Midweek Musings

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Never Go Out of Style

scribbles by yours truly
Possibly the most underrated necessity of all time, the black turtleneck never ceases to astound me. Sleek and sophisticated, a black turtleneck instantly takes me to the depths of New York. It reminds me of Audrey Hepburn and Reese Witherspoon and my Aunt Mary Margaret who lived in NYC for a couple years. I love it with a strand of opera-length pearls or a colorful mini skirt or a trench coat or a favorite pair of worn-in blue jeans.
all images from Pinterest.com
Seemingly outdated and maybe given a funny name, the turtleneck does come with its host of unfortunate jokes. My humble turtleneck collection sure has had its share of eye rolls and mockery made of it at the sorority house (where one's closet is everyone's closet). Despite being the punchline of many a millenial fashionista, I will stand firmly behind the black turtleneck forever. Just look at the famous fans of the piece in the above images, ranging from classic icons like Anna Wintour (can you spot her vintage image?) and Jackie O to Diane Kruger (#girlcrush) and Blair Eadie (Atlantic-Pacific). As I mentioned before, there are many ways to style the classic piece, and this is the aspect that I think makes the black turtleneck timeless. Age-old classics that your grandmother and mother wore frivolously in many different ways tend to never go out of style. A black turtleneck works at a Sunday night football game as much as at an evening event complete with a ballroom skirt and those opera pearls. It is amazingly and inspiringly versatile. The perfect base (or addition) to any serious wardrobe.

A few of my favorites: Gap, Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Free People, INC

{currently listening to}

your job's a joke / 
you're broke / 
your love life's DOA /

Monday, December 15, 2014

How to Be a Classy Lady: Have Your Résumé {a Little}

Bex, this says you are fluent in Finnish.
So, who doesn't have their résumé a little?
From Elle Woods to Becky Bloomwood, some of our favorite fictional fashionistas turned their résumés into as much a personalized fashion accessory as a monogramed Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of splatter-painted Jackson Pollock Keds (perhaps my next project?). I am working on applying to internships and therefore a precise résumé is exactly the kind of polish I think might add a lot to my arsenal of personal style elements. 

Though I definitely don't advocate for lying on your résumé (Is Finnish even a language?) and perhaps scented paper is going a little too far, I think the right amount of flair makes a résumé stand out from the crowd. In editing my own, here are some little elements of style I used:

1. Be Consistent. Use the same format throughout the résumé. This applies to both grammar and style. If you always use an Oxford comma, by damn, don't leave a single one out. 

2. Make it Flow. Based on my frequent trips to the career center, I picked up a few things here and there about how to organize a résumé. My career counselor advised me to organize my entries by their relevance to my major (but obviously this will be different for different people depending on the resume content). He also said that I should organize the entries by most recent to least recent. This organization allows the content to flow seamlessly and puts the most recent and important information at the top.

3. Hone in on the Details. Beautiful typography. Clear, concise, and organized headings. Line breaks. A monogram in the corner. Succinct action verbs. Quality paper. The first thing you notice about an outfit is the way it harmonizes. Though little details like a fresh manicure or a swipe of black mascara might fly under the radar, those are the very elements that bring the entire look together. Don't shirk on the little things, and your attention to detail will shine through.

4. Frequent the Career Center & Print Shop. I already mentioned my trusty friend, the career counselor, and I mean it when I say they are helpful. At UGA, there are so many resources to assist students in the job search process and I've found the Career Center to be particularly beneficial. They hold a lot of seminars and things but my favorite events are the drop-in résumé critique hours. Also, the UGA Print & Copy (located in Tate) prints résumés on 100% Cotton resume quality paper (available in white or ivory) for a very inexpensive price. Plus you can order online and pick them up in the store! Very convenient.

5. For Serious Résumé Envy: Check out this Buzzfeed (#sorrynotsorry) article

{currently listening to}

Riptide by Vance Joy on Grooveshark

i love you when you're singing that song / 
i got a lump in my throat / 
cause you're gonna sing the words wrong /

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ponytail Pinspiration

Find all images on Pinterest.com

Two developments of mine have recently collided: the fact that I've finally managed to grow my hair out (and have had it recently styled and trimmed) and the fact that I've been a little (okay, okay, A LOT) addicted to Pinterest. Since doing a little shuffling and reorganizing, I've finally managed to get my Pinterest boards to a state of usefulness. Pooh pooh all you want, but I think Pinterest is a fantastic tool for the creative-minded gal (or guy, hey no discrimination, boys). For a visual person like me, when I need a little creative pick-me-up or a mood board or some ideas for blog posts, I peruse my various boards and usually am not disappointed.

