Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ariel and Rapunzel and Cinderella and Belle

Top: Macy's
Skirt: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Boscov's

 Magical Mermaid Necklace, Royal Razzle Dazzle Necklace

Top: Macy's
Shorts: Target
Flip flops: Marshalls
Bag: Target

We've all seen the tee shirts.  Some name and some name and some name and some name from pop culture that all go together.  I used to have one with the names of the characters from "Sex and the City."  I wore it gamely until some dude at the bank stared at it a little too pointedly and asked, "How's Samantha?"  That tee shirt may be long gone, but my fascination with and respect for iconic quartets remains. 

And there are few things more iconic than a Disney princess.

I'd been eyeing up Disney princess buttons in various craft stores for years.  Which, now that I'm typing this, sounds like a really long time to contemplate so small a purchase.  But last week I finally bought them and set to work making them into charms.  Which turned out to be more involved than I thought.  (Perhaps my subconscious was hip to this, accounting for that procrastination.)  Once I snapped off the loops at the backs to make them flat, they fell apart like puzzle pieces.  But I fixed that with a little Gem-Tac.  Next, I attached each princess to a disc charm.  Then it was finally time for the fun part: rhinestones and pink chain and Swarovski crystals, oh my!  Also, a spectacularly sparkly unicorn head. 

I'd also picked up some Little Mermaid buttons, so I rinsed and repeated to make an Ariel necklace.  (Get it?  Rinse and repeat, like shampoo?  Because of the water in the shower and ocean and also the long, mermaid hair?  No?  Okay.  Never mind.)  Ariel gets to be in both necklaces because she's my favorite princess.  The scorpion centerpiece is a little weird, I'll admit, but I already had it from an old necklace that just wasn't working.  (Before that it was a brooch that I wore, in another lifetime, on the lapel of a suit.)  That said, I think it adds a little unexpected edge, a little, ahem, salt, if you will, to the sweet.   

I've decided not to list these lovelies.  For one thing, there's the age-old ethical question of character licensing.  Far be it from me to filch profits from the multi-million dollar machine that is the Disney empire.  For another, they were relatively expensive to make, and I feel weird about charging what might seem like too much for such delicate pieces.  But if I'm being honest (as I try, always, to be), then the real reason I'm not putting them on Etsy is because I want to keep them.  Like many a kawaii-Lolita enthusiast, I can't resist an accessory that blends the gossamer daydreams of childhood with the somewhat more gritty glamour of being grown up. 

The Swarovski, in case you were wondering, is the grown up part.  Which is a lot more palatable than saying that being grown up means having to clean the bathroom.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Romancing the Tone: A Love Affair with Shoes

Top: Material Girl, Macy's
Skirt (dress): Macy's
Boots: Union Bay, Kohl's
Bag: Worthington, J. C. Penney's

When you're feeling less than thrilled with life, read a romance novel.  Fun and frothy, they are the reading woman's rom coms, complete with meet-cutes, beautiful people, and predictably happy endings.  On the flip side, if you're on top of the world, then these confections can seem kind of hollow.  But they've got me through a hard time or two, and sometimes I even learn something.

Case in point, last winter I was putting away a pair of UNIONBAY boots I'd scored for 70% off at the after Christmas sale at Kohl's and noticed that the box had the Seattle skyline on it in the lower left-hand corner.  (I could tell because of the Space Needle.)  

And I thought, huh, I guess Union Bay is a real place, and that it's in Seattle.  Then I remembered that the romance author I'd been reading sets a lot of her books in Seattle, and that she references Union Bay.  And I was like, mind blown.

Who says you can't add a wrinkle to the old brain from hanging with happily ever after?  And also, from bargain basement shoe shopping?

In keeping with the, ahem, heart of the matter, I unearthed this bubble pendant that I embellished last Valentine's Day.

Unlike the other pendants that came in the Target Dollar Spot four-pack, it was gray to their more traditionally cheerful reds and pinks.  But to me, that made it even more appealing, the perfect canvas for a neon rainbowed, 1980s-inspired design.  Still, it was kind of subtle all on its own (and you know I don't do subtle), so I paired it with my oldy but goody Rubik's Cube-esque squares-within-a-square pendant for the purposes of this post.

