Style Crush: Florence in My Dreams

Today I’m dreaming of being Florence from Florence and the Machine, after finding myself mesmerized by “What the Water Gave Me,” the new single (and video; stills from it above). It begins with wanting to rock like she does. Then I would also like to get lost in her closet and her jewelry boxes full of fabulous trinkets….

Nod to Dylan

Suddenly I turned around and she was standin’ there/With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair/She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns/‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm.’

Bob Dylan, “Shelter From the Storm”

Rapture Mixed Tape

I like to think every occasion deserves a mixed tape (and I prefer “mixed tape” to “playlist,” even if it shows my age.) With Blondie’s “Rapture” stuck in my head all day–I started singing it when I read something this morning about the proposed end of days on May 21–I decided to get it out of my head by listening to other songs appropriate for the occasion. Radiohead’s “Reckoner” popped in my head, then Prince’s “1999” and, well, a lot of my favorite artists have something that seems just right for judgment day. More to be added to this, I’m sure…. Songs on Grooveshark are here.

“Reckoner,” Radiohead
“Today is the Day,” Yo La Tengo
“Rapture,” Blondie
“1999,” Prince
“It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” R.E.M.
“The Night’s Too Long,” Lucinda Williams
“The World’s A Mess; It’s In My Kiss,” X
“What Difference Does It Make?,” The Smiths
“Road to Nowhere,” Talking Heads
“Road to Joy,” Bright Eyes
“Paint it Black,” Rolling Stones
“The Promised Land,” Bruce Springsteen
“Save Me,” Aimee Mann
“We Shall Overcome,” Pete Seeger
“We’ll Meet Again,” Johnny Cash
“When the Ship Comes In,” Bob Dylan
“Blue Thunder,” Glaxie 500
“After the Gold Rush,” Neil Young
“Redemption Song,” Bob Marley
“Highway to Hell,” AC/DC
“Hell Yes,” Beck
“Raising Hell,” RUN DMC
“Jesus, Etc.,” Wilco
“Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin
“Just Like Heaven,” The Cure
“When the Stars Go Blue,” Ryan Adams
“What a Wonderful World,” The Ramones
“Gimme Gimme Gimme,” Black Flag
“Hallelujah,” Leonard Cohen
“Good Morning Heartache,” Billie Holiday
“Here Comes the Sun Again,” M. Ward

“Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles

Style Crush: Stevie Nicks

I’ve had a style crush on Stevie Nicks since I was a kid (a voice crush, too). As a teen, I found out we shared a given first name (though hers was spelled with the “ph”) and I tried to adopt the nickname of Stevie, but I discovered that nicknames you give yourself never stick. I recently stumbled upon this demo version of “Gypsy” and I’ve gone to her catalog for a refresher, also looking to old live performances on YouTube as part of my Stevie Fix. (I just found out she’s got a new album out, too.) To me, she’s always been undeniably sexy and also the kind of sensitive and sweet that doesn’t hurt your teeth. This video shows images of her many amazing looks: the floppy hats, shawls, ribbon chokers, sheer and lace layers, dresses that twirled with her movements—and that hair. I loved how she would hold out her arms, with sleeves or a shawl giving her fabric wings, like she was preparing for liftoff or maybe coming in for a landing. Her voice was enough to let you know she meant every word, but her moves made you a true believer. I remember loving “Leather and Lace” and thinking she was just like that, tough and soft in just the right balance. And that’s how I wanted to be. (Still do.)

Style Inspiration: Henry Rollins

I went to see a Henry Rollins spoken word performance at Largo in LA. First up: Henry rocks! The occasion for this tour is his recent 50th birthday, and he delivered his monologue in the signature, rapid-fire style we’ve come to love, pontificating on a variety of topics that included how he knocked out a fan’s teeth at a Black Flag gig, read George Bush’s book aloud during a Costco visit, shared Stooges music with a kid during a trip across the globe, and hates shopping for clothes. Gulp. One woman’s passion is another man’s punishment, I guess. He pointed out his attire—a no-nonsense black T-shirt and black work pants (my guess: Dickie’s)—as evidence. But here’s the thing: he rocks the look. It’s his.

I have many years before I reach Henry’s milestone, but I’ve found one of the good things about growing older is the sense of comfort you gain with who you are and what you like. My own style uniform is not quite as basic as Henry’s, but it’s still pretty simple: I’m a jeans and T-shirt girl. It’s been that way since I was a teen (see photo of me in my “Feed the World” T-shirt—boy, do I wish I still had that shirt…) and I see no reason for growing out of this look. I am a treasure-hunter and a collector, always on the lookout for new jeans to add to my collection and for new tees to fill my heart with glee. (Actually, most of the tees I get now are from thrift shops and vintage sources, so newly acquired is just like new for me.) And now that I have figured out how best to use a pair of scissors, needle, and thread to upcycle any ordinary T-shirt, I see promise in every one that catches my eye….

Here Comes the Sun: Beatles, Apple, Etsy

Upcyled shirt from 

I’ve had “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles stuck in my head since the news that Apple finally got the Beatles collection for iTunes and it inspired me to create a sun-themed Etsy treasury. The song is one of my favorites and the one I chose to learn when I took a singing class (brilliantly called “Singing for People Who Think They Can’t”) in New York several years ago, which makes it one of the few songs I feel confident singing around a camp fire (or in the living room when my musically gifted friends pull out the guitars). Not in the Etsy treasury (because I save self-promotion for here) is the pictured Coppertone upcycled shirt, remade by me with scissors and some needle and thread.

I couldn’t find a video online of the Beatles performing the song live, but here’s George Harrison singing it at the concert for Bangladesh.

Reaching for the Stars with Casey Kasem and Teddy Roosevelt

I grew up listening to Casey Kasem’s weekly radio broadcast of “America’s Top 40,” even after my musical taste evolved and I began to broaden my horizons by listening to music by artists that did not often top or even enter the charts—usually the music was labeled “alternative” and could be found on radio stations on the left of the dial. The show aired on Sunday mornings where I grew up and I remember bringing my transistor radio—it was hot pink and fabulous—with me to the beach to listen during the summer months. Kasem ended each broadcast with this message for listeners: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” I loved that. During a recent visit to Teddy Roosevelt’s childhood home in NY, I found the quote that must have been his inspiration (pictured above).

And here’s the song that popped into my head when I began to write this post: “Left of the Dial” by the Replacements.