Monday, August 30, 2010

Get Out

My itch to take outdoor photos first got scratched a couple of days before the photo shoot from yesterday's post. I took these outside next to my front porch before then, but hadn't posted them yet. Once again, since I don't have a tripod I had do make to setting my camera on the ground and angling it up towards me. Don't fear for my modesty, though, I was wearing shorts under my skirt!

My camera is one of those tiny slim ones, perfect for throwing in my purse and taking everywhere, terrible for balancing on ledges or rocks. 

And now, as a bonus, a terribly awkward picture of me taken by Tori. I was talking while she took it. She got a really nice shot of me smiling properly, but my memory card (which frequently geeks out and has to be reformatted) had a snafu and I can only download that picture sideways. Also, the lighting here makes me look a bit vampirish, no? I've learned to embrace the pale.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sorry I'm Ugly Now

Well, I guess I learned my lesson. I went into my layout to try and change a couple of things, and my old layout doesn't exist anymore. So I inadvertently changed it and now I can NEVER GO BACK to what it was before. And I hate my new layout. I can't get the blogreel and post titles not to be orange. Yuck. I will get back to making this better later, but I hate this layout and I'm sorry to subject you to it. Come baaaaaaaaack old layout! You were so simple and clean looking, and not dumb like this one.

UPDATE: I am making progress on the changes, I like this one much better. I miss the simplicity of before, and part of me really wants to go back to all black, but I'll give this a whirl. Expect more changes and experimentation for awhile.

SECOND UPDATE: I found the old layout buried in blogger's Design tab or something, but now I messed around with this new one enough I think I'll keep it. Eventually I'll have to do something cool and unique, but above all I am lazy, so...yeah. Good enough. That's what I always say.

As Promised...

Here are a few shots from my solo photo shoot.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Experiment Gone Wrong, and Right

I have been wanting to do a Clothes Horse inspired photo shoot for awhile now, and today, I don't know what possessed me, I decided to do it. Maybe it was the green floral-print tights I just got that were begging to be photographed in the woods, among foliage and nature. Maybe I just got really sick of taking outfit shots in my bathroom. At any rate, I took off my heels, put them in my purse with my camera, threw on some boots I could walk in, grabbed a coat, hopped in my car, and took off. 

I headed to a lake I used to walk around all the time a couple of years ago. For whatever reason, I haven't been there much lately. Back in the days I used to walk/hike a lot of local trails, I had deep, important angst related to certain boys and whether they liked me, and why they didn't like me, and if they did like me why didn't they do something about it. It was the kind of angst which required thoughtful walks through dense green forests and beside sparkling, lapping bodies of water. Then I met Joe, and my need for angsty contemplative walks disappeared. But at any rate, the trails are still pretty, and gosh darn it I should take advantage of the beautiful place I live and get back out there.

Once I got to the lake, I got about thirty seconds in before I started talking some test shots with my jacket and boots still on. Thirty seconds more, and I took more pictures. A couple minutes, more pictures. But here's where it started to get interesting. I had to find a good place to put my camera (let me tell you, I will FOR SURE try to get a tripod before I do this again, trying to frame a shot was like...I don't know, it was hard OK), take of my jacket, change from my boots to my heels, set the self-timer, and figure out where to pose, all while hoping no people came along, because really, how would I explain myself?

I got a couple of so-so shots in at my third photo spot, though Joe called me in the middle of it so I'm on the phone in a couple of pictures:

This was supposed to be a reference shot anyway, but in about a minute or two after I took this, a random golden retriever came bounding down the trail, no collar or tags, no owner in sight. I instinctively made for my purse, thinking he might get into it and make off with something. Instead, he grabbed my whole purse in his mouth and started to to flee. I was close enough to grab it away while shouting "No" three times, and he dropped my purse, took off the way he came, and that was the end of a very brief, strange encounter. I decided to wrap it up in that spot and move on. 

