Monday, August 31, 2009

At the Movies: 500 Days of Summer

The bf and I ventured out into the pouring rain last Friday night to see 500 Days of Summer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel). If I say too much, I'll spoil it, so I'll just say this: Go see it.

A Few Fishy Things

Kim of asked the EtsyNJ street team to provide handmade donations for a Clean Ocean Action (COA) event to be held in Sandy Hook at sunset on September 25. (I just love the sunset part, don't you?) COA supports ocean cleanup along the coast of New Jersey and New York. In the spirit of sealife, I sent this Catch of the Day Necklace and Tiny Fish Tote. I hope that the event is a success and that the winner of the EtsyNJ basket loves all her goodies!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Gin Blossoms Come to Margate

When the bf told me that the Gin Blossoms were giving a free concert in Margate, I couldn't believe it. They're one of my favorite groups; their greatest hits CD was one of the first I bought when I started buying/collecting CDs (just one of my many collector-themed shopaholic ventures, but I digress.) Anyway, I had wanted to see them when they came to the Atlantic City Hilton last August, but the bf and I were moving to Brigantine the same weekend, and it didn't seem like a good idea. So, I was pretty excited last Sunday as the bf and I toted our beach chairs to Washington Avenue and into the throng of concert-goers. They came in all ages, including clusters of snide teenagers who insisted on making fun of everything, including the Gin Blossoms once they came on. We carved out a spot on the blacktop and plunked down our chairs -- mine was so low I could barely see anything, let alone the stage. What's more, some cheesy local and un-Gin Blossoms-worthy cover band was polluting the air. I stewed in my disapppointment a little but then thought, "Hey, snap out of it! You're seeing the Gin Blossoms for free! Plus, it's a beautiful night, and your bf is by your side even though he doesn't really like the band." I also managed to stop hating on the crowd, instead concentrating on all the interesting outfits people were wearing (one of my favorite pastimes). It occurred to me that Margate was a great place to do a craft show. I said as much to the bf, and he said if they didn't already have one, then I should start one. Hmmm.

The Gin Blossoms, of course, were great. There's something wistful about their sound that you don't hear from music made beyond the 1990s. (I realize that line makes me sound kind of old. Then again, I was about thirteen when the Gin Blossoms' first hit CD came out, so maybe I am old, at least to the snide teenagers.) They played all of their hits, including "Until I Fall Away," my favorite, and "Hey Jealousy," everyone else's favorite, which they, following unspoken concert playlist form, saved for last. They also played some new stuff, which was good (not usually the case when you go to a concert and hear songs you can't sing along to.) The finale was crowned with fireworks, which were spectacular. I especially liked the green ones because they looked like exploding broccoli. I managed to get a picture of the stage, although it's kind of blurred. I also got a picture of a guy sporting something between a mohawk and a mullet but chickened out of posting it here. Anyway, it was a fun night. Still, I will definitely buy tickets if the Gin Blossoms ever make it back to the casinos. There's just something to be said for paid seats.

Etsy Shop Sale!

I just discounted all of my medium hand-painted totes from $30 to $25 and my large totes from $35 to $30. I also just posted a bunch of tiny totes (just $6 each.) Here's a peak at my inventory!

On a Roll

Recently, I received a query about my Lady Luck Bracelet (available in my Etsy shop) from the owner of a casino-themed novelty shop. That got me thinking, and I was inspired to paint one of my large totes with a casino theme. At the same time, I'd received a fresh shipment of paint from the Dharma Trading Co., which included some exciting new fluorescent shades. So, I set to work painting a wild green four-leaf clover, day glo pink cherries, a bright yellow horseshoe, and of course, black and white playing cards and dice. It was so much fun! I'm always trying to think of crazy, colorful, collage-style designs featuring cute images -- the larger totes make an ideal canvas for that - and this gambling spread was perfect!

I'm pictured here carrying the finished product. I'm also wearing my Candy Color Burst I Necklace, which was created with a PLAID Faux Show accent and is listed in my Etsy shop under Necklaces.

Also, I've just listed this tote in my Etsy shop (it's called the Casino Tote, and you can find it under Large Totes).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Seeing Stars

I made this triple-stranded necklace and bracelet set with glass bugle and seed beads and wire star accents. I like them because they're classic enough to go with everything without being boring. Here I teamed them with this rainbow zebra print tee and bright blue jeans, both from Kohl's.

Sew Sweet

My very talented sister made me this beautiful pillow for my living room. I especially love the way the orange hibiscus pops agains the cream background, and the brocade print on the back.

