Wish me luck!

Once, when I was a child, I visited a large country house that had peacocks roaming the grounds...possibly the owners found guard dogs to be boring. Left to my own devices I joined them in their roaming and appeared, just as my mother was ready to leave, with a handful of peacock feathers that I had found strewn across the grass (either due to seasonal moulting or the bird version of Fight Club...just in case anyone is concerned that I forcibly removed them from their owners).

And then, just as I was about to load my prizes into the car I heard the voice of my parental unit say, "leave those outside, they're unlucky"...despite my loud pleas the *PAW rule applied and I arrived home feather-free.

Time has passed and now I find myself attracted to this peacock feather necklace from Les Prairies De Paris. The big question...do I risk the wrath of the evil eye and bring it home with me?

* Parent Always Wins


Truth in advertising?

As I waded through the pile of e-mails in my Inbox...and regretted the impetuous way that I sign up for the store alerts which made up a good percentage of my mail...I came across the following from J Crew...

You will notice the suggestion that this is "their best-fitting pant – ever"...you will also notice the area indicated by the arrow, where the front of the trousers appear to be jutting out from the model’s body...

Apart from causing me to wonder why they chose this specific image to illustrate their point I find myself coming away with a sense of relief...how can I possibly continue to feel bad about my inability to find cute trousers that fit correctly when faced with this?


Building a better future...

Heb had some spaces in her day,
Which she didn't want to waste away.
She took the spaces with great care,
And built a castle in the air.
On the turret she climbed up high,
And cut a hole out of the sky.
Out of the hole she built a boat,
And put it in the castle moat.
Sure enough came evening soon,
And through the hole fell the moon.
The moral of this story is,
Nothing's out of reach with resourcefulness.

Joseph advertising text from the 1980's...names changed to protect the innocent

I was, I'll admit, a nerdy child...while other little girls held tea parties for their dolls I focused on the intricacies of Lego blocks...towns, cars, spaceships...you name it, I built it. And even though I am well into adulthood I still feel the pull of "the block"...namely these building block memory sticks and iPod speakers. Just think of all the castles in the air that I could construct with these beauties...



Bless this bag...

Frequent readers will have realized by this point that I have "bag issues" (i.e. I can't stop buying the bloody things). Large, small, hideously expensive, or pathetically cheap...I love them all...and so rampant is my bag lust that when I came across these handles from the Paris/Berlin design duo of Bless my first thought was not "what an ironic take on recycling"...no, it was "whoopee, now I could turn anything into a bag".

Quite obviously, I need help...



Mad for plaid?

As a child growing up in Scotland, tartan symbolized one thing...not the years of history associated with the patterns and colors...rather, the overwhelming association was with middle-aged American men who came over on vacation to play golf and then bought so many pieces of mis-matched plaid that they resembled walking patchwork quilts. The valuable lesson learned was that moderation is key...a side result was a vague phobia of tartan that lasted for quite some time.

Thankfully my aversion has mellowed and I can now appreciate tartan in moderation...and preferably roughed up a little bit...as in the case of this skirt from Burfitt...dip-dyed at the hem at the waist and hem it's more punk than prim and definitely not 'tourist tartan'.


“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Apologies...eight days of travel and 14-hour work days has reeked havoc on my posting schedule. Hopefully everything will get back to normal...once I catch up on my sleep...


“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.”

As I tend to veer (nine times out of ten) towards the messy and chaotic, I love items that introduce order and clarity into my life...even completely useless things like this bone china sugar cube storage tray.

Do I really need to organize nine sugar cubes in beautiful symmetry? Well, no...

Would it add a Zen-like sense of calm to the breakfast table? Yes, yes it would.


Diplomatic relations...

I'm beginning to think that maybe I've watched one too many old movies. How else to explain the fact that I took one look at this dress and thought "hey, it's a feminine take on the clichéd red sash so beloved by the 'foreign diplomat' character"...kind of like the one worn by Mayor Cheese in Pufnstuf?

Yep, I need to get out more...



Out of Africa?

