a few good links


  • I recently discovered a blog called “The Petite Pear Project”, dedicated to writing about getting dressed as a pear shaped petite woman.  I admire the narrow focus of her blog (some of the best blogs focus narrowly on one topic, and do it well).  I liked her new post on the issue of variable sizing across clothing brands, here.
  • I was moved by this Racked article about one woman’s experience of guilt over getting dressed in expensive clothes against her background of starting out poor. Having been between two classes my entire life, I can’t get dressed without thinking about class politics and feeling guilty about finances too.
  • And for those of you who are physicians or future physicians, I discovered this great new blog by Wall Street MD.  He wrote a very concise and clear article on the importance of disability insurance recently.  He personally answered a lot of my questions through e-mail.  The other day I listened to an episode of Dave Ramsey and was horrified by the bad advice he gave one poor physician who was in a deep hole of student loan debt that seemed insurmountable with her relatively small income.  At least in that episode, he was not up to date with the nuances of the student loan forgiveness programs and basically gave her advice that would cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars! I’m disturbed by how many people might have gone down a path of financial ruin by following his shallow advice.  The White Coat Investor wrote a letter to Dave Ramsey to call him out on it.  I think finally Ramsey has updated his knowledge, but for years he was giving out bad info.  This does not give me much confidence in his advice beyond some of his simpler points of paying down debt and tracking your expenses.  I want to be better informed about these personal finance gurus, so next on my reading list is this book, Pound Foolish:  The Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry.

[image:  Fan pattern on cloth at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum]

outfit: complimented

ootd monday harper tunic elizabeth suzann_1244

Today, a woman at work said to me “I really like the way you dress.”  And I jokingly replied “Oh like kind of frumpy?”  We both laughed.  I’ve always dressed a little different from the general population.  My sisters used to tease me about how I dressed like a homeless person, lol.  But anyway, I think this woman who complimented me today was being genuine and I felt good knowing someone else out there appreciates a non-traditional way of dressing.  It’s not like my outfits are loud or flamboyant but there are eccentric aspects to my clothes, like that giant pocket and those brown socks. I didn’t wear these shoes to work, BTW.  I changed out of them and into my oxfords before heading out the door.  A while back another one of my co-workers asked me where I bought my clothes.  She commented on how I always looked appropriate for work but that my clothes stood out to her.  I gave her some suggestions on where to buy clothes but a couple weeks later, she told me she still couldn’t find anything she liked.  My guess is that although she could appreciate what I was wearing, she didn’t actually see herself wearing the same stuff.  So much of our style choices is not based on what we think looks nice on others, but more about what makes us feel like our true selves.  So do you want to buy that blazer because that’s how you think you should dress?  Or do you want it because that speaks to who you really are?  I ask myself similar questions about so many aspects of life.  Do you want kids because that’s what you think you should be doing or does that speak to who you really are?  Do you want to buy a house because that’s what you think you should be doing, or is owning a home speak to what you really want?  Usually what gives me the answer is being hyperaware of that little pit in my stomach, that little twinge of regret, when I imagine doing something I don’t truly want to do.

[outfit:  elizabeth suzann linen gauze harper tunic, elizabeth suzann twill clyde work pants (old), gold toe socks, pre-owned kork ease wedge sandals]

how to wear a top knot (on your bag!)

baggu crossbody brown

It took me about 6 months to finally decide to buy this cross body bag from Baggu;  I finally bought it when it was on sale for 20% off on black friday.   I almost never carry my laptop around with me so I didn’t need a larger bag than this.  For years I used my APC half moon bag primarily, but because my job now requires me to carry around a bag and I’m constantly digging around my bag for a pen, index cards to write notes, or to check my pager, the half moon bag with its stiff zipper became impractical.  For a while I used a vintage coach mini bag but that quickly deteriorated.  I learned my lesson:  I’m never buying vintage leather ever again.  I chose this baggu bag because it was the smallest size that was still big enough to be functional; it’s easy to open and close; there’s no frills; and the leather feels thick and buttery soft; I also love the thin round strap that tie easily into a top knot to create a cute short length.  I took a leap away from the usual black leather I’m prone to and went for brown.  I’ve been leaning toward light colors, tan, oatmeal, and browns as much as possible.  I think it reflects my desire to go back to California and be among the dry desert landscapes again. Continue reading “how to wear a top knot (on your bag!)”

mega post: Everlane’s first permanent IRL store + every anti-trend aesthetic + what I’m currently doing/eating/wearing.

line outside everlane store NYC

Just look at this massive line outside the first ever permanent Everlane store in NYC!  It filled a whole city block.  I really wanted to go inside but someone in the front of the line told me she waited 45 minutes.  I don’t have the patience for that!  I’ll try coming back when it’s less crazy and report back to you guys.

