Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Flip This House; Fling This Bling

Darla Doll Charm Necklace

Top: Worthington, JCPenney
Skirt (a dress!): Macy's
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Marshalls
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's
Belt: Marshalls

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Skirt: Modcloth
Shoes: Chinese Laundry, DSW
Bag: Gifted
Belt: New York & Co.
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

Egg McBluffin Charm Necklace

Top: Macy's
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney
Belt: Kohl's
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's

Top: Rampage, Macy's
Skirt (a dress!): Macy's
Shoes: Charles Albert, Alloy
Bag: Nordstrom
Belt: Wet Seal
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Skirt (another dress!): Modcloth
Shoes: a.n.a., JCPenney
Bag: Nahui Ollin
Belt: Marshalls

Shrug: The Limited, Marshalls
Tee: Marshalls
Dress: JCPenney
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Xhilaration, Target
Sunglasses: Relic, Kohl's
Belt: Cape Charles, VA shop

If you watch DIY or HGTV (or, you know, breathe), then you know that flipping houses is a thing.  People buy old homes for a song, fix them up, then resell them for a symphony.  Like any artsy-fartsy soul, I love the idea of making something old new again.  Or better yet, making something new even newer.  Which is why I bought these clearance necklaces from big box stores and embellished them to sell on Etsy.  The only difference is that my prices aren't nearly as inflated -- that, and a necklace goes wherever you do, whereas a house ventures only as far as the mailbox.  Of course, these days that's changing, what with Tiny House, Big Living and Tiny House Nation catering to wanderers who don't mind squatting on their parents' lawns.    

So, what's up with the second part of this post title?  I'm not sure.  "Fling this bling" doesn't sound like the real estate pun I'd intended (hey, punning ain't easy), but more like 1) a wealthy old dowager tossing off her pearls as she swings from a chandelier, or 2) an ill-fated tryst between a topaz and a diamond.  It's an old story.  Diamond's dad thinks that Topaz isn't good enough for Diamond, and Topaz's mom thinks that Diamond is too much of a princess for Topaz.  In a sort of reverse Romeo and Juliet move, the disapproving parents toss each other's offspring into the ocean, then run away to the Emerald City to head up a Munchkin outreach program.

Sigh.  Fine jewelry can be so dramatic.  That's why I stick with humble synthetics.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Irish Spring Leaning

Rainbow Confection Necklace

Top: Macy's
Skirt: ELLE, Kohl's
Shoes: a. n. a., JCPenney
Bag: Bisou Bisou, JCPenneys
Sunglasses: Michaels
Scarf/belt: A.C. Moore

Spring has finally sprung, and the clover are blooming!  So why not shout it from the rooftops (er, webpage) already, even if it is four days after St. Patrick's, when everyone's partied out and (maybe) still a little hungover?  Because spring and St. Pat's mean new life and green things, and in the case of (the first day of) spring, free water ice at your local Rita's. 

For some unfathomable reason, the start of spring is also associated with cleaning.  'Cause nothing says hole up in the house like sunshine after three months of gray.  Recently, I was gifted with a book about just this subject (cleaning, not clouds, although it's not hard to confuse the two).  It was very well-written and funny, but I didn't like what it had to say.  Namely, that one should devote three hours a weekend to hard clean the kitchen.  I don't know about you, but to me, weekends are for sleeping and couch potato activities (i.e. crafting), not washing the walls (whatever that means).  Some say "If you have time to lean, you have to clean," but I say, "Why not lean in harder?"  

Speaking of crafting, I whipped up this Rainbow Confection Necklace last weekend.  And I use the term "whipped up" loosely.  If this subtly sparkly, perfectly formed rainbow looks familiar, then that's probably because you're seen it in Michael's where they keep the kid's crafts.  I get the feeling that it's supposed to be turned into a magnet or something else for a child's bedroom, but as soon as I saw it, I knew that its new home should be around my neck.  So, I glued two of those necklace connector thingies that look like tiny soda can tabs to the back, smothered them with glue, slapped on a couple of blue plastic discs (all the better to seal you with), and attached sky and cloud colored chains.  I almost added rhinestones and star cabochons but then said, hey rein it in, cowgirl.  Although I'll deny ever having said this, sometimes less really is more.

