Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Gold

For Christmas, donning a bit of gold is always festive. Lately, neutral shades have been my default decision, and with a bit of flashy earrings, tend to lend a polished and sophisticated to even a basic, classic cotton v-neck sweater. These funky earrings were an awesome find from one of my favorite hidden boutique gems in Millsboro, Delaware, a few mile drive from the beach vacation home of my dear family friends. As summer waned, welcoming the cool autumnal winds, I joined my friend Sarah for a long weekend there; we enjoyed the feast of crabs, but totally indulged at the Millsboro Bazaar. Living in New York, we are well acclimated to steep prices, for vintage and contemporary goods. Being inside such a large, well-stocked shop with reasonable prices generally means any type of self-restraint is abandoned. This gold pair, a series of gilded concentric circles, evoke the almost-oblong shape of clams, bivalves that are popular in our Mid-Atlantic region. Similar to some of my other favorite pairs, these earrings have a great balance of shape and texture, of simplicity and intrigue.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Eve: Purposefully Festive

For the Christmas Eve celebrations the other evening, I once again donned a tried, true flannel, this time in a deep hunter green motif, and my cascading multi-strand costume pearls. Rather than risk becoming a bit of a hackneyed holiday trope, I decided against a matte red lip, opting for a bright, cheerful redish cherry pink. This Pendleton wool flannel was a treasure scored from a consignment shop somewhere in suburban New Jersey. Most likely, it is intended for an adolescent boy, which for me, means it nestles the hips and my waist in a more flattering fashion than boxy men's and even women's cuts, though, admittedly, the sleeves are a bit short.

Our tradition for years has involved commemorating the spirit of the day with dear, cherished family friends, my childhood best friend, her older sister, and her parents. We eat much, drink too much, and laugh. While in some cases, the movements seem route, acted in a trance of memory and nostalgia, it is comfortable and has a sort of beautiful rhythm. In a tumultuous time, and in the wake of growing inevitable older, I like that some things, at least not yet, do not change. My birthday is tomorrow; I cannot help feeling a bit wistful at the passing of the years, remembering the old adventures, looking forward to the new.

Post-holiday lounging soundtrack: Dream River Bill Callahan

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Accidentally Festive

Last week, it was not until I was in the office when I realized that my plaid paired with pearls, prep-influenced, was inadvertently very festive: the prevailing colors were inevitably seasonal red and green. Though the undertones of blue and yellow almost salvage this very comfortable and classic plaid from novelty, I still felt a bit as though I were a younger, J. Crew-frequenting mistress to old Saint Nicholas himself. Always my own harshest critic, honestly, I probably could have donned some cream furry vest and a red lip and appeared in a plethora of popular catalogs wishing consumers good tidings and happy spending. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Making a List, Checking it Twice

As usual, the Christmas season of gift-giving, good cheer, and eggnog-induced stretch pant proclivities has crept up on me, silently stalking like some graceful cat and now ready to pounce. Also typical, I have yet to purchase any presents and, when posed the fundamental question of "what do you want for Christmas" by my mother, found I had not even thought about it and was speechless. Spending a moment or two today considering, I realized what I want is either intangible and abstract, say, a lifetime of challenge and utter contentedness, or is utterly ludicrous, say, a fainting goat and an enormous citrine cocktail ring. Or an island, populated solely by a personal cabin. Or for my darling, beautiful niece to, magically, never make any of the mistakes I have made. This list of impracticality could continue for quite some time.

With eyes fresh, new, in a metabolic whir of constant amazement, shopping for Winona by far is the easiest and most enjoyable. In an absolute worst-case scenario, she would be delighted unwrapping a box of sticks, relishing ripping the paper, and using said detritus to antagonize the dog. Or build an imagination cabin, on some far off island of her own making. 

(image taken from A Well Traveled Woman)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ombre and Lucite

Committing to boot materials that require diligent weather-proofing, in a city like New York, can be a tricky thing; no matter how copious and fastidious one sprays those magically noxious protective clouds, the fury of rain, ice, snow, and all the hybridizations is so rarely completely quelled. Nevertheless, with my propensity to throw both practicality and caution to the wind, when I saw this pair of suede ankle boots from Jeffrey Campbell on supreme sale over at Nasty Gal, I did not hesitate and paid the inevitable awful winter, which has came and is here, no heed. Featuring an absolutely killer heel, an ombre lucite bit of fascination that is an simultaneously attractive and comfortable height, these boots instantly lend even the most dull and stereotypical all black office garb a bit of funk and flair. 

