Break from Hiatus

I’ve spiffed up my blog again (i.e. changing the theme and adding a header with my anonymized quads by the English seaside). I was fiercely loyal to a fashion-focused Instagram account during the interim,  but quite simply got bored of looking at myself. Rest assured, this will still be a crevice of the internet for one girl’s style and the selfies that entails, but I’ll make it more of a variety show.

I had to take an Insta-break after exploring my own love-hate in an article I wrote for Thought Catalog. But in the interest of catching up, here’s a series of snapshots from this summer:

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Oh Yeah, Fall


Wow. I haven’t posted since I returned from France. (Can you blame me for finding home a  little less photogenic?) The past couple months call for a recap via photoessay. Find more fashion photos on my Instagram, which you can follow @aesthetic_etiquette.

McKinney Falls: Its natural beauty is not even diminished by people sitting on rocks with their pool noodles.

I captured and was captivated by snails. Did you know that when two snails mate, both snails get pregnant and become each other’s baby snail daddy?

I moved to a new apartment with my more conventional pets.

I attended the Austin Film Festival for the first time, and my only record of it is this photo of me juxtaposed with a stranger’s artfully decorated truck. The fest was a lot of fun. But, like SXSW, I’d only recommend shelling out for passes if you’re luxurious and have the whole week off work.


Moonrise Kingdom, 60s movie extra, Beetlejuice. I had additional silly costumes. This is how much I did Halloween.


New cosmetic dependencies: Organix Moroccan Argan Oil haircare and Clinique lipstick in Red-y to Wear.

Trends move in cycles. Every four years, it becomes really popular to participate in government.

As an avid thrifter, I was almost angry that I didn’t know about Austin Antique Mall until this month. The place is enormous and crammed full of amazing furniture and home decor. I refrained from buying anything but a pair of elbow-length brown leather gloves, but I’m destined to return for one of the reasonably priced fur stoles. Raise your pinkie to that!

I’m trying out a subscription with Greenling, a local produce delivery service. They drop off a mystery box of veggies at your door weekly or biweekly. I like the element of surprise, and I like knowing where I stand on specialty radishes.

Last of Paris


A 6:00 a.m. alarm and an hour-long flight got us back to Paris from Bristol. I felt exhausted, sick, and dirty, so naturally I got into a kayak. Clément, Sylvia, Hugo and I floated down a small, picturesque river framed by stone bridges and weeping willows.

The drive/walk to Le Paradis du Fruit for post-paddle refreshments felt infinite. I was so dehydrated, my body considered fainting on the sidewalk. Somehow I made it to the ice cream parlor and inhaled fresh juice and a bowl of passion fruit sorbet decorated with maybe seven types of fruit. My emotions changed so visibly after eating. I’m like a Tamagotchi or something.

The record heat wave coming over Paris could be felt everywhere. Temperatures were probably higher back in Texas, but it’s different story when there are no air conditioners or fans.

We tried to cool off with cocktails. I didn’t know that rum was particularly popular among the French, but it’s been everywhere. So has Jean-Paul Gaultier Coke:

In the evening we sat out in the garden for hours, eating a three-course hamburger dinner with the usual group, plus Hugo’s brother Tim and his girlfriend. (I couldn’t believe these fromage afficianodos  were enjoying the plasticine sheets of American cheese on their burgers.) We Skyped with Jon and Amy for a bit.

Next thing I knew, I’d slept 10 hours on hardwood floor and woke up to a melody coming from a bell tower.

My last activity in Paris was a little photo expedition.

Flea market dress, vintage Coach purse and Bass loafers


France, Part One

I’ve been on vacation for nearly two weeks now, resisting online updates in order to, you know, actually experience stuff. I’ve been writing summaries and taking lots of photos, though, so prepare for the barrage.

Packing for three weeks was a challenge, especially since I’m between apartments and everything was boxed up.

At the Airport: One needs an outfits that says, “Yes, I’m sleeping in public,” in that classy, business casual way…

Dress- Forever 21


Bag- Mulberry for Target 

Rad Tote Bag

And by “rad,” I mean “radish.” It’s already starting to feel like summer, so I broke out some accoutrements from last year, including this canvas bag I got from World Market (along with weird, imported candies, I’m sure), these vintage sunglasses, and a bikini. I sneaked into a nearby pool this morning for a swim and did my assigned reading  there.  Classes aren’t over, but I can pretend (and dress like) they are.

Pearl Snaps, Pearl Studs

I did some reporting yesterday for an article on the Sustainable Food Center’s new East Austin farmers market. They’re doing some great things for people who live in a “food desert” and qualify for government food assistance. I had to skip my usual take-me-seriously blazer and heels combo for this assignment.

What to wear for a gloomy vernal equinox at the farmers market and the library?

Fake pearl earrings, a floral western shirt (from my Goodwill Outlet expedition), Gap grey denim leggings, Wanted tassel loafers, and Jason Wu for Target handbag

Ah, the soft geometry of Jason Wu. Raffia has never looked so proper. It must be the boxy structure and leather piping. I kept the tags on this thing for the longest time, worried I might have to return it to pay for groceries or bills. But I love it more than I hate eating Ramen noodles frequently. The American Dream could never get me like the Vogue Dream can.

