Sunday, July 31, 2011

How I wore it: trial run

Yesterday (Saturday), my husband and I drove way the eff away in order to hang out with another Greek musician and his Greek musician father (just like my musician husband AND musician father-in-law!) AND his American wife. The similarities, they are striking. Also, this awesome Greco-American couple has a nine-month-old daughter, so we spent much of the lunch date playing with her. And secretly taking "cool parents" notes. Dudes, chubby nine-month-old babies are cute. Did you know that? I had suspected it.

Anyway, I wanted to wear something comfortable, as I anticipated playing with the little girl, so I went with my so-far-favorite maternity purchase (again, I've purchased four items as of yet, so... yeah. Not hard to be a favorite right now). Which you've actually already SEEN, because I? Am sneaky:

While the dress is still a tad bit too voluminous for me as I am right now, it's super-comfortable and makes me way less self-conscious that my usual jersey maxi, which is both weirdly drapey and oddly belly-clinging. Anyway, grey maternity maxi for the win. Although I jumped at the chance of buying an all-grey dress, I do think that it needs a little color/ornamentation. Perhaps when I'm back in the States, I can do something creative with the two belts I own (or cute scarves), presumably at the empire level and not my actual waist. For now, all I can really work with is loud jewelry and matching shoes. If it were cooler, I'd throw on a bright scarf, but damn, is it hot. 

So, I'm curious: what would YOU, Style Nation, wear this dress with? Think of it as a canvas. And make sure that your answers don't squash my belly too much!

And, in housekeeping news, folks, I won't be around for the next week. My husband and I drove to Sparta today, but we're off to this place for six days tomorrow. I won't be packing my computer, but I will try to keep up with blogs through my husband's iPad - but I can't guarantee it. I plan to take many many pictures and maybe do a feature on food, which Anne requested. So I hope that I can show you some awesome stuff in a week! 

(And our  vacation to Finikounda will involve my, gulp, 30th birthday. Oh, MY.)

Grey dress: Old Navy Maternity, remixed
Turquoise sandals: Nine West (Athens), remixed

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It wouldn't be vacation without a small trinket, would it? Oh, and customer service...

My dear, sweet husband has wanted to buy me a present for some weeks now to commemorate my Ph.D. I love that idea, but I'm not in the market for new clothes at the moment, nor for new shoes (I'm so scared that my feet will alter permanently! What do I do with all my BOOTS?!). So we've kept our eyes open... On Thursday, we went to the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, one of his favorite museums of all time and one that I'd never visited in all my trips to Greece. I was excited to go, as I'd been on their website often enough, and heard wonderful things about them - plus, I know nothing about art from the Cycladic Islands. Also, I had ulterior motives...

After visiting all the exhibits (dudes, if you go to Athens, go to this museum: it's lovely, charming, and non-overwhelming. DO IT), I dragged my husband to the gift shop, both because I'd heard it was awesome, and (mostly) because I'm on an everlasting quest to be just like joanaddicted... and one of my favorite pieces of her jewelry was obtained at this very gift shop. Here it is! My version is smaller, though:

They make a nice little package, don't they...

Can you tell what it is?

I have no idea how I got this effect and don't know if it will ever happen again.

Eeee! It's a cool ring! I've been jealous of other bloggers for so long for having cool rings that look like sticks, or crosses, or other cool stuff across their fingers. Now it's MY TURN. They had three sizes: super-long, not-so-long-but-surprisingly-huge-on-the-hand, and this one. I went for the least overwhelming of the options. And I luuuuuuuuuuurve it. I can't wait to wear it out for the first time. Yay!

In the museum gift shop, I also saw a cute pair of round, turquoise earrings. Because, as we know, I have a love affair with turquoise, I asked to try them on. Now, I find Greek customer service to be split between two camps: overly helpful and kind of up in one's grill ("No, lady, I can put in my own earring...oh. Okay.") and downright insulting (a hairdresser told my sister-in-law, during a trial run of a hairstyle for my wedding, that the way I wanted my hair - which wasn't what she had done - would look, and I quote, "disgusting."). So I was pretty relieved when the young lady at the museum shop let me try on the earrings on my own (without help!). She seemed to fall into a third category: not giving a damn. Okay, I like that the best. I tried on the earrings and looked at myself in the little mirror she brought over. I made an approving, but non-committal noise. "They're nice," she told my husband in Greek, "But without all this," she added, waving her hand all over my front. That's because I was wearing the Spartan amulet on its black leather cord and a very beautiful, very gold cross with very real diamonds and emeralds. And she didn't think it went with the earrings.


