Also I love Diane's video with Patti Wilson.
Also I love Diane's video with Patti Wilson.
I am obsessed with my new Incase slim backpack. I bought it because I'm determined to pack carry-on only for Milan-Paris this season. Plus, I've always had a thing for backpacks even though my New York friends make fun of me for using them. Anyway, it arrived in the mail this week and I'm totally in love with it -- it's super-substantial, with a padded back and really thick straps. and these are all these smart pocket designs, like a secret pocket for passports and tickets (that's actually big enough to hold passports and tickets), inside mesh pockets for a wallet and stuff, and a really serious furry laptop sleeve. Ooh, plus these cute little zip pouches on the waist strap. And the slim profile is ace because I've always had this pervasive fear that wearing a backpack would make me look even bigger than I already am, but this one is so slick, I'm sure it will fit perfectly right under the seat in front of me in, sigh, coach class on the plane.
My first job after college was a Presidential Internship in the journalism department at the American University in Cairo -- I was an arrogant self-entitled little monster coming out of an ivy league school and I didn't know anything about anything outside of my insular little northeastern American world. When I got the job in Egypt, I thought I'd be embarking on some kind of Indiana-Jones-slash-ultra-glamorous adventure, and I really didn't do much research on life in the Middle East. Seriously, I think my preparation entailed watching The English Patient five times the week before my flight.
So it's hardly a surprise that, in retrospect, I wasted a lot of time in Cairo not fully appreciating what I was lucky enough to experience. I was surrounded by all this beauty, but I was so caught up in minutiae of cultural solipsism and spent so much time complaining about things I can't even remember that I missed out on a lot of the great things I could have experienced. But the year wasn't completely wasted on me -- going to Egypt after college was precisely the baptism-into-the-world-by-fire (aka swift kick in my spoiled-American pants) that I really needed at the time and the year out changed my life. I can honestly say I wouldn't be nearly as happy as I am now, nor would I have ever been able to achieve half the things I have in the last ten years if I hadn't spent that year in Cairo.
This month the AUC downtown campus is moving to the new campus in Heliopolis (which they were in the process of building when I was working on the Greek Campus downtown). It makes me wistful and nostalgic that these physical buildings that were so important to a pivotal time in my life aren't going to be AUC anymore come September. Looking at these photos now, years after the fact, I can't believe that I was once lucky enough to work in such a marvelous place.
My goal is to get back on the talk show circuit next spring -- that gives me time to get my act together and really improve my well-being. In the last few weeks I've made a real effort to eat a protein-plus-fiber diet and eat at home instead of ordering out. At least that way I'll know what's going in my food. Next step is to wake up 30 minutes earlier and get my motivation going in the morning to walk to work. And I ought to be walking home too. My subway-taking has been pure laziness. The weather's perfect for walking. Between that and eating at home and drinking a lot less, I should be comfortable enough with myself to get to the gym for the first time in years at the end of about six to eight weeks, god willing. Then it's fingers crossed from there. When autumn turns cold into winter all I ever want to do is hole up and eat macaroni and cheese.
Ah, who am I kidding. Doesn't matter what the weather's like outside, all I ever want to do is hole up and eat macaroni and cheese.
Time again for my every-few-months unscheduled complaining about my downstairs neighbor, the crazy lawyer (who's actually younger than me!) with several dogs in a <400 sq ft studio. You know, she's the one who was fired from her job in a District Attorney's office last year for BITING ONE OF HER CO-WORKERS -- yes, that's why I just complain about her and don't actually do anything about it. I mean, the lawsuit-happy lawyer once threatened to sue me and sue the building because I had five people in my apartment once past midnight having a glass of wine -- and not even playing any music -- I still have her absurd letters from that incident. And now I'm scared to contact her about her dogs because I'm afraid she'll bite me. Seriously, this woman should consider anger-management therapy. Anyway, for the past four months I've been keeping a daily log of what time her dogs wake me up in the morning, how long they bark (usually all morning and sometimes between midnight and 3 a.m.). This morning? Bright and early at 7:20 a.m. -- then basically non-stop from 8:20 to 9:15.
The thing is, you know, obviously I live in a dog-friendly building. And some dog owners would say that barking just comes with the territory because, "That's what dogs do," yes I've actually heard that excuse verbatim. But I think that if several dogs are sequestered in a tiny apartment all day long and are barking barking barking all day, that, to me, is a clear sign of neglect. It's just not fair to buy a bunch of animals and coop them up while you're away all day. No wonder they're manic and restless.
Side effect of animal neglect? I get no sleep.
