Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Leaf Brief: Treeing Red

Dress: Arizona Jeans, JCPenny; Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily; Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's  Red and yellow bangles: B Fabulous; Orange bangle: Mixit, JCPenney; Maroon bangle: Iris Apfel for INC, Macy's

Top: Nine West, Kohl's; Skirt: Candie's, Kohl's; Shoes: Nine West, Amazon; Bag: Nine West, ROSS; Belt: Belt is Cool, Amazon

Fall may seem like an odd time to review a show that takes place during summer.  Then again, Red Oaks is an awfully autumny name for a comedy cured in warm weather.  So as with most of life's contradictions, I'll accept that the truth lies somewhere in the middle and get the heck on with it.

The Amazon Prime original Red Oaks (2014-2017), not to be confused with Twelve Oaks (although both have some Scarlett, ha ha), is about a Jewish North Jersey country club in the '80s.  Our hero is David Meyers (Craig Roberts), the club's twenty-year-old assistant tennis pro.  In the first scene of the first episode, David's dad (Richard Kind) has a heart attack on the tennis court during a discussion about David's future.  But Oaks isn't always as serious as an ER trip -- even if pompous club president Doug Getty (Paul Reiser) does tangle with Johnny Law.  It's summer, it's fun.  And David is at least sometimes carefree as he navigates the do's and don'ts of country club life along with his stoner-slash-secret-genius bud Wheeler (Oliver Cooper) and cartoon character of a womanizing tennis pro Nash (Ennis Esmer) one entitled member -- and love interest -- at a time.  

Because true to form of the age of angst, David has girl problems.  And parent problems.  And what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life problems.  All of which he battles from his bicycle.  That's right.  What we have on our hands here is a classic manchild.  Not only does David lack wheels, he lives with his parents instead of at NYU.  Still, despite his failure to launch, he wants more from life than a wife and a desk job.  Even if his high school girlfriend Karen (Gage Golightly) is content to remain in their hometown forever.  

As an emissary from the '80s, Red Oaks offers music somewhere between New Wave and the background track on an after-school-special.  And then, of course, there's the fashion.  Although more realistic than the day-glo sweat bands and leopard leggings that come prepackaged as Halloween costumes, it's nonetheless iconic, with bowler hats, striped leotards, and Laura Ashley-esque florals swathing the artist, aerobics instructor, and costumer that they respectively represent.  What's more, Jennifer Grey, Gina Gershon, and Josh Meyers (yes, Seth's brother) round out the "adult" cast.  Although the maturity level of Meyers's cheesy photographer is debatable.    

Red Oaks brims with life's big and not-so-big questions but leaves plenty of room for funny.  Introspective and bittersweet, it's a character-driven joy ride that takes a nostalgic look at coming of age in the '80s.     

So, fall.  Get out there and jump in a pile of leaves.  Just look before you leap.  

There are worms in there.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Tree Hug Mug

Boots: 2 Lips Too, Zulily

Blue bangle and rings: Mixit, JCPenney; Bag: JCPenney; Sunglasses: Party City; Yellow bangles: B Fabulous

Dress: Lily Rose, Kohl's

Camisole: Planet Gold, Macy's

Brown bracelet: B Fabulous; Mustard necklace: Cloud Nine, Ocean City; Wristlet: Betsey Johnson, Marshalls; Ring: Boscov's; Beaded necklace: Francesca's; Sunglasses: Zulily; Beaded bracelet: Hallmark; Bird bracelets: Princess Vera, Kohl's

Boots: Penny Loves Kenny, Amazon

Bag: Amerileather, Zulily; Scarf: Echo, Macy's; Flower brooch: Mixit, JCPeneny; Ring: Mixit, JCPenney; Floral bangle: JCPenney; Maroon bangle: Iris Apfel for INC, Macy's; Red bangle: B Fabulous; Teal necklace: Macy's

Top: Polly & Esther, Macy's

Jeans: Candie's, Kohl's

Boots: Penny Loves Kenny, Amazon

Sunglasses: Mudd, Kohl's; Yellow bracelet: So, Kohl's; Fally bracelet: Walmart; Bag: T-Shirt & Jeans, Amazon; Belt: Steve Madden, Zulily; Ring: Charlotte Russe; Charm bracelet: Strawbridge & Clothier

Dress: Lily Rose, Kohl's

Fall is a fine time to honor the trees.  Even if 1) Arbor Day is in April and 2) Jim Gaffigan says that looking at the fall foliage is like crashing the trees' hospice (this is real; Google it).  So that's why I'm smirking at a tree trunk, dressed like a hippie, in outfit pic number two.  

That said, the leaves are late in turning this year.  Probably because of global warming.  But I can fix that.  Not global warming -- I'm not Al Gore -- but the lack of forest finery.  Or, if not fix, then craft a semi-suitable stand-in.      

That's right.  Felt -- if not help -- is on the way.  So stay tuned, if not pruned, until next time. 

Friday, October 8, 2021

On Her Own but Not Alone: A Woman of Her World

When I was reading Madeleine Ryan's A Room Called Earth, I dogeared so many pages.  But all the words that stuck with me seemed to boil down to these:

"Idleness, or appearing to be lost or alone, or like you're reflecting upon something, isn't valued in social environments.  Even standing still for a tad too long or just noticing the fact of existing is considered to be distinctly unproductive and antisocial.  It implies that we haven't been chosen." (146)

It's not often that I begin a review with a quote.  But that seemed like the best thing to do here.  Because if I started by saying that this novel is about a young woman going to a party, then you might expect a rom com with a meet cute and a heroine who snorts when she laughs but is otherwise normal.  But A Room Called Earth isn't like that.  It's about a woman who is autistic -- and the author is too.  

