Wednesday, September 30, 2009

falling for fall

Last night I packed about 7/8 of my closet. K's dad is coming into town tonight from WA and I need to make myself scarce (our apartment can barely contain two people, let alone two + a parent), so I am moving in with my parents for the week! While K & his crazy dad are hiking the long trail, I will be relaxing by the woodstove with a glass (or two) of red and an old furry friend... ...and then it's back to Beantown to live it up with my lovely lady friends for the weekend!

Needless to say, the majority of my closet is now in a suitcase and this is what I'm wearing:

Tonight, in honor of the fact that K and I will not be seeing each other for a whole week, we went on a hot date to The Reservoir here in town. I have been obsessing over this fabulous grill & tap room since we went a couple of weeks ago and I glimpsed culinary nirvana in the form of maple sweet potato fries, a curry veggie burger with peanut sauce and Woodchuck Pear Cider. I am not exaggerating when I say, forget wafers and wine! If ever transubstantiation were to occur, it would be a direct result of this savory alchemy. Okay, perhaps I lean toward exaggeration--but seriously, those sweet potato fries are heavenly. They were just as incredible the second time around:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

movies that matter: the cove

On Saturday night, K and I went to see The Cove at our beloved Savoy (which never disappoints). It did everything the reviews said that it would do to me... I was simultaneously outraged and touched, cursing my castrated cash flow. I was shocked and appalled by the insensitivity and downright lunacy of the Japanese government. Not only were they murdering 23,000 dolphins every year (because technically they aren't protected by the IWC, though even if they were I'm sure Japan would find a loophole in the name of "science"), in the name of pest control...

...but they then proceeded to blatantly poison the people! I just want to shake them and ask,

"Really, do you want to require all Japanese schoolchildren to consume mercury-laden dolphin meat for lunch every day? Really? Even after Minamata? It's like a neurological genocide of your own people."

For such a developed nation, Japan appears to be completely devoid of moral conscience. Talk about corruption--the government is so stubbornly trying to avoid regulation from other nations they are only proving to those meddling nations that interference is absolutely necessary! If the poor Japanese people can't even trust their government to provide edible food, of course they're going to be a little bit unstable (or maybe it's just the mercury poisoning)... is it just me? Can anyone else see the connection? This country is off the rails!

But seriously, Japan, if you fear for your food source, find another one. The world is only getting smaller... maybe the Japanese people should Master the Art of French Cooking and leave poor Flipper in the ocean where he belongs. Sorry, future children-of-mine, if you exit my womb you will not set foot in a SeaWorld... Ric O'Barry makes it sound like a trip to the State Penitentiary would be an equivalent experience.

The good news is, this documentary may actually be making a difference! As Mr. O'Barry said, if we can't protect this one little cove there is no hope for change. But, as it turns out, maybe hope does spring eternal! The Taiji dolphin hunt was scheduled to commence as soon as September rolled around, and still the Cove is quiet and clear. All eyes are on you, Japan. This is your chance to prove that you still belong to the human race.

It's so inspiring! Maybe we really can change the world one little cove at a time. Whether your "cause" be putting a halt to global warming or stopping sex trafficking or saving the whales or restoring deteriorating mansions, you really can contribute to the overall improvement of life on this earth--for dolphins, for humans, for the future. After all, if one man with one mission can make one movie and stop the slaughter of thousands of dolphins... who knows what nearly 7 billion people could do if we tried?

To donate to the dolphins (and maybe get a cool tee-shirt), click here. To figure out what issues get you all hot and bothered, wake up your life! Say "screw you, comfort zone!" See a few films that don't just transport you to an escapist place you've visited so many times before (if you want mindless entertainment on the weekend, watch something stimulating on a Wednesday)... our minds were meant to be bent... and everybody knows that curiosity never really killed anyone.

storming the castle

On Saturday, K and I up and went on a little adventure to Wilson Castle. It's a beautiful Victorian mansion that has unfortunately been crumbling and deteriorating for a half-century. It was built in 1867 by an American MD (Dr. John Johnson), who met and fell in love with a wealthy aristocrat while studying abroad in London. He brought her back to the States and built this $1.3 million dollar estate for her, but the Lady died only a decade later. For almost 100 years the castle changed hands until 1939, when a pioneer radio engineer named Herbert Lee Wilson bought the property for his summer home and set up an AM radio station on the grounds. He retired to the estate in the 1950s and opened it to the public in 1962. K read about the mansion in our local weekly cultural & events paper, and got all fired up about helping out with the restoration. He has an avid interest in history&architecture and hopes to get his MA in Historical Preservation, so this obviously caught his eye. I suggested we go on a mini-roadtrip to check it out!

