Sunday, September 16, 2018

Cape Escape and Beads With Bite


Top: k lab, Kohl's
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Orange bangle: MIXIT, J. C. Penney's
Purple bracelet: Licorice Jewelry, Etsy
Green bracelet: Amrita Singh, Zulily
Bow barrette: The Tote Trove

For this post, I'm rewinding back to Labor Day.  Otherwise known as the bittersweet last call for summer, it's now a mere blink in the rearview mirror as we speed toward Columbus Day and Halloween.  But it was lovely.  The husband and I went to Cape May for the day with my parents.  For those not in the know, Cape May is New Jersey's southernmost shore point and is known for its Victorian houses.  To me, it's this old-timey charm that makes it the most civilized of our beach towns.  Its quaint shops, brick walkways, and horse-drawn carriages are straight out of a storybook.  Although I don't recommend getting too close to the horses.  Their smell is more horror story than fairy tale.  

Speaking of horses, I spied this one parked outside a restaurant.  At first I thought that some indie grrl had, ahem, hoofed it into town on its enchantedness.  But upon closer inspection I realized that it was part of the decor, a magical mascot-slash-silent greeter.  Walmart, you could take a hint.


Now on to the important part -- the shopping!  No outing is complete without it.  Just ask any elementary school kid on a class trip to a museum; whether it's American history or Impressionist art, her (or his!) favorite part is usually the gift shop.  I was lucky enough to score these five chokers for just . . . drumroll, please . . . $5!  They're different from anything else in my collection, and I look forward to layering them with long, beaded necklaces this fall and winter.


This house wasn't part of the shopping.  But it's beautiful, no?  It's name is the Merry Widow.


Some postcards for my stationery stash.


 Another belle of a building.  This one's called the Pink Lady.

 

And finally, the purchase that fueled this week's project: baby teethers!  I got these at Della's Five and Ten, a retro drugstore with a soda fountain at the back.  Although if I may say so, making the workers wear those paper hats seemed a bit much.  Serving snacks to tourists is humiliating enough without having to wear iffy headgear.  I was so excited when I found them (the teethers, not the tourists); I could just picture them on a harjuku girl as part of a grand rainbow ensemble -- or on, you know, me.  Stringing them onto plastic chain and ribbon to make a necklace was fun and easy.  I'm already plotting a way to work it into my wardrobe this week.  


 Baby, What a Bauble Necklace!

On that note, a good time was had by all.  Maybe we'll go back to Cape May in December for a whole other kind of festive.  

Until then, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-ha. :)    

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Constance Wu Plays Rachel Chu: Crazy About Crazy Kitsch Asians



Top: Xhilaration, Target
Skirt (dress): Modcloth
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal
Bangles: B Fabulous
Ring: Making Waves
Cherry and bumblebee purse charms: Carole, J. C. Penney's
Owl purse charm: Mudd, Kohl's
Barrettes: The Tote Trove


DISCLAIMER:  This post contains gratuitous use of the word "crazy," sometimes in pun form.  Don't say that I didn't warn you.

I know, I know, it's Crazy Rich Asians.  And they wouldn't like the "k" word, even if it is a cousin of  kawaii, that darling of the Japanese.  These people are about top drawer everything and wouldn't cotton to being called anything that resembles cute.  And yet . . . there is something decidedly campy about this story, which is filled with enough drama, romance, and satire to land somewhere between a telenovela and dark fairy tale.

First I read the novel by Kevin Kwan, and then my mom and I saw the movie.  Crazy Rich Asians has been out for years, but I never wanted to read it, probably because the cover seemed a little foreboding, with an art deco-y profile of an autocratic-looking Asian grande dame glowering from a burnt orange background.  Then the movie poster version came out, and I thought, hey, this looks interesting.  Those colors!  The promise of an old-fashioned love story!  The mom from "Fresh Off the Boat!"  Suddenly, it was a whole different game of mahjong.  And I was glad I decided to play.

