the snowy day

Yesterday, as the sun was shining and the temperature finally climbed to just below freezing, I felt it was high time Felix and I bucked up, bundled up, and went out into the world for some snowy day fun.  And I'm so glad we did!

Good old friendship park! It's always there when we need it. People around here are always talking about how Frick Park has the best sledding in town, and I suppose I believe them, but yesterday I felt grateful for our little parklet's gentle topography: baby hills steep enough for felix to feel a thrill going down, but not high enough to exhaust me as I pulled him around on his adorable baby toboggan. Of course, I did tire out eventually, though I'm pretty sure Felix would have stayed all afternoon! He was devastated when I told him it was time to go, but glad to get unbundled and cozy back home.

Good thing we went when we did because it's all gone grey and horrible again. What can you do??

ps: felix's very first sled ride, two whole years ago!


drop til we shop

 I guess a lot of us have one retailer that seems to 'get' what we're going for, sartorially. For some it's Zara, or Anthropologie, or L.L bean, or whatever. Personally, my love of tidiness and stripes combined with my subliminal urge to overcompensate for my extremely modest upbringing propel me towards J.Crew. It's funny because I don't want to like it, as I sort of see it as a betrayal of my thrifty childhood, not to mention my present-day budget. But I can't seem to help myself... maybe it's just me, but for me, they get it right nearly every single time! Like, a little too right. Like how zeitgeisty can you be? I love it, I hate it. It's a complicated relationship. Because the nearest brick-and-mortar sits a mere two blocks down from (one of) my current places of employ, that's where you'll find me window shopping with an alarming and unwarranted regularity. Though not entirely futile, because I've managed so snag some pretty sweet deals while stalking the sale racks. Like my new very favorite shirt, this surprisingly warm crêpe baseball top, originally $110, which I purchased for the low-low price of something like $26 I think? 

Just my size and everything! Lucky! Most of the time, however, I'm forced to limit myself to knick-knackery (tortoise-shell hair accessories, tortoise-shell phone cases) or nothing at all... did I mention that top was originally $110? But I can't not go in, in case I miss the next Great Deal. It's a frustrating and time-consuming way to shop, and especially stupid because I don't have any money. I guess a lot of people feel the same way, because J.Crew Chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler's recent, vague announcement that we can expect to see prices that are "much more friendly this year" has taken the blogiverse by storm. Only, they were just joking, and we shouldn't expect that at all, because apparently they're not lowering prices, despite a 20% loss in sales last year. Who even knows anyway? If it does happen, I'll be there. I mean, I guess I'll be there anyway. Ah, le Sigh.

What about you guys? What's your retail weakness? Do you even have one??!!?


she went with the 'twiggy'

While we're on the subject of HBO shows, which we only just were... Haters gon'hate, but I'm also a fan of the hit series Girls. Say what you want about Lena Dunham's privileged background, or the show's relative lack of diversity, if you like. But it's like Jessica Williams, future cameo-star of the series, said to Mother Jones recently: It's not Dunham's responsibility to write from anyone else's experience. And it's really not! Sure she writes about a gaggle of silly upper-middle class white kids in their 20's, who live in Brooklyn and barely work, but who's to say that experience is any more or less real than anyone else's? Personally, at this point in my life, it's sort of comforting to watch a show about people sort of like me (in that they're white and tend to find themselves similarly adrift in a sea of existential confusion and malaise). Ironically, of course, the show's main character and chief slugabed, Hannah, is played by Dunham, who not only stars in the show, but at the tender age of 27, also created, writes, and directs it. So much for a role model of under-achievment. But how inspirational! Speaking as a real woman, I appreciate that she actively incorporates her candor, self-doubt, and general anxiety into her on-screen persona. Which is why I can't understand some of the shit she gets because to me, her characters are more authentic than a lot of what you see these days. Yes, she and the rest of the Girls can be a little annoying sometimes, and the boys can be frustrating. But, in real life, girls are annoying and boys are frustrating, so what do you even want from her, people?? Anyway, I'm a fan, and so I'm eager to receive the February Vogue in which she features as covergirl. Only it hasn't arrived yet and I wonder why, because shouldn't it have already? Until it does, let's all watch this silly short in which she stars alongside the forever dapper Vogue editor at large, Hamish Bowles, as they prepare for her aforementioned cover shoot:

Love the sheets, love the PJ's. And I especially love how Bowles doesn't wear socks with his tuxedo. She should somehow get him to sign on to play the affluent long-lost uncle/benefactor that helps her get her shit together once and for all. So fucking stylish. But for now I'll have to settle for Adam Driver, because I think all the sudden I have a crush on him, too? I'm all about the too-tall, surly, stoical HBO leading men these days. Just a lovesick schoolgirl upinhere. 

vogue cover & video via vogue.com; images of driver via fanpop


it would!

