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Friday, February 27, 2009

Notes for Next Fall - Luella

I love coats. I guess you could argue that I collect coats, sort of. They tend to follow me home. I've bought coats in New York, in Tokyo, and off of Jennine of the coveted. (She was leaving San Francisco! I had to help!) I also love opaque tights. (This isn't a surprise to anyone, is it?)

So seeing Luella's new fall collection, with the lovely coats, opaque tights, and metallic shoes? Totally going on my list of Things To Remember in 6+ Months.

Seriously, does anyone know where I can find those shoes? I think they're flats -- I hope they're flats, because that would be excellent -- and so I guess I'm going to be looking for dark gold flats, well, now. Because they'd be cute for spring, too, with shorts and light skirts and such, but then being able to take them into fall with black tights and a coat? Awesome.

I also really like that there's a little peek of pastel blue under the classic brown coat -- that means that if I *do* find the perfect pastel blue top this spring (yes, I'm going to be looking for one, eventually), it will totally be adorable in fall as well.

Karen's concern was "WHERE ARE THEIR PANTS", which is true, but there's something so classic and mod about the silhouettes of the coats that you have to go with either the opaque tights or super-skinny jeans, and the tights are just so darn cute. Style.com describes the collection as "cute utilitarianism", which is pretty much always my go-to style anyway. Of course, this usually translates to "jeans and cute top" for me, but I should also do "little dress and tights under classic coat" more often.

While I'd definitely like to see the outfits underneath the coats, because I bet they're cute in their own right, I assume the emphasis really is that the coat is the center of the outfit. As a coat fiend, I understand. I have left my coat on the whole time I've been out at parties or wherever. And not just because I'm too lazy/cheap to coat-check (well, sometimes I am).

Another thought about this look: how adorable are the puffballs on the toes of her black shoes? They and the bag look like rabbit fur (which makes me frown), but it wouldn't be hard to make non-fur puffy shoe clips (or find them on Etsy/eBay)...

So again, another thing to remind me of when September or so rolls around: dark gold flats, puffy shoe clips, and, as always, coats!

images from style.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Notes for next Fall - Rodarte

As you know, I have issues with the A/W Fashion Week presenting in February. I love coats and boots, but it's difficult for me because I'm sitting here going, "That's amazing! I want it now! And since it's February and still cold-wet-rainy, I can actually start wearing that now!"

I mean, I know that's not the point, but that's what I always think. It's still cold. It's still rainy. (Luckily I'm not in a place where there's snow.) And this is all stuff we'll be wearing *next* autumn/winter. It's not time yet, but it feels right. I don't know. Maybe I'm weird that way.

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I am a fan of Rodarte because they do amazing, amazing work with awesome shoes (you have no idea how much I long for the shoes they send down the runway every. single. season). And this most recent collection, with the gorgeous gorgeous thigh-high boots that I could probably never incorporate into my daily wardrobe, um, ever (but that doesn't stop me from wanting) and the make-up look, by MAC's James Kaliardos (who I met last season), with the super-highlighted cheekbones and dark stony lips... It's one of those things where you can admire the work and the beauty of it, but at the same time it's like... how could I wear that?

And so I've decided that what I *can* do is the cowl. Easy to do (it looks like it's just stockinette, probably knit flat, sewn along the side, and then turned so the seam is visible), easy to wear, easy to work in to my every day wardrobe. I've been wanting a cowl this winter anyway (and Jamie is giving away an adorable crocheted one), and it won't be hard to do at all. I think the hardest part will be finding the yarn... so I'm already hitting up my good friend Google. I'm not buying anything just yet, but I am bookmarking. And thinking.

This is more for my own reference, but I'll need your help here. When it comes around to September or so, remind me of this post: Rodarte cowl. I want it. Let's do it.

image from coutorture.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rusty Update!

Hi everyone!

Rusty went in for his eye surgery yesterday (Monday the 16th) and pulled through just fine! They were able to complete the surgery successfully; he'll still have a little trouble with night vision, but his day vision should be better (which is good for doggie playgroup time!) shortly.

He's headed back in today to check and see that all is well with his recovering process, then once a week for the next six weeks to make sure he's still doing okay. He's got a big e-collar on that C. has added some padding to (since it rubs right up against his skin) and was completely exhausted after his surgery and spent the whole evening curled up in bed.