There's something about the image on this t-shirt by San Francisco based illustrator, Hannah Stouffer, for Blood Is The New Black that makes me think 'summer'. Okay, maybe my initial thoughts were more of the '1970's safari' variety but what says summer more than that?



Coo! Part two...

Hot on the heels (or would that be beak?) of the pigeon ring necklace comes...the perspex pigeon light. I was originally thinking that this would make a great gift as a night light for a child's bedroom but, after some thought, I realized that it could cause more nightmares than it would stop...

"Mommy, there's a glowing pink pigeon in the corner of my room...I'm scared".


“Lust is the craving for salt of a man who is dying of thirst” - Frederick Buechner

Today's musing on the question of "what is sexy?" was prompted by the cover of the May issue of Paris Vogue. In fact, so overwhelming was the impact of Julianne Moore's crotch that it completely made me forget my usual complaint regarding fashion magazines putting actresses on their covers instead of models.

This isn't an age issue...at 48 Moore looks better than many women half her age...and, anyway, I truly believe that allure is not related to age...but I find this pose very off-putting. But maybe it's just me, what do you think? Do you look at this and see "strong and sexy"...or "high-fashion men's magazine"?



The unkindest cut of all...or not?

According to conventional wisdom the one thing that you should not attempt...beauty-wise...is to cut your own hair. It's up there on the chart, next to the dark area of the map that say "Beware of ye hippogriffs".

Of course, "conventional wisdom" has tried to tell me many things in the past...and failed...so it's probably no surprise that, for the last six or seven months, I have been forgoing visits to my hairstylist and cutting my locks myself. And, as I've got this far into the experiment without anyone asking "what's wrong with your hair?", I can assume one of two things...Photobucket

1) even going to a hairdresser, my natural inclination is for the unkempt, tousled, 60's-French-girl-if-you-squint look so...no matter how bad the cutting...no one can tell any difference


2) after years of squirming miserably in various chairs while the stylist ignored my ideas on what I was hoping my hair would look like I have finally hit upon a scheme which gives me "artistic control"...the rationale being that it may not be the greatest cut but I know myself well enough to know where I want my fringe to hit, etc.

In reality, the truth is probably somewhere between those two but the sense of liberation from never having to endure the pain of the "salon experience" more than makes up for any styling deficits (to my mind at least).

And so, in case anyone else out there is fed up with forking over $70 only to leave the salon thinking that 'you're not happy with the cut now but, perhaps in a few weeks when it grows out?' here are some tips.

    Buy a pair of professional scissors, this is one of those scenarios where you need the proper tools for the job.

    Go slow. The first couple of times I trimmed my fringe and a few split ends. Once I was satisfied that everything was going okay I moved into full cutting mode.

    Vote early, and often...aka don't feel that you need to cut every hair in one session. I generally trim my hair once a week at this point...no split ends and I get to 'tweak' my hairstyle and modify any elements I was unhappy with from the week before's cut.

    Relax! It is only hair (I swear)...it will grow back...


“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity” - George Carlin

Sometimes the bizarre hides behind the most traditional exteriors...take this brooch, for example...at first glance it's pretty, in an 'I found this in grandma's jewelry box' kind of way. Until you realize that the waterfall and greenery are painted on the back of the glass...and the blue sky is actually the wing from a blue morpho butterfly. Made by Thomas Mott, whose exhibit at the British Empire Exhibition of 1924 was credited with making butterfly jewelry all the rage for a while, it's a unique marriage of man and nature.

As they say, looks can definitely be deceiving.


Some Splendid reading for the weekend...


The weeks Splendid best!

The Space Between My Peers attempts to make some sense out of creams, beiges, and off-whites in Coffee with Cream.

Style Manila kicks off beach season in ROXY style.

Tops 2 Bottoms is keeping an eye on a fabulous trend, Dégradé Print.

Style...a work in progress asks, "Could anything be sweeter than the combination of cupcakes, Hermes, and Chanel?".

Her Accessories is loving these boots from Duo - perfect if you don't have stick-thin legs!

ShopDiary reveals her source for wholesale priced Kerastase hair products.

Shopalicious is upping your beach style ante by giving away this shimmery, Lands' End woven metallic tote!

