Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Ties That Blind: Birds of a Tether

Dress: Modcloth
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bag: Gifted
Belt: Marshalls
Bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Green bracelet: Amrita Singh, Zulily
Purple bracelet: Etsy
Other bracelets: So, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Michaels
Barrette: The Tote Trove

Top: Pink Republic, Kohl's
Skirt: Wild Fable, Target
Shoes: Katy Perry, Zulily
Bag: Circus by Sam Edelman, Kohl's
Belt: Izod, Marshalls
Bracelets: So, Kohl's

Filled with beads! 

Sometimes, things don't go according to plan.  Like when I photographed this first outfit and found that the lovely-in-my-mind lemon print dress camouflaged my Bird is the Word Bag Necklace into a chaos of color, and not in a good way.  But I subbed in a plain black top as the new backdrop.  And the necklace popped the way I wanted it to -- even if the sacrifice was the obliteration of the green and black details of my watermelon flip flops.  

But that was okay.  I learned to love my little ghost watermelons, reminding myself that perfection is boring.  

Which is just one of the things that spoke to me in Kelly Corrigan's memoir Glitter and Glue.  In it, journalist Corrigan reminisces about when she was twenty-four and quit her desk job to see the world and have great adventures.  She never imagined that she'd end up as a nanny for an Australian widow and his two children.  Or that the experience would make her see her relationship with her own mother in a new light and give her a glimpse of the mother she herself would become.  

I knew I would like this book.  How could any crafter not, with a title like Glitter and Glue?  But I didn't know that I'd love it, that its bittersweet edges would remind me of life's relentless yet precious surprises.  I like memoirs because they get right down to the core of things.  They're character-driven as opposed to plot-driven (although I suppose they have to be, what with the characters being real people and all), and their end game is self discovery instead of shocking endings or eleventh-hour rescues.  Unlike in a novel, nothing is tidy -- and somehow seems richer for it.  And that's the case with Glitter and Glue.  Corrigan describes her adopted Australian family in as much detail as her family back in Philadelphia, complete with all the alliances and dynamics that construct the invisible framework of people who sometimes have nothing in common but genes.  

Five-year-old Martin is immediately smitten with Kelly (it seems incongruous to refer to her as Corrigan at this point), but seven-year-old Milly remains reserved to the point of rudeness.  Both adorably call her "Keely" in Australian accents.  Helping out in a motherless household gives Kelly a new perspective on her own childhood.  She has always been closer with her father, a light-hearted Irishman nicknamed Greenie, whereas she sees her mother as strict and unsympathetic.  Yet when she was a teenager, her mother told her, "Your father's the glitter but I'm the glue."  (Better than the old rubber and glue saying, I guess, where glue is the villain.)  Now, years later, this makes Kelly wonder, and it makes me wonder, too.  Is the no-nonsense parent the one who loves harder?  And do men always get to be the fun ones while women do the less glamorous work of holding things together?

On a more superficial note, I could not for the life of me imagine traveling anywhere with only ten pieces of clothing!  But that's just what Kelly did.  Toward the end of her nanny tenure, she tie dyes a top and a pair of pants purple in an attempt to impress a special someone.  (Because yes, there is a touch of romance here.  And for me, it -- and its tortured trajectory -- is the book's most poignant part.)  I admire Kelly's move in all of its Scarlett-O'Hara-tearing-down-the-curtains ingenuity.  But for me, most of the fun of going anywhere is getting to trot out new looks.  Still, this personality impasse makes Glitter and Glue's message even more powerful.  As in, we may not all be the same or even like the same things, but at heart, human beings need the same things: to understand the world around them and to be appreciated and loved. 

I think that's what Corrigan (because yes, at this dramatic juncture we're back to using her last name) is saying.  That, and appreciate your mom no matter how much she annoys you, because she's amazing.    

They say that healthy birds leave the nest.  And I agree.  But the healthiest birds always come home.  Even if only to unpack an overnight bag -- be it a designer tote or old, beat-up backpack -- and say thank you.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Hairy Truth About Scrunchies . . .

. . . is that they're totally awesome!  I know, I know.  I once vowed to resist this resurrected eighties/nineties trend.  To never fall for its amorphous allure or wind its graffiti-print, calamari-like rings around my precious ponytail.  Because there's something provincial about it that makes you (okay, me) feel like you're admitting defeat.  I blame such snobbery on that episode of "Sex and the City."  You know, the one where Carrie and Aidan argue about whether a scrunchie-sporting woman at a restaurant is a New Yorker.  Carrie says that she isn't; Aidan insists that she is.  When they ask her, she reveals that she's on vacation and gushes that she's flattered to be mistaken for one of Gotham's glamazons.

