Sunday, June 30, 2019

Fate Expectations: We Didn't Start the Pyre

Purple top: Pink Republic, Kohl's
Print top: Marshalls
Skirt: Mudd, Kohl's
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Luv Betsey, Boscov's
Jelly bracelets: So, Kohl's
Braided bracelet: Amrita Singh, Zulily
Belts: Izod, Marshalls
Barrettes: The Tote Trove

Polly Parrot Necklace

Top: a new day, Target
Skirt: Tinseltown, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Marshalls
Mint bangle: Decree, J. C. Penney's
Yellow and blue bangles: B Fabulous
Striped bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Belt: Belt is Cool, Amazon
Sunglasses: Wild Fable, Target

Top: J. C. Penney's
Skirt: Tinseltown, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: B&B
Barrettes: The Tote Trove

 Top to bottom: Mudd, Kohl's; Macy's; Mudd, Kohl's

Top to bottom: Tinseltown, Kohl's; Arizona Jeans, J.C. Penney's; Tinseltown, Kohl's

I was recently listening to Fastball's "Fire Escape" (on CD, of course) when I realized why I like it so much.  It's because it's about smashing expectations.

"Well, I don't wanna be President, Superman or, Clark Kent   
I don't wanna walk around in their shoes
'Cause I don't know whose side I'm on
I don't know my right from wrong
I don't know where I'm going to
I don't know about you."

Of course, it's also about being a bit of an asshole boyfriend.

"I don't wanna make you mad
I don't wanna meet your dad
I don't wanna be your dream come true."

But I'm willing to rationalize that as collateral damage.  Also, I can't help but wonder if "Out of My Head" is this dude's apology.

Anyway, living up to others' expectations can be toxic and has been so since the beginning of time.  Look at Pip -- we all know what happened to him.  Dealing with others' demands is certainly something that I've struggled with, which is why this nineties (1990s?  I never know which one to go with) tune resonates so strongly with me.  It makes me think of speeding, carefree, through the desert (Fastball hails from Texas), cavalierly throwing caution -- both figuratively and literally -- to the wind.  Of saying no thanks to convention, no matter the consequences.  Maybe that's why I lassoed the Desert Diva Necklace into this post.  

On a related note, (some of) this week's outfits have an, ahem, ember of the girlier side of nineties style (butterflies and neon and leopard, oh my).  And embers make me think of Ethan Embry and nineties classics Empire Records and Vegas Vacation.  Ethan seems like the kind of guy who would want to meet your dad and, yes, make a good boyfriend (Gwar obsession notwithstanding).  

Fire Escape man . . . is not Ethan Embry.  But he seems to be doing his best. 

"I'll be the rain falling on your fire escape
And I may not be the man you want me to
I can be myself, how 'bout you?"

He'll be the rain.  Falling on her fire escape.  Maybe he's the rain on a bright, sunny day, spoiling her alfresco breakfast.  Or maybe he's the rain putting out a George Foreman grill fire.  But either way, he's genuine.    

Which is to say, not such a bad beau after all.  

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Shell Spell: I Gallop for Scallops . . .


. . . doesn't make much sense.  Unless, of course, you're a seahorse.

Seahorses notwithstanding, scallops are the style stars of the sea -- delightful to wear, delicious to eat.  Now that summer's officially here, it's time to bust out my new old (i.e. vintage) scallop shell bangle!  It's from Later Operator on Etsy, and I've already worn it half a dozen times.  I love it because 1) it's yellow (obvi) and 2) it reminds me of a yellow plastic trinket box that I got on the boardwalk as a kid.  I wish I still had that trinket box.  Just like I wish I would've bought this bangle in all of the other colors.

But that's okay.  As they say -- c'est la sea. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Driving With Dad - The Original Lyft

All Sorts of Sweet Necklace

Top: Bongo, Sears
Skirt (a dress!): Modcloth
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bag: Nine West, Marshalls
Belt: Wet Seal
Yellow bangle: B Fabulous
Orange and black.white bangles: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Sunglasses: Wild Fable, Target

A few Father's Days ago, I made an all sorts barrette in honor of my dad's favorite candy.  This year I made this necklace.  And I realized that it's fitting in more ways than one.  

