29 March 2008

"You know as well as I do this necklace is imitation."

Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow in Vanity Fair
(nowhere near the original, but a valiant-- and lovely-- effort)

"Well I'm not."


27 March 2008


Yesterday was such a gorgeous day-- 60 degrees, sunny, perfect for exploring the city. Of course I had to visit the greenmarket for some hot cider and an apple cider doughnut. But mostly I just enjoyed taking pictures of the light hitting the flowers, and of how happy the first real day of spring seemed to make everyone.

I walked across 14th Street and visited what I like to call Little Britain (and I'm betting that it actually is called that)-- the span of shops and restaurants that includes A Salt & Battery (the fish & chips shop) and Tea & Sympathy, the quintessential British tea room transplanted to American shores. I sat by the window with a pot of black currant tea and a dish of sticky toffee pudding, and amid spoonfuls of pudding and sips of tea, I actually found myself forgetting that I was in the states and not having a lazy afternoon at Joe's, Jenny's and my favorite restaurant in Oxford. I remember last November, when my Oxford friend Ben visited and, after saying goodbye to him, I went solo to the movies to see The History Boys. When I walked out, it was dusk, and I was surprised not to hear British accents surrounding me or to get my heel stuck in the cobblestones outside The King's Arms. At Tea & Sympathy I was amazed my the rapore and relaxed atmosphere-- if the staff (all British) needs to seat a newly-arrived party in the 28-seat establishment, they may ask current customers to shift to another table, and the customers were only too happy to oblige! I guess occasionally getting away from the stuffiness of uptown can be liberating, although it is my belief that the more you get into hipster territory, the more exclusive it becomes. But I digress. I chose as company during my tea-time the Thomas Hardy biography, which is becoming more and more interesting. I'm reminded why I find such affinity with Hardy's female characters. As I get older, I find myself finding things in common with the heroines I previously found baffling-- like Eustacia Vye.

Afterward I strolled through Chelsea Market and pretending that I was in Hardy's Wessex.
The trouble with such a lovely day is that I can never make myself want to go back to work. I went to bed with a migraine and woke up with one, yet I forced myself to go to work because there was simply too much to be done. Throughout the entire day, though, I battled nausea. I cheered myself up a bit by looking at the puppies in the shop window-- I held a beautiful chocolate brown cocker spaniel, who shared a cage with her brother (whom I named Rupert, do to his wrinkled face, droopy eyes, and general old-man appearance). My adorable baby girl puppy? Well, I can't afford to have a puppy, but were I to buy her she would either be Lacey or Decca. Decca for her spunk, but she just looks like a Lacey. (neither of these little guys is Decca/Lacey, but how sweet!)

25 March 2008


I slept the day away, making it out long enough to grab a Skinny Hazelnut Latte and run over to Housing Works to buy Sabrina and Dead Poets Society for $1 each, along with Shabby Chic Home (I'm obsessed with planning the quirky new decor for my DC apartment) and Embers by Hungarian writer Sandor Marai. Funny story about Dead Poets Society: I've actually seen the beginning and end but never the middle, because I had my first real make-out session during the middle of it back in the day and haven't rewatched it since! (it's safe to say the relationship didn't turn out that well.) Anyway, since I'm moving into the teaching profession, I thought it was time to familiarize myself with the brilliant (albeit fictional) John Keating.
I also perused the internet and found some amazing sources of inspiration:
Something's Hiding in Here's Shauna and Stephen have the most amazing, quirky apartment. It's like a festival of whimsy. A swing in the middle of the apartment? Genius! I also love the repainted thrift furniture. I dream about having a baroque-style mirror with high-gloss kelly green paint in my bathroom-- and once I move, I will definitely be applying their painting tips!

Refinery29's motto is "independent style, defined and refined," and their selections for their "My Style" column represent that perfectly. This month they feature Lou Doillon, who, granted, is a bit predisposed for indie glamour. Mom is Jane Birkin, and sisters are Charlotte Gainsbourg and photographer Kate Barry. I love this photo of her styling models for her new denim line.

