Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stan Smith: A Retrospective

I was going through bouts of anxiety in my lil old cubicle at work the other day, and you know when you circulate your list of worries through your head and each time a worry comes back around, it's more catastrophic than it was before? That was happening to me so I took a walk around my office to ya know, clear my head, a process that usually involves a stop in the kitchen to make tea and dip my hand into the gum jar, then a trip to the bathroom because when you're worrying or procrastinating, there's no place like the bathroom because time doesn't exist in the bathroom. (I came up with this theory in college when I was writing my thesis and looking for ways to procrastinate and started going to the bathroom to braid my hair.) Do you know what I mean? I don't really either but I'm currently 300 pages into Kafka on the Shore and there's a lot of metaphysical, three-dimensional time talk and what can I say, I'm a sponge when it comes to reading da lit-er-a-ture.

So I was in the bathroom, walking around my office, trying to get rid of my anxiety when I looked down at my feet and saw my shoes. Stan Smiths. My first thought was how lucky I am to work in a place where I can wear men's tennis shoes to work and still be taken seriously (I hope I'm being taken seriously, awkward if not). My second was that around this time last year, I thought these shoes were the batshit ugliest things I had ever seen and I wanted no part in the trend.

Ugly in a cute, black and white juxtapositional, way?
And so here it is, a retrospective on the Stan Smiths. I remember first seeing them dispersed throughout street style shots of New York Fashion Week in February. They looked so...white. And bulky. Boat-like, if you will. I was on board with the general Adidas sneaker trend but more partial to darker styles like the Campus (I just Googled them and now I need this ponytail iteration). The Stan Smiths hadn't been worn past the feet of fashion show attendees stateside, but then I went to Paris and blah blah blah Paris, am I right, and I saw them on the feet of both fashion industry folk and (well-dressed) plebs. Regular ladies in Monoprix toting around Vanessa Bruno bags, buying yaout, couscous and whatnot, were wearing Stan Smiths. And theirs weren't bright white but worn-in and clearly well-loved.

By the time I got back to New York and hauled my ass to the Adidas store in SoHo, they were sold out. A shame but never one to accept defeat in a shopping expedition, I found them online. I've been wearing and seeing them increasingly more on the street over the past year. They've been great conversation starters too, like the time a very flamboyant 50-year old man (the hip literary type I aspire to be friends with) complimented them in an elevator, or when a classmate at the acting class I took to find my inner voice told me she loved my shoes. There was also the time I wore them home from Crown Heights but that's an inside joke between me, two rompers, and my roommate.

Just when I thought I had found a favorite sneaker, a new one comes along to covet. Enter the Isabel Marant interpretation of the Stan Smith. They're strikingly similar and you could argue that they're a total copy, but they're branded with Isabel Marant and come in metallic hints and a leopard-print variety. Not going to critique them at all because I'd buy them if I could.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


 Sonoma, Feb 2014

Griffith Park, LA, Jan 2015

 17 Mile Drive, Carmel, Jan 2015

 17 Mile Drive, Carmel, Jan 2015

 17 Mile Drive, Carmel, Jan 2015

 17 Mile Drive, Carmel, Jan 2015

Napa, Feb 2014

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Small Indiscretion

There's something about the winter that makes me read more. I know this because I keep a log of books I've read since the summer of 2008, aptly titled "Books Read Since Summer 2008." Each line contains the title, author, and date finished of a given book, along with a check mark that I have no idea why I put there. Not only is my book log a prime example of my Type A personality traits, but it lets me know at what time of year I read most: the summer because of #beachreads, and the winter because of bed-reads. I realized I was falling prey to the bed-read during last week's polar vortex when I tried to cancel any engagements, social or otherwise, so I could lounge in my crazy-cozy bed in my warm-enough fifth-floor walk up apartment. I'm a homebody of the highest degree, so give me a home and I will try to never leave. Which is why I've been reading voraciously for the past couple of weeks. It takes too much effort to do anything else.

I just read what I wrote and I'd like to assert that I'm not a hermit. Granted, I did work from home yesterday and was still in my pajamas drafting this post at 9 PM, but they were a fresh pair that I put on this morning after I showered. Anyway, the overarching point I'm trying to make here, the bridge if you will, is that there's no time to read like when you're nesting for the winter, and there are plenty of books to go around. So may I suggest you take a gander at A Small Indiscretion?