Crazy Rich Asians is the story of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and Nick Young (Henry Golding).  And yes, of Nick's mega-big, mega-rich family.  Rachel and Nick are nice, normal, down-to-earth professors at NYU and have been happily dating for more than a year.  Then Nick invites Rachel home to Singapore for his best friend's wedding.  Rachel has never met Nick's family, nor does she know much about his childhood.  But she begins to get an inkling when they start their trip by flying first class.  Then they arrive, and Rachel is plunged into a wonderland of wealth and privilege beyond her wildest dreams.  Nick's grandmother's estate is palatial and so remote that it doesn't come up on GPS.  His cousins fly to Paris for shopping sprees and are regularly featured in Vogue.  And his mother -- well, his mother is less than impressed with Rachel, whom she sees as nothing more than a gold-digging banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) raised by a single mother.  Although no doormat, Rachel takes the high road when dealing with her beloved's cuckoo clan.  (No bitchy, don't-mess-with-me Jess from "Fresh Off the Boat" here.  Connie's got range!)  Still, trying to fit in is tricky.  Even the already-rich Young relations Rachel meets are merciless social climbers, and getting to know them is a bit like picnicking with piranhas.  For me, these parts were a little stressful to read, judgy people not being my cup of green tea.  But they are essential to the story, because it is, at its core, about the social games of acceptance and exclusion that people from all walks of life play.  Thankfully, Rachel has Peik Lin (Awkwafina), her college roommate, to diffuse the tension.  A new money funky fashionista dubbed by her own father (Ken Jeong) as the Asian Ellen, Peik Lin builds Rachel up when she needs it most.  And then, of course, there's Nick.  He's on her side, too -- that is, as much as the only son of a dragon lady can be.  If he's at fault at all, then it's in failing to prepare Rachel for all the strings that come attached to a family worth squillions.  Which seems -- ahem -- a bit crazy.  He says he's protecting her, but I can't help but wonder if he's protecting himself from the emotional messiness that will most likely and indeed does ensue from the meeting of his two leading ladies.  Will he prove himself to be a stand-up guy, a real life Prince Charming?  Or is he really a villain in professors' clothing, as obsessed with lineage and old money as his meddlesome mother?  A surprise from Rachel's past will force him to decide what he really wants and what he's willing to give up to get it.

So, are the book and the movie different?  Not really.  Rachel is sweet in both, but perhaps a smidgen steelier in the movie.  Similarly, the conflict in the book is more of a slow burner, which makes sense for 500 plus pages, many of which are filled with anecdotes and side stories.  But a feature film demands fireworks, both literal and figurative, and things come together more quickly and dramatically on the big screen.  Finally, there is one plot point that gets changed a little in the movie, but it's about the minor characters, and another that gets rushed along (it doesn't happen until book two in the trilogy.)  Still, for the most part, the story lines in the book and movie are nearly identical.  Here are some things I liked in each:

Book

Language translation footnotes offering up bon mot-style tidbits on Chinese cuisine, dialects, and traditions.

Lavish, lovingly crafted descriptions of everything from Birkins to hand-pulled noodles, Ferraris to oleanders.

Insight on how the crazy rich Asians got so rich (and so crazy).

Movie

Breathtaking scenery.

Showstopping fashion.  Colors, spangles, patterns, you name it.  I recognized many a couture gown from Pinterest -- as well as an Isaac Mizrahi orange slice floor pillow from Marshalls.

Witty one-liners and general light-heartedness.

Both

Nick and Rachel.  Their easy chemistry is sparklier than any Cartier bauble and truly touching.  Disney would be proud.

If you love love and grand gestures and opulence, then you'll love this book and movie.  Author Kevin Kwan grew up in Singapore, and it shows.  He's obviously intimately acquainted with the who's who of this tiny but mighty country -- and unafraid to poke fun at its foibles.

So yeah, missing this one would be -- wait for it -- crazy.

Now, a quick detour over to this week's (yes, Asian-themed!) project.  If this Eastern Romance Necklace looks familiar, then that's because it is.  I made it a long time ago but ripped it apart and put it back together again.  The old open circle shell beads and satin ribbon bow just weren't doing it for me anymore, so I replaced them with punky neon pink butterfly beads and rearranged the beads I kept.  A family jewel it isn't, but I like it a lot better now.

Whether of precious gems or glass and glue, accessories bring us together.  Or is it fire our imaginations?  Or make us rent more storage space?  Or fight over whose baubles are better?  I give up.  Some say that we're all the same because we all bleed, but I say that we're all the same because we like shiny things.  Sure, someone else's shiny thing may be tinfoil or a ruby or that glittery homemade slime everyone seems to be making, but the point is, it's the shininess that gets us through the day.  So that the next day we may seek more shininess -- and just maybe help someone else find her shininess, too.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to pick out my tiara.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

One Woman's Trash is Another Woman's Measure . . .



