Friday, July 29, 2011

Scarfing Up Style

Or would it be scarfing down style? Does one scarf up or scarf down a bag of Cheetos? I don't know; I'm just trying to make a lazy pun about my scarf collection before I go on vacation. Which means no posts for awhile, but lots of exciting new ones when I get back. Have great weeks all!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

At the Movies: Friends with Benefits

Like many moviegoers, when I heard about the romantic comedy Friends with Benefits, I thought, hey, didn't Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher already make that movie?

Well, sort of.

Like No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits stars a tough cookie heroine (Mila Kunis) with a guarded gooey center. Yet Kunis's Jamie is edgier and more vulnerable than Portman's Emma, making for a more compelling and likable character. Likewise, Justin Timberlake's Dylan trumps Kutcher's Adam. Whereas Adam is eager to be Emma's prince charming from the get-go, Dylan doesn't really know what he wants, which makes him more believable. Although he's a little steamrolled by the more dominant Jamie, he's a worthy opponent, chipping away at her crusty shell until they both end up on equal footing. But what truly makes Friends with Benefits the better movie is that it's really about two friends instead of two near-strangers who just happened to have sex. Kunis and Timberlake have an easy chemistry that cuts through the dating game motions they so cynically mock. Indeed, they first hook up after rolling their eyes at a sappy romance starring Jason Segal and Rashida Jones (which, by the way, was funny to watch given Segal's and Jones's animosity toward each other in I Love You Man). It gives you that whole what-if-two-friends-watching-movies-on-the-couch-just-went-for-it? element that was missing in No Strings Attached.

Stuff to watch for: 1) a cameo by Shaun White as himself and 2) Richard Jenkins as Timberlake's father with Alzheimer's. I know, I know, what's something so serious doing in a romantic comedy? But it works.

Friends with Benefits is fun and, dare I say, poignant without being cheesy. At the end, I left the theater happy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"I bet what happened was, they discovered fire and invented the wheel on the same day. Then, that night, they burned the wheel."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Report: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, didn't make me very happy. In fact, it made me so unhappy that I nearly gave up on it after the first few pages. Which is saying something because I'm one of those diehard bookworms who insists on finishing everything. But because I planned to blog about it and wanted to be informed, I soldiered on. (Ironically, Rubin herself cautions against just such behavior, writing: "I did, however, vow to stop reading books that I didn't enjoy. I used to pride myself on finishing every book I started - no longer. " (229) Perhaps that's the one good point I can take away from this experience.)

So, what is this book all about? Gretchen Rubin, lawyer-turned-stay-at-home-writer, married mother of two, and New York city dweller, ponders why she, a woman who has it all, isn't happier. To find the answer, she embarks upon a year-long experiment to increase her happiness through twelve resolutions (one for each month), including "boost energy," "remember love," "be serious about play," and "make time for friends."

Obviously, this sounded good. After all, who doesn't want to be happier? What's more, I'm always attracted to stories about people (especially writers) who shake up their lives to set out on missions of self discovery. But Rubin's book failed to live up to the funny, self-deprecating, anecdotal account I'd expected. Instead, self-professed know-it-all Rubin offers up tired old advice about getting more exercise, decluttering closets, going to bed earlier, remembering friends' birthdays, and learning new things. She goes as far as to force herself to read obscure magazines in pursuit of this last one, the most notable of which was a periodical on horse hygiene. As for the decluttering bit, she becomes so obsessed by it that she insists on cleaning her friends' closets, too. Her husband has to intervene, suggesting that perhaps she is overstepping. Finally, she spends her family vacation reading books about overcoming cancer, addiction, and divorce because she "hoped that it would be possible for me to benefit from the knowledge that these people had won with so much pain, without undergoing the same ordeals. There are some kinds of profound wisdom that I hope never to gain from my own experience." (196). Reading such stuff struck me as a dubious road to happiness. Furthermore, Rubin's motive of tying to absorb sufferers' wisdom without suffering herself seemed a little shallow.

