THE UNREQUITED LOVES OF LIFE: Denim & TV

canadian tuxedo

I’m in two great relationships right now. They don’t know about each other, but I’m sure they’re okay with it. The thing is I never knew that I would ever be in a relationship with either of them. I  have a relationship with denim and TV now in that I never had them growing up. It’s almost like an unrequited love story, except that it was never one-sided love since I didn’t appreciate them, while denim and TV didn’t really know about me.

I grew up as a dancer. I did ballet, jazz, tap, the whole works. So it gave me pride that I was the only one in my 5th grade class who could do a split during gym class. What is the only thing that could restrict me from showing off my splits, pirouettes, and grand jetes? Denim.

The constricting fabric that held my legs together could never let my legs make more than a 40 degree angle. Wearing jeans was like being in jail. I was a nerd, so jeans never fit my personality either. Multi-colored sweatsuits and Capezio jazz pants were a large part of my repertoire on “dress down” days at my uniformed private school. At one point, the only pair of jeans I had were from the boys section of GAP with patchwork all over the legs and formulas written on them.

The same goes for my TV viewing habits. My love for TV now is garnered by the fact that I hated TV when I was a kid. I spent endless hours in libraries and I grew up in a home that watching classic movies during lunch was normal behavior. In fact, I distinctly remember watching Gandhi with my dad for snack time.

Of course, I still kept up with pop culture with crushes on Zack Morris and creeping in the next room when my brother watched The OC. Still, the relationship was meant to be when TV came into my life like a long lost friend in high school starting with Saturday Night Live. Now, my Monday morning schedule simply consists of reading reviews of last night’s episodes of Mad Men, Silicon Valley, or Veep.

As I felt like elaborating my teenage wardrobe in high school, I subscribed to ELLE. It was then that I saw a new trend of stretchy jeans, which were so cleverly advertised by having a ballerina do an arabesque in the so-called stretchy jeans. It’s like they were trying to sell them specifically to me.

Fast forward to present-day, I wore my own version of a Canadian tuxedo. Rolled-up my favorite Madewell high-waisted jeans, with a J. Crew chambray button down. I guess you can say that the two-toned Ralph Lauren loafers are an homage to the nerdy me who used to never wear any denim and thought jeans were just blasphemy. If 2001 called, then surely Justin & Britney would have a great rebuttal outfit.

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HOW (NOT) TO BE PHOTOGENIC | Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium | Your Friend, Jess

If in 1996, brand marketing had existed on social networks, I would have my name ready for monetization. At 3 years old, I knew what I wanted to be (first woman president who lives in outer space), where I wanted to live (Disney World), and most importantly, my signature pose that would be in every photo ever taken. With a camera always in tow, my dad at any moment would say, “Picture! Picture!” and I would look at the camera, prop my right foot on its toes, lean my head, and say “Cheese.” Unfortunately 18 years later, I have lost the ability to find a signature pose, and let’s not even get started with brand marketing.

Why do we travel? For the Instagram. This might as well be the motto for Gen Y. While on my trip to Northern Europe was as picturesque as a Pinterest page, taking my picture was the most important part. Striking a pose, however, is where it’s time to get creative. At least Lena Dunham had advice from Hamish Bowles for her February VOGUE cover. 

So while reviewing my photos from Bruges, Belgium, I couldn’t help but question what my face was thinking. For the split second that the camera snaps a shot, my face either digs deep into subconscious emotions, or sometimes nervously pretends that people are not watching me take a selfie.

As a person who is least qualified to give anyone advice at being photogenic, I can only tell you what NOT to do in front of the camera. Anyway, Instagram’s got enough filters to hide that pimple you forgot to put concealer on. 

Here is what NOT to do in front of a camera:

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Where I Went: City Center of Brugge

What I Ate: Waffles & Hot Chocolate at Venice Corn

What I Wore: Mid-December with 50F means an open peacoat with Doc’s

THIS IS A LIEBSTER AWARDED BLOG!

liebster_award_badges

In typical blogger fashion, I found out I was tagged for a Liebster Award when I was in my underwear in bed scrolling through my iPhone. To continue the “blogger lifestyle,” I will write this post weeping over ice cream and in a coffee shop. It’s bloggers and mad people like us who invent stuff like Facebook or a really bad permanent public diary.

A Bright Bite

So when I read A Bright Bite’s Liebster Award post that nominated me, I was extremely flattered and thought, “Ego boost, son!” Ashley’s blog is like a J. Crew catalog in that I just want to live in it. Sometimes I think we have the same brain when we she writes about Mindy or music, then I realize that we don’t, since she writes about her delicious recipes that I can only drool at. Realizing that there are intelligent, trendy, and sensible blogs like A Bright Bite motivates me to be a better Instagrammer.

