Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Loving lately

Lately I've been loving...

1. Taking pictures of tiny children. Look at that cutie! (Mary's baby. Or toddler. When do you make the shift from toddler to baby? He's not yet walking on his own, but he might be toddling on his own...)

2. "House of Cards" -- engaging television programming, but it also makes me feel a little depressed (but that doesn't stop me from watching it).

3. "A Discovery of Witches" and its sequel "Shadow of Night." "Shadow of Night" is set in Elizabethan England, which makes it all the more delightful.

4. Reuniting with my dog after a trip away. She is my Sunshine!

5. Sea salt caramel gelato is soooo amazing. Freakishly, deliciously good. We bought it in a Publix in Florida, and I took a picture in hopes I could find it in NC.

6. Flip flops

7. Being told by my friends that I remind them of Georgia and Alie and then looking up Georgia and Alie (Classy Ladies!) and feeling flattered instead of offended. These are two cool girls! I love that I remind people of them! (Most of the time people say I look like (aka remind them of) Tina Fey or Sarah Palin and, come on, I am more than just a chick with brown hair and glasses!)

8. And a few links for your reading pleasure:
          --- Kate Middleton showed her "mummy tummy," and it's kind of a big deal.
          --- Zero to well-read in 100 books.
          --- This article about sexism at Comic-Con.
          --- Revisiting Murder She Wrote.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Take me down to Panama City

Mary is one of my best friends in the world, and she had the audacity to fall in love and move away from me to Alabama where she now lives with her husband and son. (She has a son! It's crazy! But it's not because she's an adult woman! It is actually normal! Which makes it even crazier to me!)

So I thought when Robert and I came to visit, we would all be hanging out together in Alabama, but we ended up all hanging out together in Florida (which is right next to Alabama and yet somehow worlds away in my mind) at her mom's beach condo. I wore that outfit all the time. It is my new gingham bathing suit. It is gingham-licious.

Don't I look like a picnic blanket? But in a good way?

Here's a little closeup of my thrifted cat-eye sunglasses. I've wanted cat-eye sunglasses for-evah, and now I have some, but I think I still want some even cattier cat-eye sunglasses so the hunt continues.

It was a great visit. The beach shifted from sunny to cloudy to sunny again. I have to admit I dig a cloudy beach the most. I know most people like to bake in the sun, but I like a little cloud cover, and I love that shade of blue-gray the sky gets before it rains especially when the ocean is mimicking the color. So very pretty. (In the above photo, Robert, Mary and Michael are off to have some fun in the (not very sunny) sun.)

 The condo was in Panama City, and I had "Paradise City" in my head for the entire trip because that almost makes sense. I visited the Gulf of Mexico about 10 years ago, and it was beautiful then and beautiful now. The sand is powder soft and the waves are really relaxed. Once a day, the sun sets, which is a pretty magnificent thing to watch. (I also hear it rises once a day, but I wasn't up for that!)

Mary's mom and her husband's parents took care of their little one during our beach trip. It was Mary's first time away from Wesley (10 months), and she missed him, but both baby and mama survived and had fun. Aren't they so sweet together? I call this photo "Mary and child" for obvious reasons.

The above fortune really sums up our trip (and came after a delicious Thai meal with old friends which was agreeable indeed). It was so sad to leave Mary (and child and Michael, Mary's husband) and drive the seven hours back home. I have really wonderful friends who live nearby, but my three favorites (I'm including my sister) all live far away. I'm glad I was able to visit them all this summer (in California, Virginia and Alabama/Florida respectively). When you find a really awesome friend, I think you should hold on to them no matter what. That's what phones and Facebook and seven-hour-long road trips are for!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Confessions of a Superhero

I am a huge fan of documentaries. Netflix Instant is on to me and is constantly suggesting documentaries that suit my taste, and "Confessions of a Superhero" is one of the best movies (not even just documentaries, movies) I've seen in a long time.

It's about four wannabe actors who pose as superheros in Hollywood for tips. They all have big dreams. Some of them appear to be straight-up delusional, while others just seem to be earnest, sweet people pursuing a passion. It's kind of a funny movie, but I came out of it feeling mostly sad and wistful. So many people have these big Hollywood dreams, and so few people actually achieve them.

