Thrift Store Adventure: Fat ‘Bruce Campbell’-like Mooning Toy

I will never write a thrift store guide for Chicago.  I don’t want people to know where to go to get amazing second-hand clothing, so don’t ask…  I am too selfish, and finding lovely clothing for less than 3 dollars is one of the few joys in my life.

On my most recent trip, to a store I rarely frequent, I discovered a plastic toy that plugs to your cars back windshield:

Read the rest of this entry »


Just a coincidence, eh?

The ModCloth PR specialist who responded to my e-mail (where I told them I know they are stalking me) says the use of “Euphrosyne” is purely coincidence.

I don’t buy it.

I  am still outraged.


ModCloth is stalking me

I love ModCloth.

I’ve loved that website for years now – long before it became as popular as it is now. I loved ModCloth before you could vote on upcoming products, before the site got a face-lift and before the ModCloth blog was all fancy and an easily accessible part of the site.

I love ModCloth to such an extent that I check the site almost daily. When I go to local boutiques, I can spot the products seen on ModCloth in a heartbeat. I love the site so much I don’t even care that a mutant dog is their mascot (see “Health”).

Being the living-on-$500-a-month-if-I-am-lucky kind of gal that I am, I never actually ordered anything from ModCloth (rent and food is important, yo!).  My relationship with ModCloth revolves around me clicking the “love it” button, putting items on a wishlist titled “when I have money”, and making check-out baskets. My relationship is rather one-sided, but at least it makes me happy.

Now imagine my face upon discovering a top named after me:   >:O

Read the rest of this entry »


Leggings Behind Pocket Hate Conspiracy

Denim leggings are cool

fake denim leggings, yeah? Image by Idhren via Flickr

I came late to the 80’s revival legging fashion parade.

At first I couldn’t understand why stockings suddenly went out of style. I didn’t understand the bare skin between the ankle and the top of the foot. But then I saw that leggings can provide texture that no hose or stocking can.  Leggings are also thicker than stockings but not as thick as pants, so I slowly became receptive to their usefulness. The cuteness of tunics over leggings was not lost on me, and then one day, a friend wore fake denim leggings on a hot day and I became a fan.

My like of leggings had to do with the usefulness of the accessory, despite modern outfits for ladies these days being utterly useless when it comes to pockets. When I wear leggings I have a dilemma. If I were to wear the leggings right, I can’t wear a bottom or top that has pockets. (Or I just haven’t found the right clothing options?) When I bring this up to my other female friends, they look at me strangely, not understanding my need for pockets. Somewhere over the past couple of years, my female peers began hating pockets and I never got the memo.  Why dislike pockets?

Pockets are useful. You put things in pockets. Chapstick. Change. A hair tie. Tissues. Keys. Items easily lost in a large purse. If I wanted to run to the corner store or buy some alcohol, I don’t want to take a bag – a large accessory. I want some folds in my clothes that hold these items on me, for quick access.

With the comeback in leggings, fashion has also brought back the cross body purse,… understandably, because there are no pockets on women’s outfits. I have always loved cross body purses as a way to carry all my EQ. I believed these purses were “safer” until an earlier mugging in my neighborhood was made more complicated by the woman’s cross body bag, and she got beaten up for it. The police at the subsequent CAPS meeting explained how these types of bags make it harder for you to give your purse to the mugger, and harder for the muggers to snatch it. You can get strangled by your bag, and if the mugger gets frustrated, he can punch and kick you  while you are entangled in the straps. An unpleasant thought.

I hate carrying a purse though, and I know I am not alone in this. Sure, clothes without back pockets make my ass look better, but I already have my mate so am no longer advertising myself to the male population by wearing skin-tight pants.

Is there a way to make clothes for women that include pockets without appearing bulky?  Instead of rehashing old styles from the past 100 years, can we make something new and creative? Some kind of functional clothing, with pockets?


Stylish Solutions for Cold Hands in the Windy City

Feather & Tartan Ribbon Tied Around Tribu Leat...

