Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year: Reflections, Resolutions, and Refills





Top: Macy's
Skirt: Boscov's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Michaels






Dress: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Not Rated, Journeys
Bag: Nahui Ollin
Belt: Kohl's
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's






Top: Lily Star, Target
Skirt: Necessary Objects, Annie Sez
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: DSW
Sunglasses: Michaels

On this last night of 2016, I thought that it would be appropriate to feature necklaces made from old and new pieces.  Last week, when I reached into one of my (many) jewelry boxes, I found that a few of my (admittedly ancient) store-bought stretchy bracelets had broken, the beads and disintegrated cord littered among the intact adornments like fancy flotsam and jetsam.  At first I was annoyed.  But then I remembered that I could repurpose those remnants into things that were even better.  And so I strung up the displaced peach teardrop and pink and cream disc beads, added some seashells, rhinestones, and plastic chains, and came up with this Beach Bum Bling Necklace.  It reminds me of the 1980s (something else old), or, more particularly, of a 1980s hotel painting.  You know.  Ironically.

The rest of my jewelry box boon will have to make its debut later.  For now I used "old" vintage oval charms for my last two necklaces, the facsimiles of which have already appeared in other necklaces in recent weeks.  Well, those and the art deco discs in the Pop Art Start Necklace, which I filched from not one but two former failed experiments.  That's one of the things I love about making jewelry.  Reinvention is always easy. 

This is rarely so with more personal matters.  But in keeping with New Year's tradition, I'm making a resolution anyway, namely . . . to go to bed earlier.  That is, once my hibernation (er, staycation) is over.  It may seem simplistic, considering that most people say something like "spend less," "eat better," or "exercise more," but I can assure you that for me this is no easy feat, as evidenced by the twilight time stamp on most of my posts.  Still, I remain optimistic, choosing to greet 2017 in a glass-half-full kind of way.

That said, it's almost time to start pouring the bubbly.  By which, of course, I mean scoop the ice cream.  

Cheers!          

Friday, December 30, 2016

Long Live Christmas Candy -- And, if it's Not Too Much to Ask, Also Those Who Eat It





Tee: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Forever 21
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Princess Vera, Kohl's
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's






Top: Merona, Target
Skirt: Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Macy's
Belt: Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's 



 



Top: Liz Claiborne, Marhsalls
Skirt: So, Kohl's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Marshalls
Belt: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's

Some people think of Christmas as a series of preparations leading up to December 25, with the day itself as the be-all and end-all of the festivities.  I used to think that too -- until I realized that it was a recipe for disappointment (also, seriously stale Christmas cookies; read on, as this makes more sense later).  Now, I put my decorations up the week before and look at Christmas Day as the beginning of a two-week celebration.  It's a time filled with eating, sleeping, and sale shopping -- hibernation as Mother Nature (that most ingenious of women) intended.  Leftover holiday treats fit right in as the gift that keeps on giving.  I speak, of course, of the vacuum-sealed, non-homemade variety: 

Exhibit A: Old-fashioned Christmas candy (that looks a lot like Fimo beads).

Exhibit B: Chocolate reindeer Peeps.

Goodies like these will keep you fat and happy until Valentine's Day.  On the other hand, the homemade kind, especially anything baked right after Thanksgiving, will give you the gift of ptomaine.

The same goes for Christmas treat-themed jewelry (not the ptomaine part, but the timelessness).  Sure, this Lucy Lollipop Necklace looks swell with red velvet and eggnog around the Yule log.  But it's also pretty sweet with polka dots and ice cream on the Fourth of July.  

Then again, I keep my tree up until Martin Luther King Day, so take this with a grain of . . . sugar.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas: On Pins and Pine Needles





Dress: Modcloth
Top: Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Macy's
Belt: Apt. 9. Kohl's






Top: Liz Claiborne, Marshalls
Skirt: Boscov's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Macy's
Belt: Kohl's






Sweater: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Marilyn Monroe, Macy's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Macy's 

Such excitement!  Such anticipation!  Such . . . frustration!  You know, if you're dealing with unwanted baked goods and/or relatives . . . bonus points if Aunt Shirley shows up with a fruitcake.  Yes, it's Christmas again, that extravaganza of unfettered festivity and unbridled emotion.  So, what better way to herald its arrival than with holiday pins, or, in fancy, British tearoom speak, brooches?  Their bright, cheery colors will distract you from any unpleasant situations as well as offer a conversational gambit when things get hairy.  If an overly inquisitive relative asks, "When are you going to get married/have a baby/get a job/move out of your parents' basement?", pretend you misheard her and say, "Where did I get this brooch?  Why, a charming little online shop called The Tote Trove . . "  

See what I did there?  

