by Unknown on Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Put Together Your Totally Dibble Claudia Kishi Halloween Costume

Dude, how is it almost Halloween already? I guess my hectic babysitting schedule has kept me too busy to realize that summer's long over. Damn those Pike children and their loveable* hijinks!

I haven't dressed up for Halloween in years (unless 'sweatpant-wearing twentysomething' counts as a costume as well as my daily wardrobe**), but I'm sure some of you are looking to put together a fabulous throwback costume. Why not our super acute vice president?

Below, please enjoy your guide to a dibbly fresh Halloween costume (almond-shaped eyes not included) that you'll inevitably have to explain to almost every male at the party.

  1. Side ponytail Scrunchy optional . . . you could also choose to weave a ribbon into your hair, divide it into five braids and pin them to the top of your head, or just throw a fuckton of barrettes in there and see what happens.
  2. Homemade earrings Get yourself on Etsy and search for 'dollhouse earrings' -- you'll hit the motherload of Claudia-inspired crafts. You might want to pick a theme and gear your costume in that direction, like the time Claudia dressed like she was traveling under the sea with Miss Frizzle. Bonus points if you get a pair of earrings where one is a fork and the other is a piece of cake.
  3. Telephone cord bracelet You know, assuming you can actually find such a thing out in this brave new world full of iPhones. Do you realize our kids aren't going to understand what cassette tapes are? And floppy disks? Oh god, my youth is collapsing all around me.
  4. Neon EVERYWHERE I don't like American Apparel as a company (cause, you know, skeevy and awful?) but, yeah, basically look for clothes so bright you're in danger of burning out your friends' retinas. Hit up welovecolors and buy some tights that practically glow in the dark.
  5. Mix your patterns with wild abandon Maybe get drunk first, twirl around for a while (try not to vomit in your closet), and then put on the first couple of patterns you find. Plaids with stripes! Herringbone and polka dots! Instead of asking why, ask why not!
  6. Pockets You want as many pockets as possible in your Claudia-costume, because an important element of her personality is candy-hoarding, and you can't carry a bedroom/club headquarters around with you. Hide that shit all over YOURSELF. Maybe find a tiny copy of a Nancy Drew book (Nancy Drew's Guide to Life comes to mind) and stuff that in there, too. Then, every time someone asks what you are, just pull out a mini Mounds bar and treat yourself. Bonus points if you create a miniature work of art out of the candy wrappers. Leave it for your host -- they'll totally appreciate it!
  7. Even more pockets . . . because you should also get yourself a cheap flask and bedazzle the shit out of it. Or cover it in stickers and rick-rack. Basically, this is your personal Kid Kit. Fill it with peach schnapps or some other diabetic coma-inducing liquor. Practice 'poisoning' your friend Stacey.
  8. Ankle and/or cowboy boots No explanation needed.
If you're bored by the party, you might consider bringing props (a cabbage patch kid as a sitting charge, or an easel that you set up in the middle of a high traffic area just because) to entertain yourself with. Or walk around your friend's apartment, squint at the grease stains in the kitchen, and say to no one in particular "this might be art." This will get easier the more time you spend with your personal Kid Kit.

Drink plenty of water before you go to bed. And then send me the pictures the next day.

Happy Halloween everyone.

* annoying
** seriously, working from home is awesome, you guys.

by Unknown on Saturday, August 06, 2011

Mandy Miller Comes Correct


Y'all remember The Unicorn Club series? I loved it so much. Then they broke up the club in book 6 (The Unicorns at War) and didn't even include a preview of the next book and, dude, my adolescent heart was so broken, thinking the series was over. Then I randomly stumbled on #7 (Too Close for Comfort) while on vacation with my family (treasured memories: going to bookstores in other states) and all was right in the world again but the books weren't really that great after that bitch Kimberly Haver came back to Sweet Valley and ruined everything.

. . . Obviously I had a very tough childhood. 
This is the cover of the first book, which I studied INTENTLY because there was no way the illustrator was pulling a fast one on me: that was clearly Tiffani Amber Theissen on the front cover. It's like "oh, hey! The Wakefield twins! Maria Slater, former child star! Lila Fowler, looking sadly weasely! Mary Wallace, as exciting as a sack of potatoes! And right in the middle -- Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell! Why not!"

Anyway, Mandy Miller* is totes the Claudia Kishi of the Unicorn Club. She's not strapping dollhouse chairs to her ponytail or anything, but she is definitely the wacky dresser of the series. In the first book, she tells us that "my family doesn't have much money, so my mom and I have always had to be creative when it comes to clothes. I get most of my clothes from the thrift store. I guess you could say I was the grunge pioneer at Sweet Valley Middle School.

Take today - I had on wide-legged striped pants, a knit cap, and a long vest over a T-shirt. Not to brag on anything, but I do have sort of a flair with clothes. Even Lila Fowler tells me she really likes the way I put things together."

Even Lila Fowler, people.
By book 2, Mandy is such a fashion superstar that she starts a thrift store makeover trend at school, which leads to the director of some teen rom-com hiring her as an apprentice costume designer when he happens to wander into the thrift store mid-makeover sesh. He also casts Maria Slater in a bit part, uses the Unicorn Club as extras, and decides to film some scenes at Sweet Valley Middle School, because this is apparently what life is like in California. And here I had the misfortune of being raised in suburban New York. (Seriously, how many times did a model scout or movie director or former rock star or star journalist wind up in Sweet Valley? There must be something in the water there. Like cocaine.)


