Getting a head start on my Bling me up, Scotty resolution

As a sucker for anything shiny I’ve long admired the flashes of green, blue, purple etcetera exhibited by labradorite, a dark grey mineral generally hailing from Labrador, Canada.

[Apparently Canadians take their branding more seriously than I’d realized, as they refuse to call the stone’s beautiful play of colors iridescence, instead insisting on the term labradorescence. As the latter term is both a savvy marketing move and fun to say, who am I to question their choice?]

Now normally I’m a pretty surface-oriented person when debating jewelry options.

Since wearing labradorite would apparently jumpstart my January and beyond by aiding my self-esteem, creativity, metabolism, perseverance, and energy as well as helping out my crappy night vision and boosting my resistance to respiratory illnesses, however, I didn’t hesitate to tell holiday-shopping relatives that I’d like to change my usual “hiking socks and black tights, please” answer to one involving the transformative stone. Stand back, world!

When pressed for suggestions to pass along, I ventured over to the somewhat daunting and searched amongst their raft of $50 and under jewelry for a labradorite lovely. I may have looked incredibly briefly at some stunning items over $50, since I was there and all, but it was easy enough to fall in love with an in-budget pendant of unknown origin, time period, or labor source.


Though members of my clan forced me to pick it up in beautiful, sunny California.


California, possibly keen to win over another family member, surprised me by serving up something in addition to relatives, sunshine, and my new pendant: a vintage Whiting and Davis mesh bag.

My Minimalist Magpie side, emboldened by time spent in the glittering sun, demanded that I take the $20 envelope-shaped beauty home with me.

Vintage meets "used": The back side of a $20 Whiting and Davis mesh clutch shows off a new-to-me labradorite pendant

So I did.

Let me say that I resisted my dog-nephew’s wouldn’t you like to give me leftovers? face for 5 days straight so it’s not as if I’m a complete marshmallow…but yes, I caved almost immediately when the bag’s sparkle called to me from across the proverbial crowded room.

Luckily for Whiting and Davis fans who don’t feel like tromping around consignment shops, the long-standing company still produces both its simple and more elaborate mesh bags—plus vintage options abound. Pick a favorite from online vintage resellers or mainstream retailers, or just ogle the designs collected in a W&D-centric book.

Whiting and Davis' mesh purses are the perfect advertisement for this book on the long-standing US company

Somewhat unfortunately, I can see how one could get good and hooked on collecting W&D bags for personal use. What with my new-to-me bag’s streamlined shape and versatile color, my grubby little paws and I are finding many an excuse to trot ole Meshy out and about.

I find a neutral backdrop of dark denim, black, and charcoal serves as a good foil for pendant and purse

Of course my $5 All Up in My Grillz Clutch is super-miffed I left it in the closet on New Year’s Eve in order to add yet ANOTHER bit of bling to an outfit that already involved a lurex-threaded dress and shimmery multi-strand necklace.

Sure, neutral backdrops are great--but there's also something to said for pairing my vintage mesh clutch with lurex-threaded Missoni fabric by the yard (and despite the clutch's clasp lacking one rhinestone, the bag has plenty of personality)

But really: can one have too much sparkle on NYE? Especially when one has to tone down said (Persnickety Bohemian-approved) lurex-threaded dress for one’s business creative/casual workplace?

Since I tone down my lurex-threaded dress with opaque tights, a higher neckline, and a cardigan or jacket for my Business Creative/Casual workplace...

This year, I voted “Hell no!” and chose to ring in the new year with plenty of bling. It may have been overkill for the local Italian restaurant where I celebrated, but I figured I’d try to point the universe in a shiny happy people direction.

...I figured I might as well bling up the slightly metallic, front-and-back scooped Missoni fabric by the yard dress for NYE

Unfortunately the local, national, and world news has already tarnished my hopes for a 2012 that never loses its luster, but here’s to a future that’s as bright as possible!

All Up In My Grillz Clutch

Whenever I live with someone else, I pretend my tolerance for squalor is lower than it actually is. A lot lower. Since I don’t ACTUALLY think laundry yearns to be put away or recyclables long for immediate reincarnation, my charade helps keep me in line.

Give me the opportunity to revel in a bit of sloth, though, and I’m all over it. After driving Mr Vix to the airport a few days ago—mere hours after I’d arrived home from same—I was rather forlorn. In a bid to enjoy my freedom and operating under the assumption of “one can’t be rude and inconsiderate if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it,” I left my suitcase mere steps from the front door, scattered makeup products around the bathroom, and dumped stacks of random junk in inconvenient places.

Annoyingly, this greatly increased the time it took me to get dressed and do my toilette, and every time I had to move implements of beauty to get to the soap I found myself thinking, “How rude and inconsiderate!”

All this cavorting with chaos also meant that I was scrambling to clean up and unpack before territorial realignment…the same way I know he was scrambling to declutter and de-cat hair the joint before I’d arrived home. In the midst of my efforts and my “Dang, we need to have people over before we revert to how we actually live!” train of thought, I discovered I’d never broken out my super-cheap-yet-ridiculously-compelling Grillz clutch while back East.


