Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Outfit for a Wednesday: Cream and Gold Swirls

To comfort myself from the disappointment of cancelling my weekend jaunt up to Providence, I confided in the all too sweet and warm bosom of shopping, scrounging about consignment and book stores with the filmmaker, specifically finding a number of beautiful vintage finds. With the violent swerved curvature of these gold and cream earrings, they evoke the steadily shifting maelstrom of the hurricane eye, the violent passion of winds and water. Worn with plain black slacks, wide in the cut of the leg, with a slight herring bone texture, and a black blouse, the earrings stood alone.

Black, gold, and cream bangles to complement my new finds, and to add a slight jangle and ring to the look.

Black patent leather is a favorite of mine, particularly for the summer months; these peep-toe slingbacks are a classic pair of heels, perfect for the office, coupled with long slacks, or more casual affairs, elegant and comfortable with skirts and dresses.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Venison is for Lovers

(image taken from Whimzy Treasures)

(image taken from Rolling Hills Red Deer Farm)

After a long and tedious day of bringing home the proverbial bacon, during which I endured particularly soporific presentations on the declining market landscape of an enduring antibacterial product portfolio and strategies to infuse energy into emerging markets, few sensual experiences are more satisfying than rare venison filet mignon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Come On Irene, Redux

Irene has come and gone, bringing with her simpler times riding sweetly on her breath: my town, which built their electric sub-station along a flowing river, is without any power for an indeterminate period of time. So, I find myself now in a local coffee shop, the next town over, a place called Drip in Madison. While the seductive lure of free wireless Internet was certainly appealing, I was mostly drawn to this location for its coffee offerings: Drip is the only coffee shop outside of Ithaca, New York, and more recently Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where I have found Gimme coffee. As I enjoy my large, iced Americano, with delicious espresso, I am able to check my messages, both personal and work.

Spending last night playing card and board games by candle light was quite pleasant; unfortunately, the world continues to spin and turn without you, sometimes, and not being connected can be a glorious yet grand inconvenience.

(image taken from The Young and Hungry)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Decadence on a Dime: Charcuterie and Martini

Last Friday, taking the night off after a toiling week before heading into the city for some socializing with my friends and Elizabeth's baby shower, an easy and relaxing evening, I was not in the mood to prepare something heavy and laborious, so I went with a simple, classic dinner: charcuterie plate and a well-chilled martini. An array of meats and cheeses is always savory and satisfying, and, besides a journey to the market and some purchasing power, requires very little energy to create. Typically, I indulge in a traditional, very purist martini, featuring a potent gin and a refreshing twist of lemon peel; however, with such salty treats, I tend to favor a garnish that matches in taste and will opt for the now-favored olive. Olives selected from the salad or olive bar, though generally more expensive, are always worth the extra dollars or cents; martinis leave little room for error, an overpowering wave of strong flavor, gin, then garnish. The garnish never travels subtly, unnoticed, fading in the shadows.

Pretzels with brie cheese are one of my favorite snack combinations; they are fulfilling, without seeming to drag down my stomach and digestion. A strong, cured salami was a great addition.

My local Walgreen's Pharmacy always features a small item of the month, typically a candy of some variety. Should the cashier fail to offer this treat, as you make a purchase, you can ask for it, and it is free. Naturally, the disgruntled dull-eyed, post-adolescent employees of the town Walgreen's would rather be performing any task other than the one at hand, and almost never offer the item. As a result, my knowledge and tastes for new candy bars, such as the peanut butter varietal of almost anything, has increased exponentially.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Come On Irene

Originally, I had planned to spend this weekend gallivanting and giggling between the sharp rays of sun in frivolous dresses with my lovely friend friend, up in Providence. Unfortunately, the raging humors of Irene caused me to doubt my plans, vacillate between travel and sanctuary, then familial turmoil and various tornadoes of misunderstanding arose. Simply, I decided to stay put, and while I feel sharp pangs of disappointment and regret, I know that my trip will soon be rescheduled and Rebecca and I will be able to, hopefully, enjoy more fair weather conditions.

