Monday, August 31, 2015

Turning Thirty

You've seen books on it, probably jokes on Pinterest or Facebook- "Adult-ing," or rather that feeling  that no one has it quite as figured out as your ten-year old self thought grown-ups just naturally did. And yet- at, thirty, I feel like an adult, not just a person trying to fake it till I make it. And since I turn thirty today, it seemed like a good time to pause and consider what that really means. Because, well, maybe this is all obvious to every other person on the planet, but maybe its not, and if you are or have been here, know I'm thinking these thoughts too!

Life is no where near what I would have envisioned it to be when I was twenty- hardly a surprising because whose life is what they expected it to be a decade earlier? And there have been so many delightful surprises and journeys of growth that I have gotten to experience. I have travelled,  graduated school, fallen in love, fall out of it, changed majors, struggled to get a job, gotten married, watched others get married; caught a chronic disease, met people and lost people.

According to Erikson's Theory of Development, your twenties ask, "Can I love,"pitting intimacy against isolation. The next stage of development is the second to last, what we might commonly called "middle age." It stretches out the longest because it the question to resolve isn't something one action can answer- it asks "Can I make life count?" Lots of psycho -babble-speak, but I've felt my life sliding into this new stage, and based on some great blog posts (like this one here), think maybe some other bloggers are starting to feel that shift too.

I've got a job I love and find meaningful, and a home, and partner.  There's a sense of stability that one's twenties don't really have- with one's twenties, there's always these sweeping changes in friends' and your own life. And I know that, now that my thirties are here, it doesn't mean things will always be the same (and who would want that?) There's still big changes as families grow, and you can still move or change careers or taken on new commitments, learning something different- Oh my gosh there's so much I don't know! And yet, I don't feel like an impostor choosing an insurance plan or considering mortgages. I don't feel like I'm waiting, ever, for life to start- waiting to meet someone, or for a diploma, or to pay my dues, though all of these circumstances (or ones very similar to) are likely to happen again. This is my life happening right now, and there is no second I'll get back.

 I've enjoyed the adventures of my twenties, there's so much gratitude for that for all those who've seen me through, but there's also a feeling inside that says, "this next stage of the journey, be aware and invest in it all the time. Go through it with love."

Friday, August 28, 2015

What I Wore: To See Lady Liberty

What I Wore: Shorts (Banana Republic), Shirt (c/o Popbasic), Shoes (Old Navy), Purse (Parisien Boutique)

Things have been crazy-busy here, but I finally have a new outfit post- well, it is actually an outfit from July on our New York trip but still! At any rate, how could I have talked about going to New York and not have taken the time to see one of- if not the most iconic landmarks of all?

And the trip out to see The Statue of Liberty was actually very well run and the monument informative and uplifting!  I even tried the cheesy, costs-a-quarter binoculars on the island. We made a point to go out earlier- both to (try and fail) to avoid the heat and as much of the crush as is possible in New York in the summer. Sadly, we did not order tickets in far enough advance to get to go all the way up the statue, so just contented ourselves with looking across he grounds. There were free audio guides (Pro Tip: Always get the Audio Guide. Well, unless you are going to a museum of creepy barque Jesus statues, but that's another story for another time!).

Also included in the ticket was a ferry to Ellis Island, but we didn't get off. I'm kind of wishing we did now, as it is surely fascinating no matter what, but my family all came to the New World long before Ellis Island was built (my mom's scandinavian forefathers came in the 1870s, and at least some of them through Canada and my dad's family's been on this side of the Atlantic since before the country was a country so...) and The Boy didn't know any family history further back than a great-grandfather. We found out upon our return from an aunt that his family probably did go through Ellis Island, but- oh, well! Still interesting... What about you? Do you know (or are you even interested in) your family's history? I find it fascinating to know, but dull to research (not that it stopped my family from conscripting me into the job growing up!) I'd love to hear your story!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cinema Style: The Wizard of Oz

According to the Library of Congress, The Wizard of Oz is the most viewed film-ever. Everyone knows the tale of a girl's journey through a magical land, only to discover there really is no place like home. This American Fairytale enjoys an iconic status almost unrivaled, so it seems perfectly natural to take some fashion cues from it. Though Judy Garland has but a single costume throughout the film, both outfits are inspired by Dorothy because Dorothy is secretly my spirit animal (No. Really. That's why I chose the wedding attire I did.)  But Dorothy's a universal, so no matter your style, you can get inspired by her and those ruby slippers she has on. 