At the Movies: The Time Traveler's Wife

As soon as I saw the first commercial for The Time Traveler's Wife, I knew I had to see it. It promised to be one of those magical, heart-sweeping sagas that demands tissues. How did the movie stack up? Well, it did demand tissues. But it was more disturbing than magical and ended with many unanswered questions. Also, there were a few gory parts bad enough to make me cover my eyes. Even so, it wasn't bad. Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana were very good in it -- it just wasn't what I expected. I'd really like to read the book, though. Nine times out of ten the book is better than the movie anyway. In this case, I think it will probably tackle those unanswered questions and delve more deeply into the fine points of time travel as well as the couple's relationship.

Friday, August 28, 2009

DSW Coup

I popped into DSW on my lunch break earlier this week because I had a coupon. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) It said something like, "We haven't seen you for awhile; there are so many reasons to come back," and it had little photographs of shoes printed all over it. Believe it or not, I hadn't bought anything from DSW in about a year. The discount was for $20 off a purchase of $49.95 or more. Armed with this lucky charm, I set off to rummage the clearance racks and emerged with the dazzlers pictured here. I'd been eyeing the printed pair since the spring but had been unwilling to pay full price. So, you can imagine my delight when I scored two pairs - both Steve Madden, nonetheless (well, one Madden Girl if you want to get technical) - plus two pairs of Nicole Miller socks for just $32! The copper pumps will be especially great for the fall. I have just the perfect orange and brown leopard Rampage skirt to wear with them . . .

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

Better late than never, right? Here it is . . .

"As I bit into the nectarine, it had a crisp juiciness about it that was very pleasurable -- until I realized it wasn't a nectarine at all, but A HUMAN HEAD!!"

All Tote Troved Out!

Here I'm modeling an array of my handmade items. You've already seen the tote, which I now carry everywhere (so handy for stashing my paperbacks, which I'm never without), but the necklace, bracelet, and hand-painted jean skirt are new to you. I made the bracelet with none other than a honkin' Faux Show rhinestone cluster as well as some more sedate but equally fun faux pearls. I think the necklace is my favorite, though; the charms are so fun and graphic. They're part of a new line A. C. Moore is carrying. I'm looking forward to buying a bunch more to make a matching chunky bracelet. I painted the skirt to wear for my first craft show, Mayfest, last spring. Dressing for a trip to the movies, I decided to mix it all with this gold and black houndstooth tank for a fun, slightly mismatched look.

Computer Crash!

If you're wondering why I haven't written lately, it's because my computer crashed. I thought it had caught a nasty virus through Twitter (which I will soon be quitting along with Facebook, by the way. Both are time consuming and kind of pointless; they take me away from crafting and writing with their false sense of urgency. 10 more Twitter followers! Have to follow back! Right after I post this shop update on Facebook!) Anyway, I put in a call to the good people at Dell and discovered that my McAfee anti-virus software was actually the culprit of my PC woes (how's that for irony?). So today I purchased and installed some Norton anti-virus software, and things are happily back on track. I'll be posting the stuff I've stored up in the meantime. (Yes, I've been scribbling my updates old school style in a spiral notebook. Seems even disconnected I just couldn't stay away.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"As we were driving, we saw a sign that said "Watch for Rocks." Marta said it should read "Watch for Pretty Rocks." I told her she should write in her suggestion to the highway department, but she kept saying it was a joke - just to get out of writing a simple letter! And I thought I was lazy!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We Love You, J.C. Penney's

I was clicking through random blogs/Web sites last night and stumbled upon this disturbing piece of commentary in New York Magazine. (To be clear, the article is a response to an article that appeared in the New York Times. That would be the "disturbing" material, although even on the defensive, the Magazine comes off as a little elitest.) Now, you must understand that at one point I was such a frequent JCPenney shopper that the sales associates knew me. One would actually say (a tad snarkily, I might add), "Oh, you're here again." whenever she saw me. (To be fair, she also clued me in to advance sales and gave me extra coupons.) Although I don't visit JCP nearly as often as I used to (I prefer Kohl's now), I was still offended by this article. I'm brave enough to admit that I was particularly upset by the knock to polyester, my own personal miracle fabric. Come on; it never wrinkles, never fades, dries fast, always looks fresh . . . But enough about that. Just read this for yourself and let me know what you think.

