Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Red Shoes

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"She looked at the red shoes, and she didn't think there was any sin in that. She put on the red shoes. Why shouldn't she? And then she went to the ball and began to dance.
But when she wanted to turn right, the shoes danced to the left, and when she wanted to move up the floor, the shoes danced down the floor, down the stairs, along the street, and out the town gate. Dance she did, and dance she must, right out into the dark forest."

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This is my interpretation of this month's Pickwick Ladies Book Club read, Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales. I picked the tale of the Red Shoes, which is eerily wonderful, in the way that every fairytale is. The story goes that a narcissistic girl wears her red shoes to a ball rather than taking care of the woman who took her in as a baby. Because of this her shoes are cursed and she must dance in them, until finally she manages to get the town executioner to chop off her feet. It's quite creepy, really!

I really picked this tale because I love my red heels and I rarely get a chance to wear them. I found them in a vintage shop in Edinburgh, and they have the most wonderful detailing on the back. The black dress is one of my most cherished items of clothing. It is not really mine, it was my great grandmother's, and I am the only one out of my siblings and cousins who has the good luck of being exactly the same size as her. She had the most wonderful selection of clothes, including many pieces from the famous House of Worth, Paris. This dress also has a black brocade jacket that goes with it. The gathering on the chest and stomach is so beautiful, and the train itself is many yards of fabric that hang in folds around the little bustle at the back. The pictures don't really do it justice, the richness and weight of the fabric is something that I have never seen on a dress from this era. As for the outfit details...everything is vintage. The silk petticoats are both my mother's, as is the Liberty of London scarf, and the coat is one of my incredible vintage thrift finds; it has a blush pink taffeta lining.

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(A benefit of taking photos at my parent's house in the country: having axes around as handy photo props.)

For other news about The Pickwick Ladies Book Club have a look at our Facebook page, and check out these posts from other members of our book club: Maria, Beatrice, and Veronika. There will be more photos going up on facebook this week as other members post their looks.

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Do you feel like joining us? Our read for December is Mel's pick, Little Women. We will be posting outfits on our Facebook page in the last week of the month, so feel free to put up links to your Little Women Inspired looks!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Exploring the Petrified Forest

Petrified

Petrified

Here are a few photos from my weekend. I went up to Calistoga with my family, and we went on some beautiful walks, wandered around a few vineyards, and mostly ate tons of food. These photos were taken during one of our breaks from eating, when we went to the petrified forest. We took our family Christmas picture (which involved lots of hilarity as we were trying to do a jumping one with the self timer) and received funny stares from passerby. The petrified forest had spanish moss hanging from the trees which gave it a very eerie feeling.

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Petrified
I'm really excited to tell you about a project I've been working on for awhile, The Pickwick Ladies Book Club. Lately I've been spending all of my reading time blogging, so I decided to start a book club with a few other lovely ladies so that we will all motivate each other to read more. So far, Maria has put up her first book club inspired photos, and I think they are lovely. I am taking mine today and will put them up tomorrow. Look out for the rest of the group's pictures, they are all going up this week!
Boots: Vintage; Tights: Duane Reade; Romper: Thrifted; Cardigan: French Connection; Scarf: The Edinburgh Woolen Mill

Petrified

Are you reading any good books at the moment?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thrift Trippy

Thrift

I just wanted to do a quick post to share with you some of my thrift trip finds. I got this great little 90's grunge babydoll, wool cardigan (look at those sleeves!) and braided belt the other day on my trip to Goodwill. The thrifting in California is so much better than in New York, I'm going to miss it when I go back. It gives me a good excuse to stock up now!

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I hope lots of you are still getting to spend time with your families this weekend. I am going up to Calistoga for a few days with my family. We are looking forward to exploring vineyards, going on long walks, and hanging out with each other. This is the first time that we are all together in a year, because my younger sister lives in Vietnam so she can't come to visit very often.

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This is my "stylish squatter" look...so funny! I am a glowing beacon of paleness in this picture. I obviously need some sunshine.
Boots: JC Penny from 8 years ago
Dress, Belt, Sweater: Thrifted

Thrift

Are you spending time with your family this weekend?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Home on the Range

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Fringe

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all have a lovely day filled with spending time with people you love, nice walks, and of course delicious food!
I took these photos in my backyard, it is so nice to be home and have plenty of space to take outdoor shots. Yesterday I went into San Francisco to see friends, and remembered how much I love the city. Dolores Park, amazing thrift stores, and such wonderful people...not to mention the best bit, burritos!

