(This post was written in 2008 and is now being reposted.)
Believe it or not, on the day after my last post, I received an e-mail regarding my meeting with the aforementioned magazine editor. And ...? I now have a fact-checking job at a major, national consumer magazine in New York City.
Of course, it is only a three-week-long project. But! I will network like crazy while I am there ... and this editor sent my resume to many other influential editors at six women's magazines. So that has to lead to something, right? My plan right now is to search for job openings at those magazines online and then ask the mag editor about them, since she sent my resume to people who already work for those places.
And I will continue on my full-time job search, but in a much-less frustrated way, now that I know I will be able to cover the expenses for getting to my friend's Jamaican wedding after all. And -- I get to feel extra fancy because I have accomplished one of my lifelong goals -- I will be working at a major women's magazine. Even if it is freelance.
Maybe I should start asking for things on this blog as an experiment, just to see if I get a response the next day. I really need a million dollars. No, really.
OK, so personal things aside, back to fashion. It seems like minimalist looks are going to be very big this fall, so I might not have a whole lot to complain about. Minimalist fashion usually involves very well-tailored, simple looks. And a lot of black or gray with maybe one or two stand-out items. I've loved the idea of wearing bright shoes with black clothes for some time now, and I also love the idea of buying classic, well-made pieces that will never go out of style. And I wear a lot of black. But black with one bright color just makes me feel more like an artist. See? In this incredibly blurry photo?
What else is happening? Oh, here is the new bridesmaid dress my friend would like us to wear:
It's basically the same as the other dress, but shorter -- which will be helpful in slimming down our calves since we have to wear flat sandals. (The Ann Taylor dress hit about mid-calf, as many bridesmaid dresses do -- but without heels, it's like the least-flattering leg look you can get). This new dress also has a boat neck, which might emphasize my chest too much ... but not if I lose the 25-30 pounds I plan to lose before this December wedding.
Think it can't be done? Think again ... I put on the weight in the past year due to a medicine that increased my appetite and slowed my metabolism dramatically. I haven't gained a pound in the two months I've been off the medicine, so this should be smooth sailing.
I started an exercise routine last week, using this Pedal Exerciser from Target:
Laugh, if you must. But it really works! My boyfriend already lost 10 pounds from using it ... but then, he uses it for about 2 hours every day.
Also, as I was searching for those flat, dressy silver sandals for the Jamaican beach wedding, I came across a Web site seemingly sent by God to waste all of my time.
It's called Shop Style and it enables you to create various looks based on a database of chothing, shoes, makeup, etc. Amazing. That's all I have to say.
Here's my favorite shoe so far for the bridesmaid dress:
In the end, that site might actually save me time -- it's not the easiest thing to bring a dress to lots of shoe stores to get a difficult-to-find shoe. Shop Style allowed me to place the bridesmaid dress next to the wedding gown and then place up to 600 different silver sandals next to them to see if they matched.
And no, I am not getting paid to say any of this.
As for makeup gripes, I'm still not sure what the major makeup trends will be for fall ... but I do know which lip-plumping lipstick to never, ever use -- in the fall or any other time.
It's called "Too Faced Lip Injection." I guess I should be wary when I see an illustration of a needle on a lip plumper, but here is how the product is described on the Sephora Web site: "Its patented formula is based on medically-proven blood vessel dilating technology touted to create the sexiest pout this side of a plastic surgeon's office."
After trying this gloss on Saturday, I left the Short Hills Sephora store with swollen, painful red lips that looked somewhat like I had been drinking cherry Kool-Aid for seven hours. Even though I rubbed the stuff off vigorously, it still took a good thirty minutes for my mouth to return to a normal, less Angelina-Jolie-on-a-bad-day size ... and color.
If you are really looking to plump something, I recommend that you try this Christian Dior mascara, which did something amazing to my eyelashes, especially after I used it three times. (I was waiting for my friend to get a makeover). Geez, it seems like I left that place looking like Pamela Anderson ...
Anyway, here's the mascara, which I will most likely not be able to fit into my budget any time soon:
A pretty good find, I'd say, for a company that promotes itself with zebra-print and leopard-print eye-shadows -- on its Web site and on its staff. Eek!
As far as grammar gripes go, the other day my bride-to-be friend said one wedding gown she tried on was more "bridally" than the other ... I think I understood what she meant, but I'm still not completely sure.
I learned something tremendously serendipitous, language-wise, just yesterday, however. My friend is getting married in the mayoral office on Friday, August 8th (but then technically renewing her vows in Jamaica in December). Friday turns out to be 08/08/08. That's a super lucky number in China, hence the start of the Olympics at 8:08 p.m. on Friday and the reason many Chinese couples are marrying on that day. The New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee even wrote a piece about 08/08/08 weddings in the Sunday Styles section.
