Saturday, December 26, 2009


It is the holiday season, and as would be expected, I've done my fair share of running about. I've had leisure times, too, when I went to the Getty Museum, shopping in Manhattan Beach, and to a performance of “The Nutcracker” ballet...

Shopping in Manhattan Beach. There I made some Christmas present purchases, but my best memory from the experience is of a large white dog, which I heard a shop owner was watching for her friend. I have no idea of the breed, but it was sheepdog-sized and waited so calmly outside the shop. Asking permission first, I pet the dog for several minutes and noticed that its very black nose was quite large—delightful.

“The Nutcracker” performance. I have no explanation, other than I seem to be “in search of lost times” lately. A while ago, my sister Autumn made regular appearances in “The Nutcracker” ballet—en pointe, no less—and therefore I have definite ideas about how this show should be performed. While lovely, the performance that I watched this year did not have some of the details that I always looked forward to: the children prancing with their toys during the living room scene, the dancing doll and bear, the Chinese sequence, the comic relief that is “Mother” Ginger... But, how could the director have known of my expectations?

The Getty Museum. Visiting this time I realized that some people go to see certain pieces from the permanent collections again and again as they would old friends. I agree that art can at times be comforting, and these people seem to enjoy specific details of these items. Me, I have not visited the Getty Museum nearly enough to have real favorites, but find that a color, a feeling, and a young lady's delicate look are the kinds of things from this place that stick to my memory.

My discovery from these days boils down to this: The delight is in the details. For this reason, people ought to take particular care with the accessories that they wear. Not only can they make a basic ensemble brilliant, but they may very well be the parts that other people remember the most. Observe below my sister's festive holiday adornments:

Oh, the hat! And it sparkles so! This beret just may be my sister's most glamorous accessory.

The holiday pin, a classic.

Fingerless gloves can be just what is needed, if paired with the right outfit. I enjoy these glove's pastel fairisle pattern.

Some seasonal sparkle for the wrist.

Remember the bow that you wore as a young girl? This goes to show that bows can be sophisticated, too.

Here Autumn has the "Pink Lady" attitude, only with a lot more polish.

P.S. A dream accessory of mine would be a pair of "wristlets" from Oleana, the Norwegian sweater company. To see these charming "layering" pieces, go here. (the design that I mean is on page fifteen). And no special holiday My Sky-Blue Portfolio post would be complete without an appearance from Judy Garland. Isn't she pretty as she sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas?"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Have a beautiful holiday, and I'll see you very soon!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunday amusement

Darlings, my apologies…

This past Sunday came and went without any My Sky-Blue Portfolio writing from me. The reason, you ask? It’s not that these pictures weren’t ready—they certainly were—but it’s because my mind was lolling in the post-holiday-ness. It seems that nothing short of the threat of a term paper’s impending due date would have moved it into swiftiness.

(Because of that last comment, I think that I deserve any of the har-hars that I may get from my sister, who has been in the throes of essay-writing for a while now, or from any other similarly employed student…)

Growing up, Sunday was a typically quiet day in our house, save for the movies that we watched that were mostly of the classic cinema or BBC sort. Even so, I am a little surprised by the industriousness that my sisters and I involved ourselves in then.

On these weekend afternoons, we would often open the past months’ fashion and design magazines with a pair of scissors in hand. Sometimes it was for a game, descriptively named “Perfume Company” or “Modeling Agency,” but these “businesses” are not what I would like to tell you about now. It is the making of scrapbooks that still holds my interest…

These scrapbooks had very little resemblance to the photograph albums of the same name popular now. They could have been a spiral-bound notebook or a binder with loose pages—the base materials didn’t matter. They were mostly meant to be idea books, for us to arrange and paste pictures of clothes and things that we liked. Scrapbook-making was a very sincere form of “window shopping.”

So, this past weekend I asked my sister to show her old scrapbook to me. What I noticed in particular was the nuance with which my sister had made her selections. She could say to me—even now—“I like this part, but not this,” which shows that she didn’t simply accept the fashions as they were but was critical of them. Autumn had organized her pages by silhouette or color, and they display poufy skirts and sporty combinations and a lot of oranges, light neutrals, and black. I see my sister wearing some of these looks now, so you could say that her scrapbook helped her to define her personal sense of style.

