Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tex Marks the Spot: Hot, Hot, Hot on the Heels of Nashville





Dress: Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Boots: Two Lips Too, DSW
Bag: Marshalls
Heart belt: Sheplers
Blue belt: J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's






Top: Delia's
Skirt: Olsenboye
Shoes: Forever, Zulily
Bag: Arizona Jeans, J. C. Penney's
Heart belt: Sheplers
Silver belt: Boscov's
Sunglasses: Kohl's






Top: Marshalls
Skirt: Mossimo, Target
Boots: Two Lips Too, DSW
Bag: Marshalls
Heart belt: Sheplers
Blue belt: J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: J. C. Penney's

Texas is nowhere near Nashville, and neither come close to New Jersey.  But all three seemed to meet in Atlantic City at the Borgata two Sunday nights ago because the cast of "Nashville" was there in concert.  Charles Esten (Deacon), Jonathan Jackson (Avery), and Chris Carmack (Will) belted out series favorites and then some, the most notable of the latter being the ensemble's rendition of David Bowie's "Heroes" (during which Carmack busted out a saxophone!) and Jackson's stirring "Unchained Melody," which he dedicated to his wife.  Sadly, Clare Bowen (Scarlett) bowed out because she was under the weather, and Sam Palladio (Gunnar) was never on the bill in the first place because he makes appearances only in his native UK.  This was a bummer, as these two are my favorites.  Still, it was an incredible show.

Now, some of you may be thinking, that's all and well and good, Tote Trove Lady, but you don't seem like a country music fan.  (Then again, maybe you're thinking, get over yourself, you're clearly a fan, you talk about this show all the time!).  And to that I say -- you're right.  You're much more likely to find me at a Weezer concert than a Brad Paisley performance.  But I love good music of all kinds. (Who doesn't?  That is, other than Barry Manilow groupies.)  And I'm a huge fan of "Nashville."  Or maybe I should say I'm a Nashee, which is, according to Esten, the official term for show followers.  (Guess I'm not that different from a Fanilow after all.)  That having been said, back in season 4, even Avery confessed that his roots were in alt rock, as he tried to tame the lion that was bad boy rocker Markus Keen.  What I'm trying to say is, we're all a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.  Just like there's a South in South Jersey and more than a few Jerseys in Tennessee and Texas.  Even if they are bovines.

But back to the music.  Esten, Jackson, and Carmack brought as much energy and enthusiasm as they do during any episode set.  What's more, it happened to be the last night of the tour, adding an extra element of excitement and emotion.  Carmack shared that his grandfather and parents were born in Atlantic City and that he had family in the audience.  And Esten, or Chip, as he's familiarly known, well, he just didn't want the party to end.  He thanked everyone in connection with the tour and TV show and, after an Everly Brothers duet with Jackson, embraced him like a brother, saying he'd miss singing with him every night.  The trio ended with "A Life That's Good," the same tender folk song that Deacon and the girls sang at Rayna's deathbed, which is a song that's come to embody all that "Nashville" stands for.

It was a magical time, a memorable night, and more than enough to tide me over until season 6 starts in January.

Until next time, boots and saddles.           

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Curtain Call Drawl: Sass Menagerie



Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Nine West, Marshalls
Red and white bangles: B Fabulous
Orange bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Green bracelet: Parade of Shoes
Sunglasses: The Tote Trove




Tee: So, Kohl's
Skirt: Amazon
Shoes: Lilliana, Venus
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Red bangle: B Fabulous
Black and white bracelet: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Yellow bangle: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's




Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Amazon
Shoes: Cape Robin, Ami Clubwear
Bag: Lily Bloom, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Michaels
Blue bracelet: Cloud Nine
Yellow bangle: B Fabulous
Green bracelet: Parade of Shoes

It seems that I'm still in a Tennessee state of mind, having just watched the season finale of "Nashville."  Why else would I combine a post about elephant, gator, and bear necklaces with a country music soap update and wrap it all up with a reference to a great American play?  I mean, other than as some sort of high-brow tribute to the Country Bears Jamboree.  And, somehow, I don't think Mr. Williams would like that.

But this post isn't about Tennessee's tales of love lost and not found.  It's about CMT's stories of the same kind, which are, of course, often as bittersweet as Music City's chart toppers.  Last Thursday was "Nashville's" season five finale, as well as its very first finale on CMT and without Rayna James (Connie Britton).  The story line centered around the precarious fate of Highway 65, Rayna's beloved self-made label for up-and-coming artists, with Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and Juliette's (Hayden Panetierre) and Scarlett (Clare Bown) and Gunnar's (Sam Palladio) forever wayward romantic crossroads singing backup.  Deacon (Charles Esten), too, had new contenders in the romance arena, as he began the slow, arduous process of mending his broken heart.   Less cliff-hangery and more introspective than its predecessors, this finale seemed a fitting tribute to the new Nashville that took flight this season.  A Nashville, that is, that's more about people than plot twists.  And I, for one, can't wait to see where this as of yet untraveled road goes.  Good thing CMT meant what it said about cherishing and honoring the show (burn on you, ABC), picking it up for a sixth season.                   

But no need to pen a sad song just yet, because there's still a drop of bourbon-slash-sweet-tea left in this pitcher.  Which is to say, stop by next week for a new Nashville nugget.  And more necklaces :)   

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ear to the Ground (er, Crown Jewel)


Tee: Gifted
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Charles Albert, Alloy
Bag: Worthington, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Michaels





Bear Buddies Earrings







Did you hear?  I left my heart in San Francisco, just like my shirt (and Tony Bennett) says and my ear in the mouth of a sand shark.  Well, maybe not my ear.  These lobes haven't been pierced since I was nine years old and let out an ear-splitting shriek in my mall's Piercing Pagoda.  I let my ears, which turned out to be "sensitive" (i.e., they'd pus up if anything less than 14k gold passed through their delicate epidermis) close up a mere few months later, forever slamming the door on my chance at third grade glamour.  They've remained unadorned ever since.

