Monday, May 25, 2015

On the Topic of Tropics and Happy Memorial Day

Top: Macy's
Culottes: aerie, Marshalls
Shoes: Dollhouse, Marshalls
Bag: Worthington, JCPenney
Sunglasses: JCPenney

Kimono: Marshalls
Cami: Casual Corner outlet
Jeans: l.e.i., JCPenney
Bag: Nine West, Boscov's
Shoes: Nine West, DSW
Belt: Izod, Marshalls
Sunglasses: Mudd, Kohl's

Eight Legs of Lovely Necklace

Top: Decree, JCPenney
Skirt: Marshalls
Shoes: Bucco, Kohl's
Bag: Gifted
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

Few parts of the United States can be described as tropical, except for Hawaii and maybe Florida and California.  Still, as the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day seems like prime time to unfurl the foliage, wherever you are.  So, if you're fond of fronds and have a heart for hibiscus, then you'll like these luau-worthy looks.  I, for one, am partial to the bottoms in outfit number one.  "Culottes and parrots?" I thought when I saw them jutting out haphazardly from a Marshalls clearance rack. "Now, that's what I call kitsch kismet."  I haven't sported a pair of culottes since the second grade (and a real dress code conundrum they posed, too.  Is it a skirt?  Or, gulp, shorts?  And [most importantly] are they fingertip length?), so the pull of these throwback threads was mighty powerful.  Not unlike that of the fetching and surprisingly versatile skirt in outfit number three, which I snagged for myself while shopping for a birthday gift for someone else (also, incidentally, in Marshalls).  Upon hearing this, the husband quipped, "It's the American way."  Indeed.  And so what better time than Memorial Day to admit it?

*Let the record show, I later bought the birthday gift in question, once safely at my computer, away from the bright, seductive lights of Marshalls' juniors section and lulled by the sedative-like white noise of "Seinfeld" reruns.

Speaking of paradise, (for we were, even if merely through rayon-poly prints), I'm looking forward to the movie Aloha.  Having seen three good movies in the past couple of months (I'm hesitant to call them chick flicks because, to me, those can be only rom coms --it must be the rhyming thing), I want to keep the cinematic spark burning.  The Age of Adeline, Cinderella, and The Longest Ride tell of true love triumphing over something, whether it be time, social disparity, or a bull-headed devotion to extreme sports.  I enjoyed them, just as I'm sure I'll enjoy saying hi to Aloha.

Because summer's just something to look at unless you get to the heart of the palm.

Monday, May 18, 2015

If Y is for Yellow, then J is for Jaune, er, Jane

Top: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney
Skirt: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney
Shoes: Venus
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: JCPenney

 Lock it Up, Love Necklace

Top: Self Esteem, JCPenney
Skirt: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: a. n. a., JCPenney
Bag: Marshalls
Sunglasses: JCPenney

Top: Merona, Target
Skirt: Eric and Lani, Macy's
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney
Belt: Marshalls
Sunglasses: JCPenney

Yellow is one of my favorite colors.  Sunny, happy, and vibrant, it sets any scene or ensemble ablaze.  So, as spring ripens into summer, I'm always glad to see it take center stage.  Just like I'm glad to be painting my toenails after months of hibernating in closed-toe clodhoppers, taking walks without a jacket, and ordering ice cream instead of hot chocolate.  But amidst all these warm weather welcomes skulks the bittersweet threat of good-bye.  That's right, I'm talking about TV series season finales -- finales that, more often than not, leave us teetering on the edge of gut-wrenching cliffhangers.

Of all the shows I watch, the one dangling upon the most precarious precipice is "Jane the Virgin."  As soon as I tuned in to this CW freshman dramedy, I was hooked.  A kind of cerebral soap opera that pokes fun at itself through the wry observations (and captions -- no multi-tasking while watching this one!) of a world-weary narrator, this Miami-based, more-than-a-melodrama lauds and lampoons the telenovela genre, delivering intrigue and heart through an impressive network of original plot lines, the, ahem, mother of which is Jane's accidental pregnancy via artificial insemination.  Jane's virginity complicates an already surreal situation, challenging her relationship with fiance (and local detective) Michael while tossing her into the maelstrom of madness that is the Solano family.  For, the father of Jane's little miracle is married former playboy and Marbella Hotel heir Rafael Solano, who just happens to be, in a telenovela-worthy twist, her boss.  But at an exceptionally grown-up twenty-three, Jane is level-headed enough to handle it all with grace, humor, and a sense of adventure.  And why not?  She's got the live-in emotional support of fiery, aspiring singer mom Xiomara and straitlaced but sweet grandmom Alba, not to mention a sure-thing future as a teacher.

But then things begin to unravel.  Jane discovers that the father she never knew is the purple suit-clad, obliviously vain (and hilarious!) star of her favorite telenovela.  She forges an unlikely friendship with Rafael.  And she turns down a teaching job to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  What's more, weird stuff starts happening at the Marbella, casting suspicion upon the entire Solano family, a development that conveniently requires the services of one Detective Michael Cordero.

Employing a well-rounded arsenal of satire, flashbacks, dream sequences, and eye-catching outfits, "Jane the Virgin" is the everything bagel of the TV breakfast buffet (even though I hate bagels).  It's at the same time dazzling and deep, smart yet surprisingly poignant.  Which is why, I suppose, the season finale packed such a punch.

