Category Archives: Polyvore.com

Secondhand Fashion: First Snow Friday Outfit

Ring in the New Year

Ring in the New Year

Dear Reader:

My Dear Sis, who lives far away in Ohio, is an inspiration. She has been shopping Goodwill, consignment, yard sale, and local for many, many years and always (and I mean always!) manages to look smart, sophisticated, and fashionable on a budget. Hearing about my Polyvore.com/Locally Sourced Fashion recreation idea (obsession?) Dear Sis brought home a Christmas gift I absolutely went gaga over–a recreated outfit!

Using my First Snow Friday Polyvore.com outfit as a guide. . .

Polyvore.com First Snow Friday

Polyvore.com First Snow Friday

. . . she went to her local secondhand haunts and found almost every element.

january 8 2013 003

Gray pleated skirt, oxblood-colored turtleneck shirt, and a belted cardigan.

And the ring shown above.

january 8 2013 007

In the meantime, I snagged the perfect pair of satin sandals at the Biddeford Goodwill for a cool $5.

january 16 2013 005

Just Added: I changed up the outfit with a different skirt from my sister, also from Goodwill, and paired it with suede boots from Marden’s, our Maine-owned discount store and a handcrafted bag of felted wool by friend Sandi Waugh. I wore this outfit to a reporting assignment yesterday, so it is definitely a workable look.

I (Heart) Snow Days

I (heart) Snow Days

Dear Reader:

We had a little snow covering the ground this morning, and it felt like the kind of day to sit beside the fire with a good book. I didn’t quite manage such a relaxing day, but I CAN recommend a good book to read this winter. Maine writer, Bill Roorbach’s LIFE AMONG GIANTS. (Buy it at your locally-owned bookstore!)

This is a big book, a giant book. Big themes of love and family and longing…so much longing. Big characters. Tall, yes, but also big in scope and heart and personality. Big houses with lots of doors and corridors and secret rooms hidden away. David “Lizard” Hochmeyer, a tall and talented high school football player becomes enchanted with the famous dancer, Sylphide, living next door in a big house, a mansion. Lizard’s parents are murdered because of his dad’s dealings with a crooked boss possibly (likely) involved with the mob, but we don’t know if, how, or why Sylphide is somehow involved. Lizard ends up playing pro football for the Miami Dolphins and later becomes a restauranteur. There is so much here. It is the kind of book to read slowly, to savor.

This would be my ideal day: cozy flannel pajamas, a fur throw, coffee, a great book, soothing music, snow falling, roaring fire, and a scented candle. What about you?

Wake Up & Smell the Coffee

Wake Up & smell the Coffee

Dear Reader:

My coffee addiction is well-documented. I write about it on my blog, on social media, in letters, in my journals, and in my fiction. It is an inherited addiction, as my father always had a cup at hand while grading papers at the dining room table all the years I was growing up. Early mornings, usually around four, I’d wake to hear a spoon clinking—glink, glink, glink, glink, glink–against his coffee mug as he stirred in sugar and milk.

Once in awhile I would steal a sip, and found the taste too bitter. Not until college when I weaned myself from hot chocolate in the morning and forced myself to down a cup of java in the cafeteria every day, did I finally acquire a taste for the stuff–probably right around the time my caffeine addiction took hold.

Ah, coffee. The wake-me-up aroma. The sweet accompaniment to outings with friends. The comforting steam rising as I wrap my chilly hand around the warmth of the mug on a cold, not-quite-winter day. Coffee goes with book reading, lake gazing, woods walking, music listening, breakfast eating, and friend chatting.

I’ve given it up two or three times, enduring the withdrawal headaches, briefly enjoying mornings when I could spring out of bed without a jolt of caffeine, but in the long run I always thought, “But what’s the point of this?” As addictions go, it isn’t so unhealthy. In fact, some research shows it can actually prolong your life! (See Coffee Addicts Rejoice! It’s Good for You)

Well, duh! Of course it prolongs your life–you don’t want to miss that cup every morning, so you just keep going!

