Month: September 2009

Painfully Kelly Green: THE Blazer

The color and shape of this blazer make me extremely giddy. Its so Early 90s Soccer Mom / Marching Band Geek that it was a blast to style. Thrifted. Perfect condition. SCORE.
Green Blazer (available on Etsy)
Vintage leather shorts (Can you believe how much mileage I’ve gotten out of these?)
Buckle boots (


I feel like a leprechaun. In a good way.

a story involving pizza, a poor sport, and someone wearing an apron – in which i get schooled

(diana deaver)

it’s been noted by others in the past that my brother and i have an extremely close relationship  – especially since he’s almost 9 years younger than me.

i won’t deny that i remember the day mom and dad bought him from the hospital, but we’re adults now.
we’re equals, and i spend a lot of time with him so that i can prove that i’m the awesomer sibling.  

it’s the Ultimate Competition – and there are no Time Outs in the Ultimate Competition.  
(have you ever been woken up at 3:00am by a barrage of blinding lights outside your bedroom window?  then your sister probably didn’t invest a whole lot of time and effort into gathering every external camera flash she could get her hands on, and she probably isn’t me.)

it (obviously) goes without saying, but in the Ultimate Competition, i am the Ultimate Winner.

something weird went down this week though – i lost a round.
asher – with a little help from his boss, co-workers and the Tucson Weekly – finally has one point.

asher’s boss (i’ve heard) is a pretty awesome dude.  
example?  work uniform:  he’s allowed to wear pretty much anything he wants – which frequently involves black high-top converse, short-shorts, and a powder blue baseball cap that says “princess” across the front in rhinestones – as long as it covers the appropriate body parts.

example two:  they have a giant sign in front of the restaurant – on one of the busiest streets in tucson –  where employees frequently post pretty much any ridiculous statement they can think of.

(here’s the point where i tell you that asher always introduces me as his “sister, diana – the lesser-attractive sibling.”  then we all laugh knowingly and roll our eyes at each other when he’s not looking.  it’s pretty obvious that it’s just not true.)

so when asher handed me this week’s edition of the Tucson Weekly and said, “oh, and the Ultimate Competition scores are in.  they’re posted somewhere near the back…” i was able to accept the printed matter with grace and composure.  (i rolled up the paper, hit him with it, stormed home, and then laughed hysterically on my living room floor…)  

a true winner never wants her little brother feel bad about himself.  even if he has to post lies on local signage in order to win a round.


the Ultimate Competition: asher’s first point

the Ultimate Competition 

obvious lies.  (asher on right, wearing “princess” hat and shapeless apron.)

(ps. asher – your lies might be on signs, but my name – and amber’s too – is on the guest list for bon iver tonight.  what?!?!  oh, that’s right – i regained my running title as Ultimate Winner of Ultimate Competition…  see you at the show?  no?  what?  you’re working?!  so sorry, buddy…)

-your sis

pps. if you didn’t click on the link to asher’s music already, do it now.  my favorites? “knee” and “your bird.”  maybe he deserves 3 points?  you can be the judge of that.  


Painfully Trite Twitter Tweets for 2009-09-27

  • Ew. 102 in Phoenix. Last day of summer my ass. #
  • By far my favorite music site/ Outrightly swoon-worthy. #
  • I just took apart my sandwich and ate it layer by layer. Why is "Amber Regresses to Her Childhood" the theme of today? #
  • Having serious haircutting urgency at the moment… Not allowed to cut it till Sunday… Someone pry the scissors from my hands! 911! #
  • And… the Theme of the Day continues. I'm now drinking beer with 19 year olds. #
  • LOVES Nilsson Sings Newman – Harry Nilsson covering Randy Newman for an entire, glorious, life-changing album. Beauteous! #
  • RT @geeksaresexy Solved: The Million Dollar Napoleon Dynamite Conundrum – Awesome. This is why Netflix will rule all. #
  • In afterglow after opening a gigantic box full of new shoes. Pretty sure it weighed more than my roommate. I think I need a cigarette. #
  • Off to a fashion show rehearsal in a (former) pie factory…. Wait. Should I have a bad feeling about this? #
  • Oh yeah? A present from Home Depot? CAN'T WAIT. #

I will have butterfly wings on my face. Literally and metaphorically.

Arizona! Come see us make like models at the Grand Avenue Festival, taking place in a rad former pie factory warehouse:

This will feature the most beautiful altered vintage from Butter Toast Boutique, the brick and mortar version of the amazing Billie Goat Vintage. I’m really excited. Hope to see some of you kids there!

Wait. I’ve been invited to model in a pie factory runway show. Should I have a bad feeling about this?