The woman in the novel doesn't have a name.  But she spills her thoughts in an unfiltered monologue that lets us get to know her better than any of the people she actually meets.  Although she's at a party, holding her own, fighting awkward exchanges with her blunt brand of finesse, her main concern is being her own confidante.  It's not that she wouldn't like to make connections; it's that the system is flawed, its players untrustworthy.  Other people, after all, have a way of poisoning relationships with their agendas and need for competition and gossip, a sad truth she's gleaned from experiences with a large number of friends and boyfriends.  I thought that an autistic woman wouldn't have sought out so many others, but then, maybe that's the point.  That those relationships didn't work.  Even though being with people and belonging is what the world demands.    

That said, she does meet a guy, and he seems to be into her.  What happens next is as far away from chick lit as a swan song is from a scar.

Sometimes funny, always melancholy, A Room Called Earth isn't for everyone.  But it should be.  Because autistic or not, we all sometimes feel like the world is performing a play in a different language.  And in the chaos of that disconnect, there's something poignantly hopeful about a woman who chooses herself.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Consider the Horse . . .

Shoes: Shoe Carnival

Sunglasses: Target; Bag: SHEIN; Ring: Express; Maroon bangle: Iris Apfel for INC, Macy's; Yellow bangle: Silver Linings, Ocean City; Mint bangle: Decree, JCPenney; Bow: SHEIN

Dress: Xhilaration, Target

Bag: Sugar Thrillz, Dolls Kill


Socks: Target; Shoes: Forever Link, Zulily

Bag: LC Lauren Conrad, Kohl's; Sunglasses: Wild Fable, Target; Coral bangle: Silver Linings, Ocean City; Red bangle: XOXO, ROSS; Blue bangle: B Fabulous; Ring: Miami accessories cart

Dress: So, Kohl's


Bag: Nine West, Ross; Purse charm: Carole, JCPenney; Sunglasses: So, Kohl's; Bow: Carole, JCPenney; Necklace: SHEIN; Red bangle: XOXO, ROSS; Maroon bangle: Iris Apfel for INC, Macy's

Top: So, Kohl's; Jeans: Arizona Jeans, JCPenney

. . . is something people say when they want to discredit their haters.  No, wait, that's "consider the source."  "Consider the horse" is what you do at the racetrack or when you're eating a questionable hamburger.  

Is it any wonder I topped off my equine outfit with ice cream?

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Storybook Hook: Styling Cinderella

Pink top: Candie's, Kohl's; Navy top: Wet Seal; Wall art: Hobby Lobby; Hooks: Kohl's; Cacti: Five Below

Every story needs a hook.  Unless, of course, the hook is Captain Hook because Peter Pan's a bit of a downer.  Then again, negging on a Disney classic is no way to win friends and influence people.  Or promote jewelry.  

So it's a good thing I have these heart hooks.  They'll hang in my craft room and be a nice home for my new necklaces.  As for the earrings, they're hooks unto themselves -- minus the dismemberment.  

Annie Anchor Earrings

Fruit Flight Necklace

Claire Bear Necklace

Twee Sea Earrings

One fairy tale where I can hang my hat is the Amazon original Cinderella starring Camila Cabello.  A joyfully modern version of the classic, it reimagines the kingdom as a culturally diverse, albeit still economically disparate, universe in which its title heroine is an aspiring fashion designer with moxie and a sense of humor to match.  This Cinderella -- or, rather, Ella -- rejects the idea that peasants -- and women -- should know their place, eventually inspiring those around her to open their minds.  Even her evil stepmother (Idina Menzel), who utters the loathsome line "Every girl is worth more when she smiles," momentarily melts her ice queen armor to reveal her humanity.  But this retelling isn't just about breaking the glass ceiling -- or should I say slipper? Amazon's Cinderella is also just plain fun, exploding with exuberant musical numbers including a tribute to the prince (Nicholas Galitzine) featuring Salt-N-Pepa's "Whatta Man," and costumes so colorful that they eclipse even the digitally remastered incarnation of the 1950 cartoon.  Indeed, Billy Porter, who plays Cinderella's Fabulous Godmother, is miles more stylish than that old biddy in the blue poncho.               

Another thing I like about this version is that Cinderella and the prince really connect instead of meeting for a single, silent dance.  Oh sure, their romance is still speedy (there's only so much bonding that can go on in two hours), but even Ella pokes fun at that.  Most importantly, they talk to each other like people instead of caricatures and discover that they're more alike than different.  

And when it comes to love, that's what every woman -- princess or peasant --wants.  

No wonder Captain Hook was single.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Squash Mishmosh Nosh: Hold the Bacon

Shoes: Shoe Carnival

Bag: SHEIN

Dress: Macy's

September Sunset Necklace

Skirt: Tinseltown, Macy's

Bag: Olivia Miller TJ Maxx

Scarf: Zulily

Bangles and ring: Mixit, JCPenney

Sweater: Wild Fable, Target

Shoes: Chaps, Kohl's

Bag: Elly & Ella, Amazon

Shoes: First Love by Penny Loves Kenny, JCPenney

Top: Self Esteem, Macy's

Normally, when I see green, orange, and yellow, I think citrus.  And then, of course, summer.  To be sure, there's an orange (both the color and the fruit) bag and barrette in this ensemble sampling.  But there's an orange sweater too, which shouts pumpkin (it looks red, but it's more of a Crayola red-orange), even if it is cropped and paired with a mini and sandals.  So, it's a real cornucopia of produce-based colors.  

What's a carnivore to do?

Make like Sheryl Crow and soak up the sun, I guess.

And then hightail it to Red Robin.