Friday, April 29, 2011

Casual Friday: Boyfriend Look

As many of the eyes within the socioeconomically developed world will be turned to the royal wedding spectacle today, and myself enamoured with the delicate, feminine, and traditional dress choice by the bride, I decided on an utterly antithetical look for my casual Friday and adopt some men's style inspirations. Alexander McQueen couture, I have none, so the epitome of casual it was, this morning. After the whirlwind of my business trip up north in Boston, comprising of only a handful of sleeping hours, I am thankful I opted for a casual and comfortable, yet still sleek, spring look.

Playing with my hair is always a temptation, due to its length, but is a horrible habit to harbor, especially during prolonged status meetings at work. My cupid-bow lips are also evoking the image of a mouth-breather; I am trying to remember why I included this particular photograph, which aside from the awkwardness of the model is of excellent quality, but I immediately remember that it is plainly goofy.

This particular collared button-down top is a favorite item from my closets; indeed, in my spacious apartment, my bedroom sports a large predominantly professionally oriented and organized closet, as well as a smaller one where I store dresses and skirts. Made of soft cotton, this top has a versatility that cannot be beat: I tuck it neatly into pencil skirts and couple the outfit with heels, or I, as I chose today, throw it over a pair of spring chinos and some flats. In a previous post, I revealed and mocked Gap's marketing strategy, titling this number the boyfriend banker shirt; though, obviously, as can be surmised from his moniker, my lovely filmmaker is not a banker, he does look rather sharp and handsome in a button-down. The navy blue chinos, also from Gap, purchased earlier this season, were again touted as boyfriend pants; I found this description to be wildly misleading. The pants actually have a pleasant, tighter fit, such that they feel well tailored, but are not muffin-top inducing by any means. The Italian-inspired ankle length is perfect for the warmer weather.

The white bangle was recently excavated from one of my jewelry boxes, rather containers: a large turquoise Samsonite make-up and toiletry luggage piece. The make up tray can be removed, to reveal a deep basin interior, perfect for organizing larger bangles and necklaces. The clear lucite bangle is another recent purchase, picked up while at the antiques fair with my mother last weekend; the shape is asymmetrically rounded in structure, as is the white bangle, so the pair complement each other well.

This one of my favorite pieces of jewelry, or at least necklaces, but is surprisingly one that I do not frequently wear. The cream and honey-tinged tiger-eye beads are a gorgeous combination, and again, I love the asymmetry of the structure.

These shoes resulted from a dire emergency; while traipsing about the city last summer, my favorite gold-strapped sandals fell apart. I was able to evade most of the sidewalk mess and then temporarily borrow some shoes from my friend Becca, which I wore until I found these basic caramel brown flats in Urban Outfitters. Though no replacement for gold sandals, these shoes are cute and comfortable, and certainly sufficed for my train ride home back to the Garden State.

The filmmaker captured this one, while I was not paying attention; again, I am not mouth breathing, but am in mid-sentence. This weekend is scheduled for some entertainment grandeur; tonight, we plan to join some of the filmmaker's friends and see Kevin Smith, and tomorrow evening, we will head to Carnegie Hall for a Steve Reich symphony.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eye of the Tiger

I actually wore this outfit last week; posts have slowed significantly due to herculean tasks at work. Today marked the successful finish of a symposium I have been preparing for months; it was both stressful and painful, but ultimately an informative and beautiful presentation, with great attendance, so perhaps all the effort was worth it. During the train ride home from Boston, my colleagues and I celebrated with some cheap glasses of well deserved red wine to unwind. I definitely feel as though I had drank some raw egg yolks, surmounted a million steps, and ran wildly in place before a monumental library.

I love this dress; I bought the dress loving the interplay of neutrals, and the pattern, and did not even realize until I had taken the dress home that it formed a tiger's face. Best surprise ever, as of late.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Egg Extravaganza

Last Thursday, before heading to my childhood for the weekend for some delectable meats and treats, namely steak and turkey and coconut cupcakes, the filmmaker and I decided to indulge in some nostalgia and dye eggs for Easter and general, heathen spring merriment. The filmmaker has been in a sorry state lately, with large calcium-rich rocks slowly traversing his uretha, so he decided to pamper himself with this smiling cookie; I liked the sprinkled accessory, which simultaneously evoked for me a yarmulke, or perhaps one of those Rastafarian skull caps. Such a jolly little fellow.

I am still completely obsessed with this cheap wind-up chick I found in the grocery store aisle the other week; its original purchased intent was to cheer up the filmmaker as well.

Eggs boiling, on their brief and beautiful journey to hard yolks, and ultimate destiny in the grand dye.

My friend Nicole, who is South African, explained to me that in Afrikaans, and I assume Dutch, "paas" means Easter; this entire company, as well as its packaging aesthetic and marketing strategies, now make complete and rational sense to me.

Exhibit of some of the aforementioned marketing strategies: rows upon rows of stickers. Other strategy with this particular dye kit include necklace materials, which consisted of punching out rings from the package cardboard and stringing them through your own twine. Some of the cardboard rings were complete with typed decorations, from the instructions along the back of the box.

