Friday, November 27, 2009

The best things happen while you're dancing...

I know it's a little early to start watching Christmas movies, but my family has a Thanksgiving tradition; after all the food has been devoured and the leftovers put away (and the paper plates made from sugarcane have been recycled!), we gather around the television and pop in a perennial favorite: Irving Berlin's White Christmas. We watch it year after year, and it never gets old. We love the songs, the dancing, and especially the campy acting and bad jokes (by now we've even created our own special commentary). And every time we watch, we pick up on nuances we hadn't noticed before-- don't you love that when you re-watch your favorites? Maybe you have to be a little obsessive and neurotic to love it as much as I do, but this is how old movies never get, well, old.
During last night's annual viewing, I was particularly attuned to the gorgeous, techni-colored winter fashions displayed throughout the film. From the female leads played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen to some of the minor characters and extras, early fifties fashion -- high-glamor fur coats, muffs, opera gloves and all -- was in full force. Edith Head was the costume designer, and she was especially meticulous with all of Vera-Ellen's clothes. Her high-necked sweater dresses, rehearsal leotards and gowns were stunning, but a little research reveals that the high necklines and long sleeves were carefully designed to hide Vera's bulimia. This explains why she rocked so many turtlenecks, while Rosemary Clooney wore all the plunging v-necks-- contrast! Despite the sadness of Vera's eating disorder, she easily had the most stylish look of any character.

A Google search could locate only a few of Vera's ensembles. I'll leave you with a few movie clips so you can get a better look... (Trust me, you have got to see that pink dress in action!)

I know it's dance outfit, but I'd live in this bright yellow dress! Surely it would cure any winter "blahs."
Who wouldn't love a black-and-white checkered skirt-- and a circle skirt at that? The red belt cinches it so nicely!
The perfect pink dress... like a cream-puffed sugarplum fairy! Or "White Christmas Barbie."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Freebirds and fancy feasts

I thought I'd take a departure from my usual posts and write a poem, inspired by the great Shel Silverstein, depicting my thoughts and feelings toward Thanksgiving. Sorry it's not super-cheery, but there are certain issues that are too dire to sidestep just because it's a holiday. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, because I do love the holidays and spending time with family and eating yummy food... but I carry a burden of what I call "eco-guilt" that's hard to shake, especially during this festive time of year when we're blessed with an abundance while so many go without.

So this Thanksgiving, I encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect and to be truly thankful for what we have, and remember the rest of the world. One easy way you can help ease the pain of world hunger and ensure that there's more to go around is to include more whole grains and plant-based foods in your diet, of which there are plenty; and limit your consumption of meat, whose raising and slaughtering and production is the number one cause of global warming (whether people believe in it or not).

Please think of others, think of the animals, and reconsider the "centerpiece" of your holiday meals. There are plenty of great resources out there for delicious and filling vegetarian dishes; even Martha Stewart dedicated an episode of her show to how to have a vegetarian thanksgiving. We don't have to deprive ourselves or get all bummed out; we just need to do little things that add up into big changes that will positively impact our planet and its people. This is a heavy burden to carry and not talk about. [I suppose this is the angst that comes with being the lone vegetarian in my family.] So I hope you all understand, and will consider all these things as you celebrate.

And now, a poem:

"I Used to Like Thanksgiving"

I used to like Thanksgiving
When I fit in with my folks
We'd listen to Rush Limbaugh
As we cooked and made bad jokes
We'd always name the turkey
After Hillary or Bill
Then dig into our dinner
And eat our greedy fill

Then I thought hard about the animals
And finally did research
I learned so many horrors
That would make your stomach lurchI couldn't feel good about
Taking another bite
But, well, this is America
And feasting is our right

Right?So I dig into the turnips
I load up on the yams
I pile my plate with salad
Cranberries, walnuts, jamAnd if there's room, I save a place
For homemade pumpkin pie
I'm thankful for a Thanksgiving
Where no one had to die.

Freebirds!Yup, all that food is vegetarian (even the "meat" balls).
If this post resonates with you and you'd like to see more cute pictures of farm animals I've taken, check out my foodie blog, Technical Vegan.

Happy [FREE THE] Turkey Day! ;)

Poem, photos © 2009 Erin C. Dale

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trippy hippie luxe

Wow, another week flew by... I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving time. Then, as a semi-hippie-liberal vegetarian, I don't exactly gear up for this particular "holiday." A day of gluttonous feasting while most of the world goes hungry followed by a day of gluttonous shopping and retail employee trampling... God bless the U.S.A.


Ahem. I'll step off my soapbox. You know that I don't think shopping is evil; it's just that the dark magic of Black Friday seems to turn people evil. I know-- I've worked retail during the past two Black Fridays. But although I call myself a hippie, I'm not exactly anti-establishment (hellooo, Free People!). I still love - ok, that's an understatement - to shop, so I've decided to leap ahead of the greedy crowds to come and start my Christmas shopping early. So much more relaxing!

And to go along with my lazy, hazy mood, I created a Polyvore that captures my current fashion/aesthetic fixation... Boho rock, baby!

I wonder what the rest of the world does on Black Friday. In America, the consumer lust is disgusting... but are there psycho Black Fridays shoppers all over the world? (Hmm, something to Google...) I find myself wondering what Japan or France or Germany must look like during this crazy pre-Christmas buying bonanza... How do you all spend - and what do you spend on - this infamous occasion?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Variations of a theme

If you were to ever accuse me of being an "outfit repeater," normally I might gasp and swear, "Never!" But if you had caught me this past weekend, I would have been found guilty as charged.