But August 8th has been an unlucky day the past five years for me, because it's the anniversary of my father's sudden, accidental passing. Shortly after his death, I began seeing lots of 88s -- in license plates, street signs, on clocks. I also saw variations of it, like 11s and 8s. It drove me a little crazy at first. I couldn't figure out if I was fixated on those numbers or if they really were just magically appearing. I think it falls under the category of "magical thinking" ... something Joan Didion talks about in her memoir of her husband's death. It's something the brain does in order to make sense of something horrifying. That healing potential of the mind is really quite a beautiful thing. But it can be confusing when it is happening.
The other night, after reading Lee's article, I decided to research the reason for the luckiness of the number 8 in China. I discovered that in Mandarin, 8 is pronounced "ba," which sounds like "fa" -- the word for prosperity. But the word "ba" said twice in Mandarin means "father." So August 8th is traditionally Father's Day in China. Another neat fact about "ba" is that in Mandarin slang, the term "88" is often typed to say "goodbye" in e-mails and text messages -- because "ba-ba" sounds like "bye-bye" in English.
Put those together and August 8th stands for "bye-bye" and "father" in Mandarin. How incredibly freaky is that?
I couldn't believe that those are the only three meanings for "ba-ba" -- 88, father and bye-bye -- so I did some further research. The word "ba" also brought up a link to a Feng Shui site, which talks about the "ba gua" or eight ways. The ba gua basically form the eight directions on a compass. Feng Shui uses an octagon-shaped map to separate different parts of a room and to indicate which items of furniture should be placed in those eight areas.
Strangely enough, at my dad's funeral, I recited an essay I had written about his teaching me how to navigate through the woods as a little girl. I called it "The Navigator." I wrote it on Father's Day -- the American one. And many times, I've considered getting a tattoo of a compass to commemorate him, without even realizing it consisted of eight directions.
Very weird. And yet, it makes me feel incredible that maybe this is what all those 88s I used to see meant. At one point, when I got tired of the nonsensical nature of it all, I decided that it would mean my dad was trying to get in touch with me ... and now I think maybe I was right.
Please don't think I sound like Jim Carrey in the movie "23"! I think this stuff is too much of a coincidence to not be true!
On a lighter note, anyone notice all those typos in that recent Sunday Styles section? Is the copy editor on vacation??
Also on a lighter note, I'll leave you with the top half of that minimalist yellow-shoes photo ... Taken at Lorenzo's Pizza in Philadelphia in March 2007. Also, clearly the start of that chemically-altered, ravenous appetite I mentioned earlier.
My boyfriend has left for the weekend and he has this giant iMac computer in the most secluded part of our apartment -- it is like this big machine that I never ever touch -- but now that he is gone, here I sit behind it. Which makes me feel like I should probably post something here.
Normally I write on the little laptop, but he took it with him on his trip to his parents' house.
I'm not really that interested in writing about fashion today. I get to edit stories on it for real now, on a near-daily basis. So maybe that need is being satisfied.
In any case ... I need to make some headway on my book. I've been writing it on the train, but sometimes I am too tired to stick with it. Last night, I saw "Julie and Julia" with my mother, who was up for a visit. Something about watching this 30-year-old in Queens embark on this huge project that involved writing every day really inspired me.
The movie was definitely more empowering for women than anything I've seen in a long time. Despite the fact that it was about cooking.
But there was a time when cooking was "men's work," especially if it was seen as an art, so for someone like Julia Child to think she could study it with a bunch of men was probably considered absurd back in the 1940s. I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this ... I guess it's that there was a part in the movie where each of the protagonists, Julia Child in 1950s Paris and Julie Powell in Queens, NY, in about 2002, received word that a book they had written was going to be published. And both wanted to be able to find some kind of purpose in their lives ... to take what was their passion and share it with others. Julia did so with a lengthy cooking book, which ended up having a large-scale effect on so many women. And then the modern-day character, Julie, used that cooking book to jumpstart her life and find something she really loved doing. She found herself surrounded by "writers" who had achieved some kind of mainstream success and couldn't figure out how to do that on her own, despite the fact that her husband constantly encouraged her writing and told her how talented she was. I should probably attach some kind of spoiler alert to this post. Sorry if you've yet to see this movie ... Anyway, I want to have that feeling in my life ... that is all that I'm saying. Maybe I should update my process in this, in finishing my memoir ... or at least my process in finishing this essay I've started for The Sun (a literary magazine that recently asked me to contribute).
My boyfriend works and socializes with several young writers, people trained in fiction writing, who have published one book if not many. People who are well-known now, although they may not have been when I first met them.
There is no reason why I can't be brave enough to be one of these people. And I'm not saying that I want any kind of notoriety. Just that I want to succeed with putting my stuff out there ... stuff that is not just journalism, which is my main profession, but the writing that is more free-form for me ... because my sense is that I could have a strong impact, just maybe ... and just maybe have that same sense of fulfillment those characters have in that film.
(The moment Julia discovered that her book would be published.)
I'll have to keep updating on here ... maybe this can be a motivator .... who knows.
