Friday, December 24, 2010

"Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie is its pleasure." - Victor Hugo

I texted my sister Sunday to see when she was going to be getting home. She answered back, "in about an hour. Why, do you miss me, or are you just excited for your graduation present?"

I got that text from her while I attempted to take a nap, but then after the "graduation present" part, I started daydreaming about the Chanel 2.25 bag that I crave. I didn't end up falling asleep.


Really, though, if I don't buy the bag myself, I won't appreciate it. If I do buy it myself, I will definitely use the dust bag when I don't carry it, and I will definitely keep the leather clean. Unfortunately, when people give me things that I desperately want, I don't appreciate them as much.

In the end, my graduation present was a Dave Ramsey envelope system. So now I have envelopes separated for groceries, gas, rent, internet, savings, medicine, and extra stuff. It's definitely not a fun gift, but certainly useful.

The Chanel 2.25 has always been a dream; other high end items tend to go in and out for me. (Actually, a Burberry trench coat is on the must-have list, too). These shoes from the Balenciaga spring/summer '11 and the Rodarte spring/summer '11 collections, respectively, are making their way up to the must-have list...

(both photos via

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Should I choose the smoothest course, steady as a beating drum?

After three and a half years of college, I am finally finished. For now.

During this time, I garnered a lot of knowledge and had many new experiences.
  • I learned that real friends do not "use" each other; that is, friendship is not defined by a mutual and consensual exploitation of each other. Also, real friendships are not one sided.
  • I started this blog.
  • I went from being a philosophy major to an English major to a psychology major within the span of 3 1/2 years...and I went to 3 different schools.
  • I read my first Tolstoy novel.
  • I realized that I would be a terrible therapist.
  • I realized the majority of flirting is meaningless. 
  • I understand and accept that people, if they are listening, are only semi-listening. It's not always that people are thinking what they're going to say next; it's more of a constant self-involvement that impedes them from absorbing what another is saying.
  • My roommate told me she views me as a gypsy. I was taken aback when she said that. She's right.
  • I discovered a love for electronic/dance music and folk music.
  • I've always liked to dance, but now I love to dance (love as in want-to-do-it-all-the-time dance).
  • I regained old friendships.
  • I sang karaoke for the first time. Next time, I think I'll sing Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton for it's dramatic value.
  • I found faith, and I do not regret the obscene amount of trouble it took to reach it.
  • Apparently, I learned how to think critically in college, because I didn't know how to before. (Thank you, professors, for demeaning all the students in that domain.)
  • I learned how not to act in a relationship.
  • I went to an underwear party at a gay bar avec ma soeur. It was an... experience.
Exhibit A (this is how pounds of makeup look on my face):

Exhibit B:

  • I learned that, in general, people equate honesty with maliciousness.
  • I know I am not an object. And, as we all know, knowing is not the same as believing.
  • I learned that guilt and shame are not synonymous. Guilt is "I feel bad for behaving a certain way," while shame is "I am bad. I am worthless."
  • Men in the "grown-up" world apparently hand out their business cards as a way to hit on women, instead of some college-male version of "you're hot."
  • My source of inspiration comes and goes as it pleases. (and if I were any good at descriptive writing, I would insert an awesome metaphor that includes something about the wind, the tides of the ocean, etc.)

Random goals for a random future:
  • I will never let anyone deter me from my love of fashion. And I'm going to stop justifying myself about how a collection of expensive, beautiful shoes is not materialistic and empty.
  • I will read EVERYTHING EVER WRITTEN while I'm not in school.
  • I will not spend money frivolously.
  • I will treat myself with respect. I will treat others with respect.
  • I will continue to not be bubble-gum sweet. Sorry, boys, if you're looking for sugar, go somewhere else.
  • I will live in New York for some amount of time.
  • I will travel all over Europe.
  • I will not settle for anything less than what I want (i.e. I will not allow myself to get stuck).
  • No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world.

