Life at the bottom of the Fashion Caste

Posts tagged “ttylusa

Inspired by Heathers

brain tumorHeathersheathers4Monocleurge to purgeHeather DukeStyle inspiration: Heathers (1988) starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Full post here!


Currently Crushing: True&Co

I cannot tell you how excited I was when I learned of True&Co‘s existence. I’d been reading about the company and how it’s been in the works for a long time on the blog Blushing Ambition by the darling Annabel. I thought it would be just your average middle-end boutique that sells nice sleepwear and pretty undergarments. Boy was I wrong. Everyone and their mother, literally, needs. this. website.

Let’s talk breasts. Mine are small. I have struggled since puberty to find the right bra for me. Believe it or not, I’ve worn the same size bra since I started wearing them. It’s a tiny size. Victoria’s Secret doesn’t even carry it in their stores. Even on the off-chance I do find my size, in Vicky’s mind, all A-cups must wish desperately they were DDs. I like my small breasts, I really really do.

So, for the last few years I’ve been ordering 3-10 different bras from online vendors like Asos, trying them all on, and sending 9-10 of the ill-fitting, overly-padded ones back, then repeating the cycle. But not anymore. Thanks to True&Co’s delightfully positive questionnaire that narrows down your best bra size based on your favorite bra’s fit, your dress size, and a few other factors, I have fallen in love with lingerie shopping once again.

Sign up with your email and the site catalogues your information for future purchases and stocks your personal shop with bras tailored to your needs. The big twist on conventional underwear shopping? For a $45 deposit, True&Co will send five different bras (three picked by you from your special shop, two recommended by True&Co especially for you) directly to your house for you to try on. If you don’t like any, send them all back for free. They return your deposit and you can go on searching for that perfect fit. If any of them do tickle your fancy, great! Keep the best ones, send the rest back. Obviously you have to pay for them but the shipping is free!

Check out my True&Co. Gift Guide ripe with recommendations for your sister/girlfriend/gal pal/mom (?).

Holiday Gift Guide: True&Co

Another huge bonus: they have an impeccably edited sleepwear shop as well. Whether for sleep, play, snuggling, or the holidays, they’ve got your lounge time covered with a great selection of labels that truly fit every budget.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Blog Love

Hip hip hoorayy! You can now follow The Fashion Serf on Bloglovin’. You know you want to!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

–>the Fashion Serf


$100 or Less: Brunch with the Gals

Something I’ve been rather awkwardly stumbling across ever since coming home from school is that flustered run-in with that semi-good acquaintance from high school. I always end up being in a state of disarray during these instances.

But when that semi-good acquaintance asks you to coffee or brunch and you exchange your new numbers in all that “I haven’t seen you in a while” niceness, keep in mind these tips for your next meeting. This way, you’ll be sure to keep up that “I was moderately well dressed when you knew me last, a time when I was relying on my mother’s pocketbook for all my fashion needs but can still maintain that look even though I am less than penniless at the moment,” appearance.

That’s right, an impressive edition of $100 or Less perfectly suited for Brunch with the Gals.

$100 or Less: Brunch with the Gals

And now for the breakdown:

Black Diamante Rose Stud Earrings via River Island – $5.00

Amity Bow Kitten Heels in Rust via Shop Ruche – $34.99

Porch Swing Dance Skirt via Modcloth – $35.00

BDG Printed Sheer V-Neck via Urban Outfitters – $9.99

Grand Total: $94.98

At this rate, you’ll even have enough cash left over for a bottomless mimosa to help you through the dreaded catch-up chat. Throw your locks up into a sloppy sweet topknot, spritz on your favorite perfume, and, if you’re feeling daring, a red lip. A navy/cream/maroon cardigan might also be in order.

Do note, this outfit works best assuming you have a base canvas of a solid leather bag, warm winter coat, and black tights.  You know, that stuff you bought before you were broke.

All my best for your brunch date, good luck, and be sure to brag about your new European boyfriend you met taking Honours Chemistry 410.

