as if my brain were a maraca

The poky bits that are sticking out the ephemera right now:

1) For the seventh (!) time in two and a half years, I moved. Again. And for the seventh time, moving has eaten my brain whole and left, in its place, a bag of burnt microwave popcorn to rattle in my skull.
1a) I really need a bed. And a filing cabinet. And a couch. And some shelves. Let's amend that: I really need some furniture.
1b) The gas in my new apartment is not turned on yet, so I am cooking sans oven or stovetop. Which is to say that I'm cooking only with a microwave and a crockpot, which isn't really "cooking" so much as "trying not to starve to death by making more instant oatmeal".

2) I am wholly unimpressed with the Anna Sui for Target collection. Ugh.

3) Is it just me, or is "Gossip Girl" getting bad-worse with each episode, and not good-trashy-worse? I need someone to get legitimately blackmailed, or sexually harassed, or something. And Little J, do we need to have yet another talk about eyeliner?

4) All of Chicago cares about the Olympic bid. Except me.

5) You have not lived frustration until you've had the phrases "you are ridiculously overqualified" and "you really aren't qualified" lobbed at you back-to-back and in rather rapid succession, and for several days at a time.
Yes, I am still looking for a job, and no, none are forthcoming, and yes, this is making me crazy and unbearable. Chicago people: call me. Seriously. I will work for you, and I don't care that I'm overqualified on paper.

6) Still thinking about that tattoo I want.

7) Halloween costume preparations must begin post-haste.

8) Bless you, Skinny Bone Jones, and your bourbon slushies.

9) I got hit by a car on Saturday. Yes, I am fine, and yes, the bike is fine too. But for the five thousandth time, people: CHECK YOUR BIKE LANE/WEAR YOUR HELMETS.
I was riding in the Milwaukee Ave bike lane, and you decided to pull over into a parking spot along the side of the street. You didn't check to see if anyone was in the bike lane while you did so. I, being clipped into my pedals, knew that I could not swerve into the curb without smashing my body into the pavement at a high speed, so I chose to lean hard into your car upon impact.
You felt appropriately awful, I think. But if you think that hitting a biker gave you a scare, please consider what the effect might be upon the person you hit. You know, the person who is not surrounded by a nice metal and plastic and airbagged cage, and who has no health insurance, and who has the right of way.
That is all.


thank you for being a friend

You should know Laia. And if you already know her, you love her, because she is a bad-ass pixie with great tattoos, a laptop, and a serious brain, and fabulous access to NY Fashion Week.

She, in addition to being a wonderful person who scoured NYC newsstands for me last summer to procure a copy of "the black issue" of Vogue Italia when none were to be found in Chicago, is blowing up the internet with her writing and photos and general goodness.

I'm pretty sure that her initials don't stand for Laia Garcia, but for Le Greatest. I mean, this is the girl who can nearly convince me to pull a Gaga and wear hot pants in public.

Worn Fashion Journal's q&a / confession of adoration
Laia's personal fashion blog, Geometric Sleep (fashion week braniac!)
her blog for POP magazine (whoa.)
her 'zine, Holy Child
her blog for Oak
her band, Ivory Coasts

(my god, girl is busy.)

Edit: oh and NOW she's all up on Refinery29's "Street Seen", looking killer. My gawd.


two wheels, unlimited excellence

You don't know how many really heated discussions I've gotten in about fixies lately.
Physics and science gave us gears and efficiency, people. To discard gears and brakes is to mock science, and reason, and all intelligent life.

I got a word of advice for all you hipsters: go and get yourselves some brakes and some shifters.

I pedal to the beat- how you think I made this?


bleu blanc rouge noir

Moving again this week- just across town, but it still requires packing and boxing and all that unpleasantness. However, the packing and boxing led me to re-find these shoes at the top of my shoe rack. "Oh! I have red d'orsays!", which led me to wear them to work today. That was inadvisable, as I spent most of the day hauling things and lifting things and generally being useful. Note: pretty red suede d'orsay heels are not OSHA-approved footwear for activities that take place on a loading dock.

