RSS
 

Archive for November, 2011

The unexpected

29 Nov

{ shopping: }

Daily outfit, Versace for H&M silk skirt, black blouse, black tights, black sandals

Let’s face it, this look is pretty hot. This would be my fall-back outfit if I couldn’t find a way to make this new skirt work. My new Versace for H&M skirt. There, I said it. I was one of those people who made the trek and tested her luck. Here’s how it all went down. My husband and I had taken a red-eye to New York; we were going to stay in the East Village and spend Thanksgiving week with one of our best friends and have dinner with his family. A few days earlier I was telling a friend of mine at work that I was excited about the upcoming release Friday, I thought I might check out the store before going to work. Here is where the first part of the adventure starts. I had the date wrong. The release was set for the Saturday of my early morning arrival.

Next thing I know, I’m contemplating whether I could have the cab detour on the way from the airport to the closest store to my friend’s place after landing. Anyone who’s taken a red-eye topped nicely with a sleeping pill knows that couldn’t possibly happen. I slept through the flight, as expected, remaining only moderately coherent for the next few hours while the successful attempt at managing my slumber wore off. I was in no condition to face a crowd, let alone handle any type of monetary transaction with precision. Or trying pants on. So I laid my head down and slept.

I woke up around 11:00am and decided that once properly fed and showered, I might investigate the idea. I had reneged on my previous commitment to actually go, I was now in a contemplative state while sipping hot coffee. It might sound like I took a few steps back on this whole thing but stay with me. Around 1:00pm, a quick internet search revealed that the nearest store in SoHo was indeed walking distance. I knew I was getting a late start, I’d heard about the lines; I also knew I had nothing to lose. What I knew most of all was that I was not going to subscribe to any kind of frenzy. I was willing to check it out but if it looked like a zoo, I would turn back and leave. Honestly, I assumed that I had missed my chance. Still, I walked down the five flights of stairs, made a left and headed out into the brisk November air.

I spotted H&M easily enough; I popped in and found nothing. A little disappointed that there wasn’t even a trace of a display, I quickly realized this store had probably not carried the line and that the store listing online had been erroneous. Nonetheless, I asked a dressing room attendant where the nearest store carrying Versace was only to be told it was right down the street. A block away, maybe two at most. I strolled over while the clocked ticked. A few minutes later, I walked down a flight of stairs to a line of people and started asking, “is this the…” to which an affirmative nod told me all I needed to know. So I got in line. It was that easy.

It was that easy! There were maybe twenty-five people ahead. It turned out they were letting people into the gated area as others left which kept things incredibly civilized. I had missed the rush, the time slots, everything. The woman in front of me and I chatted to pass the time. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Before I knew it, my turn was up. I picked through and found a few things I liked and made my way to the dressing room, elated and a little giddy.

Look, I’m just as surprised as you are how this whole thing went down. I had no expectations, if anything, I was madly curious. I wanted to see the clothes first-hand. Versace’s style isn’t even right for me, it’s completely over the top. But like any curious and adventurous fashion lover I had to see. Fast-forward to the present. It’s safe to assume I tried every possible suitable combination in my wardrobe to come up with a way to personalize the skirt. And so while the look at the top is hot and perfect for a night out, it’s also predictably safe. I want to wear this skirt to work; this is how I’m going to do it.

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit, Versace for H&M silk skirt, rust tights, green cashmere sweater, vintage necklace

Vintage Vendome crystal necklace

{ deets: }

Black top/Laundry by Shelli Segal, paradise skirt/Versace for H&M, black tights/unknown, sandals/Franco Sarto, green cashmere sweater/Bloomingdale’s, rust tights/WeLoveColors.com, brown studded booties/Dolce Vita via Poshmark, vintage crystal necklace/Hell’s Kitchen flea market.

{ promo: }

I have a confession to make. I’ve become completely addicted to Poshmark. It’s an iPhone app that allows you to take pictures of your clothes to sell and follow other sellers to buy their clothes and accessories. It’s a much classier solution to ebay, complete with fun photo filters and the approachability of apps like Instagram. Check it out and tell me what you think. You’re going to be seeing a lot more cute things that I bought via Poshmark in the near future. Check out their facebook page for more info. I was one of their early beta testers and am absolutely loving it.

 
 

Anniversary special: A year of hair

15 Nov

{ hair: }

{ 1 }

On November 1, I turned 44. On November 7, The House in the Clouds turned 1. November is a pretty special month! I decided to put together a couple anniversary specials, starting with a year of hairstyles. Those of you who have been around for this past year know that my hair is a perpetual work in progress. In other words, it never looks the same for long. Each cut and color evolves into the next thing; there’s no road map, no destination. The only thing that is not currently in the cards is lopping it all off. It’s taken me exactly 8 years to grow it out to the length it is from the short spiky platinum ‘do I was donning when I first met future hubby.

short spiky platinum blond hair

There were many false starts. One salon processed it for so long that it broke off and after spending an entire morning crying about it, I cut it off and started again. A couple years later, one particularly dusty Burning Man dehydrated it to the point of no return and the growing out process took a turn for the worse. An emergency home dye job turned it green, the following weekend I found salvation at a highly-recommended salon. Not still out of the woods, I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But it cost a pretty penny.

A couple years later an aggressive savings plan put me back in the home dye camp. While I didn’t do any damage this time around, I didn’t do anything noteworthy either. This wasn’t a memorable year in terms of color or cut. Almost all one length and mostly flat honey blonde. I have too much hair not to have it thinned out regularly. It looked like the letter “A” and did nothing to enhance my features. Then I met my future friend and hair stylist, Nicole. A genius with hair. It’s safe to say that I’ve never looked back.

a year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstylesa year of hairstyles

Having seen the diversity of my hair color and styles in the past year, what do you think I should do next? Do you have any particular favorites? I’m curious what you guys think.

