Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Month in Review: September 2015

Autumnal Outfits

Autumnal Plans
I shared these ideas about what to do this month, but September is always so busy as the school year begins! Here's some of what did happen though:  this stationery wish list, with its back to school theme, inspired me to revamp my own desk. Another big mail-centric post was published in September too- I showcased a retrospective of all the posts in NFD's letter-writing, as a way to wind down the series. Bookmark it for later use! I'm miss sharing about writing letters, but think we've really covered just about any letter writing scenario for you!

I shared a dog eared page out of  The Blue Castle,  with its focus on silence and companionable friendship. It seems appropriate for the coming autumn, doesn't it?  The film Me and My Gal, is a more peppy story with songs, but still seems fitting as an autumn offering. Plus, you can get some stylish advice from the film Funny Face .

Autumnal Finds
Have you been keeping up on this? An archeological find whose interest can only be matched by the unique story of its discovery!
Would check out a "story" from the Human Library?
Hipster Barbie is better at Instagram than you
Examine how Screen Time could be changing our society in this fascinating two part  NPR Podcast.
Travel to Turkmenistan
Do you agree that these are 35 things every woman in her 30s should have?
A unique look into the world of the Pope
I want to live here! 
What My Uterus can Teach You About Being a Tech Leader
Speaking of science- this amazing teen's medical innovation will help other detect Ebola!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cinema Style: Funny Face

One of Hepburn's most iconic films, Funny Face (full review here)- unlikely as it sounds!- actually tells a true(ish) story! Photographer Richard Avdon really did meet a girl in a drab but somewhat intellectual setting and decide she could be a great model. With Fred Astaire playing a thinly-veiled version of Avdon in the film, you can bet there is more to it than that, but actually Richard Avdon himself was heavily involved in what is arguably the best part of the film- the clothing and photo shoots of Ms. Hepburn, which remind us why Paris is Always a Good Idea.

 Coat, Sweater, Pants, Shoes, Necklace

Hepburn plays Jo, a bookish girl at heart who has more interest in the esoteric counter-culture than in Vogue's pop-culture fashion. Dressed all in black she gives Astaire a run for his money dressed all in black. To pull off a similar monochrome look is simple- a turtleneck sweater and cigarette pants create a strong foundation and on those dancing feet are mannish loafers- no socks! An unexpected flash of flesh adds a allure even if it is only your foot. Since Jo is in Paris a trench coat is also a must. She- and you- might don a loose one like this. Unstated jewelry finishes off this subtle beatnik look.

There's a whole montage of photographs and delicious outfits and sumptuous settings in the film, but this one remains a favorite because it has a timeless appeal. After all, what could be more cheerful or charming than a floral frock is warm tones and a large sunhat to keep your complex fresh? Add in some brown wedges and you're ready for the flower market just like Hepburn is. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Remix: Red Stripes

popbasic, red, stripe, shirt

Back when this shirt was offered from Popbasic, I'd been in a state of anticipation for it. Funny though it may seem- it seemed hard to find good striped shirts at the time (oh, times they are a changing, right?)  There's just something very put together and yet a touch tomboyish about a stripe shirt, and the red just interjects an added  sense of playfulness to that. And though it was long waited for, this shirt did not fail to meet expectations; turns out, you can wear striped shirts with just about anything. See articles A-D for evidence! 

'Nuff Said! 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dog Eared Page: The Blue Castle

We'll just sit here," said Barney, "and if we think of anything worth while saying we'll say it. Otherwise, not. Don't imagine you're bound to talk to me."

"John Foster says," quoted Valancy, "'If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you'll never be and you need not waste time in trying.'"

"Evidently John Foster says a sensible thing once in a while," conceded Barney.

They sat in silence for a long while. Little rabbits hopped across the road. Once or twice an owl laughed out delightfully. The road beyond them was fringed with the woven shadow lace of trees. Away off to the southwest the sky was full of silvery little cirrus clouds above the spot where Barney's island must be.

Valancy was perfectly happy. Some things dawn on you slowly. Some things come by lightning flashes. Valancy had had a lightning flash.

She knew quite well now that she loved Barney. Yesterday she had been all her own. Now she was this man's.