"Cute French Girl" striped shell, H&M; belt, vintage of unknown origin; jeans, Hudson; heels, vintage YSL.

Yeah, I really need to re-do my manicure.


treasure trove

I can't think "treasure trove" and not think of that horrifying White House Correspondents' Dinner Karl Rove rap from 2007. And then "Karl", which becomes "Carl", which becomes "Carl and Lenny", which then becomes "Lenny & Me". I am going somewhere with this, I swear.

Lenny & Me really is a treasure trove. I haven't gotten around to photographing my amazing finds from my recent stop-in, but Lindsey, the shop manager, was sweet and let me poke around with my camera and take these poorly-composed shots of her amazing picks. Her displays are far more aesthetically pleasing than my photos suggest, but the best thing of all? The thing that makes me swoon? Is the amazing inventory.
Seriously, everyone: come to Chicago and go vintage shopping with me here. There are a bunch of great vintage stores up and down Milwaukee Avenue (Store B is another favorite, and oooh, they have a wondrous collection of v ladylike gloves), but I think Lenny & Me is the fairest of them all.

I mean, look at this stuff. For real.

The jewelry cabinet not only seduced me with the pretty glittery things, but also with the collection of gold belts. Why do I not have a gold belt? I need to remedy this. Except with a belt that actually fits my waist, and not one sized for a tiny little lady.

These dresses are pretty much made for Trixie From Toronto of Buttercup Punch.

These shots are crap, but it shows you a tiny slice of the racks of dresses. Lindsey arranges them by decade, and thank god I showed some surprising restraint in pawing through these, or I'd have gone into a purchasing blackout and overloaded my bag with cocktail dresses.
Is it just me, or is the sound of hangers being flicked on racks of clothing a really pleasant and soothing sound?

Oh my god, you guys. There's a suitcase of furs. And then there's the most fabulously absurd fur ever with tiny little fox dolls attached- it's so unapologetically "fur is murder, and it's fabulous, darling!".

I know it's almost October, but I want this swimsuit. Ruching!

AND THEN THE SHOES. This place is shoe nirvana, especially for someone with super-narrow feet and high arches. Vintage shoes tend to run really narrow, which is a godsend for me. They fit like a dream. (Yes, I did buy shoes here this week. But only one pair! And they're mint-condition suede heels from the 50's with the most adorable little tie on the front. Photos forthcoming.)
Those black croc pumps on the top left in the first shoe-display photo are vintage Yves St. Laurent. Good eye. You should buy them.
Are those leopard-print satin heels not crying out for Skinny Bone Jones, guys? Yes, yes they are. They say "give me a good home, please, Skinny!"

They also run a lovely vintage housewares/d├ęcor/etc. store farther up Milwaukee Avenue, and I am trying to justify my idea of (re)furnishing my apartment once I move (yes, again) next week. Do I need a honey-blonde side table for my new living room? Well, that depends entirely on one's definition of "need", now doesn't it?


if I'd have known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake

The following is, without a doubt, the gayest cake known to mankind: so much so that it's now referred to as "gayke".

I've wanted to make this since the moment I saw Helen's blog on rainbow foods- but what occasion calls for a six-layer rainbow cake? ALL OCCASIONS, actually. This weekend provided an especially festive diversion with two houseguests, so I decided to take the rainbow cake one layer further and top it with bright pink meringue buttercream for extra ridiculousness.

Step one: use every single bowl in my house to divide batter and tint with food coloring. (Things I should've done here: measured out the batter in truly equal increments between the six bowls, and not just eyeball it after several glasses of wine. Oops.)

Step two: make huge batch of meringue buttercream. Frost cake. Run out of frosting halfway through and scamper to make another batch of meringue buttercream to finish the icing shellacking.

Step three: cut into cake while jumping up and down with excitement. Eat cake for every meal.

