Friday, October 30, 2009

Craig and McQueen Part I

The minute I saw Daniel Craig in Layer Cake I knew that I liked him immensely. But it was not until the final scene of Casino Royale when the reason hit me in the head. I knew then why he had seemed instantly familiar and appealing.

Casino Royale 2006

I had seen that face (and outfit) before. On Mr. Terrance Steven McQueen.

The Thomas Crown Affair 1968

The dark blond hair, receding hairline, furrowed and hooded brow, blue eyes, deep laugh lines, pursed lips, wide strong nose, and somewhat jug ears.


Not that they're twins or anything but the description does fit them both quite well. They are definitely of the same type; that hard beaten yet good looking, man's man sort.

What other male movie stars can fit that description? Oh there are a few, like Tommy Lee Jones, James Remar, Sam Elliot, Ted Levine, and Russell Crowe, but compared to the more conventionally handsome leading men out there, that's not a lot.

I prefer these rough and tumble guys. Even better if they happened to have broken their noses in their youth. Just another symbol that their lives were not always easy and that they lived their lives out loud.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It Is Easy To Be Unhappy

The reason I think it's harder in the short run to choose celebration over blame is that you have to take responsibility for more of your own bad outcomes, you have to be grateful for what you have when you're plainly receiving less than someone else, and you have to make a conscious decision to assess individuals and discrete situations solely on their merits, instead of just lumping them all into some category of Things You Already Know. In other words, you have to assign yourself to the role of student in life, instead of the more secure feeling Master of All Knowledge.

Choosing optimism is choosing vulnerability and humility on an ongoing basis, and that's often in conflict with our nature.

Great quote from Washington Post columnist Carolyn Hax on how easy it can be to remain unhappy. Please read the rest via Kerry's blog.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thank you Joanna!

So it's not just me!

Look what I just read on Smitten, written by Joanna Goddard (also from A Cup of Jo). Of course, I had to read it...she entitled the piece, Do People Call you Ma'am? And guess who the culprit is in her story?

I feel so much better now. However, I still don't think it's the right way to go in terms of customer service for that particular store. The ma'ams of the world are their target customers*, so why even risk insulting them?

*"30 to 45 years old, college or post-graduate education, married with kids or in a committed relationship, professional or ex-professional, annual household income of $150,000 to $200,000. She's well-read and well-traveled." From an article on the store in Fast Company, Issue 65, November 2002.

Friday, October 23, 2009

In fact...

I was dressed today very much like this picture. I'll try to take a picture this weekend. I'm pretty proud of my version. The only thing I regret (STILL) is that I didn't buy this necklace when I had the chance.

Image: Lucky, October 2007

Say It Ain't So...

Oh, well.

The irony is, that this week, I've worn two outfits that were SO much cuter and stylish than what I wore to that interview. I made the mistake of confusing myself with what I previously knew about interviewing for my former jobs (mostly corporate-lite) than trying to get a job somewhere that was so individually unique from my past experience. I should have worn what I felt great in hoping that it would have translated to the interviewer.

In short, I should have sold 'the best me I could be' and not what I thought they wanted, which only resulted in me feeling lacking.

NOTE: I'm not saying I didn't get the job because of the way I was dressed. Not at all. I'm saying that I didn't feel confident in myself because of my ambivalence about my outfit and I let it affect the way I felt and presented myself. Also, the "ma'am" thing really did disarm me.

You live - you learn.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More of This is What I Need

First, I saw this cute capelet at Floating World Views, it's a rendition of Burda 8173*.

Then I saw this lovely jacket from Anthropologie:

Catalina Bolero, $120

And now I see this:

a perfect little mash-up, right?

Where do you think I found it? No, not Anthropologie, though it definitely has that feel. No, this little gem is available at Forever 21! Yes. For only $35.

So I guess I need a charcoal gray wool capelet/jacket thingy in my wardrobe for fall.