I happen to agree with her. God knows that I love the matching jewelry. I would not wear round turquoise earrings on silver with my gold cross. But I absolutely thought it was none of her business to tell me what to wear my own jewelry (and potential jewelry) with. If I want to go out in (to her eyes) horribly mismatching jewelry, clothes, or even shoes, I believe that she really doesn't get a say in this. And I got a little pissy. Fortunately, both my husband and I agreed that the silver ring was more special and the sweetheart bought it for me.

But this is something I really hate in salespeople: their absolute belief in their own correctness and that need to judge others' (less knowledgeable, they think) choices. My husband was laughed at in a hospital for asking for the clinic that was going to administer a certain ultrasound/test in a certain way. The lady at the information desk literally pointed and laughed at him. My best friend, who happens to be of Italian origin, calls it the Mediterranean "customer is always wrong" attitude. I even saw this in Argentina as a young girl, shopping with my family, that the sales lady refused to believe that I found a certain dress uncomfortable. I was eight years old. 

So, what do you think? What do you like in people who are "trying" to sell you something? Do you prefer overly friendly people who - in the end - are kind of pushy? Or do you not mind being judged because, after all, they're the experts? Or, like me, do you fall in a more neutral camp, where they don't get all up in your space and you know where to find them if you need them? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

PS - For the Greek people that potentially read this blog: I love shopping in Greece. I love being in Greece. I love Greece. And generally, I've been treated like a queen. But sometimes the opposite has occurred. No offense intended, of course. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells

Yesterday I wore this outfit for an errand in downtown Athens and then for hanging out in the evening in Agia Paraskevi:

Striped tank: Old Navy Maternity
Black skirt: Dress Barn, remixed
Turquoise sandals: Nine West (Athens), remixed

Wait, what?

It's true, people. I have a bun in the oven. I don't know if you've noticed that the quality and quantity of my posting became kinda bad, oh, about two months ago? Yeah. That's why. Between dissertation and the dawning of this new stage in my life...I've been busy.

[And there were a few days when I didn't feature outfit posts because no one needed to see my streaked eye-liner post-barfing. Oh. Was that TMI?]

I'm not particularly interested in turning this blog into Chalkdust and Booties, mostly because I'm loath to feature my family on here, but I am excited to explore what will be going on with my figure/fashion as my pregnancy progresses and beyond. I hope you'll stick around.

I'm only just starting to show a bit of a belly and starting to prefer some maternity clothes, especially as some of my non-maternity clothes (I only packed stretchy, comfy dresses and tops, anyways) are starting to look decidedly odd. Plus, I only own four maternity items, three of which I ordered from Old Navy just for the summer, just in case. 

I'm delighted. It's true. I cannot wait to have this baby and play with it and teach it the ways of the world. And my husband is over the moon. Our families are so happy that it's almost obscene; we are lucky that our first child is going to be born in an environment of so much love.

But I'm also scared. I've never done this before, you see. And I'm dealing with stuff that I honestly didn't think would be a problem. You see, people, I lost about 30 pounds - by making more informed nutritional choices and becoming a smarter runner/gym-goer. But the perks of the weight-loss, especially in anticipation of skin-baring summer clothes, were also welcome. Then I found out I was pregnant. Now I'm gaining again, which I know I should do (and I'm certainly not limiting myself... ooh, cheese!). But because I don't always look obviously pregnant, I can get really self-conscious at times. Plus, my energy was zapped for the entirety of the first trimester and I'm only now starting to be up for taking just a walk again. Oh, have I mentioned it's constantly hot, hot, hot in Greece and pregnant ladies get hotter quicker? Yup, it's glorious. So I don't always feel at my healthiest. Anyway, I know this makes me sound like a self-centered, shallow biyatch, but, hell, this is a blog that focuses on my interest in style and clothes. I have a bit of a body image problem and I've had it for many years. I honestly thought pregnancy would put me more at peace with all my issues - and I truly believe it will when I'm bigger - but for now I have to settle for "looking a bit schlubby in profile." And it would be dishonest of me not to write that it sometimes frustrates me. 

