Friday, July 30, 2010

I wilt in the sun and long for more fabric

In the dog-dead of summer, I find myself wishing like mad that layering season is approaching. I miss tights and jackets. My standards get more and more skewed. I wore this outfit out when it was in the low 80s, and though my pride is at stake I suppose I must admit that I was none too pleased when the sun beat down on my back.

Headband: H&M
Earrings: Forever 21
Necklace: gift
Cherry tank: Limited, circa 2001
Tuxedo jacket: H&M
Skirt: Carson's
Platforms: Steve Madden

The light was not on my side. The sun really offended me yesterday. I ultimately had to de-friend it on facebook.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A fuzzy, snorting guest star.

I think Fiona may want to be a model.

Headband: Forever 21
Necklace: gift
Dress: vintage, thrifted
Tights: Forever 21
Flapper-y pumps: Seychelles, eBay

First, Fiona kept wandering into the frame. (To build her portfolio???) I suspect she's been purging her beggin' strips doggy treats. Then I saw a photo in Us Weekly of Fiona doing cocaine at the Midsummer Night's Dream party at the Playboy mansion. And she won't stop texting Pete Doherty.

Meanwhile, she was crushed she couldn't be in the close-ups.

...I don't quite know why this photo makes it look as if I'm squeezing my waist. That is an activity generally saved for those desperate moments in dressing rooms when I am trying to make a beautiful dress fit me by will alone.

I let Fiona send this one to Barbizon.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My shoes contain more wood than this entire forest.

In light of yesterday's obvious realization regarding my animal need for some kind of headgear, I decided to forgo it. Naturally, I had to grab my head as promised immediately.

Scarf: vintage Ferragamo, from Grandma
Owl pendant: Forever21
Navy shift dress: thrifted
Gold leaf cuff: antique store
Jeffrey Campbell platforms

I took the photos at the edge of my local forest preserve. The neighbors were out and I assume that daily outfit photo shoots would be an odd sight indeed.

The shoes are Jeffrey Campbell, and are the tallest I've ever owned. I very nearly clear 6'4" in them. For perspective, consult the following photo:

That is me posing with basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I guess, in hindsight, I did find it a bit odd that he was mulling around a forest preserve in Illinois, but he wanted to be in the photo, you know?

My camera was dead and my mom obliged me by taking these photos on her iPhone. I missed the explosion of these devices whilst overseas, and was naturally inclined to fiddle around with it while in the passenger's seat. These doohickies are complicated. I am a bit surprised they stop short of chewing your food for you.

Fun fact: that is what my face looks like at rest.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brain bedazzling

I appear as if I am about to reprimand my shadow.

Feather flower headband: Forever 21
Shades: Target
Top: H&M
Vintage skirt: thrifted
Slingback heels: Target

...actually, I just wanted you to get the best view of the headband. It is very important, upon leaving one's house, to put something a bit batty upon one's head.

Indeed, I am usually driven to put something on my noggin. Those of you who read my blog back in '08 may remember my severe beret phase. Before that, I think I left the house in a headband or barrette so often that I had a permanent headache from the temple pinching. Now I am deeply enamored with fascinators and headbands with odd doodads hanging off of them.

I have thick, clunky hair that gets all up in my proverbial grill. All the time. Furthermore, I fidget like a felon. As you may imagine, these two issues collide in a most unsavory way, and I can easily be found spending an entire evening with my hands all over my head. Twirling, twisting, pushing, knotting, anything-ing. Perhaps adorning my head is my method of anchoring it so that I am less inclined to mess with my hair all the time.

...that, and it keeps the ideas from escaping.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A bicep is no place for an unnecessary accessory.

Because it is summer, you have by now perhaps noticed that I wear an inexplicable severed sock on my arm.

Vintage fascinator: thrifted
Shades: Target
Butchered men's sock: Target
Vintage 50s dress: Etsy
Vintage Judith Lieber belt: from Grandma
Gold cuff: antique store
Booties: Madden Girl

I am NOT attempting to facilitate a comeback of the armband. That would be silly and would suggest that I perceived the armband to have ever been a fad in the first place. Actually, the tube sock covers a colossal IV port. Tuberculosis, you surly knave. Naturally, I need the tube socks to match my outfits.

...oh hey! Why don't I snap a photo directly under the sun???

FULL DISCLOSURE: There was totally nothing above my head. I just posed that way. See? That's acting. But I probably almost had you believing that I spotted a bee in a tuxedo. Probably a handsome one, which would explain my feigned sexyface.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ladybirds of prey

I am not a bird expert. Indeed, I cannot even remember the word for 'bird expert.' I believe it begins with an 'o,' but all I can think of is 'oncologist,' and I daresay that is actually a cancer expert. Orthopedist and oracle are likewise off the mark.

However, based on anecdotal evidence and something I think I may have read in a zoo once, I am inclined to believe that a certain subset of our feathered bros make their plumes tall and snazzy in order to say, "Hey, ladybirds, I am open to romantic suggestion! Hit up on this."

