Life at the bottom of the Fashion Caste

Books n Music

The New Year’s Way

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New Year’s is my favorite holiday of all the holidays! It’s not just a time for reflecting on your previous year but also an incredible opportunity to plan out an entire year of what’s to come.

I’ve been thinking about what I want from this year, and it is packed. I’m starting with a handful of resolutions which I’m sharing here now. Hopefully if they’re written in a place where I’m not the only person who can see them (aka not my journal), I’ll be more likely to actually stick to them. So, here goes.

1. No more ‘fast fashion.’

This includes, but is not limited to, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21, Zara, etc. I’ve only realized this fact in the last few months (yes, slow on the uptake, I know) but stores like the aforementioned megashops manufacture their clothing to be on trend (okay, great) but to last for 10 washes max. That is despicable. Think of how many $30 sweaters (or 40, or 50!) I’ve bought from UO or elsewhere. One year of fast sweaters could’ve bought me at least two beautiful, made-to-last, staple sweaters that I could cherish for years to come.

This resolution will be all about control and perspective. I’ll have to remember that just because the price is good, doesn’t mean the product is. And I’ll have to remember that the $20 I take out of my paycheck every two weeks is going toward something that I will really value one day, not just a venti latte. This will also give me an excuse to focus on thrift and vintage stores.

2. Keep blogging.

It’s as simple as that. I know there has been a bit of a holiday-induced hiatus in my writing lately but between work and friends and family I just couldn’t squeeze it in! I’m really excited to stick to this resolution because it’s become so important for me to document my thoughts in a permanent-ish way. One day I’ll be able to look back at these posts and realize how much I’ve changed since way back in 2012. That alone is worth it to me.

Aside from all that, I’ve got big plans for this little blog in the new year, including a fresh theme and DIY video series! Keep an eye out for my first edition.

3. Keep that New Year’s feeling.

I always feel so optimistic at the start of a new year. Eventually that high wears off, and I land back in the doldrums of my everyday outlook. But this year I will try to keep the excitement and foresight of a new year, or at least try to keep that attitude in mind as often as I can. Sounds cheesy, but my life has taken such a dramatic reversal in the last year, I need to remind myself sometimes to anticipate the future, no matter the unexpected things that may come up.

Also, I made a playlist that I was intending to post yesterday. But I didn’t. So here it is! It’s designed for a night of all-night New-Year’s dancing. But you can dance around your room to it. Find it on 8tracks AND on Spotify!

And with that, here’s to 2013. I hope it’s the best year yet. Yes, the best year of all the years. Ever.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

p.s. Do you have any resolutions? Let me know, I’m always inspired by other people’s goals!

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December Playlist

Round Pond, Hyde Park, London

I really debated posting anything today but I think it’s important to keep going in spite of tragedy. So if you need some music to lose yourself in, have a listen. This mix is on 8tracks but now you can also find my mixes on my Spotify. Follow me! I’d love to share some more music with all of you.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


November Playlist: Very Vintage

In lieu of facing the crowds this BF (okay, so I do currently work in retail and had to face some crowds today), I decided to draw up a November playlist largely inspired by the mega tumblr theniftyfifties. Not all of these songs are from the 50’s, but they do represent a wide range of my favorite dancin’ tunes from the golden oldies.

So slick on your favorite red lipstick, throw a silk scarf around your neck, push your cat eye glasses up your nose, drag out your poodle skirt, and get your sock hop on!

Listen HERE on my 8tracks station!


Marjorie Dean, High School Junior

“‘Only to think, next week, at this time, I’ll be saying good-bye to you, Mary Raymond.’ Marjorie Dean’s brown eyes rested very wistfully on the sunny-haired girl beside her in the big porch swing.”

– excerpt from Josephine Chase’s Marjorie Dean, High School Junior

Lately I’ve been looking back into my family’s history, hard. My great-grandmother recently passed away and I’ve been given the task of sorting through boxes upon boxes of her old things. From figurines to photos, china sets to coupon clippings, I had my hands full.