In the meantime, here's a great article on the movie and Nora Ephron.
My posts have been few and far between lately. I apologize for the idiom, but that's the best way I can describe them ... I'm thinking that the post about losing my friend has to win some world records for length, though, so maybe that makes up for the lull.
I've been busy. I'm copy editing and getting paid lately, soon to be full-time with benefits. I'm super happy about this.
I was actually not paying attention to fashion much for a little while there. It seemed rather frivolous, what with people getting laid off and the economy the way it is.
And I suppose, now, it is still frivolous. Despite my getting a job, so many people are still out of work and I can't help but feel a bit guilty about that, especially with the state of my industry. I know I am extremely lucky that I'm no longer out of work and I'm planning on doing some community service on the weekends from now on to give back more.
In the meantime, maybe frivolous things like my blog can at least provide some entertainment. So here goes ... Summer 2009 version ...
From what I can tell so far, this summer is all about the 1980s. It's been inching on us, this crazily unrealistic trend, and now it is here in full blast. It seems odd since that decade is usually considered the "me" decade, full of materialistic tendencies and those can't be running high right now. Then again, lots of people were out of work in the beginning of the 1980s, so maybe that's what this is all about.
I hadn't noticed the trend so much until I visited two of my all-time favorite stores yesterday -- Free People and Urban Outfitters -- and was confronted and affronted by the following ensembles:
(In Free People)
(In Urban Outfitters)
So, to sum up, everything was ugly, ugly and more ugly.
I eventually had to leave both stores because of the searing pain in my eyes. My left eye was actually pretty dry and bothering me, but this experience made the pain both literal and figurative. So, it was figuratively burning my eyes. Take that, all you abusers of "literally."
I only found a total of two items I might consider buying in the stores:
(In Free People)
(In Urban Outfitters)
I guess at least I know that if I ever want to look like Princess Leia on the planet Endor, all I need to do is buy a helmet and one of these:
Sylish, no, But good to know for when I feel like befriending some Ewoks.
I don't know what it is about the return of the fashion trends from one's birth era that makes them so unappealing. Or what it is that makes those kids born a decade later so curious about dressing in those retro styles once they turn about 20. As many people say, these were TERRIBLE the first time. So how they are actually selling this stuff is beyond me.
I guess I can't be too critical though, considering that Macy's is hawking what they call the "Summer of Love," which I think already happened, but the cool, bohemian looks are calling out to me just the same when I walk by their windows on 34th Street. I was definitely born about 20-30 years too late.
For some reason, I'm really liking that oxymoronic, army green peace sign T-shirt. And despite complaining about them last summer, now I keep thinking I NEED a maxi-dress. I still don't like the word maxi-dress though. There's something excessive about it. When you think about the word miniskirt, any other length would just be called a skirt, right? Maybe not. I guess there can be an optimal dress length and then a maximum dress length. Maybe that's what bothers me about it -- what is the maximum dress length allowed?
Let's just call them sundresses.
As far as grammar gripes go -- I found this on The New York Times Web site the other day (from Schott's Vocab blog):
"Lovers of language can be jealous types, quick to object if the subject of their affections is mistreated by politicians, jilted by marketeers or molested by journalists.
'At the end of the day, guys, you know, it’s about vowing to boldly create a level playing field, OK?, where – to be fair – frankly, and in all honesty … um … the vast majority of very unique issues are literally jaw-dropping, irregardless of the bottom line or the options for synergy and the hope for change.'"
Typical grammar issues are bothering me lately. I heard people use the words "me and her" and "me and him" as subjects of their sentences at least eight times today, but part of that was because I inexplicably watched the newest season of "The Real World" on MTV twice.
I really hope the country doesn't have to lay off any more teachers. It seems our education system is failing these kids ... or at least their vocabularies are severely suffering. Just the other day, I heard little Abigail Breslin use the phrase "at the end of the day." The horror.
And I have to admit that even Jimmy Fallon (whom I love) used the words "me and my wife" as the subject of one of his sentences tonight when it should have been "my wife and I" ... but I'll cut him some slack, for obvious reasons ... and because lately he's been wearing some of the funniest sneakers I've ever seen. If anyone can find a photo of his mirrored shoes, please send it to me. They basically look like disco balls.
This blog is basically a list of things people do that confuse or annoy me or just make me laugh in general. It's my own personal fashion magazine, including a classy magazine-editor photo (see above).
In addition to being a copy editor for Good Housekeeping magazine and Monkeybicycle Books, I have written for the Associated Press, Greetings etc. magazine, Delaware Today, Monkeybicycle Books, Vagabondage Press, and "Mountain Man Dance Moves: The McSweeney's Book of Lists."
In the past, I've copyedited for OK! magazine, Oxford University Press, New York Spaces, Ladies' Home Journal, and Dzanc Books; I've fact-checked for More magazine and Tango magazine. And I'm writing a memoir that has nothing to do with grammar or fashion.