Friday, April 20, 2018

Little Girl Blue











   Sometimes it just feels so darn good to be right.  I’ve always been a big advocate of the idea that accessories can carry an outfit.  Deep stuff to ponder, I know.  However, when one is working with a limited wardrobe this concept can be super handy.  I can hear my friends now, “Limited wardrobe?!  Who is she trying to kid?”  While I’ll admit to having more choices in my closet than the average bear, I have to argue that none of that matters when the bear in question is battling the frozen tundra I've been living in.  Basically, while spending one's winter on the plains, an individual  should be solely concerned with finding a durable look that endorses survival.  No wonder a polar bear has the gall to wear white after Labor Day!  Okay yeah…that last comment was pretty lame.
   Anyhow, it’s usually during the cold weather months…which where I'm at largely outnumber the warm ones…that I start to feel unworthy of labeling myself a, “personal style blogger.”  I mean, how much styling is really going on with the, "jeans and sweater look?"  This last statement makes me think back to an article I once read regarding style blogging that stated something like, "Concerning blogging, there is very little actual fashion being shown."  The writer continued by commenting that many so-called, "fashionistas," are actually just attractive people taking pretty pictures in rather, “meh,” clothing.  “Uh oh,” I thought.  “Well, I guess I better hope I’m good enough looking to at least pull that off!” 
   While I’m aware that there are much more compelling personal style blogs out there than, “Little House Of Haute,” I have always felt like I possess, at least a small amount, of skill when it comes to constructing my outfits…even if they do only consist of jeans and an overcoat.  I’m reminded of a time when a total stranger approached me and stated, “You have a real talent with accessorizing.”  I delighted in the idea that my style sense inspired someone I didn’t even know.
   This being stated, many of my ensembles lately have been totally constructed out of functional boring crap.  Due to the miserable weather this has pretty much been my standard winter uniform.  The only way I’ve been able to make my outfits even remotely interesting has been through accessories.  For example, the concept of belting my winter coats was something I recently stumbled on.  I saw this idea featured in a, “Hugo Boss,” campaign and I swear it’s changed my life completely.  Suddenly my frumpy wool frocks have transformed into something a tad more, “fashion blog worthy.”  It’s like, “Hey, that girl has some style!  Look at how she belted that thing!  She had to put some thought into that!" Yeah, I know it’s a stretch but please give it to me.  My blogger confidence is clinging to this idea.
   Lastly, I believe there’s really nothing more effective than the basic, “matchy-matchy,” concept.  For instance, regarding the pictures above, I had a pretty boring outfit until I threw on an oversized scarf that's color complimented my eyes.  I then color coordinated that scarf with my favorite Michael Kors bag and suddenly I had something to work with.  If anything, I can simply hope to get a compliment on the purse alone.  You see, it’s just that one compliment that can encourage this fashion enthusiast to keep going…or at the very least to continue the quest for designer purses.  Who knows, maybe that next handbag will be the one that truly transforms me into a real fashion blogger.
-r.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Is the cabin causing my fever?













