Saturday, May 28, 2011

Short Order.

Outfit details: Blouse: H&M (2009), Shorts: J. Crew, Shoes: J. Crew (last year), Bag: H&M (last year), Sunglasses: H&M

I resisted shorts for a long time. I've worn them here and there, but for the most part you'll find that (and I think most of my posts over the last handful of years illustrate this) I usually reach for a skirt or dress over shorts (which is, I've noticed, one of many words that gets really weird the more times you type or say it).

But it's hot out, so I give up.

There is also this thing that happens, all too often, when I cannot anticipate the garment that will become my favorite, or go-to, or whatever fashion-y buzz-word works best. I try to guess sometimes and end up with doubles of this or that thing, only to have it fade into the obscure regions of a closet or dresser. Of all the things I could have bought, and I decided to buy two of that sorry little thing.

The problem is that when you don't bother to think ahead in this manner, you end up with a blouse like this one. It fits the bill just about perfectly, does exactly what it ought to, and of course there is only one. The solitary item, languishing on it's own lonely hanger, being worn into the obliteration of seams all because I do not have the gift of foresight.

So I try not to wear it too often. Only when I'm in deep agitation about what to wear, as it will soothe my silly little dressing-up portion of my soul in just the right way.

Or, the other solution, is eat some cake.

Since the bakery I work it is closed for a long weekend, today I took my day off to be the piggiest thing since the last time I worked, and get myself two pieces of cake. The one I'm digging into is 'Avalone'--a vanilla genoise with a pomegranate mousse, and a blackberry and wine puree mousse. It's a new favorite, with the old favorite--a Savarina--lurking in the background waiting to be second dessert.

No work till Thursday also means I can paint my nails and rather than try to decide which color to go with, I decided it was best to try several.

Pictures taken by John.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jane Eyre Poster Winner!

Hello all!

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the giveaway is Sonja!

She left a quotation from Jane Eyre as it appears in the book:

"Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!"

Thank you to everyone who entered and everyone who left a quote! I really loved reading them all, so I've complied them here where it's easier for everyone to read!

"A vaportrail gashed the sky.
But the sky healed itself. Without fuss."
"Black Swan Green"David Mitchell

"They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects."
"Pride & Prejudice" Jane Austen

"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees — my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath — a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff — he's always, always in my mind — not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself — but as my own being — so, don't talk of our separation again — it is impracticable."
"Wuthering Heights"
Emily Bronte

"Holding hands, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together."
"The History of Love" Nicole Krauss

"Everybody's different, and everybody thinks everybody else is the same and they're the only one different."
"Homecoming" Cynthia Voigt

"Parting is such sweet sorrow."
"Romeo and Juliet" William Shakespeare

"Reader, I married him."
"Jane Eyre" Charlotte Bronte

"Yes I said yes I will Yes."
"Ulysses" James Joyce

"Things always change. Things would be changing now if your father were alive, Edgar. That's just life. You can fight it or you can accept it. The only difference is, if you accept it, you get to do other things. If you fight it, you're stuck in the same spot forever."
"The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" David Wroblewski

"Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and
never forget that until the day when God shall deign to
reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in
these two words, -- `Wait and hope.' Your friend, Edmond Dantes, Count of Monte Cristo."

"The Count of Monte Cristo" Alexandre Dumas

"Wherever you are is my home - my only home."
"Jane Eyre" Charlotte Bronte

"My bride is here... because my equal is here, and my likeness."
"Jane Eyre" Charlotte Bronte

"It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace."
"Diary" Chuck Palahniuk

"Life is both sad and solemn. we are led into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other---and wander together for a brief moment. Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived."
"Sophie's World"
Jostein Gaarder

"Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another!"
"Emma" Jane Austen

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
"Hamlet" William Shakespeare

"My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes."
"Anne of Green Gables" Lucy Maud Montgomery

"I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking."
"Goodbye to Berlin" Christopher Isherwood

"In youth from rock to rock I went,
From hill to hill in discontent
Of pleasure high and turbulent,
Most pleased when most uneasy;
But now my own delights I make, -
My thirst at every rill can slake,
And gladly Nature's love partake
Of Thee, sweet Daisy!"

