixed Up Files... has such a nice pastel-y outfit, but I did a "hold up wait a minute" at her nails. That colour is fantastic, Rebekah!

And here is the one and only Salazar of 14 Shades of Grey. My SIA co-creator always nails it.

If you have made it to the end, congratulations! Your reward is looking at my outfit.


Jan sent in a late submission that looks pretty much awesome:

And for some weird reason, Juli's submission went in my Spam folder. BOO ON YOU, GMAIL. Just kidding, I love you Gmail, but you can't be that way. Anyway, here's Juli of Fragmented Worlds--she says this look isn't very her, but I love it.

Thank you all for submitting this week! I know I say this every time I host but I really do love doing this. you are all amazing.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Expect good things

C. demonstrates the hard sell

Cardiganland is not the bastion of culture, but there are a few shining spots, including today's short film festival! My coworker C. and I went together, and it was truly fantastic. We saw some great work. I pretty much panicked today looking at my closet and ended up recycling this outfit, but with the new wedges I ordered from Target's website. I was overdressed compared to most of the people there, but I still received a bunch of compliments! Yay. C. received a crash course in fashion blogging, mostly because we had a 2 hour dinner break and had 45 minutes to burn before the start of the second half of the festival, and I appreciate her humouring me. I also appreciate her dedicated effort to taking my picture.

Just wear something

Necklace: Anthropologie | Dress: JCPenney | Belt: off a skirt from Kohl's | Tights: Target | Wedges: Target | Lips: NARS Schiap

This week has been tough. At home, at work. I've also been off, outfitwise--I haven't liked any of my outfits this week, even though I put effort into compiling them. Last night, when talking to my bff A., I told her that I needed a good outfit today. She told me to make it happen. So when I woke up this morning and stared at my closet, I knew I had to abandon my plan to save this dress for my birthday and wear it. Even then, I almost didn't photograph this outfit, because I didn't have time while the sun was out. For some reason I took the long way home, and the lights were still on at the little league I figured I had to. These aren't the best pictures, but they aren't the worst, either. But I'm back on the wagon, and that's what matters. & I'm glad I photographed this outfit, because now I know that I need a haircut like whoa.

Tomorrow I'm going to a film festival with one of my coworkers! I'm very excited. And already, I have no idea what to wear. Oh brother.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Yellow Roses in a Vase (Roses jaunes dans en vase), Gustave Caillebotte
1882, oil on canvas

My first love--at least when it comes to art--was Impressionism. My parents gave me many books on art as a child, and my favourite was on Mary Cassatt. I loved the pastels, the blend of the real and the unreal, the small ticks of vibrant reds and blues meshed with the pale body of work. Gustave Caillebotte is an artist I didn't learn about until long after my world of art knowledge had cracked open quite a bit, but I'm still enamored with his work. Caillebotte was not only a painter but he was one of the great patrons of Impressionist artwork; he was both friends with and collected paintings from the likes of Renoir, Degas and Monet, and upon his death, Renoir executed his will. Caillebotte wanted to donate his collection to the French government, with its eventual home in the Louvre, but the government refused to take it multiple times. Eventually half the collection was moved to the Luxembourg Palace, and the rest of it ended up in the hands of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Much of Caillebotte's work is in the collection of the Musee d'Orsay, but I was fortunate enough to see one of his most famous pieces, Paris Street, Rainy Day, in Chicago. It's a large, beautiful painting, and in the simplistic composition of Edward Hopper, who was 14 when Caillebotte died. Caillebotte is known as one of the more realistic Impressionists, often eschewing the pastels and vibrant highlights for muted, true to life tones. But his paintings were by no means boring, as this painting, Yellow Roses in a Vase, indicates. I highly recommend clicking the image for a closer look; the detail of the roses is blissful and goes far beyond "yellow".

Submissions for this week's SIA are due, as always, by Monday night EST, on March 25th (oh my god it is almost April already). Shoot me your photos and links by then and I'll make sure they're in the post. Enjoy this one, y'all!

Farewell, spring break

Top: Target | Skirt: JCPenney | Flats: Gap Outlet

Tonight is the last night of the last spring break I will ever have. Or that I hope I will ever have. I have no plans to go for a Ph.D. in library science and I'll be damned if I'm caught dead working in an academic or school library, so this is the end of quite a relationship. I have spent this spring break reading a ton (four books completed for class, phew!), working, and battling a sinus infection. I did, however, spend tonight with T. making nametags for a future trip to see a podcast for Doug Loves Movies. I put glitter on so many things, and ate ice cream, and laughed a lot. So here's to you, spring break. Thanks for being there.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Liebster time

Ok! So Tempest of Ellomennopee tagged me to do this Liebster Award deal where you post 11 things about yourself, than answer 11 questions posed by the awarder. This is a relatively serious post, especially compared to most of my posts, which have a slightly herp-de-derp feel to them. (I am proud of that.) It is also rather long. Just a warning. Grab a snack, go pee before you do this. Ok, ready? Here we go!

