Thursday, February 28, 2013

Take a Gamble on the Sweet Life and Fly

Halter: Kohl's
Skirt: Rampage, Macy's
Shoes: Chaps, Kohl's
Bag: Gifted

 Sweets for the Sweet Necklace

Tank: Boscov's
Tee: Kohl's
Skirt: J. C. Penney
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Journeys
Belt: Wet Seal

Dress: Kensie, Macy's
Top: Mossimo, Target
Shoes: Alloy
Bag: Nahui Ollin
Belt: Kohl's

Tank: Kensie, gifted
Jeans: Kohl's
Shoes: Nine West, Macy's
Bag: B&B, Ocean City, Asbury Avenue

I have no idea what that means, but it was a nice, rhythmic way of stringing together today's necklace story.  Even if I did leave out the pun about toting my own horn per the Tote Trove piece.  (That bit of wordplay, by the way, was the fiance's brainchild, not mine.  You've got to give credit where credit's due.)

And now for the serious business of technique.  The chocolates in the Sweets for the Sweet Necklace are actually - wait for it - lip gloss containers I received several Valentine's Days ago.  I cleaned out the leftover gloss, mounted the (surprisingly light) cases onto my signature felt, and then mounted all of that onto some felt-backed cardboard for extra durability.  Talk about sealed with a kiss!

And next time (or the time after that) we'll be talking about cupcakes.  Because I've been clinging onto lip gloss receptacles that look like those too.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

At the Movies: Safe Haven

Few havens feed a hungry heart as well as a house made of candy.  Although perhaps better suited to a movie like Hansel and Gretel, this gumdrop of a graphic struck the right note with me in terms of introducing Safe Haven.  Based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name, this Valentine's Day weekend box office darling held no surprises for me.  Fortunately, the familiarity only deepened its charm.

Katie (Julianne Hough) is running from something.  Saddled with a backstory that is perhaps darker than any other in the Sparks canon, her shadowed past serves as the ideal foil for sleepy Southport, the North Carolina beach hamlet where she takes refuge.  Katie sets tentative roots by renting a cottage, waitressing at the local cafe, and becoming a regular at the general store.  A quaint, near-ramshackle of a place that sells light groceries (and on a good day) paint, it's run by Alex, a widowed father of the hunky, aw-shucks variety whose flirting style is as awkward as Katie's is avoidant.  The fledgling courtship that flowers between them is made even more fragile by Katie's secret.  Idyllic walks and beach scenes continue to be undercut by Katie's flashbacks of her old life in Boston.  Everything about the city is dark, right down to Katie's clothes and hair, serving as a contrast to the breezily bright and beachy Southport where she begins a new chapter.  What lies in the balance is a classic tale of fate and true love.  Hardly groundbreaking stuff, as Sparks-slaying critics are happy to say.  But it's this homespun simplicity that makes Safe Haven so universally poignant and so human.

Indeed, it's a cold customer who doesn't eke out a tear at the end.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Prettiest Girl in the Orchard and Other Doomed Damsels

Prettiest Girl in the Orchard Brooch

Dress: Modcloth
Shoes: Madden Girl, DSW
Bag: DSW

This week's fruit-bearing brooch has inspired me to wax fictional.  Take from it what (fruit) you will:

Allison's father had forbidden her to go to the orchard.  "It's full of unscrupulous sorts," he'd cautioned, his lake-blue eyes devoid of their usual humor.  That had been three months ago on the kind of bitter night that made Allison grateful for the warm if fussy embrace of the old Victorian where she and her father lived.  She'd never dreamed of defying him.  But yesterday she'd been walking by the orchard and had caught a glimpse of something glimmering in the foliage.  Transfixed, she'd dreamed of the possibilities lying dormant beyond those errant sparkles long after the trees were behind her.  Now it was dusk and her father was at a neighbor's on business.  Alone in her dark turret room, she couldn't resist the memory of the orchard's strange spell.  Before fear could take over, she tossed on her cloak and flew out the front door.