Then I saw the reboot.  (Of the scrunchie, not "Sex and the City.")  And it's more than just a, as my mom used to say, ruffle wrap.  It now comes in a myriad of colors, prints, fabrics, and even structures.  Some look like old-school telephone cords.  I was really excited about that and snapped up this fluorescent foursome.  Sure, when I tried to wear them in my (admittedly unruly) locks, they got lost and looked like dead jellyfish.  But that only inspired me to string them on a ribbon and wear them as a necklace.

In other updo doodad overhauls, the elastic part isn't even the, ahem, mane event, but a mere anchor for scarves and bows.  They're so pretty, like something you'd see on a bobby soxer or Disney princess.  I snagged two in red and yellow, Ronald McDonald style, albeit in autumnal florals, as well as a hot pink one printed like a bandanna.  The effect is summer fading into fall.  Kind of like an acid rain-spiked watermelon crashing Thanksgiving's still life of corn and cranberries.

That's the thing about trends.  Sometimes, it takes more than a minute for them to make sense to you and secure a place in your heart's true blue wardrobe.  Sometimes -- like the Cranberries -- you have to wait and let them linger.

And also, admit that a comeback can overcome a comment from New York's couture queen.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Undersea Stallion Battalion

Top: Self Esteem, Macy's
Skirt: So, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Privileged, Zulily
Sunglasses: Relic, Kohl's

Top: L'Amour by Nanette Lepore for J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Celebrity Pink, Marshalls
Shoes: Simply Vera, Kohl's
Bag: H&M
Belt: Wild Fable, Target
Sunglasses: Mudd, Kohl's

This Sparkly Seahorse Necklace says "shoot-out at the O. K. Corral."  But it also says "wipe-out at the Old Bay Coral."  Because seahorses are weird like that, straddling the warring worlds of land and sea.  Speaking of coral, the tee shirt in the first outfit kind of looks like a mare's nest of it, with our poor pal seahorse obscured by its chaos.  So I took a take two with the nautical knot blouse, which makes for a much better backdrop.  Is this because nautical knots scream boat, and a boat is the only vessel brave enough to traverse the tightrope between terra firma and tidal waves?  Or because the knots look like pretzels and pretzels are tasty?      

Only the seahorse knows.  And she isn't telling.   

So be like the seahorse and keep a secret or two.  And when in Rome rock a (rhinestone) cowboy hat. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Baby, You're a Fire Perk: Can't Hold a Candle to Sandals

Left to right: Penny Loves Kenny, DSW; Mix No. 6, DSW; Shoe Carnival

A Roman candle, that is.  Because these sandals are plastic and will explode if near an open flame.  That's right.  This Fourth of July, I'm rolling out the red, white, and blue carpet for new kicks.  Only the white is yellow, which is okay because yellow is the final destination of white anyway.  (Kind of like Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde.  But you know.  Not.)  You need only look at your teeth (unless you use those painful whitening strips) or your mother's wedding dress (unless your mom tied the knot yesterday, in which case, get in on those cake leftovers already) to know that it's true.

That said, there's nothing to raise the spirits like a new pair (or three) of sandals.  (Unless it's a new handbag.  Or a piece of cake.  Or a new handbag shaped like a piece of cake.)  And there's something especially glam and feminine about shoes that show off your toes.  Even if they do make your feet sweat like Big Foot slogging through the Sahara. 

Anyhoo, here's a shot of me all dressed for the Fourth:

What's that you say?  Why am I not wearing my new heels?  Because it's America's birthday, and my tootsies are taking a break.  I am, however, wearing Katy Perry flip flops and a balloon necklace (which, full disclosure, I made for one of my birthdays).  And am, most importantly, keeping the red, yellow, and blue theme alive. 

So, three cheers for things getting old and crusty.  And for pyromania in the name of patriotism.   

