Friday, October 30, 2015

October 2015 in Review:

Spooktacular Outfits

Spooktacular Plans
I wish I could say we had exciting plans for this Halloween on Saturday, but this weekend is a perfect example of my life right now- I'll be spending it working on my classes. The Boy and I have been living in work-mode pretty much all month; its lucky we like our jobs, I guess! On Never Fully Dressed, things have been a bit more varied, though.

In addition to October's "Why Don't You..." suggestions, we got into the spirit of month with Spooky Stationery a Cinema Style post inspired by King Kong, and a hair raising excerpt from this month's dog-eared page, Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  A shopping list for fall  is less spooky, but no less delightful! Speaking of things to add to my closet, I tried Le Tote again- and shared my thoughts on the experience (PS I'm wearing items from my Le Tote in both of this month's outfits).  I also introduced a new blog series called Rec Five- and this month I recc' ed five of my favorite podcasts. Another recommendation? Check out the classic film, Gone with the Wind; it was this month's Film Flick for a good reason!

Spooktacular Finds

A bizarre protest for Impressionist painter Renoir has been gaining attention. What even is this?

My students would loooove these LEGO-like furniture pieces

The History of English in 10 minutes

Speaking of, Shakespeare is getting a "translation." Think it needs one?

In the midst of all the bad news, its important to remember- this.

How an Englishman sees America. So fascinating!

Even things like toys create gender norms, so this is apropos: Creating an American Boy Doll. 

23 Things I wish I knew at 23.  What would you add?

At turns astounding and fantastic, listen into Greetings from Coney Island

Agree or disagree: a culture of abuse is what's killing Twitter?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Remix: Black Sweater

A black sweater just seems so basic, but it is tried and true. Its what I reach for it I want to feel instantly more put together. Its pretty effortless too because not only does it make me feel put together but its comfy too! As you can see, it also goes with just about everything. Win-win-win! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cinema Style: King Kong

Being terrified and held aloft the world's tallest building by King Kong would earn Fay Wray the nickname Queen of Screams, as she starred in one of the most iconic Monster Movies of all time. Wray was the ingenue playing an ingenue in a movie within a movie -and what did that mean? Glamour- and lots of it. Her imagine is forever immortalized as within the grasp of the oversized gorilla, but just as immortal is the image of her wearing a sparkling dress. With draping, bell sleeves, this look can be just as glamorous updated for life in 2015. Bell sleeves fit with the new-millennium-does-the-70s trend that is hot now, so by merely bringing up the hemline, you've got a modern day frock. Adding ankle boots gives it another fresh twist, while a draping necklace and metal belt harken back to Wray's original Hollywood-starlet look.

Dress, boots, necklace, belt

To underscore Wray's ingenue status, she is costumed almost exclusively in white, telling us of her pure and kind nature that will, indeed, soothe the savage beast. Even a board the ship on their way to the ominously named "Skull Island," she is in a demure white dress that just flirts with having sex appeal by way of the slit in the neckline. As a nod to their tropical destination, her belt is a woven cloth. The dress and belt  together is a pairing that looks as timelessly good now as it did in 1933.  The cheeky coin purse is a tongue in cheek reference to Wray's "leading man," while the silver sandals are a perfect mix of understated and special. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Rec Five: Podcasts

photo credit: Grado Headphone Plug via photopin (license)

This is the first in a new monthly series, where I'll recommend five of something. Could be books on a certian topic, foods, places to travel, or, in this case- podcasts. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Five Postcasts I love...
Ted Talk Radio Hour Host Guy Raz each week pulls together several different TED Talks under a broad topic. "Screen Time," "Peering into Space," and "Listening," are just a few.  We get to hear both parts of the TED talks, as well as interviews Guy does with the TED talk speakers, and Guy's own observations about the talks and topics. Not only does this fascinating podcast weave together different talks, getting you to view things in new and fascinating ways, but the show always shares how you can view the full TED talks they feature, so it you want more information on a topic, you can. 

Stuff You Missed in History Class- Sponsored by, this podcast is exactly what it says on the tin. The two female hosts together share information about different historical topics. Their stories cover a huge range- the first Native American Prima Donna Ballerina, unsolved murders, wars, men's fashion, news paper hoaxes and- I kid not- America's hippopotamus ranches have all had their day on this podcast. Told in a friendly yet polished manner, the hosts personable banter makes it feel like you have some friends over telling you about these really interesting things. 