I went down a rabbit hole reading about anti-trend aesthetics yesterday.  It felt like I was reading a manifesto in some ways.  I think a lot of blogs (like mine) are talking more about “basics”, “classics”, and “essentials” but when you take a closer look there are subgenres within that with slightly different ethos and functionality.  Continue reading “mega post: Everlane’s first permanent IRL store + every anti-trend aesthetic + what I’m currently doing/eating/wearing.”

an updated closet tour + other stuff.

closet fall 2017

This is my entire closet in one photo.  The only thing not shown is my underwear and sock drawer.  If you’ve been a long time reader here, you’ll notice that not much has changed about my closet except I added a hanging closet organizer on the right to store my knitted sweaters the proper way (as opposed to using hangers).    I found a good closet organizer at the Container Store with shelves that don’t bend (a minor thing about most hanging organizers that I find so annoying).

I’m lazy about folding and hanging up my clothes, but since I do wear pants many times before washing, I find that storing my pants by throwing them over the lower closet rod is the easiest way to arrange them.  This keeps me from throwing my pants all over the floor like I used to.

In other news, I had a nice time this weekend with the BF and his mom.  She brought over several eye glasses inherited from the BF’s grandpa who recently passed away.  I thought they looked cool all lined up like this.  There’s a bunch of hipsters out there rockin glasses just like these.  Isn’t it interesting how some styles loop back in time.  I love “old people” style.  When I’m old I’ll already have been dressing my age for decades.


Continue reading “an updated closet tour + other stuff.”

Trusty old shoes. And life as an ectomorph.

I took a picture of my pre-owned SAS Siesta work shoes while waiting for the subway on my way home today.  These shoes are arguably really ugly, but there’s something unconventionally charming about them.  I’ve found myself reaching for them daily ever since it got cold in New York.

Here’s what I love about them:

  1. They’re comfortable for long periods of standing at work.
  2. They make me look taller without feeling like I’m wearing heels.  (SAS makes taller versions as well).
  3. It’s top to bottom black, even the metal shoelace holes and stitching are black.
  4. They are great for autumn weather and rain.  No need to buy a separate pair of rain shoes if you have an umbrella for downpours.
  5. They come in a gazillion width sizes. (These are “slim” or extra narrow!)
  6. And you can find pre-owned versions all over the internet for less than $30, although they are worth a lot more ($130)!  I got mine on eBay for $26.
  7. The design has been around for decades so you know you’re getting something tried and true and can replace them easily when they wear out.  Plus they are still handmade in America.
  8. They make your feet look two sizes smaller and hug your feet (unlike Danskos which were always too wide and clunky for me)
  9. And lastly, they’re humble and smart looking, and go with literally everything I wear to work.  Socks that peak out look fine with my more cropped trousers, at the expense of looking like the nerd that I am (something I embrace wholeheartedly).

Continue reading “Trusty old shoes. And life as an ectomorph.”

a fast fashion holdover, my personal finance homework + other updates

levis 501 ct at 11.06.14 PM

This is an old photo, but I posted it because it’s finally cold enough to break out the old wool socks + Birks combo.  Yes, I know it’s ugly, but I’m shameless, and for casual days lounging around, walking the dog, it’s not too offensive.

I’m wearing one of my favorite sweaters here.  It’s a 5 + year old cotton knit from Zara.  I think it’s true what the Luxe Strategist has said about fast fashion– they don’t all fall apart quickly.  Some do last, if you choose carefully and properly care for your clothes.  But I do think the quality can vary to the extreme at fast fashion retailers.  And quality is only one factor when deciding on what brands to buy from.  At this point, ethics and the environment drive my decisions more than anything else.

