Saturday, May 30, 2009

Variations on a Theme

Typically, I'm not too into studs or spikes --after a teenage-hood spent in clothing steeped in them, their flavor is wasted. But after seeing the following DIY project on AsianCajuns, the flame has been rekindling...

TOMS a la Studs: Ethical and Antithetical!

Now I know that when you buy a pair of TOMS, you're really buying two, but $50+ is more than I'd personally like to spend on an experimental pair of shoes... besides, there are a million inexpensive basic shoes crying out for embellishment that are both stylin', and cheap enough for you to buy two-- one for you, and one for your local shelter (whether they arrive studded or not is up to you).

All, Urban Outfitters except center image, Pearl River Mart.

Urban Outfitters has both laced and slip-on sneakers in nearly every color-- 2 pairs for $30 as I write this. Or, if you're not too particular, you can find nearly the same shoes at Kmart for $8 or so. Best option? Those pseudo-bootie-lookin' kung-fu shoes in the center for a cool $5.95 at Pearl River.

From Left: Capezio Lilina Character Shoe, Dance Class Pink Full Sole Ballet Shoe, Capezio Split-sole Leather Ghilie Shoe.

Even better? Studding up a pair of dance shoes. I can often be found cruising All About Dance for tights, low-backed leotards (they have shelf bras, a necessary if yours truly is going backless) and salsa shoes... everything is designed to be functional, comfortable and graceful. I'd love to stud a cap-toe and heel on the Character Shoes ($45, above left) or the Ballet Shoes ($14, center). However, I am absolutely obsessed with the Ghilie Shoes ($24, below right), typically worn by Irish Step Dancers. I'd let their beauty speak for themselves and simply add a row of studs down the center front seam on the vamp.

All, Crust Punks. Between $2.95-$5.98 for 100.

Also, studs are super-cheap as well. My personal faves are the gold, stars, flat black, and the tiny ones (good candidates for the Ghilies, methinks!) No luck on finding flat, rainbow-hued studs yet, but I know they're out there. If you find them, let me know. I have a pair of lime green Keds I'd like to have a go at.
By the way, any shoe repair place can add a plastic sole to any softsole shoe for about $15.

And for those who'd like to know because there were no express directions in the post, a short tutorial:

If you're using canvas shoes, an X-acto blade, seen above, will work to punch the holes needed to get the stud into the fabric. A butter knife can be used to flatten out the "teeth" on the bottom side of the shoe, so that they grip the material. If you're going ballet shoe with the project, you might want to pick up the taser-looking tool, above, which is made specifically to pierce and stud leather.

Well, I don't know about you, but those Ghilie shoes are in my shopping cart... hopefully I'll be able to model them for you in all their studded glory soon!

Til then,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Me Today

Now that I'm into Week 3 of P90X, I'm definitely feeling better about myself in relation to clothing. I was getting to a point where I was feeling a bit grim about my options. Much as I'd like to be the type to love my body no matter what its size or condition, for me, my level of fitness is a strict barometer of my mood.

So, I think I'll let this experience be a life lesson for me; that staying active (and I mean very... I want to give myself every opportunity to be able to rise to the occasion) is a necessary. I've been a bit too extreme about fitness in the past (would you like to see a sorry picture of myself as a size 2?), and I think that I needed to go in the complete opposite direction in order to understand what a happy medium might be like.

Click to enlarge!
Racerback Tank: Target. Cargo Shorts: Walmart. Shoes: Nine West. Lariat: Estate Auction.

It's been awhile since I've felt as good as I do today in the above ensemble. My sweets got me the lariat (in the picture on the left) at an auction; it's in the shape of the state of Ohio and made of flint.

...Also loving this new lavender nail polish, although someone told me, after polishing off a tall, cool glass of Haterade, that it makes me look sick.

I think it looks like cotton candy, and that's something I'll gladly get sick off of any day.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shingai Shoniwa.

I happily happened today upon The Noisettes and their super-beautiful, Grace Jones-times-Alix-styled lead, Shingai Shoniwa. She dons femme, futurist, rockabilly and ethnic styles with equal aplomb, and with damn fine hair to boot.

via mademoiselle_robot on Flickr


...And, because the Noisettes are now permanent residents of my iTunes, check out their fabulous (though woefully un-embed-able) videos here:

Don't Upset The Rhythm

Don't Give Up

...And, what I'd put together for Lady Shoniwa myself...