Back when I was in college, my dad picked me up to take me home every weekend.  He knew I wasn't comfortable there and that I'd rather be home.  So, for four years he'd take time out of his own busy schedule to battle traffic and an hour and a half drive to chauffeur me between north and south Jersey.  And during our rides we'd talk about -- wait for it -- all sorts of things.  My classes, his work, and shows we'd both seen on TV.  He joked that these were our therapy sessions, and I guess in some ways he was right.  When we'd arrive at my dorm, he'd help me tote my many bags of clothes, (mostly untouched) books, and assorted nonsense, once even enduring my freak-out when I discovered I'd forgotten my makeup.  I always thanked him, but it isn't until now that I see just how much it all meant.  

So thanks, Dad, for driving me all those years.  And for being the (insert dad joke here) wheel deal.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Bridal Blues and Social Cues

June is for brides.  And brides are all about something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.  Maybe that's because wearing blue is good luck for ladies.  That's something I just learned, by the way, from reading Practical MagicBut blue doesn't always deliver.  Which is also something I just learned, but from watching Pete Holmes's "Crashing."  In Season 1, newly divorced and struggling comedian Pete tells a "blue" joke (his words, not mine) in front of a live TV audience, saying something unseemly to Rachael Ray's mom.  He's immediately canned, destined to "crash" on yet another sofa.  Then again, maybe his misfortune is par for the course because 1) Pete's not a woman, and 2) being down and out is sort of his thing.  For instance, in the pilot, he catches his wife with another dude.  Named Leif.  Which isn't very lucky.  Despite what the pie filling says. 

But back to happily ever after.  Last Saturday, the husband and I went to his cousin's wedding.  It was at a lovely local historical site, which was rustic and old-timey, like something from an indie movie.  I especially liked the way they had lights strung under the pavilion.  For the occasion, I wore this (admittedly not old-timey) blue necklace:

Blue Boon Necklace

It started out (as so many things do) as a bargain buy Mudd bib from Kohl's.  I liked that it was clear and gold because it meant that when it came to embellishments, the sky was the limit.  So I thought,  sky blue it is, and jazzed it up with chains, charms, and crystals.  The day before the wedding, I test drove it with a blouse and jeans to make sure it could stand up to dancing.  Not that I danced in it then.  Although I did walk through Macy's at a pretty fast clip.  Which convinced me that it could survive the hand clap and shuffle that passes for me breaking it down.

Here are a couple of pics of the husband and me exploring the grounds before the ceremony:

 Loitering like a librarian at ye old bookbindery.

Bringing down the hammer at the forge.  Although I'm not sure if this is really a forge.  Whatever.  I like it.

It's always nice to go to a wedding, especially with someone you love.  The past and future melt into one, and nothing seems impossible.  Plus, there's cake.

So . . . time to add the bread lid to this divorce-slash-happy marriage sandwich.  Because apparently that's what this post has morphed into.  What would that sandwich taste like, anyway? Shrimp salad on rye?  (In case it isn't clear, I love shrimp but find rye disgusting.)  Rye, wheat, or otherwise, the piece of bread in question is "Social Cues," Cage the Elephant's new album.  The first single from it, "Ready to Let Go," it about lead singer Matt Schultz's divorce -- and yes, "blue" is in the lyrics.  Here's a snippet:

"Sun went down, sun went down over
On holy ground, our vows were broken
We met up, we broke bread
I was was blue your dress was red, ain't it
We both knew this day was coming."

It's poignant but beautiful (much more so set to music), the way all great songs should be.  And it isn't just about divorce.  It's about letting go of anything that has an unhealthy hold on you, even if -- especially if -- letting go of that something is hard.   

