head case

I feel like there's a critical mass of chicks-on-bikes pretty photos swirling around my head lately, and that's both great (because: BIKING! yay!) and worrisome (why is no one wearing their helmet?). Yeah, I've harped on this before, but after seeing umpteen earbud-wearing, fixed-gear-riding, helmetless riders on my street today, I had to go back and rant further.

Look at the "bicycles" section on The Sartorialist, for example. (Yes, that interview he gave to The Globe and Mail made me shudder, but I still think the blog is a great place for pictorial inspiration.) Only one of the photos shows a helmet. Or Garance Doré's "Me and My Bike": helmet-less, all. Sure, some of these photos are simply posed sitting atop a bike, but several of them are purportedly moving shots. And I do love Painfully Hip- especially Amber's exhortation to ride wearing whatever the hell you want (skirt, wedges, a dress that is technically too short but I don't care)- but c'mon, whatever the hell you want should include a helmet.

Let's Go Ride A Bike recently put up a series of scans from Bust, and one of the added captions struck me: "obligatory helmet shot".
None of any of the other photos in this article ("Sweet Ride") involved a helmet. I'm going to cut some slack on the off-the-bikes shots- it is a fashion editorial, after all- but as much as I will ignore the wrongness of both riding on the sidewalk and riding four abreast on the street in this spread, I can't get behind the idea that while bikes are cool, helmets are somehow optional. One photo involving a helmet is not a bonus point for safety.

My friend Ruth is now biking to work most days- a good five-ish miles each way- and she rocks a cherry-red Triple Eight helmet that I think looks way cooler than my old Bell helmet. Is she going to fret about her helmet not matching her pants? No. Am I going to eschew my helmet when I ride because the model-types on The Sartorialist never wear helmets, and nothing bad ever happens to pretty girls, riiiiight? Hell no.

I'm lucky to have never (yet) been doored or otherwise injured while biking, but that's due to luck and not any particular skill on my part. And though I might have the vain little voice in my head sometimes that says "what if you have a weird lump in your hair when you take your helmet off?", I'd rather show off an odd bump from my helmet than show off the inside of my skull to the pavement.

So, Scott: when are you going to start taking photos of cyclists who can accessorize their heads with something other than a kicky headband?


this is your brain on...

Like A Lady and the Belgian Waffle before me, I drew a set of brain-portraits. Actually, what I tried to draw was a clever diagram of my brain laid out like the phrenology head I have on my mantel, but then I accepted that in addition to having truly horrendous handwriting (this is my "neat penmanship", thank you very much), I also cannot draw for shit.

Today's brain, which you may not actually care about, falls squarely into the Good Day camp (job prospects looking up, a run along Lake Michigan this morning, talking to my grandfather on his 90th birthday).

Navel-gazing with a touch of ego, ahoy!



Dress, Shipley & Halmos for Uniqlo (I am fairly sure that
when Uniqlo makes clothes, they ask themselves “what would
D want to wear?” and design accordingly); shoes, Seychelles.

Winona of Daddy Likey would tsk-tsk-tsk at me for this, I’m certain. “Have you learned nothing from Don’t Show-cha Your Chocha?”, she’d ask. But I am known to wear things that tiptoe along that border between “rather short” and “ridiculously short”, and I tend to do so without caring one whit.

She’d further disapprove of my decision to bike to dinner in this dress, and she might have a point there. I was going to layer shorts under it for the bike trip and remove them when I got to the restaurant, honest: but then I realized that I’d have nowhere to store those shorts upon arrival, so shorts were out. In a nod to practicality, I did change into flats for biking, rather than wear these 4 ½” heels for my night out.

I desperately wish that I’d had my camera at 11 pm, when this outfit went from “nice dinner out with friends” into “I biked several miles through a rainstorm and arrived at the bar soaked to the skin and dumping water out of my shoes”. I have never appreciated the quick-drying properties of polyester quite so much as I did last night.


look inside

I am oddly stuck on the idea of not paying for Flickr Pro, so my participation in the "What's In Your Bag" pool died off right when I hit my limit of free uploads. (Yes, I know I should just get over myself and my attachment to not paying for things and get Flickr Pro already, but I am stubborn and slightly crazy.)