The other week, the filmmaker treated me to a night on the town after work, with absolutely marvelous seats to see Sirs Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in the Harold Pintor classic No Man's Land at the Cort Theater. I debuted the boots here, and was pleased that a full day in the office followed by adroit racing through Times Square, for the sake of pushing through the jetsam as quickly as humanly possible, did not aggravate my poor feet. A true measure of city success.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


The past number of months have introduced much change into my life; frenzied and frenetic, I have not dedicated as much time as I would ideally like to reflection, to pausing and giving thanks for how truly lucky and privileged and blessed I am. Bemoan frustrating clients though I do, I am so happy for my new position, with a new wonderful group of intelligent people, in a new and ever-exciting city, one both familiar and perpetually wild to me. Long hours clocked at the office allow for new, inspiring friendships, and make the other joys in my life all the more sweet: swaying to live jazz, exploring small bars, walking in the cold under a warm beaming sun, sharing food and wine with friends and family. Earlier this month, my niece celebrated her second birthday with cupcakes and sliders; my growing relationship with her and my continued close bond with my sister are sources of wonder, comfort, and much happiness. Living nearby, I am delighted to watch her as cautious, wobbling steps become jaunty, carefree sprints, awkwardly spit incoherent sounds, foreign and bizarre to her, become full words, thoughts expressed. A mirror, tiny and warm, she mimics my movements, repeats my words, laughs with abandon. So much fun. My little brother has the graduate school finish line in sight; I am immensely proud of his accomplishments and cannot wait for the next stage of his adventure. Hopefully, he is northern bound. Ever steadfast, ever kind, ever generous, with support and encouragement and goofiness that know no limits, my filmmaker; he helped me move on, literally carrying my many belongings, but also emotionally. Having grown professionally and personally complacent in my small suburban town, in my small company, I was afraid of risk, of the potential for failure. For him, there was never a doubt, never a question of his confidence that I could do it.

Downstairs, in my childhood home, my mother artfully prepares what will assuredly be a beautiful and delicious meal; the perfume of turkey coats the house, taunts our senses. Tonight, we will eat our fill, and then some more, gracious for this incredible bounty.

(image taken from Mommy Has a Potty Mouth)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Outfit for a Tuesday: Animalistic and Amulet

Over the past few weeks, all mental capacity has been inundated with strategic imperatives and subsequent seamless tactical execution for my brand the coming year; after presenting a plethora of comprehensive ideas over the summer, we were tasked with revisiting our thinking, infusing even more potent urgency into our planning. After toiling for hours and delivering a revised presentation, the team continues to be wrenched and rung, more water or more blood being desperately sought from the proverbial stone. With winter and holiday festivities looming, it has been, needless to emphasize, a stressful few weeks. Weary and frustrated though I feel, my younger brother is visiting the city and the stupor of tryptophan-laden turkey impends, so, I am feeling optimistic.

Last Tuesday, seven days ago but still completely melting into my mind as time blends and hours cease to seem to be discrete, measurable elements, I abandoned my new black jeans that have become ubiquitous, appropriate in my new casual office, opting for a refined but saucy leopard pencil skirt. A strategy I have employed since university days, exhausted from library marathon sessions and copious papers, when fatigued, I like to dress more formally, to at least give off a superficial air of being pulled together. A complete posturing. Typically, it works wonders. Play the part of a happy woman, find eventually that happy you have become. Stop wearing the same pair of pants, put forth effort, the organization of thoughts and confidence of competency will ensue. Or, at least, like these spots in the wild, painted across fur swathing tightly bound muscular flesh of a prowling beast on the hunt, the skirt is some camouflage.

This brooch, a golden cross-flower hybrid, centered with a cluster of rhinestone stars, reminiscent of some ancient religious relic adorning a bishop cap or frock, was a gift from a friend of mine, while we lived together in the dormitories our sophomore year. Impeccably fashioned, always, her style was classic and sophisticated; though rooted with beautiful neutrals and basics with a twists, her outfits were always vividly memorable, at least to me. She must have been cleaning her closet, clearing out a few items, when she came across some brooches she knew I would enjoy. Fixing them to a pale pink satin ribbon, she left them for me on my desk, with a note succinct but sweet. Enjoy. A bit of surprise and luxury, amidst a day of weighty biology textbooks and trying problem sets. She lives on the opposite coast now, in northern California; we have not seen one another or spoken in years, though, I like of her often fondly, sadly.   

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Outfit for a Monday: Cream and Black Cascades

When a substantial portion of the office is donning some iteration of comfort casual wear, ranging between sweatshirt and flannel button-down, maintaining the inspiration and the impetus to wear something structured and sophisticated can diminish surprisingly quick. While I have certainly succumbed to the evils of the lackadaisical dress code more often than I would care to admit over the last handful of months, my dignity and desire to appear professional and presentable typically prevails. This classic cream button-down, sheer, embellished with an asymmetrical hem and some demure cut-out patterns along the shoulder blades, was infused with some neutral sparkle in the shape of this cascading layers beaded necklace. Discovered amidst a hovel of various vintage flotsam in a small shop near my former town in New Jersey, this necklace fast became one of my favorite pieces, particularly to pair with monochrome black and cream looks. Bold alone, I occasionally adopt the bigger-is-better bombastic attitude of former decades, draping another layer of black beads to the mix.

Rebelling against my typical mantra of not matching pieces of jewelry, my earrings mirrored the iridescent crystal beads of the necklace. I rarely, rarely wear these earrings, so had to dust them off and shine them up a bit before adding them on for near lascivious flaunt of glint and glitter. Against a back drop of cotton, they were a beacon, like most of my rhinestone costume jewelry.