Shirt, Pants, Shoes, Purse, Book

Dorothy Gale of Kanas is a simple farm girl in the thirties' Dust Bowl, and costume designer Adrain chose to show that by placing her in blue gingham. Today, you can keep the retro vibe and still make the look a bit more grown up by replacing a pinafore with capri pants and a white shirt. Every girl should have a pair of red shoes, her own "ruby slippers;" I use a simple pair of red ballet slippers, both for this outfit and real life. And, because not only should you watch classic films, but be well-read too, why not add a copy of The Wizard of Oz into your wicker purse to read on a picnic? 

Shirt, Sweater, Skirt, Glasses, Fedora, Clutch, Shoes

Maybe your style is a little less preppy, a little less retro. Dorothy's still got you covered! The blue gingham in this outfit is more subtle with a shirt in that pattern. Only the collar and perhaps cuffs will be on display as a cheeky sweater gets popped on over the shirt. "Ask me about my dog" is a fun nod to the loyal Toto (and any dog you may own too, of course!) The red skirt echoes those ruby slipper colors, but the short hem that falls above one's knee keeps things casual. A fedora and pair of glasses adds a bit of a hipster vibe, aided by the cheeky clutch that pays tribute to the fact Wizard of Oz author, L. Frank Baum, referred to the story as an American Fairytale. Lastly, because Dorothy just isn't Dorothy without some actual ruby slippers, these suede smoking slippers become the finishing touch. A more updated look still leaves you ready to traverse the Yellow Brick Road- or whatever path will lead you to your dreams fulfilled.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Subscription Boxes: The Nerdy Edition

We all have things we can geek out about, whether its a comic book, a TV show, science or the latest in the hardware store. So here are some boxes that will aid in making your (or your Boy's. You know. Whatever) obsessions even cooler, even better, and still very affordable.

The Handy Box
The minute I saw this box, I could instantly think of twelve people who would love this. This is the box for anybody good with their hands, for anybody who loves tools and, well, it is a good box for anyone who had their own home because we all need tools to be able to take care of things. The Handy Box is a monthly subscription box that sends 4-6 different tools or gadgets in each box. The retail value of the box will always be the equivalent of forty or more dollars, but the price you pay each month is only twenty-five dollars if you buy month-to-month, or about seventeen dollars a box if you get a three or six month subscription. It should be noted that unless you cancel a subscription, it automatically renews and your credit card will be charged; subscriptions purchased through gift cards are not automatically renewed. Currently, this box only ships to the United States, but keep an eye out because the company will soon be able to help the DIY-er worldwide!

Nerd Block
We all have shows or stories or franchises we like and for those who really like to nerd out about it (okay, bad pun), there's Nerd Block. Nerd Block provides monthly boxes that will have merchandise about different, popular franchises. They currently provide a choice of six different boxes; four boxes are aimed at adult audiences and two at children. All adult boxes cost nineteen ninety-five, and will always include a T-Shirt whose size and fit you specify upon subscribing. The possible box themes include "Horrorblock" which sends things with Horror film/book/video themed; "ArcadeBlock" which celebrates all things video games, especially from older games like Mario; "ComicBlock" which sends things related to Marvel and DC comics and the "Classic NerdBlock" which is likely to send things that are a mixture of all the above plus items relating to "nerdy" TV shows and franchises such as Doctor Who or Star Trek.  All of these may contain items that are aimed at adult humor and interests. As stated earlier, two of the possible box types are aimed at children- NerdBlock Jr. for boys, and NerdBlock Jr. for girls. Now, possibly, like I was, you are a bit skeptical about why there are separate boxes based on gender, but truthfully, when looking at past boxes, I can see that the items chosen really are likely to only appeal to one gender or the other in most cases. Girls are likely to get Hello Kitty, My Little Pony and Disney Princess items, though in at least one previous box Wonder Woman was featured. Boys are likely to get things superhero related. Perhaps this reinforces gender stereotypes but my female students would definitely like the Girls NerdBlock more and my male students would adore the NerdBlock Jr. for boys, so... they clearly know their audiences. Because the boxes aimed at kids do not come with a t-shirt, they are cheaper, costing only thirteen ninety-five a box, and, for that price, the boxes seem to contain great value.  Plus, no matter what theme or themes of box(es) you choose, hen purchasing multiple subscriptions you receive an additional 10% discount off the total subscription cost automatically during checkout.

