Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"If I had the time to sit down and write a thank-you note to everyone who sent me a nice, expensive present, what a wonderful world it would be!"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Catch of the Day

It's not often that the bf whips out the camera to capture something he wants up on the blog.  But his culinary (and fishing!) prowess must have gotten the best of him the other night, because he snapped a picture of the striper dinner he caught and cooked.  My contribution was boiling the potatoes. 

At the Movies: Jack and Jill

When I first saw the trailer for Jack and Jill, I thought, oh no, that's too ridiculous, even for me.  But, as is often the case when I make such sweeping declarations, I ended up seeing it anyway. 

In a nutshell, Jack and Jill is about polar opposite twins.  Ever the popular one, Jack (Adam Sandler) grew up to be a hotshot LA ad exec with a beautiful wife (Katie Holmes) and two adorable children.  Jill (also Adam Sandler), on the other hand, has always been a little bit . . . different.  Garbed in an endless array of garish prints, Technicolor belts, and kooky accessories, she's socially awkward to the nth degree and desperate for "twin time," a quality that seems to have grown stronger as a result of her and Jack's mother's recent death.  When she visits Jack for Thanksgiving (with a fleet of luggage and her beloved cockatoo, Poopsie, in tow), she doesn't want to return home to the Bronx.  Jill's antics carry on through Hanukkah, her and Jack's birthday, and the family cruise to Europe, during which time she's pursued by both Jack's gardener and, wonder of wonders, Al Pacino. 

Now, what I'm about to say may seem a little strange.  But in a weird way, I identified with Jill.  Her wacky wardrobe and out-there personality sort of spoke to me, a feeling that was cemented when I spied her carrying a cherry-print XOXO handbag I own.  Quirkiness is also alive and well in Jack's kids.  His (adopted) son straps random objects to himself with tape, and his daughter always carries a doll dressed exactly like her.  I was surprised to find myself laughing out loud at the want-to-hide-your-head-under-a-pillow humor (which was all the more conspicuous in a theater full of silent viewers).

Peppered with appearances by "Saturday Night Live" alums Tim Meadows, Norm MacDonald, David Spade, and Dana Carvey, Jack and Jill is a hoot that delivers holiday hilarity worth the price of admission.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cranberry Jello Mold

I realize that this isn't a mold.  Oddly enough, an appropriately-shaped version of this Thanksgiving family favorite never featured in my childhood.  But I'm okay with that, just as I'm okay with posting this admittedly unappetizing picture.  Because I know that fruity refreshment resides within the confines of that homely Pyrex bowl.  If you too "crave the wave" of cranberry goodness (please don't sue, Ocean Spray), then here are the fixin's you'll need:

Ingredients:

1 small can crushed pineapple
1 small can mandarin oranges
1 3-oz package raspberry Jell-O
1/2 cup boiling water
1 16-oz can jellied cranberry sauce
1 cup whipped cream

Directions:

Drain pineapple juice and reserve.  Add 1/2 cup of boiling water to the pineapple juice.  Dissolve the Jell-O in 1 cup of pineapple juice and boiling water.  Add the cranberry sauce and let it gel for about half an hour, or until slightly thick.  Then fold in the oranges, pineapple, and whipped cream.  Let gel for at least 24 hours.

You can also garnish and/or serve with additional whipped cream, which I did (although it's not pictured).  

At the Movies: Larry Crowne

I always wondered why Larry Crowne was considered such a flop.  It had Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and a classic underdog-makes-good story.  But when I rented it recently I couldn't help but admit that it was missing that certain something.

That's not to say that it wasn't good.  If you've seen the trailers (or heck, by now, the movie), then you know that the title character (Tom Hanks) loses his upper management job at a Target-esque superstore because he lacks a college degree.  So he enrolls in (what I imagine to be) community college and takes a public speaking class taught by hardass Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts).  Ever the optimist, Larry tackles his new life cheerfully, trading in his gas-guzzling SUV for a more economical scooter and, coincidentally, membership into a scooter gang led by pretty young thing Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and her jealous boyfriend (Wilmer Valderrama).  But Larry has eyes only for teacher, who is conveniently married to a freeloading, porn-obsessed loser (Bryan Cranston).

