Outfit of the Day: Peplumed and Booted in Black

We had a very satisfying day, the highlight of which was performing at an open mic of 20 talented songwriters in Duluth, Georgia (see Eddie Owen Presents).  It was a freakishly cold day and that meant only one thing — time to awaken the sleeping jackets!

OK. . . I look like a duck. Quack.

This jacket was a thrift store find. I bought it for 3 reasons: 1) it’s well made, 2) it’s velvet but matte, and 3) it has a peplum.

I love a peplum. I was unaware that it made a comeback recently but I don’t care much for trends. In fact, I love peplumed garments because they remind me of bustles, which will probably never be resurrected.  Sure, Vivienne Westwood made a go at it and they looked smashing on the runway. But I can’t see a modern woman sporting a bustle.  Can you? How would she drive her car without flattening the thing? Just imagine her making a grand entrance to a party with deflated bunched-up fabric against her bum. Sad.

Peplums are like demure bustles. They say, “I want to make your butt look bigger, but not too much, OK? Heehee!” Why exactly this excites me, I can’t say.  It sure does amuse me.  Maybe it’s because I like a little humor in what I wear.

I confess: I’m a little knock-kneed.

A view from the top!

And here are my vintage Dr. Martens 20-eye lace boots. I got them for a steal at Ebay from a very nice seller. They are unique because they don’t have the trademark yellow stitching DMs usually have.

Haha, I say that now but, to be honest, after I bid on them, I started sweating bullets when I noticed too late the lack of yellow along the sides.  “Fake”, my brain whispered.  Maybe . . .  Then Bronne pointed out another disturbing thing: the soles are not the usual transparent DM soles with the ridges.  “FAKE!!!”, my brain screamed.  As the end of bidding neared, I stared at my laptop and willed someone to bid even just a mere 50 cents higher than me.  But, alas, I won. And the evil shoe gods laughed with glee.

Then I did a little googling. OK, a lot of it. I learned that DM does produce non-yellow-stitched boots and their soles are not always transparent. In fact, these were Made in England and they have a registered no. on their soles that can be traced and thus proves THEY ARE NOT FAKE. So take that, evil shoe gods. Who’s laughing now, you cruel clog deities!

Anyways, I love these boots. I’m very partial to combat-looking boots. Probably because they remind me of my dad’s army boots. My dad is/was the best man I know and his choices and actions have shaped my life tremendously. He was a proud military officer, but a gentle man. He used to bring us to his barracks when my brother and I were kids and we christened his men, according to their physical appearances, after characters from the comic strip, ‘Beetle Bailey’. I was mesmerized whenever they did their formations. And their marching chants to the rhythm of boots against the ground were music to my ears.

Why I included this photo, I don’t know. I hate my face sometimes. Especially tonight. I thought I looked good but this photo, snickering, proved otherwise. But I’m posting it to memorialize my hair, to show everyone WHY NOT TO CUT YOUR OWN HAIR.

Yes. I cut my own hair. Back in the Philippines, my mom usually cut my hair. When I wanted to get pampered, I would walk to the next street and have our neighbor cut it. She ran a salon from her living room. It smelled of dye and burnt hair from hair dryers. No fancy salon sinks here. Clients bend over to get shampooed from a bathroom-type sink, their crowns often greeted by the faucet jutting out — bonk!  Anyways, my hair loved Nancy-the-friendly-neighborhood-hairdresser.  It thrived after she cut it.

So, because I can’t imagine anyone else cutting my hair here, I started doing it. It’s not so bad NOW. But there was a time I didn’t have my glasses on and I cut my hair. Hahaha. That was 2 months worth of hat-wearing.

And because Bronne wanted to memorialize his outfit, I’m including it here.

Look at him. His eyes are half-closed but he still looks great (grumble!). Guess who cuts his hair? (Evil grin.)

This is Bronne’s signature look: black top and red pants. It took us a long time to find him red jeans and I think we got these at Marshall’s or Ross, two of our very favorite shops. Actually, we call them our treasure haunts.  We go through the racks until we find a treasure and for a bargain, too. I got my first pair of Dr. Martens from a Ross.  Bronne found two very nice Ben Sherman button-downs for a song (“♪♫ Twenty Dollars! Twenty Dollars! ♪♫). Often we leave empty-handed, but that just makes the treasure hunt more exciting each time!

