Monday, December 30, 2013

My (Very Accurate and Simple) Guide to Happiness

Well here we are again, the end of another year. We are all a little older, hopefully a little wiser, and definitely a little fuller after this holiday season. When sitting down at the coffee shop yesterday with my lovely sister to write our New Year's resolutions I found myself getting a bit discouraged. 

Upon finishing my list I realized that it was pretty much the same as last year’s. And the year before. And the year before. With the exceptions of a few changes, like you know, instead of “get good grades” I now have “Don’t fail” and “make money” has now been replaced with “don’t go broke”, the lists are almost identical. It seems as if every year I, and I am sure you feel this way too, expect to be happier. And it seems as if I except that I will achieve ultimate happiness simply by losing weight, making more money, and having unrealistic expectations of what I can achieve in one year. Ummm wrong. Now I am no expert on happiness, but I am pretty sure that if your New Year’s resolution has anything on it that resembles “get skinny”, “make money”, and “find true love” that happiness is not in your future. Sure it may be, I don’t want to sound like a negative Nancy or doubting Debby, but it seems a bit unrealistic. That’s because we set such big goals for ourselves. When you have a giant goal on your list, like “find true love”, it is incredibly intimidating. Something that big can’t happen over night, same with getting skinny and making lots of money. It takes baby steps. However, when we only have the end goal on our list it is hard to know where to begin and so we end up just giving up. Resulting in the same list being made every December 31st.
So, here is what I propose. That instead of making solely a list of GINORMOUS GOALS, we make a second list of baby steps that will allow us to achieve the big goals. For example, under “get skinny” have “go to the gym at least 3 times a week, make homemade meals, and eliminate fast food”. Under “make money” have “make a resume, apply for jobs, and get hired”, or if you already have a job have “create a savings account, stop unnecessary purchases such as Lattes, and invest”. Under “find true love” have “leave the house at least once a week, get rid of the cat (NEVER), and learn to talk to strangers”. That way, even if you don’t necessarily achieve the big goals, you can at least say you accomplished something and that glowing feeling of accomplishment will bring a smile to your pinched up face and VOILA! Happiness.

May your NYE parties be a blast and may you not start the new year with too bad of a headache.
See you in 2014 my friends!



Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Thanksgiving Post

The average American ate 7000 calories yesterday. The average American will spend around $423 today. Is this what Thanksgiving has become? Really? Do you not find it ironic that they day after we are supposedly giving thanks for the things we have, people go out and kill each other over sales for things they want? It seems to me that the average American has forgotten the true meaning of Thanksgiving. This special, uniquely American (except Canada has one too, but it doesn't count) holiday is not about gorging your self to the point of explosion. Nor is about shopping till dropping. It's not about football. It's not even about the "first meal shared with the native Americans", because we all know that that wasn't a very happy time in history. Granted, these are all great, enjoyable things (well maybe not the massive slaughter of the native Americans as we invaded their land... But you know, coming here for freedom was great), but they aren't what the day should be about. It should be about being truly and genuinely thankful for your life. If you are able to be reading this post then you are better off than the majority of the world. If you have a house, if you have a family, if you have friends, if you have food, you are pretty darn blessed and you should be grateful for that. No matter how many more toys and gadgets you may want, or suppose you "need", in reality we are all kings and queens, princes and princesses and it would probably add to our happiness if we acknowledged that. If we can learn to be content with our lot in life, and not constantly wanting more more more, we can learn to enjoy the little things in life. And this thankfulness is not only relevant on the fourth Thursday of November, or solely during the holiday season, but should be remembered all year long. So from this moment hence forth, let us think of everyday as Thanksgiving.
I personally am extremely thankful for my family because we can be silly and goofy together and they love me unconditionally. 

I am also thankful for excellent party planning, Pinterest inspired decorations, delicious food, and candles. And of course pie:

I am also thankful for everyone of you who reads my blog, or even just looks at it.

Ps. Quick history lesson: Abe Lincoln was the first president to acknowledge thanksgiving as a "legal" holiday—meaning that the banks close on the day

