December 22, 2010

Christmas Wishlist

Christmas is in T minus three days, and although I should be worrying about what the hell to gift the men in my family, I still can't seem to get these pretty little things out of my crowded mind. Most carry a hefty price tag, but I'll be scouring vintage and thrift stores for suitable stand-ins that won't render me chicly homeless. At the top of my list is a chunky sweater to pair with maxi skirts, clunky harness boots for comfortably stomping around in, and an ornate bed jacket to add interest to otherwise simple outfits.

5. T by Alexander Wang Ponte Criss Cross Bra
6. TopShop Knitted Lace Dress
7. Sensi Studio Classic Panama Hat 
8. TopShop Gathered Skirt by TV**  
9. Urban Outfitters Wraparound Watch

December 21, 2010

"Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect"

I would love nothing more than to convert an extra bedroom (in my theoretical house) into a fully furnished showroom-like dream closet. Not only would this room house clothing and accessories for reality, but it would also include an extensive costume collection complete with ridiculous wigs, hats, and masks to darn myself and friends with for every event imaginable. 

Hey, a girl can dream right? Sigh...

But until then here are a few dressing rooms that inspire and cradle this utterly over-indulgent desire:

Mariah Carey's Closet
 If you really wanted to drive me crazy all you'd have to do is lock me in a dark, empty room and blare the hyena-screeching cataclysm that is Mariah Carey's music over and over again. While her songs give me a tick, her closet, on the other hand, is a retail wonderland fantasy of mine. The space looks like a beautifully edited boutique and it also spans a whopping 1,200 sqft-that's bigger than my whole house! 

Paris Hilton's Closet
 We all know the more scandal-prone Hilton sister, Paris, is a huge fan of all things sparkly, so it's no surprise that her closet reflects this dazzling infatuation. The mirrored surfaces, crystal chandelier, bouquet of roses, and pink flooring are all greatly suitable for the likes of a princess. Although, I know if I had that mirrored dresser I'd constantly fret over keeping the thing fingerprint-less! 

Nanette Lepore's Closet
Of all the closets I've been drooling over nothing quite compares to designer, Nanette Lepore's dressing haven. The room bears an exquisite balance between old world charm and lighthearted modernity by mixing classic pieces, like the painting, chandelier, and antique furniture designs with unexpected colors and patterns...perfection. Just think of all the inspiration this room could offer for selecting your every outfit! 

(photo sources: Jeune Marie, Elle Decor, Oh So Chic Boutique, Luscious)

December 20, 2010

Light As Air

Ahh Natalie...don't you just love her? She possesses brains, beauty, poise, and I love how she avoids the horrid Hollywood tabloid spotlight. Ms. Portman graces the January cover of Vogue, and the whimsical pictures are taken by none other than Peter Lindbergh. I greatly recommend reading the article-she not only talks about her latest film, but also a bit about college life at Harvard and her film production company. In terms of ballets, Black Swan will definitely replace the usual Nutcracker outing for me this year and I can't wait to see it! Plus, Rodarte designed the tutus for the movie!

December 17, 2010

It's Been An Elliott Smith Kind Of Week

A very uneventful week indeed, as I couldn't do much else but lay in bed, listen to music, and haphazardly take pictures around my house. The list for this week is pretty somber and slow, which describes the last couple of days perfectly. Now I'm looking forward to an exciting weekend which includes a trip to San Antonio, a cheesy Christmas sweater party, old friends, family, and some more intensive Christmas shopping.

Sad songs will forever be my favorite because they are just so honest. After listening to this track over and over and over again I've realized that the lyrics describe a girl who is afraid to commit, while her boyfriend relentlessly tries to change her mind. "Anyone's Ghost" comes from the National's fifth studio album, High Violet. If you haven't listened to it's entirety yet,then I highly recommend you do so!

I know, I KNOW. I am pretty obsessed with the Knife, so it's no wonder why Fever Ray, Karin Dreijer Andersson's solo act (one half of the Knife), is on this list. I guess I just can't get over how odd and pleasing her sound is all at the same time.

Beach House are undoubtedly one of my new favorite bands. Victoria Legrand's vocals sound just like warm honey and I adore how this particular track drones and creeps on for entirely too long-sometimes what I criticize about a song is the aspect that I love most. Weird, I know!

If it weren't for the wasted years that the Stone Roses annoyingly had to spend in a legal battle with recording companies, then I imagine they would have been as famous as Oasis (whom they influenced). The band sprung up in the late 80's/early 90's right in the middle of the Madchester music scene (in Manchester, England of course), which mixed alt rock, dance music, and psychedelic rock. "I Wanna Be Adored" clearly is the cry of a generation.

