Sunday, July 31, 2016

It Just Figures, I'm Covered In Chiggers!

   Years ago I made a good friend laugh really hard.  Actually, I seem to make people laugh all the time.  Apparently, absent mindedness and self-deprecation are hilarious. However, there are certain occasions I don’t plan to put on a show.  It’s these moments I tend to remember. 
   On this specific day I was working at a greenhouse when I suddenly got the urge to leave my constant post at the front counter and actually GO OUTSIDE.  I decided I was in the green industry and it was time to see some green.  Upon exiting the building I reasoned I should be capable of watering trees.  I grabbed a hose and turned toward another employee to inquire where I may begin my task.  The moment I looked at my friend he started to laugh hysterically and point at my face.  Apparently, during the two minutes I’d been in, "the wild," I'd acquired a massive mosquito bite in the middle of my face.  “Rayna, you’re just not made for outside work,” he told me.
   Many years later I still remember that moment, mostly because my welt was epic and I was embarrassed by my body’s lack of endurance for the, “elements.”  At the beginning of this summer I was again reminded of my friend’s words.  I suddenly found myself temporarily working for my boyfriend’s landscaping company.   Needless to say everything I was required to accomplish was OUTDOORS.  I felt insecure in my ability to achieve these tasks. However, I reasoned if someone who has lived with me for almost ten years believes I can do it, then maybe it’s possible.  After about a month and a half of the rugged life I was convinced,  “No problem, I got this guys.  Do you want me to mow the back field with the John Deere…paint a dump truck…repot about sixty perennials…prune trees?  I do it all.”  Yep, I take pride in the new skills I’ve acquired this summer. 
   Yes indeedy, and I did it all with only a few minor setbacks.  Okay, so I admit there was that legendary first sunburn that probably flawed this china doll’s skin forever.  I’m also reminded of the week where I had trouble standing fully upright do to the spasms I was experiencing up and down my back after a morning of moving potted shrubs.  Huh, I guess they call it, “backbreaking,” work for a reason.  Come to think of it I also had that unfortunate afternoon where I discovered industrial blue paint does not simply wash off one’s skin.  I reasoned my speckled appearance was rather painterly and besides I like to think blue is a good color on me.  Of course, I did discover it does eventually flake off, especially when one’s skin is molting in sheets.  Then there was that lovely day I was introduced to the concept of chiggers.  Apparently chiggers are insects that reside in wooded areas exactly like our back shelterbelt…were I was often working.  While chigger bites are rather small, I must emphasize that THEY ARE MADDENING!  During my lifetime I’ve never experienced something so irritating and unrelenting.  I’m willing to admit this is probably due to the volume of bites I received.  At one point I think I had five of them in my bellybutton alone.  MY BELLYBUTTON!!!...which caused it to get rather infected looking…which caused me to keep putting Bactine and Band-Aids on it…which caused me to get a rash around it…and my God was I disgusting at that point!  Actually, I believe, “that point,” was about the time I took the photographs above.  Now, I’d like to specify I was still able to hide most of my maladies that day because these images were taken before my cat decided to sink his fangs into my left arm causing a wound which swelled to the size of a softball.  To which I treated with…wait for it…BACTINE, despite the advice of one doubtful and concerned pharmacist. 
   Now I ask my readers,  “Who say’s this lady can’t work outside?”  I guess if I were being truly realistic I would admit the fact that’s it’s probably a positive thing I now have a job working indoors…with children.  I mean kids, how detrimental could that be?  Oh...and no, I’m not at all concerned about that recent lice outbreak.

T-Shirt:  Threadless
Skirt:  Vintage (Handmade)
Jellies:  Thrifted
Purse:  Vintage (Coach)
Belt:  Anthropologie
Bracelet:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Kate Spade

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Girl, A T-Shirt, And A Lot Of Free Time


