Thursday, June 30, 2011

Squid Screen Print

This evening, the filmmaker is teaching an art class on screen printing methods at the local town library; these type of arts and crafts classes are informative though informal and are aimed to attract participants of all ages, though I anticipate a skew in the crowd towards the older demographic. In preparation for his instruction, the filmmaker has been collecting various ink and screen supplies, as well as honing his personal craft and technique. Originally, he had planned to give me a private tutorial prior to his larger lesson, and I had, true to my octopus obsession, sketched out a large specimen, tentacles twisted in an interplay of invertebrate glory, to draft later onto the screening fabric. The design, for a novice, was ambitious, but I was determined. Due to some long work days and a generally exhausted state, the tutorial was postponed and, ultimately, the filmmaker beat me to the cephalopod punch, utilizing his advanced artistry, creating the above Humboldt squid screen. I love how the actual printing onto the tee shirt is rather faded, evoking a worn-in and vintage feel, appropriate for so mighty and ancient a creature.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alarm Clock Malfunction

Earlier this morning, I woke, naturally, on my own accord; despite knowing I had no early morning teleconferences or work obligations, at least as of last evening when I had quickly perused my email, I still panicked slightly, a Pavlovian habitual condition. My alarm clock radio had failed me, refusing, for some unknown reason to sound at the designated time; initially, I blamed technology. Just now, as I return from the grocery store to hear the alarm sounding, probably having been wailing for the past half hour at least, I realize, much to my dismay, the fault is my own: the clock has been set twelve hours ahead for weeks, inversing the AM and PM. Idiocy.Thankfully, it was not much past my normal rising schedule, and though I had adequate time to ready myself for the office, I did not have much time to deliberate over a creative outfit for the day. So, a classic and simple look: monochromatic black, with a black blouse and plain black dress slacks, accented with a cream and gold belt.

This blouse requires no necklace, as gold flat coin-like beads tile the top near the neckline in layers. It has an elastic waistband, lending itself to a belt; since I wore black pants, the cream belt did not serve to create awkward proportions, and instead served to bolster an illusion of a single jumpsuit type of look.

These black and cream domino-like earrings evoke bakelite, however, I am not sure if they are genuine or not; with my myriad knowledge of vintage plastics, I should be able to test them and determine once and for all. They are simultaneously bold and simple, working perfectly to unite the cream leather of my belt with the black blouse and pants.

This buckle can be a bit much, depending on how I am pairing this particular belt, however, the black pants and top could easily subdue and submiss the glint and the gleam of the gold.

With warm weather, strappy heels in the office become appropriate; these slingbacks have a nice height to them without being uncomfortable, ideal for my slightly longer black dress slacks, salvaging them from a destiny of dusting the carpet and hardwood floors.

Celine Resort 2011

It may be the masochistic aspect of my personality, but as of late, feeling as though I may collapse and perish for want of a true vacation, fully cognizant that a day or two of sight-seeing while in Prague on business does not quite count, I have been recompensing by obsessing over the recent beautiful resort collections of my favorite designers. Resort collections often feature crisp whites and bold hues in orange, red, and golden yellows; the collection from Celine this year is no exception. While I admire the draping and structure of all the pieces, I prefer the monochromatic and solid color looks to the patterns; I did not find the tight, paint splattering patterns alluring or of interest.

In the above, the sleeveless, stark and simple dress coupled with the duel silver cuffs is both elegant and rather intense.

Again, the subtle bondage-evoking silver cuffs; I was also struck with the simplicity of this cut and the hidden pockets, as well as the classic Celine clutch.

Currently, I am on the prowl for a warm mocha brown dress slack; due to my hips, I would not be able to wear something quite as loose and wide-legged, however, I generally am attracted to the effect.

Black monochrome with heavy gold accents is a favorite look of mine, as it is effortless and forever provocative.

This white jacket is rather unique; I would like to see a front view.

In the first look, I would do away with the turtleneck, it appears suffocating and it distracts from the cascading ruffled little black dress with its accompanying heavy cuff and large leather clutch. I, personally, would not be able to wear the severe high-neck cut of the second dress, but appreciate the structure of the piece and love the color blocking. In both, my favorite feature is the large, almost briefcase like clutch; it is beautiful.

This looks so cool and comfortable, ready for waltzing onto a small yacht, sailing off into the sinusoidal waves, slowly and surely rocking back and forth, and disappearing into the horizon.

