Sunday, February 07, 2016

I Was Born to Distract

I was once asked to remove these earrings during class as the teacher thought they were too, "Distracting." 1980 was such an innocent time, before teachers knew what distractions were yet to come. Looking at them today, it is hard to see what would have been so terribly interesting that it would keep students from their work. 
You want distracting? I've got distracting right here in this Diane Freis dress from the 1980's. With all the ruffles and wild colours I've come to think of this as the, "Carnival Dress", and so it was only fitting I wear it this weekend. 
 Did someone say, "Huge sleeves?" Well, here ya go.
I wouldn't have worn anything like this in the 80's, but through some fluke I now own two very loud, Diane Freis dresses. My mother had several in this style, but she was tall which helps with a dropped waist...I mean, on the dress. My waist dropped years ago along with my boobs. 

These dresses sell for crazy amounts of money at 1st Dibs, and other designer spots for vintage around the net. I found both of mine at Goodwill. As far as I can tell (where I live anyway) there are still plenty of them out there in the thrifts for considerably less than $595.00! I think I paid about five dollars. They're easy to spot by the wild designs, but also by the elasticised drop-waist design. They're worth keeping an eye out for. The design of these dresses makes them comfortable to wear, and forgiving if you put on a few pounds. 

Whenever I wear this dress I find myself wishing I owned a bottle of Poison, but looking through my perfume collection I settled on Fragile. It felt like a good fit, though it isn't quite as forceful as an outfit like this seems to demand. Next time, I'm doing Knowing. 

Outfit Particulars:
Diane Freis dress (80's) Goodwill
Sweater coat-Dots, about 15 years ago
Brooch-Antique store somewhere in Massachusetts
Early 80's earrings-I Think they came from The Limited, but I could be wrong. After three decades it all gets a bit murky.
Bracelets-I believe all of them came from K Mart at various times.
Boots-K Mart
Vintage Johansen handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Jean Paul Gaultier  Fragile

I rarely wear stretch bracelets as they tend to cut off my circulation, but these are comfortable. The large blue ones need to be worn higher up because when they sit at my wrist they are heavy enough to bang at my wrist bones. The joys of RA! I've found that juggling the bangles/bracelets/rings around typically comes up with a way I can wear them comfortably. It might change day to day, but eventually I figure it out. Sometimes I can wear things later in the day that wouldn't go over my hand early in the morning. I won't even talk about shoes. It hurts to be fabulous!

I found a store in Omaha that stocks my favourite mints in the whole entire world. Naturally, I bought two dozen packets. Violets are one of my favourite edible flowers, and the mints smell so incredible it is worth keeping a packet in your purse just for the sachet quality. The lemon mints are excellent as well. Now that I know I could just order online, I never need be without them again...I have very low requirements for my happiness.

We have a busy week ahead, but I've put aside some time on Tuesday for pancake making. When Danny was little, we'd make crepes, and I'd let him have the first one or two imperfect ones. He'd cover them with the sorts of things a small child would-brown sugar, jam, chocolate chips, all of that at once, and so on. Over the years, my crepe making has improved to where I rarely mess them up, but Danny still gets the first two, perfect or otherwise. He's lucky he's an only child or he might need to fight for them! Typically, I make them early in the day and then use them for a caramelised apple pile of crepes that goes under the broiler for a minute before serving. It is a nice, once a year sort of dessert, but I've also layered them with apricot jam and melted dark chocolate.

My mother was not a pancake maker. At all. We'd have them if we went out, but that was it. In the American Midwest, pancakes tend to be a thick, fluffy, cake-like thing made with buttermilk. You can get buckwheat pancakes, or Swedish pancakes which tend to be thinner, but in most places if you order a "pancake" you're getting the sweet, fluffy things.
 Here's an old photo from a Mother's Day breakfast (Before Danny developed food allergies. This was one of his last meals eaten away from home) that can give you an idea of what, "Pancakes" means in Nebraska. They're served with whipped butter and warmed maple syrup. I think Danny was about four here. I remember they had face-painting and the woman wanted to do a funnel cloud design on him and he was laughing that we'd already had a, "Real tornado." I obviously couldn't be bothered to wear makeup, but I did drag my behind out of bed for a drive to the city for pancakes. And what pancakes they were!How many calories do you suppose a plate of carbs like that packs?

As it is traditional to get drunk and flash your tits at carnival/mardi gras, I hope this will do.

Pancake Day-fluffy or thin? Maple syrup or lemon and icing sugar? Or do you just go for a King Cake instead? I have also been drafted to make apple fritters this year.

