January 14th, 2014

Jordan Catalano: An Ode to Plaid


Confession: I had been trying to come up with a reason to post about Jordan Catalano, so his Golden Globe win last night was, for me, fortuitous more than it was inspirational, if we’re being honest. Also, let it be stated that I fully understand that Jordan Catalano is not a real person and that Jared Leto is. However, this is about Jordan and Angela; it is not about Jared and Claire.

I talk about the 90s too much. I name drop 90s pop culture, music, TV, and fashion as if these references are both relevant and cute. This was me in the 90s:


Gap shirt. Guess jeans. Naot shoes. MAC Spice on my lips. I apparently knew 90s pop fashion before I knew I knew 90s pop fashion. The strange part is that during the actual 90s, I was the bookish academic. Whenever we “cast” our favorite shows, I was always Andrea Zuckerman or Ross Geller. Always! And I was obviously too much of an Andrea or Ross to ever admit that I really wanted to be Angela Chase.

I don’t think I am over-stating it when I say that if you were a teenager in the 90s, Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano defined you. (OK, also maybe Ricky or Rayanne….but definitely not Sharon or Brian Krakow. Nobody wanted to be Sharon or Brian Krakow until we grew up.) My So-Called Life was this special secret, because even though it lasted only one season, somehow we all saw it. Even a nerdy little loner like me overheard my own plaid-flannel-shirt-wearing Jordan Catalano talking about the show in our high school quad and somehow found a way to watch it.

Somehow, before its untimely cancelation, My So-Called Life told us who to be. And we listened. We all dyed our hair Angela Chase red in order to rebel, we all rolled our eyes at the brainy Brian Krakows, and we all fell in love with the Kurt Cobain knock-offs with the scratchy voices and the after-school bands.

But here’s the trick about Jordan Catalano: he wasn’t that special. He wore the same plaid shirt and corduroy coat as the guy sitting next to me in history, and that’s why we liked him. He sighed a lot, so we could assume some Cobain torture (minus the Converse), and that was all we needed in the 90s: a sigh, a gaze, and a lot of angst. This was before Seth Cohen drew comics or Lonely Boy exploited the upper crust with his lit wit. Back then, we didn’t want the hidden gem with the intellect; we wanted the guy who couldn’t read! Yes. Reminisce on that one, kids. JORDAN CATALANO COULD NOT READ. That’s how he and Angela connect! She discovers his secret and then tutors him! This is the boy we fell in love with!!! This is what the 90s taught us.

And this, dear friends, is how we grew up. Our show got canceled, we stopped dying our hair that same burgundy red, and the boys learned how to read. Everything changed. The artist formerly known as Angela Chase went to college (with me, for what it’s worth) and then grew into deeper roles. I grew out of my Jordan Catalano plaid shirts and then started selling plaid shirts to boys who only knew Jared Leto as the guy from 30 Seconds to Mars.

The stories continue; there is life after cancelation. My show was canceled, but my love affair remains. I will fall for new plaid boys:


And I will take my plaids and mix them up with other prints to keep them wonderland-appropriate:


Sometimes good things are canceled too soon. But somehow everyone finds their place again. My So-Called Life is now a DVD set on my shelf. Claire Danes and Jared Leto now have Golden Globes on their shelves. And my closet, of course, remains lined with plaid shirts. Oh, and sorry, friends, that we haven’t even talked about Doc Martens and my commitment to the babydoll dress-combat boot movement. Here’s what: let’s just hope that Neve Campbell wins something soon so that I can do a tutorial on being Julia Salinger.

Posted at 1:19 am by rachel in: After Wonderland

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January 11th, 2014

Sleeping Bella


Look, I just did a 10-season Friends marathon over the holidays, so maybe Ross has shouted, “We were on a break!” one too many times, but I can’t help but agree. I’ve been on a break. Perhaps it doesn’t have to be a break-up or a break-down per se; it’s just a break. As such, I have my fairytale muses all mixed up, but given that my favorite purchase for my new home was this Ikea children’s bed that I put in my backyard, I’d say I’ve become more Sleeping Beauty than wandering Alice.

For awhile now, I’ve been saying that I’m having a post-fashion moment, but the beauty of fashion is that it takes all kinds of superheroes, and it will adapt and find you in your moment, even if you’re curled up in your colorful Anthropologie blanket, slowly sipping your french press coffee hoping it will stir you to the next adventure. But I’ve always said that the adventure is in the journey itself, so I will wait no longer. I will embrace this moment for what it is and reveal to you my current wardrobe: SLEEP MEETS STREET. There are a lot of sweats, but in my defense, both the sweatshirts and the sweatpants are shrunken and fitted. However, if I hit a bag lady moment where I’m more Evil Queen delivering an apple than pretty princess napping, I hope you won’t hold it against me. For now, there’s been this:

wildfox and kate

An old Wildfox tee plus J.crew cardigan. The Kate Spade donut sweatshirt from Fall13 with a paisley button down.


