Wednesday, November 28

Tweed, Jeggings, and Getting Caught Taking Pictures

Okay, here's what happens every time we take outfit pictures. I peek outside and make sure none of our neighbors are outside, Chase grabs the camera, we run outside and take pictures as fast as we can, and run back inside, hoping that nobody spotted us. For some reason I feel really vain and awkward having my husband take almost daily pictures of me in full view of the neighbors. 

The day we took these, we got two pictures taken, and then a neighbor man a few doors down walked on the porch to smoke. I caught Chase's attention and whispered "abort, abort!" and we walked quickly inside and avoided eye contact. 

Ha, we're so lame. So you get two outside pictures, and one inside picture today. :)
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I'm not sure what I was looking at here. Probably trying not to fall over. Haha, just kidding.
I'm such an expert at walking in these shoes. You wouldn't even believe it. 

Outfit Details:

Boots -- Target $15
Shirt -- H&M $5
Belt -- Salvation Army $1
Jeggings -- Kohls (gift)
Coat -- Salvation Army $4.06

Total Cost: $25.06

Monday, November 26

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

On Mondays I'm going to start linking up with Kate at Classy Living. I'm not a huge fan of link ups, but this one actually is really cool. And Kate's a really cool person in real life. It just seems like a good match. :)

The Good: My sister has an awesome lifestyle blog, but she had to make it private because of some privacy issues. So since I adore blog design stuff, I made her a new blog at a different address, which will hopefully stop the problem. Her kids are freaking adorable, so you guys should check it out (unless you're a psychobitch, in which case please don't.)

The Bad: Thanksgiving Dinner was delish. But I guess I'm not used to eating so much rich food, because I spent all night and the next day sick. Fun. It was worth it, though. 

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The Ugly: I love love love dancing, so on Thanksgiving afternoon, we played Just Dance. However, my love for dancing cannot erase the fact that I'm not so bueno at it. I was glad the only people watching were kids! By the way, this game is so much fun!
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Now, all of you guys should write your own GBU and link up with Kate!

Classy Living

Sunday, November 25

Franciscan Benediction

"May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
And turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
Amen”
- Franciscan Benediction

Who prays like this? I know I don't. But I wish that I did. So often I don't even pray because I don't know what to say. But maybe I need to pray for discomfort, for tears, and for anger. 


Friday, November 23

A Bright and Colorful Thanksgiving!

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I generally wear grey, brown, or black, and preferably all three. But when I found this skirt, I decided it would make the perfect Thanksgiving outfit. I originally searched my closet for a black or grey shirt to mute out the brightness of the yellow, but then I decided to take a fashion risk (for me) instead and wear something colorful and patterned. 

Pattern mixing, and color mixing. Guys, I am becoming a real-life fashion blogger here. Only kidding. I don't use the words "oxblood," "new casual," or "wholesome" enough, and I would rather chew my arm off than spend a paycheck on a shirt from Anthropologie. Plus I generally look at the camera rather than the ground in my pictures. Lame, I know.

But regardless, I really really like this outfit. Maybe my attempt at copycats actually served me well. :)

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I hope you guys all had a great Thanksgiving! This was Chase's and my first major holiday away from both of our families. I thought it would be difficult, but we ended up going over to a family from church's house. They were great and the food was great and I played Just Dance with their kids for over two hours which was also great. It reminded me of being with my brothers and sisters. Then Chase and I continued my family's tradition of watching a Christmas movie the night of Thanksgiving. It was really nice. I'm glad we'll get to see our families for Christmas, though.

Outfit Details:

Skirt -- Forever 21 via Salvation Army $2.06
Shirt -- Mossimo via Goodwill $2.99
Belt -- some store in Spain for around $2
Tights -- WalMart $5
Flats -- Salvation Army $.96

Total Cost: $13.01

Wednesday, November 21

Of Forever 21 and Mustard Yellow

Thrifting. Have I ever mentioned that I love it? 