And don't think I don't know that my fear probably comes from a deeper place, which is hopefully perfectly natural to a first-time mom: I've seen 'Rosemary's Baby.' 

[Oh, you should've seen the look on the nurse's face when I told her that everything I knew about pregnancy and prenatal care came from that novel/movie. My husband almost lost it.]

Now on to lighter topics, yes? My mother-in-law recently gave me a sort of amulet that's been in the family for generations, "forever," as my husband simply states. We think it's an antique of some sort and it's given to the pregnant women of the family for luck. I've been carrying it in its box in my purse, but we bought a leather cord for it the other day and now I've been wearing it:

I don't think it's the most aesthetically-pleasing ornament I've ever seen, but I'm all for tradition and luck. When, if not now, is the time to be superstitious?!

Anyway, um, that's what I've been keeping from y'all! Again, I don't foresee this turning into a baby-centered blog, but you'll obviously be seeing a lot of my changing body and sartorial choices stemming from that. Let's have fun, shall we? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How I wore it: witty title and post missing

Ugh. Tired. Spent afternoon out in broiling Athenian sun. Bought some stuff. Will show later.

Saw the latest 'Harry Potter' movie in 3-D. Headache. Love Alan Rickman. Love his voice. Poor Snape. Must reread books now... 

In other news, am still seriously considering growing out my hair. Fickleness galore. 

Good night! 

Grey dress: Old Navy
Brown sandals: Madden Girl, by way of DSW, remixed

Monday, July 25, 2011

mea culpa

... Hey, people.

So, I haven't so much been posting, huh...

I can explain. I went out Friday and Saturday nights. I hung out in a cute, shorts-based outfit all day yesterday (Sunday). [Today, however, the most energy I expended was stirring mildly during my umpteenth viewing of 'Lawrence of Arabia.'] I did not take a single picture. The reasoning? I keep on forgetting that Athenian hang-outs - although they can start at around 2PM (like yesterday's) - can keep you up till at least 2 AM, making taking a picture of your outfit the last thing you want to do and you're so tired that the idea of washing your face free of make-up is odious and you start considering tattooing permanent liner onto your eyelids because the idea of ruining yet another towel with black smudges of eyeliner is just getting depressing.

... Not to mention brushing your teeth.

Or maybe that's just me.

Either way, folks. I'm sorry for my lack of interesting posting. I vowed to myself that this summer I would damn the embarrassment and force my husband to take cute blog-worthy pictures while we were actually out so that we could both document my outfits and our outings. That hasn't so much happened. So I'm a little frustrated.

In other news, though, tomorrow we're planning on hanging out in the city all day long. A picture will come of it.

It is written. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

More proof that I'm a lazy bum...

So, remember when I hung out with Raquelita, formerly known as La Historiadora de Moda (and now the Historiadora on the Run)? And how awesome it was? And how I gave you virtually no details about it because I was all crazy and hot and jet-laggy and already in Greece? And how I didn't pack my camera?

Well, SHE did, and the other day, she wrote a lovely post about our meeting that even includes proof of us having met! [My favorite is how she generously says that we've both been runners. She's run two marathons. If I can run around Fresh Pond in Cambridge, it's a good day. And I haven't run since May. And I didn't pack my sneakers for the summer. What a doll...] She even says some nice things about me that may or may not have let me a little misty.

Anyway, just for self-aggrandizement, I thought I'd share that with you. And, if you're checking me out from her, hi! *Wave* I'm not a real runner, but if you like fun-colored boots, well, we'll get along just fine...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How I wore it: I'm melting!

EVERYBODY! Hello! I know it's been over a week since I posted, but I think the long hiatus may be done for now (now I've gone and jinxed myself - see you in September!). We left Hamburg in a blaze of glory and drizzle and are now back and settled in our place in Athens. My husband, however, has been working like crazy to get a commission out the door, so we haven't exactly been leaving the house. Or putting on clothes that matter. However, we did actually leave the house today in order to have dinner with my aunt-in-law (and godmother) and her family. I was so giddy at the thought of not wearing a tank top with a pair of my husband's shorts that I decided to put on a dress and cute shoes and everything:

This is how lazy I am right now: the camera was slightly below me for maximum non-flattery. I didn't care.

