Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Christmas Party Punch: Deck the Neck

Left to right: Scarf: Boscov's; Purse Charm: A.C. Moore; Earmuffs: Betsey Johnson for Trolls, Macy's

Sweater: Kohl's

December means decking the halls, and what's a necklace if not a neck garland?  So I channeled my inner elf and made these two necklaces all about snowflakes and Santa (Santa, I know him!).  The snowflake one, a.k.a. Winter Wonderland, makes me think of my Great Aunt Celeste's beautiful blue Christmas decorations.  She put blue Christmas balls in her wineglasses and a mirror under her Christmas tree to look like a lake, and I was enchanted.  The Santa one, a.k.a. Neon Noel, is your classic Claus gone glam.  Deep down I always thought that those mall St. Nicks would've been more festive in hot pink and rhinestones.

And festive is the name of the game when it comes to Christmas parties and punches.  Because as George Costanza's father once wisely said, it's a Festivus for the rest of us.

Which has nothing to do with what I just said.  But what the hell -- if calories don't count during December, then neither does reason.

Keep it festive, people.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

It's Beginning to Book a Lot Like Christmas

Now that it's December, it's all Christmas all the time, at least when it comes to my reading material.  And just like the season's ugly sweaters, the fluffier the books, the better!  So far, I've read Leslie Meier's Mistletoe Murder and Christina Lauren's In a Holidaze.  And as usual with tales of holiday hijinks, it's the bits about shopping that put me in the spirit.  

In Mistletoe Murder, small-town sleuth Lucy Stone is working the graveyard shift at a wannabe L.L.Bean mail order catalog (this is back in 1991, folks) when her boss is murdered.  Each chapter begins with a description of an item from the catalog, and the compass or knife or ski hat or whatever ends up tying in with the plot.  Cute, no?  Here's one of my favorite listings:

"#5532: An intricately patterned vest knitted in 100% Shetland wool.  Designs include Christmas trees, reindeer, and ice skates.  Dry clean or hand wash.  Natural color with green and red.  Women's sizes: S(6-8), M(10-12), L(14-16), XL(18-20).  $58" (24) 

This little snippet, item number and all, reminds me of picking up the ye olde landline to make a catalog order back in the day.  You'd write what you wanted on the order form, then wait breathlessly while the customer service rep scrolled through her database to see if your must-haves were in stock.  Sometimes, they'd have your size but not your color, and you'd have to make a snap decision whether to go with your second choice or hightail it to the mall.  Online shopping is convenient and all, but it lacks that particular brand of excitement.

What was I talking about?  Oh, right.  The books.    

So, In a Holidaze.  This one's a rom com about time-traveling, lovelorn Maelyn Jones.  Although it offers up mistletoe moments of the toe-curling (spoiler alert: Mae's not lovelorn for long) rather than criminal variety, it's this line about the magic of Christmas presents as opposed to sweet nothings that made me dog-ear the page:

"The pile of gifts under the tree is a hilarious display of adoration, capitalism at work, and our complete inability to moderate ourselves in any way." (258)

People are always going on about how Christmas has gotten too commercial.  And although I totally get the need for kids to understand the reason for the season beyond expanding their Barbie and Hot Wheels collections, I think there's something beautiful about buying your loved ones things you know they'll adore. 

All this, and I haven't even cracked the book called Window Shopping.    

So this Christmas -- or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice -- when it comes to reading and retail, I wish you festive stories and hassle-free shopping.

In other words, happy booking and happy looking. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

D is for Denim and C is for Venom: Just Kidding, but I Still Hate Caddies

Bag: Sleepyville Critters, Zulily

Top: Simply Vera, Kohl's

Skirt: Rewind, Kohl's

Sweater: Mudd, Kohl's

Bag: Ella & Elly, Zulily

Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily

Top: So, Kohl's

Skirt: Almost Famous, Kohl's

Bag: Mellow World, Kohl's

Scarf scrunchie: Wild Fable, Target

Top: So, Kohl's

We've all heard of mom jeans (I'm looking at you, SNL JCPenney jeans skit that I've referenced too many times).  And even boyfriend jeans.  But dad jeans?!  Until about a month ago, I thought that phrase was limited to being about inheriting the ability to tell corny jokes.  Yet apparently, it also describes a super wide, super comfortable, and (at least on me) super long cut of denim.  I almost wore this patched pair to Target but thought better of it, not wanting to trip and become a cleanup on aisle five.  

Jeans: So, Kohl's

That said, I'm still unsure how to feel about pants named after the patriarchy.  Then again, their vibe is more Woodstock than why-is-there-a-scratch-on-my-Caddy?  So I guess it's okay to hang with the man and keep these in the family. 