Well, if not, let me just say: I love thrifting. Chase has started to enjoy (love is too strong of a word) thrift store shopping also. Which is great. When we first started dating, I found out that he had never been into a thrift store before, so we quickly fixed that on one of our first dates. Now he's one of my favorite people to go shopping with. Which is good. Since we're married and all, and will probably be shopping together until the day we die. 

Last week I went shopping and I found this yellow skirt. I fell in love, but I carried it around the store for at least thirty minutes trying to decide if I wanted to buy it or not. I know, I know what you're thinking: It was two dollars, idiot, why did you have to think about it? 

First of all, I would hope that your subconscious is not verbally abusive toward me, but second of all, I've started to realize that even when clothes are cheap, there's still a limit. How many skirts do I actually need? And if I wear it once, is it worth filling up my small (and shared!) closet? But I decided that this skirt was worth it, so I have great plans for it in my Thanksgiving outfit. Which I will so be posting tomorrow sometime. I might be an awful picture taker for daily outfits, but I damn well will take pictures of my holiday clothes. :)
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And then I found these shorts. I see many many tights and shorts outfits in my future. 
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And finally, this sweater. I really like the feel of it and the sweatery soft fabric. I've worn it once over some leggings, but it's a little bit too long for my taste. I think this might be a future refashion project to make it a normal cardigan length. We'll see. 
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And that's my latest thrifting haul. What have you guys thrifted recently?


Tuesday, November 20

Hummus and Baba Ganoush

I'm very vocal about what I believe. Surprise. One thing I'm passionate about is gay rights. I fully support equality for gay couples, and I've had countless arguments with friends, relatives, and strangers about it. And after thinking about it, reading the Bible (yes, I do read the Bible), watching documentaries, reading books commentaries and blogs, I've come to the belief that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. I think it's not quite as black and white as many people would like to believe. I'm not absolutely certain of my belief, but there are few things in life that I'm absolutely certain about. I've started to think that maybe being a little bit unsure of stuff isn't a negative thing--maybe it's just humility. There are many people I highly respect who disagree with me about homosexuality and the Bible. Which is fine. Disagreement is healthy. But what irks me more than anything is when people use their moral belief to deny civil rights to homosexual couples. That's just crap. 

Now, having said all that, this video that a friend sent me is the funniest video about gay marriage I have ever seen. It's titled, "Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends." It's very tongue in cheek and has a small bit of language, but it's hilarious. I'm not sure if people opposed to gay marriage would find it funny, but I would guess that they would be at least partly amused. 

Seriously, watch it. You can click on either of the pictures to go to the video. 



If you are honestly interested in learning more about the issue, here are some resources I found really helpful.

What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality -- Daniel Helminiak
Gay Straight and the Reason Why -- Simon LaVay
Speaking My Mind -- Tony Campolo
For the Bible Tells Me So -- Netflix


Monday, November 19

Sweater Dress and Vest

I'm not positive to what degree I like this outfit. I loved it when I wore it, but now I'm mediumly okay with it. Isn't it weird how pictures give you such a different perspective? One thing of which I'm certain, though, is that I love this vest. I wear it so often. I'm glad I didn't rip it up with my Halloween costume

This sweater, though, is seriously the best! I've probably worn it over thirty times since I bought it several years back. Not even kidding. Which means I'm at about twelve cents per wear. Not bad. 
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Outfit Details:

Sweater Dress -- Gap via Goodwill $4.50
Vest -- Salvation Army $2.06
Flats -- Salvation Army $.96
Fossil Watch -- Twice is Nice Resale $5
Pearls -- Body Central $4

Total Cost: $16.52

Sunday, November 18

In Which MaryBeth Rants about Emotions



Chase and I have been discussing emotions pretty often lately. I'm not really sure why, but it keeps coming up in conversations, books, and discussions. I feel like many people don't like to recognize negative emotions, and try to only show the positive ones. Like seriously so many people.

I think this might be more of an affliction in the Christian culture, because Christians are never supposed to be depressed or sad or upset about anything, because in the Bible it says to be joyful or something. I fully disagree with the notion that Christians should be happy all the time. Not only is that a completely unrealistic goal for everybody besides Joel Osteen, it's also obnoxious and fake (also like Joel Osteen). There are times when I'm not happy. There are times I feel sad. There are times I feel depressed. And avoiding those emotions and smiling instead does not make me into a happy person. It makes me into a sad person who's faking happy. Uncool.

