heart of ice

No, I haven't died. Posting's been few and far between due to December being just about the worst month for finances (with April coming in a decided first.) I've been working a bit extra so that this year I don't have to choose between paying bills and buying Christmas gifts, haha. Also am doing one big handmade gift for le boyfriend, who is one of those people that's impossible to buy for without spending a fortune (and, let's face it, they probably already bought everything they wanted for themselves anyway.) Deadline is creeping up quickly! Ugh, so not my favorite holiday.

Today's pictures we did indoors, using only the sunlight coming in through the windows, so things are a little blurry. I kind of liked the soft, melancholy effect we got, though, and didn't want to muck it up with any of my extremely amateur color editing. Natural lighting has a dramatic quality sometimes, especially filtered through glass.

You know what doesn't have such a dramatic quality? Random mismatched groups of nutcrackers on my damn piano. And my mother tries to fit in new ones every year. You can't tell from these angles, but we have the most decoration-packed living area known to man at this point. There's no room at the inn, Mom.


sweater: Aerie
skirt: Charlotte Russe
leggings: Forever21
socks: Laura's dresser drawer
jewelry: vintage
lipstick: Revlon Black Cherry




guest blogging at fashionloving

Hey all, I did a guest post for FashionLoving that details some of my favorite holiday dresses and accessories this year. Head on over to the post to check out the gorgeous art deco pieces that caught my eye.


dead woman walking

Funny how some days we can still get away with no jackets, even though it's only a month to Christmas. But I'm not complaining! The longer the "S" word is put off, the better, I say. Woe to the years when it seems like nonstop snowstorms December through March. Do not want. I'm already pining for spring.

Or at least February. I was sucked in by a marathon of The Walking Dead on AMC the other day, and welp, look who's got a new show to pine for over the winter hiatus. Never been much for the zombie apocalypse stories before, but there's something about this one that caught me. Clearly, I learned nothing from watching six seasons of LOST, though, as TWD has so many of the same problems that made LOST unbearable to watch at some points. (Season Five L.A. scenes, I am looking at you. All Kate episodes, you too.)

Here's hoping that the meandering plotline doesn't continue through the second half of the season, and that the pace picks up like the first season's. Six-episode formulas work better for TV shows, I swear. As much as I like watching my favorite shows every week, I could really do without the filler.


sweater: American Eagle
shorts: Forever21
leggings: JCPenney
boots: White Mountain via Macy's
bag: vintage via Dandelion Daydreamer
bangle bracelet: gift
ring: Gretchen Hind Designs
lipstick: Revlon Black Cherry




guest posting at beauty or swaag

Please visit me over at Beauty or Swaag today for a Little Red Riding Hood fashion-inspired guest post, with a collage and a little discussion about how I like to put outfits together.


a sobering look

While flipping through old pictures again for some more retro fashions, I figured out what the hair in yesterday's outfit actually looks like. Not Cindy Lou Who, not Harley Quinn...

Nope, it's me. As a toddler. Lordy.

I seem to have regressed.


guest posting at Feathers+Futons

Hey guys, I'm guest blogging one of my outfit posts at Feathers + Futons today. Go on over and check it out (and let me know whether you think this style works on a woman my age or not, haha.)


ruche winter lookbook video

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know I'm always charmed by brands' preview videos of their upcoming lines and lookbooks. I think it's something to do with getting to watch the models play out a story, becoming personable, and not just seeing clothes in motion. Ruche has just put out their winter lookbook, and lo and behold, a video! A romantic, wistful video that has me missing le boyfriend more than usual today, to be honest.


the fashion retrospectograph: that's some fly ride, george

I have very little context for this photo, which I came across in my grandmother's family albums, but I thought you guys might appreciate the early 20th century driving outfits (designed to keep out the dust and exhaust, which was probably considerable.) Not to mention that totally fine car. I mean, I wouldn't want to be racing in it like this group, since safety glass hadn't been invented yet, but wow indeed.