Laya's EYE is drawn to some very glamorous enamel bangles in pretty colors.

Have you ever been to a Spa in a cave? Spa Beautifully shares Spas of America 600th Spa Listing Spa Terra at The Meritage.

Beauty and Fashion Tech reviews Smashbox Eye Shadow Trios.

Canadian Beauty found the best mascara ever!

Beauty Match found Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Nail Color free beauty samples

Viva Woman highlights 3 practical tips to optimize your beauty sleep.

NY Spender finally tries mineral makeup and tests it on her poor colleagues as well!

Beauty Bento Box experiments and gives a low-down on Beauty Formulas' Mini Cold Wax Strips.

Beauty Secrets Revealed shares some Natural Skin Tightening Recipes.

Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog checks out Dior's newest summer collection, Goldrush, and gives you pictures and swatches.


"I've liked lots of people 'til I went on a picnic jaunt with them." - Bess Truman

I can't think what people must have done to the former first lady during picnics to elicit such a response...perhaps they hogged the blanket and made her sit on the wet grass...

With the weather getting warmer I do find myself irresistibly drawn towards the idea of picnics...huge, lavish, 1930's-style, 'bring everything including, the kitchen sink' type picnics...horribly impractical I know, but does everything have to be disposable and plastic? A wicker picnic basket is so much more fun to tote everything around in...especially if you got some of these turtle-embossed, stainless steel dishes to put in it. Lavish...



Deep Beneath The Earth's Surface The Darkness Breeds Terror!

Though we have twelve, large-ish, windows in our home I often feel like one of the mole people. And why? Well, we either have very close neighbors...or buildings...overlooking us...and, unless the blinds are down, I feel like a goldfish in a bowl. Which is why I'm intrigued by British designer Emma Jeffs' adhesive window film (in six designs which mimic the look of etched glass).

A roll of film...some water...a window...and, bingo, privacy and light...summer is looking a lot brighter already.



Raindrops keep falling on my head...

It could be due to the fact that I grew up in an area where it seemed to rain constantly...regardless of season...but I've always found there to be something remarkably soothing about sitting inside, watching the rain hit the window...the feeling of being cosseted, comforted, and secure.

Which may explain why I find myself attracted to the Brelli...made from bamboo, with a biodegradable clear canopy, it combines the functionality of the umbrella with the look of a Chinese paper parasol. Add to that that at any moment one can look up and view the rain splashing down on the canopy and you have more rain-day fun than Gene Kelly could ever have thought of...


“I see before me the Gladiator lie: He leans upon his hand - his manly brow Consents to death, but conquers agony.” - Lord Byron

Apologies...I said that I was going to focus on certain areas of my closet and that one thing I did not need were shoes but (as is my way) I then came across these suede gladiator sandals from Paul & Joe.

I'm trying (and failing) to imagine an outfit which wouldn't look good paired with these...classic, yet funky...and overwhelmingly expensive...ah well, sometimes the only way to stick to those good intentions is the inability to afford the things you're lusting after...


"It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours." - Harry S. Truman

As Wednesday is the day that Net-a-Porter puts its newest wares up for inspection I toddled over to take a peek...and was overwhelmed by some of the prices...$7,245 for a trench...$6,460 for an (admittedly beautiful) Alexander McQueen dress...a slew of (not quite as nice) dresses in the $2-6,000 range. You have to wonder, in the midst of a downturn/recession/call-it-what-you-will who is buying all this stuff?

Now, I know that some people are so "well-cushioned" that they are still relatively well off regardless of what is happening to the economy but...do they ALL shop at NAP? And if so, are they constantly running into other women wearing the same outfit? And how galling must that be? $3,395 spent on a Burberry Prorsum regimental trench coat only to discover, during the first rainy day, that everyone and their mother has the same one...it's enough to make you spit...ever so discreetly...into a gold-plated spitoon.



Love is...embroidered bedding?

Having recently spent more than anticipated on a new mattress I'm (not unnaturally) fixating on different adornments for it. Not that I can actually afford new bed linens at this point, you understand, but it never hurts to get the mental wishlist in order.