That blue dress has been a staple every year in Greece for some time now. I bought it in the summer of 2008, when we didn't go to Greece for the summer. But this is the third year in a row that it's come with me in my suitcase. I did notice, however, on my way out the door, that it has a tiny stain on it that I hadn't seen last time I wore it, before we left for Hamburg. You can probably see it too. Oh, well. Time for laundry. I also wore my beloved red sandals that I left behind last August. I really love pairing the bright shoes with the bright dress: it might not be a perfect pairing, but that didn't stop me. I even upped the ante by wearing orange carnelian jewelry! Oh, Chalkdust, you're such a rebel. 

In other news, I'm in a bit of a style/styling rut...again. I'm thinking...should I grow my hair out? It'll take some time, so it might just be boredom talking. My husband has totally come around to the total other side and now tells me that I CANNOT have long hair ever again because he loves short hair on me. Maybe I should just wear bright red lipstick and call it a day, eh? OR, maybe my stylist will have an awesome idea when I see her in August with horribly overgrown witches' locks. What does Style Nation opine?

In other other news, since my times are all screwy with the US, I just found out a couple of minutes ago, that one of my favorite blogs, Academichic, is going away. I...think I'm a little too fragile for this right now. First Fashionable Academics went away. Now my other favorite "grad students are stylish, too" blog is leaving? People, I credit you with giving me the fortitude to finish my dissertation! It's because I defended, isn't it... DAMMIT! Anyway, in all seriousness, these amazing feminists have won a place in my heart forever because of their lovely photography, helpful tutorials, and charming styles. Unlike other blogs (*ahem* this one), it really made me think. I'll miss my daily fix of the Chics, but I wish them well and wish them luck on their journeys. 


Blue dress: Ann Taylor Loft, remixed
Red sandals: Tsakiris Mallas (?), Athens, remixed

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dr. Boots (!) and a talisman

People, I don't know what happened. Last thing I know, I'm writing about my cousin-in-law's wedding and how I'm going to Hamburg, next thing I know, it's nine days later, my husband and I are still watching TV while eating dinner (in this case, "TV" being the first two seasons of 'The Tudors' I wisely bought some years ago), I'm in Hamburg with a capsule wardrobe that makes me weep with its puniness, and I have a doctorate.

... Wait, what?! Yes, it happened, folks. After years of stressing, kvetching, and actually working, I finally have completed my Ph.D. in (what the Germans call) Indologie. Or Indology, for those of you who are English-speakers. And for those of you who don't know what "Indology" is, I like to respond that it's exactly what it sounds like...except usually I'm asked this during job interviews.

Ahem, anyway. So, yeah. Today was my defense. It was scary as hell, at least beforehand, but once I got into my 20-minute, pre-questions presentation (complete with handouts!), I was feeling pretty solid. I had five committee members, my husband, and about ten to fifteen colleagues/friends/total strangers in the room with me. I guess Sanskrit is really popular in Germany? Anyway, after I presented and was asked my (surprisingly easy) questions (my husband and I have come to the conclusion that only my advisor read the entire dissertation), we all were sent outside and then I was told that I'd passed and what my rank was for both the dissertation and the defense.

Now, the funny thing in Hamburg is that I'm not technically supposed to call myself "Doctor" (or, Frau Doktor, in this case) until I publish my dissertation. It could be crappy online Uni-Hamburg publishing, or it could be "real" book publishing (which my nerdy advisor would much prefer, and - frankly - so would I), so in the meantime I'm supposed to call myself "DD," or "Doctor Designata" or something like that. My advisor also informed me that mostly ridiculous pedants adhere to this rule, so I should just go to town. We've talked a little about how to turn my dissertation into a book manuscript and there's a fair amount of work to be done, which will be tough in the near future, but we'll see what I can do.

... It would totally be badass to have a book in print out about my weird subject, no?

On that note, have I ever told you guys that I specialize in erotic poetry?

I'm not kidding.