The only person I recognize in the picture is the seated man in the middle, wearing the cabbie/newsboy cap. That's George Keen, the husband of my last Retrospectograph subject.

View a larger version of the picture here.


don't block my colors

Northern New England is supposed to be known for its autumn leaf colors, but looking at my neighborhood, you'd never know it. Notice the pretty reds and oranges in the Japanese maple I'm posing against? Yeah, that'd be the only one as far as the eye can see. With a yard otherwise full of oak and birch trees, which turn straight to brown, and big maples that don't seem to realize they're supposed to be brighter than a muddy-looking yellow, fall foliage just ain't that interesting at my house. (With three out of four of the adults here injured, this year's leaf-raking could be, though!)

I do look forward to driving through nearby areas that have front yard rows of  boldly-colored decorative maples. It's too bad that the most amazing spot, one town over, has such busy traffic, or I'd snap some photos to show you all. (In my area people just planted dogwoods, which do nothing but smell terrible all summer long.)

Shooting this outfit, I was reminded of one of my pet peeves about locations in movies and television shows. Creators rarely bother to film anything on this side of the country (aside from New York City), even if the story is set here. For example, the attempts at showing seasonal weather changes on Gilmore Girls are often so unintentionally funny because the outdoor California studio sets look nothing like the northeast. Everything is wrong, from the types of trees to the color of the sky and grass to the intensity of the sunlight on the actors' faces. (There also isn't nearly enough rain for it to be Connecticut.) Yeah, I know it's expensive to film on location (and to do weather effects on a set), but sometimes I just get bored of every story looking like it takes place in LA during the summer.

 I give total props to the makers of Hocus Pocus for not only managing to film in this region, but doing it during the proper season. And you know what? It makes the film look freaking great.


skirt/shoes/cardigan: Charlotte Russe
leggings: Forever21
top: restyled
socks: gift
lipstick: MAC Slimshine in Pleasing




cinematographic: snow, glass, fashion

Just watched the trailer for one of the Snow White adaptations coming out, this one called Snow White and the Huntsman. My first impression of it is that although there are some interesting ideas and artistic beauty going on, overall it looks like it's not going to be so great. I got a distinct The Brothers Grimm vibe from it, is all I'm saying. Considering the bizarre shoehorning in of battle sequences, menfolk, and the serious scenery-chewing, I'm thinking this might be a mess on the level of most fantasy movies these days. And by that I mean hammy without the charm of being purposefully hammy.

Also did not love the not-so-iconic styling given to Kristin Stewart, who plays Snow White in the film. Hence today's collage, with Morena Baccarin, a.k.a. Anna on V, giving something a little more striking.


cinematographic: seeking stephanie brown

seeking stephanie brown

Found this old collage, which I think I made for a contest, over at my Polyvore account. Aside from being reminded of why I use my own image editor to do collages now, this one stood out to me as unlike my usual picks. I realized that it's because I usually try to keep things within a price range I could conceivably afford, and this one has some pretty pricey things in there. Guess that Gotham City superhero look takes some green!


through a lens, blurrily

Some bizarre things happening with the lighting in today's unusually gorgeous weather, as evidenced by that last photo. But that's not my major frustration with taking photos lately.

Normally my sister's camera (your basic Canon Rebel XSi) is great, but now it rarely wants to focus on subjects in anything but a closeup. Sometimes everything, back and foreground, is blurry. Had to do a lot of work on that first photo to get it looking vaguely in-focus! The weird thing, too, is that it's not all the time--one out of thirty shots will be shockingly crisp in comparison. Wonder if it's likely to be a problem with the lens or with the computer part.

This is especially annoying when I'm behind the lens, since I can already add "user error" to the list of likely issues. Shaky hands, not so awesome for photography. Thank goodness I'm not usually the one in charge of taking pictures here.