Friday, November 22, 2013

Classic Jackie

Fifty years ago today something very sad happened in this country. Fifty years ago today the 35th president of the United States , John Fitzgerald Kennedy,was assassinated. While sitting in the coffee shop, I look around and realize that probably the majority of the people sitting, enjoying their hot cocoas and conversation are not even aware of the solemnity of this day. No matter what you think of politics, what side of the spectrum you live on, it is undeniable that today is an important day in history and it is sad. When I reminded my dad what today was, he got very quiet and I could see that in his mind he was remember that moment 50 years ago: he was sitting in his second grade class room and the principal got on the loud speaker and the whole school went quiet.
While it is important to remember the importance of the day, as it is with every historical event, and to acknowledge the solemnity of what has happened, it is also important to not dwell on the past. For, as JFK said "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future". Instead of feeling sad and living under the cloud of the past, we should focus on how we can learn from the past for the future. Now, as I am no longer studying the Cold War and as I have no intentions of going into government, I'm not all that interested in what we can learn from JFK's policies and time in office. Rather, I am more interested in what we can learn from the woman on his arm. What can we learn from the beautiful Jackie? The first lady, probably one of the most eminent style icons of the 20th century, seems to have never left her room without looking impeccable. Unlike Marilyn Monroe, the other most important style icon of the time, who liked to do just about everything possible to draw attention–low cut tops, body-forming dresses, posing nude, being blonde, etc.–Jackie did just the opposite. However, it is kind of impossible to not live in the spot light when you are married to the President of the United States. So, Jackie lived a style of being publicly private. What does this mean? Well, as she knew that everywhere she went there would be cameras, she always was dressed to the nines, but she also did certain things to keep herself to herself. Like the big sunglasses, or the scarf wrapped around her head. She also never wore anything too flashy, was consistent, and incredibly modest. This probably made more of an impact than if she had worn skin tight sequined dresses. It gave her an aire of power, classiness, reserve, and modesty that is invaluable in a public figure–especially such an important one. Simplicity is always a good plan. A classic t-shirt and skirt combo with a strand of pearls can make a much bigger statement than the most flashy pair of pants or most daring dress. As long as it is paired with poise, confidence, and fits well.
as pictures can say more than words, let's just take a look at what style tips we can get from Mrs. Kennedy

Understated and beautiful, a true classic.
So instead of dwelling on the sadness of today, let's turn our focus to how we can learn from the past and improve our lives, and our closets.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Under Your Umbrella

It’s raining, it’s pouring, and I’m sure somewhere an old man is snoring. It seems as if winter has arrived in San Francisco. While not what I am exactly accustomed to, this chilly, grey wetness is a refreshing herald for a new season. I finally can accept the Thanksgiving, and Christmas, decorations up in every store, because it finally feels like we have moved out of August. With this turn over (mmmm a turn over sounds delicious) of seasons comes a universal wardrobe switch. Sure, some of us will continue to wear the exact same thing no matter what the weather is doing. I have a friend back in Colorado who wears cargo shorts every single day. Rain or shine, snow or tornado, 120° or -45°.  I think he is a little insane. And if he ever reads this, which is doubtful, I hope he can forgive me. The rest of us, though, like to mix it up a little. Which means, RAIN COATS! And RAIN BOOTS! And SWEATERS! And UMBRELLAS! And LONG UNDERWEAR!!!!! (I obviously am a little excited about this…)
I have noticed that for some inexplicable reason, some people tend to get a little gloomy when the sky turns grey and the temperature drops. Okay, maybe it’s because it’s like the sky is crying and this makes people feel sad. But really there is no need to be so emotional. Come on people, be happy! Rain means that the earth is getting some much-needed water; it allows things to grow and washes the dirt off of the street. Without rain we would live in a perpetual desert and having grown up in a land that has 100°F days of dryness throughout all of July and August I can tell you that you DO NOT want to live in a desert. Dessert yes, desert no. Plus, cold rainy days are the perfect days to curl up in a blanket, drink hot tea, and read a book. And there is nothing better than that. So, I think that every day should be like this: grey, cold, rainy, and, yes, gloomy. And full of books.
Gene Kelly knows what up, he understands how great the rain is

Why don't we all sing, and dance, in the rain?
While walking to class this afternoon, I saw another reason that people might be upset about this weather. It’s because they don’t know how to dress for it! Seriously, if you’re not gonna wear a rain jacket or carry an umbrella, you’re bound to get wet and cold, which will make you uncomfortable and maybe give you a cold which is certain to make you a little prejudiced towards the rain. But really it’s your fault, not the drops of water hitting your face. Once you are properly outfitted for the environment, you can fully enjoy the wonderfulness of it all. This means wearing a proper rain jacket, probably with something warm underneath, rain boots (to allow for appropriate puddle jumping), gloves, maybe a scarf, and of course, an umbrella.
Let us talk a bit about umbrellas. We have so many options when it comes to this essential accessory. Do you go for a fashionable one? A classic black one? One that you got for free with some off-brand toothpaste logo on it? A clear plastic one? One that attaches to your head with a headband? SO MANY CHOICES! I suggest that you always have a few options handy. Some good basics are these:

A classic black one:

A Fun Fashionable one (maybe with some cats on it...):

An easy collapsible one that is always in your purse. Always:

Once you have your umbrella figured out, you can work on the rest of the outfit. And then you can go out and jump in puddles and get wet and have fun and not have a single worry in the world, because life is good.
My lovely roommate, isn't she adorable? and she loves the rain.
because she is properly outfitted


Post Script: don't forget to follow me on pinterest and instagram by clicking on the links to your right                                                                                           (that's this side of the screen -->)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Patches of the Past

For the second installment of Sweeker (my week long celebration of sweaters) I would like to touch on the subject of the elbow patch. Now a style characteristic of those natives of coffee shops and wearers of ironic glasses—aka hipsters—this style was not always worn out of hipness but out of necessity.

