Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chokehold Gold: Neck and Neck With Tradition and Grrr! Tiger Lilies

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Shorts: Merona, Target
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Delia's
Hat: J. C. Penney's
Scarf: Betseyville, J. C. Penney's
Pink and orange bangles: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Yellow and orange bangles: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: The Tote Trove

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Shorts: Merona, Target
Bag: Olivia Miller, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: So, Kohl's
Barrettes: The Tote Trove
White and pink bangles: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Red and blue bangles: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: The Tote Trove

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Shorts: Merona, Target
Bag: Glamour Damaged, Etsy
Shoes: Candie's, Kohl's
Blue scarf: Rachel Roy, Macy's
Purple scarf: Candie's, Kohl's
Barrettes: The Tote Trove
Blue bangle: So, Kohl's
Pink bangle: Target
Yellow bangles: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: The Tote Trove

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Shorts: Merona, Target
Bag: Charming Charlie
Shoes: Modcloth
Scarf: A. C. Moore
Sunglasses: The Tote Trove
Mint bangle: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Purple bangle: Target
Yellow bangles: B Fabulous

From top: Trippy Hippy Choker (yes, I've posted this one before :), Aztec Knack Choker, Rural Floral Choker, Zigzag Swag Choker

I love that chokers have made a comeback.  Like pompoms and ruffles, these turtlenecks of jewelry can be found in stores of all stripes this summer, their embroidered/lacy/beaded and sometimes charmed selves beckoning from demure little cards or cute boxes.  When I first saw them, I thought, yep, the '90s are back.  I was instantly transported to Claire's where preteen me would buy chokers and other such treasures by the basketful, prompting my mom to say, hey, I had those in the '60s.  Indeed, chokers emerged on the style scene long before love beads and Woodstock.  I'm thinking way, way back to Victorian times when genteel ladies (and yes, a few harlots) would wear the cameo kind with their hats and hoop skirts.  Of course, anyone who'd remember that firsthand has long since been six feet under.  Ah, fashion, you're so cruelly cyclic.   

Anyway, I was smitten with this accessory's (to me) second coming and bought a bunch to Tote Trove-ify.  I had the best time embellishing them with chains and charms, imagining the outfits that'd best set off their fab festival-ready vibe.  That said, I haven't listed them in my Etsy shop because 1) I like them so much I want to keep them (obvi), and 2) I don't know if the chain part would fit the general public.  Sure, they're just fine for my pencil neck, but I don't want to asphyxiate anyone.  

On that cheerful note, here's something else that's in bloom: tiger lilies!  

I took the first pic a year ago and the second one just this week.  Quite a transformation, huh?  I can't take credit for it, though.  That honor goes to the husband and his amazingly green thumb.  

That's us, just a couple of zany zookeepers: him of the plants and me of the rants . . . and the clothes that go so well with them.      

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Cool Daddy-O Patio: Papa Don't Beach Without Sunnies

This is just the kind of post title that I always said I'd never use.  I mean, cool, daddy-O?  What am I, a beatnik?  But it is Father's Day, and I decorated these (albeit very girly women's) sunglasses.  So.

Speaking of Father's Day, I ordered Being a Dad is Weird, by Ben Falcone, online as a gift for my dad.  But when it arrived, it had an unidentifiable yet unmistakably sticky something smeared on the cover.  So I bought my dad another copy and kept the original.  After all, I like to read, and I like Ben Falcone.  Whether it's his performance as the sexually harassed Air Marshall in Bridesmaids, the power trip-fueled fast food manager in Tammy, or (and this is my personal favorite) the music teacher in that old Target commercial who plays the piano and sings about denim, Benji always brings the odd.  (He refers to himself as Benji at least once in the book, so I think it's okay for me too).

Filled with amusing anecdotes about growing up with an intellectual and outlandish writer father, Being a Dad is Weird is a lighthearted walk down memory lane.  Like many comedy writers, Falcone was an awkward kid (he rocked an acid wash denim jacket with Led Zeppelin and U2 pins).  But not that awkward (he played sports, dammit!).  Just awkward enough to use humor to defuse many a -- wait for it -- awkward situation.  Anyway, he compares having a father to being a father to his two daughters with wife Melissa McCarthy, and it's all very sweet and heartwarming.  Well, as sweet and heartwarming as something can be when liberally peppered with F-bombs.