I just got back from a week in Cali where I gave a talk at a conference.

I was shocked to discover that the Forever 21 headquarters is now located in the very same neighborhood I grew up in (boooo!).  I’ve heard some terrible things about how they treat their employees, a culture of women bullying other women in the work place.  Why am I not surprised?

But anyway, since being back in NYC, I’ve been busy doing homework that my personal finance coach assigned to me.  She had me total up everything I spent in October and calculate the percentage of my take home pay that I spent on each category.  This is the breakdown of how much I should be spending in each category according to my coach:

housing 25-35%
savings 5-20%
utilities 5-10%
personal 5-10%
recreation 5-10%
food 5-15%
transportation 10-15%
clothes 2-7%
medical 5-10%
misc 2-5%
unsecured 5-10% (student loans, credit cards)
charity 10-15%

Turned out my biggest expenditure was on food.  I was shocked to find out I spent the same amount on food as rent!  Eek!  I don’t go out for fancy dinners, but I guess all those seamless orders + tip add up.  My coach challenged me to not order from Seamless at all in the month of November and cut my food bill in half.

Tonight I made cauliflower tacos (vegan) from the Thug Kitchen website.  It was really good.   I bought pre cut cole slaw to save time on food prep and toasted the tortillas on a frying pan instead of microwaving them to get a crunchier texture.  Tomorrow I’m trying the mushroom tacos recipe from NYT, for something a little different that will still use up all the leftover ingredients from tonight’s dinner.  Cooking every night is going to be a challenge but it will force me to be more creative and actually plan out my meals the night before.

I just finished reading The White Coat Investor, a book two friends from med school recommended.  I highly recommend you read if you’re also in the medical field.  And I just started reading Ikigai  (a japanese version of Hygge) [update:  I just finished reading it; it’s not well written; not a book I’d recommend unless you are very interested in the topic] and Why Buddhism is True  by Robert Wright, who was recently on the Secular Buddhism podcast, which if you have not listened to yet, you should.  It’s gold.   One of the most helpful episodes for me has been the podcast on perfectionism and the problem with comparing.

[outfit:  old zara knit sweater, levis 501 ct*, vietnam wool socks, birks]


wardrobe radar: basic flats

everlane day flat

This week, I realized I need a good basic flat.  I’m currently selling the two pairs I already have because they don’t fit right or feel too fancy for everyday wear.  I’ve been stalking the Martiniano’s for a while but couldn’t quite swallow the price tag especially for a shoe type that I know I’ll destroy in under a year.  Everlane’s new day flats look promising.  I’m waiting for others to review it before I decide to invest.  I’m curious how substantial the soles are? can they fit thin orthotics? Are they structured or malleable like a glove?  And how do they feel in warm weather?

PS. I like how everlane is trending away from the orthopedic-ly unfriendly pointy toes!

[image: everlane]


outfit: loose associations


Here’s a quick outfit post with a top from Kowtow that was meant to replace my retired, beloved, tattered and torn French Connection top (see below).  By the time I recycled it, it had been worn on at least a biweekly basis for 7 years!  It had about 10 holes in it (I know, shameful!).  My BF bluntly told me it had to go.  He was right.  I don’t get why I liked this top so much.  Technically, it’s ugly.  But I thought it was interesting.  I’m not into prints usually, but something about a bold black print, that isn’t full of motifs, and isn’t symmetrical, I found intriguing.  I liked how it seemed to tell an abstract story and felt sort of like a Rorschach test.  And of course, I’m always a sucker for a loose cotton boxy top that looks good tucked and untucked. Continue reading “outfit: loose associations”

outfit: crisp heavy weight cotton

apeice apart cotton boat top

There’s no fabric I grab more than crisp heavy weight cottons.  I like its nice dry hand feel.  And the way the heavy weight creates an off the body structured silhouette, while still being thin enough to tuck in.  I’m a big fan of letting the buttons and pockets of jeans show, and learned that to do that, it’s better to buy jeans that are forgiving around the waist for a good, 360 degrees, all-around tuck in.   Continue reading “outfit: crisp heavy weight cotton”