If you're looking for my archive of lenten cakes, click on the Pages link in the sidebar.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Chop Chop

I did it myself with sewing scissors. 

I chopped off my hair this morning. I figured, I could hand over good money to someone that would give me a stupid looking haircut, or I could do it myself. With the money I saved, I can treat myself to some perfume. Any idiot should be able to cut a bob, but from what I see walking around, it seems to be a lost skill. Anyway, it came out even enough, I'm happy and I can stop screwing around with curling irons for a bit. Hooray.
Went to the library for the Friends of the Library monthly book sale in the basement. That was great, then I wandered the stacks upstairs looking for interesting books to check out.

 My vintage Mosell earrings arrived in today's post, and they're beautiful-even better than the listing led me to believe. Mosell made serious art pieces disguised as costume. I was so happy to have these for a mere $13.00 There are still great deals to be found on Etsy, but you do need to search them out. The clips on the earrings are unusually comfortable-a nice bonus.

Outfit Particulars:
1990 Anne Crimins for UMI silk suit-Some posh boutique on Newbury Street in Boston, probably long gone.
Mosell earrings-Etsy
Niello bracelet-Goodwill
Fragrance-Guerlain Parure (wearing a perfume that smells like old paper to the library was an obvious choice)

That's a one-in-a-million match on the boots and bag. I was rather pleased with myself when I put them together. I might not have many talents, but finding shoes and bags that go well together is my gift.

It will probably be another 25 years before I feel the need to wear this suit again, but I thought it deserved a trip outdoors. If this had been thrifted, I'd wear the jacket all the time, but since I know what it cost new (because I forked over the cash) I'm reluctant to let anything happen to it. I do wish I could go back and tell my younger self not to shop on Newbury Street.

I can't say I learned much about "man nipples" from the book, but here's a relevant video.

I have to figure out something interesting to do tomorrow because I don't plan to watch the Superbowl. Well, I know where to find interesting books.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Who Bakes a Cake to Match a Dress?

 Behold the candied violets and borage from last summer...
 ...and a dress to match. Sort of takes, "Matchy-Matchy" to a new level, dontcha think?
The cabin fever is setting in.

This was the first year I tried making candied borage, and I'm pleased with how they turned out. The cake is a white butter cake, and the frosting is buttercream with white chocolate and brandy. I can't decorate a cake to save my life (unless of course it is a novelty cake with someone vomiting or what have you) but the candied flowers do look pretty against the white frosting. Speaking of frosting, we were surprised with a couple more inches of unexpected snow today. Danny has bird-banding tomorrow at the state park, so that ought to be good for catching them in nets-birds seem to like freshly fallen snow and an overcast day keeps them from seeing the net waving in the sunlight.

 No, I didn't wear the shoes out-I already have a broken toe, I'm not trying for a hip.
 I bought myself some tulips yesterday as mine are just starting to emerge from the pots where I've forced them. People ask about my wild tablecloths, but they're really little more than indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric that our Hancock always seems to sell in 3 yard remnants. That's enough to cover the table, and as a bonus-they're waterproof. After a few years of washing this one has lost some of the waterproof quality, but it could easily be re-sprayed with Scotchguard. These make excellent picnic blankets as well, particularly if the ground is damp. Typically, this sort of fabric runs about $5.00 a yard on sale, so it is competitive with buying a proper tablecloth.
I'm still fighting my hair. The only reason I haven't permed it is the memory of a bad perm in 1978 is still with me. It took years to finally grow out.
 Outfit Particulars:
80's does 50's dress-Fairy Tail Costumes, Omaha
Bangles-All over
Shoes-K Mart
Vintage box bag-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Worth Dans la Nuit (I had to keep with the violet theme!)

Tomorrow is the monthly Friends of the Library book sale at the Swanson branch in Omaha (if you're a local) so I'll be sending over heart shaped butter cookies decorated with royal icing. The book sale is weekly as well on Thursdays, but the big monthly Saturday sale is always fun. That's about all I have on for the weekend, but after this crazy week I'll be happy just to loaf about watching television. 
The boys bought me a heavy, glass owl paperweight as a gift . I'm calling him "Onion Eyes" because they look like little boilers studded with peppercorns. This thing is heavy, and I'm thinking it could be a good weapon, in a pinch. Perhaps I ought to carry it in my handbag. "Look out, I'm armed with a glass owl!" I mean, just about everyone in Nebraska has a gun but how many people are packing an owl? Points for originality. At the moment he's residing on the piano beside the glass squirrel paperweight. 

