Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I am currently ill with a something or other and my mind is about as sharp and focused as an undercooked pancake, so I won't inflict the results of my addled brain-matter on you too much.  (I assume most people are like me and are mentally flat-lining/easily distracted whilst sick, on top of being irrationally cranky.  I have been trying to motivate myself to make chicken soup out of our Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner and just realized that instead I have spent almost the past six hours lumbering through the internet.  I need to make tea and go to bed with a Wodehouse novel before I implode with frustrated intentions.)  (Omg, I just realized my apartment complex shut off the water, because I needed something else to make me feel gross and deprived.)  (This can make me a better person.  Calmete.)  

Regardless of my current health conditions, I wanted to share some lovely things with you on this final day of November.  When I met my friend Maggie, one of the first things I noticed looking around her dorm room was that she has killer taste, sort of an effortless barometer for chic while mixing it up with modern and otherwise.  She also had the coolest vintage Guinness ad I have seen to this date, apropos of nothing.  Anyway, this preface is to explain why it is that I keep filching from neat things she sends me.  Observe: Wrist Worms, also featured on Sacramento Street weird name, cool product.  Hand-crocheted by Sandra Juto in Sweden of 100% wool, and her website is full of lovely photography!
Wrist Worms by Sandra Juto

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks! #2: Literature Nerds Designing Clothes

I <3 Out of Print Clothing, for real.  Guess what I spotted on their site today:
Out of Print Clothing.
This sweatshirt makes me what to jump up and down and whine "but I want it".  Seriously, I want this, like a lot.  It is awesome on at least three different levels.  Actually, for every shirt bought at Out of Print, a book is donated to people who need it, so make that four levels.

Thanks! #1: Tweed Rides

The First Tweed Run, 2009
My lovely friend Maggie sent me a link to ReadysetDC's post on D.C.'s 2010 Tweed Ride (fair warning, there are some inexplicable near-nudey pictures towards the end, so nsfw, and shield the children's eyes).  I had first heard of a Tweed Ride on RidingPretty's blog during the Essence of Autumn contest, and, you all know I love my tweed so I looked into this Tweed Ride thing.  The very first Tweed Run was held in London in 2009, an organized group bike ride through the city with participants dressed in tweedy cycling attire, specifically from 1920s England.  Since then, Tweed Rides have become something of a minor global explosion with Tweed Rides popping up in cities like Sacramento, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Portland, as well as Toronto, Sydney, New York, and Tokyo to name a few (here is another of Riding Pretty's posts of various Tweed Ride posters).  A few of these rides also overlap with a some pretty sweet Cycling Fashion Shows.
image via dustinj, sfwiggle.com, SF Tweed Ride
image via sftweed.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jeans Shopping Angst Makes Me Philosophical

No matter how much women may differ in terms of belief structure, background, etc., the one thing that I think almost everyone of us can agree on is we all hating shopping for jeans. Yes, I am bridging the gap of prejudice using a shared hatred of jeans shopping. It works. Anyway, I realized that I have not had a good, flattering pair of jeans since I lived with a roommate my size and height who has better shopping instincts than me. My Achilles heel with jeans and boots is that, slender and willowy though I be, I am thick of limb. Like, seriously stocky. I wish I was my height with long, slender gams, because I'd be stalking around in dresses and skirts that are as they say "fierce", but no, I have the sturdy, muscular stems of peasant stock. If I lived in a 19th century novel, some handsome, pretentious baron would make a sneering comment about me being built for hard labor, and then after several months of acquaintanceship my saucy wit and mildly Bohemian Pre-Raphaelite beauty would bewitch him into falling hopelessly in love with me. Then it would go in one of two ways depending on the type of novel: if written by say, Thomas Hardy, then the baron’s love grows too late, and only narrowly misses the opportunity to marry me and live happier lives than anyone in existence. As it stands, he missed his chance by mere days because of his character flaw of pride, because life sucks, and due to some cataclysmic combination of tragedies, I have been reduced to a wretched life of prostitution, forever barred from a decent life in the rigid societal confines of Victorian England, and I don’t know, something about murder or whatever. If it be written by Jane Austen, then a few hijinks and misunderstandings would ensue before the baron and I finally settled into a marriage of mutual respect and passion, after I showed him the importance of valuing people for their own worth. Basically, no one should ever be stuck in a Hardy novel. Jane Austen is way more fun. That’s what British Victorianism does to you.