Until next time,

The Fashion Serf


Winter Wishes

It’s that time of year again. Stores are brimming with gotta-get-em-now deals that seem too good to be true. So in honour of this month of shopping bliss, I took a minute to whip up my Christmas list in an ideal world (i.e. where my wallet is fatter than my never used once credit card and driver’s license combined).

Winter Wishes

And the wishes are: 1. Topshop Longsleeve Collar Tip Shirt (here) 2. Club Monaco Beatrice Pant (here) 3. Urban Outfitters Felt Porkpie Hat (here) 4. The Splurge: Tom Binns Rokoco Dumont Earrings (here) 5. Zara Bowling Bag (here) 6. Need Supply Piping Oxford (here) 7. Dents Bow Detail Glove (here) 8. Madewell Scallop Lace Top (here) 9. Modcloth It’s Good to Be Chrome Skirt (here) 10. Madewell T-Strap Mini Wedge (here)

Coincidentally most of the items go together in one way or another and could be easily remixed to create some off the charts holiday outfits. But fear not! Actual gift guides for those of us on a budget who have more than a few difficult-to-shop-for folks on our lists are in the works and will be posted before you know it! First up: Gift Guide for the Girly Gal.

Until then, HAVE YOU ENTERED THE GIVEAWAY?! There are only a few hours left!! Click here to get lucky.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


1,000th Post GIVEAWAY

I’ve reached a huge Tumblr milestone: 1,000 posts!

To celebrate I’m sponsoring TTYLUSA’s first ever giveaway. The prize for first place is an incredible piece from Mawi London’s Gypsy Rani line from the brand’s AW06 collection, valued at over $500.

The second place winner will receive a treasure trove of four vintage accessories delivered in keepsake boxes of my own design, seen below.

How do I enter, you may be asking? It’s SO easy! Just follow these three simple steps:

1. Follow TTYLUSA on Tumblr
2. Follow TTYLUSA on Bloglovin’
3. Then leave a comment with your email address at the very bottom of this post!

Two winners will then be picked at random at midnight (CST) Monday, November 26th.

NOTE: This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to the winners, Lacey of My Boring Closet (1st prize) and Rachael H. (2nd prize)! If you weren’t so lucky this time, fear not! More giveaways await 🙂

In the meantime, entertain yourselves with some gems from my tumblr archives spanning the last three years of my life.

Some people dismiss tumblr as a mindless forum hosting a hodge podge of pretty pictures and miscellaneous links. For me, Tumblr has served as an ever-faithful journal of what piques my interest at any certain moment in time. It’s actually been surprisingly fun to sift through the photos, videos, links, and quotes I’ve posted over the years. And it’s been especially delightful to realize how much I’ve changed in that short amount of time.

Want more TTYLUSA history? Check out my archives!

There are so many blogs having giveaways right now, just in time for the holidays! Check out Fashion Ocean for one too, but don’t forget to enter the TTYLUSA GIVEAWAY!

ttyl,
Maria Nichole

Please note that this giveaway is not sponsored by any brand, company or other affiliate. The prize for first place was selected from my own personal collection; the prizes for second place were purchased at vintage shops and markets in London and across the United States. If you have any questions regarding this giveaway, please feel free to email me at ttylusablog@gmail.com.


It’s Vote’n Time

Hey everyone! Just wanted to send out this friendly reminder into the interwebs reminding you to get on out to your local polling place and cast your valuable vote. Only you can do it!

Don’t know where to vote? Check out this website.

Did you miss the last presidential debate? Lucky you, the New York Times uploaded the whole thing to YouTube.

Need a refresher on your local issues up for revision this election cycle? Visit your town’s local news websites to get the full briefing.

Curious about the issues concerning us gals that could be decided by the results of this election? Watch this video (below).

“You Don’t Own Me” PSA -Official from You Don’t Own Me on Vimeo.

