Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 331: What You Can See From Space

Last year, for those who may not know, I went on a holiday to the States. (Have a look in my archives for days starting the tenth of November for a blow-by-blow—I know you haven't got anything else to do!) I'm quite—how shall we put this?—um, 'anal', I suppose. And so I am still trying to get days from last year written up on this blog instead of letting time flow it's organic course. Oh, well. Acceptance of one's foibles is a good thing, isn't it? Foibles are what give us character—even if that character drives our nearest-and-dearest absolutely batty.

Irene               List_Addict*

* And Mr Pickles


This day was a little bit like being abducted by aliens again. (Did I mention the last time? I looked up, saw two signs in sequence that announced a street to the right and a speed limit. Then I looked down, looked up again quite a few seconds later and saw the exact same combination of signs after what should have already been the turn-off. The only explanation: a microscopically mistimed re-entry after alien abduction.) Only this time, the aliens had no care how large the gap was between taking and returning. It extended from just after visiting the Pima Air Museum to dinner (which I only recalled when V—— just reminded me a few moments ago—you think I am anal, he has what we had for dinner every night in his diary). There is another explanation. Possibly. I was rather unwell. The first story is more exciting. But even though I mostly sat on a chair (in a museum or in a bus) for the most part, I do think it is worth telling you about this amazing place: The Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.


There are some mind-boggling things that you can see on Google Maps. Diagon Alley for example. Or the pirate's face if you zoom in on the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. Or just lots of people doing odd things while the Google truck goes past (see a summary here at Mashable—be warned, there are some rude ones so don't look if you are easily offended.) It was Google Maps that brought us to Tucson. For this. The Pima Air and Space Museum, along with having lots of very cool planes on site—like the Blackbird: highest (25 kilometers), fastest (3500 km/hour)—also conducts tours onto the base which houses the Boneyard (AMARG: Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group). On one side of the highway (the left) you can see there in the middle of the picture are the planes being kept in storage for re-use; on the other is the true boneyard where parts are farmed to repair planes still in action. The guide was amazing. So many stories. I won't tell you too much because I think you should check it out if you ever find yourself in the vicinity. Now I am intrigued now by the paranoia of the Cold War. I think I'll read about that a bit. It sounds like it has foibles aplenty.

Clockwise from top left: Planes and hills; Planes and sky; Planes and sky; Paper planes

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Jacket: Thrifted, Savers Las Vegas, Nevada (yay, a demin one at last!!)
Earrings: Lovisa
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Felt Attack'


Photographer de Jour: Moi——


Who Wore It Better?



Sharing the love with:



Lena B, Actually


Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 326: Minus Seven

List_Addict               Irene

For the information of anyone new, transient or lost, my posts are all over the place. I wanted to post on this project, everyday, for a 1001 days, but am hopelessly behind and flailing like a just-caught pike to catch up. Posts in the early day-three-hundred-and-teen or twenties, like this one, are all about my recent million-years-ago holiday to the States. Unfortunately, though, I have run out of pictures of me wearing things in the States and so for the rest of the tale about my trip, we are back to 'Who Wore it Better?', featuring clothing items thrifted on my holiday. Today is the first such day. I picked up this little dress at the Savers in Lubbock, Texas (claim to fame: birthplace of Buddy Holly). Poor V—— was ill. Stoicly he waited in the car for me to spend ages looking for clothes and I certainly ended up with a trolley-worth. But a trolley worth of items I was instantly in love with comes with the five-items-at-a-time change-room dilemma. What happens to the treasure-trolley? People will surely covet what I have and steal it while I am in the cubicle. (Yes, I do have a low judgement of my fellow humans.) So I tried on as much as I could in mirrors around the store, and then I spent some (futile) time trying to get V——'s attention through the window of my store and his car so he could security-guard it, and finally I figured it was worth the three dollars to take it home untried. It is a hundred percent plastic, but a hundred percent colour too, so I think it was three bucks well spent.


Did I tell you that bad weather in the States seems to follow us? We went to America in 2010 and drove from Florida to Washington, D.C. On the evening we got to Washington, there was a blizzard. I was driving. We are talking about people who do not see snow, let along drive in the stuff, on a normal day to day basis. Or ever. Poor V—— had to hang out the window of the car to tell me if I was in a lane on the freeway. We just made the last train from the drop off point for the vehicle at the airport before they closed down the train system and we spent a day in the city where not a single thing but one Starbucks and one McDonalds was open. I believe the White House is, but we couldn't see it against the snow. Same thing happened this trip. An unseasonal 'cold snap' hit the states which I thought were the ones free wheelin' American retirees pointed the noses of their RVs towards for the winter months because they are warm. Reports said the storm would hit overnight. In the morning we found ice on puddles but no snow. As we headed out of Santa Fe towards Roswell, we started to encounter snowy roads and the dashboard instruments kept warning us of 'low outside temperatures'. We spent the majority of the day at minus seven. Celsius. We didn't pack well for this. It is generally okay. You can't spend too much time outdoors, but you can bounce from heated vehicle to heated building. The only problem for the day was that there wasn't that much between here and there, and so when that (girly) point was reached, the one where it was 'I need to go to the bathroom—NOW!!', the only option was a turn off onto a quiet country road and a run into a bush. At minus seven with a windchill factor of 'eek', that wasn't a pleasant stop. We also made the rooky mistake of thinking that some water on the windscreen would make visibility clearer. Mmmm. No. Sheet of ice. But despite all this coldness, we still managed, after a dinner accompanied by the largest and yummiest michelada ever (for the uninitiated: Tabasco, other spicy things, piles of lime juice and ice, a salted rim, and with a dark Mexican beer poured on top; the Mexican version of a Bloody Mary and simply divine), to stop in at Dairy Queen for an ice cream. It wasn't busy in there.

