The Weekend Recap

July 6, 2008

Fourth of July weekend was a busy weekend, indeed, and I most certainly welcomed a paid holiday, a little bit o’ rest, and some great memories made with wonderful friends. I told someone over the weekend that L.A. feels a little bit more like home each day, with a few exceptions, and the time off afforded me a chance to get to strengthen some great friendships. It was a busy, busy weekend. This morning at 11 a.m. I had brunch with the Ladies Who Brunch from my church small group at the lovely friend K’s home. Since then I have spent the entire day in my apartment resting, reading, and eating, save the 15 minutes I spent only a moment ago at the gas station. I filled my entire tank for $50 at $4.55 per gallon. My goal is to make this tank last for 2 weeks. Let’s see how I do.

Thursday D invited me to the wrap party for the film he and his brother G have been working on. D has been working as the producer’s assistant, and G is some type of coordinator. They have been working long, hard hours for the past several weeks, and the wrap party provided them the opportunity to bring their very supportive girlfriends to hear some good music, eat some good food, and schmooze with the Hollywoods. And, thanks to the fantastic outfit suggestions of several friends, I purchased this dress at Forever 21 before the event. It was cute, vintage-ey, cheap, tasteful, hip, and  fit me perfectly. Unfortunately, Forever 21 makes crap clothing, and the zipper broke while I was frantically trying to get ready after work. Hence, I had to throw together a different outfit with stuff I already had. But this conundrum afforded me the chance to wear my new hat. Also, at the wrap party, Tea Leoni touched my shoulder. I was pretty un-star-struck about the whole thing. She was trying to get people who were standing outside to come in and hear Billy Bob Thorton’s band play. I heard one song, and it was great, but I was there to hang out with my friends, and it was too loud in the room to really talk.

All dressed up and ready to go, but apparently D is sulking. Perhaps he wanted to wear a hat too.

Galen ruins everything.

Billy Bob Thorton’s band provides the entertainment for the evening.

We like each other. Sometimes.

After all of this, I realized that I didn’t get any pictures of me with G’s girlfriend N, who is an awesome little lady, and I had such a fun time with her.

Friday the four of us went to a pool party hosted by a co-worker of our friend AB. It was a great time and the perfect setting for a hot day. Yay, hamburgers! Yay, America! Happy Independence Day! Afterward D and I both took naps because we were exhausted from our cavorting, and then we watched one of my favorite movies, a little-known Steve Martin film called Lonely Guy.

Saturday a whole cohort of D and G fans (not Dolce and Gabbana — D and his brother) came over to my apartment to read through the script of a little project they are working on. The friends gave feedback on it, and the boys got some very helpful critiques. Again, I was so busy hosting that I totally forgot to pull out the camera. Another great photographic opportunity is lost for the sake of etiquette. That evening the boys, N, and I went to a new favorite restaurant, Natalee Thai on Venice Blvd.

Today I had the aforementioned brunch and have been lazy all day. It’s been a welcome break. I wish the time didn’t fly by so quickly.

And while we’re in photo-posting mode, here are a few photos from last weekend, when D and I went to his former roommate C’s wedding. It was an outdoor wedding at a country club, and I most certainly wore a hat.

D found it so attractive that he had to try it on himself…

…and again. notice the finger he recently slammed in a car door.

And here is Blue-Eyes looking a little more masculine.

I’m so California.

Yesterday I wrote a post with the title, “The Shoe Diaries Entry 1: I’ve Got a Wedge.” I also write a column at ZIA, an online magazine, about finding affordable fashion. Lately I have been succumbing to the post-college epidemic of Feeling Flaky. You college graduates may know it well, especially if you pursued a highly academic, research-oriented field that throttled you to the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In college, you had your group of Intellectuals with whom to be Intellectual in class, over coffee, after watching foreign films or reading Proust.

Post-college, you are left with nothing but a desk job and marathons of The Real Housewives of Orange County on television.

My friend Devi writes about important topics on her blog. She writes about politics and religion and oppression, and her writing style is so lovely and straight-forward and well-crafted (and she doesn’t constantly use the word “and” while creating lists) that I want to read whatever she writes.

A few weeks ago at my cousin S’s wedding, I spoke with my cousin’s husband’s brother P for a while. After all, I had to walk down the aisle with him, so I might as well get to know him a little bit. I asked him the general small-talk questions about location and work and school. P works for an organization in Washington D.C. associated with a cause that he believes in so much that his entire Facebook is devoted to it. Now, I must admit that I know very little about the topic other than a liberal-arts-college-American-Government-class understanding, but one must admire his Roman-soldier-like devotion. My Facebook page is devoted to the life of Ann Clipperton, complete with photos of cat Francis and status statements like, “Ann is hungry.” I guess I’m rather low on Maslow’s famous hierarchy.