So what, pray tell, was the shocker?  For once, I'm not going to say.  I'm going to practice restraint and retain some mystery.  Not that the answer isn't lurking in about a zillion other internet outlets or in your very own memory given the show's popularity (that, and the finale aired a whole week ago).

Speaking of which, I recently caught Golden Globe winner Jane, or rather, Gina Rodriguez, on "Access Hollywood" or "Entertainment Tonight" or one of those shows being interviewed about her skyrocketing stardom.  "How does it feel to know that you can buy those shoes?" archly asked the reporter, no doubt referencing Louboutins or some such seemingly hallowed brand.  Gina looked baffled before offering a very Jane-like response: "Uh, I gave some money to my grandmother?"  Now, I like shoes as much as the next girl, but I thought that this was as good and genuine an answer as any.

Alba would be proud.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Keep Calm and Call Your Mom and Start a Lip Balm Collection

Sometimes, when life gets you down, there's nothing for it but to ring your mom and buy yourself a small something.  Or, better yet, buy your mom a small something, especially if that something is flowers.  And what better day to do so than Mother's Day?  So, no necklaces this week, just flowers and fun stuff.

Above are some blooms from Bucks County, PA; below are Brigantine's own cherry blossoms.

And now for the fun stuff.  Maybe three balms do not a collection make, but then again, I think three unopened balms are two balms too many.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Critters Behind the Curtain and High Time for New Heels

 Unicorn Bow Necklace

Tank: Wet Seal
Skirt: Kohl's
Black T-straps: Payless
Lilac pumps: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: Nine West, Marshalls
Belt: B Fabulous
Sunglasses: Mudd, Kohl's

Dress: Lulus
Cami: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: JCPenney
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Michaels

 Boho Beetle Necklace

Tee: So, Kohl's
Caftan: JCPenney
Skirt: So, Kohl's
Flip flops: Candie's, Kohl's
Bag: Gifted
Sunglasses: Mudd, Kohl's

Top: Wet Seal
Skirt: Stoosh, Macy's
Shoes: Guess, Marshalls
Bag: Nine West, Boscov's
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Mudd, Kohl's

Tee: Merona, Target
Skirt: Candie's, Kohl's
Shoes: Payless
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Belt: Izod, Marshalls
Sunglasses: Michaels

I always think it's weird when dangerous animals are featured as cute, cuddly cartoons.  You know, like the Pink Panther, Tony the Tiger, and even, regrettably, Toucan Sam.  Take the parrot in this Bird Buddies Necklace.  Pretty or not, those things will peck your eyes out. Ditto for spiders (which, although not cuddly, possess a certain dark glamour), only with venomous bites.  Not to mention unicorns.  Sure, they're aren't real, but if they were I think they'd probably be ornery.  Maybe that's why people are always putting all of these critters in ads and on trinkets: they're looking for a way to tame them.

But enough wild kingdom pop psych; let's move on to wardrobe.

This week's looks have a 1950s/1980s vibe (how is it that I've only now noticed the similarities of the aesthetics of those two eras?) except for the renegade caftan, which is pure 1970s.  (Because there's always something celebratory about a caftan, I let it slide.)  Outfit number one is the best example of the hybrid decades thing in this lot, what with the ladylike clutch and the polka dots, and I was in the midst of photographing it when my new lilac Chinese Laundry pumps from DSW arrived on my doorstep.  Despite having spent the better part of my morning snapping away to get just the right angles, I immediately tossed my trusty Payless black patent leather (okay, plastic) T-straps aside in favor of the newcomers.  Partly because I'm a perfectionist, partly because in my illustrious career of shoe collecting, I've never had a pair precisely that shade.  Normally, I'm not one for revealing how the sausage is made, but my excitement got the best of me and I ended up posting the before and after shots.  You'll notice that I took the opportunity to add a pink backdrop, too (perfectionism, will your plague never end?).   

Finally, on an unrelated note, I recently bought a yellow and white polka dot shower curtain on clearance at Bed, Bath & Beyond as a quirky companion to my new fish-print window valance even though it was cotton.  As you may already know, I hate cotton, despite its many commercials, and have long maintained that fade-free, wrinkle-resistant polyester is the fabric of my life.  Anyway, I had the husband hang it without considering that I needed to iron it first.  It was, of course, a wrinkled mess.  "It'll shake out," the husband said, with all the confidence of a man who has never done battle with creases borne of manufacturer packaging.  So I took it down and hauled out the iron only to discover a fortuitously non-cotton, fish print shower curtain that had been hiding out in our linen closet for the last seven years.  At the time we'd already had (another) fish-print shower curtain and ambitiously thought that we'd use the spare to make window curtains.  Needless to say, we didn't, never even giving curtains a thought until just last week.  Which just goes to show that what you're looking for is usually right in front of you -- and also that laziness has its rewards.  Still, the polka dots are nice.  I won't post them, though -- publishing photos of one's bathroom goes beyond the bounds of good taste, even for me.  So, I'll share this shot of my new(ish) laundry room curtains instead:      

As far as I know, there are no wild animals lurking behind them, save for one intrepid, trash-picking squirrel.  And to think that on "Rocky and Bullwinkle" the squirrel wasn't even the villain.