There was a time, believe it or not, when people actually had to do hard labor. And when these people did hard labor, such as working at lumberyards or on railroads, they wore the same thing every day. If you have had any experience what so every with any kind of hands-on work, you will know that it is kind of hard to avoid messing up your clothes. This could mean getting paint splatters everywhere, accidentally covering yourself with flour, burning holes in your jeans, having your sleeve ripped off by a saw, etc. It is why we don’t wear our mom’s cashmere sweaters to art class. Well, if you can imagine transporting back in time and working on the railroad from dawn until dusk in your thick trousers (probably made of denim or wool) and dirty, sweaty button up shirt every single day, you can probably imagine that your clothes are in need of some repair. Which is why patches were invented. It is, well was, much easier to just put a patch over a hole than to go buy a whole new shirt. I say was because now a days so few people know how to sew and due to the accessibility of “fast-fashion”, it is much easier, time efficient, and probably cheaper to just go buy a new pair of jeans or favorite t-shirt—plus it’s a good excuse to go shopping. Because of the way that the body moves, bending at the elbows and knees, fabric tends to be strained the most in the area of these joints. Where the fabric is strained, it is more likely to be worn out and easier to be torn when doing something like kneeling on the ground or carrying big logs to the truck for splitting. That is why patches are most often seen on the elbow or knees, or occasionally on the rear end…
Patches were a symbol of hard work. More than that though, patches meant poverty. It meant that you could not afford new clothes, and thus had to make do with what you had. It wasn’t a fashion statement, it wasn’t something you wanted, it was actually a bit shameful. But as is the case with many utilitarian things, patches, like glasses or overalls, have become a fashion statement rather than a necessity. The real meaning of patches has been forgotten. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I mean when I was younger wearing glasses was SO embarrassing and ugly, but now that it is “fashionable”, pretty much everyone wears glasses, even if they don’t need them. Same with patches, it used to be embarrassing if you had to go to school with a patched up shirt because your parents couldn’t buy you a new one, but now it is the epitome of stylish. Thank you hipsters! Nevertheless, we must never forget the past, for as my good friend Winston Churchill said:

“ The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see”

So, next time you put on a sweater with lovely suede elbow patches—perhaps in the shapes of hearts—remember the men and women of the past who built our country to what it is today and the patches that were most likely on their clothes.
I would like to thank this old man for all of his work and for not worrying about having to patch his clothing,
but for persevering through it all


Monday, November 11, 2013


I have decided that we ought to have a celebration of the wonderfulness of sweaters. So, from this hour hence forth let it be known that this week, the week of November 10-16 (we will include yesterday even though it already passed), shall be the official Sweater Week–SWEEKER! I think that it is universally acknowledged that sweaters are amazing. They are comfortable, cute, keep you warm, and can be worn with pretty much everything. I really don't see a downside. Because they can be worn in so many different ways and there are so many different styles, there is a sweater for everyone. You may be of the chunky oversized variety, or a librarian cardigan type, or a long wrap around kind. No matter who you are or how you're feeling, there is most likely a sweater out there for you. Unlike true love, finding the perfect sweater is a guarantee, and it will be a much easier search and your sweater will never leave you for a better looking wearer.
So, for the first installment of Sweeker, I introduce the preppy sweater:
sweater from H&M, shirt stolen from my mother (she got it at sometime, somewhere in the 80's),
Clavin Klein jeans, kitten shoes from Modcloth, and "My Flat in London" necklace
The preppy sweater is paired with a button up shirt and either a nice pair of trousers, a plaid skirt, or wool shorts. It does not matter whether or not this sweater is a cardigan or a pull over, but either way it must be short enough to show the shirt at the bottom and not too bulky. If you want to really epitomize the preppy look, try for a nice argyle print and maybe pair it with a tie. But be prepared for some comments including the 80's and your mother's wardrobe if you choose this. When wearing this look you may find yourself raising your hand more in class and remembering random facts--for example, on this day (11 November) in the year 1918 Germany signed an armistice to end WWI.