When it comes to buying coffee, going local is easy and not easy, depending on how you look at it. Obviously there are no local GROWERS of coffee here in Maine. Brrrr, those beans would never survive out in the pine forests far from their native tropics. However, there are local ROASTERS here in our area:
New Hampshire Coffee Roasters in Dover http://www.nhcoffee.com/about.html
Port City Coffee Roasters in Portsmouth http://www.portcitycoffee.com/
Carpe Diem Coffee in North Berwick http://www.carpediemcoffee.com/
Coffee by Design in Portland. http://www.coffeebydesign.com/
There is also Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Vermont–still pretty close in the New England region, though it is a larger corporation. http://www.greenmountaincoffee.com/

I don’t hold it against them, much, because hey, L.L.Bean is also pretty darn big! I’d rather buy from Bean’s than from Walmart. Just as I’d rather buy from Green Mountain than from Folgers. My local grocery store carries Green Mountain, so that’s what I buy, but I’ve also bought Carpe Diem from the coffee shop in nearby S. Waterboro. Maybe I should take a road trip to North Berwick.

While I’m down in that area, I could check out Maine writer,Sarah Orne Jewett’s hometown, South Berwick. Forget coffee, I smell a roadtrip!

The Plot Thickens Venison Stew

Farm Kitchen

Dear Reader:

I’m writing a novella. At first it was going to be a short story about a young woman who takes a farm internship in order to escape the mess that is her work- and love-life. Now it is ostensibly a novella about a young woman who takes a farm internship to escape said mess. And she meets a hot farmboy and falls inconveniently in love, of course, because this is a romantic comedy.

The problem is this: instead of the plot thickening nicely, like a stew, it is thinning into broth because I lack that crucial ingredient: conflict.

Well, there is some conflict, I guess. That would be “the mess that is her work- and love-life.” But that seems like backstory to me. Plotting it out in a Hero’s Journey kind of way, the first chapter includes the “Call to Adventure.” Great. But is it compelling? What, exactly, is my heroine’s quest? She’s not looking for love, though she finds it. She’s looking to escape and to regroup her resources, inner and outer.

And this brings me to theme. What is the lesson here? You can’t solve your problems by running from them? Or the opposite: sometimes you have to give up everything and start over from scratch?

I suppose a really smart writer would figure this out before typing that first “once upon a time” sentence. So what? I didn’t. Now I have to put my story on a back burner to stay warm while I go looking for thickeners, and that’s okay. It’s good weather for stew.

Since it is deer hunting season, how about venison stew? Even if you don’t don blaze orange and head out into the woods with your trusty rifle, you can buy venison from a deer farmer like Applegate Deer Farm in Newfield, Maine. You can also substitute beef. Or make it vegetarian with nice, chunky, dark mushrooms instead of meat and vegetable bouillon instead of the beef cubes. Enjoy!

Homegrown Carrots and Peppers

Here is a recipe for The Plot Thickens Venison Stew

2 lbs venison cubes
1 tsp. butter or lard
1 quart hot water
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced turnips
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced parsnips (or more…I like parsnips!)
1 cup diced celery
1 diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tbs. salt
dash pepper
2 beef bouillon cubes
bay leaf

Seasoned flour: 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp paprika

Roll meat in seasoned flour. Brown in hot fat in large pot. Cover with hot water. Simmer 2 hours on stove. Add remaining ingredients. Cook until veggies are tender, about 30 minutes.

Thicken by whisking together in a bowl 4 tbs. flour and 2 cups hot liquid from stew until no lumps (caution, very hot liquid!). Add back to stew pot. Delicious, thick, hearty soup. That was easy. Now, about that novella…

Leaf

One leaf
drifts in
the open door,
skitters on
an autumnal wind–
cold draft
across the floor–
and she, breezing
through that space,
a Goddess
of Leaving
in a bright red dress.

Leaf

First Snow Friday

Another “localista” fashion look challenge. I’m racking up too many of these to keep up. Guess I’ll be looking at consignment and Goodwill for a gray knit skirt and winter sweater!

First Snow Friday

Election Day–Does It Really Matter Who Wins?