Regardless of your political ideologies, it’s more important than ever that women get out to vote. Sorry guys, but you’ve had the power of government on your side for almost always. Consider the points made by former Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles, taken from her November letter from the editor:

“[Women] make up 51 percent of the country’s population but represent only 17 percent of Congress. You do the math….It’s astounding to me that in the history of Congress, only 217 women have held office compared with 11,279 men….if Congress were representative of the population, with 51 percent of seats filled by women, do you think we’d still be debating about contraception? Of course not. We’d be focused on jobs, the economy, education, and the myriad of pressing matters that really need our attention now….Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, having women’s voices heard and represented is something we should all be able to agree on.”

To me, that extremely astute argument is huge. We are leaps and bounds closer to equality in America than when our grandmother’s were our age, even our own mothers, but there is no denying that we still have a long way to go.

I’m not a true blue fan of either party. In fact, most days I have a sarcastic word or two for the political puppet show that massive media makes of our national elections. But I am a fan of my personal voice being heard concerning issues regarding my body, healthcare, gender-equal pay, education, foreign policy, and human rights.

So, I will vote today for the millions of women of the world who do not have the right to vote, and may never live to gain it. I will vote today so I won’t become a statistic of female non-voters. I will vote today in hopes that the world will be a fairer place for my future daughters.

I will vote today, and so should you, sister.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


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.

———————————–

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!


WIW: Orchard Outing

The other day P and I finally made it out to a local orchard to pick our own peck of apples. It was an incredibly beautiful autumn day and we treated ourselves to a HUGE caramel apple, made right on the orchard.

P shot all of these photos on lovely black and white film. The colours were great that day but I love the vintagey feel of monochrome.

Above is my “I’ve got caramel all over my face and the wind is blowing my hair right into it” face. Yeah.

Anyways, here’s what I wore!

Dress/UrbanOutfitters, Belt/Vintage, Woven Flats/Vintage, Earrings/Vintage, Bag/Lucky Brand, Scarf (on bag)/Stolen from Mom!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


WIW: Witching Hour

witching hour noun ˈwi-chiŋˈau̇(-ə)r : the time of day when supernatural creatures such as witches, demons, and ghosts are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful and black magic to be most effective.

Scroll through for the whole scoop!

P and I had a great time shooting these pictures while paying a visit to a local cemetery. I am dying over the extreme fall vibes. Perfectly spooky!

My favorite part of this outfit is my jewelry. I’m wearing three vintage bracelets, one with all ten commandments as charms, one with ‘best’ and ‘friends’ charms; I love them both! One of my rings is from UO and the creepy clutching hand one is a design of my own, wrought out of sterling silver with a blue agate stone.

After all the hocus pocus, we retreated inside to relax over hot chai lattes and a cozy movie night.

Here’s What I Wore:

wool fedoraasos wool sweater – gap (similar herecotton maxi skirt – h&m leather baglucky brand scarf (on bag) – vintage leather stud boots – urban outfitters (ancient) sparkly socks – new look london jewels – see above!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


It’s That Time Again…

Mid-season sale time, that is! For guys and gals on a seriously college-level budget (like me), this is your chance to stock up on essentials and snag that trendy swag you’ve been lusting after all season.

Below is me this summer, on location in San Francisco for a Mawi London piece about our amazing American stockists. I’m wearing a Topshop dress that I scored during their spring mid-season sale. I love it to death, and it’s easily become my most-worn piece of clothing.

I’ve rounded up my top ten picks from Topshop’s sale. Hopefuly I’ll actually be able to invest in some of them but for now it’s just wishful shopping. Have a look below!

TOPSHOP: Top ten picks from the mid-season sale

1. Mix and Match Sweatshirt: For those grumpy/hurried/oops-I-slept-in days where you throw on some black leggings, yank your hair into a topknot and stomp around in your most bad-girl booties.

2. Rib V Jumper by Boutique: For always.

3. Wash Zip Tunic by Boutique: Been obsessed with this dress since I saw Elle Fanning wearing a similar one, also by Boutique.

4. Floral Print Mesh-Backed Maxi Dress: Throw on pick numbers two and ten and you’ve got a perfectly disheveled fall ensemble.

