Sunday, February 26, 2017

Twenty Four Hours

   A few weekends back I had one of the nicest days I can remember in quite some time.  In fact, I think it was the most fun I’ve had since my last, “favorite day,” a couple of summers ago.  On that particular date I found myself visiting my brother in Fargo, ND.  We spent that summer afternoon cruising around town with his car windows down, listening to Bruce Springsteen, while figuring out the secrets to life.  I think the only two times we stopped driving that day was when we hit the McDonald's drive-thru and then checked out a thrift store.  When it finally started getting dark, and there was simply nothing more to bullshit about, we decided to call it a night.  I marveled at what an epic waste of time the day may have seemed to others.  However sitting there, with one of my favorite people in the world, belting out the lyrics to, “Dancing In The Dark,” while the late summer breeze brushed my face I had never been happier.  In addition, I could argue that the day was not totally idle considering we scored a beautiful vintage fox fur coat and a mint condition mod style couch during our one pit stop.  People, they just don’t make finer days than this…
   …except, once in a blue moon, one comes across a day that matches it.  Recently, I was lucky enough to experience one of these occurrences.  The day that I wore this particular outfit was one of these occasions.  My special man friend and I had decided to spend the afternoon together when he suddenly asked if I wanted to go check out one of my favorite locations in Sioux Falls, 8th & RR Center.  Basically, for those of you that may not be familiar with it, this is an outdoor shopping center chock full of locally owned specialty boutiques.  I believe it's worth mentioning my companion is of the rather, "rugged," persuasion and not often interested in strolling artsy shops.  However, on this particular occasion he was quite, if not disconcertingly, content with it and we had a pleasant time roaming around these unique shops.  In fact, while we were there we were informed that there was a local art show nearby that we may enjoy.  I was very interested in attending this event, but was certain it was not possible considering my present company.  Again, my special man friend is privy to his art coming from a taxidermist, not a gallery.  I want to clarify I state this only because it’s true and I am in no way attempting to mock him.  We came to terms with the fact that we are eon’s different ages ago and it works for us. We simply don’t like the same cup of tea…coffee…Mountain Dew…yeah, we don’t even drink the same beverages. 
   Anyway I was about to ask him, “What should we do next?” when all of a sudden he says…and I swear I heard this in slow motion… “Do you want to check out the art show?”  I believe at the time I went hysterically deaf for a few moments.   As a result, I don’t really recall what my exact response was.  However, the next thing I knew we were walking into the gallery at the Washington Pavilion.  There we were greeted with a dark space lit only by fish like sculptures created out of salvaged crude metal objects.  Not only was the area rather psychedelic from all the glowing neon lights, but the gallery was filled with sounds of something akin to whales under water.  The whole scene was pretty esoteric and I was concerned it may not appeal to my partner.  Upon exiting the room I looked to him bracing myself for a criticism that simply didn't come.  “That was pretty damn cool,” he said.  “Yes…yes it was,” I answered uneasily.
   We ended our day at my favorite Starbucks…Starbucks for God’s sake!  My Mountain Dew swilling, taxidermy loving, outdoorsman was sitting cozy at our table with a Grande sized hot chocolate in his hands talking about the art show we just attended!  All I could think was, “Huh, I never imagined I’d be so happy the day the pod people took over.”

Coat:  Lucky Brand  (Gift from Al)
Jeans:  Vintage  (Levi’s men’s orange tab)
Belt:  Vintage
Shoes:  Ugg
Purse:  Kate Spade
Gloves:  Vintage
Earrings:  Vintage
Sunglasses:  Versace  (Gift from Al)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

