Monday, April 4, 2016

Up, Up, and Away: Big Sky and Cloud Coverage in Store

Top: Express, Marshalls
Skirt (that's really a dress): Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Scarf: A. C. Moore
Sunglasses: Kohl's

Fabulous Felt Balloon Bouquet Necklace

Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

Top: Material Girl, Macy's
Skirt: So, Kohl's
Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless
Bag: Nine West, Boscov's
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's 

Balloon Bow Barrette

Top: J. C. Penney's
Jeans: l.e.i, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Nordstrom
Sunglasses: Michael's

Balloons are always cause for celebration.  Nina had 99 red ones, the guy from Up took to the skies with a bunch, and Jules Verne explored the world in one of epic proportions.  So, it's no wonder that I couldn't stop making accessories in their likeness.  Two necklaces blew up into a quartet of barrettes, a whole host of others hovering on the horizon of my imagination.  I think that one of the reasons these perennial partygoers are so popular is that they symbolize not just joy but possibility, their ultimate destination the proverbially limitless sky.  Indeed, whenever I drive home over the bridge into Brigantine, all I can see is sky and clouds, and it's like I'm driving up into the heavens.  All the houses look so quaint and small, putting everything into perspective.  It's a wonderful way to end the day and always makes me feel very lucky.  

On a less philosophical but nonetheless thought-provoking note, these same clouds remind me of NBC's new mid-season (albeit already wrapped) sitcom "Superstore."  It's about (what else?) a Walmart-esque big box store whimsically and perhaps satirically christened Cloud 9 (not to be confused with the defunct Ocean City boardwalk shop of the same name) and stars America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty," Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and Ben Feldman ("Mad Men," "Drop Dead Diva").  Ferrera plays Amy, a sharp but jaded retail lifer who got married too young and, however guardedly, dreams of bigger things.  Feldman plays Jonas, an idealistic newcomer armed with ideas and an MBA.  They're at odds, but they like each other, their fledgling friendship revealing snippets of their backstories in each episode.  I didn't want to like this show, and initially I didn't (as per usual).  But like most sitcoms, it grew on me.  Its humor is sly but sophisticated, very relatable workplace stuff (as well it should be, brought to us by the creators of "The Office"), and the chemistry between Amy and Jonas is tense and tender, building over staff meetings and customer service snafus as naturally as a checkout line on a Saturday morning.  Their story may be stalled for now, but if the Internet predictions are true, then this duo will be back, price guns brandished, for a second season.

I saw America Ferrera talking about "Superstore" on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and she said something that really spoke to me:  There are tons of shows about crime and intrigue, and those are all well and good, but it's the shows about everyday working class people, shows like "Cheers" and "Roseanne" that really teach us about life.  Or something.  I can't be sure -- I was downing Cheetos at the time.  Still, I agreed with her; humor is where the heart is, often offering the best insight into the human condition that TV has to offer.

I think that calls for a good old-fashioned grand opening-style balloon arch, don't you?  Maybe with a clown out front making balloon dogs and peacocks, dogs because everyone likes them and peacocks because of NBC.  The first hundred shoppers would get an America or Ben bobblehead and a free slushie coupon.  And just maybe, at the end of the day, some sugar-buzzed local would look up at the sky, sigh, and mutter, "My oh my, that's a whole lot of latex."

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