8.28.2008

The Beatles meet The Rolling Stones meet a beadazzler, in the best way possible.

Do I wear ankle boots? Not yet, I don't. But these bad-ass kicks can certainly change my mind.


Now, who's got $1,245 lying around to bankroll my foray into boot-lets?

8.27.2008

permanent marker

The internet tells me that many, many other people in this world have literary tattoos. (However, I very much cast aspersion onto the Literary Value of that second tattoo down on the first link: really, is that first identifiable as a Palahniuk cover? Wouldn't it be most commonly associated with, say, anatomical diagrams from high school anatomy & biology? Also, from the contrariwise.org link: please never again consider Dave Matthews Band lyrics a "literary tattoo".)
The internet does seem to come up blank when faced with the search term "Joan Didion tattoo", or "Slouching Towards Bethlehem tattoo", though.

So, do you have a copy of the 1968 printing of Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem at hand? Good, because I do not. (All my books are in another state at this time, and I am not about to drive seven hours to scan a page to illustrate my point.) Turn to the first story, "Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream". See that beautiful inky graphic that is the chapter heading graphic? Yes, that's what I have dreamt of for ten years now as a potential tattoo. In fact, that's the only thing I've ever dreamt of as a tattoo.


Will I ever really go for it and get this inked on my breastbone? Perhaps. Slouching Towards Bethlehem is one of the very first books I read that made me gasp and realize what, exactly, great writing can do to a reader. And really, if someone can make the decision to get something in fucking Elvish permanently affixed to their skin, I think Joan Didion will prove the far saner choice.

8.26.2008

browbeaten

I am most disappointed that when a very sick girl googles "home remedies for sinus infection and killer cold with scratchy throat", nowhere does the internet provide the phrase "coo at photos of fuzzy baby animals". So, fellow sinus infection sufferers (sorry about giving you the cold, btw- and the sore throat that makes breathing hard- and the extremely painful sinus infection- oops!), in addition to things like a warm compress across your nose and cheekbones, drinking lots of room-temperature water and tea with honey, ibuprofen, and top dosages of Tylenol Severe Sinus medicine, please also go to Cute Overload and let the puppies and kittens heal you. You must look after yourself in your time of ailing.

(Also, when one's boyfriend gets sick with the killer sinus/cold/ouch combo, if you are all cavalier and simply pat him on the head and trill "I'm off to work! Feel better!", you will get that same terrible illness a few days later, and you will realize that he was not just whining about the sickness. You will feel even worse when he stays home to take care of you and provides soup and warm washcloths and tea and painkillers and the fancy tissues with aloe. As if the sickness and the pain weren't enough, now you have guilt atop all that, and that is a bitch.)


Ahem. Anyway. Now that I'm all recovered and back at work, I have spent too much time in a flourescent-lit bathroom staring at my eyebrows. Or, rather, staring at the blank space on my eyebrows that I keep willing to fill in. This summer, it was confirmed by a panel of friends (and experts!) that yes, my eyebrows had been over-plucked to the point of disappearing. They are too short, horizontally, and could also use some additional fullness. How hard can it possibly be to grow out my eyebrows, I thought to myself? After all, I am from hearty (hairy) German stock, and my eyebrows were bushy and untouched by any shaping tools until I was 18. I'll have lush Camilla Belle brows in mere weeks!
Sadly, it is not so. I have stray scraggly hairs poking up all around the thin, sad arches, and none of them are lending a "lush" look so much as a "your face looks rather unkempt" look. But I remain steadfast, and am trying verrrrry hard to ignore the set of tweezers in residence upon my bathroom sink. I am not allowed to pluck, shape, or rid myself of any eyebrow strays until they have grown back into something full and shapeable.

Dear lord, this may drive me crazy. Someone please take the tweezers away as a preventative measure.

8.23.2008

in which the weekend starts not with a bang but a letdown

The weekend was to start auspiciously. I came home from work, got a cold beer, and made the boy take a photo of me for outfit-documenting purposes.

Candy-striper dress, H&M; red lace slip, vintage; belt, Target; mary janes, vintage; Until There's A Cure bracelet.