Earlier today my sister and I were dismayed to find out that we had both bought my father this book.  So there are now not one, not two, but three hardbound copies floating around our family.  Perhaps we should start a Ben Falcone fan club.       

That said, maybe next year I'll shoot for a more PSA-themed Father's Day post, something like Ray Ban Man: Fathers Fighting Fried Retinas.  That way the dads get to be the heroes. And I get a free pair of Ray Bans.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pop Goes the Princess: Horseplay on the High Seas

Top: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Material Girl, Modcloth
Shoes: BCBG, Macy's
Bag: Nordstrom
Bow: The Tote Trove
Sunglasses: Brigantine beach shop
Yellow bangles: B Fabulous
Jelly bangles: Target
Watch: Rumors, J. C. Penney's

Pop stars and royalty aren't all that different.  Both are cloaked in glamour and drama, just as both are pumped up public figures.  Indeed, here in the good old U. S. of A. we revere singer-songwriters more than any queen mother monarch.  And why not?  Whether dealing in iTunes or edicts, music notes or raging moats, or Jimmy Choos or glass slipper shoes, heavy is the head that wears the crown (or, in the case of chart toppers, industrial-grade hair extensions).  

The same is true of seahorses and unicorns.  Not the glamour thing or the stress thing, but the tenuous, forged-for-the-purposes-of-this-post connection thing.  Both are enchanted equines (at least semantically speaking), and both have been immortalized as My Little Ponies.  (If you don't believe me, or at least that I believe me, then mosey on over to this post touching upon seahorses and their terrestrial counterparts.  Hay, this isn't my first rodeo.)  Which kind of sort of but not quite explains the aesthetics behind this Seahorses vs. Unicorns Charm Necklace.    

The "vs." implies that they're fighting, but I like to think that they're friends.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ring Beader of the Rack: Circle Circus

There's a lot of questionable stuff out there about rings.  For example, Lord of the Rings, The Ring, and, to get away from movie franchises, that mysterious custom-made ring in season 3 of "Friends" that turned out to be a wrestling ring instead of the engagement ring that Monica wanted from millionaire Pete Becker.  (It may be twenty years too late, but that one still calls for a hey, Jon Favreau, get with the program!)  That said, I limit my own ring flings to the jewelry kind. Costume jewelry, that is ('cause what else am I gonna wear to the circus?).  And last week I scored some new spring bling from fellow Etsy shop PinkBopp.

This pink, red, and yellow stunner of a statement piece is kitschy, kawaii, retro, and Lolita -- a confectionery cornucopia of all my favorite styles!  (For more fancy finds and fab fashion, hop on over to PinkBopp's sweet blog.)  Yep, I've got to, ahem, hand it to shop owner Samantha Walker; she nailed it.  And only partly because this piece inspired me to paint my usually naked nails and buy (and then eat!) these cherry gummy candies.  This ring isn't just rad.  It's versatile, so much so that I just know it'll be the icing on oodles of outfits.  

Pretty precious, huh?  Somehow, I don't think Gollum can still say the same.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sun Rise/Sun Set, Simmer in Silence My Tangerine Pet

Top:  J. C. Penney's
Skirt: XOXO, Macy's
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Lily Bloom, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

Top: Marshalls
Shorts: Merona, Target
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Scarf: Express
Barrette: The Tote Trove
Orange bangle: Target
Blue bangle: J. C. Penney's
Yellow bangles: B Fabulous
Ring: Making Waves
Sunglasses: Kohl's

Dress: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Penny Loves Kenny, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Sunglasses: Kohl's

Jacket: Mossimo, Target
Skirt: H&M

Who needs an orange tabby when you've got plush produce that never says peep?  Not this hairball-hating craftista!  So say hello to my furry friend, Etsy-spawned pillow Julius:

Happy Orange Pillow, Bubbledog

I realize that the word "simmer" in the title of this post makes it sound as though I'm cooking a cat a la Alf, but I assure you that no animals were harmed in the making of this post.  Unless you count the spider that skittered out from under my bed when I fished out my shoes.  (I do not.)    

