Thursday, April 7, 2011

Une américaine à Paris…

America is my country, and Paris is my hometown. -Gertrude Stein
In an effort to give more background information on who I am and where I've come from, I've decided to do a quick recap post on my time living in Paris.  I moved to Paris, France in February of 2011 to finish my bachelor's degree in the History of Art.  It was absolute perfection.  Though it was still chilly upon my arrival I was able to miss all the snow, I lived in the 14th arrondissement with a woman named Marie Antoinette (no joke) and I was able to listen dreamily on the metro to "April in Paris" for the entire month of April while I got to know Paris.

The fourteenth is the southernmost arrondissement, and I lived mere steps from the Porte d'Orleans metro stop just south of Montparnasse

But one of the highlights of my French sojourn was certainly stalking the Dior tents in the Tuileries Gardens during Paris Fashion Week.  Not only did my tent-crashing yield some inspired street-style photos...


...I also ended up with a couple cool model shots!  That last one is Coco Rocha, who I really admire and have worshiped from afar for years now.  Did anyone else see those amazing shots released after her wedding?  So dramatic...

But my ultimate reward for lounging around the tents all day were these shots (and yes, these are all from my own camera, I could her reached out and touched these gorgeous women) of the then-Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue, the amazing Carine Roitfeld...

Le sigh. Ahh, Paris.  How I miss it!  That's all for this morning, friends... til next time!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don't throw anything away...

A little Madness in the Spring, Is wholesome even for the King.  -Emily Dickinson

In just under the wire (the Evening with Mitch Albom was excellent but ran long... though he did give me his opinion on where I should go to grad school) I am back with the promised polish update.

My mother has promised to bring my camera ASAP, in the meantime I'm keeping my photos to a minimum because they are such poor quality.  But at the moment I have spring fever, and I am therefore obsessed with all shades of pale pinks.  Below: the essentials for the perfect mani-pedi!

From left: NYC Long Wearing Enamel in Long Wearing Clear, Sally Hansen Emery Board, OPI Nail Laquer in Got a Date To-Knight, Melon of Troy, and Aphrodite's Pink Nightie

For a successful manicure, I like OPI products because they are hard-wearing; I've washed lots of dishes in the triple sink while tending bar and this polish doesn't chip off in a few days as the less-expensive brands do. Before applying any color, I cut my nails to a uniform length.  Next I always do two coats of color, because more often than not you need at least two to get anywhere near the color that appears within the bottle (it's true), and it also helps even out streaks if you're like me and don't have the most splendid self-mani skills.  My secret weapon is a clear top coat of long-wearing enamel (I like NYC because it does the job without breaking the bank, and fakes that glossy salon-shine finish with any polish).  Finally, every girl needs a cute file, and mine of course has shoes!  I use this Sally Hansen emery board gently along the edge of each nail- always in the same direction, never back and forth as this will weaken nails!- to remove any extra globs of uneven polish.  Then, ta-da!

Again, apologies for the quality, I'm working diligently to bring you better.  I selected Aphrodite's Pink Nightie for my polish.  I am a huge fan of quirky names for polish and lipstick especially, and anytime I can get something with an art history twist I'm hooked.  My Melon of Troy is a close second, but Aphrodite's Pink Nightie has got to be the cutest and most clever shade title I've come across thus far.  It's also my current favored pink!  To top it off, I'm a Natalie Merchant lover and have lately been hooked on her most recent CD called "Leave Your Sleep," which is an incredibly creative project of nursery rhymes set to music (she worked with dozens of musicians from all over the world, check it out!)  My favorite song is called "It Makes a Change" and is about a Greenland Whale who sits on the mantelpiece in Auntie Mabel's nightie... too adorable!  Between the goddess of love and cross-dressing whales, it seems nighties are where it's at!

But before I curl up with a mug of tea and my new signed copy of "Have a Little Faith" I will tell you about that thick pink-hued bracelet.  Yes friends, look closely.  Are those?  They are!  Little vintage scenes of romance: stolen kisses, bombshells with eyes half-closed and lips parted.  My!  Now one of my staple pieces (I love a good bracelet, they're my new jewelry preoccupation), this was a gift many years ago that I never, ever wore.  I received it in junior high as a thank you from my good friend's mother for agreeing to sing with a group of my choir members at a family funeral.  Because I was so touched, I never got rid of it even though at the time it couldn't have been farther from my style.

It would appear my friend's mother has uncanny foresight.