Owl right then...hope you have a lovely weekend. 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Fuck the Empire (Waist)

I bought this dress without looking too closely at it, and mistook it for a square dancing frock. At home, my heart sunk seeing the empire waist. I let the elastic out of the sleeves which looses the puffed detail but keeps my arms from making me look like Popeye the Sailor. Elastic on short sleeves is always annoying-just stop it. OK? Thank you.

 This cardigan is barely holding together. It was falling apart thirty years ago when I bought it, but at a certain point it will be irreparably damaged and I will only have these photos to remember it. That's the difficult part of loving vintage - that sooner or later it ends up in the rag pile if you wear it. I've been shedding sequins like crazy today, so I know it is time to decide whether to pack it or wear it to the bitter end.
 Outfit Particulars:
Empire waist dress-New Life Thrift
Lilian Albus 1950's cashmere sequined cardigan-Some long gone thrift store on Southport Ave. In Chicago in the 80's
1950's clip crystal earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Lisner choker-Sequels thrift store
Vintage clutch bag-Goodwill
Old Navy shoes-Goodwill
Enamel bangle-can't remember
Fragrance-Bvlgari Omnia Amethyst (heliotrope and iris=meh)

Danny put his "snow day" off school to good use. When he gets to 100,000 on Centipede I'm going to make him a trophy. 
Danny's been digging through my records now that we have a turntable again, and he's finding liner notes fascinating. Some of them really did border on short novels with separate booklets, etc.
"Hey, do you have any records by people that aren't dead?"
"I never really liked The Dead..."
"No, I mean dead people."

God, was January a bad month to be an aging rock musician, or what?

Anyway, in the course of digging through all that vinyl the kid got dollar signs in his eyes and went off to check their value on eBay. I didn't even realise I owned an autographed copy of Bare Trees that had been signed by Christine McVie. I picked it up used at some point in the 70's, and never really gave it much attention. Curiously, it sells for about $150.00 which isn't bad, but the same record signed by John McVie sells for $200.00!

"See?! I told you men earn more than women for the same damn work", I yelled to Danny.

I think I'd better hide my records before he tries selling them-apparently there's people willing to fork over upwards of $700.00 for an autographed Ronnie James Dio record. I mean, that was a great day, and it was worth standing around for hours waiting to meet him and get the record signed, but $700.00?! That's fucking nuts.

 I spent the snowy day Wednesday,  chipping our car out of a block of ice. I kept trying the doors, but they were frozen shut. I nearly dislocated a shoulder tugging when I realised the doors weren't frozen but...locked. A couple beeps on the key fob and magically the doors opened. Sigh. In my defence, you can no longer tell if a door is locked by looking at it, but yeah, I felt about a million years old. Happy Birthday to me. I become my grandmother more and more each year.
 If I'm going to act like a crazy old lady I might as well dress as one. This polyester gem of a dress probably began life as a maxi but was shortened to change with the times. There's enough of a hem to let it down a few inches, but I rather like the length it is at. I don't need more things to trip over.
The previous owner tacked the top closed at a more modest spot, but I still managed to go flashing my tits all over Omaha. It is a bit loose (the top, not my morals) so perhaps a few alterations are in order.
 Outfit Particulars:
1970's polyester dress-New Life Thrift
1970's clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Necklace-Salvation Army
Enamel brooch-Goodwill
Bangles-all over
Fragrance-Oscar de la Renta Ruffles

I was thinking I might treat myself to a professional haircut this weekend, but I think what I really need are hot rollers that work. I suppose I could just hack away at it with a pair of office scissors like I usually do when it starts getting annoying. "Almost cut my hair, happened just the other day..." I should have Danny go see what that record is worth these days.

I was going to say it is almost Friday...but for some of you it already is so, Happy Weekend.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Keora Jean Couturier-Vintage Formulation Review

Not that much of an exaggeration.

I was given a decant of vintage Keora over a year ago, but first got around to trying it out this week. I'll be honest-I expected to hate it. I've had a love/hate relationship with Coriandre for years, and I expected Keora to be much the same. I knew it wasn't a green fragrance (people compare it to Shalimar for heaven's sake) but I was still bracing for...something that required bracing. Keora water is similar to rosewater, so really, how bad could it be?