Yeah, I can dig it.

*This is a discontinued Burda pattern, but Butterick 5032 is very similar, just eliminate the collar. I luckily already own this vintage Butterick pattern with it's own cape.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ma'am IS a Four-Letter Word

I had an interview last Monday for seasonal help at a retail store I think most of my readers would love to work at or better yet have the money to shop there whenever they pleased. I was so wrecked getting ready for the interview. They normally hold group interviews but I got a solo one. Weather this was a good call or not we will see.

The weather had turned suddenly that weekend; what was 80-90 degrees the day before was now in the 50s that morning. The incredibly cute outfit I had been planning on wearing was no longer going to work. So I needed something warm to wear. I grabbed a long blazer coat that was a winner when I was working a more corporate job. Hey, it still wasn't traditional, it was more of a frock coat length, but yes, there were no fun ripply labels, bows, or corsages. However, I was wearing my cool Clark pumps and chocolate brown fishnets.

However, I was also wearing my glasses, which I don't show on my blog but which (I think) age me a few years. So when I walk into the store, the manager lets me know she'll be right with me. And get this? She ends that statement with the dreaded word, ma'am. I'd been "ma'amed"!

And when I left the store later (I looked around after the interview) the sales person at the door (who definitely saw me interviewing) said..." Have a nice day, ma'am"

I window shop there often and have never had them say that before to me. That's not a good sign is it? Damn my wardrobe!

Wish me luck, none-the-less.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Memories of 2001

My friend always wanted to walk down the aisle to Malcolm McLaren's Madame Butterfly from 1984, complete with drum machine and spoken word rap. Because she wasn't paying for her wedding alone, lots of her wishes were easily being stripped from HER wedding. So despite her growing fears about what others would think; as one of her maids of honor, I convinced her to still use it. I did try to see if I could get someone to digitize a few things out of the song, but in the end we went with her original album (or was it a 45?) version.

She got married at the Carousel Gardens in New Orlean's City Park, on a balmy October night with the multicolored glass in the carousel lit up. The music filled the night and it was one of the few things she was able to keep from her original wedding vision.* That and her periwinkle tulle gown with handmade fairy wings!

The whole thing was glorious; from the setting, to the Gerber daisy-decorated cake, to the gorgeous bridesmaid dresses (seriously, I still want an occasion to wear mine again!), to the flower girl dresses sewn by the bride that tied all the dresses together! The weather was perfect. That year, mid-October in New Orleans was balmy, but not muggy. There was even a fabulous breeze!

Good memory, good, good memory. Thanks, Linda and John. Happy Anniversary!

* Again, in my personal opinion, parents paying for the wedding CAN be the absolutely wrong way to go.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oops, I Did It Again

I took apart another just-finished project. What is it with me not being happy with the things I make lately (except for the slips)? Huh?

This lovely top. I should have known when I wrote (more than once) in the review that it was too big that I would have a real problem with that. I have now taken the seams apart and recut it a size smaller. I also tightened up the sleeve elastic. Hopefully, I'll get the motivation to sew it back together even though the temperature here has dropped dramatically. It is now FALL and a scoop neck and three-quarter sleeves are just not cutting it.

I also need to finish that aggravating stretch velour dress even though I have no use for it personally and it will not fit the only pregnant woman that I know.

Sorry for the complain-y attitude.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Liking Valli

A while ago I showed you a dress that left a big impression on me that was designed by Giambattista Valli. I tried to source which of his collections it was from but I was unable to find it among his archived shows. However, I found quite a few other outfits of his that inspired me.

One is the outfit to the left, from his 2008 collection. A version of this top would be very doable using Simplicity 3835. I would have to draft the neckline a bit wider to accommodate for the additional fullness at the design's neckline.

However, the outfit that really caught my eye was this one below from his Spring 2009 collection. How lovely is that?