Item number one on that list is a couple of these Je t'aime pillowcases inspired by one of Louise Bourgeois' works. Decorative, romantic, and horrifically impractical (the combination of them being white and me being a klutz being a recipe for disaster)...



"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." Hans Christian Andersen

Though it’s by no means warm the sun is actually shining today...and the weather forecasters are saying that this is no mere one-day-wonder...which means that sunglasses will be joining the mass of other items that I feel it necessary to tote around on a daily basis. As I tend to buy cheapie glasses I have a plethora of choice but few cases to protect them from scratches. Which means that I come up with elaborate wrapping procedures to protect the glasses when it comes time to put them in my bag...

That scarf that I’m not wearing right now? Wrap the glasses in that. Those sheets of paper that I printed out at work? Fold them, origami-style, into a protective covering. Spare pair of shoes? Stick the glasses inside one of the shoes.

It’s a fun hobby...but I obviously need help...and some sunglass cases...like this floral case from Forever 21. The vaguely Liberty-esque print is part summer, part “gift from Grandma” but would be a whole lot better than my current situation.


A life on the ocean waves...

I'm obviously not going to be satisfied this summer unless I'm dancing a hornpipe on the poop deck. Not content with my sailor shirt purchase I'm now casting covetous glances at this nautical dress.

Unless I'm stopped I have a feeling that by mid-July I'm going to look like a Victorian child on a trip to the seaside.

Now, would anyone care to join me in a rousing sea shanty...?


Off the cuff...

As I've admitted to not being the most environmentally conscious person on the planet (though I do turn off the lights when I leave a room and don't drive a car so I suppose I'm not entirely evil) I thought I'd write about something "manageably green"...in the shape of this coffee cuff made from reclaimed architectural veneer offcuts. Even better than the fact you no longer need to use the paper cuffs from your local coffee shop is that this cuff is the Clark Kent of accessories...mild-mannered, though interesting, bracelet by day...java jacket by night (or whenever you need a cup of Joe).Photobucket


Regrets, I've had a few...

Today I'm going to do something that I think I may have done a total of three times in my entire life...I'm returning an item of clothing which I purchased last week. Now, I know that people return virtually everything nowadays and that I may be the only person on the planet who considers this a big deal but I've always felt that, as the consumer, I had an obligation to keep my part of the deal. If something was damaged, I'd return it...if I simply changed my mind, I was stuck with it and would hopefully learn my lesson. Until, that is, I met my nemesis...in the shape of a seventies-esque, yellow and brown, pinafore-ish dress from H&M. Why I bought it, I have no clue...I have a vague idea I was thinking ironic...but I ended up with ugly...terribly, terribly, ugly.

I'm mad at myself...but less mad than I'd be if I tried to bury it in the back of the closet...and attempted to banish it from my subconscious...and so, return #4 will take place a little later today.


How sweet it is...

I've never really been a cupcake fan...I mean, I enjoy one on occasion but they've never induced in me the level of fanaticism that I've noticed recently. And, as more and more stores exclusively selling (rather pricey) cupcakes open in my neighborhood, I can't help but wonder where the people are who are buying enough cupcakes to keep these stores in business...you certainly never see anyone walking down the street with one...do they simply run out of the store, jump in their car, and drive off to some cupcake orgy? It's perplexing...

Having said all this, bag-girl that I am, I wouldn't say no to one of these Hermes and Chanel topped cakes. Sadly, I have no information about where to buy them...ah well, it's probably just as well...think how many calories are in a Chanel bag (which makes a difference from my usual cry of 'think how expensive that Chanel bag is').



A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
--Edward Fitzgerald "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"

What to do when there's a warning of snow in mid-April? Batten the hatches...stick on some Mahler...open up the red wine...and play a little backgammon.

And now? A Dr. Who marathon (ninth doctor)...woo, if I may say so, hoo!


"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." - George Bernard Shaw

Proof once again, if it were needed, why any kind of "fashion rule" is obsolete...from an InStyle article entitled "Shop your closet like a fashion editor" comes the advice, "The key to finding a good, working basic is to keep in mind its cut and proportion to other pieces. For example, this spring your slim capris may work with a hip-length jacket, but your wide-leg pants won't."