(images taken from New York Magazine, Fashion section)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Outfit for a Monday: Ruffles and Red

Despite having spent approximately five hours of my beautifully sunny Sunday, the dogmatic and theoretic day of rest, performing formatting edits to a slide presentation for an upcoming important meeting for work, and with a week already packed with prospective work and impending major bills, most outstanding being my auto insurance installment, I rose this morning with a remarkably cheerful demeanor. Never mind that I may have missed a lovely and ideal lazy afternoon spent idle and tranquil by the soothingly cool waters of the local pool; next weekend, I suppose.

This wide smile and these bright eyes may be easily attributable to some simple and superficial matters of artifice: I am wearing some of my absolute favorite professional wardrobe pieces today, in a single outfit. On the top, a cobalt blue and white striped collared blouse, accented with a ruffle running wild along the chest near the top buttons; this was another infamous TJ Maxx find, from Ralph Lauren originally. It is paired with a silk Talbot's skirt, decorated with a cascading necklace style pattern. Finally, I completed the look with red peep-toe heels, with a subtle snakeskin texture.

This skirt is a few seasons old, at this point, however, as I try not to wear it too terribly frequently, despite its high ranking among my adored category of clothing, it continues to look brand new. The colors are simple, a white and cobalt blue pattern, against a navy background. Though I have an aversion to stringent and unwavering didactics, I have preached this stratagem before: pairing seemingly busy bold patterns within a complementing color palette is an excellent method to infuse some energy into even the most well worn, hackneyed pieces. I can, and do, easily wear this skirt with a solid top, either white, cobalt, red, or gold, however, coupling with another strong yet matching pattern is refreshing and, frankly, more fun.

In addition to the ruffle along the neck and chest, this blouse sports unobtrusively puffed bubble sleeves; they are not quite reaching the realm of Victorian ridicule, however, they do offer a unique alternative to traditional button-downs.

Not only do I adore the jewel beaded pattern, this skirt has pockets, which are both convenient and darling. Most importantly, the pockets have been incorporated seamlessly, figuratively, into the skirt, without adding unsightly and unwanted volume to the waist and thighs.

Red shoes are a wardrobe necessity, for both business and for pleasure, as they can be worn with very nearly everything. I like these heels in particular because the height is manageable and they can be worn, and more importantly walked in, for extended periods of time.

Two strands of vintage pearls, one featuring a rhinestone accent, to complete the look.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hey Little Sister, What's Your Vice and Wish?

A few weekends ago, while out and about on a jaunt with the filmmaker, I celebrated the impending summer season of sun and frivolities with a crisp white skirt. I own a few white skirts, mostly light cotton or linen blends, one denim, but this one in particular is favorite, with its asymmetrical creased fabric fold accent. A clean, simple white skirt is a classic summer look, and a highly versatile one at that, pairing marvelously with nautical stripes, bold tones, pastels, brights, and other neutrals like black and camel. Though the white cotton skirt is intrinsically casual and care-free, it can be elevated to a slightly more formal look, depending on the blouse, shoes, and other accessories.

Originally, on this particular night out, the filmmaker and I had intended to shoot some pool at a local joint, in between our towns; our plans were horribly thwarted. We arrived, and in the very area housing the billiards tables, there was scheduled a rather pathetic appearing ten year reunion of some type; mismatched shoes and belts, exuberant make-up styles, and glasses of house chardonnay abounded. Despite the disappointment, the filmmaker managed to capture a number of exquisite photographs; as always, he has quite the ability to capture and elucidate an internal fervor and passion, and, conversely, elusive coyness. With his trickery and charm, he can tease a smile out of anyone, and he translates that energy remarkably well with his camera.

In the above images, while I am dashing and dancing about my apartment getting dressed and choosing jewelry, the filmmaker hand-crafted with printer paper and permanent marker a red filter. I am not overtly cognizant of my poses in any of these shots; however, I genuinely enjoy the postures and positions in all of them. Again, it is that great artistic eye of my dear filmmaker. The filter lends a sort of aged characteristic to these images, a sort of eerie softness and intrigue, as if they were photographs found buried at the bottom of an old hat box beneath the bed.

When the filmmaker takes photographs during my primping process, I am, obviously, not at all paying attention to him; I love the proportions of my body to the reflection of my face in the mirror.

This vintage purse is a three-in-one bag: black pattern leather is shown above, and the outer layer can be reversed to display a floral carpet pattern, or removed to show a black fabric underneath. The handle is clear lucite, so overall, this purse is sleek, and a personal favorite from my immense collection.