Classic Film Jerks- They've never seen many classic films, but creating this podcast, two "jerks" are aiming to watch and see if these old movies live up to their name "Classics." Since I love classic films, this seems like a no-brainer. I don't always agree with the hosts' opinions on all their films, and while they don't usually research much background about the films, I still find them hilarious and they bring in a whole new view to some of my favorite films. You're welcome. 
99% Invisible- Described as stories "about design, architecture and the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world," this podcast seems to focus on fascinating and- quite frankly- often obscure topics. Some ranged from the United States' Dead Letters Office, children's faces on milk cartons, old hotel buildings and more.  The podcast episodes are also on the shorter side, averaging just under twenty minutes, which can be a nice, digestible size for these haunting yet enticing tales. 
Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me- The Boy and I  love to listen to this hilarious gameshow from NPR about the week's news headlines when in the car. There's no news story too big....or too small... or too.... offbeat to not make it on this show. Comedians also get to talk to-and poke fun at- both famous guests from all walks of life and political backgrounds, and call-in audience members too.  And the big prize of this game show? Bragging Rights and Carl Castle's recording the message for your voicemail. So, why not try playing along at home? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What I Wore: Before We Run Out of Time


What I Wore: Top (Le Tote), Skirt (Pin Up Girl Clothing), Shoes (Gap; Similar), Bracelet (Popbasic)

It seems like this skirt was just featured on Never Fully Dressed, but with autumn finally starting to show in the temperatures, I figured I should really get one last wear in before the weather gets the memo about seasonal changes. Of course, I could keep on wearing it, but somehow fruit- oranges in particular- just seem so summery! Do you ever save certain prints or colors for certain seasons? 

I was really thrilled though to pair the skirt with this emerald green shirt; the skirt was always featured online with a green top, but that top was very... very much a vintage reproduction and, while gorgeous, sometimes I shy away from being too on the nose with a purely vintage or vintage-inspired look. Not really aiming to look as though I walked out of a history textbook. This cut seemed a bit more timeless, so as to avoid any confusion with time travelers (no matter how cool it would be take a trip via the TARDIS!)

Speaking of time- where has it gone? t is October already- actually, October's half gone too!- but finally, finally I am feeling as though my head is above water and I'm  mostly caught up. Which means... I'm just in time to be feeling behind again. We're heading to Montana for my best friend's baby shower over the weekend! She's the first of my close friends to have a child and I'm so thrilled for her and her husband. Trips generally leave me feeling behind once we get back, but with luck this week will be one of quiet preparation and I can hit the ground running the minute we return, no problem. What are your weekend plans? 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Film Flick: Gone With the Wind

More tickets have been sold to this movie than any other. Considered by many the greatest American film of all time, Gone With the Wind seems to encapsulate all that movies could be within Hollywood's factory-style Star Machine. Which is ironic because it's making was anything but typical of its time.

Set in a romanticized version of the Antebellum South, the film shows the Civil War from the perspective of the plantation owners. The film opens with Scarlett O'Hara as a coquettish and captivating young woman, flirting with boys while in love with a married man. As the war progresses, the old chivalry seemingly characteristic of that era is stripped away to reveal a way of life that is crumbling before the Confederacy's eyes. During the course of the movie, Scarlett encounters and marries several other men as they serve her purposes, eventually, becoming involved with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable in his best remembered performance.) But while her purposes aren't always noble or even kind, Scarlett is, above all else, a survivor who will get what she wants, whether she must make clothes out curtains to do it, or traverse a burning city! Whether Scarlett was always scheming, or whether the famine and poverty that accompanied the fall of the South made her that way is a central theme of the movie, as it questions what drive without kindness is, and pits chivalry against truthfulness.
Entire books and films can- and have- been made to tell the story behind Gone With the Wind. A break-away, best seller novel in the thirties, David O. Selznik bought the movie rights for his attempt to make the Ultimate Movie. His fingerprints are on everything- in part because he micromanaged everything and everyone. When casting, he secured Clark Gable on loan from his father-in-law, MGM head exec Louie B Mayer, in exchange for MGM gaining distribution rights. As the undisputed King of Hollywood, Gable really seemed the only man for the job. Far harder was finding the right woman for Scarlett. Nearly every Hollywood actress lobbied for the part and nearly as many did screen-tests (Katherine Hepburn famously recalls being told "I can't see Rhett Butler chasing you for twelve years" when turned down for the part). Huge, country wide searches were held to find the perfect fit for Scarlet O'Hara. Vivian Leigh, an actress little known to American audiences, was quietly introduced to Selznick at the eleventh hour-filming had already started- and she ultimately won the role. It was a part that would make Leigh's name, but ultimately would be an unhappy period in her life, as she was ordered to keep  her relationship with famous Shakespearian thespian Sir Laurence Olivier under wraps. Multiple directors were brought in to take the helm of this mammoth project. First was famous "woman's director" George Cukor. He was quickly replaced by Victor Fleming at Gable's request, because he want a director more focussed on the men. Fleming was Gable's big game hunting buddy who would take on the lion's share of work on the film, although Leigh, feeling desperate and slighted, continued to seek out Cukor's guidance on the sly. A third director was brought in for a time as Flemming had to recover from exhaustion. The effort put into the movie was intense for all involved, but the sheer scale- its epic nature- comes shining through in scenes such as the burning of Atlanta (in which they burned many of MGM Studio's largest set pieces, including the famous Pillars of Hercules) and the scene of wounded soldiers (most of whom were actually life-sized puppets).