So, for a much much much much smaller audience, here's what was in my bag this morning.

Kind of left to right:
two notebooks (because one is not enough, and what if I have to suddenly write a 12-page note and I only have ten blank pages left in the Moleskine?)
orange fake-shagreen sunglasses case
red plastic thingy that I cannot identify
nail oil
black pouch from Beth, containing five lip glosses/balms, a nail file, four band-aids, blisterblock, blotting papers, two sample vials of perfume, and polishing cloth for sunglasses. This pouch is the Pouch of Girlieness.
wallet that probably needs replacing, as the zipper is 75% of the way to being broken
small can of WD-40
membership brochure for the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago
cellphone with incoming text message from C
Target receipt for WD-40
I'm Down by Mishna Wolff, to be returned to the library this afternoon
iPod, sans headphones
mirror compact
shoulder strap for the bag
larger black pouch, containing highlighters, pens, flash drive, and tape measure



So Working Bikes is not exactly free, but they are awesome.

When my beloved bike was deemed "unsafe at any speed" last week, I panicked. I don't have the money to shell out for a new bike, or even for a new frame to build on, and I'd much rather bike than shell out $2.25 per trip for public transit while I can. Working Bikes came up in conversation with about three different people as I told my bike-less sob story: they take donated bikes and fix them up for sale three days per week at super-cheap prices. They then take the proceeds from the bike sales to send more fixed-up bikes to developing countries with a need for affordable transportation, as well as giving bikes to social service agencies in Chicago to help clients who might also need an affordable form of transportation.

I ended up getting a hand-me-down bike from my brother this week, so I didn't need to go buy a new one at Working Bikes, but I now had a full frame and a bunch of parts that I could either scrap or donate. I went to Working Bikes today to see if they'd take my structurally-compromised frame, or if I should just scrap it. Not only was the staffer the nicest possible guy, and assured me that my frame and parts could be put to good use, he then got me lunch at the seafood place next door as a thank-you. I want to write love letters to Working Bikes and post them all around Chicago, for real.


winner's circle

A crazy conspiracy theorist after my own heart, that one.

(I clicked through, hit "pause", and let it load. Unfortunately, my earphones were plugged into the wrong jack, so when I hit "play", the entire coffee shop heard the complaints of rogue black helicopters blasting from my speakers. Other patrons began to look at me with some concern.)

The lovely and talented Ms. Culp (yes, she of Culp Baubles fame) will, in short order, have new pants.


required reading

Earlier this week, Amazon put up a truly insipid list of “Ten Books to Read Before You Die” that incited ire in several of my friends who were unfortunate to happen upon it. (It’s since been replaced by the ten best-sellers, sparing your brains from reading such suggestions for “essential reading” as The Bible and everything Dan Brown ever wrote. J.R.R. Tolkien is on there too, as is Harper Lee, but I won’t quibble with the former, and will defend the latter’s inclusion to anyone silly enough to question it.)

It would be super-easy for me to sputter about the lack of Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem, seriously) and Salman Rushdie, and Dashiell Hammett, and Hamlet, and Kerouac, and The Odyssey, and Evelyn Waugh, and oh hell, Tom Wolfe–(oh look I just did!)- but there are probably four hundred Great Works of Literature that I’ve never read. Such as:


Wuthering Heights

Ulysses (well, I read about 1/3 of it, and then my brain broke. I fully intend to go back to it, though.)

Infinite Jest

Little Women

A People’s History of the United States (yes, I have a liberal arts degree, and yet I’ve never read this.)

A Room of One’s Own

Finnegan’s Rainbow

The House of Mirth

…dear lord, I could go on and on and on. There is so much out there that I haven’t ever read through. I had guilt about thinking myself to be vaguely cultured in light of all this, then I realized that unless you was a lit major, you probably have a half-dozen Important Books that you haven’t read, either, and you just fake your way around those in conversation and assume that no one will hold them so dear as to get deeply into specific plot points. (Or you rent the movie and talk about the “atmosphere” of the book, assuming that will suffice.)

