Thursday, April 30, 2009

Women I Love - Part 1

I recently read a great post on Style Rookie that featured some of Tavi's favorite style icons.  She had a great selection and it got me thinking about the women that I think have amazing style, or timeless beauty, or an elegance and depth that goes beyond their clothes and seems to come from within.  

Isn't Angelica Houston freaking gorgeous?  I can't handle how incredible her features are.  She has such regal poise, like her shit is together, and she has that sly smile.

In recent years she's had awesome roles in The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Darjeeling Limited.  I think she plays the best bossy, brainy, sexy, independent woman and Wes Anderson must have a crush on her.  Obviously I do!  I want to see more of her movies from the eighties, the pre-Morticia Addams days.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adorn Recomends...

David Foster Wallace.
He's my favorite writer.  I love everything he wrote.  A fellow DFW-er sent me this link to a New Yorker article about him published after his death, and it's alarming to read about how dissatisfied he was with so much of his work.  I think it's pretty flawless, but who am I?

There are three things that strike me most about his writing: the obscure details that stick in your head, the way that he seems to be challenging or testing you, and the distinctive voices of his dialog.

I just read a book about what makes great writing, and one of the author's points was that we believe something because of the details.  If the details are free of cliches and resonate with us, the author can lead us anywhere and we'll follow.  I think Wallace was a master of this.  I remember a character who compulsively smoothed down the crease in the front of his trousers when he was nervous.  A woman who was paranoid that when she was one the phone, the person on the other end was making that circular "on and on" gesture with their hands to someone else in the room.  A drugged-out party where the music on the stereo was a Wings song that had been messed with so that all that was left to hear was Linda McCartney singing timid back-up vocals and shaking a tambourine.  How do you make this stuff up?  Is it not genius?

Footnotes, and plenty of them, pop up in many of Wallace's books.  They are one of the somewhat challenging elements.  Can you skip them?  No, they're part of the book.  But that doesn't mean that all of his tangents are logical or easy to follow.  He's a master of minutiae, no detail too small to be included.  His explanations of tennis, for example, may be a little more information that you needed, but he's certainly thorough.  Some of his more experimental pieces appear in a collection of short stories called Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and I almost feel at points like he's seeing just how far you'll follow him, what you'll let him try.  I feel like that engages me in a way that most writers don't.  It adds another layer to the experience of reading.

When I read a book, there are times that I don't really hear the dialog.  It doesn't sound like a person talking, it sounds like a writer flapping the mouth of a puppet.  Wallace's dialog sounds like real people, with real rhythms and ums and bumbles.  His use of language is just inspiring, and I love that he loved grammar and usage and syntax, and played with it and showed that it wasn't boring stuff.

I'm really sad that he's dead.  Sad for all the books he'll never write.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Super Powers and April Flowers

With these crazy shoes and the silver cuff I felt like I might have mild super powers today.  I didn't test that theory - didn't seem necessary.  This jacket is something I got on Sunday.  I was thinking I needed something kind of sweat-shirty but cooler and I think this does it.  In colour and style can we go with the idea that it's a little Dries van Noten-esque?

I made this skirt years ago and it kind of got shuffled to the back of the closet but it's making a return to the front.  I like how it's kind of high-waisted, thanks to my being a little chubsier (gotta look on the bright side, right?).

God, my ankles look retardedly skinny in proportion to my body.  That's kind of disturbing.  I do like how the silver part of the shoe reflects onto the ground.

Flowers of the week.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Great Movies

Click on the link for a taste of heaven.

Karl and I recently watched two amazing movies.  Days of Heaven and Badlands were directed by Terrence Malick in the 1970's.  They are both so beautiful and inspiring - I totally recommend everyone watch them.  Days of Heaven is set in America before World War I, and tells the story of three young people seeking their fortune.  The plot isn't my favorite part, it's just such an amazing movie to watch and listen to.  I wished it went on for hours and hours.  It stars Richard Gere before he was such a cheeseball. 

Click on link for a cute scene.

