Home Filing

Feb 10 2014 Published by under Gadgets, gizmos

I confess; I have high clutter tolerance. As long as scattered objects are not growing mold, and the health department is not breaking down our door, I am fine with some stuff lying about. That does not mean I am immune to the seduction of an organizational system; no, given my love of gadgets and gizmos, devices that promise a neater existence usually find their way into my home.

For example, my husband and I both have stacks of t-shirts. We may come home from work and use one to work-out or do chores. After cleaning up, we may pop on another to relax around Maison Lane. For these uses, a tee can have a few gentle wrinkles, so drawer storage works fine. Unfortunately, we often want a particular shirt to show our support of a sports team or something. These drawers of shirts can become wadded piles of knit fabric after a bit of digging through their contents.

The folding board, my first find, can be seen on television:

My family has already compared me to Sheldon based on ownership of this apparatus; no more snark will be needed, thank you very much. The FlipFold neatly provides t-shirts in a uniform rectangle that easily stacks on a shelf or in a drawer. Many retail stores use it for their display stacks. Even if you do not have the obsessive tendencies to use it regularly, it makes packing for a trip much easier. Tees, polos, and dress shirts can all be managed with this tool.

Of course, when you want a specific shirt out of the drawer, you still have to dig. No matter how neatly folded they were at the start, the shirts end up jumbled after a few weeks. Enter the Pliio(R) filing system:


Filed and ready for duty

Filed and ready for duty

Meet my t-shirt drawer. I would not dare post a before shot (even with my clutter tolerance, it was THAT BAD), but now you can clearly see which shirt is which. I pull one out and tuck its Pliio back into the spot. Once laundry day rolls around, I collect my filers and refold the shirts to go back into the drawer.

Neckwear ready for duty

Lined up neatly in a row

I have also used this system with my scarf collection. Even with these thin silky fabrics, the "fold" created by the Pliio is soft and leaves little in the way of a crease; pull the scarf off, and it is ready to wear. These scarves in a basket are far less tempting to my cat than hanging from the usual scarf racks.

My light-weight knit yoga pants can be folded easily around these filers. They will not accommodate heavier items like sweaters or sweats.

Pliio folders can be purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond and at Amazon. A ten-pack costs about $20. That seems a small price to pay for this much neatness.

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Friday Fun for Fingers

May 17 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Lately I have been going gaga for nail polish. I have no qualms about how it fits, and nail art scares families less than wild make-up or clothing on their doctor. It's a lot cheaper than shoes as well.

Julep delighted me by creating their Maven program. Julep nail polish comes in 8 mL bottles (drugstore polish usually measures 15 mL), and Sephora is their only retailer in my neck of the woods. Oh, and each bottle costs $14.99,  a fairly hefty price.

To become a Maven, you first take a style quiz that assigns you to a category - Modern Beauty, Boho Glam, Bombshell, Classic with a Twist, or It Girl. I am Classic with a Twist. Each month you get an email showing you your style selections for that month. You can choose your assigned category, a box from another grouping, opt out that month, or even gift your box to someone else. Each month includes 2 or 3 full-size bottles of polish plus a bonus surprise, like nail files, glycolic hand scrub, and other products.

Click to Enlarge the Starter Box

Click to Enlarge the Starter Box

The cost for this goody box is $19.99. You get at least $30 worth of nail polish if sold separately! As an additional bonus, at check-out you can order more bottles of polish at a steep discount. I added a sparkly bronze to my intro box for $4.99.

I like to change up my colors frequently, so I do not mind new small bottles each month. If I find a color I simply must have, I can always buy it again at a discount. So far, I do not see a downside here.

Another perk (yes, more!) are mystery boxes. Each month you can purchase a second box of mystery colors, sight unseen. That box should arrive next week for me.

You also earn points for spending on the site. 2000 Jules (their units) will pay for your $20 box. Referring a friend who signs up as a Maven gets you 1000 points; 2 friends and a month is free!

Classic with a Twist: Natalie and Debra

Classic with a Twist: Natalie and Debra

Everyone needs some fun in their life. For me, nail polish is a cheap thrill, especially at $20 per month. I just finished applying the pinky-coral Natalie (see lower image). I will let you know how it wears!


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Summer Shoe-fari Surprise

May 09 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Only $69.99

Only $69.99
(Click to enlarge)

I clicked on an ad recently, and I could not believe my eyes. Look at this cute sandal.

Substantial wedge with arch support...Check.

Heel height 2.5 inches, well in the range the orthopedic surgeon recommended...Check.

Reasonable price...Check.

So what's the surprise?


