DIY statement necklace

There I was, watching “Jerseylicious,” when a necklace that Olivia was wearing made me fall off my chair. I could make that! I realized with excitement. I jumped over to my jewelry and grabbed these three necklaces…

And, I began threading and twining the pearl necklaces, to come up with this…

It’s so fun! By twining them together, there’s no catch in the back so the only way to put it on is to slip it over your head. But, it fits!

You can also tweak the necklace’s draping by lengthening and shortening the loops, like this. I’d also like to try twining a strand of black pearls to give it a contrast color someday too.

Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm  Comments (2)  

I’ve neglected you

I’ve been away a long time, and you probably think I’ve left you for another. It’s not entirely untrue, I admit.

I confess… in the time we’ve been apart, I’ve tried gel nails, and hated them, but I didn’t tell you about it. Oh sure, they looked great here with my henna, but they didn’t last. And I’ve gone back to acryllics.

I also bought myself some OPI black crackle nail polish, and I never came by to tell you about that either, like I said I would. But I love it, and I’ve been wearing it practically nonstop on my fingers and/or toes.

I’ve even had fashion cravings that I haven’t been telling you about, like Nicole Richie’s “Sasha” sunglasses from her House of Harlow line, that are driving me to distraction. I don’t know if it’s worth the save to splurge, but I’m considering it.

I just want you to know I still think of you alot, and I promise I’ll try not to neglect you like I have lately. If you’re curious why I’ve been so distant, you should know… I’ve been blogging elsewhere. And not even about fashion, but about palm reading, which I love so much too.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about you. I promise.

Published in: on June 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

For the love of high heels

People often remark on my heels. I don’t know why. Perhaps because from age of 18-37 I refused to wear them (except at my wedding, or onstage as part of my costume). Why? I hated high heels. I have been known to declare, “Heels are torture devices, designed by men, just like the bra!” or “Function, not fashion!”

Can you believe I was ever so stubborn? If you know me, of course you can. So for several decades, I *never* wore heels. And then, I had an epiphany, as I am wont to do.

You see, I’m surrounded by testosterone. Every day of my life is about crazy-boy-energy or crazy-man-energy. Robots and guns, sticks used as swords in the backyard, and mixed martial arts. It’s kung fu and karate chops all day long around here, “Hi-YA! Hi-YA!” Even my toddler already has his testosterone pumping, “Fight fight BOOM!”

So I must guard my estrogen. I must protect it from the onslaught of masculinity that is my daily existence. And when the Great Fashion Epiphany of ’07 struck me, along for the ride came a love affair for high heels. The higher the better!

I wear shoes that men don’t wear. I wear shoes that no one would ever mistake as belonging to my sons, or to my husband. Two inch heels are like tennis shoes to me, I can do anything all day long in 2 inch heels. Four inch heels are more my standard attire, a nice height to see the world from.

But the uber-heels are my favorites, “tranny shoes” as Rachel Zoe would say. I have several pairs of shoes and boots that are 5 and 6 inch heels. With those on, I stand on demi-pointe, a feat my former-ballerina self delights in.

I view the world at a staggering 6’2″ in height, and find myself looking men dead in the eye (which many find unusual). You should see men back up when they realize you’re looking at them, literally, eye to eye. Sometimes, I find myself looking down upon men, another unusual vantage point for many women to ever experience. It changes things, don’t think it doesn’t. Most men like it, you can tell, but some don’t.

As for me?

I rise above, darlings. I rise above.

With my heels on, I am Woman, Hear me Roar. With my heels on, I feel feminine in a world awash with mud and Transformers.

So now you know. I wear my heels because they are my last bastion of femininity in my boy-laden reality. I wear my high heels like the Queen wears her tiaras… as a statement of my feminine beauty and power.

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 9:33 am  Comments (4)  
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Twitter Love

I feel so loved. Betsey Johnson and Korto Momolu are following me on Twitter. Although Betsey seems to follow anyone who follows her, and isn’t a spambot. But still, I’m feelin’ the love.

