Sunday, August 30, 2015

... holding on to summer, seeing that which I overlook, and cookies...

Beauty surrounds us,
but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.

With my wedding pumpkins happily growing in my backyard, Halloween in many of the stores, my house smelling like Halloween Yankee candles, and tomorrow being the first day of academic classes it’s almost easy to forget that it’s SUMMER!

The Virginia weather doesn’t let us forget too easily though. It was a pretty hot and humid day. Tonight, after a day of prepping for the week (groceries, picking up my meds from the pharmacy, posting my syllabus and making my course available via the course website, prepping my lunches for the week, dying my hair, doing my nails, etc.) I was sure to get in a pretty long walk.

I walked around town trying to notice that which I don’t always notice. I often focus on gardens or architecture. This evening I focused on paths… one of which led me to the newest bakery in town.  A little over a month ago, I posted about why I say “Monkey” and then earlier this month when I thought my fella needed a little pick-me-up, I bought these adorable monkey cookies at Sugar Fix Bakery for him. I’m totally going to order some decorative Halloween cookies from them! Tonight I was really drawn to the quotes in the window. One of the things that I love about shopping (even window shopping) are the store windows.  

Another thing I noticed was this beautiful urn that is at a street corner. I’ve walked by it a zillion times and tonight I noticed it. So part of loving where you live, is noticing the place… what’s new; what has disappeared; what has been altered. Often on these walks I find that I am the one who is altered.

My fella and I also went to an open house today for a Victorian home built in 1901 that has been renovated and that has been on the market for well over a year and a half. It was a huge house with 3708 sqft. I liked that it had some of its original charm and that we felt lost going from room to room. It also had an acre backyard which I could dream into a fabulous garden space. I mostly liked the idea that I could end up being that crazy old lady that lives down the street in the haunted mansion. But there were lots of issues with it and at the end of the day it didn’t whisper to me in the way that a house should. We keep looking as we gather information. 

For now we love our town home and the little town where we reside. I love walking everywhere… I just want to be a bit closer to the center of the Center of the Universe especially because some locals are gathering together to create some elaborate Halloween-related events including a Monster Walk (as opposed to the Zombie walks that large cities have… why compete when we can be original, right?!?) and a Haunted Car Show! I’ll keep you posted. This year is going to be Spooktacular! But for now, I'm going to live in the moment and enjoy the last weeks of summer, and I'm going to love where I am.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

...Yankee Candle Halloween- Williamsburg Style...

I just got home from the Witches Ball (The Yankee Candle Halloween premiere) and I am tuckered. This year I drove to Williamsburg, VA (not quite an hour from my home) because I had heard that the flagship store was over-the-top. Most of my pictures turned out a little blurry because well, I was excited, I’m naturally impatient, and it was overwhelming with people all around. Stopping to take pictures felt like I was in someone’s way.

I walked in the side door to an amazing arch filled with Halloween items. Most of these items were part of Yankee Candle’s Wicked Web collection. I picked up the
Wicked Web Spider Web Cuff Set along with the Wicked Web Webbed Bat Wing. I have the bat wings from last year. These are a little different and well, I like bats. Because folks were dressed up in Halloween costumes (dress up and you receive a door prize), I received a great deal of attention from the sales associates. At one point, I found myself talking to a manager who was perhaps in her late 50s. She asked me if I was in my version of Steam Punk. Um, no. I tried to explain that this wasn’t exactly a costume as much as it was an outfit. She then proceeded to tell me how she researched “the steam punk” so that she could put together her costume. She actually did a great job; she looked adorable.

I started to realize that I hadn’t seen any of the Boney Bunch figurines so I started walking around the store. There were autumn scenes everywhere! When I arrived at the Haunted House… that’s right! In the middle of the front entrance they had erected a fairly large haunted house to hold all of the Boney Bunch displays. Only about four people could fit in it at a time without our shopping carts. They had several of the online exclusives.

Another section of the store had the Steam Punkin collection. Again, there were some of the online exclusives that I actually ordered online this morning. It was nice to see them in person.

Finally there was the Spellbound collection. They had the Mirror Mirror that I had purchased online this morning and they also had the Spellbound Witch's Cauldron Electric Wax Melts Warmer which I thought would be great for the office (no open flame and I can actually reach an outlet in the new office). Finally, there was the  Spellbound Spooky Gates Wax Melts Warmer which I wasn’t sure I was actually going to buy until I saw it in person. It’s gorgeous. 

There were a few items that were sold out. After arriving home, I decided that I really wanted Boney Bunch Diamonds are a Ghoul's Best Friend. Fortunately, my local Yankee Candle store still had a few. They even had the popular Wicked Web Witch's Boots.

So there you go! Yankee Candle Halloween is finally here! Now my house smells like the season. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

... a dead arm, a bad commute, and fake smiles...

It’s been a long week and I’m not sure where to begin.