It's what our forefathers would've wanted.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Fate Expectations: We Didn't Start the Pyre

Purple top: Pink Republic, Kohl's
Print top: Marshalls
Skirt: Mudd, Kohl's
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Luv Betsey, Boscov's
Jelly bracelets: So, Kohl's
Braided bracelet: Amrita Singh, Zulily
Belts: Izod, Marshalls
Barrettes: The Tote Trove

Polly Parrot Necklace

Top: A New Day, Target
Skirt: Tinseltown, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Marshalls
Mint bangle: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Yellow and blue bangles: B Fabulous
Striped bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Belt is Cool, Amazon
Sunglasses: Wild Fable, Target

Top: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Tinseltown, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: B&B
Barrettes: The Tote Trove

 Top to bottom: Mudd, Kohl's; Macy's; Mudd, Kohl's

Top to bottom: Tinseltown, Kohl's; Arizona Jeans, J.C. Penney's; Tinseltown, Kohl's

I was recently listening to Fastball's "Fire Escape" (on CD, of course) when I realized why I like it so much.  It's because it's about smashing expectations.

"Well, I don't wanna be President, Superman or, Clark Kent   
I don't wanna walk around in their shoes
'Cause I don't know whose side I'm on
I don't know my right from wrong
I don't know where I'm going to
I don't know about you."

Of course, it's also about being a bit of an asshole boyfriend.

"I don't wanna make you mad
I don't wanna meet your dad
I don't wanna be your dream come true."

But I'm willing to rationalize that as collateral damage.  Also, I can't help but wonder if "Out of My Head" is this dude's apology.

Anyway, living up to others' expectations can be toxic and has been so since the beginning of time.  Look at Pip -- we all know what happened to him.  Dealing with others' demands is certainly something that I've struggled with, which is why this nineties (1990s?  I never know which one to go with) tune resonates so strongly with me.  It makes me think of speeding, carefree, through the desert (Fastball hails from Texas), cavalierly throwing caution -- both figuratively and literally -- to the wind.  Of saying no thanks to convention, no matter the consequences.  Maybe that's why I lassoed the Desert Diva Necklace into this post.  

On a related note, (some of) this week's outfits have an, ahem, ember of the girlier side of nineties style (butterflies and neon and leopard, oh my).  And embers make me think of Ethan Embry and nineties classics Empire Records and Vegas Vacation.  Ethan seems like the kind of guy who would want to meet your dad and, yes, make a good boyfriend (Gwar obsession notwithstanding).  

Fire Escape man . . . is not Ethan Embry.  But he seems to be doing his best. 

"I'll be the rain falling on your fire escape
And I may not be the man you want me to
I can be myself, how 'bout you?"

He'll be the rain.  Falling on her fire escape.  Maybe he's the rain on a bright, sunny day, spoiling her alfresco breakfast.  Or maybe he's the rain putting out a George Foreman grill fire.  But either way, he's genuine.    

Which is to say, not such a bad beau after all.  

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Shell Spell: I Gallop for Scallops . . .


. . . doesn't make much sense.  Unless, of course, you're a seahorse.

Seahorses notwithstanding, scallops are the style stars of the sea -- delightful to wear, delicious to eat.  Now that summer's officially here, it's time to bust out my new old (i.e. vintage) scallop shell bangle!  It's from Later Operator on Etsy, and I've already worn it half a dozen times.  I love it because 1) it's yellow (obvi) and 2) it reminds me of a yellow plastic trinket box that I got on the boardwalk as a kid.  I wish I still had that trinket box.  Just like I wish I would've bought this bangle in all of the other colors.

But that's okay.  As they say -- c'est la sea. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Driving With Dad - The Original Lyft

All Sorts of Sweet Necklace

Top: Bongo, Sears
Skirt (dress): Modcloth
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bag: Nine West, Marshalls
Belt: Wet Seal
Yellow bangle: B Fabulous
Orange and black.white bangles: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Wild Fable, Target

A few Father's Days ago, I made an all sorts barrette in honor of my dad's favorite candy.  This year I made this necklace.  And I realized that it's fitting in more ways than one.  

Back when I was in college, my dad picked me up to take me home every weekend.  He knew I wasn't comfortable there and that I'd rather be home.  So, for four years he'd take time out of his own busy schedule to battle traffic and an hour and a half drive to chauffeur me between north and south Jersey.  And during our rides we'd talk about -- wait for it -- all sorts of things.  My classes, his work, and shows we'd both seen on TV.  He joked that these were our therapy sessions, and I guess in some ways he was right.  When we'd arrive at my dorm, he'd help me tote my many bags of clothes, (mostly untouched) books, and assorted nonsense, once even enduring my freak-out when I discovered I'd forgotten my makeup.  I always thanked him, but it isn't until now that I see just how much it all meant.  

So thanks, Dad, for driving me all those years.  And for being the (insert dad joke here) wheel deal.