Monday, December 31, 2012

Guess who got engaged?!

If you follow me on Facebook, you might already know the answer, but- guess who got engaged?!

That's right- The Boy asked; I said yes! Amos was rather sneaky and incredibly sweet in his proposal. Though we'd talked casually before about marriage, The Boy had made enough cryptic comments that had me convinced he'd gotten me a more usual sort of Christmas present, and I thought guessing it was a ring might be getting my hopes up. Well, I has right- halfway, anyway.  He did get me a "more usual" sort of Christmas present. My family opens our gifts on Christmas Eve and beforehand he'd told my sister, who was our designated gift-giver, to make sure his present to me was last. My sister later told me she was a bit skeptical thinking the box did not look right for a ringbox. When she handed it to me it didn't look like a ring box either.

And, well, it wasn't one.

But after opening my gift, Amos leaned over to tell me to "go deeper." Hidden under everything else was a tissue-wrapped necklace- an old one I already owned. The necklace was an envelope shaped one that my elementary students had informed me almost a year ago ought to have a love note inside it. So I'd handed it over repeating their advise, and hadn't seen it in all those months. Inside was a smaller paper envelope and inside that- a ring!

I got so flustered, I buried my head in his shoulder and my grandmother told us to put it on. But Amos wouldn't- "You haven't said yes yet!"

Well, that was quickly remedied and we are now officially engaged! And if you're wondering what that gift-within-a-gift looked like? Keep scrolling because the ring is below.

Engagement Ring

P.S. If you were wondering, this ring has an unusual cut not often seen. Its called a Rose Cut! 

P.P.S. Photos of the ring are by The Boy. Photos of the proposal are by my father, Craig. Sometimes it pays to have a photographer for a dad! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Film Flick: Bonnie and Clyde

Life's hard when you're on the run, but such is life when you rob banks, and if you ask Bonnie and Clyde, that is exactly what they will tell you they do- rob banks. Though a classic now, it was a surprise at the time, a true underdog. The film, Bonnie and Clyde , is the story of lawbreakers who die, had a cast of virtual unknowns, and a hit-or-miss director- not a promising start.

Yet what came out on film was revolutionary for the time. It feels more like a contemporary movie than one of the nineteen-sixties. Perhaps it is the violence, the unusual shots, or the film score filled with hellbent banjos that give it that sense of modern film-making. Genres are electrifyingly, delightfully, and even uncomfortably blended in this film. It easily slips from humor to violence at the drop of a dime, but such suddenness seems purposeful, an attempt to keep the audience discomfited by the violence. Screenwriters David Newman and Robert Benton took two real-life, small-time criminals and managed to make them protagonists without being heroes, gave us romance without romanticizing, and made us both laugh and then stop short as murder is displayed so matter-of-factly side by side with the jokes. It made- or re-made- the career of it's stars, director, crew and, yes, even a film critic (a veteran critic at the New York Times panned the film; a newcomer praised it. After box office success, guess who got who's job?).

Loosely based on the the true-life happenings of the Barrow Gang, the film follows their unspectacular criminal life attempting to rob banks and evade the police. The film starts out on a flirty and funny note, with the the two leads' first meeting and first failed attempts at robbery. Their gang continues to grow in a series of misadventures, but then a man is killed. The movie's tone becomes gradually more and more bleak, as their desire for fame and money finally lead up to the famous ambush that meant "the end for Bonnie and Clyde."

Faye Dunaway makes her premiere with this film as Bonnie Parker, spurning several fashion crazes along the way, and Warren Beatty not only co-starred along side her as Clyde Barrow, but was also the one who got the script made into a movie. It was a gamble that ended up making him rich as he agreed to a low salary in exchange for 40% of the gross! But it is just as much the supporting actors who made the film shine, most notatably with Estelle Parson winning her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress with her role as Blanche Barrow, the hysterical in-law and fellow gang member.

