Sunday, July 25, 2010

7/25/10: A Good Florida Girl

In general, I am an awful Florida girl. I haven't been to the beach since September. I am pasty white. I don't like the sun. I don't like sand.

Today, however, I was a perfect Florida girl. I spend the day with one of my best friends picnicking on the beach, frolicking in the waves, finishing the novel Middlesex, and constantly reapplying SPF 45. Despite my best attempts at avoiding sunburn, I failed on that count. On all other counts, however, the trip was a success.

 Sunglasses: via Quarter Moon Imports, several years ago
Bracelet: Handmade by me
Swimsuit: Aero Swim via AĆ©ropostale, Summer 2007
Teal Tank: Forever 21
Blue Shirt: Calvin Klein Jeans via Costco, $4.97 in July 2010
Skirt: Solitaire via T.J.Maxx, $14.99(ish?) in May 2010
Shoes: "Women's Arbor Sandal" by Privo, $50.29 on Amazon in most sizes

My favorite part of this outfit, without a doubt, is the handmade button bracelet. I made three last night: one in blues, one in earth tones, and one in red. As I have boxes of buttons, I plan on making more (and including a tutorial for my lovely readers).

I also love this swimsuit, which is one of two items I have ever bought at AĆ©ropostale. In general, those sizing is way too "juniory," but this bathing suit actually fits (and has held up remarkably well). I had every intention of covering up after spending much of yesterday in the sun. The light blue long-sleeve shirt is yet another example of Costco Chic and was a total bargain at $4.97. But once I got to the beach and it was 100 degrees of pure sunlight, I wanted to be wearing as little clothing as possible. Even the delicate beading couldn't convince me otherwise.

Question: How do you manage to stay cool while covering up from the sun?

7/24/10: Rocking an Ankle Brace

Yesterday was a day of chores. It was also the funeral of a fallen solider from my hometown. The loonies from Westboro Baptist Church (the ones who protest at military funerals with signs reading "God Hate Fags!") were set to make an appearance. Curious, I planned to drive by the site of the funeral. While they never showed (thankfully), I was glad to see a hundred veterans lining the entrance to the church, flags in hand.

I knew that my curiosity would lead to walking in the hot weather, so I dressed for comfort.

Tank: Old Navy, around $7.50
Necklace: Scrabble tile pendant via It's Hip to Be Square, similar styles available for $7.00
Shorts: Lucky Brand, gift from mom
Belt: Cheap import via Flea Market
Sandals: Teva, similar styles available on amazon for $11.91-$24.00
Sexy Ankle Braces: Futuro via CVS, $9.29 AND McDavid, $29.99

I thought about cropping out the ankle braces, but I decided it was an essential part of the look. For your reference, I have included brands and pricing information.  

This entire necklace was planned around the pendant. I know the women behind It's Hip to Be Square and they are amazing artist and amazing people. At $7.00 a pendant (including cord) and with a continuous "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" arrangement, I strongly suggest you check out their Scrabble tile pendants.

As for the rest of the outfit, I love these hand-me-up shorts from my mother, but they have no front pockets or beltloops. I decided to fake it by pointlessly strapping on a cheap belt from the flea market. I like the look.  

As for the ridiculously gay Tevas, I didn't have many other options. Though I was only in the sun for an hour, I still got sunburnt. At least I was comfortable in the mean time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

7/23/10: Costco Chic

Last night, I had to say goodbye and good luck to one of my dear friends. He is off to Arizona for graduate school. During my circus days, he was the setter (aka "bitch") for my slack wire routine, handing me my props and helping me quickly rig my wire and place my safety mats. You gotta love any man who will dress in orange, psychedelic velvet, and spandex pants.

So, what do you wear to a goodbye party when it is about 182 degrees out and you are rocking layered ankle braces due to a sprained ankle.


 Orange camisole: Kirkland Signature via Costco, 2 for $12.99 in July 2010
Printed camisole: Sparkle & Fade, gift
Jeans: Calvin Klein Jeans via Costco, $19.99 in July 2010
Sandals: Teva, similar styles available on amazon for $11.91-$24.00
Bag: Clothing swap acquisition

I'm not going to lie. I love the clothing I find at Costco. Calvin Klein items always fit me great- so great, in fact, that I can buy them without trying them on. Costco even carries long lengths in most items. These camisoles are the most comfortable thing I have ever owned and I plan on going back and buying them in every color. Costco often carries Adidas workout wear, which I am constantly wearing through as a gymnastics coach.

I payed some amount of money for the Teva sandals some years ago, but I've had them long enough that I have no idea how much. With my ankle in both an elastic compassion brace and a lace-up support brace, my footwear choices are seriously limited at the moment. I can squeeze on my running shoes, or kick it in flip flops. Yes, Tevas are insanely lesbionic. No, I don't care.

