Shell Games [pt 2]

Previously, a post that was ostensibly about NOT buying a vintage abalone bracelet meandered to include photos of my shimmering walls, lamps, and bags.

Having passed up the California Clasper because the detailing was a bit too horsey and the (three) prices were a bit more than I wanted to pay, I now faced a daunting task: using the internet to find a shell bracelet that appealed to eyes, heart and wallet. And fit my wrist.

Which of course was supposed to be the EASIEST task, per Mr Vix’s well-meaning relative.

Having grown from a young child who completely identified with Goldilocks’ quest for perfection to an aging ma’am who completely identifies with Goldilocks’ quest for perfection, I was dubious.

But what the hell, it’s not like I was planning to cure cancer in my spare time. Bring on the eBay listings! Lead me to the online vendors!

I found a lot of bracelets I considered breathtaking, but none that would work for me. I was beginning to think I should have nabbed the raw materials and embraced a Rustic Chic look:

I suppose I would have been arrested had I liberated the abalone shells I saw in Point Lobos (CA) State Reserve


Since much of what I did find was too magical-in-a-nonsupernatural-way for me to simply forget, a little documentation seemed just the ticket.

Gorgeous Abalone Bracelets That Were Too Elaborate For Me

Alas, as with the bracelet I left behind—which had similarly-colored slabs—these stunners are not really one with my Minimalist Magpie side. Forget the price and size considerations: I knew I had to pass them up.

Holy moly, would you look at those hues!

Left: Snap it up. Top right: Still in play. Bottom right: Can be yours.

Gorgeous Abalone Bracelets That Were Too Large For Me (And Yet Not Wide Enough)

Why do you HATE me, Universe??!!

Yes I know this has those ball bearings I don't like, but these are more discreet

Top: $45! for both! Bottom: For those with bigger pocketbooks.

Gorgeous Abalone Bracelets That Were Sinfully Sculptural—But I Wanted Flat

Sinuous and Seductive!

Left: lower end, priceless glow ($80). Right: Higher end ($575) Geraldo Lopez.

Get two clamper cuffs and take no prisoners

Lots of these on eBay, though this one’s now gone.

But a funny thing happened as I was going ga-ga over all this luscious color. A lower-key bracelet-ring set caught the eye of my other style persona, the Contrarian Classicist. Listed as abalone but more likely to be black lip oyster, the set was all sleek curves and subtle smoky shimmer. With a chunky 1.5-inch bracelet width, hurrah!

It flashed a few colors here and there, but let steely grey and black run the show:

It reminded me of mood rings and 70s era Halston:

Halston c 1976, from the Chicago History Museum's Chic Chicago exhibit

And it made me forget all about my new WEAR COLOR IN THE WINTER, DAMMIT resolution (and purchases that enabled that resolution). In fact, it sent me straight to my beloved blacks. And greys. Ahhhhhhhhh!

The Contrarian Classicist triumphs over the Minimalist Magpie...or does she?

I can see this will be an eternal wardrobe push-pull, with each side making strong points for her case. Balance is good, of course, and perhaps the recent color and pattern friskiness has been a bit much for my poor Classicist to take. Now of course my inner magpie hasn’t given up on hoping a Lonely Abalone will find its way onto my wrist. But, well… shhhhhhhhh.

PSA: Don’t miss the other Chic Chicago photos the Chicago History Museum has on Flickr!

As wholesome as a belly full of hotdish

Whenever I see a certain faction of Mr Vix’s family, I semi-voluntarily go all cat burglar on my brain and get super-serious about eradicating traces of my more slatternly tendencies. My efforts are about as successful as my ACTUAL cleaning, but I’ve convinced myself that they are nonetheless appreciated.

While this subgroup’s characteristics include “highly respectable,” “conscientious,” and “integrity-prone,” they aren’t particularly sheltered.

I mean, they can process that their—coincidentally!—preferred vacation community makes more money from the meth trade than from tourist souvenirs. And thanks to Mr Vix being a bit cavalier when answering questions about our Netflix choices, they’re aware that we live vicariously through characters who have lots of sordid encounters and ingest surprisingly massive amounts of legal, illegal, or yet-to-be-categorized substances.

[Of course it’s more that I am the one living vicariously. Not because I’m reliving my youth or my last grocery store detour, but because I get bored with my own brand of self-destructive tendencies and thus enjoy a side order of vive la différence with my entertainment.]

Now unlike my family, his relatives would never use anything I say against me in a court of law or during a heated Scrabble game.

However, over the years I’ve found our get-togethers proceed more smoothly if I try to restrain myself from enthusiastically sharing much of what passes through my head. Sort of or EXACTLY like a lot of people do when they are on the job, yes. But unfortunately I’ve worked in a lot of BOUNDARY-FREE, WHEE environments where I’ve been the comparatively tame one.

As a result, I just don’t have the same skill at self-editing as, say, a married politician who’s trolling for man-on-man dalliances or Argentinian sexcapades. Sadly, tamping myself down requires that four-letter word, WORK.

I suppose it’s good practice in case I ever aspire to move back East and become a lobbyist’s aging trophy wife or something. But jeepers, a Vulgarity Detox can sure leave a broad jonesing for her fix, you know?


Thanks to my whole control freak, constructive-criticism-is-an-oxymoron, so-not-Zen thing, I simply can’t post these photos without text.

I was able to lay off the all-caps. I dragged myself away from improper use of the drop quotation box. But I couldn’t forgo the bold because OMG what if you thought that I thought these were “normal?”

attention…yes the photos are technically poor…but I like the world they reflect

Naturally I’d like the photos MORE if someone else had taken them.

Tag you won’t see associated with this post: BAGGAGE FREE, ME

(top to bottom: Kauai; PNW; Venice)