Keora was a lovely surprise. Launched in 1983, it has elements of other floral oriental fragrances of the day-but Keora is not Opium. It is miles better. Keora isn't spicy to my nose (other people smell cardamom and cloves, I don't), but rather rich with amber and non-sweet florals. I smell carnation (though it isn't listed in the notes) and roses, and possibly some lavender. The comparison to Shalimar isn't that much of a stretch, though it lacks the citrus and the vanilla is much different. The musk notes in Keora are absolutely incredible, and that comes from someone that wouldn't go out of the way to buy a musky perfume. This stuff is sex in a bottle. No one (under eighty) would say that of Shalimar. If I ever start a line of perfume I'm calling it, "Sex Powder." What can I say? I like powdery notes.

I shouldn't have waited so long to give Keora a try, but I'm glad I got to it in the winter. I suspect this would be a difficult fragrance to pull off in the hot, humid, Nebraska summer though it might work in a hot dry climate. I have to wonder why it isn't more popular-a perfume like this should be flying off the shelves. Could it be the curse of Coriandre creating a bias for wary perfume shoppers? Intellectually I know it isn't right to judge a house by one fragrance but I can't help it. I'm glad I decided to prove myself wrong, because this is a beautiful perfume.

I'm not sure how well Keora has fared under reformulation, so of course I cannot comment on the current perfume. I'm not sure what the source of the musk note is (floral, synthetic, animal?) but it smells expensive. We've all smelled cheap musk (I'm looking at you Jovan White Musk) and Keora is most definitely not that. This isn't fabric softener.  No one will run from the room when you enter-but they will smell you. Keora is not shy. Keora wants to get laid. The silage is huge, and the longevity is practically forever, at least on clothing. Keora is the Energizer Bunny of perfumery, "Still going...still going..." You'll get your money's worth out of a bottle of Keora. Whether it gets you laid, is up to you, because clearly Keora is doing its part.

The listed notes are rather vague: Floral notes, fruit notes, amber, musk, vanilla.

What I smell: Rose, rosewood, lavender, carnation, vanilla, maybe some overripe peach,  possibly civet, ambergris, sandalwood, and perhaps some lily of the valley.

Overall, I basically went wild for Keora. This has led to hunting down vintage bottles online, which isn't all that difficult at the moment. Bargains are still to be found, so if this sounds like your sort of thing, this might be an opportune time to stock-up. What a beautiful fragrance from a period when perfumery was getting away from elegant and sensual, to hitting you over the head with everything in the lab. It hardly stood a chance at the time, I suppose but all these years later, I can see Keora appealing to people seeking out a perfume that isn't all fruit and fabric softener.

Lurex Goes Daywear

Why not?

There's a matching maxi skirt to this ensemble, but I was aiming for a daywear appropriate look whilst still being able to sparkle my way through the last of January. It was surprisingly difficult finding something that would go well with the top and jacket. I have yellow, peach, and white skirts, but after several tries, this grey skirt was the only thing that seemed to work with it. That tells me I need more metallic skirts in my life. Anyhoo, in the end I was pleased with how the combination came together.

 Outfit Particulars:
1970's Koret of California Lurex top and jacket (skirt not shown) Fairy Tail Costumes
Skirt-Goodwill (I think?)
Boots-K Mart
Avon heart brooch on jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Handbag-had it since the 90's
The heart brooch is ceramic, and I don't wear it often for fear of it breaking. Don't want a broken heart, now do I?
 These massive earrings came from K Mart last season, but they remind me of the sort I wore in the 80's. Mercifully, they're made of much lighter materials.
Last week was challenging, and this week hasn't shaped up much better but the snowstorm was a welcome distraction. Being forced to stay at home and do nothing but bake, watch movies, and read is good therapy. I slept until 9 AM today. These pictures are from Monday. I've been wearing some interesting outfits, but I just haven't managed to get posts built around them.
 The upscale children's clothier, Hannah Andersson also makes a line of dresses for women. Let's be honest, this might be in an adult size, but it still looks like a child's dress. I like the quality jersey material, and the print is lovely, but I can't imagine wearing this outside the house. I like to be dressed at home, even if I'm only doing housework, and I think this dress will be great for that, but I would feel foolish wearing it out.
 "Ring around the rosy a pocket full of posy..."  

 Omaha schools have just issued a "snow-day" for Wednesday, which means no school for us either. I try to give Danny the same days off as other children so he can take advantage of all the new snow to play in as well. Our neighbourhood was spared the worst of it, but there are people without power across the city.

 I'm going to need better boots if I wander outside today.
Do you do eveningwear as daywear?  Is "eveningwear" one word or two? Do you think a foot of snow is a legitimate reason to cancel school? Do tell.