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.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Leather and Space: The Vinyl Frontier

Top: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: B&B, Ocean City, NJ
Belt: Gifted
Sunglasses: Michaels

Top: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Charles Albert, Alloy
Bag: Nordstrom
Belt: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

Tee: Gifted
Skirt: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Blue purse charm: A. C. Moore
Bumblebee purse charm: J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Michaels

Anyone who thinks that black leather is a don't in July has never ridden with a motorcycle gang . . . or been sideswiped by one on the highway.  Yep, winter, spring, summer, or fall, leather -- or even its genetically inferior twin, pleather -- is badass.  Indeed, when I wore this pleated pleather skirt with a black leather jacket and low ponytail a few months ago, the husband said that I looked like Steven Seagal.   

Leather/pleather miniskirts in particular embody their own mystery -- even if the mystery is the material they use for the pleather. You know what else is mysterious? Outer space (just ask a white dwarf or black hole or that dude who hosted "The Twilight Zone").  So, I decided to send them (pleather and space, that is) on the same mission -- namely, to create some out-of-this-world outfits!    

Saturn, always my favorite planet (despite my distaste for the car of the same name -- and, uh, my love for oxygen here on Earth), takes center stage by starring in not one but two of this week's accessories.  Still, it's the ringless Weather or Hot Big Bertha Charm Necklace that's stolen my heart -- and has the Cupid's arrow to prove it.  The five huge, laser cut moon/star, lightning bolt/cloud, and heart/arrow acrylic charms actually came from key chains.  I love their unabashed larger-than-life-ness.  This necklace is what I imagine Flavor Flav would wear if he signed on with NASA.      

Here are some admittedly fuzzy close-ups of the skirts.  (Pleather's such a rebel that it doesn't even listen to cameras.)  Just pretend that they're a bunch of nebulae or the exhaust from a Hell's Angel's Harley: 

My favorite is the one with the buckles and zipper (sorry, Steven).  That's why it's first and gets to be with Big Bertha.

That's all for this space hog blog post.  In the meantime, keep those crop circles spinning.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fifi Phoenix Flies Again

Top: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Nine West, DSW
Bag: TJ Maxx
Belt: Hand-me-down
Sunglasses: Michaels
Barrette: Tote Trove

Fifi Phoenix Necklace

There are no mythological birds in this necklace, just a beetle, peacock, and roses that I strung up to join the resident stars and shrunken Buddha head.  (At least I think it's a Buddha head.  But it could just as easily be an albino clown.)  Simply stated, this bauble wasn't blingy enough in its first incarnation. If a piece of jewelry isn't dripping with doodads and drama, then I can't help but feel that it's unfinished.  Because Christmas isn't the only time when bigger is better and gaudy is good.  Although according to some retailers (mostly, the ones with wacky waving figures and twice-yearly going out of business sales), it is that bargain-bonanza-palooza known as Christmas in July.  So why not get in the spirit and costume it up like Santa?    

When in doubt, peacock it out.  It's what the wacky wavers want this year.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

R is for Red and Retro: July Five Alive, Come and Sea

Bathing Beauty Charm Bracelet

Bikini: Venus
Sunglasses: Michaels

The Fourth of July is the star of the summer.  But you never hear anything about the fifth of July (which is why it's not capitalized :).  You know.  When the smoke from the sparklers has cleared and swimsuits and citronella are seventy-five percent off.  Maybe it's because I live at the beach and waited for what seemed like an eternity amid angry mobs of day-trippers at the local Acme to pay for some lemons.  But there's no denying that there's a certain relief that comes when the fanfare and crowds have evaporated, and the sun-steamed world is restored to sweet peace.  After all, peace is the essence of summer.  They don't call them the hazy, lazy days for nothing.

Rosalie shore seems to think so.  What's that you say?  Who the heck is Rosalie?  Why, the 1950s femme fatale figure dangling so fetchingly from this Bathing Beauty Charm Bracelet.  A siren of swimming pool cool, she also appears on the matching Bathing Beauty Charm Necklace that I made last December.  I remember that it was the Christmas season because a) I mentioned Manchester by the Sea in my post, and b) because I said so here.

