Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hood Seasons: The More You Snow, the More You Grow

Sweater: Merona, Target
Shoes: Two Lips Too, J. C. Penney's

I've spent more than my fair share of posts complaining about Old Man Winter.  The cold, the dark, the clunky boots, and, of course, the nasty driving conditions.  But today is the first day of spring, which means that it's officially over.  Also that it's safe to reflect on that one day when my Honda and I braved the tundra.

It wasn't as if the storm had come on suddenly, like a squall slicing a tranquil day.  No, I saw the flakes begin to fall while still at work around lunchtime.  Usually, the first flurry is enough to make me hightail it home.  But this time I stayed put.  For one thing, the news said that it wouldn't stick.  For another, I was tired of being afraid of the weather.

In other words, I got cocky.

When I left four hours later, the parking lot was an icy blanket.  With the help of a kind coworker, I cleaned off my car and crawled away, gripping the steering wheel like a life raft.  It was pretty grim.  My heart was pounding, and people were passing me left and right.  Then I heard Incubus's "Drive" on the radio.  You know.  That song about overcoming fear, and quite possibly (at least in this case), a fear of driving:

I feel the fear of
Uncertainty stinging clear

And I
Can't help but ask myself how much I'll let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It's driven me before and seems to have a vague

Haunting mass appeal
But lately I'm beginning to find that I
Should be the one behind the wheel"

I took it as a sign.  If Brandon Boyd could choose water over wine, then I could get myself home.  Who knew how many other people felt this way, how many other "special snowflakes" were, at that very moment, white-knuckling it through the elements?  It gave me hope, and it gave me courage, and when I finally inched into my driveway, I felt like I'd slayed a dragon.

A few days later it snowed again, although this time not nearly as much.  The husband built a snowman and snapped this pic of me with it, albeit wearing Betsey Johnson earmuffs instead of a hood.

If nothing else, then it's photographic evidence that snow can be fun.  And that I can't resist kooky headgear.

Then last night, I chased off my inner Abominable Snowman once and for all by making this Ice Princess Necklace (above).  It's more delicate than my usual stuff, but the glittery sky blue and white remind me that winter isn't just treacherous, but beautiful.  Kind of like admiring an exquisite ice sculpture instead of imagining some kid's tongue stuck to it.  Or appreciating the elegance of an icicle without thinking that it's going to impale Marvin the Mailman.  Also, it sort of screams Frozen.  Which is about as dark as a vanilla milkshake.

So I learned something from Old Man Winter.  Now class is in session with Senorita Spring.  (Which I know isn't a thing.  But it should be.) 

Watch out, allergies, mosquitoes, and sunburn.  Mulan is coming for you.     

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day: Wee are Family, ROYGBIV Jig

Top: Fifth Sun, Target
Skirt: Arizona Jean Company, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Delish, Zulily
Bag: Cat & Jack, Target

Top: So, Kohl's
Skirt: Bea & Dot, Modcloth 
Shoes: I Promise, Ami Clubwear
Bag: Sleepyville Critters, Zulily

Sweater: Poof, Marshalls
Skirt (dress) Esley, Modcloth
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Amazon

It's March 17, and you know what that means.  The wearing of the green!  Also, the eating of the green, and hopefully not Brussels sprouts.  That said, here are a few of the things that make St. Patrick's Day worth all the blarney. 

- Mint-flavored everything, especially those yummy, gummy candy leaves.

- Rainbow-colored everything, including these sponges I spied (a while ago -- see, those random pics come in handy!) at ShopRite.

- Glorious green in lime and emerald and every shade in between.  Check out a smidge of it in these tricked-out tulips that the husband picked up (also at ShopRite) for today's festivities.  He apologizes for their droopiness, which he attributes to their -- wait for it -- having hung out too long in the beer garden.  What can I say?  Corny jokes run amuck in this household.

- Potatoes with lots of cheese.

- Good luck.

- The promise of spring.

- Rainbow accessories (and napkins).  I know I already said rainbows, but fashion, diva that she is, demands her own entry.  

- And, finally, spending the day with (albeit Italian instead of Irish) family.  Which is my way of saying that the husband and I had my parents over.  The husband cooked; I was the sous chef.  And it was delightful.  Although we did eat lettuce, we also had hot cross buns, which feature those super sweet, candied green cherries.  Take that, Jolly Green Giant! 

And that's the end of the list, leprechauns!  I hope your St. Paddy's was a good one, filled with rainbows and loved ones and kitsch-tastic fashion.  

And, of course, unhealthy green things to eat.    

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Rants Go Marching Two by Too: Huzzah! Huzzah!