Then, before dropping in on some friends, I decided we should get a bite at the Puerto Rican restaurant down the street. This is where things went horribly, irrevocably wrong.
Who knew that things as simple as a corn fritter, some fried plantains, and some Puerto Rican-style tamales could be so disgusting and inedible? As a bonus, the garlic "sauce" (canola oil with slices of garlic) came with some dead ants floating in it. I should have stopped there and run away, but no. We attempted to eat the terrible things we'd ordered, despite the rancid taste of stale grease. While picking at my soggy lukewarm tamale, I realized that if I were to fall ill with food poisoning this weekend, I would know exactly what to blame.
The four- and five-star reviews baffle me. Is there another Sabor Latino out there in Logan Square? One that serves edible, tasty food? Because the Sabor Latino we ate at last night DOES NOT. I need a shower just thinking about it.

8.22.2008

deliberation smackdown: Flickr vs. Picasa

Flickr delivered some unexpected bad news this month: I am one photo away from filling up my free account. I'd conveniently forgotten that Flickr is only free up to a certain point, and hadn't shelled out the $25/yr for a Pro account because eh, who really needs all the albums and sets (and the ability to post on Wardrobe_Remix!) that one could ever desire? Apparently, I do.
Several friends have offered up Google's Picasa as a worthy alternative to Flickr (and free!), but I don't seem to be getting any answers from Picasa. Picasa's editing software is not available for Macs, which is highly inconvenient for me (iPhoto disappeared, and the copy of Photoshop I have is either incomplete and rarely functional, or Photoshop is simply the most confusing software I've ever worked with); Picasa's FAQ site indicates that I must run Internet Explorer (no!); other sources say Firefox will play nicely if you allow cookies; oh, the list goes on. But: it can sync up nicely with Blogger and Gmail and those other things that make life worth living.

I would very much like a photo-editing program that does some nice things. I would also like a photosharing website that allows albums, tags, privacy levels, and such. I need all of this to work with a Mac. Suggestions? Choruses of "just get the Pro account already and shut up about this"? Editing software recommendations?

8.21.2008

blame the victim!

"I'd bet if you dropped a copy of The Secret in Sudan, they'd be really pissed."
-my brilliant coworker Caitlin

go fig yourself


This week, I was commiserating with a friend on the (few) trials of being away from home (eew, I just referred to Cincinnati as "home". That makes me cringe. "Place where I have a lease and 80% of my shoes", perhaps?), and the things we look forward to upon our return.
Although sleeping in an actual bed will be very lovely, I think I really miss my kitchen toys the most. For example, when a coworkers brings in the garden bounty of their tomato patch and I begin to salivate at the promise of gazpacho for dinner, I have to let go of my hopes and remind myself that I do not currently have access to a blender. Yes, of course the myriad Latin American restaurants in my current neighborhood would be more than happy to provide me with a cup of gazpacho, but I want the satisfaction of opening my fridge to find a giant pitcher of gazpacho waiting there for me.

I also miss my pastry toys, as I bought four pints of lovely, drippy mission figs this week, and foolishly googled "fig tart" in order to taunt myself with recipes I cannot make.

I suppose I'll just have to settle for wrapping the figs in prosciutto or layering them with greek yogurt. Oh, what a sacrifice.

8.19.2008

closeted

I am deep in the throes of closet envy, friends. You've seen my closet (yes, SINGULAR) in Cincinnati. And now, you have seen both my closet in Chicago:


and my sad system of summer footwear storage in Chicago:

... and you understand why I am sad and often rumpled.

(I must emphasize that these Chicago photos indicate that I am living in temporary quarters, and that I'd like to think that if I were in this apartment longer-term I would unpack that suitcase of socks and bras in the back of the closet.)

My very stylish friend Jessica was visiting lately, and is planning to revamp her own storage system for her rather extensive collection of pretty things, leading to much deliberation over the Container Store and California Closets' various apparatuses. (apparati?) Once you see pretty wardrobe solutions, people, you can not go back to your sad closet reality. You will spend your days pining for lovely slide-out drawers for accessories, full-wall shoe racks, revolving hangers for scarves, sweater boxes, and the like.

And then Meredith's place (and her boyfriend's amazing collection of ties) showed up this week in New York Magazine, sending me into a fit of jealousy, and also sparking my immediate desire to visit her and bask in their glorious storage spaces.

Then, if the universe were not already screaming in my ear "I think you should spend your upcoming student loans on chests of drawers and shelving!", I stumbled upon Nubby's Helpful Guide To Organizing Your Closet (or Closet-Type Furniture).

So far, I figure all I need to make this happen is:
a new apartment of at least 1,000 square feet
a forest of cedar trees from which aromatic, pleasant things will be made
every standing wardrobe that Ikea has ever produced
a carpenter to make me the custom shoe rack of my dreams
approximately $20,000
and the world's most understanding boyfriend.