I continued with the whole "walk a minute or two, stop, change shoes, frame shots, take pictures" thing for awhile, with varying degrees of success:

At one point I had stopped to take a couple of pictures of some floating pine needles and such, and before I moved on I needed to retie a knot at the back of one of my boots. I started to set my camera on a log to free my hand up, and I almost put it on top of this little guy:

I apologized, of course, and took his portrait. He was very willing and patient. As I started to walk away, I wanted to name him, but I couldn't think of anything suitable. Here he is doing an "editorial-style" shot:

I think I've been upstaged.

As much trouble as I had getting a good shot, and as weary as I got of changing shoes and carrying my jacket about (turns out I didn't need it, the weather was nice despite strong winds), I had great fun. I hope to do a lot more shoots outside, especially since there are tons of places I can go to get great scenery. I'll be posting some of the better pictures in my next post, get ready for some flagrant Clothes Horse imitation!

I Only Come When You Call

Even when you live in the same town for twenty-five years, your routes change. The places you frequent change, the roads once familiar go untaken. There are houses I could go back to that would welcome me with warmth and genuine affection, but I can't see them as they once were. They have become smaller, less alive. I glance at the windows, and can't imagine the lives inside any more than a place I've never been. The homes of old friends, or the old homes of the longtime friends who remain, are paler now, foreboding even. A driveway or sidewalk that leads to a door whose threshold I have passed through countless times appears now, simultaneously, familiar and foreign. 

Monday, August 23, 2010


Hey guyz! It's my 100th post! woo hoo!

In celebration, I'm giving you all a gift. The gift of deliciousness.

1. Buy these from Costco:

2. Gather ingredients: shredded cheese, chopped onions, tomatoes, and olives.

3. Put chips on a cookie sheet.

4. Put toppings on chips.

5. Bake.

6. Eat.


(Unintentionally) Mixing Neutrals, Part 3

I hate when I'm too lazy to take my outfit picture, and then I spend two hours on a new tumblr blog I found (The Frogman), and then it gets completely dark in my house besides the glow of my laptop, and then I get up to turn a light on and somehow hit myself in the head with said laptop, and then I have to take a picture with bad lighting cause it's dark outside.

Anyway, I had a job interview today so I tried to look neutral and professional, which ended up looking rather boring. When I took the picture and looked at it I realized I was mixing black and brown without even knowing it. In the end, it was a blah outfit and I have a blah look on my face.

Thank goodness I got my hands on some free jewelry yesterday so I felt there was at least something interesting about what I wore. My parents are wrapping up a major addition to their house which added and extra living room area downstairs, and a master bedroom/bathroom/walk-in closet upstairs. In the process of moving into the closet, my mom was going through her jewelry and basically told me to take whatever I wanted besides her diamond and sapphire stuff. I'm not big on accessories, but I'm in a bit of a ring phase so I snagged a few, including these two pictured. The pearl ring was a gift from a high school friend, and the other belonged to her grandmother:

Another one of my acquisitions was this sterling silver bracelet, also from her high school days. I don't wear bracelets much because they are mostly way too big for my tiny bird-wrists, but we squeezed this one down to a manageable size. It's very delicate and subtle, so I might be getting a lot of use out of it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Pirate Pixie wore Vintage Tea

Today I wore my turquiosey skirt from Pacsun again. The label calls it "Vintage Tea" (which means "Vintage Teal" but there wasn't enough space for the whole description). Maybe I'll steal the phrase for an ill-fated band I'll start and inevitably abandon. 

I had to wash it twice and lay it to dry after the cream cheese incident, and the pleats are very fussy so I had to be careful where I set it. In the end, though, as you can see, it wrinkled as soon as I sat down in it, but I don't much care because it's still awesome. In fact, the first thing that happened when I walked into church this morning was one my guy friends told me how awesome my outfit was. Other comments included someone saying I looked like a pixie, and someone else immediately responding that I looked like a pirate.

Kayla Pocket Skirt by Kirra

And may I also point out that the skirt has POCKETS! I'm not sure if I said that in my first post about it, but it bears repeating anyway. The brand of the skirt is Kirra, a line seemingly carried only (or mostly) by Pacsun. Usually when I buy something at Pacsun lately, it's by Kirra. Most of their stuff comes in a cut above the other brands, though I have a soft spot for Roxy as well. 