Both necklaces now dangle as decor in my craft room, which I dare say is almost finished after months of poking and prodding.  And shopping.  More on that (relatively) soon.   

That said, sometimes sunshine is only a creative project or department store or book store (or, yes, away.

Lovers' tales and footwear sales: kind of brings a whole new meaning to kinky boots.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Ribbons and Bows and Lots of New Clothes: I Enjoy being a (Gilmore) Girl

Top: Monteau, Marshalls
Jeans: Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Bag: Glamour Damaged, Etsy
Shoes: Penny Loves Kenny, DSW

Embellished skirt: Macy's
Ruffle skirt: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Pockets skirt: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's

Rainbow Ribbon Necklace

I was already planning on the ribbons and bows and clothes component of this post. Because there are few things I enjoy more than trotting out the still-tagged items in my staging closet. What's a staging closet, you ask? In my case, it's the tiny, old-timey closet adjacent to the actual closet in my bedroom. I like to think that it was where some stray cat slept back in 1927 when this house was built (not really; I'm not a cat person and don't know why I said that. Maybe because it sounded more PC than saying a servant slept there or something.) The husband uses the actual closet, whereas my closet is one of the spare bedrooms. Yes, you read that correctly. An entire bedroom is my closet -- and it's full. Maybe someday when I'm feeling brave and/or braggy I'll photograph it and post it here.  But let's get back to the matter at hand, namely, what do I keep in the staging closet? Clothes I haven't worn yet. Also, less glamorously, my winter pajamas, workout clothes (i.e. hole-speckled over-sized tees, hoodies with broken zippers, and exactly three pairs of sweatpants). Anyway, I was all set to center this post around my old faithful and favorite topic of fashion when I read Lauren Graham's Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between). And I thought, hey, why not throw in something a little cerebral? What's that? An autobiography by an actress is about as cerebral as a smoothie? Maybe some of them, but not this one. And also, smoothies are good for you.

I used to watch "Gilmore Girls" back in the day, but I sense that there are episodes, or maybe even whole seasons, I missed. (Clearly, I wasn't always the loyal TV devotee that you know and love today.) But I remember really liking it. Lorelai and Rory had the kind of cool, best-friendsy relationship that every mother and daughter wanted, and no small screen duo has come close since, except for maybe Jane and Xiomara from "Jane the Virgin" (which, like "Gilmore Girls" once did, airs on the CW. Coincidence? I think not.). Lorelai and Rory's snappy, adjective-laden dialogue was the kind you'd find in a quality chick lit novel, and the setting of Stars Hollow was postcard perfect in a modern-day Norman Rockwell, college town kind of way, making it an ideal backdrop for all those conversations.

Which brings me to Talking as Fast as I Can. You know that I love autobiographies by comediennes, and this is a really good one. In no small part, I'm sure, because Graham is not just an actress, but a writer (she wrote the semi-autobiographical novel Someday, Someday, Maybe. I know it's only semi-autobiographical because she goes to great lengths to correct the misconception that it is entirely autobiographical in Fast.). This book is filled with the kind of random observations and personal anecdotes that I've come to love in light-hearted memoirs. One of my favorite parts is when Graham introduces her alter ego, Old Lady Jackson (OLJ for short). She invented OLJ to give advice to her young costars on Parenthood so she wouldn't sound like a stick in the mud. For example:

"OLJ is (obviously overly) worried about things like that dating app that wants you to have your location on all the time (how is that possibly safe?) and the fact that all you ate yesterday were liquids that came in mason jars from that juice place on the corner (really? No solid foods at all?). OLJ doesn't love it when that guy texts you at eleven o' clock on a Friday night after you haven't heard from him all week and wants you to "hang out," and you do. She's worried that you aren't being treated as well as you deserve, and while she understands that "things are different now," surely there have to still be people out there with better manners and an ability to make plans with you at least a day or two ahead of time?" (158)

Classic, right? A real Mary Poppins for the digital age. Even if it is for the clubbing vs. Romper Room set. (Please, no notes about how "Romper Room" came out long after Mary Poppins.)