Today, the inspiration borne from such a perusal was that of the follicle variety. With my longer locks, I am feeling the need to experiment with different hairstyles, and one that is quite overlooked is the ponytail. A classic art form, a basic that can be worn casually or taken to the next level, the ponytail has been the secret weapon of women for decades. A ponytail, like denim or an LBD, can be dressed up or down and is equally elegant for an afternoon jog or a night out dancing. I am falling for all four looks above and am planning on ponytails to take me through the rest of finals and into the holiday season. 

Be right back....gotta go find some grosgrain.

{currently listening to}

Rollercoaster by Bleachers on Grooveshark

you were such a rollercoaster /
and a killer queen you are /

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Some Cohesive Thoughts

In honor of Taylor Swift's 25th birthday today (HBD girlfriend !), I bring you: MY MUCH BELATED GLOWING REVIEW OF 1989. Spelled in all caps because this feels very official.

The Internet can't seem to get enough of Taylor Swift these days. And since I imagine the Internet to be a living entity (as many people no doubt do) composed of a billion crazed fan girls and boys all sitting at their computer screens (like I am doing now) staring into the worlds of people all over the globe, I guess we can't get enough of her either. Because she is EVERYWHERE.

Between gracing the cover of about every big publication of late including Time and accepting an award from DIANA ROSS and breaking every record in the music history book and throwing pizza parties with JAY Z and BEYONCÉ, this girl has reached a level of success far outweighing anything she probably could have imagined when she released her self titled debut album 8 years ago. So there is no denying she is popular, but what about the meat behind her success, the music, the album itself? Does it live up to all the hoopla?

The thing I've always liked about Taylor Swift is that I think she and I think similarly. I've admired her since 2008 (when I bought her first album at Barnes & Noble and then proceeded to listen to the entire thing on the floor of our living room). The funny thing is that what first drew me to her music is the same thing that keeps me coming back: her penchant for being a writer first and foremost. I think (and the critics seem to agree...read my favorite 1989 reviews here and here.) her musical integrity is the most important thing that has defined this success for her. What keeps her fansher most loyal to the new gained with each album release—begging for more is her keen sense of self, her humility, and her acceptance and promotion of change. In the case of 1989, the swift change of sound was a risk, but it was one she fought for and knew she needed. And golly gee it paid off.

Musicians who write their own songs are more credible as artists simply because their art then contains a sliver of soul. Music not written by the singer is certainly still beautiful and lovely and relatable, but that element of soul makes all the difference. This is where Swift sets her music apart. She pours slivers of soul into every aspect of her art, the album. Swiftian is each aspect of 1989: the packaging, the track list, the secret stories she weaves in the liner notes for fans to unravel, the polaroids, the dedication. Her attention to detail alone is inspiring.

This detail makes Taylor Swift the penultimate modern artist.

1989 is just what music needed right now. Whether you are a Taylor Swift fan or not, and whether you even like this album or not, you've got to admit that it is unlike anything you've ever heard on the radio. The (sick) beats are synth-y without being overwhelming. The bridges are imaginative and original. The layered vocals are just pretty. One song in particular that has become a favorite since listening to the album about a million times since its release is "Out of The Woods." Jack Antonoff worked his magic on this track, and Swift worked her magic on the lyrics. From multiple sources, I've heard Swift say that her goal with this album was to make each song sound like the way each inspired feeling felt. So, in addition to an artistic experience, Swift delivers a sensory one. "Out of The Woods" is full of big drum sounds and layered ethereal vocal tracks that surround you when you listen to it. This song sounds like the feeling of standing at a giant stadium show. And amid all those stadium jolting rhythms, Swift is able to bring a sense of intimacy with her lyrics. My favorite image from the song is the memory of waking up in the hospital room "and when the sun came up you were looking at me." That line is the Swiftian sliver of intimacy, the sliver of soul in this particular song. She places us in her life, and we write our own stories in between the lines of hers. This lyrical honesty is the integrity I'm talking about.

I could go on forever, but my analysis of "Out of the Woods" applies to each song: there are universal themes and universal beats and then there are intimate details and quiet vocal styling that invites the listener into the wonderful, beautiful, optimistic world of Taylor Swift.

In the seasons of life, I've always had a relatively new Taylor Swift album to narrate the story of my life. Her previous albums or "eras" got me through middle school and moving to a new town and starting college, multiple crushes and heartbreaks, and all the happy, free, confusing, and lonely times in between. Sometimes it's intimidating to think of what is next in this life I lead, but does it matter? If I have Taylor Swift along with me on this long car ride telling me to Shake It Off and leading me Out of the Woods, I think I'll be all set. Bring on the highway, as long as I've got a stereo and an empty passenger seat.

