Friday, August 31, 2012

Black Tie Affair

This outfit is the product of rifling through the bottom of my drawers in an effort to give new life to items I rarely (or in this vest's case, never) wear. There's a pretty good reason for not wearing this mini tube dress, however, namely that it's SUPER mini, hence the (necessary) lace shorts underneath. It's funny, I distinctly remember the sales girls ever-so-subtly suggesting that I size up, but for some I was dead set on the skanky extra small.

This vest was recently in the pile to take to Crossroads, but I had a last-second change of heart and saved it from consignment. I'm glad I did, because I like how the back tie coordinates with these lace-up espadrilles.

I wore this outfit to the movies with my bestie to see Celeste and Jesse Forever, which i loved. Indie romantic comedy + smart writing and humor + Andy Samberg + passion project + likeable central character + great soundtrack = my idea of the perfect movie.

Dress: Motel, vest: Quicksilver Women, shorts: H&M, shoes: Ugg, purse: Forever 21.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Shoesday: 5 Pairs to Transition You From Summer to Fall

Today, because I'm shamelessly taking a page from fellow Sacramento blog, Good Day Howard, and because I'm a sucker for rhyming, I'm logging my own "Tuesday Shoesday" entry.

When it comes to the fashion vendiagram (bear with me and pretend such a thing exists), it's ideal for summer and fall shoes to overlap in that little sliver in the middle. With temperature, comfort, and general seasonal appropriateness as factors, it can be a challenge to find shoes that can be worn both now and in chilly November. Well, consider said challenge accepted. Is it premature to douchily exclaim, "Nailed it!"? Nope, I'm gonna say it's not.

1. Madewell's Sandstorm Fringe Boot

Wear them now with: a ditsy floral print dress.
Wear them later with: skinny, pastel-colored cords.

2. Marais USA's Studded T-Bar Flat

Wear them now with: high-waisted shorts and a top with frilly details.
Wear them later with: tights, a leather skirt, and a silk blouse.

3. DV Dolce Vita's Leopard/Pebble Print "Mini" Oxfords 

Wear them now with: a color blocked tunic.
Wear them later with: trousers and a collared chambray shirt.

4. Jeffrey Campbell's Rum Moto Boot

Wear them now with: a sheer, boho maxi dress.
Wear them later with: skinny jeans and an oversized knit.

5. Top Shop's Mini Stud Slippers

Wear now with: a casual skirt and loose tank or a structured romper.
Wear later with: laid back slacks and a blazer.

Do you guys have any go-to transitional shoes you rely on? I'd love to hear your shoe moves!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Music Mondays

 Inspired By: Alexis Krauss

There's something sort of cool about having a style uniform, about having a look so distinctive and consistent that a comic artist could easily scribble out a caricature of you if he needed to, or a Barbie manufacturer could easily spit out your mini clone. Alexis Krauss, on the music scene as one half of the noise pop duo Sleigh Bells since just 2010, has already established a singular look: jet black hair with bangs, Ray-Ban's original wayfarers, red lips, a denim or leather jacket, and rock n' roll accents like studs, spikes, and bleach splatters.

Beyond the career perks of establishing your style as a recognizable brand, it must be nice to have a closet with one cohesive thread running through it. Shopping must be so much easier with one homogenous style! Of course, the drawback is that it's limiting; everyone likes to mix it up every now and then!

Krauss stuck to her denim jacket/Ray-Ban uniform for the video for "End of the Line" - which was just released today - in the scenes where she bikes through sun-spackled streets. But she did expose a softer side in the moody rural scenes in which she dons a vintage floor-length gown (pajama?) accented with Victorian-style lace. The femininity of the dress is especially beautiful against the striking red lip. Given the piece's mumu siluouette however, it doesn't translate to the every day. But lose the length and keep the lace and frills, and you've got the same effect. Check out the links below my collage for some variations on the look.

The video itself, directed by the band's Derek Miller, leaves something to be desired, however. The aimless bike riding falls flat against the darker scenes with Krauss. I would've liked to see some sort of narrative accompanying the sexy, melancholy shots of her.