In other news, today, around my neck, I wore a special piece of jewelry handed down to me by my mother:

Fun fact: the background is my actual dissertation. So you'll have to forgive the flash.

This is the pendant that my mom received on her baptism when she was a baby. I'm shocked at how well the detail turned out, so you can pretty clearly see two angels dipping a child into a font of some sort. If I remember correctly, the white main part is mother-of-pearl and the green bits around the edge are little, now discolored, pearls. The back of the pendant also has details, such as my mom's initials and the date of her baptism. I decided not to feature those because anyone with a rudimentary grasp of Spanish would be able to guess her name and she might not like me showcasing the date of her baptism, which took place some four/five months after her birth. 

Anyway, why did I wear this today? Well, my mother wore this pendant to all of her exams growing up in Argentina, right through to her final exams when she received her final degree in her subject. When my grandmother brought the pendant from Argentina one summer, I started doing the same, although became rather lax in the practice until graduate school. I definitely wore that pendant during my qualifying oral exams. I've worn it to a few other "tests," such as medical tests and whatnot, but I knew this summer that I was packing it to Europe with me just for today. 

And it worked! 

... well, I'll be. 

PS - I've been an awful internet-slacker these past few days, people. It's mostly because A) I've been busy and scared, and B) I've been lazy. I've barely checked my feed, I've not commented anywhere, and - as you can tell - haven't updated since Greece. Most of this has to do with the fact that Hamburg is so boring that I spend my days on Facebook. It also doesn't help that we're in a one-room studio this summer, so that my husband is always there when I even contemplate taking outfit pictures. I'm not a very brave fashion blogger. Let's hope, now that the stress level has gone down, that I'll be better. I'll try! 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How I attended an Athenian wedding in glasses...

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again...

God, no, I'm sorry. I can't start any piece of writing with "Last night..." and NOT cite Rebecca. Can you blame me? Ahem. Sorry. Moving right along...

Last night, my in-laws and I attended our cousin's wedding. In a few words? It. Was. AWESOME. For me, it was a chance to experience a Greek Orthodox wedding without having to be directly involved. Although I won't share the picture of the whole experience for privacy reasons, I can tell you a little of how it went down.

In the morning of Saturday, my mother-in-law went to her sister's (the bride's mom) in order to help out with the preparations. My sister-in-law joined them in the late afternoon in order to get ready with the other girls and help the bride (and, of course, be in the photos). My husband and I had a couple of excuses at the ready and decided to join everyone directly in church (the wedding started at 8 PM - we were planning to be there at around 7:15/7:30-ish). With that in mind, we dressed in our color-coded outfits, as seen above. [On a side note, does anyone else's significant other have a thing about matching with the partner? I'm not talking about prom here, where - I learned last year - it is normal for a girl to wear a green dress and her date to match EXACTLY his cummerbund and bow tie. I mean, just...going with the other person's outfit. As I'd bought my blue dress first, my husband made sure to buy a light blue shirt/tie with his grey suit, as you can kind of see. I think it's...weird, but maybe it's just me.] 

Anyway, as we were early and nearby, we decided to also stop by the mother of the bride's home in order to see the bride, compliment her, and be complimented. After a quick hello, we joined the milling crowds (including the groom and his entourage) at the courtyard of the church to wait for the rest of the party. Eventually, the bride drove up with her dad, was met up by her family, and joined her grinning groom at the church steps. So here's a Greek wedding fun fact: the father hands over the bride at the steps of the church and the couple enter the church together. There's no "march down the aisle" for the bride and her party. Everyone goes in together. First the couple, then the party, if they so choose to have one. It usually consists of the parents of the bride and groom and at least one koumbaros/koumbara (best man/best woman); we had just a best man, but last night's couple had both, and a couple of flower girls to boot. 

Not the best picture, but from left to right, the koumbara, the bride, the groom, and the koumbaros. Note the two priests. And the photographer.

Then came the ceremony, which I won't describe because I won't do it justice, but it's very beautiful and symbolic. There's ring-exchanging, wreaths, and wine-drinking involved. One thing that was very moving is that the same priest married the bride's parents and baptized the bride, so he gave - from what I can understand - a very moving speech to the couple. 

