on ankle socks

 I have mixed feelings about this fall collection from Lela Rose. I like the shapes--so ladylike they are--and that there were mixed prints; I didnt necessarily like the majority of the prints themselves, or the fabrics. Shiny, pseudo-floral brocade screams mother-of-the-bride to me, and not in a good way. But one thing I know for sure is that I need a pair of those dotty ankle socks like, now. 

Dont ask me why I like how this looks, but not this. Its a mystery even to me. I think, once again, it has to do with hem-lenghth and skirt shape. Almost anything looks good with a pencil skirt, after all, but these little ankle socks are especially prim and ladylike, but also sweet and silly and sort of casual. I will talk more about my slow conversion to the cult of the polka dot at a later date, but for now, this $4 pair of open-dot knit ankle socks have shot to the top of my spring shopping list:

And also these slightly more expensive wolford blue velvet ankle socks because, well, velvet ankle socks? How luxurious! Plus also I need those shoes to match!

 images via style.com & asos.com


living tidy avec le toddler

 Living with a babychild has the potential to turn your living room into a disaster area, but it also doesnt have to--babysitting, I witnessed the full spectrum of toddler-inhabited communal space. Ive never liked the look, or implication, of a room filled with piles of discarded plastic doodads. Its not like they own the place, after all. But at the same time, I hate the idea of a child not feeling as comfortable or as welcome in the living room as the rest of the family; they cant help that they like to play with plastic doodads all the time, and why should they? Theyre only sweet babies, after all! With Felix, Im determined to find a happy medium, wherein my obsessive compulsion to achieve a clutter-free state and his many childish flights of fancy are mutually inclusive.

So far Ive figured out two ways of aiding this goal, the first being toy-managment or, to borrow a term from my new professional bakery jargon, merchandising. That is to say, most of Felixs toys live in his room, but I incorporate a frequently rotating selection throughout the living room. That way he never gets bored of the things he has around in the common area, and we dont have to keep buying him new junk to pique his playtime interest, but the house still stays relatively toy-free.

Second, and perhaps more crucially, Ive developed a new rule, which is that I allow any two things to be happening at once, toy-wise, on the floor. For example, if Felix was playing with blocks, but then got bored and wanted to play with his trucks, its fine with me (Im working on it being fine with me) that he not immediately tidy up the block mess. If, however, he moves on from trucks to drawing, then something needs to be cleaned up. This way, he (hopefully) doesnt feel constant pressure to put things away, but the house isnt covered in a mess all the time, either. So far its working well... I just wonder how things will progress as he gets older?

Ive also found that Felix is a lot more gung-ho about having a clean house if I let him help me clean it. He loves to help me windex the coffee table, sweep the kitchen, put away the laundry, and return blocks and cars to their respective receptacles. He really is a pure sweetheart, and the tidiest boy in town!


meet lil' caddy!

The other day, after lunch at Spak Bros, of course, Felix and I went across the street to this little antique/junk shop that I keep seeing but which never seems to be open. But it was this time, and it was great! I got a bunch of cool stuff, like some velvet throw pillows, a ceramic souffle dish with a chicken for a lid, a metal serving tray (also with chickens on it), and even a cool book about piggies for felix (one of his favorite subject matters?) But the best, coolest thing I got was this leather dog desk organizer:

Turns out, its made by Vacavaliente, an Argentinian design team that makes cool office accessories with  scraps left over from the the countrys enormous leather industry. The black doggy amigo I found in perfect, seemingly un-used condition, was $3 only! But I wasnt surprised to find that in real life they sell for around $60 each. You guys, I love it! Its so useful and cute and sweet and eco-friendly, all at the same time. Its the perfect thing! If you can afford one, you should get one (Id have gone with the Kangaroo if I had the choice). Or just keep your eyes peeled round the goodwill, I guess!

ps:  theyd make a great gift, right?


Shaka, Indeed

 On a completely unrelated note, I want to take this opportunity to recommend to you some choice television programming from years past. Im talking about Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5. Now, please dont get the impression that because Im only just now recommending this to you, that I havent seen this season before, a million times. Because I have. But I wasnt blogging any of the other times Ive watched it, and I dont know, maybe its the reading Ive been doing lately, but I find the episode titles (and the episodes themselves, naturally) so cosmic and fanciful and inspiring--in general, I hate all those political episodes about the cardassians and diplomacy and the neutral zone... 

I can tell you right now that one of the very best episodes is Darmok, in which Picard has to interpret an alien language that operates entirely in metaphor (and frustratingly seems to be made up of only about five sentences in total). Also, The Game is creepy, sezzual, and not to be missed (this is the season in which Jonathan Frakes began directing episodes, if that means anything to you). Also of note, I believe, is the striking resemblance between Worf (my favorite character) and one Ms. Anna Wintour. 