Sweater: Mudd, Kohl's
Skirt (dress): Monteau, Marshalls
Shoes: Guess, Marshalls
Bag: Lily Bloom, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Michaels

Sweater: Mudd, Kohl's
Jeans: Vanilla Star, Boscov's
Shoes: Guess, Marshalls
Bag: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Barrette: The Tote Trove
Maroon bangles: Iris Apfel for INC, Macy's
Coral bangle: Silver Linings, Ocean City boardwalk
Fuchsia/white bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's

If you're a college basketball fan (or just own a TV), then you know that March means madness.  As if the warp-speed winds of this lion-lamb month aren't bad enough, the NCAA sees fit to jab its elbows into the soft underbellies of our prime-time programming.  I know, I know. There's On Demand and Netflix, and no one watches TV in real time anymore anyway except ninety-year-olds.  And me. But I like my stegosaurus system of seeing my shows (as the oldsters say) when they air, commercials and all.  Choking down that last bite of tuna noodle casserole so you don't miss the opening zinger on "The Big Bang Theory" makes it seem like more of an event.  Like going to the movies to watch the next Marvel installment instead of catching it on cable while you clip your toenails.

Anyway, March is crazy.  One day it's snowing, and the next it's sidling up to sixty.  So I thought, why not embrace the madness and style summer stunner necklaces with sweaters that all but scream Christmas?  Because nothing says Santa like mulberry and jade in pop-the-champagne chenille.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I like buying things in (slightly modified) twos.  Like these sweaters.  In addition to being different colors, they're also different sizes (jade XS, mulberry S) and cost different prices (jade $3, mulberry $10).  Other than that, they're exactly the same, two jolly holly berries in a Mudd puddle pod.  I wore the mulberry one already just as it's pictured here, except with pink Uggs instead of the heels (snow, oh why do you hate me?).  And I'm looking forward to wearing the jade one, sun bag and all, before spring -- well, springs.

So I guess that March can be magical.  And magically delicious come St. Patrick's Day.  As long as that gruesome twosome -- sports and snow -- don't stink up the meadow.

Shamrocks hate stinkiness.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

World on a Ring: Bonbon Baubles

Collecting stuff -- clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, hair accessories, books, CDs, stationery, faux cacti -- is one of my jams.  (I'm also pretty partial to actual jam, although I haven't started hoarding it.  Yet.)  So today I'm sharing my collection of PinkBopp rings!  As you may know, PinkBopp is the Etsy shop of my fellow blogger and artist, the very creative and talented Samantha.  I've been collecting her rings for a couple of years and have half a dozen.  They're so bright and happy and are, ahem, hands down the coolest rings I own.  Also, I love the way they look nestled in this old Russell Stover Valentine's box, which is where they live (minus the pompoms).  Each super cute and girly creation is sweeter than the next.  They're a fitting tribute to the strawberry creams that once hung out with Russ's ruffles. 

Speaking of which, when I look at this first pic, it makes me think of two things, 1) Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box," and 2) Le Vian chocolate diamonds.  "Huh?" you may be thinking.  "Isn't "Heart Shaped Box" the song where Kurt screams, "Hey!  Wait!  I've got a new complaint." with all the rage in his angst-ridden soul?"  Well, yeah.  Which means that it isn't at all in keeping with the cotton-candy-light tone of this post.  Still, it's a song I respect -- and one I'd rock out to while hitting the highway.  But I can't see myself ever purchasing a diamond, Le Vian or otherwise.  Even my engagement ring is a garnet (my birthstone), orbited by a rainbow of smaller sparklers.  What can I say?  I prefer my baubles kawaii-a-rific.  And preferably plastic.   

So thanks, PinkBopp, for making my quest for one-of-a-kind digit decoration even more exciting and colorful. 

Le Vian ain't got nothing on you. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Kick Start My Heart: Feels for Heels

From left: Chase & Chloe, Zulily; Chinese Laundry, Zulily; Chase & Chloe, Zulily

I promise that I'm not getting an, ahem, kickback from Zulily to blog about these shoes. Although if Zu wanted to toss me that new pair of yellow Jessica Simpson ankle straps that I just bookmarked, then I wouldn't cry unethical. But if I can't get a pair of great shoes for free, then the next best thing is getting them for next to nothing. Because you can never have too many, and getting each pair cheaper means getting more.

It's a strong woman who can resist a new pair of kicks -- and an even stronger one who buys them anyway and endures the pain. A pain that comes, of course, from the bunions, corns, and hammer toes that are the price of fashion-forward footwear. Although today's trio isn't high on height -- or torture -- I wear plenty of pairs that rival skyscrapers. Whenever my feet sprout fresh deformities, I always think of that part in Shopaholic and Baby when Becky Bloomwood's gyno lectures her about her heels, tsk-tsking that fashion is bad for your health. This makes me angry. Becky already has to battle morning sickness and bloating; she shouldn't have to give up cute shoes, too. Then again, her gyno turns out to be a husband-stealing ass clown, so what does she know? Furthermore, the gyno's clothes are boring, which is a kind of symbol of her inner ass-clownery. You know what they say. Never trust a woman in sensible shoes.