The primary color egg dye, created from compact, concentrated pellets, some apple cidar vinegar, and some water. The beautiful images here are courtesy of the filmmaker.

The first egg is ready to dry; I choose a true rose pink.

Action shot of the filmmaker at work; his eggs, as you will soon see, were much more labor intensive than my own, and creative.

My hybrid gimlet-lemon cocktail.

More eggs nesting in the drying rack.

This one sat for ages in the yellow, I was aiming for a real deep goldenrod.

Dip into the red, dip into the orange.

Some of my eggs, in an antique green glass snack bowl.

My handsome filmmaker, waiting patiently for his egg to soak in just the right amount of color.

The filmmaker used tape to achieve this effect with his eggs, as well as some creative dipping and soaking styles.

My eggs, other than the top and final egg where I too explored the tape as a tool, were traditional solid colors, but beautiful ones.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Antiques and Weiners

(image taken from Years After)

(image taken from Style Hive)

Yesterday at the antiques fair, I did not discover the proper coasters I so desperately sought; for now, the temporary solution is a collection of kitschy but cute coasters, free from my parent's liquor cabinet accessories and treasures. I was, however, able to find some shopping glee in the form of vintage lucite bangles; an elderly woman and her equally wizened husband had quite the array on display and somehow I managed to select only two, an asymmetric clear bangle and a black and cream Grecian-inspired cuff. Proper photographic documentation of my purchases will be made upon my return home north from the Land of Pleasant Living.

(image taken from Jitter Buzz)

The antiques fairs always feature, in addition to costume and fine jewelry, copious amounts of household wares. Were I not taking the train to and from this weekend, I would probably have indulged in some more Pyrex for my kitchen; the above set of primary color mixing bowls is what started the entire craze for my mother, and subsequently my sister and myself. One vendor yesterday had small cherry red Pyrex fruit bowls, which would be darling for serving snacks or just displayed on a coffee or end table.

(image taken from Etsy)

Speaking of cherry red, almost every antiques fair I attend, one vendor will have the iconic bakelite cherry necklace on display, almost without fail for a price that I cannot currently fathom spending on plastic goods. An older lady who frequents the antiques circuit in this general area features in her booth almost exclusively bakelite jewelry pieces, both vintage and a few more contemporary. Bakelite is still popular as a material in France, and many of the designs are retro-inspired, while some are rather fresh and different. Many of her pieces are brooches of beasts along the hierarchy of the proverbial food chain, cold- and warm-blooded both, wild cats, snakes, elephants, birds, and the like.

(image taken from Apartment Therapy)

One booth had a display of various vintage photograph cameras, in various states of disarray; many of them were heavy, and I had no idea whether they still functioned, but looked archaic and almost statue-like. I wanted to pick one up for the filmmaker, knowing his interests in technical tool obsolescence, but was not sure if I would be able to carry all these additional items on the train, being limited by my personal strength and my own two hands.

(image taken from Kaboodle)

(image taken from Allee Willis)

The antique arena is notorious for attracting exceptionally bizarre characters, strange people with a fanatical obsession with bygone eras, with aesthetics and lifestyles now obsolete or quaint, with gleaning and compiling and hoarding trinkets and objects. I love attending these events and soaking in the eccentricities, fully cognizant of my not passive participation to the community and general antique ambiance. Certain faces become familiar, if you frequent the events, and one of my mother and I's favorite characters is Weiner Dog Man.

When I was in high school, we had our first encounter with Weiner Dog Man, who was overly gregarious and charming and interested in his collection of plaster and real Dachshunds. Though my mother and I joked about him on and off for the next years, I had nearly forgotten about him, until yesterday, when greeted at one of the booths by an older man, ancient thick 1970s glasses, untamed and untethered gray hair, a tee shirt emblazoned with "I Heart My Weiner" proudly draped across his chest. He quickly proceeded to talk up and embellish the quality of his wares, which ranged from an endearing collection of five card draw poker cocktail glasses to hackneyed kitchen items baring the face of Porky the Pig.

In addition to glassware, some cigarette ashtrays, he had a prominent framed work of vintage gravel art, in the shape of a large poodle. My mother was quick to enlighten me: apparently, riding on the swift coattails of the paint-by-number craze, gravel art was all the rage, people giddy to cover large swatches of a planned canvas with glue, scatter glittered rocks or beads across it, and promptly shake them off. I desperately wish I had had my trusted camera with me to accurately capture the image of this deranged purple and silver poodle, prancing across a black backdrop, however, the above image gives a vague notion of this probably mostly now forgotten past time and craft aesthetic.

I spied a collection of four Tom Collins glasses that tickled my fancy, spring pastel colors of blue and green and yellow, featuring old time lady and gentleman vintage bathing suits. He talked up those glasses, jocularly noting they would be a great addition to the bar of my sorority house. Turning to my mother, "And you, you must surely be a graduate student, you could certainly use those poker glasses at the graduate house." We had to giggle, mostly between ourselves, and give him some kudos for the effort. I bought the glasses a few moments later, will somehow manage to pack them gently in my weekend luggage, and cannot wait for mint to be in season; mojitos in the warm months are a welcome refreshment.