American Apparel bodysuit and shades, M.A.C. eyeshadow, Modern Vintage Belleza Shoes, Robert Rodriquez sequin jacket, Urban Outfitters hat, Alexis Bittar giant necklace.

Til Later,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Everybody! I hope you are relishing your long weekends as much as I am mine.

We picked up this cute little grill-for-two at a garage sale last weekend; we think it's from the 1930s or so.

To me, there is nothing more summery than Ambrosia (some people call it Watergate Salad, but those people have never tasted it). It's super easy to make, and I take it to every potluck and barbecue I go to in the summer.

Just Combine:

1 Can of Crushed Pineapple
1 Small box of Pistachio Pudding Mix
1/2 Cup of Crushed Walnuts
1/2 Tub of Cool Whip
1/2 Bag of Mini Marshmallows
1/2 Cup of Coconut.

It's easiest if you add the pistachio pudding mix to the Cool Whip and Pineapple first, so it gets mixed in thoroughly. Then add everything else-- some people like to put some diced apples or halved grapes in there as well.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Away I go!

Just jotting one out before I head to the forest for a couple days' camping.

I auditioned for a play this morning. My go-to audition song is "I Cain't Say No", as sung by Ado Annie in Oklahoma! I've been feeling all pickin' and grinnin' all week, practicing that song everyday, so this lovely straw number fit the bill for "Campin' Hat" when I chanced upon it at the gin'ral store. I'm kind of excited to wear it horseback riding, one of the scheduled activities this weekend.

All right! The car's loaded, the cooler's drippy and I'm out!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Currently in love with...

I stumbled upon the online shop Nasty Gal, after checking out a pair of now-sold-out oxfords featured on NotCouture. I now quake in my boots to tell anyone about it, because I need to get the following--- and, like many other items on their site, may very soon sell out...

France Romance Shades in Gold Woodgrain, $40

I've been obsessed with finding wood-framed glasses, ever since I saw a pair of delicately squared, yet quaintly thick-framed ones on a picture of a woman in National Geographic.

Vintage Leaf Ear Cuff, $18

I remember getting one of these at the mall in third grade or so, and trying to fool my dad into thinking I got my ear pierced. His hellfire and damnation was for really real--- probably why I only have my two, perfectly conventional pierced ears to this day. But I loved that piece of jewelry, and there's no damn reason why I shouldn't haven't again, now. I'm a woman of the nineties!

Interlud Silk Knot Dress, $139

I'm a total sucker for anything blush, and the origami-like knots are just too gorgeous....

Lip and Eyes Ring Set, $52

Freakishly weird (check out those eyelashes) yet somehow quite beautiful... I can kind of see myself whipping this one out to wear to a gallery opening in my sixties.

Leonard Paris Platinum Stud Glasses, $100

Nevermind that I think that ivory is the perfect color for summer shades, these are frickin glamourous and punky altogether... I mean, they have tiny gold pyramid studs on them for cryin' out loud! Le sigh!

Jeffrey Campbell Michelle Ruffle Pumps, $108

And, because I love to save the best for last, these 8th wonders of the world. Dig that unicorn horn-like heel, and the ruffles are seashell-ish and over-the-top Hollywood times. I've been thinking about these all day. They're mine, I say, they're mine!

Skip on over. No, they're not paying me. It's just that good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Putting it together.

I always feel an eagerness to share an outfit that was fun to put together and felt great to wear it. Inspired by Cher's computerized closet in "Clueless", I took outfit pictures back in high school so I'd be stretched to not wear the same thing twice, but also so I could enjoy what I did put together, and what I liked, or didn't like on myself. In fact, I have often taken a head-to-toe of myself in lieu of a mirror before walking out the door.

However, I'm not a huge fan of outfit posts because I get jumpy in front of a camera. Things that I'd like to look dreamy look intense, things that are supposed to be intense feel deflated. A head-to-toe shot feels confrontational, and I can feel all of my expressiveness drain from my body when I do them. Bleh. That said, I've been percolating on how to get an outfit across without doing a head to toe, and without the use of a friendly friend (because nothing's worse than someone else having to witness your awkward camera-manner).

