156. Rhonda Baron

My dear, brilliant friend Daniel and I went thrifting together recently. As soon as we walked into our favorite place – Unique Thrift in Merrifield, VA – we saw a table full of these lovely rectangular treasures.

The official Amazon picture.

The official Amazon picture.

Obviously, we each bought one. A ridiculous looking woman talking about manners? Yes, please (plus, they were 49 cents each – a deal, because they go for $25.99 on Amazon!).

And we were not disappointed. The DVD is a bizarre mixture of “etiquette” advice, which is basically just stuff that bugs Rhonda when people do it at parties. She teaches how to properly eat a hamburger. She teaches how to properly pack a suitcase (apparently she had some history in the travel industry). Most randomly, she teaches how to properly eat and appreciate sushi and other Asian food. And puts on a black wig to do so.

Table of contents.

Table of contents.

In each scene, Rhonda is totally alone in her depressing, barely-decorated home. There appears to be nothing in her apartment but beige wall-to-wall carpeting. And I’m pretty sure she set up the camera to tape herself. So lonely.

Rhonda is also a snappy dresser. Her outfits range from terrible-80s to terrible-90s. Her interview advice includes images of what suits to wear to an interview – and, boy, are they lovely! And extremely rectangular. Lots of square, padded shoulders and square-toed shoes. A woman after my own heart.

Obviously, Daniel and I decided to do some research on Ms. Baron. Turns out she is from a suburb of DC in Northern Virginia! One of our own. She mentions going into DC like some people might mention going to Paris. Such prestige!

Here’s the best part, though.

Rhonda was visited by Jim Morrison’s ghost.

Yes, folks. The spirit of Jim Morrison paid a special visit to Rhonda. Apparently, Morrison’s parents owned Rhonda’s childhood home before the Barons did.

According to this website, this is what Rhonda had to say about the experience.

The spirit laid down on the bed. Completely laying down and looking at me like this. It was like a haze. It was like you could look through it.”

Oh, Rhonda. I love you so much. If you read this, please get in touch. I want a private etiquette lesson and chat.

June 11, 2013. Culture, Fashion, Rectangles, Truth. Leave a comment.

130. Bill Cunningham New York

I was raised on the New York Times‘ Sunday Styles section. My mother, one of the most fashionable women I know, reads Sunday Styles religiously every week. As I grew up, I learned to read it, too, although I had to go second. And any reader of Sunday Styles knows that the best part of the section is Bill Cunningham’s “On the Street.”

Cunningham photographs fabulous men and women, generally on and around 5th and Madison Avenues. He notices trends – one week, for example, everyone will be wearing neon yellow. Another week, bold florals. It’s a democratic way of establishing trends – Anna Wintour and Vogue are not deciding what’s hot, the people on the street are. And, man, are they fabulous.

Hats Hats Hats

Bill Cunningham himself is not just a talented fashion photographer, he’s also an adorable man. And he is the focus of a documentary that came out in 2010 called “Bill Cunningham New York.” The film interviews many fabulous informal fashion icons, including my personal favorite Iris Apfel. It also focuses on Bill Cunningham’s adorable life. He’s lived in an apartment in Carnegie Hall forever. His neighbors are appropriately nutty. He rides a bicycle and wears a ratty blue jacket.

The cutest man in the entire world.

My favorite thing about Bill Cunningham is his sense of fun and whimsy in the fashion world. He appreciates the bizarre. He loves to photograph dogs and women (and men) in outrageous patterns.

Doggie. Fabulous doggie.

This film really embraces Bill Cunningham as a person and icon. He is lovable, and this film emphasizes all of the best things about him. It’s definitely a fluff piece on Cunningham, but – hey – it’s a feel-good movie about a generally feel-good person. I highly recommend it for a nice evening full of eye candy and adorable, quirky old people.

Speaking of adorable, quirky old people – here’s Iris Apfel.

Basically, thanks Bill, for the best fashion photography out there. And for being so damn cute.

October 24, 2012. Animals, Culture, Fashion, Rectangles. 1 comment.

119. Vogue’s September Issue

Anyone with a half a toe in the fashion world knows that lovers of style anticipate the September issue of Vogue all year long. It’s usually about a hundred pages long, with unbelievable fashion gracing every page. So far this year, my favorites include these coats from Louis Vuitton, along with their spangled bags:

Jewels and embroidery and brocade, oh my!

And Chanel’s take on their signature quilted crossbody bag – in jewel-toned velvet, which I couldn’t find a picture of online.

And Marc Jacobs always, always kills me. This dress has been my favorite thing since his runway show last May. I love the orange and the blue together, plus those flowers are just fab.

Kill me. Love the lace-up boots, too.

