Thursday, February 14, 2013

In My Closet--February 14, 2013

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer (older)
Tights: Spanx
Shoes: MIA (from DSW)(older)

First of all, please excuse the pile of hanging clothes stacked behind me. That is every shirt I own that's not a t-shirt. It was all part of the Great Closet Reorganization of 2013. Fear not...I fit everything back in there. Now, that's not to say it's not packed so tight that you pull out the two items on either side of what you're aiming to pull. But for now, it's gonna have to do. That said, I had this "Trying to Go to Sleep" epiphany last night about something that MIGHT work to alleviate part of the problem. It would involve a trip to Goodwill/Red, White and Blue, some Pinterest-y craftiness and a complete Soviet-era Re-Education as to what's allowed to be folded and what simply MUST be on hangers. I'm actually kind of excited about it to tell you the truth.

Anyway, yesterday, I mentioned that I had lost something. Other than my mind and my patience. Back in the late spring, there were still a few things in my closet that were winter-y. I guess they would be termed "transitional pieces". All the rest of my winter stuff--and I mean the REAL winter stuff like cords and wools--had long since been packed into Rubbermaid tubs with cedar blocks and stored away. But these things, I had left on the off-chance that the sometimes persnickety New Jersey weather took a turn. Only last spring, it never really did and so when it became clear that summer was really gonna happen, I took the clothes and put them, to the best of my memory, in a Kate Spade shopping bag, which I stuck in the corner of my room. The idea was that at some point, I would go into the attic for something else and at that point I could take the bag up and put it in the Rubbermaids with the rest of my stuff. Only...I don't remember doing that. And now I can't find the bag. I can't even remember what all is IN the bag, although I know off the top of my head three pieces of clothing that I cannot find anywhere. I know they aren't things I would have loaned to friends. I know they aren't things I would have sent to a better home. I wouldn't have even sent them away on accident, at least not in the Kate Spade bag, because that thing was HUGE and pretty sturdy, so I would have swapped it into a different bag. This is driving me BONKERS. I have looked everywhere in the house I can even begin to imagine I would have put it. Admittedly, the cold has made me reluctant to do more than a cursory search of the attic or the under-the-deck storage room, and if it's gotten lost or misplaced or picked up and thrown out because someone thought it was in the discard pile? Well, that's my fault and I can live with it. But LORD it is making me NUTS.'s making me nuttier.

So, when I post the pictures of myself, they are a day behind. What I mean is that I take a picture every day, but I don't USE that picture until the next day. What I'm really hoping is that I can post on Monday through Friday, but I'm ALSO hoping that I can grab a picture or two on the weekends (like this weekend? I'm going to NYC for brunch with one of my best friends so I'm going to need to look awesome.). That way, if I have a day where I'm cleaning closets and never leaving the house, I don't have to get dressed beyond yoga pants. pants and a shirt.

Here's what I like about what I'm wearing in the picture. Obviously, I like the Spanx tights. If you've never had a pair, they are a revelation. They're not as tight as actual Spanx, but the are definitely tighter than these amazing pantyhose my friend, Carrie, discovered in college that were super sheer in the leg but tighter than any control top known to man in the top and were known forever in the sorority house lore as "Suck 'Em In Pantyhose". They take away any number of bumps and lumps. The dress is an oddity in that of all the Lilly Pulitzer I own, it's one of exactly two Lilly pieces I own that's not ferociously summer season. The other is a cord skirt that's so old that it's got the 1990s tag with the Lilly logo in black. We have Lilly Pulitzer Signature store right in Palmer Square in Princeton. It's called Palm Place and it's absolutely lovely, as are the couple who own it. They have an incredible sale in August and pretty good ones at other times of the year. I got this dress--you can't see in the picture, but the pink part is pink high heels--right before Christmas before last when I was checking the sale rack to see if there was a dress for my niece's gift and ended up wearing it to my family Christmas party. It was actually in the pile of stuff to go in the Lost Kate Spade Shopping Bag when I decided to pull it out to wear over the summer and I ended up wearing it a couple of times, with a pair of sandals on days when the temperature dipped down into the 70s. But the real find is those shoes. I got them at DSW over a year ago to wear with one specific outfit and I have ended up wearing them over and over and over with EVERYTHING. It took me a while to get the hang of the wedge-heeled booties but once I figured out that it was okay to wear them with something other than jeans, they've become my shoe of choice. I got another pair of MIA wedge booties this fall in brown and I've worn the hell outta them, too.

