End-of-term, or Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster

Sweet End-of-term, how we’ve longed for you. How anxiously we’ve anticipated your exhausting-yet-somehow-still-invigorating conclusiveness.

That’s right fellow sufferers – where “sufferers” means “academics at certain universities and colleges in the northern parts of North America – relief is nigh! Here at IPF, Northern Division, a smidge of marking, two in-class exams, and the evaluation of two Honours theses stand between me and the time I so desperately need to research and write my paper for next week’s conference. Once again, End-of-term brings The Watch That Ends the Night before The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

In short, End-of-term constitutes the tippy-top of my Shōnagon-inspired list, Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster. (Stick around to help me finish that list, StyleNation!)

1. Also, this happened

Not as memorable as I’d hoped, but little is. It’s End-of-term.


Swingy sweater: BCBG Maxazria (new to blog); Tie-front blouse: Mexx (remixed); Pointe knit skirt: Calvin Klein (via Winners, new to blog); Tights: Hue; Boots: Fly London (remixed)

And here, just because I have it, is another poorly lit photo of the ensemble I thought was all that and a bag of chips:


Silver brooch-as-tie-pin: was my grandmother’s; Necklace: gifted from A-Dubs Hubs

I was trying to be cool(ish) to host yet another set of guest speakers who research awesome things. One of your blogs taught me this tie-pin-like thing. I’m so sorry I’ve forgotten which one – You Look Fab, maybe?; but thanks, whoever you are.

To conclude,

Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster

5. Insultingly obvious plagiarism in student work

4. My upcoming ENTIRE YEAR off from teaching Intro (sweet goddess, I need it)

3. My pending summit with Janey Em and Kelly in one of Canada’s coolest villes bilingues (wooHOO!)

2. Anticipation of pending responses to two of the past year’s 4 grant applications

1. End-of-term! END-OF-TERM!!! Thanks the goddess, it’s End-of-term!!


What makes your heart beat faster, StyleNation? Share the love. 

Occasions That Induce Half-heartedness

It is a truth universally acknowledged that great stacks of papers appear at precisely the point when instructors are least able to muster the requisite energy to deal with them in an efficient and timely fashion. Sweet are the papers, then, that argue a clear, cogent, thesis that is (a) appropriate to the assignment, (b) well-researched, and (c) largely original. Harsh are those that are (a) craptacular and clearly produced by slackers, or (b) terribly written and/or offensive, despite students’ best efforts to the contrary.

The cumulative effects of the above, in concert with the various grant applications, administrative bullshit paperwork, conference proposal-and-paper-writing panic that make up the remainder of my working life during the winter term, tend to coalesce into generalized half-heartedness in relation to all work-related activities. This year, all is exacerbated by sleeplessness and winter’s stranglehold on this city, despite the change of season we are meant to be experiencing right effing now. (My weather-related feelings diverge in intensity from those work-related.)

Sadly for you and me, StyleNation, my efforts fashion-wise have also been half-hearted(ish). Each of the following began with (a) excitement about one specific piece, and (b) the best of intentions. Nonetheless, I fear the end result for each induces half-heartedness.

Outfit #1: Theory vs. Praxis – the sweater dress


Mexx silk/cotton sparkly sweater dress: new to blog; “Silver” snowflake brooch: gifted; Smart Set T-shirt; Beaded bracelets: from Michaels (that’s right: the craft store. But I saw them marked up approximately 400% in a local boutique. Is that even legal???!); Hue Tights; Fly London boots (new to blog, maybe? I’m too half-hearted to check)

So here’s the thing about sweater dresses: they’re clingy, and they show where one’s tights squeeze at one’s waist, even when one is not wearing control tops. On the model in the picture at the store, and on my bare legs in the changeroom, these problems were not apparent. If I weren’t preoccupied with weather-rage and work-half-heartedness, I’d be pissed about this.

Outfit #2: It’s all about the Necklace

In my mind, this was a great way to highlight the necklace my sister-in-law gave me for xmas. In reality, I’m not sure this does it justice:


Stella & Dot silver bib necklace: gifted (new to blog); DKNY polyester top: Winners (new to blog); Joe Fresh Shell (old); Black Lucky jeans (new to blog); Nine West black and silver belt: remixed (old); Rieker boots: remixed

Here’s close-up of the sweet neck decoration (thanks, again, DSW!):


Probably this was a little too casual for a teaching day. But I was tired and the prospect of wearing jeans was the only thing that got me out of bed that day. Later, a student who should know better remarked on the see-through blouse as soon as I walked into class, implying it was a risqué choice. If looks could make people do things, she’d be romancing her own sphinctral region even now. My half-heartedness does not extend to taking crap from students in non-textual life.

OK StyleNation, it’s list time.

Grading student work and wearing these outfits are 1 and 2 on my Shōnagon-inspired “Occasions that Induce Half-heartedness.” Other occasions include

3. Being facebook friends with my mother

4. Watching “kracken attack” videos with my nephew (to clarify: this induces a half-hearted effort to find my tablet when he insists we watch a kracken attack that has “a really nice tune”)

5. Contemplating the growing food museum in my fridge (produced via whole-hearted shopping for healthy things, then half-heartedly eating cereal and a smoothie for every meal)

What’ve you got, StyleNation?

