Friday, December 23, 2016

Film Flick: Holiday

We're continuing a holiday tradition on Never Fully Dressed by sharing some classic holiday films. Some might be institutions in your home this time of year; others might be delightful new friends, but they're all sure to impart some the season's spirit and sense of fun. Consider it my way of wishing you and yours nothing but the Happiest New Year.  

Holiday is indeed a holiday film, though not a Christmas movie. Rather, much of the story revolves
around New Year's and that 1930s standard symbol for glamour- a New Year Eve party.

When Cary Grant's character, Johnny Case, takes his first holiday, he meets and falls in love with Julia Seton (Doris Nolan). In a whirl-wind - and off-screen- romance, he proposes. Now all that's left to do is meet the girl's family. Easier said than done. The family runs in a different circle than Johnny- in fact, they're Old Money and not too keen to be impressed by Johnny's "commoner" background. The family does include some allies- A drunken brother is played with a surprising blend of sensitivity and comedy by Lew Aryes, and there's also Julia's sister, Linda, played Katherine Hepburn (one guess as to who is the real leading lady here). In fact, Linda is something of a kindred spirit to Johnny, and soon finds herself in love with both Johnny and what he represents to her- living life in one's own way.
For a screwball comedy, Holiday contains some surprisingly sophisticated relationships, including a very loving one between sisters who don't really understand each other, and the father's with each child. All of these relationships will be put to the test- especially Johnny and Julia's- when it becomes clear that the father and bride-to-be want Johnny to take a position in the family business, but all the man himself wants is to take a few years, now that he has saved enough, to explore the world and find himself!

This remake was directed by George Cukor, and the famed "women's director" might account for the nuanced performances and complex relationships. The story had been seen several of iterations before this though. The original film was made in 1930, with the same actor, Edward Everett Horton, playing the father. Before that, it was a play in 1928 with Katherine Hepburn understudying for the part she would portray 10 years later in this film.  She had also screen-tested with a scene from that same play in order to land her first film part, which shows she had many connections to the story! Interestingly though, Hepburn was not the only choice for the role- both Joan Bennett and Ginger Rogers were considered. Ultimately, the studio fell back on a pairing that they hoped would work, despite previous films being commercial failures.

This would be the third pairing of Katherine Hepburn with Cary Grant, and though their other films often get more praise, Holiday is worth watching. Grant plays things mostly straight here, but Hepburn is also more restrained, not such a caricature of the flighty, intellectual socialite she often portrayed in earlier films. There is a delicacy and sensitivity to her Linda that makes the comedy, when it comes, all the more sweet. Their usual chemistry shines through, especially in the their first meeting when she jokes about looking like a toy giraffe or when playing at being acrobats at a party. Perhaps another reason for the more restrained performance was the fact that the character Linda Seton was based on a real life person- Gertrude Sanford Legendre, a former d├ębutante who left high society to become a big-game hunter and later a spy for the OSS during WWI.

Still, don't mistake this nuance in acting as a sign the film is maudlin or a serious venture. It is a fun and funny film with a lot of zingers like, "When I find myself in a position like this, I ask myself what would General Motors do?- And then I do the opposite!" With its message of taking off time from viable work to "find yourself", it should be of little surprise that the film was not a financial success, but you may find you have more luck with it today. This would be a fun film to ring in the New Year with- or to watch through out the year, anytime you need a little Holiday.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Dog-Eared Page: Nuckcracker and Mouse King

The real reason why Marie didn't want to leave the Christmas table was that she had just caught sight of something she hadn't noticed before. Fritz's hussars had been parading near the tree. When they marched away, an excellent little man came into view. He stood there quietly, as though patiently waiting his turn.

One might have found fault with his build: his torso was too long and stout for his short, skinny legs, and his head was much too big for the rest of him. But, to make up for these disadvantages, the distinction of his dress showed him to be a man of taste and breeding. He was wearing a well-cut lavender hussar's jacket with lots of white frogging and buttons, breeches of the same stuff, and the daintiest little boots that had ever graced the feet of a student or even an officer. They were molded as neatly to his dainty little legs as if they had been painted on. Oddly enough, though, in view of these fine clothes, he had, hanging from his shoulders, a skimpy, ungainly cloak that looked almost as if it were made of wood, and he was wearing what appeared to be a miner's cap. But Marie remembered that Godfather Drosselmeier often wore a wretched-looking morning coat and a hideous cap, neither of which prevented him from being a dear, sweet godfather. And it also occurred to Marie that even if Godfather Drosselmeier were to dress as prettily as this little man, he wouldn't be as handsome. With Marie it was love at first sight, and the longer she gazed at the sweet little man, the more delighted she was with his good-natured face.
- Nutcracker and Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman

Monday, December 12, 2016

Film Flick: It Happened on 5th Avenue

We're continuing a holiday tradition on Never Fully Dressed by sharing some classic holiday films. Some might be institutions in your home this time of year; others might be delightful new friends, but they're all sure to impart some the season's spirit and sense of fun. Consider it my way of wishing you and yours nothing but the very merriest.  

Its not on the top of any Christmas film lists- but if you are looking for something heart-warming if a little schmaltzy- look no further than finding out what it was that happened when they say It Happened on 5th Avenue.