Unless we're talking sleep.  Or water ice.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Trolling for Bargains: A Fond Farewell to Macy's of Voorhees

Trendy Toys Charm Necklace

Tee: Macy's
Skirt: Marshalls
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Earmuffs, Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Sunglasses: Relic, Kohl's

Once upon a time, the Echelon Mall was the place to be.  It was the mall of my childhood, the place where I'd pick out my "prize" after every dentist's visit, embark on first day of school shoe shopping sprees, and gorge on My Favorite Muffins (I still miss you, pineapple cheese).  Its premier department store was Strawbridge & Clothier, which seemed like a more glamorous yet humbler Macy's.  Then, when I was in my twenties, Strawbridge went out of business, and the Voorhees store morphed into a Macy's.  Not long after that, some of the other stores started closing, and the Echelon Mall turned into the Voorhees Town Center, encompassing a new crop of nearby condos and restaurants.  These days, even Macy's is splitting the scene, leaving only Boscov's, an Auntie Anne-less (not to mention My Favorite Muffin-less) food court, and a smattering of doctors' and realtors' offices.  Yes, you read that right.  This mall no longer has an Express or a Hallmark, but if you're looking for a two-story colonial, then you've hit pay dirt.

So, I had to get to Macy's before it locked up for good.  On one hand, I was nostalgic and wanted to see what it looked like.  On the other, I was an accessory-a-holic intrigued to gawk at the weird stuff on offer.

Oddly, the most noteworthy items were the mannequins.  Naked and in various stages of dismemberment, they stood sentinel in what was once the children's department.  It was like the "Westworld" prop closet, and I couldn't help but snap a few pictures.

And good thing, too. Tammy (the Torso, a.k.a. my mannequin) was over the moon to see her brothers and sisters.  Even if Kim Cattrall had gone suspiciously AWOL.  (Although I did hear that Andrew McCarthy was caught smuggling out a life-size Santa.)

That macabre merriment out of the way, I was free to feast on the spoils.  Such as they were.  The Macy's overlords had clearly ferried in lots of old stock from some secret warehouse, and it looked as out of place and embarrassed as a new, slightly awkward zoo creature.  For one thing, the entrance of the juniors section was glutted with Lady Gaga/Elton John paraphernalia from some long-ago, unsuccessful merch mashup.  You'd think such a duo would inspire a colorful array of products, but, alas, every top, scarf, bag, and water bottle was black and white with a sad dab of lilac.  The other big come-on was an influx of Betsey Johnson Trolls accessories, which had been created to coincide with the movie of the same name.  Now, I have to pause a beat to explain just how off-put I was by the cinematic reincarnation of my favorite bridge-dwelling buddies.  The trolls of yesteryear were awesome . . . because they were ugly.  Don't get me wrong.  They were most definitely the cute kind of ugly, all endearing scrunched-up faces and unruly hair (as evidenced by the notebooks and attic escapee below).  

But that was part of their charm, whether they cavorted in wizard or princess costumes or just bare-assed in mall kiosks across this great nation.  That said, I gave the svelte, smooth-faced, sleek-haired newcomers the stink eye (no disrespect to Justin Timberlake or Anna Kendrick).  Not only was I not going to see the movie, I was most certainly not going to support these new-fangled upstarts by buying wearables emblazoned with their likeness.  Of course, that was before I received a darling pair of hot pink Betsey Johnson Trolls earmuffs for my birthday.  "Alright, no big deal," I thought, parading around with them in 50-degree weather, "they're just earmuffs; no one can tell that they're from the Trolls line."  But then I went ahead and ordered a trolls-printed tee shirt from Macy's, rationalizing that it was okay because I just liked the colors, and also because it was only $3.00.  So, when I was met with a mountain of pink, turquoise, and black earmuffs in the outerwear department of Macy's that day, I was terribly tempted by the turquoise (which should surprise no one, as this blog is filled with accounts of me declaring my hatred for things only to fall headlong in love with them).  I marched up to the makeshift counter with my 80% off find only to be told that that register was for real fur purchases only.  Well, excuse me for preferring unnaturally colored and sensibly priced synthetics to costly animal pelts.  I stalked off to another counter, where the sales clerk smirked as she attacked the label of my fuzzy new friend with an angry black marker, lest I try to reclaim my $6.40 at some still-solvent Macy's.  Indeed, the once-obsequious staff had turned kind of surly (not that I blame them, what with getting the boot -- and I don't mean Manolos). 