Leaving my apartment this morning, I was greeted with cold winds and a spitting of snow-rain; unfortunately, the days of dainty sling-backs may be behind me, until the new year.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lazy Saturday Stroll in Cashmere and Cameo

Trees are on fire, gold and red. Yesterday, it was pleasantly warm, and pleasantly chilly, the perfect autumn day; I spent the day leisurely, sauntering lazily over to the local market for some vegetables and a roasting chicken, then met up with a new friend for a stroll around the park. Casual, lackadaisical, I stayed comfortable in an ancient olive cashmere sweater and a classic cameo locket, while introducing my friend to my favorite local cheese monger and indulging in a deliciously inexpensive banh mi sandwich.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Economics of Hosiery

Since returning from my tranquil and gloriously sweaty vacation in Costa Rica, I have been simultaneously relishing and enduring the height of tight season here in New York. During the upheaval of moving from the suburbs to my new neighborhood, I had initially jammed my impressive collection of various pairs of tights into my main suitcase, which, subsequently, was artfully crammed into the corner of my awkwardly narrow hall closet. While emptying this suitcase for vacation packing was, at the time, quite the hassle, it ultimately proved fruitful since I was then forced to find a new home for my arguably most frequently worn winter garment.

Funnily, despite being so heavy in rotation, so completely and utterly versatile, I have so far resisted the financial plunge into the realm of luxury hosiery, namely, the Wolford brand. At superficial assessment, spending more than 100$ on a pair of hose seems ludicrous; with the risk of runs and snags always imminent, tights are perpetuated as a transient commodity, an accessory that has a variable and tenuous wear-life. If I were dip deep into my business acumen, take the effort to perform a thorough cost-benefit analysis, I would surmise that, in reality, the spend on those numerous pairs of tights of mediocre quality, spend measured in dollars and time and potential for embarrassing moments of a public rip, would exceed the cost of a single Wolford pair. Cost per wear. Cost per tear. This may even elegantly, or ridiculously, be modeled in a Markov-fashion. My high school economics teacher would be begrudgingly proud; my handful of years in strategic marketing are infecting my lifestyle, running rampant. Pun intended.

Time for some fresh evening air, away from the cubicle, away from tactical decks, away from budget discussions. But, still, time to perhaps reevaluate the ancient adage of quality and quantity.

(image taken from Who What Wear) 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Comfort and Tuxedo Flats

Entering the subway stop near my apartment, I maneuver adroitly between piles of discarded trash, cheap pink sparkling wine bottles and plastic wrappers advertising some sickly neon sugared concoction; as I exit, I maneuver adroitly between visiting businessman wielding boxed rolling luggage and European tourists in stark white sneakers, snapping up moments of billboards with their cameras. It is an immeasurable departure from the short strut to my car, a few precious moments of radio blaring, and the equally short strut to my suburban office. Dainty heels, while not completely extinct, some sartorial memory, are an item that necessitate much more careful consideration, planning, willingness to endure the potential for pain. A masochistic Monday.

It pleases me that the tuxedo, or smoking, depending on linguistic preference, flat has had an extended flaunting trend time. They are comfortable, easily adorned with some bit of fancy to add intrigue. This particular pair, nearly stolen off of the discount shelf of a bargain basement shoe warehouse, evoke a hint of flamboyant French eighteenth-century noble, topped with some mountainous powdered wig. A bit more modern, a bit more contained, and a bit more appropriate for walking the mean and harried streets of midtown Manhattan.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make

While hungrily gulping down the last swills of summer the other weekend at the beach in Delaware with my friend, childhood best Sarah, and her parents, I made sure to make the pilgrimage trek to the neighboring town of Milsboro, home to one of the most effusive, opulent collections of costume jewelry on the east coast. After our pupils adjusted to the dazzling glint glaring off the waves of rhinestone, Sarah and I scoured the store for unique finds to flaunt around the mean streets of our Brooklyn neighborhood. This brooch, gold leaf encircling bold colored stones, was a rather capricious purchase, spotted at the last moment as I was paying for my other goods. Surprisingly, given my expansive collection of random baubles, it is quite unlike anything else I own. Earlier this week, when temperatures rose once again to near treacherous heights, the street tar black and sticky, I wore my bit of goldsmith product as a pendant, a great homage to artifice, with a simple white cotton henley cut blouse. Against a simple canvas of white, the splash of bright stones embedded in the golden detailing shone, evoking an ancient emblem. As the weather cools and autumn returns, I hope to pair this brooch with a simple silk scarf and a plain black dress, again, let the piece stand ornate and alone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Consider the Crabs, or, Farewell Fond Summer

The other weekend, I survived the tumult of the bus down south to the Delaware shore and spent a delightfully lazy weekend with close childhood family friends. Spending time with incredible parental figures, who have known you since you were essentially a pile of rapidly replicating cells gestating, brings great comfort but, notably, is also relaxing because, in short, they are not actually your parents. Potential opportunities for discussing financially planning for the future or career trajectories averted. Their home was beautiful, the air pristine, and the sky a sharp and startling blue; ideal for a jaunt away from my small apartment and Brooklyn neighborhood. 

