Saturday, July 30, 2011

Maternity Maxi

My beautiful sister, Elizabeth, is pregnant; at the end of October, she will be giving birth to a lovely baby girl and I could not be more excited to become an aunt. With a tall and thin frame, she carries the baby exceedingly well; she is one of those rare and fortunate pregnant women who has, when viewed from the back, completely maintained her original figure. The other day, she sent me this picture, a long empire-waisted maxi dress with an Impressionist-like watercolor pattern, the purples, violets, lavenders, blues, and golds seemingly bleeding into one another, reminding me, a strange analogy, to the rainbow conglomerates of algae on a lake or small pond, individual particles stretching and stretched to make an organic whole. Finding an type of formal wear is difficult on a number of counts, from locating a proper size and shape, to knowing that in a few months, the dress will be irrelevant. I believe this type of bold pattern and the sweeping length would be unflattering on a number of pregnant women, especially depending on their height and how far along they are, but Elizabeth's lanky legs and subtle, adorable baby bump would fill the dress, without creating the illusion that she is covered by some large circus tent. The long length and silky texture are quite glamorous; if she decides to choose this piece for her upcoming event, I hope she sends over some pictures.

(image taken from Isabella Oliver)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas

I have been waiting to wear this outfit for a number of weeks, which seems superficially rather foolish, especially given my frenetic schedule of late and my seemingly slickly slipping grasp of time, sentiments that should foster a Carpe diem attitude; however, no one here across the Union need be reminded of the treacherously warm weather as of late. This shirt is of pleasantly thin and cool fabric, so thin and so almost effervescent, it requires a camisole underneath, particularly if it is to be paraded out and about in the professional arena. The partnering slacks are cream, and are an ideal construction, because they are heavily lined, shielding even the most brazen of underwear. So, given the circumstances of dripping sweat weather, I opted for some delayed satisfaction.

I love the proportions of head and chest in this photograph, captured by the dear and devoted filmmaker; he has an exceedingly talented eye for transforming my awkward moments of hair-fussing and creating something visually elegant.

I purchased this blouse a couple of months ago from a charming local boutique called Need Supply Co., while visiting dear and beautiful friends, Diana and Katherine, in Richmond. With a subtle strip of white sheer fabric, reminiscent of the gossamer delicacy of spider's handcrafted webs, this top gives the hint of skin with maintaining a work-appropriate modesty. Again, the fabric is very light, and the combination of white with subdued cornflower blue is great for the summer.

These cream slacks, which I always refer to as my disco sailor pants, due to their slight flare and their accent buttons along the waist, are quite long, perfect for my long legs, but not ideal when confronted with potentially dragging clean white fabric across the floor or the gravel of a parking lot. With white and cream pants, proper fit is of the utmost importance; looking like a stuffed sausage, a fate that can possibly be concealed with black, is an almost certainty with lighter colors. When it comes to the dress or business slacks that I wear to work, I obviously adhere to a new set of rules, separate from the denim dogma: the pants should be fitted around the waist, give the hips a knowing but not suffocating hug, and allow the legs and the fabric covering them plenty of movement.

This is the outside of Need Supply Co., taken just after my shopping excursion there. In addition to the blouse, I purchased two large stone cocktail rings, one in an opalescent moon color and the other in a warm amber. The urban lodge meets factory aesthetic of the exterior was mirrored within the cavern of the store, featuring clean white walls, high ceilings, industrial clothing racks, and strategically stocked merchandise that was full, while still allowed for lots of browsing. Surprisingly, to those unfamiliar to the culturally rich modernity married to Southern soul of this town, myself not included, this boutique was incredibly curated and appeared, to be elitist, as though it should belong in a major American city. While perusing the wares, I also had the opportunity to glance through the catalogue, which was also beautifully laid out and quite quaint yet stunning. In a nutshell, the best type of neighborhood treasure, right in the backyard. I would love to return, when I am in the Richmond area again, and, for now, must satisfy myself with the email advertisements and lovely online shop.

This gold sailboat pendant belonged to my mother, I believe, originally, a trinket from her mother, who passed before I was born. Though I did not know her, from photographs I know my mother is truly her daughter, wearing the same deep brown eyes and curve of the nose, the same laugh and worry lines on her face, and so this pendant holds some sentimental meaning. Perhaps, this sentimentality is what prompted me to return to Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium," one of my favorite poems.