It's the debut novel from auteur Jan Ellison, and if you like to fall into a book, then you'll definitely enjoy tripping into this one. It centers around Annie Black, who moves to London from LA for a winter. Twenty years later, she's living in San Francisco when she receives a photograph in her mailbox that catapults the novel's plot. It's an emotional read dealing with love, loss and everything in between. Highly suggested, so snatch it up when it comes out on January 20.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Style Icon: Alexandra Golovanoff

Thought it was due time I share another one of my girl crushes/style icons with ya. Alexandra Golovanoff, the host of the French TV show La Mode, La Mode, La Mode (a name which could never be pulled off on American TV. Not punny enough/at all.)

What I like: her slightly Russian features, beachy blonde hair, and seemingly permanent smoky eye. And her style. Though I'm a fan-turned-imitator of the minimalist French way of uniform dressing, I like how Golovanoff doesn't do a strict pant-shirt-heel combo and instead mixes and matches prints, textures, and silhouettes. Although many of her outfits seem to be straight off the runway (ie. Celine Spring 2014), her choices reflect a certain boldness and creativity that isn't very typical of what you see on the heavyweights of French street style. But then again, she's a front-of-camera television star, not an editor. Whatever, food for thought below.

Doesn't she make you want to go blonde?!?

Images via: Vanessa Jackman,, Glamour Paris,

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Something to Read: The Teen Vogue Handbook

Though I've debatably aged out of the Teen Vogue readership demographic, I'm still a sucker for its content. I have a long history with the miniature-sized mag. It's the first one that truly turned me on to my love for anything fashiony and editorial, and I swear it has nothing (something) to do with The Hills. 

Here's some proof. When I was in 7th grade, I laboriously sketched ideas for a Teen Vogue tshirt design contest only to find out that my submission never made it into consideration because I had failed to put enough postage on the package containing my final design (the envelope was returned to sender, aka me. Brutal). I got my first whiff of a personal scent when I received a sample-size tube of J'adore Dior from Teen Vogue It Girls, of which I wore too much and thought was pronounced dye-or. My favorite pastime of collaging would be a fruitless hobby if it weren't for the pages of mix-and-matched prints and sayings like "best summer ever" found in Teen Vogue. And then there was the time in 11th grade when, in search of seats to a sold out Jonas Brothers tour, I wrote to the magazine and asked if I could cover one of the concerts as a member of the press. They never responded so I bought overpriced tickets on eBay.

And here's where I admit that as an avid fan of Laguna Beach and all of its spin-offs (Newport Harbor was rudely underrated), I became enthralled with the idea of the seemingly glamorous job of pushing samples down LA streets and writing emails on glossy Mac desktop computers cultivated by Teen Vogue's participation on The Hills. I wanted to work in fashion, and Teen Vogue was fashion, so I went to its website and devoured its career content. I learned that then-beauty editor Eva Chen went to Johns Hopkins and that most of its interns were city students fulfilling academic credit. I enrolled in Saturday sewing and draping classes at FIT because I found out that aspiring fashion design students needed to have something called portfolios. I wasn't sure what I wanted to be or do, but I knew it had something to do with fashion, and Teen Vogue's website helped educate me on the different paths of getting there.

I stopped trying to correspond with the magazine after my failed attempt to secure a JoBros press pass but it must've realized its career content was helping suburban high schoolers like me. In 2009, the first Teen Vogue Handbook, an all-encompassing guide to working in fashion, was published. I had found my way to the liberal arts by then but the book still quenched my thirst for anything fashion industry-related.

On Friday, an updated version of the book came out with all new content. Though it's meant as a career guide, it's a good read even if you don't harbor industry ambitions. It features interviews with designers, editors, photographers, bloggers, and anyone else who can confidently say they've made it in fashion. Like, how did Marc Jacobs get his start? Or what does a model scout do? The day in the life of a YouTube beauty star? It's all in there.