. . . of what's valuable. Which is, I realize, a roundabout and perhaps self-important way of saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure.  But it's especially fitting today because the husband and I went to an antiques shop.  Maybe antiques shop is too ambitious a term.  Thrift store isn't really right either because they didn't have clothes.  It was more like a junkyard on the outside overflowing with bric-a-brac (including armies of creepy dolls) on the inside.  Anyway, it's not far from where we live, and the husband, who loves such things, had wanted to check it out ever since we moved in last fall.  Now, historically, I'm not a huge fan of these places.  I'd been in them before, of course, with the husband and sometimes my sister, who also hearts old stuff.  But I always felt on my guard, leery of the smell and grateful that I was up to date on my tetanus shot.  Today I decided to be more open-minded.  Actually, I was the one who suggested we go in.  (Okay, the husband was hinting, and I didn't say, why don't we turn around and pop back into Target for some faux vintage farmhouse decor?  I think I saw a metal windmill that looks like it could have been uprooted during a tornado.)  Partly because being married means sometimes doing things you don't want to do to make the other person happy.  Partly because there might be something I wanted to take home, and if my eyes weren't open, then I would miss it. 

That said, there were more than a few unsettling sights.  The aforementioned dolls, for one, and also, all the way in the back, a row of very suspect  -- and I can hardly believe I'm typing this -- mattresses.  But there were also jewel-toned vases, kitschy-colorful knickknacks, and trays piled with costume jewelry.  Were these things dusty?  For sure.  A little worse for wear?  Almost always.  Did I drown my hands in strawberry-lemonade antibacterial gel as soon as I got back in the car?  You better believe it.  And yet.  As Springsteen's "Atlantic City" played plaintively on an old radio, I couldn't help but think that there was also something special about this place, that all these things had stories, had once had happy homes and would hopefully someday have them again.  It was all about possibility and seeing promise in something that someone else had discarded.    

I picked out a trio of ceramic wall hangings -- a strawberry, apple (or maybe peach?), and bunch of chili peppers -- for my dining room, and a dainty ceramic floral circle pin with AVON etched on the back.  Right away I knew that I wanted to embellish the pin with delicate Swarovski crystals.  Something about it was kind of familiar, and I realized that the demure, pastel aesthetic was similar to that of a wristlet I'd just gotten from Kohl's.  It's nice when new finds come together.

So, I ended up doing something I thought I wouldn't and writing this post instead of the one I'd planned about Crazy Rich Asians.  (In all honesty, I hadn't gotten around to making the necklace for that one anyway.)  But sometimes it's good to go off-script.  

The Asians can wait until next week.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Feather Your Quest: Owl Always Love Books



Top: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney
Skirt: T.J. Maxx
Shoes: Zulilly
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Michaels



Owls.  They're wise, cerebral, know-it-alls, sometimes evil-eyed, but ultimately charming.  Everyone loves an owl (you have only to peruse Pinterest or your local Target to know that it's true).  And everyone loves A. J. Fikry.  Or at least they do once they get to know him.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin, is one of those rare novels that is equal parts plot and character.  What do I mean by that?  Well, some books are all intrigue and action, whereas others are all inner monologue and/or character studies.  (For the record, I'm on team character.)  But The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is both.  Which is to say that it's really good.

When we first meet A. J., he's in a bad way.  His beloved wife has died in a car accident, and his bookstore is losing money.  So he drinks and eats TV dinners and wishes that it all could be over.  Curmudgeonly and introspective, A. J. is also a little snobby, especially when it comes to books, and people often find him off-putting.  Which is just as well, because he prefers books to people.  But paired with his pessimism is a droll, wry wit, a flicker of brilliance and warmth that makes you think, I'd like to hang out with this guy.  This guy is one of the ones who gets it.