Some other great examples of the preppy sweater:

Emma Pillsbury
Blair Waldorf
Hermione Granger
and just about anything from Tommy Hilfiger
Tommy Hilfiger ad campaign FW13

Happy Sweeker my readers, acquaintances, and imaginary friends, and remember to celebrate by wearing a sweater every day this week. Every single day.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Finding the Second Star to the Right

“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.” 
 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (probably my favorite book of all time)

During the summers I work at a children’s theatre camp. All day I get to do arts and crafts with children between the ages of 5 and 12. Sure, sometimes this job feels like I am being punished for some crime I don’t remember committing. Sure, some of these children make me question why people choose to reproduce. But most of the time I go to work and look at these children in awe. Everyday I am amazed by the innocence, hope, and joy that I see in their eyes. They, especially the younger ones, see adventures in everything. Every step is a journey across lands, every new task is a dragon to be killed, and every gift is a treasure chest. They look at everything in wide-eyed wonder, are curious about everything, and seem to be fearless. And they don’t seem to question anything. If something seems like magic, it is magic. They may be young, but in many ways they are wiser than any adult I’ve ever met.

The saddest thing to me is the day when I see these kids start to lose their childishness. When they start to be self-conscience, worried, and afraid. When they start to think of things as “stupid”. Like, “oh that idea was stupid” or “my drawing is stupid” or “I won’t play that game, it’s stupid”. When I see that, it breaks my heart because it means that their minds are beginning to close. They have lost the way to Neverland. No longer will flowers look like fairies’ beds or tables look like castles. What’s even sadder is that this process is inevitable, for we all must grow up (except of course, Peter Pan).

However, while growing older is inevitable, it is not necessary to lose sight of being a child. Some days it is important to recall the innocence and wide-eyed curiosity that was natural in the days of youth. Sometimes things get too serious or too overwhelming and we tend to then turn into grumpy old men (or women…). But really those are the times when it is most important to take a step back in time and remember the five year old that is still within us all.

It is important to skip down the street sometimes, even if people stare. Or to spend an hour reading children’s stories in the library or to go to a garden and look for fairies. Doing these childlike things lighten our hearts and return us to a land of hope and delivers us from the Mordor that adulthood can be. 

There is nothing that scares me more than losing sight of my youth and becoming an Ebenezer Scrooge (except perhaps the texture of lots of tiny holes, that freaks me out). I want to forever and ever be able to see fairies, to fight dragons, to imagine that I am a princess, and never forget the way to Neverland. While I may seem like a crazy person, I think of this as my way of staying sane. You can’t catch me and make me a grown up!

And it is for that reason that today I am wearing a dress covered in illustrations from childhood bedtime stories.

 “There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

So please my friends, I implore you, don’t try too hard to be grown up, for if you do you will lose sight of so many important things in life. Promise me that you won’t get lost in the world of numbers, stress, and frowns and will spend at least a little time going on an adventure with your imagination.

If you need some help with this, try reading one of these books this week:

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
The Little Prince (in English or French) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Gouge

Princess Justice

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Listen to me for a Secondary

HAPPY HALLOWEEN my ghouly, witchy, batty friends! I hope that your day is full of candy eating, spooky sighting, and letting go of any inhibitions and just going crazy (in the area of costumes…not in anything else. Don’t get too wild my children). Sadly I am not able to partake in any celebrations, as I have to go to class at the wretched time of 7-9:30 pm. It’s just dreadful. However, as I like to think of myself as a rather optimistic person–despite a certain cynicism that I can't seem to shake off–I thought that I could use this opportunity to my advantage and teach you all a lesson. This is not one of those “teach you lesson” things like when the bully on the playground teaches the scared kindergarteners a lesson by taking their lunch money and tying their shoelaces together. No, I want to actually teach you something because I find it fascinating. You see, the class I have tonight is called “Color and Design for Fashion”. In this class we learn all about the theory of color and what color is and what different color combinations are and pretty much everything about color. It is a lot more complicated than you would think. However, it is incredibly relevant because whether or not you are aware of it, color is all around us and has a profound impact on our lives. You’ve probably had an experience where you saw a color and it made you feel something. Like peaceful when you see a light blue, or happy when you see a bright yellow. There are individual colors, but then when you combine these colors a whole new world arises. Different color combinations mean different things. For example, when you see green and red together, most of us think of Christmas. Why do we think of Christmas? It’s a little silly really. It’s just two colors. A combination of two pigments. Nothing complicated. It’s not like they are images of the birth of Christ. Nevertheless, we see these colors and all of a sudden “Jingle Bells” is ringing in our heads.
Another example, today, Halloween, you may notice a large amount of orange, green, and purple together. Such as these Halloween m&m's
Or this little girl's Halloween witch costume

These could be strongly saturated (very vibrant, like they came straight off of the color wheel), they could be muted (more earthy tones), or they could be desaturated (darker or lighter by the addition of white or black). This color combination is called the “secondary color triad”. This is simply because it is a triad (three) made up of the secondary colors on the color wheel. 

