Brightening up


Black is my go-to. Wearing “dress-up” clothes to work eight hours a day, five days a week, my biggest priorities are looking professional while feeling comfortable. In those early post-college days, I had a handful of dress tops, one pair of (black) slacks and two pairs of heels. When I earned my first paycheck, I started flipping that dough into other pieces . . . and other pieces . . . and still more pieces. Building a wardrobe.

Needless to say, I have a little more clothing now. And, um, a few more pairs of shoes.

But one thing has remained constant: all that black. On any given day, I’m wearing at least one — if not two — black articles of clothing. Black boots, black heels, black flats. Black pants or a black cami under a black sweater. Black earrings with a black belt. Black.

I’m not sure where my late-blooming obsession with dark hues came from, but it’s sort of my signature now. Black and red are incorporated into almost every outfit, and I’m mostly okay with it. Lately I’ve been waking up early only to stand in front of my closet with the familiar, baffled look of a woman who squeaks about having “nothing to wear,” though. I’m just so sick of everything I own.

I went shopping on my lunch break Wednesday, tearing through a local department store until my arms ached under the weight of dresses, shirts and capri-length pants. In 30 minutes, I’d racked up a hefty bill (but had a 30 percent off coupon so, you know. Less guilt). Where once I’d have wandered around the mall with friends and my sister for hours, I rarely get out anymore — so it’s easier to justify my shopping sprees by remembering I don’t piece-meal purchase things throughout the week.

My goal for the outing was clear: buy cute, casual clothes I can wear on upcoming trips to New York City and California, and no black. When I do shop, it’s usually for work-appropriate garb . . . which makes sense, of course. I spend most of my time in work-appropriate garb. But that means I wind up reaching for the same two shirts on Saturdays and Sundays. And even those have black.

Like a frizzy-haired tornado, I wound up with three short-sleeved cardigans (gray, white, fuschia); a knee-length floral dress to wear to “The Newsies” in New York next weekend (ye-ah!); two brightly-colored tops; khaki and blue cotton crop pants; and a pair of fuschia-jeweled earrings. Basically? Everything I would never wear in my “normal” life.

So, for the first time in a year or so (or more?), I recently went to work in a floral, pastel-colored top, brown capris, brown heels and a bright pink pin — as evidenced above. Not a stitch of black to be found.

And I have to say: it felt good. My initial awkwardness over the no-black rule faded by lunchtime, especially as coworkers complimented my ensemble. As we’re thick in the middle of the warm weather months, I’m going to make it a personal goal to have a no-black-clothes day weekly. And if I’m feeling crazy brave? Maybe twice a week.

I’m sure the Angel of Darkness will be glad I’m out of his closet.


——

Is your wardrobe dominated by any particular color? Are you as into black as I am? What’s your favorite color to wear?

The Great Schlepping of Things ’11

We’ve been through a battle.

After two months of packing, moving and relocating, Spencer is finally — like for real, for real — all moved into his new condo. We spent yesterday cleaning out the very last bit of stuff in his old garage at the old house, sweeping and dusting and packing in 100-degree heat (with 100 percent humidity). And little air conditioning.

Since my boyfriend became a homeowner in early June, the transition between old home and new home has been exhausting and daunting and scary. We were eternally grateful for his mom and dad’s help in the moving process when they visited in early July, but so much still lingered in no-man’s land between the two residences.

But it’s done. DONE. No more cruising between both places. No more dry cardboard-box hands or sweaty lumbering up staircases with random heavy objects. No more collapsing on the floor at the end of the night because I can’t physically move another moment. My arms and legs and back will be glad for the break, let me tell you — but I fully acknowledge that for every box I moved, Spencer moved four.

So I know he’s happy, too.

After the Great Schlepping of Things ’11, you’d think I’d be thin as a reed by now . . . but not the case. Of course, I tend to reward myself for a job well done with a well-timed trip to Dairy Queen, so . . . you know. That doesn’t help the Moving Weight Loss Plan in the least.

But it’s done. Done. After taking the final truckload of belongings to the condo and enjoying the working elevator’s ability to get us from the first to second floors, I’m thrilled to say that Spencer’s home sweet home is home now. Once and for all.

I’ve also gone from hemming and hawing about bathroom color schemes to breaking down and investing. In the end, I think the scheme I chose is a good balance of both masculine and feminine: dark brown and Tiffany blue. The plain bathroom has morphed into something slightly more visually intriguing, though I still have a long way to go. (I love that art on the wall, though.)


But the living room has gone from this . . .


. . . to this:


That’s right, my friends: no more folding chairs. That’s good old-fashioned furniture and an honest-to-God vintage-style New York City poster to hang on the wall. Plus? Chairs and other decorations. Actual decor.

There’s also a repurposed ice chest in that nook. You can’t actually see the ice chest, but it’s green and made of wood. We’re using it as an end table, which makes it a bargain; Spencer picked it up at the Salvation Army last year for $10. I forgot he even had it until he and his parents brought it up from the basement. Win!

And I’m super excited about an Eiffel Tower lamp I found at Christmas Tree Shop. Spence likes Paris the way I love London, so we already have a travel theme developing. (We have awesome London and Paris black-and-white dinnerware, too, but I keep forgetting to snap photos of the dishes.)

Life has been very chaotic, of course. I’ve been slammed at work and trying to keep my head above water, so dressing the ol’ nest has gone by the wayside the past few weeks. But as summer winds down and life returns to a normal level of insane, we can get back to fixing the place up and just relaxing.

Then maybe I’ll stop making this face.