Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Country Club Kitsch: In Favor of Parties and Nice Knowing You, Nashville

Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Marshalls
Boots: Too Lips
Bag: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Hat: The husband's closet
Belt: Gifted
Sunglasses: Brigantine beach shop

Tee: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Xhilaration, Target
Boots: Charles Albert, Alloy
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

Leopard top: Macy's
Striped top: Wet Seal
Jeans: l.e.i, J.C. Penney's
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Kohl's

This week's projects have one thing in common -- and it's not that I made them from stuff from the dollar store (although that's true too).  It's that I made all three from party favors!  Indeed, the kawaii-tastic guitars in this Gibson Girl necklace and barrette proudly proclaim, "party like a rock star" (lest you forget and wear them to the library or a church rummage sale).  As for the moniker Gibson Girl, it's meant to be a little bit leather and a little bit lace.  In other words, a new spin on a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, which, dang it all, would've been the perfect phrase to trot out for this post, so much so that I wish I hadn't maxed it out in recent weeks.  Because the leather and lace thing is a little clunky, conjuring up images of 1980s hair bands, which is not what I was going for.  No, the sweet spot is an ever so slightly edgy brand of country.  Kind of like the kind they portray and play on ABC's "Nashville."

If you watch, then you know that the series finale aired this past Wednesday to the tune of almost zero fanfare.  The last preview had sneakily slipped in the announcement, "Next week, on the series finale of "Nashville," . . .," confirming month-long rumors that this ratings bubble of a show had finally popped.  Fans are outraged and saddened by the untimely cancellation, myself included.  Which should come as no surprise considering this fan fashion I made two years ago:

Juliette in the Southern Starlet Necklace

Scarlet and Gunnar in the Southern Sweethearts Necklace

Although I've never been into country music, "Nashville" is one of my favorite shows.  I watched it from the beginning, and as the weeks rolled on, I was surprised to find that I looked forward to not  just the story, but the music, which had a sort of modern, alt-rock, folksy sound I hadn't before associated with country.  From the first episode, I was drawn into the characters' lives as they strove to either break into the biz or maintain shaky stardom while balancing family and romance.  I loved rehashing the episodes on the phone with my mother and sister, often becoming so animated that the husband asked if we were discussing real people.

Still, it may not yet be time to give up the ghost.  The Interwebs are buzzing with the commentary of diehard fans who insist that it isn't curtains for the country music drama, ever hopeful that it'll be picked up by a cable network or even Netflix or Hulu (hey, it worked for "Conan" and "The Mindy Project").  According to this camp, "Nashville" shot two series finales: one tying up every character's story neatly and one allowing the fate of Hayden Panetierre's Juliette Barnes to hang in the balance.  It was the second version that aired, leading many to believe that the show will go on.

So, where do I stand on this issue?  At the crossroads of ambivalence.  On one hand, it was downright haunting to watch Juliette grow so much and come so close to winning back Avery (Jonathan Jackson) only to maybe (spoiler alert!) be killed in a plane crash, meeting the same tragic end as the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, John Denver, and three-fourths of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Was it a case of a spoiled star finally getting what she deserved?  Or of a hard-living artist having an epiphany about what's important and then simply reaching the end of the road?  I'm not sure, but the English major in me appreciates that there are possibilities in this last call for a series that detractors have long disparaged as nothing more than an ABC ad vehicle.  I will say this: I was happily relieved to see Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Scarlet (Clare Bowen) finally reunite after four seasons of will-they-won't-they and would surely hate to see them pulled asunder just to keep a new storyline spinning.  (Ditto for Deacon and Rayna.)  Although abrupt and a little clumsily executed, the plot that leads to their reconciliation (I'm talking to you, icky Autumn and Gunnar fling), makes a lot of sense.  Amid the confusion, Scarlet has the epiphany (epiphanies being key in this finale) that she's in love with Gunnar, despite him accusing her of being afraid of becoming involved with him only two weeks earlier. Yet as obtuse as he is during most of this episode, Gunnar's not entirely clueless.  Scarlet has always let her fears limit her, first by refusing Gunnar's marriage proposal at the end of season one and finally by hooking up with safe choice love interest Dr. Caleb Rand in season three.  So when she decides to take the leap and pursue a relationship with Gunnar in earnest, we know it's for real.  And when Gunnar finally wakes from Autumn's evil spell to grab Scarlet for a kiss during what is meant to be their farewell performance, we know that this is how their story should end, a sentiment verbalized by their manager who contentedly comments, "Looks like they're still a duo."

Although life after ABC may mean a more nuanced, multifaceted format free from the pressure to pander to corporate sponsors, I vote to end "Nashville" while most of its denizens have what they want (Juliette's possible trip to that Grand Ole Opry in the sky notwithstanding).  Because in a world where a tired old tune reigns supreme, happy endings await on the B side. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hey, Sailor, it's Summer! Also, Happy Memorial Day.

Dress: Kohl's
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's

Ah, Memorial Day.  It's a time to remember the brave men and women who fought for our country .  . .  and to stuff our faces.  Hotdogs, hamburgers, and fruit pies all make their inaugural summer appearance during this hallowed weekend.  I like to think that the armed forces would've wanted it that way.

Yet residing as I do on an island, I find it only nautical, er, natural, to concentrate on the sailors.  (That, and army stuff isn't nearly as cute.)  That's why I made these fabulous felt anchor barrettes.  To that end, three anchors are better than one when it comes to staying put to serenade your sweetheart.  Just ask that sailor from "Brandy":

"The sailor said, "Brandy, you're a fine girl."
What a good wife you would be.
But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea."

There's a guy who could've used an anchor or three.  Stay centered this summer, seafarers.

Memorial Day edition of "other people's flowers". 