Here's a shot of the clip-on earring I used on the belt-scarf. If it looks familiar, that's because I have the other one clipped to a necklace I wear sometimes and have posted before. The scarf is one of three my mom bought when my grandma was selling them at a garage sale. It's soft and floaty, probably contributing to the "pixie" effect. And the tones in the turquoise and green look much richer in person compared to the photo.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fall Creeps into my Wardrobe

Whilst uploading today's outfit shot, I realized I had forgotten about Thursday and Friday's! Oh no! So here they are. In this first one, I'm wearing a cardigan my mom insisted on buying for me from Old Navy, though I was so-so about it. Paired here with my Converse, I felt very Back 2 School. Then as it got hotter out later in the day, I

And with this outfit, I got told by a coworker I looked "like a school marm. But, like, a groovy school marm."

I sense a theme emerging.

Mixing Neutrals, Part 2

At the blog duckalicious, I found a perfect example of brown and black working together. The cream blouse keeps it sophisticated, the accessories make it unique, and the mix of textures add interest. There's a lot going on here, but the muted color palette keeps it looking understated, almost effortless. Can you mix neutrals? Yes, yes you can. In fact, here's proof you should.

See the photos here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Little Too Early, a Little Too Late

Once again, you can count on me to give you great movie reviews at an utterly useless time. I'm guessing Cyrus isn't in many theaters anymore, and it's for sure not out on DVD yet. But Joe and I saw it a few weeks ago, and I've been wanting to weigh in on it. So now I'm finally getting around to it, and if you've seen it you can agree or disagree. If you haven't seen it, you can keep my thoughts in mind later when it does come to DVD.

First of all, I usually like John C. Reilly, and this film is no exception. He plays such a variety of characters with ease, and has sidestepped the whole transition from dramatic to comedic actor (and back again...and again) by playing both types for years. Honestly, I never knew him by name until the Talledega Nights/Walk Hard era, but I recognized him from past work such as Chicago and Never Been Kissed (which I have seen an embarrassing number of times, and I love). Pulling up his IMDB page verifies that he has been working steadily since the late eighties, and in surprising number of high-caliber stuff such as Gangs of New York and What's Eating Gilbert Grape (which, among others, I now feel compelled to go back and watch again in search of him). I recently saw Magnolia for the first time, and his earnest, lonely, slightly desperate performance blew me away. He is in the same character vein at the opening of Cyrus, in which he plays John, a divorced, deadbeat guy who has pretty much given up on...everything. Within the first half-hour he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei), and their ensuing courtship is one of the most lovely I have ever seen. It is almost heartbreaking in it's tentative sincerity, reflective of the hesitance and joy we feel when first falling in love and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with someone new, especially in light of past failures. I found myself feeling deeply for the two characters, and drawn in by their love story much more effectively than by most so-called "romances" put out in Hollywood.

The film even manages to wink at itself for pairing someone as lovely as Tomei with Reilly by making John (who is slightly drunk) wonder aloud to Molly why she is interested in him, since he "look(s) like Shrek." Once we, as an audience, see the the filmmakers acknowledge the unlikelihood of the pairing, it becomes easier to accept (or at least overlook). 

From there, complications inevitably arise. Soon the film's namesake, Cyrus, enters the picture. Jonah Hill nicely interprets the role of Molly's son with a combination of innocence and sinister possessiveness. His character's presence pulls the rest of the movie to the brink of becoming a screwball comedy, but restrains itself. In almost every scene between John and Cyrus, I felt that at any moment the movie was going to turn to Step Brothers-esque humor. All it really would have taken was an ironic soundtrack and some flat-out juvenille sparring between the two characters for it to transition seamlessly from funny drama to a really funny comedy. But it never quite goes there, and instead achieves an unflinchingly quiet tension that adds complexity and depth to an otherwise age-old and honestly very predictable storyline. In this movie, as with many of my favorites, it's good because it's well-executed, not necessarily because it's unique. The writing, acting, and direction dare to walk a precipice between comedy and drama so effectively, it feels utterly new. It would have been so easy to make Cyrus into a pure drama or a full-on comedy, and the outcome of either would  have, in all likelihood, been just as good. But points to Cyrus for daring to sit a little uncomfortably between genres, and yet still making me walk away feeling good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Which I Meditate On Pacsun, My Constant Frenemy

The same day I bought the skirt described in yesterday's epic saga, I also got this gorgeously teal-turquoise skirt from Pacsun. 