...and I, snatching my cue, have appropriated a more female homo sapian version.
"Hey, man-humans, check me out!"**

Feather headband: Forever 21
Shades: Target
Necklace: One of those trade show things with cheap jewelry
Dress: H&M
Cardigan: Target
Belt: vintage Judith Lieber
Slip: thrifted
Shoes: Target

**It should be noted, to all aspiring and professional not-oncologists-but-something-that-sounds-sort-of-like-it, that vertical plummage does not have the same enticing effect on humans that it does on birds.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A physical quandry

I admire the ladies who are able to make this act look so much less awkward than it is.

Vintage fascinator: thrifted
Blouse: Forever 21
Belt: vintage Judith Lieber, from Grandma
Skirt: H&M
Slingbacks: Target

Really, how does one pose for an outfit photo? I have tried 'sly coquette,' but the jig is essentially up. This is a personal blog. I am obviously aware that the photo is being taken. Actually, my mom is probably taking it. I am probably saying something bitchy about her keeping her ubiquitous photo thumb out of the frame just before I thrust my shoulderblades back, stand up straight and freeze while jutting my best angle toward the camera. But that never feels like enough. I pull out my best moves. "Why don't I lean against THE HOUSE?!?," I think to myself. "YES! That is what a girl in this outfit would do. And bring your knee up. And twist it to the side. Now, imagine there is something to your right that is competing for your attention. As if you don't even notice that your knee is popping or something, or is that just your kneecap shifting? My word, that thing just wiggles around when you push it! Hold on, what would I be smiling at to my right? A snake on a pogo stick? A buffet of skittles and cold cuts? Either, I suspect, would lead me to flirtatiously giggle whilst pushing the limits of my airborne, balanced knee as I balance against my house's foundation on a slingback heel. It is so natural, in fact, that I swear this shot was candid.

...Bad news, though. 100 people were polled about who rocked the fascinator look:


Natasha, the author, 19%

Fiona the Pug, 81%

...and there you have it. The judges may not have been kind, but Lordy, were they fair.

Friday, July 9, 2010

He's from Estonia, and I think he's jive

Encino Man gets my vote for the best terrible movie out there. That, and, my write-in vote for president.

For those of you who don't know, Encino Man is the harrowing tale of a two high school nerds, Pauly Shore and his friends, who hap upon the astoundingly well-preserved remains of a cro-magnon, Brendan Frasier, while digging in Pauly Shore's friend's backyard. The cro-magnon is so well-preserved, in fact, that it is actually still alive. This is suspect, of course - the implication is that Frasier was encapsulated in a thick layer of ice after the onslaught of the Ice Age and that this enabled him to remain alive, despite the fact that Pauly Shore and His Friend do not appear to have dug too deep into their Southern California property. Natch, they bring Frasier into Friend's home and convince Friend's family that Frasier is an exchange student from Estonia. After a scene in which Frasier does wild caveman things, makes a mess, and threatens to get Friend totally grounded, the boys decide to clean him up and bring him to high school. The cro-magnon makes them popular and ultimately gets voted Prom King.

In any event, returning from a developing nation and re-entering the blogosphere sort of makes me feel like Encino Man. I have to re-learn how to use the internet. I don't know what an RSS feed is. There are so many fun and exciting new avenues by which to be narcissistic. Brands of shoes of which I was to this point unawares. And fanciness! Everything is fancy. And what the hell is tumblr?

I will be re-educating myself to whatever degree that I can. Until then, I will never leave the house naked - as evidenced by this ensemble, which took me to lunch.


Fascinator: vintage, eBay
Scarf: vintage, from Grandma
Earrings: thrifted
Dress: Target
Belt: vintage, from Grandma
Flats (not shown - Target)





Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to tell a story.

There is a point at which a story gets too long to tell.

I am no liar. My last post was written a little less than two years ago, and I announced a.) that I was off to the Peace Corps and b.) that I knew I'd be back. I am happy to make good on both.

You'll ask me how it was. It was amazing. The 1.5 years I spent in Ukraine number among the best in my life. Narrating the Peace Corps experience would be a long, long story indeed.

The difficult story to tell, though, isn't about the Peace Corps - it is about what happened afterward, and why I left.

While living and working in Ukraine, a walk away from the Russian border, I contracted a very rare and serious form of tuberculosis. I am on heavy drug therapy. I was quarantined for two months, spent weeks in the hospital, and underwent two surgeries to remove the part of my lung scarred by the disease. This is the shortest version of the story I can tell.

It is odd to see people from previous walks of life, because they are kind. They ask how I am doing. If they are very distant acquaintances, they ask, "weren't you in Russia?" Even more distant, they might ask what I've been doing since high school.

And I never know what to say. I don't know how much to explain, or where to begin. It usually depends on who asks. What mood I'm in.

For now, I am on the upswing. My mind has been riddled with TB for a while now, and I missed decorating myself with silly, pretty things.

Writers are often advised to begin a story in the middle. Here I am, though it feels like a beginning, too. I started the way most of us do. I am back in Chicago, I feel better, and despite a long road of treatment ahead I am going to live and prosper. And I'll have to dress the part.

Wearing this, I walked around the city I love - Chicago - for the first time in a very long time. I papered the town with my resume. I began again.


Shades: Target
Black Blazer: H&M
Rose brooch: Forever21
Blue blouse: H&M
Black and white dress: DKNY, thrifted
Blue polka dot peep toes: Irregular Choice
Vintage 60s bag: thrifted






...I am excited to restart my blog. It will be about style, but it will be about standing up too.