I (ahem) trolled the rest of the Betsey Johnson trinkets in search of more souvenirs but didn't have the heart to get another necklace or purse charm.  You know how sometimes you buy stuff that you don't really want?  Just because it's cheap and it's there?  Like, if you had a bag of Oreos and you ate the whole thing even if you didn't like Oreos very much?  Wait, what am I saying?  Everyone loves Oreos!  Let's go with Triscuits instead.  Because that's how I felt about shopping that day.  Content with my parting gift of electric blue fluff and in no mood to force down whole-wheat crackers.  So I left that old mausoleum/museum in search of a store that would endure forever.

In other words, I went on Amazon.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Stripe Up the Brand: 2 Lips Too, Too Much, Nice Clutch

Top: Bisou Bisou, JCPenney
Skirt: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: 2 Lips Too, JCPenney
Bag: Fred Flare
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: JCPenney

No doubt about it, this post title is a mouthful.  But then, how else to laud labels that have got the gamed licked?  Yes, it's mid-priced mainstays 2 Lips Too and Bisou Bisou (French for "kiss, kiss!") puckered up into one puckish package.  Both brands hail from JCPenney.  Well, the online version anyway, which is often much snazzier than its stuck-in-the-1990s brick and mortar mother.  Failing department store chain or not, JCP still has an appetite for awesome, yet enough restraint to maintain its girlish figure.  That's right; this retailer has returned to the discount game.  Thanks to a clearance sale and a $10 rewards certificate, I got three pairs of these stripey stilettos for the price of one.  I'd been stalking them for what seemed like forever, waiting for just such an opportunity.  Who could blame me?  They're so distinctive and different and doll-like. 

I especially love their clear plastic inserts in contrasting colors.  They're like little slabs of stained glass in the windows of what I imagine to be Barbie's Disco Dance Party play set.  The disco ball would descend to the (mirrored!) dance floor and open up into a vanity for those sweaty, post-Hustle touch-ups.  (Are you listening, Mattel?  I'm sitting on a goldmine here.)

What I'm really (okay, always) saying is, accessories make the mood/party/outfit.  Which is why this Merry Berry Cherry Necklace, with its lipstick-red rhinestone cherry pendant, is such a fun, fruity finishing touch for this loudmouth ensemble.  What's that?  This isn't the Merry Berry Cherry Necklace, but the Darling Deco Bow Necklace?  Well, you caught me; it turns out that the cherry necklace didn't go with this outfit after all.  That sort of snafu sometimes happens here at the Trove.  Good thing I have a never-ending supply of sparkly subs to step in.

Cherries or no cherries, it would be really rad if Mattel could come up with an enchanted forest called the Ornate Orchard.

Hey, a squirrel can dream.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Star is Mourned: Rayna's Reign Rains Down on Nashville

 Wild West Wynonna Necklace

Top: Bongo, Sears
Skirt (a dress!): Kohl's
Boots: 2 Lips Too, DSW
Bag: Arizona Jeans, JCPenney
Belt: Sheplers
Sunglasses: Relic, Kohl's

Fabulous Felt Cowgirl Cutie Necklace

Top (another dress!): Bisou Bisou, JCPenney
Skirt: ROSS Dress for Less
Boots: Charles Albert, Alloy
Bag: Nine West, ROSS Dress for Less
Belt: Gifted
Sunglasses: Relic, Kohl's

"Give boredom the boot with this Fabulous Felt Cowgirl Cutie Necklace and her sassy sidekick, Wild West Wynonna . . ." is what I'd say if I were listing these necklaces on Etsy instead of keeping them for myself.  But these days I want to hold on to every little bit of country I can.  I'm referring, of course, to the recent bombshell dropped on beloved TV drama "Nashville."  