The two issues I had about the film was first, how easily Bonnie seemed to fall for and run away with this guy, (but let's forgive them that- a movie is only so long) and then the inaccuracies with the tale they billed as "true." Many facts were changed or misrepresented, including leaving out Bonnie being severely crippled for the last year of her life, the way one character was an amalgam of several people, and ultimately, the gang's purpose as criminals. The movie portrays the gang as eager for immortality through fame, including sending in their own poetry and photographs to be published in newspapers. In fact, their notoriety was a hinderance both to everyday life and to Clyde's personal goals for the gang, which was making life tough for the Texas penal system. The most offensive blow- to the real Blanche Barrow anyway- was the slanderous representation of herself. "They make me look like a flaming horse's ass," she complained, when unsuccessfully suing. She did, ironically, remain good friends with Beatty, who had convinced her to give permission to use her name and likeness in the first place though. Likewise, one surviving gang member told the crowd he watched the film with, that life on the run was nothing like in the movies. As unsavory as the film portrayed it, real life was far worse. So, remember that, when you're watching the film and thinking how much you too want to say, just once in your life, "We rob banks."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Letter-Writing: Thank You Notes

Getting mail is a ton of fun, but in an increasingly digital world, writing it can sometimes be hard. This blog post series about Letter Writing aims to make it easier. For more tips on writing letters look at my previous posts on writing Postcards, Personal Correspondence Love LettersSympathy LettersCongratulatory Letters,  Letters of Appreciation, and Letters of Recommendation.

Mail Envelopes  Diving back in after the holidays, one of the most important things you'll be sticking a stamp onto and mailing are Thank You Notes.  Now, I know we're all big kids here and none are novices at writing these. Still, I'll admit...sometimes this is one area of letter writing where I slack off. It shouldn't be! Saying thank you is basic etiquette, and will be greatly appreciated. Not to mention the notes themselves are  usually short and sweet! So, if you're like me, here's a quick brush-up on the art of Thank You Notes! 

Most will likely be for gifts, but a simple Thank You letter might also be appropriate to send if someone has had you to stay; if someone visited or sent something during a personal illness; if someone has  given you  a recommendation for a job; or if they'd given you information or something for a networking purpose.

Most consider it polite at this time of year  to get your Thank You Notes out before the New Year, but remember everyone likes to be thanked, even if it has been a while!

All that is needed is a short few lines, so you'd probably be best off choosing a card, or even a postcard over a full page of stationary. So, let's start "Dear..." and get a-going!  Avoid the cliche "just writing to tell you..." (they know you are writing; they are holding your letter in their hands), and jump on in to say thanks,  and what you are thanking them for. You might add a line or two about what you like about the gift; if you can think of nothing to say about the gift itself, mention that it was thoughtful of the giver to think of you. This is always true no matter what was given! Remember too, that if the gift in question was money (either to you or a donation on your behalf) that it is considered a faux pas to mention it directly. It is generally preferred to say something along the lines of "thank you for your generosity," or "thank you for your kindness" followed by a mention of what their monetary gift will be used for. Also, if what you are thanking them for is not something tangible  but is more of a kind act, remember to define what it is and in the nicest terms possible. For example, "thank you for your hospitality" or "thank you for your visit"  as opposed to "thanks for letting me crash" or "thanks for stopping by". If appropriate, you can also add something personal, or mention when you hope to next see them, but remember this is not the time to catch your gifting-giving friend up on your life. It is a letter about them and their generosity.  Lastly, close with a quick wishing-you-well sentiment (this time of year,  end with saying "Happy New Year" perhaps?) and sign off with a salutation. Lick and address the envelope, put a stamp on it and you are ready to get that note on its way!

Looking for more Thank You Note info? Try these links:

  1. The Lost Art of Writing Thank You Letters
  2. Thank You Letters from The Letter Writing Alliance. 
  3. Appropriate Thank You Notes- Some thoughts from Emily Post
  4. Thank You Notes: The Blue Ribbon Winner- Ironically, Anna Post has some thoughts on her blog, What Would Emily Post Do: Thoughts on Modern Manners
  5. How To Write a Thank You Note- From The Morning News by Leslie Harpold, this is probably the most definitive guide- certainly the most in-depth! 


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

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From our house to yours, Merry Christmas!