And to remind myself that people are different, but that we are all connected — Pocahontas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


"Kierkegaard knew the 'unending happy relativity in everything, the unending question about what I am.' Nietzsche expressed it:
Among a hundred mirrors
before yourself false...
strangled in your own net
crammed between two nothings,
a question mark..."
 Karl Jaspers, Reason and Existenz, p. 33

(fashiongonerogue...I think...oops. It was stashed in a photo file with no source)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trapped between two lungs

Once again, I am asking myself if I want to grow out my hair. This is an endless squabble. Should I cut my short hair shorter? Should I grow it out? If I grow it out, will I actually do anything with it (like braid it or curl it or straighten it or whatever)? Should I just let my hair exist forever as a mullet and be content with that?

(via fashiongonerogue)

The allure of short hair is that I never need to worry about looking "edgy." Short hair alone is unconventional. I'm not sure how, because there are many girls with short hair. Short hair is also very, very easy to take care of. Shower, dry it (don't even have to comb it), and put wax in it. Done, done, and done. Long hair, however, takes longer to dry, I figure you have to brush it — as it will tangle otherwise — and then you have to do something with it. When I had long(er) hair, I always put it up in a clip, setting it on the back of my head. It was very boring. No wonder I got comments about looking like a librarian.

But, then, when I see long hair like the picture above, I want that. Granted, she might have extensions, and I've no doubt she's had hair people working on her. Liz, from Late Afternoon, has long hair, and I like it. I doubt she has extensions, and I doubt she has hair people fixing her up.


I generally wish I had long hair, but getting it to the length of "long" takes a LOOOONG time. It takes patience, and you have to go through the awful in-between stage where your hair looks like a five year old decided to cut your hair like she would on a Barbie doll. (I assure you, five year olds cutting Barbie's hair always turns out disastrously.)

Besides the continuous argument over long vs. short hair, I always want to dye my hair. There are a few problems with this: 1) Dying your hair often is really unhealthy (for your hair); 2) I always want the colors I can't have, like white-blond, bright red (which I did have, but it faded quickly and seriously stained my scalp. I looked like I had a bullet wound for a week), and pink; and 3) Box dye is cheap and fairly easy to do on your own, but it fades relatively quickly. Furthermore, ANY HAIRSTYLIST ANYWHERE can tell that it's box dyed. 
For example:
"Hey, Joni, how are you?"
"Erin, hey." She glares at my hair. "You dyed your hair again. With a box." (And "with a box" is always said with a sneer.)
"Yes. It's cheap. Five dollars versus $50 can be quite tempting."
"Well, it's not as good as ____ (i.e. whatever-dye-I-use)."
At this point, I know it's good to start talking about her kids or unicorns or anything clearly unrelated to dying my hair. 

The pro of doing something different with my hair always outweigh the cons. There is only one pro (I always feel like a new woman. I wonder if it's similar to the feeling of going nude to a nude beach. Basically, it's liberating). There are many cons (is this hairstyle going to look like a dog pooped on my head? is this color going to make my hair look green? do I have to buy more product to put in my hair?)

The pro always wins.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Recently, a professor and I were talking about attachments to people, emotions, and concepts. In the Western world in which we live, we are conditioned to react to things that upset us or cause unhappiness. I mentioned my frustration over the way people and/or situations can affect my emotions in a drastic manner, and he looked at me excitedly and said, "But you don't have to react. All you need to do is recognize what you're feeling without responding to it or giving into the feeling." I asked, "But how do you do that?!" I forgot his answer, so I emailed him...

...and this was his response:
"You really cannot NOT react to negative emotional situations.  You will always have some visceral reaction (e.g., anger) though you may not necessarily act on it behaviorally (punch the person).  However, most of the time we are not aware of that visceral reaction to the point that we become ONE with that emotion.  In other words, ANGER = ME or I.  Ever felt an emotion fully consume you?  Mindfulness is about being aware of when an emotion arises and taking that emotion for what it is -- not dismissing, ignoring, suppressing, altering the emotion, and more importantly not judging yourself for having that emotion.  Awareness is the very first step to being empowered.  When you are aware, you disidentify from the emotion (anger does not become 'you' or 'you' do not become 'anger'). It then gives you a lot more freedom to decide what to do behaviorally.  Thus, your responses become more authentic (more centered, and in alignment with your goals and values) rather than being reactive."