Admit it to make my not-so-well-read brain feel a little less alone: what Essential Reading did you not find essential enough to actually read?

respondez, s'il vous plait

reminder: free pants below. Email nadarine (dot) blog (at) gmail (dot) com with something that makes you chortle to enter to win free fancy jeans- and do it by Sunday, mmmmkay?


blue jean baby

If, like me, you have no money (and, perhaps, you too have just been informed that some motherfucker stole your debit card number! and has been charging hundreds of dollars that you don't have to various online retailers and screwing up absolutely everything by taking the last drops of money to your name in the world and blowing it on match.com and iTunes and other things!- NOT THAT I JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH FRAUD CLAIMS OR ANYTHING! not that I'm ready to either kill or cry or both!), you hunt down free stuff like a truffle pig on speed.


So, yeah, free stuff! In this case, free Current Elliot jeans from chickdowntown.com:

skinny slouch

How does one get free pants?* (other than by stealing my bank account information and buying them for yourself, that is? AUGH.) By emailing something amusing to me at nadarine (dot) blog (at) gmail (dot) com by this Sunday, and I'll pick a winner either randomly or by measuring how much a submission has made me chortle to myself inappropriately in a public place.

Dammit, I've been looking at the "sale" page - PRIOR TO FINDING OUT THAT MY BANK ACCOUNT IS NOW IN THE HANDS OF SOMEONE TRULY EVIL- oh, sorry, now going to the Loeffler Randall page and gazing longingly at those flat boots and weeping into my bank statements.

*(More chickdowntown stuff: twitter and facebook links, for discounts and such.)


black gold

(title links to P.O.S.'s "Savion Glover". Go, listen, enjoy the sounds of immensely awesome Minneapolis hip-hop.)

Yesterday, I planned a day of Free Stuff. Free Bastille Day festival in Oz Park, free lunch at Kuma's Corner, free Fiery Furnaces concert in Millennium Park, free burlesque show at Villain's. Most of these things were not quite as planned: the Bastille Day festival was a row of booths selling travel packages to France, the free lunch at Kuma's came with a side of earsplitting death metal, and the burlesque show was industrial fetish burlesque, not pretty girls in sequins and feathers and stockings, sadly. But hey, the Fiery Furnaces show was excellent!

What could I wear to the park, a biker bar, a family-friendly concert series, and a burlesque show? My new favorite summer dress from Uniqlo. I think it's made of comfort and cotton and awesome.
Black tank dress, Uniqlo; gold strappy sandals, Aldo.

Also: fancy earrings and fancy Knockout polish! I splurged in New York for a bottle of the matte red "Karen" polish, and although it was far too much money to spend on nail polish, I'm tempted to say that it was worth it. The flatte red goes on in one coat, dries ridiculously quickly, and looks amazing. I now kinda want every single color.

I found these earrings in the move: I've had them for years, but mislaid them in the series of relocations that's upended my life since 2007. I bought them at a silent auction fundraiser for the Southern Theater in a set with a matching necklace from India, in one of my bidding frenzies at the Southern Exposure event fueled by free wine and a nasty competitive streak. For years, when I worked this event at the Southern's box office, I'd resign myself to just spending my entire pay for that (long) day at the silent auction, and more than a few times ended up being the high bidder for the entire event. That seems wrong, somehow.


don't go chasin' waterfalls

Oh, like you could've resisted the TLC reference.
(Incidentally, for a good long embarrassing time after "Waterfalls" came out, I truly thought the lyrics were "don't go, Jason: waterfalls!", as if Left Eye was warning Jason to rethink his whitewater kayaking trip, lest he meet his death plummeting over an unexpected waterfall. Shut up, I was thirteen. And, clearly, dumb.)

Um. Aside from misheard lyrics, here's the waterfall-back tank that I bought a year ago and have not really been able to figure out how to wear:

Wow, my arms seriously need moisturizer. And I need to stop
falling over and scarring the hell out of my elbows and forearms.

I cannot resist this fall of fabric in the back. However, being made of thin grey modal, and also having an extremely scooped neckline and sides, it does not really cover me, um, frontally.