All kidding (and self promotion) aside, felt has never looked so sweetly old-fashioned as it has in this wreath, tree, and candle.  I can't help how I feel, and I feel I love felt.  It's no wonder, then, that of all the ornaments in all the stores, these three felt fruits (and one veggie) from Target were my favorites:   




The health-conscious quartet blows cookies out of the water (or should I say eggnog?), making for an unexpectedly cruciferous Christmas.  Except for you, Mr. Mushy Banana.  Go hang with the cherry cordials and figgy pudding.

And now, for something a little more traditional and not at all healthy, here's a gingerbread house built by the husband:    


It's a replica of my parents', which is to say, the place I grew up.  The husband took great pains to reproduce every detail, right down to the lamppost, porch, and shrubbery.  A thing of architectural soundness and beauty, it's proof that men are better at construction, even of the graham cracker kind.  Or, at least this man is better at it than this woman, who stood by as he labored, idly munching marshmallows.    

And finally, if you've had your fill of run-of-the-mill Christmas music, then check out YouTube for The Killers' holiday highlights.  Delightfully disturbing and disturbingly delightful, the desert-themed "Don't Shoot Me Santa" and its followup "I Feel it in My Bones" will tickle your dark funny, well, bone, whereas "Joel the Lump of Coal" will make you smile -- and perhaps plot for a place on Santa's naughty list.

So, merry Christmas to all and to all a good night (can you tell I just watched Christmas Vacation?). Eat too much sugar, march to the beat of your own little drummer boy, and, above all else, regift any memberships to the jelly of the month club.  Unless, of course, jelly is part of your plan to eat too much sugar.  In that case, down a jar of orange marmalade for me.              

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pre-holiday Hodgepodge: Blue Christmas





Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Marshalls
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Nine West, Marshalls
Belt: B Fabulous
Hat: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's






Sweater: Kohl's
Dress: Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Modcloth
Hat: Neff, Fred Flare
Belt: Kohl's
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's






Top: Mossimo, Target
Skirt: Necessary Objects, Annie Sez
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Belt: Candie's, Kohl's
Hat: J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Michaels

There's something magical about blue Christmas decorations. Elegant and ethereal, cerulean lights, bows, and foliage transform December's dark, gloomy nights into a winter wonderland -- so, depending on your age or viewpoint, Norman Rockwell or Frozen. Growing up, I had a great aunt with an exquisitely decorated blue Christmas tree. To me, the monochromatic ornaments were regal and slightly exotic, raining down on the artificial green boughs like slices of star-studded sky. That said, I also have an aunt who's crazy about Elvis -- and I have the King-stamped Christmas card to prove it!  So, it's sapphire squared in this (blue spruce) family Christmas tree.

Blue is also dear to me because I live near the ocean. Although the water is a sort of brownish green here in New Jersey, it's always a glamorous, azure-crested cobalt in the fun house mirror of my imagination. (I realize that fun house mirrors make things look worse, not better, and that it's department store mirrors that flatter. But somehow a Macy's fitting room lacks the romance of a questionable carny classic.) Indeed, my working title for this post was Pre-holiday Hodgepodge: Accessories by the Sea. Because it sounds like a shop that sells tourist trinkets (and you know how much I love those), and also Manchester by the Sea, which I will most likely not see on account of the husband's hatred of Casey Affleck. But I was looking for a theme to do justice to this week's blue frock-framed necklaces, and this cool yule color was it, especially on this first day of winter.  Chief charmer Bathing Beauty brings blue full circle with her affinity for all things aquatic.  After all, the ocean is nature's bathtub, right down to its thick, bubbly foam. (Last summer I said that the ocean was nature's swimming pool. But here at the Trove we pride ourselves on making the most of metaphors. That and not discounting the cleansing powers of waste-laced saltwater. Coming this spring: the ocean as nature's toilet.)



On that (ahem) notecard, I decided to send out beach-themed Christmas greetings this year (with stamps featuring, sadly, plain old wreaths instead of Jimmy Buffett).


Wish you were here.  And also that "here" was Aruba.