As the soldiers return from war, New York is facing a housing crisis! This causes several people to be out of housing- right before Christmas! One such is an ex-G.I. Jim (Don DeFore). He makes the papers after calling the landlord evicting him an octopus, but gets better luck when he meets a Aloysius T. McKeever (Victor Moore). This enterprising hobo has been living in an unoccupied mansion on 5th Avenue and opens his doors to Jim. They later meet a young woman, Trudy (Gale Storm), when she enters into the house. They take her for a thief, but she is not what she seems- in fact, she's the daughter of the mansion-owner! Trudy and Jim both invite more people into the mansion till its quite a full house!  Jim invites his war time buddies and their young families, while Trudy- well, she invites her mother (Ann Harding) and father (Charles Ruggles) to be at the house under assumed identities so they can meet Jim. Trudy has her eyes on marrying him, but Dad does not approve- not that he can say as much when he's pretending to be a hobo too. All the mistaken identities, trespassing, and hijinks leads to many ridiculous situations that come to a head on Christmas Eve. Will happy endings prevail or will everyone end up in the clink? 

Despite being released in 1947, this film has more of a feeling of a 1930's screwball comedy, a la Frank Capra. In fact, the story was originally optioned by Frank Capra's Liberty Films in 1945, and intended to be the company's first production. Later that year, producer-director Roy Del Ruth acquired the story. It became the first production of the studio Allied Artists. Still, Frank Capra was among various celebrities who endorsed the film (Frank Capra had decided to pass up this story to pursue Its a Wonderful Life). This actually did not work for the film as positively as may have been hoped. Some critics looked down on the many stars and said instead that film was mildly entertaining but not worth all the praise. Those critics may have been wrong though, as the movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

It didn't win..... and not such a big surprise after all. Still, get a cozy blanket and a cup of hot cocoa, and It Happened One on 5th Avenue can make for a pleasant evening under the glow of Christmas lights. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

In December, Why Don't You...

Make pancakes for breakfast

Watch the Nutcracker

Attend a baby shower

Cheer on  a lighted Christmas Parade

Make a snowman

Go on a tour of homes to see scrumptious decorations

Bake some St. Lucia Buns

Set out a toy train beneath the Christmas Tree

Give to others (here are 10 ways and here are 10 more!)

Go old school and break out the board games for a family gathering!

Monday, November 28, 2016

November 2016 in Review

November Finds

Emojis are not the death of a language (plus, the coolest emojis ever)

Three seconds to being happier

The oldest vertebrate animal in the world is this shark

I got a little Bump Envy after reading these delightful interviews!

The future could look like these environmentally friendly homes

Speaking of the future- here's some good financial advice and easy ways to save the enviroment. 

Reduce your anxiety by listening to this.

The 3 types of friendships

Archeological finds at one of Shakespeare's early theaters

Help others; this is a list of pro-minorities, pro-women, pro- LGBTQ foundations you can donate to

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dog- Eared Page: Emily of Deep Valley

At church the next day, Dr. MacDonald said something that helped her. Emily's mind kept drifting away from the sermon to last night's fun. But suddenly this sentence flashed out- it was a quotation from Shakespeare, she thought:

'Muster your wits; stand in your own defense."

She had no idea in what sense he had used it, but it seemed to be a message aimed directly at her.

"Must your wits; stand in your own defense," she kept repeating to herself on the long walk home. After dinner she sat down in her rocker, looked out at the snow and proceeded to muster her wits.

"I'm going to fill my winter and I'm going to fill it with something worth while," she resolved.

-Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nursery Plans

Old news for anyone who follows me on  Instagram, but new for anyone just reading the blog- I'm pregnant! 28 weeks pregnant to be exact, with a baby boy on his way in late January. The whole experience of growing a small person inside you is an interesting one (one that let's you into this club where all fellow mothers look at you knowingly and pass along tips. They've been there; they know these looks say. Which. Yup. They have.) And there are a lot of ups and downs with all of this as you are excited and scared and you hurt..... but one of the fun things has been planning the nursery. That nesting instinct is real, and I thought I'd share it with you.

Originally, the idea had been to have a gender-neutral nursery, and since The Boy loves science and technology a "Journey to the Moon" theme seemed a great way to combine something he loved with a shot of whimsy a la the 1902 film La Voyage Dans La Lune.  My original inspiration relied heavily on black and whites (babies see contrast must easier than colors was part of the rationale. But really, I just like black and white), and I loved the idea of a moon over a city, so you see several building-shapes worked into the design. However, dreams are not reality. Many of these items are either expensive or are not for sale anywhere. I have made something for the nursery, but there are limits to my talents (and time) in that arena. BlueNursery

The first pinboard to the second one shows a lot of evolution with this "Journey to the Moon" plan. We recently purchased this very crib and dress set, as well as the rug (So excited)! The  blue isn't so much to scream "Its a boy!" as it is....well, I love the color blue and the crib and dress reminded me of the bed my sister and I both slept in as kids. Its a family heirloom that my father had painted blue when he was ten or so. Its been refurbished back into a rich wood with no paint, so this blue seems a bit nostalgic. There are certainly more rockets than I'd originally intended, partly because old childhood favorites have pictures with rockets. How did I never know before that Babar has a space travel book? And Tintin is a family favorite. Both of my parents read the comics as kids and passed that love on to my sister and me. The crocheted rocket is still a bit of a pipe dream, admittedly. There are instructions on how to make it, but I don't know anyone who crochets. Not the the baby will know whether it is there or not, but a girl can dream, right? I did manage to make a paper mache moon that will hang by a window, so some of my own handiwork is in this all. The cradle is one my own grandfather made years ago, and won't a stuffed robot look cute in it? Overall, things have gotten a touch more science-y than whimsical, but I do still enjoy this print "Mr. Tinker Visits the Moon" which is an illustration from the Oz books.