These warm caramel toned Frye heels are high, perfect for the long length of the pants

This blouse also features a white fabric tail, which scoops below, creating an asymmetrical hem along the back and the front; it is a unique look, without being overly obvious. The bangles are a mixture of honey toned bakelite and the cream with gold lining that the filmmaker's mother gave to me; I like the interplay of shape, with the flat shape of the bakelite spacer bangles, all stack well together.

Thursday evening Malbec and goat's cheese soundtrack: "Memory's Stain" Cass McCombs; "Judy and the Dream of Horses" Belle and Sebastian; "I.G.Y.," "Green Flower Street," "New Frontier," and "The Nightfly" Donald Fagen; "I Follow Rivers" Lykke Li; "Nomad for Love (Cannibal)" and "God's Love VII" Gang Gang Dance

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy (Productive) Hour

Having been inspired by some recent collaborations with various advertising agencies, my firm decided to instate a weekly Happy Hour, scheduled during the office working day, presumably to be even more time efficient by combining libation frivolities and labor in one easy step. As much as I love slowly drinking and enjoying a bold Italian chianti, something seems rather surreal about intersecting wine and the conference room. Particularly when attempting to edit prospective business proposals.

(image taken from Found in Mom's Basement)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Amenities Means Time for the Beach

Today, a number of crucial amenities in my office building disappeared for the afternoon: water was cut due to a main break nearby, causing anticipated pee-pee dance pandemonium to abound, while the air conditioning mysteriously and abruptly ceased working, with no explanation from the building manager. At times such as these, running away to splay in the waves at the beach seems like the only viable option for maintaining my lonely shreds of sanity.

(image taken from EHB)

Celebration, and a Brief Respite

These photographs are actually from a number of months ago, during a brief sojourn to my parent's home to celebrate my sister Elizabeth's birthday, as well as commemorate the valor and bravery of our nation's veterans for Memorial Day. As I have been recently musing, time has been sifting and sieving ever more quickly through my fingers, fleeting; looking back on these images and acknowledging that they are from months ago is bizarre.

I, finally, completed a long and tedious executive report today, one that has interfered as of late with both more serious and trivial leisure pursuits. Coming into my office as dawn is freshly cracked, oozing forth and warm, my attention to certain sartorial details, details in which I generally take pride, has waned, as has any inspiration to write. To celebrate the welcome end to this particular professional project, and the respite in more fulfilling and meaningful activities, I would love nothing more than a glass of bubbling prosecco. Alas, my afternoon is occupied with meetings and discussions, with little time to devote to superfluous spirits. This may seem like a ridiculous proposition, however, not such much when some key facts are taken into account: firstly, it is, indeed, afternoon; secondly, my company has apparently recently initiated a weekly Happy Hour schedule, designated for Wednesday afternoons. For today, I will have to wait for after hours.

I also would love nothing more than to abandon my rather boring charcoal slacks and cardigan outfit for a poppy colored summer dress, abandon my office building and frolic freely in the sun.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And you love me till your heart stops

Congratulations to all the newly weds across New York City, who have waited long and short to join in matrimony with their partners; may the coming years bring you all much happiness and peace, and may the other states in our union follow quickly in kind.

(image taken from NY Post)

Friday, July 22, 2011

We've Come a Long Way, Baby

It is late Friday afternoon, and I have been forced to close the blinds to the large window in my cubicle, a vain attempt at conserving some of the precious cooled air in the office and refracting the hot light from the slowly setting sun. We still here in the office, sardonic, comment on the similarity to prison bars; we are a facetious bunch. Today has been particularly trying, for reasons that are in appropriate to delineate here. At times such as this, it is important for me to remember I am not wallowing in a pool of stagnation; sometimes, this necessitates pulling and heaving my attitude up. I have come a long way, and have a long way to continue.

In the meantime, to focus some energy on the ever transient here and now, I wish such a bold swatch of colors would be appreciated in my mundane and cautious industry; it may raise some spirits.