Autumn’s fashion shoot is based on some pages from her scrapbook, which originally come from the June 2007 Vogue issue. Keira Knightley is photographed in Africa by the ever-popular Arthur Elgort. Need I point out that the safari or adventurer look has long been a favorite of my sister's?

Browsing online I found that other people were also taken with this Vogue feature and even made virtual scrapbooks in response on this website. And, you really should take a look at this preferred actress from the BBC. Be sure to watch the clip’s final minutes to see Justine Waddell’s safari gear!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blackbird fly


What is your favorite Beatles song?

(I have to say these tights are cheery-cherry enough to brighten even the dark black night!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Style question #2

Hello again. [space space]

It happens that I am again in the midst of decorating my place—this time, it’s my new studio apartment near the beach. Decorating to me is as daunting as it is fun, because how do you go about communicating in a cohesive way all of the ideas and influences that you are thinking of?

She’s really keen on Scandinavian design but doesn’t want to go all out with IKEA; she likes modern mixed with traditional. Vintage is nice, but she has mixed feelings about toile. She likes children’s literature illustration and classic cinema photography and would like her surroundings to reflect these interests. Oh, and her chubby loveseat is already upholstered in orange- and white-striped cotton.


Do you see what I mean?


Anyway, as librarians are oft to do, I lately was reading media reviews, and October’s issue of Paste had a piece about how “quirkiness” has moved to the big screen: “Zooey Deschanel reigns as Hollywood’s queen of quirk…and with the increasing crossover between indie and mainstream cinema, [the quirky girl’s] reach is widening.” You may have missed Zooey Deschanel in “500 Days of Summer,” but even if you only watch the movie's trailer, you must admit that it looks an awful lot like the inside of an Anthropologie store. And Anthropologie is very popular, as well as decidedly quirky.

I also enjoy quirkiness (have you watched the music video for Regina Spektor’s “Eet” yet? The typewriter!) but am hoping that what I’ll have in the end won’t just reflect what’s the mainstream now. Interior decoration is about self-expression and individuality, right?

The fashion pictures here could serve as a scrapbook for my present decoration endeavors, and Autumn wears red tights à la Kate Spade. (By the way, have you seen Kate Spade’s fabulous boutiques? They’re an explosion of vibrant colors, and very vintage-seeming, and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn plays on a television in the background.)

Bye-bye. [space space]

P.S. If you have a moment, could you please look at this example of interior design? Don’t forget to tell me what you think of it, too…


Monday, October 19, 2009

A question of style

When Autumn first suggested that the blog feature her wearing these glasses, I said, "What? You'll be playing a librarian?" Shame on me for reinforcing librarian stereotypes.

But, what do you think of glasses? Do you think they are very librarian-like, or just smart? How do you like my sister in these? My inquiring mind would like to know...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

So that's the jazz

Should I be embarrassed to admit that during the last year of graduate school my fingernails were perpetually painted red, and not just any red—a particular shade of crimson? It only took about twenty minutes to repaint them each week, and this task was undertaken either by myself or by a manicurist from one of the many nail salons along Westwood Boulevard. The reason? I just liked the way that the nail color completed my outfits and added glamour to my everyday existence.

It was during one of these nail salon visits that I came across a very smart Teen Vogue photography spread. "My Funny Valentine" in the February 2008 issue was the catalyst for starting this “My Sky-Blue Portfolio.” When my polish had dried, I found that I could not leave the sweet photos behind—I wanted to show my sister—so I went back and asked the attendant if I could please take the magazine with me?

And before I could take the issue home, I kept bringing it out and showing the pictures to friends. “Doesn’t this look like my sister?” I said. “I should start a fashion blog with her—I read them all the time, anyway.”

So, here’s our photo shoot inspired by “My Funny Valentine.” Autumn wears a dress that’s very rouge, like my favorite nail polish, and stands by our favorite boy model, our trusty brother James. If you like, here’s some ambiance music.

By the way, we lately learned that “My Funny Valentine” is the work of photographer Arthur Elgort, who’s clearly a favorite of ours: He also photographed the spreads that inspired this blog post, as well as this one.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I'm asking, what's your favorite Motown song?

Friday, October 9, 2009


Darlings, please indulge our longtime love of Motown music. This fashion shoot is set to the tune of "Stop in the Name of Love" by The Supremes, and it's recommended that you watch this early 1960s television broadcast of the song's performance here.