   I don’t think it’s any secret that I can be a little odd at times.  I like to think of it as creative.  This, “creativity,” gets heightened when I’m bored.  Recently, I found myself without a lot to do.  I have since remedied this boredom by starting a new job.  However, I’ll save the topic of new beginnings for another blog post.  At this time I want to discuss free time and what I did with mine.
   Despite the fact that I refer to Little House Of Haute as a personal style blog, I'm aware that I rarely ever write about fashion.  Really, I just don’t have that much to say about the topic.  One can only brag about their thrifting finds so much.  In addition, while I was in the transitional phase of finding a new job, I was unable to justify spending money on clothes.  It also seemed rather ridiculous to get all dressed up to go absolutely nowhere.  I guess the irony of that last sentence is that’s what I do every time I get dressed, job or not.  The only people that ever get to see this lady’s, "look of the day," are the wonderful employees of Starbucks, the Public Library, thrift shops, and record stores.  Of course, those are destinations one wants to look their very best…right?
   When I took the photographs for this particular post I decided to embrace my fashion funk.  I put on one of my many wacky t-shirts and ended up taking a series of portraits instead of the usual, “look at my cool outfit,” shots.  I'm actually happy with the results of my efforts.  I fully admit that I love to look at pictures of myself.  Does this make me a seriously narcissistic person?  Possibly, but maybe it just proves I’m curious.  I would like to clarify I’m not afraid of a bad picture.  Being someone who takes thousands of them every year I have a whole collection of TERRIBLE images of myself that I enjoy looking through when I need a good laugh.  I have even considered doing a glamour shot bloopers post for some of the, "best of the worst," photographs.  Stating this now, I again pledge to fulfill this promise.  Some things are just too funny to pass up. 
   The reason I was so pleased with the pictures featured in this post is it allowed me to really study my face.  There are endless expressions one can make in a day and I believe it’s totally wrong that after 37 years of life I probably haven’t seen half of the facial contortions others have seen from me.  Maybe it’s the visual artist in me, but I seem to have this obsession with knowing what I look like.  In addition, I want to perceive myself through someone else’s eyes.   The only way I can think to do this is through a camera.  Of course I would guess after seeing this blog post most individuals’ perception of me would be, “Man that chick is really weird!”  My response would be, “You don’t know the half of it, buddy.” 
   I do want to state that I believe taking pictures of oneself is very therapeutic.  It confronts an individual with their actual appearance and often diminishes feelings of self-consciousness.  Of course, the person taking the pictures must be open to seeing both the good and bad that a photo can reveal.  For example, I decided to take these portraits wearing my hair back.  Quite honestly, I've never liked my hair up.  In my mind it makes my face look too angular, which sets off how big my nose and overbite are.  I've made this statement to other people and always received the answer, “You’re crazy Rayna.  You look fine with your hair back.”  Upon looking at these pictures for the first time I decided, “Well, it’s really not as bad as I thought.”  Of course, this is when you consider only the pictures that made it to the actual blog.  Some of my blooper shots are seriously, “Ruff.”  
   After looking at this post I’ve decided, “Yeah, maybe I’ll try wearing my hair back more.”  Through this experiment in portraiture I like to believe progress has been made.  At the very least I find myself feeling OK with the grey I’m starting to see, especially when I wear my hair up.  I guess I’m proud to announce I just had my 37th birthday yesterday and I’m not a bit afraid to take another thousand pictures of myself this year…all with my hair undoubtedly down.

T-Shirt:  Threadless
Model:  37 and OK with it

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Why I love this shirt but have never visited Kokomo

