Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for many things--- my health, my sweetay, my ability to access higher education, but most relevant to the blog, I'd say on a very basic level, I am thankful for being able to access the Internet. I think that the great many of us who do often forget there is an incredibly wide swath of people who don't or can't have access to the Internet. Having access to the visual, audio and intellectual resources that the Internet bears is a blessing, indeed. How many, many things would we be unaware of --for better (puppies!) or worse (goatsy), but usually better-- without it?

Speaking of blessings, I hope you all have abundant sweet potato casserole, a seat next to the relative that criticizes your tube dress/lace bib statement necklace outfit the least, and safe and happy travels!

Here to follow, for your palate-cleansing pleasure, a helping of travel-related music videos:

Alex and Zach, this one's for you:

Sadly, there's no video for this one (maybe this'll cue my first foray into making a one?), but it is a righteous sexy slow jam about planes, and you gotta hear it:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


With Thanksgiving around the bend, I must have grandmas on the brain (naturally). Because, quite contrary to my fuss-eschewing nature, I'm suddenly drawn to the idea of lace vintage collars-- as big, statement necklaces.

If I were going gigantic, I'd keep the dress pairing minimal, and in Puritan Brown. This vintage 1920's lace bib-style collar seems wildly modern to me in this context...

I love how "structured black dress" plus "lace necklace" brings to mind utter marm-ery, but with lace that is delicate, off-color and whimsically chained like these necklaces, the effect is of subtle "flirting" above the neckline of a rather assertive, Neo-like dress (which is, as of this moment, at the very top of my "black dress lust" list).


Monday, November 24, 2008


You ain't seen nothin' (on TV) til you've seen Planet Earth on Blu-Ray on a shiny new HD-TV. And while the pika were ten times as adorable than normal and the pitcher plants were mouthwateringly juicy, the Caves chapter stole my imagination...

Stalactites always remind me of pipe organs, and pipe organs remind me of churches, and churches remind me of... weddings. When I went to Mammoth caves, they actually had a huge cavern where weddings were often held. However, my cave tastes lean towards the icy and sparkling...

These are called Popcorn Formations, I think, and I imagine little crystalline balls connected together as abstract centerpieces... or maybe they could be edible, like Snoballs. Or--- maybe have jars of clear rock candy around...

Instead of flowers, maybe fir trees and twigs sprayed white?

Spider worms create these sticky strings to catch their meals in... Wouldn't it be fantastic to have clear beads and little LED lights draping from the cieling?


Friday, November 21, 2008

The Spandexpony Guide to Etsy Selling.

My love of Etsy is certainly no secret; the array of items is unique and hard to find offline, they are made and offered by individuals and artists, and is easy and inexpensive to use. Etsy is a terrific tool for making a bit of dough on the side if you have a crafting skill or an eye for vintage.

Usually, things go peachily-- I put something on my favorites list until I'm absolutely panicked that someone will buy it in the next hour if I don't first, and then a few days later, I get a friendly little package from a somebody in Bangor or Denver with the object of my foamy-mouthed obsession inside.

Misschicboutique definitely has my trust! She custom made me some awesome earrings and even gave me a discount. They arrived quickly. She rules.

Lately, I've encountered a few unfortunate snags--- packages that were never sent, damaged items... and while (I hope!) no one would purposefully sabotoge their shipments, it is so important to be a responsible, thoughtful seller on Etsy because there are still a great big lot of people who distrust shopping online, and especially distrust an individual seller over a bigger company, like say, Best Buy. Being a great seller is an important part of bolstering the Trust at Large in Internet Commerce, which helps everyone in the end.

As someone with lots of selling experience, Internet and otherwise, I would like to present this little guide to you out there; thinking of starting a little something up on Etsy, and for those of you out there who sell, but are maybe a little unconfident on how things are going. I speak mostly from my experiences selling vintage online, but these pointers transfer easily to the crafting ones of ya as well.

What to Sell.

Pixiebell makes awesome hats, takes custom orders, makes them ridiculously fast and has them arrive at your door in a matter of what seems like hours.

1) Would you like to receive this item? When I'm out scouring thrifts, flea markets, and other sacred vintage burial places, I throw everything that looks awesome into the cart, straight off the bat. When I get dispairing looks from the employees who "just know" I'll be one of "them", who dumps the unwanteds where they don't go, it's time to do some narrowing down. Although some items are fabulous in person, it's better to frame your potential buys from the viewpoint of whoever might be receiving the item. Would I want to receive this in the mail? You might buy something that looks crappier in person because you're there to "choose" it, but when it is mailed to you, the loss of control in choosing your item can lead to greater dissatisfaction with comparable, in-person crappiness. When it arrives in an envelope, expectations (and standards) are higher. And hopefully "crap" does not even enter the equation.

