Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Few Midday Thoughts

Some things that have come to my mind while trolling the internet for both work and pleasure today:

1. Coach has come a long way from the wristlets we all wore (and presently deny to have loved) in 2005. I want one of these cross body bags (in blue, please) to escort me into fall.

2. Is this Altuzarra coat high fashun Patagucci or WHAT? I wore its Patagonia twin to my MWF math classes sophomore year of college, and I had a crush on every outdoors club guy that did too.

Image via Style.com
3. Emmanuelle Alt is hitting up fashion week accompanied by a new gang of pant-and-stiletto wearing Voguettes. They're blonder than the previous generation but still vaguely adhere to the rules of monochromatic dressing.

That was then...
...This is now (Image via The Cut)
4. On a pop culture note, I have a new favorite celebrity tween couple, which appears to be in the midst of being confirmed by publicists: Chloe Grace Moretz and Brooklyn Beckham. I suspected this since I first saw pics of them skateboarding in Venice a couple of months ago. Going to get a life now, bye.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Tablecloth-As-Scarf

I'm not one to make fun of things white people like, mainly because they're the same things I like, but if there's one thing that white people of a certain income bracket buy, it's home accessories: throws, shams, tablecloths. Jonathan Adler stores wouldn't be so ubiquitous above 59th Street if it weren't for his pillows. And while decorative pillows have no purpose except to sit on a bed until you put them away before physically getting into bed, throws and tablecloths have the dual purpose of being decorative in the home and on the body. For the sartorially adventurous comfort-seeker, they're the ultimate accessory.

Stage right to me at Anthropologie earlier today. Anthropologie stores are designed without a clear separator between home furnishings and apparel, which is why I didn't realize the scarves I was combing through were actually tablecloths. It wasn't until I asked the nice alternatively-dressed saleswoman for a price check that I understood I was about to tie a table runner around my neck and call it a day. I bought the table runner/scarf for a few reasons, the main one being that it was unseasonably cold outside and I was about to go to a happy hour on a boat. The table cloth was affordable, made of a thick cotton fabric, and I liked the print and accompanying tassels. I also knew the friend I was about to meet when I walked out of the store would compliment my scarf, and I couldn't deny the thrill I'd undeniably get once I disclosed that my neckpiece was actually a tablecloth. I wear home furnishings as apparel, what can I say, I'm wild.

Since I'm fully committing to being a part-time blogger, full-time shopper and I realize that visuals would help get things moving along, here's a picture of me being cozy in my cloth.

Too blessed to be stressed because I'm wearing a tablecloth (and a fringe jacket)
If you're interested in the table runner, take a looksie here. Also, do you think this lounge mat would make me look fat if I wore it as a sarong?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Stovetop Cooking Challenge, Week 1

I moved into a new apartment a couple of weeks ago. It's all the rage because I really am just a born-and-bred suburban white girl who carries a Vera Bradley duffel bag on weekend trips, so the fact that one of my new neighbors played a leading character on The OC and I can practically see Mimi Marquez (clad only bubble wrap) singing on my fire escape gets me out of bed every morning. My new living situation is mostly fun and games once you walk up the five flights of stairs and into the shabby chic rooms held up by questionably crumbling walls.

Except for one thing: I don't have an oven. I knew this when I signed the lease and didn't think it would be too much of a hindrance until the whole absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder schtick hit me and I realized that oven-baked chicken pot pie is my favorite meal. And since my funds are generally limited and I'd much rather spend my money on bomb diggity new shoes (clogs = on my feet = right now) than "outside food" (to quote my mom), I'm committed to the cause in the kitchen.

I like the thrill of a hot skillet and the sound of sizzling water, but man, do you have to get creative when it comes to a stovetop-only kitchen. So, enter The Channeling Board's new angle: cooking. It's kind of like Julie and Julia but not at all, so join me as I document my self-imposed challenge to cook dinner every night without an oven.