(image taken from Wearing the Pants)

Heat Waves

No one is safe from the unbearable heat waves washing over the country, from the northeast across the south, stretching to the Midwest and beyond. As a result, I have felt rather uninspired when it comes to my dress; mostly, I want to be wearing nothing, and sitting inside my air conditioned bedroom. Although my office is technically and purportedly air conditioned as well, being on the top floor, it seems as though it is always sweltering.

I love this surreal, absurd rooster print, and the myriad of ways this model is proudly and primly and properly adorning herself with it. The heat combined with a looming deadline have made me feel exhausted, even, or maybe especially, when I first rise in the morning. If only I had this halter, hoop skirt dress, or perhaps the blouse and pencil skirt for the office; surely, the onomatopoetic power of the cock-a-doodle-doo would seep through to my core.

On another note, I wish I owned a pair of bermuda shorts, maybe.

(image taken from The Nifty Fifties)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Second Anniversary

(image taken from The Fox is Black)

(image taken from Candy Addict)

Today marks my two year anniversary in the realm of pharmaceuticals, two long and arduous years vying for some access to the illustrious path of upward corporate mobility. I was rewarded and recognized for my dedication and hard work with a greeting card, signed by my colleagues; my boss wrote as well, wishing me the happiest of birthdays. Unfortunately, given that my mind is deteriorating to a shriveled and decrepit pile of shadows of white and gray matter, due to a looming executive summary report over my head, I will not be able to share any amusing anecdotes or pearls of sweet wisdom, garnered and held tight from the grains of sand of tough and true experience. However, I can, and will, share two random facts I discovered throughout the course of my fascinating and wonderful day.

First, apparently, my alma mater tops the list of "douchiest" universities, according to a recent, questionably scientific anthropologic poll by magazine GQ. Use of a hygienic product as some type of highfalutin insult aside, I have to give the surveyors and authors involved some credit; there are a myriad of reasons why my university should lead the ranks in this crucial category. I will attest, however, love of lacrosse is not one of them, as one would be led to believe in the Gawker rebuttal. That being said, I agree more so with the conclusion of equally sardonic commentary from the gossip website, Gawker: the qualifier "douchey" is applicable more so to a psychologic developmental stage, an attitude intrinsic to those four years of freedom without accountability or responsibility, than a particular longitudinal, latitudinal geographic point.

(image taken from Peanut Butter & Co)

Second, white chocolate peanut butter exists. Simple and elegant, this is certain to be a flavor adventure; I hope to try some soon. Perhaps an anniversary gift, for, and naturally from, myself.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Shorts Lusting

Sometimes, timing does not seem to want to work in my favor, though perhaps personifying and transposing certain sentient and rational motives and forces onto the fourth, ever intriguing and elusive dimension is more symbolic of my frustrations at myself for not planning ahead. The other day, during a large online sale across all of the Gap brand stores, I purchased a number of items, some of which selected a bit more capriciously and uncertainly than others. Not included in this transaction were the above summer shorts, featuring darling pleats and a broad hem at the thigh, which my sister Elizabeth shared with me earlier today.

While I have grown accustom to online shopping, exclusively with stores and brands where I am confident with my sizing, I find that it does not offer a complete solution to the hasty, ill-informed purchase. While I am more likely to be able to find a specific item, say, black slacks or a pencil skirt, by perusing multiple venues very easily, I am less likely to have a complete, sensual understanding of the clothes I am purchasing, obviously, lacking any type of visceral experience with the fabrics and cuts of the item. Additionally, I have learned that online shopping is an all too easy therapy for combating an afternoon slump in the office. It can be the best form of procrastination, and, with a simple purpose, it can easily be transferred to the realm of productivity: sure, I was not responding to those emails or reading that report, but, I did make a tangible decision, and it should be arriving in five to seven business days. Rare are the days I splurge for express shipping.

I am a devotee of Gap shorts, for their classic embellishments and for their ideal length; thankfully, I stopped being seduced by denim underwear after I graduated from middle school, though, my retina are constantly battered and bruised by other young ladies who clearly did not have my foresight and wisdom, or, rather, did not the appropriate lessons in style and dignity from their mothers and sisters. For now, I am abstaining from this particular pair, despite the versatile and traditional navy, despite the great ease with which these could be donned with a tee shirt or a button down, for either a jaunt to the pool or a brunch appointment with friends, however, time marches quickly and assuredly forward, and tomorrow is another day in the office.