Head over to A Bright Bite, follow it, and tell Ashley how awesome she is (and how we don’t like Taylor Swift, *wink*). Here’s what she asked me:

1. The year is not over yet, but what has been your favorite pop culture moment of 2013?

I tell myself to live in the moment, which is great whenever I remember Beyonce’s walk during the Super Bowl. That wasn’t so much a pop culture moment, so much as a historical event when all other walks were put to shame. #JustKidding #KONY2012 #Sharknado

2. What are your tips for balancing school, life and keeping up with your blog?

Thankfully I have an army of Harvard interns I keep in my basement. It’s a sweatshop sort of situation. It also helps that I don’t go out during the weekends, which negates the “life” part of your question.

Blogging is a hobby that I now realize is becoming more important to me, especially when I have blog drafts open during class. I normally write about life or school, so it’s all a giant circle.

3. What topics do you get most excited to write about?

Myself. (Kidding, sort of.)

Writing is a form of stress relief for me. I bring a notebook everywhere I go because just like my bladder, I never know when a really good idea needs to come out. Sketches, essays, tweets– anything that’s not homework.

4. We’ve all had them, but what is a fashion trend you totally gave into that you now cringe at when looking back?

I always thought fashion was some mysterious creature that visited every other girl but me, so I never really took part in “trends.” In high school, I was the nerd who wore khakis and polos, but knew UGGs were the Holy Grail. Thankfully, my parents were wise enough to tell me that UGGs were just really ugly.

5. Who is your favorite writer — journalist or fiction?

There are too many. I admire anyone who writes. I love journalists for just being experts at whatever story they are working on at a certain time then moving on to another one. Nora Ephron started as a journalist and has now become the wallpaper on my bookshelf. I love humorists for just being able to make readers elicit visible emotion (laughter), like David Sedaris. Malcolm Gladwell’s work is also great if you want to show off your intelligence in front of friends.

6. What are three items you refuse to leave the house without?

Unstuffy nose.

Empty bladder. (Another reference to the bladder.Let’s hear it for the bladder!)

My watch.

7. Three words that describe you at 6 a.m.; Three words that describe you at midnight.

6 AM: sloppy, angelic, hungry

Midnight: sloppy, demonic, hungry

friends with distance

In keeping with the Liebster Award, I’ll pass the torch on to the ladies at Friends With Distance. One friend in NYC, the other in Italy, I enjoy keeping up with their travels and misadventures. They make having a long-distance friendship seem easy, but as they say, it is “rocky terrain.” Their questions are in the comments below, so check it out and read up!

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P.S. Who’s your favorite blogger?

WHAT I LOVED: Funny, Friends, Flying To Where?

Cold weather is a great excuse to climb back into bed and indulge in the warmth of 500 thread count. It’s like a good piece of banana bread when the butter hits the back of your tongue and you know life is food good. As it is Monday morning and there is no time to make excuses for pushing aside productivity, here are some special stuff that I’ve been indulging in that will make you crave just five more minutes in bed or five more slices of pizza.

Food for Thoughts & Giggles: “The Most of Nora Ephron”

As soon as I was to start writing about Nora Ephron for this post, I ended up down the YouTube rabbit hole and watched every clip of her films (Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, Julie & Julia). When I found out that a new book of her essays was published, I rushed to get my hands on it, naturally. After years of dedication and devotion aspiring to be at least one-eighth of this woman’s wit, I can only accomplish so much. If you’re reading this blog, then you’ll probably want this book.

Friends & Admirers: Rachel Antonoff’s Spring 2014

There are circles of friends that I only wish I were at least one degree of separation to. Rachel Antonoff’s is one of them, especially after watching her latest video debuting her 2014 Spring collection. Last season, she and her brother’s girlfriend (new break-out up-and-comer out-of-the-blue, Ms. Lena Dunham) created a short documentary about best friends, all for her fashion line of course. This year’s features Gillian Jacobs and Jack Antonoff retelling her parents’ love story. Can you just imagine what their group text messages are like?

Funny Femme Fatale: Kerry Washington on SNL

Let’s talk about it. Kerry Washington is amazing and maybe should just join the cast already (which would do a lot for diversity, Lorne). If you follow me on Twitter, then you know my live-tweets of SNL every week is just a lot of word vomit. There is no need to write a recap of a show that you’ve watched, but I so loved Ms. Washington that she deserves to be tagged on this blog.