Bill Nye Quarterly Co. Subscription Box

Who didn't love the day in class when you got to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy? No one. That's who. Because he's so cool, and science is so cool.  With the audiences that originally watched the show now established in adulthood, this subscription box from Quarterly Co. reflects that by showcasing things that project a sleek, hipster-y sense of cool and a sense of humor.  Costing fifty dollars a box, and shipped quarterly (hence the name of the company!), Nye's boxes will always be loosely themed around a science idea, and feature items that not only help you learn about science, but are aesthetically pleasing and neatly designed. And make no mistake, these are the fun but definitely for adults and definitely intelligent. Each box's contents are kept a surprise, which is part of its appeal.

Mark Fruenfelder Quarterly Co. Subscription Box

The name may not sound familar, but a geek might recognize many of things Mark Freudenfleder has founded or created. He was the founding editor-in-cheif for both MAKE magazine and and the founder of Boing Boing. Just like these publications, his subscription boxes might reflect a huge range of interests, but will always intrigue. Past boxes have been themed around magic, key chain accessories, quirky cooking tools, fungi and more. Every box is different and you're never quite sure what you'll get until the box is at your door!  He states that, "My interest is in small objects that delight the senses or extend the range of their limits of perception." Each box costs fifty dollars and is released quarterly. All of his boxes, and all of Bill Nye's, will come with hashtags, so you can see sneak-peeks of what is being chosen, track shipments and see others' reactions to the surprise items.

Collectible Geek
Consider this box like NerdBlock, but for the more hardcore fans. They sell monthly "caches," which are themed boxes. Each month has a different theme, which is usually based on the franchise or franchises they are highlighting; for example, August 2015's theme is "Wholock" and will feature items from the BBC shows Doctor Who and Sherlock. Each box will include 5 items such as T-shirts, toys and other collectibles. They will NOT contain candies or toys as they aim to please serious collectors, not children or casual TV watchers; instead they choose with an eye that the items may increase in value of the years. Their basic, monthly box is twenty-five dollars, though purchasing a T-Shirt in size X-L-1 or larger may result in a slight increase in price. You also have the option of upgrading your box; they will add two more Funko POP figurines (a popular collectible item) for another seven fifty each. A Deluxe Cache is also available for about fifty to sixty dollars and will have the same sort of products as the monthly  caches, just in great amounts.

Marvel Collector Corps
While Marvel's been a geeky favorite since its inception in the sixties, the smashing success of the
Marvel Movies of late have practically begged to have a subscription box devoted just to the franchise's universe. Marvel Collector Corps is a monthly subscription box that costs twenty-five dollars a month and will deliver goods such as T-shirts, comics, toys, and memorabilia with a retail value of fifty dollars or more. What makes Marvel Collector Corps so special though isn't just that it is devoted only to Marvel Comics, but that all items in the box are exclusives. You cannot get them anywhere else. Among other brands that work with this subscription box is the  popular Funko, who also creates exclusives just for them. Each month also will loosely be based on a theme- often a certain character, movie, or comic book run.  For example, past boxes have had an Ant-Man theme to celebrate that film's opening, and August's theme is about a major comic book arc called "Secret Wars." Each month's theme is even decorated on the box, so that the box itself is unique (and possibly collectable?) from month to month. They also provide a lot of opportunities to interact with a 'community" of fellow Marvel fans and subscription box buyers and have special rewards for those who buy subscription boxes, such as extra gifts on anniversary days etc.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dogeared Page: The Patchwork Girl of Oz

"Patchwork Girl has come to life;
No one's sweetheart, no one's wife;
Lacking sense and loving fun,
She'll be snubbed by everyone."