No Style For The Sheepish

   Recently I constructed this entire ensemble around an accessory I don't own.  I guess it's kind of odd when one thinks about it.  However I’d like to justify it by stating I'm really pleased with this look.  Not only did I feel extremely well-coordinated the day I wore it, I had several individuals I didn't know tell me they really liked my outfit.  I’m always very pleased to hear someone say the words, “I like your outfit.”  I interpret this statement as a compliment of my ability to creatively put together a cohesive look.  In contrast, when someone compliments only your shoes it simply means, “Wow, you’re lucky to have those!”  Not that I don’t eat up any compliment I can get.  I mean let’s be honest here, why else does a person have a style blog?
   Speaking of compliments, I received a very nice one from my special man friend just the other night.  We were walking out of a restaurant when a waitress stopped me to say…yep, you got it… “I really love your shoes.”  Despite the fact that I had absolutely no involvement in the conception, design, or manufacturing of my footwear I was pleased that she approved my selection.  Actually I was more surprised than pleased, considering I was wearing some rather matronly vintage clogs and the server who commented on them looked way too, "cute," to care.  While I was riding the high of, “Hey, I’m still one of the cool kids,” I received a rather unexpected comment from my companion.  He stated, “You know, I’ve never been with anyone who gets so many comments from strangers about their clothing.”  I don’t think he realized it, but for this wannabe fashion guru it was the greatest thing I’d ever heard.  “Oh my God,” I thought, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”
   It’s odd how things have a habit of happening at just the right time.  Lately, I’ve been feeling rather silly about my blog.  I look at the hundreds of pictures I’ve taken of myself and think, “What is the point?!”  I reason, “I’m way too old to be spending so much time on something so frivolous.   I should be doing something that grown-ups do…something like…something like…crap, I don’t know…something like…vacuuming?"  I hear people do things like that.  However, for the life of me I can’t understand why.  In fact, my insecurities regarding my obsession with fashion has been on my mind so much I recently decided to do another major closet cleanse.  I figure it’s the perfect substitution for cleaning floors.  This way I still get to indulge in looking through my clothes while partaking in some semi-productive cleaning. 
   Of course, the entire time I’m, “downsizing,” my wardrobe I find myself obsessively planning on what I can get to replace these items.  In fact, I’ll admit that my disturbingly OCD brain has decided to start buying clothing in a collection type format.  To explain, I aim to construct an overall wardrobe theme each season and buy select pieces in order to execute this, “character.”  I hope that by doing this I will have less random crap to deliver to Goodwill in the future.  In addition, I just like the idea of theme shopping.  It’s kind of like my obsession with clubs.  One can’t feel guilty about partaking in something that has structure and rules. 
   What it comes down to is, as immature as it seems, I love fashion.  I love planning outfits in my head, taking pictures of them, and using these images as an excuse to blather on about stuff I would never say out loud when face to face with others.  For example, “I really like the outfit I wore for this post.”  I know it’s rather conceited to say something like this, but hey, I didn’t…I wrote it.  Furthermore, I’ll write I’m impressed I designed this look around an accessory I’ve been admiring, but don’t yet own.  One beautiful piece of jewelry designed this entire ensemble.  Perhaps in the future I can construct an entire style theme around this piece.  What better way to justify spending too much money on something I don’t need?  And I thought I should be concentrating on cleaning my house… “pffff.”

Jacket:  Levi’s
Skirt:  Vintage  (Pendleton)
Boots:  Ruff Hewn
Scarf:  Echo
Belt:  Thrifted
Mittens:  Handmade
Sunglasses:  Burberry

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"More Human Than Human"

   Lately zombies have been on my mind.  Mostly because I’ve spent a lot of my free time in front of the TV binge watching episodes of, “The Walking Dead.”  I know… I’m like the last person on the planet to realize just how great this show really is.  However please allow me to reiterate what the fanatical masses have already been telling everyone.  “The Walking Dead,” IS AN AWESOME SHOW!!!  I implore anyone who is a fan of apocalyptic entertainment to watch it immediately.  Of course this last statement is futile since the majority of people into horror have been being entertained by this show for about nine years already.  Again, I can be a tad slow on the uptake of this type of thing.  Shoe shopping takes up a lot of my time.
   However lately I’ve had nothing but time since I, myself, recently experienced, “the change,” into the undead.  I always thought it would happen quickly.  I never expected the metamorphosis to sneak up on me so subtly.  Yet again I was wrong and last week I finally realized I had become a full-fledged zombie.  Yep folks, it's flu season and I’ve been sick as hell.
   Honestly there is nothing more poetic than being ill and watching hours of stories that revolve around the living dead.  I couldn't help but compare my current state to some of the monsters in this show.  I found myself thinking things like, “Huh…her complexion looks a heck of a lot better than mine.  Wait...why can’t I achieve that vampy look with the rings under my eyes?  Maybe I should try a blood red lipstick.”  In addition, I found myself marveling at the energy the undead seemed to possess.  I reasoned, “Okay so if the smell of human flesh doesn’t inspire me to run haphazardly down the street, perhaps a sale on the Free People website will at least lure me out of bed.”  It simply doesn’t seem fair that a zombie possesses more motivation than me.
   The reason I chose to pair this topic with the above photographs is simply because I took these pictures when I was just beginning to feel ill.  Furthermore, I believe this is reflected through the quality of these images.  To put it simply, these are not good glamour shots.  These are, “Why am I out here in the barn freezing my butt off?…Oh my God, look how pale I am!…Ha! my face in that second to last picture looks like I’m going to puke!…Screw this, I wonder if Al feels like watching, “The Walking Dead?” pictures.  While I’m not a huge fan of any of these images I felt like I would go ahead and post them since I'm so interested in zombies right now…and hey, zombies aren’t pretty.  They do however have a fevered deadness behind the eyes that I believe is displayed quite nicely in some of these photographs.
  I'm happy to report today I started to feel like myself again.  I actually took blog pictures this morning, (which will be featured in a future post,) and found I was back to my own scrutiny filled standards.  No more zombie eyes for this blogger!...unless the outfit calls for it, of course.  Oddly enough, now that I finally feel part of the living again all I could think about was, "the dead."  Due to the unseasonably warm temperatures outside, Al and I decided to get some much needed fresh air while cruising around town.  The whole time I found myself commenting on how, “That abandoned parking lot would be an obvious spot to run into a flock of zombies,” and, “Boy, I wouldn’t want to depend on that chain link fence for protection during a zombie apocalypse.  I just don’t think that baby would hold!”  As I was babbling away Al just looked at me, partly annoyed, and said, “You must be feeling better.”