self-improvement and the winter blues

My chief new years resolution, which I neglected to share with you guys, is to be more patient. I never knew I wasn't a patient person, until everyone told me so. I possess the ability to concentrate, which I'd always mistook for patience, but apparently that's something else. So I'm trying to find ways to improve. Like, for example, counting to ten five in my head before calling the person driving in front of me a fuckface for not going fast enough, which is something I'm wont to do whether Felix is in the car with me or not. Like I said, I'm working on it! Only this damned Polar Vortex is seriously amplifying the challenge. Cold weather in general makes me feel grumpy, and I get fed up so easily doing the simplest things, like even just getting ready to go out with poor, understanding Felix. Only, it's not so simple these days, bundling the two of us into our sweaters, hats, coats, mittens, scarves, double socks, and boots, then standing out in the most freezing cold while shoving the poor bb into his carseat, which takes even longer what with all the silly layers. It's enough to make me never want another child again, so arduous do I find it all. Or at least, never another child in winter. I can't even take him out for snowy-time fun, because it's too cold for little ones to be outside for as long as it takes to build a snow man, and anyway I just lost my second pair of gloves! I'm sure that those of you who (foolishly) live in the north think I'm silly but if I'd wanted to live in a frozen wasteland I'd have moved to Alaska, but I don't so I didn't, only now I sort of wish I had because I hear it's warmer there these days. I really truly hate everything so much right now and I would gladly never endure another winter ever again!

But like I said, I'm trying my very best! So far, my most effective coping mechanisms have been any kind of whiskey mixed with the spiciest gingerbeer, chili dark chocolate, and of course, countless bowls of soup, among other things. I try to keep warm and listen to happy music and do jumping jacks and think of sunnier days, but I'm still having an incredibly hard time keeping my spirits up. My friend Tauba, who hails from sunny Denver and is finding this grey Pittsburgh winter similarly trying, recommends taking a serious daily dose of this oil-based vitamin D supplement, and I think I might have to give it a try. What about you guys? How are you dealing with the Vortex? Is it driving you mad?!

Let's all try and keep it together! After all, nothing lasts forever, right? 

images from "Mapmaker," an illustrated short story by Trevor Naud  


mainline to the secret truth of the universe

Have you guys seen HBO's "revolutionary" new series True Detective yet? Given the buzz surrounding this (very very good new favorite) new show, I was surprised that google didn't immediately know which Matt Mc I was interested in:

... and when I say 'interested' I mean, interested, you guys. I mean, who knew MM was such a stone cold fox? Maybe I should have made a point to see Failure to Launch after all. Or maybe I'll just watch Surfer, Dude, instead? Having set google straight as to my initial intentions, and having searched 'true detective' immediately prior, I was even more surprised that it took so long to guess that I was looking for pix of him and his bff/co-star Woody Harrelson, because how obvious is it?

Luckily, I found what I was looking for. If these two aren't a match made in heaven, I guess I don't know what a match made in heaven really is. 

Besties! But all silliness aside, this is a truly great new show and if you can, you should watch it. I won't go into a lot of detail, because the internet has already done that and you can google it yourself. MM and WH really do have the best on-screen chemistry, and I love a classic odd-couple as much as the next girl, but personally I only have eyes for Rust Cohle, the troubled, philosophical, smooth-yet-stoic former narco played by McConaughey. Only I can't decide if I prefer him young and be-suited in the mid-nineties, or haggard and swilling Lone Star in the present day. Watch the show, be the judge. 


mer-magic and the age of aquarius (sort of)

I probably don't need to tell you this, dear reader (or you could probably guess) but Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid is far and away my most favorite fairy tale of all time. Its perfect combination of merfolk, melancholy, and magic speaks directly to my own heart. Mermaids are of course a popular fantastical subject these days (I hear they're the new vampires?) and especially so as we leave Capricorn, the sea-goat, and enter into Aquarius (whose true sign is a water-bearer, not a mermaid, but still). And I'm not alone, because these days, they're everywhere. Only I feel that, within popular representation, their whimsical beauty often eclipses the tragic duality so necessary to their mystical essence. Like any time they appear in a disney movie, for example, looking for the most part like a bunch of dallas cowboy cheerleaders. 

Fantasia, 1940; Peter Pan, 1953; The Little Mermaid, 1989; Pirates of the Carribean, 2013

Pretty sexy alright. Mer-babe is of course one of the best looks there is, and everyone knows it. These girls at Wildfox are like the coked-out coed version of the disney model, but its basically all the same.

Oh, that hair! I do love a good wildfox editorial, and they certainly dig the mermaid vibe pretty hard--I only wish I liked any of the clothes! Like I said, it's a little too college-girl for me, both sartorially and symbolically. Tomoharu Katsumata's 1975 animated take on the original fairy tale gets much closer to the idea. Have you ever seen it? If not, the resolution is terrible, but you can watch the whole thing on youtube.