This massive organization inspired me to sort through some other old mystery boxes in my house, sometimes full of myriad treasures and sometimes full of, well, let’s just say trash. Apparently just about everyone in my family is/was a pack rat.

But I’m thankful for that! Because it’s led me to some really priceless finds, mostly based on sentiment. One such find was a novel by the title of this post, Marjorie Dean, High School Junior by Pauline Lester.

I adore antique books. Like, verging on unhealthy adoration. I would rather buy a used book than a new one any day of the week. My favorite part of cracking open a beautiful used book is the possibility of stumbling across an inscription that gives me a clue to the book’s former life before it came to rest in my hands. Marjorie gave me just that.

Inside the front cover of my copy of Marjorie Dean is scribbled “To Mildred, From Lucille, Christmas 1918.”

Since coming across the book, I’ve picked it up from time to time to read a few pages here and there. Last week I finally came to the end of Marjorie’s junior year saga. I immediately set to work learning everything I could about Marjorie and the author.

“Marjorie entered her mother’s room and dropped dispiritedly at her feet,”

There’s not much to go on but a few half-written Wikipedia pages, but as it turns out, Pauline Lester was a pen name used by author Josephine Chase. Stories about harrowing, golden-hearted young women were such a smash at the time, Chase also wrote another series about title character Grace Harlowe under the pseudonym Jessie Graham Flower. The fake names didn’t stop there, however, and before Chase’s death in 1930, she also wrote a boys series called the Khaki Boys Series under the title Captain Gordon Bates.

The entirety of Marjorie Dean’s high school career was put to paper in 1917. Her success in life is attained based on a strict sense of duty to friends, family, school work, and those less fortunate than she, in her middle class existence. Marjorie is a beacon of truthfulness, fair play, beauty, and moral conscientiousness.

I was ecstatic to learn that not only did Marjorie graduate high school with flying colours, but that she also lived on, in a literary sense, to complete college, have a (short) career, get married to her high school sweetheart, and have a family, all before 1930! Learn more about Marjorie’s rival of her college years in this article.

I also learned a little about novels written for young women during the early 1900’s and their effect on women’s roles in sports, thanks to Dr. Nancy G. Rosoff. Both Marjorie and Grace were avid basketball players and much of the conflict faced in High School Junior was derived from the game.

All of this is even more interesting when you add in the fact that the publishers of Josephine Chase’s works were anticipating these novels to influence the young people in America. They hoped that the girls and boys featured in Chase’s novels would inspire the average reader to follow suit by understanding their places in society and the world. As such, the Grace Harlowe series was widely marketed as “stories of real girls for real girls.”

Read the entire story of Marjorie Dean’s junior year of high school online, right here.

Do you have any favorite antique or used books? Ever come across some beautiful inscriptions? I’d love to hear about em!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Currently Crushing: Edward Gorey

Around this time of year, my love for Edward Gorey’s macabre illustrations and stories renews itself and inspires a thirst for all things Halloween.

There’s a stark, depressing reality in his work, especially in The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Arguably Gorey’s most famous book, Gashlycrumb documents the tragic ends of 26 children, one for every letter of the alphabet, in a darkly comedic way.

Besides being an incredibly well known artist and author with an extremely distinct style, Gorey dabbled in television, film, and stage productions. The quintessentially creepy author’s incredibly prolific career is documented in a series of anthologies titled Amphigorey.

Gorey is also my current crush because I recently discovered a book of his personal letters to friends and family. Read this article about the book and check out his amazing envelope sketches.

When asked who his typical fans were, Mr. Gorey responded, “It ranges from dear little old ladies to rather distracted teenagers who sometimes turn up at the door. I go to the same place for breakfast and lunch every day. Most of the people there are regulars, but every once in a while somebody will come up to the table and say, ‘I have a book of yours in the car. Will you sign it, please?’ And I’m thinking, ‘What is a book of mine doing in your car?’ I’m nothing if not terribly amiable, though.”