Now if only I had something relevant to tweet, eh? Something besides the weather, or what I’m cooking.

Note to self: Blog more. Take more pictures of daily outfits. Don’t be lazy.

Read Tavi’s blog to stay motivated, when needed. Think outside the box. Don’t be boring.

Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 9:06 am  Comments (2)  

The glorious excess of the ruffle

I’ve been having a fashion epiphany, and it’s all about the ruffle. The simple, lowly ruffle. Used to be that when I thought of ruffles, I pictured flouncy, little girl dresses and a design detail that can quickly become saccharine if not handled well.

But then, I had an epiphany.

Truthfully, it all began with the bow, and an article I read (in Vogue?), discussing the nature of the bow in fashion and how women are socially expected to wrap up their beauty and “present” it to the world. Fascinating!

And then, I began to work on a ruffle scarf with some new yarn I had bought last month. I kept trying to force my yarn into a shawl, but the shawl pattern kept getting messed up. After ripping it apart 3 times, I figured the yarn didn’t want to be a shawl, and so instead I found a pattern for this scarf.

And that’s when I began to understand the nature of the ruffle. The ruffle is a statement of excess. Of glorious, luxurious, even ludicrous excess!

To create the spiral ruffle, the pattern is worked length wise. You cast on 200+ stitches, and every four rows, you basically double your stitches with “yarn-overs”. By the end of the scarf, you’ve added over 800 stitches.

But, I wanted a long scarf that could be doubled up, if necessary. So I cast on about 260 stitches, and modified the pattern to the yarn I had to work with. The final rows were over 2000 stitches. 2000 stitches in one row! The very thought boggles my mind, the very excess of 2000 stitches, which take me a day or more to finish, in a single row!

An entire ball of yarn, 450 yards in length, would create 3 rows. That means 150 feet of yarn create only one 1/4″ row along the length of the scarf. Overall, a half an inch was created, and for nearly $8 per ball.

And that’s when the true nature of the ruffle dawned on me. The ruffle is a statement of excess, of luxury. To create a ruffle, in yarn or in fabric, you have to be able to use more (far more!) of your materials than you need. Layers of ruffles are like cascades of excess, and a statement to the viewer, “Not only do I have enough money to buy this fabric, I have enough to make it into ruffles, which serve no purpose beyond adorning me.”

Historically, the ruffle comes in and out of fashion regularly, and in today’s buyer’s market no one really considers the extra fabric that was needed to create the ruffles on your skirt or shirt sleeves. The ruffle’s true nature of glorious excess has been lost on bargain racks of clearance items.

But, my darling ruffle, I understand you now… and I every time I wear my scarf (which I should finish binding off today!) I will remember how the true nature of the ruffle in fashion was revealed to me.

Published in: on May 21, 2010 at 7:41 am  Comments (4)  

Because I’m alive today!

Earlier this week, I went out to lunch with a good friend. And I lovingly put together an outfit that would feet great to wear, and would make me happy: red silk turtleneck, red and brown skirt, knee high black boots, beloved orange handbag, and my new-vintage mink vest.

The weather surprised me though, and by the time I got into town, I realized it was a smoking hot mid 70s out. Fast forward to the restaurant, where the kind Italian grandmotherly type owner is talking to me, and helping me to the table while the baby and I wait for my friend’s arrival. As she sees me wiggling out of my fur vest, she grabs it to help and says to me, in a heavy Italian accent, “Oh! Why you wear this today?”

I giggle and tell her the truth. “It was a birthday present and I just wanted an excuse to wear it!”

She gets a big smile and tsk-tsks me, “Ohhh! No, too hot. Why not you wait?”

“Because I’m alive today,” I said.