What was I even talking about? Jeans! Yes, so it’s tough for me to find jeans that I like, because my limbs are just too damn muscular (yeah, we'll say "muscular"...I'm lying shamelessly, btw). But then I start to ponder this: American women have this pathologically stupid idea that if you do not fit into off-the-rack clothes, that means that you fall short of the correct womanly shape. (I limit myself to my own culture since I’m not really equipped to talk about any others, but when I lived in Europe six years ago, most of the women definitely had a better grip on playing up their natural beauty rather than chasing fads. Input on other country stereotypes welcome.) I have had so many of these conversations with girlfriends and if you sit back and listen we sound completely neurotic and/or insane: “you see, my femurs are disproportionately longer than the rest of me”, “my arms are too skinny”, “my fingernails are so unattractive” etc., ad nauseum, and I have an unusually good looking bunch of friends. A few of my friends are genuine stunners, and even these girls have their own litany, “my shoulders are rounded”, “I have no curves”, “my nose is too big” and they are objectively gorgeous. It is amazing to me that American women have no idea how to appreciate feminine beauty and instead make themselves miserable over a vague ideal they couldn't even really define. Sure, there does exist a tiny percentage of goddess-like women, like Heidi Klum, and it's nice that she became a model so we can all look at her, but why should women fall into the insanity of thinking they should possessed the beauty of Helen of Troy or they are an epic fail? Why do we do that? I’m really asking; I don’t have an adequate answer. In the blog Single Dad Laughing, Dan writes in “Worthless Women and the Men Who Make Them” about the responsibility men have which I agree is a significant factor, but I don’t think that’s everything. The source is not Hollywood, it’s not the runway, it’s not misogyny, it’s not peer pressure. All those things may play a small part but they are more symptomatic rather than causal.

There is a supposed “movement” to curvy, but the people in this curvy movement sometimes end up shrilly berating the thin body type as ugly/anorexic or criticizing a heavier model if she loses weight (one example is covered nicely by Kristy in "Crystal Renn Admits to Losing Weight, World Forgets to Mind Its Own Business", so they end up being part of the disease themselves, topped off with an obnoxious amount of self-righteousness.  They are doing the same thing by still insisting on only one shape being attractive, to hell with everyone else.  Excuse me, but wtf? Why the rigidity? Feminine beauty is amazingly diverse. The unfortunate thing is, you often have beautiful girls looking significantly less lovely because they keep trying to conform to a type that is simply not their own, which only creates awkwardness stylistically. A lot of girls outright spoil their looks by tanning themselves into oblivion, doing horrible things to their hair, and plastering on pounds of makeup, not to mention wearing ridiculous trends that work against their body type. People look so much more lovely when they accentuate their natural looks. And everyone looks better when they stop harping on about the imagined imperfections of themselves or others.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2nd Letter to Piperlime: The Black Heel

Dear Piperlime,

Now I don't want to bite the hand that gives me gift cards, but I am trying to heal our relationship and I hear that communication is key.  I see you going down a dark path, and I want to help out before it's too late.   

Here's the deal: I want to get a more professional wardrobe but one that actually looks like me and not like I'm an extra in Working Girl, and step number one is heels.  I am very flexible with colors and patterns even, since I like shoes that pop.  I have only three caveats for heels:
  1. Heel height.  I am already 5'9 so high heels are not my friend: they throw me off balance like a drunk stilt-walker and I have no particular desire to be 6'1, thank you. 
  2. Chunky heels or platforms also are an absolute no; the whole point of heels is to look delicate and to push out the right curves in the right direction, so clomping around on hoofs would defeat the whole purpose and sacrifice of making myself even more Amazonian. 
  3. ...1/2, leather and good quality.  I want my feet to have sensation left in them at the end of the day, and I wear shoes for years if I like them. 
Piperlime, that's not asking too much, right?  I'm a pretty easy customer, aren't I?  Why, then, in your selection of 78 low to mid heels, almost all of them are bland neutrals?  I see you are in denial, you can't believe you could have allowed that to happen to your product selection.  Allow me to present my case: out of that 78, only 9 are something other than neutral colors.  And do you need me to tell you what those 9 shoes are like?  Stop being childish, I don't like this any more than you do, so you can quit rolling your eyes.  You need to face the truth if this is going to change.  2 shoes are very underwhelming heels of actual color (red and yellow if you are curious), 5 are animal print (yes, I know, animal print heels are adorable, but I cannot wear animal print anything without looking like I'm dressing up as a hooker for Halloween.  How about some variety?), and 2 look like what you would see when you close your eyes after spinning around way too fast in a room with blue 80s era floral print wallpaper.
Bandolino Berry...Wallpaper
You see the problem, right?  These are boring, like furniture in a nursing home boring, and most of them are dated and not in a cute Madmen kind of way.  Do you have any concept of how delighted I would be at a vintage inspired, low-heel pump like any of these? 
ModCloth: Seychelles "Watching the Clock" 
How delighted, you ask? - picture a rusty Autumn evening, the first evening of a long holiday weekend off, in which I mildly indulge in pyrotechnics by enjoying a bonfire with hot toddies, heavy on the whiskey: in a word, euphoric.  Well, even shoes like the ones above would not accomplish this level of euphoria.  But your low-heeled pumps inspire something more like this: after planning a holiday for two weeks I get a creeping death sickness the very evening before my scheduled time off, my husband is stranded away from home due to weather conditions, and an over-sharing neighbor who will not take a hint invites themselves in to "help take care of" me, i.e. I am utterly annoyed by your selection and want to be left alone.