Secondary colors are made when mixing two primary colors. Orange= red + yellow, Purple= blue + red, Green= blue + yellow. WOW! It’s like math! This is so exciting!
I’m not quite sure when or why or how these colors became associated with Halloween and fall time, however I do have a theory. Two actually. One, because these colors seem quite witchish. Orange for their wrinkled, old skin. Green for the toads they use in their spells.  Purple for their magical cloaks and the vapors that come off of their potions. Just watch Hocus Pocus and it will all become clear.

There is another reason though, as to why we these colors come into style every October-November. When I see these colors I automatically think of fall. That's because in autumn these secondary colors occur in nature. They may not appear exactly as they do on the color wheel, but instead we see them in muted forms. 
Orange is the color of pumpkins, falling leaves, the ground after the grass has begun to die, and most importantly, the color of pumpkin pie.

Green is the color of the leaves as they are changing, it isn't the vibrant green of spring but a duller green, a green that is beginning to turn brown. It is the color of green apples, the kind that make amazing apple pies.

Purple is the color of thistles, one of the only flowers that stay blooming through fall. Not to mention the purple foods that we eat at this time such as aubergines (eggplant), purple potatoes and red cabbage, at least I eat a lot of those foods at this time. And of course red pears! Which can be made into pie!

So essentially, these colors are the colors of PIE! and we eat pie in the fall and therefore these colors are fall colors.
Have a Happy Halloween
In honor of the day, I am wearing an outfit of secondary colors (pumpkin not included)
Green Sweater from Anthropologie
Shorts from Calvin Klein
Purple tights from Target
Orangish brown suede booties from Clarks

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Let the Witching Hour Commence

As October comes to an end it is time we turn our minds towards more celebratory things. Such as dressing up in costume, getting scared out of our minds, scaring others out of their minds, and eating enough candy to send ourselves into diabetic comas. YAY for Halloween! But what is the true meaning of Halloween? Is it teaching children to take candy from strangers? Or is it that dressing as a naughty anything, be it pirate, nurse, or astronaut, is not slutty on the 31st of October, even though it is on every other day? Sadly no. Halloween is much deeper than the depths of your candy basket and is a much older tradition than the group costumes that you and your buddies put on every year. "Halloween" is actually a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening" or "All Hallows' Eve" (because in Scots, the germanic language of lowland Scotland, the word "eve" is "even" and is contracted to "e'en" "All Hallows Even" soon turned into "Halloween"). While it may surprise you due to the number of wicked things we see on the night–witches, vampires, Miley Cyrus impersonators, etc.– this holiday actually began as a Holy day. It initiates the "triduum of Hallowmas", big words, I know, which is the time of the year dedicated to remembering the dead. That's right. It actually started as a Christian holiday, a great big feast to remember those people whom we loved and are now gone. What on earth does this have to do with the tomfoolery that we get up to now? I'm not sure. I think somewhere along the line the message of this day got a little confused. This probably has something to do with a communication error. Somehow or other "pray for the dead" got confused with "dress up and go crazy"...Well, anyway, some of what we do today has roots in the past. Trick-or-treating, for one, began in Scotland and Ireland with "guising", when children disguised in costume would go from door to door for food or coins on All Hallows Eve. When this turned into the giant candy gathering contest that it is today, I don't know. 
Another tradition that has survived over the ages comes in the form of hunched over old ladies with warts on their noses. Any guesses? 

That's right!! WITCHES!
Halloween was believed to be the day that spirits traveled the earth, and as spirits=dead people and dead people=scary, scary=witches and so it is follows that Halloween=witches. Logic. Based on this logical thinking, barns and homes would be blessed by priests to protect people and livestock from the evil effect of witches. Judging by the amount of pointy black hats I see in store windows, I would say that witches are just as prevalent for Halloween 2013 as they were for Halloween 1692. 
Let's take a quick look at some important witches for whom we can gain knowledge and costume inspiration. (disclaimer: this is a list of witches from mythology and literature. I am not claiming that these women are or were real. I am also not claiming that these are the most important ones, they are just the ones that I know and want to talk about)

