Monday, March 31, 2014

Musical Musings With a Side of Brain Candy

 Candy Land Necklace

Top: Delia's
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Fred Flare
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

*If this Candy Land Necklace looks familiar, then that's because it's a remix of the original.  Normally, I hate remixes.  The electronic effects, garbled lyrics, and ever-present bass all contrive to make awesome songs sound like garbage.  But when it comes to jewelry, I'm always willing to (and you must forgive me for this) "mix it up."

 Pop Princess Necklace

Camisole: Marshalls
Cardigan: So, Kohl's
Jeans: L'Amour by Nanette Lepore for JCPenney
Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney
Bag: Worthington, JCPenney

Sucker for Sweets Necklace

Dress: Kohl's
Shoes: Nine West, DSW
Bag: Marshalls
Scarf: A.C. Moore
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

I made the Pop Princess Necklace featured in this post by cutting the Katy Perry image from the jacket of her One of the Boys CD.  In honor of it, here are some thoughts on music:

1)  It's weird that you (usually) need to hear a new song a few times before you start to like it.  This doesn't say much about humans, except for maybe that we like being brainwashed.  

2)  Splurging on CDs is better than springing for (fancy - for this is one of those cases in which a qualifying adjective is a must) soaps because the CDs will still be around long after the tunes have tumbled off the Top 40 list, whereas the soap, fetching bottle and all, will be only a memory once the bubbles have popped.

3)  Buying a CD of a favorite song is a little bit like moving in with someone (I say this, of course, for comedic effect, and not from personal experience).  You think it'll be great.  As in, "I can hear the song (see my beloved) whenever I want!  I don't have to wait for it to come on the radio (him/her to swing by on date night)!"  Then you play it on repeat (see him/her every day in his/her ratty bathrobe) and get sick of it, longing for the lost magic of the random rendezvous.  As CD buying tells us, mastering music appreciation (not to mention romantic bliss) is a delicate balance.  

4)  One day CDs will fall by the wayside and people will reminisce about when they used to buy those quaint silver discs packaged in cases decorated with wacky artwork.  Perhaps "The Crazy Ones" put it best a couple of episodes ago in this exchange between Sydney and her new cater waiter flame: 

Cater Waiter: "I lied.  I like Starbucks.  I buy all my CDs there."  

Sydney: "I love that you still buy CDs."

(Confession: I too loved this about the cater waiter and was saddened by his eventual (albeit inevitable) exit.)

5)  Supergroups are like super necklaces - lots of big personalities competing for attention in a very small space - and as such should be enjoyed with caution.  

I'm already contemplating another CD cover art-come-necklace to include in next week's post.  So, as they say, turn up the tunes.  (As ever, I have no idea who "they" are.  But it was as good a way to end a post as any.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dots and (Hair) Dos

 Food Fun Necklace

Sweatshirt: Kohl's
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Xhilaration, Target

 Jewel Jubilee Necklace

Dress: Modcloth
Shoes: Not Rated, Journeys
Bag: Nine West
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Cloud Nine, Ocean City

Red Ring Necklace

Top: Marshalls
Pants: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney
Bag: Marshalls
Scarf: Boscov's

One thing that separates the women from the girls is hairdos.  No doubt about it, big hair commands respect.  We need only look to anchorwomen, 1980s-era high school A-listers, pageant queens, and the mom on "The Goldbergs" to witness the bouffant's big shot appeal.  Well, maybe "respect"isn't the word that most would ascribe to these mega-maned mavens.  Nevertheless, high hair shows that you're serious.  Not Supreme Court Justice serious, no, but serious about something.  After all, if you've put in the time and effort to set, tease, and lacquer your strands into helmet hair, then you're not someone with whom to be trifled.  Interestingly enough, I've worn my hair in the same unlayered, product-free, nearly waist-length style for the last decade.  Sure, there was a time when I did the whole round brush, hair dryer, trim every six weeks routine.  But the tyranny of it all, coupled with the potential queen bee pressures that come with such polish, proved to be too demanding.    

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On Mullets and Typewriters

Sure Bet Sherbet Rhinestone Necklace

Tunic: Decree, JCPenney
Bra top: Boscov's
Jeans: Candie's, Kohl's
Shoes: City Streets, JCPenney
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's

Strawberry Peach Rhinestone Necklace

Dress: LC Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Bra top: Boscov's
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's 

Blouse: Jessica Simpson, Boscov's
Bra top: Delia's
Jeans: Candie's, Kohl's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Nine West, Boscov's

Raspberry Mint Rhinestone Necklace

Jacket: Bongo, Sears
Camisole: So, Kohl's
Skirt: Marshalls
Shoes: Dolce by Mojo Moxy, Shoe Dept.
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's

Bead stock-up spree

They're a dynamic duo if ever I saw one - united in the clumsy, cringe-worthy, and clackety (for want of a better last "c" word descriptor) nature of their awfulness.  Nevertheless, I can't take full credit for the connection between these two 1980s (dare I say) icons.  That honor goes to the author of the 1986 romance novel I'm currently reading (or, more appropriately, to her ghostwriter).  Two professional eighties women, clawing their way to the top of the corporate ladder "Working Girl" style with nothing but impossibly inefficient typewriters and smoldering studs to stop them.  (It's a romance novel, people, not a feminist manifesto.)  Here's the line about the mullet:

"She wore it [her hair] long enough in the back to be pinned up in a chignon when she wished, and short enough on the top and sides so that she could style it from fussy to practical as the occasion, and her whim, demanded."