Military mural painted on the side of the Brigantine VFW building.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Climbing the Walls with Jericho, a Bear, and a Beetle

Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Modcloth
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: Princess Vera, Kohl's
Belt: Kohl's
Sunglasses: Kohl's 

Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Nordstrom
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Kohl's

Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Modcloth
Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Belt: Kohl's
Sunglasses: Kohl's

I'm kicking off this week's post with a look back at last week's episode of "Bob's Burgers" (just think of me as the John Oliver of cartoons).  It was about Tina, my favorite Belcher, and her obsession with her imaginary horse, Jericho.  Although not a unicorn (unlike the Unicorn University Necklace shown here, so named in the spirit of upwardly mobile and intellectual equines), Jericho wields his own special magic, his powers of the impossible far more ambitious than those filtered through any mere horn.  Because who needs that useless appendage when you've got the pipes of nice guy dreamboat Paul Rudd?  That's right, Ant Man himself voices Tina's beloved and completely unreal black stallion.  (Is it any wonder that she's besotted?)  In this far-fetched and quirky fairy tale of a "Burgers" installment, bookworm Tina channels "Beauty and the Beast's" Belle's bewitching blend of "strange but special" more strongly than ever.  You know, if Belle wore glasses and had the voice of a middle-aged man.  That said, Tina is so entrenched in her fantasy that she convinces dad Bob to enroll her in a local horse camp.  (Come to think of it, Bob is a little like Belle's father, Maurice.  Bob's a kindly if unsuccessful and somewhat ridiculed creator of weird burgers; Maurice is a kindly if unsuccessful and most definitely ridiculed creator of inventions.  Oh, "Bob's Burgers" writers, is there no end to your Beast parallels?).  The camp is a step down from the exclusive sleep-away version of Tina's dreams, but true to her sweet, grateful nature, she gallops off on the first day all smiles.  Yet as is so often the case with high expectations, the camp proves to be riddled with rules and realities that render it far less fanciful than her Jericho-headlined dreamworld.  To add insult to injury, she's assigned a steed so clumsy and smelly that she comes close to quitting.  Instead, she perseveres in true Tina fashion, entering the ring with, not Old Stinky, but the gentlemanly -- and very invisible -- Jericho.  Laughter - and a poignant lesson - ensue.        

Personally, I don't know what's with girls and horses.  I was never enamored with them, despite (or perhaps because of) having attended horse camp as a preteen.  My sister and I used to walk down the seemingly endless dirt road from the regular camp to the stables, dreaming of greener pastures lousy with horses that sounded, not like Paul Rudd (Clueless still being a figment of  Hollywood's imagination), but Luke Perry or Jonathan Taylor Thomas or whoever the big heartthrob was then.  Take it from me, there's nothing enchanting about manure in August.

Before I hit the dusty trail, here's a shot of a recently repainted Brigantine carwash.  Which doesn't, I realize, have anything to do with horses.  Unless you count that modern horse otherwise known as the car.  Its bright colors all but belt out Tote Trove, and the VW Beetle of the Wild Wagon Necklace fits right in with its punky palette.  

On that note, coming soon: surf shops for unicorns.   

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Send in the Gowns: Three Ring Sumo Circus

Dress: David's Bridal
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Sunglasses: Michaels

There are few things as paradoxically creepy-cute as clowns.  So, I thought it'd be fun to make some in barrette form this week -- and even more fun to clip their colorful, madcap mugs (which, according to the husband, bare a striking resemblance to Mr. Bill) to the uber sleek and formal bridesmaid dress I wore in my sister's wedding.  The result is a look that would make anyone the belle of the Barnum and Bailey ball, right down to the mismatched shoes a la Helena Bonham Carter, who, come to think of it, looks more than a little clownish in those Alice in Wonderland movies.  These triple clowns are large and in charge and come in a rainbow of seasonal colors, spanning the palettes of fall, spring, and summer.  But not winter, because winter's the worst (and also because no one wants to see Bozo go down in a toboggan).

Clowns aren't the only characters cartwheeling through my personal circus.  I'm also sweet on sumo wrestlers.  Or whatever it is that's circumnavigating this satin box kumbaya-style.  Maybe they're acrobats, strange and smiley in their bright leotards.

I got this box on a sixth grade class trip to some now-forgotten Egyptian museum.  It stood out among the stickers and tee shirts, beckoning me with its exotic glamour.  I've always loved unusual trinket boxes.  They're weird and they store stuff; what more could a kooky collector want?  Knowing this, my mother recently rescued this one from the attic.  I was thrilled.  Even if it smelled funny and had become a coffin for crunchy critters.  Also, the "wrestlers' " leotards had partially disintegrated, shamelessly exposing the crude gray stuffing of their shoulders and rumps.  But to me they still seemed magical, a band of homegrown superheroes (sorry, Sailor Moon ad Pokemon) that had battled the attic's wilderness to emerge (mostly) intact decades later.  Bravery like that deserves to be rewarded, which is why I embellished their poor exposed innards with rhinestones.  I think the winking gold and purple add an exciting new dimension to this already kitsch-tastic keepsake, and I look forward to enjoying it for years to come.

On that note, I can just see some snooty-accented "Antiques Roadshow" appraiser a hundred years from now, turning it around in his hands and murmuring, "Ah yes, a novelty piece most likely sold at a museum gift shop in the Northeast in the early to mid-1990s.  It's a pity it's been altered.  Although the rhinestones add a sense of whimsy, they'll significantly lower the value at auction."  This is the part where the caftannned Midwesterner who brought it in snatches it away in a tizzy, huffing, "It looks better next to my velvet Elvis!" before flouncing off to have another expert examine her set of Ronald McDonald drinking glasses.

From one clown to another, this ring's come full circle.