Midweek Musings

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Haim & Stevie Nicks pose for T Magazine | photos by Tierney Gearon
I am obsessed with keeping things. I have a cabinet full of shoeboxes of ticket stubs and programs and buttons and subway passes and swim team ribbons. There's a folder next to my desk at home filled with sticky notes and sheets of notebook paper containing sprawling bits of poetry and song lyrics jotted down absentmindedly. I have a shelf of previous journals, perhaps my favorite collection of the aforementioned junk. 

So when I read the article in T Magazine about Haim and Stevie Nicks, the element of advice Nicks offered the young musicians that stuck out at me was her style of journaling. A mystical and mysterious creature, Nicks holds quite a reputation for being a rock n' roll woman with wild heart. She's so meta. It seems natural to me that she would record her journeys through life in such an artistic fashion. The key to keeping a good journal? "On the right-hand side of the page you write what happened that day, and on the left-hand side you write poems so when you have an evening where you're like, 'I'm gonna light all the candles and I'm gonna put the fire on, and I'm gonna sit at the piano and write,' you can dip into your diaries and instantly find a poem and begin" (T Magazine). What a beautiful way to record thoughts. There is something magical about the written word, whatever it's form. I know I talk about the musical quality of clicking computer keyboard keys, but there is something rhythmic in pen-and-ink too; curvy words and loopy letters and the ability to doodle in the margins all make physical writing quite artistic.

I began journaling regularly in the seventh grade and I remember clearly the obsession with it. I think the climax of my journaling finesse came after I moved to a new place after middle school ended. The culmination of a relocation spawned lots of feelings and sadness and trying to figure out where I was going. That was the year Taylor Swift's Fearless was released. My journal was pink leather. It is worth more to me than gold. Up to now, my style of journaling is based on Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series. I kid you not. (Remember I started in the seventh grade...) Mia from the books always wrote the date and the time and where she was in the top corner of her journal, and so do I. What follows is usually a sketch of what important thing happened that day. I used to keep a separate journal for poetry and song lyrics, but since high school I've kept a folder on my computer labeled "Creative." Since reading Stevie Nicks' style of journaling, I think I'll try it out. My main problem these days is consistency, but I will work on that too. Imagine having a recount of your day-by-day life from your twenties. Lots of possibilities in there.

{currently listening to}

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Brunch Bunch

"Seeing New York" from Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg of Ann Street Studio
My little (I know, I know, getting all sorority-jargon on you.) and I landed on the topic of New York City recently, and she talked about something that I've been thinking about ever since. She mentioned that everyone who ends up living in New York should have a brunch group. The brunch group, she went on to explain, is a group of friends who religiously get together every Sunday for brunch (...duh?). Everyone who lives in New York City should have one, she assured me.

And of course this got me thinking and thinking. And then I started seeing references to the Brunch Culture everywhere: The New York Times, ManRepeller, Vogue. The Brunch Culture seems to have emanated as yet another (quite derogatory) classification of my generation. We millennials sleep 'till noon and then drink mimosas all day. We brunch, but only for the sake of Instagram-ming the evidence (#foodporn). David Shaftel from the Times article complains that we take up his brunch spots in his New York neighborhood; he quotes The Strokes' front runner, Julian Casablancas: “I don’t know how many, like, white people having brunch I can deal with on a Saturday afternoon.” Shaftel then complains that we've taken over Saturday too: "the meal has spread like a virus." Although I can certainly understand frustration over being unable to claim a table at a favorite local brunch spot, I think Shaftel's annoyance is a little unjustified. One might compare the American brunch to a family style Italian dinner. In Italy, a meal is an event, not an excuse to fulfill a basic craving on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. In New York, many young people (like I plan to) move there on their own, in search of a new identify, perhaps in search of fate or destiny. You have to make your own way there, find your own family. This new family might come in the form of a brunch group, and brunch is a weekly communion. Of course, like everything else in life, moderation is certainly a key aspect to living a purposeful and moral life, but so is being in communion with others. Great food, great friends, and great conversation are a blessing I think. 

So now that we have that out of the way, I think I'd like to take a minute to name my fantasy brunch group. The first person that comes to mind is Taylor Swift, namely because she recently made a permanent move to New York and because I am pretty sure we have very similar thought processes: both Romantics with an annoyingly positive (and idealistic) outlook on life. I think she's my soul sister. And then of course, Ben Franklin would be there because I would want to be inspired by him weekly and I bet he could put down some poached eggs. And maybe Aidy Bryant from SNL because she's adorable and hilarious. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and her husband would be in attendance. Oooo and Carole King. And Jack Antonoff because I am currently obsessed with Bleachers and I think he would add a lot to the deep conversation. And I feel like Audrey Hepburn wouldn't miss a brunch bunch get-together for the world. Obviously.