Last night, while trying to soothe my thoughts and make a decision, I, wisely, went out with the filmmaker for some tequila cocktails at a favorite local lounge, which is equally ridiculous and amazing. Inspired by some fashion editorials I had been perusing earlier in the afternoon, in which men's wear was prominent, I pulled out this large and long men's Brooks Brothers dress shirt from underneath my bed, stowed safe and sound in some storage containers. I paired the dress-like dress shirt with a relatively recent acquisition, very tight and light, almost white, denim pants from Gap. For the finish, I wore a pair of tall black wedges.

Men occasionally complain about the lack of accessorizing they are afforded; foolish, and naive, I say, for cuff links are some of the best outfit accents around. For this French cuff shirt, I have a pair of large black square cuff links, with just the slightest whisper of glitter in them, found at a random consignment shop. When worn together, with the sleeves rolled and folded to about three-quarter length, this men's dress shirt actually appears to be a lady blouse, with some embellishment.

I definitely cannot imagine a man wearing these, but, I am surely glad that I found them.

To finish, and to create a balanced juxtaposition with the large shirt, I wore vintage rhinestone costume earrings, which shine and gleam wildly in the light.

Friday morning coffee soundtrack: There Is Love In You Four Tet

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Superfine Baby Shower Brunch

On Sunday, my mother and I hosted a brunch celebration for my sister Elizabeth and her future baby girl; the weather earlier in the morning and afternoon cooperated nicely, so I had an opportunity to wear this beautiful white and mod-inspired floral dress. This dress was actually a gift from my mother, originally intended for a wedding, which, unfortunately, was not attended and thus, the beautiful number never worn. It fits well and is perfect for any summer occasion, with such a classic cut and vibrant colors, so I look forward to wearing it again.

Before heading to Superfine, a local favorite restaurant in Elizabeth's neighborhood, I visited the work-in-progress nursery; although a number of cardboard boxes from large purchases are scattered across the floor, generating a glorious jungle gym for her pet cats, the nursery looks incredible and charming. Elizabeth found some of our most cherished childhood rhyming books at Anthropologie, with a slight French twist; ever since, I have been calling the baby "jambon."

These quick, hurried and quite unpolished amateur photographs do little justice to the beautiful quilt my mother had sewn for the baby, to be her blanket. The quilt is the perfect size to wrap up our new baby girl, and will be perfect for the chilly winter nights as well as the thaw in the spring. I still have the baby blanket that my mother made for me, with a large teddy bear patched together from pieces of brown and camel and cream fabrics; to this day, it is so endearing and imbues me with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

As opposed to decorating with a prescribed, and typically uninspired, theme, Elizabeth decided to pull together unique pieces and embellishments to create a cozy and welcoming nursery for the baby. She has a collection of embroidered pieces, one which was done by our mom when we were both very young. I am not sure where she found this one, but I love the colors.

Elizabeth, like myself, was exposed to our mother's love for collecting, for sifting through objects and treasures from a bygone time. While we both collect kitchen and cocktail wares, Elizabeth has also garnered an appreciation for ceramic chachkas. Her obsession with pastel-hued baby animals had become something of a mild family joke; the irony has now dissipated a bit, as they look completely adorable and fitting on this shelf in the baby's nursery.

I did not take many photographs during brunch, as I was enjoying myself with the refreshing drinks, delicious food, and rich conversation with Elizabeth's wonderful and generous friends; I captured a few candid shots, however, my lack of camera adeptness and skill would surely embarrass and misrepresent the invited ladies.

This lovely centerpiece was a gift to Elizabeth from her long-time friend from university, Sara, who unfortunately was not able to be present, busy with a photography shoot, a quite important previous engagement. She and her dapper boyfriend Eric own a soap boutique and a flourishing floral arrangements business; her soap shop, and her blog, are called Saipua. I highly recommend her products for gifts or surprises, for any occasion.

Obviously, as one who is not in the exclusive club of mothers-to-be, I had never before heard of Sophie, a rubber giraffe toy, ideal for the cantankerous and frustrated teething infant. She is certainly a really cute toy, and I suppose quite useful, but I already foresee some jealousy issues arising from Elizabeth's astute and adorable labradoodle puppy, Siouxsie.