Of course, it is all a work in progress, so who knows if the final room will have changed as much as the idea has over the past few months. I'll be sure to show you when its all done!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Film Flick: 3 Guys Named Mike

With a title like 3 Guys Named Mike it should surprise no one that this film is a fluffy rom-com about
a woman who attracts the attentions of, well, three guys all named Mike.  The very concept is frothy and meant to be good fun, but it gets elevated (no pun intended) to new heights by its main character. Marcie,  young woman full of ideas, intelligence and opinions, is about to trade in her daily existence for the blue skies as she applies for a stewardess job with American Airlines. Even in the first scene, it is clear that Jane Wayman, playing Marcie, is having a ball and that Marcie pretty much runs the lives of any who cross her path. And though they may occasionally be annoyed by her pushing her opinions on everyone, they love her for it. Her tendency to connect people and put all her ideas and suggestions into action occasionally end in disaster, but the best thing about this film is that it never, ever apologizes for its heroine's intelligence. She may be getting into some troubles, but she gets out of that trouble by her wits too.  It is always clear that one of the best things about Mariey is her brain and she is worth falling for because of it.

As she adventures across the cloudy skies, she eventually meets her 3 Mikes- one is a pilot, one an aspiring graduate student and bartender, ad the last a successful advertising man. Each has an adorable cute-meet with. Perhaps the one downfall of the film is that preference for one man over the others is not strongly stated. One could argue that small signs are there- one treats her as a woman without a brain, another feeds her love of learning for example- but they are subtle. A far better indicator of who she ends up with is looking at who was the biggest star at the time of filming, but that's all more clues you'll get from me! Of course, each man thinks they have something special till they all meet and confusion ensures.

The New York Times was not so kind to this film, calling the film "bird-brained" in its review and accusing the woman credited with the concept for the film- one Hazel "Pug" Wells, who had been an airline stewardess too- of reading too many magazines and doing "too little work," which is more than a little insulting. Luckily, Ruth Brooks Filppen thought differently and wrote the story down. The story was then turned into a screenplay by Sidney Sheldon, who also ended up with a bit part on the film.

Because the story involves airplanes- which can be expensive props- Three Guys Named Mike might also be considered an early example of product placement! In exchange for using their planes, American Airlines, a real airline company, was prominently featured in the film. They were even allowed to feature some of the actual training the airline gave to their stewardesses, which added another way to make the film feel authentic.

However, authenticity isn't why you watch the film, nor even is the romance. Rather the plucky Marcie, clever and smart and unapologetic for it- is who you are sticking around for more than any of the Three Guys Named Mike. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

In November, Why Don't You....

Remember to change your clocks for daylight savings!

Store away your spring (or, in my case, non-maternity) wardrobe to make room for clothes you actually  use

Visit an arts and crafts fair

Try a face mask

Attend a Friendsgiving

Schedule your pet to visit the vet (get its teeth cleaned!)

Take advantage of Cyber-sales

Draw a chalkboard design

Attend prenatal classes

Install a new faucet

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dog Eared Page: The Owl and the Pussycat

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married;
too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,
His nose,            
 With a ring at the end of his nose.

- "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Eward Lear

Friday, June 10, 2016

Rec Five: Teas to taste

Untitled photo credit: Khuroshvili Ilya

  Gary's Kilty Pleasure (A Scottish Breakfast Tea)- This is my go-to tea from my favorite tea bar. I drink it at least once a day. It is perfect for the mornings to reinforce you and for those rainy days you need warmed from the inside out. Plus, it is blended on sight at the store, and all their tea is fair-trade. Here's what Red Lodge Books and Tea had to say about it: "Gary's Kilty Pleasure is a Scottish breakfast tea blended from Assam and Kenya black estate teas...known for its maltiness and astringency. Gary chose a nice, malty Assam from the Khongea Estate for this blend.The Kenya black tea from the Lelsa Estate balances out the blend, producing a smooth, bright breakfast tea that tastes good with milk, but doesn't require anything."

Mr. Excellent's Post-Apocalyptic Earl Grey Tea- This tea has been smoked, and so tastes like a campfire smells in the early morning. Which, admittedly, is a very specific taste and one I reserve for special moods or days, rather than my typical morning cup of tea. But its unique tea and I've never really seen its like before. It is perfect for a pensive mood and a reminder of nature's majesty. It has a complex taste best described by the Red Lodge Books and Tea: "...the bergamot is the first thing to hit the nose, cutting through the smokiness of the lapsang souchong. When you take the first sip, the bergamot all but disappears, leaving the pine smoke flavor, which fades into the base tea (an organic black Yunnan) as it swirls through your mouth. After you swallow, the bergamot returns, blending with the smoke to create a lingering aftertaste."

Lady Londonderry- The Townshend's Tea Company  advertises the tea by saying that "Rumor has it this was Princess Diana's favorite tea. Flavorful smooth black tea with a hint of strawberry and lemon." And I'll admit that I was intrigued to know what made this a royal favorite; my secret celebrity radar tingled! But the tea did not disappoint.  With many fruits in tea, they tend to overpower the palette; not so here. The strawberry and lemon show only in subtle hints of flavor, making it so I prefer this tea straight, with no cream or sugar.