So, reservation for 8? Sunday at noon? I'll roll in about 12:15, sleepy-eyed and wearing my favorite sweater, ready for a mimosa, some stimulating conversation, and some camaraderie. #sorrynotsorry

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Midweek Musings: Nineties Nostalgia

It's probably the ridiculous amount of Friends I've been watching recently, but I've been thinking a lot about 90's era Romantic Comedies, and you know what? There are very few rom coms released after the nineties (okay, I cheated a little bit...released after 2001) that live up to the standard of Meg Ryan and John Cusack and Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. I grew up with the soundtracks to these movies and their plots were sometimes my bedtime stories. My parents would go on a date to the movies, and the next night, my mom would tell me the story. I may be able to thank nineties-era rom coms for my Romantic nature and affinity for high waisted pleated pants. (They are remarkably fantastic, really.)

So now, I present in no particular order, some of my all-time favorite 90's rom coms.

1. One Fine Day (1996)

First of all, young Michelle Pfeiffer was a total babe and she has a really great haircut in this movie. And George Clooney is just nice too look at, so casting-wise, One Fine Day was set out to be a success. The plot revolves around these two single, working parents trying to get their kids to a field trip and in the midst of the ironically horrid, nothing-going-their-way "fine day," they fall in love and realize there are a lot more important things in life other than their careers and duties. Plus, the song that inspired the movie's title was penned by Carole King and sung by The Chiffons and is so happy and wonderful. The movie features two versions of this song: the opening credits scroll to Natalie Merchant's slow and steady version while the original can be found later in the film.

2. Serendipity (2001)

I watch Serendipity every Valentine's Day. Any movie set in New York City immediately has my heart, and I love the premise behind this one: two people (John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, again, casting gets two thumbs up. He's so quirky-cute and she is über cool.) meet accidentally while shopping for gloves and they end up going to Serendipity Ice Cream Parlor and ice skating at Rockefeller Center and that's all it takes: they fall in love immediately. But, Sara, Beckinsale's character, believes in fate and says that can prove she and Jon, Cusack's character, are meant to be together. She puts her name and number in a book she's carrying and sells it to a secondhand shop while he does the same with a dollar bill. After several years of unlucky searching . . . well, I won't give away the ending. ;)

3. Kate & Leopold (2001)

Meg Ryan, queen of 90's rom coms (Sleepless in Seattle! French Kiss!!) plays opposite Hugh Jackman in this hilarious time-traveling tale. Jackman, or Leopold, accidentally gets whisked away from his time period (1870's New York City) and lands in present day: 2001 New York City. He lands in the apartment building of Kate (Ryan's character) and the two fall in love. Kate, a typical rom com heroine, is fed up with the lack of chivalry in men of her age, and is quite attracted to Leopold's old fashioned kindness and thoughtfulness. This movie is definitely for anyone who has dreamed of (or still dreams of? #guilty) marrying a prince.

4. Notting Hill (1999)

Fun fact: my dad can quote this entire movie. I grew up with the soundtrack to Notting Hill playing over and over and over in our house. To this day I know all of the words to Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Elvis Costello's "She." Needless to say my parents really love this movie, and I get a little homesick every time I watch it. Notting Hill tells the story of a world famous actress and a down-on-his luck Notting Hill resident who meet accidentally and fall in love. It is quirky (gotta love British humour) and sweet: the perfect mix for a romantic comedy.

5. Sabrina (1995)

Lastly, Sabrina, a remake of the classic Audrey Hepburn film, visualizes the story of Sabrina, the meek daughter of a chauffeur for a wealthy family. Sabrina has loved the youngest brother David her whole growing up life, but he just sees her as a childhood friend. Sabrina is sent to Paris to work for a fashion magazine, and upon her return, both brothers notice her maturity (and her new haircut :). Eventually, Harrison Ford's Linus Larrabee (the older brother) falls under Sabrina's spell and the rest is history. Full of elegance and true love, this movie is one of my favorites. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Skipper & Dixie

For a native Atlantan, anywhere west of Birmingham seems like another universe. The United States' wide and diverse expanse boils over with regional diversity, and yet we take for granted the sights to behold from sea to shining sea. We linger in our respective regions with a textbook definition of the rocky beaches of California or the quaint domestic style of New England or the legends associated with the Wild West; we stay rooted on our front porches rather than hopping on the saddle of our proverbial horses.