Unique statement bracelet?  Pin ups?  Vintage inspired?  Gift with touching story?  It doesn't get any better than that!  I rediscovered this piece at the bottom of my jewelry box earlier this year and now I can't stop wearing it.  I'll have to post a better picture of all the little pin up vixens (each is her own piece of art) once my camera is returned, but I just couldn't wait to share one of my current go-to pieces.

What are some accessories you all use to jazz up the every day look?  And what current polish colors are you sporting?


A little poem to start the day...

The Four Moon Planet
Billy Collins
I have often envied the four-moon planet.  -The Notebooks of Robert Frost
Maybe he was thinking of the song
"What a Little Moonlight Can Do"
and became curious about
what a lot of moonlight might be capable of.

But wouldn't this be too  much of a good thing?
and what if you couldn't tell them apart
and they always rose together
like pale quadruplets entering a living room?

Yes, there would be enough light
to read a book or write a letter at midnight,
and if you drank enough tequila
you might see eight of them roving brightly above.

But think of the two lovers on a beach,
his arm around her bare shoulder,
thrilled at how close they were feeling tonight
while he gazed at one moon and she another.

My love affair with the poetry of Billy Collins is unending, but this is one of my favorites.  A poem about moons in the morning you say?  Why yes, I just love it so much.  What are some of your favorite poems?

Before the day is over look for a polish post (as in nails, mes amies) and a charming story on a favorite bracelet of mine.  I'm also working on an "inspiration board"... stay tuned!

I shall leave you with this semi-recent post from The Satorialist that's been the background on my computer for the last few days... I'm loving this shot and especially the blues in her floral frock!  I've been thinking of spring and I can't get those pale, powdered blues and pinks out of my head!

Borrowed from The Satorialist

Happy morning!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In the beginning...

It's a helluva start, being able to realize what makes you happy.  -Lucille Ball

Bonjour, mes cheries!  And welcome to the beginning of my little experiment.  What better way to forge a beginning than with the eternal words of the 1950's television star of I Love Lucy.  For many months now I've harbored the ambition of one day creating my own fashion blog, and now it's begun!  Hurrah!

Yes... that's me.  Photo credit to Stephen Dillon, Windborne Photographic

Let me tell you all a bit about myself:  my name is Kaleigh.  I am a girl who lives for fashion.  I am a lover of all things vintage, forgotten, and nostalgic.  I get a thrill when paging through a magazine, I am inspired by the colors on the paint chips I peruse while remodeling with my boyfriend, I love running my hand along racks of forgotten clothes at my neighborhood thrift stores and consignment shops.  Over the years, I've practiced painting, ceramics, studio dance, and musical theater.  Though I've learned from all these influences as they've shaped the young woman I am today, I've never considered myself a particularly adept artist.  But I do love to collect, catalog, and wax poetic, so I have decided to forge my own creative outlet: here is the result.

I was raised by an incredibly passionate and creative mother who left the job she went to school for and started her own photography business.  This was fantastic for my childhood, not only because it allowed her to be home with me and my younger sister most afternoons, but because early on it taught me to look carefully at art and be inspired by small things.  She is very fond of saying that Kelci and myself were her first models, so let us say that dressing up for these photo shoots was my first fashion assignment.  I've been hooked ever since.  I certainly feel that I owe a large portion of my creativity- not to mention my courage- to my wonderful mother.

My sister, Kelci (left) and myself (right)... mom's studio photos

This is me many years ago... mom's studio photos

At this point it might also be relevant to say that I much prefer black and white photography to color.  Other things about me that are sure to come up as this project evolves: I love to read, I live in a 100+ year old house that my boyfriend and I are constantly working on, my sister Kelci is renting our spare room so she's the constant comedic presence in my life, we have two dogs (Maggie and Caine) and two cats (Bella and Doonesbury), I am a chronic ModCloth and Etsy shopper, I study art history and am readying myself for graduate school in the fall, I lived in Paris (yes, France) for six months and loved it, I adore travel (my dad lives out west, I can't wait until I next get to visit him), I love Northern Michigan (born and raised here) because in the summer you are never more than 15 minutes from a beautiful beach, and... I suppose let's leave the rest to be discovered as it becomes relevant.

I am very excited to begin this project, and so I shall jump in and leave you with my latest purchase... super cute little denim shoes from Target (only $9!) real life they look like they're made of denim (until my mother returns my camera I'm stuck with old pictures and Internet photos).  I'm not quite sure how to style them yet.  I would love to wear them with casual summer dresses, since I barely own pants, but I'm not sure what socks I could pull it off with.  Suggestions welcome!  Oh yes, now would be the ideal time to mention that I'm a self-proclaimed shoe addict.  But there are worse things... right?

'Til tomorrow!
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