For about a semester during college, I had depressive symptoms. I don't think I was clinically depressed, but I had a miserable few months where I never felt happy. I kept trying to deny it because I had absolutely no reason to be sad. My life was seriously going well. But faking being happy didn't make me feel any less sad. Eventually I started feeling like myself again, but it was a pretty rotten time in between. I kind of wonder if I would have felt better by just talking about how I felt and being honest and open with my negative emotions. Who knows?

One thing I'm thankful for though, is that my parents were really good about recognizing and validating whatever emotion we felt growing up. Many well-meaning parents unconsciously affirm all the positive emotions a child feels, while trying to change the negative ones. It's totally natural. If a kid is sad about something, you try to distract him/her and make the kid happy. Because everybody wants their children to be happy. But in celebrating happiness and avoiding sadness, it sends the message that sad emotions are to be avoided and hidden. Nobody wants to see sadness or depression or anger or frustration. But I thing that's so damaging. I think all emotions ought to be recognized, regardless of if they're positive or negative.

For me, I want people to take how I feel seriously. If I'm sad about something, do not freaking change the subject or try to distract me. Tell me you understand, and you know it sucks. I will move on from it, but allow me to feel what I feel. To me, there is nothing more obnoxious than telling somebody about a problem I have and them responding with some bullcrap like, "well think about how much worse it could be." or "You just need to focus on the positive." or "Think about the people in Africa." Thank you for being royally unhelpful. Those are the type of people I mentally move from my friend list to my acquaintance list. Clearly we're not a good match.

A person is comprised of so much. There are so many emotions that go into who I am, and if the negative ones are suppressed, that means a huge chunk of me is not accepted. Several of my friends have told me recently that in their families, they rarely argued or fought and everybody was happy all the time. Great, right? But now, they can't even bring up controversial issues because nobody wants the possibility of an argument. Which honestly sounds miserable to me.

I'm an extremely expressive person, and everything I feel, I feel really deeply. I hate hiding how I feel. Even more than that, I hate it when others hide how I feel. One time I was lifting weights with Chase and I dropped the squat bar. It felt like a really. big. deal at the time, and I was so embarrassed. I went home and cried. Rather than Chase being like, "it's not a big deal. Get over it, MB. It happens all the time," he was like, "I'm sorry you feel like that." And hugged me. And the next day I was over it. It really wasn't a big deal. But if we minimize the problems and feelings of others it seriously sucks. Let me be sad. Let me be upset. Let me feel. I will get over it, but for now just listen and respect that I feel this way.

I think I used to believe that if I hid how I felt, then I wouldn't feel it anymore. But I've realized that if I just put words to my feelings, I can deal with them so much faster. So now if I'm sad, I'll say, "I feel depressed." Saying it doesn't make me feel more depressed, but it helps me validate my own emotions. Which I believe is a huge step to being self-aware.

So to my parents (who don't read this blog), thanks for being real with your emotions so that I could be real with mine. And to Chase, thanks for knowing when to talk to me and knowing when to just shut up and hug me. And to everybody else, Freaking Be Real. Be real and honest with how you feel and be honest with how other people feel. Don't try to be that obnoxious happyeverysecondofeveryday person. Everybody knows you're not, so just stop.

And that's the end to this rant.