When P asked me what I’m doing with my life, I told him that I want to be a writer. “What kind of writing do you do?” He asked. “Oh, lots of kinds,” I answered. Because I have. I’ve written poetry and even had some published, and I’ve written short stories and news articles and magazine articles and columns. When I thought of things I’ve been doing lately, I could only think of the blog and the column for ZIA. So I told him, “I write a fashion column for an online publication.”

And for some reason, I felt a little twinge of shame, a little sense of I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world. Let’s get something straight — P did not make me feel that way. He was very kind. It was all me, inside, thinking about what my goals are and wondering about what exactly it is that I’m doing with my passion for fashion. Or even with my passion for intelligent thought. Or just for caring about other people.

Like Kate Hudson’s character Andy in How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days, I would hope that my goals in life stretch farther than writing a “How To” column for a glossy magazine designed for glossy women with little else to be concerned about than color coordination and How to Know If He’s Into You. And I would hope that my goals for writing stretch farther beyond Shoe Diaries or columns about discount fashion. Like to something that really matters beyond Ann’s amusement.

At the same time, I don’t want to diminish the importance of fashion and all the thought-provoking questions that come from it:

Does the act of first wearing and then burning a bra have a significant psychological impact on its owner? Does the wearing of pants influence a woman to have a career more like a man’s? Maybe not today, but did it in the ’50s? Did that individualistic style that emerged in the late 1990’s have anything to do with existentialism and advances in technology that make relationships far less relational (i.e. I imagine that I have never met many of my readers, yet they get a glimpse into my life on a daily basis)?

Does philosophy influence fashion, or does fashion influence philosophy?

Once my dear and much-quoted friend Ali told me that perhaps I shouldn’t spend so much time reflecting on things because sometimes I dig myself into my own black hole, an abyss of my own making. Indeed, I have 14 years of journals to prove it. Ali also once told me, “Sometimes you just need to talk about cartoons.” These are wise words, coming from one of the smartest women I know, a woman who is currently pursuing a PhD.

Perhaps my Shoe Diaries are my version of cartoons, and I need them as an outlet for the deeper questions. Perhaps my life is a little more balanced when I can set aside those ideas about the over-sexualization of America’s teenage girls and write about “What to Look For in Thrift Stores” in 1000 words or less, complete with quippy jokes about Saved By the Bell and the nineties.

In society, women’s flakiness seems to be the new black. I imagine that I will encounter this to a greater degree in California, but even in the Northwest corner of Arkansas, I noticed how materialism seemed to cancel intelligence. I hope that my posting of fashion items and purchases does not influence others to materialism, the flakiest of all flakes. That is not my intention. My intention is for images to bring inspiration and creativity, as they do for me. My shoes make me see my clothing in different ways. They make me appreciate the new twists I can put on old items rather than going out to buy new things constantly. The contentment they bring is not from having more but from rearranging what I already have. My brilliant Basic Economics professor, a sweet man named Dr. Balla who spent a year in Mexico living among the poor, once said that having a lot of stuff is dangerous. “The more you have, the more you want,” he said. “And the more you have, the more you’re afraid to lose.”

The constant thirst for more is a dangerous place to be because that thirst will never quench. I hope that any fashion ideas or photos on my blog or in my column will influence readers to create rather than covet. Your life is fine without this stuff. Cute shoes will bring fun but never fulfillment.

We’ll call this particular pair of shoes the Purple Pizzazz… mostly because I like the word pizzazz. If anyone has not seen the Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire film Funny Face, those deprived persons ought to go out and rent it. It’s a fantastic film about fashion and finery… and the editor of the fashion magazine, played by Kay Thompson, is always yelling, “Pizzazz!” She also sings a song called, “Think Pink!” Anyway, back to the Purple Pizzazz:

dscf0842.jpg

These shoes have a little surprise when viewed in profile:

dscf0845.jpg

The wedge eliminates that pesky little problem of getting your heels stuck in street grates (or pulling a Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner and meeting your soul-mate) However, the wedge also prevents the possibility of using your shoe as a means of self-defense: If you tried to hit a guy with them, they’d probably just bounce off his head.

dscf0846.jpg

The Purple Pizzazz have this adorable little toe design and even came with a dust bag to prevent dust from settling in the ridges.

The Purple Pizzazz are made by Seychelles. Most probably have not heard of the brand — they are mid-level. Brand new, these shoes probably would’ve cost $80-100. Seychelles began in the 1994 and re-invented itself in 1999, supporting a new fashion movement that emphasized individual style. In the late ’90s and early ’00s, shopping at boutiques and finding hot vintage fashion started becoming vogue again. Seychelles creates cute new shoes that have a vintage twist.

I do find a dab of irony in the fact that a shoe manufacturing company supports individual style.