We also showered the couple with rice as they walked around the altar (wearing their wreaths, which are connected to each other by ribbons), led by the priest. At our wedding, two years prior, our cousin had clocked us with grains of rice: it was payback time. We were handed rice at the beginning of the ceremony and - when the opportunity was nigh - we approached the altar and just pelted them. I think we almost killed a child. Another fun fact: this tradition is starting to get banned, but no one cares. In fact, it's banned in that church, but you know what? The father of the groom told us that there was no way in hell we WEREN'T throwing rice, so... off we went. The cleaning ladies looked pissed, let me tell you.

Anyway, after the triumphal exiting of the church by the happy couple, the rest of us went to a restaurant in Piraeus and ate, drank, and danced the night away. The party was fun, but the DJ was one of those guys who doesn't think that a song should last for more than forty-five seconds, so just as you're getting really into 'Funkytown,' the music will change. BOOOO! 

On the airplane ride into Athens last Monday evening, I realized something and my heart went cold with dread. I woke up my husband to tell him, practically crying: I'd forgotten all my contact lenses in Cambridge! Yup, people, for this important summer, which includes a Greek wedding, my dissertation defense, and my 30th birthday, I forgot to pack my disposables. Dammit. Weddings are fancy, and I had a fancy dress - and I'd be wearing my black Ray-Bans! ARRGH! My husband assured me that it would be fine, and - at the end of the day - I think it was:

I offered to take a picture of my husband, and like a good little blogger, centered it and included his feet. He... did not do the same for me...

I thought my dress was gorgeous, although it was a size or two too big on me and the straps kept on a) falling off or b) detaching from the dress. Oh, I also kept tripping over the yards of chiffon dangling from my (oddly-situated) waist. Still, I liked the overall look. And, so that you won't complain that you don't know what I wore on the bottom:

... orange shoes! Those are my go-to fancy summer shoes. I quite liked the juxtaposition between the various shades of blue on my dress and the bright pop of orange shoe. 

So there you have it, folks! Today we're spending the day recuperating from last night's excesses and trying to make up for the fact that we'll be travelling to Germany tomorrow at ass o'clock in the morning. Oy, so far this has been the summer of no sleep. Good thing I'll have a lot of time to nap between arriving in Hamburg and the super-dorky lecture I want to attend in the evening! 

Blue dress: bought in a boutique in Helioupoli
Orange shoes: Nine West (from, I think, 2006?)

Friday, July 1, 2011

How I wore it: you can't have one without the other

People, yesterday was the first of the real social obligations we have in Athens. You see, my husband's first cousin (and the daughter of my godmother) gets married tomorrow! And I'm super-excited to see a Greek Orthodox wedding in which I'm not the protagonist so that I can finally see what goes on! Aaaaaanyway, she and her fiancé had a lovely family and friends gathering in their wonderful apartment (and huge balcony) last night to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. Yesterday also happened to be my husband's and my three-year wedding anniversary. For those of you keeping count, you might remember that we started dating in March of 2006. Yes, we've been married for the majority of the time we've known each other. SCANDAL.

Anyway, the party was a huge success. I had fun getting to know some of our cousin's friends and new in-laws-to-be. The highlight of the evening was, of course, when my husband decided to DJ and we all danced like fiends. You see, our cousin had requested my husband to bring the mix of music that we listened to (and learned to dance from) two summers ago, when we had our own Greek Orthodox wedding (and, yes, our religious wedding took place almost exactly a year after our "real" one). So it was nice to dance to songs that brought back such happy memories.

While some girls at the party were dressed to the nines and some weren't, I went with an in-between look:

I wanted to go with a drapey, relaxed look, but I think I might've taken it too far. I was hoping to solve the look with some creative tucking-in of the loose shirt, but my husband told me that wasn't working. And I listened to him. It's funny - I tend to pair turquoise with silver always (and my sandals have silver embellishments), but with this top, I couldn't NOT wear gold, y'know? I still liked the look. And, just as I suspected, I was relaxed for the whole evening... 

Anyway, we have errands to run, so I must be off. Hope all of you are well!

Black top: Gap, remixed
Turquoise skirt: baptism gift from my godmother, from a store in Piraeus, remixed
Turquoise sandals: Nine West (Athens), remixed