An American in London, Amsterdam, Brussels…

11 Travel Start-ups You Need To Know | Mashable

It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend and a daze of confusement since I found out that I will be travelling to Europe throughout December! I’ve taken initiative and started a board on Pinterest. I will never leave you out, so this blog will be filled with wanderlust next month. I’ll be updating you with my travels and posting daily vlogs.

Tell me, what do you want to see when it comes to travelling?

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THE LEGEND OF THE UNPAID INTERN

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In the spirit of Halloween, spooks, and horror, let’s talk about one of the most frightening things to ever happen to our generation– internships.

Conde Nast announced last week that their internship program will be ending after being sued by a series of former interns. Naturally, it blew up on Twitter and upset all the aspiring Carrie Bradshaw’s out there. It’s unfortunate, but in my opinion, the interns should have asked for secure jobs instead of suing them. *WINK*

A ubiquitous complaint among college students is the eagerness to graduate and get out there. What’s so special about rushing into “real life” anyway? It’s a classic case of the “grass is greener on the other side of the…diploma.” It all seems better when we trade the sweatpants for dress suits and our dignity for minimum wage. Internships are a great preview into that lifestyle. But just like our first time at summer camp, we want to go home after two days.

Internships are indeed valuable. It’s a great source of experience and enough labor to know that that is not what you want to do for the rest of your life. So to relieve the stress of looking for internships or currently having one, I’ve compiled a list of things to do in between answering phone calls.

(Note: the following advice is coming from someone who cried and quit her first job as a babysitter after one day)

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR UNPAID INTERNSHIPS:

  • Use your free time to think about all your life’s mistakes and regrets
  • You could be laying in bed watching New Girl, so instead, write your own plotlines
  • Over-analyze the text that you just sent to your potentially significant other
  • Eavesdrop on the conversations behind you because they could be the storyline to your hit HBO series
  • Talk to everyone…who is willing to speak with you like you aren’t an “unpaid intern”
  • Realize that your hero in life (Beyonce) released her hit song, Baby Boy, when she was 21

And remember, millions of girls would kill to have your dress suit.

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BABY, WE BELONG TOGETHER

SPICE GIRLS UNIFORM

Being called a “teacher’s pet” or “suck up” for the majority of one’s life can lead to the inevitable demise of such connotations. On my journey to exchange my pastel variety of Lacoste polos for leather pants, I knew I was missing something.

Last month, I bought my inaugural pair of Doc’s, an experience every Brooklyn native has probably gone through. Having gone to an all-girls school that required us to wear construction boots reminiscent of the Spice Girls, stomping around in large shoes was a familiar adventure. Soon after, Ms. Miley debuts a new music video notoriously wearing nothing but my Doc’s that I thought would be my induction into my new age of Punk Renaissance. Then much to my dismay, my classmate turned to me and asked what color my Doc Martens were because she wanted to “buy herself a pair.”

I’ve only taken one Sociology class and it will probably stay that way. And while I probably will not and could not remember how Goffman or Mead contributed to the study of something or other, I do know that there is a human and natural need to belong. I’ve already examined the culty nature of SoulCycle, but of course the reason we all still go there or to the gym is not to just “be fit,” right? We just need to belong somewhere. It’s obviously a theme that I’ve been exploring lately.

During my weekly visit to Facebook, I have discovered through NewsFeed (if that’s what it’s still called) that BBM is apparently on the iPhone now. A few of my Facebook “friends” complained about people sharing their new BBM Pin because they just want to copy everyone else who is using it. Yes, this is something that is literally “discussed” on Facebook. Maybe it’s because I didn’t understand what irony was until my sophomore year of high school but it is the only thing that I log on to Facebook for. And while we complain about women being Photoshopped for magazines, we admittedly take one hour to choose what Instagram filter makes us look best.

It’s hard to know who to admire and who’s a phony, except for Holden Caulfield. Remember Dash from The Incredibles? When his mom tells him that everyone is special, he responds with typical Pixar wit, “Which is another way of saying no one is.”

The only people I admire are those who stay in their “outside clothes” inside their house. I mean, really, if changing your shoes and removing your bra are not the first things you do when you get home, then I will assume you are Superman.

As for the color of my Doc’s, they’re 1460 Cherry Red.

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FALL FAVORITES FOR THE FAIR-MINDED

Alas, it’s October– the month that Lindsay Lohan’s movie characters are obviously obsessed withOctober 11th

After a long week of writing papers and dealing with people, Friday night is for letting it all out. And by “letting it all out,” I mean staying in under the blankets and watching teen movies from the 90’s that were all adapted from Shakespeare/Jane Austen/Greek myths. It was like the 90’s were a post-John Hughes era when producers were looking for stories that teens could eat up. Well, it worked. English teachers don’t mind it either, especially since iambic pentameter may be too cumbersome to translate, when Amanda Bynes could do it for you (when she was still able to).