Of course, I'm curious how easily one can get out of the cape or if the cape is attached to the sheath. It has such a 1960's sensibility and I suppose could easily be described as Hepburn-esque.

Spring 2009

This is definitely a designer that I will be watching in the future.

Friday, October 09, 2009

My mood and my money...

and my money and my mood.

Here is something just in time for National Honesty Month. I was reading through my blogs and in a post on Already Pretty I saw this line:
Sally McGraw

Wow. At this point in time, I have neither. And it's a good guess that might be the source of my mental lethargy and depression. I have a job that I took "temporarily" (almost two years ago) to get a foot into a career field, hoping that it would be a stepping stone to something bigger and better. By taking this job, I took a pay cut on top of the one I had taken when I moved back to Richmond five (long) years ago. With school loans and the general rise in the cost of living, that hasn't turned out to be a good idea. It's even worse than the "take a year off, get a loan, and finish your college degree" idea I had before this job. That degree is still AWOL and that money is now due.

I do live alone (for now) but that doesn't mean I am independent. The money (which means security to me) is just not there.

It's not that I have a spending problem. I don't. This is just my regular bills that are a problem, along with three school loans that I have to repay because I'm not in school this semester. However, to get those bills back in remission, I'd have to enroll in two classes and put that $2,000 (tuition & books) on one of my credit cards in order to attend. Which would then increase my minimum monthly payments and well... a Catch 22 abounds.

I used to be SO good with money, I was that lone kid in college who really did only use their credit card for emergencies.

So, at this point, I am just taking it step by step, day by day.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

SHELTER Study - A Fabled Needle At Rest

I have been wanting to introduce you to the lovely Jen from The Fabled Needle. She is an artist who sells her lovely illustrations (like the one at left!) and knitting patterns through her Etsy shop, The Fabled Needle. 

I kept putting off publishing this piece because I was trying to write some clever little introduction piece about her home but instead I will just go ahead and let you read her own impressive words describing the sweet abode she has created for herself and her (brand new!) husband.

What is the age and style of your house?
It is a 1935 Spanish Revival duplex. We are on the top level.

Do you decorate with that information in mind or against it? Hmm, not specifically, no. This style of home is one of my favorites so I suppose it does influence my choices on an unconscious level.

How would you describe the decor style of your home? Low-maintenance eclectic. It's mostly a hodgepodge of things I like that hopefully work together.

How would you describe your personal style? Low-maintenance eclectic. I don't know if I can pinpoint my personal style although my artistic sensibilities are an important part of who I am. Perhaps I'm just lazy!

Do you think your décor style matches your personal style? Yes. There's a mix of fussy things with really simple modern ones.

How well does your home match you and your personality? Would someone you know think your space represents who you are? Do you think it does? I feel at home in this place more than any other place I've lived in. I love old details, even if they are not in good condition. I'm not about upgrading and if the original yellow and green tile in the kitchen is a little worn and pockmarked, so what! It shows that the kitchen was used by someone who loved cooking. I don't know if that answers your question though. I would say, yes, this place really suits me!

Do the colors in your clothes closet show up in your home?I think my clothes are mostly neutral with the occasional bright spots of color - so yes!

How comfortable are you in your living space? Totally, especially after about 2 years. This place has really good energy, as hippy-ish as that sounds. It also has tons of natural light, which makes me really happy.

What specific difficulties did you have when decorating your space? This place is huge! We still don't have rugs in some places I'd like. Also, we're definitely on a budget in terms of decorating the house and when I prioritize, fabric and art supplies and the like usually win out.

What was your biggest influence in choosing your current décor? Practicality, price, longevity. I don't think one should buy expensive things that they'll be sick of in 6 months.

What has been the most expensive change you have made to your space? We bought a sofa when we moved back to L.A. I loved it, more than a woman should love a sofa. It's the prettiest off-white, ultra-suede (so you can clean it!) and so comfortable.