Times: JCPenney Is for the Fat and Tacky

This week Cintra Wilson's "Critical Shopper" column in the Times seeks to answer why, God, why, did JCPenney foist itself onto our fair city's Herald Square? Now, Penney's isn't exactly our go-to for apparel — we didn't pop bottles among models when it opened a couple of weeks ago, and we're not setting aside precious Saturday-afternoon time to go check it out — but it's there and we can live with that. Because at the end of the day, Macy's is, too, and the crowds and wooden escalators in that place terrify us more than any shopping destination in the city, maybe even more than the Times Square Toys "R" Us.

Wilson tends to find downmarket stores particularly vile, but her review of Penney's is utterly unforgiving. She essentially determines the store serves two primary markets: fat people and tacky people.

It took me a long time to find a size 2 among the racks. There are, however, abundant size 10’s, 12’s and 16’s. The dressing rooms are big, clean and well tended. I tried two fairly cute items: a modified domino-print swing dress with padded shoulders by American Living (a Ralph Lauren line created for Penney’s) and a long psychedelic muumuu of a style generally worn by Rachel Zoe. Each was around $80; each fit nicely and looked good. I didn’t buy either because I can do better for $80, but if I were a size 18, I’d have rejoiced.

Hear that? Wilson is a size 2, so JCPenney isn't for her. The store is so fat, in fact, that even the mannequins are "obese."

[I]t has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of “Roseanne.”

Wilson also takes issue with Penney's diffusion lines, such as Kimora Lee Simmons's Fabulosity juniors' line of "off-the-belly-chain line of clothing and extremely complicated metallic blood-on-the-dance-floor pumps." Also unacceptable to her are Charlotte Ronson's I [Heart] Ronson line, Nicole Miller's Nicole line, and Liz Claiborne's Liz & Co. line ("key provider of looks that say: 'I have been in a senior management position at this D.M.V. for 34 years.'"). Wilson explains:
A good 96 percent of the Penney’s inventory is made of polyester. The few clothing items that are made of cotton make a sincere point of being cotton and tell you earnestly about their 100-percent cottonness with faux-hand-scribbled labels so obviously on the Green bandwagon they practically spit pine cones.

What did she expect of this store? A gold mine of affordable fine silks and well-tailored business suits with a pleasant side of surprisingly fluffy bedding? It's JCPenney in the Manhattan Mall, of all places. Not Alexander McQueen. God might not like ugly, as the saying goes, but there will always be a market for it. That doesn't mean we have to call their mannequins fat.
Playing to the Middle [NYT]

Monday, August 17, 2009

Slipping Through the Cracks

I was on the Ocean City boardwalk last night and stupidly wore these heeled shoes. Needless to say, I destroyed the heels. (They kept getting stuck between the boards. This happens about once every summer until I wise up and switch to flip flops.) I decided to toss them, which made me a little sad even though they're old. I also thought about photographing the shredded heels but wimped out because it was too depressing. On a happier note, I enjoyed some delicious pina colada gelato.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hot Off the Press

I've had a lull in craft show engagements lately (the last one I signed up for was cancelled) and decided to take the time to make some more stuff for myself. My addiction to Faux Show accents is alive and well in this fun, candy-colored necklace. (See my Fire & Ice post for other Faux Show inspired creations.) But it's the tote that I'm really excited about; it's my favorite out of all the ones I've made so far. That's probably because it features all of my go-to design elements: fruit, black and white checks, flowers, hearts, stars, color, rhinestones, and an overall graphicy, 1980s feel. It's also pretty roomy - 18 " x 13" x 4" - and sports a handy zipper. It's a great overnight/beach bag, which is how I'm using it this weekend. Can't wait!

Farm Fresh

The bf brought me these lovely sunflowers and tomatoes. So colorful!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"Contrary to popular belief, the most dangerous animal is not the lion or tiger or even the elephant. The most dangerous animal is the shark riding on an elephant, just trampling everything they see."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Barrette Bonanza

I love barrettes, probably more than a 27-year-old should. A few rainy weekends ago I decided to create my own custom collection using colorful feathers, rhinestones, and puff balls! These aren't available in my shop, but I'm thinking of making a similar batch to post there. So please let me know what you think!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shoe Score

So I spent the earlier part of Sunday chained to my computer, trying to jump start my freelance writing career, an endeavor that included a trip up to the hotbox of an attic to retrieve my meager handful of published articles. It had been raining off and on, and I was restless. I debated going to the movies but finally settled on shopping because I needed a few things. Inevitably, I found my way to Macy's, where I saw them: the coveted Carlos Santana patterned, pointy-toed pumps of 50% off fame. Only this time they were 75% off! I tried them on; I had to. Minutes later they became the newest addition to my collection for a mere $24.99. It was one of those rare times when shoe stalking paid off! As a side note, I polished off Shoe Addicts Anonymous this weekend only to delve right into Secrets of a Shoe Addict. I'll let you know how it is!

