There were two, one was baked, the other deep fried. Both delicious.
How about my brevity there? Chew on that, Dickens.
Such is life in the So 'Hoe, guys.
One day when I write my New York Times best seller, I'll just roll the dice and pick one of the above for my novel's stellar opening sentence. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't secretly hoping it's the third one. But for the sake of not alienating every single person who ever dared glance upon my little Internet space here, I'll keep the narrative moving at a modest clip so we can get to the photos.
Thanksgiving in Lake Tahoe. We beat every single odd out there and actually made excellent time despite the fact that we left Long Beach at 4:45pm on Wednesday. The day before Thanksgiving. Did I mention it was 4:45 pee em? I was so wound up about the drive and the prospect of parking lot traffic that I'd even kvetched about the whole ordeal to my therapist. I should've known that circumstances would find a way to make me look like an idiot for even worryingat all. Traffic? At that time of day? Pssshhhh. Please. Let's just leave right at 5, because we're going to float above it all and arrive in South Lake Tahoe no later than 7:45.
Once there, Newbie (local celebrity that he is) delighted in showing us the sights of his childhood: the forest behind his house that, when buried in snow, allowed him to come skiing off the mountain and just swoosh right up to his front door like the snow bunny he is. The modest "fifteen-minute walk" to the lookout over Emerald Bay that ended up being more like a 30-minute boulder-scrambling expedition from one steep hillside to another, steeper cliffside. The local casino where the drinks are free and the betting's always good at the 25-cent horse races. The beloved breakfast joint whose owners talked of co-parenting his precocious high school-aged self. The precarious roads snaking the outskirts of Fallen Leaf Lake, thick with ice, on which we may have had a very close call.
In other words, it was a weekend without flaw, complete with good weather, great food, and better friends. Since I promised, on to the pictures!
One of my former roommates has recently moved up to Beachwood Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. I visited her today for lunch before doing a bit of exploration. Didn't have my camera with me, so iPhone snaps will have to do for now. Expect a more thorough (and thoroughly documented) exploration in the coming weeks.
Views like this one are at once thoroughbred Americana and zany Old Hollywood charm. It's enough to make a broad like me start sassing off in that quavering 40's-era film voice. Oh, Clark, will you just look at that sign? So help me, Clark, when I say my prayers at night, I'm thinking of that stately thing! Say, be a dear and top me off, Clark? We wouldn't want my ice getting lonely now, would we?
Because despite the fact that I hurled down all kinds of barbs from my shiny ivory tower yesterday, I did also claim a certain amount of affection for fashion/personal style blogs. And while I'm certainly not going to wag any fingers at the disappointing blogs obliquely referenced in yesterday's post, I can do my part by illuminating a few of the bloggers whom I think are consistently hitting the mark. It's one of the rules of a good horror story, isn't it? What's left to the imagination is far more terrible than whatever your special FX team can cobble together for inciting visually-based heebie-jeebies. In the same way, you can let your little minds run wild about all the no-good, terrible fashion blogs out there but I'm certainly not going to name names.
Anyway, I'm taking a stab at positivity, for what it's worth. Here are a handful* of fashion blogs that top my list.
*In the interest of integrity, I'm leaving my blogging friends off this list. I've posted about them before. You know I like them. But they're also my friends...and wouldn't it be a truer testament to the fortitude of my affection if the objects of it are total strangers?
Jayne with a Y tops my list (plz. She'd top any list I'd make, including, but not limited to: People Who Get Humor And Aren't Total Idiots And Also Dress Well And Also Have Cool Hair. Okay...they're short lists, but she's at the top of ALL OF THEM). Here's someone who just gets it: wicked style, a brain that seems to be perpetually in motion, all of the stuff and none of the fluff. Two thumbs up.
This one's relatively new for me, but I appreciate a good coif when I see one, and Hannah's got an enviable mane. More than that, she epitomizes what I originally loved about style blogs: She likes fashion, she's got sartorial smarts, and she doesn't take herself too seriously. Plus, she drops pot references like acid. See what I did there? Double-drug reference? With the pot and the dropping of the--yeah, ok. OKAY.
Not technically a personal style blog, but Mizz Jackman is one of the best street style photographers out there. Hands down. Bar none. I can't look at her images without seeing her palpable compassion for her subjects. I think Wim Wenders was the one who said that to see any photograph is to also see a reflection of the photographer, and what Jackman beams back is a mind uniquely devoted to drawing everything that's beautiful about her subjects right to the surface, so we can see it, too.
Lastly but certainly not least, Hannah is from the land Down Under (the land I'm absolutely dying to visit because I envision a cooler, more European-minded Southern California, just exploding with light and surfers and vibe and kangaroos). She'll occasionally write personal outfit posts, but her blog is about so much more than that. She's a true fan of fashion, and she pens effusive posts brimming with wit, enthusiasm, and a gentleness (perhaps inclusiveness is a better word?) not usually found on style blogs. It doesn't hurt that she and I both harbor an ardent love of Isabel Marant, but then again, who doesn't?
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, La Grande Odalisque, 1814
"[A woman's] own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another." - John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1972
Is it just me, or have fashion blogs gotten really...boring? Whether 'boring' connotes weariness, hollowness, or stagnancy, I've taken a hatchet to my Google Reader as of late and many of the blogs I've been reading (some since their inception) have gotten the cut.