What has been the least expensive, yet most influential change you have made to your space? Putting curtains up. There are so many windows, I felt exposed before we covered them. I got mostly inexpensive curtains and rods from Target so it wasn't too painful.

Have you done any of the décor yourself? All the light fixtures came with the place. I did paint my office a beautiful silvery grey that I love.

What DIY projects have you done? I had to rig a curtain rod for the huge front window. The wall is curved and the window is really wide so we had trouble finding something we just install with no customizing (and I wasn't about to hire someone to do it).

What changes have you made that make you feel the most proud? The same answer as above. I used my MacGyver skills to figure out how to install an exceptionally long curtain rod on a curved wall for cheap. A scalloped wood bookshelf bracket was involved.

What do you plan to do next in your space? I want to crochet a blanket. Something with a neutral base and lots of color. Something happy and handmade.

What kind of homes do you most admire or lust after? Little bungalows, cottages, old ones, pre-1950. Homes that were cherished.

Have you seen any movie or TV homes that you would want to live in? I love the house in Practical Magic* - that was probably the best part of the movie! I adore Frodo's Hobbit hole too, in Lord of the Rings.

*Incredible link to pictures and info about the set decor!

Images: Jennifer's own photos and AmasVeritas' fabulous Practical Magic site.

Wool Crepe for Sale...

I have two lengths of this navy 100% wool crepe that I would like to pass on to a fellow sewist. I bought it more than 15 years ago to make this slinky Ralph Lauren pattern from 1990:

Vogue 2606, view C

Of course, in college I had NO-WHERE to wear it but I was still determined in getting the good stuff for it. I cannot remember what I paid but I bought it at a chi-chi fabric store in Old Town Alexandria along with what I believe is silk lining. My hesitation then was the fact that the crepe was so thin and a bra could not be worn with it. I didn't know about underlining back then. I probably could have gotten away with it then but my now higher BMI means my assets are a little more noticeable now.

The fabric is like new and has been stored away securely for years with no exposure to moths. It is in two separate lengths; 2 and 3/4 yard (98 inches) and a little over 2 yards (75 inches) of 58" wide fabric. The lining is also for grabs, over 3 yards (121 inches) of 30" lining fabric. Let me know if you are interested because I could keep saying that I am going to use it for something else but it’s been over ten years! Its existence is just dragging me down right now.

Monday, October 05, 2009

I Could Not Pass Them Up

I bought two new patterns from Stitches & Loops (found via Gertie) I can highly recommend this seller, the prices are reasonable (including those for truly rare Vogue Designer patterns), these were delivered in excellent condition, packaged securely, and had a quick 3-day turnaround from order to delivery. She also sent a sweet card thanking me for my purchase...I love that!

Butterick 2564

I adore this suit for its dual tucks that are at the neckline of the top and duplicated in the jacket. The suit reminds me of my only hand-made interview suit for my first “real” job in publishing. It was also a 60’s style cropped, short-sleeve jacket with rounded edges with a slight A-line skirt in a black poly/cotton blend with a linen weave. I regret that I don’t have a picture of the suit or of the pattern. I believe it was a Vogue wardrobe pattern though.* I also can’t remember what kind of top I wore with this but I’m 90% sure that I was wearing Mary-Janes on my feet. I mean, when am I NOT wearing some form of Mary-Jane?

It was one of those outfits that always got a compliment and was remembered. It had a definite Ann Marie from “That Girl” vibe to it.

Vogue 7164

This dress would have fit perfectly as part of Audrey Hepburn's wardrobe in either How to Steal a Million or Paris When It Sizzles.

Vogue 6506

The purchase of this pattern was influenced by this picture of a Giambattista Valli dress I clipped from Glamour magazine at least a year ago, Simplicity 2591 seen made up here, and the vintage Vogue pattern above. I love how the pockets are combined with the seams and shirring of the dress to become a design element of their own.

Update: Found it, the suit was from Vogue 8333!