I really had never listened to Neko Case until a few months ago and now she's constantly on repeat. I grew up listening to country, amongst other genres, in my little border town and her music simply reminds me of those roots. Plus, I'm a huge fan of modern country music with substance that doesn't sound like it's trying to cross over into the realm of mainstream pop.  

I pretty much got from point A to point B all while listening to the Crystal Castles album last weekend, it had been a while. The album reminds me of a dear friend who has been living in California for the past year, but I recently got word that he is moving back soon! After perpetually listening to it I remembered how much I enjoy "Vanished", which strangely enough sounds unlike the other tracks on the album.

The first track from their very first album, Turn On the Bright Lights-also their best album to date. Every time I need to calm my worries I put this album on and it always does the trick, especially this soothing song. And I actually did this several times through out my dreaded cold this week. As I have a deep love for post-punk I also feel the same for pretty much all post-punk revival bands. Yeah, my musical taste is easy to figure out. 

"Little Girl" comes from the Dark Night of The Soul album, which I've already ranted about in a previous post. It is sung by Julian Casablancas and unmistakingly sounds like what we love most about the Strokes complete with all the distortion. This track is perhaps the most upbeat on the record.

I first discovered this Elliott Smith song when watching Wes Anderson's brilliant film The Royal Tenenbaums years ago. The scene in which this song reigns (as if it's its own character) is when Richie attempts suicide in the bathroom. As soon as I heard the first chord I was from thereon a self-proclaimed Elliott Smith junkie and immediately bought up all of the albums my little town could offer. 

December 15, 2010

Preposterous I Tell You!

This post is a quickie as I still feel like a heaping pile of garbage :( therefore, I have no choice but to share my most shameful discovery yet:

When I first saw this I didn't know if I wanted to laugh hysterically or punch the monitor, but none-the-less I bring you a whole new sub-genre, POP METAL....and the fall of music as we know it.  If that's not bad enough these so-called musicians and/or producers decided to hide horrendous vocals behind some strategic, asinine auto-tuning, just in case you weren't pissed off already!

PS: If you get really bored make sure to take a gander at the comments on the actual YouTube page for this video-some even go as far as to call this train wreck art...... 

PPS: And I need one of those sleeveless hoodie things stat!

December 14, 2010

Karaoking With Kenny Rogers and What-Not

I know I really need to post more, but the holidays and my health have finally caught up with me.  Saturday was spent doing some extreme Christmas shopping ALL day long with my boyfriend, through which I did find a new amazing vintage store (will post about the store and my new goodies later).  On Sunday I goofed around at an office party and then somehow ended up singing my lil' heart out at the Highball in the freaking Kenny Rogers themed karaoke room (of all the rooms), complete with an epic velvet painting of the bearded country dude.  In my karaoke experience, two songs that are top notch for obnoxiously crooning along to are, in fact, Heart's "Magic Man" and Linda Ronstadt's "Blue Bayou"-no matter what I will always sing these two gems.  And of course Sunday night I sang with a little too much amateur heart as I ended up exacerbating an already sore throat and worn out body, and to my dismay woke up with the full fledged sickness the next day.  To put it bluntly...I feel like shit, but on the upside I'm not at work!

This is what I wore while I was pretending to have the vocal range of Ann Wilson and this look is pretty much a uniform for me-white t-shirt, denim cut-offs, boots, loads of accessories. I found these beat-up boots at Buffalo Exchange about two summers ago for only $20. So what if they are two sizes too small for my Wiley Coyote feet? Let me reiterate-they were only $20, plus my abnormally large feet have stretched them out since their purchase-it only took a countless number of blisters! And this scarf...don't even get me started! I heroically won this Alexander McQueen beauty about 3 years ago for $40 after stalking it for months upon months online. Isn't ebay great? Nothing beats the feeling of winning something designer for a significantly lower price!

T-shirt and blazer: Forever 21
Shorts: Thrifted Levis, DIY
Scarf: Alexander McQueen
Boots: Buffalo Exchange
Belt: Express from a billion years ago

December 08, 2010

Dark Night of The Soul To Christian Dior in 2 minutes...

 Dark Night of The Soul is the haunting, collaborative brain child of Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse, and now it's mine, all mine bahahaha! A looong drool-worthy list of talented singers also grace the album and spotlight different tracks, which includes:

-James Mercer, the Shins
-Jason Lytle, Grandaddy
-Julian Casablancas, the Strokes
-Frank Black (Black Francis), Pixies
-Iggy Pop
-Wayne Coyne, the Flaming Lips
-Gruff Rhys, Super Furry Animals
-Susan Vega
-Vic Chestnutt
-Nina Presson, the Cardigans

...and last but not least 
Fucking David Lynch!