Christmas Decorations
Christmas Decorations

Decorations of our living room from the top four photos, as taken by me with Instagram. The fifth photo is of our chalkboard closet in the bed room. The sixth of a Santa downtown. The bottom four photos are of the tree and garland in our living room. Photos by Amos Olson.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Film Flick: Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street

Hello, Never Fully Dressed readers. With the holidays coming up, I've been running a special series sharing some of the holiday classics that have stood the test of time. Some might be new to you; some might be favorite films, but they're all sure to impart a sense of that holiday fun. Keep reading for the fourth- and final installment this year- of this series of holiday films! 

Do you believe in Sanata Claus? After seeing the Miracle on 34th Street, you just might.

When the Macy's Day Parade Santa Claus actor gets drunk moments before his float starts, the parade coordinator, Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara), has to think on her feet to find a last-minute replacement. The man she finds is such a big success, the store hires him to be their 34th Street store's Sanata Claus (Edmund Gwen). Store managers are thinking twice about the decision when it turns out their Santa is recommending other stores to customers- and those doubts just continue to grow when it becomes clear the man really believes he's Kris Kringle himself! To Doris Walker and her young daughter Susan (Natalie Woods), who have trained themselves not to believe in any sort of fantasy,  it seems especially alarming. While Mrs. Walker is wondering if Macy's can really keep someone of uncertain sanity on the payroll, Mr. Kringle and Doris' beau Fred Galley (John Payne) are both wondering what it would take to make believers out of Susan and her mother. Things soon escalate out of control, and Kringle finds himself on trial, asking the courts- and the viewers- do you believe in Santa Claus?

According to her biographers, Natalie Woods certainly did believe.  It wasn't until seeing Edmund Gwen out of costume at the film's wrap party that she realized the man was not the real Sanata Claus. She wasn't alone either- thousands of children watching the 1946 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade watched Edmund Gwen, portraying the jolly old man himself,  making his way down the New York streets on Sanata's Sleigh to open the Macy Store for the Christmas shopping season as part of the parade. In fact, all of the parade scenes were shot live at the 1946 parade! With all the effort to make Santa so eminently believable  it might come as a surprise that this film wasn't released at Christmas time; it premiered in May. Studio Head Darryl Zanuck believed more people went to the movies in the summertime. The strange timing didn't seem to affect it's success though. Edmund Gwen won the Academy Award for best supporting actor (The only actor portraying Santa Claus to have ever done so), and the film also received the awards for best Original Story and Best Screenplay.

It has certainly held up well over the years, becoming a perennial favorite to generations of viewers, and it's not hard to see why. Miracle on 34th Street is surprisingly funny and briskly paced, never letting itself get bogged  down in sentimentality, even while having a clear message. The main cast is spectacular with Natalie Woods in particular being quite adorable as the overly serious Susan, but, for me, it was all the bit players that made the film. From the judge to Alvin the janitor, their concerns and antics jump off the screen.  So, when you're watching Miracle on 34th Street, perhaps you, too, will find yourself believing that Age of Miracles has not passed.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

What I Wore: Petticoats and Plaid


What I Wore: Shirt and Belt (Old), Skirt (Flock Together), Petticoat (Portland Boutique), Shoes (Old Navy)

I'm blogging over on Flock Together today, so hop on over for more petticoat and plaid goodness!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gift Guide: Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

With Christmas around the corner, gifting-giving and merriment are too. Over the past few weeks, Never Fully Dressed has been hosting several great guest posters who are here to share some gift guides for the loved ones in your life. This week Rachel of Flower Prints and Common Sense shows us some homemade "Last Minute" gifts to give. 

Hello everyone!

I'm Rachel of Floral Prints and Common Sense, here to do my first guest post ever for Kristian! She asked me to do a post on last minute stocking stuffers. As a lover of all things homemade, that's kind of my specialty when it comes to gift giving. So here's some ideas for you that won't seem "last minute" at all!

1. Homemade Fudge
Fudge is a great last minute gift, because everybody loves it! I mean, it's chocolate. Even if they know you forgot to get them a present, they won't care because it's chocolate. You can get a great recipe off the back of a marshmallow creme container.

2. Handmade Jewelry
If you're like me and have this sort of stuff lying around, a quick necklace or bracelet can make a great gift. No need to get fancy, just string a bead or two on a chain and POOF. Instant present.

