big star

Three things to make you fall in love with Haley Bonar, who I have described in the past as "the love child of Tom Waits, Tori Amos, and Joan Baez":

"Drinking Again"

"Bless This Mess"

"Devilish Man"

All of the above happen to be recorded from a show I saw her play in Minneapolis a few years ago, and oh, goosebumps.



I've been looking for a good biking-friendly purse for a few weeks now: I've got only one cross-body bag, which I adore, but it's brown leather and I'm weird about (read: practically compulsively allergic to) wearing brown with black. Tote bags are ok for a leisurely cruise to the beach, but when I'm scooting several miles to dinner on my bike, I want to be able to ditch the messenger bag and carry a purse that doesn't look quite so bike-messenger-casual.

Refinery 29's featurette
on the Cambridge Satchel Company pretty much solved this problem for me (well, except the "how to get one without having to pay $85+?" issue). Nice leather, cross-body adjustable strap, classic look, snob appeal ("oh, I just ordered it from England!"): score on all counts.

Seriously, how do I get one of the satchels (11" or 13". I'm not picky.) for free? Because that needs to happen.


we all live in a yellowish submersible vehicle

heh, graphjam

Haven't done a "wearing today" in a while, eh? As my day started at the ungodly hour of 5:45 a.m., and will probably extend until I fall over tonight, I glommed on to this dress: perhaps because, at that time of the morning, it was one of the only things in the closet that didn't appear to be a black or grey shroud.

Have I mentioned how much I love dresses with pockets? Dresses with pockets are up there in my mind with cappuccino and the Rolling Stones and napping and fried olives: all things that make life worth living.

Yellow wool dress, Zachary's Smile; mary janes, vintage.
I'm doing the "augh, hair" thing here because I really need a haircut.

I am hopefully meeting Winona tonight for a drink after her Second City comedy writing class, in which I'm certain that she schools her classmates and is roundly praised. I find this funny in light of today's outfit, as she tweeted the other day about her theory that only three people in the world look good in yellow, and she saw them all in Chicago. Can we make it four people?


grown-up drag

In which I "act my age":

The jacket-less version: too much bare shoulder for Seriously
Corporate, but enough professional attitude for the arts

Buttoned-up Serious Interview Look:
J Crew suit, Express tie-neck shell, Seychelles shoes

I did go ahead and buy that grey suit after graduation, and although I've worn it to a handful of interviews, it still hasn't worked its job-getting magic for me. I'm waiting (impatiently) for one of the many things I'm working toward to come to fruition, but in the meantime, the pink satin lining of this suit jacket is slightly comforting.

I feel like I'm going onstage in a drag show when I put this on sometimes: a show in which I am impersonating a real grown-up to a room full of actual adults. I own a suit? Really?
(Really. But I haven't had it tailored yet- due to that pesky lack of funds begat by lack of employment- so it's only 70% serious suitage.)

Thankfully, my résumé reminds people that regardless of my silent awe at being treated as a grown-up, I may actually be qualified to be in the room.



"Your coat's a little shabby-- but who cares? It doesn't keep people from asking you to dine. If I were shabby no one would have me: a woman is asked out as much for her clothes as for herself. The clothes are the background, the frame, if you like: they don't make success, but they are a part of it. Who wants a dingy woman? We are expected to be pretty and well-dressed until we drop-- and if we can't keep it up alone, we have to go into partnership."

Lily Bart (to Selden), The House of Mirth


bicycle girls

Thursday, Ruth emails to say we are doing this. "This" being a bicycle scavenger hunt with the Bicycle Film Festival. The web details are few and far between, so I throw on some flats and meet up with Ruth, expecting some sort of "find a misspelled street sign! find a Running Blago piece of graffiti! find a empty 40 oz. on the street!" type of scavenger hunt.

Not quite. We biked to the start location, and we are confronted with a fixed-gear bike messenger brigade in Toms and skinny cutoffs and actual team cycling gear.

I, meanwhile, am wearing a dry-clean only tank top and some leather peep-toe flats.
Everyone has waxed-canvas messenger bags. I'd considered bringing my messenger bag, but figured "eh, I don't have that much stuff- better off leaving a bulky bag at home".
Oh, the looks we got.