So, in the effort to salvage our relationship even after such a blow to my basic footwear needs, I turned to the most basic of the basic: black heels.  Amoung 31 pairs of low-heeled black pumps only one peked my interest even a little bit:
These got one mediocre review, but I want to check out the Pour la Victoire brand, (it's a Brazilian company inspired by French couture, so that sounds wild) so I am going to go ahead and give these a shot, Piperlime.  And while I am waiting to get these in the mail, and appreciate your awesome free shipping, which promises to be even faster than before, I really want you to think about the direction you are currently going: do you want to keep the current Piperlime woman you are appealing to, or do you want me...and every last one of my friends, as customers (if I guess their aesthetic correctly).


Friday, November 19, 2010

Piperlime: Style?

Dear Piperlime,

I like you a lot.  Your free shipping, your customer service, the fact that you carry brands like Frye, Hunter, Clarks, Diesel, Sperrys, Pink Studio, Puma, and that you gave a $500 gift card as a contest prize.  You have a good heart, you do.  Also, ever since I began watching Project Runway, I have my own Tim Gunn in my head who says, "Use your wall of Piperlime accessories, people," whenever I shop on your site, which is fun.  But...listen,...now that I have my own Project  Runway budget, I've taken a step back from the trees to take a look at the forest, and I am having second thoughts about our relationship.  Like, what is your style aesthetic, exactly?  I spent ages shopping around Piperlime and, I don't mean to harsh the buzz on our blooming relationship, but most of your products are, well, haphazard.  Did you ever notice that you have, like, 17 very slightly different versions of the same item?  Now, don't look at this as a heartless criticism.  Look at this as me trying to make this relationship work, and since I was not accepted for the hour long Dallas "chat" about how to make Piperlime better, this is the only way.

Essentially, to get to the root of the problem, I've been trying to figure out who the Piperlime Woman is because if that woman is not me, we can call this is a mutual break-up.  I know what the J.Crew woman is, the Anthropologie woman, the Gap and Banana Republic women, the Abercombie and Fitch (and I'll stop here before I start to pretend I have any familiarity with high end designers), but tell me, who is the Piperlime Woman?  I mean, it's almost all bland neutrals, droopy shapes, and seems to have the style sensibility of a woman in dire need of some sleep and maybe a gin and tonic who nonetheless has a lots of money she wants to spend on looking schlumpy.  Actually, at the moment, Piperlime seems to be in the style version of the Bog of Discouragement and ran out of Prozac several weeks back.  I don't know how to say this, so I'm just going to say it: it looks like your only directed demographic is...Season 8 Project Runway winner, Gretchen.  And look I don't mean to mindlessly join the rabid dog pile of Gretchen critics since she's beat my favorite, Mondo.  Her style does have some value, and she's a good designer, sure but her look is mostly avoidant of shape, allergic to color, and sort of, well, frowny face-ish and Piperlime's current selection is likewise.  The aesthetic just befuddles me.  Unrelated words and phrases just jostle each other to attempt a full, coherent sentence, and all that's happened so far is: Camo-Drab, Pretentiously Inaccurate Attempt at "Granola", here comes Current Global Economy Chic: Depressed!, But Still Mystifyingly Expensive.  Example:

This is ugly and synthetic. Why does this cost $132?
This says: "I'm trying to save money, so I dug up my old toddler clothes to see what would work and look how great this still is on me!  Would you guess I haven't worn this since Kindergarten?"  Even for a busty girl, this is flattening and it has a little dust ruffle for your hips because everyone wants to add another ten pounds there.  Plus, there are tons more clothes like this.  The Liberty Bell shape has never been widely desired in Fashion for a reason.  Just because our economy sucks, and our country is growing more antagonistically polarized by the day doesn't mean we should wear nothing but sackcloth to reflect our sombre mood...unless you're doing an Old Testament inspired sacrifice for the sake of our country and the world, in which case, OK, but you shouldn't spend $400 for your sackcloth outfit as that sort of defeats the purpose. 

