Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Habits of Haute (A Year of Style 2017)

   New Year’s Eve is upon us and with it comes my inevitable, “The Habits Of Haute,” post.  Considering all of my, “Year Of Style,” reviews…and I’m proud to state that this is the fourth…I declare 2017 my greatest visual triumph to date.  Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t give some credit to one of my favorite new companions.  Yes folks, you all told me and you were right…I love my iPhone! 
   Who knew that finally upgrading to a smart phone would have so much impact on my creativity?  Suddenly my images were privy to luxuries like cropping, filters, and easier mobility.  For example, I admit my old barn door at home has served me well throughout the years, but it sure was nice to be able to expand my backdrop repertoire.  In addition, I’m now convinced that there is no self portrait that can’t be remedied by a little, “Glamour Glow,” or, “Vintage Tint,” filter.  I look back at some of my unaltered images from years past and think, “I should really mess with that.  That could be something totally great.”
   Of course, the old Rayna…the romantic purest…is screaming on the inside at the thought of this.  In fact, I had many moments of guilt this year while contemplating the necessity of using filters and digital manipulation on my images.  “Have I become so incredibly vain that now I’m relying on electronic masquerade to make me appear more fabulous?” 
   I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer to this question is, “Who cares!”  While I’ll admit to the overwhelming urge to manipulate each image I take of myself, I'll argue that I don’t necessarily intend to always make it look better.  In fact, I think that several of my altered portraits from last year were borderline creepy and I was quite happy with that.  It’s because of these images that this year was the first time in my, “Little House Of Haute,” history that I felt like I was combining my actual skills in art with my hobby.  As a result, this year I finally felt proud of my blog rather than silly.  I took note of the fact that I’ve created something interesting solely by myself.  I praised my countless afternoons spent styling outfits, gussying up, trolling for settings, posturing for poses, mentally cropping, digitally manipulating, drafting drivel, and most of all trying to keep the confidence to go on with a hobby that really puts oneself on display for potential criticism.   
   I guess it’s here that I would like to thank each person that has been kind to me regarding this blog.  These individuals have reached out to me over the years and made me feel like my hobby was not only legitimate, but captivating.  It’s because of the kindness of these friends that I have the confidence to continue creating something that may not be important to anyone else, but sure has been a lifesaver for me.  I’m not ashamed to admit that, “Little House Of Haute,” makes me feel like the artist I always needed to be.  Damn it!  I’m not just a 38 year old narcissistic shopaholic!  I’m a freaking fashion blogger!...and this blogger is eternally grateful for the support that her like-minded and talented friends have given her. 
   In closing, the above pictures may not be the most honest depictions of my life last year.  Admittedly, all of these images have obviously been altered to suit my mood for that day.  However, when one really thinks about it in those terms maybe they’re the most honest depictions I’ve ever created. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cover...ed up Girl

   Well, I’m back.  I think last weekend was only the second Sunday in the four years I’ve been blogging that I’ve failed to post.  However, in my defense, it simply didn’t seem right to be blogging on Christmas Eve about the frivolous crap I amuse myself with.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  I missed posting this weekend out of respect for the holiday.  Okay that, and I was too busy feeding my face with all the delicious food my relatives were slaving away on.  I couldn't even consider my mouth being used for anything but eating.  I sure wasn’t going to pause long enough to discuss what I was wearing.  Mostly because by the end of yesterday it was doubtful I was ever going to fit in my clothes again.  Oh how I loathe you cookies and cream pudding!  Of course, I can’t be too upset about all of the goodies I gorged on because...Hey, it’s winter in South Dakota.  The time to beef up is now people!  
   Obviously I'm fiercely trying to justify my gluttony.  However, as I was driving the near deserted country roads last night from my parent’s house it occurred to me how easy it could be for one to freeze to death.  Seriously though, if one really thinks about it a woman driving alone at night, on a desolate highway, in temperatures nearing ten below zero is either the prelude to a horror movie or a survivalist flick.  As I was pondering this potential predicament I found myself thinking, “Well, I think I ate enough pork roast to make it until morning.”