The last time I blogged about "Nashville," ABC had cancelled it, and the last episode featured everyone living happily ever after except for Juliette (Hayden Panettiere), who may or may not have been killed in a plane crash.  Although I was sad to see the series, which was one of my favorites, go, I was comforted that no more havoc could be wreaked on the lives and loves of Music City's brightest.  Then, in a plot twist that no one (okay, everyone) saw coming, "Nashville" got picked up by CMT.  Naturally, I was elated, scrambling to see if my cable plan included Country Music Television.  It didn't, and one argument with the Comcast lady later, I was happily signed up for Hulu, where I could watch my old pals plus plenty of new ones for a mere $7.99 a month.  Come January, I eagerly tuned in to Season 5.  And discovered that, land sakes, Juliette was alive!  Paralyzed from the waist down and touched by an angel and all of that jazz (or maybe I should say bluegrass), but back to driving everyone crazy.  As for the rest of the show, it seemed folksier and lighter than before, with an unmistakably fresh, down-home feel.

Or so I thought.  Before long it reverted to its red alert, hot mess roots, with Scarlett (Clare Bowen) forsaking Gunnar (Sam Palladio) to hop into bed with her edgy but verbally abusive new music video director, the aptly named Damien, and Rayna (Connie Britton) being held at knifepoint by a stalker only to (MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS FROM HERE ON OUT) fall victim to yet another major car accident.  One second she's on the phone with Deacon (Charles Esten), then smash! -- the next, something plows into her.  It was so abrupt, so jarring, I jumped.

Rayna spends the next episode in the hospital.  At first, recovery seems in the cards.  Deacon asks her what she wants, and she glibly says, "A cheeseburger."  Ever the knight in shining armor, Deacon obliges, soon returning with the tasty treat.  But Rayna's fate is sealed when her dead mother appears in her hospital room and gently tells her to stop struggling with her new song because "maybe the song is finished."  Deacon is visibly shaken, pulling Rayna's doc aside to ask if it's normal for her to be seeing visions.  "Perfectly," she assures him, "it's just a side effect of the medication."  But Deacon knows different, and, it seems, so does Rayna.

For the rest of the hour, Rayna focuses on imparting wisdom to her nearest and dearest and saying goodbye, not only to them, but to us.  Rayna is the soul of "Nashville," and her life has touched the life of every other character, as evidenced by her full hospital room.  All too soon it's just Deacon, Maddie (Lennon Stella), and Daphne (Maisy Stella), singing the sweetly heartbreaking "A Life That's Good."  Rayna flutters her eyes . . . then closes them forever.

As character deaths go, this one was as sad as any country song worth its margarita.  A Google search confirmed the rumors that Connie Britton wanted to leave "Nashville," and that Rayna dying was the only way to make that happen and do Rayna justice.  Although it's perhaps unfair to attribute symbolism to a character's death when you know that said death was motivated by the actress's plans to leave the show, I couldn't help but think that Rayna James and Juliette Barnes traded places.  As in, Rayna's life was sacrificed so that Juliette's life could be saved.  And that Juliette, with all her Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes insights, would one day flower into a full-fledged (albeit snarkier) Rayna.  

After all, the show must go on, even without its leading lady.  As showrunner Marshall Herskovitz pointed out in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "Nashville" is, at its core, an ensemble story:

". . . the show of Nashville is a world, it's not about one person.  As great as Connie is and Rayna was, it was never just one person.  What people will find as they process their feelings -- and maybe fans will be angry at us or at her for this happening -- but they'll find the fabric of the show more than holds.  It's still this vibrant passionate creative world of people who live their lives in a way that has a fire beneath it."

Well put.  Nevertheless, "Nashville" won't be the same without Rayna's unique brand of guts, class, and grace.  

I'm just glad she got that cheeseburger.