Saturday, November 17

Pollack, Joan Mitchell, and Wine

At work, everybody who works there is super cool. As in, I not only enjoy working with them, but I would be friends with them outside of work. And since I'm a recent Illinois transplant, my friend cue hasn't been filled up yet. So all the girls from the coffee shop decided we need to have a girls night (and we didn't invite Tom). We had heard about the painting places where everybody paints a canvas in an art studio, but the cost for that was around $35. Which seems way too expensive on a coffee shop salary. :) 

Instead, I borrowed a lot of artist books from the library, and bought some paint and canvasses from Blick, and we made our own art studio at my apartment. We ended up having so much fun discussing life, the universe, and everything as we painted and drank wine. 
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Here are two of the paintings...
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And some more
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Here's my painting. I was definitely inspired by Joan Mitchell's paintings. She's amazing. 
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I hung it up on our gallery wall. I love saying that... Gallery Wall. It makes me feel so sophisticated. 
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We had such a fun time painting and hanging out. I think we're going to have at least once a month girls night and do something different each time. Next time we're going to crochet and watch a movie. I'm so happy to be finding other people, the same age and with similar interests, that I can be friends with. I super like everybody in Chase's grad cohort, but it's nice hanging out with people who are in the same stage of life as I am. 

So basically, if you need ideas for a fun and cheap hang out time, buy a pack of canvasses and some acrylic paint, drink some wine, and have a painting party. By the way, I think the wine definitely helped everybody's inner abstract artist emerge. 


Wednesday, November 14

Harper Part Dos

Okay. I'm not going to lie. I have absolutely nothing to post about today. 

But I'm running on fourteen days of consecutive posting, and I would hate to fail just because I don't feel like digging in my brain and finding something to write about. So I'm going to show you some more pictures of Harper. Because she's just adorable. Also, let me tell you about her name. We originally just named her Harper. But we always called her Harper Lee. After the author, you know. Then Chase kept thinking of Harper Collins, a publishing company, so we added Collins to her name. And then we watched Grey's Anatomy. One of the characters was named Harper Avery, so we also added Avery. 

She is now named Harper Lee Collins Avery Aycock. That's a serious name, guys. 

Tuesday, November 13

N.T. Wright

Last night, Chase and I went with one of his professors and some other students to hear N.T. Wright speak at a nearby university. My sister as well as some of our friends are HUGE NT Wright fans, so we've kind of always liked him even though we don't know that much about him. My sister even named her son Nicholas Thomas after him, which is awesome. Plus, Nicholas is the coolest nephew ever. :)

He was speaking at something called the Veritas Forum, which is where two opposing scholars have an intelligent discussion about their beliefs and the reasons behind those beliefs. Last night's topic was titled: 

"What Gods DO We Believe in Now?
Challenging the Religions of Culture"

It was a great talk. I normally have a really really hard time staying focused when somebody is talking for longer than twenty minutes, but I really enjoyed the discussion. Maybe it was NT Wright's British accent that was so interesting. Who knows. He's seriously a cool guy, though. Also, his mannerisms and the way he speaks remind me of Kris Kringle from Miracle on 34th Street (The new movie--not the black and white). I kept thinking of Santa Claus during the lecture. 

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NT Wright

Before the talk started, we went to Red Mango and ate frozen yogurt. Even though it was approximately negative one thousand degrees outside, I still loved it! I came to the sad realization that my Texas coat has become my Chicago jacket. When we left the auditorium it was snowing. Like, honest to goodness snow. Crazy, right?! I'm definitely not prepared enough for this Chicago winter that seems to be happening now. Oh well. Asi es la vida. 

Did you see my sponsor post? You should sign up for sure. It's free. What further encouragement would you need? :)


Monday, November 12

Sponsors?


Okay, so I'm not huge on the idea of paying people money to have my name on a blog, and I'm also not huge on charging money to put people's names on my blog. But I really like the idea of sponsors. To me, it seems like a way to mutually help out other bloggers by encouraging and supporting each other.

So that's what's going to happen. This isn't a trial run for future paid sponsors. This is just going to be free. Forever. Until I get disgustingly famous and people pay me the big bucks to advertise for them. Then all my morals will go out the window, but since becoming a household name will take some time, I'm going to stay free until then.

So. You should click on the picture above ^ and sign up to sponsor. Then you can put my blog button in your sidebar, thus helping us both out. You can comment or email me to let me know what size of blog button you need for your sidebar. Seriously. Let's be friends.