(image taken from Gap)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Red Lips, Cameo, and Pony Hair

Before heading out on Friday evening to enjoy the fresh moon-bathed air and some cold cocktails, the filmmaker took a few photographs of my notably plain black monochrome tee shirt and dress shorts outfit; he used an ethereal and bizarre frost lens, which combined with some rather audacious accessories, transformed my appearance from mundane to prodigiously monstrous. Rarely do I wear lipstick, particularly bold vermillion, not for lack of interest in the aesthetics, so much as lack of ability to maintain a perfect puckered posture. Feeling a tad lackluster in my large and loose cotton tee shirt, I threw caution to the wind, and donned the deepest red I own, an elegantly plain and simple L'Oreal tube. While I would have loved to have worn my hair curled and tousled, despite the significant drop in temperature in the evenings, it was still entirely too warm to be interested in any type of engagement with my blow dryer, so, a top knot it was.

The thick gold chain with the rather ridiculous heart pendant is actually a belt; naturally, it has never been worn as such. I prefer the juxtaposition with the classic cameo necklace.

Generally, I wear these structured and slightly pleated shorts in the winter, coupled with an opaque pair of black tights; they are a Cynthia Steffe find from the illustrious TJ Maxx. Once again, caution was abandoned, and I went forth, bare-legged and liberated. With a nice, high waist, and the slight gathers, they look very attractive, even with a simple tee shirt tucked in.

I wore these bangles during the day, at the office; they were a present from the filmmaker's mother and I adore them. A set of five, three cream and two thin gold, I cannot wait to intersperse them with some of my green and ochre bakelite.

I have had this vintage leather handbag for a few years, from the 1950s or so, and it is an absolute favorite, featuring both beautifully and ornately tooled leather and a luscious pony hide. A find from a flea market in Manhattan, I was surprised and delighted that it was only about 30$, quite the find when vintage shopping in metropolitan Mecca.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Casual Friday: So Long, Sarong

I have had this dress for awhile; a sort of hand-me-down from my mother, it has never been something I wear often, however, on occasion, I am in the mood for a tribute to 90s suburban motherhood. There are elements of this dress that I really enjoy, namely the sarong-like wrap and tie skirt, but also the neutral toned jewelry pattern, which evokes Aztec and tribal influences without screaming. Despite these fun and flirty features, there are definite elements of this dress that I do not enjoy, mostly the high neckline and the short sleeves, creating an overall matronly appearance. Given these conflicts, when presented with this dress as an option of something to wear, somehow selected from my closet housing a plethora of dresses and skirts, I debated. Then, suddenly, an idea came to mind, or, more appropriately, returned to my mind.

I recalled my strategy from yesterday, and also recalled this comfortable and versatile loose mid-drift tee shirt from American Apparel, which matches perfectly with the camel and mocha tones of the beading pattern: slip a blouse cover over the portion of the dress I find bothersome, allow the rest of the dress, with its sarong accents, to shine and highlight.

This sarong is both hilarious and endearing; I really would love to own a legitimate sarong to wear to the beach, but have never really noticed one while perusing the stores, granted, without investing much effort. Yes, the title to this post is a misnomer; I do not want this sarong to depart anytime soon.

The filmmaker's mother is a very sweet and gracious lady; she had, through a marvelous mystery escaping her own understanding and defying the tenets of basic economics, acquired a credit for free from an online shop, valued at quite a hefty sum. Generously, she invited me to peruse the wares and select a few pieces that I may enjoy. The bangles above were one of my choices, and she surprised me with them the other night. I love cream and gold, so I have a feeling I will be wearing these quite frequently throughout the summer, although they have a rather loud jingle and jangle that may perturb some of my colleagues.

These wedge sandals never tire; I can wear them with anything, literally anything, all summer long.