"Mandy walked up and down, like a general inspecting her troops. She had really gone all the way today. She was wearing a pair of men's paisley pajama bottoms under a short tartan kilt, with a ribbed poorboy top and a paisley scarf worn like a sash. On her head was a tam with a big pom-pom. She looked great -- sort of like a punk bagpiper.

We all stood up really straight as she passed us by. Mary had on a forties vamp outfit. Flowing pants and a floaty top. Her fine blond hair lay flat all around her head in spit curls. And the only makeup she wore was dead white powder and red, red lipstick.

'Good', Mandy said approvingly, and Mary blushed with pleasure.

Lila had on a white crocheted vest over a black body suit and jeans. On her feet were saddle shoes.

Mandy smiled and shook her head. 'Great.'

On to Jessica. She was wearing faded jeans and a blue, pink, and purple floral-patterned vest. Underneath the vest was a white oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and on her head she had a hat with a big flower pinned to the upturned brim. Elizabeth had chosen a cool fifties-style housedress, accented with colorful jewelry, patterned tights, and lace-up boots.

Evie was there, too, and she trailed behind Mandy like a second-in-command, straightening a shoulder pad or retying a tie when it was necessary.

She was very funky, too, in her patterned men's dress shirt and tie. She wore them over a stretch miniskirt and tights."

Original fashion bloggers tbh. Stacey McGill better scurry on over to Bloomingdale's, because she is getting schooled left and right here.

* Sweet Valley trivia: Mandy Miller was introduced in the Sweet Valley Twins series -- she desperately wanted to be a Unicorn but was kind of goofy and her family was poor but then she got cancer and the Unicorns felt bad about being full-fledged bitches when it turns out Mandy was actually a super great person and then I think Lila bought her a wig because Mandy's mom could only afford a really janky one that did not meet Unicorn standards. I did not have to consult Wikipedia for any of this and that saddens me.

by Unknown on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Damn England, What Happened?*

A while back, Alexandra sent me a series of images so horrible that I think my brain short-circuited. U.S. readers, are you aware that other countries have defaced these classic works of literature with cover images like the ones you see below?

I can only imagine that this is payback for the Revolutionary War.

I ended up taking an unplanned sabbatical from blogging (and honestly, that may resume after this entry, who knows) and never got around to sharing these monstrosities. Then I woke up around 3:00 a.m. this morning thinking about them. So here they are in all of their poorly-drawn glory.

And there are more. Many more. Alexandra told me she has a near-complete set of these things**. It's almost too much to process.
Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street

Not too much to complain about here -- dude did a real hatchet job on Rosie Wilder, who was super cute on the OG cover, but Claudia looks passably human. And she's got some sort of groovy Woodstock-inspired ensemble going on. Respect.
Grade: E (Excellent amount of jewelry)
Dawn and the Older Boy
There's a lot that's wrong here, and I'm not just talking about Travis. (I didn't think he could be more creepy than he was on the original cover, but here we are. There's a light in his eyes that suggests he's contemplating where he's going to bury all the bodies.) Why is Dawn suddenly sporty? She's wearing some crazy jersey that clashes with her turquoise shirt and pink pants -- so not California Casual, y'all. Is she having another identity crisis? And there's no way Dawn would ever drink a Coke. We all know Dawn is perfect and her body is a temple and she has no vices whatsoever and she exists solely on sprouts and self righteousness.
Grade: S (Shenanigans)
Mary Anne and Too Many Boys
Shit just got real. Why did they put that ugly little boy in a dress? Oh, that's supposed to be Mary Anne? Really? 'Cause that face looks like, I don't know, bad Justin Bieber fanart. Swear to god, even the bird on the pier is giving her side-eye.
Grade: G (Gender confusion)
Claudia and the Middle School Mystery
So maybe I've been watching too much Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but I'm mildly concerned about Mr. Zorzi's creeper status. I know, I get it, she's taking a retest and he's suspicious or whatever. But. Doesn't it kinda look like he's checking her out? Watch yourself, Zorzi.
Grade: C (Consider calling Stabler and Benson)
Stacey's Choice
She chooses to wear Chuck Bass-style silk pajamas, and that's all there is to it, okay?
Grade: I (Intense eyebrows)
Keep Out, Claudia!
What's scarier, the mutant racist children in business casual or the clown (?) on Claudia's shirt? Mad props for rockin' the fringe vest like she's a nastygal model, but the orange sweatshirt has got to go. She's definitely considering killing those kids, by the way.
Grade: R (Reconsidering babysitting as a viable career choice)
Kristy's Big Day
I saved the best for last, folks. I'm so horrified by this cover. Crazy Mary Anne is back, raising one eyebrow and wearing a hat for no real reason. There's probably a joke about the royal wedding and British people wearing hats somewhere in there, but I am so tired of hearing about that wedding that I can't bring myself to make it. Anyway, Kristy is straight up busted here (not to mention badly in need of some Alberto V05 hot oil). Maybe the illustrator couldn't meet his deadline and outsourced this job to his 10 year old. That's gotta be the explanation for this, right?
Grade: W (Wtf)

* It may be 2011, but that won't stop me from making Mean Girls references. By the way, how great was Bossypants?
** That may have been a threat.