-The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Letter Writing Retrospection

Over the past few years, Letter Writing has been a monthly series here on Never Fully Dressed (Without A Style). We've covered letters of professional and personal etiquette, letters to different audiences both personal and public, and letters with fun and playful intent. However, this topic has been well and full explored. Gathered below are all posts on the subject to be used as a resource for all your letter writing questions and needs.
Envelope with stamps from Ecuador

Etiquette Letter for Personal Correspondence

Thank You Letters
Personal Correspondence
Sympathy Letters
Love Letters
Letters of Appreciation 
Congratulatory Letters
Get Well Cards

Letters for Fun

Pen Pal Letters
Writing to Advice Columns
Correspondence Chess
Circle Letters
The Letter Writing Game
Letters to Your  Future Self
"Open When" Letters

Letters to Specific Audiences 

Holiday Letters
Letters to Santa
Letters to Sick Children
Letters to Prisoners
Fan Mail

Letters for the Public

Letters to the Editor
Open Letters
Letters to Politicians

Letters for Professional Correspondence

Letters of Recommendation
Cover Letters
Letters of Complaint
Letters of Apology
Good Bye Letters

Puzzling Letters

Puzzle Letter
Coded Letter
Mirror Letter
Message in a Bottle
Pictionary Note
Spiral Letter
Birthday Surprise Envelopes

Care Packages

15 lists of 15 things to put in a care package- That's 225 ideas for a care package! 

Still want more post in your mailbox? Try looking at my Pinterest board You've Got Mail for more fun ideas! 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What I Wore: Out of Town

pin-up girl clothing, orange print, repo skirt, pin up girl clothing, vintage style, gingham shirt,

What I Wore: Skirt (Pin-Up Girl Clothing), Shirt (Mango), Shoes (Gap), Purse (Paris Boutique)

No doubt about it- I wore the heck out of this skirt over the summer. And how could I not,with its cheerful print? Paired with this blue gingham, it has a timeless "country lass" sort of feeling. I mean- despite living in a small town, I'm not particularly country-ish, but- it has a simplicity to it. Really,  a blue gingham shirt is pretty timeless. Leslie Caron and Lauren Bacall wore it, and, decades later, it still a fresh look.  So, yeah, for all those reasons and others, its  my favorite remix of the skirt, and was how I dressed for a birthday-celebrating dinner with my folks a week or so back. We went to Red Lodge (a.k.a. The Star Hallows of the Rockies).  Its kind of the place we go to when small-town cabin-fever strikes, and we want to "get out of town."

I love Red Lodge. I mean, as a kid, they had the best toy store ever- tons of hand-carved things and puzzles and puppets and they didn't mind if you got thing out to touch and play with either.  My favorite thing to get were these little tin soldiers, each dressed in different military uniforms. Red Lodge has the state's largest candy store where they make homemade fudge. The former place is now out of business since the owner retired, and the latter forbidden to me as a diabetic, but my new favorite store there is a funky little shop. Its a tea bar and bookstore (also, a cigar shop, but they are phasing that out) combined. Its run by this 6 foot something guy in a cowboy hat who writes children's books entitled things like "Who pooped in Yellowstone National Park?" (which, un sounds gross, but is very educational, actually). The other employees are equally colorful- like the guy in the kilt and binary tattoos, or the 20 something girl with Hipster-large glasses (no surprise I like her, right?) and a thing for Pureeh tea. They create a lot of their tea blends there too- all of which have punny, quirky names like Lady Greystroke (lavender infused Earl Grey Tea), Apocalyptic Earl Grey (a smoked tea), 50 Shades of Earl Grey, Gary's Kilty Pleasure (Scottish Tea), or The Feathered Serpent (a peppermint one).  You can actually order their teas online too here.

There are other fun and funky little stores too, and something is always happening. My sister came to visit this week and we trekked up to a local Oktoberfest (yes, in September, but it gets snowy earlier in these parts) to listen to polka music with people in lederhosen. So- a great place to hang out, is what I'm saying.

Are there any little places you love to return to again and again to "get out of town?"

Monday, September 14, 2015

Film Flick: For Me and My Gal

Gene Kelly and Judy Garland? Two of Hollywood's greatest talents paired up together on screen?For Me and My Gal  marked not just this duo's first pairing together, but was just as individually important to both lead actors' careers. For Judy Garland it marked her move to a billing above the film's name, and her first real adult role at age nineteen. A decade older, Gene Kelly made his film debut starring opposite her in this film. However, the movie had quite the transformation from page to celluloid, in ways that would benefit both actors.