Clockwise from left: Our views for the day; the bush; colour in the snow: cool/tacky roadside souvenir stores

The Outfit
Dress: Thrifted, Lubbock, Texas
Kinomo: Op-shopped
Shoes: Myers


Photographer de Jour: Moi


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

pleated poppy


button



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 325: O.K.

I always felt an affinity with Georgia O'Keeffe. I couldn't put my finger on it. But maybe the docent at her museum in Santa Fe narrowed it down for me. She wasn't, it seems, that enamoured with people. There are very few in her paintings; she lived this amazing life (when she finally could) in the vast spaces of New Mexico; and she famously said: I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then. I love the word docent. It's new to me, but prevalent in museums in the States, it seems. It's a quite, soft word. A storyteller word. I once did one of those tests where they work out what kind of a learner you are—visual, tactile, auditory—and I ended up as the last. I love to listen to stories, but only those told by a real person in my presence. And in fact I prefer to be an anonymous listener—not one on one. An eavesdropper, if you will. But the docent at this museum was magnificent and I could have sat on that hard little bench and listened to him all day. The subject matter helped. Goergia was a feisty thing, driven, opinionated. The men of her day all thought she was this magnificent female voice of the Freudian, speaking out for the repressed feminine sexuality. But she just liked to paint flowers, and shapes. There is a great painting in her series of Arum lilies which she dedicates to her husband Alfred Stieglitz, a prominent art promoter, photographer and proponent of Freudian themes in her work, but in which the phallic part of the flower is, shall we say, foreshortened. Funny lady.

List_Addict               Irene

We visited three types of second hand place today: a second hand cowboy boot shop, a standard thrift store and a consignment store. The last was an interesting experience and I spent much too much. I couldn't work out how the tags worked. There were subtle variations of colour which represented different percentages of discount. 'The peach ones are thirty percent off, but the apricot is full priced', for example. I re-scanned everything once I thought I had worked them out and selected a couple of pieces which then seemed to be charged to me at full price at the register. I left confused and willing to stick to thrift stores. The boot shop was lovely, nice people, heaps of boots. But because I have one pair now (here, here or here), the second pair I want is a fantasy pair based on ones I saw someone wearing years and years ago, which I can't quite recall, but which I will know when I see them. I didn't see them. And the last store, a Salvation Army, had an interesting clientele. It was prime eaves-dropping real estate and a great source of cheap leathers for skinny people. I indulged in the first, and except for a doesn't-quite-fit-but-can't-pass-it-by purple suede and snakeskin eighties iconic jacket, I didn't indulge in the second. I vacillate often on the topic of buying things that don't fit, but that I love and hope to one day squeeze into. It's why I have just as many unfitting clothes as fitting, and why this blog must go on beyond it's planned three hundred and sixty-five days, and until I have worn everything. Oh dear. What have I created? The definition of infinity?

Clockwise from left: adobe, colour, and the New Mexico flag; Santa Fe main street and law enforcement; street art

The Outfit
T-shirt/holiday pj's: Thailand market stall
Cardigan: Op-shopped
Skirt: Op-shopped
Leggings: Target
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

Totally Posted Tuesday

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 324: How to Kill a Bargain

Irene and I could not be any further apart than this moment. I'm dressed for the snow. She, if you aren't aware, was spending her holiday in Thailand, lazing on a beach, drinking cocktails and ending up sore and pink every evening, covered in aloe vera. I mean, look at her skin. Pure alabaster. She shouldn't be outside without a golf umbrella. And at least three layers of zinc. Actually, maybe that is three layers of zinc.

This day on the (now past) holiday consisted of a thrift-stop in Alamosa. The store was divided into two parts—very cheap horrible stuff, and prize-picked and over-inflated-ly priced stuff. I managed to salvage two pairs of cropped jeans (patterned pink ones which have since been described as looking like pjs, but I like them, and my first ever white pair—eek!) and then find a fantastic boxy fur jacket. The jacket was thirty dollars, but afterwards I found a thrift-shop label in the pocket which said fifty. My theory: they put a label in the pocket as a fool-safe for people who change the outer label. But no-one checked the pocket at the checkout. I was happy with the price and started wearing it straight away. I felt a little sore-thumb when we stopped in a hippy-vegan coffee shop for the morning lattes, but I soon discovered it was a fake and so I am okay with wearing it around non-fur-lovers. I would, two days later, leave this jacket in a hotel room in Santa Fe and have to call them to get it sent home. I like it. The bargain coat cost me eighty dollars to get shipped to Australia. Not such a bargain any more. I still love it, but it does look a little shabby for a one hundred and ten dollar jacket now.