I just may go back and watch the entire series ("Gilmore Girls," not "Romper Room"), then launch right into the much-anticipated Netflix "Gilmore Girls" special "A Year in the Life."

Because Stars Hollow is a happy place, one where new clothes and flowery prose are celebrated in equal measure.

And also to see if I can find the ghost (or, what the heck, cat) embodying the spirit of Old Lady Jackson.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Linked Pin: The Social Network of Not-So-Solitude

Leopard camisole: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Polka dot top: Wet Seal
Rainbow stripe top: Alloy

They say that people get married to have someone witness their lives.  (Also so that they'll have someone to nuke them Cup o' Noodles when they're sick.  Because technology can't do that yet, unless you're geeky and/or rich enough to own a robo-chef.)  But sometimes, I think, that's why people blog, too.  Even married people.  It's like saying, hey, I'm out here, having these thoughts as I make jewelry/bake cupcakes/paint landscapes/write music or whatever else kind of creative thing it is that people do.  Kind of like keeping a somewhat censored and very public diary without the unicorn cover and lock.  

Blogging is a form of storytelling, a kind of letter from and to yourself -- and everyone else -- that reminds us that even when engaged in the seclusion of artistic pursuits, we are intertwined and connected.  And I've always loved storytelling.  Because there's no wrong way to do it.  Sure, you can hone your craft or take a class, but at the end of the day, your story is your account of what happened, and no one can tell it but you.  

That said, this week I made some simple charm necklaces.  I used to think that it wasn't really art unless I'd suffered a little.  You know, spent hours teasing intricate designs from felt, using just enough glue so that everything would stick together, but not so much that it would seep through and make it all (symbolically) fall apart.  But lately I've taken a simpler view.  There's nothing lesser about attaching charms to a chain, not if you think the result is beautiful.  And creating beauty is what art is about.

Just this morning, the husband and I split a kiwi.  He said that kiwis are very seedy and hairy, and I said, yes, like a weird little man.  

And now I'm repeating it here.

If that's not the nexus between inner and outer thoughts and marriage and blogging, then I don't know what is.

P. S. Kevin Kiwi says hi.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Fling, Don't Mean a Thing; Summer Ring, Means Everything

 A quick word about "Grease".  I don't know about you, but a little part of me died the first time I saw Sandy swap her poodle skirt for those black leather pants.  That said, I usually avoid endorsing stories about women abandoning their true selves to land a (and let's be honest, in this case questionable) man.  But my love of great tunes -- and yes, costumes -- won out.  My apologies, feminism.

That said, love affairs may come and go, but baubles are forever.  Which is why I'm ringing in summer with yet another rockin' ring from Samantha at PinkBopp.  You may recall that I've purchased other awesome rings from this chic shop in the past.  One is springy, one is wintry (ok, Christmasy), and the new one, which is called Lady in Lime, is summery -- perfect for today, the first day of summer.  The fuchsia and lime really pop, and the tiny crystals remind me of morning dew (and Mountain Dew -- this ring being just the right shade of green!).  I wore it last week with a pineapple print blouse and friendship bracelet braid flip flops (and also jeans, lest I imply any Winnie the Pooh imagery).  Come fall I'll need an autumn addition to transcend the trifecta, giving me all four seasons.  So move over Vivaldi, '60s super group, and fancy schmancy hotel chain -- winter (er, autumn) is coming.

Speaking of summer, here are some pics to kick it off, from farm stand to sand.  And also, for some reason, cupcakes. 

Going green here at home in Galloway.  No better place for a ring than a "pond shop."

Beloved Brigantine Beach in all of its hotel room painting glory. 

The box from some pina colada cupcakes I baked a million years ago.  Yeah, I hang on to pictures.

So, soak up the sun and the slushies.  Because if school's out for summer, then school's out forever. 
Especially if you're a beauty school dropout. 

Which is, come to think of it, a pretty badass and feminist thing to be.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Rad, Dad . . .

