All The Patterns

striped tee polka dot pants leopard printed flats by 14 shades of grey

I had a different outfit in mind for this week’s SIA, inspired by Charles Demuth’s “Spring“, but at the last moment I decided against it, because while it may copy some of the colors of the painting, it doesn’t capture the many patterns of the fabric samples. So I chose to a more casual outfit with all of the patterns instead – there are three patterns here (stripes, polka dots, and leopard print) – four if you count the floral print on my owl pin – and I keep the colors minimal to avoid being a walking fabric store. I’m happy with this – it captures the spirit of the painting, if not the exact colors and patterns.

Don’t forget to stop by Erin’s blog by Wednesday (a day late, since she has a pre-scheduled post on Tuesday) to see other interpretations of this painting!

striped tee polka dot pants leopard printed flats by 14 shades of greystriped tee polka dot pants by 14 shades of grey

striped tee owl brooch by 14 shades of greypolka dot pants leopard printed flats by 14 shades of grey

Tee: Forever21, Pants: Old Navy, Flats: LA Fashion District, Pin: vintage

Crossover Clothes

black tee green plaid pants brown sandals by 14 shades of grey

I usually divide my wardrobe into three sections: stay-at-home clothes (like sweatpants and pajamas, the kind you’ll never see on the blog), running-errand clothes (clothes I’d wear if I have to pop into the shops, which are usually too old to be worn to work but not comfy enough to be pajamas), and finally work clothes (which is everything you see on the blog, clothes I wear to work or whenever I have to be presentable.)

Occasionally though, these clothes do cross-over. Take this outfit, for example. It’s nice enough for a casual day grading papers at work, but it’s also comfy enough to lounge around at home in. I should find more clothes like these.

black tee green plaid pants by 14 shades of greyblack tee green plaid pants brown sandals by 14 shades of grey

green plaid pants brown sandals by 14 shades of greyblack tee necklaces by 14 shades of grey

T-shirt: ASOS, Pants: local shop, Sandals: gift, Necklaces: local shop & self-made

Book Reviews: May 2016

This month’s book reviews post is a week late, because I was half-way through my fourth book and wanted to finish it for the reviews. Overall, it was a good month of reading even though not all of the books are great.


The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (Flavia de Luce #2) by Alan Bradley:

I wasn’t terribly impressed with the first Flavia de Luce book (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie), but I like books set in the English countryside, and I like murder mysteries, so I decided to check out the second book in the series. Bad call. All the things that I disliked about the first book – the less-than-believable main character (an 11-year-old self-acclaimed poison expert and amateur sleuth), the sluggish pacing (the murder, that of a traveling puppeteer, doesn’t occur until quite late in the book, and everything before that doesn’t really build up to it), the thin plot (the case is solved fairly quickly and easily) – are present, and they’re even worse than in the first book. In the first book, at least Flavia’s own father was framed for murder so there is something at stake, whereas here I don’t care about the case at all. Plus Flavia’s relationship with her family is repetitive – the book stresses again and again how distant her father is and how her sisters torment her, but if Flavia is so smart and self-assured as her first-person narration makes her out to be, she would’ve learned to live with it. I think this is the author’s way to humanize Flavia, but it only makes her even less believable. 1.5/5

I guess if I like murder mysteries set in the English countryside, I’m going to stick with Miss Marple from now on.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer:

This was one of the first books I downloaded onto my Kindle, but I didn’t get around to reading it until now, because after The Hunger Games and Matched, I’m kind of sick of YA dystopian novels. Still, this one is a retelling of Cinderella, in which Cinderella is a cyborg, so it sounds interesting.

Unfortunately, that premise is the only good thing about this book. Sure, some of the details of the fairy tale are reworked quite cleverly (Cinderella’s slipper is the cyborg’s mechanical foot, her pumpkin coach is a rusted orange VW that she fixes up, etc.) but overall it’s very disappointing. The characters are boring and stereotypical (of course Cinder falls in love with the prince at first sight, of course she has a grease spot on her face when they first meet – oh em gee it’s so cute, right? – and of course the prince is prepared to throw away everything for her.) The world feels underdeveloped (Cinder lives in a place called “New Beijing”, in which the culture feels vaguely East Asian but none of it is explored; it doesn’t explain why cyborgs are considered second-grade citizens, or why, in a futuristic world, Earth still uses an outdated form of monarchy), and the story feels like a set-up for the other books in the series instead of something that can stand on its own. 1/5

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson:

After those two disappointing books, I needed a palate-cleanser, so I turned to my favorite non-fiction writer. This is his latest book, which details one extraordinary summer in the history of America: from May to September 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, the first talkie was released, the stage is set for the Stock Market crash two years later, work on Mount Rushmore began, and many, many other things happened. It’s a testimony to what a good writer Bill Bryson is that I was enthralled even though I couldn’t care less about aviation and have no knowledge whatsoever about baseball. I’m only interested in history in general, but everything in this book is just fascinating. 4.5/5

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:

This is the book I was reading on my Kindle in the SIA post last Monday, and the one I finished for the reviews – it was a really quick read so I didn’t want to hold on to it until next month.

