Blue Plaid Pants Happy

In 7th grade I had the perfect pair of blue plaid pants. They looked more than a little like pajama pants and were most frequently worn with a bright orange sweater. The fact that they’re not listed in some online repository of “Ugliest Abercrombie Clothing” is a wonder to me. But wearing those bell bottoms (oh I didn’t mention that?) was worth putting up with the inevitable mocking I’d get from boys in school. They just made me happy.

Those pants were the first of many things that I embraced in spite of them being ugly, or tacky, or silly to other people. And I’ve made it a habit ever since to surround myself with things that make me feel as unstoppable and happy as the blue plaid pants did. Neon sneakers? Yes please. A shirt with zebras on it? I’ll take two. Bad photoshop and stupid flan puns? Keep ’em coming, I’m on top of the world.

It’s just worth keeping those types of things around, because who am I appeasing by denying myself tiny, concentrated bursts of happiness.

And what’s making me plaid pants happy at this particular stage in my life?

The Sock Collection

My mother gives me socks on a fairly regular basis, but there are a few pairs that are so on point I just can’t have a bad day when I’m wearing them. They’re my version of Calvin’s lucky rocketship underwear.

"Carpe the fuck out of this diem"

“Carpe the fuck out of this diem”

"Hellraiser"

“Hellraiser”

Not pictured: “You’re not the boss of me” socks, sushi socks

You can imagine my elation when I went on a first date a few months ago and my date was wearing socks with bears on them. Needless to say, we’re still dating.

The Twitter Mug

"im just super neurotically committed to seeming Chill As Hell"

“im just super neurotically committed to seeming Chill As Hell”

The inspiration for the first Twitter mug, a gift to my brother, was the cackle of laughter he let loose when remembering a particularly funny series of tweets from a friend (as seen here). Will and I both find silly internet things supremely funny, so I put the tweets on mugs for him.

Just having given the mugs as gifts made me incomparably happy, so I decided I needed a tweet mug of my very own. Preferring one that spoke to my very essence as a human being, I got a @wutangcher original put on a mug: “im just super neurotically committed to seeming Chill As Hell.”

Filled with coffee and paired with my deep-seated anxiety, it really completes my morning look.

The Clock

In a bit of sibling serendipity, my brother’s gift to me the same year was the most internet clock that’s ever existed. It’s actually a really awesome piece by Nate James (@artbynatejames), featuring none other than Superbowl Comeback Queen Missy Elliott standing alongside Aaliyah, with a crying Allen Iverson, and Jesus for good measure. This is one stellar religious-imagery-meets-pop-culture confection.

Missy Elliott & Aaliyah Clock

I realize it may not be the clock for everyone’s bedroom, but it makes me so happy to hang on my wall. And that’s the point of these types of joy-inducing objects: they don’t have to mean shit to anyone else.

I’m not asking you to wear the plaid pants, but I’m not asking your permission either.

So go forth, surround yourself with inexplicable things that make you grin-bustingly happy.

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The Pop Culture Feels, Pt. 2

As promised, more feeling-inducing pop culture. This time, however, I’ve tackled a different beast.

The Inspirational: Pop Culture for Kicking Ass and Setting the World Straight

I do, in fact, do more than just wallow, and lately I’ve found myself reading books & watching clips that give me a different kind of feels. I like to dub them “Miracle moments.” You know what I’m talking about: you’re sitting on the couch, eating rice cakes crumbs off your sweatpants and channel flipping, and all of a sudden the Miracle speech comes on and you find yourself yelling along with Herb Brooks “Tonight we skate with them. Tonight we stay with them, and we shut them down!”

Obviously Miracle is the greatest inspirational movie of all time so there’s no point even debating that. But there are smaller Miracle moments, more honest & personal, that get me fired up in all kinds of different ways.

Pop Culture for Inspiring

 

“Flawless” Beyonce

I woke up like this, I woke up like this
We flawless, ladies tell ’em
Say I look so good tonight

A week doesn’t go by that I don’t power sing along to this, sneering into the mirror that I do look so good tonight. This song is the fire. Beyonce dropped her album like it was nothing at midnight on a Friday, finally giving us the anthem we deserve. On “Flawless” she growls with confidence as she warns us to bow down. I beseech you to give yourself over to this song, and let it carry you on a wave of feels.