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I have been having such good look thrifting lately. I went to goodwill and hit the fisherman sweater motherload. Every time I go thrifting I always find that I find tons of one kind of clothing. Does that ever happen to you? I often wonder if it's all from one person's wardrobe, and they just happen to donate lots of clothes on the day that I go. It is really interesting thinking about the stories of thrifted and vintage clothes...how nice to think that someone before you has had all sorts of adventures in the clothes before you buy them. I hope that when I'm gone my clothes continue to be worn and loved by a girl like me!

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Fringe

Boots, Belt, Jacket: Vintage
Tights: Duane Reade
Skirt: Topshop
Shirt: French Connection

Fringe

Have a lovely lovely day guys. Prepare your turkey pants, I know I am (the vegetarian version of course)!

Fringe

Edit: I forgot to mention this, but I think it is important to be mindful on Thanksgiving. Please take a moment today to think about the sons and daughters of this land and remember the genocide they suffered and the oppression and persecution that they continue to face. Jenny and the Selvedge Yard both have very eloquent posts on this subject.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bob Dylan meets the Eighties

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Hmm...maybe it's because of my fake mullet, but I feel like a lot of 80's influences have been popping up in my wardrobe lately. Which is so last season, durrr, but I kind of love it. Although, I have to say I am really happy about the 70's thing that is happening right now. I am especially excited about finding the perfect pair of bell bottom jeans. I had the best ones when I was in middle school, with legs that were big enough to cover my big platform sneakers (did anyone else wear those?) and the perfect light wash. I'm hoping to have some thrifting luck in the next week when I'm home for Thanksgiving, and be able to bring home the perfect jeans, some grandpa sweaters, a poncho or two, and some great winter boots. That may be slightly optimistic, but I think I am definitely going to devote some serious time to scouring Goodwill and The Salvation Army!

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This shirt was a great vintage buy, and I ripped the shoulder pads out as soon as I got it, but it still has some 80's thing going on with the sleeves. I decided to whip out a big gold belt to accent it, and then here's where the outfit gets a little weird...the Bob Dylan lower half. Look at those shoes man, he totally wears stuff like that!

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Boots: DSW; Tights: Topshop; Shorts: UO; Belt and Blouse: Thrifted

Are you guys starting to get super excited for Thanksgiving? Because I am so ready whip out the veggie cookbooks and think of a really delicious vegetarian dish to steal a little of the turkey's limelight...even if he is cage free and organic!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mullet Madness

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Hi lovely ladies!
Sorry to have been quiet on the blog! How do you 9-5ers do it? I was temping last week and with the time change I didn't have a chance to take any pictures. Now that I'm back to solely restaurant work I have plenty of daylight for photo sessions. The lovely Elise took these photos for me. We have hardly seen each other since our epic road trip and it was so good to hang out again. My weekend was much like last weekend, doggy walking at the shelter (someone adopt some of these cuties please!), thrifting, and taking photos of Brooklyn. Can you tell that I LOVE Brooklyn? Every time I walk around I am so happy. It is the perfect mix of run down industrial buildings, red brick, and green spaces. The graffiti is beautiful, and each day I stumble upon more that I like.

MM

MM

Also...I cut my hair. Can you tell? It turned out a little mullet-y, but that's ok, I think I'm badass enough to rock a mullet. If only I had the ovaries to have a legit mullet, that would be kind of awesome. When I was in elementary school my bus driver used to wear doc martens, play heavy metal, and shake her mullet around while we were driving to school. I thought she was pretty rad.
I am on such a velvet kick right now. I bought this dress from Topshop because I have been searching for a navy velvet dress for the longest time now. The only thing is, the quality is not that great. On the first day that I wore it, one of the seams ripped and I had to return it for another one. It's kind of sad because when I was in university I used to shop at Topshop all the time, and the quality was great. I still have some clothes from back then that I love wearing. It frustrates me how many of my favorite brands use materials which are such poor quality, and participate in other horrible workmanship practices. Has anyone else noticed a sudden shift, maybe in the past three years or so, to poorer quality clothes? Maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety, haha.