As a Baltimore native, the ritualistic dining procession of the steamed crab feast is learned young, a cultural development stage wedged between acclimation to typical kindergarten pedagogical environments and navigating the sexual tension of sweat perfumed middle school corridors. Generally, there are long tables, set up outside in the late summer sun, carefully covered in long sheets of brown paper, a scattering of wooden mallets, a gathering of family and friends, and, the pinnacle, a mountain of boiled red crustaceans, tangled claws and shells, drenched in delicious Old Bay seasoning. This is not a meal, it is a social event, for many, the social event of the waning lazy days of summer. Picking the crab is a delicate and precise process, a blend of art and science; a novice is guided by some sage tribal elder, who demonstrates how to twist each spindly leg, how to crack the claws to preserve the sweet white meat. Depending on the mentor, there are inner body bits that are adroitly discarded, or consumed greedily as a succulent delicacy. The crab feast is a marathon of gorging, learning, talking, joking, laughing. 

Having resided in New Jersey for a few years and now in New York, in essence away from the Land of Pleasant Living, I had not indulged in a crab feast in years; in fact, before the other weekend, I could not even remember the last time I had enjoyed this Chesapeake Bay staple. Without hesitation, my childhood best friend, current good friend, Sarah, and I informed her parents that the weekend simply must include at least one dozen crabs. They acquiesced, with little need for the power of persuasion. So, after relaxing on the chilled but sunny beach late on Saturday morning, we traveled to a rustic seafood joint on the bay, open and breezy with broad views of the surrounding grasses and herons. Armed with napkins, cocktails, and a small arsenal of hush puppies, we attacked our crabs, meticulous, driven, and gorged slowly, devouring each limb, leaving no crevice unclean.

Despite what the derivative and trite appropriation of the title may suggest, I will not contemplate the metaphysical or aesthetic implications of the history of boiling and eating these delicious creatures. Another time, perhaps. Like the crab feasts of my youth, summer, at the onset, seems to stretch forward infinitely, without limit; at its inevitable close, sated, I still feel a tad somber, wincing, already nostalgic at its end.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Stomp Arounds

The evenings have grown cool, cool to that calming temperature that coaxes the best deep sleep with calming dreams. Open-toed wedges seem a distant memory, boots now a necessary tangential appendage. In response to the seemingly ancient question of black or brown boot leather, a few weeks earlier I decided to compromise with this dual-tone pair: black liquorice and milk chocolate brown. With a casual dress code office, these riding-inspired boots will have the opportunity to be showcased and pranced around quite regularly.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fall Fashion Fumbles

Leaning towards masochistic tendencies, at least on the sartorial editorial spectrum, there are a few online magazines that I continue to read despite frequent and flagrant disappointment with their content. Typically, my frustration stems from outlandish curatorial selections for wardrobe staples, couched as must-haves for the everywoman, which then include pieces that are either impractical, unattractive, or foolishly expensive, or all of the above. A week or so ago, I clicked my way through a feature that was guilty on all three counts, promoting the purported fall trends, my teeth clenched. Like a crashing train, I had to find my way to the inevitable end, though, my sensibilities were not calmed. While disgustedly entertained, I was not convinced nor swayed; I am proudly still a master of my own consumer power.

Ludicrous though it may be, the "boyfriend" moniker to describe denim that is even mildly loose is here to stay. Personally, I would love to meet the presumably straight boyfriend, since these styles are exclusively marketed, if not designed, for women, who would wear these in public; having attended sufficient gender studies lectures to know, I am, of course, excluding females who would prefer to self-identify as heterosexual men, a certainly not significant demographic. Pathetic attempts at jokes aside, what is with these joke pants? High-waisted and dual-tone. I may be growing close minded and even more cynical in my advancing age, but these would definitely only look decent on a thin, thin model, like the faceless lass who dons them here. 

I really can only foresee a pair of floral culottes in my future when, or more optimistically if, I glide down that not terribly steep slope to the realm of senility, a few decades from now when my neurons decide to strike. Again, a prime example of tailoring that typically only flatters the thin and tall, a rare and often vapid species of female. Harnessing the look of hilarious cartoon icon Peggy Hill is not in my fall trend plan.

Menswear-inspired pieces, when properly tailored, are definitely a safe bet and an enduring classic. A shapeless vest shift dress, however, falls more than a bit flat.

(images taken from Refinery29)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sunday Fun Day, Jets Edition

Though certainly an avid sports fan, professional football has never been my obsession; still, I snatched at the opportunity to attend a Jets game this past Sunday. While no dedicated fan to the sport, I appreciate nearly any live event in which drinking during the day, or during mass transportation, is both acceptable and expected. Stadium architecture always fascinates me as well, a synergy of modern sleek steel and a more primordial sense of Lek mating grounds. There is a collective cultural archetype and nostalgia that I always imbibe in big stadiums, these contemporary colesseums. The same sentiment that binge-watching Friday Night Lights induces, being a patch in some large quilt of diverse but cohesive Americana. 