'To the Daisy' William Wordsworth

"To see ten thousand animals untamed and not branded with the symbols of human commerce is like scaling an unconquered mountain for the first time, or like finding a forest without roads or footpaths, or the blemish of an axe. You know then what you had always been told -- that the world once lived and grew without adding machines and newsprint and brick-walled streets and the tyranny of clocks."
"West with the Night" Beryl Markham

“Night flying over charted country by the aid of instruments and radio guidance can still be a lonely business, but to fly in unbroken darkness without even the cold companionship of a pair of ear phones or the knowledge that somewhere ahead are lights and life and a well-marked airport is something more than just lonely. It is at times unreal to the point where the existence of other people seems not even a reasonable probability. The hills, the forests, the rocks, and the plains are one with the darkness, and the darkness is infinite. The Earth is no more your planet than is a distant star – if a star is shining; the plane is your planet and you are its sole inhabitant."
"West with the Night" Beryl Markham

"The time piece in the bedroom ticking frantically against the clock on the stairs; ticking harder and harder till it seemed to clang like a gong; and all this while the subtle-souled girl asking herself why she was born, why sitting in a room, and blinking at the candle; why things around her had taken the shape they wore in preference to every other possible shape; why they stared at her so helplessly, as if waiting for the touch of some wand that should release them from terrestrial constraint; what that chaos called consciousness, which spun in her at this moment like a top, tended to, and began in. Her eyes fell together; she was awake, yet she was asleep."

"The Mayor of Casterbridge" Thomas Hardy

"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."
"The Shadow of the Wind" Carlos Ruiz Zafon

" do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time where flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam."
"Fahrenheit 451" Ray Bradbury

"Out on the Safaris, I had seen a herd of Buffalo, one hundred and twenty-nine of them, come out of the morning mist under a copper sky, one by one, as if the dark and massive, iron-like animals with the mighty horizontally swung horns were not approaching, but were being created before my eyes and sent out as they were finished."

"Out of Africa" Isak Dinesen

"She was not in the library; I mounted to her room, but she was not there. I paused by her laden dressing table wondering if she would come. Then through the open window, as the light streamed out across the terrace into the dusk, to the fountain which in that house seemed always to draw us to itself for comfort and refreshment I caught the glimpse of a white skirt against the stones."

"Brideshead Revisited" Evelyn Waugh

"All her generation use their brains too scrupulously upon books, seeking meaning rather than letting themselves run on for pleasure which is more or less my way, & thus naturally richest & best."

Virginia Woolf, Diaries

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me"
"Jane Eyre" Charlotte Bronte

"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it."
"Wuthering Heights" Emily Bronte

"I must, then, repeat continually that we are forever sundered--yet while I breath and think, I must love him."
"Jane Eyre" Charlotte Bronte

"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs."
"Jane Eyre" Charlotte Bronte

"And...I see. I hear. But not with eyes and ears. I'm not outside my world anymore, and I'm not really inside it either. The thing is, there's no difference anymore between me and the universe anymore. The boundary is gone. I am it and it is me. I am a stone, a cactus thorn. I am rain." She smiled dreamily. "I like that most of all, being rain."
"Stargirl" Jerry Spinelli

"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" Steve Kloves (script adaptation)

"So Matilda's strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone."
"Matilda" Roald Dahl

“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" J. K. Rowling

"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."
"The Bell Jar" Sylvia Plath

"Mostly, I'm just trying to get it right. Whatever that means."
"The Truth About Forever" Sarah Dessen

"And what are you reading, Miss—?" "Oh! it is only a novel!" replies the young lady…in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language."
"Northanger Abbey" Jane Austen

"If you can sit in silence with anyone for half an hour and feel 'comfortable,' you and that person can be friends. If not, friends you'll never be and you needn't waste time trying."
"Old Grandmother, Magic for Marigold" L.M. Montgomery

"...perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out."
"A Child's Christmas in Wales" Dylan Thomas

"It's the wanting to know that makes us matter"
"Arcadia" Tom Stoppard

"“Here’s to seasonal madness, part-time relatives, and substitutes for love.”
"Crank" Ellen Hopkins.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Everyday Costume.

Lately I've been thinking that it's a shame I'm not more outgoing or gifted in the vein of performing and acting, because most of the time I'd really like to wear some sort of costume and pretend all day. I'm just shy of twenty-five so full-out costume dressing doesn't really click these days, although that hasn't stopped me from trying at least a little bit. My habits of dress usually coincide with a movie or book I've seen or read and if you've seen my last post I'm sure you can guess the sorts of things I've been trying to channel as far as the costume for the day goes. I've been forgoing my usual eyeliner (partly because my allergies were so bad that I was starting to despise applying any makeup at all) and keeping my mascara to a minimum. Despite my penchant for lace and old oddities of dress, I don't really have much that would work when it comes to 19thc. corsets and calico dresses. I've also been sorely lamenting my chopped hair, wondering why I ever did such a thing, and trying my very best to will the stuff to grow faster.