I was lucky enough to go to the On The Run tour just after my breakup, and it might have been the best possible therapy there was. For me, “Flawless” was the best moment of the night. The flashing Feminist lights we came to know and love at the VMAs. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie laying down the law about what it is to be a feminist. And Bey, standing there, holding it down and imploring us to post up, flawless.

And let’s never forget that I been preaching the gospel of Bey, long before she was rocking the feminist sign in public.

 

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

“We should be able to say, ‘This is my truth,’ and have that truth stand without a hundred clamoring voices shouting, giving the impression that multiple truths cannot coexist.”

I’ve been making my way through Bad Feminist, reading Gay’s fabulous book of essays slowly as I blast through fiction left and right. This is the kind of book I wish would make it onto high school reading lists. Is it the best of the best when it comes to writing? Not quite, and there are some parts where Gay’s redundancy shouts over the important ideas she’s sharing. But what she’s saying is important, and the writing thoughtful.

Gay has a lot to say about what it is to be a feminist, a woman of color, a large woman, a child of immigrants, and a queer-identifying woman. But some of her most compelling moments come when she reminds us, and herself, that it’s okay to fail. I count myself among the titular “bad feminists” of the world, and the reminder of multiple truths and acceptable failures is one I could use from time to time.

“B” by Sarah Kay (as seen in her TED Talk “If I should have a daughter”)

“I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass-bottom boat, to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind, because that’s the way my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this. There’ll be days like this, my momma said.”

If you’ve ever needed the inspiration to write something truly wonderful, look no further than spoken word poet Sarah Kay. I was introduced to Kay by a TED Talk (bear with me), which she opens with “B.” She packs the joy, laughter, heartbreak and fear of both growing up female and raising a (hypothetical) daughter into just a few minutes. It’s worth a few minutes of your time just to allow yourself to be taken away by her storytelling.

And because I can’t stop at one quote from Kay: “She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.” If nothing else, she’s my inspiration in knowing that some other kick ass ladies out there “get it,” whatever that means.

Watch her here. 

 Sports Moments

 “This is our fucking city”

As I found myself poring through the mental archives of inspirational movies I’ve watched recently, I struggled to find any that resonated as clearly as the aforementioned songs & snippets, or made me want to kick ass and change the world. I kept coming back to sports movies–I had recently watched A League of Their Own, Billy Elliot, and, of course, Miracle. But what can come across as artificial and manipulative in sports movies is exactly what inspires and connects people in actual sports.

Last spring as Boston was trying to find a semblance of normalcy in the aftermath of the Marathon bombing, David Ortiz took to the field and uttered those five unforgettable words. “This is our fucking city.” A beloved player defending a beloved city in the wake of something it was impossible to make sense of.

There is something about sports as a binding agent that gives them the power to inspire, either by way of victory on the field or in moments of terrible sadness. Now is this strictly a sports moment? No. Neither was three nights earlier the crowd taking over singing the National Anthem for Rene Rancourt at the first post-marathon Bruins game. These moments inspire, invoke some sort of visceral feeling, but aren’t truly about the sports. But then again, neither is Miracle.

The Pop Culture Feels, Pt. 1

Pop culture escapism holds a special place in my heart, because I think it serves a very real purpose. When you’re numb from bad news or tired of crying over a bottle of cider, there’s always another episode of Bob’s Burgers or BoJack Horseman. A bad hangover can be watched away with a Will Ferrell marathon. I myself recently indulged in Mystery Men on a particularly torturous Sunday morning. I owe a lot to the type of pop culture that lets you escape from your immediate reality.

And then, there’s all the rest. Pop culture that forces, as us Internet kids would call it, The Feels. There are some pieces of pop culture that you’re meant to rub in open wounds and let sting you. You know them when you come across them: the end to Of Mice and Men, anything sung by Billie Holiday, when G-Baby dies. (Okay that’s an inappropriate juxtaposition, sorry Ms. Holiday, but losing G-Baby was one of my earliest scarring moments.)

I was going to share my Good Songs for Shit Times playlist, but that would be like opening my diary and letting you in. So instead, I thought I’d share some of the snippets of books, songs & movies that have struck a chord with me recently.

To prevent this from being stupid long, I’m breaking this up into different categories that I’ll share over a few days.

The Sad: Pop Culture for Wallowing

In the interest of keeping it wistful and melancholy per my last few posts, I’m starting with the sad snippets that pair well with a comforter cocoon and long sad phone calls to your best friend and/or mom.