Stop! In the name of love,
Before you break my heart!

Haven't I been good to you?
Haven't I been sweet to you?

I've known of your,
Your secluded nights,
I've even seen her
Maybe once or twice.

But is her sweet expression
Worth more than my love and affection?

But this time before you leave my arms,
And rush to her charms

Think it over!

Stop! In the name of love!
Before you break my heart!
Stop! In the name of love
Before you break my heart!

Baby, think it over.

Do you want more? That's good, because my sister Amber said she would "kill me" if I didn't add the video for Mel Carter's "Hold Me!" It's just great.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Autumn says

For this post, I decided to interview my sister about her life now: UCLA, ceramics, clothes, accessories, and what would be her perfect day at school.

What sorts of classes are you taking this quarter at UCLA?

Autumn: Each quarter I like to mix it up a little. For instance, I am taking a reading course about the author who inspired “Fiddler on the Roof,” and it’s very interesting. I’m taking Spanish, where I have to speak only Spanish all the time, or else I lose points—it’s true. I have chorale; this quarter we are mixed voices so that I have two altos on each of my sides. I’m a soprano, so as you can imagine it can be hard for me to catch my pitch.

Also, I am taking ceramics where we make things for four hours straight. There are some people in the class who are able to make a large object in about an hour, which is impressive and daunting to me. Lately, I made a Grecian-style perfume bottle, and it was small. But, the teacher liked it, which is good, because I don’t want to be the one who’s not up to speed in the class. Because the ceramics sessions are so long, I’m very hungry by the end, and I think that I am going to develop very good upper back muscles.

Throwing the clay’s exciting, and I move my hands up and down. Sometimes the clay forms a shape that I don’t expect and helps me to decide what to make. Maybe this is because of the way that I am handling the clay.

Any chance of your becoming a studio artist making ceramics?

Autumn: You mean like having ceramic objects for sale? I can see myself doing that—I know that I could do it. I would just need to have someplace where there are supplies and a kiln.

You know, my teacher owns a studio with a kiln, and there are shows and classes. He told us that at the end of the quarter we’re going to have a show there, and each student gets to choose an object to display. There will be a reception, too.

I like to make functional things, so I could end up making these things to sell.

How do you like to feel when you get dressed in the morning?

Autumn: I think that the transformation from pajamas to daytime clothing is interesting. At first I am not at all put-together. Then, I put on my clothes, accessories, and make-up, and it’s like making a piece of art. I become particular instead of just wearing clothes.

It’s like ceramics in that I can combine colors and shapes that I, or other people, might not think will work together. Like, a color such as rusty brown, that’s not actually my favorite color, looks really good with white and black. It’s not about “going together,” but more about being interesting.

Tell me about your accessories—why do you like them?

Autumn: Well, for the most part, I’m not a big fan of jewelry, so one reason that I like accessories is that they add to my outfit without being too fussy. I like bigger accessories than small and those that are plastic.

Do you mind if I talk about my sunglasses? I like them because they are versatile and functional. When I wear them on top of my head, they add color up there and keep my hair out of my face. And, when it’s time to head back after class, I can use my sunglasses to keep the glare out of my eyes. I don’t even need to bother digging in my bag for them. Watches are similarly versatile and functional to me, and I like having the face of the watch on the inside of my wrist, like a gadget. It’s like being Nancy Drew or Batman!

What would be your perfect day at school?

Autumn: Well, it would include Didde Reese cookies and ice cream—I know that! I like to be able to wake-up and get ready for school in thirty minutes flat. I would have class, of course, and the teacher would say something that captures my imagination. Then I would have lunch with friends and a little studying before another class. All the while I would be planning the evening’s activities.

I think I would then head down to Westwood to get a chocolate and peanut butter cookie and ice cream confection (eaten with a spoon of course!) before catching a Big Blue Bus to go to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica to meet friends. We would watch the street performers—the last time that I was there we saw a French mime who involved the audience in all sorts of skits and shenanigans! We would go into the gigantic stores to try on bunches of clothes and eat enchiladas and such at a Mexican restaurant that’s amazingly reasonable in price. Then, I would go back to school to play ultimate Frisbee until I am properly in need of a shower and my bed! That would be my perfect day.

Autumn would like to know: What would be your perfect day?