 By choosing the appropriate response to a situation and/or emotion, it holds no power over us. We can certainly let it influence us, and most of the time, we do. The point is, however, that we don't have to.

And I need a proper transition, but I don't have one. So, onward to an over-shopped but pretty photo that has nothing to do with anything:

I don't think any woman could say that a man has never held some sort of sway over her; that he couldn't influence her actions and emotions without her thinking twice about it. I know I cannot say that a man (actually, let's be honest, many men) haven't held power over me in some way.

A friend said to me the other day, "What amazes me is that you can be so curt about it. Like, you know what you want or what you liked about a man, and when it turns out not to be so, you just know it isn't right and go another direction. It seems like, from what you've told me anyway, that it's kinda like that for you. You definitely experience an emotional connection with someone, but when you know there is something that will absolutely make it not work, you are all right with letting it go."

I am not so sure that I agree with her. I do know what I want, and when I realize "man A" is not what I want, I can easily let him go, even if there is some residual anger or confusion. It is not as easy when I start to idealize "man B" or when I've emotionally committed myself 90% to a relationship (I wonder if it will ever be 100%). (Also, I have a feeling women idealize their love interests more than men do, though I have no evidence for this.) And this links back to our perception of ourselves and of others.  Jean-Paul Sartre said that a friend (in the best case scenario, a friend who is not very close to me) knows me better than I know myself. This is because an acquaintance can be more objective, while I cannot. I am myself. I cannot step outside of myself and evaluate how I behave. Anyway, this particular friend is not a best friend, so, according to Sartre, she is certainly more objective about this than I myself am.

I must constantly tell myself that I am stronger than I realize. I am stronger than most realize. Yes, I am sensitive and emotional. This does not mean that I am not powerful. I can let men influence me negatively, or I can choose to let them influence me positively. I can let women tear me down, or I can choose to experience that emotion, and then decide to simply let it go. (Unfortunately, "let it go" is a vague and inconspicuous phrase, which makes it hard to explain or even define.)

In fact, all the people I know on a personal level do not give enough credit to themselves when it comes to what they can withstand. For instance, I have a friend who has been to hell and back, and she's merely 22. But, she's still intact. She's still alive; she's still sane. She is a warrior in every sense of the word, even if she may not realize it herself.

To my Amazonian Warrior, who is strong and vulnerable.

(photos via fashiongonerogue)

(Note: I looked for photos that had a "power" theme, but they were all sexually laced. And of course they would be, it is woman's only hold over man: sex. /sarcasm...though sometimes I wonder if that's true) 
(Note Deux: I realize this post is kind of all over the place.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who is the lamb and who is the knife?

The following long-quoted passage comes from Sylvia Plath's journals. I think she was about 19 or 20 when she wrote this.

"And so it is that with my leaning toward allegories, similes and metaphors, I suddenly find a vehicle to express a few of the many disturbing thoughts which have been with me since describe the feeling I had toward an anonymous part of the Massachusetts coastline. Simple as this task may seem, I wanted to wait until I could do it even partial justice because it forms the core of my continually evolving philosophy of thought and action.

On a relatively unfrequented, stony beach there is a great rock which juts out over the sea. After a climb, an ascent from one jagged foothold to another, a natural shelf is reached where one person can stretch at length, and stare down into the tide rising and falling below, or beyond to the bay, where sails catch light, then shadow, then light, as they tack far out near the horizon. The sun has burned these rocks, and the great continuous ebb and flow of the tide has crumbled the boulders, battered them, worn them down to the smooth sun-scalded stones on the beach which rattle and shift underfoot as one walks over them. A serene sense of the slow inevitability of the gradual changes in the earth's crust comes over me. A consuming love, not of a god, but of the clean unbroken sense that the rocks which are nameless, the waves which are nameless, the ragged grass which is nameless, we are all defined momentarily through the consciousness of the being who observes them. With the sun burning into rock, and flesh, and the wind ruffling grass and hair, there is an awareness that the blind immense unconscious impersonal and neutral forces will endure, and that the fragile, miraculously knit organism which interprets them, endows them with meaning, will move about for a little, then falter, fail, and decompose at last into the anonymous soil, voiceless, faceless, without identity.