Gorey passed away in 2000 but you can still visit his home in Massachusetts. P and I are dying to get out east to visit friends in New York (providing it still exists by Christmas) so I think the Gorey House will definitely earn a spot on our travel agenda.

Check out his online community here. I’ve just got to get my hands on one of those prints!

Yet another good reason to have a huge crush on Edward Gorey is summed up in the above photo. He adored his feline friends, I mean, really really loved them. Me too!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


October Playlist

This month has been barreling through, throwing an unfathomable mix of weather, obstacles, and emotions my way, all the while showing no signs of slowing down.

I’ve had the heavy burden of a long list of life-altering decisions to make, many of which have been made for me by the powers that be. This has made for a rather unorthodox month. As far as my musical mood, I think these fluctuations can be heard in this month’s playlist.

In a last-ditch attempt to get my musical musings for the month of October to you, my ever-devoted reader (kidding here), I’ve squeezed it in at the tail end.  There are some appropriately themed spooky ones thrown in but I think it’s a good mashup of all sorts.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

P.S. Now you can stream my playlists right from your own computer! Still trying to figure out how to embed them in my actual posts, but here’s the link to the 8tracks:

October from ttylusa on 8tracks Radio.

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I saw Craft Spells around this time last year in London at this tiny above-a-pub venue. My friend April and I got drunk off rum and cokes and danced our little indie hearts out. It was great. See a barely-visible shot of the show below.

The night immediately after I saw the aforementioned Craft Spells, I saw this band at the Roundhouse in London. It was an awesome show and definitely the most badass one I’ve ever been to. Also, another milestone was my first-ever beer shower, thanks to the rowdy crowd of drunken Brits.

  • So Far Around the Bend – The National

“Take a bath and get high through an apple,

 you wanted to cry but you can’t ‘cause you’re laughing.”

Find the album version here, but if you’d like to learn a little more about the most excellent Dark was the Night project, hear this version.

This makes the list because a) ghosts—October, obviously. And b) I heard a sound byte once of Jack White asking a crowd if they ever feel like they belonged in a different time period. A man anachronism.

  • My One Desire – Freakwater

Apparently this is a cover of a Rick Nelson song? Never knew. Either way, I couldn’t find the version I wanted so give Ricky a try.

This is one of my top ten favorite songs of all time. I mean it though. The music video doesn’t do it justice! Lyrics are priceless, to boot. Plus, I do love that Bill Murray man.

“I wanna get home, I wanna get stoned,

Make myself food, make myself good.”

Gosh this song has the power to overthrow me with the blues with the first little guitar riff. Can’t get enough.

Fallish and also mildly creepy. Listen to it in a car going fast on the highway.

Longing for the Big Sur, where the ocean and mountains and redwoods and cliffs and fog make for just the right setting.

This gal has the pipes to be a megasuperstar.

No, Ryan Gosling (who wrote and performed this music with the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir), my body’s a zombie for you. Trust me.

I wrote a script to a short film inspired by this song. Not in a cheesy way.

The mounting energy of this song gives me shivers.

But you’ll fight it and you’ll make it through,

You’ll fake it if you have to

And you’ll show up for work with a smile.

And you’ll be better and you’ll be smarter

And more grown up and a better daughter—

Or son and a real good friend.”

Okay, this song is verging on brutally angst-filled, I realize. And okay, I adored this band during my hilariously moody middle school years.

But, in my defense, I’ve loved this song since the day I heard it and it is oddly (and embarrassingly) fitting at this juncture in my life. I’m not clinically depressed like the assumed subject of this song, just faking it, since I have to.

Also, Jenny Lewis and her parade of vintage/thrifted stage looks were a huge inspiration to me as a youngster. Just look at that ensemble. Holy cats.

My love for this song is never-ending. Learn all the lyrics and blast it at full volume in your car and sing it at the top of your lungs…even at the red lights!

Well, that’s all for now (folks)!

What were some of your go-to songs for the month of October? Comment!