Badlands takes place in the late 1950's and it's kind of a Bonnie and Clyde story.  Sissy Spaced and Martin Sheen are forbidden young lovers who go on the run and of course things get ugly.  But the ugly is so gorgeous.  And it made me love Sissy Spacek.  I want all of her clothes in this movie and she is just the cutest little thing.  There's a painting, or a print, on the wall of her house that they take with them, and it's the same one I have hanging in my living room.  Karl and I were both like "hey..." at the same time.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"and now the ears of my ears awake

and now the eyes of my eyes are opened"
-ee cummings

What a beautiful day to wake up feeling less sick!  A couple of days of feeling crappy and having no energy really reminds me how great life is when you're better.  It was sunny and warm and Karl and I did what we do best on weekends - go out for coffee and tea, share a pastry or two, and hit the thrift stores.  I bought a BIG bag of clothes.  I'm starting to worry that I'm getting addicted to having new-old things to wear.  I just feel better approaching the work week with a couple of new articles of clothing to cheer me up.  I guess there are worse vices. 

sneak preview of some of the stuff I bought

When we got home I mowed the lawn and got the next section of the garden ready for planting beet and carrot seeds tomorrow.  Karl grilled a roast and I made a huge Greek salad.  That's my other big vice; there are VERY few things in life that make me as happy as Greek salad.

And later tonight Rescue Me is on.  It's been over a year since they showed the last season, and I'd forgotten what a rad show it is.  And now it's on Sunday nights, which I love because I have Mondays off, so staying up until eleven is not a stretch.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Prized Possession

(I wrote this post last week and psychically saved it for today when I am sick and uninspired and unphotogenic.)
This necklace is really one of my most prized possessions.  My dad got it for my in New Mexico, and it's Navajo silver from the 1920's 0r 30's.  I love to wear it, but it doesn't go with everything, so I kind of have to base an outfit around it.

The sun even came out this afternoon, so I finally have decent light to photograph in.  The white lace blouse is a thrift-score.  Seems like there are always stretchy lace tops in Value Village these days.  I got one in black too.  This one is extra-special because it has kind of Victorian details: high collar, ruffles and buttons at the wrists, and even a ruffled yoke and pintucks down the front.  They are great for layering in this in-between weather.

These are one of my favorite pairs of flats.  I got them before our trip to Europe in the fall, and I walked miles in them.  They're comfy and classed me up a little when we were travelling, and I wear them all the time now at work.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm losing patience with...

I got a cold.  I'm pretty pissed about it.  I just want to go to sleep until I'm better.  Of course when I'm sick I feel cranky and start thinking about things that bug me.

I usually try to keep it pretty positive, but some things irk me on a daily basis:

Uggs.  Seriously, now.  How many years have I been letting this baloney slide?  Especially when they get worn out, and I fear that they wear out much faster than normal shoes.  When it was snowy and slushy for most of December and January, I got so tired of seeing girls squishing around in these waterlogged turds.

Fake nails.  I don't know if I've ever seen a set of real fingernails that I thought looked worse than a set of acrylic, gel whatever- fake nails, except for what your nails look like when the fake ones come off.  Unless they are so good I can't tell they are fake, in which case, congratulations!  But I hate those thick, square things that bear no resemblance to something your body would produce.  Even worse with the French manicure that has the white tip starting halfway down the nail bed.  

Scarlett Johansson.  I used to think she was kind of adorable, like in the Lost in Translation days.  But now I don't know.  I don't think she lived up to the hype.  I didn't see Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which people say she's good in, but I think I have no desire to like her anymore.  Magazines have been fawning over her a little much, and what has she done to deserve it?  She likes to talk about how she's so "curvy" and sexy, but it's all pretty boring to me.  

Fashion blog cliches.  It just seems like everyone loves the same things:  Karl Lagerfeld, Paolo Roversi, Erin Wasson, Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt, Kate Moss, Alenxander Wang. whichever Olsen is cooler, American Apparel...

Sorry, I should stop with the negativities.  I'm sure there are lots of things I do that people are sick of and I shouldn't judge.

Here's a positive thought to balance things out: think about when you plant a seed in the earth.  All day, all night, during everything you do all day, every bitchy comment, every long minute at work, every annoying conversation you have to overhear on the bus, that seed is busy growing.  It's germinating and sprouting and doing it's thing, it's destiny throughout it all.  I like that.

Also, a typo I just made and corrected invented a new word.  Songversation.  How birds talk.

Another random thing.  Walking to work I read something someone had written on an alley wall.  It said "our greatest gift is silence".  It made me happy, briefly.  Then I looked again, and it really said "our greatest risk is silence".  That works for me too.  I like how the two are opposite, but I believe them both.