3. Nail Polish
This one just requires a trip to the drug store. It makes for a cute, quick gift. Pair it with some hand lotion and people will be fooled into thinking you're thoughtful or something.

4. Funky Socks

Like any gag gift, silly socks are easy for you, and they make people smile. Isn't that what Christmas is about?

Happy holidays, and happy stocking stuffing!
Thanks for letting me guest blog, Kristian!
You guys can find my personal style and diys over at Floral Prints and Common Sense!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What I Wore: Firmoo Glasses

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What I Wore: Hat (Target), Shirt (Modbod), Necklace (Stiched and Adorned), Snitch Pendant (Etsy; gift), Blazer (H&M), Belt (Vanity), Skirt (GAP; old), Boots, Tights and Socks (Old), glasses (Firmoo)

Firmoo seems to be the hot topic of the moment, and why not? Firmoo is an online eyeglasses company.They provide a large and varied selection of glasses frames that can include prescription lenses at inexpensive prices. In fact, the first pair you buy is free! And by free, I mean- free. Not just the frames, but the prescription lenses too. As anyone who needs glasses to see correctly can tell you that is a big deal.

But let's back up a minute here, so you can get the whole story. The company Firmoo approached me a few weeks ago, asking for a review of their goods. In the spirit of full disclosure, they gave me a free pair of glasses....which, to be fair, they do for all new costumers too.

Most people seem to have a great experience with Firmoo. They have an easy to navigate website where you are usually able to upload a photo of yourself in order to virtually try on frame styles. Sadly, I never was able to successfully upload a photo, so my choice of frames was made a bit blindly (no pun intended). I used the company's advise page about choose the correct sizing for frames to make my choice. I wanted a deliberately large pair of glasses, which the ones I chose are. In fact, they might be a bit bigger than I really expected, but they still fit on my head fine, thanks to their sizing information.  My only other complaint is that, at this time, Firmoo does not seem to offer the option of getting thinner lenses. My eyesight is rather ridiculously bad, and so, the lenses are very thick. So thick , in fact, my peripheral vision gets distorted by the lens. The lens make it so when I move my head the edges of my vision expand and contract. However, I suspect this is more a fault of the lens prescription, rather than the glasses themselves. Hopefully, the option of upgrading to thinner lenses will be added soon!

As I said earlier, trying a first pair is free, so you literally have nothing to lose. Returning customers will find Firmoo frames are still very cheap, with most prices under a hundred dollars. Several frames are not available for free as they are designer frames, but are still usually priced under a hundred dollars. They don't have frames for children yet, but they do ship internationally. Firmoo's goods are made in China. My own pair shipped quickly and came with a glasses case, cleaning cloth and a cloth bag as well.

trolley3 Collage

This was my first experience buying glasses online, so it was interesting, in that sense. I don't see myself getting rid of my first pair of glasses, but I find the company an inexpensive way to add some variety to your glasses-wearing experience.

Have you tried out Firmoo? Was it a hit for you? Feel free to link to your own reviews, or photos of your Firmoo glasses!

Monday, December 17, 2012

What I Wore: To the Ball

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What I Wore: Shoes (Madden via Famous Footwear), Evening Gown (Sung Boutique)

This past weekend we got into our finest finery and like Cinderella and her fella headed to a ball!

The Boy and I take dance lessons provided by our local Eagles Club. Each Christmas, larger dance studios up in Billings (the nearest actual city) put on Christmas Balls, that we're encouraged to attend. Wait- pretty dresses, live music, and The Boy wanting to dance the night away? Uh-huh- lots of encouragement needed there!

I love the Old Hollywood Glamour this evening gown seems to exude. It's actually quite daring with a lot of skin, but the cut keeps it classy. I purchased this online from Sung Boutique and it fit like a glove. Sung Boutique actually has a ton of gorgeous gowns, most priced under a hundred and fifty, many under a hundred! Besides this one, one of my favorites was a gown that looked like the one Rosemary Clooney wears in White Christmas.

We almost didn't stop for photos; we were so busy dancing the night away! In fact, we managed to dance the Waltz, the Country Two-Step, the Single Lindy, the Cha-cha, the Foxtrot, the Merengue, and the Bolero! Our feet were aching by the end of the evening, but it was so much fun!