{currently listening to} 

Out of the Woods - Taylor Swift

i walked out and said 'i'm setting you free' /
but the monsters turned out to be just trees /
and when the sun came up /
you were looking at me /

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Little Town Blues

It's been three days since arriving back in Athens and I still can't shake the little chills that run up and down my arms when I think of New York. It's like having a crush on a boy that sits on the other side of the room in class. You can just see him sitting pensively over there. There are 30 feet between you and him. Every now and then he glances your way, and your heart flops a little.

Attainable, but not quite there yet.

The weekend I spent in The City that Never Sleeps was life changing in the skills and knowledge I gained about networking, the Great Job Hunt, the advertising industry, and of course, the mysterious City itself. But most of all, the surprising knowledge I gained was more personal: I felt alive in New York. I talked to strangers without hesitation and made new friends with every heartbeat pulsing along to the rhythm of the town. I forced myself to be confident and I sat up straight and didn't worry about what other people thought of me. I dressed loud. I laughed a lot. I asked questions and sat in the front of the room. I took a heavy gulp of reality and funny enough, realized that New York may be a possibility, and it may even be closer than ever to coming true. I have dreamed and dreamed and dreamed about taking on New York and its history of being a city of rebirth since I was quite a little girl. This is that dream that keeps me up late studying for tests that I don't want to take. This is the dream that keeps me asking for more challenges. This is the dream that keeps me moving and moving and moving forward. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. To be honest, it has always been just a dream, and I never thought I might actually have a shot at moving and working there. But after this weekend, I got a taste of what it's like to marry reality to your dreams, and it's really not as difficult as I made it out to be. Mostly it takes confidence and letting go of the fear that things won't work out your way. Because they won't work out exactly your way, but that is the mystery and the beauty of life right?

So what are all these life changing lessons learned among city blocks and avenues? First, and most importantly, I learned how to network. I think I get it now. People want to help you out. You have to be confident (confidence seems to be a recurring theme in growing up...) in yourself and let go of the thought that you are being annoying. If people have time, they'll respond. Humility and a sincere sense of curiosity seem to go a long way. And I also learned the power of a brief email. (That one I'll have to work on because I have a tendency to never. shut. up.) I heard the term "sophisticated stalking" multiple times and was taught the power of social media and the digital age. Networking is a powerful tool in business and one I am certainly excited to practice. And of course, maybe someday when I'm living in a big 'ole city I'll get some student questions myself and will be happy to help.

Next I was instructed in the magical world of advertising. Since deciding my major in Portland, Oregon at 17 (remind me to tell you that story sometime) I started paying more attention to advertisements and ad campaigns. I geeked out at one of the ad agencies we visited (JWT) because they have the Macy's account, and were the ones that created the "Yes, Virginia" campaign and holiday special AND organized the fundraiser where if you wrote a letter to Santa, Macy's donated money to Make-A-Wish. (Which I was familiar with because all us Chi O's participated and wrote letters because Make-A-Wish is our national philanthropy!!!) Visiting JWT kind of felt like meeting the director and producer of your favorite movie. I was very excited at the behind-the-scenes look. In summary, this inside look at the ad world solidified my need to be involved in this industry. I have so many ideas and so much to learn.

Finally, I got a dose of the local side of NYC. Wow. The first thing that pops into my mind is how stylish everyone is. This might be a chicken-or-egg scenario (Which came first: New York street style or street style photographers?) but regardless, everyone looks like they live in a permanent fashion editorial or tucked among the posts of ManRepeller or Garance Doré. Lots of black skinny jeans and wide brimmed hats and ankle booties and FANTASTIC coats. Seriously, the variety or amazing coats in New York is pretty spectacular. I can't wait for it to be cold down here. Beyond fashion, I got a taste of how expensive New York is. Every meal was a standard $25. And that was getting the cheap thing on the menu. It will be hard adjusting from my standard $6 Chipotle. And the first thing anyone mentions when you ask about the cons of the city is rent. Like politics and salaries, New York rent is quite impolite to discuss. New York City is diverse. You overhear a bajillion different languages in a day and there is virtually any and every kind of ethnic food available to eat. New York feels more like a European city than an American one, and that is exciting. And of course the city is loud and urban and sprawling and basically a huge matrix that could swallow you up.

BUT: New York is also (like I mentioned before) a challenge and a place to grow and mature and be reborn. Every New Yorker (whether native born or transplanted) was truly someone else before making it in the city. And they all lit up talking about their adventures despite the cold and the rent and the gridlock.

So all in all, I learned New York is worth fighting for.

{currently listening to}

these little town blues /
are melting away /