5. Lace Soft Bra: No explanation necessary. Considering going wireless forever.

6. Spike Bobbies:  Spikes are almost too on-trend at the moment but, for the days when your hair could use some edge.

7. Oxblood Calf-Length Wrap Skirt: Not usually one for the lo-high hemline but this one hits the mark. Plus, oxblooooooooood.

8. Metallic Lace Flippy Dress: Pastels, check. Lace, check. Metallic? Yes please!

9. Oversized Boyfriend Coat: Been drooling over this since Christmas, literally.

10. Aerobic Hi-Top Trainer Wedges: Because I can’t resist the wedge sneaker anymore! I’ve been trying but, let’s be honest, they are awesome.

What are you sizing up and hunting down during this month’s sale season? Anything specific? Let me know in the comments below!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Movie Mania: Picnic at Hanging Rock

One of my top ten favorite movies of all time is the 1975 eerie cult classic Picnic at Hanging Rock.

If you’ve never seen it, the movie follows students at Appleyard College for Girls in Australia on Valentine’s Day, 1900, along a day trip to a local geological marvel known as Hanging Rock. Intense, intertwined relationships are revealed between students and faculty. I’ll leave the real mysteries up to the film to portray, but eventually several girls and a beloved teacher go missing without a trace.

Picnic at Hanging Rock, directed by the masterful Peter Weir (he also directed The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society, Master and Commander), ran away with the 1976 BAFTA for ‘Best Cinematography,’ and deservedly so. There is an exceptional amount of tension building throughout the film, verging on hysterics at some points, and all emotions are heightened with excellent set design and cinematography.

I love how open to interpretation this movie is. There are all sorts of theories that Weir wanted to lead the audience to its own final conclusion about the school girl’s end.

The strange noises and dream-like delirium point directly toward alien abduction, or was it those two roguish young Brits looking for some sadistic mischief? Or did the young ladies simply fall to their demise down a rocky trench? All of that is up to you to decide.

Of course I have to mention the brilliant wardrobe of Picnic at Hanging Rock. It’s nothing too complicated, period appropriate school-girl dress: all-white frocks buttoned to the chin, complete with matching gloves. The most striking thing about the costume choice is that it evokes so much context within such a simple garment. The girls are young, pure, white, yet not untainted. They have struggles and serious emotions just like any of us, but these aspects of their lives are stifled by strict censorship, protocol, and social conditioning.

Even as the troupe of hikers climb further up the rock, their inhibitions lighten and they begin to remove parts of their ensembles. First their boots and stockings, hats and gloves. Eventually, Ms. McGraw, the last to disappear, is said to have been seen climbing the rock in only her undergarments.

The girl’s clothing also nods to the overwhelmingly feminine feel of the film. A dreamlike haze rests over the majority of the scenes; school girls languidly brushing their hair, pining over personal shrines, and generally traipsing about in a childish daze. Whether you think it’s creepy or cool, I drew up a style board inspired by the fashions of the young ladies at Appleyard College for Girls.Style Inspiration: Picnic at Hanging Rock

Okay, hopefully you forgave the obnoxious number of beautiful screen shots from Hanging Rock but I am just so in love with the look and feel of this film.
What do you think of it? Kind of Sofia Coppola-esque, no? It reminds me of the over-the-top femininity of The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette. Let me know in the comments!
Until next time!
ttyl,
Maria Nichole

Birthday Bash

Okay, so officially I’ve been 20 years old (young, I’d like to say!) for three weeks now. But I thought I’d post a recap of my really great birthday weekend just for fun.

A few weeks ago, P and I took a day trip up to Duluth, MN for some much-needed away time.

We also went to pick up my extremely amazing birthday gift! P got me a Duluth Pack, a world-renowned brand that campers, hikers, scholars, and your run of the mill hipsters have adored for over a hundred years. Their products are guaranteed for life and made exclusively at their shop in Duluth.

For ttylusa’s first edition of the now-weekly Kitties and Pretties, we went to shoot some pictures at Enger Tower (below), a park at the highest point in Duluth. It was a perfectly crisp, cool fall day.