"you'll never come of age if you don't stop playing around with that naughty little dolphin"

"there's no boy as handsome as this in all the sea"

"the moon is the general of the night"

Compared to 'ariel' and 'flounder,' I think I prefer  'merina' and 'fritz', onomastically speaking--so Gossip Girl, right? While the sea witch is like a villian on sailor moon--queen beryl, for example. In fact, looking back, this must have been the first in a long line of sugar-pop animes (including sailor moon) that I ever watched, thus cementing my love for the genre. I'm fairly certain that the Disney film relies heavily on this earlier version's intepretation, which, because it remains faithful to the original tale, is the more tragic and hence more beautiful of the two. After all, fairy tale endings may be what you want as a four year old girl, but all in all I think stories about mermaids ought to make you feel the way you do when you stare out to sea: calm yet restless, simultaneously overwhelmed by beauty and sadness. But even though she turns to foam at the end, I still think Merina's depiction is a little too sugary to get it right; beautiful, yes, but not especially bewitching. Of course they must be beautiful, but mermaids should have a something of the sinister or grotesque about them, alien creatures that they are. The pre-rephaelites were a little more successful in capturing the haunted quality I'm trying to describe: 


A Mermaid, John William Waterhouse, 1901;  The Sea Maidens, Evelyn De Morgan, 1885; The Fisherman and the Syren, Frederick Leighton, 1856

But I think this recent W Magazine editorial by Tim Walker is the best. Kristen McMenamy's blood shot eyes and bleach blonde hair are so unsettling, and succeed in making her appear alternately alluring and repulsive, which is the whole point.

That pearl nose ring makes me feel funny--I hate it but I want it badly. It's just all so captivating! I certainly don't mean to go on and on about it, but it's a subject, or a symbol, that I will always find enthralling. I feel like myths of mermaids the ocean in general are especially resonant because of our biological memories of the sea; we miss it and we want to go back, but because we don't know it anymore, we are rightly terrified by it. The only ones who've managed to return are the marine mamals that were mistaken for mermaids in the first place. Is that irony? I've even sometimes wondered if our ocean origins are at the root of our Eden myths--the paradisiacal birth place from which we were cast out, and to which we long to return, despite the knowledge that we no longer belong there. Do you know what I mean, do you feel the same way?

 Let's all get nose rings!!


maybe it's just me, but for me...

Just after christmas, Felix and I spent ten days in my old home town, Columbia Missouri. It's always so nice to go back, but it can be very nerve-wracking in its way. The people come and go, controversial apartment complexes are built, burned, and built again, but somehow it always feels exactly the same there, which serves to make me especially aware of the ways in which my life has changed since I moved away. Obviously, having a baby has drastically altered my daily routine, and engendered a shift in my priorities. But I find I've changed in other, subtler ways, that don't necessarily have anything to do with motherhood. Namely, I'm referring to my newfound love of soup. You see, before I had Felix, I hated soup. Truthfully, it has always had something to do with the sounds other people make when they eat it... but I don't know, something about it bothered me, conceptually. But then, when I was pregnant, all of the sudden I wanted soup all of the time. And here we are, three years later, and it's still one of my favorite things to eat. Isn't it crazy to think that it's been three years since I was pregnant? Let's stop talking about it. Anyway, I know I'm about 22,000 years late to this party, and maybe it's just me, but for me, soup is great! I love everything about it! And of course, it's the very best thing to eat this time of year, as it's healthy and sensible, but also warm and comforting; its easy to make but incredibly satisfying; and it makes your whole house smell delicious!

You know what I mean? I'm so glad I feel this way! Thank you, Felix (who ironically won't eat it). Right now, my very favorites (besides ramen, duh) are Potato Leek, Chicken Spaetzle, and Italian Wedding. And speaking of recipes, and also of soup, you know what they say...

image by Heike Weber


golden new year

With its Saturnine emphasis on hard work and introspection, Capricorn is of course the perfect sign to guide us into the new year, cultivating an atmosphere of penance and austerity. Unfortunately, living under Saturn's dark reign isn't always easy. It's morbid to dwell so on winter, old age, and the passage of time, and practicing self-denial, while perhaps noble, isn't very jolly. I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time keeping my spirits up around this time of year. I try to remind myself that Saturn's symbolism is two fold and ultimately uplifting, for he only brings destruction in order to facilitate new growth. The inner-reflection and self-discipline the saturn-ruled signs inspire are a means of preparing oneself for the impending regeneration of springtime. Nevertheless, beginning the new year under this morose celestial influence is a challenge--how to feel renewed while yet in the throes of deepest, darkest winter? Or are we supposed to feel this way? Seriously, I'm asking. 

Anyway, Happy New Year, you guys! And a special belated happy birthday to my favourite capricorn in the world, my lovely sister Daisy! xo