This film was initially sought as a way to promote Garland as a leading lady- rather than as a leading girl- but initially it called for not one, but two female leads, a singer and a dancer. Luckily, her acting coach, the famous Stella Adler (she brought Method Acting to the US from Russia), pointed out that since Garland could do both, the roles might be combined to better showcase her. Meanwhile, Gene Kelly had made a name for himself on Broadway in the smash hit My Pal Joey. He had been signed on by producer David O Selznick (of Gone with the Wind fame), but after a year had still not been cast in a movie. Selznick had planned to feature Kelly in dramatic roles, but those working on Me and My Gal had noticed the great similarity between their leading role Harry Palmer, and Kelly's Joey from My Pal Joey. So  at the urgings of producer Arthur Freed, and of Garland, MGM head Louis B Mayer got  Kelly's contract from Selznick, and made him Garland's leading man. This was not without controversy. The man previously slotted to be the lead, Joseph Murphy, was shunted into the "schnook" role of the love triangle, something he resented. He almost had the last laugh too; when previews were shown to test audiences, those audiences felt Murphy's character was the one who should have gotten the girl. Twenty-one retakes were needed to make Kelly's part more sympathetic to a very patriotic audience. But why were they so unsympathetic to Kelly's Harry Palmer in the first place? Because the world was at war.

With a story about World War I that was designed for World War II audiences, it should be of little surprise that For Me and  My Gal is rife with patriotism and sentimentality. Yet, the fact is,  the story was actually based loosely on real life events. Henry Palmer (portrayed here by Gene Kelly), is a vaudeville actor  whose solo act becomes a double after meeting talented Jo Hayden (Judy Garland). With a large ego and even larger dreams, Palmer desperately wants to make it, to play the Palace in New York- the epitome of vaudeville success. There are some romantic entanglements, they mostly sort themselves out just as success seems to be on the horizon. But a draft notice could end things just days before finally achieving success. Palmer to injure himself to avoid active duty, and it is unclear whether Palmer and Hayden's partnership can withstand what is seen as an unforgivable act of cowardice. As all try to do their duty for the troops, it becomes a question, not of whether the allies will win, as even when the film was made this war was history, but of whether all our heroes can make it home alive and redeemed.

Despite the sometimes cloying sentimentality, this was a moving film to watch. Not for the large moments (though Kelly's acting when Palmer chooses to deliberately injure his hand was well done). But for the small moments. Despite liking a number of Gene Kelly films, the man has never been my favorite actor. His film persona of the charming egotist rubs the wrong way all too often, but here seems to fit just right. Perhaps it is because, in the script, other characters call him on it, and you can see how they slowly build to liking Kelly's Palmer in spite of  moodiness and swelled head. Kelly and Garland also seem to have fantastic chemistry together; it is clearly he admires her, and this is perhaps at least partially their off-screen relationship leaking through to the characters. Kelly recounted later that, "She pulled me through. She was very kind and helpful,  more than she even realized, because I watched her to find out what I had to do. I was amazed at her skill; she knew every mark and every move.... She was a relaxed, marvelous person... the most talented performer we've ever had." Garland also backed Kelly in conflicts with director Busbey Burkley (ironically, Burkley would later state this was his favorite film, despite not having any of the big dance numbers was is remembered for today). Garland's performance  too was stellar, not only for the singing and dancing, but for the acting, which was, at times, some of the most subtle I've seen from her. As befitted her "adult" part, she was also very lovingly filmed in a way that made her look gorgeous and a bit ethereal- a step away from the more earthy, "girl-next-door" persona normally crafted for her (but only a small step. This is the first of two films where a man asks Garland, "Why didn't you tell me I was in love with you?")

So, drink in those small moment, and enjoy the partnership of two such consummate performers as they sing and dance their way through their troubles. You'll definitely want to find out what is in store For Me and My Gal. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Stationery Wishlist: Back to School


1. Library Cards | 2. Russian Doll Post-Its | 3. Go Get' Em Tiger Card | 4. Smart Cookie Card | 5. Desk Cards | 6. Pencil Holder | 7. Desk Set

1. Library Cards- Admit it, half your school memories are of the school library. Or maybe that is just me. Either way, these would be useful for taking notes. 

2. Russian Doll Post-Its- We use post-it notes So.Much. in schools today. These little ladies would be perfect for marking the pages I need to refer to in the Teacher's Manuel or that I need a copy of or... clearly, they have many uses! 

3. Go Get' Em Tiger Card- What a great card to give a kid (or teacher) nervous about the first day back to school! 

 4. Smart Cookie Card - I should get a zillion of these and give one out to each kid through out the year with a little special note about something awesome they did. It can be intimidating knowing what an impact you make being a teacher because- honestly?- you all remember those superstar teachers and the Trunbulls of the world, don't you? 

