Thursday, July 5, 2018

Meryl Franzos, drop crotch pants
photo: Joshua Franzos

The quality of my writing here hasn't been great, or even good...for awhile. I apologize. It seems that it's most interesting when I invite you into the dark corners of mind and we both shed a little light in there. With facebook, twitter, instagram, instagram stories, youtube, and our personal blogs as outlets it's easy to live in this oily era of over-sharing. It's become so ingrained in our lives that it's actually hard not to just lay it all out there and let the chips fall where they may. Quite often there is relief when we unload something tough (or slightly annoying) from our chest and the rallying cries of support further lift us up. It is a habit that supports itself over and over. But sometimes, in this over-sharing world, I think privacy is undervalued. 

photo: Joshua Franzos

Ok, cryptic words, so what's eating you Gilbert Grape? Well, I'm still quietly editing and revising my novel. It is some hard, unsexy slog, which means I have nothing exciting to report on that front. Then there's 'Merica and this craaaazzy direction we seem to be headed and the systemic racism and misogyny is at a fever pitch. But there's some other stuff I'm not ready to drag out into the light too. It's largely un-formatted, un-packed emotions, and feelings that I haven't made sense of. Raw stuff that I'm trying to steer clear of here, and in my own head, if we're being honest. I truly hate to be enigmatic, but there are times that we don't need any outside pressure or perceived accountability to the world at large, we're probably putting enough pressure on ourselves as it is. I don't want you to worry reader. I'm fine. I only bring this up to remind us all that it is perfectly okay to not to be an open book. The real sacrifice is that my writing as of late has been scraping the surface of pleasantries, small talk, and merely leaves me talking about fashion on a fashion blog. How jejune of me, but I know you'll understand.  

photo: Joshua Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos

Meryl Franzos, pearl studded sunglasses
photo: Joshua Franzos

So let's get into the pleasantries and how I've always wanted to use the word, jejune in a sentence. High Five. And how I never thought I'd type the word crotch here on this blog...(as in "Drop Crotch" pants.) Not that "Harem" pants are any better, (they're not.) As you probably know a harem is a separate part of polygamous household where the women, wives, and female slaves live separate from the single man they revolve around. It makes my inner feminist bristle. So drop CROTCH it is. (Sorry, crotch in all caps wasn't exactly a pleasantry, was it?) But let me assure you that drop crotch pants are

Meryl Franzos, red sunglasses
photo: Joshua Franzos
Meryl Franzos, gucci knock-off sunglasses
photo: Joshua Franzos

Balenciaga ceinture boots
photo: Joshua Franzos
Carlos Falchi butterfly purse
photo: Joshua Franzos

Not only do they hide some extra lbs, not only can you most decorously 'Hammer Time' in them, but I also think they look pretty darn cool. Like you've been to so many gallery openings in SoHo that all the gallerists know you by name and kiss both of your cheeks. Yeah, that kind of cool.

What I Wore:
Asymmetric top: old BCBG
Red jacket: old Rock & Republic for Kohl's
Pants: past season ASOS White pinstripe drop crotch pants
Boots: Balenciaga here.
Gucci Dupe Sunnies: $16.99 from Amazon, here.
Bag: vintage Carlos Falchi butterfly bag

photo: Joshua Franzos

I'd also like to take this moment to point out a really awesome podcast that my husband has been producing for the Heinz Endowments, called We Can Be. It is local to Pittsburgh, but has many reknowned out-of-town guests that help host Grant Oliphant tackle some national issues. It is enlightening and beautifully produced (much in the same manner as a radio lab/love and radio episode). I am very proud that it is coming from Pittsburgh (and my hubby). I've embedded one of my favorite episodes below, but truly they're all good, especially including Mona Hanna-Attisha on the Flint water crisis and Illah Nourbakhsh on AI robotics and ethics. I learn so much from this podcast. I hope you do too.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh, 

White Summer Dress Round-up

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

White dresses have a matrimonial reputation, and I'd like to stomp that into the ground. A white dress is the coolest thing you can wear in the summer, and this summer is already off to a hot start, so we should get at it. True, there are times you shouldn't wear a white dress, exhibit A: when you're going to consume spaghetti and meatballs. Exhibit B: at someone else's wedding. But I swear, all other times are up for grabs. 