I was in LA in June visiting my sister, and that's part of the reason I was drawn to the documentary. At the time of the trip, I was uninterested in checking out the wax museum and the hokey superheros/starlets in Hollywood, but now I wish I had! "Confessions of a Superhero" certainly showed me an interesting side of Hollywood I hadn't even considered. Seriously: If you like human-focused, strange documentaries, this one is for your Netflix queue.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Style Icon: Richie Tenenbaum

"The Royal Tenebaums" is such an excellent movie, and it's so stylized that every single character is a style icon in their own special way. 

Margot Tenenbaum is my favorite, obviously, and I've written about her before, but I've come to realize that her brother/love interest (hmm... felt wrong writing that, watch the movie for an explanation, it's not as bad as it sounds) is also terribly stylish. 

Being "stylish" to me doesn't mean being on-trend. It means having your own look and owning it (and that look being enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing). Richie Tenenbaum has this. 

Sports coat, tennis head- and wrist-bands, shaggy hair, manly beard. You're pretty dreamy, Richie. Pretty dreamy indeed. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Curve Appeal

I've added a new blog to my daily reading, and I love it so much, I thought I'd share it with you: Curve Appeal.

Why do I like it so much? Because I'm not skinny, and I'm surrounded by media images that tell me skinny is the way to go. And so: I have to fight to feel fabulous, and I don't think I'm alone.

It is not wrong to be skinny. It can also fabulous to be skinny! But there are many different ways to be fabulous, and I love seeing images of "curvy" women on the regular. These women are stunning! Their bodies are varied! Often, the women posting share that they're recovering from eating disorders or working to accept their bodies, and there's just a general "You go, girl!" vibe to the site. That's one of my favorite kind of vibes, and so I'm a big fan.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Long Hot Summer

Back in the day, super sexy movies had zero actual sex in them. One of the best examples: The Long Hot Summer. Now that is one super sexy movie.

Paul Newman and Joann Woodward are my favorite Hollywood couple ever. They so obviously loved each other. Plus they were married to each other (although, okay, Newman was married to someone else when he met Woodward so it's not totally ideal) and stayed married to each other until death did them part. They were obviously a passionate couple, and I love their chemistry on film.

Paul Newman is a cocky super hot hottie who comes into town and flirts with super uptight Joann Woodward. (In movies, Paul Newman is often a cocky super hot hottie and Joann Woodward is often super uptight. I mean look at those bangs. She has some uptight bangs.)

Paul Newman is shirtless and sweats a lot in this film because, you know, it's a long hot summer. 

When he is wearing some clothes, Newman looks fantastic -- all old hat and thin plaid shirt. The girls are '50s spectacular with their cinched waists and head scarves.

 Plus everyone is sitting on porches and drinking tea because it's set in the South. It's a film I truly enjoy watching during North Carolina's long hot summers and really any other time as well.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pretty ladies (and one dude too)

Just a little round up of some very stylish folks: 

Um. What do I love about this outfit? All the things. I love all the the things about this outfit. Way to be awesome, Jessica

Camelia Crinoline -- What a Bonnie and Clyde babe! She made that dress herself!

This pretty lady is wearing a pretty polka-dot dress and she looks pretty great.

Kellie B. looks classic and amazing and has matched her purse to the flowers in that tree.

Advanced Style is one of my very favorite blogs of ALL TIME. All caps on that ALL TIME. For obvious reasons (including but not limited to that couple above).

Cold Cold Water

If you want to make your summer feel a little more epic, start listening to this song. It helps with all things in the epic-department. Definitely makes driving down long country roads epic. Riding in airplanes becomes epic. Applying lipstick becomes epic. Doing laundry becomes epic. But, it's a nostalgic epic. And sort of sad and urgent. Sad, urgent epic. It's like when you dream about someone you were once in love with, but haven't spoken to in years and then you wake up feeling displaced and thinking "Isn't this life big and strange?"

It is, this life. It is big and strange.

(Also: I have never really paid attention to the lyrics of this song and am not at all sure what it is actually about, but I do know I dig it. And it's epic.)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Giant spiders, wax and wood

I wanted to go to the McColl Center of Visual Art for the crazy, giant spider sculpture, which was crazy and giant and worth a visit. (Mel Chin is the artist.)

But what I really fell in love with was the beautiful, intricate wax work by artist-in-residence Natalie Abrams.

Oceanic, ethereal, coral reefs and oil spills and beauty, beauty, beauty.