I've always had a love-hate relationship with Pacsun. On the one hand, they stock jeans in my size that come in short length for a decent price, and I can fit into a lot more there than in other stores since junior's sizes work best on my petite frame. On the other hand, they are so hit-or-miss style-wise. I have just come through about a year of exasperation with them over the preponderance of neon, plaid, and neon-plaid they insisted on stocking. I get it, the brand is very trend-based, and their items are meant to be more or less disposable. But their commitment to trend sometimes means nothing they offer suits my slightly more sophisticated late-twenties style. I'm sorry if I don't find hot pink and lime green cheetah-print hoodies an appropriate item for my lifestyle, but that's the way it goes. A fourteen-year-old is free to snap that up, but it's not for me.

So imagine my surprise to discover a few weeks ago that I suddenly want to buy everything Pacsun is stocking for fall. Rich colors, pretty patterns, sweet but simple dresses, and the skirt I'm wearing above.

It's just what I've been looking for lately--a great basic mini in bright but sophisticated color to supplement the black mini I have come to love and overuse. And it has the added bonus of the pleats and pockets, making it more interesting design-wise, though just as easy to style as a plain mini (tucked in t-shirt, leggings/tights, cardigan/jacket, done). The color means I can dress around it in neutrals and let it stand out, or mix with a bold top (green? pink? yellow?) on those days I'm feeling a bit more daring.

I was very excited to wear it to work today, and went around for the first few hours with an extra bounce in my step. Then on my lunch break I got cream cheese all over it and had to change.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Day at the Library

Get Two Beers and Jump

So back in May, my mom and I went shopping to celebrate my birthday and Mother's Day. We went a bunch of places and got some pretty cute stuff. But the first place we went was Macy's, intended to be a quick stop, that ended up being over an hour of shopping and trying on clothes. During this time, we discovered the very front section of the store where they keep the really cute but rather too expensive junior size items, stuff that actually fits me and is totally my style but I can't really afford. 

For fun, we tried on a bunch of stuff. I found a retro Journey t-shirt I liked ($60!) and a vest covered in beads and metal that probably weighed several pounds. And then there was the skirt.

The skirt was a tiered mini, purple with white hearts all over it and an exposed zipper that was supposed to be in the front but I liked better in the back. It fit perfectly and I loved it. But for fifty dollars, I was a little hesitant. After all, the day had just started, and I didn't want to spend too much right away. I could always come back for it later, right?

Well, I didn't buy it that day. But I didn't forget about it either. So the next time I went to Macy's I looked for it. Of course it was gone. I tried online, but I couldn't remember the brand. I scoured the skirt section of the website, but no luck. The skirt had gotten away.

Cut to two days ago. Joe was working, and I was killing time until I could go pick him up. I went to the mall. I went to Macy's. I browsed the same front section of the store. I checked the clearance. 

And there it was. 

The skirt.

Not only was it there, it was the only one. And in my size. And forty percent off.

Apparently, whoever had ended up buying the skirt had kept it for a couple of months and returned it, and it just so happened to be there the same day as I was. And only go to that Macy's once every month or two. So of course I tried it on again. And wanted it. But I had just bought another skirt minutes before, and though forty percent off is great, it was still thirty bucks on top of the twenty five I had just spent. So I decided to think about it. I left and went to a bunch of other stores. I resisted temptation.

You might think that I felt victorious or proud that I didn't buy the skirt right away. But instead I felt anxious, nervous. What if somebody else bought it while I was shopping? Should I just go back and get it? Should I buy it at all? Shouldn't I be careful with my money, since I don't have much disposable income? I was confused, my mind going back and forth, unsure of what to do.