Roasted Chestnut-  I am obsessed with this tea and before one could order it online from Nicole's Bakery, I would get several tins each time I visited the Fargo area. This tea has a delicate, nutty flavor quite unlike anything I've ever tasted before, but which compliments anything choose to serve the tea with. Interestingly, it actually doesn't contain any chestnuts, but it is made with sliced almonds, so those with tree nut allergies should be aware of that fact.

Lady Greystroke-  Earl Grey tea in general is a favorite with me, but my very favorite variation of it is this, A lavender infused Earl Grey tea. "A smooth, mellow Earl Grey with wild lavender, a bit of rooibos, and just a touch of vanilla to add a touch of creaminess," is how the Red Lodge Tea Company describes their brew. The lavender is most strongly noticable in its scent; I've seen ladies make sachets out of this tea, in addition to drinking it, for their clothing drawers. But if you are drinking it, it is a delicate tea that doesn't really need cream, though Lady Greystroke does make for a delicious Tea Latte as well. Plus, it is named after Tarzan's wife, so the literary allusion makes it extra fun to buy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

In June, Why Don't You...

photo credit: blackened books

Tackle that list of classics you always meant to read?

Build a sand castle on the beach

Get a tune- up for your car

Learn about another culture by attending a Powwow 

Go for a round of mini-golf

Attend a conference to develop your professional skills

Don a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off

Create a "Welcome Basket" for your guest room filled with anything your guests might need (Psst! don't forget to include your WiFi password!)

Walk a dog at the animal shelter

Make a giant scrabble game to play outside

Friday, May 27, 2016

Month in Review: May 2016

Ready for Summer Plans
May seems to be a time for beginnings and endings- as you can see in this list of things to do in May! School is now out here and Summer is officially here. To celebrate, we talked travel both real- such are our trip to Los Angles- and imagined, such as with this Roman Holiday themed stationery post. Summer can also be a great time to see a few great films (why try this month's Film Flick?) and catch up on some reading (this month's Dog Eared Page is a great book, if you're looking for a recommendation.)

Summer also means styling to look cool in the heat. To help with that, I shared my summer wishlist, and shared some of my favorite blogs for minimalist style. You could also take inspiration from this month's Cinema Style post- it is, literally, out of this world.
Ready for Summer Finds

10 Things that Require Zero Luck or Talent

Three dangerous words:  "I Feel Like" 

Suzanne's thoughtful post about creating a dream wardrobe  and, in contrast, Rebecca shares how living abroad changed her clothing style

Afghanistan's first female street artist

10 year old designer creates clothes to counter body-shaming! 

I love alternative history- and this Africa Uncolonized is a fantastic "what-if"

"Seeing" Einstein's gravitation waves! 

How music taste has evolved (according to the Top 10 Billboard)

A new movie adaptation of Watership Down?!?!

Tips for going to Yellowstone: DON'T TOUCH THE WILDLIFE (and definitely don't put it in your car.) Also- let's not step all over the irreplaceable geothermic features that can kill you, m'kay?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Film Flick: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird, both book and film, are American icons, a snapshot of racial issues from the earlier half of the 20th century, while also being a story about growing older. A young tomboy, Scout (played by Mary Bedham),  learns about doing the right thing as she watches her father (Gregory Peck) take on a racially charged case in a southern town in the 1930s. A young black man (Brock Peters) has been accursed of rape, and it is Atticus Finch who agrees to represent him. Over the course of a year and half, the case and its fall out become the backdrop of her life, even as the six year old's more innocent concerns about school, friends, and the neighborhood recluse (Robert Duvell) also unfold. 

The Pulitzer Prize winning novel was published in 1960, as the American Civil Rights movement was beginning. A mere two years later, it was put to the screen, and would be nominated for Best Picture. It would go on to win Best Adapted Screenplay;  Best Art Direction; and Best Actor for Gregory Peck in what some would consider his most definitive role as father Atticus Finch. The book's author, Harper Lee, later recalled, “When I learned that Gregory Peck would play Atticus Finch ... I was of course delighted: here was a fine actor who had made great films–  what more could a writer ask for? … years later told me his secret. When he played Atticus Finch, he had played himself, and time has told all of us something more: when he played himself, he touched the world.” Peck also remembered the role fondly, and shared in an interview, "Hardly a day passes that I don’t think how lucky I was to be cast in that film...I recently sat at a dinner next to a woman who saw it when she was 14 years old, and she said it changed her life.” Peck was not the only one who found this a landmark film to be involved in. Brock Peters, who played Tom Robinson, the man accursed of rape, has stated, “It certainly is one of my proudest achievements in life, one of the happiest participations in film or theater I have experienced.” He remained friends with Peck and young Bedham for the rest of his life. Additionally, To Kill a Mockingbird was the film debut of Robert Duvall, William Windom, and Alice Ghostley.

But, though both the film and book are famous and each well done in their own right, they are not synonymous; the story changes as the medium does. Most notably, when Harper Lee wrote the vaguely autobiographical novel, she told the story through the very limited narration of a six year old; all is seen through her eyes. A film cannot do that and so must take on a 3rd person narrative. The Atticus a young child sees is the book is perhaps, not the whole picture; all children idolize their fathers. However, that distinction was not brought to the screen. Arguably, Peck's Atticus is too good, too perfect to be quite real within the story, no matter how much Peck is playing himself. Critic Roger Eberts takes it a step farther, stating that "[the film is] a time capsule. It expresses the liberal pieties of a more innocent time, the early 1960s, and it goes very easy on the realities of small-town Alabama in the 1930s." This is never more obvious than when a lynch mob is dispelled by a child's innocent ramblings, or the way all the colored audience members stand when Atticus walks out of the courtroom. 