From this experience I emerged whole and clean, bitten to the bone by sun, washed pure by the icy sharpness of salt water, dried and bleached to the smooth tranquility that comes from dwelling among primal things.

From this experience also, a faith arises to carry back to a human world of small lusts and deceitful pettiness. A faith, naïve and childlike perhaps, born as it is from the infinite simplicity of nature. It is a feeling that no matter what the ideas or conduct of others, there is a unique rightness and beauty to life which can be shared in openness, in wind and sunlight, with a fellow human being who believes in the same basic principles.

Yet, when such implicit belief is placed in another person, it is indeed shattering to realize that a part of what to you was such a rich, intricate, whole conception of life has been tossed off carelessly, lightly — it is then that a stunned, inarticulate numbness paralyzes words, only to give way later to a deep hurt. It is hard for me to say on paper what I believe would be best be reserved for a lucid vocal discussion. But somehow I did want you to know a little of what your surprising and perhaps injudiciously confidential information did to me yesterday. A feeling that there was no right to condemn, but that still somehow there was a crumbling of faith and trust. A feeling that there was a way to rationalize, to condone, if only by relegating a fellow human from the unique to the usual." (italics mine)

Her metaphor allows her to take me with her on her journey to the coastline. I am there with her, standing atop the cliff and watching the boats travel by. I am with her when she notices the decaying rocks. We stand together in the sun, the wind whipping our hair about carelessly. We stand apart when we both realize the inevitability of our demise. She sees nothing at the end, while I see something.

I understand the beauty to be found in life and to be found when talking with a fellow person who shares the same ideals. I also comprehend the disillusionment when discovering that someone close is actually a fake version of himself (or herself), someone who is merely a shadow. It's a someone who you thought to be extraordinary, perhaps even a prime mover, but who, in reality, doesn't measure up to any standard of uniqueness.

(What I quoted from Sylvia comes from the Journals of Sylvia Plath, pages 28 and 29.)
(photos via fashiongonerogue)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Celestial Bodies

(via here)

The Ram
The Bull
The Twins
The Crab
The Lion
The Virgin
The Scales
The Scorpion
The Archer
The Goat
The Water Bearer
The Fish

Thanks to Vogue UK, we finally have some editorial gold! Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. They all make sense except for Sagittarius. How is that photo displaying the archer? I love the Cancer photo; it's incredibly Dali-esque.

(editorial photos via fashiongonerogue)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Nouveau Riche and Personality Snarking


She's eighteen. I do not understand this kind of opulence for an eighteen year old. She might be really nice; I don't know the girl. Maybe she works. Who knows. But her posts are "Today I wore Balenciaga spring/summer 07 shoes and a Chloé dress. Then my sister and I made a fabulous dinner. I loved today." She has a lot of ridiculously expensive (albeit beautiful) clothing, which is good for her, considering she's only 18. I still look at her blog from time to time, but I find it terribly banal. "Great, today you decided to wear your Chanel boots. Thanks for letting me know." I do not find inspiration in this. She's on my links as Sea of Shoes. You'll see what I mean. Oh, she travels, too, and takes pictures. The end.

I have a lot of things to say about Sylvia Plath, but that should wait. No one should be flooded with her thoughts all at once. So, instead, here's a beautifully pose-less editorial.

She is simple and effortless. Some commenters on fashiongonerogue (where these were taken from) wrote that she needed to work on her posing. "She could move a bit, not pose but work the camera bitch! =))" and "she can work a bit more on her poses." She was the second runner up on Australia's Next Top Model, and apparently she's a terrible person. For example, "When I bought my copy of RUSSH I could barely look at these without feeling disgust at what a horrible human being she is. Inner beauty matters as much as the external." Inner beauty does matter, but it doesn't matter when it comes to photos. No one did a profile on her personality. Her job is to present clothes in the manner the creative director/stylist/photographer want, not to be sweet.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

En L'hiver...