I went through this phase back in 2004 where I became obsessed with finding one-sleeve tops (I wasn't really into dresses then, I guess -- more separates). See, I have this huge scar on my left arm that's a relic of burning myself with hot water as a child. Had plastic surgery and the whole bit and now it looks like a shark bite, so it's pretty cool -- when I used to work with kids during my college summers, I'd tell them if they were naughty I'd toss them into a shark tank and I'd show them my arm. Ha, evil, I know.
Anyway, I'm kind of intrigued by all the one-arm wonders on the racks this fall. Margiela up top and Roksanda Illincic below.
It's hard to believe this song came out 17 years ago. I think I listened to my Voice of the Beehive "Honey Lingers" album non-stop for months. I remember being really psyched when "Auto-Reverse" was invented for cassette Walkmen.
From UK Labour MEP Richard Corbett's blog:
"Am I the only one to think that Boris Johnson's performance at the closing ceremony for the Olympics was an embarrassment? In a solemn part of the ceremony - the handing over of the Olympic flag from the Mayor of Beijing to the Mayor of London, where all the other dignatories involved were, at that point, solemnly walking in a line with their hands by their sides - Boris, uniquely, was periodically waving to the crowd (without much response) as if he was the star of the show. Unlike the other representatives, he (alone) did not even button up his jacket. He never knew what to do with his hands (hence his periodic incongruous waving), and altogether gave the appearance of a buffoon."
Yes, buffoon is precisely the word I was searching for.
I was just about to order grapes from FreshDirect when I read this warning label at the bottom of the description there -- cobwebs in my grapes? Where are the spiders? I'm sure I'd order the grapes and find a spider inside. Then what? Panic panic panic. Once at Dartmouth a spider bit me on the back of my neck. The bite swelled up and I ended up going to the doctor who put me on a course of antibiotics because he was concerned that the "dirty spider bite" (his words) would spread and become a brain or a spinal infection. I still have a scar/bump/chunk of flesh missing from the back of my neck.
That's a story for all those people who are all, "La la la spiders are our friends! They don't bite! We love spiders."
Ever since I moved into my apartment nearly three years ago, I haven't used a washing machine. Why would I? The concierge downstairs had a reliable and good laundry service and about three years ago was when I started getting really busy with book stuff and television.
It was all going great, and I justified the cost to myself by figuring out how many hours it'd take me to do laundry and how much my time was worth per hour. Good deal at the time.
But then the concierge company downstairs switched -- and I started to notice that my expensive sweats, brands like Kritik, Juicy, and Primp, started disappearing from my deliveries. I switched to Slate NYC, that eco laundry service, and ended up paying them $136 for a whole lot of headache -- they had some serious customer service problems and issues with scheduling, and initially refused to refund half the month's fee since, you know, they never showed up after the first time (which, itself, took about five days to schedule), so I ended up having to call the publicist and identify myself as press and beg to please get my $68 back (yes, one load of laundry at Slate cost me $68 and a whole lot of trouble), and finally that's how that worked out. So I went back to using the concierge downstairs -- I dropped off one large bag of black shirts with them and my special-order big-girls shirts from England came back with chewing gum embedded in it. Great.
So right now, as I type, I have three loads of laundry going downstairs in the laundry room -- it's the first time I've done my own laundry in years and it's an oddly satisfying feeling. I mean, instead of waiting two days for my laundry to come back, I only have to wait about 20 minutes for the wash cycle.
Best part? I won't steal my own clothes and throw chewing gum in the dryer.
I need to come out of the closet as a musicals-lover.
So last night I went to this Comfort-themed O Magazine event at the Hearst building where Thom Filicia talked about interiors, Jean Chatsky talked about finances, and one of my new most favorite people in the world Chef Art Smith talked about biscuits and macaroni & cheese -- the man cooked macaroni & cheese for Beyonce Knowles a few weeks ago, his mac & cheese is GOOD.
One of the items the audience got to take away was Jean Chatzky's bestselling book "Make Money, Not Excuses", which I'm currently reading and enthralled with. It's just the most brilliant step-by-step guide to sorting yourself out financially and thinking forward to your future. When I first started working after grad school, the most important book I bought back then was Suze Orman's "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke" which really helped answer a lot of the basic questions about money (aka life) -- like, what's a credit score, why is it important to pay bills ontime, etc.
Now that I'm a little older, I turned 30 last year, it's time to grow up and do something serious and responsible. I've kind of decided that the latter part of 2008 is, for me, going to be all about behaving like a grown-up. I need to start managing my time, managing my money. I need to start reorganizing my apartment, my life. Sooner rather than later I'm going to have to start thinking about what it is I'm going to be doing in the long term. For me, 30 means not being a kid anymore.