Still, one can argue that though the full extent of racial tensions are not seen or fairly portrayed, To Kill a Mockingbird helped to further a conversation America needed to have, and that it still furthers that conversation today. That alone makes it worth watching and remembering, a fact the the United States National Film Registry agreed with when it added the movie to the Library of Congress in 1995. So, go ahead, watch, and find out why it is a sin To Kill a Mockingbird.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What I Wore: A New Chapter

diamond pattern, seventies, flare jeans, retro outfit, white belt, orange shirt,
diamond pattern, seventies, flare jeans, retro outfit, white belt, orange shirt, blogger outfit,
diamond pattern, seventies, flare jeans, retro outfit, white belt, orange shirt,

What I Wore: Shirt (Le Tote), Jeans (Gap), Boots (Crown Vintage), Bracelet (Le Tote), Trench Coat (ASOS), Scarf (Similar Here)

A new chapter in so, so many ways. First off- my first outfit shoot in months! And no more white backgrounds; we're back to Cody's big, beautiful outdoors. Turns out, even though they are more of a hassle, the outdoors are definitely more motivating for us. It was rather funny though, didn't think you could be out of practice for having your photo taken- you basically are just standing there- but turns out, you can be. Of course. Of course. 

The bright side of getting back into outfit photos is, naturally, getting to show off the clothes ! I bit the bullet and hopped on the flare jean trend. According to Pinterest, flares should make your legs leaner and longer, and Pinterest knows all (.... right?)  This outfit was going for a cool-girl, seventies vibe, but I think it may have missed and gone a bit more....early oughts than intended. That was when I was a high school and then college girl. Those were dark sartorial times, my friends.  With that in mind, have you tried flare jeans? Are you considering trying them out? 

It is also a new chapter, as the school year begins its wind down. Last week was a whirl wind as I had a different open house event for (almost) every class! All the gifted kids from a grade will come to my classroom one day a week, and each of these classes did something to showcase their work. One had a "movie premiere" where we showed the coded animations they had made through Scratch. We also had "Maker Showcases" where students showed projects they had made (these kids did such fun stuff too- Hogwart Sorting Hats that really worked; 3D printing; sewing;  stop motion animation, graphic novels; masks; and so much more!) as well as their robotic projects! So fun, but so tiring. Now it is cleaning up the classroom and, already, looking towards the next school year. No rest for the wicked, I guess! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dog Eared Page: Rose in Bloom

"Do you know she looks like you? Hair tied up in a knot, and a spiritual sort of face. Don't you see it?" asked Mac, turning the graceful little figure toward her.

"Not a bit of it. I wonder whom I shall resemble next! I've been compared to a Fra Angelico angel, Saint Agnes, and now 'Syke,' as Annabel once called her."

"You'd see what I mean, if you'd ever watched your own face when you were listening to music, talking earnestly, or much moved, then your soul gets into your eyes and you are like Psyche."

"Tell me the next time you see me in a 'soulful' state, and I'll look in the glass, for I'd like to see if it is becoming," said Rose merrily.

- Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

Friday, May 13, 2016

Rec Five: Blogs about Minimalist Style

I read somewhere that the average woman owns over a hundred items in her wardrobe. Now, that's uncited and could be totally untrue, but clearly the popularity of capsule wardrobes seems to indicate at least some people are seeing this is true and trying to change that in their own lives. I was a bit on the fence about capsule wardrobes till I noticed that I maaaaaay already sort of have a capsule wardrobe just by living life (more on that soon), but if you too are unsure, here are five great blogs to get a bit of information from!

Unfancy- This blog originally documented the blogger's transition to her 37 piece capsule wardrobe, which was updated every three months for the changing seasons. She rather famously quit at the height of her success and walked away from the blog for six months (a great interview about that decision can be found on The Lively Show). Now she's back, albeit with a far more slow and unstructured framework- both in terms of how she is approaching her capsule wardrobe (less about the rules and changes, more on the sustainability and not needing to think about clothing as much) and blogging in general. Still a great to follow whenever she posts though. Plus, she's partnered with a company that helps you make capsule wardrobes. Would you try that?

Into Mind- Though this blog does touch on the writer's own wardrobe, the real focus on on helping the readers to create their own capsule wardrobes. She has a lot of great posts as a resource, plus a downloadable workbook too! These resources really help you break down what your lifestyle needs from a wardrobe, helps you focus on color palettes and silhouettes to better understand your closet.

Fashion Pas-  Rita is a friend I "met" though blogging, so it was with interest I watched and red the changes that took place in her blog over the past few months. Now captioned "Notes from a Mindful Style Journey", her blog really delves into her journey to have a capsule wardrobe and to have a wardrobe that was composed of good quality clothing from sustainable, ethical  sources. Her approach to this was very different from the first two blogs I mentioned, though she did use some of their resources. I personally really appreciated that she had a job that required professional clothing, to see how that affected a capsule wardrobe, and she also shared the process as she went through it. We saw the initial work she put in from color palettes to shopping and we also continue to see as she looks at what works and what does with her process.