Painfully Cinematic: Les Photos Inspirées par Amelie Poulain

When Cecilia Austin, whose work I have been admiring for a while now, asked me to be the stylist on a photo shoot inspired by one of my all-time favorite movies, Amelie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain), I nearly wet myself with glee.

It is a astonishing, painterly movie but Audrey Tatou’s wardrobe – as I found when I re-watched this masterpiece for inspiration – is just a touch dated and ordinary (probably in order to downplay her undeniable good looks). I loved the challenge of bringing out the iconic whimsy and 1920’s inspiration a lot more, while keeping the bashful naiveté and tomboyish mischief that so defines her character.

Amelie Poulain lookalike
Amelie Poulain
Amelie Poulain spoon

This pale cornflower ballgown from the 1950s was a left field exception, granted, but we had somehow gotten permission from the Historical Society to shoot in San Francisco’s majestic Old Mint after all, and nothing else would do for the ballroom-like vault room. This dress was the property of one very talented Kristin Cofer‘s late grandmother, and she kindly entrusted me with this relic. I am so glad we could immortalize it for her. So lovely.

50s ball gown sf old mint

Photographers = Cecilia Austin and Ed Cabalit
Model = Jocelyn Largent
Hair and Makeup = Diane Worthley
Stylist = Amber Mortensen
Special Thanks to Kristin Cofer and Alicia Black of Babyfoot Vintage

Painfully Hip Design Collective and Agent Ribbons

by Amber Mortensen
(co-authored by Rory)

When Agent Ribbons (vaudeville outlaws, theatrical bandits, our only hope of making it out of monotony alive…) rolled into torrid Tucson like a three ring circus of unquestionable awesomeness, we were excited to reimburse the stratosphere some of our couchsurfing karma. Natalie Ribbons, Lauren Hess and their fanciful dancing bird, Christopher, hit the road from my old stomping grounds (Sacramento, CA) and have been on the lamb since January. We couldn’t let them make their escape with out documenting their dangerous levels of va-va-vaudeville vavoom.

I was feeling a definite Bonnie & Clyde streak brewing. Voila, our very first band shoot!


They chose their performance outfits from the “Painfully Hip Closet/Room” for their performance at the gorgeous Solar Culture Gallery – a mustn’t miss in Tucson – which they rocked without question. After the ensuing spectacle, they left the crowd hankering for more and decided to sing for their supper at the Red Room later that same night. Better believe they had the entire restaurant up and dancing! Quite the feat… especially when late night mozzarella sticks are involved.

Agent Ribbons performance

photographer: Ryan Mihalyi
styling: Diana Deaver and Amber Mortensen
Hair and Makeup: Amber Mortensen
Special thanks to Stacey and to Solar Culture!

Is it Vaudeville? Or “cabaret-inspired victorian punk garage?” Pictures are always nice, but I’m going to let Natalie’s green wiggle dress do the talking:

Follow Agent Ribbons on Twitter.

If you are a touring band rolling through Tucson, and would like to raid our styling skillz and alliances with amazing photographers like Ryan Mihalyi for some promo shots, launch us an email at!

agent ribbons and painfully hip

Painfully Trite Twitter Tweets for 2009-09-20

  • had my day made by sporting a rainbow striped dress with rainbow splashed shoes. therapists are for the birds. #
  • Is preparing herself for… ugh… SEWING. #
  • I heart my leather shorts… I'd have traded my grandma for them. no joke. #
  • Tonight is about vino, pasta, Neil Young… and being a 3rd wheel. Good times. #
  • Sundays are my designated "guilt free" days. Indulgence and laziness are totally allowed. Try it, you'll like it. #
  • Was told last night that I am "gross" for being a meat eater. By a guy who was trying to pick me up. Judgemental guys are so HOT. #
  • Anyone in NYC wanna be my correspondent at the Vice Magazine party tomorrow night? Lykke Li is DJing. And I hate you. #
  • RT @mihalyiphoto awesome shoot last night with @AgentRibbons and @painfullyhip last night at Solar Culture. #
  • My body is asleep but my brain is wide awake. #
  • Check out my new look "rainbow is my drug of choice" on #
  • Vote for Scott's passive solar home for this eco-design contest! Help an extremely talented architect and The Earth! #
  • Internet down AGAIN?? Cox Cable needs to be renamed Cox Uckers. #
  • Vote for Scott's passive solar home eco-design! Help out a talented architect & The Earth! Takes 2 seconds, i swear! #
  • Please and thank you! #

dress of the week(ness of knees) club

(by diana deaver)

solar culture

amber and i don’t really have a whole lot to do other than put on pretty things and lounge around in awkward places.

that’s a total lie.
i actually have a whole “to do” list – ahem, notebook – waiting for some attention, but seriously, if you were being propositioned by both a Mead five-star and this handsome fellow (the DRESS.  the person in it isn’t a “fellow.”) who would you choose?

