Monday, September 26, 2016

And Then There Were 7

   I want to begin this post by stating, “I love the skirt I’m wearing in the above pictures.”  Looking at the colors of this fabric now I’m reminded of Vincent van Gogh’s painting, “The Starry Night.”  I can’t believe I ignored this beautiful piece for so long!  These photographs provide further proof that one can’t fully realize the potential of an article of clothing until they take pictures while wearing it.  Suddenly this skirt is no longer only a crumpled ball crammed into the bottom of my dresser drawer.  When I see these images I’m interested in this piece's possibilities.  I want to explore what other items I can pair it with.  Mostly I want to put it on a hanger, or at least fold the darn thing. 
   Speaking of, “The Starry Night,” I want to expand on this theme by discussing my own evenings.  Lately, I’ve been feeding something after the sun goes down.  Yep, you got it…it’s my internet shopping addiction.  So actually, I guess one could state it’s been a real smorgasbord at my house because not only have I been feeding the monkey called, but I’ve also been literally setting food outside for something at night.  Actually, by the amount of food that was being devoured each evening by some critter, I was beginning to question if my shoe obsession had literally taken on the physical form of a monkey…in designer pumps, of course.
   Okay, so maybe I knew all along I was feeding a kitten…in designer pumps, OF COURSE.  Actually, I was under the impression I was feeding two kittens.  I had seen them frequently scurrying around our barn and had hoped that by feeding them I could entice them to stick around.  They were so cute, so helpless, and so HUNGRY.  I immediately starting putting out massive bowls of kitten chow in the evenings and by morning these containers were always empty.  “My God, how much can two baby cats eat,”  I marveled.
   It was my boyfriend who finally posed the question, “What if you’re not just feeding kittens?”  He reasoned, we do live in the country and our yard has been known to host a number of creatures that have included everything from possums to even mountain lions.  No joke.  We actually had a park ranger visit us with a warning that a mountain lion had been spotted in our shelterbelt.  Apparently, these cats can travel up to something like forty miles a day so we were assured that it was most likely long gone.  However, I’m certain the ranger wasn’t counting on a giant bowl of Purina One Salmon & Tuna flavored cat food to be sitting at the mouth of a totally abandoned, yet completely welcoming barn.  Instantly, I was nervous.  What if I was feeding something other than kittens at night?  What if the next time I took glamour shots in the barn I got mauled by some hideous creature?  Lastly, was I going to go outside one morning only to find a giant ferocious monster running at me screaming, “I’M HUNGRY MOMMY!”  “Just what have I been feeding,” I wondered.
   My question was finally answered when I decided to go on a much needed stake-out.  That particular evening I set the food out and hid a distance away.   After a period of time I started to hear loud noises and upon inspection I realized my part monkey, part mountain lion, part chupacabra beast was actually SEVEN little kitties!  I guess all that shoe money is going to be eaten up for a while now.

Skirt:  Ann Taylor Loft
Wedges:  Thrifted
Belt:  Thrifted
Purse:  Vintage
Necklace:  Etsy
Sunglasses:  Dolce & Gabbana