8.17.2008

see, I was not exaggerating about the shortness of that dress

Last night, for sushi and drinks with friends:

Navy blue supershort cotton dress with ruffles, Target; necklace, Etsy; shoes, Urban Outfitters.

I have no idea why my lower legs are glowing here. Good moisturizer?

8.16.2008

most fun to-do list ever

I have just over a month left in The City That Smells Like Chocolate before I am forced to decamp for Cincinnati once again. This has put me into a mad rush to do all those things I told myself I'd do in Chicago- back when I thought I'd have "nothing but free time" this summer (ha). I've made it to Hot Doug's, the Fullerton beach, and the Art Institute of Chicago once each in the past two months, but that's a pretty sad start to what should have been a summer full of romping through the joys of this city.
Still on the Things I Have to Do Before Being Forced Back to Cincinnati list are:
browse and marvel at Mitsuwa, the largest Japanese grocery in the Midwest
immerse self in the Jeff Koons exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art
late-night nourishment at Rockstar Dogs (Edit: dude, no. The polish was deep-fried (wtf!), and the bun was cold. Stick with Hot Doug's for quality tube meats.)
embrace my liberal geek at a taping of "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!" (note: I will probably use this opportunity to stalk Carl Kassel)
die of happiness with every course at my favorite restaurant in the world, Green Zebra
worship at the altar of Tracy Letts' playwriting skills at Steppenwolf
augment my collection of vintage sheath dresses and mismatched glassware at a Chicago flea market
go all-out carnivore style at Custom House
determine whether or not a $16 all-you-can-eat sushi buffet is the greatest thing ever, or a terrible gastrointestinal mistake

(Ed: making headway! yes!)

Other suggestions to cram into the next month?

8.13.2008

in the trenches


This trench freaks me out with its amazing-ness.
I am already daydreaming of throwing it on with elbow-length leather gloves for a little insouciant Parisian-autumn-afternoon-stroll ensemble. Also, I am tempted to wear it as a dress with thick thigh-high cable knit socks and a prep-school headband.
(No, I haven't actually purchased the trench yet, but we all know it's just a matter of time, right?)

If I find out that it comes in other colors, I will probably break into poorly-choreographed Happy Dance Routine in my living room.


By the by, it's been 70 degrees or so in Chicago for nearly the past full week, so thinking about fall (and the attendant need to buy "school clothes") is not feeling terribly unseasonable. I, expecting a normal Chicago heatstroke summer, only moved my summer clothes to Chicago. Thus, I have access to only a few pairs of jeans and two lightweight cardigans in case of a Canadian cold front. It was chilly when I got up today, and so decided to layer on pretty much everything I own to cover my goosebumpy arms and legs. I fear I spent the day looking like a bedraggled Olsen twin who'd just raided American Apparel.

8.12.2008

oversize? over it.

I was browsing sunglasses at Bloomingdale's today*, and I started to get a little dizzied by their selection. Oversized frames as far as the eye can see: shield-style, bug-eye, 135% scale sunglasses. I am getting a bit tired of this monotony in eyewear.
However, I splurged on a v nice pair of Marc Jacobs sunglasses last year that definitely fall into the shield/oversized category, so I cannot completely write them off. Big-ass sunglasses cover up a goodly portion of your face, which is convenient when you have icky blemishes you're trying to avoid letting the world see, or dark circles from last night's gin binge, or your eyebrows are plucked wonky and you can't find an eyebrow pencil. Of course, there's the Jackie O/ Holly Golightly association, which never gets bad. But then again, there's also the Nicole Richie/ Britney Spears/ Victoria Beckham association, which is generally v bad. And perhaps I should spend less time trying to hide my myriad facial flaws, and more time 1) preventing them (no, thanks, I don't need that seventh cocktail) and 2) accepting that yes, my eyebrows are just wonky right now, and probably no one notices.

After years of wearing big sunglasses in big frames, it takes some getting used to when you do finally find a pair that's smaller than your forearm. Knowing that impulse purchases with the words Marc Jacobs on them are dangerous (especially following a traumatic excursion into the dressing room), I let the pretty eyewear rest in their plastic homes for now. Here's a selection of what I may stalk eBay for in the near future, assuming I do not freakishly get two giant black eyes that I need to hide with gigantic lenses:

I told you "Marc Jacobs" was a magic phrase. I noticed only after uploading photos that I'd uploaded these in every color (from different websites, even!) without realizing it.