Do any of you dance?

P.S. This evening gown has made it on the blog once before too! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Film Flick: Christmas in Connecticut

Hello, Never Fully Dressed readers. With the holidays coming up, I'm running a special series sharing some of the holiday classics that have stood the test of time. Some might be new to you; some might be favorite films, but they're all sure to impart a sense of that holiday fun.

"It's Christmas in Connecticut...and You're Invited!"- Or so says the the tagline for this delightful,  screwball comedy Christmas in Connecticut.

Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut, Connecticut, Barbara Stanwick,
Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is one of Smart Housekeeping's biggest columnists. She writes about life on a farm, having children, and cooking for a loving husband. But the real Elizabeth Lane strikes out on all three counts! She's actually a single New Yorker who can't even boil an egg. When her boss (Sidney Greenstreet)- a stickler for the truth- invites himself to a Christmas in the Country, it looks like she's in jam! A persistent beau (Reginald Gardiner) offers her use of his farm in Connecticut- if she agrees to marry him. But it's someone else who has Elizabeth thinking of wedding bells when her boss brings along war hero Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan). Add in a crotchety housekeeper, the lovable "Uncle Felix" (S.Z. Sakall), a cow, and several "borrowed" babies and you have yourself a recipe for disaster!

Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut, Connecticut, Barbara Stanwick,
Sure- the premise is a little absurd, but that's the entire point of screwball comedies! And this one provides plenty of laughs and moments of heart-warming schlepp-iness, but it also might just make you hungry at the unabashed love of food going on! Lane certainly makes food sound delicious. There is a myth that Lane and her column "Dairy of a Housewife" were loosely based on the real- and very popular- column in the Ladies Homejournal called "Diary of Domesticity," written by Gladys Taber. Though no solid proof of this definitively exists, it is true that Taber's column was at the height of its success in 1945, and was often included in care packages to the boys overseas. Like war hero Jefferson Jones  found, soldiers said they felt comforted by the picture of domesticity found in those pages.  Released during the post-war era, it might seem at first glance that this film is glorifying the housewife. However, unlike many modern films where a woman's lack of domestic skills are the butt of the jokes, when it comes to Barbara Stanwyck and her trials at trying to be a housewife, it is the impossibly high ideals we are laughing at rather than her failure to reach them. Stanwyck's acting chops are further showcased too. You are sure to find her Elizabeth Lane an endearing heroine, even despite her duplicities.

Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut, Connecticut, Barbara Stanwick,
While romance often comes into play in holiday films, the humor of screwball comedies do not. But this film makes it work by having a light touch, slowing down the dialogue (screwball comedies often have very fast-paced banter) and adding in just a a few touches of Christmas cheer. A tree is trimmed, a sleigh is ridden, and a happy ending is guaranteed  After watching, you'll be wanting to have a Christmas in Connecticut this holiday season too!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

What I Wore: Flannel among the Evergreen Trees

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What I Wore: Coat (etsy), shirt and socks (Target, old), Belt and Boots (Old), Skirt (Pin-Up Girl), necklace (gift), petticoat (local boutique)

One of my favorite new traditions that's started since I began dating The Boy is going to the mountains to cut down a Christmas tree with his family. I grew up using a fake tree (which definitely have their benefits too!), so cutting down a Christmas tree was new to me last year! But there is so much I love about a live one. The feel and smell of it, and just-well, the experience of it. I love getting to spend the time doing this together.

We travelled up the North Fork to the Shonshone Forest near Yellowstone. The trees here are definitely not as full as some I've seen people get at tree lots, but it is fun to hunt for the perfect one! Contrary to what you'd expect you don't want one "just the right height" (or at least we didn't), because the branches are too young and supple to hold ornaments very well. The Boy's family taught me to look at slightly taller ones, and you take the tops as the tree. Don't worry; goats eat anything we don't use from the tree, and I also take all the extra branches and make thick garlands for the stairs' bannisters too. In fact, we have it on good authority that we are not harming the environment by cutting down a tree. The National Forest Service issues rather awkwardly charming little tags as permits that say things like "Don't worry! I'm happy to be cut down because I am making room for other trees!" 