I am firmly of the mind that when you buy something, buy nice somethings or nothing at all, and when I can find really good quality somethings for a bit cheaper, I'm in retail nirvana.  You are so close to this, Piperlime!  I bought Frye sandals for like $45 + a rewards card which I will wear for the next decade or until they fall apart, but lately you have had pricey items made of synthetics and just :-(.  I know how we can solve this: I will let you hire me as an assistant buyer to help you out, because I care.  Until then (or until I spend my gift card) I will continue doing this, but with more illustrations and possibly charts, because this is fun. 


The Return of Blogger Girl

Hello, lambs. 

First, I am so sorry that I abandoned you webinetically.  I'll make it up to you somehow.  I've had a weird month - I know, if excuses were horses then highschoolers would ride them to school or something - but here they are anyway even though they have nothing to do with the subject matter of this blog: in the first week of November I spent 6 1/2 hours at the dentist in two days getting work done which was exhausting.  It's not that I am terrifed of dentists.  My dentist here is awesome and The Little Shop of Horrors or the final torture scene in Brazil never even cross my mind while in The Chair, except ironically.  It's just that for things that require a stiff upper lip like dentist visits, fixing broken bones, removing splinters, piercing one's own ear cartilage with a straight pin, etc., I am very detached which is great since I remain very chill about the whole thing, but it's more like a robotic power-down and it's surprisingly tiring to get back to normal afterwards. 

After the dentist marathon, I went to a nutritionist who confirmed, after various types of tests - blood and neurotransmitters and whatnot - that in all likelihood my chronic exhaustion, skin problems, and attention issues are entirely symptoms of IgG food allergies. 
Which makes me go: Awesome! That sounds like an easy fix! Which foods should I cut out?         
Yogurt, egg whites...
Oh, that's kind of a bummer. I make the best scrambled eggs in existence and roommates have sung songs of praise for them worldwide--
Cow's milk, pistachios, onions...
Seriously? I love pistachios, and I put onions in everything--
Brewer's yeast, glutin, wheat...
What?  Like, as in bread, and....and beer? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!  I decided I needed to conduct my own research on the reliability of these finding over five beers and a couple whiskeys.  Seriously though, if there was some way I could work out a deal where one meal per day was some delectable, fluffy bread slathered in butter and I could get 100% of my hydration from varities of alcohol (maybe mixed in with some juices for breakfast), that would be great.  What cruel irony is this?  I am Scottish/Polish.  Half of my diet has always been wheat, alcohol and onions.  At least I can still eat potatoes, or I think I would just starve to death.  Or maybe I don't care that I never feel actually awake at any point during the day.  Who needs full consciousness and the ability to concentrate on a thought until it's been thought through?  I don't, clearly.  As for the eczema, I'll tell people I'm a burn victim and remain heavily swathed in layers of fabric.  *sigh*  Also there's like 75 more foods that "aren't good for me" on top of that, and I figure I should at least try the diet, but I would like to go on a serious week long bender first.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Essence of Autumn

My first outfit post is part of Kristy of Vogue Gone Rogue's The Essence of Autumn contest.  I was planning on being all well-prepared and what not and do this weeks ahead of time, but of course the delinquent in me twisted this and finagled that (I am actually just crap at planning) so that naturally I just met the deadline much like the term papers I squeezed under college profs doors back in the day.  Autumn brings out the academic in me naturally so let's just say it was a piece of performance art.  Aren't you impressed?

Autumn is a bewitching season, and stands apart from the others.  In spring, summer and winter you can find the broad analogies of the three ages of men: the innocence and struggles of childhood, the intoxicating freedom of youth, and the slowing maturity of experience.  Autumn stands apart because she shakes us loose with hauntings of memory.  It is feverish with dreams.  Even here in a region without seasons, Autumn is still here; the ghosts are in the scents.    
Sweater: Gap
Tank: J.Crew
Cardigan: Mossimo
Sweater Vest: Lulumari
Pants: J.Crew
Shoes: Thrifted Doc Martens
Necklace: Meghan McNally
Earrings: Meghan McNally
Satchel: Korchmar 

What I Need you to do:
1) Follow 5 More Minutes on Bloglovin'
2) "Like" this post on BlogLovin'.  The one with the most likes by November 9th is the winner.
3) Send other people over here.

4) Check out the other blog posts below!  There are some great autumnal photos here. 

Monday, November 1, 2010


Italian leather is scrumptious, and even though I am a second-hand store, sales-bin scavenger, I am a snob when it comes to leather.  I found the Italian leather company Pierotucci randomly and I wanted to check them out.  The one I originally wanted was sold out, so I was kind of curious what you thought of this one?
And a faux leather wallet from Target, because I am a scavenger.

The photography is my own unless otherwise stated.