1.9.14

early birds vs night owls

When asked how our school year is going so far, my response is usually something like, "It'll be better once we get into the swing of things." Not to say it isn't going well--it's only been a week after all! But having begun the semester right before a three day weekend, I don't think either me or The Boy are yet in our groove. People always stress the importance of establishing a routine for little ones, but I find a daily regimen truly integral to my own peace of mind. Now that I've begun my masters program, there's no way I'll be able to stay on top of everything without devoting specific times of day to work, study, chores, et cetera. Writing takes concentration, after all, and it's hard for me to get in the right mindset at the drop of a hat. Obviously, I'm not alone in this--writers are known for their strict regimens and quirky habits. But, does all this planning and self control really work? Can you truly enhance your productivity by dictating your daily routine? Writer and Renaissance Woman Maria Popova shares my curiosity. Below, see the handy info graphic she compiled for Brain Pickings Magazine, which neatly expresses the relationship of various famous author's wake-up times to their literary accomplishments. Whether the relationships here expressed are causal or merely correlative, I find them fascinating! 


I've always been an early riser, mornings being my most productive time of day. However, when you're consistently awoken by a certain someone at 5:00am (or earlier!) for the past two weeks running, mornings can lose their magic. Not to mention the detrimental effect said young person's presence has on my ability to concentrate. The implication above is that these individuals had the luxury of choosing to wake up at 4:00am. Notably missing from this analysis is the number of children each of these individuals were responsible for when writing their various masterpieces--another study altogether, and one I'd like to see!

Portraits by Wendy Macnaughton


30.8.14

like seven inches from the... well, you know


Blimey! It sure is a hot one out there, folks! The whole world is shimmering like a looney-toon desert and I find myself seriously contemplating the prospect of shaving my head approximately once every five minutes. And today seems like it'll be the worst one yet! But because we can't all live our lives in a Light Blue commercial (alas!) allow me to recommend the products that, over the past three months, have become essential to my summer beauty routine, such as it is.


Having indiscriminately sampled an array of dry shampoos (including some higher-end varieties at my local Sephora) I can confidently tell you this one is The Best; very effective as a mid-day refresher, adding mermaid-y volume while combating the adverse effects of sweaty-forehead. Gross. To address your forehead directly, I can't say enough about this toner, you guys! I've been using the rose petal variety for years, but only recently learned that it comes in other flavors: lemon, peach, lavender, medicated... Cucumber (plus aloe!) was an obvious choice for summer, and one I have yet to regret. Supes refreshing, not at all drying. I use it all day long!

But the main problem with which I'm confronted in weather like this is how to reconcile my aversion to antiperspirant with my need for deodorant. I'm not into the application of pore-blocking, potentially toxic aluminum found in every antiperspirant I've ever met, yet it's nearly impossible to find an effective, stand-alone deodorant that isn't made, and scented, specifically for gentlemen. Ten out of twelve months of the year, this delicate english rose can get away with skipping it altogether... unfortunately, this is not one of those months. And so I've adopted a handy trick shared by a dear, well-travelled friend, which is simply to use Tiger Balm! The positive results of this are twofold: not only does its minty, eucalyptus-y scent effectively function as a deodorant, it's has a lovely, tingly cooling effect that really beats the heat! I highly recommend it!


top image from US Vogue July,1993

26.8.14

ri-ri two-bags

and speaking of back-to-school accessorizing… Having been off-campus for six years, I forgot about what nerds look like! Sorry, I guess I mean dorks; the difference being that, in my estimation, the term 'nerd' implies more about one's interests and habits, and could easily apply to a stylish individual who just happens to have a thing for, Tolkien, let's say, or planetary robotics, whereas you can spot a dork a mile away by their gigantic Jansport backpack. You guys know what I'm talking about. I guess I shouldn't be so harsh on the poor dears, because probably they have lots of books to carry and they're just being practical. But, backpacks are dorky, right? School backpacks, I mean of course. But alright, sure, maybe you have a lot to carry. So what are you supposed to do? 

Instead of a giant nylon knapsack that makes you look like a kindergartener, why don't you take a page out of ri-ri's book just carry two smaller, infinitely chicer bags (preferably Chanel, but let's be reasonable). It's a great idea. But she should lose the shoes, because those bags deserve better. 


25.8.14

imlovinit: SUMMER SLIDES

When choosing one's back-to-school outfit, there is of course one element that stands above, while lying below, all other considerations: footwear! For, while we're playing fashion's notable quotables, in the infamous words of Christian Dior, 

"You can never take too much care over the choice of your shoes. Too many women think they're unimportant, but the real proof of an elegant woman is what is on her feet." 

Words to live by, to be sure. While I probably ought to be preparing for future success by way of autumnal footwear, I've still got summertime on my mind. And in my book, there is no better pool-side option than a pair of graphic black-and-white athletic slides. You know the kind I mean:


As you may recall, I do love a logo... but in this instance you can't really go wrong with a minimal adidas tri-stripe. Now, I have a feeling that the footwear in question probably isn't what Monsieur Dior had in mind, but then again who's to say? Because, while the majority of people IRL with whom I've discussed my preoccupation with the iconic adidas slide have expressed reservations, just see how sophisticated they can be if you give them the chance:


Thanks, pinterest. You can see how natural a part these would play in transitional seasonal dressing, if only you were lucky enough to own a pair! In order for them to become the fall footwear of twenny-fourteen, one need only add a ribbed athletic logo ankle sock--preferably in a rival brand, à la Edward Enninful's styling in "Why Be Normal When You Can Be Normal And Then Some?" the spot-on normcore editorial by Craig McDean recently featured in the august issue of W Magazine


Pretty perfect. Though, in terms of sophistication, by far my favorite combination are the manolo blahnik sandals paired with these sheer knee-high adidas stockings, that allegedly cost $18 on adidias.com but don't actually seem to exist anywhere on the internet. Which could mean that I'm not very good at searching--but I did try my best! 



