Sunday, October 27, 2013

Advertorial Ambivalence Averted

 Sweet Stuff Eraser Necklace

Cardigan: DKNY, Macy's
Camisole: So, Kohl's
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Xhilaration, Target

Tee: So, Kohl's
Cardigan: So, Kohl's
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Princess Vera, Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal

Sweater: Sweater Project, Macy's
Tank: Arizona Jeans, JCPenney
Skirt: Marshalls
Shoes: Barefeet Shoes
Bag: Nordstrom

Colorful Carats Necklace

Dress: Material Girl, Macy's
Camisole: Worthington, JCPenney
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: B&B, Ocean City
Jacket: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney

Some months ago I received an email from an online housewares retailer (who shall remain nameless) inviting me to blog about some of their products.  I ignored the request, having long since made the decision to plug only those products that I genuinely liked (i.e., clothes and kooky collectibles).  Then I heard from them again a couple of weeks ago and reconsidered.  It was possible, after all, that I was being narrow-minded.  So I wrote this post, liberally linking to the online retailer's offerings:

Ever since the husband and I dipped our toes into the wild whirlpool that is house hunting, I can't help but wonder what it would be like to have a yard.  Not just a sad patch of rented lawn where patio furniture comes to die, but a grown-up space of civilized green where people could sip umbrella drinks while hashing out the issues of the day (by which, of course, I mean talking about "Homeland" and comparing pet pictures).  

Part showplace and part sanctuary, my dream yard would have all the drama and heart of a not-quite-critically-acclaimed but audience-lauded romantic comedy.  Which means color and water (for all of those hilarious pool party hijinks) and foliage set aflame by the pop and sizzle of electric lights.  Yes, I"m talking about LED, that longevity-loving, three-letter acronym that makes everything more special and glamorous with just the swell of a circuit.  Scintillating for all seasons, these science-made stars burn past the last summer sunset to hold court at holiday celebrations.  Come December everyone would huddle in a heated tent, hot cider and coffee beckoning from the bar and tunes tumbling from the magic that is the portable mini Bluetooth speakers as that night's master of ceremonies (who else but the hubby?) spins the game-show-quality, crayon-box-bright prize wheel to raffle off a fresh Tote Trove treat or a savory cheese (cheddar for the lucky, Stilton for the less fortunate).  Romance would blossom; business deals would be made (take that, golf course), the stuff of cinema simmering in my not-so-humble garden, party-goers pocketing their prizes so that they may relive the revelry when corralling the carpool come Monday morning.

That, dear readers, is what I hope to take home from my house hunt.  Because "mortgage" and "property taxes" and "down payment" are ugly words that don't allow for the whimsy of dreaming.  Or for prize wheels (that yield wheels of cheese).

I sat on the draft for awhile.  I even replied to the online retailer, requesting details about the word count, minimum product links, and my control of the final post.  A week passed without a response.  I thought that maybe they were no longer interested, that my questions had made me seem too Type A (i.e., more trouble than I was worth).  I was just about to take their silence as a sign that I shouldn't be blogging for bucks anyway when their reply popped into my inbox.  As it turned out, they wanted me to edit and post an already-written article about cleaning lawn chair cushions or some such nonsense.  Of course I declined, saying that such a post seemed more appropriate for a blogger dedicated to writing about home improvement.  What I didn't say was that I'd never post something that I hadn't written.  

The incident reminded me ever so slightly of that "Sex and the City" episode in which Carrie's editor at Vogue tells her that their readers want to hear about shoes, not about what Carrie Bradshaw thinks about shoes.  I couldn't help but think that this was just one more example of how writers' impulses to weave creative stories are so often squelched by big business's need for no-nonsense, product-pushing prose.  And yet, isn't it the funny, messy human interest stuff that draws people in, whether you're peddling pumps or patio sets?

Artistic integrity aside, my bowing out was probably for the best.  I wasn't at all sure about that LED thing.    

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cartoon Confections With a Hint of Vanilla

Mysterious Mermaids Necklace

Sweatshirt: Kohl's
Skirt: Decree, JCPenney
Shoes: BCBG, Macy's
Bag: Krystala Creations, Etsy

 Yummy Gummy Bears Necklace

Tee: Wet Seal
Tank: Boscov's
Jeans: City Streets, JCPenney
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Jacket: Vanilla Star, Kohl's

 Crazy for Candy Necklace

Tee: Target
Jeans: Vanilla Star, Target
Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney
Bag: Princess Vera, Kohl's

Candy Dish Necklace

Tee: Kohl's
Jeans: City Streets, JCPenney
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Uniquely Different, Etsy

According to pop psychology, people gravitate toward childhood favorites because they remind them of a simpler time.  Although I'm sure that that's true, I like to think that it's the style as well as the sentiment that keeps 1980s icons such as The Little Mermaid, Care Bears, My Little Pony, and MTV in my outfit orbit.  Tricked out with trinkets fashioned from my new favorite supply source, Delish Beads, these tees mix nostalgia with no-holds-barred bubblegum bliss.  