She set upon the path in a fever, ignoring the whippoorwills' cries to instead indulge in the dark glamour of night-blooming jasmine.  She didn't notice when brambles tore at her hair, lost in the allure of the unknown and the tireless tattoo of her own wild heart.  It wasn't long before the orchard appeared, its brash and stalwart trees giving off a faint, shimmering cloud, the rainbowed prisms of which were as magnificent as any great beyond about which she'd read or dreamed.  Each step ripened the trees' vibrancy; each breath sent her imagination reeling.  Allison closed her eyes, pushed past the barricades of the glossy green boughs, then opened her eyes - and saw nothing.  The entire orchard had vanished, leaving nothing but scrubbed, brown earth in its wake.  A strange stillness settled in Allison's chest.  She wanted to burst into tears but didn't, refusing to become emotional over something that had turned out to be just an illusion.  

She allowed herself to wallow for just a moment before starting back home.  She was three quarters of the way there when she was stopped by an elderly man.  "You're Will Wainwright's girl, aren't you?" he asked.  Allison nodded, taking in the man's haggard face and work-worn fingers.  "That's a mighty fine house you've got there," he continued, adding, "It's not every girl who gets to grow up that way."  

"No," Allison admitted.  "I suppose it isn't."  

He tipped his hat and shuffled away until his angular frame was swallowed by shadows.

Allison shivered in the gathering gloom.  In the not-so-far distance, she could just make out the glow of the Victorian.  This time its curlicues seemed more quaint than fussy, its solid old boards more steadfast than tired.  Allison hurried toward its porch and its turret and its garden of homely old violets.  Soon her father would be home, and they would sip tea by the fire.  

Nearly flying now, she pulled her cloak tighter.  She'd had enough of night-blooming jasmine.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Look of Love

 Barrette barrage!

Dress: Modcloth
Tee: Kohl's
Shoes: Journeys
Bag: Kohl's

 An organization station with heart.

A picture of a necklace that became a brooch.

It's Only a Paper Gem Brooch

Dress: Kohl's
Cardigan: Kohl's
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Scarf: Wet Seal

Style-wise, Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday.  Hearts and flowers and candy and pink were made for those who can't get enough of kawaii.  So, in celebration, here's a sweet surfeit of stuff I heart.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

If You Finish Your Salad . . .

Top: Alloy
Skirt: Boscov's
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, Marshalls
Bag: Journeys
Belt: Kohl's

Top: J. C. Penney's
Tee: J. C. Penney's
Jeans: Union Bay, Kohl's
Shoes: Guess, DSW

Blouse: Alloy
Tee: Kohl's
Skirt: Boscov's
Shoes: Alloy
Bag: Journeys

. . . then you can have some ice cream before turning in for the night.  Or so says today's accessory story.  All things considered, not a very bad deal.  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mad About Modcloth

As I was typing this post title, Belinda Carlisle's "Mad About You" began playing in my head.  And I thought, "Not too off the mark to hum an 80s tune when singing the praises of retro-style dresses."  Even if the "retro" in question has at least one pump planted firmly in 1950.  

I didn't happen upon these feisty frocks in a big box store.  I got them from Modcloth, a web site specializing in vintage-inspired fashion.  The burgeoning business is owned by high school sweethearts Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger (aw!), and it began as a way for Susan to unload her ever-growing collection of vintage treasures.  Clearly, I'm hooked, having purchased these lucky seven (and, if I may add, marvelously monikered) dresses in recent months.  I haven't worn any of them yet (I'm saving most of them for my honeymoon this summer), but I can say this: there's something about a Modcloth dress.  When you put one on, you feel like you're about to take part in an exquisite and delicious slice of theater.  As in, when you walk down the street, cartoon birds will appear and hearts will explode and strangers will smile and tip their hats.  

That's not to say that these confections can't be a little costly (although Modcloth does run some pretty stellar sales).  But they're worth it, and adding them to your wardrobe will give you the kind of sartorial satisfaction that just can't be found in a department store.  No disrespect, by the way, to department stores, as they are the frugal fashionista's best friend.  But their brand of retail rhapsody is more of the look-at-all-the-cool-components-I-got-for-one-low-price variety; now I can go home and style something awesome, whereas the Modcloth wow factor hinges on a knee-jerk reaction of, now, that's something stunning; let me not muck it up with too many other pieces.  

And to think some say shopping is mindless.