Sunday, September 18, 2016

From the planet Prada

   During my extensive career in the world of retail I’ve had the pleasure of serving some of the Midwest’s most privileged people.  At one time I was even employed at a mall that had a legitimate Tiffany & Co. store in it.  Actually, I can’t even accurately define that place as a mall since it was referred to as a Galleria…wait, no it was called THE GALLERIA…in other words, a mall for rich people.  To this day, I don’t understand how the likes of me landed a gig in a joint like that.
   My favorite part about working for the upper class was people watching.  I adored appraising the various outfits and accessories that women would wear.  Each winter I would look forward to witnessing what I referred to as the annual, “Boot Parade.”  I swear a woman’s status must be measured by how high her boots are.  I simply can’t think of any other reason one would wear thigh high boots during a leisurely shopping trip with the girls.  In addition, there was always the, “Battle of the Louis.”  This was when all the who's who would roll out their newest Louis Vuitton bag in the hopes of outdoing their peers.  Honestly, there were days when us, “peasant girls,” working the counter at the store would count up to thirty Louis in one afternoon.  Of course, there was that one epic occasion when a woman brought in the most gorgeous bag I’ve ever seen.  It was a Chanel graffiti print tote that I immediately researched on the internet and discovered its’ price was $6000.00.  My co-workers were horrified…they were disgusted by the sheer audacity of it's expense…I agreed it was over the top…and silently thought to myself, “That women is my hero.”
   Despite the fact that I’ve catered to a lot of wealthy individuals in the past, I still find myself surrounded by the seemingly popular Midwestern viewpoint that, “good women,” are frugal and most of all humble.  I’m constantly shocked by the amount of females who don’t find it acceptable to splurge on themselves when it comes to fashion.  I want to clarify I’m aware not everyone can afford Chanel and Louis Vuitton.  However, many people seem to deny themselves any type of frivolous, “foofoo.”  I’m suddenly reminded of a twenty-something acquaintance of mine who admitted to me she only owned three pairs of shoes.  THREE PAIRS OF SHOES!!!  She continued by stating she felt guilty having even that many because she really only needed two.  “Need?,” I thought.  Since when does, “need,” have anything to do with fashion?
   I guess I’m writing this post now to tell everyone, “Need has nothing to do with fashion.”  Fashion is a hobby for those of us lucky enough to indulge in it.  While I will never own a $6000.00 handbag, I will certainly admit to pursing my own guilty little pleasures.  In fact, I decided to feature one of them in the pictures above.  I have a serious fixation with designer eyewear and as a result I decided I was going to buy these black studded cat-eye sunglasses made by Prada.  Until now, I’ve been self-conscious to wear them in public.  Actually, I do this a lot.  Many of my most coveted pieces have never seen the light of day because I feel almost embarrassed to wear them.  I worry, “People will think I’m showing off…People will think I’m seriously in debt…People will think I believe I’m better than them.”  The other day, looking at these beautiful glasses that kind of make me look like a glamorous space alien, I finally came to the conclusion, “Get over it.”  I have a hobby and its’ called fashion.  My hobby costs money…so does golf...and that doesn’t stop anybody else.

Shirt:  Lux
Jeans:  Henry & Belle
Wedges:  Etienne Aigner
Purse:  Matt & Nat
Bracelets:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Prada

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Next Chapter

   I’ve shared an ongoing joke with a good friend of mine for about nine years now.  Her and I met while working at the greenhouse and immediately got along.  We had the same alternative taste in music, movies, and mostly sense of humor.  There were many times at work we would find ourselves engaged in some ridiculously humbling manual labor task and our sarcasm would be the only thing that motivated us.  Due to the fact that both of us are avid readers we would refer to each event as a new chapter.  For example, one of my favorite, “chapters,” while working outside was entitled, “Lifting Gypsum.”  I guess one can’t fully appreciate a title like this unless they’ve actually tried to lift a bag of gypsum.  Thinking of it now a more accurate title may have been, “God, this shit’s heavy!”
   During my, “Lifting Gypsum,” years I met MANY remarkable individuals.  These were people that taught me I was capable of lifting heavy loads…physically, and emotionally if you want to get deep about it.  In addition, these individuals made this admitted girly girl realize that getting dirty, sweaty, and sunburned was not only okay, but something to be proud of...the few times I actually did it, of course.  Lastly, these were people that I listened to John Denver with…like a lot.  Let me tell you, when one shares, "Take Me Home, Country Roads," with another individual you've created a bond that can't be broken.
   However, the reality is I no longer work at the greenhouse.  The hardest part about leaving my long term employer was no longer seeing these unique and wonderful individuals every day…oh, and missing out on that, “Rocky Mountain High,” is sad too.  For a while I truly felt like the last, “chapter,” of my outdoorsy bohemian book had been written.
   I’m elated to report I was wrong!  I’ve been shocked at how many of my greenhouse friends have recently made an effort to contact me.  In fact, the above pictures were taken right before I went on a wonderful outing with some of these individuals.  Furthermore, the fantastic brooch I’m wearing in these photographs was a birthday present I received from my aforementioned fellow bookworm buddy.  I was absolutely delighted when she gave it to me.  This piece is meticulously handmade from seed beads by an extremely talented local artist.  I'm not only honored to own one of these beautiful creations, but touched that my friend thought to give it to me.
   Okay, so I know this post has gotten a little sappy but these things have really been on my mind.   A fantastic band name Cinderella once sang, “Don’t know what you got til it’s gone.”  What they didn’t include in these very prophetic words was even if it’s gone it may not be totally over.  Did I just philosophize about an 80’s hair band song?  Yeah, and you’d be disturbed at how often I do that.  I guess the overall point I’m trying to get across here is I always thought my relationship with these people revolved around my job at the greenhouse.  I now realize the job may have brought us all together but our individual personalities are what made it all so special.  Maybe Cinderella should have sang, “Don’t know what you got til you receive a beautiful handmade brooch from a person whose friendship you totally and shamefully underestimated.”  Actually, that may be the title of my new, “chapter.”