Morgan le Fay
A powerful sorceress in the Arthurian legend. She uses her power of seduction to entrap her prey and attempt to overthrow her step-brother Arthur–talk about a dysfunctional family relationship. 
Morgan Le Fey by Anthony Frederick Sandys (1864)
From Homer's Odyssey. While she may seem perfectly normal and lovable, avoid eating anything she offers you or you may find yourself turned into a lion or a pig, doomed to spend eternity wandering around her mansion. 
Circe changing the companions of Ulysses into animals, an English mural from 1580
Abigail Williams
and all others associated with the Salem Witch trials. While Abigail may not have been guilty of casting spells, she was most certainly guilty of being a right tart, a young 
seductress, and a manipulating bully, characteristics of another kind of witch altogether. For more information on this subject, read or watch The Crucible. 
Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams
The White Witch
One of my particular favorites, capable of making it always winter and never Christmas, this woman is most certainly evil. 
Illustration from C. S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Wicked Witch of West
Terrifyingly green, beware of this woman, especially if you are a young girl from Kansas and wearing red slippers. But don't worry, if you have a bucket of water near by, you'll be fine.
Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz
Hermione Granger
Wickedly intelligent, scarily talented, and green in the world of magic, being born to a muggle family, this little smarty pants gives a good name to witches everywhere. Not to mention she is just too cute.
Emma Watson in the first Harry Potter

I could go on for days. But I don't have time for that. I just want you all to see how incredibly prevalent witches are. They are jumping out of books, prancing across screens, whirling on stages, glaring from paintings. They are everywhere. So while getting ready for you wild party this Thursday, or whenever you are choosing to celebrate Halloween this year, please don't forget these important members of Halloween history. While it may seem cliché, a good ol' witch costume never goes out of style. 

Now to the spooking and candy eating!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Time Has Come

Clip Clap Clip Clap Clip Clap
Can you hear that? That melodious sound? It pervades the air, it is on every street corner, it is in every hallway. The song of hundreds of feet rejoicing, for boot season is finally upon us. We wait all year for it and yet it still takes us slightly by surprise–just like Christmas. Gone are the endless days of summer where we waste precious time worrying over which pair of sandals to wear, or whether or not it is a boater day or a ballet flat day. For the next couple of months, oh so blissful months, we need have no worries, for it is boot season! Boots everyday! Boots everywhere! Boots for everyone! 
Boots, Boots, Boots!
I have been a little wary over the past couple of weeks. It's been too hot, too bright, too green. But this morning as walking back from the gym I could sense it. The sky was grey, a dense fog covered the top of the old hotels of Sutter street, the trees were giving off a distinctly yellow glow, and my fingers were going numb. Not the numbness that comes from a lack of circulation or from holding too many shopping bags in one hand, but the numbness that comes from being cold. Yes, cold. It is a sign. I hurried back to my room as fast as my legs could take me (granted I had just been working out, so this probably was not as fast as it could have been due to the significant amount of soreness in my extremities) and pulled out my new brown leather lace up riding boots. The times has come. Finally these beautiful shoes can have a use in this world. 
So, my lovely friends, now that boot season is here, what kind will you choose to cover your hairy legs and miss matched socks for the cold days to come? 

The Riding Boot–always a good classic. Sleek and fashionable. Good to pair with jeans and a sweater or tights and a nice wool dress. Originally designed to be worn while horse riding, these boots usually come up to the knee, in order to prevent the leg of the rider from being pinched by the saddle; have a sturdy rounded toe, to protect the riders feet while on the ground; and have a distinct heel, to keep the foot from sliding out of the stirrup. Even though the majority of us do not frequently jump on a horse in order to get around, these boots are still an excellent option for the chilly days of October to March, the months now referred to as "boot months". 
Tory Burch Riding Boots
The Rain Boot–especially good for those living in Seattle, Vancouver, London, *enter rainy city name here*. These tend to look best when paired with warm fuzzy socks and a rain jacket. A cute rain jacket though. Not one of those awful see-through plastic things that might as well be a trash bag. These boots find their origins in the Hessian boot, initially used in the military and popular in the 18th-19th centuries. They were worn and made popular by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington– hence the name Wellington boots. We may no longer be trudging through knee high mud or camping out in trenches, but it is still good to protect our feet from the elements with a nice layer of thick rubber. 

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Now whenever you wear your brightly colored Hunter Rain boots, you can know where they came from.
This handsome man in his tight pants. 

Bright Pink is always a good idea.
(I Stole this image from online and don't know hot to cite it...I'm a despicable human being)
The Snow Boot–really only good if it is, well, snowy. For those of us who grew up in lands of ice and snow, aka Colorado, Minnesota, or Montana, we understand the struggle of wanting to look cute while simultaneously not getting hypothermia. I can't even tell you how many times I got to school crying as a child because I had refused to wear my snow boots and thus had frozen feet. But my mom just didn't understand. Snow boots were ugly! I don't understand how it took them so long to figure out how to make snow boots look good, but amazingly enough they finally exist. For those days of exceptional coldness and/or snow, a nice pair of snow boots (Sorels are my number 1 choice for being fashionable AND warm AND comfortable) with wool anything does nicely. Wool tights, wool sweaters, wool skirts, wool socks, or just wear a sheep, that could work too. 
SORELS Conquest Boots
I have it on good authority, mine actually, that these boots are amazingly comfortable, warm, and snow resistant. 

