Tuesday, January 27, 2015

From Chalet to Cabana, Tammy's Always Top Banana

Top (actually a dress): Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Skirt (actually another dress): Kohl's
Cardigan: Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Nordstrom
Belt: Marshalls
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

Tee: American Rag, Macy's
Skirt: Merona, Target
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Belt: Izod, Marshalls
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's

 Hearts and Flowers Barrettes

Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Boscov's
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Etsy, Glamour Damaged

Black top: Mossimo, Target
Cami: Kohl's
Jeans: L'Amour, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Venus
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal

It may be as snowy as a ski slope in the great Northeast, but here in the Trove it's all about tiki hut tropics.  And I don't just mean the thermostat. I've taken to sticking paper umbrellas in my fruit punch, and Tammy's abandoned her boots and sweaters for peep toes and tee shirts, reminding me that springtime is right around the (cloud-shrouded, freezing cold, sometimes treacherously icy) corner.  I don't know about you, but I can already hear the waves crashing.  Even though that's not a sign of spring, but of summer, and I hear them year round because I live near the beach.  

The stores are wishing for warm weather too, rolling out racks of three-quarter sleeve tees, pastel cardigans, and Capri pants tailored for April (well, more like May in these parts).  In other words, "transitional wear," a term that usually conjures images of fall's russet and mustard sundresses, and as such earns my hatred.  But spring transitional wear is a whole different kettle of fish, all bright and light and hopeful like the reopening of a custard stand.  Sure, summer has its own problems.  Sunburn.  Mosquitoes.  BBQs with people who smell like old ham.  But it's winter that takes top marks in the doldrums department, for being not only depressing, but deadly.  It has ice.  Falling from the sky.  Making the roads all slick and scary.  If snow wasn't a part of cold weather life, you'd think it was science fiction.  

Which makes it all the more disturbing to this loyal chick lit fan.      

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Total Eclipse of the Art

Dress: Candie's, Kohl's
Blouse: Lily White, Target
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Bra top: Boscov's
Skirt: Necessary Objects, Annie Sez
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal

Top: Target
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Call it Spring, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Wet Seal

 Funky Folk Singer Necklace

Tee: Marshalls
Turtleneck: Mossimo, Target
Jeans: J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Alloy
Bag: Delia's
Scarf: Target

(Yep, that's one of my wedding table numbers.  Before the big day every little thing has to be perfect, but once it's over, you're stuck with a spare room full of stuff.  When you look at it that way, it seems sad not to tear it apart to make barrettes.)

Sweatshirt: XOXO, Macy's
Tee: Mudd, Kohl's
Skirt: Macy's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Journeys
Scarf: Gifted

 Dark Red Gumball Necklace

Top: Macy's
Skirt: I Heart Ronson, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Miss Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Nine West, Boscov's
Scarf: Marshalls

This first picture looks kind of like a moon, doesn't it?  In reality, it's just the very humdrum light in my hallway. Lately, I've been snapping shots of it in an effort to trick my camera into flashing. My new camera, that is (my old one died on Christmas Eve just as I was zooming in on the tree). Remember all those months ago when I was yammering on about my efforts to take better pictures? It turns out that I didn't need to be fiddling with natural light or Google backgrounds at all -- all I needed was a new piece of equipment (a statement, I realize, that so succinctly sums up most of life's problems). Temperamental flash notwithstanding, I love the results.

Speaking of celestial stuff, I just finished reading Shopaholic to the Stars, the seventh installment in Sophie Kinsella's beloved Shopaholic series. I don't usually take pictures of book covers anymore, but this one was so strikingly Tote Trove-rific with its bold combo of pink and yellow that I broke my resolve. Anyway, Shopaholic to the Stars is just as riveting as you would expect. Unstoppable shopper Rebecca Brandon is transplanted from her native London to LA when her husband lands a gig representing a huge Hollywood star. Never one to miss an opportunity, Becky pulls out all the stops to ingratiate herself as a celebrity stylist, an adventure that begins when she discovers an A-lister -- horror of horrors -- shoplifting gym socks. Hilarity ensues, with Bex's best friend Suze, her suddenly spacey father, her old nemesis Alicia, and her regally chilly mother-in-law joining the fray. Yet their dramas fade into the background as Becky becomes absorbed by the celebrity world of paparazzi, red carpets, and -- but of course -- vintage boutiques. Through her signature grace and grit (okay, Lucille Ball-like hijinks and groveling), she manages to gain the confidence of more than one celebrity only to find that they are not the macrobiotic and social network-abstaining paragons she's she's met in magazines, but rather nacho-binging TMZ addicts who manipulate the media's every move. I know what you're thinking. What?! Celebrities who aren't what they seem?! But Kinsella avoids what could be a cliche, traversing old territory with all the novelty and wit of someone describing never-before-touched ground. Her humor ranges from the screwball to the satirical, and her heroine is so charming that you can't help but root for her even when you know she's wrong. And she's wrong a lot, as documented by the well-intentioned but nonetheless annoying commentary of her feet-firmly-on-the-ground husband. Because the thing is, Becky's well-intentioned, too. However ill-advised, morally questionable, and naive, her tireless pursuit of her dream is as inspiring as it is entertaining. I suppose this has always been true of Becky's exploits, but it wasn't until I read this book that I realized that Becky isn't so much the cool girl in school as she is that somewhere-in-the-middle girl who's this-close to achieving cool status herself if only she plays the game a little bit harder to get in the cool girls' good graces. In the end, she realizes that she's got what it takes, but that she doesn't want "it" anymore. It's a classic story, the central conflict in everything from middle school chick lit to grown-up courtroom dramas. It's such stories, and such characters, that make us want to read fiction. Not that Rebecca Brandon is Atticus Finch. I mean, she gets thrown off of movie sets and buys whole wardrobes for people she's never met. But in a way I think that makes her better.  She's fallible, yet even at her most scheming, refreshingly innocent.  Best of all, she never apologizes for what many may deem to be a frivolous lifestyle, instead celebrating it with the kind of gusto that must have been in the mind of the person who came up with the phrase "owning it."  