Top: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Modcloth
Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless
Bag: Sleepyville Critters, Zulily
Belt: Modcloth
Sunglasses: Brigantine Beach shop

. . . is what you'd say, unironically (because it is his day, after all), if your dad told a joke beginning with "Knock knock, who's there?", or for crustier dads and more mature audiences, "A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar . . .". Oh, Father's Day. You were invented by President Nixon ('cause Tricky Dick did one thing right) and kept kicking by Hallmark. But we see past the politics and profits to the ooey gooey sweet center of this celebration that simply states: I love you, man. If you look closely at life, then you'll see several parts of the padre, scattered helter skelter like so many fishing lures and foam fingers and tie tacks. There's that old rascal Father Time (as illustrated by these colorful watches on an appropriately masculine albeit glossy hardwood floor); A Wrinkle in Time, the classic story about a brilliant but flawed father who is missing, and finally, Miller Time, a tribute to that all-time fatherly favorite: beer.

Speaking of which, we salute you, weird little peach double scoop top that doesn't seem like it would go with anything. Yeah you, creeping up on the rad rainbow chevron. (This is a nod, I realize, not to anything Miller, but to those old Bud Light Real Men of Genius commercials. As in, we salute you, Mr. Rolling Cooler Cooler Roller Guy, the man who has everything -- everything except a friend to help carry a cooler.) Weird little peach double scoop top, I half-heartedly bought you on clearance years ago because you were too cheap to pass up and ended up wearing you a ton, especially layered under sheer blouses that look like melted sorbet (how's that for poetry, oh hauler of the hot dogs?). And good thing, too, because you turned out to be a great backdrop for this Happy Hipster Charm Necklace, a bad boy piece of bling that boasts a llama, rainbow, palm tree, cactus, and, to go with those brewskis, a taco and slice of pizza.

You know what else goes with brewskis? Hawaiian shirts. Just ask Real Man of Genius Mr. Hawaiian Shirt Pattern Designer Guy. Big kahuna indeed.

So, whether you crack open a Miller, Bud, or pink lemonade this Father's Day, we salute you, dads of America.

And also Mr. T, for making it cool for men to rock necklaces.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Animal Charm: Win, Lose, or Mall and Cock-a-Doodle Zoo

 Razzle Dazzle Rooster Necklace

Tee: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: So, Kohl's
Shoes: City Streets, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Sunglasses: Claire's

Normally, you wouldn't see a rooster and an elephant together.  Because a rooster roams on a farm, whereas an elephant chills at the zoo -- or, more optimistically, on the Serengeti.  Still, you certainly wouldn't see either one at the mall.

Or, would you?

Because malls are kind of like zoos.  First off, you've got your mall rats (although, sadly, never Jeremy London look-a-likes).  Then there's feeding time at the food court.  And of course, the good and bad smells.  For instance, at my mall, there's the floral-sweet scent of Macy's Backstage and the mildew musk of the new, no-name furniture store.  And finally, there's the sea life-themed merry-go-round (this being the Jersey shore) in front of Forever 21.  The point is, anything can happen at the mall.  And apparently did, considering the flash mob-esque food court fight that broke out the night before I went Backstage.  Seriously; it was on the news and everything.  

And you thought I was kidding about feeding time.

Macy's Backstage, by the way, is a new Macy's venue.  It's a floor of the store that's all discount stuff, displayed in that fashiony flea market way that we bargain hunters love.  As soon as I walked in, I thought, it's like Macy's and Marshalls had a baby.  A mini Marshalls, if you will (not to be confused with Mega Marshalls, which is a whole other thing).  My instincts weren't wrong; once I started scoping the racks, I saw a top and a smiley-faced succulent there that I'd recently bought at the actual Marshalls (thankfully, at the exact same low prices)!  Anyway, I picked up some makeup brush cleaner, and the cashier gave me a free shopping tote and a $10 off coupon for being one of the first 200 customers.  So, after doing a lap around the mall to peruse its other offerings, I went back and used the coupon on this sunglasses-wearing Luv Betsey watermelon purse.  It was priced at $20, so I got it for $10!

Which was much better than some dancing rhino-themed souvenir cup or jumping frog toy from the gift shop. 

I guess malls aren't always like zoos.