I’m taking (a) further occasions inducing half-heartedness, or (b) suggestions for jazzier versions of the above ensembles. 

End-of-term Countdown

It’s that time, again.

(Welcome back to work, U.S. members. How was your holiday?)

This time of year, as final papers and projects roll in, and my panic regarding the utter lack of time for my own research reaches a fever pitch once again, I begin to feel a little like this:

Tiniest Treadmill User Ever

As previously noted, now is the time for serious ensembles. While I have occasionally snuck into my office on non-teaching days wearing things like this:

Purple cashmere cardigan: Ricki’s (gifted from A-Dubs-Hubs); Blouse: Joe Fresh (new to blog via the grocery store); Cami: Smart Set (old); Cheetah necklace: Stella and Dot (remixed); Skinny trousers: Mexx (remixed); Lined cognac leather boots: Rieker (via Shoe Heaven, remixed)

Teaching days are all about authority colours and power clothes – well, power clothes for a Women’s and Gender Studies professor, at least:

Sleeveless printed wrap blouse: Mexx (new to blog); Cami: ?? (cut out the tag, via Winners); Necklace: Gifted; Charcoal cardigan: Smart Set (new to blog); Navy wool-mix trousers: Melanie Lyne (new to blog); Studded leather flats: Fugitive de Francesco Rossi (remixed)

Who’s got even better Final Countdown videos?

Will you share the titles?

(We’ll credit you when we use them!)

Glamrock and Other Soothing Sounds of the Academic Season

GUTEN-FREAKING-TAG, StyleNation, and welcome once again to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

E-Jo, Queen of Jewel Tones, Pantage, and Pencil Skirts, and D-Med, Armoured Duchess of Black Cardi‘s and Morning Surprise Hair, have clearly gone to ground in this maelstrom of marking. I, A-Dubs, will do the same shortly, having collected yet another zillion papers yesterday that MUST be returned Tuesday morning.

But first, an important announcement:


Next Wednesday marks the beautiful, beautiful conclusion of the teaching term in my faculty. I’ve no more lectures this term, just an in-class exam for one class, and an exam review for another. It is time to dance around (in pyjamas, in home offices, on breaks from marking papers and calculating final grades):


Academics, where are you at in the term? What’s left to do before you’re free? 
More well-adjusted/non-academic readers, are you counting down 
to anything awesome these days? 

Adventures in Pants

Ok.  So “adventures” is misleading.  Unless non-stop grading and emails about upcoming papers, and increasingly sloppy lectures count as adventures.  I thought not.  Today is the eve of a glorious near-week break for Thanksgiving, followed by my final two teaching days of the term.  I’ve got a ton to do in the next few weeks but the knowledge that I can do most of it in yoga pants or, even, my pjs with a certain naughty little dog curled up beside me makes all things possible.  As well, this is the first year in nearly 10 that I’m not traveling over the holidays so I’ve got nearly 10 days between my grades being due and family arriving which seems like a blissful period of working, baking, and watching ridiculous holiday fare.

For the time being, I’ve been wearing pants.  Or, more accurately, I did so a couple of weeks ago now.  This last week has been unseasonably warm so leg-covering tubes of fabric seemed unconscionable.

Blue cardigan: Gap
Black & white tie blouse: Old Navy
Jeggings: Old Navy
Gold flats: Nine West
Invisible, skinny patent black belt: Lane Bryant

This is one of my very favorite outfits from the last while.  Unfortunately, it didn’t photograph well — all my poses are weird and the belt refused to be visible.  This is what comes from trying to take outfits photos when I get home from class at 7:30 pm.

Navy & white cardigan: Gap outlet
Chartreuse tank: Target
Brown ponte pants: NY & Co.
Blue suede flats: Jessica Simpson
Multi-strand silver necklace: Loft Outlet

I don’t have much to say about this.  It was fine.  I like this cardigan.  I love the chartreuse-y-ness of this tank.  But, basically, meh.  

Are you traveling over the holidays, Style Nation?  Any tips for survival?  More importantly, what food/ drink I should be particularly indulging in while I stay grounded?

Monday, Monday

Man, does it ever feel like November here (apart from the fact that I still can’t completely turn off the air-conditioning): I spent the weekend grading, it’s gray and blustery today, and I just want to stay in my pjs all day.  While I work out some way to dress today that’s basically pajamas but still teaching acceptable, here’s a couple of things I was wearing last week.

Black faux-wrap shirt: Joe
Black tank: Target
Jeggings: Old Navy
Gold flats: Nine West
Feather print scarf: France

Here’s an outfit built around the scarf I bought in France (detail shot below).  It’s silk and gorgeous, and subtly the colors of the tricolore.  The rest of the outfit didn’t photography well here but it’s really beside the point: it’s merely a background for feathery goodness.

Dress: Old Navy
Cardigan: Gap
Gold flats: Nine West
Purple tights: Target
Scarf: Germany

I love this dress.  It’s the perfect piece for showing off things like scarfs or bright blue cardigans.  This is also my first foray into the colorful tights arena.  I love a dark purple so this seemed well within my comfort zone.  