I’ve also made a list of Things I Need:

1. A military style jacket, preferably in navy or army green or charcoal grey. This I’m hoping H&M or Forever 21 can provide me with. Maybe Topshop. Maybe Asos.com. I’d thrift it, or even army-surplus it, but it needs to be well-fitted, and tailoring tends not to be the military’s great strength.

2. Big buttons to put on all of my wide-lapeled coats (praise Jesus, I already have some gorgeous vintage babies! Otherwise, wide-lapeled jackets and coats would be on the list, too). These will require a stop at M&J Trimmings, on 6th avenue in New York. If you have any sort of love for buttons, appliques, and other fabulous, well, trimmings – you will simply die in M&J. Simply. Die.

3. Some full, pleated, knee- or mid-length skirts. I’m loving accordion pleats right now. This isn’t really a change from what I have always wanted and always worn, but it’s nice to have an excuse to buy more. Maybe in jewel tones. I’m feeling some jewel tones. I kind of lurve this one, at American Apparel:

Or this from Asos.com – a fabulous site that I recently discovered.

I do like it in cream.

4. Leather. Ideally, a rich leather pencil skirt. Probably in black. Definitely thrifted, because I need leather in the 9 dollar range, as opposed to the 900. I’d love a well-fitted leather dress, not only because it would look unbelievably fab, but also because it would be so warm. That I’m not sure I’ll manage, but if anyone has any tips – I’ll be forever grateful. Maybe ebay will come through.

5. A leather envelope clutch, or just a flat, zip up clutch. On the large side. Probably this, at American Apparel. Or this guy works, too. In cobalt.

So, so perfect. If only it were a little bigger.

And if only this were an envelope.

6. A navy blue blazer with gold buttons. I used to have a fabulous boys’ one that was perfect, but I grew out of it.

7. Brogues. Wingtip. I trust that Tani can come through for me on that front.

8. A colored fur stole. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore fur. I have a gorgeous fur coat that I wear in the winter – not only is it fabulous, it keeps me so warm! And I’ve always said that the minks would want me to have it.

Lanvin. I’m kind of thinking lavender, though.

9. Embellished everything. There are huge jewels and sequins on everything this season, and I am SO DOWN.

Finally, I intend to blow off whatever I’m doing on September 9th, so I can go into Target early and check out the Shops at Target stuff before it’s all gone.

Fuck, man. If only I had a rich husband to buy me everything I wanted, I would look so damn good.

September 4, 2012. Art, Beauty, Culture, Fashion, Periodicals, Rectangles, Religion. 2 comments.

116. Warby Parker

Every now and then, we all get sick of our frames. I mean, we wear them every day for years – how can we not want to mix it up occasionally? I had had my previous frames for almost two years, and they had been chewed and broken countless times by the God Damn Dog (GDD). I couldn’t stand to see them on my face anymore.

So I went to a website recommended to me by countless friends – Warby Parker. They offer a wide selection of funky, vintagey (rectangular) frames, some of which I like as much as any Paul Smith or Oliver Peoples option. I was looking for something not that different from my old frames (which were Paul Smith) – just with slightly thicker plastic and a slightly bigger lens. More of a statement frame, in other words. I picked out five frames for a free Home Try-On, and received them in the mail within a few days. I tried them all on, and picked my fave – the Webb, in Amber, which looks seriously perfect on my face.

Nice cat-eye detail, pretty color, slightly rounded frame. Perfect!

While the variety of sweet frames and the free Home Try-On service are two awesome features, the best part about Warby Parker is the price. I got new frames and prescription lenses, all for $95. $95!!!! That’s like getting new glasses for free.

Anyway, it was a happy ending all around – for my psyche, my face, my eyes, and my wallet.

Caloo, calay!

This morning, I had a lovely chat-over-coffee with my dear friend Torie Partridge, of Cherry Blossom Creative (Side note: If you’re looking for a design or art project to be done, contact Torie immediately. She is incredibly talented and professional). She complimented me on my new frames, and mentioned that she was in the market for a new pair. She wanted something a little bigger than what she had (the Wiloughby), but still rectangular and wide enough for her face. Here are what we picked for her Home Try-On:

The Preston:

A subtle rectangle, with a bigger lens.

The Pierce:

Rectangular to the extreme!!!


The Beckett:

More rectangular, thicker plastic frame.


The Colton:

Just a bit rounder. Also, more angled. Also, less articulated cat eye.


And, the Miles:

Roundest, most angled option – plus fancy studs on the cat-eye!


So, dear readers – let us pray that Miss Torie finds the glasses of her dreams!

Also, pray that I’m able to save up 150 bucks for my dream sunglasses, the Mabel in Gimlet Tortoise.