Notes: I used a basic white cake recipe from The Joy of Cooking for this, and split the batter between six 8" pans rather than the 3" pans called for in the recipe, and reduced cooking time accordingly.
I froze the layers for a few days, which is totally the way to go when frosting a cake. It was practically crumb-free when I spread the frosting over it.
I wanted something fluffier than a standard buttercream, so I used this Sweet Melissa Patisserie meringue buttercream frosting recipe from Epicurious and dumped in red food coloring until the proper level of ridiculous pinkness was achieved. The first batch of frosting used those pasteurized egg whites you can get in a carton, and although they're convenient, they take foreeeeeeeeeeever to whip. The second "oh shit I ran out of frosting" batch of icing was made using egg whites I separated, and it came together much faster.


as if I were professional

Worn to my temp gig today: my favorite wrap dress and (gasp) hairspray in my hair. I thought I really was masquerading as a grown-up, until I passed my reflection at work and saw that my slip was completely hanging out of the back of my dress.
I never will be able to wear Grown-Up Drag convincingly, will I?

Ginkgo-print wrap dress, DVF; perforated leather heels, vintage;
purse large enough to hold the lunchtime Tupperware,
Marshall Field's house brand from a long time ago.


lazy sunday

Absolutely nothing interesting is happening today, and that is 100% fine.
(Yoga, errands at Target, more scooting around to try to find the new issue of POP that my excellent friend Laia is featured in (!!!), laundry, applying for a super-cool job at the Oriental Institute, watching the 1939 version of The Women, and other truly banal pursuits.)

Drapey shirt, vintage (Zachary's Smile in NYC, I think); jeans, Uniqlo; heels, Urban Outfitters.

Jeans and a t-shirt would've been fine for this, of course, but according the natural laws of annoyance, the moment I step out in jeans and a ratty t-shirt to Target is the moment I run into every single person I know in Target.

This shirt isn't all that exceptional from the front, but once again: oooh, the back. I'm infatuated with the inverted pleat details.

Actually, those pleats might be on what is technically the front of the shirt, but I can't tell. It's just way easier to put on if the buttons are in the front, so that's what I do.


working girl

(worn Thursday for the first day at the new job)

1) Massive thanks to Truculent and Unreliable for this dress. I visited this summer, and left their house with a new dress, a bottle of scotch, and a stomach full of amazing local bacon. My friends, they spoil me.
Ms. Truculent and I are oddly twinned on occasion: we're prone to showing up in the same outfit, or buying the same shoes, despite living several states away and only seeing eachother a few times per year. Plus, we wear the same size in most shoes and clothes. If only we lived closer, we could combine our powers and have one seriously bad-ass shared closet.

2) Thanks to the networking my little brother did on my behalf on his commute to work, I have a temp gig! Yes, I do have to drive 75 minutes each way to said temp gig a few days per week, but it's a job. Plus, the people I'm working for are immeasurably cool. (Evidence of this: my boss has a shoe-a-day calendar on her desk. The entire month of September is devoted to Dries van Noten footwear. Swoon.)

Dress with awesome awesome pintucking, Richard Chai for
Target; cone-heel pumps, Seychelles. Wrinkly effect on dress
from my two and a half hours sitting in the car.


million dollar baby

The Mega Millions lotto was up to, like, $330 million this weekend. Naturally, this meant I spent a fair amount of time on Friday night talking about my If I Won the Lottery list. It was then confirmed by several friends that my list* is seriously boring.

However, I neglected to talk about the bag I saw at Bess & Loie last week, and how I'd buy this Jalda bag as my first purchase. Perhaps the super-soft leather and cross-body strap (practical for biking!) could bump my lottery winnings spree up a notch into mildly interesting territory.

*Seriously, my list is all responsible and stuff. Top five items to blow winnings on?
Paying back my loans, buying a place to live in Chicago (with a prudent amount set aside for maintenance and refinishing, of course), paying off the balance of my parents' mortgage, buying a new bed and dresser, and buying a desktop Mac. Yes. I am made of equal parts utter practicality and frivolous longing for leather bags that I cannot afford.