Monday, October 31, 2016

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, Give Me Something Good to Tweet

Sweatshirt: Forever 21
Blouse: Bongo, Sears
Skirt: Bongo, Sears
Bag: Nine West, Marshalls
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Sunglasses: Kohl's

Dress: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Nordstrom
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

Tee: Marshalls
Blouse: Kohl's
Skirt: Mossimo, Target
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Nine West, Ross
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's

Typed.  Every.  Millennial.  Ever.  On October 31.  Or so this cusp millennial imagines.  So, in an effort to represent, here are my talking (typing?) points:

This week's homegrown regalia is all about bats, pumpkins, and black widows.  That, and a Forever 21 sweatshirt that proudly shouts, "Boo!"  Sure, it's not that kind of "boo." But what better expression for this post than one that's both a hip term of endearment and an onomatopoeia meant to scare the Snickers out of you?

Speaking of treats, here's another (at least in my humble opinion): the husband and I dressed up as Bob Ross and his happy little tree.  Naturally, the husband (who's a painter) came up with the idea.  He was also the one who so expertly constructed my pine tree costume (and good thing, too; if it'd been up to me, then I'd probably end up looking like a roughed-up avocado).  The palette was my contribution.  Not that I cut the wood; surely, you've been reading this blog long enough to know that I keep my distance from power tools.  No, it's the felt I refer to, which made for perfectly textured and pigmented paint splotches.  Is there any feat that that fiber can't conquer?  

My very first Halloween costume was similarly (and surprisingly) outdoorsy.  It was a leopard, which, come to think of it, was spot on in terms of foreshadowing my future enthusiasm for animal prints.  My grandmother, who was an amazing seamstress, made it.  Eleven years later she gamely sewed black feathers to one of my black turtlenecks so I could trick-or-treat as a crow.  An ill-advised costume if ever there was one, it was born solely of my desire to wear a fancy feathered mask and confused nearly everyone who saw me, despite the supposed tell of my bright yellow sneakers.  Oh, the warnings I'd give fifth-grade me.     

I should also give present me a few warnings.  Like, stop procrastinating already.  In my grand tradition of supermarket-themed Andy-Warhol-inspired photography (and by grand tradition I mean that I did this exactly once, last Thanksgiving, when I not-so-surreptitiously photographed a wall of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce in the 10-for-$10 aisle of the Brigantine Acme), I'd planned to photograph a display of Frankenberry.  I've never eaten the cereal (which, honestly, sounds pretty disgusting), but its packaging appealed to my appreciation for campiness.  Unfortunately, by the time I got around to taking the picture, those go-getters at Acme had taken the whole thing down, no doubt to make room for candy canes and Christmas Crunch. 

And now, for the last shot of sugar at the bottom of the Halloween candy bowl, a few words about TBS's new sitcom "People of Earth."  Because aliens are scary and Halloween is scary and so is discovering you've run out of chocolate.  Created by the people who brought us "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation" and produced by sci-fi geek and quirk master extraordinaire Conan O'Brien, "People of Earth" is about a support group for people who believe that they've been abducted by aliens.  Through their accounts, we learn that there are three types of aliens: green reptilians; tall, Nordic blonds; and the classic, almond-eyed variety with deep clefts at the backs of their heads that look just like asses -- making them instant buttheads (my observation, not the show's).  They're a weird bunch (the abductees, not the aliens), but I look forward to getting to know them.  Especially Ozzie (Wyatt Cenac), the haunted and somewhat-in-denial journalist assigned to report their unlikely story.  It's eerie, but it's also lighthearted.  

Which is how I like my eerieness.    

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ladies in Waiting: 27 Tresses

Yep, they're multiplying!  There are 27 of them this week, and they're waiting for something already -- and it's not James Marsden as Prince Charming in journalist's clothing.  No, they're waiting for eyes -- or, more accurately, sunglasses, which I chose on account of them being more mysterious than poorly cut pupils (for even I have my limits with felt).