So when deadlines are getting you down and being “under the weather” sounds like a good excuse, here is a list of my favorite things to do in the fall:

  1. Sweatpants. Sorry, Karl Lagerfeld.

  2. Complaining about Target putting out Christmas decorations

  3. Buying more bulky sweaters so you can eat more

  4. Rookie Yearbook 2!

  5. Being so congested that you can’t hear what anybody is ever saying

  6. Not having to time to update your blog because your professors don’t realize your priorities. I’ll be back, lovelies.

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MY LIFE-ALTERING PANTS (THAT NEED ALTERATIONS)

Life Altering Pants - HELP!

Last weekend, as I walked the glossy, waxed floors of Bloomingdale’s, I had no intention of purchasing anything, much like everyone else everywhere. Then my mom pointed to a colorful spread of striped sweaters in the Free People corner of the department store and exclaimed, “Oh, this is so you!” I took a quick glance at the mannequin wearing one of the displayed sweaters and my first thought was, “Yeah, it is.” Then my gut kicked in overdrive and my subconscious iconoclastic aspirations caused me to yell out, “Am I that predictable?!”

Throughout high school, I was struggling to be in fashion rather than finding my style. I subscribed to ELLE during my freshman year because I was mandated by the school magazine drive, but also to find out what I should be wearing that winter season. I, along with most girls, aspire to work in fashion the way all boys aspire to be cowboys and baseball players but settle to be a sports newscaster or something. I thought I would be the next Tavi Gevinson, but then I soon realized after reading my first issue of ELLE that all the avant garde clothes featured in editorials were not meant for 13-year-old me. Alas, I was unfulfilled with my wardrobe that was “so lacking of cool.” During that time, I had an utter contempt for fashion and its rather expensive schemes. I did, however, quickly understand fashion and trends by reading all the articles which gave me a detector for who was really keeping in style on the streets of New York.

It would only be a far-fetched dream of my 13-year-old broken-down-Converse-wearing-self to believe that my current college best friend would tell me that I should start a fashion blog. Now that I find opening my birchwood IKEA closet to select my day’s garments an actual party, I learn that I have become “predictable.” That’s not what I asked for! But maybe it is, when my first subscription to ELLE came in the mail. As my mom and I continued to the SALE racks of Bloomingdale’s, I spotted a pair of pants which I looked at for five seconds before realizing that I would never wear it. Being the supportive mother that she is, my mom tells me, “Those pants are cool.” And when a mom tells a girl that something is “cool,” sirens are supposed to be going off alarming the girl that it is in fact, “not cool.” I somehow reconsidered and took a second look at the dual-fabric pant saying, “But this is so not me,” to which my mom quickly whips a mildly teenager-ish, “So?”

Only in college did my sense of style finally arrive, much like a teenage girl having her first sip of unsupervised alcoholic drink with initial befuddlement, “So this is what it’s like.” I first walked into a J. Crew during the summer after high school when I assuredly called that store the mothership that I never knew was calling me. The only way to describe my current style would be Kennebunkport meets Williamsburg Farmer’s Market, with the occasional “villain in a John Hughes film.” From then on, my collection of button-down shirts ranging from shrunken ex-boyfriend to perfect-fit has grown beyond compare. I do daydream that if I were an unabashed risk-taker (and unbelievably wealthy) that my closet will replicate that of Beyonce’s, and maybe these pants that were paneled in linen fabric, fitted in jersey fabric on the back, and are “so not me” is a step toward that.

I bought the pants, but with a mild reluctance. It is currently hanging on my bedroom door, still with its various tags, and it is staring at me. Of course I Google the pants’ brand name to see what celebrities have worn it, as well as to validate my purchase. There in the vast wasteland of Google Images are Hilary Duff, Olivia Munn, Kristin Cavallari, among others. I think to myself, “Olivia Munn? She’s cool, I watch The Newsroom. But do I want to wear the same pants as Hilary, Olivia, and Kristin?” I examine its rustic-looking zippers and faded linen cloth, I imagine it something to be out of a 2008 issue of ELLE. I realize that they’re just pants. So I cut off the tags because that’s what Beyonce would want me to do, yet all I wanted was to escape the void of predictability.

