Friday, January 29, 2010


I think I froze a couple years off my life this morning.

(dress: Marshall's; scarf: found; tights: layered black&white lace; boots: ALDO; crystal beads: Grammy Flood)

I don't even know how cold it is, but wow. It might not be so bad, but the wind! There was even a "wind chill" advisory on the morning weather, and holy smokes, I believe it. Winter in Vermont is truly not meant to support human life. I think I need to have my sanity checked...

There are a few nice things about living where I do, however. Our bedroom window overlooks a field, a forest, a river and a mountain range in an easterly direction, so I awake in the morning to light spilling over the hills (now that the days are getting longer and I'm not waking up in the blackest of night). The air is crystal clear (like cutting glass, in this cold), and as I approach the center of my frozen little town on the way to work I am aromatically aroused by the warm scent of woodsmoke mingling with roasting coffee. Waterbury is home to the exponentially expanding Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, an independent VT upstart coffee company that hit it big with their über-popular k-cups (which squirt out a single-serving of coffee). The best part? Not only does the roasting facility reside here (and pleasure my nose-buds daily), but the administrative headquarters are in my office building and the powers that be are generous enough to provide me (and eighty of my closest coworkers) with delicious, bottomless coffee five days a week !

Needless to say, when I was finally able to extricate myself from the frosty grip of the icy air and find refuge safely within the four walls of the workplace, I went immediately for the Keurig and poured myself a steaming hot cup of Wicked Winter Extra Bold.

And that, my friends, is how I survive.

As far as fashion goes, I am in love with this LBD. It has the perfect scoop neckline and flared skirt for ultimate figure-flattery. If I were to embark on any sort of Uniform Project of my own, this is the dress I would choose, hands down... there are so many millions of ways to style it, I kind of can't wait to try them out!

The scarf is kind of an accidental Christmas present from a Secret Santa. It was wrapped&unaddressed&kicking around my parents' house after the big 'Eve party... so now its mine!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Valentino: Lite-Brite, Bodies and Wannabe Bunny Ears

Isn't blogging great? Here I have the perfect forum to broadcast my unsolicited opinions and observations on topics I have little to no verifiable technical knowledge of... but, if fashion really is an art form (and I believe it is), I have the right to my own interpretation. So here I come to claim it, once again.

I chose Valentino this time because I loved the Fall 2009 collection enough to blog about it after watching The Last Emperor. My thoughts on this collection are not as profoundly positive, but the more I examine it the more it grows on me.

Exhibit B: Valentino, spring/summer 2010:

NEON. My initial reaction to the chartreuse intruder on these otherwise neutral ensembles was ick-no-gross, but because my pre-conceived neon notions were already less than favorable, I've decided to put my pride aside and re-examine from a more subjective viewpoint. I don't hate it... the balance of skin-tone and day-glo (if you have to use it) isn't alarmingly eye-assaulting, and could even be considered tasteful (if you're into that kind of thing). I'm just kind of not. Free-association time: this does remind me of Lite-Brite, which I enjoyed immensely as a child... does anyone else remember that thing?

BODY: Okay, so you know the BODIES exhibit that has been snaking its skinless way through science museums far and wide for a while now? That's immediately what came to mind when these blatantly corporeal dresses appeared before me: # 1: big hunk of bloody muscle; # 2: the fragile flaps of skin that were peeled off to reveal #1; #3: well, obviously, look at all of those veins and capillaries! Do I have to spell it out? This runway segment looks like it was modeled after that very squirm-inducing BODIES exhibit (which I kiiiind of wanted to see because of the fascination factor alone but then kiiiind of psyched myself out of seeing because it's just ... TMI). Well, now I feel as if I've seen it. Thank you, Valentino. Also, that last dress shot my tangential brain waves into the Realm-Of-The-Weird-Obscure-Movies-I-Had-To-Watch-In-Film-Class, where I was once made very uncomfortable by a far-too-avant-garde-even-for-me autobiographical Bob Fosse film, All That Jazz, which involved a strikingly similar veined (literal) bodysuit. I'm going to reserve any real judgment for now because I actually think the delicate construction of these dresses is kind of cool, but I can't overlook the fact that these lovely ladies are walking around with their insides-out.