For all extensive purposes, I spent $26.50 on this outfit ($19.99 on the jeans, $6.50 on the solid camisole). I love the bright and cheery pattern on the printed tank, and that was given to me. The bag was acquired at a clothing swap. Put together, it is cute, summery, and colorful, and it manages to hide my sprained ankle.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

7/21/10: Wild Wednesday

I never go out. At least that is what my friends would tell you. Between work, preparing to move, and more work, I just don't have the energy. Last night, however, I got lured in by the promise of free entry and free drinks. Honestly, I just wanted an excuse to wear my new dress.

 Dress: Carole Little via Marshalls, $24.99 in July 2010
Bracelet: Gift
Heels: Y-not? via Burlington Coat Factory(?), many years ago

I fucking love this dress. It's not too low cut. It's short, but not too short. I love how it hugs my curves. I could almost wear it to teach (I'm thinking paired with a blazer or cardigan, hose, and simple shoes). It is simple, but has unique ornamentation. I love the inside-out zipper. I'm not a huge fan of ruffles in general, but I like the ruffles across the straps. I always love black and white, and combined, they just beg for red accents.

These red heels trace their way back to my very first gay prom. Whenever that was, I wore a black strapless dress trimmed with red, red heels, and a black fedora. I don't remember exactly how much I paid for them, though I think it was less than $20. I have certainly gotten my money's worth. Now, wearing red patent slingbacks the day you twist your ankle at work is not a good idea. But sometimes, it's your only option. Especially when you have a bad-ass leather bracelet accented with red beads. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

7/19/10: A Very Vintage Birthday

In celebration of my friend's birthday, I spent the evening drinking unusual ciders and eating homemade soft pretzels at a bar (sorry, lounge) that is way to hip for its own good. While I am not nearly hipster enough to drink there, I pretended with a vintage dress.

 Dress: Handmade and vintage, gift from Mom
Belt: Vintage, stolen from mom
Bracelet: Carved bone brought back from South America, gift
Sandals: "Women's Ranford Sandal" by Privo via Clarks Outlet (available for $49.03 on Amazon)

This vintage dress is not a shape I thought I could wear, but I'm falling in love with it. It had some sort of attached belt, which I lost. I've been wearing it with a brown leather belt, but I decided to dress it up today with this woven scarf/belt thing. I think it worked.

Most of all, I love the detailing on the neckline of the dress. Somebody sewed this by hand. The zipper is all metal; no breakable plastic parts. It was hemmed by hand. All the seams are reinforced. They just don't make things like they used to. 

I promise I was going to wear different shoes today. I had bronze metallic kitten heels in my car. I was ready to go. Then, the last hour of work, I tweaked my ankle. Deciding it was better to stick with comfort and safety, I wore my favorite Clarks sandals yet again. I should just concede to the fact that I will be wearing them at least three times a week until I move to Ohio and meet an actual winter. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

7/18/10: The Lazy Days of Summer

Today was a practical stay at home day. That is, until my friend called me up to go swimming with her and her three year old. It's only the third time this summer I've been to the pool, which is simply unthinkable for a Florida girl. Hell, I haven't been to the beach once. (You'll be able to tell this by my ghostly skin.)

Tank: Old Navy
Skirt: Ranbir, thirfted
Swimsuit: ...Lost via Ross, $12.99 in June 2010
Sandals: "Women's Ranford Sandal" by Privo via Clarks Outlet (available for $49.03 on Amazon)
Hat: Betmar Beach via Dillard's, borrowed from friend
Little feet: Friend's three year old daughter 

As you can tell, my skirt was wrinkly when I left the house. Let's be honest though: it doesn't even matter. The tag of the skirt says "Ranbir" and "Made in Nepal." It's 100% cotton and I bought it at a thrift store. I have a hunch it's a fair trade hippie skirt, and maybe that is why I love it so much. It's the softest thing ever and always looks great paired with a tee or tank. It's lightweight and dries quickly, but has enough shape to be flattering. I have some serious skirt love for this mystery piece.

The bathing suit was bought to wear to my mom's 50th birthday party. I went in to Ross looking for a cute new swimsuit. There was only one hanger in the "medium" section. I pulled it out and thought "nice enough." I tried it on and thought "I look cute." I looked at the price tag, saw $12.99, and thought "Hell yeah!"