   All joking aside, as of late, my neck of the woods is COLD.  It's this time of year I find to be the most challenging when regarding my wardrobe.  Honestly it’s hard to look cute when all one wants to wear is a snowsuit.  Of course, I've refrained from resorting to such a ridiculous look.  Instead I've opted for a near ludicrous layering technique.  Basically, I’m just putting on as much crap from my closet as I can in order to stay warm.  Admittedly, this is not a new style for me.  Back in the days when I was living in Fargo, ND I perfected the art of layering.  During that time I was notorious for donning the bulky sweater on sweater look.  I found that the layering of over-sized sweaters can be surprisingly flattering as long as one sticks to a well-coordinated color palette.
   I will never forget the time in college I was hanging out at this lousy dive bar and some drunk idiot came up to me stating, “Wow, you’re really pretty and I can’t figure out why.”  At that moment my equally drunk ass was kind of flattered.  “Oh, he thinks I’m pretty!” my still juvenile mind marveled.  The brazened stranger continued with, “I can’t figure out why because you’re wearing two huge ugly sweaters and I can’t even tell what your body looks like.  I mean, what girl wears that on a Saturday night at the bar?”  In a perfect world I would have responded, “A girl living in Fargo in January who’s looking for booze, not boys.”   Instead I think I just giggled and acted flattered with his asinine banter.  However the one thing I did take away from this ridiculous encounter, and others like it, is the idea that one can still look attractive while totally covering up…which is good since covering up is what I do best. 
   Of course, the pictures above are from earlier this fall when I didn’t have to cover up so completely in order to stay alive.  As I look at them I long for the days that denim will be the only barrier my arms need from the elements.  I miss flirty knee length skirts and bohemian style boots.  I can’t wait to expose my ears with the gaudiest earrings I own.  All this being said, I will state nothing hides a half pound of pork better than a beautiful Italian wool sweater.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


   Sometimes composing a blog post can be quite challenging.  For instance, while driving back from coffee this evening I had an entire rant planned in my head.  However the instant I was about to record my rigmarole some other ridiculous thing happened.  Now I can’t seem to focus on what my original idea was. 
   What I do know is I just took my dog out for her last potty break of the night and the instant we set foot outside I heard the most drawn out, haunting howl that has ever been uttered.  Of course, this was followed by a series of frenzied yips that literally made the hair on my head feel electric.  Unfortunately, over the years this is a sound that I’ve become quite accustomed to.  It is a sound many individuals living on the rural plains know all too well.  Yes, it's this particular sound that immediately makes me look at my dear old dog and yell, “Cheese it girl!  Head for the door!” 
   Sadly, her elderly ears don't seem to have the same reaction to the noises made by a pack of undoubtedly hungry coyotes.  Instead she nonchalantly continues en route to her favorite bathroom destination in the yard…the darkest part of the yard…the part that is the hardest hustle to the safety of the back door.  Note to self…never again take the dog out without her leash at night.  Remember the time you had to crawl under that electric fence while wearing pajamas in order to retrieve her...simply because she wanted to take a stroll...under a fence…during the daytime…in front of a bunch of construction dudes…who, by the way, didn’t offer to help you, but instead chose to stare.  Additional note to self…if you have maintenance guys of any kind working on your property and you stumble outside in the morning in order to take the dog out remember to put her leash on…also, change out of your jammies…you may have to crawl around on the ground and this is just awkward in pajamas. 
   Anyway, I’m glad to report I did finally coerce my furry companion to come inside tonight.  Honestly, it didn’t take that long.  Eventually my adorable, but often doddering doggy, picked up on the fast approaching yowls of the yard.  
   While all of the experienced, “country folk,” around here continually assure me that coyotes will not approach a human I can’t help but feel nervous about being in the yard after dark at this time of year.  Plus, I’m not so sure these people are totally correct since I did once see a straggly lone ranger walking up and down our driveway during the daylight.  Again, I was assured that this was an isolated incident and there was obviously something abnormal about this specific animal.  However, wouldn’t it be my luck to have one maim me while I was taking glamour shots in the back forty?