Friday evening guacamole and Italian red wine soundtrack: "All Night Long (All Night)" Lionel Ritchie; "Zodiac S**t" and "Mmmhmm" Flying Lotus; "Castles in the Snow" Twin Shadow; "Finally Moving" Pretty Lights; "Scary Monster" Skrillex; "Untrust Us" and "Courtship Dancing" Crystal Castles; "Yonkers" OFWGKTA

Bastaille Day, Redux

Wearing sweaters in the summer can be a tricky business, depending on your geographic origin and associated climate; here in the swamps of the Garden State, some of the welcome, more temperate attributes of the northeast seem to be nonexistent. Thankfully, and yet unfortunately, I am generally only concerned with bearing the full and brutal force of the summer sun and accompanying humid heavy heat when walking from the door of my apartment building to the door of my car, and again from car door to office building door, in the mornings. Choosing sweaters with natural and light fabrics is essential at all times, but is of utmost importance in the summer; I stick with cotton and linen.

To continue the trend and momentum established on Wednesday with one of my favorite navy blue and cream white striped dresses, my subtle salute to the glory and victory of French democracy, I again opted for navy and white stripes yesterday. This sweater is all cotton, and the crisp white adds a freshness to the look appropriate for the season, despite the long sleeves. The stripes vary and oscillate in width, providing an interesting alternative to a great classic.

Deception and conceit can be valuable behaviors in any environment; this "skirt" is actually a dress, again a light cotton material, with the appearance of denim. I love the soft feel of this fabric, and the slight mimicry of the stripe pattern, in a sense mirroring the pattern of the sweater. The dress itself is ideal for the summer, but not at all appropriate for the office; the straps are thin, leaving my shoulders completely bare. At a loss for what to wear yesterday, I decided to throw it on and wear it as a skirt, shaping the entire look with a beautiful dark cognac leather belt.

Cognac leather heels, which matched my leather belt; I have not yet worn these without tights and was glad to discover they continue to be comfortable and attractive.

Golden rose earrings, which are the closest I could subconsciously find to the royal symbolic fleur-de-lis, perhaps more appropriate in the day honoring the revolution.

Tiger-eye-like lucite bangle, a luxurious find from a nearby local vintage shop.

By wearing a thick leather belt at the waist, I provided balance to this look overall, unifying the sweater and the dress, and indeed creating the illusion of a single piece or dress.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bastaille Day Anticipation

Yesterday, in an ethereal, subconscious preparation for French nationalist and patriotic holiday, Bastille Day, I wore blue, white, and red: the bourgeoisie, the clergy, and the nobility, in ancient visual connotations, or liberty, equality, and fraternity, representing the moral bastions of the revolution. For work, I wore a deep navy butterfly, cocoon-style cardigan over the dress, to cover my shoulders and adopt a more restrained, office appropriate look. In addition to the classic navy and white combination, I love this dress for its simple cut and vertical ban pleating, reminiscent of more stylized and wearable window blinds. With the bold red appearing as an accent, in my pumps and my broad bakelite bangle, the reverent salute to the revolutionary thrust of the French people decades ago was a bit more subdued. Coincidentally, my colleagues and I were treated to a celebratory lunch yesterday afternoon, reflecting and congratulating a recent wildly successful program in Paris; unfortunately, I was not able to physically attend the meeting, visit the city, experience viscerally the fruits of my painful labor, however, my shrimp and andouille sausage fettuccine dish was certainly delightful.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Once, I Wanted to Be The Greatest

Earlier this afternoon, a number of my colleagues and myself were entrenched in one of our office's conference rooms, a few others vocally present on the telephone, engaged in a marathon discussion, escalating to levels of herculean absurdity at points, and, ultimately, rather cyclic in both nature and outcome. At one point, in reviewing a funnel-shaped visual designed to purportedly illustrate a systematic and sensical approach to strategy, it was proposed to add the inverse to the diagram, create an hourglass. This hourglass imagery, layered freshly and emphatically in my mind, atop of internal meditations on recent conversations with the filmmaker concerning issues of hauntology and techno-futurism, has induced a constant flood of thought the past few hours on a simple, crucial, inherent, and awesomely elusive element to our own organic physicality, to our and surrounding entities' being: time.