Dress:  Ralph Lauren
Wedges:  Thrifted
Purse:  Vintage  (Coach)
Brooch:  Handmade  (Thank you Mario!)
Bracelets:  Thrifted

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Not much of an outfit, but did you see that purse?!

   Sometimes a title tells the whole story.  As a result, it seems kind of silly to draw this out, but I suppose this is a blog post so I have to ramble about something.  So…
   About two months ago I started a new job.  I was quite excited to finally venture out of the realm of retail.  In addition, I was looking forward to working in a professional environment where I no longer had to wear a company uniform.  All of the sudden I had freedom when it came to what I wanted to wear on a daily basis.  I was excited...I was apprehensive…actually, I was downright clueless.  Yes me, “Style Blogger Extraordinaire,” was suddenly befuddled by the act of putting an outfit together.  I reasoned, if I wasn’t going to take glamour shots of these looks what was the point?
   Seriously, I found myself most concerned with correctly defining the term, “business casual."  I knew it referred to a style somewhere in between dressed up and everyday. However, I was pretty sure it didn’t involve my personal must haves of band t-shirts, bell bottoms, and ponchos.  Suddenly, my packed closet seemed pretty empty.
   It was at this point that I started to assemble my new, “work wardrobe.”  A collection of plain polo shirts and printed button down blouses that were generic enough to come across as professional, while at the same time possessing the potential for quirk when matched with carefully selected accessories.  Suddenly, I looked like a mature woman ready for a meeting in the conference room.  I was extremely…appropriate.
   Appropriate, now that’s a word I’ve found myself often considering since creating my, "office alter ego."  As I was rummaging through my closet looking for, “grown-up clothes,” I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the items I came across.  It suddenly occurred to me that I may not dress like an adult.  Actually, that’s a lie.  This idea has come to mind several times in the past and I’ve simply chosen to ignore it.  However, sometimes there are certain items that even I can’t justify wearing.  The pictures featured in the above post display a perfect example of this type of garment.
    Basically, the whole point of this admittedly drawn out post is I couldn’t seem to part with a skirt I purchased while in college.  I was well aware of the fact that it was no longer appropriate for me to wear such an outlandish piece.  Okay…wait…I would totally wear this type of garish garment if it had about twelve extra inches of material added to the bottom.  However this exquisite piece of…art people, ART!...remember I love tacky…was undeniably way too short to be worn by the likes of a, “mature office woman."  I sat in my closet staring at one of the few pieces I had held onto since youth and I knew I couldn’t throw it away.  This was my skirt damn it!  I certainly wasn’t going to donate it to some little twenty-something to strut around town in…even though undoubtedly I’ve lost some of my ability to strut…Ha! not really.
   Finally I came to the conclusion that the only way to justify hanging onto the, “Rayna of the past,” was to convert her into something that was currently functional.  As a result, I ended up transforming my beloved skirt into an oversize clutch purse.  I'm absolutely thrilled with the result!  Not only was I able to keep an item I’ve admittedly developed sentimental attachments to, I’ve also proven even a mature, “office lady,” can pull of graffiti print and studs.  Yes, I seem to be able to do it all…except cut my own bangs.  Looking at these pictures, I now understand why my stylist keeps yelling at me for that.

Purse:  Upcycled  (Express skirt from the 90’s)