Saturday, March 17, 2018

Boys Don't Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses . . .

Top (dress): Modcloth
Skirt (dress): Modcloth
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Boscov's
Belt: Amazon

. . . unless those glasses are filled with Guinness.  Which I realize sounds, ahem, shady because eyewear can't hold liquid let alone the Emerald Isle's signature stout.  But then again, all manner of magical madness is on tap on St. Patrick's Day.

At least that's what these leprechaun-loving ladies are thinking.  (And no, when I say leprechaun, I don't mean the horror movie starring a young Jennifer Aniston.)  Meet Shannon, Erin, and Patty, the newest members of the Tote Trove hat ladies guild.  Which, believe you me, ain't no book club.  They're off to paint the town green, starting at the local pub for a rousing round of Irish-themed trivia and pin-the-tail-on-the-Mother-Superior before indulging in a pint or two -- and then, just maybe, some pint-sized men.  Festive to a fault, they're decked out in holiday hats and sunglasses, reading glasses' less-than-well-behaved second cousin.  Because nothing says single and ready to mingle like a pair of I-can-see-you-but-you-can't-see-me cat's eye lenses.

Let's face it, St. Pat's isn't the most sentimental of holidays (unless you count caterwauling "Danny Boy" at last call).  There's no animated Peanuts special, no heart-warming kids' book called Seamus Shares a Shamrock or something.  It's all about shillelaghs and shenanigans, green beer and lime Jell-O shots, and trying to outrun the cops.

Or so I hear.  I'm usually curled up with a Shamrock Shake and a dog-eared Maeve Binchy by midnight.  

So much for mocking book clubs.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Baubles for the Birds: Beaks and Geeks

Chevron top: XOXO, Macy's
Striped tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Bubblegum, Macy's
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Amazon

Top: a new day, Target
Skirt: LC by Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Shoes: a.n.a., J. C. Penney's
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Belt: Marshalls
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

Back in the day, a geek was someone who bit the heads off of chickens.  Now it's just someone who is an outcast for less horrendous yet still socially unacceptable reasons, such as speaking Klingon or wearing high-water jeans or being on a reality show spawned by Ashton Kutcher.  In other words, a geek is still someone who hovers beyond the periphery of what's considered normal.

But more often than not, normal is for the birds.  And birds of a feather frock together -- which is why Mr. Owl, Mr. Swallow, Ms. Toucan, and the feathers that let them all fly have come to roost at The Tote Trove.  No doubt about it -- avians are amazing, paradoxically delicate and strong despite their feather-light bones.  It's one of the reasons I love them (well, that and their traffic-stopping plumage).  So here are some birds from my nest -- flamingos, to be exact, which are unlike any of the winged ones pictured here.  But then that's Pinky, the perennial plucky gatecrasher.

I got this wall art from Hobby Lobby, the home of endlessly whimsical home decor and craft supplies.  It's where I found Ms. Toucan, too.  But not, sadly, her two clearanced sisters, who were snapped up faster than a cheeseburger at a tofu buffet.  I guess it's like they say: the early bird gets the worm.  Also, the geeks will get their revenge.  No, wait, that's the nerds -- the non-chicken abusers among the uncool.

You're welcome, ASPCA.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Sun Ripe Stripes and Other Hype: Hey, How's it Hanging, New Earrings?

Red/white stripe tee: Hollister, Marshalls
Navy/yellow stripe tee: Merona, Target
Serape stripe cowl neck: Chaps, Kohl's

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears . . . so that I may bedazzle them good and proper. (Because it doesn't get much more proper than Shakespeare, despite what you might've heard.)  That's right; I've made a fresh batch of bo danglers, one to represent each Tote Trove kitsch kingdom: Carnival Candy, Rustic Romance, and Twee Party.  Each pair is tiny but mighty -- meaning that it was a challenge for this bigger-is-better-and-gaudy-is-good proponent to keep them dainty.  But far be it from me to contribute to the over-stretched earlobe epidemic.  