List_Addict               Irene

We stopped in Los Alamos, the secret location, for so long, of the Manhattan Project. I suppose we have to have these museums to sadness. Museums like Ground Zero, or the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Museums that show us the infinite cruelty of man to man. Museums like the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos, which details the history and science of the Nuclear. For much of the exhibit, there is an attempt to look at the advantages of nuclear technology, and the other work done by the labratories in the area to make life better for people (eh, questionable?), but you can't side-step the fact that they made two enormous bombs because of the minds in this area and dropped them on hundreds of thousands of civilians. People ask how else they would have stopped the war. I don't know the answer. But there appears to be reports that the Emperor of Japan was not against surrender, but rather against wholesale surrender on the Allies terms. Surely that implies some discussion could have happened without this resort. And what about the fact that the people in the know regarding nuclear weapons were not really sure what would happen if they let one go, but they did it anyway. But do you know what the worst thing about this museum was? Do you? They had all these kiddie sections with mind puzzles where you had to sit on tiny kid's chairs and get a sore back. And neither of us could do the damn things! So annoying. But seriously. Sad place.

We booked into a hotel in Santa Fe for two nights. We're having a rest day! Whoo hoo. And we spent the evening doing laundry. I love laundries. They're like waiting at airports or sitting on trains. Times when you can't do anything else but peacefully wait for the finish of the spin cycle.

Top to Bottom: It was a cloud-watching kind of day, around Alamosa and Los Alamos

The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped (and now cleared from the closet as well)
Fake Fur Coat: Thrifted, Savers, Lubbock, Texas (not the one spoken about above, another one)
Jeans: Target
Scarf: Op-shopped
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: Moi


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

Thrifters Anonymous


stillbeingmolly


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 323: Ordinary Days

Some days on holiday are 'nothing' days. Astonishing things don't happen; epic sights aren't seen. Some days you have quiet lunches in little diners and read a quote that moves you in the restroom (what was it again V——?). Some days you find out there is a thrift shop down the road and spend a little time browsing and eavesdropping on the volunteers talking about the flatmates that annoy them and the horror movies they are going to watch tonight, and then hear them telling someone they can have the unpriced box brownie camera for ten dollars because the other camera they have in is fifteen and it has a case—the sensation that comes with that person knowing they just scored a major bargain is palpable and joyous.

List_Addict               Irene

Some days you drive across the flatness between two lots of mountains and when you approach the range on the other side the sky is piled with clouds that have crashed up against it and formed lenticular clouds (see below) that explain the numerous sightings of 'ufo's' on this extraterrestrial highway. And you stop in petrol station/shop/cafes in towns, with populations in the two figures, where the local constabulary and sundry are gathered around the only table and everyone stops talking and looks your way when you walk in. There is an Australian women serving there? In her fifties at a guess: she tells us she ended up here on her spiritual quest. She wears a name badge with 'Shell I Am' on it and takes it in her stride when, on returning the 'why are you here?' question, we tell her 'to look for spaceships'. 'Yes, the best spot is under the mountain over there. We meditate and it brings them to us. I've seen them, big as football fields.' Some days you pick the motel in Alamosa that has the best internet coverage all holiday, and walk out in the freezing, full mooned night to have Italian dinner as the only diners in a place the other side of the Rio Grande when it is still a little river underserving of it's name. Some days are extraordinarily ordinary.

Clockwise from top: Spaceships or clouds?, morning views from our balcony in Ouray, Samsung Siri getting in on the 'alternative' road name game

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Dalmation Cardigan: Thrifted, Savers Las Vegas
Scarf: Op-shopped
Leggings: Target
Sunnies: Gifted, Oroton
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

pleated poppy






Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 322: Million Dollar Baby

A driving holiday is not as simple a holiday as it seems. Or am I just doing it wrong? The theory is: get a car, get a map, roam around and discover amazing things, have no plan, don't drive all day. But it turns out that an infinity of options is disabling. Big picture, I think it is part of what ails us in the world—when you can be and do anything, anything at all, how on earth do you choose? How on earth do you commit? Too many options and no plan are not liberating, they are cloying. Back to small picture though, I actually got an insight into a possible answer to that question (it would be great if I could adapt that to the big picture sometime soon, as the time for deciding what I want to be when I grow up is rapidly diminishing). I handed the map over to V—— and asked him to decide the general direction we should head in the next day. I had formulated an idea of my own already but wanted to see what V—— wanted to do. The process of watching V—— try to make his own ideas made me realise how, when presented with a great unknown, we can start to make a decision anyway. Literally, and metaphorically, all you can do is look at where you are, keep a thought on where you came from (as it is rarely in your advantage to go back) and then scout around for what sounds interesting going forward, and commit to going there. You can't see everything or go everywhere, you don't know what any one decision will bring over and above any other. There is no way to know that. And so you have to take a hunch and go for it. It is profoundly simple and astonishingly difficult at the same time. On a road trip it means 'let's go to the Four Corners and then head up along the Million Dollar Highway—that sounds interesting'; in life it means 'let's apply for a PhD and spend five years writing a paper with the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I will be too old to be seriously considered for a professorship when I am finished and so it will all have been in vain'.

