Summer, as told by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s officially summer! Deep in the winter months, it seems like summer will never resurface, but it does! And it has! Today I thought I’d share with you a quote from The Great Gatsby, about summer and new beginnings:
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“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

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Halloween Highlights…

I wish I could dress like this every day. Halloween night, my sisters and I all got ready together in our 1920s finery, my blonde sister emulating Daisy Buchanan and my brunette sister looking like she’d stepped straight out of a 1920s film strip:

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Most of the fun of Halloween is getting your costume together and being wowed by the end result. Seriously, we all wished we could be this pretty all the time. As for myself, I was so, so pleased with how my costume turned out; I thought I channeled Jordan Baker very well, if I do say so myself.Photo Oct 31, 6 49 41 PM

Dressed up in flapper chic, we went downtown to the West Village to check out this year’s parade, but ended up taking our time sipping gin martinis at a bar, and then roaming the streets with the rest of New York’s Halloween attendees! My brother-in-law was awesome as Jay Gatsby, in a black tux and carrying around a plastic coupe. He was recognized everywhere he went with three flappers on his arm, so that by the end of the night more people addressed him first as “Mr. Gatsby.” It was pretty awesome!

Here are some highlights of my night:

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It was a night of selfies, what can I say? 馃槈

a Jordan Baker Halloween

“The bored haughty face that [Jordan] turned to the world concealed something…”

I’ve never been a flapper for Halloween and always wanted to be, but this year I’ll be more than just a flapper: my costume is inspired by Jordan Baker’s costume in the聽2013 film version聽of聽The Great Gatsby, which I’m sure you know I’m obsessed with. I like the idea of my costume being semi-literature related, and the costume idea made me delve deeper into Jordan Baker’s character, and I realized I never paid her enough attention whenever I read聽Gatsby. Here’s a telling description of her:

Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body.

Jordan is a professional golfer, so a self-made woman in a way. She was suspected of cheating during a game, moving the ball from “a bad lie.” Interesting choice of words, huh? She spends a lot of time in the beginning of the novel with Nick Carraway, who is “half in love with her” but lets her go when he begins to realize that she’s a careless person too, just like Daisy聽and Tom Buchanan.

A lot of Jordan’s characterization is sacrificed in the movie, but with costumes like these, it’s hard to care:

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I’m modeling my costume after her black dress, and I like that the clothes I’ve chosen don’t have a typical drop-waist silhouette. I have this irregular hem skirt and a halter top, along with a whole lot of jewelry. I’ve still got some shopping to do but I’ll post the costume here when it’s done! Can’t wait for Halloween…

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DIY: Gatsby Heels

A few months ago I wrote this post on my love for Carey Mulligan’s Gatsby-inspired Vogue spread last year. I decided to recreate the blush pink shoes she is wearing in one of the photos, and the process was actually really fun, although time consuming. Today I wanted to share with you all聽some pictures of the process along with details.

I have to preface this by saying I really didn’t know what I was doing until I started, and it just happened to work out! So if any of you want to try DIY projects but aren’t really 100% sure you know what to do, just try! The worst thing that can happen is a messed-up shoe and maybe some gluey fingers.

What I wanted:

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So, I started with black and white heels from Alibaba, that kind of cheap online store with shoes that tend to smell funny:

IMG_4872 IMG_5004And I bought two kinds of metallic paint (same finish is important), lots of jewels and beads, paintbrushes, E-6000 glue, and high gloss finishing spray. I also borrowed a box cutter (very sharp!) and laid down some old rags to work on.聽J5184x3456-82031J5184x3456-82041J5184x3456-82044J5184x3456-82053J5184x3456-82066J5184x3456-82096-2As you can see from these pictures, first I stenciled out the cut-outs that appear on the original heel. Then, because I got nervous, I switched over to painting the black heel the same off-white as the shoe upper. I used a Martha Stewart acrylic paint with a satin finish and it came out so well! See more…

After painting the heel and stenciling the design, I carefully used to box cutter to slice into the shoe. I did this in a quick, strong swipe to make the cut smooth. It’s dangerous, so be careful! I put a pincushion inside the shoe to absorb the blade on the other side.

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Then it was time to paint the shoe. I used a combination of copper metallic paint and silver metallic paint to achieve a blush pink tone. I painted two coats of the mixture on the toe and then swiped a bit of the paint on the rim of the shoe to cover all the black. I also dabbed a little of the pink paint on the inside of the cuts I made, to match the original shoe.

After came the fun, but very meticulous, bedazzling of the heel. This challenged my patience but it was also really satisfying in a way!

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I used a tweezer to dip the rhinestone into a pool of glue and then stuck it on the heel–about 200 times (this took a couple weeks. My stubborn personality was a major factor in the success of this project). I bought bigger stones for the top of the heel and also put some pearls in there for good measure. 聽聽J5184x3456-82033Finally, they were finished and dried. I sprayed a light coat of high shine spray on the cap toe and it came out dazzling. The E-6000 glue is supposed to hold up to anything, but just in case, I’ve saved a few stones to replace should any go missing!

The inspiration:

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The finished project:

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Hope you enjoyed! See my other shoe DIYs by clicking the tab above or going here.

 

 

Literature and Fashion, 1920s Style

In the summer of 2013 I gathered all my courage to see聽The Great Gatsby in theaters, and found with delight that I聽loved it. I thought the film captured all the drama, emotional nuances, and pain of the story, but adapted it to fit a contemporary audience with a eye for spectacle. I may have loved the clothes even more, though. When the May 2013 Vogue spread starring Carey Mulligan hit magazine stands, I salivated over the clothes. It also helps that Mulligan is gorgeous and that her looks are so well-suited for a 20s-themed shoot.

The pictures were so beautiful that I couldn’t help clipping out the photos and making a collage, arranging the photos in a frame that I hung on my wall (I say this like it’s new, but really, half my wall space is filled with collaged magazine spreads). I especially loved that these photos, full of gorgeous 1920s fashion, also incorporated one of my favorite novels. Seriously, it was Keira Knightley’s聽Pride and Prejudice聽all over again.

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I also typed out my favorite line from the novel and printed it on vellum paper so I could lay it on the photo spread.

It was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness

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In other news, now I can’t stop staring at the shoes Carey Mulligan is wearing in the blush pink dress. I think it may be about the time I start another project… 馃槈

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Today I scoured the Internet looking for cream heels in a similar shape. So far, little luck, but that’s never daunted me before. I’m sure a strange blush-pink homemade shoe tutorial is in this blog’s future.

Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction–Gatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to聽the promises of life…This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of “creative temperament”–it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such that I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No–Gatsby turned out all right in the end; it was what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.” (6-7)

It’s passages like these that make me love聽Gatsby聽(and Gatsby), and make me drunk on the beauty of Fitzgerald’s prose. I’m such a sucker for a tragic love story and a lonely boy.

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