 -WAIT! He sings?

-Yes, yes he does. He writes lyrics too-sounds exactly like his films would if they could sing.

Now as soon as I read this beautiful, beautiful list I almost exploded with overwhelming music-nerd joy. 

But wait, there's more!

You think a musical collaborative gem, such as Dark Night of The Soul, would stop at pleasing your ears only? HA! They slapped me silly in the face (yet again) because in tandem with the album is, indeed, a photo book shot by king of creep, David Lynch, and is said to be "a visual narrative for the music" (thanks Wikipedia). And sadly, only 5000 golden copies were made.

Photos by David Lynch

I swear, much like this album, Wikipedia is the gift that just keeps on giving. While googling this collaboration I pulled a Wiki page up explaining that the phrase, dark night of the soul, is actually "a metaphor used to describe a phase in a person's spiritual life, marked by a sense of loneliness and desolation". Yep, that pretty much sums up the whole melancholic, isolated, grainy feel of the work, which does nothing but reel me in even more. Strangely enough, the album title and its gloomy connotations seem to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the untimely misfortunes surrounding the project:

-On Christmas day of 2009, Vic Chestnutt passed away from an overdose on muscle relaxants. In a 2009 interview, he had admitted attempting suicide a handfull of times in the past, but as he nonchalantly put it, "it didn't take".

-Lead singer of Sparklehorse, Mark Linkous also committed suicide in March of 2010. He tragically shot himself in the heart with a shot gun outside of a friend's Knoxville home.

-The legal dispute with record label EMI almost kept the album from ever being released. Details of the argument have been kept pretty hush hush on both ends. Although, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that money was the issue-big business conflicts are always cash-centric, especially where greedy, soul-draining record labels are concerned.

Wow, sorry for being such a Debbie Downer! 

Moving along now to the actual music. Here are three of my favorite tracks, bare with me as two-thirds of which are described through hypothetical substance abuse:
I really can't illustrate this in any other way than a heroine-induced love song, tragically begetting itself time and time again.

Oh Black Francis, how you light up my life! This raucous track best goes down with a bottle of Jack and a carton of cigarettes, preferably while wasting away at some dark, grungy dive bar.

The eerie title track. This is one of two songs performed by David Lynch and it's definitely reminiscent of Tom Waits' coarse, repetitive sound. The production transitions nicely from a rough, old-world victrola-like recording to a more glossy, coherent sound, as if a haze has been lifted mid song.

Speaking of David Lynch...

I barely discovered today that he directed one of the four short films celebrating the Lady Dior bag by Christian Dior. Each short stars French beauty, Marion Cotillard and the Lady Dior in four colors-black, red, blue, and grey. Lynch created the third film of the installment, entitled Lady Blue Shanghai.

You can watch the first two films of the Lady Dior saga here, called The Lady Noire Affair and Lady Rouge. The fourth and final film, Lady Grey was released today-you must check out the hour glass scene in the very beginning, 'tis amazing!    

December 07, 2010

The Knife, Leopard Print, and Mexico

These shots were snapped before I met my friend for coffee and some impromptu vintage shopping on Sunday. I honestly wasn't planning on buying for myself as I'm in the process of searching for the perfect gifts for others with the holidays just around the corner and all. While harmlessly browsing around Blue Velvet I looked to the back of the store and saw a girl trying on a faux fur leopard print coat complete with a hood (I'd been looking for the perfect one for about 2 years now). The queen deep down inside of me screeched for joy and anxiously waited for that girl to TAKE OFF MY NEW COAT! She did and rightfully put it back on its hanger, so I, of course, ungracefully made a dash for it. I ran to the mirror to try it on and gawk at my lustrous find, then something truly serendipitous happened. The very moment I pulled the fur over my shoulders The Knife's "Pass This On" blared over the speakers-in other words, it was meant to be! 

The rest of my Sunday night was spent preparing for a small party/large gathering at mi casa for my friend's Mexican-themed birthday party to take place that same night. We went on a hilarious trip to Fiesta to find all of the necessary accoutrements-a piƱata, loads of Mexican candy, Jarritos soda for mixers, Dos Equis, and chips and queso of course! For the event I ditched the pictured knit sweater as I had to wear my new purchase-not very Mexican I'll admit, but I just told people I was in the Mexican mafia. I will definitely be taking pictures of the ridiculousness that is my new fuzzy coat/robe real soon.