In other news...I tried a different approach to the whole picture thing today for the picture you will see tomorrow. Part of that was out of necessity--everything I did today took longer than it should have in a sane world so by the time I stopped long enough to do it, it was so dark that I got NOTHING from my window (the easiest way to explain this is that my window looks, not outside, but into a small sunroom that's an addition to the house.) and partly because I wanted to see if this might be a better approach. And yes, this was one of the more exciting parts of my Valentine's Day. But for those of you who had awesome Valentine-y stuff going on--I hope it was great. And if you're STILL having awesome stuff going on--I hope it's STILL great. Happy Valentine's (or Single Person Awareness) Day!

In My Closet--February 13, 2013

Tunic: Anthropologie (old)
T-shirt: Gap
Leggings: Lulu Lemon
Boots: Frye

Okay, I'm going to have to complain about a First World Problem. I have too many clothes. There. I said it. And really the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? I love nothing more than trawling a consignment shop or thrift store. And here's where I admit to being an even worse person. I'm not looking for something cool that I can repurpose and make super hip. I just want...clothes. Sometimes I'm absolutely FLOORED by what I find: 2 pairs of Nanette Lepore pants, a Lilly halter-neck top with the tags still on it, a vintage Black Watch plaid Laura Ashley dress with a velvet collar. And those are from THRIFT STORES, not consignment shops. Anyway...maybe it's just me, but if I find a pair of Nanette Lepore pants for $3.99, well, they're coming to live in my closet whether I need pants or not. And I don't. Need pants, that is. What I need is closet.

I actually have two closets in my room. One is composed completely of shelves. Which sounds like it would be awesome. And on the surface it is. You can get some SERIOUS shit done with a (albeit single) closet with shelves--it's like Shoe Heaven in there. The problem is that the shelves mean the closet space isn't utilized correctly. They're VERY deep, so whatever you put on them has to be right on the front edge. This particular problem is compounded by the fact that there's no light in the closet. At all. I've put some of those little tap lights in, but the cavernous depths are barely thwarted by their meager light. The other closet is a double closet. It's got one of those design-it-yourself built ins. It's divided into approximate thirds--one-third for long hanging clothes, one-third is shelves and three drawers and one-third is a top and bottom hanging bar. This doesn't sound like a bad gig, right? The problem is, I don't have a chest of drawers in my room (and there's no place to put one if I did). This means that all of my folded clothes have to fit into three drawers, three shelves and the two smaller drawers in my bedside table. Not only that, there are two huge pipes in the section of the closet with the stacked hanging bars, which SERIOUSLY cuts into the available hanging space. I've moved stuff around every single way I can think of and I'm still not making it work. I am a closet failure. (Here's the part where I admit I'm closet spoiled. By the time I was REALLY into clothes in upper elementary school, I had a huge bedroom with a gigantic chest of drawers and a double closet, plus free reign of the coat closet in our playroom. My first apartment had a big ol' walk-in and my first place of my own? I lived alone. ALL the closets in the house were mine.) I'm GOING to figure this out. I refuse to be defeated by my own clothing.

