Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tanks Very Much JCP and Happy Thanksgiving





Tank: J. C. Penney's
Cami: J. C. Penney's
Jeans: Mudd, Kohl's
Shoes: Alloy
Bag: Nordstrom
Sunglasses: Kohl's






Tank: J. C. Penney's
Cami: J. C. Penney's
Jeans: Mudd, Kohl's
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's






Tank: J. C. Penney's
Cami: J. C. Penney's
Jeans: Mudd, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Kohl's






Tank: J. C. Penney's
Cami: J. C. Penney's
Jeans: Mudd, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Michaels

There are few clothing combos more iconic than jeans and a tee shirt.  Unless, of course, it's jeans and a tank top.  So on this Turkey Day, I'm taking a moment to give thanks to J. C. Penney's and the four tank tops it sold me, as well as this single pair of denim jeggings from Kohl's.  (For the record, I'm also thankful for the Goodwill-bound bag of clothes hibernating in my trunk, as its mighty kilt recently rescued me from a wardrobe malfunction.)  Simple and streamlined, these wardrobe basics let the accessories do the talking.  And what a lot they have to say, all of it cranberry-centric in honor of this elastic waist pants day of days that we call Thanksgiving (or, if you happen to be semi-vegan Jesse Eisenberg, then Thanks-living, as told two weeks ago to an incredulous Conan).  But first, a rundown of the players:

Daisy Chain Jane = Daisy (not Jane, although I fought the pull of Plain Jane puns something powerful)

Dandy Candy = Candy (obviously)

Winged Bling = Peggy (do not call her Margaret, or for that matter, horsey, no matter how many apple pies she eats)

Mushroom Madness = Maria (the Super Mario Brothers' long-lost sister)

Daisy prefers her cranberries crunchy and unsweetened but will indulge in these Cranberry Hootycreeks* on special occasions.  That's why I made them despite my fear of baking (and of white chocolate).



Then there's Candy, who will eat only the most artificial of cranberries, a.k.a. those that come gelled in a can.  Ocean Spray serves them up sweet in this limited-time retro version stacked in a wall that Warhol would love.  Crave the wave indeed.


Peggy doesn't believe in cranberries because, as she says, they don't believe in her.  

And Maria?  She doesn't care about cranberries.  Even if she is a mush.  She's concerned with only her own preservation, urging diners everywhere to forgo mushrooms and "leave the fungus in the forest."  (The husband shares her sentiment, having uttered these very words to me at dinner last night.)

Which brings us to these chatterbox charms from the past and present (there's a fungus among us, er, them) as well as a sneak speak at a few from the future (I'm talking to you, out-of-season fruit salad).
A free can of cranberry sauce to anyone who wants to surmise what they'll say.**


*Cranberry Hootycreeks (I don't where this name came from, but I'm fairly certain that it has nothing to do with Hootie and the Blowfish.  Although I wish it did.)

Ingredients:

5/8 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheet.  Beat 1/2 cup butter, egg, and vanilla until fluffy.  Add other ingredients and mix together until well-blended. Drop heaping spoonfuls onto cookie sheet 2" apart.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool for two minutes.

**I was kidding about the free cranberry sauce.  Contrary to the photo, I'm not hoarding a superkmarket's worth in my house.  For the time being, I hoard only clothes.  And unicorns.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ryan's Goslings: We'd Follow You Anywhere . . .




. . . would be a fun name and tagline for a Ryan Gosling fan club.  At least, that's what I was thinking as I was making this Ryan-rific jewelry.  No, The Tote Trove doesn't suddenly have stars in its eyes (although if it did, then it would be Paul Rudd's mug winking amidst these rhinestones).  My little sister is getting married, and her co-matron of honor asked me to make this necklace and bracelet for her to wear at her bachelorette party.  (Kudos to her, by the way, for coming up with a classy alternative to the usual celebration of male nether regions.)  As luck would have it, I had plenty of charms and pendants just the right size for framing Ryan's kisser, and I was only too happy to contribute my craftiness to the heartthrob-themed hijinks.  Some wire and a few jump rings later, and I had a modern day Prince, ahem, Charming, on my hands.

Talk about one for the (note)books.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Playing the Ponies . . .





Top: Iron Fist, Modcloth
Jeans: City Streets, J. C. Penney's
Boots: Two Lips, DSW
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's






Tee: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Marshalls
Boots: Alloy
Bag: Marshalls
Jacket: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's






Top: Target
Skirt: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Bongo, Kohl's
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

. . . is always a wardrobe win-win.  Compared to horses (the heroes of last week's write-up), ponies are a kinder, gentler, more whimsical breed.  And as such, it seems, a more appropriate canvas for candy colors.  You have only to look at a My Little Pony to know that the creative team at Hasbro knew what it was doing when it picked that palette back in the 1980s.  I'm not so sure about the sleek, svelte My Little Ponies of today, though.  With their anime eyes and sharp bone structure, they possess a kind of I'm-all-that-and-a-bag-of-oats bravado unheard of in their unassuming predecessors.  Frankly, I find it unsettling.