Unless, of course, the family's wearing khakis.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Search is On: Finding Dory

When it comes to dark comedies, it doesn't get much darker than Search Party.  Because unlike this homemade hat from the husband's last birthday, it's no balloons and cake walk.  It's more creepy clown car.  The kind that kills people.  

Search Party first stepped out in 2016 on TBS.  Then in 2020, it moved on to the cool kids of HBO Max.  Which tracks.  Not just because HBO is hipper, but because it's a more fittingly dysfunctional home for a show about a self-destructive anti-hero.  In this case, that hero -- or rather, heroine -- is Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat), a twentysomething New Yorker stuck in the molasses of millennial malaise.  Half-heartedly working as a personal assistant for bored socialite Gail (Christine Taylor), she's going through the motions of life with her equally navel-gazing boyfriend Drew (John Reynolds) and best buds Portia (Meredith Hagner) and Elliot (John Early).  So when she finds out that their mutual college acquaintance Chantal Witherbottom (Clare McNulty) is missing, she makes it her mission to find her.  What begins as a diversion spirals into obsession, and as I watched, I couldn't help but (sort of snarkily) think: How far would you go for a friend (er, acquaintance)?  How well do you know your friends?  And, finally, that eternal head-scratcher: How well do you know yourself?

As Dory, Drew, Elliot, and Portia become more deeply entrenched in what began as the Chantal mystery, their friendship -- and sanity -- are tested.  Just when you think the plot can't get any more twisted, it contorts itself into a whole new pretzel.  

Search Party reveals secrets of the human heart and mind, taking us on a psychological roller coaster that's made marginally easier to ride because it's in a theme park swathed in style and satire.  Danger lurks around every corner -- but it's funny!  Mind control runs amuck -- but check out that faux fur capelet!  It's this tempering of very scary stuff that makes the show not only palatable but, to me, fascinating.  Because even as Search Party tongue-in-cheekily mocks youth and privilege, it shows just how much it means to be seen.

So, if you're looking for something weird to watch and don't mind hanging out in the shadows, then your search is over.  

Search Party returns to HBO Max in January for what promises to be a superbly strange final season.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Leftover Stews, Leftover Shoes: Pass the Pumpkin, Please

Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily

Dress: Jessica Simpson, Amazon

Dress: LC Lauren Conrad, Kohl's

Necklace: Macy's; Bead bracelet: Fairest of Them All, Smithville, NJ; Amber bracelet: B Fabulous; Rings: Gifted from Italy, Leaf barrettes

Blouse: Candie's, Kohl's

Bag: T-Shirt & Jeans, Amazon

It may not be Easter.  Or even Labor Day.  But that's no reason to not wear white shoes on Thanksgiving!  I was so excited to bust out my treasured white and yellow Mary Janes with my purple tights and new orange dress.  Which is why outfit number one, although less harvesty than the others, won out this Turkey Day.  Hey, at least it's orange, like a pumpkin!

That said, happy Thanksgiving.  May your stews (or casseroles or soups or whatever) and shoes be as fab as your company.  

And if your company is less than fab, then fake the flu and go online shopping. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Unmellow Yellow

I've had this (green) bunch of bananas for two weeks.  I'm beginning to get concerned.

On this day before Thanksgiving Eve, it's a musing that's as good as any.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Birds of a Feather Weather Together

Bag: Sleepyville Critters, Zulily

Top: Candie's, Kohl's

Ye Olde Feather Necklace (a nom de plume because I don't remember the real one)

Skirt: Hollister, Marshalls

Scrunchies: So, Kohl's

Boots: Penny Loves Kenny, Amazon

Bracelets, left to right: Silver Linings, Ocean City; Amrita Singh, Zulily; Target

Dress: A New Day, Target

Bag: Arizona Jeans, JCPenney; Charm: Elly & Ella, Zulily

Boots: Mossimo, Target

Sweater: Collectif X, Modcloth

Shorts: So, Kohl's

Um, feather weather?  Tote Trove Lady, didn't you mean sweater weather?  No, dear readers, I did not.  Feather weather is how I like to think of November.  You know, when the first breath of cold blows in and the leaves are falling and the birds have headed south, leaving only their punky plumage as a reminder.  Which fits right in with Thanksgiving as kindergartners all over the country adorn themselves with colorful feathers.  Or, less imaginatively, buckles and bonnets.  Let's be honest; being a Native American is much cooler than being a Pilgrim.  Even if my seventh grade social studies teacher summed up the historical inaccuracies of Disney's Pocahontas thusly: "Also, she (Pocahontas) wasn't that pretty."  

On that note, here's a little feathered friend who's indisputably cute.  It's none other than an eastern goldfinch (the New Jersey state bird!) that the husband glimpsed through my parents' window this summer:

Now that he's gone, I miss him.  Because when it comes to the colors of the wind, yellow is always my favorite.