Monday, March 28, 2016

Egg Hunt at the Oval Office Party






Top: Delia's
Skirt: So, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Marshalls
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Kohl's







Dress: J. C. Penney's
Top: Bongo, Sears
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Belt: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: Michaels







Dress: Modcloth
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Modcloth
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's

Move over, mammals (I'm talking to you, donkeys and elephants), an avian invasion is afoot (or perhaps I should say aflight) this Easter Monday.  For, this post is not about politics, but poultry.  Because there's nothing quite like the thrill of the hunt, and what is an oval but an unhatched egg?

Ever versatile, the incredible, edible egg comes in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of fancy, ranging from fluorescent plastic childhood favorites to the exquisitely precious Faberge.  Real eggs are both more complex and simplistic than these facsimiles, their delicate outer shells harboring the embryonic seedlings of new life within.  

This week's accessories -- barrettes, the whole lot of them -- celebrate this eclectic spectrum, serving up eggs and ovals of all varieties.  Whether hard-boiled, in cameo form (just like granny used to wear), or chock-full of a bowl of ambrosia's worth of fruit (just like granny used to make), all three embrace the spritely spring spirit that has come to distinguish this dairyland dream of a holiday (cheese and butter and eggs, oh my; Wisconsin, your ears must be ringing).  Sure, outfit number one is a little more Fourth of July than Easter Sunday, but then ham isn't far off from hot dogs.  To that end, here's an egg-cellent shot of some hard boiled beauties prepped for potato salad, yet another cookout queen contender.  Which just goes to show that summer is never more than a sunburn away.  


Sunday, March 20, 2016

I'll Stop the World and Felt with You






Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Shoes: Modcloth
Bag: Call it Spring, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's






Green top: a.n.a, J. C. Penney's
Tank top: Marshalls
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's






Dress: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bags: Charming Charlie
Scarf: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Kohl's

Ok, so Modern English was, well, English, and England and Ireland are lifelong enemies, which means that I can't even get away with a quippy "close enough" to rationalize this post title.  Still, I can't resist a good pun -- or 1980s hit song that pops up, decades later, in a McDonald's commercial.  So, I put together this trio of lean, mean, green fighting machine outfits this St. Patrick's Day weekend -- even if St. Paddy's is a holiday better known for beer than for baubles.  

On the topic of discrepancies, I might as well point out that I'm featuring only two felt things in this post as opposed to three.  But the other thing stars a unicorn, and any kawaii queen worth her sugar knows that the horned one goes wherever it wants.  Which is sort of fitting, because you can't have St. Patrick's day without rainbows, and rainbows go with unicorns like corned beef goes with cabbage, bringing everything full (although perhaps not quite sweet-smelling) circle.

So, here's hoping that you had a fabulous, festive, and fanciful wearing-of-the-green weekend.  Also, that you rode the hell out of that unicorn.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Please Let Down Your Cares: The Hairy Truth About Happiness






Top: Express, Marshalls
Skirt: ELLE, Kohl's
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Modcloth
Sunglasses: Michaels

Modern life moves at warp speed.  Pressures bombard us from every direction, smartphones and smarter screens only adding to the struggle.  (Although, to be fair, there's nothing easy about the old school practice of hacking a chicken to bits as opposed to, say, picking up some Perdue.  Ah, the good old days!)  That's why people say "keep calm and carry on," or "I'm going to my happy place."  I can't hear that last one without thinking of the end of Happy Gilmore when Adam Sandler daydreams about his grandmother hitting the jackpot, Chubbs alive and playing the piano, and a lingerie-clad Julie Bowen serving up pitchers of beer -- all meditations that help him win the big tournament.  My happy places are The Tote Trove, anywhere the husband is, and inside a good book.  Also, any of my favorite stores, although I've recently been making an effort to rely on those particular havens less often.  Not that I don't still love shopping -- let's not get crazy now!  But I'm trying to do the most I can with what I've got -- a goal, it seems, that applies to much more than stretching one's bead supply.