Dress and tights: Urban Outfitters
Over-the-knee socks: Target
Sweater and hat: Forever 21
Boots: Some random store in my hometown
Amber necklace: Gifted from my mom from Mexico

December 06, 2010

"Hot Legs"

Over the past couple of years I have really grown to covet tights as my go-to for covering up in the winter (I've always preferred dresses and skirts to pants), and as my love for them grew so did the variety of prints, colors, and fabrics of said leg-wear. Much to my awe, I stumbled across these brilliantly unusual tights today while surfing the net. Each design is screen-printed by hand and created by Les Queues de Sardines, as part of the French clothier, M+O Studio. I love how each graphic print is both humorous and interesting-you won't look boring wearing these crazy things. My favorites are the whimsical first and fourth pairs pictured above.

December 03, 2010

No More Work Please

Wow, this week has been hectic. I have had little to no time to post anything as I have been preparing my house for Christmas, attending concerts, and pretty much covering for three people at work this week-I'm gunna quit I can feel it! Not sure exactly when, but hopefully in the next month or two. Thankfully, I have my ever-present music, especially these nine tracks, to keep me going through all the craziness and lulls that life brings.   

The perfect song for daydreaming about traveling anywhere and everywhere...not just New York. I tend to nod off to fantasy land on a daily basis and often find myself in Spain-this will be a reality one day! Besides that, "I have nothing to do today but smile" is a beautiful sentiment.

This song slowly drives me crazy-going round and round and getting absolutely nowhere. BUT it's probably one of the funnest tracks to casually slip into temporary insanity to. Planningtorock hails from Berlin and not only writes her own music, but also creates her own maniacal music videos.

Pixies are KING! Kim Deal's brooding bass lines have this ability to zero in on your dark side and draw out a sort of deliberate, menacing confidence you didn't know existed. "Gouge Away" especially has that effect.

To me, Metric's music is the epitome of girl rock-in your face, brazen, and completely unapologetic all rolled up into tracks you can shamelessly dance to in front of your mirror. This track is from their 2003 album, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?

I recently discovered Baths this week and cannot stop listening to this strangely beautiful track along with it's eerily imaginative video-the perfect visual compliment.

Neutral Milk Hotel were, indeed, ahead of their time when they released In The Aeroplane Over The Sea in 1998, undoubtedly influencing musicians like Fleet Foxes and Beirut. Jeff Mangum's painful lyrics are nothing less that true poetry. Most of the songs on this album are loosely about Anne Frank and the hardships of defining and concealing her sexuality while also hiding from the Nazis. It's evident to me that he wishes he could go back and save her from everything.  

About one month ago my friend gave me a copy of their album and I've pretty much been listening to its entirety non-stop. Miike Snow (I don't even know how your are supposed to pronounce Miike??) definitely makes me think of a modern day BeeGees, but of course far less cheesy. "Silvia" is my favorite track because of all the build-up it creates. 

The swinging 60s sound of this classic track is so infectious with its persistent one-note keyboard and wailing surf rock guitar. Certainly makes me want to dance like Edie Sedgewick all weekend long.   

This particular song is part of Tomorrow, In A Year, a musical collaboration between The Knife, Planningtorock, and Mt. Sims created for Danish performance group Hotel Pro Forma's opera, which is based on Charles Darwin's On the Origins of Species. Last Halloween I had the great, GREAT pleasure of hanging out with Matt Sims (Mt. Sims) and showing him all the wonderful things about Austin while he was in town for a show. To know him is to love him-I have never met anyone more genuine, kind, and imaginative than Matt and I absolutely love his work.
Photos from Help I'm Alive, Bart Everly, Last.Fm, Ultra 8201

December 02, 2010

Puting On The Dramatics...

Winter is undoubtedly my favorite season given all the holidays, family get-togethers, food, and twinkling lights. I also absolutely love all of the layering that goes along with winter, and it FINALLY got cold here in Austin...well, this week is cold, who knows about next week since Texas winters are notoriously bipolar. I'm 90 percent sure layering pleases me so because I get to wear all of my favorite things at once in an attempt to look like a chic bag lady, a la Mary-Kate Olsen. 

For me, tis' the season to look dramatic (not act dramatic, BIG difference). Give me killer boots, leopard print everything, fur (faux of course), black leather, sequins day and night, winter white from head to toe, heavy make-up, and a whole lotta knit and I'm in fashion heaven. So, here's a bit of winter-y inspiration to remind us just how glamorous and fun this season can be:

Photos from Look Closer, Knight Cat, Fashion Indie, and Life In Travel
Now off to decorate my house for Christmas!