I don't know about you, but white dresses put me into two style moods. They're kinda polar opposites, but here they are.

1. Romantic
photo of  Alix of The Cherry Blossom Girl blog

Romantic as in, what I dream about wearing to visit Provence, France and having my ingenue moment walking through cobblestone alleys and lavender fields.You know what I'm saying... a feminine and casual (but not too casual) white dress that is so classic and feminine that it looks like it could've been plucked from a 70 year old photograph. 

The romantic white dress is best at the-slightly-above-the-knee to midi length. Anything shorter looks like a nightie and anything longer tends to get into wedding dress territory.

In the summer, these kind of dresses look great with nude sandals, espadrilles, and a French market bag. Extend the wear of this dress into the fall by adding black or red tights and oxfords, or throwing a biker jacket over your shoulders. Tres chic!

2. Urban Vampire

Photo of Mercury the most stylishVampire in the movie Blade

The movie Blade came out in 1998 and I've been obsessed with the Mercury, the lady vampire's wardrobe ever since. It blew my mind, a bad character wearing white??? It was so opposite of Vampira/Elvira/Morticia Adam's cliched black goth bad girl wardrobe that it seemed even more evil, albeit shockingly impractical for the urbane vampire. (Naturally I was intrigued as my personal style has bad gal tendencies, well, that and I have two white dogs that shed constantly). 

The urban vampire white dress tends to look like sleek, modern, minimalism. It looks best with gladiator style sandals in the summer and leather leggings and a matching fur topper in the winter.

So without further ado, let's get to the round-up. There are a ton of white dresses out there. I know, because I've looked at them all, and have nearly gone blind from looking at white dresses on white backgrounds. (why do retailers DO this? smh) I've found white dresses for practically every price point...even the day dream price point, because why not?

And if you shy away from white because you're stain prone, this shout spray is a laundry saver (I've been successfully using it and saving my clothes with it for over 20 years). 

$30 - $100

$100 - $200

$200 - $500

$500 - $1,000


As with most other blogs, I provide some links for your convenience. If you click on or buy something from the links, there's a small chance I might earn some money, but after four years in this racket, I haven't. It might take another 4+ years for that to happen, so feel free to click away! Lots of cool dresses to oggle and put in your shopping cart for reals and for pretendsies. Please tell me you do that too.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

When Fashion Laps You

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Meryl Franzos, Harrisburg
photo: Joshua Franzos

The Mom jean trend has been around for a few years. I scoffed at it initially because I came of age when everyone wore mom jeans, even if we were barely fifteen and not even moms. Girl's and women's jeans were not flattering in the 80's and 90's. So I always stole my Dad's jeans; he wore Levi's 501's. I fell in love with the 501 stone wash, the button fly, and how artfully they hung off my hips. I wore 501's well into the early ots, but only in the studio or while doing house renovations, because by then I'd found a new favorite pair of designer bootcut jeans (Seven for All Mankind). My denim polyamory continued with boyfriend jeans. Let's see, then in 2014 I got my first pair of skinny jeans, and ever since skinny and moto jeans have slowly been displacing the Seven bootcuts in my closet. Still, I held on to my last pair of 501's. They were in the basement, ready for our next diy home project. During the last couple months I've had this inexplicable urge to revisit 501's, probably from being bombarded with images of stylish Instagram blogger babes wearing them. I don't really do trends anymore and I didn't want to shell out hundreds of dollars on a new pair when I already had some from a former life. I marched down the steps of our basement, grabbed my 501's off the shelf, and I diy doctored them up a bit with a step-crop hem and deconstructed them by ripping a back pocket off.