Also, if you hadn't noticed, I've added a Facebook link to the menu bar at the top of the page. Yep, finally got around to making a page for this blog. I know some people prefer to get their updates over there, so feel free to hop on over if you like.


dress/flats/socks: Charlotte Russe
leggings: JCPenney
cardigan/sunglasses: Target
bag: Liz Claiborne


Laura of the steadier hands


friend friday: book edition

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll have realized by now that I'm a voracious story-devourer. Movies, television shows, comics, audio tapes...and, of course, books. You might see a lot of visual media posts on here, but believe me, books are still my one true love. (I'm one of those loser kids who cried on the first day of kindergarten when I realized they weren't going to teach me to read yet. Er, this was back when kindergarten was treated like preschool, and most of the day was spent learning how to get along with other kids, memorizing your phone number, and driving a little wooden mail truck to the principal's office. Yeah, I don't know.)

Part of the problem with being such a bibliophile is that making a favorites list is really damn hard. There are too many choices, and I have a problem talking about things I like without also qualifying it with my criticisms. Welp, I linked up with Katy Rose over at Modly Chic for this week's Friend Friday and gave it my best go anyway.

My top 5 favorite books of all time: (I'm basing this one on re-readability, not necessarily overall quality. That means less of the high-falutin' literature you might expect from an English major and more in the way of genre works.)

Cosmos - Carl Sagan
The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris
The Long Winter  - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova

There were quite a few runners-up I had to eliminate, including The Little Prince, Frankenstein and Sarah Crewe.

The Most Recent Books I’ve Read and Loved:

Going Postal - Terry Pratchett
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century - Barbara W. Tuchman
The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

I'm very behind on actual book reading lately, especially in the nonfiction arena. Next up is an overview of Ancient Egypt, done by a writer whose fun archaeology-themed romance/mystery novels I've just finished. Should be exactly the opposite of dry, if her fiction writing is anything to go by.


walkin' in an autumn wonderland

Do these pictures ever look like they were taken in December! But no, this is what my backyard looked like early Saturday afternoon, just before Halloween, at the start of a ridiculously early snowstorm. Pretty, isn't it?

What wasn't so pretty were all the still-leafy tree branches getting bogged down by snow and snapping right off later on. There is a reason snow doesn't typically come before all the leaves have dropped! We lost whole tops of trees, but luckily nothing hit the house. The rest of my town looked a mess, too, but I didn't hear much about any major home damage. Instead, the main topic of conversation was the fact that the falling trees took out enough electrical lines to kill power to most of the area. Glad we got ours back Monday night. Others are still waiting on it, including schools and businesses.

We knew ahead of time that there was going to be some snow, and bundled up that morning to pick up some last-minute costume pieces. This cape may not look warm enough for wintry weather, but I'm pleased to say that appearances can be deceiving! It's at least as protective as any winter coat I've ever worn, save for the forearms. And here I thought I was making a silly impulse buy.

On a side note, if you've left me a message recently, rest assured that I'm not ignoring you. It's taking me some time to get through the backlog of work and blog-related communications.


cape: TJMaxx
leggings: Forever21
flats: Charlotte Russe
tunic: New York & Company
socks: gift
hat/scarf/gloves: borrowed




fright night minus light

Throwing a Halloween party in the middle of a blackout is some kind of tricky. However, it's not impossible, especially if you're lucky enough to have a gas grill and a generator.

We lost power at the start of Saturday's snowstorm, just as we began party preparations, and didn't get it back until late Monday night. (Not complaining, for real. Just about cheered when I saw the CL&P truck pull into my neighborhood. I know others are going to be stuck with a longer, colder wait.) This means the electric stove was off-limits, there wouldn't be much in the way of lighting, and half our party guests were already sleeping on couches since our furnace was plugged into the generator and their house was like an icebox.

Laura and I pretty much had to throw out our original cooking plan, but luckily have seen enough episodes of Top Chef to think we might be able to bake on the grill. Lo and behold, grilled brownies, grilled cupcakes. They're, er, a little charred on the bottom, but baked pretty well otherwise! We also did Rice Krispy treats and a vat of chicken-vegetable soup, as well as the uncooked treats like popcorn mix, sherbet punch, veggie dip, chips, candy, etc. Guests brought pepperoni bread and pizza to round it out.