Three ladies, dutifully dressed in various shades of green, mine the most neon and the least symbolic of the actual team colors, we were surrounded by loyalists, mostly men, shouting, sometimes angry and exasperated, often proud and full of joy. Occasionally, they would offer to us their few cents on the matter, a referee call or a foolish play. When the Jets won, very narrowly, with an ugly but effective field goal kick that sort of lobbed the ball pathetically through the air, we received high-fives and a face full of cheers. A win, combined with some cheap domestic beer and a deliciously expensive hotdog slathered in ketchup, left me sated.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Game Changer

Last week, a few of my lady colleagues and I were discussing the sometimes laughable, often times loathsome fashion of bridesmaid dresses, hovering not exactly over but in the vicinity of the water cooler. One of my colleagues was lamenting a particular dress she had just discovered she would be obliged to wear, something backless, which sounds promising, until the pragmatic and very real prospect of under garments entered the equation. The equivalent of the deepest and most disgusting depths of hell for women with even mildly ample bosoms, complicated draping and cuts that ultimately require odd suction cup bras, while beautiful on the hanger or some wraith model, incite fear. And anxiety. And my colleague did not hesitate to give it a proper name: that monoboob thing. Or, depending on the remedy that is sought, that sagging thing. That uncomfortable contraption thing.

"You should try a leotard, for a backless dress with straps like that." I spoke these words clearly, calmly, confidently, without fear, a woman assured of her strategy, a woman who has refused to paste gelatinous underwear to her chest. I smiled, watching the epiphany occurring in her mind just before my eyes, those neural cogs slowly turning, away from exasperation to utter relief and joy. 

(image taken from Little Plastic Horses)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Shine On You Crazy Rhinestone

Leveraging my acute problem solving skills and occasionally devious wardrobe machinations, I am more than adroit at seamlessly integrating marginally inappropriate or wild pieces into my daily office garb. This feat was more impressive when the enforced and prescribed dress code was the ever infuriating but easily manipulated business casual at my former employer. Now, where the edict is casual and the masses have the freedom to run amok, at least sartorially, wearing the bold, the outlandish, the daring, has slightly less appeal. Not entirely, but slightly. Thankfully, there are always limits to be pushed and boundaries to flaunt wantonly. Unfortunately, sapped of creative energy of late, I have not been the individual pushing or flaunting. All work, substantially less play; these dated and trite adages are grounded in very real truths.

So, in my soporific sartorial slump, one of the more bold, outlandish, daring moments has been these tailored shorts, emblazoned with a tessellating graphic of squares. Comprised of chevrons and smaller squares in neon salmon and deep royal blue, collectively they create an illusion of diamonds. Like diamond, each component seems precisely and geometrically bonded, held together in a perfect structure by the noble laws of organic chemistry. A tad shorter than what I would likely swing during my days confined to a business moniker, for a hot summer in the city, paired with a plain and modest cream top, they were ideal.

Like so many other of my earrings, particularly those discovered and collected in more recent years, I was drawn to these bodacious bronze leaves for their unique sculptural elements. To a more numb or tedious eye, this pair hardly resembles earrings at all; they hang stiffly, yet they exude a wonderful movement in the curvature of the metal and in the great sparkle of the false stone when light strikes. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Consider the Cream Cheese

Feast or famine has, for some significant but unquantifiable time, been a sort of personal mantra, philosophically and physically. Go hard, or go home. All or nothing. Moderation, temperance, have never much been my thing. Appropriately, and inconveniently, I am tormented by a residual late afternoon headache, a consequence of such an approach to life.

Like other days of the week, weekends revolve around food and drink; location, atmosphere, company. Early afternoon on a Saturday, there are two typical scenarios in the dining algorithm: a sit-down, formal brunch affair, or, a fresh bagel, slathered in cream cheese. I am, usually, equally sated by either or, aside from that one critical, aptly chosen detail. The deluge of dairy smear that nearly strangles. This is where I practice constraint. Procedural, or perhaps ritual, each bagel, each time, I separate the halves, scrape away the excesses of delicious fat, paint with my portion until, to my satisfaction, the layer of flavor is even and not too much, careful on those moments when jalapeno or chive seem particularly alluring to not ignore those all too critical chunks.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tomboys and Barbie Pink

Knees scuffed, hair a perpetual knot of entropy, I was more the basic and beloved tomboy archetype than the fairy princess as a young girl. Though my afternoons were more likely spent playing with dump trucks, plowing through brown dirt and terrorizing the local pill bugs, rather than pilfering lipstick from my mother, practicing my pucker, I was not immune to the Barbie doll phenomenon. Even when spending an afternoon building a huge dream home for my Barbie and her various friends, leveraging bizarre ornaments and chachkas invariably housed in my and my friends' basements, this did not segue into painting our nails and lips. Generally, it led to romping around outside, looking for toads. Countless plastic bodies, immobile and contorted, lay piled in large cardboard boxes in my basement, amid a flood of neon shoes and evening dresses. Despite the frenzy of their storage, something more akin to a guerrilla war zone, I loved these dolls. And, to be fair, was more gentle with them as I grew older, a sort of strange tension, where the realization of their superficiality as toys enhances, yet the association of their doll bodies with approaching feminine development also strengthens. They grew more fake, yet I treated them more like actual miniature people.