2) Can you accurately represent this item? The second most important aspect in choosing an item to sell is to consider whether you have the skill and equipment necessary to accurately photograph an item. I frequently pass over things with odd shapes, complicated dimensions and details and shiny surfaces, simply because they cannot be accurately represented in photos, especially with my camera. My tip: bring your camera with you to the thrift store and take a couple of test photos of a potential store item.

Can you accurately describe with words what this item is? Remember, your customer knows nothing about this product except for a photo you took of it; so if there is something about the item that is too weird to describe, better leave it aside. Can you measure the item easily? Accurate measurements are essential in aiding your customers' decision as to whether or not they should purchase an item.

Ragtrader's jewelry is uh-mazing! Everything came packaged carefully and neatly. To boot, I was going out of town, and I asked her to wait on shipping. The day after I told her I'd be back in town, my necklaces arrived! Outstanding!

3) Does the item have defects? Especially in vintage clothing, most people expect defects. Perfect items are typically the exception to the rule, after all, most vintage items are older than you are and have already been worn. But there are certain defects to rule out automatically. Any defect that affects the structure or function of an item should automatically ring your "reject" alarm. Things like purses that won't close, or shoes with loose heels or missing insoles are prime rejects.

Defects that can easily be fixed (like a missing heel cap) can still be sold at a very low price if the overall shoe is in great condition, but selling defective items gives your "brand" a lower intrinsic value. You don't want to be known as the Etsy seller that sells cheap, broken stuff! There are so many terrific vintage items out there in great condition, that it always mystifies me when I see items with stains-- however imperceptible, or holes, no matter how on-the-seam they are. Why would I want to pay money to receive something in an envelope that has an irremovable stain?

How to Sell.

1) Be Accurate. It's okay if the item is not perfect, as long as you are accurate with your description. Best case scenario-- the customer is surprised with how much better the thing looks in real life. Be sure to get pictures of your item from all angles, so that there are no questions about the item that can't be answered by viewing your post. There is no such thing as being too thorough with your descriptions!

I am dying for this pendant by the very fairly priced Bumblebeadzzz2007. The pendant I ordered from her previously looked even better in real life, and bonus--- the back of the pendant secretly had pink rhinestones in it!

2) Edit your photos oh-so-sparingly! It's important to use Photoshop, if you do, extremely discriminately. I use Photoshop for help with my backgrounds, if I happen to shoot an item against a grimy wall (in my super-old place there are many), and to fix my camera's overexposure problem. It is never okay to Photoshop defects off of the item, enhance the item, or in any way, even slightly, misrepresent your item. It's about instilling trust, not just in you, but in Internet commerce.

3) Be clear about sizes. When it comes to sizing something, make sure you are very clear. I sell a lot of vintage shoes. As a size 8 1/2, I can accurately tell if a shoe is going to fit like an 8, 8 1/2, or 9. Other than that, if a shoe is a size 7 or 10, I usually just measure out the sole, or better yet, have a friend with that size shoe try them on to let me know of the size marked is accurate or not.

After a Sale.

RockyMountainRetro had some of the best after-buy communication ever! She kept me apprised of the progress of my tiny little green plaid suitcase, every step from her door to mine! Also, it was packaged wonderfully. I know have my beady little eyes on these boots, a size 8 1/2! Holy hot-ass boots!

1) Acknowledge your sale! It is a courtesy to acknowledge every sale you make personally, just so that your buyer becomes confident that "someone is there" and is taking care of them. Now would be a good time to ask your buyer if they would like insurance, priority shipping or giftwrapping, if they did not specify before. It's always good to anticipate a buyer's need.

2) A note about delivery confirmations. I highly recommend (and am just now getting into) including delivery confirmations for every buyer. Yes, it does incur an extra cost, but the peace of mind to both seller and buyer is invaluable.

3) DO, DO, DO package your item carefully, and with common sense! If you are selling a pair of leather boots, find a box that is big enough to lay them out, full length inside the box. Stuffing the shafts with a bit of paper is good, too. Not only does it protect the older leather from cracking and flaking from being folded and scrunched up, but is shows whoever is receiving it that you care about the safety of their item. If you are selling a delicate item, make sure that you have appropriate packaging for it, so that it arrives intact. If you have any doubts, don't sell it. If you are a crafter, you might do very well to test your packaging on one of your items first; wrap it up and throw it around --- like what will actually happen at the post office--- to make sure your packaging method keeps your item intact.

4) Notify your customer when you have shipped the item. Also, if there will be a delay in shipping their item. Most buyers expect that their order will be shipped within a couple of days of purchasing. But as most Etsy sellers are individuals, life sometimes gets in the way. It is always to your -- and their -- benefit to drop them a short line about any delays.