The past few weeks have been oddly surreal, and as I try to recall or project the foundation of this sentiment, to slow my movements and reflect, I realize it has been extending from a subconscious sense of moving forward with an accelerated inertia, as of late. I am moving forward with a velocity that I cannot control, and one that is, proportionately, not what I am accustomed to. I am moving too fast. I am absorbing too little. My days have become distorted, images shrunk and stretched short in a convex lens. Trying to mentally account for minutes in my day, even hours in my day, seems as vain and as futile as gathering all the grains of sand of a long beach into a single pail.

When I was a very young girl, I wanted to become a mermaid; as I continued to grow and learn, my aspirations morphed and transposed to tangibly, credibly idealistic goals. Truck driver, then the prerequisite teacher, then something indeterminate with writing. Writing song lyrics, writing poems, writing novels, writing magazine articles. Somewhere during the traverses across geographic and temporal planes, I deemed these other dreams just as mythical, just as fantastic as my beautifully naive and idle thoughts of escaping as a creature of the sea. Now, I wake up in an unfamiliar town, still, two years later, to discern, dissect, synthesize, augment, actualize intangible packages of messages, frequently both laughing and crying at myself.


A syllabically, phonetically long German word, which is impossible to elegantly and sufficiently translate into English; a direct denotation is gate-closing panic, however, a more appropriate and essential description is the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.

(image taken from Sue du Jour)

Travel Lusting: Suite in the Maldives

With no introduction, provocation, or explanation, earlier today the filmmaker shared the above image with me; upon clicking on the link, the stunning visual seared into my retina, it was immediately clear that introductions, provocations, and explanations were not necessary. Both of us have been aching for an oasis of escape from current geographic and temporal constraints; although an underwater suite at a lush resort in the Maldives is a bit beyond the extend of our collective reach, it is a desirable and lovely concept to contemplate. Mere moments ago, I emerged from the bowels of a conference room, where the temperature had arisen as a result of inflamed and inflated passions and egos during intense discussion, to the point where metaphoric droplets of condensation were accumulating on the glass walls. In other words, frustration, from my perspective, was at an all time high.Now, I would love very much so to be blissfully and serenely isolated and encased in such an underwater suite, amidst the fluid terrain where sharks and fishes reign. Hopefully, my rigorous schedule, and my proclivities towards over achievement, allow for a short break soon. The filmmaker and I are discussing traveling to a local beach this weekend, to spend a day in the sun, surely a welcome respite from seemingly unyielding cubicle fetters.

(image taken from The Luxist)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Experiments in Pizza Dough

A few weekends back, I decided to play around with some frozen pizza dough and see if I could somehow fashion something with any semblance to the traditional, accepted versions of the dish. After allowing the dough to thaw and rise for some hours, in my warm and yeast-activity-inducing apartment, I was surprised at the glomerular texture and the difficulty I had in attempting to spread the dough across a flat, moderately deep baking pan. Harnessing and harvesting as much of my pathetically limited upper body strength as I could muster, I managed to get the dough mostly evenly to the corners of the pan.

In this experiment, a number of my cuisine processes were quite flawed. First mistake, I decided to make the sauce from a can of tomato sauce, as opposed to paste; though inconvenient, this required longer cooking and simmering of the sauce to thicken it. Subsequently, the simmer sent splattered tomato onto my oven top, kaleidoscoped fruit of red on white. In addition to the actual tomato sauce, spiced rather generically with red pepper flakes, some onion, and garlic, I sauteed vegetables to scatter between the layers of sauce and cheese: more onions, orange bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and some fresh grape tomatoes, sliced thinly.

Since the filmmaker is lactose-intolerant, he cannot relish in the delights that are dairy cow products; thankfully, however, he can still consume ridiculous quantities of sheep's and goat's milk cheese with me. For this first attempt, I selected two cheeses: first, a layer of goat ricotta above the vegetables and finally, a sprinkling of shredded manchego to melt and brown ever so slightly.

Second mistake was an underestimation of the necessary baking time for the dough, and ensuing thick crust. Fearful that I would burn the bottom of the pizza, I was a bit overly cautious with how long I allowed the pizza to bake; this gave the dish a sort of casserole or foccacia texture and taste. When I reheated slices later in the week, the crust crisped. The last mistake, which is a dramatic denotation and possibly a misnomer, so, the last less than optimal decision was the choice of manchego cheese; while delicious, this hard cheese does not melt as smoothly and desirably as a mozzarella.