Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Musings

Ah, the middle of the week.  Thursday is just around the corner, and not far behind that is my favorite time of the week:  5:00 PM on Friday :)

To help tide you over til happy hour commences, here are a few tidbits (of the non-boozy kind):

First up - this email I got from warehouse discount retailer Chickdowntown (which used to be a boutique and has since morphed into something I'm just not that interested in):

I don't know about you, but when in tarnation did size 10 become a plus size?  Our whole battle with body image already has enough arsenal without this numeric reclassification.  Also, given the completely weird sizing that exists today in fashion, I could be a 10.  And I usually wear a 4.  What the heck does that make someone who's a true 10?  As someone who is admittedly not well-versed in the topic, I still don't even think of a size 12 as plus.  And then we could all raise the "What defines a plus-size" flag, anyway.  Mmmmppfff...  not impressed, Chickdowntown.  Not impressed.  Are you as underwhelmed as I am?

Need something to counter the annoying ad above?  Nothing distracts like sparkly stuff, right?  If you live in the Twin Cities, like to shop, and like deals even better...  well, have I got the enabling event for you!  My friend Karin, whose amazing jewelry I drooled over in this post, is having her sample sale this very weekend!  That's right, come on by and check out her gorgeous designs.  Like these:

Here's some serious bling - recycled diamonds.  Sustainable sparkle on sale!  What's not to love here??  (Besides my poor attempt at alliteration):

You know you can't resist!  The sale will be this Saturday and Sunday, 3/31 & 4/1, from noon-5:00 PM.  And, if you're into destination shopping, there will be other lovely artists on the 4th floor of the building, including the gorgeous red purse on my profile pic here, created by BC Designs.  You can find more info here.

**Hey, let's try something:  If you come to the sale after reading this, would you be so awesome as to mention to Karin that you heard about her sale from my blog?  While this does not score you any freebies (hey, her stuff is already marked down ;), it would be fabulous for us to know this post contributed to your visit - many thanks! **

And, to wrap things up, I'll close with ridiculous cuteness.    I like to call it:


Also known as, random neighbor's super affectionate cat, who was on my doorstep to greet me when I got home from work.  It was somewhat difficult to photograph her, as she kept rubbing up against my legs.  Had she not had tags, I'm pretty sure my husband would be coming home to find a new addition to the family.

Happy Wednesday!  And, if you live in the TC, hope to see you Saturday at Karin's sale!

Chickdowntown from the email
Karin Jacobson Design courtesy of Karin Jacobson
Welcoming Committee courtesy of my iPhone

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another Welcome Addition

As I reported last December, CB2 landed in our neighborhood, brightening the corner of 31st and Hennepin with its window displays of home décor.  Just a few months later, I'm happy to tell you yet another retailer has joined the party.  Jonathan Adler, a celebrity designer known for his cheery and fun furnishings and accessories, quietly opened his latest retail outpost on Lake Street, between Holmes and Humboldt Avenues.

Yep.  That's two blocks away from our place.  Just like CB2.  Me likey!

Of course, I had to venture in and check out the wares.  The space, like his designs, is bright and colorful.  Packed with all sorts of fun finds, the room feels like the perfect place for a happy hour.  Sipping Kir Royales while relaxing in one of the many fab chairs and couches - sign me up!  In fact, when we stopped in on Saturday afternoon, the friendly salespeople handed us mini-cupcakes!

As usual, you'll get a better idea of the new digs by seeing my photos, so I'll zip it and show you the scene:

The entry lures you right in:

The store is pet-friendly, which is evident not just by some of the items, but also by the cute pooch hiding in the background:

I did a little research on the website and it sounds like JA got his creative start with pottery, some of which you can see below, and many of which are on display throughout the store.

"Whoooo" could go cuckoo in this store and snap up multiple things?

While perusing everything, we ran into our friend, Ini.  He's probably the most stylish (and style-setting) guy I know, and a total sweetheart.  He also owned the late and much-loved Ivy boutique.  I can only hope he'll return to the retail world someday soon.  Damn, I miss that store!  Here, Ini (left) and my DH take a break from shopping.  Two handsome men in some equally handsome chairs:

Speaking of handsome, I'm already coveting this great couch:

Here's a snap of the couch from the website.  And look, Minneapolis store - now open!  Indeed it is!

