Thursday, April 29, 2021

Sunday Dressed, Celestial Best: Playing at the Altar of Accessories

Bag: Dolls Kill

Shoes: Penny Loves Kenny, DSW

Tunic: Zulily

Fabulous Felt Pastel Celestial Barrette

Charm: Macy's

Bag: Amazon

Pleasant Crescent Barrette Brooch

Top: Modcloth

Skirt: Decree, JCPenney

Bag: Nahui Ollin

Top: Love, Fire; Macy's

Chockfull of Cheer Charm

The night sky may be a galaxy away, but Sunday best isn't far from the stars when it comes to an otherworldly wardrobe.  I refer, of course, to the heavenly stuff splashed all over today's outfits.  From the halo-wearing hearts, planets, and moons to something that I didn't catch until later, they all but scream celestial.  

Let me explain.

I was about to set up my usual neon poster board-backed flat lay (see above and almost any other post on this blog) for my accessories when I saw them scattered on this bench and thought, they look good, colorful chaos against the dark wood like stars in the night firmament.  Needless to say, I started snapping.


I don't know if I've ever mentioned this (although I probably have, as I'm always repeating myself!), but the husband got this bench from someone who got it from a church.  That's right; it's been with us since Brigantine but started life as a pew.  So, the cross pendant being mixed in with this junk drawer jewelry jamboree -- which I, ahem, swear I didn't notice until after I came up with this post -- seemed like a sign.  

I know that wrangling clothes isn't a religious experience -- except that sometimes it is.  So if it's blasphemous to say that fashion's my faith, then I don't want to be right.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Ladies First Curse: Getting Ahead but Flirting With Dead

Cami: Mudd, Kohl's; Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's; Boots: Simply Vera, Kohl's; Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's; Belt: Belt is Cool, Amazon

Hairpins, Rite Aid

One of the reasons I love blogging is that it gives me a chance to play with outfits I like but would never wear (for yes, there are some, even for me).  Just like watching TV gives me a glimpse of exciting but dangerous things I'd never do.  Enter today's Goth club kid ensemble and NBC's Good Girls

If you've seen Good Girls (or even a commercial), then you know that the dark dramedy, which is in its fourth season, is about three ordinary women who turn to crime when faced with financial hardships.  Set in a suburb of Detroit, it straddles the no woman's land between the mean city streets and the cul-de-sac.  Ringleader Beth Boland (Christina Hendricks) is a domestic diva and mother of four married to her high school sweetheart (Matthew Lillard of Scream fame).  Yet when she finds out that her dear Dean's serial philandering and financial mismanagement have landed them face to face with foreclosure, she's forced to expand her repertoire from baking to burglary.  Beth convinces her sister Annie (Mae Whitman), a wisecracking supermarket cashier, and their lifelong friend Ruby (Retta), a happily married but struggling waitress, to join her in her crime spree crusade.  But no sooner do they commit their first felony than they learn that they've trespassed upon the turf of career criminal Rio (Manny Montana).  Like it or not, "gang friend," as Ruby calls him, soon becomes a fixture in their lives.  Yet as Beth plunges deeper into Detroit's underworld, she discovers that illicit entrepreneurship is the road to not only financial freedom but the kind of fulfillment that she can't get from the PTA.   

Good Girls isn't all back door deals and social commentary, though.  It's also funny.  Annie slings some first-class zingers, and the situations in which the "girls" find themselves are often so ludicrous that you can't help but laugh.  Even the background music is French noir cute reminiscent of A Simple FavorFinally, there are more than a few Cloud Nine references, which are an Easter egg of a reminder that the dearly departed Superstore is a fellow Midwestern star in the NBC universe.   

Layered and nuanced, Good Girls is masterfully crafted to make you think twice about everything.  Like this unabashedly badass outfit, it starts off as starkly black and white but eventually reveals shades of gray.  And it's the gray that urges you to question the difference between right and wrong, to wonder what you would do if you too were caught in a catastrophic cashflow catch-22.  Just as it's the gray that makes this sensational story not only entertaining but familiar, becoming the silver lining we seek. 

Still, whenever Rio pops out from the shadows, I can't help but think that baking -- which I usually loathe -- looks pretty good.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Little Lion Lady

Each spring brings that great, age-old debate: are dandelions flowers or weeds?  Now, if you've been reading this blog for awhile, then you know where I stand on this.  Dandelions are firmly flowers.  Consider the evidence.  They're yellow and cheerful and look like small suns.  They pop up their heads at that pivotal time as the world's shedding its winter coat.  Finally, and perhaps most convincing of all, they're plant Transformers.  Just when you think that they're at death's door, they swap their golden petals for cotton candy crowns.  True, people aren't bringing bouquets of dandelions to dinner or pinning on dandelion corsages at prom.  But there are few things sweeter than a little kid offering one up as if bequeathing a ruby.  