Purple Pizzazz Greatest Moment: Being bought. My best friend L and I were shopping at this awesome discount store in Rogers, Arkansas called Dollar Saver. On the outside it looks totally ghetto, but inside are a bunch of terrific designer clothes sold for dirt cheap because they are from a few years ago or from stores that went out of business. I’ve gotten some of my favorite clothing at this store, and the adorable luggage in the shoe rack photo below is from the store. L and I now have matching luggage because of Dollar Saver, and we have matching Purple Pizzazz. At first we started negotiating on who would buy the Purple Pizzazz because what type of friends wear matching shoes? Third-grader friends, that’s who. But then I told her I wouldn’t buy them unless she bought them, and now we have an agreement that we will be sure we are not dressed alike when going out together.

There was that one time when we out to Starbucks both wearing teal and brown stripes with yellow purses, but that was just an unfortunate fluke in the system.

Nesting

November 4, 2007

Why, you may ask, would this easy-assemble, flimsy piece of plastic and metal fill the life of Ann Clipperton with such startling rightness?

before.jpg

I’ll tell you why. Or better yet, I’ll show you:

after.jpg

Ah, yes. The shoes are on their shoe rack: All’s right with the world. And I must say, you should be quite impressed with how many pairs of shoes I got rid of before moving. A lot. And cute ones. Friend AA even asked me why I was getting rid of such cute shoes. BECAUSE I HAVE TO, I nearly screamed as I thrust the shoes away from me and into a cardboard box before I lost my gumption. Still, these are the survivors, the bravest of shoes, and in their honor I think I might begin the Shoe Diaries this week. Why, you may ask? Because my shoes deserve some publicity. They carry me around all day and rarely get a thank you.

And I have cute feet.

Selling the Garage?

October 12, 2007

Tomorrow marks the day of a monumental garage sale of epic proportions. Friends, I am selling my life away. Tomorrow morning I will arise before the sun to ready myself in the cool morning air and to stack the majority of my personal belongings on card tables outside and wait for strangers to drop by and purchase them.

My friend A observed all the shoes that I am getting rid of, and she said, “What are you going to wear for shoes?”

“Oh,” I said, “I’ve got shoes.” Many, many shoes. And I love them as if they were my own intestines. Sometime I will have to put up a shoe blog, chronicling the stories of my shoes and their specific personalities. But for right now, it’s time to sleep.

A Little Splurge

October 8, 2007

For the most part I’ve been very good about saving money for the past few months. A few hurdles have risen out of the ground, but financial discipline is starting to come easier for me. I’ve eliminated most eating out except for a few evenings with friends. My relationship to shoes, bags, and clothes has become one akin to Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie: Once we were the best of friends, but now we avoid each other. I’ve even been excellent at not buying things from the GAP, where I work part-time, even though I have this terrific discount. There was that one time I bought a pair of khaki pants off the sale rack for $6, and then that other time I found a pair of jeans for $5 off the sale rack. Just about anyone would agree, however, that those were wise buys.

Over the weekend, I did a little shopping.  I am the Maid of Honor in my dear cousin Sara’s wedding in about three weeks, and I had to find some brown shoes to go with my dress. I found a terrific pair at Dillard’s. But seriously. Did you see the price on those? Yeah. Saving money does not include spending $100 on shoes (Arkansas sales tax is around 9%).

So, I headed over to F-Town, the only place nearby that has a Target. Translation: cute shoes that are also cheap! Isaac Mizrahi has revitalized the life of many-a woman. I found these fantastic shoes, which, like the expensive Antonio Melani ones, were just what I was looking for — cute, subtle details with a sleek, professional look. And they were on sale! For $25! And that, of course, meant that they didn’t have my size. Being a former Target employee, I happen to know that you can take an item to the service desk and find out the closest location of another store that has the item. Because there aren’t many Targets in Arkansas (this is Wal-Mart country, y’all), I asked them to check in Minnesota (it is Target country, you guys). And bingo — they had them. My mom picked them up last night for the sale price. Boo-yeah!

I also bought a few other things because there were some incredible sales going on. I also need a few warm things for my move to Minnesota. I’m getting there just in time for winter. So, I found this at Target:

dscf0721.jpg

I bought these glasses at the ACB Thrift Store here in Rogers. Unfortunately, I can’t wear them for anything but photographs because they keep sliding off my face. I wonder if ladies in the seventies had this problem. I’m usually not a big fan of faux-vintage clothes, but in this case the colors and style worked so perfectly that I had to run with it.

I’m generally also not a big fan of Charlotte Russe: Home of the Skanky Clubbin’ Outfit. But there was this:

dscf0725.jpg

(Again, model face.) A bag. For $3. And look how terrific it looks with that stripe of tubing between the two bold colors.

dscf0727.jpg

And then there were the shoes. The T.J. Maxx shoes. $15 for a pair of Michael Kors shoes is not something a girl can pass up.

dscf0729.jpg

Fab. u. lous.