... and there you have it! Get selling! And for those of you buyers out there looking for trust-worthy sellers, every item pictured is from an Etsy seller I have bought something from, and had a wonderful experience with.

... and now, your musical snack of the day (epileptics beware!):

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Hooray! The first snow of the season came today, in big, fat, sloppy flakes falling fast and frenzied.

Effin' A. Ground Cover.

Usually winter is really not my bag, but I've got a wedding to plan and winter is the most -- bridal -- of seasons. I've always wanted to get married in the fall, but this spring, I worked this vintage wedding gown show at the Art Museum and fell in love with this gown from the 1970s--- full length, and instead of a veil or headpiece-type thing, it came with a long, hooded cape that was trimmed in white fur and designed to tie at the neck. Sigh!

My sugah and I want this wedding to be the first of many beautiful parties that we'll put on as a married twosome. I'd like to elope first (Vegas? Paris? Burning Man?), to take the pressure off of the day-- let it serve one purpose (multi-family gala) instead of too many.

Below, a collage I've put together of some of my wintry wedding inspirations...

Angular crystals, smoke, whitened branches, crisp stars, albino peacocks, cool Hitchcockian blondes with high contast, clean style; and faded into the background, enlarged subzero-tolerant bacteria.

And also, you have to hear this song (if you haven't yet) by the Fleet Foxes that I first heard a couple of days ago, and just about had a winter-gasm...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Planet Yearn

My boyfriend made the awful mistake of showing me this video the other day...

... and now the slow and steady thrum of thoughts that tell me to get giant, statement glasses a la Iris Apfel, Joy Venturini Bianchi or this lovely lady has now elevated itself to a whir. Tragically, these frames are hard to find--- go to any eyeglasses store, in-person or online, looking for "unique frames" and they show you options that look like they were made for for a fifty-something art teacher from New Mexico, or a graying European techno-enthusiast.

So... it's off to do some creative hunting.

I'm much opposed to American Apparel's foray into vintage, however, unwillingly I'm into these:

Kind of sporty looking, and not terribly adherent to the aviator trend. Unique enough to be different, but versatile enough to stand up to casual wear and business, feminine (though not girly) frocks or a t-shirt, blazer and jeans. Long-lasting wear, my friends, long-lasting wear.

I love the color of these (blue eyes, blue glasses... mmm?), and they also come in purple, red, yellow, and green, but I have a sneaking suspicion that these tread to closely into bandwagon-iness... Also, they could do terrible things to a face which is neither relatively narrow nor particularly angular. They're a pretty decent deal at $50, and I assume returnable, so an experiment may be on.

The "vintage Cazal" search on my Ebay is well, well worn... I ran into a guy on the street once who was wearing a pair matched with a sleek grey suit and the demurest pair of Ice Creams I'd ever seen. I've been obsessed with their angular coolness ever since. I still have yet to find Ebay Cazals that suit my parameters exactly, but they are definitely a trip to look through.

On my glasses-browsing journeys, I always notice that sunglasses styles tend to be more experimental than regular eyeglass styles... is there anything preventing getting their lenses removed and replaced with prescription ones?

I've been obsessed with clear and white frames for glasses for awhile (wood, too, if you can ever find a pair!) However, on a fair blonde such as myself, the effect can sometimes be milky and washed-out. These Chloe sunglasses from 80's Purple have a heavy opacity to the frame which make it a more promising white-framed bet for me, and coupled with the bronze... I think the effect could be youthful, intelligent and subtly funky, like a Sixties aristocratish academic type who has an in with the Middle Eastern art crowd.

Holy crap! Not sure if they pass the long-lasting test, but if $385 (their latest bid) were disposable to me, I would get them right this second, then switch to a wardrobe of exclusively grey, white and black.

Claw Money is getting to be one of my favorite brands of jewelry, but they also have these, the holy grail of sunglasses too. I love the idea of red frames, but they always seem to remind me of Sally Jesse Raphael. These are more rock show than talk show (I'm sorry, I couldn't help it!) and I believe, with clear prescription lenses could be fun and robot-y as opposed to vaguely Kanye-like in their sunglassed rendition.

Anyone else out there have some good ideas? Or better yet--- great pictures?

I leave you now with the most adorable video by one of my favorite glasses-wearers--- whose glasses inexplicably turn to shades and then back...


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gimme some mo!

While our own US Vogue is having its own problems (profits way down, job cuts at Conde Nast), U.K. Vogue is stepping up their game -- to the extreeeeeme! -- with this Roald Dahl-inspired shoot...

Ahh! The first couple of creepiness! What Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood wish they could've been...