11 random things about me.

1. I love cottage cheese. omg, you guys, really. Large curd from Publix is it. When I was younger, and Wawa made cottage cheese, I ate like a tub a day of that stuff.

2. I feel like grad school has, thus far, been a waste of my time and money. I definitely understand why I've had to take the classes I have, but as a library employee for the past four (!) years, I wish there had been a way to place out of all the intro classes I had to take. Thus far, I've only really enjoyed two classes--one on music libraries, and one on young adult materials, which I'm taking now. I could go on and on, but point being that library school has been a necessary evil for me to continue on the path of upward mobility; I've reached the glass ceiling in terms of positions I can have without a master's degree. And this goes for almost any sizable public library. I have senioritis already, and I'm only barely halfway done!

Library school on the left, my brain on the right. FLEE, FLEE!

3. My very first favourite book was The Color Wizard. Oh, apparently it was a fairly new book when I first read it at 4 years old! How neat. Anyway, it was a sign of things to come. It's a story about a wizard who lives in a grayscale world and decides to turn the place into a colourful burg. I loved it and I definitely remember reading it ALL THE TIME. My second favourite book was The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. Similar art style, & I loved tracing the pictures.

4. It's a summer of concerts already, y'all. My coworker A. and I are going to see Bruno Mars in August, and ex-neighbour/current friend & coworker T. and I are making the long haul to Raleigh to bid farewell to Streetlight Manifesto, who are taking an indefinite break from touring. T. and I are going to the Package Tour with New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boys II Men in June. I'm hoping Kesha and Vampire Weekend run tours over the summer too. I'd give an arm and a leg to see Vampire Weekend live, and Kesha...well, you know.

No but really.

5. Aside from required weigh ins at the doctor, I can't remember the last time I weighed myself, and I have no problem with that.

6. When I was growing up, I almost never wore vibrant colours. I wore navy, gray, black and olive. Seriously. Even in college it was rare for me to have a tee shirt that was red or yellow or green. My mother used to call my outfits "drab". Not anymore, thankfully!

7. I have seriously considered shaving my head for St. Baldrick's. I still might someday.

8. I first started working in the library as a page, shelving children's books during summer reading. I was busted once for reading Madeline's Christmas. It was worth it.

9. In case you're just joining us here at Animated Cardigan (I was at Nicole's a bit ago and Audrey's sent over quite a few readers!), I am a massive Philadelphia Eagles fan. Despite that, though, I have never had the pleasure to see a game in person. I did, however, get to see the Phillies back when they were still in the Vet.

fly Beagles fly

10. I do not enjoy reading nonfiction. It is very rare for me to really want to read nonfiction, and it has to be the right kind of book--I liked Moonwalking with Einstein and found great appeal in The Philosophy Book & nonfiction graphic novels like Persepolis, but I vastly prefer fiction. I've been mocked for that, but I don't care. Life's too short to read what you don't like, and I get paid to figure out what novels people will like. Sometimes a patron will want recreational nonfiction, and I know a fair bit about that genre--just don't ask me to read it.

11. The most exciting thing about graduating from grad school is that I'll have time to ride my horse again. I'm sure he's pleased with the current situation, but he's getting FAT. That's a problem! There's no room for body acceptance when you're a horse whose breed has a history of overeating and and founder. Also he really likes being ridden, so I don't think he'll be too offended when we get back into the swing of things.


And now, Tempest's questions for me! I really like her questions. I feel like I'm being interviewed for a Buzzfeed article on small style blogging!

1. When you find a new blog in the sea of blogs, what are the characteristics that make you follow it? I'd be a real liar if I said photography doesn't play a part. I follow quite a few blogs, but the ones that I really read and follow with interest are ones that usually have some crumb of photographic skill. (You guys. Get outside once in a while. You can do it!) I also find self-photographed blogs appealing (remember Monkeyface? Miss her so!), because I receive SO much inspiration from those blogs and they push me further in terms of how I photograph myself. That definitely isn't THE reason I follow a blog though--there are some blogs with great photography and I just don't enjoy what the blogger writes, so I don't follow. The excellence of one isn't enough to counter act the failings of the other. Having a personality certainly helps, as does a sense of style! I tend to be offput by a constant c/o--I kind of look at my clothing as a collection, and I'm the curator, and there has to be a set goal (a representation of your self through clothing) for the collection. "whatever x, y and z sent" is not a collection. Style has to be personal, and that's what I want to see in a blog, through and through--from the design to the photos to the clothing. (I'm not as serious about it as I sound though!) For non-style blogs, I look for good pictures, good content, and a healthy sense of humor. If I want to read something dry, I'll read The Atlantic.