amber in The Dressfor the record, i used to entertain the idea that i would feel pretty in this dress.
that was until amber borrowed it and i realized it had been hand-sewn by a million tiny angels, 
each singing her name in perfect harmony.  
oh gag me.  and stop being so freakin’ perfect in all MY clothes, amber!!  DO YOU HEAR ME?!

i can deal though.  i’m cool like that.  a lot of the “cool like that” being hinged on the fact that i also own this dress, so i didn’t have to stay at home, alone and poorly clothed:

diana's new favorite dress

an interesting fact about this dress:

one of the sweetest girls i’ve ever met, named sarah, who lives in close proximity to the city of fresno, gave me this dress a few months ago – after offering up her very comfortable home as a place for me to stay on my way through her town. she had never met me prior to this.  i could have been a complete lunatic.  

i’m still not making any promises that i’m not.  (a complete lunatic.)  but this dress might complete me…  

close-up time!!

the dress... again!

yep…  still kinda hate her for rockin this dress so hard.

of course!!  
thank you again/for the billionth time/etc., to one of our most favorite men in the world, mr. ryan mihalyi, for his photographic genius, (it goes without saying, but the good ones are his handiwork.  the not-so-good ones?  we had a homeless man take those…)

also?  we love you guys!!!  have a fan-freakin-tastic friday!

check me out: hard driving

Usually, when phrases like “my popsicle melted” or “hard drive failure” are used, you expect to hear a particularly boring sob story with many uses of the word “suck.” Mine is different: more boring, less sob.

On the morning of the fateful day in question, I had decided to finally break out the external hard drive which had been sitting off for a month and a half while I wandered the country aimlessly. I needed it to back up my 3 year old laptop and then begin the annoying task of transferring files so my brimming hard drive would not burst. I’ll spare you the details, but needless to say, that is exactly what happened. Hard drive failure.

This was a good thing (no, I am not on drugs) although I could not have known it at the time. I made an appointment at the Apple Store, fully expecting to go into debt over this thing. Not to be.

There is this thing that is rad? It is called The Genius Bar.

Genius: “When was the last time you backed up?

Me (feeling like a genius): “This morning. Time Machine is the best invention since Pay-at-the-Pump.”

Genius: “Oh good, so I won’t have to give you any bad news regarding data recovery then.”

Me (definitely not a genius): “Guess not, but you must have good bedside manner.”

Genius: “Heh… Yup. Yes, you definitely need a new hard drive… (checks his monitor) but oh, what’s this? Looks like we don’t make the 80g anymore, we’ll have to upgrade you to a 120g. Hope you don’t mind.

‘Oh, you have a chipped top case.”

Me: “Uhhh oh. OK. How much more will that cost me??

Genius: “Well, let’s see here. You’re not under warrantee any more and you don’t have Apple Care, but you’re still covered.”

Me: Still… covered…? Wow… um… ok…

Genius: “So just go ahead and sign this piece of paper that says, $0.00 on it and we’ll get that fixed up for you by tomorrow.”

Yeah. My computer is now better than new. Literally.
This is what I was wearing.
floral mini dress
floral minidress

mixed florals flapper dress: thrifted in Tucson
feather headband: Sewsephine on Etsy
sheer granny socks: a gift from Neneee
leather maryjanes with stacked wood heel:

The next day, the nice Genius that helped me asked me to dinner (maybe he enjoyed my joke about beds).
I honestly feel like I’ve drained all my allotted good kharma from this dress. I hate to do it, but considering that there is currently an ominous $6.66 in my checking account, it is time I share this frock and its infinite good kharma with another Lucky Lady. Check out our Painfully Hip Etsy.

Painfully Trite Twitter Tweets for 2009-09-13

  • 's Ziggy Stardust pompadour is still holding strong 22 hours later. #
  • I'm sopping just from my run from door to car! #
  • New LOGO! Whatwhat! #
  • Just found out that I will be the main subject of a fine art photography exhibit in LA this month! Total flabbergast! #
  • Check out my new look "tiny pink roses" on #
  • Hardcore prescription painkillers from Mexico are no match for THIS headache! #
  • Hype it up! My new look, "tiny pink roses" on #
  • Check out my new look "inexplicably" on #
  • Check out my new look "leather shorts" on #
  • Scouting locations for a 20s inspired photoshoot in the middle of the desert is proving to be difficult. #
  • Robot Party turned very easily into a Zombie Party with no explanations. #
  • Yesterday the Terrorists destroyed my computer because they hate my freedom. #
  • Computer situation rectified. PHEW. I love the Apple Genius Bar – I got HOOKED UP with a free harddrive upgrade! #