December 29, 2013

Platform Prancer

Every time I'm back home I swear I'll clean out my closet, and I'm rarely successful. I usually end up surrounded by piles of old clothes, delighting in the fact that they still fit me and feeling less willing than ever to give them up.

So this visit I avoided my closet entirely and went after my mom's.

I'm lucky to have a mother with a great sense of style. Though she tends to dress more boho than I do, we're often hankering after the same trends. When she found these totally amazing suede platform shoes a few years ago, it didn't take long for them to find their way onto my feet!


I've been obsessed with the platform/tights look since "The Boys Club" (Teen Vogue, Dec/Jan 2004.) Platforms (especially platform wedges) can seem over the top, but don't let their drama fool you: they're the best friend you'll ever find in a heel. These babies got me through a full day of Christmas shopping, and I'm no tough cookie when it comes to ambling around a mall.

Since the sequins make this pair somewhat glitzy for day wear, I built a base of earth tones and added some simple jewelry (Thanks again, Mom!) The black skirt / brown tights pairing isn't something I'd normally go for, but I think the bag works to pull everything together. The outfit ended up both artsy and professional -- the perfect blend for Mom & me!







Platforms: Rocketdog
Tights: Nordstrom  
Skirt: H&M
Cami: Grane 
Cardigan: h.i.p. 
Bag: Fossil
Cuff: unknown
Earrings: unknown

December 25, 2013

A Merry Little Christmas



Merry Christmas, everyone! I'm in love with my new puffy, yummy-warm winter coat, but I'm really celebrating the fact that I edited the pic on Photoshop! (Ten points if you can spot what I wasn't savvy enough to edit out...) I've only just started exploring its wondrous power, so it may be a few days before I get a new post up. Check back soon!

Lots of love for the New Year,
R

December 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Harem Scarem

Every once in a while, I sort through old photos and uncover some fashion show gems. In the days before I'd even heard of fashion blogging, I still loved to create quirky outfits -- largely as a result of my Pretty in Pink obsession.

Today's memory lane catwalk features a pair of white harem pants which I'm willing to bet belonged to my mom in the 80s. I "rescued" these guys from our childhood dress-up bin somewhere around senior year of high school, and I thought they were a yuppie dream. They look like something you should wear yachting. Since they're white and I could never quite gauge their sheerness, I never ventured to wear them in public, but this summer I might just try to hunt them down again.

The vintage ankle strap platforms belonged to my grandmother. They look severe, but they're surprisingly comfortable, and their vintage lines are unbeatably sexy. If these didn't hold such sentimental value, I'd wear them out every chance I got!







December 14, 2013

DIY: Christmas Stockings!


What do your Christmas stockings look like? If your family is anything like mine, you've probably had the same ones for years.

And if you're anything like my mom, you're just dying to have them replaced.

Every December it's the same. We pull out the holiday storage boxes, put up the garlands, the ornaments, the Nutcracker, our Rudolph stuffed animal (he gets weirder every year...) and, finally, the stockings themselves.

"Ugh... Why did I ever make these?" Mom asks the air as she tosses aside a jingling, red velvet sack (my stocking.)

Every year, I lovingly defend them. I wiggle my hands inside their Victorian floral-lined carcasses, rubbing the garish metal buttons together and tracing their smooth cording. I marvel at the precise stitchery (a sign of my mother's meticulousness, which she steadfastly denies in herself.) And I put them up in the traditional order, so two face one way and three face the other, all inward toward the hearth. I even permit the two imposter stockings (which have replaced Mom & Dad's) to hang alongside my brothers' and mine.


I like to think these old friends recollect something lost. That the stockings rekindle those feelings of joy and wonder which once accompanied not only the revelation of their contents, but the entire season during which they grace our hearth.

That said, I've always been curious what it would be like to create a stocking of my own. Since J and I chose to do socks this year instead of gifts, it seemed like as good an opportunity as ever to try my hand at it.

So, seeking the least probability for failure, I came up with this:



Here's how J's and mine turned out. I wish I took some photos before they were stuffed, because they look terribly lumpy here, but oh well!




Fond as I am of my handiwork, they'll never quite live up to my gaudy childhood jinglebell sock.

December 11, 2013

Les Angles!

I'm all about geometry -- not the subject, the look! For someone as short and round-featured as I am, strong lines are a saving grace. They create instant sophistication, lengthen limbs, and lend an edge to prototypical feminine attire.


Les Angles

Here's what I'm going to call my Radio City outfit. If I were to live out my New York debutante holiday fantasy, I'd dress to the nines (and by the nines, I mean the nine hundreds -- this Roland Mouret dress is the equivalent of like a year's worth of food for me...) in something like the outfit above. That Olympia Le-Tan book clutch is also a pipe dream -- how can you justify a purse that costs as much as your rent?? -- but it's wonderfully nerdy. The Steve Madden Anibell pumps could actually be a reality if the re-stock gods are in my favor, and Betsey Johnson necklaces are on sale right now at Macy's!