The movie's also epic in terms of length, coming in at almost 4 hours long, and including both an overture and an intermission. When first shown to test audiences, it spanned an even longer length- 5 hours! In a year packed with some of the most memorable Hollywood films of all time (1939 also saw the release of The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, among others), Gone with the Wind took home a record-setting 8 awards, including one for best picture, and a  Best Director  for Victor Fleming. Perhaps most notable though, was the fact that Best Supporting Actress went to Hattie McDaniel. Her portrayal of Mamie placed her in the history books as the first African American actor to be given an Academy Award. Despite this, she was segregated from her co-stars at the ceremony, and was outright barred from coming to the movie's opening in Atlanta, where Jim Crow laws were still in place.

Though some race barriers were broken by McDaniel,  Gone with the Wind is not without its flaws and most significant among them is how black characters are marginalized and infantilized within the story. They are shown, almost without exception, as happy and content in their situation as slaves, and unhappy to be freed. While Gone with the Wind never goes to the Ku Klux Klan-idolizing levels that film Birth of a Nation, infamously goes to, it does paint a romanticized picture of the Old South in a way that never existed in reality.
The other few downsides to the film include the fact that its not overly sympathetic to the main character, and the film is far too long to watch regularly. It is also the rare film that perhaps would have benefitted had the producer not been so faithful to the book. Not to ruin the surprise for anyone who hasn't seen this, but- famous last lines not withstanding- the ending seems very unsure and random, as if the author just got bored of rewrites. The film would have been just as strong- or stronger-  it had ended twenty minutes earlier.

Still, if for no other reason than the fact that amongst those 3 hours and 53 minutes, two of the most famous lines in movie-making are uttered ("frankly, my dear..." and "God as my witness I will never go hungry again!") you must see this. It's story is filled with drama and good acting, for the most part. So watch it. Because, frankly, my dear... you will give a damn about Gone with the Wind.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Le Tote Review II

Le Tote is a clothes rental company that mails you items to wear.  It works like this: for a monthly membership fee of forty-nine dollars, you can be sent as many boxes of rented clothes as you like. You are sent one box at a time and may keep it for as long or as short of a time in that month as you like; once you return a box a new one is sent out.  In each box are five items- usually a mix of clothing and accessories. When you sign up, you fill out a style profile, and also are encouraged to go through Le Tote's stock of clothing, adding items you like to your  digital closet. The items you are sent are then a combination of items from this digital closet and those a stylist thinks you will like based on your style profile and your other clothing picks.  

Now that you know how it works in theory, want to know see how the reality of it shakes out? Quite frankly, I loved my latest Le Tote Box. You can see which items I got above. I've been interested in this trend of bows at the sleeves and though renting a shirt would be a good way to know if I'd like the style or not, which is where this dark blue shirt comes in. Its made of a heavy crepe fabric, and, as it turns out, I didn't like the bows, which swing every time you move. But that's the nice thing about renting the clothes- you can try a trend before committing to a purchase! Plus, my other four items more than make up for the first shirt. This relaxed fit baseball tee is so comfortable. I paired it right away with the necklace. Together they gave the perfect combination of tomboy and effortless chic. The bracelet is from Kate Spade and fit my wrist perfectly. I imagine it could have been a disappointment to someone with bigger wrists, but I am in love. My students all commented on how much they liked the bracelet too, and seven year olds are harsh dress critics. Lastly, this emerald shirt got not one but TWO unsolicited compliments from The Boy through out the day when I wore it. TWO comments from the husband. Just sayin'. That's cool.

Yet, when I first tried Le Tote a few months back I was getting boxes that were pretty hit or miss; as you can see in my first review here. What changed? Basically, it took those first three boxes to learn  what to do- and what NOT- to do if you want a great Le Tote Box. But as my love for this latest box shows, I lived and learned. But you don't need to make those same mistakes. Here's what I learned about using Le Tote services:

 The company gives you a lot of control over what you get sent. Use that do your advantage.  There are two separate opportunities for you to really have an impact on what you get mailed- and no, I'm talking about the style profile. While it may be of some use to a stylist, it is still a bit vague, and, quite frankly, Le Tote really stocks items geared towards a certain aesthetic. No, the real two opportunities to make sure you get items you like is to stock your digital closet well, and to customize you box.