In the meantime though, I'm making do. I had a white dress I snagged on sale at Anthropologie last year, but had hardly worn. The thing about white dresses is they always seem like a crisp, cool idea at the time, and then I hardly wear them.. For a while a few years ago I couldn't get enough of the things, but that was mostly paired with tights and strange boots, rather than in summer. I have a little pile of white dresses that I bought on impulse, thinking that yes, they are white, but I can always dye them (this is also my justification for buying vintage that is stained so much I'm unsure if I could actually get it out). Assuming I ever get around to that task. My need for at least one Jane Eyre inspired outfit was enough to push me to try such a thing, and so I started with this dress:

Consequently you cannot see it very clearly because it is white. Helpful.

I don't generally like shirt-dresses. In theory I think they're lovely, and then I put one on and can't stand it, so they hardly get worn. But something about the lines of this dress reminded me of the costumes in the movie. Originally I had visions of a mint-green thing, with a little lace jacket (I have procured on from Forever21, which is not in this post, but it was originally planned to be) that I imagined I might dye with tea, and a pair of triple strap flats ordered from golden ponies (I've ordered them, and they're on their way but not here yet). As it turns out, the color green I wanted has been discontinued. I didn't really trust myself to adjust the shades of green in the store, and anyway my favorite dress in the aforementioned film is a very pale blueish grey. After a first dye, using less than a quarter of what the dye instructions called for, I had a dress in a pleasing shade of light blue. I was thrilled with it, but in my heart it was not the color I wanted. It was a little more Alice in Wonderland blue rather than faded dress grey blue. I opted to try a grey dye over the blue for a short amount of time. The resulting color was exactly what I had hoped for.

After that I threw some snaps on the collar to close it up the shirt-ness of it, and after adding a little lace collar and some ribbon, I was quite pleased at my vaguely Eyre-esque outfit to be worn traipsing to historic sites and wandering grounds.

Olana, a place I remembered visiting when I was a kid, so we headed back!

I have a small collection of lace cuffs that I buy for no reason. I love the idea of them, how period they look, how delicate and strange they are. A lot of them are on their own and appalling cheap because they are missing mates or stained, so I've started wearing one by itself as a kind of bracelet. For the purposes of this costumed outfit I wore it alone, but I've been enjoying it layered with some shiny bracelets for more regular days.

I'm trying my best with my hair! I used to be able to do so much with it when it was long, all these romantic hairstyles! Now I'm limited, and this length doesn't hold curl very well, but I'm making do until I get some lengthy locks again.

Dress: Anthropologie, altered
Collar: Vintage, thrifted
Cuff: Vintage, antiqued
Shoes: Urban Outfitters
(For reference, I used RIT liquid dye in Evening blue for the first dye, and used RIT pearl grey in powder form for the second dye)

Pictures taken by John M.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Giveaway, Jane Eyre.

If you follow me on tumblr or twitter (both of which have devolved, for me, into a caps-lock infested place for flailing about all manner of things usually having very little to do with this blog) or even picked up from my writings here or there in the past few posts, I've become absorbed by the new adaptation of Jane Eyre. I know the movie has it's detractors, it's critics, people who swear their lives by the book and who are irked by the movie but I am fiendishly preoccupied by it at the moment. The book, which I had read but totally forgotten about from many years ago, suddenly seems fresh to me with the movie. I'm sure people will be bent on throwing things at me for that, but, you know. I am, as I've confessed, a Harry Potter fan, and so my expectations when it comes to book-to-movie are particularly different, I think. In any case, I don't care, I love this movie with reckless abandon.

Three of five ticket stubs--I don't know into which pocket the others have gone.

It's about capturing a feeling, a sensation, rather than attempting the impossible task of transposing text to screen, and it's something I find this movie does beautifully.

In fact, I have been so transfixed (I couldn't not use that word) that I've been to see it five times (in my defense, three of those times was with other people who wanted to see it and I tagged along). When it comes to movies like these, I know they'll never be in theaters again. Harry Potter probably will, and so will Lord of the Rings because of course re-releasing those in theaters is too lucrative an opportunity to pass up. But this beautiful little movie will probably not be on a big screen again, and I cannot bear the thought of being chained to it on a TV. Those big, fleshy close ups of strange faces and moors are something I want emblazoned on my brain.