Irene               List_Addict

So we went to Four Corners. Samsung Siri confirmed it is smack bang on the point where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona come together. We lunched and wandered in a little town called Durango. And then we got on the Million Dollar Highway and went skywards to the snow. It is called that because the soil used to build it has gold ore in it (apparently). I think I slightly misread the guide book as to which direction was the best to go on this stretch of road if you have a fear of heights. It has a distinct lack of guard railing as it twists around, at altitude, through Coloradian mountains on roads lined with ice. I thought we would be on the inside hugging the cliff. Turns out we weren't. And given we are used to driving on the left side of the road (ie. the right side of the road, ie. the correct side of the road), driving on the right (ie. the wrong side of the road) means we tend to stray rightwards a bit. This is a little daunting when all there is on the right is a thousand feet down a mountainside. Tense. But beautiful. And life-affirming. And the sun setting slowly made the mountains and the snow look like rose gold and so it really did seem like a million dollars. And we had a twinkie—what is that? We stayed the night in the gorgeous little town of Ouray where two weeks later it would be minus thirty-one overnight. V—— got very excited for me when Annie, at the Ouray Brewery, asked for my ID. Bless her, she played along and called me 'timeless', but I know she would just ask everyone because it is easier than not and missing one!

Clockwise from left: They like big flags around here; Four Corners; We find snow on the Million Dollar Highway

The Outfit
Jacket: The North Face
Skirt: Op-shopped
Leggings: Target
Scarf: Op-shopped
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

stillbeingmolly


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 321: Gruff Before Bluff

Even though I am now home, I am still going to tell you about my holiday in a blow-by-blow, day-to-day format. This is an entirely selfish attempt to log what I did before the Alzheimer's kicks in. Enjoy!

Apple has their Siri. Our GPS was actually a Samsung Note adapted into a guidance system, a (defunct) international phone call centre, a wifi hotspot and one other Twister-coloured function button for which I can't, for the life of me, now remember the actual function it performed. So we called her Samsung Siri. She sent us into the middle of the desert. Literally. In the technology version of 'be careful what you wish for', asking for directions simply to 'Monument Valley' takes you to the geographical centre of such said location. The geographical centre of Monument Valley is not the Monument Valley National Park Visitor's Centre (oddly), but the dusty bottom of a valley floor accessed via progressively deteriorating dirt tracks. Have I ever told you why I like maps? It was an adventure though. And proof that God, or whoever it is that is organising all this mess I like to call my life, doesn't approve of using nature as a bathroom. You can guess at which point in the long gap between facilities the one and only other vehicle who maybe had a Samsung Siri directing them turned up in the middle of nowhere to drive past us. Lesson learned: use the wifi hotspot to get a specific address and Samsung Siri will take you right there. Regret: no more random adventures.

List_Addict               Irene

I'm rather fond of my own company. I don't annoy myself as much as most other pople annoy me, I generally tend to agree with most of my own opinions and I share a fairly similar moral, political, religious and supernatural belief system with myself. We get along. This insular little relationship gets more necessary for me as I age. Poor V——. I have to say that I may have had more, and more extreme, 'reactions' to lack of alone time this holiday than I have had on holidays to date. I was particularly grumpy today. Do you ever find yourself grumpier than normal on a holiday? Besides no alone time, lack of toilets time, can't decide what to do time, another serious detriment to a holiday is expectations. We plan holidays, we look forward to them, we get ideas of what may happen, which then develope into things we think will definitely happen. And then, like a fully loaded truck sliding on icy roads towards you, reality hits. And you forget to enjoy yourself as much as you can, regardless of what is happening. You forget that compared to normal life, this is heaven, even if it isn't exactly the way you hoped it would be. The silver lining is that when you do get home again, all this stuff is insignificant, and nostalgia imbues the whole holiday with wonder. So it all turns out okay in the end. These were the expectation I had that didn't quite come to fruition: cheap but amazing vintage clothing in thrift stores; stopping in small towns with great personalities and diners; going slow; taking stunning photos of detail; not being on freeways. So the combination of all these sorts of triggers meant that the main thing I did at the Monument Valley Visitor's Centre was storm around trying to walk off a heavy, heavy funk filled with unreasonable and unexplainable rage. I did also see some amazing scenery and get Wesley a Sheriff's badge and deputise him. So it wasn't a total loss.

The moon is full and it pops out, enormous, over all the amazing rock formations scattered around here. We stayed the night in the cutest hotel in a place called Bluff. Gretchen's Inn is becoming a distant memory.