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FASHION WEEK GUIDE FOR THE REGULAR GIRL

Fashion Week 2013

Being a Brooklyn resident and going to school in New York City are things that I can take for granted. For the past week, however, I would trade that special quality of mine for anything else. It’s the first week of September which means it’s time to head back to the bland hallways and classrooms of college, which already look exhausted to be there. What makes this process of readjustment even more difficult is seeing the sartorially dressed “weirdos” walking the cobblestoned streets of Brooklyn making their way into an Uber or 1 Train. Welcome to Fashion Week— when the morning commute looks like the title sequence to The Devil Wears Prada. All the girls dressed in Isabel Marant or carrying her grandmother’s old Louis– no one will know because together, they’re all giving you a brutal death stare ready to be photographed for your blog or whatever.

When I was a little girl, I would pass and stare with disdain at the white tents in Bryant Park, for always getting in my way when all I wanted to do was enjoy the park before school started. Now, all I want to do is get in. Years later, photographers are competing to merely get a shot of the girls who aren’t inside, but rocking a killer outfit outside. Who knows if she’s got an invite to Lincoln Center? Meanwhile if you take the G Train back to Brooklyn, yours truly is constantly refreshing Twitter and Instagram with anything containing #NYFW. I won’t say I’m obsessed, but I do have a fascination with fashion.

Maybe my current predilection for what comes down the runway has a connection with spending my entire life in private school, when I wore uniforms. Up until I graduated high school, D-Day stood for Dress Down Day. In 7th grade, I remember wearing a Beatles-yellow-submarine-type yellow coat from GAP for an entire school day because I hated the clothes I was wearing. And now all I want to do is leave my coat open to show off my graphic T. (Hello, Alexander Wang’s shirts marked Parental Advisory!)

Us (Band of) outsiders may or may not understand what goes on in keeping up with Fashion Week. It’s an enigma to some and Holy Week to others. How must we deal with this time of peril?  Here are some lessons for the regular girl when it comes to Fashion Week:

  • It’s important not to end up crying in fetal position, but do as those ladies with death stares do. Use the sidewalks and your school’s hallways as the runway. Rock that Jansport backpack like you just got on Dean’s List.
  • Pretend you’ve got Coco Rocha’s cheekbones and eat the onion bagel on your morning commute.
  • Grab your picnic blanket you used this summer, throw it on, and BOOM, you like you just walked out of Derek Lam’s collection!
  • Keep your iPhone camera on standby because you never know when another fashion blogger is going to want to take a snap of your sweatpants messy bun as you head to school in the morning.
  • Did you see David and Harper Beckham front row at Victoria Beckham’s show? O.M.G. This isn’t really a tip, but if you can find yourself a supportive hot dad, then he’ll be your ultimate accessory.

And so, I’ll wear my Ferragamo’s to school to compensate for my absence at Lincoln Center. People will stare, but isn’t that the point of fashion?

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Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com

NEW HAIR, NO HAIR, NEVER AGAIN!

Pixie Cuts Galore

There is a chair out there that I dread more than the electric chair itself. I have never had a good experience in that chair, and it has somehow scarred me for life. As far back as I can remember, I always left it crying, sometimes even sobbing. It is the ever so ominous chair at the hair salon.

For the past four years, I have had the same haircut at the same salon once a year. I should note, and not to brag, that I don’t blow dry, straighten, or curl my hair, so it has been relatively healthy my whole life. You think that’s a good thing. You don’t know how jealous my perfectly pin-straight, thick, Asian hair is of your curly, dry, split ends. My hair is like liquid. I try to do one style to it, but it just reverts back to its natural state: bor-ing.

Still after every horrible haircut experience, I have always wanted my Princess-Mia-takes-off-her-hat moment. It has yet to happen. Growing up watching movies where the nerd takes off her glasses at prom and everyone realizes how hot she is, didn’t make it easier on the pressure I felt every time I visited the salon. (Those movies made me want glasses, too. Unfortunately, I have 20/20 vision.)

Every woman has a fantasy of what it would be like to completely chop off all her hair. Will I end up looking like a 12-year-old boy? Or will everyone notice my cheekbones like Natalie Portman? In shows or movies, getting a pixie cut usually signifies a change of heart or utter disaster, almost a terrible impulse decision. You’ll be utterly and inevitably criticized for the new do, but in the end we all just wanted to be like the nerds in the makeover movies.

So last week, I revisited the chair and got the long bob. I didn’t go Miley Cyrus crazy, but I feel a style change coming. I feel surprisingly good. I guess the only way to feel good about a haircut is to just not look in the mirror and realize that we will never look like Beyonce.

When it comes to haircuts, instead of feeling like Princess Mia in Princess Diaries, I am inevitably feeling Fantine in Les Miserables.

How I Feel About Haircuts

How do you feel about haircuts?

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