As I would assume is fairly common, my tomboy tendencies were fostered and encouraged by my father. To this day, he adheres to a natural over artificial approach when it comes to grooming. The one time in early adolescence when I did paint my nails with a friend, furtively, in some atrocious algal green and yellow, surely ended in some disapproving comment, though, what exactly I do not remember. Which is probably a good thing, at least for my own sanity. So, unlike many of the girls my age, in my circumstance, I did not actually own a bottle of nail polish until my junior year of high school. An added flair before my junior prom dance, the shade was a deep ruby wine, a more glittered and cheerful blood, and it matched my dress. Raven Red by Revlon, a loose nod to Edgar Allen Poe. With this as my seminal precedent, for years after, the only shade I wore was this, rarely, slowly emptying the bottle.

Eventually, probably around the time that whatever remark about my unattractive forest moss green nails was forgotten, I branched out, to other variations in the dark red family. Cherry Crush. Revlon Red. Frankly Scarlet. At the start of the summer, taunted by the austere lust of the cosmetics aisle of the pharmacy, I stared at the rows. In my chromatic comfort zone, I owned them all. Each one. Hastily, I grabbed some blindingly fuchsia tint and ran to the register. Did not look back.

First remorse, then neglect. Earlier this week, I finally cracked open the bright pink, slicked it on. Immediately, my nails adopt a plastic sheen. Curved keratin becomes that iconic tiny plastic pump of my childhood, and I remember the frustration when, inevitably, one would disappear into the abyss of the play room.

(image taken from Ron's Rescued Treasures)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cheap Metal

After years spent rummaging through the random drawers and scratched plastic cases of various antique and thrift stores, I have grown accustomed to cheap, low prices for bold costume jewelry. Now, with such a vehement resurgence of classic costume aesthetics of earlier decades by numerous popular commercial fashion franchises, most notably J. Crew, I am shocked at the prices so many seem willing to pay, but more so am disappointed at how prevalent some of my favorite, once unique pieces now appear. Such is the cyclic nature of trends. So little remains original.

To wax a bit more philosophical on the subject, I suppose, with that price, comes an assurance of timeliness, popularity, consumer-tested appeal. A sort of playground, schoolyard approval. With pawing through a pile of knotted fake metals and neon plastics, there comes a certain risk; an adventure. There is choice. With that, both successes and failures.

I found both of these necklaces, one a simple paved road chain, one a cluster of gilded leaves, at the same dumpy antique odds and ends shop in Ithaca, squirreled away in a dingy mall between an old, used book store and a new age children's toy shop. They were purchased on separate occasions, and typically have been worn alone, but the other day, while donning a simple chambray blouse, paired them together. Coincidentally, the light, almost sunlight white gold of each metal nearly matches, allowing the clash of texture and shape to come to the foreground of the coupling. With such a plain, soft, and androgynous outfit, the pile of metal added a hard feminine edge.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Someone's Gotta Help Me Dig

(image taken from Earphoria)

(image taken from Interview)

(image taken from Brooklyn Vegan)

Not one to succumb to oblivion or blissful ignorance, I knew that moving to New York, while definitely a welcome and arguably overdue adventure, would not be the ultimate antidote to my various life struggles, big and small. Very aware, I knew I would continue to work long hours, would continue to combat constant exasperation from inane or incompetent clients, would continue to irrationally fear those creepily crawling brown water bugs that invariably live in apartment sinks, for a moment, before remembering I can triumph with a deluge of cleaning spray, accurately aimed. But, obviously, I did have some typical expectations of being able to indulge in the rich experiences the city has to offer. Music, art, literature. Margaritas. And the like.

After several days of incessant fretting and frittering over inconsequential details, there is a beautiful tension between the excitement and the calm experienced, engulfed in a crowd of strangers, old and young and delightfully diverse, listening to the creation of sound that, through the inevitable mysteries of time, can only happen once.

Last Wednesday, after a long day in the office, I saw Father John Misty perform, sing his poetry and gyrate, mostly ironically, on stage. His presence is an amalgamation, a hybrid of gods before him, part satire and part honest veneration, or at least respect: Joe Strummer, Freddie Mercury, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, with a splash of buxom lounge singer, anonymous, ubiquitous. He struts. He feigns slamming his guitar, his microphone stand, hard onto the stage, holding them aloft precariously, dipping low. He parades into the crowd, poses for photographs, smiles for the various likes and shares on some digital plane. He jokes and talks between songs, sharing stories that may be truth or lies, which it does not matter. And none of these things compromise the integrity of his lyrics, humorous and mocking but also gritty and provocative. Nor the integrity of his voice. As a wonderful cherry atop, his band is, unsurprisingly, equally talented; they do not merely support, but perform and entertain alongside him.