   Whew!...well, now that I’m done freaking out about that, I want to mention again that this was not initially what I was going to discuss.  Originally I wanted to talk about was how in love I am with the fanny pack I’m wearing in the above pictures!  I recently picked it up at a local vintage store and I have to say it’s currently one of my favorite bags.  I can’t believe how great it is to have both hands free while tooling around town.  In addition, this piece is smaller than most of my other purses so it forces me to downsize all of the garbage I habitually carry around.  Of course, tonight was the real triumph when I quickly realized I was still able to perform one hell of a Metallica inspired air drum solo while wearing my fanny pack.  I’m actually thinking of making this a mandatory test for all of the handbags I purchase in the future.  Basically, I’ll ask myself, “Huh, is this a Lars Ulrich approved bag?”  The other thing I can now honestly state is, fanny packs are great for when one is in a hurry.  For example, pretend it’s night time and you yell, “Cheese it!” at your dog.  You both take off running towards the house and you immediately find yourself eternally grateful for free hands and the ability to pump those arms! 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"A Spoonful Of...Say What?!"

   Over the years people have compared my likeness to many other individuals.  I've always found this odd considering I don’t think I’ve ever once said to someone, “Hey, you look just like…”  Perhaps I’m simply not observant enough to link people to their doppelgangers.  Admittedly I’m not always the most astute individual.  Okay, so there was that one dude in college that me and my friend always referred to as Duran Duran…but please…that hair?…it was a no-brainer.  
   Maybe the other reason I don’t mention to people who they remind me of is simply due to the fact that I fear it may offend them.  I remember once, in my early twenties, I was at a bar in Minneapolis and this table full of people…equally as young and dumb as I was at the time…was staring me down.  Despite the fact that I had drank myself into a state of feeling pretty good I did notice the attention and was starting to feel rather intimidated by it.  After a while the obvious, “ring leader,” of this merry band of hipsters approached me and demanded to know if I was an actress.  I answered, “No,” and immediately found myself smiling from ear to ear.  She explained to me that her table had been arguing about which independent film starlet they thought I was.  She continued by stating that the general consensus was that none of them could identify my name, however they were all certain they had seen the films I had been in.  Of course at the time I was thrilled.  “Mwah?,” An indie film star?  In my dreams!"  I immediately started having visions of people mistaking me for goddesses like Jennifer Connelly and Mena Suvari.  Of course this only lasted until the, "friendly hipster," interjected … “Well, the only thing our table could agree on was the fact that every movie you've made you played a strung out druggie on the brink of death.”  Okay, this may not have been the exact words that came out of her mouth, but it was something quite similar.  “Bubble popped,” I thought as I came back to reality and the idea that I probably resembled an addict more than a Hollywood movie star. 
   Of course, it’s always nice to get attention, even if it’s not specifically the kind you had in mind.  As I previously mentioned, over the years I’ve had many people compare my appearance to celebrities.  I’m not sure if this is something people do out of honesty, or whether they're seeking my approval.  For instance a few of the women I’ve often been compared to include:  Liv Tyler, Heather Nova, Amanda Peet, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Sandra Bullock…yes, I said Sandra Bullock.  Can you believe I’ve had multiple men tell me I resemble this woman?  It’s insane and I can’t quit obsessing over it.  I mean, the others ladies I can at least understand a hint of what they were seeing….Bryce Dallas Howard…yeah the hair style…I get it.  Amanda Peet…yes, from certain angles I can definitely understand.  However, I LOOK NOTHING LIKE SANDRA BULLOCK!!!  Honestly, is Sandra Bullock simply the go to, “hottie,” that middle aged men choose in order to hit on women?  It boggles my mind. 
   The reason I decided to write about this now is simply because today I can add a new name to my repertoire.  As I was buying a bottle of water at the Get-N-Go I had a cashier turn to me and state, “Oh my God, you remind me so much of Mary Poppins!!!”  “Uh…what?,” I answered.  She went on to insist that, “I looked just like Mary Poppins and she absolutely loved that movie as a child.”  She continued by incredulously asking me, “You’ve never been told this before?”  “Nope, that’s a new one,” I said and left totally perplexed.  “My God, no wonder the kids at work love it so much when I belt out, “A Spoonful Of Sugar.”  Honestly, this is something I sing with them when I’m feeling stupid.  I guess it’s true that everyone likes Julie Andrews.  In addition, I’m sure when you first set eyes on this blog post you thought, “Man, give that lady an umbrella and watch her fly!”