The weekend seems to have made me deliriously happy.

The above photograph is a bit blurred, but I still love the expression, as if I am surprised. My lip color for the evening is a subtle plum, a lipstick that I have had for a few years and am, finally, almost ready to finish. Plum is a great default lip color, depending on skin tones, as it is not as pert and caustic as many reds, so can be worn well more casually.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Banana Republic's Mad Men Collection

I have long been a fan, and a faithful client, of Banana Republic, especially for nuanced yet classic office attire, and I have watched now epidemically popular Mad Men since its debut pilot; needless to say, as an avid antiquer and vintage jewelry, clutch, and cocktail ware collector, as well as an inquisitive, analytical romantic interested in gender and sexual politics and the socioeconomic implications therein, the show quickly became a fascinating habit, and the prospect of an entire collection through an affordable retail chain was much anticipated. Now, having previewed the pieces, I feel uninspired and find the collection, though meticulous, rather lackluster. As I continue to examine the detailing and structuring of each look, I can find aspects of nostalgia and genius, which I thoroughly enjoy; perhaps my hesitation and disappointment surround the bland postures of the model and the milquetoast expression in her eyes. Though the pieces are, indeed, the highlights, some greater period-influenced extravagance in the styling of the shoot may have further whetted my interest and mounted anticipation.

With both of the dresses pictured above, again, I am fond of the cut and overall structure of the look, genuine to the era without appearing to be a caricature; however, neither the muted mauve nor the coral and gray floral are calling to me. As I well know, coloration in images such as these can be profoundly misleading, so a trip to an actual Banana Republic location may be in order.

The proportions of slacks and cardigan sleeves in the look to the left are ideal; again, the model is a bore, and I would be interested to see some additional accessorizing, other than the beehive chignon. She wears some type of bracelet, but it is hardly noticeable. The belted leopard trench with the, presumably, almost Jackie Kennedy-Onassis shift-inspired cream dress peeping through is my favorite look; over-sized pearls would be a great pairing. Cascading strands of small pearls is a classic, and has been recently re-introduced to popular fashion consciousness; I never buy accessories from large retailers, due to the mass production, and feel that this piece could be easily mimicked with true vintage pieces, which may afford more flexibility in layering possibilities if they come as single strands.

(images taken from New York Magazine, Fashion section)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Perfecting Packing and Preparation

I am a notoriously disorganized packer; I tend to pack schizophrenically and, especially if I am uncertain of my destination's weather conditions, I always over pack. While packing last Saturday for my business trip in Prague, I was surprised at how smoothly everything was going; I had run errands to obtain necessary travel-sized toiletries, was able to neatly fold three of my suits, a charcoal, a cream, and a black, picked appropriate and comfortable travel attire, and all was fitting in my carry-on sized suitcase. As I was transferring in Rome, and could not afford, obviously, to lose anything in transit, an economizing carry-on was a necessity.

Then, as all was seeming to come together seamlessly, my driver set to arrive in a little under two hours, I double check my travel laptop to ensure I have the necessary files for my upcoming meeting; much to my severe dismay, the files did not synchronize properly, though I had connected to my office's network and had opened the files late the previous night, before leaving. Anxiety already mounting at the prospect of travel and other professional responsibility, I start to dry-heave a bit. Then, miraculously, I remember that I had already planned for this event of misfortune, also miraculously, and had uploaded additional back-up files to an online file sharing service. Due to their immense size, it took some time to download them onto the laptop, again, meaning some excruciating nail biting for over half an hour while I stared furiously at the crawling progress bar, every muscle, every last one, clenched.

The files downloaded successfully, and, most importantly, the meeting itself was also a success, so this is all now a hilarious and mildly self-deprecating meditation, where I can fully revel and appreciate my ability to pack for five days in Prague, where it is prone to tempestuous spring and summer weather with frequent rain, in a single suitcase.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baby Elephant Walk

A few days before I was scheduled to fly out to Prague, via a layover in beautiful Rome, while I was deep in the proverbial professional trenches preparing for my meeting and working long hours, the filmmaker's mother offered the two of us a proposition: she had been, a number of weeks prior, tasked with the making festive elephant shaped sugar pink and chocolate candy lollipops for a colleague's retirement celebration, it was now the night before the affair, and she had other, less tedious plans with her sister, visiting town for the evening. She offered, in return for the filmmaker and myself bearing the burden, to treat us to a night about the town.