Subconsciously, I think that my faces may have been inspired by Iris.  Ah, yes, Iris Apfel, that marvelously mod nonagenarian lighting up INC ads beneath the sassily scrawled, "How many 95-year-old cover girls do you know?"at your nearest Macy's.  Tiny and birdlike, she rocks bold patterns and piles of costume jewelry that only serve to enhance her frail frame.  Best of all, her Macy's merch is distinguished by a tag in her cartoon likeness, her signature glasses, red lips, and huge gumball necklace ratcheting up her 1960s appeal.  Needless to say, I was over the moon when I found this cream and maroon hinge-style bangle, which originally retailed for $34.50, on the $7.99 table at Macy's One Day Sale.  I promptly marched it to the register, where I cashed in my Plenti points to bring the total down to a mere $5.15.  The only fly in the ointment of my afternoon was when the sales clerk stuck one of those infernal return stickers on Iris's forehead!  I'd been even more excited about the tag than the bracelet and was planning to make a pendant out of it.  Thankfully, the husband applied a bit of Goo Gone (or some equivalent), restoring Iris to her gorgeous glory.  Stay tuned for her Tote Trove debut!

Anyway, to compensate for my blind-as-a-bat hatted beauties, I made a quick bit of something that can see . . . well, as far as the eye.

Top: Macy's
Skirt: Hollister, Marshalls
Shoes: Not Rated, DSW
Bag: Old Navy
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

The smiling little wooden beads in this Hello Dolly Necklace are actually doll heads, the type, I imagine, that crafters of another kind use to anchor Christmas ornaments and crocheted dresses.  Still, to me they're no frills and folksy, speaking of simpler times, of prize box treasures and humanized corn husks (or rather, cornhusk dolls, which don't sound as wonderfully weird -- or alliterative).  They don't even need makeup (makeup in the craft world being glue), unlike my highfalutin, high maintenance divas impatiently awaiting their custom eyewear.

Nevertheless, Hello Dolly does require a little attention.  For example, before wearing, it's important to turn her heads just so so that her smiles face forward.  Otherwise, she'll turn on you, keeping watch through the eyes in the backs of her heads.

That got creepy fast.  Quick, cue the Jack Johnson.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Chris This: Hats Off to Columbus and a British Baby

Whenever the second Monday in October rolls around, I can't help but hum this little ditty (I've crossed out most of it because it's the last four lines that really stick with me.):

"One day, I took with me on the subway.
My tall silk hat, my tall silk hat.
I put it down upon the seat beside me,
My tall silk hat, my tall silk hat.
A big, fat lady came and sat upon it,
My tall silk hat, my tall silk hat.
A big, fat lady came and sat upon it,
My tall silk hat, my tall silk hat.
Christopher Columbus, now what do you think of that?
A big, fat lady sat upon my hat,
My hat she broke and that's no joke,
My hat she broke and that's no joke,
Christopher Columbus, now what do you think of that?"

Columbus's hat is a mighty big part of his old-world getup.  Sure, the hat in the song is a high silk one and not Chris's soft, brimless headgear of choice.  If anything, these song lyrics designate Columbus as, not a hero, but some sort of creepy anachronistic observer (given the whole subway bit).  Still, the association between the explorer and his most recognizable accessory is undeniable, and I wanted to do something fun to commemorate that.  My first thought was to hunt up some of those mini straw hats and make barrettes, but I couldn't find any (a situation created, no doubt, by a run on make and take scarecrow projects).  So, I came up with these hat-topped lovely ladies.  If it's not clear, then they're a work in progress, their red lips, hat bands, and decorative flowers (I'm still on the fence about eyes) still floating around in the lime Jell-O that is my imagination.  They're a little too big to be barrettes but are just the right size for strong statement brooches.  I can see them popping against colorful lapels, scarves, and sweaters, their feisty flip hairdos an homage to mod style (minis being much more intriguing than dusty old robes, or whatever it was they wore back in 1492).  Because what better way to greet a stranger -- or communicate an eagerness to, ahem, explore uncharted territory -- than with a fabulous felt likeness of some unknown lady smiling over your shoulder?

Speaking of hats, many a fine one was featured in Bridget Jones's Baby.  I know, I know.  It's poor form to review a British movie in what's meant to be a post about an American holiday, but then I did once wear a Union Jack ring on the Fourth of July, so clearly I'm without boundaries.  Anyhoo, I enjoyed this third cinematic installment of the Bridget Jones saga (and not just because of the hats, which, to be accurate, didn't even make their appearance until the very end).  Slightly more sophisticated (she's a news producer now!) but still charmingly goofy, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) wins our hearts on a new stakes-raising level.  Divorced from her beloved Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), she's returned to her sad sack spinster status, although to be fair, she is now a svelte spinster.  Well, at least until she gets pregnant.  That's right.  Rom com's real girl has ensnared herself in her stickiest snafu yet, i.e. single motherhood with two possible fathers -- stern but sweet ex Mark (Colin Firth) and ready-for-anything mogul Jack (Patrick Dempsey).  Yes, it's silly and contrived and a huge departure from Mad About the Boy, the novel upon which it's based.  In that book, Mark has died, leaving Bridget to raise their two children alone while, sigh, once again scouring London for love.  It's a good book, but I can see how a movie version would be a bit of a downer.  You know, more Sundance-indie than lunch-out-with-the-girls.  So, I'm glad that Bridget Jones's Baby stuck to the script to do what rom coms do best -- which is to say, give you exactly what you want.

