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.


Would You Like to See Wood?

No.  Not this guy:

Yesterday, B. and I dragged ourselves early out of bed to attend the Wood Solutions Fair, a day of lectures on all things woody.  Actually, they focused more on wood construction and design.  It’s more for architects like B. or engineers.  I am neither.  But the sign up form did offer “other” as choice of occupation.  Did it matter that, in my case, “other” meant artist/musician/teacher?  Well, if it did then I got away with it!  Bwahaha! Oh, and lunch was free and I get to go out and spend the morning with B. so those were pretty good incentives. Teehee!

Seriously now: B. is always discussing his classes with me.  We’re both teachers (at least, I was) and I can confidently contribute ideas when it comes to teaching methods.  But I also want to fully participate when he starts dropping those architectural terms.  I can read up on them, of course, but any opportunity to learn aurally and experientially, I will pounce on because I’m an auditory and tactile learner. Good thing I pounced on this one because now I know why acoustics in my college’s practice rooms and concert halls back home sucked something terrible.  (Imagine having a piano lesson while the trumpet blares in the room beside yours.  Ayayay!).

Then last night, after basking in the afterglow of thrift shopping, I did a Homer ‘Doh!’ and suddenly regretted not buying the other colors of yarn.  I thought I was being thrifty but it might be some time before I chance upon a $1.50-per-roll-of-yarn windfall like that.  B. agreed that I should have bought them and so after his class we went back to Big Lots to buy the other rolls…

…BUT THEY WERE ALL GONE!!!! Doh! Doh! Doh!

Yesterday’s outfit (what you can see, anyway, because I’ve piles of things underneath) was:

Black wool trench:   Oscar dela Renta, a gift from B., priceless!
Knitted dirty-grey bonnet:   Bought when I was in Korea
Black knitted turtleneck long-sleeves:  Warehouse, about $20 on sale but still a huge investment when I bought it back home
Grey knitted skirt:   H&M, thrifted back home
Black patterned tights:   a gift from my cousin Kate
Purple arglye socks:   Hue, 3 paris for $18 deal at Macys (this was before we discovered Ross and Marshall’s)
Black tall fitted boots:   thrifted back home
Lavander leather purse:   Kiyto, thrifted back home
The Purple Wrist Lei:   a Man Hands Lizzie awesome creation!!!

If you think I looked uncomfortable again it’s because I was.  B. took these pictures using his celphone camera when we dropped by his school.  It was cold and I felt anxious that people would see me and think I’m a trying-hard model who isn’t ‘all that’.  Behind my smile, I was actually muttering for B. to hurry the fork up.  If you didn’t notice anything it’s because I’ve had years of experience muttering hysterical phrases and smiling at the same time.

That’s all, folks.  See you, lovelies!

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

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!

It’s All About the Shoes

Today, it’s all about the shoes. 

I love shoes.

I shipped 5 big boxes of my things when I relocated here.  When I started getting overwhelmed with the packing, my mom offered to help me.  So I handed her shoe after shoe after shoe, and at one point she said, “I must have packed a hundred shoes!  That’s enough shoes.”  The thing is, I had to leave behind a few more because there wasn’t enough space.

Today I wore the lacy boots with the 4-inch heels.  And it’s not platform so you really feel them 4 inches.  I liked how it made me walk straighter and, yes, sexier, if only because I couldn’t pound my feet against the floor like I usually do.  After 10 minutes of walking around, though, my feet began to groan, and my calves began to stiffen.  How do those stylish women wear heels everyday without crumpling down the floor in pain?  But I remember in one of the plays I was in in college, I had to wear 3-inch heels the whole time and even had to run in them.  The play ran for a month and I got used to the heels and even enjoyed the running scenes.  Maybe I just need practice. Wearing them at home seems like a crazy/good idea.

Velvet blouse. Long skirt. Tights. Lacy boots.
Have a joyfully creative and creatively joyful day everyone!
Man Hands Lizzie

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