I do really like the song though, so much so that it heads my Sugar Beats playlist on Spotify. Check it out below.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bocce Ball Babes

Today I attended a festive dinner/bocce ball party at my oldest friend Eryn's house. We've been friends since we wore matching Gap overalls; that's how far back we go. She's in town from Seattle, which I'm dying to visit, but until then I'm happy to catch her on her brief visits home. The weather was cooler today so it seemed to me like a pants and tank top affair, and apparently Eryn had the same idea! Another one of my oldest friends attended as well which made for an all-around warm and fuzzy (and I'm not just talking about the effects of the bourbon!) celebration. 

I baked Joy the Baker's Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Bread for the occasion and it turned out marvelous! I wish I took a picture of the final product but trust me when I say it's a crowd pleaser. It's one of those rare baked goods that has fresh ingredients (strawberries and bananas) to make it healthier and more substantial (I may be kidding myself about the "healthier" bit as it does contain a load of butter).

I got creamed in bocce ball, ate figs off the tree, got turned onto an eclectic radio station (Seattle's KEXP), learned that in Kentucky they exaggerate the "h" in "whiskey" ("the 'h' may as well be bolded, italicized, and in comic sans font"), and learned that Eryn speaks an African dialect of French thanks to her experience in the Peace Corps. What a cultured lady.

On me: Alexa Chung x Madewell cords, Forever 21 tank, Madewell belt, Urban Outfitters bracelets, Francesca's necklace, Something Borrowed ear cuff, H&M oxfords. On Eryn: Anthropologie jeans, American Apparel tank, Aldo sandals.

On Michelle: thrifted top, J. Crew jeans, Dolce Vita sandals.

Alley Cat - Desert Frost

Dress: LF, bralette: Free People, beaded clutch: Scout Living, shoes: Jeffrey Campbell, necklace: Urban Outfitters, cross earrings: Heart, skull ear cuff/chain: Something Borrowed, nail polish: OPI Gargantuan Green Grape.

Try our video maker at Animoto.

I created the above video using the free version of Animoto which allows you only 30 seconds, so it's brief, but I was able to upload my own song choice which is rad. It's called "English Sparrow" by Paul Parrish and contrasts the chilliness of winter with the longing for summer. That dichotomy plus the snowy color of this dress contributed to the title, Desert Frost, in case you were wondering why I'm talking about frost when temps are still in the 90s.

I'm a big fan of the look of all white in a desert landscape so I thought this breezy white dress was perfect against the cactus-y scene of the first mural. Free People always has inspired editorials, so I included the following photos which reflect a similar feel.

Free People editorial found on Fashion Gone Rogue.

My outfit isn't as bohemian as the looks above, it has more of a sun goth vibe - the sweet white minidress is cut through with the hard edges of the angular necklace and purse and toughness of the lace-up booties and skull earring chain. These shoes are a little much for daytime, but they're so comfy that I forgot to care.

This alley is right behind Phono Select record store and boasts not one, not two, but three different murals!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Alley (Wild)Cat

Leggings: the label is in Chinese but they're from Black Market, cut off tee and purse: Forever 21, bralette: Free People, necklace: from Mexico, earrings: Heart, heels: Sam Edelman, nail polish: OPI Gargantuan Green Grape.

Okay, so this mural is actually in a parking lot, but "parking lot cat" doesn't quite have the same ring to it... I spotted this mural a few months ago and thought these furry patchwork leggings would complement the texture, coloring, and ferocity of the tiger. This outfit is inspired by the dance divas of the early nineties dance/R&B music scene. I love the those power house jams! Have a listen to the following songs to pump it up down memory lane.

I make lint-picking look gooood.
Getting my American Apparel pose on.

P.S. This post is also inspired by Prema, one of my besties who comes into town tomorrow! She is the ultimate dance diva and shares the same love for the early nineties. I can't wait to dance the night away with her and practice our tranny alter egos.