Anyhoo, this week's outfits give a shout-out to Florida's finest in tangy shades of orange and yellow.  One of the purses is even in the likeness of Mr. Ray himself, complete with sunglasses, and another boasts a tropical sunset.  Also, there's a bomber jacket embroidered with palm trees, which, although not technically part of these outfits, is, in addition to having been half off, pretty darn sizzling.  Yep, some like it hot.  But not too hot.  Anyone who's ever had a wicked sunburn knows this first hand (or foot, piggies often being the first appendage to cook).  Which is why I made turquoise-accented jewelry to provide a cool contrast to these smokin' ensembles.  (Not real turquoise, just stuff that's [faintly] turquoise colored.  Hey, this isn't the Phoenix airport!)  Just think of them as the aloe of costume accouterments.  Soothing, day-glo, and fragrant*, they'll cure all your wardrobe woes and wounds.

*Please note that these necklaces don't smell like anything, except maybe metal and spider guts, er, coconut body spray.  But I needed a third adjective to round out the series, and "fragrant" had a nice ring to it.  Also, it met the criteria for the third of the five senses that apply to lotion (tasting it would send you straight to the ER, and hearing it would send you to, well, a whole other branch of medical professionals).  

So until next time, soak up your vitamin C (and D!) and stay on the sunny side of the sweet.

Also, don't drink the aloe.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chinos! And Happy Memorial Day

Tee: Merona, Target
Shorts: Merona, Target
Shoes: Rocket Dog, Marshalls
Bag: Lily Bloom, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's
Orange bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Red bangle: B Fabulous
Barrette: The Tote Trove
Ring: Making Waves, Ocean City
Mixed bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Blue bangle, B Fabulous

Top: Delia's
Shorts: Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: H&M
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's
Belt: Kohl's
Yellow bangles: B Fabulous
Green bracelet: Parade of Shoes
Blue ring: Delia's
Pink ring: Delia's 

Tee: Merona, Target
Shorts: Merona, Target
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bags: Charming Charlie
Sunglasses: Michaels
Pink/white bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Pink/blue bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Ring: Making Waves, Ocean City

If you were expecting a ceramic, bush-sprouting kitten, sheep, or turtle (or, these days, an emoticon, Hello Kitty, or Darth Vader), then I'm sorry to disappoint you.  Because it's not these horticulture-meets-pop-culture kitsch icons that are being thrust into the limelight today.  It's shorts, the classic, cotton prep school kind that this one-time daisy duke diva swore she'd never wear.  But being in one's mid-thirties brings its clothing concessions, and I don't mean the kind that come with Cheese Whiz.  Thankfully, Target's Merona brand makes stylish chinos for every body and I, never one to miss a shopportunity, have snagged several pairs.  So break out the Nair and banish that hair (I started this '70s theme, and I'm sticking with it, no matter how stinky) and glam up your gams, because, hey kids, it's summer.  (Or not.  I hear palazzo pants are making a comeback).

Wait, what's this?  Daisy Jean, intrepid public school dropout, has crashed the BBQ after all, having wedged (or perhaps I should say wedgied) her brazenly embroidered self between Rebecca and Kathryn (a.k.a. the chinos). In true rebel mode, she hitched a ride on my Kohl's gift card one day and flat out refused to let go.  But I'm glad she did because she goes with tons of tops in my closet.  Tanks, tees, crops (if DJ is here, then crops are fair game), and peasant tops are all made more magical by her rustic-rough edge (if you can call daisies and/or Lauren Conrad edgy).  Also, she's roomier (i.e. more forgiving) than the cutoffs of my youth, which means that I can hit the Memorial Day buffet with abandon.  Cheez Whiz, here I come.

You know what else is magical?  This week's necklaces.  Or maybe I should say charming.  Because I had such a good time making them that it was like I was under a spell (also, 'cause they're made of, um, charms).  Whistle While You Smirk, Shape Shack, and Color Wheel Zeal are everything I love in neckwear: colorful, quirky, and reminiscent of a clown costume (why, oh why, didn't I name my shop The Circus Trousseau when I had the chance?).  I was so excited that it was tough to tear myself away from my pliers and beads (not to mention my "Mindy Project" binging) this weekend, but somehow I managed.  As they say, Memorial Day is the Friday night of summer vacation, and I didn't want to miss out.  What?  They don't say that?  Well, they should.  I'll email them at once, just as soon as I find my AOL password.  

In the meantime, enjoy these shots of the island: 


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Knit Wit Brit: Bridget Jones Joneses for Junior

Top: Wet Seal
Skirt (dress): Kohl's
Shoes: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Etsy, Glamour Damaged
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's

It seems that I still have Brits (and mums!) on the brain.  Because this post is about Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries.  As you may remember, I saw the movie last fall and (somewhat indignantly) thought that it was a revisionist version of the bittersweet book Mad About the Boy, in which -- spoiler alert -- Darcy (gulp) dies.  So, when I saw a pint-sized, hardbound copy of Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries soon after in Target, I was like, mind blown.  And promptly plunked it into my cart.