Image by Emilie Smith via Flickr

Everyone needs a pair of leather gloves, even if you use them solely as “driving gloves” or for typing on your keyboard because the heat sucks in your apartment. Leather gloves are sleek and sophisticated and can jazz up any ol’ boring outfit. I have found that with leather gloves I am still able to operate my fancy phone and take things out of my wallet, tasks that become trickier with thicker, fuzzier gloves. I personally own more than a dozen leather hand protectors, but I realize not everyone is a glove freak or idealizes Rogue like I do, so I am just going to recommend owning 2 pairs. You want at least one set of shorter length gloves for driving or running errands and one set of longer gloves to go with a holiday dress.  Oh, and gentlemen, these make great Christmas gifts! (wink, wink)

For those willing to invest in a set of genuine Italian leather gloves (they last for years), you’re in luck. Semoneta Gloves recently set up shop in Chicago, at 900 N Michigan Ave.  Semoneta Gloves is a 50 year old Italian-based leather glove company that makes gorgeous gloves in “a multitude of colors and shades, both brilliant and avant-garde“. How can gloves be brilliant and avant-garde, you might ask? Look at these silk- lined green kid gloves with asymmetrical buttons, or these “driving gloves“. Like polka dots? You’re in luck. Want something a bit more demure? I don’t know about you, but these are gloves I can dream about.  (Don’t worry gentlemen, Semoneta also makes beautiful leather gloves for you too.)

For something on the cheaper side, there’s Glove Me Tender (and their new fleece i-phone glove) also in the 900 shops, and  H &M consistantly sells stylish leather gloves. One of my favorite pairs is actually from H & M; turquoise suede with white polka dots, a ruffled collar, and a tiny white leather bow on the wrist. Not to trash-talk my favorite gloves, but because of their suede nature, they’ve gotten dirty, quickly, and constant dry cleaning is a pain.

If you’re on a budget and want something vintage, I’ve found nice leather gloves at both the Edgewater Antique Mall and the Broadway Antique Mall. Local thrift,  Salvation Army and Village Discount stores have yielded satisfactory results if you can handle stains or feel up to the task of fortifying seams, but I will admit, sometimes I want a glove that no hand has been in before.

The wholesale shops that line Clark, from Wilson to Sunnyside, are also a great place to find “leather” gloves (for those not into wearing another animal’s skin) and because of their synthetic nature, the gloves tend to be below $10 and not very warm. These wholesale shops also sell any and every accessory, making for some easy Christmas gifts.

Oh, and here’s a friendly tip: DO NOT order leather gloves online, even if you’re sure of your size. You need to try those gloves on, wiggle your fingers, pretend you’re going to punch someone. You also want to make sure the gloves aren’t perfectly tight around your fingers so you can still wear a ring or two. Here is some info on taking care of your gloves so they keep looking like new, and here’s a piece discussing the importance of stitching.

So go out there, and buy some leather gloves! You’ll love the way your hands look in them. Happy Hunting!


Chicago's DIY Trunk Show (PHOTOS)

The Chicago Craft Mafia held its 7th annual DIY Trunk Show in Pulaski Park’s field house on Saturday. With 95 vendors participating, it was a hippy-hipster wet dream.

Rose Lannin of Wonder Wheel makes necklaces with antique train tokens as pendants.  Lannin buys the tokens for her pendants from collectors on ebay who view the tokens as worthless. The coins have no value  since “they’ve been handled by a million people”  but to Lannin, that makes them even more appealing. A number of tokens even have inscriptions explaining the metal used is from parts of the train, doubling the recycled value of her necklaces.

Christina Ward was hesitant at first to let me photograph her Creatures, and my subsequent conversation with her confirmed my suspicions about some trunk show goers coming to scope out the merchandise so they can make their own at home. Ward explained why she is protective of her creations since her craft is like a “full-time job in hours, but not in pay”. Besides stuffed animals, Ward also makes quilts and rugs, anything to “get her creative ya-ya’s out”.  This is Ward’s first year at the DIY Trunk Show.