Dreams aside, this outfit is easy to recreate on a more modest budget: seek out color blocking (especially with neutrals like camel, black, white, and gray) in bold lines that work to lengthen your shorter bits and accentuate your lovely bits. Spice up the look with bright lipstick and glitzy jewelry. Finally, instead of "pursing" yourself out of heart and home, carry a real book around. Educate first, decorate later.

Happy Holiday!



December 6, 2013

Yuppie Up



Every once in a while, my deep-seated 80s obsession bubbles shamelessly to the surface and rears its bedazzled head. I didn't intend for today to be one of those days, but on my journey to make this strapless sheath dress wearable for winter, I stumbled into a yuppie daydream.

I wore this lovely little dress to a wedding a few years ago. Can you guess what sold me? It was totally the pockets, yo! These Franco Sarto pumps, incidentally enough, were recently purchased for a different wedding, but the rest of this outfit is genuine yup-garb. I took the lace tights and brooch off my mom's hands some years ago, and there's photographic evidence that these suckers have been around longer than I have. The cream blouse was a favorite Value Village find -- judging by the tag, it's probably about as old.






Whether or not this outfit ever sees the light of day, it's always a joy to winterize a favorite summer dress! Vintage holiday party, anyone?

Dress: Teeze Me 
Blouse: thrifted 
Heels: Franco Sarto 
Tights: vintage 
Brooch: vintage 
Necklace: American Eagle

December 4, 2013

7 Holiday Phenomenons That Demand Explanation

Each time the holiday season rolls around, I'm faced with the same confusions I've had year after year -- most of which I forget to clarify in the brief span of time they come to my attention. This year, I'm getting smart and throwing them out there for you guys to answer. Hopefully I will get some explanations once and for all.

1) "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music



WHY is this a Christmas song? In what part of The Sound of Music do you witness a Nazi Christmas party, or the VonTrapp kids caroling, caroling through the snow? The only parts of this song I find remotely linked to Christmas are the bits about "brown paper packages tied up with strings" and "snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes," and yet it's included on various Christmas sampler albums and radio station playlists every year. ???


2) People absolutely FREAKING OUT over Christmas starting "too early"




Yes, I'm as much in agreement as anyone about the corporate rush of the holidays being totally vomitrocious, but what the actual eff is the matter with bringing on the rest of the stuff early? Cheerful, jingling throwback tunes on the drive to work! Peppermint everything at Trader Joe's & Starbucks! The general delight of the Christmas spirit!! -- What's not to love here?! And you get the added bonus of early holiday shopping deals, a longer period of approved ugly-sweater-wearing, and everyone (except all the Grinches and Scrooges) feeling twice as jolly. Not really a problem. As long as nothing encroaches on Halloween (a totally different kind of spirit than Christmas), I say haul out the holly. Thanksgiving and its whole history can kiss my holly-jolly a**.

3) Those Clayanimation Christmas Movies



Maybe it's because I was tuned into A Muppet Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker while other kidlings aquired this tradition, but these movies 100% freak me out.

Perhaps it's because I can't watch them without thinking of these guys:


The California Raisins. Let's be real, people: raisins shouldn't dance and talk.

Dried fruit aside, I'm not sure I'll ever fully get behind "Silver and Gold," Frosty, Rudolph, and the like.

4) Christmas in the Sand


Before you get all "Hey, now" on  me -- I'm not talking about the general souls who make their bread and butter in Hawaii or California and make do with the climate they have over the holidays. There's nothing wrong with decorating a palm tree if that's where your home and family are. I'm talking about the people who choose to spend Christmas by a poolside, listening to "Let it Snow" with an ironic smirk on their face.

No.

As Kevin McCallister once said: "I don't care if your idiotic Florida trip gets wrecked or not! Who wants to spend Christmas in a tropical climate, anyway?"

5) "And presents ON the tree..."


You know that song "I'll Be Home for Christmas"? Of course you do. You hear it everyday on the holiday radio stations as early as two weeks before Thanksgiving. It's pervasive, especially when our troops are anywhere overseas.

For the majority of my life, I figured the words to this song went as such:

I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow
And mistletoe
And presents under the tree...

Every year, though, as soon as it's all over the radio again, I realized they're not singing "presents under the tree" at all -- it's "presents *on* the tree." And here's where I get confused -- who puts presents on their tree? Is this one of those old-time phrasings of "on"? Like a shortening of "upon"? Whatever the case, when I hear this lyric, all I see is a bunch of wrapped boxes hanging precariously off tree branches -- like no one's Christmas ever.