The thing about A. J. is, he's a good person -- he just doesn't know it.  Not until two extraordinary things happen: 1) Someone steals his priceless book of Edgar Allen Poe poems.  2)  Someone abandons a baby in his apartment.  The Poe book was meant to fund his retirement, and when it vanishes, he feels like his life vanishes with it.  As for the baby, A. J. doesn't like children; he doesn't even stock many children's books.  But it's when the book disappears and the baby appears that A. J.'s life begins, making him realize his potential and expanding his world in ways he never thought possible.  What happens in the end brings it all back full circle (and you know how I love a full circle), but I won't get into that so as not to be a spoiler.  I'll just say that everything in between the beginning and end hinges upon a delicate web of mysteries that are all connected.  Also, that this book isn't all serious symbols (although those certainly abound).  It's also funny and, dare I say, sweet (although I know A. J., even in his reformed state, would hate that).  It's a book about life and a book about books and how the two are intertwined.  As A. J. puts it:

"We read to know we're not alone.  We read because we are alone.  We read and we are not alone.  We are not alone."  (249)

I love this quote because it describes how I feel about reading.  That it's the great equalizer, a passport into the hearts and minds of people we may not like or even know.  That it lets us look past the noise of everyday life, giving us knowledge, empathy, and an understanding of our place in the world.  Also, it comes in handy when there's only football and "Family Feud" on TV. 

A. J. knew all this and then some.  Which is another way that he's like the owl.  Both in this Woodland Wonders Necklace and in nature.  Also spooky stories where the mean old owl turns out to be kindly.  His story is a hopeful one, reminding us that a little optimism (and okay, being the victim of a couple of very specific and well-thought-out crimes) can go a long way.

So, thanks, A. J.  For giving me one more reason to read past my bedtime.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

I'm So Hungry I Could Eat a Horse . . .



 Cheery Double Cheeseburger Change Purse

Dress: Zulily
Sweater: Macy's
Shoes: BAIT, Zulily
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's



. . . should've been the name of Jim Gaffigan's tour instead of Fixer Upper.  The husband and I have long been fans of the pasty Midwestern food comedian and were psyched to snag tickets to his show in Atlantic City a couple of Saturdays ago.  I loved his books, and we both watched "The Jim Gaffigan Show" on TV Land.  So, we were all set for an evening of monologues on McDonald's and Krispy Kreme.  You can imagine our consternation, then, when Jim launched into a bit about . . . horses.  Horse races, jockeys, horse owners who seem like they've never met their cash cows in those blue ribbon photos.  The inhumane nature of horseshoes.  The idiocy of the phrase horseback riding because, where, other than the back, are you going to ride?  He even said that no one in the audience would know if he was lying about any of it or not because we were all from Philly and had probably never even seen a horse (and no, he didn't make a pun about Philly and fillies, although I don't know why the hay not).  It was kind of weird.  But also kind of awesome.  You know, in its weirdness.  (The husband really liked it and said he thought that there weren't enough horse jokes.)  He did sign off on a Hot Pockets note, though, so all was right with the fun-with-food world.

Horse or no horse, I can't do a Jim Gaffigan post without fashion featuring food.  So, order up on this Cheery Double Cheeseburger Change Purse and Plucky Poultry Necklace.  To echo the sentiments of fellow funnyman Joel McHale's "The Soup," Chat Stew segment, So meaty!

Here's a not-so-short-story about Plucky Poultry.  The pendant is a dollhouse miniature, and when I first saw it, I thought that it was a lobster instead of a chicken.  And I thought, oh, that's perfect, because: 1) Whenever I'm working on something that involves glue and I leave it to dry, I keep checking on it to make sure that the glue's doing its thing, and when I do this, I (silently) refer to it as "checking the lobster pots."  Why, I don't know.  Maybe because it's folksy and strange and makes me feel like I'm doing something as high stakes as battling sharks for my dinner.  (Similarly, whenever I publish a post, I think of it as "releasing the doves."  Like at the wedding of a pesticide heiress or the funeral of a B-list pop star.)  2) Lobster makes me think of Maine and summertime fish fries.  Which makes me think of that part in Legally Blonde where Elle Woods gets to Harvard and asks for her calendar of social events and the preppy orientation guy glares at her, and she says you know, clambakes, trips to the Cape? before giving up and asking where she can find Warner Huntington III, at which point Preppy cracks, try the lido deck.  3) And finally, this crustacean-that-wasn't made me think of Jim's hatred of seafood, or, as he refers to it in Food: A Love Story, "seabugs."  (Which checks out, I guess, Indiana not being known for its shrimp cocktail.).  But this faux food charmer isn't a lobster.  It's a chicken.  Which has nothing to do with summer, Legally Blonde, or Jim Gaffigan's disgust of bottom feeders.  If anything, it's a distant cousin of Thanksgiving.  Which, come to think of it, is right in Jim's wheelhouse (elastic waist pants, Middle America fare in economy-size quantities, naps).  Which means that we've come full circle.