The area we went to look for trees was so pretty, that The Boy and I returned again for photos. Obviously, this wasn't what I wore looking for trees, but it seems very appropriately Christmas-y ("Kris Kringly!"), doesn't it? 

So, what kind of decorations (if any) do you all use? What's your tree like?! I love to look at other people's Christmas trees to see what they say about their owners' aesthetics and style. So feel free to share links, or tell us all about them! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gift Guide: For Mothers

With Christmas around the corner, gifting-giving and merriment are too. Over the next few weeks, Never Fully Dressed will be hosting several great guest posters who are here to share some gift guides for the loved ones in your life. Dus of Cuddly Cacti brings you the third installment of the series- a gift guide for that special lady in your life-Mom! 

Hello readers of Never Fully Dressed (Without a Style)! I'm Dus and I blog over at Cuddly Cacti. I have to admit that I’m kind of an awkward person to be posting a gift guide; honestly I usually get gifts very last minute and haven’t gotten a single Christmas gift yet! But really, I LOVE giving gifts and will often give them for no occasion other than I come across (usually thrifting) something I know a good friend or family member would love.

 Kristian asked a couple of the the Flock Together gals if we'd be willing to post a gift guide, and I was just going to ask her if mine could be for moms when I saw her email asking just that! And no I’m not a mom in case you were wondering, but I do love spoiling my mom because she never spoils herself and truly deserves to every single day! My mom has very casual, low-maintenance style, so getting clothes for her is nearly impossible, so here's a couple things I might get her (as soon as finals are over : ). If your mom is anything like mine here’s what I’d recommend:

 1) First and foremost, something you make yourself! Now that we're not in elementary school, she won't pretend to love any awful thing we make, but this little tutorial by Lemon Jitters is so simple that even I couldn't mess it up! And it's adorable and my mom already does that exact up-do every weekend, so now that I told you all I’ll have to finally give it a try : ).

  hair comb redo

2) Classic-looking jewelry pieces! For my mom I stay away from super bright items because I know she’d doubt it looking good on her, but I think the beautiful natural stones on this bracelet handmade by Teal Annie would be perfect. teal annie

 3) Pictures! What mom doesn’t love a memory book of good times with her children? Last Christmas I meant to make mine a photobook of when she visited my hubs and I in Mexico the previous year, but obviously that did not happen. Shutterfly seems to actually have some really affordable prices though, and I'm always getting email coupons from them from even better offers. photosbook

 4) Natural beauty products! My mom always loves scented bath salts and lotions as gifts, but what I really think I’ll get her this year is this lip balm from The Gnarly Whale – definitely can't forget to moisturize the smoochers in winter time! And not because of actual smooching... that's an awkward thought.
  gnarly whale 

5) Something to keep warm with! My mom is totally the original hipster when it comes to beanies, she's been wearing little crochet ones far down on her head for as long as I can remember, and I know she’d love the bright colors in this beanie (made by Holly Knitlightly) for her winter walks! (I should add that we live in Phoenix so we try to walk a lot in winter. : ) holly

 6) A trip somewhere she’s always wanted to go. For my mom that would be Hawaii, although we're still trying to sell her on the idea before my hub's internship at an airline ends in January. And, since I know most don't have this huge fortunate of flight benefits, so what about a trip somewhere nearby that she's always wanted to see but never gotten around to? My mom's not a big fan of being on the computer outside of work, so I always think it'd be a blast to book hotels and plan a whole travel itinerary for her. hawaii

(All pictures are taken from the sites I link to except the last, which is from my blog.) 

 I hope you enjoyed this little gift guide, and please do share with me over on my blog any other ideas you have, for mothers or for anyone else special in your life! Thanks so much for letting me fill in for you for the day Kristian, and don't forget to support local shops this year and not stress over the little things this year everyone. I hope your season is off to a wonderful start!