I'll take the cream chair and ottoman while I'm at it:

As you can see, Jonathan Adler's newest location is a spot where I could part with a good chunk of change.  His designs are fresh and different from the other stores around here, and it adds to the great mix of businesses.  What's nice is you can buy just one piece, yet still change up your dining table/shelves/odd corner in the bedroom completely with that sole purchase.  Or, heh, you can go wild and get that couch.  And chair.  And ottoman.  And...

Welcome to the neighborhood, and thanks for the enabling :)

**P.S.   In the very small event that JA is himself reading this little post, you've got to answer a question for me...  are you actually a Rush fan (your "About" section on the website details your choice of shirt while doing summer camp pottery)?  Because this Rush fan would love to know.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

No Really, Is It March?

I'm not sure about the rest of the country, but Daylight Savings Time not only stole an hour from those of us in the Upper Midwest - it also took away most of March, April and May.  A week ago, I was still wearing my down coat, wellies and my work uniform of a sweater and wool pencil skirt.  Then - BAM - all of a sudden, the temperatures were pushing into the high 60's, then 70's, and finally topping out at 80 degrees yesterday.  The last few days have included al fresco dining, pulling out clothes I haven't seen since last September, and a few mentions of, "Ohmigosh, it's *hot* outside!"

Yesterday, by the way, was good old St. Patrick's Day.  My memories (while somewhat fuzzy) of my Irish revelry, usually included a scarf and gloves.  This year, it was shorts, a Guinness t-shirt, and sunblock.

The entire global warming debate aside, being jolted from winter straight into summer presents a completely different issue:  what the heck are we supposed to wear during this bizarre week of "wummer?"  We Northerners are embracing the unexpected heat and humidity with a very wary eye.  Everyone knows we typically get snowed upon in March.  And a few flakes in April and May aren't unusual, either.  So...  it's not like I can do a happy dance and shove all my wool, cashmere and down into a box and be done with it.  Nu-uh.  I'm wondering when the cold snap will arrive (even if "cold" means highs in the 50's) and I'll be digging through those boxes again.

Additionally, some people are getting a little too happy about the weather.  I see flip-flops, muscle tees, and other beach attire cruising around the streets lately.  One extreme to the other.  Or, you'll see said flip-flops worn with a gauzy skirt, chunky sweater and a scarf and coat.  Your top half thinks it's still late February; your bottom plunked itself into June.

The Chicago Tribune even ran a story about people's fashion confusion (and shopping sprees) during this "heat wave."  My friend, the one who relocated and is living out of a suitcase while getting settled and searching for a new home, is going out of her mind because her smart packing skills didn't anticipate 80 degrees in March.  Granted, this does give her an excuse to, um, go shopping.

I think the mild winter has been a general phenomenon for a lot of the country this season.  How have you been dressing?  Is it all about layers?  Pulled out your favorite summer outfits this week?  Seen any bizarre fashion mash-ups?

Today's forecast is 77 and sunny, and we all know snow could be on the horizon, so I'm off to soak up this lovely June, er I mean March, day.  I'll leave you with this closing image of what used to be a sizeable snowbank, now a cold mess hanging on for dear life during these relatively sultry nights.  It serves as a reminder that, while the bulk of winter is indeed over, we may well get a final visit from winter.  So I'm keeping my coat and wellies within reach.

Images:  my own

Monday, March 12, 2012

Star Wars Style

I feel like my life is currently punctuated by the rash of fashion collaborations that keep cropping up and spreading like wearable chicken pox.  Without the itching and calamine lotion.  I mean it.  After all the Missoni for Target madness, I swore I'd give their Jason Wu line the silent treatment.  As we all know, that was super effective.  I caved to my friends' relentless picture posting and praising of the scarf/dress/bag that they'd scored.  I even ended up getting a top from the Versace/H&M collection.  And that was definitely something I'd originally kicked off my radar.

Now, for the past week, everyone's been going bats**t for the Marni/H&M launch.  And...  yeah...  like a sweet sneeze of style, my friends have passed their excitement of this collab right along to me.  It's interesting.  Similar to Missoni and Versace, Marni is an Italian fashion house which prefers to camp out in stores like Barney's and Net-A-Porter.  I see the clothing pop up on flash sales from time to time and, while I admire the styles, it always seemed a little boxy to me.  I just felt like their cuts would not flatter my weird frame.  Considering the hefty price tags, I suppose that's just as well.