Larry and Mercedes's courtship is far from orthodox, and certainly not as magical and carefree as this movie poster would lead you to believe.  To be honest, there were plenty of scenes that made me just plain hate Roberts's sour Ms. Tainot.  (At least until I remembered that sour people are sour for a reason and that fictional characters are no different.)  But the frustrated professor has a proverbial gooey center, and Larry is just the charmingly befuddled Little-Engine-that-could kind of guy to unveil it.

Overall, there isn't much of a storyline, and what story there is could have easily been depressing.  There are faint shades of Everything Must Go at play, particularly when Larry attempts to have a yard sale only to be challenged by his large-and-in-charge yard sale king neighbor (played by none other than Cedric the Entertainer).  Similarly, some of the classroom scenes mildly echo those from NBC's darkly comic "Community."  Yet despite these shadows, Larry Crowne remains on a trajectory as confidently upbeat as that of its hero.  Maybe that makes it less complicated, but that's also what makes it a good choice for easy weekend viewing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"I bet if you were a mummy wrapper in ancient Egypt, one thing you would constantly find yourself telling people would be, "Be sure, before I start, you have all the jewelry and so forth on the body, because I am not unwrapping him later." '

Monday, November 14, 2011

From the Archives - Something Old and Tasty





Dress: Macy's
Tee: Kohl's
Shoes: Journeys
Bag: Nahui Ollin
Necklace: The Tote Trove

I'm not talking about a Reese cup stuck beneath my couch cushion.  Just some drive-through-themed neck candy I made for myself last winter.  I may have even posted it here at the time. (With all the frivolity that goes on, who can say?)  Anyway, I just really liked this outfit and thought I would share.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Etsy Favorites - Fruit Fete











In search of a nutritious and delicious style snack, I peeked into Etsy's jewelry box and discovered a whole banquet's worth.  This collection of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings flowers with a fruity funkiness destined to transform your favorite jeans and white tee.  If you crave color, then you'll want to drop by these shops for a bite.     

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shiny Things



I have lots of jewelry.  Stored in lots of boxes.  Each box has a theme.  Sort of.  This one's is rhinestones. 

Most of this stuff comes from J. C. Penney's or Kohl's (big surprise there), but there's some Macy's and Cloud Nine thrown in too. 

Back in the day I read a lot of Nancy Drew mysteries, some of which were about jewel theft.  Fake jewels were inevitably used to imitate real ones, and they were always described as being made of the horrifically inferior "paste."  Which honestly didn't sound all that bad to me.  I rather thought I'd love a big old box of sparkling paste jewelry.  Another thing about Nancy Drew books is that the villainesses were always described as being garishly dressed, as if bright lipstick and flashy prints somehow equalled moral turpitude.  That never sat well with me.

Now for a bit of randomness.  I may not be able to blog as regularly as usual during the next month because I'll be working on a large wholesale order that will require most of my attention.  I'll be sure to blog about it around Christmas, though.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Something New and Sparkly - I Was Working in the Lab Late One Night





Top: Marshalls
Skirt: Macy's
Shoes: J. C. Penney's
Bag: Nahui Ollin
Necklace: The Tote Trove

When I was a kid, my science text book pages exploded with overflowing beakers, day-glo amoebas, and cartoonish atoms.  And that always sort of stuck with me.  So some months ago I thought, why not conduct my own experiment in the form of this Fabulous Felt Mad Scientist Necklace?  But as is the case with so many of my ideas, I put it on the back (Bunsen) burner.  Then this past Monday, Google honored Marie Curie's 144th birthday with one of its charming Google doodles, and I was reminded of my necklace.  What better way to honor the mother of radioactivity (not to mention the subject of my third grade book report) than with a trinket where style meets science?  I like to think the good Madame would have glowed with pride.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"If you're traveling in a time machine, and you're eating corn on the cob, I don't think it's going to affect things one way or the other.  But here's the point I'm trying to make: Corn on the cob is good, isn't it."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Something New and Sparkly - A Bird of a Different Color





Top: Venus
Cardigan (and belt): J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Tights: J. C. Penney's
Bracelet: Parade of Shoes
Ring: Making Waves, Ocean City, Asbury Avenue

Back in summer camp, my favorite activity was arts and crafts.  I used to pray for rain so I could make key chains and pencil toppers instead of braving the batting cage or BB gun range.  This Summer Camp Feather Corsage Necklace reminds me of the kind of thing I might have made in the old craft pavilion.  (Whether this means that it's charmingly nostalgic or that it looks like it was made by an eight-year-old is up to you.) 