What I wore Saturday...Dress, scarf: Kimchi Blue, Urban Outfitters
Tights: Target, maybe?
Boots: Kohl's, gift from Grandma
Necklaces: Tiffany's, vintage
And then Sunday...Faux fur jacket: Had it for so long I can't remember...
Sweater dress: Gift
Bag: Simply Vera by Vera Wang
Belt, tights: Loft
Boots: Report, Off-Broadway Shoes

Now my personal style isn't what I'd call consistent... I change themes, genres, decades on a daily basis. This is probably because I'm an "actress"; most of my outfits are "costumes." Lately I've been feeling really late seventies/early eighties, and that's been reflected in everything from my iPod playlists (Heart! Eagles! Journey! Bad Company!) to my sartorial choices.

This sweater dress/leggings/ankle boots combo has almost become a uniform of late. There's nothing much easier than slipping on a long sweater or tunic over leggings, then throwing on a scarf, belt, or faux-fur bomber jacket-- done! I've been in a purple-y mood lately, so I just happened to wear lilac-colored dresses two days in a row. Today I'm wearing a deep purple tunic! Guess I'm in a purple haze...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blake Lively blonde

It's the age-old question, Betty and Veronica... Do blondes, like, really have more fun?
Yesterday, I came across this NY Times article and was highly amused. It concerns a certain 'Gossip Girl' with long, flowing locks... Apparently, the coif and color of Blake Lively is now the most requested style in NYC salons. So is Serena van der Woodsen's hairstyle the new "Rachel"?
Women who frequent salons like Bumble and bumble are asking for shiny blonde highlights, long layers and plenty of tousle à la Lively. But, as the Times takes pains to point out, hair like Blake Lively's is awfully hard to duplicate unless, ya know, you're born with it.

"It's aspirational hair," said one salon owner. "It looks accidental, but actually it takes work." (Shocker.)

Others add that some lucky girls like Lively are simply "born with amazing hair" and that wanting her exact style "sets unrealistic expectations." One stylist even questioned if everyday women can even handle such a cut. They must figure that only screen goddesses are born with perfectly tussled tresses; the rest of us simply can't handle it!

I guess I'd like to point out that I was born with a full head of hair, too, Ms. Lively, but mine started out inky black and turned blonde by the time I was a toddler. Then what did I do with my "lucious" blonde mane?

Hi, Emily!

I brought this very picture into my stylist...And emerged a Zooey clone! Now I've got some "indie cred." Still waiting for my big "indie" break. :P

So much for Blake Lively blonde! Why, oh why, did I do it? (My stylist was practically crying.) Boredom, sheer boredom. Sometimes I do miss my long, flowing blonde waves, but I figure it's hair, we might as well do what we want with it! Especially if we have lots of it to mess with. My other major point was that nobody is born with perfect hair. Lively's stylist claims that to achieve the Serena look, all she does is apply a conditioning mask, twist the hair into a chignon and let it air dry. Yeah, right! If you've ever seen Gossip Girl, you know it takes a little more than some conditioner and a loose bun to achieve those curls. Even natural waves and curls need treatment and TLC... and heat! I used to achieve bedhead blonde "perfection" by sleeping with my hair in a topknot, shaking it out in the morning, and curling the ends under if the waves were too uneven. Add plenty of Aussie's Sprunch spray and a good curl gel and you're good to go!

Now I miss my "Zooey" cut (yeah, so I'm a copycat, too)... my hair is a boring "blah" brown right now and ready to go lighter or darker. Too bad I spent all my designated salon money on shoes! :D This season, I seem to care more about how my feet look (and feel!) than what color my hair is. I figure if I really feel like it, I can always just grab a box of dye or a highlighting kit and experiment at home. What about you guys? Any hair-raising tales to share? You know me, I always love a good "hairstory." And puns. :P

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The hippie killed the hunter

Oh, the hippie killed the hunter for his warm plaid shirt...

No, that's not the title of a folk song (though it should be!). It' s just what I've nicknamed today's outfit. I was chilly and wanted to be warm and comfortable, so I paired my buffalo plaid flannel with some extra-thick leggings annnd... my newest and favorite addition to my wardrobe: black knee-high slouchy boots!

They fold down to make shorter boots! Wee!

I've been searching for the perfect pair for a crazy amount of time, and snagged these babies (on sale!) at Macy's. And, vegan pals, they are faux-leather, just to clarify. :) The brand is Report if you want to go grab a pair for yourself!

Outfit details:
Plaid tunic (it was a shirt dress till it shrunk!): TJ Maxx
Sweater vest: Kohl's
Belt, leggings: Loft
Boots: Report via Macy's

The resulting look is very grunge-meets-Woodstock, slyph-meets-lumberjack... like a hippie who got lost in the woods and wound up killing a hunter for his shirt. Hee.
You bet, I killed him... then I picked some wildflowers.

Next I want to style these boots with this summer's black floral romper... thoughts?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Topaz and trinkets

Tomorrow is my 25th birthday, and I'm spending it with my grandparents in my home town... something I haven't done since I was probably three or four years old. I'm excited! I'm actually blogging "on the road," sitting in my old favorite neighborhood coffee shop. I just downed a cuppa "chocolate decadence" coffee. Mmm...

So, in honor of my upcoming birthday, here's a Polyvore featuring a few of my favorite things... and a decidedly November color pallette.
November Champagne
November Champagne by erincathleen featuring Jessica McClintock clutches

November sky

There's nothing quite like watching dusk sweep over a wintry beach...
As the sun sets below the waves, its evening companion rises, though the moonlit waters remain bright as day... Icy shades of cream, grey, pink and blue recall both balmy summer nights and a winter morning's frost...
Beret: H&M
Scarf: Herbivore Clothing
Cardigan: BDG, Urban Outfitters
Dress: Loft
Ballet flats: Old Navy
Jewelry: Vintage locket, Tiffany's pendant