Although she is not due for another few months, Elizabeth already has an arsenal of make-you-smile-and-sigh sickeningly sweet onesies; she received many more this past Sunday, all displaying happy baked goods and sanguine creatures. The hippopotamus is one of my favorites; she also has one with a monkey, and one with a crab, which are really adorable. Unfortunately, the baby will grow very quickly, so, her time spent in these little outfits will be transient. Hopefully, I can get many photographs once she is here.

As a voracious reader and writer, a true bibliophile, naturally, I wanted to give my niece some of my favorite books from when I was a little girl. While I understand she will not be overtly recognizing the words and phrases for some time, nonetheless, I feel it is important to begin reading and sharing literature with babies at the earliest age. After brunch, which lasted nice and long, my mother was eager to read one of my stories aloud, Mr. Gumpy's Motorcar. The pictures are whimsical and childlike, with rough lines and shading.

The illustrations are a sepia-toned ink, crisp and realistic. Earlier in the spring, some geese and their goslings congregated around our parking lot for my office building, always bringing to mind this story.

Carved wooden blocks to help baby girl learn her letters; these blocks will become toys when she is older, but for now, these will be a perfect addition to the bookshelf in the nursery and can be arranged to spell various fun words.

My mom is a story reading professional: always display the pictures prominently to the entire audience.

Before brunch that morning, Elizabeth had a bit of a hiccup with one of her bank accounts, some computer glitch that the bureaucratic maze of corporation could not initially understand or handle, adding unnecessary stress and tension to the start of the day. She was quite upset, but as soon as she arrived at Superfine, her anxiety dissipated, and she felt immediately content and at ease, so pleased and overwhelmed at the generous gathering and the kindness of the beautiful women in her life.

At our parent's home, stowed away in a large album, there is a coffee-tinted photograph of my sister as a small baby, our mother, her mother, and her grandmother. My maternal grandmother passed away before I was born; what I know of her, I have gleaned from such relics as photographs and from my mother's anecdotes. In a way, with grandmother, aunt, mother, and baby, excited and beaming with anticipation for her arrival, this photograph pays tributes to all the old and new generations of our family.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vogue and Oreos

(image taken from Tell Andy He's Wrong)

(image taken from Rare Delights)

This evening, while meandering the aisles aimlessly of the grocery store, idly and carefully selecting some produce items to make a salad and some deli meats to make a sandwich, I made two impulse purchases: first, I surrendered to a box of Double Stuff Oreos, and second, I succumbed to the seductive sartorial wiles of the Vogue September issue. To be fair, I will admit that, while still a relatively impulsive buy, I indulge in artificial, high fructose corn syrup laden boxed cookies much more frequently than I actually spend money and time investing in a fashion magazine.

Although seemingly quite incongruous, superficially at odds and of competing ideologies, these two items, one resplendent with chemical sucrose, the other with constructed shimmers and sheens and rich fabrics, and rightfully so, as in almost all cases the models displayed, splayed across pages, and all the various visual and textual creators of the tome appear as though they would deign not touch a mass-produced baked product, let alone eat one, the Oreo and the magazine actually share much in common. Both are massively consumed, icons of obsession and devotion, bastions of our capitalist society and testaments to the advances of global economics, technology, branding. In both the Double Stuff Oreo and the textbook-length fashion guidebook, there can be found masterpieces of human creative and analytical faculties, of progress in industrial technique, manufacturing, design, demand innovation.

And, naturally, between both the chocolate wafer cookies and between the paper-pulp covers, there is certainly a fair amount of fluff, of viscerality without purpose or function, to the pure pragmatic, but indeed, substance that makes life seem more sweet, more pleasurable.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Barbie for Baby

(image taken from The Art Gallery of Western Australia)

(image taken from Topic Craze)

Apparently, my sister's husband, David, my newly, freshly minted big brother-in-law, has decided that he wants their growing baby girl to play solely with toys carved from wood, the flesh of trees. While I can respect his sentimentalism and reverence for seemingly, or at least superficially, simpler times, I must admit that I cannot wait to spoil my niece with Barbie dolls. Surely, in his edict of the toys, David did not mean to include dolls.