After an hour or so, I noticed a store starting to close. Then another. It was Sunday--the mall was closing at six! And I was on the other side of the mall from Macy's! It was decision time, and now I knew what to do. I wanted that skirt. For three months I had thought about it, and I knew if I didn't get it now I would always remember it and kick myself for not buying it. But did I have enough time? Would Macy's close before I could get there?

Luckily, I made it. I whisked in, grabbed the skirt and bought it. The sales clerk admired it, and as the transaction was completed I placed the skirt in my bag and left the mall. It felt right.

And here it is:

As I said, the zipper is supposed to be in front, but it looks a bit strange that way to me, so I wear it in back. I love the heart print, it's cute but not too precious.

Rings worn with my outfit: white gold band from Joe, sapphire and diamonds unclaimed from a lost and found, aquamarine birthstone my mom's from high school.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Double Duty Dressing

Here's the result of a thrown-together Sunday morning church outfit, no time for a shower so I'm wearing my glasses and a valiant effort at updo that fell out very quickly. 

Cut to Sunday night. Now I'm showered, shampooed, and on my way to the beach/park to hang out with friends. I've often seen other fashion bloggers and flickr users do the dress-turned-into-a-top maneuver, but personally I've always thought that would be a bit uncomfortable. However, this shirtdress is very thin, so I gave it a shot. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find I could smash the bottom half of the dress into these skinny jeans, and not only couldn't you tell by looking at it, but it felt fine, too. I liked the way the top looked so much that I am contemplating getting a tailor to chop the bottom off for me (if I ever make enough money to have things tailored).

And yes, at some point before I left I did put on shoes.


this should have been worded a little differently.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Kids Are Alright

I never would have bought these tights for myself, but Tori got them and they were too small for her. I've only worn them a few times. Neon purple is not the easiest color to work into my wardrobe. I decided to be bold and put them with a hot pink t-shirt, and then dilute the craziness of the colors with a black cardigan and calf-high boots that limit the amount of tights you see.

There's a cool floral design in the tights you can't see in the first pic.

Bonus fact: two of the items I'm wearing here come from the children's section. One, the boots, which are from Target (I have a size 6-7 foot which fits in some kids sizes. I also have girls size four Converse, about $25 cheaper than adult size). Two, the skort (yes, skort) by Roxy Girl from Macy's. It's a nice stretchy denim, and you would never guess it has shorts built in. It's comfy and conservative enough to wear to work when I have to bend over and stretch up. I even used to wear it to my retail/stocking job where I was often climbing ladders. And before you try and hate me for still fitting into clothes you can't, some places (like Old Navy) the little girl's clothes actually fit up to a women's size 8. Fit is key, though, as the clothes are cut for a different type of body. I've had the most luck with skirts, personally.

This Exists

This is a real thing I saw at a store in Seattle last week:

It's a croc purse. Except it's not make by Crocs. It's by some company called Lubber who ripped off Crocs' design and for some unfathomable reason turned in into a purse/tote.

There's also a website of questionable grammatic integrity that professes it to serve all sorts of purposes, such as "Cheer Leader Tote," "Drinks Cooler" and "Fancy Flower Planter." (wtf?)

And in case you were on the fence about purchasing this amazing mult-tasking wonder, but you just wish it was a little bit more...personal, good news! You can also buy giant gaudy charms and flowers to stick in the holes! (And you thought those only had asthetic merit.)



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Out and About

Last Wednesday I got to hang out with my good friend Lisa who was in town for a few days. She's in the middle of a two-year teaching contract in China, and I haven't seen her in over a year. She's on a plane today back to China, and I won't see her again until next summer. We took advantage of her visit and got out and about in the beautiful weather.