Clockwise from top: the classic Monument Valley photograph, sunsets in the mirror are closer than they appear; Monument Valley Sheriff

The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped
Jeans: Target
Scarf: Op-shopped
Sunnies: Gifted, Oroton
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

stillbeingmolly






Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 320: (Nearly) Speechless

You can't describe, adequately, the Grand Canyon. You can't capture it on film (or digitally—film actually has a better chance in the right hands). You just have to experience it, if you can. What more can I say? A very, deep and wide ravine, amazing in the sunlight and shadow play of the progressing day. It would be great to live in the vicinity of the Canyon, or be able to stay over an extended time. I, being a person too spoiled by my chances, have journeyed to the Grand Canyon twice and both times, regretfully, the air was hazy. If you lived close by you could come in every day until that day when the air was crisp and you felt, with intense clarity, the presence of design in nature. It is there anyway, and I am sure there are no bad days at the Grand Canyon.

List_Addict               Irene

The weather is considerably cooler. Writing this from the future, I can reassure our clerk, at the Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan, that he is not quite correct about it getting really warm as soon as we get off this plateau. This will be, instead the start of the cold spell. We can't help but take it personally. Last time V—— and I came to to the States we drove into a blizzard that closed down all but one McDonalds and one Starbucks (or so it seemed) in Washington DC. Yes, that rather large city, completely closed. This time we have a storm in states that are supposed to be desert, a storm so large they actually sat down and named it—Boreas. But that's still a couple of sunny days away. Lucky we packed for all occasions—bathers through to thermals.

We paid more tonight at the Red Feather Lodge. And we got more. Shower able showers, sleepable linen, the ability to walk barefoot.

Clockwise from top left: Fallstreak (cloud collected) in the sunset sky; strawberry margarita at dinner< (with cream on top??); full moon rising over the Canyon

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Jacket: The North Face
Leggings: Target
Beanie: River Island, London (and it gets a lot of comments)
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

stillbeingmolly


My Thrifty Chic


Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 319: On The Road

The taxi driver who took us to the airport car hire place had come to Vegas in 1955, when he was seven. Old Vegas, the one run by the Mob, was the time to be in Vegas, he reckoned. He'd introduced himself to Howard Hughes one day out on the street. He'd been happy to meet our taxi driver, but couldn't stay and chat 'because he was a busy man'. He wouldn't even shake his hand. He was reportedly meant to be quite paranoid, but our taxi driver remembered it as one of his best ever days. He obviously hasn't been to the Neon Museum. But I imagine Old Vegas would have been so much fun. Sleazy in a classy way, dangerous in a fun way, charismatic and charming. I am of the wrong time.

Irene               List_Addict

Car hire and security for your business or home are two of the dodgiest businesses there are. The latter doesn't really apply to me except at work, but if you ever decide to pay a company to do your security, please, please, please scrutinise, with an electron microscope, the inclusions. Saying the police will be notified as soon as the alarm sounds does not mean that it will meet the police criteria to attend (like is it an approved security company, or will keys be attending or was it your staff forgetting the keypad numbers again). The former does apply to me. Is it so bad to quote a real price for car hire rather than an optical illusion and scare tactics on arrival so that add-ons end up more expensive than the initial hire quote. We got the basic insurance, the additional driver, and even the GPS (which was quite a deal because it is also a wifi hotspot for up to five devices, and on most occasions makes up for the previous lack of that service). Oh well. It is not like I have children to leave it to. A man in the bus from Fremont yesterday was expounding his money theory: 'If you want your kids to remember you when you die, spend their inheritance. They'll think of you every day.'

Car hired, the rest of the day was a mad dash to the West Rim and the horseshoe over the Canyon; a mad dash over the horseshoe (we had to run to the last shuttle); a mad dash back out on the dirt road before sunset and a mad dash to find accommodation—this being our first night of winging it. Our GPS was being temperamental (code for: we had no idea what we were doing) and so we hedged a bet and headed to Bullhead City. Then we went to the first motel we saw with a Vacancy sign, panicked by the idea that if we didn't take up this offer, we'd be stuck. Gretchen's Inn. We thought it was cheap until we saw the room. Compared to what we have got for twenty more a night since, it was a rip-off. I wouldn't walk anywhere without at least socks on, if I had been more stinky I still wouldn't have showered, the bedding was frightening and I got a rash on my arm the next day which I am convinced was some sort of venereal disease associated with that room. But it is a memory that will invite reminiscence for years, and it is a yard stick for everything that comes up for offer now. If everything for miles around looks like Gretchen's Inn, there is always the car—even if it is minus four outside. Well ...?

Top: Grand Canyon; Bottom: Fremont Street Experience Detail 'Pinball Wizard: The Who'

The Outfit
T-shirt: Op-shopped
Jacket: Thrifted in Vegas
Skirt: Op-shopped
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

Lena B, Actually


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 318: No Vacancy

The anticipated trip to Savers, Las Vegas. I think our taxi driver found it a little odd that we were leaving a suite at Caesar's and going thrift shopping. But many people don't prioritise well. Personally I would prefer clean feather pillows, a heavenly mattress, bright white towels and the fantasy of what it would be like to have more storage space than stuff (Ha! Like that would ever happen—it's the handbag theory: no matter the size, a gal will fill it!) and clothes with 'worn charisma', than a Chanel suit, a hard synthetic pillow with a thousand head shapes imprinted into it and a plastic bath tub. Although I am aware that some people get both the 'good' things (and some get both the 'bad'). It's all about perspective.