In this spirit of simplicity, I have only one piece to post this week.  And while I'm on the subject, I think I'll stop calling them "pieces."  It's so pretentious, like I'm hammering gold instead of cutting felt.  No, this week's craft is most certainly a "barrette" - a lovely, nostalgic, and very French word that evokes memories of allowance splurges on adornments for long, undyed hair.  In other words, the hallmark of less tress-stressed times.  Maybe that's one of the reasons I've clung to my girlish-meets-sister wives 'do for more than a decade -- it reminds me of when life was simple.  That, and more sophisticated hair care can be a real bitch.  (Yep, I used the b-word.  Because sometimes keeping calm and carrying on means sprinkling a little salt on your soup.)  

Nevertheless  . . . I'm considering cutting my mane.  Because I suspect that there really is something therapeutic about getting rid of all that dead weight.  Haircuts are no stranger to women in transition.  "The Big Bang Theory's" Kaley Cuoco cut her hair to skullcap proportions shortly after getting married -- and before getting divorced -- in real life.  And when Scarlett (Clare Bowen) lost her mom on "Nashville," she chopped her waist-length locks to an ear-skimming pixie.  But perhaps it was Sheryl Crow who, albeit breaking free of the coiffure coterie, said (er, sang) it best with her all-purpose and all-powerful mantra: "a change will do you good."
    
On a lighter note, briefer strands will be an even better canvas for showcasing -- what else? -- barrettes.

Monday, March 7, 2016

I Spy with my Little Eye the Candy Colors of Kawaii






Dress: Modcloth
Blouse: Marshalls
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Micheals







Top: Wet Seal
Skirt: Necessary Objects, Annie Sez
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Princess Vera, Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's







Dress: Modcloth
Blouse: Marshalls
Shoes: Bongo, Kohl's
Bag: Marshalls
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Michael's
Bracelet: Cloud 9, Ocean City Boardwalk
Ring: Making Waves, Ocean City, Asbury Avenue

Remember when you were a kid and you'd go on car trips with your parents and look for things outside the window that were yellow or started with the letter "k" or looked like a giant marshmallow (I'm looking at you, Michelin Man)?  Well, this post is like that in no way (except for maybe echoing some of the whimsy of one Mr. Michelin).  It's about revamping my Etsy shop, a process I feel compelled to document despite the dangers of revealing how the sausage is made.

Some time ago, I decided to narrow my shop categories down to a spare and sassy three: Carnival Candy, Rustic Romance, and Twee Party.  Because Necklaces, Barrettes, and Other made too much sense and were kind of boring.  No, I wanted magic and mystery in my categories, weird and enigmatic phrases that would make shoppers go, "What the . . .?"  Even I'm not entirely sure what they mean.  (What is a rustic romance, anyway?  A dalliance between garden gnomes?)  I just knew that they conveyed certain styles.  Carnival Candy was supposed to be glam, Rustic Romance was supposed to be boho, and Twee Party was supposed to be sweet.  And they were.  Sort of.  But after a while they also started to look alike, all melting into a morass of Willy Wonka-esque, rainbow-colored goo.  If Will Ferrell's Mugatu were weighing in, then he'd say that they were the Blue Steel of handmade accessories; Carnival Candy, Rustic Romance, Twee Party -- it's like I'm taking crazy pills; they're all the same!  So, I needed to find a way to lose the uniformity but keep the crazy (a plan that surely even Mugatu would approve of).  And I decided that the best way to do that was through color.  Carnival Candy would be all crayon box brights; Rustic Romance would be earthy browns, tans, oranges, yellows, evergreens, fuchsias, and deep purples; and Twee Party would be sugary pinks, mints, lavenders, yellows, turquoises, tans, and browns (these last two exclusively for portraying caramel and chocolate, but of course).  I thought, what better way to do this than to remake some old designs in new colors?  So I took these strawberry, celestial, and pastry themes, all initially done in a carnival palette, and recreated them as kawaii copies baked to be the life of the twee and crumpets party (even if the moon isn't edible except for maybe in that classic kid's book Mooncake.  Also, if you subscribe to the green [or in this case, green-blue] cheese theory).  I'm looking forward to trying this with other food motifs as well as flowers and palm trees.

Like all things Trove, it's a work in progress.