Notice that the word "mullet" is never actually mentioned.  But the telltale business in the front, party in the back description gives this ever-suspect style away.  Given their taste for trends, these corporate cuties may have painted the town in one of the 1980s-inspired looks featured here.  It was an era, after all, that never met a rhinestone or a pairing of pastels and neons that it didn't like.  (I realize that I talk about 1980s style a lot, so much so that I might as well call this blog My Crazy Eighties Dress Up Diary, or, for something snappier, Romancing the Rhinestone.)     

I'd be remiss without addressing the whole visible bra trend that's "working it" in these outfits.  Although it caught on sometime last summer, it wasn't a look that I felt the need to pursue until now.  Not that I would ever sport the plunging tunic and bandeau combo in the first ensemble.  That sort of no-holds-barred raciness is best left to runways and rockers.  But it makes for a nice dramatic visual, as well as a fitting foil for the more demure but still edgy striped dress and bra top team in ensemble number two.  Kind of like Madonna meets Debbie Gibson.  You know.  Before Ms. Gibson  became a girl gone wild.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rhinestone Resurrection

Dress: Modcloth
Cardigan: So, Kohl's
Shoes: Nine West, DSW
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's

 Haute Mess Necklace

Sweater: Candie's, Kohl's
Skirt: Forever 21
Shoes: Parade of Shoes
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's

Top: Marshalls
Skirt: Marilyn Monroe, Macy's
Shoes: Alloy
Bag: Kenneth Cole Reaction
Jacket: Gap
Belt: Wet Seal

Pastel Party Necklace

Dress: So, Kohl's
Tee: So, Kohl's
Blouse: Candie's, Kohl's
Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney
Bag: XOXO, ROSS Dress for Less
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's

As I've recently mentioned, I've been going through my store-bought and handmade jewelry collections, weeding out the weak links (both literally and figuratively) and repurposing them whenever possible.  I'm sure there isn't a jewelry artist out there who hasn't looked at some early effort, scratched her (or his) head, and thought, "What the hay was I thinking?"  My experience was no different.  Although my most cringe-worthy offense was haphazard (ok, lazy) wire wrapping, I was most struck by just how simple most of the necklaces were.  On more than one occasion I'd been guilty of stringing a single strand of beads around a lone so-so pendant, achieving that newbie-pitfall effect of "why bother?"  Snip went my pliers, releasing a bevy of bits and baubles destined for bolder things.  Take the Haute Mess Necklace in this post.  It contains pendants from six former necklaces (plus one brand-new one).  Although it's more boho than most of the stuff I make, its mixed-up, broken-jewelry-box-bits look exudes the kind of playful  irreverence that I've come to expect from all of my pieces, whether they be glam or earthy or silly.  And as this audience well knows, there's nothing quite as satisfying as breathing new life into an outdated something that was bound for the dust bin.

Speaking of old things, last week I received an invitation in the mail to join AARP.  This would probably be a good place to say that I'm 32, not 52, and that this is the fifth such invitation I've received.  The opening line of the letter said, "Our records show that you haven't yet registered for the valuable benefits of AARP membership, even though you are fully eligible."

There was more.  Something along the lines of "discounts . . .blah blah blah . . . social security . . . blah blah blah . . . free tote bag with membership." But I was stuck on that first part, thinking, "What records?!"  Had my purchases of Andy Williams CDs, cozy murder mysteries, and craft supplies over the years automatically put my name on some over-the-hill people list?  Don't get me wrong.  I heart the elderly.  They wear matchy outfits and eat JELL-O and clip coupons, all things I respect and enjoy.  So instead of being insulted, I've decided to take this incident as a sign that I'm an old soul.  (That is, if that's possible in one who still drinks juice boxes and wears headbands.)  What's more, there's a small part of me that wants to get my hands on that tote bag and attack it with a Bedazzler (something, come to think of it, that the elderly would probably appreciate).  Maybe twenty years from now I'll take AARP up on their offer, sending them a jokey email (or whatever Jetsonian mode of communication is in vogue by then) about being their "oldest" (ha ha, get it?!) member.

Who am I kidding?  I'll probably just take the tote bag and run.  I've never been much of a joiner.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Like Big Beads and I Cannot Lie

 Happy Hibiscus Necklace

Sweater: Sweater Project, Macy's
Tank: Mossimo, Target
Pants: Sears
Shoes: Dollhouse, Marshalls
Bag: H&M
Yellow scarf: Marshalls
Bird scarf: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Claire's

 Cool Carats Necklace

Blouse: Candie's, Kohl's
Tank: Macy's
Skirt: Necessary Objects, Annie Sez
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Marshalls
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's

Sweater: Kohl's
Dress: Arizona Jeans, JCPenney
Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney
Bag: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney

Rainbow Zebra Necklace

Tee: Target
Skirt: JCPenney
Shoes: Unlisted by Kenneth Cole, Marshalls
Bag: Xhilaration, Target

It's true.  Just today I received a fresh shipment of mint and peach acrylic gumball beads from Etsy's Olivia Madison Company, and I've been culling castoffs from my personal jewelry collection, an effort that has revealed my preference for beads of an ever-increasing circumference.  If it can't be seen from space, then I'm not interested.