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Boots, Purse, and Belt: Vintage/Thrifted; Dress: Topshop

Speaking of quality, I took sweet Amanda's pledge to only buy handcrafted or secondhand gifts this holiday season. I hope as many people as possible join in. You can put a button on your blog (click on the one on my sidebar, it will transfer you over to Amanda's blog where you can pick up the html) to show your support for this project. This is something that I feel really passionate about because I think our attitude at Christmas seems to be all about consume consume consume, when there are fantastic gifts to be found in vintage and thrift stores, secondhand bookshops, etsy, and a myriad of other places where we can reuse and support small businesses. Please let me (and Amanda!) know if you are taking the pledge, I am really interested to see how this project turns out. I think I'm going to tell my family to stop reading my blog in December just so I can post pictures of all of the pretty gifts I've been finding for them!

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Also, please check out the Teen Vogue Fashion Click site to see all of the other wonderful bloggers whose posts are up. They are some stylish ladies!

MM

Gosh sorry for this excessively long post! I just get carried away sometimes...is it weird that I imagine all of you reading this like I'm having a little chat with you? For reals, if any of you are in Brooklyn, lets get some tea and go thrifting!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Living In An Urban Jungle

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Hi lovelies!
Here's a little taste of what my weekend was like. It was a pretty chilly, and Saturday was a fun day of thrifting (vintage-ing?) at Beacon's Closet, Fox and Fawn, and Urban Jungle. On Sunday morning the NYC Marathon went right past my house, so we cheered on the runners and gave lots of high fives. It was so inspiring seeing people of different ages, from countries all over the world, and levels of ability running together. What an inspiring and unifying experience!

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Urban

Urban

In the evening we went for a very windy walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and watched the sun set over the water. It was so beautiful, but unfortunately my camera ran out of battery. In some ways it was a blessing because I enjoyed the walk a lot more since I wasn't trying to get the perfect shot. I guess I'll have to head back there sometime soon to take some pics. After our chilly walk we went to my favorite pizza place, Roberta's. The Cheesus Christ is the best, not only because it has an awesome name, but also because it has honey on it. Yummy!
My gorgeous and lovely roommate Jen was kind enough to take these shots of me on Saturday. Isn't the graffiti in Brooklyn amazing?
Faux Fur Coat: Thrifted
Purse: Abro
Silk Shirt: Thrifted
Wool Shorts:UO
Tights: Topshop
Flats: Target

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Urban

Did you have any adventures over the weekend?
Also, I'm so excited to tell you that I am a TeenVogue Fashion Click blogger now. It's going to be a great experience I think!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to Travel Part One: Planes

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Most of you know that I’m a pretty avid traveller. After being born in England, growing up in New Jersey and California, and going to college in Scotland, along with lots of other trips along the way, I have definitely learned a thing or two about the ups and downs of travelling. I’m going to be doing a feature every week about travelling, because it’s all that’s on my mind right now! I hope this is helpful, and please do tell me if you have anything that you would like to see on this feature in the coming weeks!

This week I thought I would start out with the most obvious thing...flying. Because you’ve got to get where you gotta go, right? One caveat, as much as I love flying, it is not so good for the environment, so I always try to drive or take the train when instead of short haul domestic flights. However, there are times when it’s just necessary, so check out a program to offset your emissions like Native Energy, which is recommended by the Sierra Club.

Booking your flight:

Tickets: Check out a variety of sites before you book your flight so you can be sure that you’re getting the best deal. I like Kayak.com if I just feel like booking a vacation with no specific destination in mind. Orbitz.com and Expedia.com are good for checking exact dates and destinations. I always check individual airline websites as well because they often have deals that are not anywhere else on the web. My absolute favourite airline is Virgin, but I have also had good experiences with United, British Airways, Air France, and Delta. Some airlines (I’m not going to name any, but it is pretty easy to find out who they are) are notorious for having old, cramped planes and if you are going on a very long flight it would be worthwhile to do a quick search online about airlines you have not heard of or travelled with before, if they turn up with cheap tickets.

Miles: Another cost effective way of booking flights is with airmiles. All major airlines have airmile plans that you can use in conjunction with your credit card to gain points. Also, if you book a flight with your airmile credit card for that airline you often get triple or quadruple points. Anytime you take a flight be sure to get your airmile credits. They can really add up! I have booked many flights with miles, and often they are better because you can get upgraded easily if you fly with an airline often. I am definitely not advocating getting a credit card just to get more airmiles, it is just one way of doing it. You do not need to have a credit card to get airmiles, you can still earn them every time you fly.