This winter, which is not much unlike from other winters (save for the fact that I'm done with my undergraduate education), I want to paint my nails black. Ironically, for the first time in what seems like years, my nails have no nail polish on them.

(via here)
I also have an urge to wear dark colors and dye my hair black again.

In a conversation with a friend of mine, she said she was feeling "dark" and "rawr." Without any further clarification, I would have had no idea how she was actually feeling. When I told her I didn't understand, she replied: "I'm in a dark room — completely dark, save for the light from my computer, listening to good music, reading Sylvia Plath poems, and wishing I was in a pool full of black satin waves with my hair black black and a smokey eye and falsies and a tattoo of a skull and bones."

 (via here)
 (via here)

Her description makes sense. It is a feeling that is not solely experienced in the dark winter months, but I've found it occurs more when the cold, dry air and inky evenings envelop us. 

And yet, I want to play in the snow (in Sweden, preferably), and wear white. If I wear white in the snow, combined with my "fair" skin, it might be difficult to tell where I begin and the snow ends.

(photos not cited via fashiongonerogue)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I love being a contradiction. I love that everyone is a contradiction. What fun would a person be with a forever-constant personality?

In the west, being contradictory does not sit well with us. We need to be a certain way and be that way all the time. I need to be strong and confident and individualistic all the time; never can there be a time when I am the opposite of those. But, of course, I am those things and their opposite. 

Here are some examples of contradictions within ourselves that we all possess:

  • I make precise observations, and I act with abandon.
  • I like to have clear plans, and I like to forget my plans.
  • I am predictable, and I am unpredictable.
  • I love structure and clarity, and I love flexibility.
  • I like to study myself, and I like to forget myself.
  • I am strong, and I am flexible.
  • I don't take anything personally, and I take everything personally.
  • I see my work as sacred and mundane.
  • I am organized and disciplined, and I am creative and innovative.
  • I am strong and decisive, and I am vulnerable.
  • I am young, and I am old.
 - from Accomplishing More by Doing Less by Lesser

 I feel like it need not be mentioned anymore that sometimes the photos I put with my posts have nothing to do with the content.
(via fashiongonerogue)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dear Sylvia

"How frail the human heart must be - a mirrored pool of thought."

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again. "
"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am."

"Kiss me and you will see how important I am."
"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."
"If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days."
"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet." from The Bell Jar
(all photos via fashiongonerogue)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Tim Rice-Oxley said this about A Bad Dream: 
"A Bad Dream is the most emotional song on the record. It was based on a poem by W.B.Yeats, called 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death', and I think it also came from visiting lots of battlefields and graveyards and so in France, which sounds very morbid, but that's the kind of thing I like to do on holiday! I've just always been really affected by... I guess still being a relatively young man, I still have a lot of empathy of people of my age and even younger, who are going off to war; and I guess the idea of going off to war has been in the air for the last couple of years, with Afghanistan and Iraq particular [sic]. Those seem like very distant things, but I think in Europe in particular the Second World War is still something that still looms quite largely in a lot of people's minds, and it certainly should. I'd also been reading a book called 'The New Confessions' by William Boyd, in where the protagonist of the book goes up in a hot air balloon to film the front line, and he gets shot down and captured. It just made me think a lot of people when they go off as young men, and when they come back - even if it's a couple of years later it's like they've become old, and all the things they left behind have changed. And it's something that you can never ever go back to being young again. And I guess it's just a very sad song."

What he said sums up the lyrics of the song fantastically. I find the line "Baby, I'm a man; I was born to hate" odd. But it's somewhat true. When a person is off to war, he (or she) is supposed to hate the enemy. But are men born to hate? It's such a cynical view, and I sincerely hope people don't believe this.

War isn't necessary, but I don't doubt for a minute that it will always exist as long as the human race is on earth.

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” 
- Hermann Goering (Despite his high ranking in the Nazi party, this quote possesses truth.)

“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” - General George S. Patton

“War is fear cloaked in courage.” - General William C. Westmoreland



(all photos via here)