Friday, July 29, 2011

Scarfing Up Style

Or would it be scarfing down style? Does one scarf up or scarf down a bag of Cheetos? I don't know; I'm just trying to make a lazy pun about my scarf collection before I go on vacation. Which means no posts for awhile, but lots of exciting new ones when I get back. Have great weeks all!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Movie Moment: Friends With Benefits

Like many moviegoers, when I heard about the romantic comedy Friends with Benefits, I thought, hey, didn't Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher already make that movie?

Well, sort of.

Like No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits stars a tough cookie heroine (Mila Kunis) with a guarded gooey center. Yet Kunis's Jamie is edgier and more vulnerable than Portman's Emma, making for a more compelling and likable character. Likewise, Justin Timberlake's Dylan trumps Kutcher's Adam. Whereas Adam is eager to be Emma's prince charming from the get-go, Dylan doesn't really know what he wants, which makes him more believable. Although he's a little steamrolled by the more dominant Jamie, he's a worthy opponent, chipping away at her crusty shell until they both end up on equal footing. But what truly makes Friends with Benefits the better movie is that it's really about two friends instead of two near-strangers who just happened to have sex. Kunis and Timberlake have an easy chemistry that cuts through the dating game motions they so cynically mock. Indeed, they first hook up after rolling their eyes at a sappy romance starring Jason Segal and Rashida Jones (which, by the way, was funny to watch given Segal's and Jones's animosity toward each other in I Love You Man). It gives you that whole what-if-two-friends-watching-movies-on-the-couch-just-went-for-it? element that was missing in No Strings Attached.

Stuff to watch for: 1) a cameo by Shaun White as himself and 2) Richard Jenkins as Timberlake's father with Alzheimer's. I know, I know, what's something so serious doing in a romantic comedy? But it works.

Friends with Benefits is fun and, dare I say, poignant without being cheesy. At the end, I left the theater happy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Report: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project
, by Gretchen Rubin, didn't make me very happy. In fact, it made me so unhappy that I nearly gave up on it after the first few pages. Which is saying something because I'm one of those diehard bookworms who insists on finishing everything. But because I planned to blog about it and wanted to be informed, I soldiered on. (Ironically, Rubin herself cautions against just such behavior, writing: "I did, however, vow to stop reading books that I didn't enjoy. I used to pride myself on finishing every book I started - no longer. " (229) Perhaps that's the one good point I can take away from this experience.)

So, what is this book all about? Gretchen Rubin, lawyer-turned-stay-at-home-writer, married mother of two, and New York city dweller, ponders why she, a woman who has it all, isn't happier. To find the answer, she embarks upon a year-long experiment to increase her happiness through twelve resolutions (one for each month), including "boost energy," "remember love," "be serious about play," and "make time for friends."

Obviously, this sounded good. After all, who doesn't want to be happier? What's more, I'm always attracted to stories about people (especially writers) who shake up their lives to set out on missions of self discovery. But Rubin's book failed to live up to the funny, self-deprecating, anecdotal account I'd expected. Instead, self-professed know-it-all Rubin offers up tired old advice about getting more exercise, decluttering closets, going to bed earlier, remembering friends' birthdays, and learning new things. She goes as far as to force herself to read obscure magazines in pursuit of this last one, the most notable of which was a periodical on horse hygiene. As for the decluttering bit, she becomes so obsessed by it that she insists on cleaning her friends' closets, too. Her husband has to intervene, suggesting that perhaps she is overstepping. Finally, she spends her family vacation reading books about overcoming cancer, addiction, and divorce because she "hoped that it would be possible for me to benefit from the knowledge that these people had won with so much pain, without undergoing the same ordeals. There are some kinds of profound wisdom that I hope never to gain from my own experience." (196). Reading such stuff struck me as a dubious road to happiness. Furthermore, Rubin's motive of tying to absorb sufferers' wisdom without suffering herself seemed a little shallow.

Reading Rubin's litany of self-imposed assignments, echoed by seemingly pointless happiness research and endless quotes, just plain wore me out. I'm more than ready for a nice slice of gooey, sugary, happily-ever-after fiction.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Something New and Sparkly: A Little of This, a Little of That

Fabulous Felt Electric Garden Necklace

Top: So, Kohl's
Skirt: Stephen Burrows for Target
Flip flops: Marshalls
Bag: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney

Felt Baby Roses Corsage Necklace

Dress: XOXO, (The now sadly departed.  I ordered an embarrassing amount of stuff from their 70% off going-out-of-business sale this week; look for lots of new pieces posted at a Tote Trove blog near you :)
Shoes: MetroStyle
Bag: Loop, Marshalls

Felt Yellow Roses Corsage Necklace

Top: So, Kohl's
Cardigan: So, Kohl's
Capris: l.e.i., Macy's
Shoes: Not Rated, DSW
Bag: City Streets, JCPenney

Felt Cherry Treat Corsage Necklace

Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Kohl's
Shoes: Miss America (yes, of pageant fame. Apparently DSW is now a sponsor of the event), DSW
Lunchbox: Marshalls

Crystal Blue Persuasion Necklace

Dress: XOXO, Macy's
Shoes: Nina, DSW
Bag: Gifted (although I think it may be from TJ Maxx)

I started out with all these good intentions of making a pile of jewelry and then parsing it out into specifically-themed blog posts with titles like "Slice of Americana" and "Blue Skies". (Yes, really. Although now that I see them in print I'm thinking that my abandonment of them was for the best.) But time got the better of me, and some of the outfits turned out differently than I'd planned, so I decided to just toss it all together in a delightfully discordant jumble. My favorite piece is the Felt Cherry Treat Necklace. It kind of reminds me of a Hawaiian lei.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Big Hair