I now have twelve new items to showcase in the future, as well as a couple of accessories. My thoughts? Truthfully? I had the idea I would be able to get amazing vintage for bargain prices. Didn't happen. I really wanted to get things I wouldn't be able to get at home. The very nature of thrifting probably makes that a given anyway. I got things ordinary and things fabulous—even if not vintage—including a couple of jackets, a cape (can one have too many capes?), some eighties vintage (Oh Lord, does not feel right to say that when you went through that era the first time!) and a jumpsuit. They kindly signed me up to the Savers Club and all in all I spent a hundred dollars on fifteen items. Not bad.

List_Addict               Irene

In the evening we toured the Neon Museum. Look at it on Google maps. You can see the giant head that once adorned the Treasure Island Casino looking up at the satellites—kinda spooky. It was a lot more informative and interesting than I thought it would be. A little history of Vegas and Old Vegas, of the mafia being taken over by the modern mafia more commonly known as big corporations. And stunning signs-so iconic. One of my best hours.

We stopped at The Fremont Street Experience on the way back. Whoo! Loud. And then we found ourselves at a bar called 'Five o'clock somewhere'—which we worked out, at that given time, was New Zealand. When I have cocktails, I normally tell V—— that they don't have any alcohol in them and let him taste. He chokes a little and refutes me. But honestly, they don't taste like it. Did the same here and he nearly fell off his seat. I could even taste the alcohol. It must be a ploy to get you to gamble. I had two drinks. I was absolutely stonkered! And obsessed with the idea of a steak and fries. Funny how, in a place as enormous and mindful of your carnal needs as Vegas, it is sometimes hard to find somewhere to eat. We ended up in our suite. Do you think that the in-room dining menu you get in those two upper floors—the ones you can only access by putting a card in the slot in the elevator—is different from the ones in the rooms on the twenty-seven other floors? Are they priced to reflect the people who would normally pay twenty-five hundred a night to stay? Either way, starving though I was, there was no way in the universe I was paying fifty-nine dollars for a steak. I wasn't that drunk, but still, alcohol is a really bad idea!

Clockwise from top: Neon signs, neon signs, neon signs, all too fantastic!

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Cardigan: Op-shopped
Leggings: Target
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

pleated poppy


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 317: Fortuitous

Sorry to all the lovely people who have been leaving me comments. The out-in-the-backwoods wifi we are experiencing makes blogging a long, drawn out, little circle spinning process and responding to fabulous commentators gets left in the red dust—please be patient. I will get back to you at some stage! Thank you.

And while I'm all conversational, does anyone know how to stop the god-darn-it spam visits. They are driving me nuts. It seems like I don't get as affected back home, but here in the States there are days when they number in the hundreds. I definitely know this little blog is not that popular. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

On with the day. This is a significant day and a day I had great plans for in the photo department, but I forgot, in the pre-departure scramble to change them from one electronic device to the other. It is Day 317. Now I find it because I see it, but there was a time when the number 317 would be coincidently everywhere—on the clock when I looked at the time, on the page when I gauged how far into a book I was, on a map reference when I had a refresher training at work, on a ticket waiting for my turn at a deli—everywhere? Disconcerting. I looked it up. It means, according to numerological sites I looked at, that you are on the right track. It was a right track kinda day.

Above: Irene               Below: List_Addict

I had the idea that we would be with a motley crew of alcoholic, gambling addicts, jittery and desperate to get to Vegas. Turned out it was more a bunch of tourists, like us, on short stay package holidays. We were the only ones with one-way tickets. It was, all in all, a fairly uneventful trip and before we knew it we were wheeling suitcases through the expanses of Harrah's Casino trying to find the strip to cross over to Caesar's Palace—and then trying to find the reception in that massive place. I have to say that Americans do seem to be the masters of the on-sell. Our receptionist tried very hard to talk us into a 'bargain' upgrade. And if not that, a sneaky 'did you want to check in now?', which, being an hour before the official check-in time, would have set us back another half a night's rate. Stern thank-you, but no thank yous later, he started enquiring as to whether we were there for a special occasion. We cited the special occasion of not being at work. And we also let him know that my parents had stayed there in '88 and V——'s in 77'—we were continuing a tradition. I think he was desperate to find a justification for it, but we were not helping and so in the end, with some wiggling eyebrows, he upgraded us to a suite. Gratis. Although we did worry for an hour, over lunch, while we waited for the actual check in time, whether we may have misled him, and the twenty-five hundred a night was to be charged to our cards. Phew! Turns out not. The suite was in-sane!! Lounge, dining, king-sized bed in a king-sized bedroom, more closet space than my and V——'s houses back home combined, a dressing room style nook and three—count them, one, two, three—bathrooms. All with separate toilets, one with a jacuzzi and a twin shower between two of them. In-sane!!! It took a lot to leave the room.