Someone finally noticed that traditional Croc clogs are many things, but "attractive" is not one of them. I have a couple of pairs of their flip flops that I live in during the summer. Their molded sole supports and cushions. I wore them the day we walked 11.5 miles (measured by FitBit) up and down the Vegas strip last week. I also keep a pair of Croc ballet flats in my office in case I need to dash across campus on a day when I have made a fashionable but unfortunate heel choice.

I am delighted that I can get that comfortable engineering in something that looks like a normal sandal. They have other models with leather uppers and some strappier wedges on cork soles. Click the shoe photo or this link to see more at the Croc web site. 

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Congratulations WNTW

Feb 19 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Yesterday I watched a recent episode of What Not To Wear while doing my treadmill time. I was delighted to see Casey:

Casey is a trans woman who gave up her male identity 9 years ago. In addition to having some issues buying for her body, she expressed difficulty showing femininity yet not crossing that line into caricature (AKA Drag Queen). Once again the WNTW crew gave a woman a makeover where she ended up looking like herself, only better.

I am always happy to see fashion take on more diversity. I like to give magazines and shows a hat tip here when they do  a good job.

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Congratulations to Allure

Jan 15 2013 Published by under Fashion (or not)

The January issue of Allure included a series of makeovers of young women in Year Up, a program that provides job skills, classes, and internships. The magazine brought in stylists and gave these participants make up, hair, and outfits suitable for an office. This year, one of their makeovers stood out:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Sorry for the poor photo quality; I snapped that with my iPhone while reading the magazine on my iPad...

Working within the constraints of her dress code, the stylists gave this woman a great but covered look, perfectly appropriate for her banking internship! I love that they have taken on Islamic dress, something US fashion magazines generally ignore.

Bravo, Allure!

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What I Am Reading: Shoes!

Oct 02 2012 Published by under Fashion (or not), What I'm Reading

Latest object of lust

Marilyn sang about diamonds, but I firmly believe shoes are a girl's best friend. Even on a frumpy, bloated, bad-hair-day, I can still rock excellent shoes that make me feel sexy, pretty, and even powerful.

When I saw Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us, I knew I had to read that book. Rachelle Bergstein's book begins at the start of the 20th century with an Italian boy named Salvatore Ferragamo. It proceeds to the present day (with occasional flashbacks to European courts and Chinese women with bound feet), exploring what the shoes of each era said about women.

The Postman Always Rings Twice

The chapter on the original power pump and the femme fatale highlighted how many films about these bad girls begin with a shot that pans from their naughty shoes up to their face. Can there be any doubt of Barbara Stanwyck's intentions when she trods down those stairs in pom-pom trimmed heels in Double Indemnity? Lana Turner may be wearing virginal white, but those peep-toed pumps scream "sex." No wonder men make bad choices around her. No wonder the postman keeps ringing...

Another chapter covers boots, specifically those of Nancy Sinatra, the ones made for walking. The backstory behind the song almost makes you forget how grating it can be.

The book is not just for high fashion; it includes the story behind athletic shoes. Another chapter explores Vans, Chuck Taylors, and Doc Martens, the shoes of the grunge cool kids.

No book about shoes would be complete without referencing Sex and the City. In the show, shoes became a symbol of a woman's power: "I don't need a man to buy these for me, thank you very much. I make my own money and my own choices." Stilettos as a symbol of female empowerment? Why not?

The boys get some attention, too. Not as iconic as the white suit, Tony Manero's loafers from Saturday Night Fever still rank discussion. After all, Tony window-shops for shoes to the beat of Stayin' Alive less than a minute into the film. Maybe shoes are not just a "girl thing" after all.

If you want a fun look at women and shoes through the 20th century, this book is for you. I had difficulty putting it down, but it was time to put on my big-girl-shoes and go to work. After all, I need more money to buy shoes 😉



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What I Am Reading: Clothes, Inc.

Sep 13 2012 Published by under Fashion (or not)

Last week I trolled Amazon for something new to read. The omniscient suggestion algorithm there led me to Over-dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline. I hit the one-click button and downloaded an entertaining yet disturbing book that leaves me with few great answers.

The book starts with the dilemma many of us face each day, a large closet bursting with clothing and a feeling that we have nothing to wear. We then journey through a brief history of clothing, from the days when store-bought duds cost a significant portion of income through the middle of the twentieth century, when more expensive brands brought the promise of higher quality to those who could afford them. Over the last 20 years, mass-market clothing took the world by storm. Inexpensive off-shore labor and cheap materials allowed our clothing to become disposable. Why spend time or money mending a $7 shirt? Spending more no longer means moving up in quality, as most manufacturing has been outsourced. We are left with a two-tier system with the H&M items at one end and the high-end designer clothing at the other.