photo: Joshua Franzos

They have holes in the knees and paint splatters, but here they are in the flesh (barely) and they are the last piece of clothing leftover from my high school days. I opted to dress them up with a frilly blouse and another 90's hark back, a double-breasted blazer (sans shoulder pads). But still, I couldn't get past the fact that I was wearing jeans that I'd painted several houses, rentals, perhaps even a few high school theatre stage sets in, so even though I was in a blazer, I still felt schlubby. The outfit needed more. I added my favorite Balenciaga boots. Not even close. Then my Alexander McQueen scull scarf. still no. Then my graffiti Chanel bag. Almost, so close, but no. It was these $13.99 sunglasses from Amazon that finally sealed the deal for me. (Get them here). I get compliments on them everywhere I go. From across streets even. From the young to the old, black to the white. They are the hit of the summer. But back to my jeans and the fact that I have officially been lapped by fashion. It's a weird feeling I must admit, seeing young women march a trend past you that you wore  back in the day. Really, there are only two courses of action; scoff or join 'em. Say what you want about me, call me old, call me extra, but you can't say I'm not a team player. 

photo: Joshua Franzos
Meryl Franzos, balenciaga ceinture boots
photo: Joshua Franzos

What I Wore:
Jacket: old, White House/Black Market.
Blouse: old J.Crew
Scarf: Alexander McQueen, here.
Jeans: Levi's 501's. (visit your local vintage shop)
Bag: Chanel
Boots: Balenciaga

photo: Joshua Franzos
P.S. I offer links in case you are interested in adding something you see me wearing to your life. Sometimes they are the exact same thing I'm wearing, sometimes they are the best approximations I can find on the internet. Sometimes, if you click on links that I provide or buy something from the links I provide, I might earn something. Though, I have to admit to you, after nearly 4 years of blogging, I haven't yet earned a penny, but hopefully one day I will. So if you have ever ordered or clicked on links I've provided or would consider doing so in the future, thank you for supporting this blog. It means so much to me that you are reading and trust my opinions enough to look. Thank you. 

photo: Joshua Franzos
Meryl Franzos, 501's
photo: Joshua Franzos

P.P.S These photos were taken at the capital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I was assisting my husband who was on assignment to document the good work of a Pittsburgh organization called Casa San Jose. Casa San Jose helps the under-served Latino community in the Pittsburgh region. From advocacy, to helping immigrants navigate a labyrinthine legal system, social services, and DACA enrollment, to learning new skills, and job placement...that's really just the tip of the iceberg of what they do. While in Harrisburg, my husband documented and I witnessed many immigrants, volunteers, and volunteer interpreters going from state representative to representative to senators in the capital building as they pled their cases for the vote on the DREAM act. In the wake of an empowered ICE and the deplorable Trump administration policy of separating immigrant children from their families, even though we don't live in a border state, I find it especially important to point out the awesome human rights work that is being done locally by Casa San Jose. If you are interested in doing more than just objecting  on facebook to the recent human rights violations, please continue to pester your representatives, and further, you can volunteer or donate to Casa San Jose here. I know I did.This needs to stop.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh, 

Hobo Chic

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Meryl Franzos, bed and breakfast
photo: Joshua Franzos

It's been an awfully long winter and we're finally past the last frost of the season (I hope.) Josh and I started our urban deck garden, a mixture of flowers and culinary herbs - just one of our many home-based projects we've kicked off this year. We really hygged up our Shadyside townhouse, making it a very comfortable and handsome place to hole up this past winter, so much so, we've scarcely left it. Maybe I'll show you our home one of these days, if you're interested. Speaking of which, are you? Do you want to see home decor or foodie related stuff around here? Drop me a line.

photo: Joshua Franzos

So yeah, we've had our feet planted in our Pittsburgh home for many months now, so we decided a one-night getaway was in order. We drove three hours away, to the countryside near Harrisburg, and stayed at a bed and breakfast called The Inn at Westwynd Farm. Westwynd is a lovely farm home with an enviable wrap-around porch and manicured gardens. It is a working farm with many horses, alpaca, mini-horses, a couple of donkeys...and is picturesquely set on a plot of land full of sprawling green hills. The inn was full of antiques, warmth, character, outdoor photo opps, there were complimentary snacks and wine, and the owners and innkeepers were charming. We even got upgraded to a bigger room with an incredible 180 degree view where the sun tucks you in at night, and greets you first thing in the morning like a happy puppy. The breakfast the next day had courses. Coffee first, then a berry compote with lemon zest and vanilla yogurt drizzle, then a muffin course (gluten free for moi), and finally the main, ham wrapped poached eggs, toast, and broiled tomato halves with balsamic drizzle. Bon Appetit! A night (and morning) at Westwynd Farm was just what we needed to recharge our batteries. Even though home is great, it is still fun to getaway and see the world outside of your bubble. 