The story is set 30 years in the future, when Earth has been destroyed by wars and pollution, and most of its inhabitants have lost themselves in a virtual reality called OASIS, where one lives through an avatar, like in a video game. When the creator of OASIS passes away and leaves behind clues to an Easter egg that can unlock his massive wealth, a teenager joins the hunt for the egg, while evading a corporation who is also after the egg in an attempt to take over OASIS.

This is quite possibly the nerdiest book I’ve read, as it’s filled with references about 80’s video games, movies, TV shows, anime, basically everything about 80’s pop culture. That being said, you don’t have to be a gamer (I’m not) to enjoy this. I do find it a little slow in the beginning, and some of the references feel like mere name-check (like the author is saying “See how much obscure 80’s culture I know?”) instead of serving the plot, but after a while the story draws me in, and the flat writing doesn’t bother me too much. After all, it’s getting adapted by Steven Spielberg, so it has to be good, right? 4/5

Bad Omen

blue gingham shirt wide-leg jeans black heels by 14 shades of grey

This outfit is as bland as room-temperature oatmeal, but there is a reason for it and for this post, I swear. See, it hasn’t rained in nearly a month here, and combined with the construction site right in front of our house, that means dust, dust, dust everywhere. So this morning I thought I’d try my old “style voodoo” by wearing my rain shirt, to see if that could make it rain. But when I went into my closet to get the shirt, it was nowhere to be found! I haven’t worn in since April, so it’s possible that it got lost in the shuffle when I put away my winter clothes. I don’t mind the shirt so much, but if I was more superstitious, I’d say this could be a very bad sign for the rain…

Also, that means I had to wear this gingham shirt instead. Riveting stuff, I know.

blue gingham shirt wide-leg jeans by 14 shades of greyblue gingham shirt wide-leg jeans by 14 shades of grey

Shirt, Cuff, & Heels: local shops, Jeans: Old Navy

SIA Inspiration: Demuth

For this week’s SIA, Erin picked a painting by Charles Demuth, an American artist known for a style of painting called “Precisionism”, or “Cubist Realism”:

This painting, titled “Spring“, actually depicts a more realistic subject matter than one might have thought at first glance – those different patterns are all sample swatches of spring fabric. Fun, right? And so much room for interpretation. Just remember to send your outfit to Erin ( by next Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day!) to be included in the round-up.


white sleeveless blouse navy jeans brown oxfords by 14 shades of grey

This is the third sleeveless top + jeans + flat shoes outfit I’ve worn in two weeks. And you know what? I’m OK with that. I’m pretty much running on autopilot these days (so many finals to grade, so many grades to enter into the system, and I’m working for the graduation committee again this year so there are all the thesis films and scripts to take care of, argh, why is the end of the semester always so busy). That’s why I’m glad to have a uniform of sort, to make the morning a little easier.

white sleeveless blouse navy jeans by 14 shades of greywhite sleeveless blouse navy jeans brown oxfords by 14 shades of grey

navy jeans brown oxfords by 14 shades of greywhite sleeveless blouse pearl broochby 14 shades of grey

Top & Brooch: local shops, Jeans: H&M, Oxfords: Vagabond

The Blues Are Still Blue

chambray shirt black skirt blue oxfords by 14 shades of grey

Told you guys the outfits are going to be really simple these next few weeks, didn’t I? The heat and the approaching end of the semester mean that my mind doesn’t have much room left for interesting outfits. This one is actually one of the more interesting I wore this week, and it’s still very simple – I knew I wanted to wear these oxfords, and I happened to be listening to Belle & Sebastian at the time, so I figured, what the heck, let’s keep the rest of the outfit blue (with a bit of black). Basically, I used their song as inspiration for this outfit. It’s been a while since I had a song as my post title anyway.

chambray shirt black skirt by 14 shades of greyblack skirt blue oxfords by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: Esprit, Skirt: hand-me-down, Belt: thrifted, Oxfords: Max Dorian