Pop Culture for Wallowing

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

abyss, n.

There are times when I doubt everything. When I regret everything you’ve taken from me, everything I’ve given you, and the waste of all the time I’ve spent on us

corrode, v.

I spend all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust

I don’t know that I would recommend this book to everyone, but you’ll find yourself somewhere in the pages, whether you’re currently in the throes of a relationship or watching one crumble.

I picked this up from the dusty rows of a used bookstore, having seen it recommended before. As I sat down to dinner alone that night I started thumbing through it. Five pages in I felt the lump in my throat, and 10 pages later I was sobbing into my chicken tortilla soup.

Levithan details a relationship through a series of dictionary entries. It covers the moments of intimacy, light-hearted observations, and life-ruining revelations that come with a relationship. The book only takes about an hour start to finish, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for somewhat shallow & quick feels.

“Love Me Like You” Ella Eyre

“I guess I’ll love you forever, I guess that’s all my fault”

I recently started listening to Ella Eyre, the unmistakable voice behind Rudimental’s “Waiting All Night.” She has a voice that won’t quit and sings a slew of great shower karaoke songs. “Love Me Like You” made it into my regular rotation just post breakup, because it’s heartbreaking and also a lifeblood-girl-anthem power source. It recounts the slap in the face feel of realizing you’re the one who has to do the moving on, because your ex’s boat has already sailed. I also recommend “If I Go” for the restless in love, and “Deeper” for when you’re a little less in love than you should be.

“I Will Fall” from Nashville

Just when I think I’ve let you go / your song’s playing on the radio

And just like that it rushes back, / every part of you

I’m not even embarrassed that the Nashville soundtrack has crept its way into my top ten listened to albums (do the kids still call them albums?). T-Bone Burnett pulled together some incredible music for this show’s first season. The songs fit the narrative, but like the Burnett produced Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, they stand alone as well. And no, I’m not saying the music on this show are as good as that soundtrack.

But this song, oh my, this song. The harmonizing, the heartbreak, the pleading to just please stay away because I will fall if you come around. It will resonate with anyone who has ever had to truly get over someone.

The Spectacular Now

Sutter: I almost just killed you and you wanna know if I’m okay?

Aimee: Yeah, I wanna make sure that you’re okay.

Sutter: What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you not see that I’m bad for you?

This is somewhat cheating, because in addition to wallowing to this movie I use it to live out my Miles Teller fantasies. The first time I watched this I developed a huge crush on Teller, and I recently realized it may be because he reminds me of a boy I used to crush on, so there’s that.

My go to wallow movie would typically be Eternal Sunshine, so that’s my most honest recommendation. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch that alone, however, since the last time I watched it was on an air mattress in my ex’s childhood bedroom. So instead I’ve wallowed to Spectacular, a charmingly heart-rending movie about high school love. Teller and Shailene Woodley capture the sadness and vulnerability of a first love.

Plus it has one of my favorite wallowing lines, delivered by the perfect Brie Larson: “You’ll always be my favorite ex-boyfriend.”

My September Five

So it’s happened. September is upon us, and with it the onslaught of Fall-themed magazines and sales at stores. I happen to love September since it still feels like summer, but you start to get a hint of fall. Plus the fact that it’s my birthday month doesn’t hurt.

In honor of September, I shopped a ton while I was in Philly this weekend (is that a thing? can you shop “in honor of” a month?). It was so great to see friends again, since I’m a little bit going crazy at home, and obviously the perfect thing to do when seeing friends is to shop for things you don’t need. To be fair, I did buy a lot of things that I could wear to my hypothetical future job that doesn’t exist yet. And some items that are a little more difficult to justify (oh hay, apron from Anthropologie).

All that shopping got me to thinking about the things I want most this September, so I’ve put together my September Five, the five things I’m particularly lusting after right now.

1.) A great watch

Right: Marc by Marc Jacobs Amy Watch; Left: Nixon’s Kensington Leather Watch

This is one of those things you can try to justify by calling it a “back-to-school” purchase, because everyone needs a several hundred dollar watch to kick off the school year. Alas, I’m no longer in the land of back-to-school purchases, so I’m just pining after watches because, well, they’re pretty and they like me (they told me so). The Marc by Marc Jacobs watch is nice because it’s got some heft but isn’t so big that it would overwhelm my arm, but I really like the leather on the Nixon watch.