Speaking of challenges, it took forever to steam the three striped tops in these pictures.  It was worth it, though, because they turned out nice and smooth instead of more wrinkled than when they started -- which is what usually happens when I'm wielding an iron.  This was especially exciting because -- bonus of bonuses -- it means that I get to wear them.  Tomorrow's supposed to be windy, so I'm looking at you, weird serape-inspired, wannabe-athletic cowl neck.  

There's something trendy yet timeless about a horizon of hip horizonals (also, about the group Vertical Horizon, but that's only because I've been listening to my Now That's What I Call 1990s Pop Alternative Edition CD).  To prove it, here's a list of (some of) the old-school fools who have rocked them:




Where's Waldo (one week later, I'm still searching for him)

The Cat in the Hat


The Hamburglar (not to be confused with the aforementioned jailbird)

Freddy Krueger (whom I despise but feel honor-bound to include because the husband swears that I sometimes wear his sweater)

Whether nautical or southwestern or a crazy mashup somewhere in between, stripes put the all-American (and all-Parisienne; see mime above) in jeans and jean skirts.  Neither of which are pictured here, but I can spend only so much time steaming.  And screaming.  

Which is my way of saying see you later.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Amusement Park Lark: Epic Equine Edition

Prancing Pony Charm Necklace

Top: Hollistser, Marshalls
Skirt: Amazon
Shoes: BAIT, Zulily
Bag: Dolls Kill
Belt: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's
Barrettes: The Tote Trove

The wooden horse bead in this Prancing Pony Charm Necklace reminds me of the kind you see on carousels.  Carousel is such a lovely word, isn't it?  Upstaged by only its sister calliope, it makes me think of the Carousel of Progress at Disney World.  Also, of a revolving restaurant I once had the misfortune to visit during a fourth grade field trip.  Even now, the image of those grayish Swedish meatballs circling by in slow motion is fresh (unlike the meatballs themselves) in my mind.  And finally, the word carousel makes me think of the Merry-Go-Round, which was a unisex clothing store catering to fast teens at my local mall.  Located across from the much tonier Limited, it was even cheesier than the rotating restaurant.

Any neigh, what I'm saying is, this hoofed honey is hella nostalgic.  You know, aside from looking like something you'd win at the carnival.  For maximum fairground flair, I paired it with this borderline barber pole/candy cane/Where's Waldo? tee shirt and macaroon-hued bag and shoes.  Because real life horses may smell like garbage, but the made-up, Swarovski crystal-studded kind are as fragrant as french fries.  And no, that wasn't a reference to horse meat hamburgers.

Sadly, I can't say the same about those meatballs.        

Monday, February 19, 2018

From Philly to Phoenix: Frank Ford Flies Again

Dress: Modcloth
Shoes: Zulily
Sun bag: Lily Bloom, J. C. Penney's
Clutch: Xhilaration, Target
Flower clip: Ulta

Sweatshirt: Lisa Frank, Macy's
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: B&B, Ocean City, Asbury Avenue

Dress: American Rag, Macy's
Shoes: Qupid, DSW
Bag: The Tote Trove
Barrettes: The Tote Trove

There's something peaceful and artsy about the desert.  Especially, at least in my imagination, Arizona.  Just ask the Eagles.  (The band, not the Superbowl champs.  Not that a city boys in the 
Southwest-themed story doesn't have it appeal.)  And it just so happens that the lyrics to "Take it Easy" are especially soothing:

"Well, I'm standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
And such a fine sight to see
It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin' down to take a look at me.

Take it easy, take it easy
don't let the sound of your own 
wheels make you crazy."

Does that not paint the picture of serenity?  The (implied) blue sky against the golden-red sand, the sound of the wind drowning out the (again, implied) sad song on the radio.  Sure, the bit about the cad of a cowboy picking up (or being picked up by) yet another woman is a little questionable, but I'm willing to look past that for the sake of the song and this post if you are.  That's not the important part, anyway.  This tune is timeless because it's about the magic of living in the moment, of tucking the uneasy parts of life away.