They also profile Alice Temperley, who cites Gustav Klimt as one of her great style mentors. I think that she and I may be the same person.
Also, the beauty of La Garconne, which features a greenhouse-inspired fashion photo shoot. The models remind me of Au Revoir Simone. I remember reading Heather, Annie, and Erika discussing which March sister they would be in Little Women. I think I would be a mix of Meg and Jo. Which one are you?

And when I move to DC I will be living according to this website. The title is fantastic-- Brightest Young Things?!? Someone is quite clever. I can't believe that tomorrow night the Smithsonian is having a screening of Sunset Boulevard-- it's a film I always reference when I describe someone living wholeheartedly in the past (and nobody ever gets the reference). Next year if I ever have some free time, I hope to attend some of these events! Plus the Eels are playing at this synagogue-- how amazing is that??
Tomorrow I intend to wake at a normal hour and actually leave my apartment for more than an hour. I'm thinking Chelsea Market, maybe a visit to get some Lower East Side pickles, maybe check out the vintage goodies at Dulcinee...read some of the Thomas Hardy biography, maybe check out John Derian? (whose gorgeous Provincetown home is profiled in Vogue Living. I want it!)

23 March 2008

A room of my own

I just went for a run along the East River. It's a gorgeous day, and I should be thrilled with life...but for some reason I'm losing the endorphins right about now. I feel like I'm overdue for a good cry, and yet I'm not really sad about anything! I think there's more a fear of the possibility of being sad. I'm absolutely terrified of slipping back into that place again. It's funny, I've always felt that depression is like a room that you inhabit. An ugly, dim room with cracked plaster and bare walls. A place in which the “me” objects that used to inhabit the room disappear and are replaced with foreign objects. It's funny-- a few years ago I wrote a very personal essay about that experience and how I view it spatially. I wrote that normally I would be a room with beautiful useless objects, such as glass bird paperweights and unmatching floral China teacups, perfume bottles, and intricate lamps, arranged on a background of clean, light green walls and lace curtains. Which is funny, because that's exactly what my apartment looks like right now (minus the lace curtains, unfortunately). So when I'm feeling down, I look for the external context to match the internal context that I've lost: antique stores, independent coffee shops, gardens, great music. A bird cage hanging in a tree.
Zooey's new CD came out this week-- She & Him, Volume One, with M. Ward. It is lovely. Zooey's voice is haunting. It makes me want to meet her even more! I hope hope hope that they come to New York on tour. I only wish that there were a few more upbeat numbers, a la The Ditty Bops or The Pipettes. I am needing a day off like whoa. I'm becoming unbelievably peeved at the people I work with; I feel like a broken record, explaining the same issues over and over again. AKA that I am only one person and my job is to organize the eight million people I deal with to the best of my ability-- but the thing is, people are not objects. They are unpredictable and they sometimes don't agree to be fit into categories or, furthermore, to do my bidding. No matter how many details I gather, or how resolutely I try to plan, things will not always run smoothly. All you have to do is watch Top Chef or Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? to realize that. Whatever. The point is, I'm in need of complementary surroundings. I need soul mates in places and books. Or maybe just a few days to regroup. The point is, the way I've been feeling over the past week, I'm so afraid that those old feelings will creep back in and make their (unwelcome) presence known-- and while I know that I'm strong, I know that I'm sensitive as well. Perhaps too sensitive. I don't want to be dissatisfied-- but sometimes I feel like a square peg in a round hole.
I want to blow bubbles, a la Sally Scott photography.
And reread Mansfield Park. Along with The Dud Avocado (current bookclub read) and the Thomas Hardy biography I've been intending to read for ages. And while reading I'll envision Edmund Bertram, played by Jonny Lee Miller, with his full lips, strong jaw, compassionate eyes, and genuine words...something I definitely need.
"'I have been thinking,' she continued, still in the tone of one brimful of feeling, that the social moulds civilization fits us into have no more relation to our actual shapes than the conventional shapes of the constellations have to the real star-patterns. I am called Mrs. Richard Phillotson, living a calm wedded life with my counterpart of that name. But I am not really Mrs. Richard Phillotson, but a woman tossed about, all alone, with abherrant passions, and unaccountable antipathies..." ~Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure
"I could not help it: the restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes. Then my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third story, backwards and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot and allow my mind's eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it‹and certainly, they were many and glowing; to let my heart be heaved by the exultant movement, which, while it swelled it in trouble, expanded it with life: and, best of all, to open my inward ear to a tale that was never ended‹a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence." ~Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