"Quite a compliment! Quite a compliment, I declare," exclaimed the donkey, turning to look at Scraps. "You are certainly a wonder, my dear, and I fancy you'd make a splendid pincushion. If you belonged to me, I'd wear smoked glasses when I looked at you."

"Why?" asked the Patchwork Girl.

"Because you are so gay and gaudy."

"It is my beauty that dazzles you," she asserted.

- The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Friday, August 14, 2015

Stationery Wishlist: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Oz, Emerald City, Letters, postcards, yellow brick road,

1. Ruby Shoe Poster | 2. Denslow Illustration Stationery | 3. Wizard of Oz Pencils | 4.  Vintage Style Sticky Notes | 5. No Place Like Home Tattoo | 6. Pop-up Oz Illustration Cards | 7. Emerald Stationery Set | 8. Emerald City Pennant | 9. Travel Poster Cards | 10. Oz Passport Notebook

1. Ruby Shoe Poster - The world's most iconic shoes didn't originate with the books, but with the movie when the silver shoes were changed to Technicolor-friendly Ruby Slippers. But lovers of both the book and film will adore this poster, since the image is formed in negative space- the color is actually red text from the book! 

2. Denslow Illustration Stationery- Denslow only illustrated the first of over 40 Oz books (14 in total by the original author L. Frank Baum and many others by subsequent "Oz Historians"), but they left an indelible mark on the look of Oz, with big poppies and long brown braids. Here, his illustrations grace a stationery set- and all of the pages and envelopes how different pictures! 

3. Wizard of Oz Pencils- The dreamy images of Oz are from the delicate hand of a Korean artist, showing off Dorothy and Friends' world-wide appeal! 

4.  Vintage Style Sticky Notes- With these darling stickies, even reminders become joyous things. Let Toto help you remember your grocery list! 

5. No Place Like Home Tattoo- A tattoo isn't technically stationery, but as temporary tattoos get more up-class and adult, they have ventured even into literature-inspired images, such as this graphic reminder of how there is No Place Like Home! 

6. Pop-up Oz Illustration Cards- Cards that have a pop-up illustrations. Need I say more? 

7. Emerald Stationery Set- A strong graphic style and the emerald color always reminds this Ozzie blogger of that Fairy Country's capital, the Emerald City. But even if you had never heard of the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz (though really, who would that be?), you would love getting letters on these pages! 

8. Emerald City Pennant - Cheering for the (literary) home team! How great would this look above a desk? I am forever in love with this! 

9. Travel Poster Cards- I love Oz. I love travel posters. I love cards. A three-for-three win! 

10. Oz Passport Notebook- I constantly use little notebooks like this in my purse so I have a little something handy to jot down things in, even when on the go. The back cover has guidelines for living in Oz too, which is such a fun twist! Watch out for flying monkeys they say! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Film Flick: Wizard of Oz

"Many, many miles east of nowhere, lies the amazing land of Oz, a magnificent empire created in the mind of a man who wrote a great book about it. Like wildfire in a wheat field, the fabulous tale of the land of Oz spread from town to city, from city to the entire world..." So started the original trailer for MGM's fantastic production of The Wizard of Oz. Though the book was one of the first American novels to be translated into multiple languages and through it had, as the trailer went on to state,  "captured the minds and imaginations of over four generations," the 1939 film would take the tale into new iconic heights.  Who doesn't know the first strains of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow?" Who doesn't remember that fantastic moment when Dorothy opens the door to a land of color and delight? Who can't picture the green witch as the epitome of all things scary to childhood dreams? According to the Library of Congress The Wizard of Oz is the most watched film- Of All Time. As in- ever.