My family and I traveled westward to Tuscan, Arizona and stayed at Tanque Verde Ranch for my cousin Maddie's wedding. So different from my comfortable Atlanta or Athens, for that matter, but more beautiful and more fantastic. It seems silly to even write this down but I really have never seen a real Saguaro cactus before (pronounced "SA-WAHR-O" and not "SA-GAR-OH" like I'd been pronouncing it...awkward). These and the various other species of cacti formed a Dr. Seuss-like world of wonder: each cactus grew into an odd shape or a twisted, unnatural contortion. Beyond the incredible landscape, I fell in love with the classical Western style present at Tanque Verde, the location of all the wedding festivities. I see where Ralph Lauren gets his inspiration season after season. The inevitable fringe and a blanket coat here and there could have been taken out of anyone's closet here in Tuscan. The well-dressed cowgirl is an area of fashion I have yet to tap into, but after my trip seems almost necessary. The girl whose heart belongs in the West has been an archetype of American fashion for so long, many pieces of her wardrobe have become staples without anyone paying her homage. You could argue that denim and flannel to more obvious accessories such as cowboy boots and a lasso come from her closet. Warm, chalky reds, bold blues, earthy, sandy browns, and bright golden yellows make up the palette of the decor and the style and the landscape. Cowboy boots are a practical form of footwear (I almost feel silly wearing them around town now, they seem so out of context!) and everyone should know how to ride a horse. My sister, MC, and I got the chance to ride horses through the Saguaro National Park that the ranch overlooked, and it was thrilling. My horse's name was Skipper and hers was Rawhide. We hopped on easily after a few pointers from a local cowboy and thus commenced our outing. And so, a ranch horse and a little peach from Dixie became fast friends. Skipper and I could have easily taken off and roamed the wild, wild west together, but we decided to stay with the group and afterward continue our lives as if nothing happened. But I have faith that one day my friend Skip and me will meet again and become fearless outlaws. (I recently took one of those quizzes that will give you a cowgirl name and I got Sadie "Man Punchin" Holliday. I'll take it.)

After taking in the scenery and reveling in the American Western culture, it came time to celebrate new beginnings. You can probably guess that I love weddings. I am an avid observer and daydreamer and admirer of lace and pearls and bouquets and cake and boys in tuxes and dance parties, so basically weddings are my jam. This one was particularly wonderful. Maddie and Andrew have been together since high school, and watching them tie the knot was particularly sweet. Maddie has the most adorable vintage style, and so from the bridesmaid dresses to the Coca-Cola bottles to her hair and makeup, her wedding was quite the 1940's Americana affair. Their wedding cake was apple pie and we ate dinner on picnic tables. Kids were running around playing and there was a hopping dance party. There was love all around that diffused like campfire smoke.

It's safe to say I feel at home on the range. Sadie "Man Punchin" Holliday over & out.

{currently listening to}

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Quiet Work of Italian Art

image from The Sartorialist
Flipping through The Sartorialist, this picture caught my attention because it was shot in Cortona, Italy, the location of my magical summer 2 years (?!) ago. That street is so familiar, I can almost hear the clanking of china at the bakery at the end of the road and catch a waft of the gelato shop a little ways down. This woman is a quintessential Cortonese. With a winking half smile and her arms folded delicately in front of her, she could be a quiet work of Italian art and no one would notice. I love how Scott Schuman takes street style photography to the next level by managing to capture the person behind the fashion statement. This lady sports a harmony of blues and browns and greys; her style is one of practicality but also of an Italian tradition. She looks directly out at us, a striking confidence for a woman of her age and stature.

In Italy I studied photography and one of the hardest assignments was a street photography project. I was so embarrassed to ask the locals if I could snap their portraits, and I know I was over thinking the assignment. I wouldn't go near them. I think that's why I am a better writer than photographer: I like to observe at a distance. This portrait fulfills my botched street photography assignment. Even though my photographs were mediocre, I can appreciate Schuman's work. He certainly captured the humbleness of the tiny hilltop town that I learned to call home. By capturing this woman's spirit and personal style, he managed to press pause on an intimate moment in a quiet town - my town - and for that I am grateful.

{currently listening to}

Read about my Cortona adventures here