Posts tagged: girly stuff
August 5, 2012

Sidewalk Books and Spontaneous Fun

Yesterday, a friend sent me a last minute invitation. Brave–which we’d talked about seeing since it opened–was playing in 20 minutes and did I want to go? It just so happened that at that moment I was stepping out of the doctor’s office only a handful of blocks from the theater. I most certainly did want to meet for a lunchtime movie. The midday sun was pounding the sidewalk hard; stepping into a cool, dark theater sounded like a welcome retreat. And we were both in the perfect mood for it: feeling sweet and sentimental, we were more than ready to get our cry on. We barely had to wait. The gorgeous short animated movie, La Luna, had our faces streaky before even meeting our redheaded heroine.

After the credits rolled, my friend and I cleaned up the signs of our sobfest and wandered into an eyeglass shop, into a small boutique to smell soaps and slim vials of perfume, and finally, right onto a shaded sidewalk cafe. A kir for her, a Leffe Blonde for me, and I wished desperately I were wearing a cool cotton dress instead of my hot sweaty jeans. But even the heat was kind of pleasant, the way it made us languorous and lingering, our faces shiny, and our glasses beaded with water, leaving rings on the green metal table. The heat, which I never fail to struggle with each summer, has something going for it: it slows things way down. I forgot to take a picture, which I think is a good sign. I was so in the moment, I forgot how much I’d like to remember it.

On the walk home, I passed a brownstone on Sixth Avenue with a cardboard box of books on the stoop. The Principles of Riding, Basic Spanish Grammar, Scenery for the Theater–nothing I would want, until I spotted a hardback copy of Coming into the Country. What luck!

I think there was something cosmically lovely going on this past week. So many people from different corners of my life reported good news: babies born, a deliriously good day for no reason, feeling that they were exactly where they ought to be, even if that spot was very far from where they’d imagined. The first of August felt especially fresh, a real new beginning. I, for one, needed it more than I knew.

And so I just had to share with you those good feelings: of fresh new starts, of the book in your Amazon wishlist appearing on the sidewalk, and the kind of fun that finds you.

May 11, 2012

Bits and Bobs

1. This quote really makes me want to read a novel by Anne Michaels (a new discovery for me). (via)

2. In my bright fantasy kitchen with white subway tile and tons of sunlight, this country farmhouse enamel bakeware fits right in.

3. This lipstick, Heat Wave by Nars, is the surprise of the year for me. It’s a wildly flattering orangey-red (not an oxymoron, apparently) with a poppiness that is modern and fresh in a J. Crew model kind of way.

4. Let’s go back to that dream kitchen and put this ceramic basket on the counter filled with strawberries.

5. These make for a very cheerful note to self, don’t they? (via)

6. I’ve been thinking about time lately: how I spend it, how I waste it, how to spend more of it doing what I love most. I loved reading this short e-book, Tell Your Time. Amy‘s approach is practical and straight-forward, and even if I didn’t end up making charts for my hours, it did really make me think about my time in a new way.

7. I snipped boughs of lilacs at my mom’s house a couple weeks ago and put them in a blue vase on my bedside table. Their fragrance was a sweet consolation when it was time to wake up. (via)

Happy weekend!

May 2, 2012

Currently Obsessed: The House of Eliott

It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Imagine a free, rainy afternoon brightened by a red envelope appearing in the mailbox, The House of Eliott tucked inside. This show, set in 1920s London, is one of the last BBC shows filmed on video, and you just have to get past that. It looks awful. At first. But they you start noticing the pretty tucked-up hairstyles, swingy light jackets of ladies, countless flutes of champagnes, whole streets filled with old-timey vehicles, and drawing rooms you’d very much like to curl up into with a tiny china cup filled with tea and a sweater wrapped around you, knotted at the waist. Then, it’s gorgeous.

Many of my closest friends share a recommended sub-genre on Netflix: “Period dramas with a strong female lead.” You too? Then you’re in luck. This is that, but with two strong female leads: sisters with faces so beautiful that enough is reason to watch. That they have modern ideas about what it means to be women in a fast-changing world is my very favorite thing about the show. Better even than the jaunty jazz soundtrack, the marvelous sportiness of their drop-waists, calf-length skirts and practical little heels, or the episode four sighting of a very young Minnie Driver, is that keen reminder of how hard women had to fight for the privilege of the Monday blues and a paycheck. It’s a delight. Have you seen it?

April 13, 2012

Spring Uniform: Work and Play

I think my style is progressing backwards. Right after college, one of my dear friends got a job at American Apparel. I remember sitting on my stoop talking to him on the phone about our low-paying jobs, and asking him what I needed from his new gig. “You’re kind of beyond t-shirts,” he said. And let’s just say that I smoothed my hands over the perfectly cheery vintage sundress I might have been wearing at the time and agreed.

But today I’m in love with a t-shirt (that lilac-colored one up there), and it’s the cornerstone of my spring uniform. Tuck it into a pencil skirt with a blazer and go to work. Tie a scarf on your head, slap on some jeans and platforms, and you’re ready for any kind of fun. Allow me to introduce you to my new muse, the Daybreak Tee. It’s linen jersey which feels a little grown up, and gives the fabric a streaky, almost space-dyed quality. It’s got an uber-flattering v-neckline, a scooped hem, and sweet little cap sleeves. It’s also $40: the most I’ve ever spent on a t-shirt. And this is where the cost-per-wear calculations come in. By the end of the summer, I think these little singlets will have proved themselves a great value.

And so for spring, at work and at play, I’m gravitating towards super-flattering basics punched up with quirky, personality-filled accessories and a swoop of liquid eyeliner to channel that ’60s starlet feeling. I find putting together collages like these so instructive both for shopping and getting dressed: once you have the template laid out, it’s much easier to pull it together in real life. A word about these Polyvore collages: I often choose items based on their color or shape, not because I’m actually going to buy a $500 A.P.C. trench coat. (Just felt the need to get that out there.)

What’s your uniform in this hard-to-dress-for season? Do you rely on the perfect cardigan, or a beloved trench? What do you wear on those days when a t-shirt is too little but a jacket is too much? And why did no one tell me how amazing a great t-shirt can be? (This feels like the moment when I discovered down was a bajillion times warmer than wool.)