P.S. Still needing some Christmas shopping inspiration  Try our Gift Guide for Guys or our Gift Guide for Girls. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What I Wore: On a Snowy Day

Snowy Day OutfitSnowy Day OutfitSnowy Day Outfit Snowy Day OutfitSnowy Day Outfit

What I Wore: Shirtdress and Hat (Target), Sweater (H&M), socks (GAP), Boots and Leggings (Old), Belt ( 59th Street via 

Last Friday I was wishing everyone a White Christmas; it was in the sixties as I wrote that. Look now! We might just be getting one very white Christmas here. Luckily I'm wearing a few layers here and have my snow boots on for some good explorations. We even tried to have a snowball fight, but the one I made flew apart the minute I threw it and I whined it was too cold to make another (there may even have been a quick dash for the car at this point. That's what I get for making snowballs with more gloves!) 

Sadly, winter fantasies like this are likely to turn into real life headaches as we try to navigate the highways, but for the moment, let's just say "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Film Flick: White Christmas

White Christmas, christmas, film, movie, musical, holiday film, danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen,
Hello, Never Fully Dressed readers. With the holidays coming up, I'm running a special series sharing some of the holiday classics that have stood the test of time. Some might be new to you; some might be favorite films, but they're all sure to impart a sense of that holiday fun.

Named for one of the world's most well-known songs, White Christmas is a holiday musical worth coming back to. Detractors will say that it is corny- and it is. It's a holiday musical- what else would it be? They will say it is not deep, and that the plotline is thin. They might even say that it's been done before. True, all. Despite that, it is still a movie worth watching.

The Irving Berlin song "White Christmas" had originally appeared in another musical film, Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  Twelve years later, in 1954, it was still the most popular musical single in history, so the movie studios decided to try for a loose remake of the film. Astaire turned down the script, and eventually Danny Kayes was found to star opposite crooner Bing Crosby. That wasn't the only change either- though some of the songs are the same, and most of the action once again takes place at a country inn (even the set was the same!), the essential story is quite a bit different. Characters are given more altruistic goals, and higher standards for others' actions, and that is what gives White Christmas such heart.

When Bob Wallace's (Bing Crosby) life is saved by private Phil Davies (Danny Kaye) during World War II, he's grateful. He just doesn't realize that his life- as far as Davies is concerned- is never going to be quite his own again! Once peacetime hits, the two men start a musical act together and become successful performers- so successful they start up a whole musical and are busy from dawn to dusk. Davies laments he'll never have any free time unless Wallace gets himself a girl, but even he is surprised when the perfect opportunity lands in their laps. A sister act is in a bit of trouble. With some pushing on Davies' part, the duo not only saves the day, but ends up accompanying sisters Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen) to their next gig in Vermont. Vermont has surprises of its own though. There's no snow and no audience at the inn they're performing at. What is there is an old friend. The men's former commanding officer is now the unfortunate inn-keep of an inn with only empty rooms. Romantic hi-jinks, musical numbers, and plenty of slang-laden banter ensue as Wallace and Davies try to draw a crowd and save the inn in time for Christmas.

White Christmas, christmas, film, movie, musical, holiday film, danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen,The film is high energy and fun-loving. This is partially because the  dialogue is witty, and fast-paced, aimed for some good laughs. Many of "Bob Wallace's" more unusual slang terms and sentence structures were actually based on Bing Crosby's real-life speaking patterns. Several of the best scenes were also largely improvised. For example, Crosby and Kayes performing the sisters' act was added after the director found some on-set clowning around funny enough to write into the script. Even the more serious scenes are well written; some of the romantic complications might be a little flimsy, but what the characters say to each other makes them more believable.The real show stoppers though, are the musical numbers. With one exception ("What Do You Do With a General?" was called Berlin's least memorable song by Leonard Maltin), every musical number is a hit, and they range from the intimate and Academy-Award-Winning song "Count Your Blessings" to huge dance numbers like "Mandy" and "Choreography."

On a more personal note, this is the film my own family has made a tradition of watching every year at Christmas, and once you watch it, you'll be just as likely to have the same tradition yourself. So- whether there's snow on the ground or not- I hope you have a White Christmas. Happy Holidays, folks.

White Christmas, christmas, film, movie, musical, holiday film, danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen,

P.S. Want more holiday classic films? Here's the rest of the series: Holiday Inn | Christmas in Connecticut | Miracle on 34th Street

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What's in my Bag?