Behold: The Cubist Outfit Collage:

Dress: Vintage, thrifted. Shoes: Victoria's Secret. Bag: Thrifted. Earrings: World Market. Gigundous ring: Thrifted.

This is me today. My favorite feature is my gigundous ring... I should have included a shot that demonstrates how it flips open to reveal a mirror! The girl at the thrift informed me that this "ring" is actually a lipstick tube holder. Also, my obsession with summer-worthy vintage lingerie is still holding strong... this lovely nightgown-cum-dress was yanked off the rack by yours truly as soon as the guy holding it put it back. It's not sheer at all, and the shoulder ties are pretty aces in my book.

And, for good measure, here I am yesterday:

Earrings: Rag-o-rama. Dress: Target. Belt: Thrifted. Shoes: Thrifted. Leggings: Gift.

This second collage is my favorite so far, and it also showcases one of my favorite pairs... of shoes, a pair of perforated lace-up booties.

I don't know about you, but I'm certainly enjoying the hell out of making these... I'll wager you'll be seeing a few more of them! To those of you who take your own photos--- what's your process? I'm always interested to know how people get into the frame of mind to be photographed.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Thankfully, I have a job as many around me are losing them. I heard on NPR last week that one in three Ohioans have lost their jobs. I like my job; as a merchandiser for regional grocery stores, I get a lot of variety in my workweek. The people I work with are ever-changing yet uniformly pleasant and hard-working, and my boss is extraordinarily cool.

However, it's not the glamorous fashion career I imagined myself setting forth on, and, as a firm believer in self-determination, it's difficult to place blame on the economy (Well then, try harder!) But I wonder if I'm looking for a company to satisfy more needs than it possibly could for me: the need for personal industry, entrepreneurialism, artistic expression, and accomplishment, especially in this economy.

But whether the circumstances are inside or out, my "dream vocation" is not going to fall into my lap (for now at least). I've got to work much harder than I thought-- so many of us do.

Below, a Polyvore that erupted out of my instant falling-in-love-with these flip-shade "Inventor" glasses from 80's Purple. They remind me intensely of Meryl Streep, and I thought that they were a natural pairing for something safari-inspired... (because Meryl Streep always reminds me of safaris).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fully Operational!

Hooray! I finally got my new computer set up-- the folks at Microcenter and I are on a first-name basis now. Now the world is once again my oyster.

Today, I'm filling a busy docket of garage sale-ing, thrifting, art-festival attending, and Wolverine-movie watching. Courtesy of the thrifting I've done, comes this look below.

Top: vintage, thrifted. Jeans: Levi's. Heels: Vintage, thrifted. Cuff: thrifted.

The thrift I hopped into today was rife with vintage lingerie. I came away with quite a few floaty, sheer numbers for romantic, cool, summer layering. I intend to hem this lacy cotton nightie up soon, but till then I kept it shirt-length by twisting a knot in the middle... I like the results so much, I may even just sew the knot in!

Blouse close-up -- How Stella the Cat sleeps -- Shoe and Bangle.

Tips of the day:

1) See Sunshine Cleaning. It is the best drama I've seen in a long time, and Amy Adams just flat-out rules.

2) See Star Trek. Even if you're not a Trekkie (I'll unabashedly tell you today that I most definitely am), there is nothing to not love about the pacing, plot and special effects of this movie. Plus, I've got a long-time crush on James T. Kirk, and let's just say that Chris Pine fills the role --and his spacesuit-- out nicely.

And some news:

I found my dress! At my lovely's request, I'm not putting up any pictures (he under no circumstances wants to see it before the big day), BUT, I will tell you that having got off from work early, I chanced into a David's Bridal that was just down the street. Mind you, I did not at all expect to find anything I liked. I told the extremely cool, opera-singing salesgirl what I wanted -- "Sheath-style, v-neck and a low, v-back!" -- and she deftly threw potential dresses from the rack at me in record speed.