Fundamentally a simple tale, where a little girl journeys through a magical land only to find "home" is as magical a concept as anything else she finds, The Wizard of Oz has arguably gone beyond anything its creators could imagine, taking a life of its own. Its strong female protagonists (author L. Frank Baum was feminist active in groups supporting the suffragist movement) speak to women.  Children take heart at the little girl saves the day- and herself. Taken up as their own story, it has strong symbolism within the LBGT community, while the pluckiness of Dorothy has come embody the American pioneering spirit for others. Yet, for all it has come to be, the film's immortality could not have seemed more uncertain or surprising to those making it.

There had actually been attempts to capture the land of Oz on film before (including by the author himself, who created his own film company in 1916), but fantasy stories still seemed a very uncertain bet in the land of movie-making. It was only with the success of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that the project to put the Emerald City on screen was taken more seriously, as MGM set out to show real actors could create fairy tales as well as animated cartoons could. It was, as they were to find out, much harder than it looked. In the end, 14 screenwriters would contribute to creating the tale seen on screen, and five directors would lead the mammoth project. Most notable among them includes the uncredited George Cuckor, who, though only there a short period, insisted on making key changes to Dorothy's and other's costumes. Among the changes was the decision to have Garland look more natural and child-like. Though costume designer Adrain had already made the decision to create ruby slippers instead of the book's silver ones, bows were added to enhance the child-like quality. Ultimately, it would be Victor Flemming who directed the majority of the film until called away to rescue Gone with the Wind. It was a good year for Flemming; the latter movie won Best Director for that year.
The cast also underwent many changes. Though producer Arthur Freed had lobbied from the beginning to use the film to push that "Little Girl with the Big Voice," Judy Garland, to stardom, others were also considered, such as child actress Shirley Temple. Ray Bolger, a Vaudeville star, was originally cast as, not the Scarecrow, but the Tinman. His heart was set on the straw man though, and after many rounds with studio heads, he had his way. He  switched roles with fellow costar Buddy Ebsen. Bolger would play the Scarecrow, while the Ebsen was recast as the Tinman. Though fine with change at the time, Ebsen would bitterly come to regret getting the role. The make-up used on him included aluminum powder, which coated his lungs. After nearly dying of asphyxiation, it took him nearly a year to fully recover, and would he complain of lung issues for the rest of his life. Quietly, while production was paused due to a change in directors, he was replaced with Jack Haley, with no word to anyone- including Haley- why. Ebsen would call it his greatest personal and professional humiliation. Ebsen was not the only illness or injury on set through. Though Jack Haley's make-up was modified from Ebsen's, his eye became infected for several days, and both Margret Hamilton, the actress playing the Wicked Witch, and her stunt double suffered serious burns with the witch's fiery exits. Even for those not injured, the costumes and make-up made for uncomfortable working conditions, and the three male leads would often joke about whose was worst (though most contended that the Lion's 90 pound costume, stifling hot and  heavy, won that questionable honor). On more cheerful notes, 120 "small people" were contracted to portray the Munchkins, many of whom had never met another person like themselves before. Later in life, Garland would tell wild- but most likely greatly exaggerated- tales of some of these Munchkins' escapades. Their casting and scenes would play prominently in advertising at the film's release. Also cast- albeit last minute- was Frank Morgan for a total of five roles, including the Wizard and his Kansas alter-ego, Professor Marvel. Supposedly the once-elegant coat he wore in the latter role was picked up at a second hand shop, and, on set, a label was discovered stating it had been made for the author L. Frank Baum. After verifying this, the coat was presented to Baum's widow post-production.

Due to script, costume,  and casting changes, many scenes were shot, and reshot, only to be cut at the last minute. When the edited film came back with a 120 minute running time- deemed too long for child viewers- several legendary scenes met the chopping block. Some debated getting rid of Garland's wistful "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," but it ultimately was left in. What was cut though, was a reprisal of the song, which, during filming, had been so moving both Garland and the crew had been in tears. Also cut were reprisals of "Ding Dong the Wicked Witch" and a song and dance number called "The Jitterbug."