My Fitbit in LA and Vegas has me marked as an over-achiever with fifteen to twenty thousand (real) steps each day. We walked up to the Luxor which seemed to take forever because you can no longer walk along the sidewalk. They have, between most hotels, built walkways over the road which both assist, I guess, with traffic seeing as there are no pedestrians, and assist with funnelling people into casinos where I am sure they are hoping you will get lost and spend all your money. But we had a show to get to, and an hour and a quarter to get there. It took us forty-five minutes and it is definitely not that far in a straight, casino-less line. We saw Chris Angel's Believe. Awesome, funny, fun. We walked back on the other side of the strip which had more footpath, a Mexican restaurant for dinner (including a humungous michelada) and Marshall's. Sacrilege, but I couldn't find anything I liked—maybe I wasn't in the right head-space for shopping. Shattered! Lucky we had somewhere nice to lay our heads—when we eventually got back. The only other thing that I think we should have done is spent some money on the slots, because so far everything else about this day was very 317.

(Sorry for the length of this post ... eek!)

Clockwise from Top: The Strip, from the walkway between MGM Grand and New York, New York; my giant michelada; the fountains at Bellagio

The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped
Skirt: Op-shopped


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

My Thrifty Chic


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 316: Here We Go

Here we go! That was our guide's catch-cry whenever he finished telling us something. We heard it about forty-three times in all. The poor guy had a small tour for today's LA Highlights and Star's Homes Tacky Tour (gotta do it!). Fewer people, fewer tips for the same amount of work. And he was working with a hard audience. The other couple were Indian nationals who had been living in Pittsburg for three years. They were, to put it bluntly, blunt. They didn't seem to be listening, they came back late from everything, they went off when our guide was trying to show us things at the market, and they definitely didn't participate in any of the banter between driver and audience—that was left entirely to V—— and I.

Irene               List_Addict

In bus tour parlance the longer the word is, the longer you stay in a given spot. The three words they use are see, view and visit. Keeping that in mind, this is our tour. We saw Venice beach and visited Santa Monica Pier. We then viewed UCLA. 'How did you folks enjoy UCLA?', our guide enquired. Ha? We also viewed some star's homes including J'Lo's, what used to be Nick Cage's before he lost all his money, Aaron Spelling's, Paris Hilton's parents', where the Beatles stayed when they came to town and the Playboy Mansion. Then we headed up above the Hollywood Bowl for a visit, looking out across the valley to the Hollywood sign. From there we viewed Sean Penn and Orlando Bloom's houses. There was a viewing of Rodeo Drive and Sunset Boulevard with its infamous clubs. We visited the Farmer's Market for lunch (had a really yummy meal at Maggiano's Italian restaurant). We had a visit to Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which was annoyingly closed for some Hollywood function or other, and so we didn't get to hold concrete hands with any of our favourite stars, but we did have a long walk along the stars of the Walk of Fame. We had a view of the modern Downtown area and then visited the area where LA got its start—El Pueblo and Olvera Street. The driver gave us an extra, no-added-charge view of the home of the Lakers, but by that stage everyone was spent and simply stared out the window while he tried to allow time for photos. Not a shutter to be heard. And then back out to Anaheim seeing all the highways in between. It's tiring to sit in a bus being chauffeured around the place. Hard life, I know. Dinner was all we could manage before hitting the delightful Sheraton feather pillows.

Clockwise from top left: Hollywood sign; Walk of Fame; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Downtown

The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped
Cardigan: Op-shopped
Skirt: Op-shopped
Shoes: Teva


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

Join us! Click the Spotlight


Monday, November 11, 2013

Day 315: The Happiest Place on Earth

Happiest place on earth times two. We did ten and a bit hours of solid theme parking. Disneyland, California Adventure Park. My feet were killing me, I lost a knee about half way through. It's hard work. It took us quite a while to work out the most economical way to play the Fastpass game. But we were still unable to get onto every ride.

Best Breakfast: Hard category to vote on for a single day given most days involve only one breakfast, but we tried IHOP—International House of Pancakes. I was nervous because I thought it would be a pancake version of Taco Bell. It was quite nice. Portions in-sane, but nice as long as you don't feel too guilty leaving half your food. And I am loving being back in the land of the bottomless filter coffee. Sacrilege from a Melburnian who should have, by that very status, a higher standard of caffeine, but there is a swing back to a former life somewhere in those pots of coffee continually circling a room.

Best Outfit Being Worn: I love that so many people dress up for Disneyland, whether it be in costume or in the Disneyland franchised items. But the winner for the day for me would have to go to the woman who wore, even in that warm Californian sunshine, a full burgundy, with black Mickeys all over, velour track suit.

Best Item of Clothing Sighted in a Shop: I really liked, and even considered purchasing, a top that had seagulls on it. I think seagulls are silly. These ones looked silly. And they were screaming out 'mine, mine, mine, mine, mine' like seagulls do. I found it amusing for some reason, but I felt odd having lots of 'mine's all over my top. It seemed a little vain. It remained on the rack.