I started trolling personal style blogs in 2005 when the list was relatively small and similarly guileless. There was the Sartorialist, sure, arguably the godfather of style blogs, but there were a host of others, too. Personal style from around the globe; Scotland, France, the US, the UK, and so on. More than anything, it was fascinating to see how stylish girls threw together looks on a daily basis. A few of the blogs rocketed in notoriety; brands began to take heed, the whole process shifting imperceptibly. It was gradual at first, an ecstatic post here and there about a designer sending an unexpected gift--a gift that was typically a standout in a wardrobe otherwise comprised of the typical mix of H&M, vintage, this & that. Somewhere in there, a pattern emerged and with it came a pompeiian cloud of capital-C Change. Call it fashion's New Deal: Bloggers became the face of brands, ambassadors of a new era; harbingers of an industry turned on its head.
Amidst the incessant brand courtship, squiring, and borderline-bribing, however, many girls seem to have lost their voice, the original spark that made their blog worth a glance in the first place. What used to be a haven for non-models, non-editors, and non-fashion pros to demonstrate their passion for personal style has morphed into something, well, weird. It's not uncommon to scroll through photo after photo (snapped by the blogger's rarely-credited boyfriend-cum-photographer, natch) of what should be a visual "what I wore today" diary and instead find a who's who of gifting and brand-sponsored bribery.
And what about the photos? The rule of thumb these days seems to be that unless you've mastered the wilted-flower-whose-bud-is-artfully-askance pose, don't even bother showing up. There's a feeling I get when I glance through a handful of blogs at once that, since I'm without a more appropriate term to affix to it, I'll simply use "icky" as a placeholder. It's something in the affectation, the studied poses, the self-possession--something I can't quite place, but as a spectator in the whole circus, it feels distinctly disingenuous. More than that, it reeks of consumption; rampant shopping sprees documented and similarly gobbled up, only to be shat out on Pinterest. Hungry eyes roving style blogs day after day and the willing participants who present themselves as the token offering. But what's that? A knowing glance over the shoulder, the piercing eye contact, the shattered notion that we've just happened to intrude upon a private world that isn't our own. No; that world has been created for us. Nom, nom, nom.
I'm getting away from myself here. There used to be a charmingly off-kilter quality about girls documenting their personal style for strangers like me to be inspired by. It seemed reciprocal, this process of inspiring and being inspired. It was more about the clothing, anyway. More about the way a girl might mix, match, and re-appropriate the contents of her closet from day to day on a lark. Without naming names (since the group includes roughly 80% of prominent fashion bloggers, anyway), this transparent DIY-geekery has evolved into a daily posting of photos whose pursed lip signature 'looks' seem to serve instead as a placeholder for the subject's thinly-veiled narcissistic tendencies. The audience has morphed, too, or at least the appropriate term for it has: what used to be a base of readers (however modest or bloated in size) now finds more secure footing in the realm of fandom.
And no, since it bears mentioning, I don't think the entire kit and caboodle reeks of narcissism. I know prancing around in a new outfit every day and documenting it might seem odd to some, but trust me--despite how it may sound in this post, I'm genuinely a fan of fashion/personal style blogs. But there's a line, however microscopic it may be, that separates passion from self-service, and many of the bloggers I once admired have blithely obliterated that line with one swipe of their Wang-gifted heels.
What's more, they're all starting to look the same. A knowing (and well known) look, a leg bent just so, a calculated-yet-scattershot combination of this trend with that one and a smidge of this gift and that shoe to frost the sartorial confetti cake and--wait, I feel like I've seen this all before. So much for inspiration; impossible aspiration has stepped in and usurped the role inspiration used to play, anyway. Gilded (or Gilted) lilies, all in a row.
And don't even try to tell me those towering 6-inch heels are comfortable to totter around in all day long. Sister, please. No one's buying it anymore.
**UPDATE** If you've wandered to this post via a different blog, welcome, and please be sure to check out my followup post here, featuring a few girls who hit the sartorial nail on the head.
So begins the Holiday season: I dusted off the Christmas albums today. And by 'dusted' and 'albums' I mean that I pressed the ol' Play button on my iTunes tried-and-true Christmas mix. Nothing says "Yule Be Glad I Didn't Make a Christmas Pun Here" quite like belting (and I do mean belting) not one, but both parts of "Baby It's Cold Outside." Move over, Ella and Louis. There's a new crooner in town. (Hint: It's me. The crooner is me.)
Say! Speaking of seasons, I'm on a fast track to my slow season. Not that glamour shots of matching Christmas sweaters aren't my thing, but--yeah, they're not my thing. During the next 2-3 months I'm going to be taking some time to rethink, revamp, redesign, reevaluate, and drink a helluva lot of wine during work hours. The blog, the Tumblr, the website, the whole enterprise will go under scrutiny while I gear up for 2012.
That's where you come in. I'm looking for feedback (I know, I know. All five of you just rolled your eyes in unison). Just kidding, I have more than five readers! That's a lot of eye-rolling. Personally, on a typical day of heroically slogging through all the Internet sludge there is out there, my peepers make more rotations than an engineer's guide to Six Flags. Hence, the feedback. Some of you are glancers, others faithful readers, and others still are maniacal stalkers (M. Wilson, I'm looking at you. You too, Mr. Price). Whatever your level of devotion, I'd be swimming in a sea of gratitude if you'd take a second to leave me a comment and let me know what you'd like to see more of. More photo posts? More rants? More writing? More fashion? More nonsensical rambling? More music?
Now's your chance to let me know what you think is working and what you'd like to see more of. I'm already bracing myself for the maelstrom of utter nonsense all of the Michaels I know might send my way (Posey, Hamilton, Ruffino, et al), but if any of you would actually like to be helpful, I would greatly appreciate it.
Don't be shy!
I swear, I'm nice at least 51% of the time.
(P.S. Here are a couple of photos. Unrelated, but I took 'em and I like 'em.)