Rarely am I hugely disappointed after live music, though, naturally, some shows are notably better and worth it than others I have attended. While Father John Misty is certainly worthy of a gander, for me, last week, it was an evening of wiping my eyes of the computer glow and remembering why I moved, and why I should never forget to seek to live.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Red Wicker Bag and Blurred Patriotism

Memories of Fourth of July festivities are nearly as blurred as this amateur phone-photograph, a result of haphazard frozen concoctions imbibed on the day and a whirlwind of amorphous time-space since. At once furiously frenzied fast and molasses long, this work week has left me exhausted; I blame my project pile, the lack of natural sunlight in our crouched building office, and the general solid city heat.

Last week, as an accompaniment to a cook-out with some friends and an unpolished roof top with some other friends, for some illicit fireworking, I carried this sugar cherry red vintage wicker bag, a find from my weekend last summer up in Great Barrington.  The past few seasons have seen a return to the classic, quintessential wicker bag of earlier generations, imbuing me with effortless and on-trend style based on my collection. Tightly woven, natural or dyed some bold blinding color, the sharp structure of the wicker bag lends elegance without stifling a casual, capricious summer style. For me, the wicker texture and this simple red are synonymous with lush gardens, croquet, sweating summer drinks in tall Collins glasses, and patio parties.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hearts of Glass

(image taken from Kitten)

(image taken from Lehigh Valley Live)

(image taken from Ribbon Around Da Bomb)

(image taken from Listal)  

Yesterday, Debbie Harry turned sixty-eight, an age at once laughably arcane and painfully close. Time has been strange and elusive to me lately; since moving, new city and new tastes and new smells, old friends, new friends, I never seem to stop moving, even when I wake, a comfortable sweat collates from a night of speeding dreams, eerie and horrifying and beautiful. A friend of mine from high school came the other weekend, for a brief but delightful visit; she is well, different but also the same, as I hope that I, too, am, someone familiar but someone also new and exciting to explore and continue to cultivate these relationships. This past weekend, another friend, from university, similarly, we are both new yet the same, I can still see a trance of mischief in her smile. It seems to be a success to say we both are happier now, happier than then, without forgetting that which first led us to find such friendship. Commiseration. I am proud, of us both.

Singing karaoke for the first time in a public space, somewhere loud and open and with strangers, we selected a tried and true Blondie song, simultaneously safe and rebellious, like us. Mostly giddy but fueled by alcohol as well, we ran to the train, nervous, not wanting to spend the early hours of a dark morning wandering the streets, but also not caring if we were forever trapped here, atonal, dancing the same rhythmic discombobulation of hips and open smiles.

When we were all younger, the whole group, a dance competition: Madonna against those familiarly simple subversive post-disco beats. My earrings broke from the effort of dancing. The floor warped beneath our shaking bodies, convulsing wood in sinoidal waves. We laughed and laughed, knowing and yet, not knowing, years from then, we would still hold such a place for one another in our hearts. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Corso Como Lusting

My sister, Elizabeth, introduced me to the affordable beauty and elegance of Corso Como pumps last winter, during an evening out at Gramercy Tavern celebrating my birthday. She wore this pair of classic suede pumps in black, the slight hint of gold in the tip of the toe the perfect accent against her monochrome look. Earlier week, I discovered that the bold velvety red variety are on final sale at Piperlime. I will espouse the many versatile qualities of a great pair of red shoes dogmatically, my consumerist sartorial mantra. For someone who has been bemoaning the lack of organizational space in my new apartment, especially when it comes to handbags and arguably impractical shoes, indulging in this steal may be laughable. Even more so, considering the chaos and destruction of my recent closet woes, which, ashamedly, I am still in the throes of. Moderation has honestly never been a trait of mine, anyway; go hard or go home.

(image taken from Piperlime)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Closet Crash

Sunday late afternoon is spent reveling in a cool, languid heat, sipping Sazeracs and stouts. Then we gorge on Cajun spiced food, the soft flesh of white catfish, bloodied tomatoes, rich mayonnaise sauce. We speak slowly and laugh. Tattoos, given to ourselves, or bestowed upon us by friends. Ventriloquism. Documentaries. We sit on wooden picnic table benches, prime real estate, as cigar and marijuana smoke mingle and permeate, a couple of local of caricatures smacking on rolled joints of different flavors, stretched taut denim, stretched taut braids. Reading conspicuously from some red leather journal as they puff.

Earlier that day, zealous, I arrange fastidiously various limp cascades of fabric in my two new closets, harnessing spacial analysis and brute force. A wooden dowel, long and supported by cheap plastic, I ignore all tenets of physics that I know to be true and cruel. Snap, like a cracking bone. Collapse. Inevitable entropy, sprawled and crumpled on the floor. 

I cry for a moment, overwhelmed and hot, then decide this is a manifestation of the proverbial growing pains.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pink Elephants, or, Not in New Jersey Anymore, Toto

To liken the past few weeks to a whirlwind would be on the equivalent dampening plane as calling the recent emotional turmoils surrounding child star Amanda Bynes, and its accompanied frenzied media diarrhea, simply stress. Perhaps it is just my own stress of feeling constantly under the proverbial gun, inciting this hyperbole, but packing up my life, throwing out old parts of my life, and moving to a new city and a new job have been taxing. Naturally, with the actual apartment hunt having gone, all things considered, smoothly and successfully, I discover, to my dismay, last Tuesday that my telephone land-line has been cut, making my self-installation internet service impossible. A stroke of genius in business cruelty and revenue generation, Verizon has revived the land-line from the realm of unnecessary and novel oddities from centuries passed, by using the land-line, as opposed to the cable line, for their high-speed service. While, for a brief moment, I was ecstatic and relieved that I could potentially make local telephone calls during now infamous east coast super-storms, to other suckers with Verizon land-line service, the realization that an additional week without connectivity was harsh. Thankfully, I still indulge in yet another antiquated novelty, books, so, survival and entertainment were never actually in question.

