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Leaving Las Vegas

I'm leaving LV today. It's too bad; I could get used to this place. In short, a vacation well spent.

Here are a few photos. Back to the regularly scheduled program at Breaking Even soon!

Rooftopview 

Bellagiofountains

Nicoledrinksparis  

Vegas Update: Day 5?

I'm having such a great time on my vacation. Thanks to those of you who are continuing to read the blog while I'm in Las Vegas. I appreciate it!

This has been one of those times where I only realized how much I needed and wanted to do this when I actually came here. I've gotten to spend time with two great friends I don't often see. We've done everything from checking out the Hoover Dam to trying out luck at gambling to staying out until 7:30 this morning. We've eaten at swanky restaurants and hotel buffets and Thai food at a restaurant strip mall. While relaxing isn't quite the word I'd use to describe the last few days, I can say that it is energizing to just be doing something different and fun.

I'll be posting some photos tomorrow. For now, it's time to get ready to hit the town. (Getting ready is half the fun actually!) Have a great night and I hope you are getting to do something fun as well.

Vegas Update: Day 1

It was an interesting day involving shopping, walking around, and people watching. The favorite was Paris. (Sarah and I both studied abroad in France.)

Tonight, we are going to spend the whole evening at the Bellagio. Here are some photos from the day:

Lasvegasstripday 

Paris 

Fountainatparis 

I hope you're having a great day wherever you are!

Viva Las Vegas!

Holy cow, has it been a long strange trip. I'm working on finishing today's fashion-related post so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, the view from my hotel (much different from the New England suburbs!).

Vegaswindow

Top Ten Female Wardrobe Staples: The Pencil Skirt

This series on fashion is inspired by a few great fashion related posts and bloggers I’ve been reading lately as well as a really positive response I got from a comment I left on another blog. A young woman was asking what she should get for a work wardrobe without spending a fortune. I gave this some thought and then commented on the ten pieces I’d recommend she get. I got an email back, complimenting my complete list and saying it would serve as a shopping list.

Over the next two weeks I’ll be doing a post on each article of clothing as well as photographing some of my outfits. Enjoy!

Pencilskirtcasual Five years ago, I couldn’t believe I had let myself by a brown/black wool blend pencil skirt from J. Crew for $80. I was a student with a part-time job, I thought as I paid, why am I doing this? That impulsive spending is so unlike me. But intuition must have been at work that day.

That $80 skirt has taken me to cocktail parties, all day workdays in my cube, school functions, and religious celebrations. The wool blend makes if great for all seasons and helps keep the shape of the garmet. A brown skirt with black woven in means I can wear it with most any color and the length is appropriate for more conservative settings. And the “femme fatale” silouette of a pencil skirt is tough to beat!

Casual

A pencil skirt with my trusty graphic t-shirt, boots, jean jacket, and leggings (it’s cold in Maine sometimes!) are super casual but put together. For extra warmth, my cotton black sweater could make a cameo appearance as a second layer. (See me working the black of the skirt).

Pencilskirtbusiness Business Casual

I wore this skirt with these knee socks (this exact outfit probably) to work once and my 70 year old always-wears-a-suit boss said I looked “sharp”. Now if that isn’t a compliment, I don’t know what is! I threw on a hat because I’m always looking for more occasions to wear hats. (See me working the brown of the skirt)

Funky

Pencilskirtfunky Fishnet stockings in dark pink and a belted sweater (something to update those duster sweaters from a few years ago) are yet another way to work the brown. I have a sparkly tank top underneath and if I wanted to dress this up, I could wear the sparkly top sans sweater. And if you’re going to wear a pencil skirt, you might as well wear some heels (comfortable ones, of course!).

Wool Blend Pencil Skirt, J. Crew, $80

Tips on picking a pencil skirt: First off, if you don’t like skirts, you can do this same thing with wool pants (you can even do wool cropped pants if you want to do fun things with legwear). If you are going for a skirt, get one that hits a little above or a little below the knee. One that hits at the knee looks terrible on; try it if you don’t believe me. Remember you can always hem if you need to go err on the side of longer. The wool blend is important, even if you have to spend more. I’m not trying to get you in all dry cleaning clothes; I just want this to last. (I totally wash this skirt in my normal laundry by the way). A wide waist (see my two inch tab closure?) slims that part of you so if that little detail can happen go for it.

Leaves of Grass, Ten Years Later

A dear friend's father passed away about a week ago. The funeral was today and like quite a few days in this past year, I began driving north from my current central Maine home. I had coffee in hand early this morning, driving on a road I've driven a million times during the day and one awful time in the middle of the night.

Since it was a large funeral and involved someone very implicated in the education system, the wake was held in my old high school cafeteria. Robby, Laura, and I wandered the halls like we did years ago. Interestingly not much has changed, except some cosmetic stuff. Kind of like us really.

We were all in the same junior year English class (at least, I think we were). One of our assigned books and the bane of my existence was Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass". We had to write a letter to Whitman as an end-of-unit project and I wrote a thoughtful letter about how boring I thought it was and why.

I got this poem sent to me last week in an email from a friend. I scrolled to read it and liked it, and then I saw it was from "Leaves of Grass"! I guess some things do change, or at least are appreciated later in life anyway.

So I take the day and night off today to spend time with family and friends, and to be content. And I hope you can too.

I exist as I am, that is enough.
If no other in the world be
aware I sit content,
and if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware and by
far the largest to me, and that is myself.
And whether I come to my own today or in
ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now,
or with equal cheerfulness,
I can wait. 
                                                          
               - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

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