That's why the dandelion, or as I like to call her, the little lion lady, reigns supreme in my heart -- and on my lawn.  

She may have a name that sounds like Mumford and Sons.  But her roar is all Katy Perry.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Cheese Tease, More Please: Gobbling Up Green and Gold

Skirt: Dolls Kill

Rings: Mixit, JCPenney

Blouse: Candie's, Kohl's

Headband: LC Lauren Conrad, Kohl's

Unicorn Bow Necklace

Bangles, from top: Iris Apfel for INC, Macy's; Mixit, JCP; Amrita Singh, Zulily; Mixit, JCPenney

Top: LC Lauren Conrad, Kohl's

Skirt: Wild Fable, Target

Bangles left to right: Strawbridge & Clothier; B Fabulous; ZAD, Zulily; Ring: Mixit, JCPenney

Purse clip (really a barrette!): Plymouth Plantation gift shop; Bag: Nine West, ROSS Dress for Less

Sweater: So, Kohl's

Emboldened Arches Necklace

Scarf: a new day, Target

Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's

Seahorse of Course Necklace

Tee: So, Kohl's

Bag: Amazon; Bag: B.A.I.T., Zulily

Blouse: Candie's, Kohl's

Ah, green and gold.  This time, the classic color combo isn't about the Green Bay Packers (although I do dearly love cheddar), but the way the sun filters down through the trees like so much Velveeta on broccoli.  Which is still, I realize, about cheese, or, more particularly, the romance between veggies and dairy.  Will artery-clogging, wrong-side-of-the-tracks cheddar break fiber-rich, prim-and-proper broccoli's heart, figuratively and literally?  Only time -- and an ER trip -- will tell.  

Green and gold aren't just star-crossed ingredients for a delicious if potentially deadly side dish, though.  They're also the main course of this outfit quartet.  Sure, the shades are more butter-mint-pastry than Cheeto-cruciferous.  But that doesn't make them any less theatric -- or tasty.  

Nevertheless, the real drama starts when cheddar cheats on broccoli with bacon.    

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Two for Two: Giving COVID the Cold Shoulder


It's official!  The husband and I got our second COVID vaccines this morning!  Before arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center, we stopped to get gas and saw a truck that said J-CORONA, with the Os filled in to look like suns.  Weird, huh?  Whenever I encounter "coincidences" like this, I know that everything's connected.  Anyway, as with my first shot, I wore a shoulder-baring top for easy access, although this one was more out-of-style cold shoulder than Susan Sarandon off-the-shoulder in Bull Durham.  I still love it, though (as I do the dozen or so others I'm still hanging onto).  

In other fashion news, the husband asked if I brought a cactus wristlet because I was getting pricked, and I said maybe subconsciously, as I carried a (different) cactus wristlet last time!  See?  Everywhere, connections.

Now that I'm fully vaxxed, it's great knowing that in just two weeks I can safely go out if I need or want to.  The first order of business will be scheduling all those long-overdue doctors appointments.  And then maybe, just maybe, I'll feel ready to reopen The Tote Trove!  Last week someone emailed me asking how long I'd be on break (it's been more than a year), and I said maybe until Memorial Day.  I've been updating my site a little, tweaking listings and weeding out the ones that seem past their prime.  It's strange to think about going back to the post office again.  A little scary, but mostly good.  I miss the thrill of seeing an Etsy Transactions email in my inbox, then drawing hearts and rainbows and cupcakes on a padded envelope and stuffing it with something I made that someone wanted.     

So, yeah, now I'm one step closer to rekindling the human element of this crazy arts and crafts venture.  Which is pretty exciting.  

Also, it balances out the mammogram.      

Friday, April 16, 2021

Winged Whimsy and Awesome Oddities: No Matter What, Don't Lose Your Head

One of the nice things about being in quarantine is having the time and brain space to soak up and obsessively ruminate on the treasures that light up your home and/or imagination.  So, here's my latest obsession.  I mean, observation.  