OK, time to go buy some cold drugs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Images always have the last word."

-Roland Barthes

Springy colours, windy hair.  I bought these shoes (new, gasp) before Christmas when I realized that black pumps are kind of a wardrobe must-have.

I was lazy and feeling sick when I got home from work, and Karl had to go out for dinner, so I ordered me some delivery sushi.  All this for $20 - big dinner, big lunch, and a snack for Karl when he's inevitably still hungery after dinner.

Painted the toenails.  If this sunshine really continues it may be time to break out the bare legs.  I have been using the self-tanner, don't worry!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This is my very favorite tattoo.   It's not on me, it's on Karl, my husband.  I don't have any tattoos; just could never think of anything I could really commit to liking forever, until I got married I guess.  The story of the tattoo fits into that, I guess.  

When we got married almost three years ago, Karl got me a ring and I got him one.  I wear mine all the time, he never wears his.  It's no surprise.  He's allergic to most metals and works with his hands all day so it's not really safe.  The ring was just symbolic for the ceremony, and he does wear it once and a while, until his  finger gets itchy.  We always said we would find a way for him to have a ring and he thought it might end up being some kind of tattoo "ring".  It was hard to think of something appropriate though.

This fall we went on our belated honeymoon to Europe, and when we were in Prague we visited the Alfons Mucha Museum.  He's one of my favorite artists: all those beautiful Art Nouveau women.  Karl noticed a motif on one of Mucha's posters for the Salon des Cent and knew right away that it would look great as a tattoo.  When we read the explanation it was obviously perfect.  The three interlocking rings symbolize the complex nature of love, and they are made up of the blossoms, the thorns, and the fruit.

As soon as we got back from our trip we found a copy of the image and Karl made an appointment at Craftsman Tattoos on Pender Street.  I have to admit, I was a little sceptical.  The forearm is pretty, well, fore.  And it would have to be big to get the detail.  And I've see so many bad tattoos.  But it turned out awesome!  I love it so much, and I love that Karl tells the whole story when anyone comments on it.  It's so well done, too.  He says that of all his tattoos, this hurt the least, healed the best, and that this guy was so skilled it felt like the time flew by.  
It's the ultimate wedding ring, in my opinion.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What I wore, and what I did next

Another springy day.  I celebrated by not wearing a jacket or sweater, just my blouse was all I needed.  And what a polka-dotty blouse it was.  Paired with my newly thrifted loafer-boatshoe-boot hybrid.

And a favorite necklace, made by Mary.  I love turquoise, and I love how it has one little bird on it.

After I took these pictures I went for a walk around my neighbourhood.  There is always a beautiful week in Vancouver in the spring when all the ornamental cherry trees and the magnolia trees are in full bloom at once.  It's pretty magical on some streets; they become tunnels of blossoms, petals drifting down into piles in the gutters, and it gets that quiet  feeling like after a snowfall.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Future Sewing Project?

Tonight I was playing pretend shopping at Pixie Market, and I was pleasantly surprised.  Usually when I imaginary shop online, I mostly see things that are kind of cute, but I know they would only look good on hipster waifs.  Like everyone has Erin Wasson in mind when they design these days and it kind of bores me/depresses me.  I guess it's not really my vibe, but I do see that it's cool on other people. 

But I really love this blouse.  Like, LOVE love.  Like if I ever have time, I will knock-off love.  And it's not the kind of thing that would only look good on a tiny thing, right?  I should really sew for myself more.  I do have lots of excuses though: it's hard to go in to work on a day off, because I'll inevitably find work I should do, and I don't have space to draft, cut and sew at home, and when I have everything at work, it would be such a hassle to bring it home.  Gahhh....  Maybe I'm good enough to stay late a few times a week?  Sceptical...

I think this ruffle-y bow-y neckpiece by Fernanda Perera is cool too, and craftable, but when I make stuff like that (not that I've made anything like that), I sometimes feel a little silly wearing it.  Sad truth.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Making Up

My friend Mary is an amazing makeup artist and although it's not her day job right now, she's updating her portfolio in case some opportunities come up, and just to stay in practice.  So she recruited some friends for modelling and we met at her place today so she could play with our faces.  What's so cool is that she enjoys it so much that it is like playing.  Picking colours, making things perfect.  Whenever she does mine, it always kind of depresses me because I like to imagine that my everyday look is about as good as it gets, but then I see what she can do and realize I could look way better if I had the skill, time, patience and right tools.  I'm a makeup slacker.