And in a nutshell, I realized later I had summed up my whole fashion philosophy. I don’t care if I’m only going to the grocery, I feel like wearing fur and feeling fabulous. I don’t care if I’m “overdressed” compared to everyone else, I love how these heels look with this dress. I don’t care if it’s “right” or “wrong” or “on trend” or “off season” or any of it.

I wear what I wear because it’s my way of celebrating that I’m alive… that I’m here on this planet, right here and now.

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 7:27 am  Comments (1)  

Your own Look Book

The children are being horrible, home from school, so only a moment to write this up but I’ve been doing this lately and it’s a lot of fun, as well as really inspirational.

Create your own Look Book! If you’re a fashion magazine addict like me, you’ll be getting more than enough material to work from, but you can also use catalogs or even print out pictures from the internet (shopping websites, as well as fashion sites like I started making mine with a spare spiral notebook, scissors and a glue stick but you can get much fancier if you’re handy with scrapbooking skills. I tend to scribble notes in the margins too, like, “Check ebay for leopard leggings,” “Need a nude patent heel,” or “More two-tone jewelry!”

Grab whatever catches your eye, whether it’s an ad that makes you stop and look, the perfectly done smokey eye on a celebrity’s red carpet moment to work from for yourself in the bathroom mirror, or an inspiration on how to mix up clothing elements in new ways. My current Look Book help spots are figuring out how to layer a leather jacket to give some “edge” to a look (on me it always seems to look silly but the cut of the jacket matters too, I’ve found). I also love seeing the younger girls who find ways to make trouser socks and peep toe heels look glam together but I can’t seem to get over my post-80’s disgust for socks with heels.

The pictures can help keep track of your inspirations, gain ideas on how to work over your own wardrobe, or identify the key item your closet is missing to create an amazing ensemble of your own. I also make jewelry and find inspiration all the time by looking at what others are wearing and creating. Colors, textures, hairstyles, you name it! If it makes me look at it, I rip the page out and cut it up for my Look Book.

(It kinda makes me feel like I’m back in 3rd grade art class making collages, which is fun as well.)

Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Henna body art designs

Let’s take a moment to talk about something I know a LOT about… henna! I’ve been a freelance henna artist since 2001, and I really love this little plant.

 Henna, or “mehndi” as it is known in Hindi, is a plant that is used to create temporary body art when made into a paste and painted on the skin. The paste releases its dye onto the upper epidermal layer of skin, and as your skin exfoliates, the design disappears. Typically, a henna design will last about 7-14 days.

This is what henna paste looks like, when painted on the skin. The paste appears black, and often can be istaken as a “finished” look. Instead, the longer the henna paste is worn on the skin, the darker and longer lasting the resulting stain will be. This is due to the dye within the paste having sufficient time to deposit into several layers of the skin’s “strata” of the epidermis.

This is what a henna design looks after paste is removed. You can see the resulting design is a reddish, terracotta brown color.

Natural henna is very safe for folks to wear, but unfortunately there is a product that calls itself “black henna” which is NOT safe. “Black henna” often contains a chemical known as PPD (Para-phenylendiamene) which is known to cause oozing lesions and chemical burns.

Listen to Alissa! Stay Away From Black Henna! (Click it for photo examples of PPD injuries).

If you decide to have a henna done, ask your artist what is in her paste (if she refuses to tell you, that is a BIG red flag!) Also, ask her what color your finished design will be. Real henna never results in a black colored design, and real henna only lasts about 7-14 days, because it disappears as your skin exfoliates.

If you buy your own henna kit, be sure to read over the ingredients (some kits contain black walnut powder which can be extremely hazardous to those with nut allergies). I recommend avoiding premade pastes, which can contain a host of chemicals, and to mix your own (it’s what I do). Once you are certain you’ve got the real stuff to play with, paint and enjoy!

[Henna designs in this post are works I have done for my clients, and are copyright to me.]

Published in: on September 26, 2009 at 9:13 am  Comments (3)