PRETTY: The team pleased me most when they strayed from unnecessary neon and body-building to, well, other things. I kind of like the (above, L-R) wrapped oriental look, which feels a little less Avatar-Alien-Mummy than some of the other get-ups but is also kind of been-done; the pretty pale blue tribal could-be-the-martian-equivalent-of-leopard-print look, which I think actually kind of works with the glow-stick wedges and pretty-in-pink hair; and I actually really like the floaty purple-popcorn-flower dress, which unfortunately seems like it was thrown into the spring collection just for good measure because--drip drip drop little April showers--spring means flowers. But it is pretty and I'd wear it. So I guess that's good enough for me.

FIERCE: I don't think I've ever used the word "fierce" in a fashion context, but everybody else does so it must be okay. The only reason I really wanted to use the word "fierce" is that the second dress here looks like a Tiger. Which I like. I also like the rusty transparency of the first look, with the long patterned tunic that kind of resembles a bird post-plucking (I do like the leftover feathers) and the psychedelic legging-pants (again, I can almost get behind the shoes in this case) and the pretty flowing neutrality of the gown (far right) narrowly escapes inclusion in the sloughs-of-skin category because a) it's lovely and b) if you look closely you can tell that it is actually completely covered in fragile little flowers.

And finally--the headdresses. Odd plasticky twisted ribbons spiraling upward and outward in a vaguely familiar way:

It was weird enough when Louis Vuitton did it. The Valentino version looks like the sort of headgear one of the Jetsons might wear to play a Donnie Darko virtual-reality game.

I love this dress! I only wish it were an itty-bitty bit smaller so that I could wear it without a belt in all its gilted glory.

The sweetheart neckline and full, swingy skirt are so delightfully nineties, but the best part has got to be its cracked-out abstract pattern--sort of floral, sort of tribal, sort of electric-koolaid-acid-test, all awesome.

Today I decided to pair it with my peacock necklace (which kind of looks like it was recently involved in a cock-fight... or is molting... but I love it anyway) and my patent purple pumps. The gold jewelry adds an extra kick to the glam-tacky (glamtackstic?) aesthetic.

(dress: NodtoModVintage on etsy; necklace: UO; bracelets: flea market; belt: Steve Madden; tights: gift; shoes: Candie's; Value Village)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

j'adore haute couture

I'll admit it: I'm pretty clueless about the world of fashion. I will also admit that up until recently, I have been pretty okay with that--I was initially drawn to style blogs because they're personal and unique in a refreshingly relatable way. I like the comfortably casual way that we can snap photos of what we're wearing every day as we go about our relatively normal lives.

However, since I've become more involved in blogging and blog-stalking, I've slowly been developing my sensitivity toward, specifically, haute couture. I can't get enough of it! These collections are like extremely expensive boxes of assorted chocolates, each piece carefully crafted so that every flavor--whether it be nutty, fruity, creamy or crunchy--is always individually distinctive but more important, collectively complementary --so that all together... oh my! ...the most devastatingly satisfying sugar-high.

I hope you will bear with me as I attempt to explore my newfound appreciation of (and perhaps... dare I say, true true love for?) the bounty of beauty that is haute couture.

Exhibit A: Chanel, spring/summer 2010:

More like cupcakes than chocolate, but I love love love love love this fabulous body-frosting. From the cotton-candy tailored suits (with charming gauzy-rosette scarves!) to the flouncy, lacy frocks and silky, bejeweled, floor-skimming gowns... mmmyes. It's as if an early Easter Bunny laid some pretty little eggs on that Paris Runway (see Exhibit A, Chanel No. 5, dead center). All kidding aside, though, I really do have much love for this and I especially admire the continuity of this collection. I felt like each piece really belonged with the others--like all of these dresses could happily hang out backstage together, powdering their noses and chirping like little Easter chicks.

Also, heavens to headpieces! I am going to start doing my hair like this every single day because I am in love:

It must be said, however, I think I may have seen this look before...

And believe me, it is no coincidence that there are cupcakes involved.

...I'm hungry.

Tweed on Tweed

In my plaid, black lace & poison ring I felt a little bit sixties-punk-rock-schoolgirl-grunge.

(A Hard Day's Night; according to her autobiography [kind of a fun read, if you're into that sort of thing], this is where Pattie Boyd met George Harrison [she later married him])

And then, this happened:

Looks like my inner schoolgirl grew up and became a professor.

(tweed blazer: vintage; tweed skirt: vintage; lace cami: Charlotte Russe; tights: TJMaxx; boots: ALDO; scarf: gift from mom; ring: vintage)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

woohoo weardrobe!