 

 
 

FBFF Visual: The naked face.

11 Nov

{ fbff: }

Wearing no makeup

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Fashion Beauty Friend Friday but I couldn’t pass this up. After talking up the fantasy of make-up a few days ago, I had to bare it all. I did not retouch these photos in any way, shape or form except to adjust the lighting slightly. It’s all here for you, laugh lines and everything. Some people call them crow’s feet. I say it’s just proof that I’m having fun. If I’m going to wrinkle, which is inevitable as I age, then heck, I want good wrinkles. The kind you get from living a good and happy life.

Oh, make-up, how do I love thee? A lot! It’s fun, it’s decorative, it can emphasize my big hazel eyes and downplay dark shadows below them. Ultimately, I like my face. I may wear make-up every day but I’m not embarrassed to be seen without it. I don’t think I’m uglier without it. It’s my face. Highly expressive, slowly changing with time, imperfect, forty-four years old now. Still, my face.

Franca of Oranges and Apples is hosting this week. Visit her to check out participating bloggers. Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for encouraging this topic. Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

Wearing no makeup

And a special thanks to the hubby for taking advantage of this opportunity to photobomb me. It’s no wonder I have laugh lines.

 

Transformative powers

10 Nov

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfit, mixing patterns

Daily outfit, grey wedge sneaker, grey tights, grey wool coat

Daily outfit, wearing red mini skirt, vintage cowl neck sweater with orange and grey stripes, grey wool coat, grey tights

{ personal: }

One of my closest friends called me the other day, my husband and I were in the car driving home. Our car had just decided to make an unsavory alarming sound, probably due to some after-market install. I couldn’t really talk over it and told my friend I’d call him right back. As soon as we got home my husband started investigating the problem while I unloaded the car. I had been at a design conference for two days in San Francisco, literally one block from Sephora. I had stopped in on the way back home to pick up a gift for a couple friends. And myself, apparently.

Unloading the car is handled one of two ways in my household. Based on the day of the week, I either dump everything on the bench by the front door and ignore until the next day or I meticulously put everything in its rightful place. On this particular Friday I chose the latter. Let me elaborate on the meticulous part — it involves the trying on of suitable purchases, such as new clothes or make-up. My reality is often intermingled with such fantastic interruptions. I had given in to the temptation of a natural eyeshadow and blush kit that barely cost twice as much as the single eyeshadow from Make Up For Ever that I normally buy. Impulse shopping at its finest.

While taking the kit out of its box, I found myself mesmerized by the silver shades and gave them a try. One thing led to another, close to an hour flew by. As I found myself snapping a picture of it to share on Instagram I remembered my friend in New York. I called him back immediately and explained the series of events that led to the delay. “I was playing with make-up and I forgot to call you back.” As we FaceTimed each other on our phones, both of us laying down — he on his bed and me on a cozy rug in my bedroom — I delved further into the female psyche, specifically mine.

Make-up and fashion are not just a form of expression, they are also a form of escape and fantasy. Those of us with a passion for one or the other, or both, understand the transformative powers they each possess. I am not a celebrity with a perfect life, I’m a woman in her forties who celebrated her birthday with tea instead of a proper cocktail because of the lingering effects of having pneumonia. I’m a woman who’s a little exhausted by the demands of work. Getting lost in the moment of make-up is a brief escape — I admit to getting completely absorbed by the precision of applying silver eyeshadow on the inside and mid-section of my eye lids, (but definitely not by the lashes or the outer areas, that wouldn’t work.) It’s similar to junk TV for my brain. There’s a Zen to it. While I pride myself in my ability to multi-task on a day-to-day basis, when I get lost in putting an outfit together or working out a new way to wear eye make-up, I get lost in the moment.

Being able to escape reality is important, it’s especially important to me to be cognizant of it. I like forgetting my troubles. I’m not neglecting them, I’m taking a break. As children we played make-believe and it was perfectly acceptable. We nourished our creative sides with fantasy, unknowingly developing problem-solving skills by thinking outside the box. It didn’t matter that we lived in an apartment. There was a farm with a dog and a cow in the bedroom, right next to the castle to the left of the bed. Imagination knows no bounds. I work in a creative field, interestingly enough, the most demanding aspects requiring imagination are not specific to design. They are more often called upon to solve logistical problems, whether it be scheduling or process driven. They further come in handy with regards to working with others.

If I can imagine the way someone else thinks and processes information, I am better able to speak their dialect. That’s a very adult thing to do with imagination. Then there’s make-up. If I can play with silver eye-shadow and make my eyes sparkle, I feel I sparkle. It doesn’t have to be a conscious intention, it just happens. The only thing I need to be conscious of is whether the transformative power is positive or negative. My friend understood and forgave me for getting side-tracked. I sent him off to his slumber with a kiss and plans to visit the following week.

 { fbff: }

Check back in on Friday, November 11 for Fashion Beauty Friend Friday. The visual topic is for us bloggers to show a picture of ourselves without any make-up on. See me in my natural state.

{ style tip: }

I may have only been pattern mixing in the last year but I feel like a pro with some of my bolder choices. What made this outfit work was that I kept the palette limited to only a few primary colors: grey and red-orange. The use of grey helped neutralize the impact of the red tones. Try it out! And then leave me your url in the comment section so that I can see how you styled your patterns. Remember, you’re even more beautiful when you’re having fun!

{ deets: }

Red mini skirt/Urban Outfitters, vintage striped cowl neck sweater/eBay, grey wool coat/Bebe, grey tights/WeLoveColors.com, wedge sneakers/Tsubo.