September Playlist

September is my favorite month of the year. School is in full swing, the air is crisp, sweaters are dug out of storage, tights are worn, apples are ripe, leaves change, Fall begins, squirrels get fat, geese fly south, socks are recommended, and people switch from iced to piping hot coffees and teas. And, of course, it’s my birthday month! This girl has the fall vibes down.

So, in honour of the best of months, I’ve compiled a mood-driven playlist to accompany you through this transitional period. Find links to youtube in the song titles and enjoy over a cup of hot cocoa and a good read.

September Playlist, Fall 2012

1. Slow (FD Acoustic Session) – Twin Shadow

I love the original of this one but the acoustic version just has some rawness to it that I find irresistible.

2. Heart of Glass – Blondie

Agh! That dress! Her legs! The hilarious video editing! Obviously I’ve known/appreciated this song for quite awhile but it wasn’t until Tumblr mega-maven suicideblonde posted it that I realized how much contagious energy it possessed. Play it on repeat.

3. Rosa – Grimes

Can’t get enough of that grungy nineties baseline.

4. I & Thou – The Daredevil Christopher Wright

Hometown heroes The Daredevil Christopher Wright released their second full-length this summer entitled The Nature of Things. The whole album is just as enchanting as I & Thou so make sure to check it out! Also see their incredible music video for the song Pale Horse, Pale Rider, below.

Pale Horse, Pale Rider from Adam Wheeler on Vimeo.

5. Let’s Rock the Beach – Real Estate

Yes, this song exudes a hyper-summer vibe but I classify it as beginning of fall for those sunny moments driving through rural Wisconsin where everything is just right.

6. Crystal Ball – Grimes

This girl is on fire right now and she deserves the hype. She’s got a unique style and works it like no one else with a cool whiff of a Miss Gevinson of similar underground internet-kid cult fame.

7. River Man – Nick Drake

Cool Autumnal imagery combined with a soothingly sultry voice, you had me at hello!

8. Icarus – White Hinterland

Okay, possibly overly everywhere on every commercial ever at this point but this song is just too perfect to deny.

9. Where We Belong – Megafaun

Another local EC band with a great folksy fall song that never fails to put me in a contemplative mood, I think it’s that rolling guitar lick. The song gets kind of experimental and crazy towards the end but that’s just part of their charm.

10. Ta Douleur – Camille

I like to fit French babes with killer voices and beat-boxing skills into my playlists as often as possible but to be truthful, I was actually going to add Camille’s song ‘Les Ex’ but couldn’t find a good enough version online! Enjoy one of her most popular songs instead, please.

11. Dreams – The Cranberries

First fell in love with this song as a kid. It was the background music to the Babysitter’s Club preview on my family’s copy of Free Willy on VHS. Little known fact of the day.

12. Fakin’ It – Simon and Garfunkel

Those claps.

13. Muscle’n Flo – Menomena

This band should be famous times ten. If you’ve never heard of em, they’re one of my top five all time favorites. Give em a shot.

14. Five Step – Mashup (Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ vs. Radiohead’s ’15 Step’)

I’m not sure who the original DJ is behind this masterpiece but holy balls it’s good. If you haven’t heard the originals, check em out here and here. Also, try to focus on the music and ignore that guy and his dance moves. Or not.

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Hope you enjoy this playlist and have a great start to your Autumn months. Do you have any favorite fallish songs or albums? I’d love to hear about them, leave a comment!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

P.S. –> Please note, I like musicians and think it’s cool to support them by paying for their tunes, especially the ones you really like.


Another Saturday Night

Can’t stop the Sam Cooke and Cat Stevens addictions! Love it.

lois louis

Separately, I have stumbled across these two songs, only to keep singing them over and over. They’re the kind of song that gets in your head, crawls down to your heart strings, and forces you to belt it out while doing the dishes. I finally tried to find it on YouTube, and I realized, dear me oh my, I love both of these songs, and wait a second… They’re the same song! Here’s to the lovely Cat Stevens and Sam Cooke for supplying me with some fabulous bike ride playlist material.

 

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