Goodwill Hunting

The belated  recap of a 20-pound shopping trip

The place:

The irony of the Blue Hanger (aka the Goodwill outlet) is that there aren’t any hangers. There are no shopping bags or dressing rooms, either. It’s where used clothes go to die. It’s bargain hunters’ heaven, but also kinda like hell.
I love the smell of mothballs in the morning, but this place grossed me out a little. The first thing I noticed about my fellow shoppers was that several were donning latex gloves. This seemed comically snobby to me, but the phrase Maybe they know something I don’t ran through my head as I plunged my hands into the abysmal blue tubs.
A strong 30 percent of the garments were badly stained. All manner of undergarments were present. Strangers’ grungy pillowcases had to be pushed aside. And yet, everything smelled like an unfamiliar but clean home. I suspect that the stuff gets sprayed down with Febreeze the way grocery stores mist the produce with water. I concluded that unprotected thrifting is okay. Besides, I can’t shop anywhere without basically groping all the merchandise as part of my evaluation process.

Gloves are a good option for people who are all uptight about the possibility of finding a disembodied head.
Another thing to be ready for: many people will value the hunt more than your bubble of personal space. They will crowd in and reach over you like it’s a designer shoe sample sale. Thankfully, I didn’t have much competition for the styles I wanted there, unlike the  picked-over stores in hipster territory (Savers, anyone?)

The goods:
The outlet only sells clothing, house wares, and books. I have no idea why shoes and records are out of the picture. The three categories are separated for the most part, but all apparel is hopelessly mixed. At a regular Goodwill one must search through racks sorted by color instead of size ( a system I will never understand) , but here, one has to plough through about eight long rows of  bins to see all options. Although the heaps of baby clothes and unsanitary bedding get in the way, this disorganization made me open up to the possibility of  cute boys’ tees and men’s sweaters.

Personalized marriage clocks also available

Bargain books — because reading best-sellers from as recent as 15 years ago is uncool and promotes the atrophy of rainforests probably.

The pricing:

When you check out, your items are dumped into a basket on a scale built into the floor. You’re charged $1.29 per pound. It’s like a frozen yogurt shop, but with cotton. There is an exception to the rate if you buy particularly heavy things. I was charged a flat rate for my two pieces of luggage and hardback book.  I also used a (no longer available) Austin Perks $30 voucher that cost me $15.

The finds:

  • Floral minidress
  • ACDC tee so cool and worn-in that I forgot I hate ACDC
  • High waisted, holy grail Levi’s jeans
  • Short, silky slip covered in a strawberry print
  • Racerback tank with faded palm trees
  • Navy henley
  • Lee light grey dolman sleeve sweatshirt
  • Bright mosaic knee-length skirt
  • Brown leather tote bag
  • Cornflower blue round 60s hatbox/suitcase
  • Bank of Illinois deposit bag (aka new pencil bag)
  • Tie-dye tank top
  • Purple gym shorts
  • Black and white striped boat neck
  • 80s blazer
  • Punk-ass studded belt
  • Uncannily pristine white camisole
  • Lace doily
  • Basic blue jeans prime for customization
  • Hawaiian print/safari shirt…
  • Liz Clairborn maroon silk skirt
  • Taupe belt with gold closure shaped like a wishbone
  • Floral pearl snap western shirt
  • Black cropped leggings for yoga
  • Black leather backpack/rolling suitcase
  • Hunter green riding pants
  • Red crochet-back tunic (makes a very cute nightgown)
  • Thick-knit camel cardigan
  • Basic grey camisole
  • High waist denim shorts
  • Gap 1969 black skinny jeans
  • “Beauty” by Bobbi Brown (hardcover book)

Grand total: about $20. So go check it out when you find yourself with more time than money. The sky is the limit. The size of your closet is also the limit.

Go Get This, Go-Getters

It’s not easy having a Type A personality.

For all the nails I manage not to bite and teeth I don’t grind, perhaps I deserve to give in and buy myself this necklace I’ve been wanting:

Sweet Nothing heart necklace by In God We Trust, $44 at Fred Flare ($34 with code)

It’s 75 percent dainty, 25 percent tough. The brass pendants are engraved by hand, and you can choose from five different messages. My second favorite says “warp speed.” The others are funnier/stranger: “potato chips,” “fireworks” and “baby mama.”

They remind me of an awesome Parisian line called Locher’s. Designer Nicole Locher creates frilly, embroidered tops and grandmotherly handbags. But they won’t be mistaken for antiques. If you look closely, the phrases sewn in cursive say things like “I hate children” and “Bucks from hooking.” Hilarious.

Plus, Locher’s appears to have all its prices marked down right now.

It’s not a bad time to buy from Fred Flare’s online store, either. Take $10 off a purchase of $25 or more by entering the code “summer” at checkout. The deal is good until July 1.

I’ve never been to this popular New York shop, but the website is full of decent-looking clothes and gag gifts. If you had to describe the inventory with only one adjective, it would be “cute.”

These are a few things that would result from indiscriminate spending on my part:

Submarine infuser for loose tea leaves, $14

Jackson (Pollock, of course!) tube dress by Necessary Objects, $60

This is such an awesome dress. You’d need your picture taken with the following camera, which takes 4 pics within 1 second. They come out on a single print, each in a different color.

Pop Art color camera, $20

Faster than Warhol.