Look at the incredible views! It was raining over in the south western part of Duluth, cool huh?

We weren’t there for long, however, when a sudden storm blew in from the lake and rained us out.

Afterwards, we took a great drive up Highway 61 along the coast of Lake Superior which has some outstanding views (above!). We took a late supper at an incredible restaurant called Pickwick’s; the meal was exquisite.

Besides the tantalizing menu, Pickwick’s is a great place to grab a bite as it’s story is entrenched in Duluth’s interesting history. It’s a little fuzzy but check out the picture of the night prohibition was repealed in 1932; the pub section still looks exactly the same. I love thinking of the droves of people who have passed in and out of this restaurant over the years. I’m a history nerd, what can I say?

After dinner we drove back home tucked inside of our cozy car, amid a deluge of rain.

On my actual birthday, I went to breakfast with my family at a favorite cafe and was later treated to tea and apple pie at home. Sometimes I feel a little too old for birthday gifts but my parents got me the complete French and Spanish editions of Living Language (similar to, and arguably better than, Rosetta Stone).

I was thrilled because I plan to one day enroll in the master class at Lesage in Paris to learn tambour from the legends whose work you see in collections from Balmain to Oscar de la Renta. Obviously that won’t be for at least four years but I’m going to start brushing up on my French in preparation!

At this point in my life, I adore birthdays. I use them as an excuse to be indulgent, spend time with friends and family, and maybe, just mayyybe, splurge a little on a shopping spree. What are your birthday traditions? Are you one of those paint the town red types? The hide under your covers, wear all black, pretend it didn’t happen types? Join the conversation in the comments below!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole

All photos courtesy of Peter Elliott Eaton


Getting Cozy

Well last night was the first official frost here in Eau Claire. And, I’ve officially diagnosed myself with a cold.

So, in my self-inflicted couch ridden-ness, I created a polyvore for fool-proof fall coziness, complete with cute fuzzy slippers and immune supplements!

Get Cozy

But seriously, when you’re feeling under the weather and the weather is less than encouraging, take full advantage of these facts and pull out all the stops in the layering sector. No one gets to judge you round this time of year, especially if your sick.

And, if they do say something snarky about your too-hip patterned leggings, you can always threaten to give a hefty cough in their direction.

Tune in next time for the full dish on my brilliant birthday weekend!

Until then, stay warm dear reader.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Movie Mania: Singin’ in the Rain

My love affair with the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain began when I was approximately six years old; The obsession has grown exponentially ever since. Believe it or not, but I give this movie a lot of credit for helping to develop my sense of humour and of fashion. Keep reading to learn more.

The effectiveness with which directors Gene Kelly (Don Lockwood) and Stanley Donen capture the glamour and excitement of Hollywood in the mid 1920’s is astounding. Their budget of $2.5 million, a part of MGM’s golden age of movie production, probably helped.

If you’ve never seen it, run to your nearest video rental/redbox/bestbuy right NOW. It’s a classic for a reason people. Also, for you film nerds, the wiki page includes an incredible amount of “did you know” quality tidbits that I was really surprised to learn of!

Donald O’Connor’s ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ bit is my case in point. Turns out he had to be hospitalized following that shoot, who knew? In the act’s closing tricks, when he hilariously jumps through that wall? That part was an accident.

Besides the production infamy, he is such a natural physical comedian that the kitschiness of the whole thing has never bothered me. That year O’Connor was awarded Best Actor at the Golden Globes for his role as Cosmo Brown, and deservedly so. Below, O’Connor and Kelly making a mockery of their elocution lessons.

After cozying up with a hot cup of tea and re-watching the film recently,  I realized its incredible scale. A large portion of it is shot inside studios on closed sets which seem, at times, the size of airplane hangars. Check out the photo below, a shot of an exquisite modern dance sequence. Obviously that’s a pretty intense paint job but still, that space is gigantic!My favorite sequence of Singin’ in the Rain is “Beautiful Girls.” In this instance the audience really gets a feel for the magnitude of the film’s costume budget. A dozen models, in addition to another dozen dancers parade about in fabulous frocks. Check out the  full scene below. The action starts at :53.