   I have such a bad case of cabin fever I just trudged out to my dumpster in an attempt to entertain myself.  Unfortunately, this is as far as I will go for what appears to be an indefinite amount of time.  Yes folks, my neck of the woods is experiencing another, “spring,” blizzard, and this one is a real humdinger.  It’s so severe out there that during my morning constitutional it dawned on me that I may not want to walk all the way to the side of the barn where the dumpster is located.  Basically, when visibility is so poor you find it hard to see something the size of a barn it’s probably time to call it a day.  However this manic lady was determined to throw away her trash while spending some time outside....even if I had to tie a rope around my waist in order to find home again.  I’m considering taking another stroll later when the dog has to go out.  That journey should be less perilous, considering I believe she has a much better sense of direction than I ever will.
   All joking aside, this weather is terrible.  As a result, town has almost completely closed down.  Considering where I live this is almost unheard of.  We are people of the northern plains for God’s sake!  A place where every local wears a Carhartt and Mad Bomber hat while driving their pickup truck made snow plow.  Admittedly, my household alone has all of these things plus a couple of skid loaders.  Considering this, my boyfriend and I still aren’t attempting to leave home today.  I repeat, the weather is so foul it's keeping two people at home who brave every blizzard in order to slack off at the cheap seats.  People...there is no better proof that it’s bad out there.
   I suppose the upside to this weather is that it's giving me the opportunity to catch up on posting my stockpile of winter ensembles.  I was starting to become concerned that I would be featuring fur coats during seventy degree weather.  Looking at the above images now, I’m reminded that there are a few advantages to colder weather.  For example, the vintage faux fur coat I’m wearing in these pictures was an extremely lucky Savers find that still leaves me on the edge of hysteria.  I scored this baby for only twenty bucks and I can confidently state I don’t think any article of clothing makes me feel more glamorous. 
   I look at these pictures now and marvel at the fact that I haven’t taken one self-portrait since Easter Sunday.  Seriously, the weather on the weekends has been so bad I’ve barely even bothered to change out of my jammies.  For a minute, I feared I may be losing interest in the art of personal style.  However, then I found myself in the middle of another blizzard Netflix binge of, “Grace And Frankie,” and I happily acknowledge that I’m just biding my time until I can construct the perfect hybrid look of modern hippie meets nautical.  Needless to say, it’s most likely going to be an odd looking summer. 
   Of course today it’s probable that I will be sporting jammies with my old Mad Bomber hat…a little gem in my closet that pumps my personality with something more like grit than glamour.  If I find myself outside later I anticipate trying to find shelter in the barn, rather than using it as a picture backdrop.  Lastly, I hope to endure this…what I hope to be…last little bit of winter with some style and, “Grace,” because as soon as summer hits it’s most likely going to be a mess of, “Frankie,” all over this place.
-r.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Singing Those Ellen Brody Blues












   It’s snowing…again.  As a result, I decided I had better get up and write this blog post before I’m trapped in another winter funk.  For example, I just ripped myself away from the sucking pit known as YouTube, where suddenly I found myself watching an unnerving amount of Tommy James & The Shondells performances.  I had no idea how well the shimmery finale of, “Crimson and Clover,” would pair with a blizzard outside.  Honestly, thank God I have cats who randomly decide to pounce on me otherwise that hypnotic experience might have gone on forever.
   The weather here has been so poor lately I find myself grasping for any indication of a coming summer.  For example, my obsession with nautical themed apparel seems to have reached a new high.  I find myself constantly perusing websites in the endless conquest for sailor stripes.  In fact, my new clothing criteria seems to be the question, “Does that red stripe print look like the beach building Michael was painting in, “Jaws 2?”  By the time July finally arrives in the Midwest it will be a miracle if I don’t look exactly like the character Ellen Brody.  Okay, who am I kidding?  It would be a dream come true if I DO look like Ms. Brody.  I love her!
   Keeping this new style plan in mind, I’m finding it nearly impossible to fight the overwhelming urge to internet shop today.  I mean...I’m stuck at home, totally at the mercy of this spring squall, with only the thoughts of a new and exciting, “Jaws,” inspired wardrobe to keep me warm.  How am I supposed to combat these urges?
   Instead of immediately giving in to, “buying myself a little happy,” I’m attempting to write this post about an outfit I constructed a while back out of clothes I already possess.  Yeah, that’s the ticket, I should be focusing all this style inspiration on my existing closet and the mountains of crap I already own…crap, that admittedly does not look like the wardrobe of one fabulous Ellen Brody…which is probably why I’m now convinced my wardrobe is crap.
   Despite the fact that I'm obviously totally fickle when it comes to style, I have to state that looking at these pictures now I still really like the thrifted blazer I’m wearing.  It was one of those things I scavenged out of a crammed rack and thought, “I can wear this absolutely everywhere!”  Of course, I’m ashamed to admit I have not.  Unfortunately, like many of my favorite pieces, this is one of those jackets that has been pushed to the side to make room for more, “practical pieces.”  It’s like my brain figures I need a special occasion to justify wearing a furry collar.  Looking out my window now I can’t help but recognize there is no better occasion to pile on fur than an unrelenting winter.  In the past I've felt guilty about the amount of fuzzy numbers in my closet.  I would catch myself wondering, “Where the hell am I going to wear all of this fancy stuff?  People at the library are really going to start staring at me.”  However, looking at the shit storm currently outside, I can’t think of a more appropriate wardrobe.  My fur coats allow me to survive and look semi stylish.
   Huh…I guess for the time being I have all the clothes I need.  I would assume that even Ellen Brody had to throw on a jacket once in a while when it got cold.  I like to think that maybe she would have borrowed one from me. 
-r.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Shawl So Good The Cold Makes You Smi...ver