Aren’t they dreamy?

Donations accepted.


August 28, 2012. Beauty, Fashion, Rectangles, Truth, Websites. Leave a comment.

114. Essie Nail Polish

It’s hard to find a brand of nail polish that has both pretty colors and doesn’t chip easily. I’ve found that in Essie.

The perfect red. The perfect neutral. The perfect, fun, seasonal colors. Essie has them all. Let me feature some here.

1. The Perfect Nude – “Ballet Slippers”


According to Essie, this is an “award winning, classic pale pink with a sheer finish.”

Any classy lady knows that a nude nail makes her hands look polished and clean, like she’s never done a dish in her life. Since I aspire to that level of lady-hood, I went on the search for the perfect nude color. Ballet Slippers is appropriately opaque, providing good coverage, and it is pale enough to not be far off from my lily-white redhead complexion. It’s less harsh than white, and less boring than beige.

2. The Perfect Red – “Apertif”


“An appetizing creamy red.”

I can only spend so much time sitting calmly at my grandparents’ dinner table, after the pastrami is gone. One time, I decided that I wanted to paint my nails while the grown-ups talked about serious things. Grandma Phyl offered me a selection of colors to choose from, insisting that she “didn’t use any of them” and I could keep them for good. I picked a bright, vibrant red. Lo and behold, it was the perfect shade for my skin tone! Bright, rich, and saturated, this color is my dream red. It’s also blue-based, which means it’s not too orangey for my delicate complexion. Oh, Essie, you’ve done it again!

3. The Perfect Trendy Grey – “Chinchilly”


“A sleek granite gray.”

About two years ago, I decided that I needed some grey nail polish. It just seemed really important at the time. But grey nail polish, friends, is a matter of utmost subtlety. Chinchilly is not too dark, so it won’t be confused with black. It’s sort of a browny-grey hybrid, with emphasis on the “grey.”

4. The Perfect Boundary-Pushing Lavender – “Play Date”


“A flirtatious soft purple.”

Everyone needs a few bright, happy colors in their nail polish collection. This summer, I was really feeling lavender. It turned out to be a bit more of a search than I had expected – many lavenders were sheer, or had sparkles in them (ugh, so gaudy). Then I found Play Date at the CVS – miracle of miracles! It’s perfect. I’m wearing it right now, in fact.

5. An Impulse Buy – “Navigate Her.”


“A light, bright green.”

This is my one Essie polish that I’m not so thrilled with. I was intrigued by the spring green color as soon as it came out in Essie’s Spring 2012 collection, but it turned out to be somewhat washed out and boring. It seemed so tempting on the shelf! But it just doesn’t look that great on me. Oh well. Can’t win ’em all.

I’m still on the lookout for a turquoisey pool blue. I have one by China Glaze, called For Audrey, that is the perfect color, but it just chips off so immediately. Any advice would be strongly appreciated.

August 27, 2012. Beauty, Fashion, Rectangles. 2 comments.

111. Gucci Scarves

Finals are over now, so I’ve had a lot of time to devote to looking at expensive scarves on the internet. My most exciting discovery were V. Accornero scarves for Gucci.


Vittorio Accornero (1896-1982) was an Italian illustrator for many years before he began designing for Gucci. He invented his first pattern, “Flora,” for Grace Kelly, and his scarves were absolutely iconic in the 60s and 70s.

:flora, sorry it's so small:

I completely understand why.

Accornero first caught my eye on Ebay, with this scarf (in cream). The picture is terrible, but look closely.

:i liked it in cream:

Not only are the flowers and mushroooms unbelievably whimsical and opulent, but Accornero’s signature piece was integrating little bugs (beetles, flies, ladybugs, butterflies, etc) into his work. It’s unbelievable.

:detail of an accornero that i found:

Click here for pictures from a show, entitled “Giardini di Seta,” or Gardens of Silk, in a gallery in Italy.

December 16, 2010. Animals, Art, Culture, Fashion, History, Rectangles, Truth. 1 comment.

110. How to Throw a Princess Party

No, the Princess Party isn’t necessarily a rectangle (unless it’s held in a rectangular room). But instruction manuals are rectangles, and this is a How-To. Enjoy with your usual rectangular vim and vigor.

My friend Ariana and I decided to have a grown-up princess party. We went to the craft store and covered everything in pink and purple tulle, pink tablecloths and gems. We invited 11 princesses to come celebrate with us and bought floor length pink dresses. We colored, we made tiaras, we ate pink food.

:dress and decor:

What, you want to throw a grown-up princess party yourself? Well, here are some important components.