Take good pictures! You'll thank me (and yourself) later!

2. Will blogging be the next Myspace, disappearing into obscurity in a few years? I don't think so, because of the level of original content involved. Myspace was, for the most part, a very cookie cutter site--very little customization, spam and bot ridden, creepier than all get out, and difficult to navigate. Myspace offered little room for any original content to breathe and expand. There are still so many blogs for so many different things that have yet to be created. It's a bit like blogging is working toward its own version of Rule 34, but it has yet to reach that level of saturation. Personal style blogging is a little different because you can look at it both ways--it was immediately saturated with the first blog about style, or it will never be saturated because each person as a different sense of style. There will always be people who think style blogs are an exercise in vanity, but isn't that most of the internet these days? Like Facebook--it's an exercise in indulging your vanity and indulging the vanity of others.

3. Have you experienced any negativity on your blog and how did you deal with it? Sure have, and it was about my smile :D I was pretty hurt by the comment that ignited my smile critique, and then infuriated, and then insulted, and then I got over it, all in about 10 minutes. I addressed it on Animated Cardigan in one post and have addressed it a couple times in comments, but I feel over and over again that I have to defend myself and the fact that I'm not a grinner. I've found a few traffic sources that criticized my smile (one in German!) and it was just so frustrating. Which is why I now link to my smiling post in my profile info to the right--people can complain, but I'd rather they have the full story before judging my lack of smile. With instant gratification available for blogs thanks to sites like GOMI and Reddit, it's easy for everyone to be a critic, when in real life he or she wouldn't say a word to a blog owner's face. It can be tough, but growing up in the north and working as a public servant have given me a tough skin, which has served me well.

Grin and bear it. Or don't.

4. Which is more important on a personal blog, style or content? Are we talking about personal style here? Blog design? Well, either way, I think it's a combination of both. You have to have some modicum of style (both blog style and personal style) to visually attract readers, and then, if you want to maintain readership, you have to have solid content. The style of your content is essential, as is the content of your style. It all rolls together. When Salazar and I created Style Imitating Art, I really thought I'd get an email after week one saying someone had already done this, and had done it much better. A year later and still nothing, and I think it's been a very successful and enjoyable venture. I think Salazar and I have both learned a lot about art and blog collaboration in the process, and I love how many stylish, creative women we've encountered along the way. With this feature, style and content are essential to its success, and I think it's similar for many features and creative concepts.

5. What appeal do smaller, non-professional blogs have to readers, if any? I think there's a really personal appeal that blogs lose as they grow bigger and bigger. When it comes to small blogs, there's very little c/o (my interactions with eShakti are it, and really the only sponsorship I want), there's little monetizing, if any, and posts are longer, more thoughtful, and less canned. If I feel like saying something, I'll say it, and I won't be worried about offending a sponsor or losing readers en masse. (Or ending up on GOMI.) Writers of small blogs seem more attainable, more normal, more human. I read blogs like those written by Kendi and Tieka, and they're great, stylish women, but they're already so established in the style blogging world that it takes a significant amount of effort to even contact them and receive a response & their posts have reached a point of being relatively similar, although they talk about different things everyday. The content begins to stale for some reason. On the other hand, bloggers like Gracey and Heidi are easy to find, contact and connect with. I love Heidi's stories about life up in Minnesota, and Gracey's always going to some fun crazy party that probably involves dressing up like it's an episode of Dynasty. They're also really sweet people, and so easy to reach. The accessibility factor is really appealing for readers, as well as for people who are just starting their own blogs.

Would you ever see a picture like this on Cupcakes and Cashmere?

6. Do you find blogging fuels your consumerism? Well, yes and no. I imagine my consumerism would be well fueled, blog or no blog. I like to shop, but I don't chase trends (one look at my outfits probably reveals this). I know fit and flare is a trend now, but...isn't that the basic line of every dress since the 1950s? A-line? But back to the point--I am a consumer, plain and simple, and I probably always will be. In a way I'm very proud of the closet I have so carefully curated over the years (my style history has been a long struggle with my body and clothing and I deserve to be proud of what I've created), and I've finally gotten to the point where there are no major gaps in my wardrobe. I bought a great LBD in November, and I think that was the grand finale to things I really "needed". I will admit, though, that I do feel the pressure to keep finding amazing skirts! I think that's nice pressure for me though, because now I'm not willing to accept just any skirt--it has to be something special to appear on this blog (& as such it needs to be special for me to buy it), and in that way, Animated Cardigan has actually helped me rein in my consumerism and be more critical of what I purchase and how I wear it.