Under the Covers

Today's Under the Covers tribute:

Smashing Pumpkins doing "You're All I Got Tonight" by The Cars. You've gotta love The Cars.

Happy Birthday

Here's the birthday cake I made for the bf this weekend.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Book Report: Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison

Last night I put The Tote Trove on the back burner and devoted myself to reading Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison. I'm about halfway through, and it's hilarious. It's about four very different women, their deep, dark secrets, and the one thing they have in common: an obsession with designer shoes. It's a little bit Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella and a little bit The Nanny Diaries by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus, but still original. One of the characters, Lorna Rafferty, is reminiscent of Shopaholic's Rebecca Bloomwood and has a story line that expertly explains why it's so much fun to acquire stuff:

"Her first purchase had been a pair of red Keds. She'd seen them on the Lucite stand and immediately pictured herself dockside at the Chesapeake Bay with friends, her skin a deep bronze from the sun, her blonde hair gleaming like the front of a box of Clairol Hydrience 02 Beach Blonde, her new boyfriend -- the son of a wealthy family who owned car dealerships all across the D.C. Metro area -- so enamored of her that he would propose and they'd live happily ever after . . . Unfortunately, . . . the boyfriend had dumped her a few weeks later, after cheating on her rather spectacularly with her best friend at her own birthday party; she'd spent the summer working miscellaneous temp jobs indoors, so the tan had never materialized; and her hair had grown out to a light brown that was lank and flat from the artificial environment of office buildings, rather than the spun gold she'd pictured blowing fetchingly around her face as she stood on the bow of the boat, sailing toward happily ever after." (Harbison 10)

Lorna, I hear you. I can't tell you how many times I've bought something to wear because it made me feel like I was buying possibility. Like maybe a great party, concert, or vacation would materialize if I had the right outfit waiting. Usually I end up layering the clothes to make them work appropriate or wearing them (gasp) to the mall. This book got me so wrapped up in the glamour of shoe shopping that I almost stopped by Macy's on my way home from work the other day to snag a pair of patterned Carlos Santana pointy-toed pumps (50% off!) that I'd been eyeing. Almost. So, if you like shoes and zany yet eerily realistic characters, then pick up Shoe Addicts Anonymous. It's great fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kinda scary. I've wondered where this started, and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus and a clown killed my dad."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Going Undercover

On my way to work today I was listening to 104.5 and heard Alanis Morissette covering "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas. It was slow, sad, and creepy; Alanis was obviously making fun of the song (there's so much material there). Anyway, 104.5 plays a similarly kooky cover track every morning around 7:40 on the cleverly named Under the Covers. You never know what you're going to hear; the other day I caught Weezer doing "Kids" by MGMT with a few lines of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" tossed in. Intrigued? Check out for more info!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Marvelous Minis

I still love to rock a mini. Denim or ruffled, patterned or embellished, worn with leggings and pumps or with a tee and flip flops -- they're always fabulous. I had some really wacky ones back in the eighth grade that I still think about and never should have gotten rid of: a polyester number printed with 1950s starlets, another polyester one printed with neon tulips, another polyester one printed with butterflies . . . Um, I had a thing for polyester. (Actually, I still do and don't know why it gets such a bad rap, as it washes well and never wrinkles.) I bought them with my saved-up allowance on sale at Macy's (I think all three were XOXO), then bravely wore them to school. Fun times. My current mini line-up, pictured here, is a little tamer. Which only means that I have full license to up the ante with look-at-me accessories . . .

Always Room for Dessert

My bf surprised me with this slice of orange creamsicle cake from Aversa's, our local Italian bakery. Isn't it gorgeous? I couldn't help but snap a few pictures.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fire & Ice

I've been using Faux Show (PLAID) brand rhinestone accents in some of the necklaces I make to sell. I was so excited when I first saw them in Michael's and A. C. Moore, thinking finally, stuff for people who want to make jewelry that's a little more in-your-face glam. This weekend I decided to make a couple of these necklaces for my own, one in fiery black and red and the other in icy blues. They're not for sale in my shop, but if you're interested in something similar, then just let me know. I'd be happy to make something for you.