Owning it.  Ha.  I like to think Becky would like that.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

If Seeing is Believing, Then I'll Stay a Skeptic

Sweater: Marshalls
Tank: Hollister, Marshalls
Skirt: J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Target

 Rainbow Ruckus Necklace

Blouse: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Tank: Hollister, Marshalls
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Betseyville, Marshalls
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

 Candy Collage Barrettes

Top: Target
Skirt: L'Amour, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Candie's, Kohl's
Bag: Nahui Ollin
Belt: Wet Seal

Sweater: Marshalls
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Etsy, Eleven Peacocks
Belt: Wet Seal

I've always loved rainbow sherbet.  As a kid, I used to eat it out of cylindrical brown Pyrex bowls that made the stripes of green, pink, and orange even more magically neon.  Looking at this week's dessert-themed accessories, I wish I would've made and photographed a rainbow sherbet sundae.  In an old-fashioned ice cream parlor glass, though, not a circa 1975 piece of Pyrex.  Partly because I've been itching to bust out said glasses since my going-on-two-years-ago bridal shower.  Partly because it would've been pretty.  But mostly because it would've been a great excuse to eat ice cream in January.  But then, hindsight's 20/20.  Unlike my vision.  

Yep, it's an out-there segue, even for me.  But I promise it's a relevant one.  See, I recently discovered that I'm becoming more dependent on my glasses.  I wear them mostly just for driving but found that I need them more and more, a realization that dawned after I hatched an "experiment" to wear them all day. (I didn't say it was a sophisticated experiment.)  Sharper eyesight, however, led to another unpleasant revelation, namely that I had a gray hair or two.  "I've been living in a fool's paradise!" I thought, channeling that old lady from the Swifter commercial.  Sure, these flaws are minor and could be easily remedied by hair dye and contacts (although "easily" is a relative term considering my aversion to salons and sticking things in my eyes).  But then, it isn't what's happening that's giving me pause.  It's what what's happening represents, namely, that I'm getting, if not old, exactly, then older.

Paradoxically, wearing glasses full time makes me feel like I'm going backwards.  In TV and movies, spectacles always spell disaster.  They eradicate the "it" factor from cool girls and prevent diamonds in the rough from achieving their sparkle.  Except, of course, in that coterie of hip-to-be-square goddesses who sometimes wear glasses and sometimes don't.  Like Zooey Deschanel's Jess on "New Girl," or Tina Fey's Kate in Baby Mama. (I'd go with Liz in "30 Rock," but I think she almost always wore glasses in that, which wouldn't do much to help my case.  Besides, it was re-watching Baby Mama on FX recently that first set me off on this tangent, and I like to give credit where credit is due.)  Are we to assume that these characters are wearing contacts when they're not wearing glasses?  Or that they're just not seeing as well?  I sure hope it's the latter, because that's what I've been doing for the last 16-odd years, and I'd love for some reputable source to sanction it.  After all, Hollywood's haphazard, devil-may-care attitude toward glasses has probably, at least in some small way, contributed to my reluctance to be a 24/7 four eyes.  Their attitude toward eyewear is sort of "Now I want to look smart! Wait, now I want to look pretty!", which is kind of confusing.   Because despite my (and let's be honest, most women's) ever-ardent desire to look pretty, if there's anything I learned while dodging my optometrist's near-heroic attempts to fit me for contacts, then it's that my squeamishness outweighs my vanity (no surprise there, really, as I've avoided plucking my eyebrows and bleaching my teeth for similar reasons). Which makes me wonder.  Is wearing glasses a sign of weakness, a kind of white flag that you've given up on your looks?  Or is it a mark of maturity that you've transcended such shallow concerns?  

I think the title of this post tips my hand on that one.  Which is to say that I'll have my cake (sherbet?) and eat it too (a dubious saying if ever there was one because what would you do with cake if you didn't eat it?) by being a mere part-time Poindexter.  At least until I hit forty and succumb to bifocals.