But now, darn it all, H&M had to come along and team up with these folks.  My fashion friends whipped themselves up into a frenzy, and those lucky enough to live near the select H&M stores carrying the line (What?  No Mall of America?  Come on, now...) offered to shop for the unlucky ones.  "Meh, I dunno," was my initial response when asked if I wanted anything.  "The fabrics always look stiff.  I don't want to look like someone pasted shapes on me."

Then the lookbook was trotted out.  And I looked.  And liked.  And am now awaiting a small shipment of goodies from the Enablers, as I now like to refer to my friends - in a nice way!

While I still decided I could pass on most items, these grew on me, starting with this tote bag, which I don't need to worry about in terms of fit:

I also gravitated quickly to this skirt, which reminds me of Orla Kiely:

And, a bunny-ish t-shirt is kind of fun.  I didn't realize this is all appliqué - that'll be interesting to see up close.  I do like that 25% of the sales of this shirt go to the Red Cross.

Yeah, that's great, you say.  Why did you title this post after the George Lucas saga?  Here's why:

This actually caught my eye when I saw it modeled in the lookbook.

But then I had this image automatically manifest itself in my brain:

Hey.  I'm a fan of Princess Leia.  She's feisty.  She's pretty.  And she shoots guns.  But...  am I going to get comments like, "Hey, the Ewok Forest is the other way" snarked at me when I wear this?  I guess I'm gonna find out.

The collection also boasts a number of accessories like jewelry, which seemed to be the focus of my pals' shopping intention.  The bracelets are cute, but they'd slide right off my bird wrists.  The necklaces are cool, too, but I just don't think I can pull them off.  Which is a shame, as this one is pretty striking (and very Rebellion Princess-appropriate):

Oh, and they had socks.  Which I decided were fun, but where the heck am I gonna wear these, all pulled up to my knees and paired with some random heels?  (You can see a whole ensemble here):

And so, every time I think I am "well" again, another fashion mash-up occurs, and I catch the fever.  With future collaborations just over the horizon, I'm not sure when I'm going to ever get better.  Especially since one of my favorite designers, Diane von Furstenberg, is pairing up with the Gap to produce ridiculously cute kids' clothes (I know I'm not a child, but if these are sized like Target's XL girls' clothing, guess what?!).

Which collaborations are you excited about?  The new Shops at Target?  Orly Kiely for Uniqlo (grrr...  Uniqlo needs to expand already!)?  Howzabout Manolo Blahnik for J. Crew?  Or is there one I'm not aware of that's making your heart all a-flutter?  Let me know!

Til then, I'll bask in the anticipation of my latest "condition."  Just don't ask me if I know where the Death Star plans are located.  Just like dear Leia, I'm feisty, and I know how to shoot a gun ;)

For all the details of the Marni for H&M collab, click here.

Images:  all courtesy of the H&M website, with the exception of...

Princess Leia, which I found on (aka, the Wookieepedia, really).

Monday, March 5, 2012

If It's Monday, It Must Be Random...

You've all heard this before.  Mondays = posts that are brief, weird or both.  Well, I'm pulling that card tonight and giving you the gift that keeps on giving.  How did I not know about this thing?  Especially since half my Facebook friends have/love/share anything related to... cats.  It surfaced around this time last year, which makes me unfashionably late to the party, but better late than never, right?

Love cats?  Love (what appears to be strawberry) Pop-Tarts?  Want to mash those up, give it a rainbow trail, and top it off with ridiculously poppy music that will either make you chair dance or lock yourself in the bathroom, crying for it to stop?

Turn up the volume and plug in the good speakers, yeah the ones with the sub-woofer.  I present to you...  Nyan Cat.  See how long you can "nyan."

(click on the image and it will take you to the site)

Still wondering what in tarnation you just witnessed?  You can read a bit more about it here.  Did you love it like a kid loves Cap'n Crunchberry?  Or did it make your brain collapse?  I'm in the former camp for now - but check back with me in a week :)

Image:  from the Nyan Cat website