   Yesterday I had the opportunity to hang out with a long lost friend.  I literally hadn’t seen this person in about twenty years.  All I can say is, “The miracles of Facebook!”  During our near three hour visit I was told that while growing up I always seemed like a, "floaty," no worries person.  I was surprised and rather thrilled by this statement.  “People think I’m carefree,” I thought.  “Mission accomplished!”
   After leaving my outing I continued to analyze her statement, which of course seems logical due to my, "easy breezy," personality.  “She’s not the only person to say that to you,” I reasoned.  In fact, I’ve had multiple individuals’ state how happy I always seem.  One person even referred to me as the resident, “Happy Lady.”  At the time I just interpreted that comment as I was acting stupid again.  However, now I’m starting to wonder, “Oh my God, am I really happy?”
   Being an individual who’s always embraced the artistic side of life, I guess I’ve always envisioned an angst filled persona for myself.  Of course, now that I’m older this statement is hysterically funny.  Today all I can think of when considering my Emo wannabe twenties is the Goth characters from the show South Park. Honestly, if you haven’t seen the, “Burning Down Hot Topic,” episode I would highly recommend it for any individual who went through a lengthy black phase in their wardrobe. 
   Speaking of Goth this last sentence brings me to my next thought which is kind of a dead horse I like to beat.  After the conversation with my friend all I could think was, “I wonder if the way I dressed had something to do with how happy I always seemed?”  I reasoned when I was a child my mom had a tendency to put me in some pretty crazy ensembles.  I have pictures of one in particular where I’m at the zoo wearing rainbow suspenders and crazy sunglasses with Snoopy as, “Joe Cool,” in the corners…(and if you're reading this post and remember Joe Cool we either are, or need to be friends immediately.)  In these photographs I look well…hilarious...but also extremely happy.  Who doesn’t look happy in rainbow suspenders?  I do want to clarify I’m so thankful my mom dressed me the way she did.  I grew up thinking it was normal to wear ponchos and fringe shirts.  Honestly, to this day I still think it is, especially if you’re Joe Cool.
   Returning back to the topic of my, “happy,” personality, I was struck with a thought while looking at the pictures I intended to post today.  “Good lord!  Will you look at the shirt I have on," I thought.  I seem to have progressed from rainbow suspenders to Hawaiian shirts quite nicely.  The above outfit is one that I threw together for a recent party I attended.  A PARTY!...with like lots of people.  It simply never occurred to me that others may think I’m a little odd wearing a Hawaiian shirt to anything but a luau.  However, I reasoned it was a summer gathering and I love colorful shirts so, “Why the heck not?”  As I sit here looking at these photographs and reflecting on what my friend said I can’t help but acknowledge, “Yeah, I look pretty darn happy…or just wacky…which actually makes me happy.”  I’m glad people see me this way and I hope that someday I can notice it myself, without having to be reminded.  Analyzing all of this makes me want to do something totally out of character…or maybe IN character depending on one’s interpretation of me.  Even though the angst filled twenty-something in me would cringe at the thought of it, I may have to buy a Beach Boys album.  I mean, my shirt is begging for it and I suppose even Joe Cool liked a few of their songs.

Jeans:  Kasil Workshop
Shoes:  Tsubo
Belt:  Inherited from Dad
Bracelet:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Kate Spade

Sunday, July 10, 2016

"I Ain't Mad At Cha"

   It's not uncommon for me to hear other individuals have found me intimidating upon first meeting me.  Initially the idea of this seemed preposterous to me.  “What in God’s name could people be scared of,” I thought to myself.  However looking at the above pictures I find myself closer to understanding.  I've come to the conclusion that sometimes I just look mean.
   In regards to the fashion industry one is often confronted with the word, “fierce.”  It's a term that has always annoyed me when used in this context.  I guess it's connotations seemed too haughty for my liking.  Writing this last sentence I can’t help but grimace at the irony of me rejecting a haughty attitude, considering my blog’s name is literally Little House Of Haute. But what evs, right?  Basically, what it comes down to is it’s always been my understanding that models are supposed to appear bitchy and elitist while simultaneously exuding beauty.  As an individual who's never been fond of her massive overbite this concept has always been good with me.  In other words, I’ll opt for the picture with a close mouthed smirk rather than a wide open smile any day. This is regardless of, "fierceness." 
   Mostly, I've always been comfortable with having what is often referred to as, “Resting Bitch Face.”  As I mentioned earlier it often serves as a intimidation tactic that can provide handy when a girl’s in a pinch.  However, there are other occasions when RBF can be rather unfortunate.  I would like to define the above photographs as an example of this.  On the day I took these photographs I was excited to finally have an opportunity to wear the shirt I have on.  It was a gift given to me by my boyfriend for Christmas and something he picked out for me entirely on his own. Upon opening it I was stunned by the idea that this particular top reminded him of me.  It just seemed so frilly…so friendly…so feminine, and while I don’t deny possessing these characteristics I never have dressed to accentuate them.  I was flattered that he thought such a, “pretty,” piece was inherently me and excited to see if I could make his notion a reality. 
   Looking at these pictures now I’m very pleased with the way I styled this shirt.   Not that it was a real challenge.  My solution to any wardrobe woe has always been to pair the item in question with bell bottoms.  However, I wish I could have looked happier in the photographs I took!  “Why do I always have to look so discontent,” I thought.  In my mind the individual wearing this shirt is supposed to look carefree.  They're meant to appear delicate, lighthearted, or at the very least nonthreatening.  So why do I look like I’m about to roundhouse kick someone in the face?
   Upon writing this post I did a little…and let me reiterate the word LITTLE…research on what causes RBF.   One of the websites I found stated that RBF is mostly caused by feelings of contempt.  When I looked up the term, “contempt,” in the dictionary the definition read, “the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn.”  Suddenly, I was horrified!  Could I possibly be so narcissistic?  Deep down am I so into myself that these feelings of superiority have transformed into an ugly expression on my face?  On the other hand, could it possibly be that RBF doesn't exist for a person wearing black?  I reasoned that after throwing on a black blazer a bad case of RBF simply looks Emo.  I think the white phase of my wardrobe is close to it's least for a while.  Who knew Goth could look so much friendlier?