The only sad thing, in the end, was that we got only one group of trick-or-treaters. The kids at our party couldn't find any open houses, either. I guess the outage really killed the holiday for most people.


Meesh as Endor Leia
poncho: made with my own sweat and tears. especially tears.
leggings: JCPenney
boots: Macy's
belt: NY&Co

Laura as Born This Way Gaga
jacket: The Limited
shirt: back of Meesh's closet
pants: back of Laura's closet
bowtie: iParty
hairpieces: Epic Cosplay


costumes of halloween past: femme fatale fashion

left to right:  Harley Quinn, female greaser, Irma Vep, forest witch, Slytherin girl

I don't know that you could really call Harley Quinn a femme fatale, but hey: all goofball villainesses welcome.

Today was kind of a bust as far as this year's Halloween costume goes, so I ended up browsing through some more successful past costume attempts to cheer myself up. I tried fiber reactive dyeing for the first time, and after letting the garment cure for a day, the colors are significantly lighter than when applied. Kind of scared to see what it'll look like once it goes through the wash cycle. Although considering I also found out that the hairpieces I need won't be shipped on time, color accuracy is probably not something I should worry too much about!


ninety-five percent anticipation

Yeah, I know. The socks kind of ruin the whole outfit. It was laundry day, what do you want. And I still haven't figured out how to make leggings work with flats when bare feet are totally impractical, like with today's surprise cold weather. Guess I have to finally kiss summer warmth goodbye.

Practiced a little indoor photography today, in anticipation of snow months when I won't want to go outside for pictures. The lighting situation at my house creates quite a problem, however. It's great if you want subtle bits of natural light streaming into a shadowed room for portraits, but good luck getting a clear, crisp figure shot without bringing all kinds of extra lamps into the place. I'm just not cut out for that much planning! Hence these somewhat grainy, blurry photos from this morning.

It's been a busy week here, and there's plenty more to come, what with Halloween approaching and neither decorations nor costumes being finished. I love this holiday, but it could not come at a more hectic time. (Okay, that's a lie. If it happened during the November-January stretch I'd probably cry.) Hope to have some pictures of this year's projects posted soon.


ruffle shorts/leggings: Forever21
tunic/flats: Charlotte Russe
cardigan: New York&Co


super-cute ghost mugs: Target's awesome Halloween section
refrigerator decoration: all silhouette paper cutouts by me
little pumpkins: the sad, bizarre result of this year's backyard pumpkin crop


Me and the continuous timer, this time!


friend friday: halloween edition

Modly Chic hosts a Friday group posting series called Fashion Beauty Friend Friday, and I just had to join in this one after seeing that it's Halloween costume-themed. Head on over to the post to see what Katy and the others have to say about their Halloween activities.

1. Do you have plans for Halloween? Sure do. A few years back, Laura and I started doing a small Halloween party so that we weren't just sitting around watching movies and waiting for the six whole neighborhood kids to come by trick-or-treating. (When you don't have your own kids, there are few local events, and no one else you know is into the holiday, Halloween can get kind of depressing.) Due to popular demand from family members, we've kept it up. This year's going to be a bit smaller due to the timing, though. Mid-week Halloweens suck.

2. Where do you go for costume and makeup inspiration? Movies, television, stories...and then straight on to cosplayer forums to find out how to get the general look without spending $200 plus. (Although I would love to be able to put several hundred into materials someday. The problems I run into with making costumes add up to about 25% time limits, 25% accessory availability problems--ie they don't exist and can't be made, and 50% money.)

3. What was the best costume you’ve ever donned? Good question. The best-made costume I've ever worn was a full Victorian gown with a corset, but the best look was probably Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi (although that was way back in high school, so it may not have looked as accurate as I remember!)

4. What’s the most creative costume you’ve ever seen? There've been so many that they all start to blend together after a while!

5. No holds barred if you could dress up as anything, what would it be? This year I was desperate to go as wedding!Beetlejuice, because it's such fantastic makeup. However, I ran into the same problem as my Ben Linus idea--there are no decent wigs with a man's receding hairline. Or even a high hairline so that I could do a femme version, really. I'd honestly be better off cutting my own hair short than using the options out there!