To be mindful of proportion is fine but what would happen if Emanuelle Alt had followed this recommendation? What would happen if we all did? A world full of women in capri pants and longer jackets (which is a little 80's, isn't it?)...wearing not what necessarily looks good on them...but what they have been told to wear. Where's the article that says "If you like it, wear it...and don't give a damn"?


The icing on the cake...

Who need a simple, basic tank when you could have this silk bobble vest from Topshop? The bobbles are part deconstructed necklace...part icing from a wedding cake...and I feel like they'd cheer me up whenever I put it on.Photobucket


Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars...

A week or so ago, I mentioned my search for inspirational pictures of well-dressed travelers...and the lack of success that I was having in my quest...until today, that is, when I came across this picture of Kate Bosworth at the airport in London. She looks comfortable, but not sloppy...even though her cardigan could definitely do double-duty as a blanket during the flight...it's like the comfy version of Nina Ricci's darkly ethereal Spring/Summer collection...with flat boots!...heaven.



Water, water, everywhere...and not a drop to drink

In an effort to be responsibly "green" I've been considering buying a Sigg aluminum water bottle (okay, that was a fib, I saw a cute anime inspired girly pink one....but the end result would have been the same). Then sanity, in the shape of Mr. Heb, stepped in and posed the million dollar question "you don't drink tap water...the water you drink comes in plastic bottles...what would you put in this bottle?". Thus, in the face of the obvious, the urge to buy was killed stone dead...and I saved $20.

While the urge to Sigg was still with me though I heard about some designer embellished bottles which will be hitting the charity auction block shortly...which should have thrilled me...until I saw them and realized they were the most insipid "designs" ever created...obviously water may have been flowing but inspiration wasn't.

Stella McCartneySienna & Savannah MillerTommy Hilfiger


Video killed the radio star...

PhotobucketAs you all know, I'm on a slightly bizarre mission to document the plethora of non-fashion items that bear the name Karl Lagerfeld (which proves, if proof were needed, that I really need to get out more). My previous discoveries can be found here but, unusual as they all were, I think they may have been beaten by my most recent find...Lagerfeld as game-console DJ. Yes, the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV will include K.L. as a virtual DJ on one of the game's radio stations...

I am seriously all a-quiver wondering what will be next...this is, after all, turning into the fashion equivalent of "Where's Waldo?".


Galosh (no, not the Russian anti-ballistic missile, the other one...)

Though I've done frequent posts on the subject of waterproof footwear...wellies, rubber shoes, and the like...this is my first ever post on the humble galosh. Which is probably due to the fact that I hadn't realized that anyone even made galoshes anymore. Until, that it, I came across SWIMS' website.

SWIMS' galoshes are designed to slip over your ballet flats and protect them from inclement weather...and, if your shoes are leather, they'll even get polished while you walk (just the thing for someone like me who is a little...shall we say lazy...about polishing my shoes).



Share the wealth…

Something sweet to brighten up a rather dreary Wednesday...the very nice folks over at Mick Margo are offering readers of this blog a 15% discount off any online purchases from now until April 30th. For myself, I’m more than a little tempted by Sunshine & Shadow’s "step up from the norm" t-shirt dress but as the store carries Alexander Wang, Cacharel, Hache, Karen Walker, Rachel Comey, and many more there’s something for everyone. Just enter SPRING15 at checkout to get your discount.

Even though I didn’t actually "do" anything I now feel like I’ve done my good deed for the day (like a good Girl Guide)...which means, that I can do something evil to balance things out (a la Eartha Kitt). Once again, rationalization is a beautiful thing.


Arsenic and old lace

Depending on your point of view, Aurélie Bidermann's golden lace cuff is either...

a) an homage to Queen Elizabeth I...because, if ever there was a woman who loved a lace ruff, it was Good Queen Bess.

b) a golden tribute to those homeowners who protect their tabletops and headrests with lace doilies...one of those ideas which is good in theory but quickly becomes disturbing...especially in the apartment of a single male.