I guess I need to stop obsessing and discuss the clothes, I've taken out of the tragic closet and put on, huh? Since this has gotten all confessional, I should tell you that I'm not wearing the bracelets that I usually wear with this tunic top because I couldn't find them. Why? Because in the midst of the great closet re-org which was happening sometime between soap opera and dinner time, I picked up my pink summer Kate Spade bucket bag and realized that I had put it away with stuff in it. Stuff included my square lime earrings, three pens, my Burt's Bees travel-sized hand cream, about five dollars in quarters, a tube of Clinique Black Honey lipstick and the bracelets that go with the tunic. Now considering that I would never have carried a cotton candy pink purse with that top? I have no clue how they got there. I'm just glad I found them (speaking of...lost items are my next topic. Tune in tomorrow.) What I REALLY wanted to share with the world is about investment pieces. Now, when the fashion magazines talk about "investment pieces" the mean things like Birkin bags and fur coats and Chanel ballet flats. And I would consider those things to be investments for sure. But not being independently wealthy, I have a different standard for investment pieces. The Frye Melissa Button Boots and the Lulu Lemon leggings. Y'all both of those items are SO worth it. To the point that I now have a second pair of the same leggings in a capri length AND a pair that are reversible. And it wasn't that I got them because I was afraid the first ones would wear out--they are seriously good quality pieces. I got them because I want to wear them every day and I didn't want to have to keep doing laundry. And the bonus is that if you get yours in a Lulu Lemon store? They will hem those bad boys for you free of charge. The boots...oh, how I love them. Especially since Frye makes them with extended calves (which is my all-time biggest rant subject). They're pricey, but so, so worth it. Treat yourself. You shall not be sorry.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In My Closet--Monday, February 11, 2013

Shirt: Old Navy (old)
Skirt: Gap (old)
Tights: Target
Boots: Frye (from Zappos)
Scarf: gift

I follow a bunch of blogs where the writer takes a daily (or something like that) picture or series of pictures, and talks about what she's wearing or fashion in general or just posts the picture and is like, "Bitches, this is how fabulous I look today." My favorite is Kendie Everyday, because she's funny and seems like real people and is wearing things that are pretty darn reasonable in the human world in which the rest of us reside. Orchid Grey is a little more funky, style-wise and often features pieces that are thrifted. If you want to drool over things you can't begin to afford, there's Atlantic-Pacific. It's stunning, but when I say "high-end", I'm talking about Valentino-Chanel-MiuMiu-Jimmy Choo-Manolo kind of high-end. In any event, all enjoyable for different reasons. What they all have in common, other than endlessly entertaining me, is that they all seem to be in possession of damn good photographers--friends, husbands, boyfriends, kind strangers on the street. I don't know who does all of their pictures, but they're always fantastic. And then there's Katie's Closet, which has adorable (and reasonable outfits) and she takes the pictures herself, in a mirror, with her phone. Although, I'm gonna have to assume that she has a better phone and better lighting (My room is softly and dreamily lit. Not an overhead light fixture to be found.) than I. So until I acquire a better phone, better lighting, a way to set the camera up on the tripod so that I don't look like a deer in headlights or a talented photographer love interest...I'm going to experiment and see if I can find something that works. So, the point is please excuse the picture quality until I get this squirreled away, as it were.

A couple of weekends ago, I was out for dinner with my friends, Katie and Laurie. We were on our way to see a friend's show and we were talking about Katie's forthcoming headshot appointment. And of course, since this was a conversation amongst girlfriends, it eventually turned to wardrobe. We had a little bit of discussion about color and style and I told Katie some of the things I thought she should wear. The next week, after Katie's shoot, she sends me a Facebook message that said, "The stylist at the photoshoot said you were exactly right and you must really know your stuff. Hell, while we were talking about it at the restaurant, Laurie said that she wished I would just come to her closet and show her what goes with what. This. This is the thing at which I excel. I can look at a piece and tell you what OTHER piece with which it needs to be paired. I also have a knack for looking at a jumble of stuff in the laundry and figuring out that two things which I never would have considered, should absolutely go together. Anyway, that would be a pretty awesome gig, right? I mean, it would be super to have it on a Rachel Zoe-level, I guess, but I find it ever so much more entertaining to look at someone's stuff and then pick out a few cool things from the sale room at Anthropologie or TJMaxx. But until I become independently wealthy and can boss people as to what they should wear at my leisure, I think we're gonna have to stick to this way. I'll take crappy pictures, tell you what I'm wearing, and then tell you WHY I'm wearing it.

At this point, I probably need some kind of twelve-step program over stripes. I would wear them every, single day. Although, when I think about that, it would make me seem like kind of a weirdo. Especially since the vast majority of my stripes are navy and white. I would look like a maniacal French sailor. The outfit that I'm wearing? It's one that if I didn't MAKE myself wear the other stuff in my closet from time to time, I would happily wear it every day. Is it kind of boring. Yep. It's pretty much all neutrals, not a color pop to be found. And sometimes, that's okay.