Reading Rubin's litany of self-imposed assignments, echoed by seemingly pointless happiness research and endless quotes, just plain wore me out. I'm more than ready for a nice slice of gooey, sugary, happily-ever-after fiction.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Something New and Sparkly - A Little of This, a Little of That

Fabulous Felt Electric Garden Necklace,

Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Stephen Burrows for Target
Flip flops: Marshalls
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Necklace: The Tote Trove

Felt Baby Roses Corsage Necklace,

Dress: XOXO, (the now sadly departed) (I ordered an embarrassing amount of stuff from their 70% off going-out-of-business sale this week; look for lots of new pieces posted at a Tote Trove blog near you in the coming weeks :)
Shoes: MetroStyle,
Bag: Loop, Marshalls
Necklace: The Tote Trove

Felt Yellow Roses Corsage Necklace,

Top: Kohl's
Cardigan: Kohl's
Capris: Macy's
Shoes: Not Rated, DSW
Bag: J. C. Penney's
Necklace: The Tote Trove

Felt Cherry Treat Corsage Necklace,

Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Kohl's
Shoes: Miss America (yes, of pageant fame. Apparently DSW is now a sponsor of the event), DSW
Lunchbox: Marshalls
Necklace: The Tote Trove

Crystal Blue Persuasion Necklace,

Dress: XOXO, Macy's
Shoes: Nina, DSW
Bag: Gifted (although I think it may be from TJMaxx)
Necklace: The Tote Trove

I started out with all these good intentions of making a pile of jewelry and then parsing it out into specifically-themed blog posts with titles like "Slice of Americana" and "Blue Skies". (Yes, really. Although now that I see them in print I'm thinking that my abandonment of them was for the best.) But time got the better of me, and some of the outfits turned out differently than I'd planned, so I decided to just toss it all together in a delightfully discordant jumble. My favorite piece is the Felt Cherry Treat Necklace. It kind of reminds me of a Hawaiian lei.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Big Hair

In my never-ending mission to photograph my wardrobe, I decided to zero in on some of my hair accessories. This, in turn, reminded me of a cherished old picture book:

Yep, big hair. Here are some of the bouffantish best:

And we can't leave out the gentlemen:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Something New and Sparkly - Flower Power

The No Name Necklace - Otherwise known as a necklace not posted on Etsy :)

Top: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Abbey Dawn, Kohl's
Shoes: Barefeet Shoes
Bag: DSW
Necklace: The Tote Trove

Felt Flower Trio Corsage Necklace,

Dress: Cloud Nine, Ocean City boardwalk
Shoes: Kensie, DSW
Bag: Chinese Laundry, J. C. Penney's

The green and gold faceted acrylic beads in this Bright Blossoms Necklace (below) came from a vintage-style necklace I bought at J. C. Penney's years ago. I wore it so much it even began to smell like a vintage necklace (which is to say that it radiates a pleasant hint of perfume as opposed to the dreaded mothballs :) . Sadly, I tried to wear it the other day and discovered that the thread had weakened so much that it broke, sending beads scattering everywhere. But then I realized that I could use them to make an exciting new necklace. The resulting Bright Blossoms Necklace has more personality than the original (although, as is the case with many of my creations, less versatility).

Bright Blossoms Corsage Necklace,

Dress: Victoria's Secret
Bag: Etsy, Eleven Peacocks,
Flip flops: Kohl's

Fancy Felt Garden Corsage Necklace,

Vest: Marshalls
Tee: Kohl's
Capris: J. C. Penney's
Shoes: J. C. Penney's
Bag: Etsy, Glamour Damaged,

I juggled gems, I dwelt in felt, and this is what I planted. These necklaces are a little hippie meets little girl's dress-up box: bright, whimsical, homespun, and playful. Just teaming them up with these oufits made me smile. Three ensembles embrace the soft and feminine ditsy floral theme, whereas the fourth breaks free with a fresh and funky edge.