I spent too long trying to figure out what color "tort" was (these come in linen/tort) before I realized that meant "tortoiseshell". Anyway, I like "linen" best.




*I was at Bloomingdale's to have their in-house tailor alter a dress I bought there recently, and was under the impression that since it was never-worn and still had the tags on and I came prepared with my receipt, it would be complementary, as intimated by the saleswoman. Oh no. The phrase "and now we need a form of payment" was hurled by a snippy sales assistant, which took me completely off-guard. This had better be the world's most amazing alteration job for what they're charging.

8.11.2008

crash test dummies

I feel like Jan Hoffman has been biking with me on my daily trek to work. I believe this article should have been published in the Health, Safety, and Why Can't You Fucking Yield section, and not Style.

Now, I'm not a perfect biker. Nor am I a perfect driver. No one is. But when I'm nearly doored twice in a single mile of bike lane (bike lane! not just biking on the street! designated bike lane with lane lines and "bikes only" graphics!), I tend to get a little defensive about my safety as a biker and some drivers' ridiculously aggressive attitudes towards cyclists.
For example, if you are parking next to a lane of traffic, perhaps you'd like to CHECK TO SEE IF THERE IS ANYONE SPEEDING TOWARDS YOUR DRIVER'S SIDE DOOR before you open it and send me veering into traffic and to my death under the wheel of a Lincoln Navigator.
Also, if you are driving on the left side of a bike lane and must make a right turn crossing the bike lane, PLEASE MOVE YOUR EVER-SO-IMPORTANT HEAD SLIGHTLY TO THE RIGHT TO CHECK BEHIND YOU to make sure you don't cut me off and send my front tire spinning directly into your car because my brakes, like all bikers' brakes, are controlled by my hands, some tiny cables, and four pieces of rubber. Your brakes are controlled by a highly engineered machine, and I promise, your life will not end if you must brake and wait for the bike traffic next to you to clear before you can pull into Walgreen's.

Fun fact about those funny-looking two-wheeled contraptions that are moving faster than you during morning rush hour: yes, we have our own designated lane. This lane is designated for bicycles, not scooters, not rollerbladers, and not motorcycles. This lane is designed to keep bikers out of your way, so we don't slow down your lane one bit!

Not-so-fun fact about biking: the only thing between me and the skin-shredding, bone-snapping cement (or the front wheels of your car) is a bike helmet and, on most days, a dress.
So, for the love of $4.57/gallon regular unleaded, please attempt to obey the laws that say "yield to bikers". Or I'll leave a gigantic, oddly-shaped dent in your passenger-side door, and a nasty stain all over your grille.

8.05.2008

lament? rejoice!

It was shaping up to be a sad day, let me tell you. My new Marc by Marc dress arrived from the Bloomingdale's sale, but, being purchased online without the benefit of dressing-room scrutiny, I hadn't realized that the size L would be just a leeeeetle too low and drapey on the neckline, and also have armholes that were just this side of too large, and exposed my completely un-fabulous underthings. I realized that without a sewing machine, table, or pins, it was going to be a terrible idea to take up the neckline and armholes myself. Emergency layering plans must be made if I plan to wear it any time soon, and the real solution will be finding a tailor I trust to do these things for me.

And then, I looked at my favorite pair of ballet flats, and I was momentarily brought even lower by despair. My several-years-old Steve Madden gold peep-toes are torn up so badly on the heels that I'm fairly certain the soles will peel off this summer.

The flats, in better days. Note the lack of scuff marks!

These shoes are the most comfortable flats in the world, for real. My narrow feet exalt at the ankle strap, and they have never, ever induced a blister or cut into my toes or my heel. Thankfully, I was just able to make out the style name and size (I wear a crazy array of shoe sizes, even within the same brand- anything from an 8 to a 9.5 in varying degrees of narrowness), and to ebay I went.

Hallelujah! (Dollelujah!)
A very well-timed ebay auction had these very shoes! in my size! in both pewter and black. No gold, unfortunately, but not a bad catch for a several-seasons-past shoe. The internet might not be able to solve every problem I've ever had, but it's coming closer and closer all the time.

8.03.2008

it's easy to look glamorous in sunglasses

Technically, Lake Michigan is not an ocean. But it has tides, and riptows, and covers an area roughly the size of Croatia, and is therefore a serious body of water. I don't think it's an exaggeration to then say I spent my Saturday afternoon basking on the beach, although it was lacking a certain oceanic quality.

Swimsuit, Modcloth. Sunglasses, mall kiosk. SPF 70, 'cause I'm not messing around.