Shirt:  (Gift from Al)
Jeans:  Silver Jeans
Sandals:  Frye
Purse:  Kate Spade
Belt:  Thrifted
Bracelets:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Vintage

Sunday, July 3, 2016

"For the love of Carrie Bradshaw! What's up with those shoes?"

   While engaged in my quest to rediscover the lost treasures in my closet, I came across the pair of shoes I’m wearing in the above photographs.  I remember when I first saw them in the thrift store.  I gasped at the sight of them.  They were so shiny…so pointy…so…yeah, I’ll admit it…tacky!  I absolutely loved them, despite the fact I hadn’t the foggiest idea how I would style such outlandish, "kicks."  I mean, these were the type of shoes to make a woman think, “Hmm, too much?”  I have to state for an individual whose mantra has always been, “More is more,” this is saying a lot.     
   Of course, That’s when it happened.  I had a fleeting thought. “These are Carrie Bradshaw shoes,” I reasoned, turning them in my hands while watching the light bounce off their many sequins.  “Totally, "Sex And The City," shoes,” I thought, specifically reminded of the second movie where the ladies find themselves on a whirlwind trip to Abu Dhabi.  During this film Carrie is compelled to try foreign footwear fashions.  I remember watching this scene for the first time and thinking, “Man, that lady has all the luck when it comes to original fashion finds!”  However here I was, at a thrift store in South Dakota, where there was not only one pair of glamorous Abu Dhabish type mules, but TWO!!!  Yes, on that fateful day this lucky lady picked up two pairs of shoes that made her feel like a woman of the world…or at least a woman who had traveled out of the country…beyond Canada.
   The other day I finally decided to take on the task of styling what I thought might be a challenging accessory.  I was delighted to discover these babies will go with just about anything…except bell-bottoms.  No, I definitely wouldn’t pair these shoes with flares.  It would be a sin to cover up something so gaudy.  Speaking of garish, check out my sandal tan lines in these pictures.  They look pretty hideous with every pair of shoes I own.  I could not be more proud of them.  For someone who has spent the last ten years working in the horticulture industry, (however, not directly in the dirt filled trenches), there is no greater honor than to have feet matching many of my peers.  I guess one could say, “I've literally earned my stripes.”  Yeah, that was bad.
   Writing this post now I realize how many items I've purchased just because it seemed like something the character Carrie would have worn on, “Sex And The City.”  I’ve just admitted to buying two pairs of mules based on this reasoning.  I also recall purchasing a leopard print fanny pack, due to the fact Ms. Bradshaw donned this type of accessory on one of the episodes.  Multiple people asked me, “Are you seriously ever going to wear a fanny pack in public Rayna?”  To which I privately wondered, “Am I?”  I’m proud to report I've worn my fabulous fanny accessory and it seriously came in handy.  Honestly, I can’t think of a better handbag while fighting the masses at the Fargo Record Fair.  Not only were both of my hands free in order to snap up all the Springsteen albums I could carry, I also looked like the straight up hipster one would expect to find at such an event.
   In addition to these items, I’ve also bought a silver sequin beanie and that famous J’Adore Dior t shirt Carrie wore during her shoe spree in the Far East.  Jeez, thinking about it now I must really be stuck on that scene of the movie!  I guess I’ve always wanted to travel to find treasures.  Unlike Carrie’s character I don’t live near the bustling boroughs of New York.  I’ve never had access to the type of trends this iconic show presented.  Except, thanks to the internet, I do have her t shirt….and that sparkly hat…oh, and two pairs of shoes that look, “Oh, so Carrie.”  I guess I really don’t have to go anywhere to transform myself into a fictional character I idolize.  I feel OK with my lack of travel experience as long as I realize I’m not actually Carrie Bradshaw.  If I start calling myself that there’s a good chance I may be traveling somewhere permanently...and not by my own free will.  However, I think we should cross that bridge when we come to it.
-c…WAIT NO!...R!...I meant  -r.

Dress:  Thrifted
Jeans:  Thrifted
Shoes:  Thrifted
Purse:  (Purchased at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.)
Earrings:  White House Black Market 
Sunglasses:  Coach