I was featured on Weardrobe again! Hooray! I never posted the last few times I made the front page, but it's been quite a while so now is as good a time as any! Other looks the judges seemed to like can be seen here, here, here and here.

ballet after the rain

I totally intend to embrace my inner girly-ballerina this spring. It may be January, but the torrential downpours of yesterday undeniably invoked the spirit of April showers, so I'm getting a jumpstart on the business of being arabesque-esque.

(shirt: Old Navy; skirt: stolen from mom, hemmed; tights: Marshall's; shoes: Madden Girl; pearls: Claire's; crystal beads: Grammy Flood; ring: vintage)
Sometimes I still wish I were born to be a ballerina, even though I know that the life would be grueling and painful and I would be hungry all the time... but alas, even at five years old my ballet teacher could tell that I would never be great. She said that my spine was too curved for ballet and that I should try gymnastics, which I was actually pretty good at and enjoyed, to an extent. Apparently I decided to quit when the pressure to compete became too great... that's kind of a theme in my life. I also quit the violin when my teacher suggested that I compete in Fiddle festivals.

It seems odd, even to me, but I often find myself a victim of cultural-exposure envy. I have this unfortunate feeling that there are things I wish I had known about or experienced in my youth, which might have churned out a better-formed, better-informed individual who could easily discourse on the pop culture of decades past (though perhaps with partiality toward a particular era), on art or rock music (I so often wish I had been a little rock and roll rebel--Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies). It's not that I wasn't exposed to culture--the opposite, in fact--but it was the equivalent of aboriginal culture: music and art that was organic and freewheeling and influenced by the cerebral cortex more than modern popular culture. The kind of culture that is inwardly expansive but outwardly alienating. Of course, I'm exaggerating. I love the life I had growing up and I know I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world... but I do wish I could identify more than fifty-percent of pop culture references when they arise.

I leave you with a quote, re-blogged from the amusing blog of miss Marisa Meltzer, which I spent more than my fair share of allotted internet-time wading through yesterday afternoon. This particularly struck me (and made me laugh) because so often I wish I could be an artist (preferably a painter) and spend my days strutting around a wide-open studio with a brush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, alternately splattering paint and vino on big, thick, thirsty canvases:

"Writers always envy artists, would trade places with them in a moment if they could. The painter’s life seems less ascetic, less monkish, less hunched. Instead of the austere mess of the desk there is the chaos of the studio: dirty coffee cups, paint-smudged cassette decks, drawings of the artist’s girlfriend, naked, on the walls… In the age of the computer the writer’s office or study will increasingly resemble the customer service desk of an ailing small business. The artist’s studio, though, is still what it has always been: an erotic space. For the writer the artist’s studio is, essentially a place where women undress." (from Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer, which has just made my reading list... plus, I love D.H. Lawrence)

This is why making films might work for me. I have all of these imaginary scenes in my head--lives I'd love to lead--and I see them play out in dynamic detail. The film about my life as a painter is bright, vivid, and chaotic--the art of looking lovely while completely falling apart, like an explosion of light and color--like fireworks. The film about my life as a ballerina? Soft-focus and overexposed pastels and floral prints in a quiet, calm room, maybe set on the bay--fluttery, transparent, worn.

Plié and stretch...

Monday, January 25, 2010

an avatar bought these tights for me

Happy Monday, everyone! Before I start blogging up a storm here, I just want to let you know how much it means to me that you read my little blog! It seems as if every time I log in I have a new follower (which obviously isn't the case, because there are only 14 of you... but that makes each of you that much more special :)!), and all of your sweet comments really make my day every day. So thank you for stopping by, and if you have a blog be sure to leave a link because I will always, always, always want to check it out!

Now, down to business. I'm not crazy about this outfit. I kind of threw it together based on these floral Betsey Johnson tights that I picked up at Marshall's this weekend (but it's Monday, so I overslept and didn't have time to put much thought into the rest of it!). I always allow myself to sleep a little later and be a little lazier on Monday morning because I want my week to start off niiiice and sloooow...

So, yeah. I'm not sure how I feel about the tights, either. They looked better in the package, and while I knew the print would shimmy&stretch over my legs, I was hoping the black would stay intact a liiiittle bit more. Alas. I probably should have bought them (or been shopping at all), but one thing led to another...

My mom and I went to see a Sunday matinee of Avatar in 3-D (because K went to see it without me (!) when he was home over Christmas), but the 1:30 showing was sold out when we got to the theatre. First of all, can you believe it? Avatar has been out for ages and it's still selling out! Anyway, we decided that we'd just have to shop while we waited for the 2:50 showing. I ended up spending far more than I should have (my mother is a bad influence... but so is everyone I shop with, so I guess maybe I should start blaming the common denominator...) and came home with a gold brocade swing coat, two pairs of oddball tights and a set of thigh-high chunky-knit socks. Kind of random.

