Skirt: J. C. Penney's
Shoes: J. C. Penney's
Jacket: Mossimo, Target
Belt: Izod, Marshalls
Scarf: Wet Seal
Tee: American Rag, Macy's
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's
Jacket: Tommy Hilfiger, Marshalls
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's
I'm not talking about that Justin Theroux series or last night's meatloaf. I'm talking about the beads that you have left over after completing the projects for which you bought them (also about my leftover summer photographs, as flowers, smoothies, and purple bicycles should not go unshared). You know how it goes. Some plastic beads here, some glass beads there, with the odd extra pendant or cabochon thrown in. More often than not, these odds and ends don't go together, and you're left wondering what to do with them. Although this can be annoying, it's usually fun, kind of like making that questionable clearance rack caftan work with your wardrobe. Lately, I've been trying to make necklaces that are more suited for everyday wear, and managing this mishmosh of supplies fits right in with that plan.
On a not-so-related note, I was recently flipping through some new magazines and was dismayed to find myself kind of disgruntled. Not so much with the appearance stuff, which I take with a grain of salt (nothing like heeding the advice of Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)": "Do NOT read beauty magazines; they will only make you feel ugly."), but with the pop psychology, how-to-be-a-better-person sort of stuff. It's either stuff I already know, or stuff I don't want to know, like how to bake a gourmet turkey, how to do exercises at your desk, or how to strike up conversations with strangers. I couldn't help but remember a college professor who had a negative view of women's magazines. She said that they were all about convincing women that they needed to fix themselves, showing them how to be skinnier and prettier, better cooks, better lovers, better mothers. Twenty-year-old me thought she was full of it. Magazines were bursting with color and possibility, not to mention a welcome escape from my World Drama homework. I think it took so long for me to realize their true duplicity because I never set out to do what they said, instead mesmerized by their splashy layouts like a child immersed in elaborate picture books. Although still of that mind, I now find the content even less entertaining. Stripped of such glitter, it all seems a little stress-inducing and judgy, the very antithesis of an indulgent diversion.
I think that's why I'd rather read novels, which are almost always enriching and peaceful. I just finished a most restful example, A Week in Winter by the late great Maeve Binchy. It tells the stories of guests at Stone House, an Irish hotel that serves up solace every bit as warm and restorative as its hearty soups (a ringing endorsement, as I don't even like soup). Here's one of my favorite parts:
"Chestnut grove [not to be confused with the aforementioned Stone House; this book is teeming with inviting edifices] was a house that would have suited nobody except Eva: it was in poor repair, with a wild, rambling garden, very shaky plumbing, and unreliable electrical works. She really couldn't afford the cost of maintaining it properly, and it might have seemed sensible to sell the place -- but when had Eva ever done the sensible thing? . . . There were clothes hanging in every room; on almost every wall there were hangers holding colorful, inexpensive dresses, often with a matching stole or hat. Eva would pick them up at markets, car-boot sales, or closing-down sales. She had never bought a normal dress in what might be called a normal shop. Eva found the price of designer clothes so impossible to understand that she had refused to think about it anymore. What were women doing, allowing themselves to be sucked into a world of labels and trends and the artificial demands of style? Eva couldn't begin to fathom it. She had only two rules of style -- easy care and brightly colored -- and was perfectly well dressed for every occasion." (355-356)
I found this passage to be so refreshing and carefree compared to the unyielding do's and don'ts espoused by the glossies. Chestnut Grove sounds like the kind of house I'd love to live in, a magical mess of a place in delightful violation of most monthlys' rigid edicts. The rest of the story is just as wonderful. I hate hiking almost as much as I hate soup, but the book was so enchanting that I found myself wishing that I could stay at Stone House to walk its cliffs in an anorak and wellies.
And finally, as the last thread in this unraveling sweater of a post, the husband and I cannot imagine a world without Joan Rivers or a Friday night without "Fashion Police." We followed her condition online until she passed last Thursday, somewhat bittersweetly during Fashion Week. For years we tuned in weekly for Joan's colorful zingers, dissolving into laughter as she delivered one outrageous analogy after another. Razor-sharp and unrelenting, Joan's wit was the star of the show, the celebrity fashions merely the window dressing. Without it, our Friday night post-pizza snack will lose some of its flavor, and whatever we watch will be bland compared to its bite. Rest in peace, Joan. You always wore it well.