Minimalist Beauty- The issue of diversity has been cropping up in the news a lot recently, which led me to realize how little diversity I see in blogging some days. This blogger is beyond gorgeous and helps widen the scope of beauty seen in media. More importantly, she writes intelligently about capsule wardrobes, digging deeper than just "fewer clothes." Her capsule is almost completely thrifted, and many posts focus on how to create a capsule from thrifting, as well as how to care for clothing in ways to make them last longer.  She's even tried to make her own clothing, something I think many would like to try and are nervous to. Her posts touch on beauty care and home decor as well, with an emphasis on natural and ethically-sourced products.  There's a little bit of everything on this blog, all tied together by a honest, forthwith voice and clear dedication to a lifestyle.

Forever Amber- One thing Amber is very clear on- she is NOT creating a capsule wardrobe.... or not quite. Two of the things I think many people struggle with when it comes to capsule wardrobes is 1) not wanting to limit oneself to a certain (very small) number of clothing and 2) a misconception that for a capsule wardrobe one must have a minimalist style. This blogger is like the exact opposite. Amber has a HUGE closet filled with many lovely, retro-inspired items. Her big personality is reflected in her colorful, fun clothing. But she noticed a lot of her clothing was going unworn because she wasn't buying items that fit her lifestyle and she lacked basics to wear with the more colorful stuff. So, while she still wears and shares cool, vintage-y outfits, she also writes about how she figured out what holes were in her closet and created a capsule wardrobe with in her larger closet composed mostly of those basics to get more wear from what she did have.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Los Angles in Instagram

This will be the second trip to L.A. that NFD has seen (see more here) all to see this lovely lady pictured below. My sister is sort of the trope that so sitcoms start out with- she's a small town girl trying to make it in the Big City! More seriously, she's also an incredibly talented freelance graphic designer, photo editor and archivist; and social media guru. So.... if you are looking for any of that, look no further!

So, here is the trip through the eye of my phone camera...

This trip took place over my school's spring break. We packed in SO MUCH during our short stay! In addition to getting to see my sister and meet her current beau, we did, among other things, have a day at the beach. We even swam. Californians may have felt cold, but we were elated to have some sun! I lounged and built the world's most epic (okay, sort of epic) sandcastle because I'm secretly eight at heart.

We also saw a ridiculous amount of films- even for staying in Hollywood! High on my list  of must-sees was getting to see a classic film in theaters. Luck for us, a Gregory Peck Tribute was showing at the Aero Theatre.We also saw Zootopia in an old movie palace- The El Capitan! They had a live show before the film, gave out treats to the kids and you got free candy! The other film we saw was Batman v. Superman in 4D, which was quite a unique experience. The chairs moved to relay the action on the screen and little bits of water would squirt out. They even would change the air conditioning to reflect the weather in the film! We also took in some film history by checking out of movies' most famous sites, including Paramount's iconic gate entrances (their studio tours are fun, though our guide kept trying to show us things on her iPad screen and that was.... less than successful),  and Griffith's Observatory from Rebel Without a Cause. Though that film trying to make us believe this site is ever not-bustling and busy seems to push the limits of believability. We arrived for a stunning sunset and a packed crowd!

For a more unique LA experience, we even attended the LA Comicon, called Wondercon. We're a bit of geeks at heart, and we grew up on comics, so it was fun. But even if you didn't know a thing about comics, I think it would still be enjoyable. So many people dressed up in the most amazing costumes! You can see I caught two Flashes and a Black Canary on camera. We saw Batman's (dead) parents, several gorgeous Ursalas, any caped crusader you could think of, all sorts of Disney Princesses and Star Wars characters galore. My very favorite though, was someone who dressed as Thumblina and her Fairy Prince! I was impressed by the stamina some of these people must have to be photographed and pointed at for hours on end, but people pointing to you and squeeing seems inevitable at Wondercon. It even happened to me as someone recognized the Pin Up Girl skirt I was wearing!

We tried to balance the crazy and silly with more cultured too.  Last time we were in L.A. we'd visited the Getty Center, but did you know there are actually two separate Getty museums in the LA area?Both free too! For this trip, we headed out to the coast to see the Getty Villa, and, like the Getty Center, this museum truly works to control your experience. You drive up steep hills to find a place of serenity hidden  behind lush trees. It felt like we'd stepped out of time and back to Roman times. In fact, the villa is an exact replica of one of the homes buried in Mt.Vesuvius ashes.  With its view of the sea and carefully planned garden's it truly feels like you are looking of the Italian coast rather than the southern Californian one.  Equally impressive was the collection, which is made up entirely of art from the antiquities. I'm not normally one for Greek or Roman statuary, but this collection! So many items were ones you'd see pictures of in history books, except these ideas are real! They were truly stunning.

Remember how I was saying I was secretly eight at heart? Well, we also spent a day at the Happiest Place on Earth, as we did before. The castle was decked out for the park's diamond jubilee, and  Star Wars was everywhere. This time, we arrived later in order to stay for fireworks. Sadly wind kept that from happening but we definitely liked that schedule much more than getting there early. We also spent more time at some of Disney's classic rides.  I fell in love with the charm of "Its a Small World" this time around. I'll have to add the cool slow motion video of it at some point!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cinema Style: La Voyage Dans La Lune

La Voyage dans la Lune is certainly the oldest film I'd ever reviewed on NFD, and when one thinks fashion, one doesn't immediately seize upon the image of flickering, grainy silent films. But La Voyage dans la Lune is pure style- a dreamworld that invites you to enter. From the stylized face of the Man on the Moon to to the women-as-shooting stars to the pomp of a celebratory parade, it lends an out-of-this-world air to Art Nouveau. 