In a related note, I was out shopping for my sister's birthday gifts again when I snagged this cobalt space-dyed, belted cardigan in J. C. Penney's.  I'd admired it before, envisioning it as the crowning touch for this very outfit, but had written it off as an unnecessary indulgence.  As it turns out, that was the best thing I could've done because today it was marked down to $4.97!  Plus, I had a $10 off coupon to apply to my entire purchase, lowering it to just $3.68.  To say that I was thrilled is an understatement.  People like to poke fun at J. C. Penney's, but I've always found it to be an emporium of exciting finds.  On the way out I spotted several colorful scarves and a hot pink-banded watch that called to me (never mind that it was next to a bevy of Justin Bieber timepieces).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Something New and Sparkly - Hello Birdie





Sweater: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Abbey Dawn, Kohl's
Shoes: Dollhouse, Marshalls
Bag: 9 & Co., Kohl's
Tights: J. C. Penney's
Necklace: The Tote Trove






Sweater: Victoria's Secret
Dress: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: MetroStyle
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Tights: Express
Bangle: B Fabulous
Necklace: The Tote Trove






Sweater: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Ross
Shoes: Material Girl, Macy's
Bag: Etsy, Eleven Peacocks
Scarf: Marshalls
Necklace: The Tote Trove 

I spent my extra hour today fashioning feathered friends out of felt (try saying that five times fast). I almost used three birds in each necklace but then told myself, "Whoa! Hold it there, missy," because the two looked just dandy and would have been hampered by a third interloper. Once I saw how splendid they looked against my colorful sweaters, I knew I'd made the right decision.

As you know, I've been rephotographing many of my items against colored backdrops in an effort to improve my Etsy shop's appearance. As with any revitalization project, now that I've started I can't seem to stop!  Today I removed any items that didn't quite fit in with the overall feel of the shop. And boy were there a lot! I wasn't all that focused three years ago when I started doing this and ended up creating a hodgepodge of things and slapping them up on the Web willy-nilly. From now on I'm going to be much more discriminating. Only bright, funky accessories with a sense of humor will make the cut. Anything bland or "normal" need not apply. That seems as good a credo as any.

Etsy Favorites - Spotlight on undercover POPULAR






I love yellow.  And I love things that are quirky.  So naturally this Sassy Patent Leather 80s Upcycled Half Moon Purse just leapt off the screen and into my Etsy Favorites.  That gorgeous color!  That half moon shape!  That disembodied, googly-eyed woman peeking crazily out from the corner!  Charmed, I had to find out more.

And find I did.  The piece hailed from a shop called undercover POPULAR, which was just brimming with beguiling bags.  By reading the shop profile (I love reading Etsy shop profiles, don't you?), I learned that shop owner Elizabeth scours estate sales for vintage purses to upcycle with her own design touches.  Here's an excerpt:       

"There’s that shock of recognition when you pick up something that’s not widely available in today’s market. There’s another little tinge of excitement when you realize the quality of workmanship that went into creating it. Doesn’t it deserve to be loved a little more? How can I leave it behind? With a little bit of love and creativity, I realized I could give handbags a whole new life, so a new owner could enjoy it as much as I would."

Elizabeth reminds us that things aren't just inanimate objects.  They have histories, infused with the joint powers of the people who loved them and of the people who will love them again.  

If you want to be one of those people, then hop aboard the time machine that is undercover POPULAR.  Your purse with a past awaits

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bright Backdrops Strike Again




I told you I was excited.  

Once I saw how these ultra-bright backdrops lit up my felt necklaces, I couldn't wait to see what they did for my tiny totes.  Not bad, huh?  

Pop Goes the Felt











Not too long ago I mentioned that I was going through my Etsy shop with a fine-tooth comb in search of ways to improve it. One thing I came up with was rephotographing a bunch of my Fabulous Felt necklaces against colored posterboard instead of the usual white. I was amazed by how much better this made the necklaces look. Which just goes to show how staring at my site day in and day out sort of blinded me to its problem areas. I'm so excited about the transformation that I may just use this idea for rephotographing some of my other items.