Your digital closet, made up of items you have "added to your closet" by clicking a heart icon, is where most items you are sent are pulled from. Le Tote recommends having about 30-40 items in your digital closet. Personally, I only have 23, but they are all items I'd be excited seeing in my next Le Tote. So Tip one: Curate Your Closet.  It can be easy to get overwhelmed and click-happy with so many choices.  Keep your closet to items you think you'd actually wear and use. Renting clothes can be a great opportunity to try styles or trends you aren't sure of, as my bow-sleeved shirt shows, but filling your closet with a ton of those sorts of items might result in getting a box full of items you aren't sure you like. Second, when curating,  make sure to look at the measurements of all items.  Le Tote has items from various brands, and their sizing can vary greatly. Don't assume you are the same size item to item. They provide a sizing chart for most items, and also share the measurements of the models. Use this information. No matter how cute it looks on the model, if it doesn't fit you, you won't like it.

So, the stylists will pick items from your closet, and possibly some similar items they think you'd like. Once all items have been picked, you get an email alerting you of this fact, and inviting you to "customize your Le Tote." Basically, you can look over the items they are planning to send you. If you don't like an item you can swap it out with another item. And you aren't limited to swapping only shirts out for other shirts or dresses for other dresses! They allow you to look through all items they currently have in stock (i.e. the items that are not currently  out in other people's Le Tote; the items in the warehouse). My original Le Tote had a dress that was not from my closet, and that I knew would not work for my lifestyle. So, I swapped it out for the emerald shirt The Boy likes so much. Score! It is so nice to feel like you have final say over what is getting mailed to you, and it shows the company's commitment to trying to get customers what they want.

Once you get the clothes, you can keep them for as long or short a period as you want. When you're ready to send them back, there's no need to launder. Le Tote takes care of laundering all returned items before they are borrowed again. Le Tote provides a prepaid and labelled mailing bag for returning the rented items.  The membership is considered on-going, but it can be paused or cancelled at any time. So, unless you state otherwise, once they get your previous Le Tote items, they will prepare and send another box for you.

But what if you really like an item and it breaks your heart to see it go? There are two options. You can let the company know you would like them to resend a piece. Or, if your love is too strong to part with the item at all, you can buy it. To do that, you simply don't pack the item back in the mailing bag. Your account is then charged for the piece when they get the return package. Le Tote does pull from many popular brands. The advantage of purchasing through Le Tote though, rather than the brands themselves, isn't only connivence (though it is nice the item is already there with you). They do provide a slight price reduction, as you can see with this picture.  Even with the price reductions, most accessory items seem to range from twenty to seventy dollars. Most clothing ranges from forty to a hundred fifty, depending on brand and type of clothing. All the shirts in my box hovered around forty five dollars, for example. If you choose to purchase the entire contents of your Le Tote, you are also given a free month's membership. It should be noted that membership credits, such as you would get from buying all of a box's items, are for paying for being a member only, and that credit cannot go towards purchasing  other items.

Once a box has been returned, you can evaluate it, rating the item for both fit and style. This information presumably also helps stylists in picking items for you in the future. You also have the option of uploading photos of you wearing the item in question. Le Tote then allows other members to see these photos on the item's page, so they can see how items look on real women, instead of just models.

Overall, I really loved getting my box, and I'm half-tempted to go ahead and buy some of the items.  It does require more effort on your part than a service like StitchFix does, in order to get a good box, but I love all the input a customer is allowed to have, and found their website easy to navigate when giving that input. The monthly membership fee can feel high, since I could buy a clothing item to keep for that price. However, the novelty is nice, especially for my work wardrobe! What about you? Would you- or have you- ever tried renting clothes from them?  (If so, this link will get your $25 off of your first box! )

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What I Wore: Casually


Scarf1CollageWhat I Wore: Shirt (Le Tote), Jeans (Lucky Brand), Scarf (Gift), Necklace (Le Tote), Clutch (Popbasic) 

With the school year started up again, my work routine is now back in full swing. And even though I love my job, there is something so nice about coming home and slipping into more casual  threads- even if just for a few hours before hitting the hay- that helps make that transition from back to home life for me. Lately, after work or on weekends, you are fairly likely to find me in  this shirt from Le Tote (don't worry; you'll be hearing more about them next post!). A baseball tee just seems like a good way to transition from summer to fall, and for when the wind gets nippy there's my blanket scarf able to do double duty as scarf or shawl.