This Free City “I Love You” sweatshirt that is as soft as it is darling and makes me wish I owned everything Free City makes (spoiler alert: Free City isn’t exactly priced for a Sleeping Beauty salary).


And my favorite: the Current/Elliott snow leopard sweatpants. A little bit sleep. A little bit street. Just the way I like it.

In an equally triumphant moment, the girls behind Current/Elliott have developed a line called Emily & Meritt for Pottery Barn Teen. It is brilliant and has my indoor Sleeping Beauty chamber looking like this:


So, I like a world where every bella gets a prefix. You met me as a bouncing bunny bella, but then I took a break. I traded in my bounce for a nap until I met an Isa-bella. What Isabella reminded me is that while my story may not be “conventional,” it is special to those who get it. And I like those! The beauty of the fairytale is that any kind of Jack and any kind of Jill can find a happy ending….even if they take a little nap in the middle. Perhaps the nap can even be helpful. Truly, how else would Alice have gotten to Wonderland or Dorothy to Oz? A bella needs her sleep to conjure her big adventures!

So, maybe Sleeping Beauty wasn’t cursed. Maybe she was just a dreamer.

Posted at 8:52 am by rachel in: After Wonderland, Interiors, Uncategorized

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January 8th, 2014



It’s been a year.

My tree has fallen in the forest.

It’s possible that no one heard it.

It is a series of both unfortunate and inspiring events that has me making noise again. Oddly enough, it was a 12-year-old holiday visitor named Isabella who knocked me out of my confused, 30-something slumber. She loved looking at pictures of the store. She understood none of my 90s references. She was shocked that I drank straight espresso. We had the same taste in fashion (but not music…..she doesn’t like Ke$ha????). She asked me to take her shopping. She wanted me to tell her everything I knew about makeup and was floored by the volumes of knowledge I unloaded upon her. But, perhaps most importantly, she encouraged me to tell my story.

So, with Isabella’s enthusiasm still ringing in my ears, I had to stop being quiet. Sure, I’ve been dropping pithy sweet nothings on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@twoellerachel), but it’s time for this once-and-future fashionista to crawl out of the rabbit hole, pick up the pieces, and try to make some relative sense of this definite wonderland.

It’s a new day.

I will make things. I will say things. And I will try not to go silent again.

You ready to keep bouncing, bunnies?

I’m yelling, “Timber!”

Posted at 1:39 am by rachel in: After Wonderland

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January 13th, 2013

Closing Doors


One year ago right now, I opened this door for the last time, and I wrote this on the wall:


Only 24 hours before, wonderland was empty, and I had taken to the stage for a photo shoot.



My dear friend and photographer Stephen Gilbert had asked many times if he could capture me in my space. I waited, as is my way, until the very final moments. The former factory was empty, but the music was loud, and the lights were bright. We danced the last dance.


I was so pleased when he posted his piece on me a few days later. I loved the imagery, of course, but if possible, I think I loved his words more. I remember reading them and feeling flattered, but I also remember noting that a day would come in the future when I would recall his inspirational telling of my own tale. I knew that I would journey on after our dance but that eventually I would stumble and revive his words as my mantra.

So, here we are, one year later, and I continue to visit his site and his magical version of my moment. And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the anniversary of the day we scraped our name off the window.


I may have locked up these red doors for the last time, and I may have turned in the keys that opened them so many times. And if I’m being honest, these doors that traveled from New York to Nashville to keep our wonderland safe inside were one of my proudest moments and one of the many that I wish I hadn’t left behind.


But if the mantra bestowed upon me by one Stephen Mitchell Gilbert is correct, then the magic is in the moment. Doors and walls and windows stayed behind, but I packed up the sparkle and the music and the dance. One day, I won’t miss those doors, and my hand won’t ache because it can’t write on that wall. And on that day, we will dance again. For now, I turn to another artist friend, Bob Roman, who tagged my wall with some relevant anniversary inspiration.

bob roman

Posted at 5:52 pm by rachel in: After Wonderland, Closing the Store, Interiors

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January 3rd, 2013

15 Minutes


For awhile now, I’ve been marking this as my Warhol moment. I can’t place what precisely that means, but something about the pop and the fizzle has drawn in this former classicist. And it seems I’m not alone. Bond No. 9’s Warhol notes provided the color palette and inspiration for my Nashville condo, and now Nars has joined the party.


shadow flower_shadow

They’re truly works of art on their own, and I’m starting to think that’s how I’d like to live my life….or perhaps how I always have. Plus, I think Andy would agree that a little mess and a little excess never hurt anyone.


A year ago, dear friends, I was in the throws of converting my poppy excess into a momentary mess. I was stripping down my own little silver factory. I was deconstructing wonderland.


But one of my new Nars eyeshadows reminds me that Andy Warhol printed that art is what you can get away with. So….give me 15 minutes, friends, and let me see what I can do.

Posted at 4:35 pm by rachel in: After Wonderland

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