One of the places we went was a local park with a scenic road that winds about 2 1/2 miles through forest and along the ocean. There are a couple of hilly spots, but nothing too challenging, so we had no problem with the walk though she was wearing flats and I had on sandals. As we were making our way up one of the steeper parts of the road, Lisa told me how in China, fashion is such a high priority for women they wear heels everywhere, including on trails and hikes just like what we were doing! Now, I am pretty committed to fashion, and I certainly love a great pair of heels, but I would never wear them into the woods! I'm used to being the only one in heels, especially when I wear them to the grocery store, and I think a lot of people could step up their footwear repertoire, but I still consider heels mainly an indoor item. I don't know whether to admire them or be grateful that's not the norm here.

Thanks to Lisa for taking my outfit shot this day! One of my favorite fashion blogs is The Clothes Horse, and I felt a bit like her here with my picture being taken along the Western Washington Shore. If there's one blogger I would love to emulate, it's her...buying and wearing lots of dresses, finding little spots along the beach and in the woods to take pictures of myself, and writing about what I'm wearing and things I like. Usually I just take a self-portrait in my bathroom, which is fine, but it's starting to seem like I don't get out much. So, yay for going out and about!

Mixing Neutrals, Part 1

I like to mix neutrals. Black, brown, navy, grey, whatever. I throw them together in various combinations and pretty much forget that a lot of people frown upon it. I'm not saying it always works in every situation, and for me the determination is always made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account shades and tones of the colors I'm putting together. The outfit below is a prime example:

I almost named this post the Blue, Black and Brown-fit, but I decided that was to cheesy. (Is it? I mean, it's kinda funny, right? No? K, moving on...)

Here I am flagrantly flouting convention by putting together navy, brown, AND black, three colors that many people feel VERY STRONGLY should NEVER BE MIXED. Yet I loved it. Particularly because this skirt has been sitting around in my closet for years, barely worn because it's an awkward length on it's own, and has a slight bubble hem that falls weird on me. I had an epiphany last week that I could throw a belt over it and turn it from a low-waisted to a high-waisted piece and BAM--it looked awesome. Add the simple, casual looseness of the t-shirt and the edginess of what I like to call my Take That! wedges (cause they're five inches high and if I got in a fight I could be all Take That! and kick you and you would fall down and I would win), and it just works. Don't ask me how or why exactly, on paper it sounds awful. Casual, sweet, vintage and edgy with only neutral colors. The final product was the result of pure experimentation. I just started putting stuff on in determination to make use of an underutilized skirt.

So my point is that there's no hard and fast rules or guidelines. Sometimes you just have to try something  weird. If it looks awful, well, no one saw except your mirror. And you might stumble on something great and unique.

Detail of skirt pattern

Copper, bronze and silver ring from Picadilly Circus in London, sapphire and diamond ring from the lost-and -found at work (not claimed after 3 months)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Before and After

While looking at through my photos that I need to post, I decided to put Friday and Saturday together. Once I had uploaded them, I noticed that I look a bit like a makeover show before and after.

Not that I don't look cute in the first one--I rather like that outfit, actually--it just goes to show how differently I often dress from day to day. Both photos are of me dressed for work, but Saturday is a shorter day for me which explains my attempt to wear heels. I would have liked to wear my green mary jane pumps to add bit of color, but for some reason these black t-straps don't go with a much in my closet and I wanted to throw them into the rotation.

Another thing I noticed about these outfits is that I'm giving a perfect example of how clothes can shape how your body is perceived. I'm very petite and slim, so I don't have to bother much with hiding parts I don't want seen. But many of you out there do, and I know my metabolism will catch up to me someday and I will to. These two shots are a good example of how you can change the way people see your body with clothing.

In the first shot, my tank top hits below my stomach and the hem has a curve to it, creating a perception that my whole hip/stomach area is bigger. My button-up shirt gives the impression of straight vertical lines down each side of my body, obscuring my waist. It also hits right at my hips, adding extra bulk to that area. I'm not too concerned about it, but even I am a bit shocked when I go from that image to the next one. In that picture, I'm wearing a top with slight volume to balance my slim shoulders. The skirt hits at the smallest part of my waist and the pockets add curves to my rather slim hips, creating an hourglass shape.

Too bad it wasn't done on purpose, or I could look pretty smart and helpful right now!