But Avatar was awesome! I've mostly just been wanting to see it because it's the most expensive movie ever made, blah blah blah and I hate to miss out on major culturally iconic movies... or anything, really... but I was super impressed! First of all, it was visually stunning--I kind of wish I lived on a moon as beautiful and full of light as Pandora--and the 3-D effect was subtle but the added dimensions brought out the beauty of the landscape like a delicious dish deliberately paired with a fine wine. More surprising (to me), it was also GOOD. The story sucked me in immediately and held fast. We were a few minutes late to the movie because my mother thought it started at 3:50 (like mother, like daughter, I suppose...) and when we finally arrived the theatre was packed so we couldn't even sit together. The ultimate measure of the movie's effect on me, however, was that I had a chai latte before it started and skipped the bathroom because we were running so late... and I didn't even have to get up and go! It was like I forgot about my body (or entered a bladder-free Avatar body when I walked into the theatre)... if you know me, you know what a feat this is.

I do have a strange affinity for science fiction/fantasy movies that use new worlds (or the future) as a metaphor for or social commentary on the currect state of humanity, especially in a spiritual context. I like to entertain the idea that an energy runs through all of us and everything around us, so the "bio-botanical neural network" on Pandora really struck home with me. I find it interesting that James Cameron compared an avatar to " incarnation of one of the Hindu gods taking a flesh form," because I have also always identified this concept of an energy-network with eastern religion, particularly Hinduism. The Na'vi people live in a world that is as close to Nirvana as I can imagine ever existing... I honestly do believe, to some extent, that all we need to experience divine peace is true compassion and connection to each other and our environment, but as long as we continue to see everything (each other and our environment) as the means to a monetary end, we will always be seeking and sad and angry and alone.

Wow, that was kind of intense for a Monday morning. To lighten the mood, here's another photo of my smirking face in some funny tights:

(FRANCE shirt&knit cap: UO; jumper: etsy; tights: Betsey Johnson, Marshall's; shoes: Chinese Laundry, Marshall's; necklace: vintage)

Oh, and although I have just tried to lecture you on the meaning of life, I hope you are at least inspired to go see Avatar now (if you haven't already... I'm always so behind)! And I hope you don't go running for the hills, because like I said at the outset, I love you all for listening to me!

Friday, January 22, 2010

seventies ski sweater

It's not very original, I know, but I just have to say it: I wish I lived in a different time. It's not a very strong feeling--more like a vague nostalgia for a time I never experienced when everything was simpler, more organic, and more real. When people put actual film in their cameras and each frame mattered more. Maybe I just get the sense that everything we have and everything we do is mattering less and less and less--there is a quick-fix for everything, so we don't have to try as hard. We don't have to be as talented or as interesting or as intelligent or as friendly or as thoughtful as we can be... we tolerate imposition on our selfhood less and less and our rampant individualism is dividing us, making us weak when we think we are strong.

Okay, rant over.

Proof that I am at least two-dimensional:
This sweater used to belong to my mother (before I stole it). She calls it "her ski sweater," so I now call it "my ski sweater." It's appropriate, too, because she used to have this awesome pair of navy bellbottom ski pants that I stole when I was in middle school and wore all the time. I could totally imagine myself flying down the slopes in a seventies sweater-and-ski-pants getup.

I love how shamelessly seventies it is--the three-tone color scheme with one neutral color, the super-stripe across the chest--it's awesome (please forgive my incorrect overusage of the em dash... it's a thing with me).

While I was at it, I thought I would pay homage to my other favorite seventies-style possession (Or sixties. Or eighties [probably eighties], although, as K politely pointed out when I was considering the purchase of a mint-green & pink floral minidress on etsy, I am "not very eighties")--my polaroid camera! TA-DA! K surprised me with this beauty in the very early days of our love connection, and I was absolutely delighted and used it all the time until the film started dropping from the stores. I know polaroid has since risen from the grave, but this little guy will be (sadly) resting in peace for a little while longer... I can't really afford to buy in bulk and that's the only way it makes sense to purchase when the shipping costs as much as the film itself.

(ski sweater: mom's; jeans: PacSun; boots: ALDO)

In other news, I'm so glad that it's finally Friday! I'm looking foward to much-needed rest&rejuvenation!