Any other costumers out there? What bugs you the most about putting together an outfit for Halloween?


fill in the blank friday

After a long night of working on my (rush job) Halloween costume and feeling too tired to do anything but browse the internet, I decided to link up with The Little Things We Do for this week's autumn-themed Fill in the Blank Friday.

1.   Nothing says fall like      the faint hint of smoke in the cold air from freshly-lit fireplaces.

2.   My favorite autumnal tradition is   picking apples with my family and then watching my dad, despite having made apple crisp hundreds of times by now, screw up the recipe again .

3.  My favorite fall treat is   apple crisp, although these days I have to have the lesser cinnamon-free version due to intolerance. Serious downgrade.

4. Fall makes me think of    home    because    it's the one season I can't imagine experiencing anywhere else.

5.  Autumn free form word association, go!    yellow damp silver spice whoosh (oh shush).

6.  My go-to outfit in the fall is     leggings, a dress with half-sleeves, and a light jacket.

7.  My favorite fall holiday is (Halloween or Thanksgiving)    If you've been following my posts at all, Halloween is the obvious answer. Better food, better clothes, better parties, and no cranky family members getting mad because you dared to change the mashed potatoes recipe this year!

What do you all like best about this season?


don't burst my bubble

Is it wrong to take style cues likely meant for girls 12+ years younger than me? Most people would probably say, "Um, yeah, you're getting kind of old for this," unless they were really into certain Japanese street fashions. But the way I see it, sure I'm getting older...but not taller. Let's face it, many of the so-called "age appropriate" styles that get foisted on women after 30 (or if you're a guest on What Not to Wear, 20) just plain don't work for me. I don't want to have to choose between "dowdy" and "looks like she's playing dress-up," people. Let us shorties use what we've got, yeah?

Personally, I can't wait for age 65, when "does not give a goddamn" suddenly becomes a viable fashion style.

In other news, Covergirl's "embrace" shade of lipstick is my new favorite accessory. I was wary of it at first, but it's light enough that there is no color scheme it does not look good with, and bold enough that I don't really need eye makeup at all. (A bonus for the lazy amongst us.) It also stays on for most of the day and doesn't smudge too much, even after eating. Honestly never had a lipstick do that before.

(I'll be glad for the pop of fuschia come winter, too, considering that a cursory survey of my wardrobe revealed mostly grays. Blech.)


skirt/shoes: Charlotte Russe
shirt: found in the back of my bottom drawer
tights: Danskin
bracelet and ring: gifts
lipstick: Covergirl "Embrace"




halloween doppelganger doll project

A few years ago, when Coraline came out on DVD, Laura and I were so totally enamored of the opening dollmaking sequence that we decided to make our own doppelganger Other Mother's spy doll for our cousin's birthday. (Kind of a creeper present, but that's just how we roll.) I kept meaning to make more later, so that we'd have some ourselves as well, but never got around to it.

Now that Halloween's approaching, I totally regret it. How great would these look as party decorations? If you wanted to be super creepy (and had a lot of extra time), you could make your guests and hand them out as party favors.

The dolls themselves aren't so difficult once you've got a basic body pattern, just time-consuming (especially if you decide to hand-stitch the whole thing, like us morons did. Gave up on it once we got to the clothes, just so we'd finish in time!) It helps if the person you're making has a distinct personal style or outstanding features. In my cousin's case, red hair, freckles, a tattoo, and an outfit she always wears made her a perfect candidate.

I'd still like to make one for Laura, and fix the pattern issues I remember having. (Protip: Don't try to base your pattern off the doll body in the movie's opener. It's a different body, put together together differently, in each shot, if you look closely.) I promise to post a tutorial if that day ever comes!

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All personal photographs taken by me unless otherwise stated. Not that you'll want them, but please drop me a message first for permission before using my pictures elsewhere. granniesguide@gmail.com

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