Monday, October 25, 2010

My idea of the happiest time of year.

You know the way some people get really depressed after Christmas is over? That's the way I feel about Halloween. I love it. I've been getting extra into the spirit this weekend, putting finishing touches on my costumes and making chocolate covered pretzels in Halloween colors.

There's legitimately drops of deer drool all over the pumpkin in front of our door. Gross.
I got these adorable ghost stickers at Michaels to put on my Mom's Halloween gifts. (Yes, we exchange Halloween presents in our family.)
I made these cute pretzels! And they're super easy to make! Watch!
All you need is a bag of pretzels, a bag of chocolate chips, and maybe some sprinkles. I got mine at Home Goods for a couple of bucks.
Put the chocolate chips in the microwave for a minute. ONE MINUTE -- no longer!
It's going to LOOK like they aren't done, but trust me, they are. DON'T put them back in the microwave -- they'll burn.
Use a pretzel to stir the chips until they finish melting down. Then shake the excess chocolate off and lay the pretzel down on a sheet of wax paper to cool. Repeat. I like to work with small batches of chocolate so I don't have to worry about it firming up. If you're having a hard time getting the chocolate to melt, add some canola oil. DON'T add milk, cream, or butter. They all contain water, and even the smallest drop of water will cause your chocolate to seize, meaning it'll get grainy and weird and definitely not ready for pretzels. (Trust me, I know this from experience. Feel free to check out my garbage can, full of around three cups of chocolate I ruined with half and half...)
Note that it's completely necessary to save all the broken pieces at the bottom of the bag to dip in chocolate for yourself.
Throw the pretzels in a cute bowl...
...set out and enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My knight in shining armor.

Ok, SERIOUSLY how awesome is this ring that I bought at Thirteen Vintage the other week? Right? I'm obsessed with it. I had been looking for a really great, cheeky ring for awhile now and completely fell in love when I spotted this in the jewelry case.

GIF animations generator
The jewelry line is called Monserat De Lucca and they make all sorts of equally cool, edgy stuff, like these pieces (also all available at Thirteen Vintage):
Just about everything has moving parts, making it all really fun to play with. There's a ring with a maze in it and a guitar case-shaped locket that opens. The skull and brain come as a set to be worn separately, OR you can open up the top of the skull and put the brain inside.
So clever.
I want every single piece.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The retail blues.

I know there are a million land-locked, middle-of-nowhere-dwellers that would kill me for saying this, but I despise the King of Prussia mall. It's a mile away from my house, but I've reached a point where I'm near-protesting its existence. Yes, it's a nice place. Yes, it's convenient and has almost every store you could ever ask for (but seriously, could we get a Zara already? My faith would be restored. Just saying.)

If you aren't from this area, allow me to explain. The King of Prussia mall is [allegedly] the stuff that shopping dreams are made of. It boasts over 400 different stores, eight department stores, and none of that amusement park crap like the Mall of America. This is clean and simple retail euphoria. 2,793,200 square feet of it. That's a lot of floor space.

But the selection inside those walls is totally lacking. I head to the mall every couple of weeks, just to browse around and try things on and see what strikes my fancy. But nine times out of 10, I leave empty handed. I'm an infamously picky shopper, but seriously? Shouldn't a place as famed as the biggest mall on the east cost have something more to offer? If I was, say, an insecure 14 year old with no personal style, I'd be in heaven. Dark wash jeggings, ill-fitting miniskirts, and cotton cardigans in boring colors are everywhere. The mediocre picks appeal to the masses, which I understand is a safe bet for retailers. But while the store buyers are convincing middle-Americans to come in droves, they're simultaneously alienating fashion-forward shoppers. Unless, of course, you want to head to Neiman's and drop a cool couple grand on a few trendy pieces. Personally, I don't have that kind of cash.

Listen, all I want is for H&M to start stocking the awesome stuff that they generally reserve for their urban locations. Some strong shouldered jackets and faux fur, you know? I understand that those pieces don't sell as well, making it financially risky to put on the shelves. I get it, H&M, I do. 

But as the selection in the mall stays consistently crappy, they're going to lose me as a customer all together. I can't imagine I'm the only one around here to feel this way. In fact, I've overheard other trend-savvy shoppers lament about the options in KOP retailers. To compensate, I've begun to do my shopping in better locations -- Suburban Square, flea markets, and, most recently, downtown Philly.

Last Sunday I took the train into the heart of the city and waltzed around Walnut Street before I had to head back to the suburbs for work. And let me tell you, it was way more fun than a morning at the mall. I'm a strong believer that an ideal autumn afternoon is spent in dark denim and a cozy knit poncho. (Ironically, I picked mine up at the H& the mall.)

Hudson jeans, Jessica Simpson leopard flats, H&M poncho

Wouldn't you rather look at this than the inside of a mall while you're shopping?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Is this really the same chick we used to watch on The Osbournes?

I know this is kind of terrible to say because the fashion industry is supposed to be all into embracing fuller figures these days and blah blah blah, but damn! Kelly Osbourne looks hot! I'm totally digging her image revamp. Don't get me wrong, I'm Crystal Renn and Christina Hendrick's biggest fan, but I think Kelly looks a million times better now that she's slimmed down and ditched the Hot Topic-teen look.
Observe these pictures I jacked from her Twitter: (How chic is that white dress?)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday Funday

Fedora: Forever 21, aviators: H&M, scarf: hotel gift shop, necklace: vintage, dress: H&M
Boots: Minnetonka
I think a big part of your twenties is fine-tuning your own recipe for happiness. Through trial and error, you slowly sort of figure out what gets your gears in motion and what just isn't your speed.