Thankfully, shirts one and three in this week's ensembles feature the My Little Ponies of yore in all their fetchingly retro glory.  Indeed, this post boasts a razzle dazzle ranch's worth of pony prizes (or perhaps I should say prize ponies).  If the specimens gracing the charms on the Prancing Pony Necklace look a bit too badass for their bridles, then it's because they were manufactured recently, in this age of the airbrushed equine.  Still, they're weak, off-brand facsimiles of their supermodel sisters, Hasbro wannabes for which I can't help but utter a sympathy whinny.  That said, let's turn our attention to the pastel hearts and the down-home flair of the "Horseshoes, anyone?" V-neck upon which they canter, and the My Little Pony theme song will be stampeding through our heads in no time.  That's what I do whenever the trail winds in a way that I'm not expecting.  Focus on what's fun, that is.  Not hum along to product placement theme songs (although I suppose that could be fun, more fun than actually riding a pony, anyway).  

Speaking of the unexpected, Seinfeld once said, "No one ever expects that an immigrant's going to have a pony."  Which has nothing to do with any of this.  But that's how we roll on the ranch.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

One Tale, Four Legs: Zoo Story. Also, Some Words from a Would-be Zookeeper




 Chocolate Candy Heart Necklace

Cardigan: Modcloth
Dress: Wet Seal
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Michaels






Top: Maison Jules, Macy's
Jeans: City Streets, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Candies, Kohl's
Jacket: XOXO, gifted
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's






Tee: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Modcloth
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Gifted
Sunglasses: Kohl's





Oh, Deer Necklace

Dress: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Alloy
Bag: Gifted
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's

Mostly, this post is about horses.  I've always had a soft spot for the hooved ones, at least thematically speaking.  There was that time, after all, that I posted that picture of my horse planner along with a blurb about the cartoon "Horseland," a tack that I reprise now with a new (although not improved if its disclaimer is any indication) 2016-2017 planner purchased at that mecca of miscellany, the dollar store.      



This is the disclaimer in case you can't read it: "While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information in this calendar, we cannot be held liable for any errors, omissions, or inconsistencies."  I think we now know how this piece of merch ended up at the dollar store.  Clearly, it's a case of style over substance.  But then again, confirming if Christmas falls on a Saturday seems irrelevant when you look at that cover stud prance!  

That having been said, there's a good deal of giddyup in this week's ensembles.  There are two horses (one in a necklace and a bunch of little printed ones in the dress, which I count as one), one unicorn (on the tee shirt), one deer (in a necklace) and two seahorses (in the cardigan).  I felt the need to explain this lest anyone is thinking, "Hey, what are those seahorses doing in there?"  Not that I wouldn't be above retorting, "You've heard of Chicken of the Sea?  Well, these two are his equine associates."  Like I said, it's the horses that are the thing.

Horses are a real paradox, running the gamut from gross to glamorous.  They're gross because they're smelly (which is why, incidentally, I like them only thematically), and they're glamorous because they traditionally transport royalty, although, in these modern times mostly plain old rich people, and even then only when they're playing polo.  It's puzzling how much elegant equestrian accessories are out there considering the popularity of terms like "horsey" and its more mean-spirited cousin "horse-faced."  Who could forget those busy, once ubiquitous chain and bridle prints of the late 1980s and early 1990s galloping across blouses, jackets, and scarves in faux aristocratic jewel tones?  I can't laugh too much, though, as I sported it too, in big, floppy bow form, no less.

On that note, I'm going to make what may be my most awkward and least seamless of segues to date.  Which is my way of saying that it's time to talk about Betty White's audiobook If You Ask Me, But You Won't.  Now, this was my first audiobook.  Because I'm an old school book kind of girl who doesn't spend a ton of time in the car.  But this audiobook was passed on to me because Ms. White is one of my all-time favorite famous people.  Beloved actress, animal activist (there's our tie-in!), and all-around delight, Betty has penned (and narrated!) one of the most uplifting, down-to-earth, and inspiring books that I've come across in a long time.  She is so genuine and modest and dare I say silly that she doesn't even seem like a celebrity.  And she was eighty-nine when she wrote this book!  That, to me, is the most incredible part.  She talks about stage fright, health issues, and loss but still manages to be upbeat and optimistic, proving that life does go on and that laughter is the best medicine and all those other cliches that we think we're too cool to live by but secretly love.  With an outlook like that, it's no wonder that she's lived so long, not to mention still acting, writing, and saving the whales!  Speaking of which, Betty hates computers and writes all of her books longhand.  She says that her thoughts need to flow through her fingers and pen onto the paper.  Also, that this was the way John Steinbeck, who was a friend of hers, wrote all of his novels and that "if it's good enough for Steinbeck, then it's good enough for me."  I happen to agree with Betty (and Steinbeck) about the longhand writing thing.  Although it's blasphemy for a blogger to say so, I write every one of these posts on paper before transferring them to the computer.  Betty says that writing is her favorite thing to do.  Also, that she wanted to be a zookeeper or a forest ranger when she was a kid but that those weren't careers for girls.  Years later the National Forest Association made her an honorary park ranger.

Another thing I love about Betty is her ability to be funny without being mean.  She's just such a lady.  And yet not at all uptight (and I have the Who's Your Betty? tee shirt to prove it).  Also, she has principles.  She turned down a role in As Good as it Gets because she was morally opposed to that scene in which the dog is tossed down a laundry chute.  How could you not love a woman of such integrity?  Rose, Betty's "Golden Girls" alter ego, had a lot of integrity, too.  She was simple and pure and endearing, which was what made her so great.  Of course, I also liked Bea Arthur's Dorothy, on account of her cutting wit, even if she was kind of bitter and wore more than her fair share of cowl necks.  Rose rocked pastel dresses and embroidered sweaters, some of which featured our four-legged friends.  Or maybe they were our feathered friends.  But you know what I mean.  

Either way, that's what I call horse power.