In my never-ending mission to photograph my wardrobe, I decided to zero in on some of my hair accessories. This, in turn, reminded me of a cherished old picture book:

Yep, big hair. Here are some of the bouffantish best:

And we can't leave out the gentlemen:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Something New and Sparkly: Flower Power

The No Name Necklace -- Otherwise known as a necklace not posted on Etsy. :)

Top: JCPenney
Skirt: Abbey Dawn, Kohl's
Shoes: Barefeet Shoes
Bag: DSW

Felt Flower Trio Corsage Necklace

Dress: Cloud Nine, Ocean City 
Shoes: Kensie, DSW
Bag: Chinese Laundry, JCPenney

The green and gold faceted acrylic beads in this Bright Blossoms Necklace (below) came from a vintage-style necklace I bought at JCPenney years ago. I wore it so much it even began to smell like a vintage necklace (which is to say that it radiates a pleasant hint of perfume as opposed to the dreaded mothballs :) . Sadly, I tried to wear it the other day and discovered that the thread had weakened so much that it broke, sending beads scattering everywhere. But then I realized that I could use them to make an exciting new necklace. The resulting Bright Blossoms Necklace has more personality than the original (although, as is the case with many of my creations, less versatility).

Bright Blossoms Corsage Necklace

Dress: Victoria's Secret
Bag: Eleven Peacocks, Etsy
Flip flops: So, Kohl's

Fancy Felt Garden Corsage Necklace

Vest: Marshalls
Tee: So, Kohl's
Capris: l.e.i., JCPenney
Shoes: City Streets, JCPenney
Bag: Glamour Damaged, Etsy

I juggled gems, I dwelt in felt, and this is what I planted. These necklaces are a little hippie meets little girl's dress-up box: bright, whimsical, homespun, and playful. Just teaming them up with these outfits made me smile. Three ensembles embrace the soft and feminine ditsy floral theme, whereas the fourth breaks free with a fresh and funky edge.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Etsy Favorites: Fiber Art Frenzy

Cute Kawaii Lolita Keychain, Pop Glitz Splushies

Octopus Ciel Blue Scarf, Irina Carmen

Pink Cupcake Snap Pouch, Needlings

Crochet Banana Split Fascinator Headband, You Cute

Deluxe Mix Tape Pouch (Love Songs), Brave Moonman

Orange Felt Favor Bag, WoobiNwawa

I've always been impressed by anyone who can sew, knit, crochet, or otherwise work fabric magic without leaning on the crutch of fabric glue (I myself being a most flagrant leaner). So in honor of needle wielders everywhere, here are a few of my favorite fabric creations from Etsy. Naturally, each hails from a shop just brimming with even more delightfully quirky collectibles. Catch the fiber fever and check them out :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"Frank knew that no man had ever crossed the desert on foot and lived to tell about it. So, he decided to get back in his car and keep driving."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sunshine Award

Vanessa of Wardrobe Under Construction was kind enough to brighten my day with a Sunshine Award! According to Vanessa, the Sunshine Award is "awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging world. The Sunshine Award is given by bloggers to bloggers as a way to spread the bloggy love."

And now for the "conditions" that go with the honor:

- Thank the person who gave you this award (Thanks, Vanessa. Very cool of you.)
- Write a post about it (Check)
- Answer to the questions below (Done and done)
- Pass it on to 10 bloggers who you think really deserve it and send them message to let them know (See below)

The questions:

What's your favorite color?

What's your favorite animal?

What's your favorite number?

What perfume are you using right now?
Bath & Body Works Honeysuckle body spray

What do you always wear that identifies you?
Red lipstick

What's your passion?
Making accessories, but of course

Do you prefer getting or giving presents?
Um, getting (we're going for honesty here). But I love giving them too. Because it involves shopping. And also because there's nothing quite like that look on a recipient's face that lets you know you've done good :)

What was the last eyeshadow you used?
Cover Girl quad featuring shades of royal blue, jungle green, tangerine, and chartreuse

What's your favorite day of the week?

Are your nails painted right now?
No. I gave up painting them when I embarked upon a life of glue.

And now for the 10 sunshiniest, deserving bloggers, in ABC order:

Cozy in Texas

Deco Aurora

Diary of an Indie Grrrl

FENNO Fashion: Living Life in a Crafty Fashion

Intrinsically Florrie

Jewel Divas

McLachlan Design Studio

Michelle's Charm World

Sparkle's Soup of the Day

Tracey Knits

Thanks for reading and happy sunshine to all :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Turtles are Cute

Not too long ago I was driving down a wooded road and spotted a snake crossing it. It was black with white stripes, and although I stopped and wasn't that close to it, I had a major case of the heebie jeebies. Like lots of people, I hate snakes. Well, to be more precise, I hate anything without legs, which covers your worms, slugs, and other such ilk. (Oddly, spiders and bugs don't bother me.)

Today I was traveling the same road when I saw a turtle. It poked its little head out frighteningly close to my car, and I thought about how terrible I'd have felt if I'd hit it. Turtles are just so endearing and vulnerable, what with their sad little faces and their slowness. I couldn't help but remember the very different reaction I'd had to the snake, which brought to mind that saying about how people care about only the cute animals.

I never wanted to admit it before, but I guess that saying is true.

That's my deep thought for the day.