They also say that beauty is pain. Which to me this means the bunions are worth it.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Don't Fret, Pet: Just Sit Back and Savor Your Ice Cream

Black tee: Merona, Target
Tank: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Skirt (dress): Zulily
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Princess Vera, Kohl's

One of the reasons I love to craft is that it's therapeutic.  Which I don't think is a secret, because I weave some version of this theme into most of my posts.  I find it freeing to work with my hands, to know that at the end of my labors I'll have something tangible that I -- or maybe even someone else -- will love.  The fact that that something is the product of my own whim is always satisfying.  It reminds me that I'm putting the best of me out into the world and that it's this best that makes my world brighter.        

So, I thought I'd blog about the power of looking on the bright side.  And why not start with pet peeves -- those peeves that you feed, and in feeding, of course, keep alive.  We all have things that annoy us.  Maybe even enrage us.  But hanging on to gripes, feuds, and ill will of any kind is a sure-fire way to get an ulcer.  I didn't always believe this.  There was a time when I thought that hanging on to the bad stuff meant that I was in control, that mulling it over again and again would help me figure it out.  But then, after one bump in the road too many, I realized that the only way to get behind something was to put it behind me.  Because most stuff is out of our control anyway and not worth worrying about.  I had to learn that relaxing didn't mean giving up, but instead choosing to enjoy life.  Which wasn't easy.  Because to me, it seemed that everyone and her brother seemed to want a say in what I was doing.  I'd go to the dentist, and they'd tell me to floss more.  I'd go to the hairdresser, and they'd say that I had too many split ends.  These are trivial examples, but they show how even the tiniest stresses once unnerved me.  After a while, it felt like my whole life was one giant report card that wasn't up to snuff.  Which was exhausting because here's the thing that they don't tell you when you're a straight-A student (as I was at one point in my life).  It never ends.  Not until the day you speak up and say, "Enough!" and live life the way you want to.  Maybe you want to travel the world or train elephants or open up an ice cream shop.  Whatever it is, it won't be easy.  Some people in your life won't like it (your dentist, for one, especially if you go with the ice cream) and will want you to keep striving for As.  But those are usually not people you want around anyway.  And whatever obstacles you face, pursuing your dream is always worth it.  Even if your dream is just to sit on the couch and watch sitcoms.  Because once you stop caring about grades -- which is a fancy way of saying that once you stop caring about what people think -- your life becomes one long vacation.  Not the kind where you burn in the sun, but the kind where you do the things that make you smile.      

I don't want to train elephants, just make them into accessories (but not, to be clear, in an illegal, poached ivory way).  That's my dream.  Not to mention the only pet I want in my house.  Which isn't merely a metaphor.  A slobbery mutt that licks its butt, then you?  No thanks.  I'd rather have it out with the dentist.

Writing this post was cathartic for me.  But I also hope that it finds its way to someone who needs it and that it helps her (or him) too.

Then again, it's also possible that I offended dog lovers.  

Good thing I won't worry about it.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Circus Quirkus: It's a Jungle in Here

When you're a crafter, sometimes you make things that you don't want to wear or sell.  Or even give away.  But that you still want in your life.  These animal cracker brooches are some of those somethings.  If you're thinking, hey, aren't those just Nabisco box parts cut out and covered in glitter glue?, then you're right.  They're as basic as all get-out, a little "Hey, mom, look what I made!"  Still, for whatever reason, they speak to me.  I may tack them up in the craft room.  Why not?  It's like a circus in there.

Speaking of the big top, here's my pair of Circus pumps complete with their jaunty striped box.

Now, black doesn't exactly scream three rings and a fire eater.  Even black studded with rhinestones.  But then, who am I to question the great Sam Edelman's name for his line of shoes for everyday people?  Believe it or not, I only recently discovered that Sam & Libby, the creators of those bow-topped ballet flats that adorned the tootsies of every babysitter and retiree from Tulsa to Boston, are the very same Sam and Libby Edelman who peddle high-end footwear to ladies who lunch (no 9-to-5 for them, babysitting or otherwise). 

I remember my mom wearing the ballet flats when I was a kid (I think they were light green), and I had my own pair in white.  A few years ago, I was lucky enough to nab a metallic version at Target on clearance for $10.  Apparently, the Edelmans reissued this style to the store exclusively.  (So sweet of you, Sam and Libby!)  If they look a little grotty, then it's because I wear them everywhere.  They're the most comfortable shoes I own, and they go with everything.

Anyway, the pumps (which I got at Kohl's for about $35) are super versatile and even kind of comfy.  I've worn them a lot this fall and winter and like them so much that I wish they came in other colors.  Like hot pink, lime green, or other shades worthy of a trapeze artist.

Still, even if they came in the rainbow itself, I wouldn't trust them on a tightrope.