When I put on the dress-- ivory, beaded lace (I know! Whoulda thunk?) on champagne silk, a perfect v-neck and low, v-back with a chapel train and Jessica Rabbit-style curve-hugging capabilities, I was like, damn, ya'll. This thing is beautiful, classic, vintage-looking, sexy and yet modest enough for a family event. And, it was much more affordable than I thought it would be. The girl goes, "Is this the one?" She presented me with a bell. "Are you gonna ring this bell, and tell me this is the one? I don't want you ringin' no bell if this isn't the one."

I hesitated, because I wished to share the moment with a friend or relative, but I took that bell and rang it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fishing and spooning.

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who commented on my previous post... your positive vibes are very much appreciated.

Also earning a slot in the "making Elissa happy" lineup is everything about Fischerspooner. I tripped upon their 2007 Coachella performance on cable.

I have to admit that ordinarily I don't love watching live shows, televised or otherwise, for a few reasons.

Reason 1: I have very sensitive hearing, and over-amplified music hurts like hell.
Reason 2: I never get over the uncomfortableness of being squashed up against people who are just staring straight ahead. I'd like to get my dance on, but only if everyone else does, too.
Reason 3: Most shows are boring. No dancing, no pyrotechnics, no puppetry. This is why I will always regard the GWAR show I saw one Halloween on a whim to be one of my favorite. Giant, barfing toilet puppets, go-go dancing death nymphs, and fountains of fake blood shooting out onto the audience all add up to quality and value on my entertainment dollar.

But I digress...

Fischerspooner looks good, sounds good, and feels good too. Although they seem to be hater-magnets, I'm convinced that their caliber of ferocity can't help but stoke fires of jealousy among the severely uncool. Studded baseball bat? Want. Football jersey kimono? Must-have.

At the end of the month, I'm seeing their last show (in Cincinnati) before they leave the country. Hooray!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Image via Trendhunter .

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a freak about boobs. I think they are powerful and great to look at, and spend way too much time covered up by clothing. For those of you who are not yet ready to play for the "skins" team, this piece of lingerie designed by a student at Parsons and shown in their 2009 show could be your sartorial toe in the water.

Boobs are on my mind today because I found out over this weekend that my mom's breast cancer has returned after 3 years of remission... this time lining the inside of her chest cavity.

What I'd like to pass on to you is what I've learned through her ordeal; that breasts can be a limited time engagement-- so enjoy them while they last. My mom's the type who's breast philosophy would be this: "Who cares what kind of boobs you have? If you're young and you got hot boobs, show 'em to somebody!"

So, because breasts are beautiful, rare, ephemeral, and make people happy, I invite you today to flash somebody. Really. There's really nothing more you can do to better understand how great boobs, your boobs are, and how much they deserve your personal respect and care.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tryin' it on.

Everyone that knows me, and knows that I'm getting married this October, has asked, "So what's the dress like?" "Have you gotten the dress?" "Where's your freakin' dress?" To which I reply, "Meh--- ehm, I'm waiting to get into better shape**. I'm thinking I'll look in September."

Judging by the uniformly alarmed reactions to this statement-- "Dear, your lack of urgency is troubling..."-- I've decided to start looking, concertedly, for a dress. Size bedamned, there are some skilled seamstresses in my circle, and my proportions, fortunately, always remain the same no matter.

Today I went out with my future mom-in-law to a vintage wedding dress boutique in town. (This is where my camera being compatible with my interim computer would come in handy). They had quite a few gowns from the 1930's there, however all long-sleeved (but that's never stopped me before!)

Handy visual aid. Indication #1 you're gonna feel crusty on your wedding day.

To my dismay, the one with the most promise had a huge water stain on the bottom (supposedly it'll come out with some expert TLC, but I'm not gonna take a $600 chance) and a dime-sized hole on the rump. The final, mental "no" came when the salesperson tried to convince me to buy it by telling me I was lucky that there were any gowns from the Thirties in my size (an 8-10). Well, I believe, suh, that there are plenty of vintage gowns out there in Size Sexy that aren't riddled with ugly. So bitch, please.

Peach Scaled and Floral Dress with Navy and Clear Rhinestone Straps at The Frock. Missa, my fluttering heart eternally thanks you for introducing me to this site!