U.S.A. Election Day

Ralph Lauren vneck sweater / J.Crew twill jacket / Levi’s Made & Crafted mid rise jeans / Converse shoes, $14 / Tommy Hilfiger bag / Tommy Hilfiger Sid Cable Knit Multicolor Scarf, $98 / Tommy Hilfiger perfume, $52

I am voting today–and I’m going to check a box for President–but I’m really only going because of the state and local races and questions, where I (perhaps naively) believe my vote actually makes a difference in my life and my community. When it comes to the Presidential race, eh, shrug, not so much.

Either Obama is going to win and we’ll continue with this gridlock as the Republicans block everything for the sake of politics…or Romney is going to win and we’ll start hearing, “I inherited this mess…so don’t blame me” as the Dems begin to block everything for the sake of politics. And they’ll all start talking about 2016.

Meanwhile the Federal Reserve and corporate cronies will go ahead and do their own thing, laughing (at us) all the way to the bank.

Read what economists think about the affect of the election on the economy on CNN.com

Skunk Funk

Dear Reader:

I let the dog out.

That was my huge mistake. I came back from a library viewing of Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and Delilah barked and barked at the door.

“Don’t let her out mom; I saw a fox run down the road,” the Teen said. Did I listen? No. I let the dog out, and off she charged, yapping her snout off. After about ten minutes, I stepped outside to call her in, and it hit me…eau de skunk! Not only that, the dog’s barks sounded muffled. Where was she? Not UNDER the mudroom…

Yup, under the mudroom in a little crawl space. With a skunk. For over an hour.

The stench permeated the mudroom and began seeping into the kitchen. I finally got the dog inside, in the bathtub, and worked in a lather of peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap and then relegated the little stinker to the cellar for the night. Fans, open windows, vinegar in dishes to absorb the odor, Scentsy wax warmers, and incense were my weapons of choice.

The next day, I made a run to the market for Febreeze, commercial room spray, and scented dryer sheets, escalating the war on pee-ew to chemical warfare. Hey, I tried the sustainable/organic remedies first, but desperate times, you know?

If the Teen were homeschooled, I might have been content with those dishes of vinegar placed strategically around the rooms. Absorbing the odor? Masking the odor? Both? It did work quite well, but this was full-on war. If this had simply been a case of dog getting sprayed and running through the house, it would have sufficed, but the mudroom is attached to the house. I have no way of getting under there to wash the skunk oil away. So there it sits, emitting stench like a giant jar of critter potpourri.

I didn’t want the Teen to go to school and be known for the next three years as Skunk Girl. When in dire straits, we resort to all the artillery we can get our hands on, right? And the best weapon was surprising. The bottle of Chanel No. 5 Hubby bought me for Christmas last year.

I spritzed it on before I went to the store, and when I inquired whether he smelled any hint of skunk, the checkout boy looked satisfyingly surprised and said, “Actually, you smell really good.”

Compliment aside, this experience traumatized me. I have some anger-at-skunk issues to work out. Fashion therapy below…

Redneck Advertising Campaign

Easy Weekend Cable

Dear Reader:
Quick post to share my localista find of the week, a Jordache faux fur coat from Goodwill for $20 from the Biddeford, Maine Goodwill store.

Faux Sure I Have Style

And then, of course, I had to go to Polyvore.com to see if I could create a similar look. Maybe I can knit a cable hat in this gorgeous wine color?

Easy Weekend Cable

Feathers & Gold

Dear Reader:

I’ve been playing on Polyvore.com again. Sometimes Polyvore automatically shares my creative “sets” with my blog. I rather like this outfit I created today. The shorts are fun. The coat is tres fun. I love the plum tights. My challenge? To recreate these designer outfits from resale, Goodwill, and consignment shop finds. Remember the librarian set?

My version HERE.

Polyvore creation HERE.

Think I can pull this one off? We’ll just have to wait and see! Any other Polyvore users out there? Drop me a line and I’ll check out your creations . . . Outside the Box.

Feathers & Gold

Prabal gurung
thecorner.com

Meadham Kirchhoff faux fur coat
$6,935 – net-a-porter.com

Ribbed tight
anthropologie.com

High waisted shorts
$37 – owntherunway.com

Wedge boots
owntherunway.com

Alexon clutch purse
$73 – johnlewis.com

Amrita singh
amritasingh.com

Isharya turquoise jewelry
$52 – pret-a-beaute.com