Speaking of the era of excess, the husband and I recently indulged in an outing that capitalized on its camp factor in spades.  Which is to say that we went to see Vanilla Ice.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; I talk about Vanilla Ice way too much on this blog.  But he was appearing at The Pool at Harrah's, an opportunity too wonderfully weird to pass up.  I'd always wondered what went on at The Pool.  A pool by day and a club by night, it was a hot spot known for hosting second-string stars such as Paris Hilton, the Jersey Shore's Pauly D., and, most recently, "Saved by the Bell's" Mr. Belding (also known as Dennis Haskins, although I'm not sure by whom) during its Pool After Dark events.  After navigating a maze of confusing lines late on this particular Saturday night, the husband and I were finally ushered into the club, which turned out to be a gapingly glamorous man-made oasis lush with palm trees and bars and cabanas, all tucked beneath the sheltering glass of a dome, not unlike, as the husband noted, the one in that unfortunate Pauly Shore flick Biodome.  We got our drinks and nursed them over the next couple of hours amid bachelorette parties, bands of boys, and the odd overly frisky couple, but mostly yawningly empty space.  We ended up leaving before the Ice made his entrance, never to know if he would burst out in a beard and suspenders in an homage to his own "Vanilla Ice Goes Amish" reality show only to strip down to zuma pants and a neon tee.  (Having written that, maybe it was the prospect of him stripping at all that forced us to flee.)  

Truth be told, I don't think we missed out on much.  It was a night made for club kids and fans with a capital F, as evidenced by a woman in line who confided that she owned all of Vanilla Ice's albums.  As someone who isn't a fan with a capital F of anything except for maybe BLTs and bargain basement beads, I was out of my element.  Kind of like a middle school nerd who'd braved the Friday night dance only to end up camping out on the bleachers.  But that was okay.  Blasting "Ice Ice Baby" on the car ride home next to my forever dance partner was better than any over-hyped, hard-to-hear live performance.  Better than better, but best.  Quite fitting considering the words of that beloved one hit wonder wisely advising us that, "anything less than the best is a felony."  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fruits and Felines . . .

 Fabulous Felt Yellow Crochet Collar Necklace

Top: Modcloth
Jeans: Barefeet Shoes
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: American Eagle, Payless
Jacket: Vanilla Star, Kohl's

Fabulous Felt Red Crochet Collar Necklace

Dress: JCPenney
Skirt: Candie's, Kohl's
Shoes: Candie's, Kohl's
Bag: JCPenney
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Jacket: Candie's, Kohl's

 Strawberry Explosion Necklace

Jacket: Material Girl, Macy's
Tee: So, Kohl's
Jeans: Candie's, Kohl's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Nine West, ROSS Dress for Less

Copco, Target


My fruit pitcher, etc. collection.

Hello Kitty Sweet Treats Colorforms

. . . are what make this country great.  Or maybe they're what make the country of Japan great, at least when the fruits are more kawaii than corn-fed and the felines are more anime than aloof.  That having been said, here are some of the produce- and Hello Kitty-themed things that hang out in my space, accompanied by a strawberry jam sandwich of ensembles.  

On the fringes of the fruit angle, I made a new dish called Peach Chicken the other night.  The result was a delicious dessert that had been dive-bombed by insouciant poultry.  Not inedible, but weird, kind of like chocolate cake with a dry meatloaf center.

Maybe next time I stick with grilled cheese.  Well, grilled cheese on Hello Kitty-branded bread.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The (Googly) Eye of the Owl and Other Odd Tales

Top: Urban Outfitters
Skirt: Bar III, Macy's
Shoes: Journeys
Bag: DSW
Leggings: Boscov's

Blouse: Alloy
Dress: JCPenney
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Princess Vera, Kohl's
Belt: Wet Seal

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Jeans: City Streets, JCPenney
Shoes: Charles Albert, Alloy
Bag: DSW
Jacket: Worthington, JCPenney

Dress: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Charles Albert, Alloy
Bag: Marshalls
Scarf: Marshalls

Fall brings to mind things that are folksy.  Like potlucks and hayrides and wildlife.  Why I included those first two I don't know, as there are few things less appealing than Crock-Pots of mystery stew and pieces of straw stuck in your pants, but then, whooooooo cares, as this is clearly all about the wildlife, by which of course I mean owls.  I used to slap owls with the same hipsterish nonsense label I reserved for summer beanies and ironic tee shirts.  But I've decided that they deserve better.  (And also, in my weaker moments, I'm not sure where I weigh in on the hipster vs. non-hipster debate anyway.)  Whimsically wise and fantastically feathered, owls lend a kind of highbrow playfulness wherever they land.  Sort of like that lollipop-loving owl in the Tootsie Pop commercials or Owl from Winnie the Pooh.  Come to think of it, both of them were kind of know-it-alls.  Maybe the hipsters were on to something, softening owls' stuck-up, sophisticated image to one that is more sympathetic and silly.  (I suppose that's a point for team hipster.)    So here's to harvests and new sitcoms, and fresh, bracing air and all those other things that come rustling in with the leaves of October.

Just watch where you sit in the hay truck.