So, what am I trying to say with all this (in addition to parading a passel of bad puns)?  Appreciate what you've got.  Because sometimes it takes a super sad song (or in the case of Pete, a super sad sack) to remind you whom you should treasure.

Also, avoid guys named after foliage.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Fresh Crops are Tops

Black, mustard, and lilac: Pink Republic, Kohl's
Yellow floral: Delia's, Doll's Kill
Red floral: One Clothing, Marshalls
Fruits w/bird: Ziztar, Zulily
Pink: Wild Fable, Target

Crop tops are in this season.  Which I realize sounds kind of pretentious.  As if I'm some Manhattan mover and shaker who knows what's hot and what's not (a phrase, by the way, that would never pass a Vogue staffer's lips).  I know that the crop is big the way I know that anything's big: I see it out in the stores.  Then again, according to those in the know (ladies who lunch, plastic poncho models), when a trend becomes mainstream, it's well on its way to being passe.  But I don't bother myself with such details.  I like crop tops, and I don't care who knows it!  That said, here's a poem singing their praises:

Farm fresh
Showing flesh
Berry sweet
A trendy treat
From many a shop, many a label
Delia's, Ziztar, Wild Fable
For cougars and teens
And in-betweens
They keep you cool
And make boys drool
Crops are hot
Crops are tops.

Pause for jazz hands and sparklers.

Now, for a few words about Ziztar:

This food-and-bird-bedecked top is the only thing from the big Z I own, and I got it from Zulily for $12.  But Ziztar's website sells pieces that go for hundreds!  If snagging one of those isn't a sign of being in the inner circle, then I don't know what is.  Good thing there's Zulily, which is a sign of being in something else.  Like an outer square or wayward rhombus. 

Anyhoo, most of my crops are a misnomer, especially if worn with high-waisted skirts like the duo below.  No belly buttons saying hey here!  But that's for the best, as it's not exposure I'm seeking (that stuff about flesh and boys notwithstanding) but good old-fashioned, new fashion fun.  So far I've been mostly layering these over and under things like pullovers and dickeys.  In other words, I've been styling them as garments more popular with the shuffleboard than club circuit set.  I made my mocks even more retro by topping them off with my late aunt's necklaces. 

 Pencil skirt: Switchblade Stiletto, Amazon
A-line skirt: Bea & Dot, Modcloth

And now for a crop of a different kind.  Yes, it's produce from my kitchen counter!

I thought that it looked picturesque, especially with Mr. Brontosaurus standing sentinel.  (If Mr. Rooster [lurking out of frame] thinks that he's filching a strawberry, then he'd better pack his pepper spray.)  With plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, this roadside stand-worthy spread is just what a midriff-bearing (or concealing) body needs!  But if I'm being honest, the husband ate most of it.  Not because he's a glutton.  But because I'm too lazy to wash and cut fruit, instead eating the kind that comes prepackaged in single-serve bowls.  Like a toddler or a hospital patient.

Or someone who plays kicks ass at shuffleboard.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Black Tragic: Dark Side of the June

Tank: Eyeshadow, JCPenney
Purple top: Pink Republic, Kohl's
Skirt: Xhilaration, Target
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Modcloth
Belt: Belt is Cool, Amazon
Blue bangle: Burlington Coat Factory
Yellow bangle: Later Operator, Etsy
Mint bangle: Decree, JCPenney
Pink and purple bangles: Target

Top: LC Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Skirt: Necessary Objects, Annie Sez
Shoes: Journeys
Bag: Glamour Damaged, Etsy
Dark pink belt: Belt is Cool, Amazon
Neon pink belt: Izod, Marshalls
Watch: Cloud Nine
Jelly bracelets: So, Kohl's
Flower bracelet: Etsy
Barrettes: Tote Tote Trove

 Lovely Lolita Charm Necklace

Top: Wild Fable, Target
Skirt: Tinseltown, Kohl's
Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney
Bag: Sugar Thrillz, Dolls Kill
Yellow bangles: B Fabulous
Purple bangle: Don't Ask, Zulily
Mint bangle: Decree, JCPenney
Coral bangle: Silver Linings, Ocean City

 Kawaii Key Charm Necklace

Black and white, yin and yang, two sides of the same colorless coin.  It's a compelling thing to think about.  Partly because it seems fantastical.  Partly because it isn't, but part of our everyday world.  Which is all well and good.  Or bad, depending on your perspective.  