Particularly sobering were the visits to Salvation Army. There, only 1 in 20 donated garments goes on the floor for resale, and the best of these may go to resale boutiques. The rest get compressed into half-ton bundles that are sold for processing into industrial materials, like wiping rags, or shipped to third-world countries. At present, less than 1% of our cast-offs goes to landfills; however, as cheap fashion becomes available in Africa and the Asian nations that manufacture the garments, disposing of our old  attire will become more problematic.

Our addiction to cheap wardrobes brings other problems. Most inexpensive fabrics contain petroleum-based fibers which cannot be easily recycled and use nonrenewable resources in their manufacture.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer in the final chapter. The author explores small local designers who can produce more unique clothing options, as well as making our own clothing. I must confess, I sewed a lot of my own clothing through high school and even into my residency (the birth of my first child stopped this hobby). I loved being able to buy a pattern from a designer I could never afford and make it from the fabric of my choosing. By the end of this book I felt like I should start up my habit again.

Of course, I simply do not have the time to make a blazer anymore (yes, I stitched at that level), given my professional responsibilities and blogging habit. I do mend and hem  my own stuff, something many women interviewed for the book do not attempt.

I guess I am lucky because my experiences making clothes let me judge quality well. I value natural fibers like wool and cotton plus the odd smattering of rayon and silk. I try to buy most of my suiting pieces to these standards. Accessories can be high or low end; I rarely toss out jewelry or scarves. But I cannot completely avoid cheap clothes! I now feel a bit guilty about living in knit dresses from Target, the most expensive of which can be had for about $25. However, with some degree of care (washing on the hand-wash cycle and drip drying) these polyester garments have resisted major pilling and destruction for up to 3 years! I have "designer" knits that have held up less well (and there's the real problem).

Bargain by Bruno

I am now working on my shoe habit. I have often picked up cheap shoes, figuring that if they ate my feet I could pass them on to Goodwill without guilt; after all, they were less than $20! Now I try to purchase well-made ones that are worth reheeling and repairing periodically. There is no challenge in scoring cheap shoes at Target, but getting $400 Maglis for $80? Now that was something to brag about!

Just as we have begun to examine our cheap food habit, we need to explore the disposable and wasteful aspects of other purchasing habits. Over-dressed has no easy answers, but it will make you think.

2 responses so far

Academic Archetypes

Jul 19 2012 Published by under Fashion (or not)

I just read a nice post on fashion in academia. Holy oxymorons, Batman! Daniel Myers' essay on Inside Higher Ed should be read in its entirety, but I have quoted the highlight below: academic fashion archetypes. If you see yourself, grab a credit card and head to the mall-it's makeover time!

 Twenty popular faculty styles **

1. I’m not an Oxford professor, but I play one at Notre Dame.

2. This outfit worked at IBM in 1957, so why not wear it every day?

3. Why tuck in my shirt? I’ll just have to do it again tomorrow.

4. Bow ties say “intellectual,” are not the slightest bit nerdy and, as a bonus, they emphasize my growing midsection.

5. Versace Monday, Armani Wednesday: I’m sure to get a red hot pepper on ratemyprofessors.com.

6. I don’t have time to iron. I was up all night changing how we understand the fundamental building blocks of the entire universe.

7. That hole burned by 18 molar hydrochloric acid isn’t that bad. Why waste a perfectly functional pair of pants?

8. If you can get it at Sears, it’s still in style.

9. Suspenders and a belt. I teach security studies after all.

10. No one will notice I’m wearing black tennis shoes with this suit.

11. I need those elbow patches. Reading is hard work!

12. Polyester is the new black.

13. My gigantic glasses from 1987 are still in perfectly good shape. I think I’ll just replace the lenses.

14. Peace and love. It’s still the ’60s, isn’t it?

15.This leather jacket will let them know that I’m cool, man... I mean, dude.

16. I’m a low-level administrator, but I really, really, really want to be a high-level administrator.

17. I wanna wear jeans! But I’d better make it formal by adding a blazer.

18. It’s not that dirty. It was on the top of the laundry hamper.

19. My black pants aren’t too short. How else am I going to show off my new white socks?

20.To tweed or not to tweed? That is the question. And the answer is: To tweed!!

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What to Wear

Jun 06 2012 Published by under Fashion (or not)

I just found this great infographic on dressing for job interviews. While directed toward various corporate sites, you really cannot go wrong with most of these combos in academia. If the image isn't loading, just click the link below.



View full image

Looks That Land the Job


3 responses so far

Another Hypothesis Shot Down

May 29 2012 Published by under Fashion (or not)

I used to believe that a bit of bling could make everything better.

Then I saw these:

Ugg Classic Sparkles

Step away from the Bedazzler now, please. You can click the image to purchase these boots, but why would you?

Why would anyone?

One response so far

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