Teams were to be of three or four people, so Ruth and I were looking for a straggler to appropriate. Anthony fit the bill: had a bike, was not there with anyone, and was willing to follow our (opinionated) lead. We set off on a ride to various West Side parks, with challenges at each park: cut your hair! take off your pants! lipsynch! attack another team with squirtguns! take a shot of water from Lake Michigan (seriously)! paint your face like Braveheart!, and points for each completed satisfactorily.

We were on the way back from the last park in our time limit, when: crackle, crackle, pop POP POP FSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH goes my back tire. Hell. I'd run over a patch of glass, and it instantly took out my tube, so I was demoted to walking my bike back while Anthony, our third-man-addition, went ahead of us with our scorecard to relay the news of my temporary crippling.

Ruth and I finally get to the park to tally up our (considerable) points and challenge the Serious Bike Crews in this scavenger hunt, but... where's Anthony? Where is our team member with all the points and the scorecard and the official complete tally? He, in lieu of meeting us at the park as agreed, has punked out and gone home, leaving Ruth with a dead cell phone and me with a flat tire as dusk falls over Chicago.


1) carry a patch kit and a pump for these sorts of occurrences
2) just because I'm wearing a skirt and nice shoes doesn't mean that I can't blow by you in a bike race
3) Ruth or I need to be in charge of things
4) shots of water from Lake Michigan aren't as bad as you think they'll be.


house porn

... if by "porn" you mean "improvised horror films", that is.

My lease for the summer apartment is up on October 1, so like a good little overachiever, I've been diligently scouting for new apartments since August 1. Padmapper is massively helpful in this regard, and prevents one from getting sucked in by a too-good ad that promises "Wicker Park 1br + den $700/mo heat incl!" that turns out to be in Humboldt Park. (Yes, I know you can just hit the "google map this" link at the bottom of the ad, but I try to limit the number of extraneous tabs I have open at one point.)

I think I have seen every single apartment in Chicago. Really. I won't get into the fine details of my apartment wishlist, but the gist of it is: I need an apartment with a reasonable amount of closet space, a kitchen that actually functions as a kitchen and not a spot to reheat takeout leftovers, a bedroom large enough for both a bed and a dresser (this seems to be an issue for 95% of the apartments I've seen. "Queen-sized bedroom" means, in apartment slang, "a queen bed fits in the bedroom, but only if you don't open the door or have a headboard or need the room to maneuver to change the sheets"), a tiny little outdoor space where my basil and strawberries and tomatoes can grab a little sunlight, and is does not have byzantine parking rules which require me to repark my car every 72 hours in one of the four parking spaces available to a neighborhood of sixty-seven cars. Is this so much to ask? Apparently, yes.

Well, now, I shouldn't be too hasty on all that. I'm quite certain that all these things could be acquired with the right amount of money, but the "right amount" may be something approaching five figures per month, and I don't know whether to laugh or sob or torch the leasing agent's office. I once found going to apartment showings to be a pleasant pastime: look at all the lovely crown moldings! Oh, the back porch is adorable here! Wouldn't it be nice to live next to the park? Now, apartment showings are creeping up on my Least Favorite Things, right up there with scrubbing windows and tasting to see if the food has gone bad.

Despite all this horror, I'm hoping to have a living situation figured out in the next week. The moment I sign a lease, of course, I'll suddenly receive a job offer in New York, and all my Chicago employment prospects will fizzle, per Murphy's Law.

Edit: well, at least it's not the horrorshow that is this story about a loft apartment in Kansas City. Thanks, Apartment Therapy, for showing me that it could be worse!


city of the big shoulders

Yes, I'm aware that it's going to be 90ish degrees this weekend. No, that does not stop me from lusting after this Balmain-esque Zara dress, longish sleeves be damned. As I am not a long-necked sylphlike sort, I am certainly not going to look so stunning in this dress, but I will ignore that and keep repeating "swanlike!" in my head until I've convinced myself that it is a physical reality.


helmet hair

...speaking of helmets (in which I am a total killjoy!), I've realized that my lovely trusty Bell helmet is probably more than due for a replacement: it's been 6 years, and one of the interior straps is sort of making a move to un-attach itself.

So: new helmet time! They're not blingy, or pleated, or ruffled, or any such fanciness, but they will aid in keeping my brains inside my head and off the sidewalk.

Yeah, I'm thinking of spending $100 on an accessory that isn't shoes. Commence shocked inhales.
Or, the slightly lower-priced cousin:

(psst: there's a secret, pre-adolescent part of my brain that really enjoys the futuristic/superhero aspect of bike helmets.)