Women in sailor suits help load the rocket before its inaugural voyage. Surprisingly, their fashion choices would not look out of place today, with stripes and leg-baring shorts, despite the fact the film is over a hundred years old! The fact remains though, this outfit is lifted almost exactly from the film. It jus goes to show that timeless pieces are worth investing in! 

Clutch, blazer, shirt (similar) , pants, shoes, headpiece (similar)
If you don't want such a literal transplantation of silver screen to real life, why not take the glamour of Art Nouveau and the whimsy of inter-space travel to a more modern look? Here, both the shoes and this top's glittering gold is reminiscent of the gold the women-as-stars wore in the film. Adding a white blazer over the top gives a sense of edginess while at the same time making the look feel more pulled together.  Sleek, skinny pants add to the modern vibe. A metal headpiece harkens back to the turn of the last century while simultaneously feeling very modern, and the playful clutch gives a tongue-in-cheek nod to La Voyage dans la Lune! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Stationery Wishlist: Ciao, Italia!


1. Bon Voyage Notebook | 2. Swimming Birthday Card | 3. Botticelli's Venus Phone Case | 4. Pack This! Notepad | 5. Vintage Italian Poster Postcards | 6. Leaning Tower of Pisa Stamp | Passport mini-notebooks

March can feel very humbug and make me a bit stir crazy as the bad weather lingers on. So, I've been dreaming of travel and Italy is always a dream to go to. Gelato, pasta and great culture and people, what's not to love? 

1. Bon Voyage Notebook A perfect notebook to record all of your travel memories in as you drive under that Tuscan Sun. 

 2. Swimming Birthday Card  Oh, for the Italian Rivera!  If you get there first, save me a one of those lounging chairs. If neither of us make it to those golden coast though, we'll still get along swimmingly with this birthday card. 

 3. Botticelli's Venus Phone Case  Even if Italy isn't in the plans this year, one of Botticelli's (and Florence's) most famous works of art could still grace your phone. Now that's Amore! 

 4. Pack This! Notepad - How handy is this? I'm always bound to forget something without a list. What about you? Needing a list too? 

5. Vintage Italian Poster Postcards - All these postcards are based on vintage Italian posters and can be purchased for a song at the same site. All evoke the feelings I get every time I'm in bella Italia. 

 6. Leaning Tower of Pisa Stamp When I spent a summer teaching English in Italy, my host remarked to me that it was not just the leaning that made this landmark so special. She pointed out that it stands alone among a green space when much of Italian architecture is wall to wall with another building. And, while the Leaning Tower has made her stamp on history, you can can now make a stamp of it! 

 Passport mini-notebooks- I use these small, thin notepads All. The. Time. when traveling. Need to jot down directions, or want to write down the name of something you'd like to learn more about later? Write it on these unobtrusive pads.  If you are somewhere that doesn't speak your language, why not use these to write down the names of places you need to go or useful phrases. That way you can simply point to the words to tell that taxi driver where you need to go! 

P.S. Dreaming of Paris or other travels? Check out this stationery wishlist or these travel posts. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Summer List

Warm weather has (sort of) arrived! And with it.... several holes in my closet! Here's what I realized I was sorely missing for this season. What about you? 

1) Shirts- Where did all my short sleeved or sleeveless tops go? It is a mystery, but summer heat means I'll need something a bit lighter to keep cool. Luckily, I think polka dots and stripes are basics that still keep things interesting. 

2) Shorts- I live, live, live in shorts come summer time. My denim ones need replaced,  but a fun printed pair, like those shown above, maybe a fun way to mix things up too. I've found basics are good but something with a bit of pizzazz is often just as useful. 

3) Summer Dresses- Skirts have become my One True Love (Besides The Boy, that is!), but there is something infinitely easy about a good dress. To be fair, the seersucker number is actually a top and skirt, not a dress, but still. 

4) Shoes- summertime and shoes and I have an issue. I need two pairs that do two specific things. I need a pair of tennis shoes to kick it around in- ones that are actually comfortable! (I'm looking at you, converse shoes, you betrayer of feet, you!) Plus, I need some sandals that can slip on and off with ease. Since I'm diabetic, the doctors really want the feet protected. It is surprisingly hard to find summer shoes with closed toes, but this pair is adorable, right? 

Monday, May 2, 2016

In May, Why Don't You....

Admit the grey is coming in and dye your hair

Attend a MakerFaire

Pick out graduation gifts (maybe this book?)

Schedule your yearly (or quarterly, if you have a chronic disease) check up

Watch Star Wars in honor of May 4th!

Throw a Sundae Party and offer all the fixings

Uncover a treasure at a garage sale

Make photo book for your mother for Mothers' Day

Volunteer to read to residents in assisted living

Wade in a creek

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Month in Review: April 2016

Long time no... write, I guess.  Some of you may have guessed I'd quit blogging and, well, some of you would have been right. That was the intention anyway. I knew when I got my job last year (my job that I love, but which is very time intensive) that NFD's days were likely numbered and certainly that was reflected in the lessening of posts, so, when I didn't get anything done for a few weeks it seemed like a good time to ghost out, but....Ironically, I quit my hobby for my job but when, at my job, we were recently asked to filled out a questionnaire  that asked what our hobbies were and I couldn't put any of this down anymore and that... didn't seem right.