I want to thank everyone who chipped in with their time, their energy, their link love, and their donations -- the outpouring of love and good thoughts has been amazing. I really couldn't have done it without everyone who stepped up and said yes, they'd help.

And so, better late than never, here's the official listing of winners (who've all already been contacted):

- MsAnomaly.etsy.com: Melody
- happyhound.etsy.com: Linda
- EnchantedLoves.etsy.com: digitalmisfit
- toeNja.etsy.com: MJ
- ArtisticAnimal.etsy.com: Diana D
- tellmeastory.etsy.com: Francine
- lyndee495.etsy.com: Crystal
- allisajacobs.etsy.com: Jennifer
- cutiepiecompany.etsy.com: robin_titan
- adorkable1.etsy.com: Calee
- HarperStreet.etsy.com: valerie2350
- MySky.net custom illustration: Jamie
- Nintendogs prize pack: H.S.

Thank you again to all of the amazing Etsy sellers for participating and going above and beyond with their generosity and help!


image from periodicstyle.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Science Fair for February 8th-14th

We are just about drowning with all this rain in northern California, I swear I have splashed puddles up my pantlegs at least a dozen times today, just running errands. Ridic. If there's anything worse than wet/damp jeans--wait, you know what's worse? Wet wool overcoat. To allay your rainy day blues, we have a few bright spots from our friend, the Internet!

-The Independent interviews Doctor Who star Freema Agyeman, who seems like a fabulous, bubbly lady I would like to be friends with. Check out the link, it's worth it for her super-sweet outfit! I love the look of a louche skirt with opaque tights and a chunky, funky shoe. (Freema's no-nonsense wardrobe as Martha Jones was also, as always, admirable.)

-The New York Times Magazine had a feature article about the late Yves Saint Laurent's expansive collection of antiques and beautiful things, auctioned off for charity recently. Some exceptional pieces are promised to the Louvre, his collection was that significant in the art world. Little did you know, but the Chinese government is contesting the provenance of several pieces from the collection, zodiac figurines from a fountain that may have been looted from historic sites. Whaaat! YSL, you little black-market connoisseur of Orientalism!

-Locally, the discovery of an endangered wee mouse is causing a hullabaloo in the debate over President Obama's economic stimulus plan. The Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse is probably adorable, we think local heroes Pixar should make a Stuart Little-esque animated feature film about one little mouse's adventures in the Baylands. His name will be Harvey. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

-For Valentine's Day, the Crumbly Cookie has done the legwork for you: finding the perfect red velvet cake recipe. I wonder if substituting mashed roasted red beet flesh for some of the butter would make for a naturally red cake, sans food coloring...YUM.

-One of my all-time top favorite vegetables is the perennially underappreciated lotus root. You can find it pre-peeled, pre-cooked, and pre-sliced in vacuum packs at your local Asian grocery, very convenient. I like to add them to stir-fry, soup, and tempura. My grandmother stews large hunks of lotus root in sugar, soy sauce, and sake with hot chili for winter dinners. The Passionate Eater pulls apart the mysterious "Swiss cheese" of root vegetables for your dining pleasure.

-The lovely Ms. Jeanne just sent me this link, quite conveniently. I spent four years walking the same halls as the ladies of my Victorian-era alma mater, and tragically, I will probably never be as classy as them. Scans of the early 20th century Legenda show Wellesley's daughters as they will live in perpetuity, super-fabulous Gibson girls with big, frizzy hair and awesomely chillax archery-club sweaters. Our Legenda came on a DVD, which I did not order. Ah, the times, how they change! My class will live in infamy for other reasons.

Well, it sounds like the rain has finally stopped, it's about time for this old girl to catch up on season 7 of Spooks and snuggle up under the covers. I love those damn spies as if they were my own little spying spy children.

Have a great week, everyone! Stay dry out there, keep those umbrellas and gum-boots at the ready!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Various Valentine goodness!