His red-striped Addidas sneakers. I almost typed ‘rubber shoes’ which gives you a clue how ancient I am.

Who am I kidding? I practically revealed it when I mentioned the comic strip, ‘Beetle Bailey’.

Bronne has a collection of belt buckles. This, I think is one of his top three faves. He’s Superman, my husband, and his kryptonite: belt buckles and British-branded shirts!!! This superhero goes weak-kneed at the sight of a unique buckle or a Ben Sherman shirt. On sale, of course.

And lastly,

Bronne sandwiched between red pillows, having a conversation with Ladybug. He’s telling her about our open mic experience, which was pretty good. But, boy, were we tired tonight.

I wanted to be in this photo but Katie refused to take our picture. What a diva.


MHL Thursday Thrift Trip: Goodwill

Hello, lovelies!  Today is Thursday.

I know it’s not but I only realized yesterday that I’ve been walking around living a day late.  It’s called losing all sense of time from being cooped up at home all week. Haha!

So, today, in my time-warped mind, is Thursday and I’m introducing a new series called MHL Thursday Thrift Trip.  (Try saying that 4 times without pausing.)  This is where I’ll be featuring treasures I found from thrifting which will include, aside from the usual Goodwill goodies, sale items from various stores B. and I like to haunt.  Since I don’t have the fabulous Katie‘s wonderland Goodwill where dresses are sold for $2 or jewelry for 25 cents, or her fairytale Target with the mysterious 25-cent bin, my purchases would probably not be as fantastic but good finds nonetheless.

Last week, B. and I went to Goodwill and found these items:

Even though I’ve plenty of skirts, I couldn’t let go of this one because it has two things I absolutely adore: plaid and purple.  B. calls it eggplant skirt but he liked it as well.  It falls above the knee and is an A-line cut.  It would really look great with tights or, I can imagine, without.  Price: $4.59.

I own several jackets but all my black ones are too light for this cold weather.  So I’ve been shopping around for a black jacket I could wear with anything — skirts, pants, dresses.  We were about to buy one at Sears but I said, let’s have a look-see at ol’ Goodwill first.  I’m happy I suggested it because there I found this.  This black 100% cotton from Old Navy is brand new and better than the one we’ve been mulling over at Sears.  It was covered with lint and I wondered if the owner gave this one away because her shitzu slept on top of it.   I’m glad she’s never heard of a lint remover or else I never would have owned this.  Price: $5.59.

Alas, woe is me!  I love belts but I have no waistline.  Still I’m compelled to buy belts, especially when they’re priced this low.  This little number is by Fossil and it’s a little raggedy where the holes are.  I told B. I can use the metal hardware as material for a project but really, I just wanted to wear it.  Price: $2.59.

Awww… look at that.  It’s a fish belt and when I saw it I felt like I found the end of the rainbow.  It’s made of fabric and tassels and it could look really enhance an all black outfit.  An artist from Atlanta called Susan Maddox designed it.  Price: $2.59.

Then there’s this Grecian column belt I saw as we were walking towards the cashier line.  B. has an interesting collection of belt buckles and I thought this would be a perfect addition.  He’s an architect and walking around with a Grecian pillar on his person would be very apt.  The belt itself has to be replaced because it’s fraying at the sides but that’s easy to do.  Price: $2.59.

Lest you’re getting sick of belts, here’s a straw hat.

This was adorned with the most artificial looking yellow flowers I’ve ever seen on a hat.  Fortunately, whoever attacked it with the hideous flowers scrimped much on the glue so they didn’t leave a mark after I removed them. I’ve yet to experience Spring but I figured I’ll be needing a straw hat either soon or in Summer.  Price: $2.60.

So, all in all we spent…

… on 6 items.  Not bad, eh?

Of late, I haven’t been taking any outfit photos.  Although the call of the college sweater and jogging pants ensemble is strong, I do dress up.  I just haven’t taken any photos because I really do want to finish organizing my workstation before anything else.  Also, Mildred has been pestering me. Teehee!