So... go buy now!!! It's like a giant Teen Vogue and comes with a one-year subscription to the magazine, which, on a parting note, is the gift that keeps on giving if you're into collaging (seriously, I've made like 20 collages in the past ten years using its pages.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Winter Coat Anxiety

Almost everyone I know, by which I mean three of my close friends, are suffering from coat anxiety. One ordered two coats online to her parents' house where her mom vetoed one of them for its close resemblance to a black bathrobe. I'm pretty sure another friend has a selfie reserve on her phone of her wearing coats in dressing rooms around the city, while the third had taken to asking strangers on the street where their coats were from before she evidently fell in love with a Burberry quilted number at Bloomingdales and started raising money from family and friends to fund it. I'm no stranger to coat anxiety either -- I'm this close to buying a fourth parka, this time from the J.Crew men's section.

It's like that study with jams. When faced with too many options, people end up not choosing anything. There are too many coats to choose from -- wool, quilted, waxed, fur, plaid, oversize, duffel, snorkel, do I need to continue? Also, prices run DEEP. In an ideal world, I would have an Isabel Marant parka, a Vince blanket coat, and a fuzzy Sandro pea coat, but I don't have the funds nor are there enough days in the winter to truly wear and love each one. I did buy this coat from the Gap last month and a lady, who I presume was suffering from bouts of coat anxiety herself, stopped me on the street to ask where I got it.

What's a gal to do? I haven't really solved my coat anxiety at all, I go each day thinking about a new winter coat I want, and when I do go to Bloomingdales in search of one, I feel simultaneously overwhelmed and discouraged and end up smelling perfumes and trying on sunglasses instead.

Below, some images to fuel your coat anxiety. All images via Pinterest.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Stovetop Cooking Challenge: Soup Edition

I haven't hit my stovetop as hard over the past couple of weeks as I did when I first moved into my oven-less apartment because of my economical culinary discovery in...(ince ince ince)...SOUP!

Furealz, soup is the bee's knees. I like soup for the same reason I like cereal, salad and frozen yogurt: a serving of each takes a long time to finish and there's variety in each bite. Will I get a noodle in this spoonful or just a piece of celery? (Poll: does celery contribute anything to soup?)

I've been trying to make a different soup every two weeks. They've gotten progressively better since the first episode because I cheated and started doing my cooking in my parents' kitchen. I haven't touched their oven though so the principle of the stovetop cooking challenge remains intact.

Here's what I've been cooking up:

Week 1 - way back in September (time flies when you're single and making soup in your spare time)

Still an amateur in the post-work grocery scene below 14th Street, I head to the Union Square Trader Joe's to buy soup makings: chicken broth, carrots, celery, and chickpeas. I could've easily found such basics at Key Food but I'm hungry for a free sample and Chelsea Market wasn't handing out the ravioli I usually stop for after work. I enter TJ's and do an initial scout for cute boys but there are none so I put my bitchy resting face on and nudge my way through the crowd. After I down a pumpkin-themed free sample, I get my veggies and scan the soup aisle for chicken stock. They're all out of chicken stock and I almost cry because I'm hangry. I settle on vegetable broth and get in line.

Two hours later, my soup looks pretty unappetizing. It lacks the jaundice of chicken stock and instead has a murkiness that can only be attributed to ... I don't even know what. It's exactly the type of soup I imagine to have been served at Soviet prisoner camps. In a Slavic spirit, I toast a slice of rye bread and use it to soak up my soup.

I add some steamed spinach the next night to give it some flavor, if not a bit of color. It resembles a bowel movement even more so than it did before.

Week 2 - October (time still flies when you're still single and making soup at night)

I've found the most cost-effective and time-saving place to grocery shop: my parents' kitchen. It even has a personal shopper service that lets you put in a request for say, almond butter a few days ahead of time, and it'll be waiting for you on the counter upon arrival. Huzzah.

I do what I always do right when I walk into my parents' apartment, which is scan the contents of the refrigerator. This time I have a mission other than snacking: to find soup ingredients. My mom has an offensive amount of kale taking over the vegetable drawer that's on the verge of going bad, so I resolve to use it in my recipe. She has more chicken stock in her pantry than Trader Joe's did (one carton), as well as cans of cannellini beans and crushed tomatoes. I combine it all with the vegetable equivalent of basic bitches, carrots and celery, in a pot and let it simmer. This soup tastes absolutely delicious compared to the first one, probably because I used a Whole Foods recipe and not one of my own imagination.

Next soups on the stovetop include curried lentil, chicken noodle, and butternut squash because who doesn't love to eat seasonal?