But I digress. 

My first two weeks on the new job have revealed some wonderful and welcome lessons. Even the most minor modicum of process in place feels like an entirely new and foreign planet when you have been professionally raised, so to speak, in that entrepreneurial milieu of utter and complete chaos at a tiny company. Never, ever second-guess that immediate friendship with the geeky technology liaison; his insights and attentiveness are worth more than the entire arsenal of MacBooks at the agency. Although decidedly not as intimate as those forged between Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, bond with the executive director and creative partner of your entire agency over your safari adventures in Africa. Because, obviously, everyone loves elephants and is awe-struck by their magnificence. Also, after collecting copious piles of costume jewelry and cocktail accoutrement and other riffraff generally discarded by those with a less cultivated sense of nostalgia for years, there is a monumental professional pay off; bond with that same executive director over this as well. Over this insatiable love for bakelite and for art deco furniture and for glass cocktail shakers, decorated with none other than cartoonish elephants. Finally, do not be surprised when said director, of a different and distant generation, admonishes you for not being an active Pinterest member. 

(image taken from Pinterest)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Packed Rat and Pinotage

Things have been quiet around these, normally, opulently verbose parts; changes of the magnitude that would make our favorite Thin White Duke call for more milk, more milk. Or something. Bucking the surprisingly potent shackles of stagnation, I abandoned the suburbs of the polarized, adored and abhorred, Garden State, now find myself a mere block from Prospect Park in Brooklyn. While it pained me to bid a teary farewell to some truly incredible colleagues, friends, I have survived my first few days at my new and exciting position, strong and assured and unscathed. The level of meticulous process and attention to project routing is a bit daunting, to say the least, for one with my enterpreneurially chaotic background, but, acclimating to new environments is a welcome challenge after the initial shock of discomfort and change.

With the overwhelmingly generous and dedicated help of my filmmaker, I have very nearly packed my entire apartment and moved into the new space. As even a brief perusal of some of these random ramblings and visual accompaniments will indicate, I am a violent pack rat. Armed with a suburban pad with enormous closets, I much needed a gleaning of my belongings, particular in the clothing department. Although it had been long postponed, the process was less painful than I anticipated; it was, tritely, a therapeutic cleansing. As we shed old garments, we also shed former skins; decisions, moments, relationships, emotions, we regret, or we harbor pride for, and can reflect briefly, again. Simultaneously building anew, building stronger, and a sort of homage rite, to the past. Sentimentality is, depending on perspective, a strength and a weakness; to search for greater meaning in these mundane quotidian.  

In an effort to avoid using my kitchen and dirtying my dishes, which needed to be gingerly wrapped and placed in boxes, the filmmaker and I went to our favorite local sushi joint one last time. Combating that hoarding tendency once more, I spontaneously brought this bottle of pinotage rose, one of four stowaways from my trip to South Africa last October, one trip, of many, in which I am still delinquent on sharing photographs and waxing nostalgic about the glories and beauties and challenges of travel. The wine had an incredible flavor to it, light, as a rose generally promises, but with that titillating hint of unbridled wilderness associated with a pinotage. Pairing well with fish, and with a day of exhausted packing, I am delighted that I resisted the urge to save it for some more appropriate occasion. Celebrating life, the new, the now, is occasion enough.   

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Outfit for a Tuesday: Red for Billy's Red Room

There have been some exciting changes in my life lately, so today, feeling proud and happy and optimistic, seemed ideal for playing with bold, bright colors: red, cobalt, and violet. These red and golden swirl earrings, like clusters of iridescent bits of sand, magnified and dangling, were a gift from my mother ages ago. They are a little tight on my ears, so I do not wear them as frequently as I would like, but I love the changeling nature of the colors and their bright visual jingle. For some reason, one without significance, some caprice, I tend to wear these wedge sandals with cobalt blue; my sense of color balance and complement is satisfied with the red, blue, violet spectrum the pairing creates.

After work, to cheer up a rather slow Tuesday, some of my colleagues and I went to dinner at our favorite happy hour and dinner spot near the office, a hybrid fishing shack and bar called Billy's Red Room. Literally slathered in kitsch plastic seafaring paraphernalia, colorful bass and sharks and goldfish and crusted old anchors dripping off the walls, the joint is dank with charm. If the ambiance were not enough to win over even the most cantankerous of curmudgeons, each table features a large pool of spicy, homemade pickled vegetables and the proprietor, Billy, meanders drunkenly from party to party, slurring half-sensical filthy jokes and generously bestowing patrons with moonshine-soaked maraschino cherries. Nothing but class.