Do you have two different styles for work and play? Or is your wardrobe a one-style-fits-all-situations deal?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall List

I've actually reached a point where I'm feeling somewhat happy with my wardrobe and might be holding off on buying much clothing, since there may be some upcoming changes to our lives. Still, these items have been in the back of my mind and with autumn here, I can dream, right? 

1) Brown Riding Boots-  These seem like such a staple to have in your wardrobe and, in my case, this purchase would be to replace the brown riding boots I currently own. They've more than done their time, and are showing clear wear that proves they were man-made material. Which is fine- but, well, five years is plenty of time, especially considering that with the amount of snow we get in the winter a shoe that covers one's feet and ankles is really a must.  

2) Plaid Midi Skirt- I've been dreaming about finding the perfect plaid midi skirt for several years now. While not an absolute necessity, there is something so timeless about plaid, isn't there? Especially as a midi skirt (let's not get into Clueless mini skirt territory here!)  I can't decide if brown and red tones are preferable over blue or green ones. Warmer tones are so quintessentially fall, but the cooler colors might transition quite nicely into the spring as well....  

3) Round Framed Glasses- I've had this thought to buy a second pair of glasses rattling about the back of my mind for a while now. Yes, glasses are not cheap, and  I still love my (literally, since they are my header) iconic black glasses; they wouldn't be going anywhere. But I wear glasses every single day. It might be nice to be able to change things up every so often. Between the more affordable option online eyewear stores provide, plus looking at this as a cost-per-wear scenario, and they seem like a good buy! 

4)  Smoking Slippers- I love ballet flats, so it is probably no surprise I love smoking slippers too. They are like ballet flat's cooler older sibling. They listen to music you've never hear of before, and talk about deep meaningful indie movies (oh, wait... that's my much cooler younger sister, not shoes...where was this metaphor going again?) At any rate, they give an unexpected twist and I never could resist a red shoe either... 

5) Brown Fisherman's Cable Knit Sweater- This has been on my list for years. The brown sweater shown above isn't even really quite what I want either. This sweater would be, like, the dictionary definition of timeless fashion. Not too oversized, but not too clingy (you know how sweaters can be) and with a really classic cable knit pattern. Also- no turtlenecks. Because, while they look good on Pinterest, no one wants to go through their day feeling like their garment is trying to strangle them to death. 

6) Brown Ankle Boots- Does it seem like I'm obsessed with shoes? It kind of feels like I am, which is too bad as it is the one thing I still find hard to buy online. I'll probably only actually buy EITHER brown riding boots or brown ankle boots, but I wore my black ankle boots almost every day last winter, so I'm sure brown ones would be in high rotation. Plus, there would be no worry that they'd blend in with black pants and make me look like I was wearing adult footie pajamas.... 

7) Black High Waist Cigarette Pants- I have a pair of low waisted ones for work, but there are still four more days to the workweek and winter is no time for skirts. So- the search is on. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Stationery Wishlist: Everything's Getting Kinda Spooky


1. Monster Postcards | 2. Anatomy of Love Print | 3. First Aid Kit | 4. Anatomy Cards | 5. Skull Container | 6. Comic Book Postcards 

1. Monster Postcards- Whether it is what lurks beneath the Loch Ness or it eats goats, these postcards are good for what scares ya. 

 2. Anatomy of Love Print- An adorable mash up of the romantic and the clinical come together in this art print. 

 3. First Aid Kit - For the those real-life encounters with blood, you can't go wrong with this first aid pouch in your desk. 

4. Anatomy Cards - Both the old-time-y-ness and the bodily graphics give these cards a bit of a spooky air, perfect for Halloween. 

5. Skull Container- Keep your tools on your (or rather someone else's) mind with this container. 

 6. Comic Book Postcards - While not scary, here's some others who love to dress up. To find out what is behind the mask, read the comic (and then send the postcard!) 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Dog Eared Page: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

He put the glass to his lips, and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I thought, a change—he seemed to swell—his face became suddenly black and the features seemed to melt and alter—and at the next moment, I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall, my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror. 

“O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!

 - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, October 2, 2015

In October, Why Don't You...

Image from page 263 of "Productive orcharding, modern methods of growing and marketing fruit" (1917)

Go on a hayride

Munch on a candied apple

Have a bonfire

Pick out a baby shower gift

Rake up your leaves

Gather up some blankets and spend an evening stargazing

Help out at a local "trunk or treat" or other local town event

Go on an apple picking date

Book yourself that massage

Reread a classic
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