Sunday, November 11

Oops I Did it Again

Not only am I listening to Brittany Spears on Pandora, I also wore another outfit with black, brown, and gray.  I just can't help myself. Apparently all of my favorite clothes are in the black and brown color family, and since they're my favorites, why not wear them together? I can't think of a single compelling reason not to, so I will continue wearing black and brown together, and maybe throw in some navy to keep things interesting. :) Somewhere, my little brother's head is exploding. 
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PS, I totally figured out a lazy way to fix my hair. Here's how it goes: Take shower and blog while hair dries. When finished drying, plug in straightener and put on some makeup. Straighten/curl bangs, then curl the hair on either side of my face with straightener. Hairspray. The end.
Great, right?
Also, I feel like these shorts may be too short now that I look at the pictures. What do you guys think?

Outfit Details: 

Boots -- Goodwill $6
Tights -- Goodwill $1.99
Shorts -- Salvation Army $1
Shirt -- Salvation Army $1
Blazer -- Salvation Army $2.06
Necklace -- Gift 

Total Cost: $12.05

Saturday, November 10

Striped Skirt Refashion

This new skirt has been my favorite refashion lately. I bought that striped shirt at Salvation Army a few months ago, and it ended up being an awkward fit. It was a little bit too short and not fitted enough. So, rather than re-donating it, I decided it would actually make a nice skirt. I made a striped skirt out of old t-shirts a few months ago, and this one was pretty similar. The striped shirt would have been way too tight as a skirt, so I cut up a blue dress that was too small.  
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  1. Cut the shirt below the armpits, then cut the side seams off, so all the sides are straight lines.
  2. Cut two equal lengths of blue fabric.
  3. Match them up, making sure the hems at the bottom are even. If you match up the original hems, you won't have to hem the bottom edge. Win.
  4. Sew the four pieces together. 
  5. Hem the top unfinished edge.
  6. The waist of the skirt needs to be more narrow, so it will you know, stay up. I turned the skirt inside out, and on each of the four seams, I tapered in as I got closer to the waist. Since it's jersey material, it doesn't need a zipper or anything. The skirt will naturally stretch and fit, as long as it's a little bit tapered up.

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And that's seriously it. I think it took me around twenty minutes from start to finish. And it was made with clothes that would have been going to the thrift store. It's a little short to wear without tights, but since it's autumn, it's perfect. 
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Friday, November 9

Feather Tunic

Okay, get this: I was at Goodwill, like any usual day, and saw a sign that their Halloween costumes were 75% off. Clearly I wasn't in the market for more costumes, but I never walk away from 75% off without looking. I found this black and white dress/tunic for a dollar. One dollar! It actually wasn't great at first, because it had weird bell shaped sleeves, and slits up the side of the dress. However, ten minutes with me and my sewing machine quickly fixed it, and now I love it!
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I'm still not sure how it qualified as a costume. Maybe somebody wanted to dress up as a bird? (Which is very different from somebody dressing up as a human being attacked by birds, just saying) But if I'm offered something at 75% off, I'm not going to question it. Something about a gift horse, or something.

Outfit Details:

Feather tunic -- Goodwill $1
Tights -- Goodwill $1.99
Belt -- Salvation Army $.33
Flats -- Salvation Army $1

Total Cost: $4.32


Thursday, November 8

Layers and a Vest

So, apparently in Illinois it gets dark before five. Crazy? I think so. Especially since it's still over a month until winter solstice. It's going to be a dark winter, I think. Both literally and metaphorically. I'm trying to remain optimistic about the eternal snow, though. That's a lie. I'm freaking out. Maybe it will end up being not so bad. 

I loved this outfit! The pictures didn't turn out epic, though, because of the aforementioned darkness. I didn't want to waste my Halloween outfit that I had refashioned, so I cut the sleeves off the jacket, hemmed the armholes, and wore it for a vest. Chase told me I looked semi-hipster, which I took for a compliment. :)
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Outfit Details: 

Vest -- Salvation Army $2.06
Cardigan -- Goodwill $3
Black Tank -- Salvation Army $.66
Skirt -- Refashioned
Tights -- Goodwill $1.99
Boots -- Salvation Army $.96

Total Cost: $8.67


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