 5. Desk Cards - There's a whole set of cards with different desks. How perfect and inspiring as I resettle into my classroom's desk! 

 6. Pencil Holder - Perfect addition to any desk even if, like me, you mostly use pens, not pencils. 

 7. Desk Set- This little box has a little of everything you need in a desk and you'll have it all in style! 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What I Wore: Words on My Skin

work wear, golden tote, boho books, book lover, temporary tattoo, time machine, boho, work wear,

What I Wore: Shirt (Golden Tote), Pants (Gap), Shoes (Similar Here), Temporary Tattoo (Lithograph)

School's back in session- which, now that Labor Day has passed, people all over the U.S. are used to hear, but in fact, for us, it's been a few weeks. Hence why outfit photos have been few and far on the ground of late. This though is actually what I wore for our first day back to work. The shirt is from my Golden Tote (the review of this subscription service is here). It's the item I picked, so no real surprise that I did end up using it. Still a little surprised at how much I ended up liking the look, since fringes are not my usual style  (heck, even the word fringe makes me think of the musical Oklahoma), but a pair of cigarette pants balance the adventure of boho with my usual style. Its nice. Sometimes you want to start out your work day with that extra boost of confidence, doncha? 

Something decidedly not work-appropriate though would be the temporary tattoo on the back of my neck. I've admired others', but have never really considered getting a tattoo for myself. Something about needles (yes, yes, ironic considering I give myself 3-4 shots a day of insulin, but there it is) and the permanency of it all... but temporary tattoos have grown more sophisticated and are no longer limited to the kind you got out of 25 cent machines as a kid. These ones are from Lithograph, and were a birthday present.  Lithograph takes  quotes from classic books and creates graphic design art with them for posters, apparel- and temporary tattoos. This one reads " I saw buildings rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams" from H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. Way back when, before the internet made everything at the tip of your fingers, there wasn't really a book store anywhere near where I grew up, so when Walmart had some sort of two-for-a-dollar deal for paperback books, my mom went to town getting me things to read. A lot of great classics, including both Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, landed on my bookshelves some time in later elementary. So I took a Journey to the Center of the Earth, Went Around the World in 80 Days, and travelled on The Time Machine, but they weren't books I revisited ever (and I'm a pretty avid rereader to be honest). But looking at this quote, clearly a return to the book is needed. Because what lovely lines, right? 

What were books you remember reading as a kid? Any of them become a tattoo- temporary or permanent? 

Friday, September 4, 2015

In September, Why Don't You...

Photo via Martha Stewart 

Use vintage dishes to store your jewelry

Hit the gym

Get up early every day this month

Buy a new rug for your home

Try your hand a coding (Scratch makes it very easy!)

Plant daffodil bulbs for next spring

Spruce things up with new throw pillows

Brunch with friends

Send someone a coded message

Volunteer at a school or library; they can always use a helping hand!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August 2015 in Review

End of Summer Outfits
August Collage

End of Summer Plans
So, I had plans for August, but school started for us about two weeks into August, and things have been Cra-zay around these parts. Which is why I've posted a total two outfits all month long Don't worry; I'm still getting dressed. No signing up for nudist colonies (because pretty clothes are too much fun!). Despite the whirlwind, I am excited for all the learning adventures we'll be having in my classroom.

I turned 30 this month and so had Grown Up Thoughts on that. But proved I'm still young at heart by celebrating The Wizard of Oz's movie release's anniversary all month long. I shared  my thoughts on the film; found awesome Oz-themed stationery; got inspired by Dorothy's style; and even shared a favorite excerpt from another favorite Oz book. In case you couldn't tell, I'm kinda a huge nerd about Oz. If you're a nerd too (or know one), then these subscription boxes might be up your (or their!) alley. If clothes are more your thing, see what the subscription box Golden Tote is all about.

End of Summer Find

No one likes to think of their demise, but your Zodiac sign may actually tell you how you might die. 

Since I'm thinking about what it means to grow older, here's a video on Aging Gracefully 

Speaking of aging, dogs in their youth and old age (so cute!)

Also, because you can't be serious all the time-  Mer-pets. You're welcome.

A Kiss, Deferred Tender and bittersweet.

An all-female village in rural Africa - Wow!

Also related to feminism: Do you pay the Make-Up Tax?

I like Eastern European Modern art, so here's a fascinating article on recovery of its lost art.

Terri Gross asked "How close are we really to a robot run society?" (P.S. Stitcher is my new favorite app!)

And, I recced this yesterday, but it is really worth reading, a blog post on The Next Big Challenge heartfelt and thought provoking.

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