   The day I took these photographs was obviously freezing.  In fact, many of the pictures you see in this blog were taken in weather that a sane person would not tolerate.  However considering where I live, I think it’s fairly safe to question my sanity. 
   I state the day was, “obviously,” freezing because of the redness of my nose in these images.  This was something that initially irritated me.  However, it reminded me of a kind observation a friend once made towards one of my older winter portraits.  He said, “He liked that my nose looked red in it.  He could tell I was cold.”  I thought about this statement for quite a while.  Finally, I came to the conclusion that not all glamour shots have to be perfect.  In fact, a little humanity might be just what the fashion industry needs in order to engage more people.  Something like….Yes, that picture is pretty.  But guess what, the person in it is not an android.  Look at her nose.  That woman is cold.  I think she might have feelings!  I might be able to relate to her!  Perhaps if real models would once in a while be allowed to show just a little bit of imperfection they would be a lot more endeared by the general public. 
   That being said, I guess it’s these imperfections that separate this blogger hobbyist from the real deal.  I'm far from perfect and no matter how many fancy scarves and accessories I cover up with I’m still going to have that cold red nose and lipstick on my teeth.  I like to think of this as my, “Trainwreck Who Tries,” look.  I take comfort in the idea that everyone wants to root for the underdog with heart…right…am I right?
   I guess that’s why when I FINALLY got a smart phone I became absolutely obsessed with camera apps.  I couldn’t believe the altering possibilities.  Finally I could turn those, “meh,” images into something inspiring.  I could digitally morph myself into looking perfect!  Interestingly enough, most of the images I’ve messed with have come out looking rather sinister.  Admittedly, I’ve always been inclined to go this direction.  I can’t seem to help revealing my creepy side.  I mean come on, a lady who constantly walks around with lipstick on her teeth is obviously a little creepy.  The thought has crossed my mind that perhaps the world of Instagram might understand this, "personal style blogger," better if I just stuck to glamour glow and smoothing filters.  However, how can I pair an image like that with a Gordon Lightfoot quote?  Nope…can’t happen.
   So I continue to periodically post semi ghoulish images under the guise of a fashion blogger simply because I’m not confident enough to label myself an artist.  Honestly, I’m not comfortable with calling myself a fashion blogger either.  It’s like the idea of committing to these titles make me feel an enormous pressure to prove that I'm worthy of them.  Instead, this lady would rather bumble along with her hobby and enjoy the occasional thrill of capturing a picture like the last one featured in this post.  I have to state that currently this image is my favorite self portrait so far.  I can’t fully explain the feeling I get when I look at one of these images as think, “Yeah, that’s me.  That’s exactly how I feel.”  Of course, this image is one that I’ve altered so that my natural imperfections are not showing.  Without my habitually cold red nose, I really am starting to wonder if I might be an android. 
-r.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Praying for Primavera











   To begin, I feel I should clarify the word, “Primavera,” used in the title of this post is a referral to the Italian term for spring, not the pasta dish.  However, facing this new bout of wintry weather, a carb-loaded dish like pasta sounds downright irresistible.  Huh,…I wonder if I have any easy mac left in the cupboards?  Considering how motivated I’ve been lately towards tasks like grocery shopping, it may take an actual act of God to find anything edible in my house.  As a result, I guess one could say I’m praying for both spring and something for dinner that doesn’t have the word, "Tombstone," plastered over the front of it.  At this time, both of these requests appear far-fetched.
   Honestly, the topic of religion has been on my mind lately.  Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all preachy.  In fact, if you know me personally you would most likely be shocked if I did.  However, the one thing I will state…and this will probably be the only time I do so…is that if you know me really, really personally…and very few do.  Apparently, us introverts only feel comfortable confessing our true self through blog posts….then you are aware of the fact that I am a very spiritually reflective person.  However this side of me is something I keep extremely private…like most of the things in my life that I highly value.  What can I say?  I guess I selfishly hoard the best parts of me.
   The reason I have spirituality on my mind today is due to the first image of this post.  Recently I created a Pinterest board regarding religious imagery mixed with fashion.  It sounds totally sinful, right?  Honestly, when I created it I seriously feared I might be doing something karmically wrong.  “Is it okay to depict religion through something as trifling as fashion?” I worried.  This is the kind of stuff I concern myself with.  I think it’s probably obvious why I need spring to arrive so I can get out of the house and think about…well…anything else.  In the end, I came to the conclusion that my Pinterest board was not a morality issue and a fiery Old Testament God would not accuse me of idolatry.  Besides, this would have happened a long time ago since I’ve been worshiping the golden interlocking Gucci logo for years now.
   As a result of my decision to create, what I found to be a pretty edgy Pinterest board, I was inspired to take the first photograph of this post.  Actually it was just a happy accident that occurred between a pretty great thrifted scarf and a lot of glamour glow filter.  In the end this picture felt rather spiritual to me and my karma felt good with it. 
   Of course, I suppose it could be argued that God is pissed at me for trying to portray spirituality through my own image and possibly this is why we simply can’t get past this hellish winter.  However, I prefer to believe that God is fine with this hippie’s visual representation of inner peace.  I also believe that God is more than good with Gucci’s logo.  I guess it’s a good thing I can’t afford any of Gucci’s actual apparel considering all of the primavera I’m going to be eating.
-r.