I know it's naive to complain that your twenties are overwhelmed with newness all the time (I mean, I don't think anything will be more overwhelming than the age I decide to get married and have children), but it is kind of a struggle to figure out how to balance all the unfamiliar elements of adulthood, you know?

I think now, more than ever, I really pay attention to the things that make me overwhelmingly happy (and do my best to avoid the things that launch me into a grumpy gloom.) When I'm not at work, all I ever want to think about anymore is fashion, photography, cooking, traveling, and my very missed friends that don't live near by.

Yesterday was one of those sublime fall Sundays in which I got to do a lot of things that make me happy. My friend Kevin and I spent the early afternoon at The Golden Nugget flea market, which is absolutely awesome. I highly recommend if you live anywhere near there: go. I got lots of cheap goodies and would have purchased loads more if I hadn't been so overwhelmed by merchandise decisions.

Flea markets are my favorite way to shop. I love bypassing the apathy of mall employees and talking to all the vendors. (My moccasin boots started more than one conversation about what it was like to party in the '60s. The consensus, unsurprisingly, is that it was awesome.)
Here's what I rounded up:
Pearl necklace, ribbon pin, two army pins, old key, cameo pendent, gold bangle -- all $1 each!
Old 3D viewer photos, 3 for $5.
After I got my fill of digging through junk boxes and jewelry cases, I headed over to Kevin's store in New Hope, Thirteen Vintage. They just moved to a spot right along Main Street, so the people watching is absolutely unparalleled. We sat outside on the balcony and ate THE most delicious pumpkin ice cream from the conveniently-placed shop right next door and watched the early evening hustle and bustle. New Hope, PA has the best collection of characters, let me tell you. I wish I had snapped a photo of the two middle-aged men walking around in pink Little-Bo-Peep costumes. Just as hysterical as it sounds.
Go buy pumpkin ice cream here before it's too late!
Then I headed inside and proceeded to spend hours --literally, hours -- going through every single thing in their chock-a-block-full-of-cute-stuff store. Kevin and David have this incredible knack for scooping up trends before they even happen. They cater to a pretty wide range of styles, but if I had to choose a way to describe their stuff, I'd say it's trend conscious with an edge. They carry lots of great vintage stuff, budget-conscious lines like Kensie and B.B. Dakota, seriously awesome heels and boots, and have a jewelry case that could make a grown woman weep. (Or maybe that's just me.)

And just wait until you see what I bought! I'm so excited about it that it's getting a whole post of it's own.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Choosing between my two first loves

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Blazer: Express, white shirt: Foxcroft, skinny cords: Urban Outfitters, leather boots: Matisse
 My dear friend Erika asked me the most ridiculous question the other day.

"Sam, if you had to choose between never wearing nautical things again or never wearing equestrian things again, which would it be?"
Oh, the nerve to even suggest such a malnourished life style! I humored her though, and after much consideration I decided I'd sacrifice nautical before riding gear. But really, that would wipe out half my closet. A peak into my drawers will reveal no less than eight nearly-identical-to-the-untrained-eye striped shirts. What can I say? I know what I like and I like consistency.

When I was in fifth grade, I bought this fantastic outfit from the American Girl catalog (I was an embarrassingly devoted fan of theirs) that consisted of a red and white striped t-shirt and low-rise navy trousers. I thought I was so cool.

However, the first day I wore it to school some girl at the locker next to mine muttered under her breath, "What do you think you are, a sailor?"

I was beyond mortified. I should've ignored her -- she was a real bitch, you know? The type with beady eyes and flat hair. I can't remember her name, but I do remember her saying something snarky about my bohemian attitude towards resisting unnecessary conflict when she tried to do something mean to one of my friends. "What are you, a hippy?" This girl clearly had huge issues with identity.


I put my passionate love for nautical stuff on hold for awhile to let my poor bruised ego get some TLC. Instead, I turned my attention to equestrian-inspired wears and started pulling together a wardrobe made almost entirely out of the J.Crew sale rack and Ralph Lauren factory store. I've had an affinity for blazers and leather riding boots ever since. They are the core of my being. In fact, when people routinely ask me if I ride horses (Erika also told me I looked like I had just come from the barn a little while back) I'm not even insulted -- I'm flattered!

I only forgave my mother for not signing me up for riding lessons as a child when I realized I could still dress the part without the risk of any major brain injuries...
Blazer: Lilly Pulitzer
Belt: vintage, tunic: H&M

Friday, October 1, 2010

In which my world takes a decidely narcissistic turn to the right.

 I'll be the first to admit that I have a rather unhealthy obsession with personal style blogs. I'll get on my laptop to check my email -- really fast! I swear, I'll only be a second! -- only to emerge two hours later from the far depths of some new blog I've accidentally stumbled upon and quickly became infatuated with. I think seeing the way real people put outfits together is far more inspiring than any catalog or magazine. And, apparently, so does everyone in the fashion industry these days. Street style is everything.

However, when it came to posting pictures of my own style on my own blog, I enthusiastically refrained. "Too narcissistic. Too self congratulating. Too...weird," I thought.

But being the attention-seeking hypocrite that I am, along with a gentle push from my ever-supportive friend Katelyn, I've decided to reconsider. Hence, a new venture.

This necklace? You won't even believe me when I tell you that
it was $3.80 at Forever 21. Pearl earrings: Banana Republic
Utility jacket: Gap, gingham button down: J. Crew,
skinny cords: Urban