Wax and wood and that's it. The exhibit wasn't lit except by natural light creeping in from far-away windows for fear the art would start to melt. I came for the spider, but I left loving the unexpected magic of sculpted wax art on a simple wood panel.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Parking lot pretty

I'm in training all week so I broke out some work wear to learn about how to be the most awesome literacy teacher in the world. Or at least to learn how to become a better literacy teacher. (And, okay, I'm a teacher who really embraces sentence fragments, but only on blogs! Or in columns! Not acceptable in more formal work! That's my disclaimer! Here's another sentence that ends in an exclamation point!)

I love to learn. I am such a nerd. I'm a nerd in a new polka-dot skirt and old ballet flats who takes pictures of her own feet in a windy grocery store parking lot. That is who I am.

Loving lately

Lately I've been loving: 

1. Cinnamon Buns. Yum. YUM!
2. Buying polka-dot sweaters super cheap because it's summer.
3. Going to literacy training and starting to gear up for the school year (four weeks away, but two of those four weeks I'll be in workshops). 
4. "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix Instant. I binged. It was SO good.
5. These illustrious and illuminating links:

 --- Just cause you're in your sixth decade doesn't mean you stop having inappropriate crushes or start driving slowly. Good to know!

--- Cat bow ties. CAT BOW TIES!

--- DIY diorama bookends. I love dioramas! I love bookends!

 --- How do cultures define the prevailing boundaries of style decorum and why are people who don't conform often shunned or ridiculed? Or so asks Melanie of A Bag and a Beret as she dons a blue wig

--- 11 tips for thrifting.

--- Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Happiness can be scary. I hear ya, Emily!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Eclectic Librarian

I've been thinking about my personal style lately. Mostly I've been thinking: What is it? Who am I? What is it all about, man

There were two articles that really started me thinking. The first one was posted on xoJane, and I read it and came up with a really long, convoluted definition of my personal style, which I don't even remember now, but I do remember it had some oxymoronic adjectives.  Later I read, Gala Darling's take on personal style and realized a 7-word definition of my personal style wasn't going to cut. I had to define the style that is personal to me in only two words. Two words! So few words!

But then I did it: Eclectic Librarian. 

Eclectic is both totally accurate and a bit of a cop out. It says "I am so many things! I enjoy a wide variety of thrifted fashions and am inspired by both '50s movie stars and cartoons from the '90s!"

Librarian refers to my bookish/schoolmarmish bent and makes it seem like I wear glasses as a signature accessory rather than simply as a way to see the world. (Although I wear contacts sometimes too. See? Eclectic! Ever-changing!)

But here's the thing: It is summertime, and in the summertime I don't seem to adhere to my eclectic librarian style. Instead, I prefer shorts and men's shorts and maxi-dresses and tank tops and all other assortments of whatnot and other. As seen here:

Now, let me first of all state: Clothes are fun. Style is fun. No one is saving lives here. This is not a super big deal. But I really would like to develop a consistent style. I'm 32. I feel it's time. So how do I marry my summertime and school-time looks? Can I? Have I already? And is it okay if I just change up my personal style definition and if I do, what do I change it up to?

These are things I think about.

I mean, what if I'm just an eclectic librarian on summer vacation? But that's five words! Or overheated eclectic librarian? (Three words -- better!) Or bohemian librarian? (Two words! Perfect! But is it accurate? I mean, if you wear a couple of maxi dresses and some wide-leg pants are you allowed to call yourself a bohemian?)

Like I said, not rocket science (but also so much more interesting than rocket science, amIright?), but it's something I've been pondering. What about you? Can you define your personal style in two words? Are you consistent or do you like to play? What is it all about, man?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Style Icon: Megan Draper

I don't have much to say about Megan Draper because Tom and Lorenzo have said it all.

Okay, that's a lie. I have a lot to say about Megan Draper, but I'm not going to say it as well as Tom and Lorenzo say it. Seriously, those boys can analyze style. I am absolutely addicted to their Mad Men recaps. And here's the shameful thing: I did not actually watch the current season because I don't have cable. I have seen all the other seasons via Netflix, but this current season I learned about only through blogs/Internet recaps. I cannot help it! I must know what happens!

So the last season I really watched was Season 6, and Megan was the best in that. She was all short skirted and singing and refusing to eat her sherbet, and I love Megan.

I especially love her style. She's so bohemian and hip. I absolutely love what she does with scarves. I myself have picked up some scarves due to her inspiring me. Thanks, fictional character Megan Draper, you are opening up my world through head accessories.

She was very smartly dressed when she worked for Don, but I like her much more as the fabulous actress.