As I am being honest today, we can go ahead and admit that this bathing suit is pretty gay. Maybe that is why I love it so much. There is a rainbow on my right boob. It's girly with the hearts, but it isn't too girly thanks to the grafitti style and the simple black bottom lightly striped with metallic gray. I don't mind when my bathing suit top is held on with tying nylon strings, but I like that the bottom is a simple brief style. I don't have to worry about a playful three year old baring my bottom to the world. (Side note: Anyone know where "...Lost" bathing suits are normally sold? I get the feeling it's a "surfy" juniors brand.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Practical Recycling

Now that I have a new camera, I decided I need a new case. While there are plenty of commercial cases available, I prefer a little pouch that protects my camera from dust or scratches while still allowing me to slip it in my purse or pocket. I decided to get crafty using one of my favorite, although stained, shirts. Hot air balloons hold a special significance to me, and I figured I could recycle rather than retire this tee.

First, I layed the tee out flat.

Then, I cut a rectangle of fabric to work with. I used both the front and back layers of the tee, working as though they were one layer. I folded over and stitched along one edge to make a casing. Then I folded the rectangle in half, marked the size of the camera, and sewed along the bottom and side seam, up to but not over the casing. I fed cord through the casing, tied it in a know, and melted the edges to prevent fraying. Camera case in fifteen minutes flat.

While I was at it, I decided to make a case for my iTouch using my father's childhood shirt. I hoped I could manage to alter it to fit me, but the shoulders were way too tight.

The front pocket was the exact same height of my iTouch, so I decided to simply alter the pocket to make a case. First, I cut it out.

Then, I turned it inside out and marked the width of my iTouch.

I stitched along the side seams, although not on the folding flap. After trimming the seams, I turned it right side out.

While I could have finished the folding flap in many ways, I decided to keep it simple. I trimmed it with scissors and then hand-embroidered along the edge.

Because I did the embroidery by hand, instead of just zipping through straight stitches on a sewing machine, this took a little longer. Still, I made myself a case for my iTouch in less than an hour, and found a way to preserve a shirt my dad once wore.

Neither of these were done especially meticulously. I'll admit, I was too lazy to switch out the black thread in the sewing machine. Still, it wasn't a bad use of a Sunday evening.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

7/17/10: All About the Sneakers

Green camisole: Ambiance Apparel, clothing swap acquisition
Purple Tank: Tua via Quarter Moon Imports, several years ago
Skirt: Zinc, thrifted
Sneakers: "Lori" by XAPPEAL via Rack Room Shoes, $7.50 (with BOGO 1/2 off promotion) in July 2010

In keeping with yesterday's theme of "faking it until you make it," I decided to dress myself in bright colors. I knew today was going to be a day of chores and retail therapy. I knew I wanted comfortable shoes. It seemed the perfect day to wear my new plaid sneakers. I pulled the rest of the outfit together around the shoes, relying on old favorites. 

The black denim skirt was bought at a thrift store when I was in middle school. While the zipper will unzip itself if not rigged with a safety pin, it's still a favorite. The purple wrap tank was purchased at a local boutique three or four years ago. It always hugs my curves right without clinging in the wrong places. The green polka dotted camisole was acquired at a clothing swap. Put together, it picks up the purple and green of the sneakers.

Now I will admit that I am torn on the skirt and sneaker issue. At one point I would have said it was acceptable only for children. As a high school student, I decided converses and skirts were fun and practical. However, I'm starting to feel like I may be approaching the upper age limit for this look. At some point, maybe I should replace the sneakers with sandals, or pumps, or wedges, or anything that doesn't scream "UNDERGRAD!" On the other hand, I think I will resist as long as possible and at least enjoy casual comfort on the weekends.

So, what do you think? Are there age limits for certain clothing combinations?

7/16/10: Fake It 'Til You Make It

Sometimes life throws you curve balls. Sometimes it throws those curve balls at full force, straight into your face, leaving you a curled up mess of tears. When this happens, you may not even want to get out of bed. You may not want to move. You may not be able to imagine having fun.

But sometimes, you have to fake it until you make it: In this case, by putting on a colorful outfit, hanging out with friends, and drinking delicious margaritas and snacking on margarita cupcakes. Sometimes a little tequila is part of the solution.

Green camisole: Express, several years ago
Black tee: Tresics (and one of the softest tees I own)
Skirt: Funky People via Quarter Moon Imports, several years ago
Flats: "Kiren" by XAPPEAL via Rack Room Shoes, $14.99 in July 2010

This skirt is one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe, and unfortunately it has seen better days. Though I only hand wash it, the delicate lace and rayon panels are starting to rip. I've tried to mend it, but it inevitably tears again. Thus, I've relegated this skirt to the "wear on special occasions" or "for when I really need to feel pretty" pile. When it falls apart, I'll be left with fond memories. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Confession: Hair

I have decided to start growing my hair out. Now, I love it short and cute. It's fun. It's easy.