Arizona, by the way, is also where Lisa Frank lives.  Which explains why she has those cacti dancing around her namesake logo.  You heard it here first: Classic rock and tween pop art, perfect partners in rhyme.

So inspired (because, honestly, what '90s fangirl doesn't want to somehow emulate Lisa Frank?), I designed my own desert decor.  Fringe Bene-hit, Candy Craze, and Dream Gig tell their own style story -- namely, stand back from that scorpion and all manner of poisonous vermin that lurk in the desert.  

Because if that's not a message of peace and goodwill, then we all might as well sit on a cactus.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Bubble Toy Joy: My Punny Valentines

Dress: Demi Loon, Zulily
Jacket: Marshalls
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Betseyville, Ross

If you grew up in the '90s, or raised a girl in the '90s, or walked through a mall in the '90s, . . . then you know all about bubble pendants.  (Also, the Bubble Boy.  But that's something else from the '90s.)  They used to hang next to the chokers and Koosh balls in Claire's, New Kids on the Block in the background.  (To be fair, you could find more up-market options in Macy's, but no Koosh balls or New Kids, so.)  And they came in all shapes and colors, the neon-hued, elixir-like liquid making them look like magic potion.  I loved them and, always an avid collector, had more than a few next to the Bonnie Bell and Love's Baby Soft on my dresser.  So, when I saw a bag of plastic, heart-shaped versions in the Dollar Spot at Target, I said, you're coming home with me.  I'd picked up some Valentine's treat-themed buttons a while back and knew that they -- along with some rhinestones -- would be just the thing to light up these too-cute hearts.  They turned out just as kitsch-tastic as I'd hoped, all gumball-machine prize like, which was fitting, seeing as how they started out life as party favors.  I'm hanging onto them instead of listing them in my shop.  Partly because of my die-hard collecting ways.  Partly because I don't want to get into the whole liquid/fragile/hazardous thing at the post office.  And, finally, because I like to party.  

I used the rest of the decadent dessert cabs to make hairpins, which are available in my shop (mostly because I made myself some extras :).  I embellished them with Swarovski crystals instead of rhinestones, these being on the classier end of the kitsch commodity spectrum.  Because V-day is no time to cheese it up. 

Unless we're talking fondue.  In that case, bring on the Gouda.            

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Hats and Hashbrowns: Hey Breakfast, Get Ready, it's Ladies Who Crunch

Tee: Macy's
Skirt: J. C. Penney's
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's

Fancy hats make a statement.  And that statement is, we're ladies who not only lunch but brunch, ladies who come to the buffet armed with Tupperware containers that say, hey omelet station guy, we mean business.  Because this meal isn't about egg whites and those always-rotting melon balls plopped on puddles of cottage cheese.  It's about bacon and real eggs and pancakes and Belgian waffles heaped high with strawberries and whipped cream.  It's about a feast that deserves a showpiece of a headpiece worthy of its decadence.  And that headpiece is here, albeit in the form of six folksy brooches.

If you've been hanging around this blog, then you know that I've spent a lot of time making faces.  But lately I've been thinking that I want to deck them -- and their hats -- out in more than just simple blossoms.  I want to swathe them in orchards and gardens, anything ornate and excessive that makes people stop and say, "My word, how can she balance all that?"  Newcomers Flora, Cora, Paula, Sherry, Heather, and Zora eagerly second this motion -- as well as their right to seconds (and thirds and, what the hell, fourths).  I've adorned their hats with full-bodied flowers, feathers, and fruit -- the big three Fs in fancy millinery.  And, perhaps (indulge me a little more), life.

These dames, who are neither divas nor damsels, know how to make the most of a meal -- and of their seats at the table.  Indeed, after they drain the last drop of orange juice and down the last bite of Danish, they're off to solve the world's problems.  And then, yes, do a little shopping.

Because as Mattel told us back in the '80s, we girls can do anything -- right, carbie?