2.) Silence & Noise Boyfriend Blazer

Silence & Noise Boyfriend Blazer in Grey

For the non-working of us who don’t understand the concept of a blazer as a component of a suit, blazers are perfect for throwing over summer dresses to make them a little more “early fall.” I like the slightly textured feel to this one, and the gray is a nice change since I tend towards black blazers.

3.) Anthropologie Graphic Begonia Shirt Dress

Anthropologie Graphic Begonia Shirt Dress

Come fall I love finding dresses that work with and without tights to make the summer-fall transition with. I love the colorful, playful print on this one, and shirt dresses are great since they work well spring through fall, depending on what you pair them with.

4.) J Brand Brocade Skinny Jeans

J Brand Brocade Skinny Jeans

I was torn on this trend at first, but the more I see the brocade jeans the more I like them. In general, I’m loving the brocades and patterns that are in this fall, as well as the abundance of burgundy, white and gold.

5.) Yoga Mat

PROlite Yoga Mat

I’ve been looking out for a good yoga mat and for some reason this month has got me itching for one. This mat is a little on the expensive side at $72, but I need good cushioning for my old lady knees, and this one is less heavy than other joint cushioning mats.

Alas, I probably need a job before I can dig into my 5, but that’s neither here nor there. Any other lust-worthy September items?

Playing Make-Believe: Decorating My Hypothetical Apartment

Today was one of those days where I was all over the place–errands, lunch with my aunt, rushing back to pick up my dad, booking travel, trying to plan for a hypothtical move, job-related shenanigans and an extensive search for something scrumptious and healthy to make for dinner. All that didn’t stop me from wasting an hour or two on Pinterest, looking at interior decor. I’ve found that in addition to helping me keep track of the billion recipes I want to try, Pinterest is great for planning for that hypothetical apartment that I have after my hypothetical move. Hypothetical life has never been more fun. And don’t even get me started on how lucky the little girls of the world are now to have Pinterest to help plan their hypothetical weddings.. sleepovers just got crazy.

My problem is I like about a billion different things, and if I could blend nautical with art deco with sleek with eclectic with pirate-themed (think stripes and ships, not Somali pirates), I would. I also have a thing for lots of interesting and bright colors, so I can’t even imagine what I’ll do when I have to pick just one color scheme to decorate with.

These are just some of the items/crafts/decorating ideas I’ve found and loved on Pinterest.

Lots of my favorite ideas are DIY crafts:

Perfect for the book-nerd in me

Beakers made into vases

DIY typographic display

 

Homemade teacup candle

And others I’ve just pinned as inspiration, because I love the look or the idea:

 

Urban Outfitters duvet cover

Collage of frames above the bed

Two-in-one lights and picture display

Stacked trunks as a bedside table

To my friends who made their hypothetical moves into real moves, how did you decide to decorate your rooms? Any designspiration?

All images from Pinterest.

Date Night Looks

Pardon me while I give a lengthy introduction to my fashion-based post. Last night when the boy got back from a few days at a retreat we got to spend a good chunk of time together. Naturally, I cooked. It’s so much more fun to cook for someone else, especially when that someone has the appetite of a small blue whale (krill on krill on krill). Wanting to try something I hadn’t made before, I searched for some homemade gnocchi recipes. I was pretty focused on not majorly effing anything up, so I didn’t take many pictures, but all in all I’d say it wasn’t a total failure. I made ricotta gnocchi in a sage brown butter sauce and turkey meatballs. Maybe not the most cohesive meal ever but I didn’t get a lot of complaints.

For the gnocchi I loosely followed two recipes from The Kitchn and Italian Food Forever. Making ricotta gnocchi was much easier than potato gnocchi, but still requires some precision. I’d say next time (and there will be a next time when it comes to me and gnocchi) I’d be more judicious in my flour use and try to find an even more flavorful sauce. If you’re pressed for time though the brown butter sage sauce was delicious and easy. After boiling the gnocchi I quickly sauteed them in the sauce so they’d soak up all that flavor. I also left a few plain so that Patrick could opt out of the buttery goodness in favor of red sauce.

The meatballs were made from this Turkey Ricotta Meatballs recipe originally found in Cooking Light. Patrick’s only complaint was that they could use some more seasoning, and I agree. I’d definitely say add more basil, salt & pepper than you think you need, or incorporate whichever seasonings you like in your meatballs.