Wait, let's look at the back again. How I love it!

Since the backlessness is super-low, it pretty much demands a backless undergarment option, which kills the idea of wearing a clearly-visible but purposefully fabulous bra underneath this and embracing the peepshow. I don't want to go spend $28 on a backless leotard at American Apparel just to wear with this shirt, but I might not have any other great choices. Though I suppose a backless halter leotard isn't the least useful thing I could buy, I can't quite imagine a leotard making its way into regular rotation in my wardrobe. No one thinks "practical wardrobe staple" and immediately responds with the words "backless" and "leotard", now do they?

Solve this for me, please.


extra mustard

I really wanted to wear this gorgeous waterfall-back grey tank (Development by Erica Davies) with these pants, as it would fit into my inevitable mustard-yellow-and-grey theme, and the back is amazing. But I can't figure out how to wear this damn shirt with anything I own: it needs to fall unencumbered, but it's too sheer/low to wear on its own, so it inevitably gets layered over something that ruins the effect. Damn. I'll have to take photos of the back to show you just how vexing this is, and take suggestions. (Maybe over a mostly-backless leotard? And on a sidenote to a parenthetical: sweet baby jesus on toast, the American Apparel website is terrifying right now. Scrunchies and zipper bodysuits! Shudder.)

Anyway: I ended up with yet another version of a grey tank + yellow pants. The pink shoes are just a bonus.

Grey tank, Diesel; gold corduroys, JCrew; pink heels,
Seychelles; watch, Marc by Marc Jacobs.

Further first-world complaints: my new apartment has no full-length mirror, nor room to set one up, so taking self-timed photos of myself is the best way I've figured out to see what I look like. (My full-length mirror in Cincinnati was made of Ikea mirror squares affixed to the wall with tape, and I feared that taking them down would also take down large pieces of the plaster with them, so they stayed up. This might explain why I haven't received my deposit refund from my former landlord, eh?)


absolutely unnecessary

Ok, yes, I have no money. And I have no need for a straw hat, or a cloche, or this combination of the two.
But: ooooooooooooh. So pretty. Damn you, "helpful" emails pointing out sales.

Must keep reminding myself that $15 could buy a bottle of cava and four cans of chickpeas, and should not be used to purchase frivolous headwear that will inevitably be shredded by my cat.


i like to move it, move it

That title? It's a complete and utter lie, because no matter how lovely and helpful your movers are- and oh god, splurging to hire movers to load and unload the moving truck was the best decision I've ever made in my life- you're still stuck with an apartment that looks like this once those helpful people leave.

My god, where to begin.

And then it takes you six days to dig out from under all the boxes, and the fact that all the boxes were from the liquor store (because #1, the liquor store was a half-block away, and #2, the boxes used to ship glass bottles full of liquid are bound to be sturdy, not because you happen to have four thousand empty liquor boxes lying about, I promise) makes you want a bottle of wine like now.

But then six days later, once you've fully freaked out over the fact that your new kitchen has no drawers at all and the entire thing is seven formica tiles wide by six formica tiles deep, including the entryway- and oh I am not kidding about that, look-
-and your new bedroom will fit either a full-sized mattress and a tiny dresser OR a queen-sized bed, but absolutely nothing else, and the bathroom is too small to open the door fully, and the only closet is a coat closet and where oh where will your shoes live?- you realize that hey, that built-in glass bookshelf in the living room might just be the solution.

And then you will calm down a bit, and sit on the bench in front of the window, and silently thank your neighbor with an unsecured wifi network, and you will think that despite being unemployed and overwhelmed, things might be ok.


mental health day

Note: if you at all value your sanity, do not, under any circumstances, undertake an inter-state move after being out of town in various far-flung points for the two weeks leading up to said move. You will regret this, I promise.

Thus concludes your PSA for the evening. The More You Know!

I'm going to go pass out in a pile of discarded boxes now and dream of a time when things may be put away and organized and clean and not inexplicably still being stored in falling-apart boxes from the liquor store. Photos tba, if I can ever make sense of this mess.