With high wind warnings all week, it has been impossible to make it out for outfit photos. Still, every cloud has a silver lining, right? I always love reading about what people have in their bags and now can share what's in mine.  I'm actually quite proud; I used to be one of those people with crumpled papers and candy wrappers and such in my purse all the time. However, in an effort to be more organized and prepared, I've been very good for the last year or so about keeping my bags pretty and clean! Mostly, this is because I've ensured I will always have what I need in each bag, so if I want to take a certain purse over another, all I have to do is get my phone and billfold- everything else is already in the bag.

What's in my bag:

The Bag- An H&M purse my sister got me for a birthday. Red makes a surprisingly good neutral when it comes to pairing with outfits.

Billfold- I got this in Rome. Isn't leather what Rome is known for (besides the centuries of art, I mean)?

Gloves-  My hands get cold really easy, but I like dexterity. So- gloves. I love these because they go with everything yet stand out against my black coat.

"Wonderland Passport" Notebook and Pen- I have a notebook in every purse, so if I need to write something down, it is there. Strangely having more than one doesn't seem to be much of a problem though logically it should....

Lip gloss- As previously established it gets windy a lot here, so- moisturize!

Lipstick (Red)- I almost never wear make-up (Is that like a blogger cardinal sin to admit a disinterest in make-up?) But sometimes a good red can cheer up your day. So into the purse it goes.

iPhone- 'Nuff Said.

Tin- This also came from Italy. Funny story actually... While teaching English in Italy, I had to try to communicate a list of items needed from the store when my Italian Director spoke almost no English and I no Italian. A lot of gesturing and obscure descriptions later, we finally ended up at a grocery store and this tin came with one of the products I bought. Currently, it is used as a min-emergency kit. Since I get headaches a lot it has: Migraine medicine, Painkillers, allergy pills, band-aids, bobby pins, hair ties, and a pair of disposable contacts.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gift Guide: For the Girls

With Christmas around the corner, gifting-giving and merriment are too. Over the next few weeks, Never Fully Dressed will be hosting several great guest posters who are here to share some gift guides for the loved ones in your life. Elana often posts amazing fashion finds on her blog, Room 334, so she seemed like the perfect person to ask what to get the ladies for Christmas! 

Hello and happy holidays, Never Fully Dressed (Without a Style) readers! I'm Elana from Room 334 and not only is this my absolute favorite time of year, but buying presents for loved ones is my favorite part about it. I've always loved coming up with gifts I know people would like, which is why I was so excited to create this gift guide for "the girls" for Kristian. Whether your shopping for a friend, mom, sister or someone else, I hope I've at least found a few ideas that will suit you in every price range.

What I love about these lovely envelope cases from Etsy shop MATINE is that not only do they work wonderfully as clutches, but they're also meant to fit Kindles as well. That means that this gift can work for the fashion conscious girl or the bookworm. (Etsy, $52)

This Somerset Pendant necklace from Ruche is actually on my own list this year. It's such a sweet piece and the color is divine. (Ruche, $14.99)
Though I'm more of a coffee drinker myself, I love the idea of giving a teapot as a gift. This one from Asleep From Day just screams Christmas present with its minimalist tree design, not to mention the two cups it comes with. (Etsy, $42.74)
Scott Schuman released his new book, The Sartorialist: Closer, just a few months ago and I think it makes a wonderful gift. Filled with gorgeous images that never made it to his site, it's perfect for those who love coffee table-esque books. (Amazon, $18.98)
Before anyone writes off the idea of giving a glasses case as a gift, hear me out. As a contacts wearer, I often find myself carrying my glasses in my bag in case my contacts dry out or I'm out late. I'm sure many women do the same and this adorable case from Anthro is something that most would never buy for themselves, but it will sure make carrying glasses around a lot more fun. (Anthropologie, $24)
For those who love decorating, this hand painted pillow from Hello Milky is too cute to pass up. (Etsy, $36.44)
Your best friend or sister might actually die if you get her the Hepcat shades that she's been lusting after for so long. I know I would. (Madewell, $55)
Lastly, every woman needs a little sewing kit on hand for those unplanned disasters. Who needs a boring old plain one when this Modcloth kit is so much more fun. (Modcloth, $29.99)
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