However, I miss my long curls. I miss the glamor. I miss all the styling options.


My confession is, I want my hair to be long at my wedding. Now, I have no wedding plans. I just know that it will probably take three years of uninterrupted growth for my hair to be as long as I want. Throw in some trims here and there and the need to give it style as it grows out, and I'm looking at four years, minimum. I am not against getting married in my mid-20s. Four years from now, I'll be closer to 30 than 20. Maybe marriage will be in the works. Maybe not. But just in case it is, I want my long locks back.

Question: What is the "silliest" thing that has dictated one of your hair decisions?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Shoe Needs

I hate my feet. I really do. They are big. They are wide. My second toe is longer than my first toe. I still have calluses from my teenage years as a dancer. My toenails are stubby.

In may come as no surprise that I am not a huge fan of strappy summer sandals. However, living in the South, sandals are a neccessity.

privo Women's Arbor Sandal,White,7 M US
"Women's Arbor Sandal" by Privo, $50.29 on Amazon in most sizes

I'm currently obsessed with the Arbor sandal by Privo. It's made by Clarks and is ridiculously comfortable. The wide foot bed guarantees that you don't get that unattractive "foot falling off the shoe" phenomena that is all too common with today's totally flat sandals.

 Foot falling off shoe. Not cute.

Anyways, I have the Arbor Sandal in white, and I am pretty sure I need it in black.

I am also obsessed with Privo's "Ranford Sandal" which I have in bronze, and wear all the time. It's neutral enough to go with nearly everything. The crisscrossing straps seem to break the line of big feet into manageable pieces.

 privo Women's Ranford Sandal,Dark Brown,7.5 M US
"Women's Ranford Sandal" by Privo, $53.88 on Amazon

Best I can tell, this would leave me with one more sandal need. Black and white? Check. A bronze metallic, which goes well with all neutrals and most colors? Check. A dressy silver? Still need to find.

I know I should branch out beyond Privo's sandals. Any suggestions? Who makes your favorite "everyday" sandals?

The Amazing Power of BOGO

I am going to start with the simple assumption that you, like me, enjoy shopping. Shopping is fun. Sales are even better, though they can be dangerous.

As my better half lives five hours away, I've made a deal with myself. Each time I drive to visit her, I can stop at one store in the outlet mall. Said outlet mall is located about four hours from my hometown. By the time I drive those four hours, all I want to do is be out of the car. I allow myself half an hour to find a bargain. Then, I drive that last hour and try to wear my new purchase over the weekend.

Usually I hit up BCBG's Final Cut Outlet, but yesterday, I was on a mission for shoes. I was wearing a knee-length black linen circle skirt with a sleeveless teal shirt featuring silver buckle accents. (Still waiting for my new camera to arrive.) I had started the day wearing black (almost) flats with silver buckles that echoed the design of the shirt.

Shoes: "Ashley" by Bear Traps

Now, I love these shoes. I love the buckle. I love slight built in wedge. I love the square toe that makes even huge feet look small. But no matter what I do, they leave me with blisters on my heels. I've tried heel pads to minimize slippage, but now the heel pads give me blisters instead of the shoes. Pantyhose might work, but not in the hot southern summer.

So, I've been driving for four hours. My shoes are giving me blisters. Clearly, the solution is a new pair of shoes.

I'm not usually a huge fan of Rack Room shoes. While their shoes are cheap, the quality is also usually cheap. However, I was in a bind, so I gave it a shot. 

Shoes: "Kiren" by XAPPEAL at Rack Room Shoes, $14.99

Not only are these shoes comfortable and blister free, but the silver embroidered accents matched the trim on my shirt. Many XAPPEAL shoes have a plastic insole that feels disgusting as your feet sweat, but these feature a synthetic leather insole that is far more comfortable. They also have a sturdier sole than many other XAPPEAL shoes. Now it is great when you find cute shoes for $14.99, but it's even better when the store is having a "buy one get one 1/2 off" promotion. We all know that is the biggest scam in the book, as it tricks us in to spending more than we would have. But still, I fall for it every time.

Shoes: "Lori" by XAPPEAL at Rack Room Shoes, $14.99 ($7.50 if you consider the BOGO 1/2 off promotion)

I know it is time for me to move beyond the Converses and Converse-copies, but I couldn't resist these plaid sneakers. I find that genuine Converse Allstars have no support or padding. I'm a huge fan of these Rack Room imitations, which are often half the price or less and offer a more comfortable fit. I can add these purple and green plaid ones to my collection.

Queer ladies are surely aware of the "lesbians in flannel plaid" stereotype. Check out Samantha Ronson:

 I think these plaid sneakers can provide a nod to my lesbian heritage in a slightly more discrete way.