It's funny, then, that I recently started making my own danglers of the costume variety.  For years, people have asked me, "Why don't you make earrings?"  I never had a good answer.  (Somehow, saying " 'Cause my ears aren't pierced, Swiss cheese head!" seemed bad for business.)  Still, I persisted in my stubbornness, sticking with necklaces, barrettes, and the occasional novelty bag or bracelet.  Until now.  Yet another customer asked me about my earring-less inventory, and I thought, why not try my hand at a few auditory ornaments?  So, I bought some wire earring findings, attached chains and charms with jump rings, and now I have ten pairs!  It was so fun and easy.  I even got into gluing cabochons on the charms of some, delving into my craft supplies to make the most of what I had.  It just goes to show, I suppose, that breaking out of your comfort zone sometimes pays off.

Emphasis on the "sometimes."  Despite my excitement about my newfound artistic endeavor, I'm in no rush to return to the Piercing Pagoda.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mermaid in the Shade: Look at this Stuff, isn't it Sweet?





Top: Wet Seal
Skirt: Amazon
Shoes: BAIT, Zulily
Bag: Dolls Kill
Belt: Candie's, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's








Yellow top: Marshalls
Striped top: Aeropostale 
Skirt: So, Kohl's
Shoes: Alloy
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's







Top: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Amazon
Shoes: BAIT, Zulily
Bag: Dolls Kill
Belt: Candie's, Kohl;s
Sunglasses: Candie's, Kohl's

First, a note about the "stuff."  The store-bought as opposed to handmade stuff, that is.  A chunk of it comes from the Internet, most notably my good pal Pinterest.  This Dolls Kill seashell bag and these Zulily BAIT wedges started life on my Bright Bags and Show-Stopping Shoes boards but ended up in my closet.  And I first spied these Amazon skater skirts on The Big Hair Diaries blog, where big hair aficionado Samantha regularly rocks them in a rainbow of colors.  That's what I love about the web: shopaholics helping shopaholics, one purchase at a time :)   

Now that that's out of the way, on to the mermaids.  Because they're having a moment.  Pinterest (I told you she was a pal) is swimming with bags, tees, mugs, jewelry, you name it, splashed with images of these salty sirens.  Even the beach shop down the street from me boasts a "mermaid room" where you can have your picture taken as one such maritime maven.  I think it's for kids, but then those tails looked mighty long.  

Of course, I've always been hip to mermaids' magic.  Even as a second grader I wanted to be one in our class anti-pollution movie (yes, you read that right; no plays for us in high tech, 1980s South Jersey) even though my teacher had me slated to portray the "philosophical fish," a peacock feather-wielding do-gooder who warned humans of the dangers of discarding uncut plastic soda can rings.  This was right around the time The Little Mermaid came out, and as such, the height of my Ariel obsession.  Needless to say, it was farewell feather, hello fins!  Wearing that orange sequinned, slightly smelly rented mermaid costume made me feel far more glamorous than the humdrum hat and cape of that know-it-all fish ever could.

One of the things mermaids are known for (besides promoting recycling) is their enchanted tresses.  Ariel famously ran a fork (er, dinglehopper) through her fiery, animated locks, and any woman with a long, flowing mane is said to have mermaid hair.  So, when I set out to embellish my very first set of hairpins, I thought, why not go with seashells?  Pastel and pearlized, they make just the right contrast to the dramatic black pins.  Although I love the way they turned out, I still wanted to make something brighter, bolder, and, yes, bubbling over with big, bad beachiness.  And so I spawned this matching Ocean Love Potion Necklace.  Because if there's something else that mermaids are known for (besides luring sailors to their death), then it's sporting seashells on their chests.  

Or, at least sometimes.  For this wasn't always the case for the Stowaway With Me mermaid mascot:


This sign, oddly, is not in Brigantine, or anywhere else at the Jersey shore, but on a not-quite stretch of highway enroute to Philadelphia.  It's been there as long as I can remember, but it wasn't until ten or so years ago that the management of Stowaway Storage saw fit to cover mistress mermaid with a pink seashell bra.  (To be fair, pre-bra, her hair strategically covered her most scandalous bits.)  The why remains a mystery.  Who knows; maybe Stowaway was getting too many late night phone calls from sailors looking for a good time.  Elaine (because let's call her that, for reasons that may or may not be clear at the end of this paragraph) does have a big ass phone number plastered right next to her head. Also, if these Nautical Nonsense Necklace and Bracelet photographs are any indicator, then she has a shore thing for sponges, cartoon and otherwise.  

Sounds kind of fishy to me.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Soft Serve Curve: When Life Hands You Lemons . . .





Top: RiteAid
Skirt: Forever 21
Shoes: First Love by Penny Loves Kenny, J. C. Penney's
Bag: DSW, embellished by Tote Trove
Belt: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Tote Trove 






Top: Material Girl, Macy's
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: City Streets, J. C. Penney's
Bag: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

. . . wear a shirt that looks like lemonade.  Not, of course, that you need a reason to strut your stuff in sunny citrus.  After all, what else has all the rustic charm of a Mediterranean village and the free-spirited flair of a Caribbean island wrapped up in one tidy rind?  (You know, other than Bob Marley touring Tuscany).  To keep the exotic edge of these tops, well, edgy, I added punchy pompom necklaces that all but shout passport.  As soft, sweet, and bright as the juiciest fruit grove, they've got summer on a string -- er, wire.

Better than a bird, as Tweety and I always say.