I threw on my trusty travel dress and we took to the road. The leaves have started to change to their seasonal reds & yellows, so it is hard to resist taking fall photos!
Along the way we passed through the Green Mountain Forest and Bread Loaf campus, where the well-renowned writers conference has been held since 1926.

We strolled through the woods up to Robert Frost's cabin in Ripton to see where the Poet Laureate spent his summer days.

I've never been much of a Frost fan--I'm not terribly thrilled by nature poetry and he seems to be a bit too obvious for my tastes. Besides that, growing up in Vermont we were over-exposed to his work for years and years. I think I can still recite almost all of "The Road Not Taken." Still, I really enjoy seeing the places that writers choose to sit & write. Maybe I expect these places to have some sort of magical quality, infused with the spirits of great masters of the written word that will take me by the pen and say "here, look at this... isn't this inspiring?"

When we finally arrived at Wilson Castle there was a Wedding taking place. We were pretty surprised because the article K had read said that the Castle was in such a terrible state of disrepair that it could no longer be used for events and that it wasn't even currently open to the public. We lurked around like creepy Wedding crashers for a while, exploring the overgrown grounds of this once-magnificent castle:

(the aviary)

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
(R. Frost, New Hampshire, 1923)

I kind of love ruined grandeur.

As the wedding showed no signs of stopping (though it was winding down), K and I decided to just take the plunge... after all, we had driven two hours to see the place! We entered through the back door and explored the grand house on our own terms. At this point my camera died, but it really was lovely. On the second floor we were surprised to encounter an in-progress tour, but had already showed ourselves around so we didn't bother to hop on it (the tour guide said something about the bridal suite being off-limits because it was actually in use, but we had already snuck around in there!)

On the way home we stopped in Middlebury to finally experience American Flatbread. We had the Punctuated Equilibrium pizza and it was absolutely divine. I'm so glad that K finally appreciates goat cheese and all the wonders of food-that-is-not-meat. For dessert we could not pass up the homemade pumpkin cheesecake, which was melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Go there. If you have an American Flatbread in your vicinity and you have not been, you are seriously missing out.

I will write about the rest of our Saturday at a later date. The movie we saw that night is worthy of its very own post.

Monday, September 28, 2009

for the love of leather

I was happy to finally be able to wear jeans this Casual Friday because I wanted to test-drive my new leather jacket without feeling too fancy. Incidentally, it is the last Casual Friday I will ever have... our dress code has officially been altered to allow denim on non-Fridays! I sure do love some skirts and dresses, but if I'm sitting in a cubicle all day it's nice to have the option to slub it up in some jeans so I can save my pretty outfits for date night and the like.

Anyway, after a long week of work the only date that K and I seem to be able to muster the energy to go on is a movie-date. We drove to Morrisville to see "Julie & Julia," which I have been dying to see and K has most definitely been attempting to divert me away from. He finally broke down, mostly because there is absolutely NOTHING worth seeing right now.

I was pleasantly surprised by how fantastically retro the Bijou was! I don't remember it being even remotely as cool... ruby-red velvet upholstery, tacky film reel tables, vintage movie posters... awesome.
Also awesome: the movie!

I attribute the quality of the film to the fact that it is based on (two) true stories. The characters were charming and refreshingly realistic. Amy Adams would get a little chubby if she kept eating all that butter! She was irritable and frustrated and discontent and had a drone job and a crap apartment in Queens, but (pardon the analogy) she took the ingredients she had and cooked up something fabulous! Real people need real motivation and usually need to build from the ground up. Relationships are messy and people are not saints, no matter how filled with love they are, but life can have a happy ending if you actually live it.

I know most people like this movie despite the Amy Adams segments (because the bits about Julia Child's life in Paris are so fantastic), but I didn't mind them. It just felt so true to (my) life, like Julie was coming to the same conclusions that I have come to--feeling bitchy (yeah but who isn't?) and bored with her job and finding comfort and peace with one simple, essential thing--cooking. It's a ritual-induced meditation. It's physical and mental nourishment, and we all need to find the one thing that can satiate our hunger so that we can experience the richness of life. Feeling complete usually involves feeling driven by a purpose... Julie chose to cook. For now, I'm choosing to dress. When I look put together, I feel put together, and I am already starting to see a difference in my attitude. I hope this little blog of mine can act as a springboard for my aspirations, because mastering the art of French cooking certainly won't do it for me. I have no desire to learn how to bone a duck.