I hate dragging things along and then not using them.

My klassy $5 Grillz clutch makes me laugh (but I love the pleating)

It may be lean and mean, but it's roomy enough to hold the necessities

Perhaps strangely, the clutch reminds me of a shawl I got in San Francisco approximately one million years ago:

Detail of the vintage silver/black scarf that I've owned for 20 years

At one point during our life together, I found myself using the glittery textile to swag my living room window.


But really, when not stretched across a pane of glass or worn Stevie Nicks-style [guilty!], the shawl’s floral details are pretty much obscured. Folded in upon itself, the silver threads take center stage and generate an effect that’s less draped piano and more planetarium ceiling. Or—if in a lovely unpolluted and atmospherically cooperative place—the ACTUAL night sky.

It's been 20 years since this "gently used" critter left a Haight Street shop with me, yet I still lack a decent photo of its shimmering, silvery self -- so this 2009 pic will have to do... FYI, enlarging really enhances the detail

Despite the fact that my brain has created a relationship between these two accessories, I wouldn’t usually PAIR them. I mean, my Minimalist Magpie and Contrarian Classicist sides can just about handle each of them independently—though they bicker over the category assignments and I refuse to take sides—as long as everything else I’m wearing knows its place. Putting indeterminate shiny material + gold teeth + fringe + sparkly in the same zone would clearly be of a lot of lotness. Otherwise known as The Gilded Lily’s natural state.

Since it’s been a week of lower-end temperatures and horrendous thunderstorms and less-than stellar news, however, I think Mr Vix and I should go out for a reunion dessert, and I think I should have both items in tow. Ideally it’ll be a spot that’s dim and clandestine and cozy, the better to encourage languor and indulgence. Someplace where the light bounces off Grillz’ smile, encouraging us to do the same. Someplace where the shine on flamboyant threads reminds us that within every cloud, there’s reputed to be a silver lining.

Since this post is terribly monochromatic, I will throw in a photo of how I travel(led):

Four years ago, I started to aim for traveling light + bright

Minimalist Magpie

This weekend, I had a low-key holiday party on the books. YEA!

Except it was hosted by people I didn’t know, and I am a social caterpillar. BOO!

I figured the odds were good that people would be in jeans and fleece. Especially as it’s been exceptionally frigid here lately. Since I’ve been swaddled in layers and blankets when home, though, I felt that celebrating the moments of my life sans Bunyanwear would make for a nice change. As would showing a little skin. And by “a little skin” I mean possible wrist exposure. To be jolly and all.

So I decided to bust out my one fancypants skirt (a ruched black satin pencil) then dig into my recovering-blacktextile-a-holic’s closet for black tights, black sweater, and black boots. An easy out, sure, but when nerves get to rustlin’ a somber monochromatic look soothes me, rather like thumbsucking did back in the day. The FAR day.


I had a little playfulness up my black-clad sleeve. A pair of completely over-the-top earrings I had spotted at a favorite vintage shop and moth’d my way toward. Earrings I’d initially discarded as way, way too extreme and non-serious for me. And yet…they appealed, as just about anything iridescent appeals to me. And the colors suited.

Eventually my $22 and I were parted, and the earrings came home with me. Once home they sat in an open-faced box–the better to admire them!–for 4 months. At which point I finagled the screwbacks onto my lobes and took them out for a spin amongst strangers.

Be still my heart

Where they glittered like wee holiday lights against my hair (worn down for warmth) and shawl (worn sporadically as temperatures waxed and waned).

Earrings in motion

The strangers turned out to include super-welcoming, dressed-down women who raved about the earrings. And a VERY friendly dog who liked my skirt so much he spent much of the night quite literally drooling over it. [Which may be why all the women who knew of the dog’s existence showed up in jeans: no need to hit the dry cleaners post-festivities.]

While I used to do a damn good job of keeping my inner magpie baked in a pastry, I’m starting to make up for lost time. Pre-intervention, I would have hesitated to have let my Joan Collins Extra-Extra-Lite out for fear of calling too much attention to myself. Which is pretty rich coming from someone as loud and vulgar as I am. Maybe “because I was afraid of seeming frivolous” works better, even if sounds less Beth March and more super-stupid?

At any rate, I’d like to say my earrings owe their new life to my reading of Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design and arriving at a Style Statement, “a two-word compass that helps you make more confident choices in life–from your wardrobe to your relationships, your living room to your career plans.” Unfortunately, I don’t do workbooks, even workbooks the authors present as:

a series of inquiries that lead readers to the personal words that guide the spirit, look and feel of their life. The first word represents your foundation, your 80%. The second word, your 20%, is what motivates and distinguishes you.”

It’s just way too much effort for someone who hates blank pages as much as I do.

But since I have a few invisipals who really liked the book’s exercises, I’d venture it’s worth a look at the actual or Cliff Notes version. After all, using the latter helped me arrive at “Minimalist Magpie,” so clearly one’s Style Statement can work as a great enabling tool. I’m not saying that’s why I tucked “Contrarian Classicist” away in my back pocket, of course. But if it WAS the reason, who can blame a magpie for being a little opportunistic?