Free Flights: The most cost effective way is...FREE! I am not an absolute aficionado on this method, but my mother and my sister swear by it, and they have flown all over the place on standby tickets. What you’re hoping for is that your airline is overbooked, and if it’s an international flight there is a very good chance that it will be. When you check in, tell the person that you are checking in with that you are willing to be bumped off onto the next flight if they have overbooked. They will give you a form to fill out. Then you head to the gate like any normal flight and play the waiting game. The airline will call you to the desk if they need your seat. Make sure that you are getting the right compensation. If you are being bumped off your flight you should get a free ticket as well as a ticket onto the next soonest flight. If you have to wait overnight until the next flight the airline will also give you a hotel. With your free ticket (score!) you can book any comparable (ie an international flight for an international bump, domestic for a domestic) flight on that airline, which is a pretty fantastic deal!

Checking In:

Check-In: I often check in on the airline’s website 24 hours ahead of time so that I don’t have to deal with too many hassles in the airport. Then when you arrive all you have to do is drop your bags. The earlier you check in the faster you will be able to board the plane.

Luggage: Make sure your bag is the correct weight by weighing it at home (a good way to do this is to stand on a scale holding your bag and then subtract your weight from whatever number you get) and checking it with checked luggage regulations.

Visas: If you are flying to a country where you need visas, make sure that you have that taken care of before you leave. One of my friends flew on a 17 hour flight to get to Brazil and was turned around as soon as he landed in the country because he did not have a correct visa. Do your research!

A note on luggage: it is always easiest to take carry-ons, but if you are not doing that make sure that all of your bags are marked with your destination information and phone number. It also helps to tie some brightly colored ribbons around your bags so they are easily recognizable. Another little tip that I discovered after always being over the weight limit is to carry a mini duffel in your big bag so that in a pinch you can stuff extra items in it. It’s also helpful for going on weekend trips if you are going away for a long time and don’t want to lug your big bag everywhere, or for bringing souvenirs home.

And a quick PS: NEVER be rude to the check-in staff if something goes wrong with your flight. I have seen it too many times and it breaks my heart because these people have absolutely nothing to do with it...they are just the messengers! Politeness can go a long way. If you are kind you are going to be the first one who gets put on the next flight, or booked a hotel room, or whose overweight luggage gets put through, etc. Trust me, I know!


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Security:

There is nothing worse than being held up by someone at security who has no idea what they are doing. Make sure you prepare yourself while you are in line so you can go straight through.

For your bag: you know the drill, take your laptop out and put it in an extra bin, put all of your liquids in a clear baggie, and drink your water before you go through.

For your person: Try to plan an easy outfit to go through security with. Don’t wear belts because they often set off alarms, the same goes for lots of jewellery. You will have to take off your shoes, so take that into consideration. However, don’t wear shoes with no socks because you will have to walk barefoot across the gross airport floor once you take them off. You will have to take off bulky coats and sweaters so do that ahead of time.

On the plane:

To bring in your carry on: Socks and a sweater to keep warm, a reusable water bottle to fill up at the water fountains before you get on the plane, lots of fruits and veggies to snack on, a book, and earphones for watching in-flight movies.

In-Flight: While on the flight it is best not to drink any caffeine or alcohol because it dehydrates you horribly. Also, lately I have been fasting on flights because I find that if I do that I don’t get a terrible stomach ache like I normally do when flying. After doing a little research online I also discovered that fasting during flights can also prevent jet lag because you can reset your body’s clock with food once you step off a flight. If you want to sleep during your flight take some Melatonin. It is a natural compound that mimics what your body releases before you fall asleep.

So...these are my top tips! I am sure a lot of it you have heard before but I hope they are helpful!


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Do you guys have any questions and/or advice that you always swear by?

(All images via weheartit)


Monday, November 1, 2010

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Lucy Diamonds

I decided to get a little creative with my Halloween costume this year and here is the result. The headdress is actually a necklace, and when I went into the store to buy it the lady selling it to me asked if I was getting married. I didn't have the heart to tell her that you would give me millions of dollars worth of chocolate to coerce me into wearing something this gaudy on my wedding day! It was fun for the night though.
I made the cape and added star studs to it. They were pretty sweet, I was thinking it would be fun to add them to an item of clothing that I might wear on a day other than Halloween but they poked me all night so they will have to remain twinkling away in my closet.

Lucy Diamonds

Lucy Diamonds

Here is a picture of my lovely roommate Peter Pan:

Lucy Diamonds

And my other roommate and her boyfriend the French Mimes. I did her eye makeup, and I think they look great!

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I have been loving all of the Halloween shenanigans that people have been posting about today. Send me your pictures!

Lucy Diamonds
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