I did manage to get this picture of the aftermath..

So while our “date night” involved food and curling up for a few episodes of Breaking Bad, a more adventurous date night (i.e. ones in which you leave the house) might require more of a cute look. I thought I’d post a few cute outfits I’ve been eyeing. As always, the images link through to where you can buy them.

Looking for a cute, simple dress? I  love the way this Elizabeth and James dress fancies up a simple silhouette with a metallic shimmer. This would be perfect for a nice dinner and then going out after, perhaps dancing if you’re lucky enough to date someone who dances.

Elizabeth and James Tank Dress

Looking for a little more pizazz? I love this Free People beaded dress. The beading makes it feel very twenties, but the tie dye makes it feel a little more low key. And the hemline and bit of mesh let you show a little skin without feeling like you’re too on display.

Free People Beaded Dress

Of course if you’re like me and jeans are a pretty major staple in your wardrobe, or if you’re going somewhere a little more laid back, pair your jeans and heels with a cute jacket. I’m absolutely in love with this Rebecca Minkoff jacket, and it would be perfect once the summer starts to cool down. Or if you’re in San Francisco like me, perfect all summer. Yes.. I’m going to continue to gripe about the weird San Francisco weather for a long time.

Rebecca Minkoff Becky Printed Jacket

As for jewelry? I’ve recently been on a gold kick, lusting after all sorts of pretty gold jewelry. Strange, since I’ve almost always been a strictly silver girl. Try a big gold bracelet, or maybe go fashion functional with a gorgeous watch.

Jules Smith Bracelet

Sarah Designs All Chain Wrap Watch

And if you’re like me and choose to stay in and cook, there’s always the “sassy apron” route.

The Joy of Ex Foundation’s Kitchen Dancing Apron

So, do you have any good date night looks? I’m always in the mood for a little hypothetical date night shopping with my imaginary money.

San Francisco Style

My current view as I write this

You know those days where you have the perfect outfit planned out and in your head you see yourself strutting the street as heads turn? Okay so maybe that last part is just me, but you know what I mean. And then you know those days where you pull out the shorts for your oh-so-great outfit and realize that during your flight nail polish spilled all over them? Dreams shattered, cute outfit flying out the window, the works.

Well lucky for me when I pulled out my nail-polish covered shorts I remembered an important detail: I’m in San Francisco, and I can wear whatever I want. Summer style be damned, I would wear whatever I wanted. A lot of people knock the Bay Area for being decidedly untrendy and its inhabitants for being unfashionable flannel-wearing granola freaks. What I love about San Francisco though is that everyone seems to be wearing exactly what they want to wear. I wont lie, my heart belongs to New York and London, both of which I’d place above SF on the fashion hierarchy. But the many people who are fashionable here in SF always seem to be effortlessly so.

Side note: my other favorite thing about San Francisco fashion is that on any given day you have people dressed like it’s the desert, like it’s the dead of winter, and everything in between. Awkwardly mild/cloudy weather will do that to you.

In the end I opted for a more temperature appropriate sweater and met Patrick for lunch downtown, which gave me a chance to wander around a little bit. I love exploring whatever city I’m in, and the walk was just what I needed. The 25 minute wait for the bus.. not so much.

Walking around downtown

In honor of San Francisco style and the fact that it got me off the hook when my outfit fell through, I thought I’d just post about a couple of my favorite San Francisco fashion blogs. They’re definitely worth checking out.

1.) Calivintage: Erin at Calivintage lives in the Bay Area and rocks one of the most tried and true San Francisco looks: vintage. She’s got a very quirky style and her pictures always seem to capture a decidedly Bay Area look.

Erin from Calivintage

2.) Going West: Jennie is a non-native who wound up in California and I love her look. She mixes a little bit of edge (black, leather, etc) with more classic pieces for a very defined style.

Jennie from Going West

3.) Britt + Whit: I feel like Britt and Whit who write this blog embody the “I’ll wear what I want” vibe that I love about San Francisco. They definitely keep up with trends, but they wear them in their own way. Plus I love the fact that you get two different people’s style on the same blog. I’m all about consolidating the amount of blogs I check.

Britt + Whit

All three blogs are definitely worth checking out for a taste of San Francisco style. Or better yet, just come to the area and see for yourself.