Starting yesterday, Tuesday September 16:

I've been intrigued by caramelized onions since 6th grade, when my French teacher presented our class with an extra credit opportunity to make French onion soup. It seemed too complicated at the time and I preferred bookish projects because one of my life mottos until I was forcibly kicked out of academia by way of college graduation had always been #MoreHomework. Anyway, what better time to caramelize onions than when making dinner in a kitchen sans oven? I envision sitting down to an Instagram-filtered plate of browned onions with sauteed spinach and mushrooms and a side of lentils. In my mind it looks great.

I buy an onion the size of an American Girl doll head and start cooking it the minute I get home at 7:30. I skimmed through a recipe earlier in the day and thought it would only take 10 minutes to make but reading comprehension has never been my strong suit--as the College Board can attest to-- and it turns out that it takes an hour to caramelize an onion. It's acceptable to let a grumbling stomach wait an hour for a steak, but for a root vegetable? No. My roommate has already eaten her fried egg sandwich and moved on to her chocolate-yogurt-honey course by the time the natural sugars seep out of my onion. At 8:37, I make an executive decision to eat the onions as they are, which is like, 89% caramelized. Not great you guys, not great. The spinach and lentils never made it into the pan, but the mushrooms did and I totally crowded them despite Julia Child's warning not to but it doesn't matter because mushrooms don't contribute a lot of flavor to anything either way.

I eat an exotic pear that I bought because it was big and wrapped in that cute lil' fruit netting thing but quantity does not equal quality and the pear tastes like shit. I eat it anyway because I'm ten times happier when I'm chewing than not at all.

Wednesday September 17

Inspired by my French host mom's Sunday night dinners and the omelette scene in The Hundred Foot Journey, I decide to make an omelette for dinner. I like the thrill of a bargain when it comes to shopping and that includes groceries, so I go to the Manhattan Fruit Exchange inside Chelsea Market and buy a massive amount of spinach for a dollar. My omelette is pretty boring: it's just spinach and eggs. The excitement is more in the cooking technique (ie. how the eff do I flip this thing?) than in the variety of ingredients. Between you, me, the skillet, and my roommate realizing that eggs over easy aren't so easy next to me, it wasn't a simple task getting so-called omelette from the pan to my plate.

I can't help but think that the ingredients would be better baked into a quiche but that requires an oven so I'm stuck with my mediocre meal.

I eat a Bartlett pear (my favorite type of pear) but I mistakingly stored it in the recently-discovered Arctic corner of the refrigerator so it's frozen. It's gross but I eat it anyway because the only thing worse than a frozen pear is a frozen plum which I had last week and I never want to experience that again.

Lesson learned: the omelette would've been more satisfying had it spent some time in 350 degree oven heat. We all want what we can't have and I want a frittata.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Word on Isabel Marant

One of the sources of my daily outfit inspiration, whose style I attempt to channel on the regular, is her holiness Isabel Marant. I'm a fan not just of the navajo-paisley-hip-urban-bohemian COOL clothes, but the designer's own personal style, which sounds like a silly thing to say given the blatantly obvious fact that the designer is usually outfitted in clothes of her own design. It's more than the clothes with which she chooses to put on each day, it's her overall lewk and the attitude she conveys. That which is Isabel Marant is French and that which is French is Isabel Marant, so sign me up, I say! The minimal makeup and flawless though slightly ashy complexion, messy untouched hair, uniform of skinny jeans with a sweatshirt and sneakers/flats/heels. She makes it okay to wear graphic tops with words and sayings you don't really understand, the same printed jeans more than once a week, mismatching prints, geisha buns outside of your home, knee-high white fringe boots to a locale other than a 70s-themed party, short flouncy skirts past puberty, leather pants with bulky sweaters.

THIS is what I'm talking about:

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Utilitarian Dress

My sister and I have become obsessed with the concept of the shift dress recently. We made moodboards on both a physical cork board and Pinterest for the shift dress of our dreams, which is a vague prototype of a 1997 Liz Claiborne sleeveless dress that my sister wore until puberty and that my mom wears to this day. Though a crew neck shift dress would make the ideal weekday uniform, I've seen a another style of sixties dress on the Spring 2015 runways with a practical cut that I could definitely get behind. I'm not sure what the exact term is called, but it resembles a men's henley in t-shirt dress form with a military and utilitarian vibe. It's the half button-down tomboyish front that gets me, and I'll take with or without collar. It reminds me of the shirt that Jude Law wears in Cold Mountain, ya know? 