I could almost understand "presents *in* the tree." It's a tradition in my household to hide at least one present within the branches, just as an extra surprise on Christmas morning. When I'm coming home for Christmas, I definitely demand presents in the tree.

But *on* the tree? Someone explain.

6) The miserable Peanuts' Christmas song



You know the one: "Christmas tiiiiiime is heeeeeeere... happinesssss and cheeeeer..."

Except NO HAPPINESS/CHEER AT ALL because this song sounds like A DIRGE.

What was going on with the composer when he wrote this?? I guess the Vietnam War was happening in 1965, and I get that Charlie Brown has always been a bit of an Eeyore, but does the whole Peanuts world have to be gloom-and-doom because of him? There's that wonderful jazzy piano tune ("Linus and Lucy," I think) that gets everybody dancing and do-do-doo-ing, and then we go... here. With this theme, you'd think the Christmas special would end with Woodstock and Snoopy hanging themselves from the nearest garland.

7) WHO is/was Parson Brown?


In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say are you married? We'll say "No,man,
But you can do the job while you're in town..."

Every time I imagine this Parson Brown character in my head, he's someone like Elvis or Cary Grant. Some dreamboat everyone had their heart set on marrying. Maybe the Justin Timberlake of the '30s.

I'm sure other people have wondered about this. Probably an easy Wikipedia search, but something I always forget to look up. This year will be the year.


Got answers? Comment below!!

December 1, 2013

Christmas Playlist

I'm pretty much ready to listen to Christmas music as soon as my Halloween costume's put away. At last, the time has come again, and it's back to my old favorites. I hope you enjoy some of these gems as much as I do!



November 27, 2013

Thanks, Seattle

If Seattle and I were married, this would be the year we took our relationship to counseling. Maybe it’s the reality shock of post-graduate life, maybe I miss the friends who’ve moved away, or maybe it’s an indication that ultimately we aren't meant to be, but whatever I’m running up against has put me in unfortunate tension with this city.

If I’m sad and moody, it’s because of the rain. When I’m not connecting with anyone, I blame the passive-aggressive, I-can’t-see-you-because-my-laptop-screen-slash-umbrella-is-in-front-of-you social norm. On the days I feel passionless, directionless, and zapped, I seethe at the Space Needle: METROPOLITAN POSER! You call yourself a city?! Pfshaa!

And then there are days when I’m driving home from work and I catch sight of the lake sparking against maple trees and Mount Rainier. I work on a film set for a day and feel a warm energy at having at last discovered “my people.” I snuggle up at the end of the night with the best roommate anyone could ask for and –

– and I still find reason to complain.

So today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m going to take stock of all the wonderful things I often fail to acknowledge about Seattle. The things that, for me, make it a wonderful place to be.

1) The Yuppie Buzz of Downtown

I'm in earnest here. I love how the main part of downtown Seattle is a total Wall Street. Not that you don't get your standard vagrants, tourist families, and middle-class commuters as well, but most of the energy around the Nordstrom/Pike Place/Westlake Center/Four Seasons Hotel zone centers around people who make money there, then go right outside and spend it. Maybe it's because it gives me space to dream, but I love how as soon as I go downtown I feel like I'm getting away with something -- like Kevin McCallister in the Plaza hotel or Ferris Bueller at the stuffy French restaurant ("You're Abe Froman? The Sausage King of Chicago?") It's the only time that not belonging makes me feel thrilled instead of miserable.

2) The Love Triangle of Queen Anne

This is definitely subjective to my own experiences, but I have three great loves in Queen Anne, and I recently realized they form a triangle. The first is (was) Easy Street Records. It has since shut down (Thank god there's another in West Seattle), but whenever I pass the corner near Metro Market, I think of all the fun I had freshman and sophomore year browsing through LPs. At that point in my Seattle timeline, I had zero concept of the city layout, and Queen Anne might as well have been a different town. That's what reading on the bus will do to you.
Second point of the love triangle is McMenamins restaurant and Valley St, behind it. McMenamins was introduced to me by J around this time last year. It came after a couple months of toying with vegetarianism, so the burger I had there was out of this world. Next came the rediscovery of Ruby beer, which I first fell in love with on my beloved Portland spring break trip two years ago. On one McMenamins outing, J gave me a beautiful amber necklace, which quickly became one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. That same night I promptly lost the velvet box it came in and we drove all over Seattle to figure out where it had tumbled out of the car door. (We did find it in the end, on Capitol Hill.) Anyway, between this and the various post-show late night happy hours with theatre friends, this part of town always makes me giddy with adventure.
The third and final point of this somewhat oblong triangle is the Seattle Center Armory. What looks like a useless rectangle of brick represents all sorts of emotion to this girl, for it is where the majority of my auditions have been held. It's also where I got to perform at Book-It around Christmastime. I've walked in and out of the Armory doors bubbling with happiness, holding back tears, buzzing with nervous energy, brimming with confidence, and fuming with regret, but I know however I'm feeling I'll step outside and hear the fountain... see the Space Needle lit up... pass PNB and watch the dancers leaving class... and my world will become more beautiful.