But I digress.

Simply stated, this Bathing Beauty Charm Bracelet was begging to be made.  Because a necklace without a bracelet is like a queen without her king, a rodeo clown without his bronco, or Guy Fieri without a hunk of pork butt.  In other words, unthinkable.  What's more, this particular bracelet will be a not-so-secret free gift for the lucky lady (or lad!) who buys the Bathing Beauty Charm Necklace.  So, I'm celebrating the Fifth of July (now is the time for capitalization) with peace and, yes, primo pieces.  Even though I once said that calling my creations "pieces" was precious and pretentious and probably a whole host of other icky "p" words.  Still, as always, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the sake of sound wordplay.

Just as Rosalie is willing to sacrifice a serious acting career by playing pinup.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Candy Dish Wish and Birdbath Wrath Revelation

Tee: Macy's
Skirt: So, Kohl's
Bag: Nordstrom
Shoes: Sea Star, Brigantine
Necklace: The Tote Trove
Sunglasses: The Tote Trove

Breaking news: I made a fresh batch of candy bow barrettes!  But first things first with a book review.

I recently read a novel called Amy Falls Down, by Jincy Willett.  Now, I had never heard of Ms. Willett, which means that I received this book as a gift and that it falls into the great uncharted territory of my reading list, which is to say that it is not a) a comedian autobiography or b) chick lit.  (Having read up on Willett since, I'm certain that she'd snort at the thought.)  That said, Amy Falls Down is about Amy (obvi), an esteemed but obscure and near-reclusive sixty-something writer whose greatest flaw is that she overthinks everything.  Case in point: she once almost drowned because she couldn't decide on a clever enough way to call for help.  Furthermore, despite teaching a fiction writing workshop, Amy hasn't written anything in decades.  The action starts on New Year's Day when Amy is in her backyard disposing of a tree gifted to her by her students and falls and hits her head on a birdbath.  She doesn't go to the hospital because hospitals scare her.  Instead, she dons a crazy-colored caftan and gives a (scheduled) newspaper interview to a girl reporter fond of enthusiasm and purple prose.  The next day, Amy can't remember the interview, which freaks her out just enough to make her forget her phobia of medical attention.  So she sets off for the ER.  There she meets a homeless woman clutching a newspaper who says, "Hey, it's you!" (or similar).  Amy grabs the newspaper only to see her own interview in print.  And it's a doozy!  Having been somewhat unhinged in her sub-concussed state, she apparently spun a yarn like no other.  She is soon seen by a doctor (an amateur novelist with a sound sense of humor who proclaims her to be just fine), then goes home where she's barraged by phone calls from her old agent.  This heralds a media feeding frenzy (or at least the lit world's equivalent) that will, as they say, change her life forever.  Reluctantly, Amy embarks on an odyssey of radio shows, readings, and TV panels, her wicked wit waxing ever sharper with each appearance.  Although not quite a case of the old pride goeth before a fall, post-tumble Amy is forced to admit (or at least feel, as this broad admits nothing) that she's been letting fear hold her back.  As if in response, she starts writing again and spends more time with her writing students, a motley crew of misfits who, she realizes, aren't so bad after all.  

Wry and irreverent, Amy is the kind of eccentric anti-hero I always root for.  Hers is essentially a story of accidents and how even the worst ones can enrich our lives.  Although I'm from the everything-happens-for-a reason school of thought, I can still get on board with the story's central message, which is (say it with me now), don't let fear get the best of you.  Because although sometimes dark and disturbing, Amy Falls Down is ultimately optimistic in the way it champions the power of change.

In other words, Amy falls down . . . but she eventually gets back up again.

So, why did I team this book review with these candy barrettes?  Partly because Amy wore a candy-colored (heretofore "crazy-colored") caftan when she gave her epic interview and (presumably) because she ate lots of candy given her laissez-faire attitude toward nutrition.  Partly because I like to keep you guessing.  Perhaps a better question is this: Why did I pair Amy with Barbie, a woman (?) who, for all of her squillions of outfits, has, as far as I know, never worn a caftan-slash-muumuu?

Because I'm a blogger of contradictions, that's why.