Really, so proud.

7. Does blogging and social media ever make you feel like you are living life through a camera? No, but I'm not very active on social media. I have a Twitter account & I use Instagram and Pinterest, but I update my Twitter once a week if we're all lucky, and I peruse Pinterest every day or two. Instagram I check regularly, because I don't have to invest much time. It's easier, with a small blog, to stay a step or two behind in social media. I respond to Dani when she tweets me, and I talk to Erin sometimes on Instagram, but I really don't get that involved. I find Twitter very difficult to follow, and I don't feel the need to invest in much else. I tried to be a member of IFB, but it was too much effort for me. With grad school and life at home, I don't really have a lot of time to devote to fucking around on Twitter, and I'm kind of thankful for that. I'm a little worried that I'll get sucked into social media when school ends, but hopefully I'll find other things to fill my time, like reading books and watching shitty reality tv. Oh, what's that? I do that already? OOPS

8. People evolve all the time, do you ever feel the need to edit old posts? Nah. I'm one of the few people I know who hasn't dug through old Facebook photos and untagged anything (except spam), either. If I end up at an old post and find typos, I'll fix them, but I don't devote myself to rewriting the past. I just think that's unrealistic, and I don't believe in trying to alter my past to look more favourable or different in any way. I am what I am and what I always have been, and if I have changed, then it's good to look back and see from whence I came. It might be embarrassing, but it's silly to get so riled up over it that you feel the need to edit your prior self to match your current self. Growth and change are two of the things that make us human. Also, opposable thumbs, but they have nothing to do with this question.

This is a legit picture of me on Facebook. Really, I don't untag anything. (A striped shirt! Look at me go!)

9. Do you ever feel shy to tell people about your blog and why? Yes, quite a bit. I don't have as much of a problem telling women--there's a level of vanity we've all reached where we can kind of understand taking pictures of our outfits--but one of my coworkers recently mentioned my blog in front of a male coworker/friend, and I turned red as a beet and was absolutely insistent that she not show him my blog. I don't know if she ultimately did or not (hi A. & W.?), but my slight fit over it probably didn't quell his interest any. But that base level of vanity that women have is often a level of vanity many men never attain or understand unless they're actively involved with a blog like this in some fashion (photographer, editor, model, etc.). I sometimes wonder, when I date someone, when the right time is to mention that I traipse around town with a tripod and take pictures of myself. Is that a fifth date thing? Tenth? Hide it until death?

10. How much do you think about your online identity and how do you decide what is too much information to share? This is something I try to be careful about, because I work for the government and I don't want to reveal the wrong information without knowing it. If I talk about my job on this blog, it's in mostly vague terms--I run a book discussion group, the internet went down, Nooks are obnoxious--and I never talk about coworkers in a negative light or patrons at all. I haven't revealed my exact location, though Cardiganland is in northwestern South Carolina, or my last name. I have an email address specifically for this blog. There are places where things overlap and wires get crossed and if people were really desperate to know who I was, they would find a way. But I doubt I'm that interesting. And my personality? None of that's fake. None of it is TMI. (Maybe the frowns are TMI, I don't know. Whatever!)

This shot is from a post I wrote on my real personality.

11. What is the most rewarding part of blogging? Knowing that I've inspired someone in some way. About a year after I started this blog, one of my best friends from college me texted me and said "I got the nerve to belt a cardigan today, and it's because of you". I was blown away. I've gotten comments and emails from friends, family, and complete strangers about my style and how it has allowed them to inch a little bit outside of their comfort zone, and that's just incredible. I try to help with photography tips when I can, because I know that among small blogs, Animated Cardigan is one of the self-shot blogs that has a real emphasis on photography first, outfit second. Which has bitten me in the ass a few times, but I loved photography first! But anyway--being able to show someone how to compose a photo or figure out the difference between shutter and aperture is amazing. Helping people--women in particular--realise that they can be self-sufficient and run a blog like this one or dress like me or even take better pictures, all by themselves, now that's an exceptional reward.

And that was the end of that.

Thanks to Tempest for tagging me for these questions! I had a great time answering them and getting a little introspective. I personally am not a big fan of tagging people in these kinds of things because it gets a bit exclusionist & I don't want to offend my fellow blogettes by picking some but not others, but I'd LOVE to hear everyone's thoughts on these questions, because they're absolutely fantastic! If you decide to respond to them too, please let me know so I can read them (my blogroll backup is very high because of school. Oh, woe.). You can also always leave a comment!