Most of these dresses cost upwards of $2000, however, but the above confection clocks in at a cool $1450 (though that's reeeaally stretching it for me), and, is in my size. I absolutely love the scale pattern on the satin. Plus, it's peach, which, despite what Carole Jackson might think, is a lovely color on yours truly. The colors for the big occasion are navy, peach and silver, and this dress is a) peach, and b) has navy and clear rhinestones for straps. Heaven can be so very apropos.

I'd like a vintage gown, mostly because I believed they were a less-expensive alternative to new, and a bit more special. However, the more I look into them, the more they seem to me like buying lotion at the thrift store. A wedding dress is supposed to feel like a luxury, but when the tulle is crusty and the satin, torn or stained, it feels more gross than glamorous. I am slowly but surely considering New, especially now that I've found quite a few under $400 that perfectly channel the 1930's.

Adriana Papell Beaded Gown from

It's too bad that there is no rear-view of this stunner (which my sweetay loveloveloves)... however, it is only $240 and can be returned to the store if it doesn't suit my needs. One idea of mine is to buy two of these dresses, the second one in the largest size. With the larger dress, I would have the beaded trim cut away and used to create a dramatic, low cowled back to the dress I would actually wear.

Though jersey is not necessarily my favorite alternative to satin, in quite a few bridal instances, it has some definite appeal. I simply love the elegant, simple shape to this dress. I contacted the Nordstrom Live Help to ask about the particulars, and, as it turns, when I receive the dress I can simply go to the store and have their tailoring staff work their magic on it. Which, in this case would involve making the back v-necked, and adding a type of peach sash to the middle portion, all without adding much to the cost of the dress. Plus, you can get your money back if it's not what you had in mind (pre-alteration, of course).

Here are a couple of others... while they come from an online-only store, they do have very accomodating policies and a gazillion testimonials. Plus, their warehouse is 70 miles away from me, so I feel a bit more secure. I know where you live!

Lola Dress

Poor prop aside, I'm feelin' this dress. The waterstained one at the vintage wedding gown store would have looked exactly like this, after alteration to sleeve length and neckline depth. And, because for me, the back carries a bit more weight to me than the front:

I absolutely adore the crossed back, and the train flows amazingly... even though I'm looking for a dress without a train, for ease of dancing. And trust, there will be dancing. I've got my guitarist dad and violinist brother on tap to do the ceremony, and a soundtrack featuring Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Time Warp" for the reception. Y'know, it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane.

Chloe Dress

Love everything about the neckline and knotted straps, but a bit iffy on the waist area, which might be great with an added inset or sash, or by strict adherence to P90-X. And, at around $300, a helluva deal. And check the back--

Duh-ramz!!! So romantic! And it reminds me of my favorite bird, the Quetzal. A bit too risque, perhaps? If I buy this gown and send the site a testimonial picture, it will be this exact same one, staring into a lone rose against a school-portrait background. Thanks for the memories!

And now, because I'd like to infect you with alternately with happiness and derision, the "Time Warp".

** In regards to the double-starred sentence in the first paragraph: Whenever I hear of someone losing weight for a wedding, I always find myself thinking, "Lose weight for your life!" But, having become immune to anti-cheesecake propoganda, I find myself at a crossroads and definitely have been distantly wanting to re-evaluate my relationship with health and fitness. An impending wedding is merely icing on the cake (mmm...cake...) in my decision to begin the grueling P90-X program on Monday. It's pretty intense, but I'm ready and feel good about it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Poodle-jumping on this rainy Wednesday.

Readers! Some of you have emailed me with concern over my recent bloggy silence. Be not concerned-- I am merely mid-computer; my old one is too old to hold any pictures, and the laptop I am using until I set my new one up feels like sleeping on the other side of the bed, posting-wise. That, and for some reason it's incompatible with my camera.

However, one of my favorite readers, my young brother Z, however, has provided me with the following visual blog-fodder, to satiate your (and my) craving for all things fabulously ridiculous.

Just look at this woman's sheepish look. I don't even really think there's a poodle under there. And even if there is you know that woman is well aware that she done wrong.

Although not totally outlandish, it is immensely appealing. And with the matching costume, you definitely deserve... er... the blue-and-mango ribbon.

My very fave, especially since my sweet and I are playing with adding a peacock element to our Art Deco-themed wedding.

[images via the Great Unknown. Z?]