That all, lovelies!  Have a fabulous weekend! 😀

Man Hands Melancholy and a Quickie Alteration

Today I woke up feeling melancholy. Maybe it’s the weather; the cold, especially.  I’ve never been this cold this long.  I feel like a package of ham living inside the fridge.  My body is so forking confused.  Why the hoot is it so cold yet blindingly sunny outside?  What the heck is that?  Where I came from, if it’s forking sunny then you can be darned sure it’s going to be hot.  You know what to wear and have your shades and bottled water at the ready.  Here, you bring your shades, and your coat, AND your hat, AND your gloves , AND your scarf — but you might not need them.  So bring a big bag.  Con-forking-fusing, I tell you.  Growl.

Ew. Reading what I just wrote, I realized I sounded a bit like that Palin woman with all her “hoot” and “heck” and whatever.  But, when it comes to writing, I can’t bring myself to be hardcore.  I’m out of practice.  I am still too much the high school music teacher of a traditional Catholic school.  At least I didn’t say “hopey-changey”.  I would have barfed into my laptop.  You hear that?  BARFED.


In an attempt to feel better, I thought I’d wear the frilly blouse I thrifted back home and walk around the house doing that booby shake thing Latin dancers do.  Surely that would lift my spirits as well as my bust line.  I’m not really into the frilly and the frou frou BUT I liked this one because it’s black and looked elegant despite the ruffles.

The frilly blouse also had frills at the end of its sleeves.  But, with the help of my trusty scissors, I took them off!  Err… in my excitement, I forgot to take a ‘before’ photo of the whole blouse.  But you get the picture.

I was careful not to cut into the seams, of course, to prevent fraying.  I’ll use the frill fabric for a future project.  I think the blouse now looks a hundred times better.

Black frilly long-sleeves:  thrifted back home
Brown asymmetrical wool skirt with lace edging:  thrifted back home
Brown tights: Hue, Macy’s, 3 for $18 rip off (joke)
Brown metal neck piece embedded with real flowers:  I got this from a bazaar back home.  It’s quite heavy!
Brown headband that stays in place whatever you do:  Goody, 2 for $1 at Big Lots

I really love these!  They’re lovely-deadly, but oh-so soft and comfy.

Brown pointy leather boots with stitching design:   Mango, thrifted back home for less than $5!!!

I smiled in my photos and I felt better for a while.  Then I went back to my cold workstation and stared at my mess for a few hours, feeling wholly frozen.  Boo-hoo.

MHL Thrifting Trip: Goodwill and Big Lots

Yesterday, I did something I’m quite proud of.  I went out all by myself.

You see, I could never leave the house when B.’s not here to drive me around.  It’s embarrassing to admit but I never learned to drive.  I’m terrified of it, and it was one of the fears I decided to get over while I’m here.  But having gone through a car accident a few weeks ago which totaled our beloved Scion XB, Snowy (he was like our pet), only made me more afraid.  Still, I promised B. I’d get driving lessons come spring.

Luckily, Goodwill is just a few minutes walk away from our place.  I’ve been there twice with B. but I’ve always wanted to go by myself.  Although he’s been patient and even enjoys shopping with me, when there’s nothing for him in the racks, I feel guilty about letting him wait for me .  So today, after B. left for class, I decided to go there after I finished a few chores.  It was like a reward.

Before I left, a little green doggy wanted to come along.  He said he’d hide in my bag so I wouldn’t look ridiculous.  But I told him to stay home and guard the apartment instead.  Then I gave him a snuggle-kiss and headed off to Goodwill.

Looking around at Goodwill, I realized just how much stuff people accumulate and discard. Had I owned the clothes on the racks, I don’t think I could have given them up.  They were in good condition; definitely could still be worn, and surely could be upcycled.  I bet some of the clothes and knick knacks were once gifts people pondered over to give their loved ones.  This reminds me of the movie, “The Grinch”.  Near the end, when the grinch revealed why the people in Whoville disgusted him, he said something like, “And do you know where all these gifts end up?  It all goes to me as your garbage!”  I guess it’s better that things end up in Goodwill.  At least they have a chance to find a new home.  But what about items that never get sold?  Where do they eventually go?