So this is step 1, doing right by my bank account.
"Looking outside at a sky that had never been blue."
I likes it.
I really love Susan's blog entry about this Southern-Justin guy because I know exactly what she's talking about. In fact, I met Justin on Saturday and was actually blown away -- this is how blown away I was: Previously, I didn't even know that guys like this existed.
Let me explain: I grew up in New York, then I went to a jock liberal arts college, then I went to England (fashion school), and now I'm back in New York.
I have loads of guy friends -- and 95 percent of them are gay. In my entire life, I've never met a straight man who, right off the bat, was really easy and pleasant to talk to. It was weird talking to Justin over brunch -- when either Susan or I said something, he'd actually listen to what we'd said then craft an interesting and thoughtful response which propelled the conversation forward. I was floored that not once did he (1) go out of his way to make either one of us feel stupid, (2) name-drop, (3) salary-drop, (4) talk about himself, (5) talk smack about other guys, or (6) talk smack about girls.
The best part? When he greeted, held the door for, and made friendly small-talk with an elderly woman who was coming in as we were leaving.
Seriously, thinking about it totally changes my social worldview. And while it makes me want to move somewhere where straight men are taught to be gentlemen, I'm not convinced that I could live anywhere else in America outside of New York.
Just going through my calendar planning everything running up to fashion week, fashion week itself, and the few days of normalcy between the day NY ends and the day I need to be in Milan for the Laitinen show. Then onto Paris. And then we're well into October. Where did this year go? In four months will it really be 2009?
For the rest of the year I'm planning some reorganization -- going to get rid of all the clothes I don't wear, all the clothes I shouldn't be allowed wear, get a new bed (my current one is too big and I'd really rather have room for a clothing rail instead), throw out as much stuff as possible, organize my bookshelf, purge products I don't use, and really, seriously, actually become more minimalist. I always joke that all my good intentions of minimalism get thwarted by my uncontrollable maximalism. The truth is, I have way too much stuff and it bothers me that if, say, I wanted to pick up and move one day, it would take me a thousand trucks, a hundred suitcases, and (probably) forty camels or something to get out of here.
Call it a three-quarter-year resolution.
Today, when I went to the supermarket, it was Erasure's "Star."
A few months ago Chris mentioned something he remembered me offhandedly saying that kind of stuck with him for a long time. And we talked about how someone can say something casually -- something they'll never think of again in that way -- but that one sentence or turn of phrase will stick with you for years.
Lately, thanks to Facebook, I've been virtually reunited with a lot of the people I spent the summer of 1994 with at the Boston Univ summer program for high school students. My roommate that summer, Amie, even made a Facebook group for us -- it's crazy, I'm convinced now, 14 years down the line, most of us still look exactly the same. Anyway, that summer, the room Amie & I shared opened up to the common area lounge and I remember one day lying in bed reading a book with the door open and hearing this boy, Rob S., who was sitting in the common area with a couple of the girls in our program, talking and going on and on about how fat I was. He called me fat, he called me "broad," he laughed a lot. The girls who were there seemed to be defending me a little, telling him he was being mean and stuff. And eventually I just didn't want to hear anymore of it and shut the door.
I'll never forget that and I'll never forget his name.
It's crazy, but I also have a distinct memory of something that happened in fourth grade, where this girl, who recently requested me as a friend on Facebook and I accepted, who knows why, wrote a note that she passed around class about how she didn't like me because she thought I was smelly. I remember being in the playground with my friend during recess and the note-writer coming up to us and saying something mean to me about being smelly and Chinese.
Maybe it's crazy, and it's not like I dwell on this stuff, but these memories flit cross my consciousness every now and again. I've never actually told anyone about these incidents, so maybe writing them down here will be a purge of some sort.
I think I may need a few more bookshelves.
Okay, I just ordered an 8GB sdhc card + reader because, let's be honest Canon, I'm not going through the 92 minute installation of your imaging software.
I'm not really in the business of beauty blogging -- I mean, sure, I cover beauty at my day job but it's really rare that I come across a product that really blows me away AND is affordable. But I just finished my Molton Brown handsoap (which I love love love) and pulled out a bottle of Tone Almond Milk handsoap, which is, like, beyond affordable at drugstores everywhere -- and it smells so good I can't stop sniffing my hands. It's so beyond beyond -- like almond milk mixed with vanilla. And the smell really lingers on your skin. It's totally delicious!