Inspired by M. of An Epic Battle in High Heels, I went for a long overdue head suit alteration.  I didn’t get a shot of it when doing these outfit pictures, but one’s coming…  My hair’s the longest it’s been in years so I find that haircuts appear less significant but there’s something to be said for the psychological effect of having a tidied up head–even if just externally!  

The Final Push

I just realized that this week is the first of the final third of the term.  Yikes.  Also, how has this term gone by so quickly?  I get a bunch of assignments in today that really kickstart the unending pattern of grading, returning assignments, receiving more that characterizes the end of term.  It’s also the part of the term where students who’ve previously treated things lackadaisically begin to realize that they’ve been doing so and want to try and wheedle extensions out of me.  I’m kind of a hard ass on the topic of extensions, though, right now, I’m kind of feeling their pain a bit as I could use an extension or two myself.  At least the weather is finally cooling down…

Coral tank: Addition-Elle
White tank: Target
Black & grey striped pencil skirt: Old Navy
Scarf: German find (better detail shot here)
Gold flats: Nine West

These outfits are from before the temperature began to drop. As part of “Operation: Wear nothing but Pencil Skirts,” this skirt is a recent addition.  It’s made of really stretchy jersey so it’s actually somewhat difficult to walk in, at least until it stretches out a bit (it’s kind of like a jersey covered elastic band).  It’s also quite a bit longer than I might like — I’ve got it really hiked up here (wearing it at my waist puts it several inches below my knees) — and so I’m deciding whether I want to get it hemmed or leave it with a somewhat flexible length.

Tank & Jeans: Old Navy
Flats: as above
B&W bracelet: Gift from my sister’s trip to Morocco
Pink bracelet: World Market

This was from a non-teaching day.  And, confession time, I’m pretty sure these are actually jeggings.  However, they’re flared and made of denim, rather than denim-printed spandex so I’m ok with this.  They’re super comfy and replace, for the time being, my jeans of a heavier denim.  I also enjoy how the mini-FR is all blur, all the time in his most recent appearances.  This is probably a fairly accurate representation of him.

My Halloween plans include teaching this evening, and bribing my students with candy.  As I’m a bit of a Halloween grinch, this works for me.  Any of you got big plans?

No Repeats: Long Skirts/Wardrobe Orphans

Welcome Style Nation, to our next challenge. Well, it’s Be Fabulous Daily and The Cohabiting Closet‘s No Repeats challenge, and I am giving it a go. Thus far, the challenge has been a sweet bit of respite in a week of paper-and-exam-marking hell.

Today, I offer ensembles styled around long casual(ish) skirts, items I’ve not worn since the very early years of this millenium.

Orphan #1
I saw this Bebe jean skirt in fall Vogue in 2005 or 2006. (‘Strange, no? How often do Bebe items appear in Vogue?)  If finally became mine when D-Med, Kelly Bean, Rinty the Crusher, and I shopped in Vegas the following winter. And I’ve been struggling to style the ridiculous thing ever since.

As it turns out, a low-slung, super-long, curve-creating denim skirt is a weirder item to work with than I ever could have anticipated. Re-watching Season 6 of Buffy has helped. As have the examples of Sal, of Already Pretty, V, of Grit & Glamour, and Sheila, of Ephemera. Here’s what I came up with yesterday, outfit-wise:

Acrylic wrap sweater: Smart Set (old)
Black tank: H&M
Necklace: gifted (remixed)
Skirt: Bebe (via Vegas, Baby)
Invisible boots: Browns

~ This is why I don’t teach in this baby. You know, in case I need another reason in addition to its denimness.

Ha! ‘Awkward mannequin pose much? ~

Orphan #2
I thrifted this skirt in 2002 way out by D-Med’s stomping grounds in IPF East. I’d firmly established it as a winter item before I realized that the pattern is made up of tropical flowers. But whatever: they have winter in the tropics. Because of the floral pattern, it’s fun to wear with bada$$ boots and a lot of black.

Cotton jersey top: Max Azria (via Winners)
Belt: Mexx (remixed)
Polyester skirt: thrifted (VV at IPF East)
Boots: Fluevog (old, I forget what style; also, they’re no longer on the website)

~ Mid-breakfast pose. I never sit to eat breakfast on work days. Also, probably you are excited that I’m introducing a new prop.

And this is one of the reasons why I don’t wear this skirt very often. According to training my mother received in school (Seriously. In high school.) that she passed on to me during my childhood, one should take shorter steps when walking in a skirt. I’ve decided that this is stupid – why should I be hobbled in any way by my clothing? Plus, I’m always in a hurry; big strides get me there faster. But not in this skirt:

I’m tempted to shorten this skirt. But I tend to think of the giant pattern as a reason to keep its extreme length. Also, it’s just polyester with an elastic waist; what if it needs to be long to be awesome and not old-lady housedress-ish?

Are you rising to the No Repeats challenge? If so, what are your strategies?

Also, should I shorten skirt number two?