Friday, September 25, 2009

yesterday is vintage

Until I get a real computer in my clutches, I am going to have to content myself with posting outfits after-the-fact. This little get-up was based around my new silk ruffled blouse. The day after my major spree I couldn't resist ducking in to the little thriftstore here in town on my lunch break. All adult clothing in the store is $2--hello, budget! Belts, scarves, etc. go for a mere $.50! I allowed myself to abandon self-control and I still only spent $6.
The best part about living in Vermont? They didn't even make me pay (right away)! A lot of stores "downtown" here are cash-only, and my city-slicker habit of never having cash on hand (I burn through it like it's paper a $3 chai latte, $1 chocolate bar and $5 sandwich later and I inexplicably spend my rent money...and my waistline) means that I can avoid situations like this one where I spend spontaneously on things I don't really need.

Well, the woman at the counter shoved everything in a bag and told me to drop off the money later in the day. Saved! (Funny... the same thing happened at the bagel place a couple of days before. People are so trusting!)

Anyway, I picked up the little ruffled blouse, intending to pair it with my grey blazer a la J. Crew: ...but I don't have any pants that aren't denim, and office rules and regs won't allow them. Still, I like the way the outfit turned out...a luxe look for cheap-cheap!
skirt (vintage, hemmed, free from Mom), silk shirt ($2), belt ($.50), tights ($2 CVS), peep-toe oxfords (Madden Girl, TJMaxx ~$10), fur collar (H&M, $12.95)

I'll arrange a blazer/blouse alliance later--first I want to replace the default blazer buttons with some chintzy gold antiques.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

downtown crossing #2

The morning after the wedding, K&I walked all the way back across town for some major shopping (sans vino) and when the day was done my feet hurt like heartbreak. This was the scene of my big, bad spending spree. I wore one of my favorite go-to dresses with one of my favorite go-to scarves and punched the look up a notch with my new red tights (which I love love love).
Also, I parked so awesomely the night before on the only street in Boston where I know parking to be free (info source: my college days in this very neighborhood!) that I had to take a photo. If you've ever ridden in a car with me/watched me try to parallel park/etc you will know that I am not particularly skilled in the art of automobile operation. So this was a big deal.

downtown crossing

On Saturday, my college roommate got hitched to her boyfriend of seven years (!)

I've been indulging in my fair share of Wedding Blogs lately (because they're just so lovely to look at) Everyone is so smilingly, lit-from-within beautiful and modern wedding ceremonies are so creative and personalized it is almost as if you can get a sense of who the couple really are just by glancing through their photographs.

It was an intimate ceremony in the surprisingly luxe Wang Theatre in downtown Boston (my Date and I took the T, which significantly cut down on the glam-factor) and was lively while still retaining its class.

The bride was gorgeous, the food was delightfully untraditional... the officiant even quoted Tom Robbins (one of my favorite writers of all time!):

The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.

How true, Mr. Robbins! You need to write a new book so I can be inspired and awakened by the written word once again!

In the meantime, this is what I wore:

After the festivities, fueled by red wine and dinner and dancing, K&I thought it might be nice to stroll the 2.7 miles back to the hotel.

For some reason (maybe a rapid release of walking-induced endorphins) we started speaking in New Zealand accents (which is really rock and roll) and actually succeeded in fooling a fellow and his lady-friend into thinking we were legit NZ rock n' rollers out on the town! I think my accent-abilities are heightened after a couple glasses of vino, because on an average day I can't fake for my life.

All-in-all, a good night... and I got my fix of feathers&ruffles&lace for a little while anyway.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

confessions of a shopaholic

The fact of the matter is, I have a bit of a spending problem. I have little to no self-control when it comes to pretty new things (esp. clothes... I seem to have tackled my unhealthy relationship with DVDs for the time being). I really, honestly identified with these books and this movie (which my mom felt the need to lend me because they seemed to so closely resemble my life), though ironically I have not added it to my extensive DVD collection because the movie came out right after I swore off "wasting" good money on trashy movies and weird independent watch-once-and-then-watch-collect-dust films when--let's face it--those dollars could be worn again and again in the form of a leather jacket or a new pair of slouchy leather boots or two different-but-alike striped dresses... or a funny fur (thing?) that can stand-in as a vest for 1/3 the price!

*gasp* See? Even writing about shopping I lose all sense of structure and go on a sort of sentence-spree! And even though my credit cards are full and happy again, I can't help but feel a nagging dissatisfaction. Sure, I have a sexy new leather jacket, but I have no black boots to wear with it.

And wouldn't it be nice if I had a little floral dress to off-set the biker look?

Or a pair of grey skinny jeans?

You see my problem. I'm like a vampire that wants to suck the blood of H&M and Zara... it's almost enough to make a girl wish she hadn't gone to college (-$12,000), or had skipped that stint abroad (-$5,000), or passed on the whole move-cross-country-on-a-whim thing (-$$$). I should write my depressing, debt-driven memoirs and try to make a buck... but oh, wait. That story has already been written.