18 March 2008

Things that have been making me happy

* I got into my graduate program! So as of July, I'll be moving to Washington D.C. in July and living in Virginia. Hello, cost decreases! Plus, Virginia is for lovers.
* My new thing is standing up for myself. But not in a defensive way. More in a "whoa, breathe, now let me talk" kind of way. Being a drama queen and working with plenty of drama queens/kings can be quite frustrating, but this new tactic is helping me deal.
*New coworker Nick. He's fierce.
*I just ate NewTree chocolate in "Tranquility"-- meaning it's infused with lavender. I'm feeling the peaceful properties. Ommmmmm.....
*Going to see sing-a-long Grease on the big screen at the Ziegfeld Theatre.
*Lula!! The new Lula is out. I love British people, indie musicians, quality art, and fairy-tale frosted hair. Anything glittery...
*Flowers on the street. Beautiful.

* Reflections. Especially the one in this darling vintage housewares shop, The Upper Rust, in the East Village. I wandered the East Village tonight until my gold ballet slippered feet went numb.

*This staircase-- and engraving-- that I found on my walk. People stared as I took a picture, but I didn't care. I'm a quirky sprite. I sometimes think that's accepted more uptown than downtown! I love Yorkville.

* I took a cue from Ginny B and stopped at Birdbath Bakery for a chocolate chip cookie and farmer's lemonade, which really is like liquid sunshine. I was sad when I finished it!
* Enchanted on DVD. I'm about to watch it...I can't wait until both Enchanted and Dan in Real Life are available pre-viewed at Blockbuster so I can get one of those fantastic 2-for-$20 deals!
* The Chrysler building at night. I captured this photo last night, right before saying goodbye to Kate. She's moving to Boston! She's been such an incredible friend to have in New York. She'll be a friend for life. No doubts about that. I'll just miss having my glittery leopard-pump wearing, redheaded sister in crime around!

09 March 2008


I've been feeling strangely restless lately, but not in a physical sense, if that makes sense...I don't feel the need to wander from place to place, but I just feel a bit concerned. I have a lot on my mind and I feel like in the past week my mood has gone from pale yellow to stormy gray (with flashes of sun, but back to rain again). Not like it was always pale yellow-- there were lots of question marks there, whereas now I have a better idea of where my heart lies and what I need to do, which is to focus on what's best for me. But how to do that raises question marks and teary moments of their own.
I've been finding solace in jezebel's blog. Also chocolate-raspberry ice cream. And today I bought lemon zest sorbet and the newest issue of Vanity Fair. And I started Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavlada. But something is missing, and I don't know what that is. Maybe I need to take Chelsea's advice and fill my well. But what are small ways I can do that, without spending tons of money in this city that sucks the soul out of you and eats your bank account? Suggestions, please, the more creative the better.

08 March 2008

Absolutely smashing

Much as I love love love Jillian from Project Runway (and think she looks a bit like Miranda July!), Christian's final collection absolutely blew me away. It was couture, wearable art, a neo-Victorian gothic display of opulence, and I fell in love. I know that most people couldn't carry off these looks, but seriously, the people who can carry off high couture are in the minority. They have to be statuesque, almost like mannequins or human clothes hangers. But the detail, the fabric, is incredible. I LOVE the hats. I wish I could walk down the street with a tilted wide-brimmed hat, the equivalent of Veronica Lake eye-obscuring locks in hat form. His styling reminded me of the Ascot horse race scene (written to perfection) in My Fair Lady.And speaking of quirkiness...have I mentioned yet how much I adore Holly from Make Me a Supermodel, much as the show is terrible overall? I want to go thrift shopping with her!