I bought 2 scarves for a buck ten each.  Do you like them?

I know.  They look like boas and that’s exactly why I love them.  I’ve always had a thing for feather boas but I don’t think I have the neck or the guts for it.  These furry scarves are great substitutes.  The aqua blue one is fabulous because it’s ultra soft and you can wear it in 2 ways.  I have a purple one just like it that I thrifted at home.  The red one isn’t as soft, so I might use it as material for a future project.  We’ll see.

Last Christmas, a crafty friend told me she bought her yarn at Big Lots for a dollar each.  Although I doubted the yarn would still be there (and besides she went to a different branch), I went to Big Lots before going home.  Lo and behold, I found piles of lovely-lush yarn!  They were selling for 1.50 each but I thought they were well worth it.  I bought all these:

I’m so excited!  I think I may do some macrame soon.  Incidentally, I love that lady manning the Big Lots counter.  When she saw my basket filled with yarn, she was impressed.  “Good girl!” she said.  It made me laugh.   I was grateful for her kindness because at Goodwill, the girl manning the counter was grumpy and kind of mean when I got confused with the card-swiping.  She looked at the people behind me and rolled her eyes.  So, Big Lots lady, you really made my day; Goodwill girl, grow up!

Yesterday’s outfit was:

Knitted dirty-grey bonnet: bought in Incheon Airport, Korea (Chris if you’re reading this, I wouldn’t have bought it without your help!  So thanks!)
Knitted green long sleeves: thrifted back home
Denim grey/black A-line skirt: thrifted back home
Black V-neck blouse: thrifted back home
Green tights: thrifted back home
Black slouchy boots: thrifted back home
Yellow bracelet watch: a gift from my mom’s friend
Blue gloves/mittens:  Roeckl, thrifted back home
A happy smile: my parents

In case you don’t know yet, if I say “thrifted back home“, it means the price tag was possibly less than a dollar unless I indicate otherwise. 🙂

I was excited to finally use this shoulder bag today:

I don’t know if it’s vintage, but I do know it’s a genuine Francois Marot.  I love this bag because it’s elegant and, though it doesn’t look it, really quite spacious.  I thrifted it for (don’t hate me now) less than a dollar!  I’ve been very lucky with Francois Marot bags.  I think I thrifted about 4 shoulder bags and 2 clutches all in great condition and all for less than 2 dollars.  I think it’s greedy to own so many Francois Marots, and I really saved them from the landfills in the hopes of selling them in the future.  Maybe.

That’s all, lovelies!  Have a wonderful day!

Of Change and Compromise

Still working on the Purple Cascade neck piece.  During the process of doing it, I decided to go on a different direction.  It’s a bit more complicated but I’m hoping it will be worth all the trouble in the end. 

As my subtitle, Tactile Concoctions, imply, I feel more creatively alive if I can touch the materials I’m working on.  Although I worked the idea out in my head, and then, as B. suggested, drew it, as I started touching the fabric and the beads, my hands guided me towards another incarnation of the neck piece which involved a lot of experimenting and undoing the whole of yesterday.  When there is unintentional change of plans, I first get slightly disappointed my original idea didn’t work.  But after that initial reaction, I welcome it.  It has happened so often that I am certain everything will work out in the end.

B. worked alongside me.

We very much enjoy each other’s company even when busy with our own thing, but this is the first time he entered my “territory”, a.k.a my workstation.  I’m rabidly territorial, private, and have always worked in solitude.  My parents understood my need to be alone and let me get away with locking myself in my room undisturbed.  You could say, in that aspect, they let me have my own way for years.  Which is why, now that I’m with B., I’m torn between being with him and wanting to hide in my room. I’m slowly learning that it’s safe to let him in.

Outfit of the Day:

Burgundy v-neck  sweater: thrifted
Skirt: Morgan, thrifted
Metal necklace: store back home
Metal and stone bracelet:  from my mom
Slouchy boots:  Puzzle, thrifted
Wide low-waist belt: Diesel, thrifted
Bonnet/beret:  Roeckl, thrifted

Ok, back to work!

Have a joyfully creative and creatively joyful day everyone!
Man Hands Lizzie