In all, it was a costly production- and was heavily promoted. Though it would take home several Oscars- including one for best song with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and a Best Performance by a Juvenile Actress for Judy Garland- the film ultimately could not compete in the box offices with all the others released in 1939, the peak of Hollywood's Golden Age. So how did it get from failure to the most watched film of all time? Television, oddly enough. There's an irony in that, though The Wizard of Oz had been filmed in the new-at-the-time Technicolor technology, it would find its second life being shown yearly on the small screen, which meant, for those who grew up in the 50s and 60s, that they would see it only in black and white. My own parents had no idea until adulthood it had ever been filmed in color.

Truly though, it is a story that doesn't matter what color or screen size it comes in. We all want to follow Dorothy down the Yellow Brick Road, help the Scarecrow and his friends find a brain, a heart and "da norve." I cannot remember watching the film for the first time; it has always been with me, as I'm sure has always been with many of you. Yet it never grows old- perhaps because, we are all Young At Heart, and if we are, Oz is never far away whether you've Ruby Slippers or not. So go ahead. Watch it. Rewatch it. You're off to see the Wizard- the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Golden Tote Review

Golden Tote is a box company for women's clothing. Rather than a traditional subscription, buyers choose to purchase or not purchase a box month to month.  When going to the Golden Tote Website, you are given several different shopping choices, mostly indicating the size and cost of your "Tote" or box of clothing. Most months they have two choices: a forty-nine dollar tote consisting of two to three items of clothing and/or accessories, or a one hundred forty-nine dollar tote that consists of five to six items.

 The unique thing about Golden Tote is that what items you receive are partly your choice- and partly theirs. For the smaller, more inexpensive Tote, you get to pick one item from their choice of selections; for the larger, more expensive Tote, you get to pick two items from a choice of possible selections. What items you can select from changes each month, and most of the time there is greater selection when you purchase the larger Tote, so some items can only be purchased if you are buying that one. The items are generally mid-range items, often from labels that can be found in stores like Anthropologie or Nordstrom, to give an general idea of the items' typical quality and retail value. Sometimes the items are exclusive to Golden Tote and sometimes they are not. The clothing selection for each Tote size can be perused before you make a decision about purchasing. Once you've indicated what your clothing item(s) or choice will be, a stylist will pick out the rest for you. But how do they do that?

In order to purchase from Golden Tote you must set up an account. Part of creating an account involves filling out a "style profile" which involves sharing the standard height/weight/size answers, but also incorporates several other questions. They ask you to pick from several outfits to get a better understanding of your style (examples include "Classic" style; "Preppy" style; "Bohemian" and "Casual" style) and if there are areas of your body you either want or don't want to show off. Additionally, they also ask about what types of occasions you might be purchasing their clothing for, such as work, weekends or special occasions. They also ask if there are any types of items, such as dresses or pants, that you do not want to receive. Based on these answers, company stylists will choice from their clothing collection, which may include things not seen on as for purchase the website, making what you get a real surprise.

Golden Tote also has two other purchasing options. Occasionally, such as this month or right after the new year, "Surprise Totes," where you get a specified number items that are all chosen by Golden Tote, not you, can be purchased. This month's Surprise Tote is ninety-nine dollars. They also have a Boutique section of their website where individual items may be purchased without committing to a Tote. However, as most items are in the thirty-five to fifty dollar range, it is often just as economical to get a Tote. One advantage of the boutique however, is that clothing from previous month's selections may still be for sale there.

You all know I love getting things in the mail and you know I love clothing, so Golden Tote was guaranteed to intrigue. I'd been meaning to try them out for a while know, actually, but, despite different "styles" to choose from on their questionnaire, in practice most of the clothing really seems to cater to a certain style. They tend to have a laid-back feeling, with a touch of  the bohemian to it. All in all, not quite my style. Still, I'd check up everyone once in a while and after seeing one item I was interested in, I decided to give it a go. After all, the shirt retailed in their boutique for  $35.00 plus shipping, so I wasn't really adding that much risk, finically, to see what would come in a Tote along with the shirt. Below you can see on the right the shirt I chose. It is made by Blu Pepper. On the left was the "surprise" item that came with it, a dress from White _______.