The UGG–no. just no. Unless you aren't leaving the house, then it is okay. I don't want to sound like a hater, but I just have never seen an outfit that I thought looked good with these clunky, puffy boots. Also, they don't keep water out and the fuzziness inside–while it may feel like your feet are being caressed by the hopes and dreams of baby angles–is really quite useless after the first wear because it just gets nasty and smelly and dirty. However, if you must wear them, despite my protests, please do so tactfully. Avoid pairing them with shorts, short skirts, or apple bottom jeans. 

I am not even going to include a picture regarding UGGs because I am against them.

When it comes to boots, the options are endless. Unlike a frozen yogurt place where they have only 4 flavors, boot season is like entering an Ice Cream Shop where they can create any flavor you can think of. I have never actually been to such an Ice Cream shop, but I think the idea is pretty great. So rejoice with me my friends for Boot Season is here! 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Who Are You?

“We live in a world of self-defined brands”—Kenneth Cole

Being stylish and being fashionable are very different things. Fashion is a universal thing. Style is an individual thing. Anyone can be fashionable if they know the current trends and where to shop, but not everyone can be stylish. For example, tight skirts with crop tops may be in fashion, but by wearing them you may not look very stylish. Style is more about what you look good in, feel good in, fits your personal tastes, and fits your character. In my humble opinion, having style is much more important than being fashionable because style tells the world a story—the story of you. Our first perceptions of anyone are based on how they look because, unless you are blind, only meet people online/on the telephone, or are a hermit, sight is the first sense we use when meeting a person. It is important then to give an accurate representation of yourself in that first moment. It would be awful for someone to assume that you are an uptight business woman when in fact you are a natural, bohemian type simply because you chose to wear a pant suit. Sure pantsuits may seem appropriate for a fancy occasion, but if you aren’t a businesswoman working in a tall building who drinks black coffee for breakfast you are essentially lying to the whole world by wearing one. This is just one example. I have countless, but hopefully you get the point. While it is sad, because we aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover and all that, the truth is that everyone does it any way. While I don’t want to generalize, I think it is safe to say that pretty much everyone makes snap judgments of others based on what they are wearing. So since people are going to make decisions on who you are before they even talk to you, you might as well represent yourself correctly.
Developing your style can be a long, hard process requiring a lot of internal reflection and consideration of life choices. Kind of like going through rehab. Defining your style is like creating a brand for yourself. You go through the same steps as a designer does when creating his or her latest line. This is not something that can happen over night. It takes time, most people spend a lifetime defining and refining their style and most don’t even realize what they are doing. But if you want to be conscious about it, here are few simple steps:
Figure out what it is that inspires you. You probably know what your likes and dislikes are and whether or not you are aware of it, these things inspire you in a multitude of ways, including what you wear. Whether it is books, movies, time periods, flowers, food, architecture, other people, etc., what inspires you will shape what your “self-defined brand” looks like. Example:
This is a mood board that I made for a class that I think does a good job at representing what inspires me
You then decide on your color palette–what colors you like and look good on you. If you had an honest mother or sister or friend, or stranger, you have probably had the experience of being told that a particular color makes you look ill. If not, either you are blessed with magical skin and hair that looks good with everything, or you have never been in an honest relationship with anyone and I am sorry for you. Most people have their “go to color”. A color that looks fabulous on them and that they just adore. For my sister it is grey, for me it is pink (that basically sums up the difference in our characters).
The next step is to figure out what kinds of clothes are good for you. As I have said countless times and will most likely reiterate over and over again, not everyone looks good in the same thing! I like dresses, skirts, flowy blouses, cardigans, high-waisted trousers, and high heels. My best friend would never be seen in any of those things—preferring jeans, t-shirts, baggy sweaters, boots, and leggings. That doesn’t mean that one of us is more stylish than the other. This step includes determining what silhouette looks good on you, what you find comfortable, and what fabrics you like.
I think that if a designer made a line that was a representation of me, it would look a lot like this:
This is part of my midterm for fashion business. FUN right?? Well it has a color palette, clothing examples, and fabric swatches
 After that you can figure out what stores and brands work for you. Urban Outfitters does not work for me, but Kate Spade does (too bad I have no money and can’t actually buy anything from her…I can dream though). Then you can stock up your wardrobe and walk around advertising yourself correctly.
The most important thing to remember is to stay true to who you are. Not only will buying a biker jacket when you are a quiet librarian give the whole world the wrong idea of your character, it will probably be a waste of money. If it doesn’t fit who you are, you will probably never wear it, so why buy it? I have to remind myself of that every time I am tempted to buy a pair of leather pants.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We're All In This Together