24.8.14

eep!

It's my first day of school tomorrow, you guys! And, I'm just a teensie bit nervie! It's been six years since I finished undergrad and, having skipped out on every single orientation event, due to a combined lack of childcare and motivation, I'm feeling a little unprepared! In the absence of any real tools with which to prepare myself, I've been obsessing over my bus-route (my student ID doubles as a bus pass, how cool!) trying to get ahead in "A Short Course in Grammar" (my one and only text book this semester) and, of course, planning my outfit! Come on, you guys! Keeping in mind that no one's watching--or would care, if they were--what does one wear for their first day of graduate school? Something flattering, but not overly feminine; sharp, but casual; cool, yet effortless. You know, something like this probably-spanish* girl's got going on:



Adapted, of course, to accommodate this damned weather, which feels especially designed to prevent one from making a flawless first impression. I'd wear cut-offs, but is that appropriate?! I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a frosh, amirite?! lol. Ultimately, I'd like to appear "with it" but not overly so. In the game but not of the game. You know what I mean. And, you could say it doesn't matter, because what does, in the end? But in this hopefully-if-all-goes-well-soon-to-be-professional author's opinion, you can't really underestimate the power of an outfit when the task is getting one's head in the right place. For, according to Virginia Wolfe, "vain trifles though they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world, and the world's view of us."

And that lady knew what she was talking about...right? So obviously, I've got a lot to think about… Plus, let's not forget, several classes to attend! omg!

Wish me luck!


*update: um, yeah, totally spanish (image via here)

23.8.14

summer's dead


I haven't been very interested in blogging lately (it' been making me feel a little too white, if you know what I mean, and anyway I'm busy) but things are happening, times are changing (though perhaps not as much as we'd like) and it's time to turn over a new, old autumnal leaf upinhere. To wit, last night Chase and I took the boy to his very first Montessori open house, in preparation for his first day of school THIS TUESDAY (eep)! En route, I was trying to put my finger on exactly why I was nervous--after all, it wasn't my back-to-school night--and then I realized that attending parent-teacher night as The Parent was easily the most adult thing I've ever done. And yet, confusingly, the experience was punctuated with waves of sensory nostalgia that left me feeling sharply in tune with my six year old self: the scent of school children in sneakers running around a poorly ventilated gymnasium in late august; the spaghetti dinner served buffet-style on folding tables wrapped in butcher paper; the floral mélange of mom-and-teacher-perfume… it was all so much! Sort of intense for a while. Plus it was quite a change, being surrounded by all those children, as I've gotten pretty used to bb-boi being the only little guy around (or for that matter, the only anybody around). I guess I don't know what I'm trying to say here. I've got an in-between-y feeling, like the scene's about to change and I'm experiencing the present moment from a distance. It's weird! It's a detached, late-summer, middle-of-nowhere sort of feeling…  for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, this children's editorial by Oliver Spies for the No. 44 issue of Milk Magazine, entitled "Hockney's Pool," captures it perfectly.  




16.7.14

knowing that i'm ALWAYS red


When is the new episode of Sailor Moon going to air, you guys?! amirite?! What's a #boredhousewife supposed to do with her free time (ie evenings from 9-10pm) upinhere? Who even knows what Japanese programming schedules are like, in this day and age especially?

Luckily I thought of a perfect peach of a kindred spirit of entertainment to watch in the mean time. After all, the Sailor Scouts and the Heathers have more than a little in common, each a power group of gorgeous, sassy high-school girls who use their powers of cosmic and/or social persuasion to get ahead in the evil world around them, occasionally resorting to violence when necessary. 


Obviously, it's not entirely analogous; It's more like if Usagi et al had been recruited by scouts from the Negaverse, instead of talking cats from the Moon Kingdom. Or, like a reboot prequel series following Queen Beryl during her formative years back at Negamoon High (which is actually a pretty good idea…) So, yeah, it is a little different, but I think you see connection. And there's more than a passing resemblance between the dark, devil-may-care lotharios JD and Tuxedo Mask… Anyway, probably my favorite element shared by these two cliques is that each girl has her own signature color. I don't know why, but I've always loved that--all the way back to the Color Kids! It's like the personification of hue, but also it's such a cool way to establish the mood of a character. Because you can always pick apart color symbolism in a piece of  media (especially Heathers) but you don't really need to, because you can just use your eyes! It's sort of like what Schopenhauer said about sound and the will (but obviously, as it pertains to visual rather than auditory qualia);  you could think of countless ways to describe the feelings and references invoked by a color, or you could just take a look and feel it all at once. Do you know what I'm talking about?

So, which color would you choose?



Red?



yellow?


Green?


or blue? And, could you commit, like these people have? Sometimes I think I could… but I'd have to make up my mind about it first. So, really, I couldn't.

Something interesting I noticed watching this film the last time around is that Veronica only really embraces "her" color after Heather dies (#spoileralert) Before, she has little accents of blue in wardrobe of mostly black and grey; after the murder she's literally wearing it head to toe (thanks to some truly questionable hat choices). But even though she eventually owns her power color, she still claims the red scrunchie of true power in the end. It's all so subtle, but obvious. Red and blue is the best color rivalry of all time, and this film is a great example of it. It's like choosing between good and evil but you can never be sure which one is which. I wish I could explain it better but like I said, I'm pretty sure I don't actually have to!