And, alright, to be honest, I was not super impressed. The shirt I chose was, I knew, going out on a sartorial limb, but I was trying to push myself. It is not my favorite, with a bit more of a trapezes shape to it than I'd realized, but still very nice. The "surprise"  dress I straight up hated. On me, it looked like a potato sack. I'm not a big person and the shapelessness just seemed to add weight and overwhelm me by making me look shorter than I am. However, both items are of fairly good quality; they just were simply not quite my style. Along with the box came a tote bag (hence their name) with a lovely, gold pattern on it. They seem change up graphics on their bag designs quite often. Also included was a small bracelet set with red beads and many tassels. Once again, pretty if not quite my taste. This was mailed on 3-day priority and, while the box and presentation is fairly minimal (which may or may not be a bonus depending on your preferences around others), there was a sticker that told you which Golden Tote Stylist picked our your extra piece(s). That seemed a small, but nice touch.

Basically, it is a good company with pretty good services whose aesthetics just don't always match mine- but they may match yours! For those interested,  the boxes go on sale the first Monday of each month, and every month features different items in Golden Tote's Boutique.They do sometime restock items that sold out quickly. If you ended up unsatisfied with your Tote, you can return it. Their return policy is all or nothing; you cannot return just one or two pieces (well, you can, but you are charged for everything), and things must be returned within 14 days of getting the Tote.

*All images come from the Golden Tote website or Instagram account. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What I Wore: And My Little Dog Too!

Daschund Sweater
Daschund Sweater
Daschund Sweater

What I Wore: Sweater (Banana Republic); Jeans (Similar Here), Shoes (Similar Here), Necklace (Popbasic)

Sooo.... this sweater is one of the only things I actually bought in New York, and, yeah, it is from a chain store. Part of me feels like that is missing the point, going to a store you can go to in a lot of other places, but... a) finding independent boutiques was not as easy as anticipated and b) you can go to a Banana Republic in a lot of places, but "a lot of places" isn't Wyoming. The internet, of course, brings all stores to you, which is fabulous,  and by default is how most shopping happens at our house, but isn't quite the same thing as going to a store sometimes. How the cloth feels, how it fits might be missed on a webpage- That's all part of the in-store experience. This sweater is a great example of that, actually. The sizes I would normally wear were either sold out or too big in the store so... I went bigger. One of the best tricks sometimes is to not get too caught up on the tag and just try it. This boxy, oversized fit gives it a relaxed and homey vibe, right?

Plus, well, this sweater has a downright adorable dachshund on. I already have a sweater with a fox terrier on it, which is what one of our dogs, Stella, is, but I didn't want Max feeling left out! And, yeah, okay, Max wouldn't really care so long as he can still get up on the bed and cuddle with me, but... Anyway, Max is our spoiled little boy. I'm the Favorite because of cuddles; The Boy tortures Max by requiring he get regular exercises (horror of horrors!), so Max is often my sidekick. Or he just thinks I'll protect him from any looming threat of walks.  Whichever. He loves people. Stella loves the dog park to play with out dogs; Max schmoozes with all the little old ladies who bring their dogs. He makes sure to get pets from EVERYBODY.

Do you buy things with likeness of dogs or other pets on them? Also, do you prefer in-store or online shopping?

Monday, August 3, 2015

In August, Why Don't You...

The Conception of Loneliness
Pick up Harper Lee's  Go Set a Watchman, the controversial companion to her American classic novel.

See a play in the park

Try using a daily planner

Buy new school supplies- whether you're in school or not! (My Stationery Wishlists have great options!)

Relax at Yellowstone Lake

Pick up some local produce at the Farmer's Market

Bake an Apple Cake

Buy a new dress

Celebrate the anniversary of the release of The Wizard of Oz film with a themed movie night

Usher in your third decade of life with a bang!
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