Popular media, fed and spurred by the thoughts and rants of pragmatically idle scholars, condemned Barbie as a bastion for feminine fantasy, for infiltration within the minds of entire generations of girls with sadistic and unattainable ideals of body image. This left little choice but for the manufacturers and designers, in recent years, to alter her dimensions to more manageable and realistic proportions. Breasts were demoted, hips scaled back, waist widened. To be honest, I played with Barbie voraciously as a child and as an early adolescent, and while subconsciously I am sure I visually consumed the physiological impossibilities of this idol, I never once sat and contemplated hip-to-waist ratios, or whether a true-sized Barbie human would be able to stand. I did not care. Barbie embodied one thing for me: possibility. Possibility for career paths, possibility for friendships and relationships, for complete balance between professional career and social niceties. She was a beautiful, malleable dream, a malleable piece of imagination and opportunity.

I hope I can peruse some garage sales, or perhaps some consignment shops, to locate an original Barbie, and a classic Barbie from my era, before her body transformation. I also cannot wait to spoil my niece, to revisit, to again imbibe, the explorations of childhood and innocent possibilities with her.

Saturday Brunch and Soliloquy in Red

On Saturday, before heading into the city for a bittersweet farewell party for my friend Peter, who is moving onto graduate school,with bright new opportunities, but again, moving on, the filmmaker and I took a stroll down the street to the local deli and prepared foods shop for some brunch. Strolling slowly, ambling in the sun, towards the promise of breakfast baked goods and caffeinated beverages, has become a weekend tradition, a monument and tribute to the fleeting moments of leisure. Our location of choice is C'est Cheese; I keep promising to explore the depth of their menu, but have simultaneously been seriously addicted to their Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese on a croissant. Next time, will shall overcome my conditioned response, prevail, and I will try a new sandwich or dish, though, I will forever recommend the breakfast sandwich.

This piece from American Apparel became, the other weekend when I went to the beach, much more versatile, as I decided to pull the waistband above the chest to create a dress; typically, I wear this cut as a skirt, high waisted, with my blouse neatly tucked in. I have this particular skirt-morphed-dress in navy, black, bright pink, and a turquoise with a gray band; realizing it can lead a double life has potentially validated owning such a silly collection.

The nude thong sandals I have owned for ages; seriously, I estimate since high school. They are a shoe that, since I have had forever and since at the time they were given to me they were too classic and traditional for my confused, harried adolescent mind to want to wear frequently, I almost always forget about, but then am pleasantly surprised when I find them again in my closet. Basic, clean, simple lines and a neutral color to match my entire wardrobe, they are comfortable for a quick jaunt to brunch or the store, yet also would be appropriate for a garden or pool party, cocktails on a patio, an array of casual summer social occasions.

I wear silk scarves for work constantly, especially in colder months; rarely do I wrap them turban-like about my head, however, when my hair feels noticeably messy, I sometimes feel the strong whim. While they do serve to keep hair from falling into my face or from being overtly ogled by passersby for its disheveled nature, scarves in the summer are always warm, no matter how they are worn. For my earrings, I chose plain red circular disks, very flat but large, which were a present from the filmmaker, and which match the scarf.

With simple navy and a basic, mostly shapeless structure to my dress, the red and white polka dot faux-turban adds some intrigue to the look, and a certain misappropriated, westernized exoticism, as I imagine would be in the vein of 1930s expatriate gilded girls sculpted in the texts of Fitzgerald.

When in doubt, this clear lucite bangle serves as a complementing partner to any look, even the most casual and carefree cotton strapless dresses.

A red handbag is such an essential piece; this vintage purse from the 1960s is a bit more of a statement with the gold embellishment and the long, rectangular structure, so, perhaps not recommended for everyday use. I, however, am not one to shy away from the bold or the unique, or the slightly impractical, and would like to use this bag more frequently. Inside, the fabric that lines the purse is a darling black, gray, and yellow stripe.

Offering ridiculous poses to the lens, manipulated by my filmmaker, while waiting for my croissant; clearly, the hunger and the intense anticipation for salty, crisped meat and melted cheese has caused me to lose some of my neural faculties. Joking aside, although a bit too bright, the sun battering my face, I love this photograph; it showcases my clavicle, one of my favorite bones in the body, and, through illusions and trickery, has somehow made it appear as though my lips are painted with some type of glitter. Magic.