See what I mean? That hair is like, totally Shaka When The Walls Fell, amirite?!

images via herehere & here; screenshots of netflix by me!

idontgetit: FALL FOOTWEAR, 2013

 Maybe Im just overly sensitive to blunders in footwear (a distinct possibility given how much time Ive spent in my life thinking about shoes, which probably makes me sound like Cher Horowitz to you but please know that, as I rarely do any actual shopping, my interest in footwear, as with all fashion, is largely cerebral) or maybe all of this is terribly chic and Im just missing something, But I found the footwear from the fall shows detrimentally distracting. It all started with Simone Rocha, a show that I loved but whose inclusion of black pattent clogs and oxfords paired with sweet, pastel cocktail dresses completely baffled me.

Then I started noticing that Ms Rocha was far from alone in her bizzare choice in footwear. For reasons completely beyond me, everyone from Dietrich Emter to Holly Fulton, from Thakoon to Suno, has fallen for a dark, hoof-like, leg-stumpifying shoe that does absolutely nothing even for the leggy models that wore them, so I can hardly imagine what they would look like on the rest of us. I find them particularly offensive in patent leather. 

Ive been trying to figure out exactly why these bother me so much, as Ive nothing against a smart black ankel boot, in principle (though I think Ive realized that, as an autumn, Im an exclusively brown-leather girl in my own life). A lot of the problem, quite obviously, is hem-line contingent. At the Milly show, we see the important role context plays in the success of this shoe; with some outfits (usually mini-skirt-based) it makes perfect sense, while with others, the effect is purely dowdy:

at Jenni Kayne, the unfortunate effects of this shoeshape were lessened by lowering the height of the vamp, but Im afraid it still communicates a hoofish quality to me. And see how much better it looks in a lighter, neutral shade? Infinitely more flattering, in my opinion. 

Again, with Pringle of Scotland we see how important color and material is:  the straight-across-the-ankle cut looks chic and flattering when produced in a pale neutral (or even, somehow, in cerulean)

And at Alexander Wang. How much more flattering and elegant and ladylike is that slanted vamp,  as compared to that blunt, straight-across-the-ankle club foot?

I guess it just doesnt make sense to me with all of this mid-calf hemlines. Also, black patent looks terrible against pale skin, which is why I believe a shiny shoe is better either in a paler shade, or with trousers; youll notice these look the worst with long, full skirts, which already shorten the leg, visually. Of course it could be that my height has me more obsessed with the leg-lengthening effects of footwear than the average jane. Or maybe, like I said, Im just missing something. Call me crazy, but I feel like, if youre going to go through the trouble to design a collection that hopefully people respond to because its chic or current or whatever else draws people to clothes aside from their being flattering, you should at least, you know, make sure theyre flattering. Because otherwise, whats the point? You know what I mean? 

all images via style.com


pizzelle sandwiches!

So, since starting work at the bakery, Ive been trying to cut down on my pastry intake, for obvious reasons. I did a similar thing this time last year, when I worked at the candy store. Its rough, but Im making it through, thanks to my new confectionary love, the pizzella. I dont know if its part of living in Pittsburgh or just part of living in the Little Italy of Pittsburgh, but theyre everywhere in my life all of the sudden. If youve never had them, just imagine a light, wafery waffle cone, pre-roll and in the form of a delicate, snowflake-shaped disc, and youve got it. Theyre perfect on their own or with tea of course, but I recently discovered the best way to eat them, and the best way to cheat on my recently strict no-pastry rule at the same time. So obviously, the rule isnt that strict... 

Im talking about Pizzelle sandwiches, which is a thing I just made up (though apparently the internet already made them up). You can just use whatever you have around that sounds tasty: peanut butter, condensed milk, jelly, whatever. Today I made Nutella & Whipped Cream Cheese and they were totes da Bomb, you guys. That is to say, tasty. You should try it! The best part is that Pizzelle are only like 35 calories a piece, so all in all its still a pretty light snack, if that sort of thing matters to you. 


pottering about

Ive been thinking about this and Ive realised that, more than just a pink-ish kitchen, what I really need is a Beatrix Potter kitchen. With printed tea towels and gingham curtains and floral china tea cups and a black woodstove--something compatible with the already sepia-toned situation we have, architecturally (though as a renter, I cant do much about the wood stove). When decorating in real life, you have to think about the space you have. I always think the very best thing would be an all-white kitchen, with wood and copper and blue glass and green plants. But my kitchen isnt clean or modern or large; its linoleum floor is slanting, the fridge is just sitting there in the middle of the room, and as a whole, it isnt particularly well-made. I could never achieve what I wanted there, not matter what. If I went for all white it would just look dingy and horrible. So I think the only thing to do is fill it with as much color as possible, with as many mixed prints as possible, since Im not sure if were allowed to paint even. But I think we are? I want to! Or wallpaper. Call me old fashioned but I love a floral wallpaper. For example, Ive really been admiring the strange floral wallpaper in the shared apt of Noel and Alana in Felicty: Season Two. And then I just watched an episode where they all agree its too ugly to suffer for even the remaining three months of their lease, so they have a party to tear it down. Are they crazy?

Do you know what I would do for that wallpaper? People dont know the magic of mixed prints--theyre not just for your wardrobe, you know. Those guys are all idiots!

images via here & here; screen shots of Felicity, Season 2 Episode 14 taken by me, dummy!