Just like a pumpkin pie . . . or Kentucky Derby wreath.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pie in the Eye, Pie in the Sky: Service Worth Your While



Out of This Swirled Agate Bangle

Top: So, Kohl's
Skirt: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bag: Macy's Backstage
Bag charm: Carole, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Michaels 

I've never worked in food service, and I can safely say that I wouldn't want to.  For one thing, I lack the upper body strength.  For another, I'm not sure I could keep my cool with strangers.  I have a tendency to laugh when things get awkward, and also, I'm a terrible liar.  (The lobster bisque?  No, it wasn't made today.  More like last Tuesday, and also, I saw the chef drop his contact in it.)  While I'm being honest, I'm not that big on cooking either (yes, the Food and Recipes menu tab on this blog is very misleading.  Note to self: replace with Heel Steals -- Shoe Shopping Confidential.  Which may be about shoes I bought really cheap . . . or shoes that I stole.  Stay tuned.)  That said, I can appreciate the kind of creative catharsis that comes from baking a pie or a cake or even the almost-impossible-to-master souffle.  Because that catharsis is not all that different from the kind that comes from making a felt pie hair piece (the barrette kind, not the toupee) or stringing a necklace or stockpiling sequins.  Also, I love pie.  Mostly key lime, although mermaid marshmallow sounds tempting, too.  Even if I haven't heard of it outside of Waitress

Ah Waitress, the movie-starring-Kerri-Russell-turned-play-starring-Katharine-McPhee-and-sometimes-her-understudy.  My parents and I saw the play on Broadway a few weeks ago, and it was marvelous, as tasty as Entenmann's, Mrs. Smith's, and Mom's homemade pastries combined.  Because it is, after all, a sweet story.  Well, maybe sweet's not the right word, as it has spousal abuse and adultery.  Maybe it's better to say sweetly tangy, like Laffy Taffy or Sour Patch Kids or ambrosia that's started to turn.  Anyway, the eponymous waitress is Jenna, and her dream is to open a pie shop.  She bakes unusual -- and unusually named -- pies for Joe's Pie Diner, where she serves them to the local yokels, including the cantankerous-but-secretly-kind Joe.  A waitress's job is to tend to the needs of others, and Jenna's is no different.  Her boss is a jerk, and the tips aren't always what they should be.  Add her mean old husband and an unplanned pregnancy, and she's ripe for an affair with . . . her gynecologist?  Yep.  In the movie, this dude is played by Nathan Fillion, which, although unappealing (I'm no Fillion fan), is believable because Castle brings a certain snarkiness with his suave.  But in the play, Dr. Love (not his real name) is more of a corn-fed, aw shucks kind of guy.  In the end it doesn't matter because Waitress isn't about romance.  It's about a down-and-out woman finding her way.  And also about happiness and grabbing it any way that you can.  When Jenna hears about a pie contest with a serious cash prize, she thinks it's her last chance for freedom.  But fate has other plans.  

I wouldn't classify the movie version as a comedy.  A dark comedy maybe, but even that's a stretch.  It's more of a drama.  So, I wasn't sure what to expect from the play.  I'm happy to report that it's more fanciful than foreboding, from the smell of freshly baked pie being piped in the theater to the cherry pie lattice-topped curtain:


And then, of course, there's the music by Sara Bareilles (I'm working hard not to insert a "Cherry Pie" by Warrant joke here.  You're welcome.).  You can't be grim when you're singing and dancing, and the musical theater element makes what could be a dense dish as light as egg whites. 

Here's my program (er, playbill; Tracy, get it together, this isn't the Ice Capades).  The production we saw wasn't with Katharine, but no one can ever prove it. 


After the show, it was out into the mass of throbbing humanity that is Times Square.  But only momentarily, as Dad expertly herded us out of the throng and toward the considerably less crowded Rockefeller Center. 


On the way we stopped to take this picture.  If you look very closely (or break out your Sherlock Holmes-style magnifying glass or zoom in or whatever), then you can see my Flash Charms necklace and Lady in Lime ring from PinkBopp.