This is Jess getting purpled-up.

Mary's also good because she's so gentle and careful that it's quite relaxing getting it done.  Whenever I've had anyone else do it, I'm a little concerned that they are going to poke my eye, or jab at some blemish, but it's quite soothing to sit on Mary's stool for an hour feeling pampered.

This is the finished product.  The colours were more dramatic in real life; my camera's not great.  But it's so pretty, right?  I guess it helps that Jess has such great features and is so photogenic!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Holy Details

Sometimes you have to look up close to see the prettiest things.  The fashion equivalent of stopping to smell the roses.

I bought this old pin at the Vancouver Flea Market a couple of weeks ago for a dollar.  I love the brown and yellow together.  It looks happy on this thrifted vest that I smartened up with mis-matched coin buttons

I had these vintage beaded lacy panels sitting around for years, and I thought I should use them before they disintegrate completely, so I got this cheap H&M top at Value Village, and presto: DIY shoulder glam.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Don't ask me...

People occasionally ask me for fashion advice, which is cool.  People also occasionally ask me if certain colours go together.  This is harder.  My colour-pairing philosophy is perhaps too liberal.  Sometime after noon today I realized I was wearing a navy top, green tank, purple pants, and brown shoes with a red ribbon.  It didn't occur to me when I was getting dressed that this might be a little much.  I think that on What Not To Wear, they advise a good dose of neutrals to balance things out.  Oh well.

Also: toe cleavage.  Is it a hot or a not?

I'm really into these shoes I got at Value Village a while ago.  They had no laces, so I got a discount, and I got some red ribbon at the dollar store to use as laces, which I think "jazzes" them up a bit.  I hate the expression "jazz up".  Ick.  Though it might be permissible only in this context, as the shoes do kind of look like jazz shoes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

About time...

Sweet fancy Jesus, did I ever need a new pair of runners.  I've been putting off buying them for months because I could really afford these New Balances that I've kind of been addicted to for probably five or six years.  I've had more than one pair in that time, of course, but the most recent pair was really getting tattered. 

So I bit the bullet this week and bought them.  Of course I tried on a bunch of less expensive pairs, but they really aren't as great.  It's not like I'm some big athlete, but I have orthodics for my ankles, so I do need good support.  This style lasts for years, is amazingly comfortable, and was even on sale for once.  And on a superficial note, I'm not a big fan of white runners with pink or blue trim.  They had a deal where if you spend over a hundred dollars you get a fancy running shirt, which I don't know if I can bring myself to wear.  I may re-gift it I guess.

I also bought a new sports bra, because the ones I like were on sale at the Bay.  I got a lecture once from the saleslady there about sports bras and how they need to "compress and contain".  Don't go for some cute little number that makes your boobs look good and lets you flail around on the treadmill.  Strap those girlies down like you're Hillary Swank in Boys Don't Cry.  She said she used to be in competitive fitness and bodybuilding, and then she tore all of her pectoral muscles because she was working out in a top with a shelf bra.  Owww-freaking-chhh!  Not unless you are an A cup, sisters!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Eco-Fashion Scavenger Hunt

A friend of mine works at this cool magazine, Granville, and they always have good sustainable fashion features.  So when she recently invited me to take part in a Fashion Challenge of course I agreed.  The fashion editor chooses a current runway look and it's up to the participants to recreate the look using clothes from thrift store, consignment stores, local designer or other "green" sources.

This is the look that was selected from Oscar de la Renta's recent runway show.

This is my approximation.  It was very hard to find a short-sleeved jacket, and I did not approve of the evening shoes, so I had to improvise.  But it's all thrifted, and probably cost under twenty dollars.  I borrowed the excellent leather satchel from my husband, who "found" it at a Lost and Found department at an old job.  And no, I am not wearing white tights; that's my skin.  Time to pull out the self tanner!

I'll post the link when it's up on their website and we can see how I did compared to everyone else.  For now, check out the previous challenge they did last fall!  It's so cool to see everyone's take on the same look, and the teachable moment is that you can get high-fashion looks from unlikely sources.  Duh.