Rather foolishly, wanting to enjoy the last few moments of sun for the day, the filmmaker and I decided to go out and about for a summer drink, before embarking on our journey of melting, without burning, pouring, drying, and waiting, and waiting some more, to transform the soft disc shaped candies into also soft elephants on a stick, complete with ears, trunk, and legs. After realizing the packet instructions recommended utilizing a microwave, and after learning how long was too long in the make-shift double boiler before the candies congealed to a gelatinous muck, ruining our would-be first batch, we slowly and successfully formed four elephants. It is important to note, at this point in the tale, that we had a lonely single mold, able to set four elephants at once; in order for each party attendee to have at least one lollipop, we would need about thirty-six or so, the precise number at this moment escapes me. Feeling absolutely exhaust and guilty, I slipped away from the steaming stove to the seductively sultry feel of my cotton sheets and my soft mattress; within seconds, I was dozing, ambling silently to the land of dreams, where Queen Mab reigns.

My filmmaker persevered, boiling, melting, without scalding, pouring, scraping, sculpting, drying, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, until about four in the morning. Surely, the effort was appreciated, as the elephant lollipops turned out to be absolutely darling, and while I cannot attest to the taste of the massively manufactured sucrose-induced candy gum, I know that I have the sweetest beau around.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Beautiful Brunch and Beau

On Saturday morning, before I departed on my business trip to Prague, the filmmaker and I went out to brunch at a local deli, cafe, bakery type of place, a neighborhood joint where one can easily eat in, enjoy the friendly banter amongst the congenial staff, or take out for a picnic. After living in my town almost two years, I discovered this place mere months ago; the filmmaker and I have since become welcome regulars. We are greeted warmly and with smiles. This most recent weekend visit, I tried the daily special, a decadently layered baked French bread, with a side of bacon, which was ridiculously delicious, while the filmmaker opted for his tried and true choice of waffles, also with a side of bacon.

I loathe monotony, or perhaps, more foundational to that, complacency; within the last twenty-four hours I have technically traveled to two new countries and have already exposed my heart and mind to new beautiful parts of the world. Exploration and constant learning is refreshing, is, for me, the metaphoric vital organs of the spirit.

That being said, there is something equally beautiful about the comforts of a home, of being able to sit in contented and pleasant idle silence before someone who cares for you wildly and deeply, sipping a cup of strong coffee, or tea, preparing for the adventures of the day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Outfit for a Thursday: Rugby Chic

This Saturday, I am flying overseas to Prague, for yet another business trip; preparation has been arduous, given all the other projects on my plate, and my vain attempts at some type of balanced social life, so by Thursday I was ready for a comfortable outfit, suitable for sitting in front of my computer and focusing on certain client deliverables. Though it is business related, there will be hopefully a few moments of pleasure while on my journey; I will be accompanied by a lovely colleague and friend, Nicole, as well as her beau, Dave. The opportunity to see one of Europe's most beautiful cities has me beyond tickled. Already, I am projecting the boutique hotels of Prague, whether my toilet paper is politely folded into quaint triangles or not, will oust both The Standard Club of Chicago as well as the Hampton Inn of Exton.

This light cotton sweater, another item from a Gap online sale, is ideal for the warm, devilishly humid summer months; its feminized mimicry of traditional rugby jerseys made it a natural choice while virtually perusing countless items, feigning deep pockets and a full checking account. Online shopping definitely requires a certain risk-benefit analysis, though, I have had fair successes with stores I know well in person, with respect to sizing and fabric quality, such as Gap and Banana Republic.

Not shockingly coincidentally, the deep navy cigarette-leg spring weight chinos are also a Gap purchase; though I abhor looking as though I stepped off the page of a massively produced and consumed retail catalogue, I hope, this grave and rather public admission aside, no one noticed. Must be the cotton comfort that prompted me to turn the other cheek.

If this looks familiar, it is because I wore this necklace on Wednesday as well; it is a new piece, and thus inherently fresh when it comes to my wardrobe. As I previously mentioned, I adore the tangible texture and weight of this entwined trio of golden chains.

Bronze low heel sling backs, which I have owned for quite some time, but which never seem to tire or to grow, or at least appear, terribly worn. This metallic is highly versatile, as it works with both brown and black, as well as a plethora of other muted tones and bright colors.

I am so wonderfully excited about fleeing the country, and this region for a bit, even for work; still, do not let the smile fool, I am anxious about packing appropriately, and with a carry-on, nonetheless. Perhaps, folly or success, that will lead to another tale.