Leah Parkhurst of Rustbelt Fiberwerks observed the shopping patterns of the day, saying “everyone’s been taking their time, making conscientious choices, which is a good thing”. Amanda Shell of Whirleygirl Designs seconded the notion, explaining that while people aren’t buying as much as she’d like, she has received “a lot of custom orders”.  This is Shell’s first experience at the DIY Trunk Show: “It’s been fun. I will definitely come back next year.” Amanda Shell is also a mural artist and has worked with Chicago Cares.

Amy Carlton, a DIY Trunk Show co-founder, believes that this year was their biggest turn-out.  Carlton explained via e-mail that the CCM receives a couple hundred applications for the 95 booth slots at the DIY Trunk Show, so each application faces a jury in order to ensure there isn’t too much of the same thing.

…we always reserve a percentage of all the spaces for crafters who are new to selling — DIY is some vendors’ first or second show. It’s really important to us to encourage new craft businesses and get more people involved in the handmade revolution. We keep our vendor fees low for the same reason.

-Amy Carlton

Laurie Freivogel of Kiku says the DIY trunk show is “one of my favorite shows” and this is her 6th time. “There’s a nice craft community in Chicago, people really know each other and support each other” Freivogel adds. Lydia Krupinski of Pierogi Picnic elaborated: “The DIY movement is intense and I’m excited to be a part of it. The Green movement and the crafters are codependent and intertwined and in the last 2 years it’s exploded here in Chicago.” Krupinski was also a DIY Trunk show virgin, but has been making her own clothes for “a long time”.

Toys by Steff Bomb, Dog Sweaters by Lucky Penny Hand Made, Edgewater Soaps by David Melis, Rings by Blue Lala, hats & knits by Enjolive + LBO Studio, Feltmates by Yoko Nomura, Reuseful Objects, prints, paper by laurageorge, artwork by Emily K Berman, Bobby-Jean of Kitty Grrlz, Christina Ward Creatures, artwork by octophant.us, cloth products by Qylaar, knits by Girl With a Hook, Circa Ceramics

Related articles by Zemanta


In Purple We Trust?

Barack and Michelle Obama board a plane in Chicago to St. Paul, Minnesota on June 3, 2008 (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Barack and Michelle Obama board a plane in Chicago to St. Paul, Minnesota on June 3, 2008 (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Purple purple everywhere. Purple shoes, jackets, blouses, shirts, ties, dresses, purses, belts- if your wardrobe needs updating, you buy purple, the fashionable color for the past two seasons (arguably, the color since last year). Why this color, the color long associated with royalty?

Do you remember those “Start Wearing Purple” ads by Yahoo? Where they referenced that gypsy punk song from 2005, “Start wearing purple“, by Gogol Bordello? This was around the same time that Yahoo changed their logo from red to purple. Did you see the date on that link? June 12th, 2008. Didn’t Michelle Obama wear a purple dress when her husband recieved the democratic nomination, on June 3rd? Michelle Obama wore a color that blended both political parties…. her color choice was symbolizing her husband’s willingness to work with both parties, to be bipartisan. Purple, the color that said everyone’s ideas would be incorporated, so we as a united nation could solve the many many problems that emerged during, out of, and because of, the last presidency’s handing of political and economic affairs.

Chances are, you have something purple in your closet, and it is new. So why are you wearing purple?  Are you aware that fashion houses grabbed onto this color because they love Michelle Obama?  I’ve acquired two purple items in the past couple of months- a blouse, and a pair of purple suede high heels (doubling my impractically purple suede heel count), and yeah, I respect the Obama administration and the idea of listening to everyone. Purple wearer,  do you too believe in incorporating everyone’s ideas? Do you too want to be inclusive and fix the problems that plague America? Are you willing to listen to the other side? Are you willing to compromise?

The date that marks one year after Obama was elected is upon us, and news outlets are questioning Obama’s accomplishments. The most popular problem of the day is healthcare, and while most Americans believe our healthcare system is broken, the effort to fix this problem stops at party lines (whether it’s over fear-mongering, ignorance, or just plain party line stubbornness), with Olympia Snowe being the exception. All this big government, little government talk is getting us no where in fixing America, and Obama is the only known and willing compromiser. I don’t see much bipartisan action going on, but I sure do see a lot of purple.  And frankly, it’s starting to make me sick.