“And if you must wear fox to the opera, Dame Fashion says, diet!” God, I can’t get enough!

Aside from that act, I think dancer Cyd Charisse steals the show for the whole of the Dueling Cavalier sequence. For the longest time I was convinced her part was played by two women! Her form is exquisite and her costumes equally so. The wig helps, but Charisse transforms from sultry femme fatale (below) to dreamy stunner (also above, in white) simply through dress and movement.

The feathers! The glitz! The beading! The chiffon! The drop-waists! Need I go on? I think I’ve mentioned this a few times already but the costumes of Singin’ in the Rain are absolutely fabulous. Even though she’s obviously the antagonist, the brilliant Jean Hagan (Lina Lamont)wears some of my favorite dresses of the whole film. Look at the intricate beading of her ensemble below. I’ve GOT to find a way to replicate that head band!

Apparently Debbie Reynolds ended up with a whole lot of the most iconic costumes from the film in her own private collection until an auction in 2011. They’re a bit faded but check out the pieces from the “Good Morning” scenes, below. I love the art deco flair of that sweater.

So if I haven’t exhausted the subject quite enough yet, I was so inspired that a drew up a style board derived from the modern-day wearability of Singin’ in the Rain’s costumes.

Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments! Got a movie you’re a maniac about? Love this film like me? Let me know your favorite song! I could talk for hours about it, obviously 🙂

Beautiful Girls
Until next time!
ttyl,
Maria Nichole

Kitties and Pretties: First Edition

Today I’m revealing to the world something that, up until now, I’ve only hinted at here and there. Think what you may, but aside from being a serious student, a lover of all things literary, fashion, film, and craft, I am also deeply pleased by the subject of this post: kitties and pretties!

It’s exactly what it sounds like, an absolutely indulgent, hilarious, wonderful subject that is simply a way to have some visual fun with this blog and throw a hefty dose of cuteness into the world amidst a whole lot of really bummer subjects. Enjoy!

Above, a box full of vintage earrings, all recently found and upcycled from clip-ons. Also seen are some vintage bracelets. A new favorite of mine has one of the ten commandments punched onto each charm; I can’t get enough of the kitschy Sunday school vibes.  It’s also proof that I never hesitate to add an element of humour to my outfits — I told you I’m a jewellery addict! And now for this week’s kitty…

Above is one of my favorite little kitties, Nola, a resident of P’s new house. She was adopted for free from an ad on Craigslist but everyone thinks she’s a Bengal. I love her to death because she’s so smart! She’ll play fetch for hours. See below for more pretties pictures.

Above, a vintage strawberry pin.

Well there you have it! Next up: the full scoop on my most excellent birthday weekend.

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Currently Crushing: Tatty Devine

Gosh, I have such a huge crush on British jewellery brand Tatty Devine. Their AW12 collection is chalk full of their trademark perspex riddled with whimsy, this time featuring super cool moths and playful leopards. Check it!

Not only does this designing duo crank out cult favorites season after season (see their much-loved dinosaur necklace), they have an incredible way of reaching out to their customers, both via social media and in person. They even feature a customer of the month on their blog! And their customers are a very, very devoted bunch.

I am just dying right now for not being back in London yet; I would do just about anything to get to their amazing events coming up in October. I’m telling you, they are AWESOME, right?

Another really pro-customer and pushing-the-envelope type thing they do are design your own name necklaces. For this, you can go straight to one of their two stores, in Covent Garden or on Brick Lane, OR you can design your very own name necklace (really whatever word you want, although I haven’t tried any dirty ones) online! WHAAAT!

There are over a dozen colors to choose from, little trinkets to add on, and several kinds of fonts making thousands of possible combinations! I might be a little too excited about this, but I am a huge jewellery addict and these gals are doing some great things in the realm of accessories. Above: infinite adorableness in the Tatty Devine Covent Garden window displays, by artist Amy Harris.