If you're wondering what's got my head stuck in the storm clouds, it's Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic.  Published in 1995, it reigns, ahem, dead center in the dark majesty of murk that is the grunge- and goth-spiked 1990s.  

Still, I didn't even know that it was a book until I saw it on someone's blog post about a jack-o-lantern handbag.  But I'd seen the movie and was curious.  Like a squirrel collecting nuts (or a raven collecting -- whatever it is that ravens collect), I can't rest knowing that there's some related pop-culture thing out there that I haven't somehow claimed, if only with the stamp of my own opinion.  Anyway, I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, and in some ways I was right.  It's creepy, after all, what with being about witchcraft and having blood and some stuff about worms.  Also, exquisite and fragrant lilacs that draw crowds and harbor deep secrets.  But despite all of this, I came to appreciate Hoffman's dark and light imagery, the contrast of the beautiful intertwined with the deadly.  Also, I got to confirm once and for all what most readers already know about film adaptations -- that the movie is a mere ghost of the novel.

At the heart of the story are the Owens sisters, Sally and Gillian.  For all of their mystical powers, they might as well be people you know.  Sally is the goody-two shoes, doing everything by the book, and Gillian is the wild child who never opens the book in the first place.  Sally has two teenage daughters, Antonia and Kylie, who are also opposites with supernatural abilities.  For me, the sister thing is a good hook.  Has it been overdone in other books and movies?  For sure.  But like all clichés, it's a cliché for a reason, and that reason is that it's true.  Sally and Gillian are somewhat estranged, mostly because Gillian keeps marrying and divorcing men all over the country, and Sally is disgusted by it.  But then one night Gillian shows up on Sally's doorstep in desperate need of her big sister's help.  She has a dead dude in her car, and there's a chance that she might have killed him.  I'm not going to say too much more about this.  Just that the next time I think I'm having a bad day, I'm going to remember that at least there isn't an (un)dead guy in my backyard. 

As crazy as this story sometimes gets, it's really just about people confronting their (earthly) demons to get through the day.  And as you (okay, I) read, you can't help but ask yourself, "Am I a Sally or a Gillian?  How would I have handled that situation?  Can I too pull off black lace in August?"  And handling situations, it turns out, includes the great big one of falling in love.  Both the "true" kind and the spell-conjured kind and the kind where you can't tell the difference. Hoffman is really good at illustrating this.  Every relationship that blossoms is rooted in the people's personalities and pasts, as opposed to being some easy here-are-two singletons-let's-throw-them-into-dinner-and-a movie-and-call-it-meant-to-be.  This is Hoffman's genius in creating otherworldly yet recognizable characters who can think for themselves, right or wrong, despite what the plot wants from them and what the stars say.

I guess that's the practical part.  You need to mix in common sense with your sorcery.  Which is a lesson that Gillian, in a rad role reversal, ends up teaching Sally.  Everyone knows that bad girls have more fun.  But it's nice to know that sometimes they have more wisdom, too.  Because it's proof that the best -- and most practical -- advice of all is not to worry.   

That said, this week, I made some stuff that would go with slightly darker outfits.  You know.  Just enough edge to bring a glint of pastel goth glam without attracting Marilyn Manson.  Because it may be June, season of sweetness and light and white weddings.  But sometimes there's still a breeze in the air, an unexpected wind that whips up before a storm.  And that means that there's room for shadows to cast lacy patterns on the garden party.  As one who always falls prey to the potent potion of playing dress-up, I couldn't help but be enthralled by the idea of cauldron cute clothes.

Even if for me that means no skulls and one still-sweet black tutu.