I love it so much that I ventured to ask about a poster at my local theater (on their website it says posters can be ordered through the box office for $15). When I dropped off my form a kind person working that day told me they had a poster on hand so I would not have to wait for it! It turns out that there were extras, and to my delight I soon found myself with several of these gorgeous, thick, double-sided, and large posters.

I plan on keeping an extra for myself (framing one, and then keeping another as back up) but I thought, I ought to give one away!

And so, here we are! If you would like, please comment on this post for a chance to win a Jane Eyre 2011 poster.

The only requirements are that you must leave an e-mail where I might reach you, and in order to make this something fun to read, I ask that you leave a favorite quotation or passage from a beloved book. I will pick a winner at random one week from today, on Monday May 23, 2010.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Turning Green.

Now that things are turning green and the trees have honest-to-goodness leaves, I'm starting to branch out (har har!) into more wood-sy areas. Or, that's the idea anyway. I suppose I've been watching too many movies where someone wistfully, fitfully, or frantically flings themselves out into the world and runs around lying on rocks or in flowers. The downside is that I forgot about bugs. There were these furry things on the ground (some sort of leaf of which I am sure my dad knows the Latin name), and after merrily running to the rock there, I saw a few and felt dread creep into my heart. I thought they were giant, hairy cattepillars and somehow that made me very unhappy. As it turns out they were, as mentioned, leaves, but still. The giant mutant mosquitoes were enough to make us flee back to the road.

Allow me to climb upon this rock.

I ended up in this dotted swiss dress again. I think it's becoming my favorite summer dress, despite it's short length. This morning I had no idea what to wear, and so leaned on this little fellow (I'm not sure why this dress, with puffed sleeves and feminine details, is apparently male). Of course the day was not cooperating, and so I grabbed this sweater in haste. It shed all over John's car, but I am really fond of it besides (I think I might just have endless adoration for things that shed re: cats).

Eventually, it rained. I had quite an ordeal in attempting to open my umbrella. I got it after a few tries. It turns out there is a button on this contraption to make it easy to use, but in my infinite wisdom, I didn't notice it.

And of course, what is my life without a bow on the head? I am in a strange place hair-wise. I chopped a few more inches off a good three weeks ago, and now I'm trying to grow it back again. It used to be so long, practically waist-length, and then I cut it for whatever reasons. Delusions of chic-ness and order, when really the things I like are always lacy and disorganized so a short, somewhat sleek haircut is really just not where I feel myself. And I'm growing out the bangs. They will probably come back in the winter or fall, but for summer I can't abide their constant eye-lid grazing.

My usual solution for something that is distressing me worked alright today. When in doubt, put a bow on top.

Dress: J. Crew
Sweater: J. Crew
Socks: Mystery!
Boots: Hunter wellies via Zappos

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Summer Inspiration: The Talented Mr. Ripley

I should clarify that at the moment my inspiration as far as The Talented Mr. Ripley is concerned has been usurped by the most recent production of Jane Eyre, which I loved to a point of obsession and have hence seen it three times in theaters (my current illness--which has kept me from posting outfits since an outfit is not made of ancient t-shirts and leggings--not interfering with viewings). I suppose I'll post about that eventually, but until then I thought I had better post about this, which I have been meaning to do for about two years.

When Ripley came out, I was hoovering somewhere around thirteen-years-old. In the throes of a Titanic obsession (it happened) I was thoroughly put-out and unsure of why exactly my mother forbade me to see The Talented Mr. Ripley. Years went by, far into the age when I could finally see it, before I did watch it about 5 years ago. I quickly realized why I wasn't allowed to watch it earlier.

In the summers that followed though, I've been increasingly captivated by Marge Sherwood's wardrobe for summer. Gwyneth Paltrow, always at her best when she is playing some kind of waspy character, suddenly makes me think that this late 50s garb is the best idea for summer. High-waisted circle skirts, little knotted white blouses with cheeky bikini tops underneath. And her hair, somehow perfectly coiffed without being too done, the tiniest wisp of eyeliner and the occasional lipstick for her latter points in the film, almost always dictate what I want to wear in summer.

I tend to prefer her outfits in the summer scenes of course, although the two coats she wears are so glorious that I couldn't resist throwing them in. The thing about this movie is that it makes me think that going all the way into the late-50s sort of look is going to work wonderfully (another one, Sylvia, makes me think this) and then I end up looking a bit fusty and prim rather than fresh. I suppose it's one of Gwyneth's lucky bits, that she can pull it off without seeming old.

For myself then, I'll just pile up on loose summer blouses and cotton skirts.