Normal? I don't do normal.

I think that I have lived pretty much every moment of my adult life at one of two speeds: full throttle or going in reverse. In other words, I always feel like I have way too much going on in my life, or I'm so bored that I could scream (or cry). It always shocks people who know me when I tell them that I consider myself to be shy. And I totally get why. If I know you, I'm outgoing and vivacious and I will talk to you for DAYS about pretty much anything. But if I don't? I'm a complete wallflower. This usually manifests itself as a tendency, when thrown into a group of people with whom I'm unfamiliar, to say as little as possible and kind of sink into the floor or my chair if possible. Part of this, especially since moving to New Jersey, has to do with me being self-conscious about my accent. Now in all fairness, I DO have an accent that is not the norm for these parts. Of course, for Sweet Home Alabama, my accent is pretty low key. Anyway, the point of that is to say that when I first moved to NJ seven years ago, I didn't know anybody. I didn't have friends who were already here. I didn't have acquaintances who were already here. Nothing, zip, nada. I think I spent the first three years (I DID have a good friend who moved to NYC my third summer here) staring at the wall. In other words...doing nothing.

So for quite a while, I was kind of on my own. I did get here right as football season was starting and I went into NYC to watch the games with the alumni association. The second year I was here, my sister was nearby and I did pretty much everything with her. It wasn't until the summer of 2009, when I had lived here for almost four years, that I dipped my toes back into the water of community theater. Theater has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember--first as a tiny audience member and then as a small performer and later an adult director/actor/costumer/crew/stage manager. In retrospect, it seems so odd to me. I didn't have any friends, y'all. For ALMOST FOUR YEARS.

I mean, obviously, I had friends. I had friends who came here to visit me and I talked on the phone to people all the time. But as far as a right here with me buddy? None. Which is why I am so, so grateful for discovering the theater community in this area. Y'all...I just want to take a minute to tell you that I have made some of the greatest friends a lady could hope to find. I'm talking about the kinds of friends who will talk you through a crisis, drive you to the airport, let you crash at their place when your power's out from a hurricane for six days and go get you medicine when you're too sick to drive to the pharmacy. I'm talking really awesome friends. And they're not just for crisis mode! There also good for lunch dates, shopping trips, movie name it, they do it.

That's the first thing I want to say. I have kick-ass friends.

The second thing that's buzzing about the noggin is that whole light-speed life vs. traveling backwards through time life. And it's related to the theater thing, because I think that the theater thing is causing me to experience the former, rather than the latter. I AM SO BUSY. And it's my own fault and I'm glad about everything I'm doing, but...geez.

First of all, I take an adult tap class. It's only the best adult tap class ever. I mean, I've taken an adult tap class before and it was fun, but it wasn't what I'd consider challenging. But this is awesome. It's SUPER fun and it's challenging my little feet right to the limit. Not only is it fun and I get good exercise and all that stuff...we are in the recital! Yep, that's right....come June, you can find me dancing to "It's Your Wedding Day" from The Wedding Singer while wearing an 80s formal dress and tap shoes. Please take a moment to enjoy the mental picture that brings.

THEN, back in December, I auditioned for Avenue Q which I didn't get cast in (we shall never, ever speak of my ineptitude at puppetry), but since I LOVE the company and everyone working on the show, I signed on to be their Assistant Stage Manager. Oh, and I'm also going to be in the ensemble of Legally Blonde (I'm going to have to do a ton of research to play...sorority girl and law student.). And then last week, because I'm a crappy auditioner who has approximately ZERO confidence, I auditioned for Cabaret to get some experience doing an audition for a role that is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone, but doing it with a director with whom I'm completely comfortable. And then got cast as a part, well, completely out of my comfort zone and unlike ANY I've ever played (you'd be surprised at how rarely people look at me and say, "Yes. Nazi prostitute.").

Anyway, between dancing and ASMing and acting and acting...I am crazy busy. And it's kind of cool. Like a little test of myself to see how well I can handle a completely full plate. I will try to keep you updated. But like I said...freakishly busy. (I'm only here tonight because I skipped dance class 'cause I was feeling not sick, but icky...probably from exhaustion.)