Snow and Spring and Shoes

Yesterday’s snow storm was a bit unexpected – it started earlier than anticipated and seemed to snow more than expected (maybe 4-5″?). Then it turned to rain overnight, and with the morning temperatures above freezing, it was a slushy, sloppy mess when I went for a mid-morning walk. I wanted to see how the road conditions were, to determine how I felt about getting to work Monday morning*, but I ended up just cranky. I guess I have to write at least one winter weather-related cranky post per year. SnowstormWalking through the barely cleared slushy side streets of my neighborhood was somewhat annoying because there were too many large puddles, then there’s that whole no-sidewalks thing. Of course people were walking in the street, there is nowhere else to go! I did see people out shoveling in front of their houses. I love the way civic concern ends at the edge of one’s property line. Shovel all the way to the street? Clear the curb? Not my problem.

But once I got onto a main road, I started to get really annoyed. Here Arlington is a Walk Friendly Community, and it was impossible to walk across streets. Snow had been plowed into walls along the main drag, sidewalks cleared to almost the street, and slush puddles formed at every corner. It’s no wonder I saw these two guys walking down the middle of the road. Their feet were probably drier than mine, as I attempted to make my way across the mess. Slush 13Slush 10As I struggled along, I thought about how Arlington has made news because it is clearing the bike trails this winter. This is a huge victory for bike advocates and my friends at BikeArlington, but I have to confess that it makes me sort of crabby. It’s great that the trails are cleared – but what about the bike lanes?! I mean, there are plows out on the streets already, just clear the bike lane at the same time! And by the way – how do  you expect people on bikes to get to the bike trail that has been so nicely cleared?! I don’t tend to bike after a snowstorm because I know the roads will be messy, with the snow plowed into the bike lane, and the roads icy, and I don’t trust drivers in this sort of weather while I’m trying to take the lane. If you want more people to bike in the winter and the snow, think about the connectivity of the system.

So I decided to check out the route that I usually take from home to the bike trail, if I take the trail (which I don’t, because I prefer to take the bike lanes. It’s more direct to my office. Why go out of my way? And I find the trail boring. I’d rather check out the houses and restaurants and shops I pass). As expected, pretty messy. The only section where the bike lane was totally clear was the section where it goes between a right turn lane and a through lane.

The car is actually in the bike lane, because the right turn lane is still full of snow and slush. At least the bike lane is clear?

The car is actually in the bike lane, because the right turn lane is still full of snow and slush. At least the bike lane is clear?

See that white line almost buried by the snow? That's the outer edge of the bike lane.

See that white line almost buried by the snow? That’s the outer edge of the bike lane.

Where the bike lane ends...

Where the bike lane ends…

Bike directions, yay! No visible bike lane - it's under all that snow.

Bike directions, yay! No visible bike lane – it’s under all that snow.

Please, please, please, can we think about how everyone gets around, in all kinds of weather?

Now that my rant is over, I am going to think about Spring. It will be here eventually! I’m fantasizing about warm weather and wearing skirts on bikes, and Spring shoes. I don’t know why, I’m just obsessed with pink, blush or nude shoes right now. I really love the Inglewood kiltie oxfords from Finery London, in nude with a gold kiltie, and Cole Haan has a lovely basic blush oxford as well. Orla Kiely has teamed up with Clarks to make some adorable (yet expensive) shoes, and I love the pink slipper flats (and the pale blue kindergartener t-straps, which I think would be perfect with this Spring’s newest trend, culottes). Clarks has a few other pairs of pale pink shoes that I love, like their own pale pink/nude spectator oxford and even the dressed-up fishermans sandals.

Any one of these pairs would be adorable with a circle skirt – how many more days until Spring arrives?

 *PS – Although I took the bus, the warm weather appears to have melted enough snow yesterday to clear most of the bike lane….


Shopping for Sparkles

Living in New York for ten years spoiled me for many things – delis on every corner, a $10 manicure, unlimited subway passes, subways that run 24-7, and of course, the shopping. I really didn’t fully understand the lament of my best friend, on how conservative DC is when it comes to shopping, but now that I’ve been in the area for two plus years, I get it. I really don’t want to look like every other shops at J.Crew-Gap-Banana Republic woman in the area! I like those stores too, but there is sartorially more to life than those places!

My $10 manicure, in dusty teal – I saw blue nails everywhere, so naturally I had to do it too!

Naturally, my recent trip to the Big Apple focused on shopping.  Uniqlo‘s Orla Kiely collection made me very happy, although I was disappointed in the fit of almost everything I tried on in Joe Fresh. Almost everything – I did get two tops.

But what I miss the most about shopping in New York is the Garment District, that lovely area full of fabric stores and trim shops. I dragged a friend to a few, hunting specifically for reflective fabric and trim.

We started in B & J Fabrics. I love this place, mostly for it’s huge collection of Liberty of London fabrics. If I could wear nothing but Liberty of London, I would – but I can’t afford it! Yikes, $37 a yard! Nope, not yet. I did find some reflective fabric, though, but only three options. I ended up getting a half-yard of the gold. It is $42 a yard, or I would have bought more. I have an idea of what to do with it, but it will be top secret for a while. It’s something for fall anyway, so I’m not in a huge rush to get that made.

Then we visited a few trim shops to find some more reflective grosgrain trim. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any reflective piping, but I did find the grosgrain.

In the first store, the color selection wasn’t exciting, and they were all $3.50 a yard.

They did carry a few different widths, which was a plus. But I couldn’t think of anything to do with orange or neon green reflective trim. Nothing I’d wear, anyway.

Then we went into a different store, and I hit the jackpot! A huge selection of really pretty colors, and only $1 a yard! Such a bargain! I got 3 yards each of my four favorite colors. J’adore!

In love with these colors!

So now I’m searching through the Vogue patterns website, trying to find something to do with these trims. The Cynthia Rowley dress pattern I loved isn’t available anymore, not online, but I will probably check in my local JoAnn Fabrics, anyway.

Cynthia Rowley dress pattern

There is always this super simple skirt pattern, which I can decorate with trim, like I did the first:

I do love making (and wearing) skirts in the summer.

I also found a great Donna Karan dress that would be good with reflective piping or trim, plus a few other patterns that are just cute and summery, although they don’t necessarily lend themselves to bike-friendly garments.

So I have something thinking to do! Thinking and designing. And now I wish I was back in New York to find some great fabrics.  Hm – next free weekend…?