List_Addict               Irene

Best Ride: Ooh! Difficult. There are four contenders: Splash Mountain, Screamin' Roller Coaster, Grizzly River Run, Hollywood Tower Hotel Tower of Terror. Comparing water-rides, the River Run probably pips out Splash Mountain because it makes me laugh the whole way around and results in a definite soaking which really is the mark of a good water-ride, isn't it? The Tower of Terror and the roller coaster sit together in the 'scare you' category. It's a fine line, but the decider may be twofold: the roller coaster lasts longer, and there was an unfortunate incident in one of the 'lifts' in the tower where someone, well, barfed their lunch, quote 'all over!', and I swear you could smell it from the queue. Semi-final then is between the Grizzly's and the roller coaster. Could I go the former during the day, and the latter in the evening? Otherwise don't expect a decision from me.

Best Park: Now you are just asking a ridiculous question. Disneyland is history, California Adventure is novelty. Just because they are both parks doesn't mean you can actually compare them. The only way to elicit an answer is to ask: if you could only do one, which would it be? For me it would be California Adventure. But only because I am spoiled enough to have visited Disneyland three times now, as well as Disney World and Euro Disney once each, so novelty wins. I know, I am a hedonist.

Evenings find us falling asleep around seven minutes after we come in. It's the jet lag. We're staying at the Sheraton Park in Anaheim. In case you're watching Sheraton, it's lovely, great room. Love the batwing chair. Only complaint was the broken room safe, but you accommodated us at reception with a safe deposit box, so, all in all, I am quite happy I booked you. (Non-sponsored opinion)

Clockwise from left: Ferris Wheel at Paradise Pier, California Adventure Park; At the gateway to Tomorrow Land; breakfast at IHOP

The Outfit
Irene: Bikini from Thailand
Top: Op-shopped
Shorts: Target
Shoes: Teva


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

Style Elixir


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 314: Reclining

Apologies for sporadic posting. Free wifi has been impossible to get and paid wifi exorbitant. We have hired a GPS now that allows five devices to be added to it as a portable wifi hotspot. I don't understand either, but seems to be working so far.

There are no more sleeps. It seemed we had booked so far in advance that the day would never come. Like it was an illusion, but come it did. I write to you from Auckland, New Zealand, where the departure board, next to our onward flight reads 'Relax', because it's a fair while before it will be assigned a gate. I just experienced two completely new things: an exit row seat and a movie-less international flight. We paid a little extra for the first privilege—I think it was about forty dollars. What do you gain? Extra leg room and the awkward honour of staring straight at the stewards when you take off and land. Also the exciting opportunity to help in an emergency. I think I will be good: I will take my responsibility seriously rather than using the seat as an excuse to jump out of the plane at the first opportunity. But I think I will be bossy and you better listen because at a time like that I will not think a smack in the back of the head, Jethro-Gibbs-style, is an inappropriate reaction to you not taking my direction. What do you lose? A window, the ability to play games as you take off (you have to stow the screen) and the harder to sleep position of being right where the gathering and talking happens. On the scales though I think the tip is towards it being money well spent for the ultimate benefit—nobody in front of you with a propensity for reclining!

The lack of movies on the other hand feels even odder. To me an international flight is an unstated challenge to cram in as many movies as temporally possible. But the twelve hours of sleep, evenly quartered over the last seventy-two hours, and the (lacklustre) selection of movies on offer combined to send me towards a napping opportunity rather than a watching one. There are thirteen more hours to go, but I have a feeling—with the impending Skycouch—that sleep will be a high priority on the next leg too. I'll let you know below how that goes. The stewardess we were facing on the last leg seemed to imply it was going to be a lot squishier that we will enjoy.

A simulation of the progressively discordant positions adopted over the course of the flight in the Skycouch, including my outfit de jour. Irene, if you are wondering is currently on route to Koh Samui for her own holiday and will be sharing photos with me tomorrow. She didn't fly with a Skycouch.

Back again. This time from the Sheraton Park in Anaheim. My eyes keep trying to crawl out of my head and go to bed by themselves. I am shattered—as is the boy. I have brought the 'Feelings Flashcards' with me—a simple way to highlight how you feel so that you don't have to communicate it to a fellow traveller in an awkward conversation. Meant for children, they are quite tame in terms of feelings (I often feel I need something stronger—like homicidal or catatonic or exhibiting the effects of a regular ice user) and so it is with a sense of the restrained that we have chosen 'tired' and 'cranky' as our respective choices. Saying that, I am in a dilemma because I don't know how I am ever going to travel internationally again without a Skycouch. It rocks! Yes, lying side by side is tight—the tight 'tight' would be if it was a feelings flashcard. But the ability to stretch out your legs, or sit cross legged or lie down in someone's lap without feeling you will fall off or end up with seat-shaped ridges over your body is priceless. As is priority boarding and never having to share with a stranger.

Air New Zealand has managed to get us here, also the man in the Prime Time shuttle bus. All holidays are essentially journeys but now that that journey is finished, the next part of the holiday can begin. Tomorrow, Disneyland!

The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped
Thermal Top: Target
Skirt: Op-shopped
Leggings: Target


Photographer de Jour: Moi


Getting linky today with:

Lena B, Actually