Friday, March 16, 2018

"I finally found a love of a lifetime....and it's a coat?!"












   I feel compelled to start by stating this is not the first time I’ve referenced the band Firehouse while writing a post.  Considering just how dated hair bands are perceived, I should probably feel a tiny embarrassed.  However, to be totally honest, I’m not.  I’ll admit it.  I love hair metal!  Most romantic ladies who grew up in the Midwest during the 80's and early 90's love this type of music.  Hearing it today makes me fondly reminisce about middle school dances.  At that time an awkwardly tall and gangling Rayna, inevitably wearing skorts, always had to hunch over her much shorter dance partner.  Happily the, "head on the shoulder routine," was big back then or my neck would've really gotten sore.  Yes, during those dances it was the hair ballads that would make one forget things like the crackle of the crappy PA system, or the school gym’s stench of old tennis shoes.  There were only the dim lights, the idealistic juvenile chanting of each song, and all of those teenage boys trying to grow their hair long just like dreamy Sebastian Bach.  It truly was a glorious time to be alive!
   Sadly, I can never return to that time…not that I haven’t tried.  Writing this now finally makes me realize why every time a hair band is remotely in my vicinity…and living where I do this happens a lot… I have the absolute need to go see them.  Let’s just say when you see C.C. DeVille wear the exact same hat on more than one occasion you’ve probably been to a Poison show one too many times.  Actually, my only regret is not buying a t-shirt at each one of these concerts.  If I had done this I would have an amazing collection of hair band shirts that I could PRETEND was solely for ironic purposes.  Sadly, I only have one badass Ratt shirt and I can’t even fake mock it because I love it so much.
   Okay, I think I’m finally done confessing my love of hair metal.  Originally, this post was supposed to be about the coat I’m wearing in the above photographs.  I suppose I could justify my earlier 80's theme by arguing I suspect this particular garment was most likely constructed during this decade.  However, I’m certain it was originally owned by an individual who was way too cool to be listening to the likes of L.A. Guns…while wearing skorts.  Actually back then I remember ogling after the older teenagers who would dye their hair jet black and wear these type of long tweed trench coats with fingerless gloves…think Tia and Bug from the movie, “Uncle Buck.”  To this day I admire the style of the true 80's Emo kid and I've have spent nearly a lifetime searching for that perfect tweed coat that says, “Yeah, I could have hung out with Bug.”
   At long last, about three months ago, I found my treasure.  I was driving home from work, and despite my exhaustion, I got that tingle at the base of my skull demanding, “swing into that Goodwill parking lot!  There’s something waiting for you!”  History has taught me to never argue with the tingle and suddenly I found myself confronted with another tweed trench that probably would not fit.  I held it with shaky hands thinking, “It’s perfect!  The pattern, the color, the cut, the built in shoulder pads!  This is a coat that was made for Tia!  There’s no way it’s going to fit me.”  I stood there highly considering just putting it down and leaving in order to avoid the impending heartache.  However, I eventually mustered the courage and tried on the most perfect fitting coat I’ve ever owned.  It was truly my Cinderella moment.  I will lovingly remember it each time I listen to that band.
-r.