Don really is such an old man compared to her. She's full of life next to him. Life and crazy prints and wacky sunglasses and floppy hats. And let me reiterate: Tom and Lorenzo are filled with brilliant insights on all things Mad Men. I think I like reading their posts almost as much as I like watching the show. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Homemade popsicle

This pospicle is so delicious. I ate six of them in one day because sometimes I'm overly enthusiastic about popsicles. It is made with flavored water (I think I used "white grape"), lime juice and frozen mixed berries all zazzed together in the blender and thrown into popsicle trays into the freezer. So delicious and even good for you! Summertime at its finest.

Christmas in July

Super duper giant grin. 

All maxi-dresses all the time in the summertime. I was going to wear this one to an improv show, but then my friend who was going to go with me flaked out, and my husband who said he might go with me had a long day at the office and was not up for it, and so it was either go alone or stay at home. But I realized I had a third option that appealed to me: Go out and buy some grocery store sushi. So I wore this buying grocery store sushi. (When did grocery store sushi become a thing? Just wondering. I enjoy its wide availability.)

It is maybe (definitely) a shapeless dress, but sometimes I feel like wearing a shapeless dress, and it is a shapeless dress with a fun, green pattern.

I wore bangles I got from a thrift store and a vendor in Ireland and on my feet are thrifted Italian leather shoes that I have worn before on this here blog and absolutely adore.

Those shades are one of five or so I have thrifted this year in my "Oh wow, I can wear contacts now!" frenzy. I did not match them to my shoes on purpose (just thought red and green were lovely, like Christmas in July!), but it works. Apparently matching your accessories is tacky, but if you're going to be tacky, summer is the best time to go for it, don't you think?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Test shots

Do you do this? I've recently realized that my smartphone camera can come in handy when thrifting. I use it if I'm on the fence or if I'm 90 percent sure I want to buy it and just want a little affirmation. I tried both of these shirts on yesterday (with my short(ish) shorts and Dr. Scholls shoes), and they both ended up coming home with me. The black top I'll probably wear on the regular during the summer. The purple sweater, I'll save for fall and pair with a skirt. (A thrifting truth: Don't just shop for the season you're in. You miss out!)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Style Icon: Denise Huxtable

I wanted to be Denise Huxtable, but she was so cool, I knew it probably wasn't going to happen.

"The Cosby Show" was watched regularly in my household, and Denise was my favorite. She was the clear bohemian of the Huxtable bunch. She always walked to the beat of her own drum. (And it was quite the fabulous beat.)

Her taste was kind of typical '80s at the beginning of the show, but as she got older, she became more amazing. You know real-life Lisa Bonet had to have some say in that wardrobe. It's just so artistic, awesome and odd.

You gotta love a girl who loves hats. I mean, you just gotta. 

So I loved "The Cosby Show," but I loved, loved, loved "A Different World," it's spinoff about Denise.She went to a historically black college and made friends and struggled with her studies. She was only on the show for a year or so, but it spread its wings and flew off on its own and was the best

So to conclude, "A Different World" is the best, "The Cosby Show" is the second best, and Denise Huxtable is in a style league of her own. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Loving Lately

Lately I've been loving...

* This "Come to Here" sign, which was at the line for the shuttle at the Highland Games. Excellent wordage!

* Big Boss' Hell's Belle is spicy good fun and goes great with orange cream bars! Happy summer to you!

* Salami-covered hot dogs because, you know, hot dogs weren't unhealthy enough to begin with (yum, yum, yum).

* Vance Toe River Lodge is such super fun. We went there last weekend as an excursion away from the Highland Games. First, we went on a ziplining canopy tour (no pictures allowed, but it scared me, people, it scared me, but I tried to keep cool, and it was pretty and I survived!), then we tried their microbrewery Blind Squirrel (and then Robert started daydreaming about quitting his day job to become a full-time brewer, which is the daydream he has every time we visit a microbrewery), and then we had a yummy dinner. If you're a North Carolinian or visiting the Appalachian mountains, give this place a go!

* This sign, which was posted in the Blind Squirrel Brewery's bar. Ha! So true. So, so true.

* I've also collected a couple of fun links from ye ol' interwebs this week. Check them out:

          --- Dustin Hoffman brought to tears when talking about women and the movie "Tootsie"

          --- Leslie on xoJane explaining why "Dirty Dancing" is a subversive masterpiece.

          --- Forever 21 fans can now buy a "Retro Phone Handset," which I think is hilarious

          --- French lady fashion inspiration

          --- And finally, this post on pin ups from Little Chief Honeybee. Enjoy!