I missed it.  I missed the documentation and reflection.  I missed the routine and sharing- being part of the conversation too.  So, a here's another post and finding a voice again. It'll be a bit to find a balance that works. Goodness knows it hasn't been found in the last few months. But in the meantime- Hello. How have you all been?

.... Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming, complete with this month's links list.

Links To Spring Into

Welcome to Jackson Hole.... China? 

Edible Spoons could reduce plastic in landfills

Also- pencils that become plants

I taught English in The Czech Republic... which is now Czechia. Not sure what to think about that.

A library for color (and there's a color made from mummies...just sayin'.)

A new Caravaggio has been discovered?! One expert thinks so!

Harriet Tubman to go on the twenty dollar bill

Would you wear pants to your wedding?

Teaching code to prisoners could be an innovative way to rehabilitate.

Female soccer players make less money than male players but produce more revenue

Breaking down film dialogue by gender

And if you don't like dialogue, you can watch silent movies here

Friday, April 8, 2016

Stationery Wishlist: Spring Fever

1. Floral Pencil Case | 2. Typewriter Post-Its | 3. Emma Block Print Cards | 4. You're a Peach Card | 5. Notepad | 6. Kate Spade Pens | 7. Mint Green File Holder

1. Floral Pencil Case - April showers bring May flowers, so they say. Put these in your purse, and go out to sketch some real flowers, this April!

2. Typewriter Post-Its - Typewriters always make me things of Meg Ryan and Tom Hannks in You've Got Mail. There is just something inherently springtime about that story!

3. Emma Block Print Cards - Don't these ladies look the epitome of airy springtime, strolling about with Paris with flowers and white dresses.

4. You're a Peach Card - Yum, right?

5. Notepad - This may be as close to a green thumb as I get. A fun way to bring the outdoors indoor.

6. Kate Spade Pens- A bit of riotous color at your desk can make it easier to stay indoors and at your work when the weather might beckon you instead.

 7. Mint Green File Holder- You can file it away:  finding pretty things to keep your work in can be hard, but this colorful holder might change that.

Friday, April 1, 2016

In April, Why Don't You....

Harvard Observatory
Photo courtesy of the George Eastman House collection

Go to Disneyland

Watch a classic film

Get those too-tight shoes stretched

Throw out 50 things

Schedule your yearly check-up for a physician

Dye easter eggs

Visit an observatory

Give your bed a facelift with a new duvet cover

Wear a fruit print

Have a meal on your best china- for no reason at all!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What I Packed: For Los Angeles

We're on Spring Break this week- so a real holiday is happening in addition to the blogging one I'd unintentionally been on! So while Wyoming is in the midst of their traditional Easter Snowstorms, we're heading to sunny California to visit my sister! We got all sorts of exciting things planned (including seeing a lot of movies and old movie palaces!) and catching up to do.

Packing is something I hate, but planning out possible outfits in advance really tends to help me. This vacation capsule wardrobe is admittedly leaning very heavily on the neutrals, but its versatility can't be beat!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Stationery Wishlist: Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice1.Alice in Wonderland Calendar |  2. Alice Washi Tape | 3. Tattoo | 4. Alice Pen | 5. Wonderland Travel Poster | 6. Alice Monthly Big Diary | 7. White Rabbit Pencil Holder

1.Alice in Wonderland Calendar - In honor of the book's 150th anniversary, Rifle Paper Co. is releasing this sumptuous wall calendar. Sure, it is a few months into the year, but the full, colorful, lush artwork makes it worth the buy any time of the year!

2. Alice Washi Tape - Is there a more adorable take on this classic? No? I thought not!

3. Tattoo - "The time has come," the Walrus said. This temporary tattoo is one of the most tongue in cheek nods to the book I've ever come across. So anytime you want to talk of shoes and ships and sailing wax, of cabbages and kings... well, put this on and drop me a line!

4. Alice Pen - I think it really says something about how iconic a level has been reached when blond hair and a blue dress instantly shouts "Alice!" to any who see it, even in such a simplified form as this pen!

5. Wonderland Travel Poster - Don't you wish we really could go there?

6. Alice Monthly Big Diary- This diary features original illustrations from a Korean artist that are simply enchanting, but what really got me was the size. When they say big, they mean BIG. This is coffee table book's size- perfect for scheduling things out and really getting those details in!

7. White Rabbit Pencil Holder- This seems a perfect combination of whimsy and dignity, just as the White Rabbit's character really is.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

In March, Why Don't You....

Photo is mine, taken in the Hall of Maps at the Vatican

Get your taxes done

Learn to polish leather shoes

Visit a local museum

Write someone a hand-written note

Update all those home videos into a useable format

Hang up a map as wall art

Read a biography of a woman

Book a massage

Get matching hangers for your closet

Monday, February 29, 2016

Remix: Pencil Skirts

Who said basics had to be boring? I've had this red pencil skirt for about three years now and its like a chalemon whenever it pops up on the blog. I used to be wary of the restriction of movement, but ... blogging made me change my tune and I  grew to love the pencil skirt silhouette so! I even tried it in a few other hues too. Do you have sartorial shape you were unsure of, but later learned to to stop worrying and love the skirt (or am I the only one channelling Dr. Strangelove here?)

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