I mean, come on, look at that 'tude.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Music Mondays

  Top Five 10-Minute Songs

It's no secret that our ears are accustomed to the 4-minute pop song. Its verse-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure is catchy and danceable, with a repetitive nature that lends itself to getting stuck in our heads for better or worse. But there's a lot the 4-minute song is incapable of achieving. That's where the epic seven-minute + song comes in. They're capable of complexity, building atmosphere, and they have a tendency to make your brain to switch into cinematic-mode, inducing movie scene imagery or a feeling that you're in a movie yourself.

Here are my top five super long songs:

(For the record, Prince's "Purple Rain" is definitely among them, but it's not on YouTube). :(

1. "Sun God" - Cut Copy
I love this song. It begins as a pulsating indie pop jam, has a break with vocals resembling Prince or David Bowie (3:02), then morphs into an epic trance outro (6:10) that lasts for the better part of the song and continues to layer and grow with complexity.

2. "Love Like a Sunset" - Phoenix
You may remember part two of this song from the Somewhere trailer. There are moments that have a tender, rebirth quality which lends itself to the gentle caress of a sunset. But I especially enjoy the climbing beat that begins with a faded effect, dies out, and returns with clarity at 3:46.

3. "Pyramids" - Frank Ocean
Part one of this song is poppy, complete with a clubby synth, but its interesting lyrics and tone set this pop song apart from the rest. Still, I prefer part two as it quiets down and morphs into an R&B slow jam. Beginning at 4:30, it's the sexiest song I've heard in a while. Ocean's voice really benefits from the light intermittent synthesization. Funny how some of the sexiest songs are about strippers. No coincidence there, I suppose.

4. "Dance Yrself Clean" - LCD Soundsystem
If you're a DJ and you're playing the full version of this song, you're a confident man/woman, for it requires patience and trust that it's building into something epic. The first part is a quiet ditty with some idiosyncratic lyrics from James Murphy ("Talking like a jerk except you are an actual jerk"). You need only wait until 2:57 though, until it explodes into the kind of dance jam that provokes full-on, hair-flipping letting loose on the dancefloor. A good sound system is needed for this one, no pun intended.  

"Big City Bright Lights" - Spaceman 3
The most atmospheric of the bunch, this song evokes for me an image of a time-lapsed cityscape you might see in an vintage music video. It's glamorous, 80s-tastic, hypnotizing, and has a living-the-life type feel. Play this in the car at night while driving to a party in the city, any city. The lyrics are sparse but perfect against the backdrop: "Big city, bright lights, cool, cool people. Everybody I know can be found here." If that's the case, it doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Sweet (Sun)day

Today I dressed in my Sunday best to attend the Banana Festival at Sacramento's Land Park. I love this sundress for its sweetness and pin up-esque collar. The frock has a tendency to look a little too saccharine though, so I tried to toughen it up a bit with a supergirl braid and the chain on my purse.

I was so looking forward to the Banana Festival, expecting it to be a foodie heaven of artisinal banana ice cream, banana popsicles, and exotic banana food I didn't even know existed.... But the reality was a bit disappointing. The most appetizing thing there was a chocolate-dipped banana. Delicious, sure, but predictable.

So with our minds intact (not blown like we wanted them) and our sweet tooth cravings left unsatisfied, my mom and I headed down the street to Vic's Ice Cream. The parlor has been there since 1947 and is as charming as it is delectable. While it's not quite as good as Leatherby's, it's quaint and smaller in square footage, servings, and price. All good things in my book. Since Leatherby's was my first job, I'm kind of an expert on its ice cream, so expect a review of that later!

Free Chiquita bananas!

Babesicle and Momsicle.
Banana varietals.

This lady was an expert pose artist.

Dress: LF, purse: Forever 21, shoes: Madewell, ring: Sugar Shack, sunglasses: Target, nail polish: Revlon Minted.

Small hot fudge sundae. Classic.

These purple and yellow flowers were just too perfect with my dress!