Princess Punch

Our delicious (and dangerous) Princess Punch consisted of Cran-Raspberry juice, Ginger Ale, vodka and pink sherbet. The sherbet definitely made the punch, so don’t leave it out. I believe we used Edy’s Berry Rainbow sherbet, which worked very well. It adds a nice foam at the top of the punch as it melts.

:absolutely essential:

Pink Mac and Cheese

We took white Annie’s Mac and added some pink food coloring to it – voila! Pink mac and cheese. This was a super hit. Everyone loved it and it took us less than 10 minutes to make. We started it just before our guests walked through the door. Three boxes for 11 people was just perfect.


Princess Cake

Make sure this is pink pink pink! Ari and I used a pink strawberry cake mix and pink strawberry icing. We cooked our cake in the shape of a cupcake with the help of this mold. We filled the center with whipped cream and sprinkles, and then – most importantly – we shoved a Barbie into the cake (inspired by Martha’s version below).

:so pretty:

The cake served as her dress.  Then we covered it all in pink, silver and pearl sprinkles. Here’s our version. Guests loved it!

:duh, nicer than martha's:

Tiara Making

There can never be too much glitter or too many gems at a princess party. Ariana and I went to Michael’s to stock up on pre-cut foam pink glitter tiaras. We also bought gems and glittery stickers ranging from castles to crowns to ponies. Our guests loved making their own tiaras!

:tiara station:

Make-up Time

Ari and I supplied glittery make up (lip gloss, nail polish and eye shadow) from Claire’s for our princesses to use. For ourselves, we bought long fake nails with glitter and gems on them.

:punch, makeup and katie's strawberries:

Fancy Dresses

This is perhaps the most important part of a princess party. Ari and I went to Value Village in College Park and bought our perfect princess dresses for less than six dollars apiece! So no one ever has to go broke as a princess – princesses can thrift, too!

:ari in her 6 dollar dress:


November 24, 2010. Culture, Fashion, Food, Rectangles. Leave a comment.

105. Vogue Covers

Today I came across this:

:dub. tee. eff.:

Yes, that’s raw meat. Lady Gaga, I don’t think this is avant garde or fabulous in any way. Come ON.

In honor of Lady Gaga, here’s an assortment of weird Vogue covers.

This cover has been really controversial. Racialicious commented on it pretty well. But here’s Lebron James and Gisele as King Kong and Faye. Obviously the large monkey connotation is pretty screwed up. What do my readers think?


Vogue Taiwan did this weird feathered thing:

:it's like she's a tropical bird:

Apparently Gwyneth Paltrow looks great here? Simple and fashionable…but I think the Robot is weird.

:is metallic "simple"?:

Here’s some vintage Vogue that I think is really creepy.

:strange sparkle:

And Vogue Italia’s take on…pirates?

:dirty is en vogue, i guess?:

September 17, 2010. Culture, Fashion, Periodicals, Rectangles. 2 comments.

91. Post-It Art

:classy ass quadrilaterals:

There are very few media that focus on the rectangle. Sure, people go with a rectangular canvas or a broad square of paper, but those are often matters of convenience rather than deliberate choices on the part of the artist. Michelangelo purposely transformed rectangular blocks into various non-linear shapes. Pointillism is all about the dot, which tends to be round. Impressionism relies on the dab, a fundamentally elliptical trend. However, I was lucky enough to come across Post-It Art, a form of expression dedicated to a rectangular medium.

:post it bedroom:

While oil paints can run an artist up to $40 a pop, packages of Post-Its can cost less than ten dollars for ten or even twenty pads. Only a rectangle could be so universal. This medium is for the people, friends. Post-It art is accessible to anyone with a drugstore or stationer’s within walking distance.


I’d love to see my readers branch out into Postcard Art or Birthday Card Art. What can you come up with?

May 29, 2010. Art, Culture, Fashion, Rectangles. 2 comments.

76. Tattoos

Today I was eating lunch with my friends Joe, Scott and Nilay and I realized that the Rectangular Tattoo was taking up a significant part of the table.

Nilay has a golden rectangle on her forearm:

:so many rectangles:

Scotty has two rectangle tats. First, someone hanging (on his wrist):


Then, something about industry on his forearm.

But those are just rectangles on people I know! Here are a few more:

The Golden Ratio, in the form of a Golden Rectangle. WHOA.

:super meta:

Starry Night, emblazoned on a shoulder blade in a way reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s “Skin“:

:van gogh would be proud:

Here’s a periodic table (rectangles upon rectangles!). Some of the elements are probs rectangular, too.

:kinda cool:

And, finally, courtesy of Ugliesttattoos.com:

:brand loyalty:

January 22, 2010. Art, Culture, Fashion, Rectangles, Websites. Leave a comment.

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