I spend so much time talking up unicorns that I don't give pegasuses their due.  Except, of course, in the case of the unicorn-slash-pegasus, that, ahem, unicorn of mythological beings.  Well, that stops now.  I give you Bayala (named not by me, but by her manufacturer, Schleich), a garden-party-pretty pegasus who's been biding her time on my bookshelf for the better part of a year.  A symbol of childhood wonder (and, yes, crass consumerism, considering that I acquired her during a Zulily binge), she reminds me to never grow up and that there's beauty in the strange.  Because that's why people love fairy tales.  That is, aside from the crowns, castles, and princes (there's that crass consumerism again, this time with Prince Charming as chattel).  They like knowing that outsiders can have happy endings, that even freaks and horses -- if not pigs -- can fly.  That's why Shrek is so beloved (well, that and all of the burping), and why children and adults alike are drawn to stable-dwellers that can transmute dirt to glitter.  

So thanks, Bayala, for making make-believe magic.

If only I could say the same for the Gingerbread Man.  Instead of making magic, he makes one last plea as I bite off his head.    

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Two Grifters Off to See the World: Watch the Scam Car, Please

The other night, I watched Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, that 1989 classic comedy about two grifters who charm heiresses out of their fortunes.  Although I'd (somehow) never seen it, the casino and train scenes seemed familiar.  But it wasn't until Michael Caine led his wealthy, would-be wife to meet Steve Martin masquerading as his two-fries-short-of-a-Happy Meal brother that I realized it was almost exactly the same as 2019's The Hustle with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.  It was weird to stumble upon the original of a movie that I didn't even know was a remake.  Even stranger, I'd watched The Hustle last spring, around the beginning of the quarantine.  And that made me wonder: why was the universe sending me its funhouse mirror image three hundred and sixty-five days later?  To tell me that 1) the secret to life is scamming people, 2) Michael Caine is more than Batman's butler, or 3) Steve Martin and Rebel Wilson are just a wig away from being the same person?

Or, the more things change, the more they stay the same?

Yeah, it's probably that one.

Another thing that won't change this spring (or ever) is my disdain, not for trains, but tram cars.  It all goes back to the time I was six and was abandoned on a tram with a mime.  No, that's not true.  But this is the second consecutive post in which I've mentioned mimes.  I just don't like them (tram cars, not mimes.  Wait, no, it's tram cars and mimes).  It haunts/amuses me that trams are probably still running all over the East Coast and beyond, their tinny warning ("Watch the tram car, please!"  "Watch the tram car, please!") as unwelcome as a parole officer at a pig roast.  

That said, this pic of regular cars on a regular road instead of a tram car parting a sea of sunburned suckers on the boardwalk will have to do.     

Because diamonds to doughnuts, if it's a scam -- I mean tram -- car, then it's got its share of scoundrels onboard.  And I don't want to be tricked into a game of eat or be eaten; I want to live and let live.  Like in The Lion King.  

But while we're on the subject of eating -- and doughnuts -- I wouldn't say no to a glazed Krispy Kreme.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Mad for Plaid, Psyched for Stripes

Sweater: Omg!, JCPenney

Shoes: Nine West, Kohl's

From top: Zulily; Plymouth Plantation gift shop; Mystery beach shops for our trio of beaded daisy friends; Wild Fable, Target 

Bag: Elizabeth and James, Kohl's; Cherry charm: Carole, JCPenney; Grape charm: Charming Charlie

Sweater: Pink Republic, Kohl's

Skirt: Dickie's, Dolls Kill

Bag: Betsey Johnson, Boscov's; Bracelet: Amrita Singh, Zulily; Ring: Miami accessories cart

Skirt: Amazon

Boots: Mix No. 6, DSW

Sweater: Delia's, Dolls Kill

Bag: Olivia Miller, Amazon

Jumper: Derek Heart, Zulily

Geometric Jam Necklace

Bag: Amazon

Ask anyone on the street what she thinks when she hears stripes, and nine times out of ten, she'll answer Beetlejuice, mimes, and/or old-timey prisoners.  But if you said plaid, then he'd answer Scots, schoolgirls, and Christmas.  (It's not lost on me that the "she" changed to a "he" just in time for the schoolgirls.)  So two prints, two worlds, one dark and dangerous and the other straight from Norman Rockwell.  Still, both are undeniably classics.  And here I am in both, in one outfit at the same time. (Yes, that's a lipstick shooting up from the dead plant.  Apparently, makeup brightens more than faces.)  

If that doesn't say here comes trouble, then I don't know what does.      

No, wait.  I do.  It's Beetlejuice wearing a kilt and brandishing a Christmas tree.  

Damn you, Michael Keaton.  You win every time.