Monday. My typical 3-hour one way commute took me about 6 ½ hours when a pedestrian was struck by one of the commuter trains before mine. My first day in my new role of being department chair had me arrive to work at nearly noon. Not exactly how I wanted to start the week especially since the train had to pass the sheet-covered body and because I was emailing back and forth to folks at work I accidentally looked out the window just in time to see the bluish-white arm. Perspective. Better to be on the train than in front of it. 

Dress: I bought a pretty fancy dress from Dress Barn that was on a crazy sale and was pleased that I was able to alter it to be work appropriate by adding a black top over it. Fancy dress converted into a fun work skirt. It was incredibly comfortable too. 
New offices are scary

Tuesday. I moved offices. I guess that means it is official. And my fella gave me presents throughout the week to keep my spirits up since our time together was limited. Here's a picture of Holle Katrina!

Wednesday. Happy pumpkins

Thursday. Missed my first Poe Museum Unhappy Hour of the season… just couldn’t make it there in time.

Friday. Today. Exhausted.
My dad once told me never to go into middle management. They’re the first ones who get let go. In some ways, that’s where I feel I am. It’s different. I am tenured and unless I do something so heinous that it’s inexcusable I can’t be fired. That’s a pretty good position to be in for a job. But it’s also uncomfortable because some have a tendency to throw others under the bus. I pretty much stayed under the bus the entire week until I realized that I can no longer keep the same level of trust and confidence in others. Keep your guide up. It sucks and this is not at all how I want to live my life but it’s only a year. Besides, we gothy girls know a thing or two about putting on a guise and persevering through the toughest of bad situations. This will NOT break me… it will only make me stronger. I’ve determined to make it through the year without complaint. But, please send some light and love because I need it… and the fake smile is hurting my face. I cried twice this week because I feel pretty isolated from my co-workers/friends not to mention feeling overwhelmed. I cry pretty easily. My Work BFF calls me an Empathetic Badass. I haven’t changed but it seems several around me have changed. Fortunately, my Work BFF is in a different department so our relationship hasn’t been altered a bit.  

And to lighten this post, I feel like I had a great outfit week! Here are some of my new dresses. Oddly enough I bought two dresses with color this summer… just because they were awesome dresses. It ended up that I wore them back to back this week because Wednesday was university colors day for our new students. I wore a midnight blue dress. I’ve cropped out a coworker just so you could see the dress. The next day I was running my first department meeting so I wanted to be a bit jazzy while still feeling like myself… and to do that, I rocked my vampire belt buckle that I bought in New Orleans (partly thanks to The Curious Professor Z being an enabler and partly because WHO NEEDS AN ENABLER FOR THIS BABY!) The last time I remember wearing a red dress was in 1996 when I walked in and quit my sucky job. I rarely find the right red. I love wines but red is one that is a bit tricky for me. I felt like a cross between a super hero and a Tim Burton character. My fella said I looked like a Hanna Barbera character ready to solve crime or have an adventure. A friend pointed out that all I needed was a talking animal sidekick. I’ve written it before but the more cartoon character I feel the happier I am.

So there’s my week. I have an exciting day tomorrow since I’m heading to the Yankee Candle Witches Ball in Williamsburg, VA. It’s a flagship store aka it is HUGE! If you go in costume you get a door prize. Those Yankee Candles sales folks won’t even realize that I’m not in costume but I’ll be decked out!

Hope you all had a wonderful week and no one else saw a dead body… just sayin’.

Sunday, August 23, 2015 textured scroll blazer...

“Fashion fades,
only style remains the same.”
~Coco Chanel

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I have 21 black blazers in my closet. Some are velvet, others have a slight pinstripe, and others have a wide circus stripe… and so on. Blazers are incredibly versatile. I wear them to work, out to dinner, with dresses, with jeans…anywhere and anytime. Even in the middle of a Virginia summer when the humidity and heat are in full force, blazers are nice to have for the office and icy air-conditioned trains.

This blazer makes #22 and I have no regrets because the fabric on this one is amazing. It reminds me of fabric one would find on a grandmother’s couch. I’m sure DressBarn would be just thrilled that I described it that way. It’s incredibly light without any lining which makes it the perfect blazer for warmer weather. The blazer does not button which I am fine with for warmer weather blazers. In cooler fall weather I would prefer a blazer that buttons so that I could layer it and use it as a jacket but that isn’t needed now. The blazer also has two front zip pockets which is great for stashing one’s lip gloss.

I tried to capture the fabric pattern in the light but you all know that I am the absolute worst blogger when it comes to posting outfits!  

It’s called “Textured Scroll”; I call it *Gothy Amazement*!

The skirt is from WHBM and the sweater is from Macy's. I finally remembered to write that! I should just stick to my garden posts :p but I loved this blazer and wanted to share especially because their website doesn't do it justice. If I hadn't seen this in the store while I returning a dress that didn't work out, I would have never considered this blazer.