In keeping with the dessert theme, here are some ice pop stamps.  They're scratch and sniff!  What more could an '80s kid (or really, anyone) want from postage?  It's the perfect time to photograph them, too, because I just used my last boring PEACE stamp and need to send my water bill.  (Yes, I snail mail my bills like an eighty-year-old.  Obviously, for the super cool stamps.) 


So, that's a wrap.  The next time your waitress serves you a slice -- be nice.  You don't know what kind of day -- or life -- she's had. 

Also, you don't want her adding a side of lugee. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Mama Drama: Going Postal



 Whimsical Waters Necklace

Dress: Zulily
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Petite Sophisticate 

So last week, I received an email from a customer informing me that she still hadn't received a necklace that she'd purchased in March.  Needless to say, I was gobsmacked.  As always, I'd shipped the package within three days of purchase and emailed the customer the USPS.com tracking number to let her know that it was on its way.  True, I didn't receive a response or get Etsy feedback, but that happens more often than not, so I thought that no news was good news.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Not knowing what else to do, I logged onto USPS.com and plugged in the tracking number.  The red No Record Found that flashed on the screen made my heart sink.  There was only one explanation: the package had gotten lost in the mail.  In my nearly ten years of selling on Etsy, this had never happened.  I couldn't make the customer a new necklace.  The one in question was one of a kind, made from eclectic fabric flowers that I wouldn't be able to find again.  Instead, I issued a full refund along with my heartfelt apologies and the offer of a free item from my shop.  Thankfully, the customer accepted all of the above with grace and good humor.  Better yet, she loved the necklace she chose as her consolation prize, right down to the packaging.  Which meant everything to me.  When I send something across the country (or, once a in a while, across the world), I feel like I'm putting good out into the universe, and I want to keep those vibes going.

Still, I can't help but wonder what happened to that package.  Is it lying in an alley somewhere, pigeons pecking away at the illustrated envelope?  Or is some postal worker wearing the necklace to a summer shindig, margarita in hand, even as I type this?  In the future, I'll always track the package myself to find out if it reaches its destination, if only so I can contact the customer instead of her (or him) contacting me.  But the fate of this one will just have to remain one of life's mysteries.

In happier news, I saw Mama Mia: Here We Go Again last weekend, and it was fabulous.  So fanciful and colorful!  Plus, I always love a story with flashbacks, which is pretty much the whole deal with this one.  As you probably know, in the first Mama Mia, Donna's (Meryl Streep) daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), wants her father to walk her down the aisle.  The only hitch is, she doesn't know who he is.  He can be one of three guys (Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, or Pierce Brosnan) that Donna wrote about in her diary.  So, Sophie invites them all to her wedding, they show up, and chaos ensues.  In the sequel, which is partially set in 1979, we return to the idyllic Greek island of Kalokairi to see a young Donna (Lily James) fall for her three handsome suitors and sing her (broken) heart out about it.  (As a bonus, we also get to see her buy her signature overalls at an outdoor market).  The air crackles with the delicious angst of young love in an exotic setting, and the songs play in your head long after you've scarfed down your popcorn.  Yet even more intoxicating is the sense of freedom and adventure.  Donna is an unapologetic risk taker, exploring the world fresh out of college without a plan or a safety net, bewildered by those who follow more well-worn and traditional paths.  And she's absolutely ecstatic doing it, even when her world seems to crumble.  It makes me wish that I would've done something like that at twenty-two instead of combing Monster for a "normal" job.  But then again, I guess it all worked out.  This strange little public diary of a blog is more my type of adventure.

Anyway, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of ocean-themed jewelry-making supplies not long after I saw the movie.  When I spotted these dolphin-shaped beads and the groovy druzy rock pendant, I thought, ooh those would make a cool necklace.  Beachy and boho and blingy and blue.  Just like Mama Mia!  

Speaking of beaches, here's a shot of the faux surfboard attached to the Conex box that is the Sol Berrie smoothie stand on the less glamorous but beloved island of Brigantine.


Bold and inviting, it's the kind of picture you want to dive into -- one dutiful hour, of course, after downing your smoothie.  Or, you know, thirty seconds after downing your smoothie, pineapple-mango froth still dribbling down your chin.

How's that for unapologetic?