Yes, this Saturday is Valentine's Day, and I'm looking forward to a nice day of treating myself to things I enjoy and pampering myself. Why not? I'm not hiding under the blankets and shaking my fist at the world or wearing all black. That's just a waste of time, especially when a. it's a Saturday so I can sleep in AND stay up late if I want b. all of the chocolate goes on sale the next day and c. there is so much cute Valentine's Day stuff out there! Could you really scowl at a penguin valentine?? (If so, we can't be friends anymore. I'm sorry.)

And with that, here are some of the things that are warming my heart lately!

Cards and prints and other paper goodies:

- Awesome LUCHA LOVE valentines! from yeehaw.etsy.com.
- Printable cupcake Valentines from zuqandzoe.etsy.com.
- This awesome card and print from dazeychic.etsy.com with the best sentence ever. (It's now one of my Facebook quotes, I love it that much.)
- The Paris: City of Love prints from irenesuchocki.etsy.com. Stunning.
- The cards rounded up at oh! how lovely. (Doggies! Typewriters! Owls!)

Jewelry'n'such (because I <3 it):

- Gorgeous gold and garnet earrings at shopsomethingblue.etsy.com.
- Fun and sultry Valentine Vixen earrings from barbarellabeadworks.etsy.com.
- The ring that I've been thinking about for ages? It's this silver and gold heart ring from artisanimpact.etsy.com.
- I've been gnashing my teeth over this garnet ring from metalicious.etsy.com because I have tinytiny fingers and this ring is so not my size (gnash, gnash, gnash!). So maybe it's yours...
- And, of course, the stellar Wendy Brandes jewelry, particularly the Anne Cleves ring. (Kate Beaton has a great saucy little comic featuring Anne Cleves, as well as Tycho Brahe and Hatshepsut. And, you know, a little bit of a language warning.)

Any plans for Valentine's Day, or are you just planning on enjoying your Saturday for being a Saturday?

images from yeehaw.etsy.com and barbarellabeadworks.etsy.com

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Science Fair for February 1st - 7th

Better late than never -- here's this week's Science Fair!

- I have been having so much fun with Cornify.com. Note: it has nothing to do with corn and everything to do with AWESOME.

- Lately I've been loving the columns on Umm... Now what?, the blog for those of us in (or out of) our quarter-life crises. Seriously good stuff.

- Are you getting ready for Hello Kitty for MAC? I've got my appointment...

- The amazing Vivienne Westwood's DIY tips.

- Finally, I was chatting with Karen about this today and she hadn't heard it, so I'm embedding it for you: the Lily Allen cover of "Womanizer".

Enjoy, and have a great week!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Inspired by: Brigitte Bardot in Shalako (1968)

You guys, it's Wednesday, and do you know what I love about Wednesdays? Sure, Hump Day is great, but even better: the MoviePlex channel has Western Wednesdays, twenty-four hours of vintage Westerns for your (MY) viewing pleasure. I have a perverse love of Westerns, ever since I saw The Great Train Robbery on the big screen, watched John Wayne try to rescue Natalie Wood in The Searchers, and discovered the best modern Western made since 1965, John Sayles' Lone Star. The "classic" Westerns John Wayne popularized in the 1950s were sweeping epics, full of dust-kicking, horse-riding, gun-toting action. It was the 1880s straight out of 1955, you could die from a rattlesnake bite, your land and cattle were always under threat from those pesky Indian braves, but hot-diggity, you looked great in a prairie dress the whole time.

And then came Shalako in 1968. The story of a chic, semi-royal European hunting party caught in the vast wasteland of the American West features Sean Connery straight off of his first four outings as James Bond. Even more incongruously, the iconic Brigitte Bardot is his love interest. The whole story, based on a Louis L'Amour novel, is based on the extensive history of European nobility (and the curious)'s fascination with the American West. Did you know Oscar Wilde went on a big-game hunting trip in America? What, did he take his tightest spats and best quill?

Obviously, the best part of Shalako is Brigitte Bardot's improbably perfect hair, complexion, clothing, and general demeanor. She is chock-full of smoking-hot badassery with a top hat and a rifle, riding side-saddle. Needless to say, the lady can take care of herself, thank you very much, Mr. Connery. BB looks glam, rough'n'tumble, regal, sassy, and super capable in her rather impractical but appropriate diachromatic riding ensemble. As you can clearly see, BB pulls off the black ribbon tie like a professional.