Baby picks up where Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason left off.  Yet instead of enjoying wedded bliss with Mark Darcy, Bridget has been jilted and is going it alone once again.  Well, at least until she finds herself back in bed with Mark and old flame Daniel Cleaver in the space of one frenzied weekend.  (And no, it wasn't a threesome, as Bridget's own mum horrifically asks.)  One menopause scare later, Bridget is forced to acknowledge that the egg and sperm have done their thing and that she is, in fact, with child.

As an expectant mother, Bridget's passion for rationalization reaches new heights -- baby loves cheesy potatoes, so let's have another! -- and with it her endearing appeal.  Job woes, uncertain paternity, and a disapproving mum cannot keep her from bubbling over with the proverbial joy.  Deeply personal, heartfelt, and, yes, silly, Bridget's daily thoughts, fiascoes, and anxieties are as entertaining as they are therapeutic, making us feel as if our own diaries/blogs are just a launch party away from publication.

In keeping with all this motherly love, I thought that now was as good a time as any to post my Nora Knits Barrette.  (I have no idea who Nora is, but it has a nice ring to it.)  It features a basket of pink, blue, and white balls of yarn, which means that someone (Nora, who I've since decided is a recently-dumped obsessive compulsive au pair channeling her frustrations through her knitting needles a kindly, cinnamon-scented grandmother) is busy knitting a baby blanket.  The peach barrette, on the other hand, has nothing to do with mommies or babies, except for being -- ahem -- darned cute.

And finally, a warm welcome home to Tammy!  True, she had such a good time in the Amazon that she's decided to return to work only part-time.  But the good news is that she and Flora the Floor will take turns modeling, keeping things interesting.  

As Bridget and friends would say, brilliant!  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mum (and Sometimes Bird) is the Word

Dress: Olsenboye, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Modcloth
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Michaels
Polka dot bangle: J. C. Penney's
Green stretch bracelet: Cloud Nine, Ocean City boardwalk
Shell stretch bracelet: Hawaii gift shop
Rhinestone stretch bracelet: Kensie, Macy's
Ring: J. C. Penney's
Purple flower clip: Claire's
Mint flower clip: Forever 21
Boucle flower clip: Kohl's
Yellow flower clip: J. C. Penney's

Dazzling Dragonfly Necklace

Top: Xhilaration, Target
Skirt: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: Marshalls
Yellow belt: Wet Seal
Mint belt: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Kohl's
Bangles: B Fabulous
Mint flower clip: Forever 21
Purple flower clip: Claire's
Coral flower brooch: Candie's, Kohl's

"Mum" and "bird" are both British words for (albeit different categories of) women.  Can't you just hear some old coot in an ascot murmuring, "She was a mighty fine bird, yes she was," to his mate in the pub on a Tuesday?  Mums can be birds, and birds can be mums.  Not, of course, that you want some coot objectifying your mother.

You wouldn't know it from this intro, but this post is about Mother's Day.  I know it's a day late and a dollar short, but that's how we roll at The Tote Trove.  Still skeptical?  Here's the Mother's Day card I gave my mother:   

See?  Birds and mums, a perfect pair if ever there was one.  You can't see the words, but they say: "Thanks for always putting food in my food hole.  Happy Mother's Day."  Short, to the point, and a little bit weird, it spoke to me.  Even if it was through the voice of the husband who, full disclosure, was the one who picked it out.

Also, here are some things I made (above) and some plants I saw, all very pastel and pretty and mumsy:

Finally, I went with collage-style outfit pics again because Tammy's still out of pocket.  She's in her Amazonian homeland visiting her mother.  I hope it's going well, because those two do not get along.  The last time they saw each other, Tammy's mom set her up on a blind date with a hand model, which is, for those who don't know, a real insult to an appendage-less torso.  Tammy retaliated by planting a bottle of Obsession in her mom's purse at the mall, getting her hauled off for shoplifting.  I don't even want to know what they're up to this time.  Save the drama for your mama, I say!  Anyway, I was with my mom yesterday (no blind dates or arrests, I'm happy to report), and a good time was had by all.

Needless to say, no one wore mom jeans.