And I'm also hoping it's c) something that (armed with a lace doily, gold paint, and some kind of stiffening agent) I could re-create.


In the event of an emergency...

Some mornings...usually the ones following the "night before"...you yearn for an instruction booklet. Something along the lines of, "Shirt A" + "Skirt B" = "you are now safe to leave the house".

But, until such a miracle booklet is created, I'll settle for a pair of Slow And Steady Wins The Race's ballet flats. Literally, perfect.


Say cheese! Or rather, say wine & cheese!

As a great many of us bloggers post pictures of our daily ensembles I thought there may be some interest in this Bottle Cap Tripod...perfect for picnics, wine & cheese parties, or anywhere else where you have bottles and cameras in close proximity.

Even at home, this would be useful for those days when I'm too lazy to extend my tripod (yes, I can be that lazy...and no, I really didn't mean that sentence to have the double entendre that I ended up with)...but don't want another picture where the camera in my hand is the focal point of the shot.


Hold tight against the strain…

Although I’m a fiend when it comes to virtually all things accessory related I do have a mental block when it comes to belts. I think it’s the idea of drawing unforgiving, and constant, attention to the waistline that does it. Will I be paranoid if I have a large lunch? Will I have to actually be aware of my posture, rather than slouching as I regularly do? There seems to be a long list of questions and concerns that could be avoided by ignoring belts altogether.

Which is fine, in theory, until you find yourself lusting over Rachel Comey’s corset belt. I know I would never wear it and it would languish in a drawer...and yet...I find myself constantly browsing back to have another look at it...admiring the almost architectural quality of it, and how it would frame the waist.

For my sanity (and my bank balance) I must repeat my mantra, "I am not a belt girl...I am not a belt girl..."



If you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise...

According to the nursery rhyme, we girls are made up of "sugar, and spice, and everything nice", while boys are comprised of a slightly less appetizing mix of "snakes, and snails, and puppy dog tails"...but what, I ask myself, about teddy bears? Has no one ever wondered what the teddy is made of? (Obviously, this is a rhetorical/whimsical question...before anyone mentions "fake fur" and "stuffing").

Thankfully sculptor Stephanie Metz was also curious about the origin of the (teddy) species and has created a series of felted wool sculptures which look at the fetal development of the teddy...


And the cranial development...cue Dr. Bruin, "the specimen you see before you has markedly brachycephalic tendencies"...



As we gathered round the campfire...

Having never gone to summer camp as a child I probably have unrealistic notions about what goes on there...or, at least, a viewpoint that is based on watching one too many vintage films and television shows. So, in my mind, everyone has a "jolly" time...like characters in an Enid Blyton book...whilst singing campfire songs and making all kinds of "crafty" items. And, as I'm taking this huge leap into unreality, instead of making the usual childhood craft items (which are welcomed by parents and then quickly moved to a place where they are never seen again) the campers of my imagination craft beautiful pieces...like this Mariachi Baby Billie Bag by Mayle...which manages to combine homespun and chic in a satisfyingly summertime way.



Better late than never...

A trip to Barnes & Nobles yielded a new copy of Jalouse...well, to be precise, a new copy of February's Jalouse. I still can't figure out how this is possible...2 months...for a magazine to get from France to the US...

How are they shipping these things? Personally, I have visions of someone rowing a box of magazines across the Atlantic...part endurance test, part delivery system...I'm not sure how else it could be so slow in this day and age.

Timing gripes aside though, I can't complain. Especially when the issue contains inspiration like the image below...a Derek Lam dress, Prada tights, denim shirt, leather boots, and silk scarf...definitely a step up from my usual "sitting at the computer, typing away" look (I'm not even going to say what I'm wearing right now).



With gauzy wings and gleaming bodies...

“Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light, and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds. Long, glinting dragonflies shot across the path, or hung tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.” - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

There's something so quintessentially summer-y about dragonflies...just the sight of one makes you feel like you're skipping through a meadow...like a girl in a 70's shampoo commercial...a field full of them and you get positively light-hearted.

Which must explain why I'm coveting this dragonfly brooch from Miu Miu...well, that and the stylized, 1930's-esque design...

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