I had great intentions today to write some amazingly inspiring thing about fashion and individual style and self defined branding all inspired by meeting Kenneth Cole last week and it was going to be fabulous. But I just can't. I guess you could say I have writers block. But it is more like an emotional block. Without getting too much into my personal life, because this is not in fact my diary, let me just explain to you this emotional block I am facing. I miss home, I want it to be cold outside, I just want to eat a sweet potato, I don't like spending 80 dollars at Office Depot on ink and supplies for projects, I am tired of being hit on by homeless men, I don't like the smell of urine and weed that permeates this city, I am scared by emotions and don't understand them, and quite frankly I wish I was a cat. Essentially I have a bad case of the mean reds, with a touch of the blues.
Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's 
While lying on the floor complaining to my roommate (who is fabulous BTW) about how I don't know how to face emotions and how I am the only person in the world facing these mighty struggles, she said something very wise and made me realize that probably every body else gets into these ruts. Everyone thinks that their mountain is the highest and that their pack is the heaviest. At the risk of sounding cliché, we really are all in the same boat. No matter what metaphor you are using, everyone has their struggles and to each and every one of us it seems like the most terribly awful hardship in the entire world. Yes, some people do actually have real problems (other than not being able to fit in your favorite pair of jeans or not being able to afford yet another Pumpkin Spice Latte). There are some serious issues in the world. But it will be impossible to fight others' battles, or even just feel genuinely sorry for another, until our own is won. Winning doesn't always mean coming out in triumph. Sometimes it just means carrying on. It's not easy and it is certainly not enjoyable, but we have to do it. Because no one wants to have the mean reds forever. That would be truly horrible–no matter how cute we find Eeyore to be, no body really enjoys being around a depressing donkey all the time.

So what can we do to blow these emotional blocks out of the way so that we can get on with our lives and do amazing things?

  1. Read. Read anything, my blog for instance, or poetry, your favorite book, a new book, a magazine (something classy though), plays, song lyrics, ANYTHING. Reading allows you to escape from the world, even if momentarily, and can give clarity to life. When I read I am reminded of how vast the world is and how many great things are out there and how really insignificant, and quite approachable, my little problems are
  2. Talk to someone. Or something. Talking about what is bothering you can do two things. One, if you choose to speak to a person, they can give you advice. While my particular opinion on advice is the same as Oscar Wilde's,
    “The only good thing to do with good advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.”
    it may come in handy to you. And two, explaining your feelings to another, be that human, plant, or stuffed animal, can help you understand better yourself. In your mind you create all sorts of awful scenarios, you make everything seem worse than it is really is. Your problem may seem SO HUGE AND AWFUL and then you try telling someone about it and you realize that you are fretting about the fact that you don't know how to text a boy in the same manner as Poland fretting about being invaded by the Germans. All of a sudden life seems great.
  3. Listen to music. I personally prefer classical, but I guess some people like music that has words which I guess is cool too. Again this is a way to escape for a while and gain clarity.
  4. Enjoy nature. Did you ever see SpyKids 3 in 3D? Well I did and sometimes I feel like our world has become that movie. Not the part with the guy with the black rectangle over his eyes, but the part where they are in the video game and it is extremely stressful. We are always around technology, commercialism, bright lights, other people, craziness, you name it. A lot of times these things are what are dragging us down into the pit of despair. So it is important to make some sort of connection to nature and remember that there is so much more out there than our self centered lives. Like roses. There are roses. Life becomes so beautiful when you smell a rose.
  5. Hug a cat. or watch youtube videos of kittens. Why? because cats are great. 
    Fatty is demonstrating his knowledge of geometry and ability to fit exactly into any place. He would be excellent at tetris.
If these fail I then resort to eating chocolate and watching movies (usually Breakfast at Tiffany's or Lord of the Rings) while snuggling with a giant pillow and wearing too large of sweatpants. That is not necessarily the best option though. 
Next time you feel that you are in a gutter of emotional turmoil, take a moment to realize that probably the majority of the people around you are right there with you–all sitting there getting trench foot together while waiting for the hardships to pass. When you know you are not alone it seems easier to tackle the problem. ALL FOR ONE and ONE FOR ALL and all that jazz.

Now let's all go out there and work on turning those mean reds into rosy pink joy! 


PS None of the images in this post actually belong to me. I found them on the internet. hehe...except for that last one. Yeah that fat cat is mine

PSS I would be ever so appreciative if you would follow me on instagram and pinterest and tumblr and all those things that are right over there -->