I’m also a big fan of their moderate to medium-expensive price range. As your typical shoestring budget student, I mostly ‘invest’ in thrift store jewellery but I would splurge (a little!) for anything Tatty Devine in a heartbeat. I haven’t actually gotten my hands on a piece yet but I think a birthday present to myself may be in order. On my wishlist are…

…these Leopard Stud Earrings in caramel…

…and this supremely fabulous Frida Kahlo necklace!

What do you think of Tatty Devine? Got a crush too? Lemme know in the comments!

ttyl,

Maria Nichole


Follow Me on Bloglovin’

Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know that you can now Follow my blog with Bloglovin!


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.

——————————————————

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.


Quilting Quest

Hello all! No, we didn’t die tragically during the Great American Road Trip. We didn’t even get a minor traffic violation. So what’s the deal, you may be asking. Truthfully, it’s a combination of sheer summer laziness and also 80% of the photos from the trip were shot on film and have only just been developed. Keep an eye out for the full scoop coming soon.

Image

But what I’m really excited about lately is my quilting quest. I’ve always been kind of astounded at the intricacy and folk art of quilts, not to mention the women who make them. Shortly after getting back home from our trip, LoisLouis and I accompanied my favorite grandma Evelyn to the Chippewa Valley Quilt Show at the senior’s center in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it until Evelyn mentioned that she had a keepsake quilt top that my great grandmother had fashioned out of old flour sacks and dresses during Evelyn’s childhood in the 40’s. I couldn’t wait to see it!

After the quilt show (which was much more fascinating that I had originally anticipated), we stumbled upon a mini flea market that was on for Chippewa’s Clear Water Days. Here we found a true treasure trove of astonishingly inexpensive vintage tidbits: silk scarves, 20’s era trims and embellishments, crochet table cloths, and a beautiful but raggedy quilt top from the same era as my great grandmother’s. I snapped up an armload of stuff for a miniscule $8 and our trio headed back to the Nelson homestead.

I’m on a quest to make my great grandma’s quilt top into a fully-functional, wrap-yourself-in-it-during-a-bad-cold-and-sip-some-hot-tea-on a-rainy-day quilt. Once I restore the flea market quilt top (see above photo) using a technique I learned at the quilt show, it will be the backing for my great grandma’s. Keep scrolling for a brief tutorial.

Please note: I am NOT a quilter. My most-uttered phrase when sewing is “Oh, I’m sure that will do.” I was told this is literally the simplest, most fool-proof way to construct a quilt. If you’re like me, then this quilting style is for you.

Image

Step one: Cut a small square of fabric, any size. Mine was approximately 2.5×2.5″

Image

Step two: Pin your first square to another sqaure of fabric of the same size. I got so lazy that I didn’t bother cutting the second square and just continued to the next step (trust me, it works).

Image

Image

Step three: Sew all the way around your two squares leaving a small seam allowance.

Image

Step four: Draw two diagonal lines from corner to corner onto your sewn squares. Then create a small slit with a pair of scissors. Once you can get the tip of the scissors through, carefully cut along the lines, right to your sewing at the corners of your squares. If that sounds confusing, it’s not. See above photo.

Image

Step five: Pull apart the newly created flaps and reveal the center of your quilting square! I ironed all of mine flat before continuing to the next step but, I’m sure it would be fine if you just left it as is.

Image

Image

Image

Step six: Continue to repeat steps two through five until desired effect is achieved. I usually did this two or three times, depending on the size of patch I needed.

Keep scrolling to see more color combos and size variations. You can really go crazy with this pattern, be as matchy-matchy and or devil-may-care as you wish.

Image

Image

So now you know. Have you ever given this technique a try? Let me know! I’m also dying to see how others have restored heirloom quilts so don’t forget to comment, I’d love to hear all about it!

I got some more inspiration for this project from a recent trip to the Art Institute of Chicago’s American Textiles exhibit. Stay tuned these next few weeks for more on that.

xxx

Maria Nichole


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.

 

View original post