Sweater:  Free People
Skirt:  Vintage
Boots:  Ugg
Purse:  Lucky Brand
Belt:  Thrifted
Earrings:  (Handmade by a friend)
Ring:  Handmade  (Purchased at a craft fair)    

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Flat as a Fleetwood Mac record!

   Several weeks back I had the pleasure of hanging out with an old friend.  Actually it’s odd that I refer to her as an, “old friend," since realistically we’ve only been acquainted for around ten years.  However, she’s one of those individuals I feel like I’ve known forever simply because she’s a lot like me.  I know what you’re thinking, “Oh Lord, two Raynas?  That’s just scary!”  All I can say is, “Rest easy people.”  While I refer to the two of us as extremely similar in some ways, we are eons different in many others.  There’s only one woman who can talk to a brick wall for hours, while still being entertained, and that’s me.  Lately, this ironic babble-mouthed antisocial has been doing a lot of just that…well, and talking to cats…lots of cats.  Winter on the plains can do weird things to a person.
   Anyway, back to the topic at hand, on the day I photographed these pictures I had an actual outing to attend with a good friend of mine.  We planned to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes, scouting for vinyl records.  Activities like this are precisely why I enjoy hanging out with this person so much.  She shares many of the quirky interests that make up me.  I mean really, living in South Dakota does not give a person many opportunities to discuss 80’s Goth music, Criterion Collection Films, and Stephen King.  If you happen to be reading this and thinking, “I love all of those things!  Why does Rayna keep boring me with stories of her cats?!,” please let me know immediately.  I guess I’ve always considered animals more of a common ground subject than the band Bauhaus.  Oddly enough, I subject my animals to this type of music quite frequently, so why don’t I do the same to people?...huh…
   Before meeting my friend I found myself on the phone yukking it up with my dad.  He too had called with the intention of pursing vinyl.  At this time I should probably feel compelled to save face and state that I hardly have time to hang out with my retired father due to my booked social calender.  However, that’s simply not true and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  There have been several periods of time in my exsistance that my parents and brother composed the majority of my social life.  While that may sound pathetic to some, I’m really comfortable with it.  Like I stated before, it’s hard to find others who will listen to me blather on about my bizarre interests.  Not only will my dad do this, but he’ll sometimes outdo me with his own quirks.  The apple truly does not fall far from the tree.  To my dismay, on this particular occasion, I had to tell my dad, “I can’t go record shopping with you.  I’m going out WITH A FRIEND!  I have a friend!”  Ultimately, we decided it would probably be too weird if he tagged along.  Strangely enough, later that afternoon when I told my friend about dad and I’s ridiculous conversation her response was, “He should have come along!”  Yep, she’s good people.
   Overall that day I had a great time.  I was able to leave the confines of my home during what has been a rather cabin feverish type winter.  In addition, I scored a few good finds for the old turntable while talking with a good friend.  Of course, just as we were finishing up a near perfect outing my car had a tire blowout which caused me to hobble to the Barnes & Noble parking lot on just my rim.   Good thing I had some killer Goth music with to turn up otherwise that, “WHUMP, WHUMP, WHUMP” noise could have really been a buzzkill.

Cardigan Sweater:  (Gift from Mom)
Jeans:  Henry & Belle
Boots:  Ruff Hewn 
Purse:  Thrifted
Hat:  Free People
Necklace:  (Gift from Al)