photo: Joshua Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos

When we were kids, Josh and I both fantasized about putting our belongings in a fabric knapsack and tying it to a stick (called a bindle) like a hobo, and leaving home. We must've watched the same cartoons or read the same stories to have that romantic wanderlust built into us at such a young age. I often made myself a PB&J sandwich and packed my Dad's 1950's boy Scout manual in my bindle. I marched around my Los Angeles county neighborhood in OshKosh overalls, bindle stick on my shoulder and a canvas covered army canteen full of cool water on my side. My parents often didn't know where I was. In my fiercely independent 7 year old mind, I was an explorer. I still am an explorer. That hasn't changed--I just don't feel the need to carry a bindle stick anymore because I found the perfect utilitarian waxed canvas tote. I love how unprecious it is. It has a patina of wine stains, dirt, scratches, et all. It carries everything: my phone, journals, books I'm reading, books I'm not reading, receipts I don't need, lip glosses and hand lotions, sunglasses, reading glasses, and probably a few things that I think I lost. I need to empty it out, but I've been putting it off because that's no fun.

photo: Joshua Franzos

Let's talk about hobos for a second. The term hobo was coined in the 1890's and refers to a traveling migrant worker that used the rails as a means of transportation. At the end of the civil war, many discharged veterans began to head home via the rails. And with the expansion of the American Frontier into the west, many men hopped westward rails looking for work too. Just like looking at railroad tracks into the distance, there is a converging point in history, and the etymology of the term Hobo is widely debated. Some say it came from 'Hoe boy', as in a seasonal hired farm hand, others, say it is an syllabic abbreviation of the phrase, HOmeward BOund.The hopeful romantic in me wants it to be the latter, partly because the sound of the phrase warms me and partly because I don't believe anyone really chooses a dangerous life of homelessness, poverty, unpredictable pay... it's a means to an end, the journey to getting home, where ever and whenever that may be.  

photo: Joshua Franzos
It's good to have a home base. It's good to getaway and expand your world. It's good to have a bag you don't need to treat like a museum piece, and it's good to have one that you do. And further, it's good to have new things, but it's also good to repair the things you do have (I'm looking at you denim jacket that has suffered the wrath of my sharp elbows!) Hobos have me thinking, it's good to take no gift in life for granted and no hardship as a death sentence, just another stop on our rail as our train continues forward, homeward bound. 

photo: Joshua Franzos

What I Wore:
Denim jacket: old Levis, suede elbow patches added.
lace cami: H&M
Skirt: old Mossimo
Bag: Room & Board, here.
Shoes: A.S. 98, here.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

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Cheap Sunglasses

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It's no secret that I love sunglasses. They're the quickest way to change up your style and cover up the dark circles under your eyes. I love good quality ones that last years and years, but I, like ZZ Top, also love a good pair of cheap sunglasses. Here are some of my favorite cheap sunglasses that I'm linking from Amazon.

Royal Girl Hater blockers- for blocking all the haters. They'll also work down in Boca Raton.

Royal Girl. My current favorite pair in the Pink and Red combo.

 Royal Girl Gucci knockoffs with lots of 70's fanfare. You can almost taste the Quaaludes.

WOWSUN  (wowsun is right) pearl studded and (let's be honest) my next pair.

Royal Girl Rhinestone-alicious - They're rose colored so you can actually wear them indoors (and at night) since they don't offer that much sun protection. Channel your inner Elton John.

If rhinestones aren't your thang, then how about some retro cat-eyes?

Or maybe you want something a little more futuristic?

Or maybe you're binging Mr. Robot and you can't stop thinking about Darlene's sunglasses. 

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh, 

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