I love the look, but I just could not pull off all of those high-necked ruffles and bows without looking like a stuffy Victorian lady who's obscenely busted out of her whale-bone corset. So I modernized it a bit, with a dash of practicality and a pinch of Gothic princess:
From top to bottom, you've GOT to start out with a classy, twee miniature top hat (by Black Peace Now) perched atop your sexy-foofy cowgirl hair. Leave the ribbons in a loose bow so the hat comes flying off as you ride your fancy, rugged horse off into the mountains. Extra-large sunglasses (from Rokit) with clean, Art Deco-y lines and gold details for maximum sun protection factor with all of your outdoorsiness. Protecting your precious eyeballs from cataracts starts early, people!

A simple chiffon bib-detail blouse retains the ladylike ruffles and whiff of girlish naivete with the practicality of short sleeves (SPF lotion required). For the main garment, I've chosen a structured, asymmetrical vest to keep that chest up and back straight. Equestrians and ladies are all about proper posture. Burrs and briars might stick to the Moi-meme-Moitie skirt, but a calf length skirt leaves so much more room for running, jumping, and shooting. There is certainly less skirt to hike up when riding on bumpy terrain. Then, matching cream Victorian detail leather gloves and boots (my favorite!).

The finishing touch for both Brigitte Bardot and our modern-day Western mademoiselle is the Maltese Cross. The eight-pointed cross is said to represent the eight chivalric values, originating with the order of the Knights of St. John during the Crusades: observation, tact, resource, dexterity, sympathy, perseverance, discrimination (ironyyy), and explicitness. (Source.) The vintage gold Maltese cross necklace and the silver/gold chunky ring are probably about all I could handle flying around while I rode a horse. Etsy seller Ruby Ann Designs has a fab steampunk found-object Maltese cross, and Winston Studios has a lovely deconstructed variation of the traditional solid gold cross. I'm a pretty big atheist and never wear religious emblems of any sort, but I could get into the Maltese cross. (See also: Mary Astor's spunky femme fatale in The Maltese Falcon.)

So, cowboys and cowgirls, your lesson for today is that Westerns are not all plaid flannel shirts and dusty ghost towns. Westerns, although unsuccessful ones, can be swank and European, all swish and swagger. There's always fashion inspiration to be found in the strangest of places! Thank you, Mlle. BB, Sir Sean Connery, and Edward Dmytryk!

Images from Dr. Macro, the Times Online, and Polyvore.com

Wiping the slate clean!

Lately I have been trying something new. (This sounds dangerous, but it's not.)

I come home from work and after I kick off my sneakers and drop my purse and my tote bag (yes, I always carry two bags, because my purse is never big enough for everything), I head into the bathroom and I wipe my face with a make-up removing cloth.

My grandma gave me a couple of packs of Skinlite Make-Up Cleaning Tissues (do I need to put that all as proper nouns? I guess so) in my stocking this year. I used to do a double-wash, where I'd do a first wash to remove my make-up, then a second wash to, well, wash my face, but I feel like it's kind of a waste of water and product. Thus, the make-up wipe.

I've also tried the Neutrogena towelettes, as I used to keep a pack in my overnight bag. I like that they come in a plastic box, which feels more tight than a pack.

Another wipe I've heard good things about is Boots' 17 Clean Up Your Act wipes, and I'm still thinking about getting those fancyfancy Korres pomegranate wipes (which are paraben-free, unlike the Skinlites...).

What do I think of the Skinlites? They're not bad! Right now I'm using the Green Tea ones, but I still have a pack or two of the Rose ones. However, I will say that they're not very good at getting off eye make-up. (That said, the eye make-up it's been having a tough time tackling? Is Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliner, which is supposed to stay on.) For heavier eye make-up, it's all about Almay eye make-up remover pads (and a tissue, because they're oily!).

So basically: yeah, I'll keep using the Skinlites until they're gone (because they were a gift!), and it's nice to wipe my face clear at the end of the workday before I do my whole bedtime song-and-dance. But after they're gone, I'd like to try something new. (Here's looking at you, Korres...)

Have you tried any make-up removing wipes/tissues/towelettes? (Everyone has a different name for these guys.) What have been your experiences, and which are your favorites? Let me know what I should try next!

image from amazon.com

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