I started this post with a song, so I might as well end it with one, too.  And in honor of Bridget and milliners everywhere, I'm going with Amy Grant's 1990s B-side gem, (what else?) "Hats" (mercifully, chorus only):

"One day I'm a mother
One day I'm a lover
What am I supposed to do?
Workin' for a living
All because I'm driven
To be the very best for you."

So that's that, Mr. Columbus.  After all these years, you're still more than a mattress sale.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Getup and Go: Comic Book Costume Look

Rita Rainbow Necklace

Tee: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Ellen Tracy, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Nordstrom
Jacket: Gap outlet
Sunglasses: Brigantine beach shop

 Ribbon Rose Rainbow Necklace

Tunic: Bongo, Sears
Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Bongo, Sears
Shoes: a.n.a., J. C. Penney's
Bag: Nahui Ollin
Sunglasses: Kohl's

Wonder Bread Woman Bow Barrette

Tee: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Not Rated, Journeys
Bag: Nine West, Marshalls
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's

Marvel looks marvy for fifty.  Yep, that's half a century, or, time being money, one Ulysses S. Grant.  For, it was back in 1966 that the comic book giant launched "The Marvel Super Heroes" cartoon, a fun fact that I learned while checking out Kohl's limited edition line of Captain America-themed  clothing, even if I wasn't intrigued enough to take anything home.  No, no demure shield prints, sedate insignia, or Peter Pan collars for me, such style (under)statements being better left to the likes of DC's much-martyred Aquaman.  It was good old graphic novel-ty tees from J. C. Penney's or nothing.  Well, those and the banana-print tunic in outfit number two.  Because even superheroes need their potassium.  

Now, I'm no comic book queen.  But I've always been drawn to Marvel movies because they're about characters facing, not only external antagonists, but the challenge of their own inner demons, making them vulnerable and universally human.  I guess it's this appeal that keeps the remakes coming . . . and the Avengers avenging.  Since 2003, there have been three Bruce Banners: Eric Bana, Ed Norton, Mark Ruffalo . . . and, just because it's so dang funny, Lou Ferrigno as his un-Hulk (but equally angry) self in I Love You, Man.  That said, my Spidey senses suggested that Spider-Man was not an Avenger  -- misinformation exposed by a Google search confirming that he became one in May's Captain America: Civil War.  So much for depending on the intuitive powers of an arachnid.  His spirit animal's shortcomings aside, Spider-Man remains my favorite (un)caped crusader -- something that Debbie (Leslie Mann) of Knocked Up and I have in common.  (Sort of.)  Remember when she picks a fight with Pete (Paul Rudd) about spending too much time away from home, and he says that he went to the movies to see Spider-Man and that she wouldn't have liked it, and she wails, "I like Spider-Man!"?  In that vein, Rudd, in addition to being in I Love You, Man, is also -- oh, the connections -- the title character in Marvel's Ant-Man.  Although not exactly tee shirt-worthy, his Scott Lang is, as an ice cream scooping-work-release-program-minimum-wager, on the receiving end of one of comic book films' funniest one liners, namely: "Baskin Robbins always finds out."

So, it was with a hulkin' dose of Norse force that I set out, in my small way, to pay tribute, fighting my own design demons (and not a few rolls of wire gone wild) to make some stuff worthy of the superhuman (i.e. forever young) aesthetic.  Which is to say as bright and plastic and timeless as a mint-in-box action figure.  The Marvel look is striking yet simple, with its crayon box colors and clean cartoon graphics and flair for making everything from denim to dresses seem modern.  No tee (or DVD) collection is complete without it.      

On an unrelated note, I finally finished wearing all of my spring and summer clothes.  It took me six months, but I wore that wardrobe like never before in a Lollapalooza of layers and pattern-mixing abandon.  Which means that I'm now down to the tedious business of washing it all and somehow stuffing it, clown-car-style, back into my closet.

I guess that's my super power.