3) My Work Commute

Although I could sing loudly, wear sunglasses, and crack the skylight of my car in just about any commuter city, there's something splendid about doing all three at once whist driving the curving boulevard along Lake Washington on a sunny day. With the lake sparkling, Bellevue glitzing across the water, and sometimes Mount Rainier popping out to say hello, an 8-hour office shift doesn't feel so bad.

4) Friends All Over

 One of the nice things about staying in the same town where you attended college is you're bound to have friends that stick around too. Since moving out of the U-District, I've found I can visit just about anywhere under the reasoning of seeing a friend -- Queen Anne, Wallingford, Greenlake, Eastlake, Capitol Hill, Ravenna, Mercer Island, Port Townsend, Kirkland, Sammamish, Tacoma, Bellingham... and then of course there's always Spokane and Portland -- my favorite getaway cities. It's nice to be able to count on a change of scenery every once in a while.

5) Really Amazing Seafood

I always forget about this until I'm somewhere inland. Seattle has awesome fish. Everywhere. A few nights ago J and I treated ourselves to a pricier meal at le Zinc, and the steelhead dish I ordered would've brought a French chef to his knees. Wherever you choose to eat here, you can typically count on an opportunity for good prawns or salmon. Fresh sushi was a regular meal option on the UW campus. It doesn't get much better than that.

6) Summers

 I can't bring myself to praise its rain or the "temperate"-but-actually-freezing-to-the-bone winters, but Seattle really has summer figured out. Scarcely soaring above 80 degrees, the sun is beautiful but survivable. You can go for a run without wanting to die, but still take a dip on the shores of Lake Washington without freezing. There are beaches, even if you'd be mad to swim in their waters, and there's always shade to be had for our vampire skin.

7) ... and Winters

Yes, there are aspects I loathe about winter over here -- the damp cold that soaks to the skin and stays there for six months, the depressing lack of snow -- but one of Seattle's winter fallbacks is actually also one of my favorite aspects: the city's inability to handle snow.
Now, sometimes this totally blows: if you have a job or class to get to and your boss/teacher is being a stubborn asshole (aka: not giving you the day off), there's no where I'd rather not be than on a Seattle freeway. If, however, the snow becomes so out of control that even transit shuts down (and yes, this happens) you have a metropolitan winter wonderland with no idea how to control itself. A Snopacalypse!
This is the stuff that clears the hills of cars and allows for sledding on greased cookie sheets after too many peppermint hot schnaplets. It provides you and your college friends a week off school (but not rehearsal, because we're ARTISTS, dammit) to celebrate the postponement of your final essays. It also closes down restaurants, drug stores, and movie theaters, but it will reawaken you to ugly sweaters, board games, and the real meaning of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." In Spokane, it's a miracle if you're granted a Snow Day. Here, it's a way of life I agree with 100%.

Well, Seattle, I hope this proves that deep down inside I still love you. We're may be in the throws of a not-quite-seven-year itch, but I think with proper communication, we can work it out.

And a few more snow days.

What do you love about Seattle? Share below!


November 22, 2013

Nordstrom Fall Fashion Inspiration

J and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend, and he was kind enough to get me a gift certificate to Nordstrom! It's hard to believe the man currently watching Looney Toones in his sweats beside me could think up such a sophisticated gift, but I'm happy to have both sides of this coin.

This has permitted unbridled daydreaming for me. Flipping through my dog-ears from earlier this fall, I'm struck with the fact I could actually make some of my magazine wishlist a reality. That said, I know me, and I'll probably sit on it like Sophie's choice for the next few months. Regardless, here are some of my picks from the Nordstrom fall collection.


I'm all about military-inspired gear. There is something especially great about these glammed-out badges.
 
Classic Simplicity, with a pop of color.

My favorite fall shades (oxblood, pumpkin, denim) and *shades* -- haha!

More color pops for gloomy days.

Another look at these fabulous Brit Hunter boots. Plus some adorable Fryes.


I love fall fashion!

November 18, 2013

Monday Muse: Jennifer Aniston

I know it's nothing new, but I love Jennifer Aniston. She's been an icon of mine for as long as I can remember -- a superb blend of sophisticated and casual, she always dresses to impress and seems to know exactly who/where she stands. There's a casual confidence about her I truly admire. Not to mention her always-amazing hair! Best of all, she defined an air of Rachelness which, for better or worse, I connect with full-heartedly.



"I mean, isn't that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic?"



"You know what? I figure if I can do laundry, there's nothing I can't do." 




"I always say, don't make plans, make options."