Check out the rest at Wicked Halo. A healthy dose of a sense of humor and theatricality go hand in hand with great style, in my opinion, yet so often lacks in fashion editorials. In my goings-around at work, I've found the same is true for music; there's no end to bands with punctuation marks in their names, fast hair, and steely glares for their liner notes.

Here, a video from Busta (somewhat reminiscent of the photos above), whose got it all: not only music artistry, but a sense of humor and the willingness to be ridiculous-- and maybe even creepy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Smells like a winner!

Finally, I'm getting down to business and picking a winner for last month's contest.

This slightly-melted-record bowl that I received as a Christmas gift last year is finally getting its time in the sun. Everyone's names are folded inside...

Maybe you're wondering what else I'm wearing? Here I am in my building's creepy, gross basement breaking two of my steadfast fashion rules: No light denim, and no leggings with short skirts. Very teeny-boppery, both of them, but with a big slouchy bomber, less so? Boots: UO. Leggings: gift from my Ma. Skirt: thrifted. Sweater: thrifted. Scarf: the bottom of a dress I cut off. Bomber: thrifted.

Ahem. Let's get to picking!

Congratulations, Caroline! Send me your address and "The Tin Man" is yours!

Thanks to everyone else who entered the contest as well, I promise it won't be the last!


Sunday, November 9, 2008


For a couple of years now, I've been casually searching for the perfect pair of black boots. I'm more of a brown girl, so having them wasn't that important to me. But lately the search has hit a fever pitch, mostly because the perfect boot is so very hard to find.

I hate slouchy boots.

LinkDear God. What hath Naughty Monkey wrought?

I hate towering platforms and heels (look great, but I'm no dominatrix-who-lunches).

Fucking... ow!!!

Although these are probably the most tasteful rendition I've seen in awhile, I still hate tops of boots that slant towards the back (unless my name is Linda Carter):

From Diesel... Nearly perfect, except for that darned slanted top and the weird, mannish pitch of the arch.

Adding to my design-related churlishness, most boots are either over $200 (since when are Steve Madden and Nine West teetering on unaffordable? Know your places!), or under $60 and look cheap. For me, black clothing, and in particular shoes, must never look cheap!

But lo and behold, I find These:

All the elements of perfection: Nearly mint, Etienne Aigner, a buckled strap that is more elegant than Hot Topic, a level top of the boot, almond toe, walkable height, in my size...and also $35 from SaintChicago. I hearby declare that Etsy is the only place I will ever buy anything, again.

PS-- The winner of the Red Shoe/Zooey Deschanel in "Tin Man" contest will be announced in my next post! Sorry to keep you all waiting!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Coincidences, coincidences!

On spring break back in March, my sugah and I went to visit my brother in New York. We were tooling around Williamsburg waiting for some vintage store to open... and this older lady in head-to-toe hot-pink strolls by. I asked if I could take her photo, she was so fun to look at, and she said that she found it funny that people always wanted to take her photo, and yes of course.

Sorry for the awful photo, m'dear.

Then, today, on a chance trip to Advanced Style, recognition bells went off in my head as I saw my Pink Lady again, but this time in leopard! -- A woman after my own heart.

So, yes, Leonora, people do like to take your picture. And readers, the world at times is quite small indeed!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let me count the ways!

The lovely and talented Sal of Already Pretty has tagged me with the "Why I Love My State" meme. I put together a little photo scavenger hunt, with my stand-in drugstore digital camera, of the reasons I love Ohio, now.

1. We're Blue!

Friends and I toasting the announcement of Ohio's turning blue this Tuesday.

2. It's been clear, sunny, and 70-some, non-humid degrees for at least a week. Ahhh!

Barnes and Noble at the South Campus Gateway. They masquerade as the historic Long's bookstore, because their sign is just that great.

3. Some of the most rewarding thrifting in the country. "I'd wager it!" I say, pulling on my handlebar mustache and sneering to reveal a mouth full of thrifted, gold caps.

The Volunteers of America on Indianola, my favoritest thrift store in town. Fun game: guess which of the sweaters in this photo I came away with?

4. Best... trees... ever! Oh flaming maple! Oh ghostly sycamore! Oh oak, putting the "oak" in "ochre"!

The South Oval facing Mirror Lake on the Ohio State University campus. I swear their trees keep their colors longer than any others!

5. Gas has turned its frown upside down, and at the majority of gas stations, has slipped well below $2/gallon. Now, a roadtrip to one of our many haunted prisons and abandoned amusement parks is well in order!

Yep, you're reading that right! $1.93 a gallon today.

Now, to complete the circle and pass the meme along, I nominate Lily, Caroline, Marcine, Missa, and Isabel, who, while not from the States, certainly lives in a locality. Show us around, ladies!