06 March 2008


I haven't been posting regularly because my thoughts have been in a dizzying tangle. Sometimes I would give everything to be one of those carefree people who lives a one-dimensional life. But unfortunately I think I have a semblence of synesthesia; is that the condition where all of your senses are combined, such that you might feel a hot day as "orange" or give numbers personifications or character traits? If I recall correctly, synesthetes are supposed to be especially creative individuals. And that might explain my hatred of even numbers-- I do find them to be especially ominous. Anyway, lately past and present seem to be blending, just like synesthetes with senses-- I see something or hear something, and it's as if I'm reliving the original experience, whether positive or negative. Time also plays a certain role; it's usually that I'm brought back to this time a year before. Maybe this sense of deja vu that hits so frequently that makes me unable to read books with that sense of predestination, like The Time Traveler's Wife. Have you ever felt like your path in life has already been decided for you by your past? I know that sounds crazy, and I don't really believe it, but that thought absolutely terrifies me.
I think that many of these thoughts have been brought about by the realization that change isn't just something in the far-off future. Rather, it's something that's actually happening. The idea of having to check things in New York off of some list, whether real or metaphorical, makes me unbelievably sad. The other day Kate and I walked the Brooklyn Bridge as part of our "things to do before leaving New York" project, and I found myself being so melancholy. My life here has been trying, yes, but certain parts of it can only be described as beautiful, vital, and epic. Thinking about leaving those parts behind is like thinking about losing a limb. It was almost enough to make me not appreciate the wonder of the bridge. I do feel like, for me, the bridge has been colored by these ruminations. In fact, maybe it's a fitting image. A bridge is both a barrier and a passageway, an end and a beginning... It's just the sense of endings that makes me teary.

"It had been the yearning of his heart to find something to anchor on, to cling to—for some place which he could call admirable. Should he find that place in this city if he could get there?" ~Thomas Hardy

"Whence comes solace? Not from seeing, what is doing, suffering, being; Not from noting Life’s conditions, not from heeding Time’s monitions; But in cleaving to the Dream, and in gazing at the Gleam whereby gray things golden seem." ~Thomas Hardy

02 March 2008

To be personal

Today was a really really rough day-- I actually found myself ranting to my coworkers in an email about certain practices! Probably not the most professional, and not the smartest, but I've never agreed with the blame game or the chain of bad blood. I cannot handle those people who take their bad moods out on others or who feel like because they've been wronged, the best way to make things better is to ruin someone else's day just as much as their day had been ruined. What is this, third grade? You stole my crayon, so I'm going to steal someone else's to make up for it? Anyway, one of the people I snapped at actually apologized and wrote a really courteous email saying that the situation had been handled poorly-- to this person I of course apologized back. But overall I still feel like it's so much easier to blame someone else than to try to make things work. I know I do it, but I also know that I do it far less than most people. Another email I got later in the day pretty much picked up right where my angst had left off. I think some people just don't really get the concept. When did human decency go out the window in the workplace? Overall I'm very happy at this job, but sometimes I do notice areas in which things are eerily similar to my last job, namely in that speaking harshly is acceptable and those on the receiving end are told not to take things "personally."
What a ridiculous saying. We are people. I am a person. I am not a robot or a walled, emotionless being. I'm going to take things said to me personally, because they feel personal when said in a tone of attack. Even if I know it's deflecting blame, even if I know that it's someone having a bad day, I will still take meanness personally because that's how I am. I'm sensitive. When did sensitivity become just as passe as corsets and male maturity? And just because you say that something isn't personal, that just means it isn't personal to you.I think that in the workplace we should take things personally. Maybe if we thought about our coworkers, business associates, and clients as people the work world would be a much more humane place. I treat everyone with respect because I think that that's how I would want to be treated. It will be interesting to see what the fallout from my harsh speech will be. I think I'm often thought of as a punching-bag.I don't want to develop a thicker skin. That's not how I am, and I can't bear the idea of having to close myself off to processing emotion. But people say I will be killed in the work world if I don't build up a rock wall around myself. How do you compartmentalize yourself that way? When I'm in the office nothing anyone says to me has any significance or bearing on my character? That's not something I'm capable of.I can't help but thinking of Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail when she wisely remonstrates Joe Fox: "What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's *personal* to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway? Whatever else anything is it ought to begin by being personal." I guess all of this is just further proof that I'm from a different time and a different set of values, and reinforces the fact that I can relate to very few people...