Derek Lam Spring 2015, image via Style.com
Marc Jacobs Spring 2015, image via Style.com

Image via Pinterest

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On Gauchos and Culottes

Even though I'm not the least bit a part of it--though I did spend this past Saturday shuffling samples to and from a showroom in Chelsea and the Bowery Hotel (that was fun and glamorous, totally jk)--fashion week in New York always excites me. I feel like the city comes alive with the promise of new clothes and fresh trends. I probably wouldn't feel so closely entwined in the happenings on and off the runway if it weren't for Style.com, which I've been going to every hour for the past week to see what's coming down the runways and who's wearing what on the street.

One of the trends I'm most looking forward to is the culotte and its close relative, the gaucho. Denim, khaki, suede, whatever. The material is negligible as long as the wide-legged pant is present. Worth pointing out that my roommates and I were LITERALLY just talking about how jersey gauchos were an offensive trend (made extra worse by VPLs) that we all fell victim to sometime between 2005 and 2007. I'm also 97% sure my one of my roommates kept her tween gauchos and now wears them as pajama pants. Please verify, Ellen.

My roommate's choice of pant in 2014 aside, I wonder if the gaucho/culotte trend can acceptably look good when worn with flats or sneakers, or do they have to be worn with heels? Granted, they look really fricken cool when worn with heels, but do realistic young millennials comme moi really have the lifestyle of a heels and gaucho-wearing laday? Yeah...no. Luckily I have until spring to figure it out, although I can always wear them with my CLOGS!

Images from Style.com: J.Crew, MM6 Maison Martin Margiela, Delpozo (to be honest, totally cannot tell if this last one is a pant or a skirt, but I guess that's the allure of a wide-legged pant.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fall Shoes Pt. 1: Clogs

Let's talk fall shoes.

First installment: CLOGS.

Clogs generally have a bad reputation because they embody the three C's: clunky, chunky and crunchy. Their clunky and chunky vibes are interchangeable and they're crunchy (at least to me) because I envision them on the feet of a Subaru-driving, granola-eating, 1995 LL Bean-vest-wearing mom. I also associate them with Vermont and the time I had threw my twelve year old body on the floor of the Vermont Country Store because my parents wouldn't buy me a pair of purple felt clogs.

But I'm not talking about felt clogs or Birkenstock clogs, the latter of which I wore exclusively with a North Face fleece and Miss Sixty jeans in 7th grade. I'm talking three-inch wooden heeled clogs.

I'm not sure why most shoppers balk at the thought of clunky shoes. I consider myself to be a refined lady and I like a chunk of a shoe. I appreciate chlunky footwear for announcing their presence loud and clear: 'we are shoes, we have a purpose, and we aren't going to hide.'

Clogs announce their presence more than any other shoe entirely because of the loud clunking sound they make. While the click of stilettos suggests someone intimidating is about to enter the room, the clunk of clogs screams quirky. Quirky people wear clogs and that's why I like them, wear them, and just bought my second pair.

I bought the first pair during my first week of studying abroad in Paris. They were 30 euro at a shoe store by my school and I bought them for no reason except that they were shoes and I had just made 30 euro babysitting so why not even it all out with a material transaction. I kept them in my closet for a good four months before I finally wore them and when I did, I tripped all over myself and the sidewalk.

I bought the second pair an hour ago because I decided that in the name of being 23, I'm going to embrace being a strong, independent woman this fall and what better way to do so than by wearing heeled shoes? That's a quote from my internal monologue you lucky readers. I also had a vision of chunky clogs with wool socks and white ankle jeans and so I said, sign me up, debit card, let's do this thang.

Here are the ones I just bought, courtesy of Free People. The first pair (not pictured) are eerily similar to this second pair except they're brown and don't have a back strap. Tant pis.