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