Monday, February 25, 2013

mostly about "community:" a hogdemapodge birthday post (dont worry, outfit pics included)

Foreword: this is about my life as of recent--school, eating in dining halls, my mother, my ponderings on social media and the lives that we lead. and most of all, this is about how I love life and am grateful for you.


I'm sitting in a Gallatin classroom for a Berlin study abroad information session. The adviser is describing the fellowship experience and the culture immersion that brings students together for an unforgettable month of summer in Europe. My heart swells.

I'm taking photos at a presentation for New York Fashion Week. I go up to an androgynous platinum blonde-headed model (the woman of my dreams that I never knew existed). Unabashedly I hold my camera awkardly close to her and instagram her face. I tell her, "You're really hot," with two thumbs up. I walk away, models' giggles trace behind my steps. My heart swells.

I'm spilling crumbs of a turkey sandwich in Downstein after I Skype with my mom. She wishes me a virtual happy birthday and tells me that she loves me. I look up to find a friend wave at me from across the cafeteria and mouths the same magical words, "Happy birthday." Oh, my heart.

One of these situations is just like the others (i.e. they are all alike, get on my level). Most of these situations involve crying--yes, I cried among college students during a Berlin study abroad information session, how nerdy and embarrassing.( awesome I am!!!)

While I was in Downstein, tears swelling for the love my mother has for me and the love I have for her, I see groups of friends sitting around. I don't know them. They know each other. Their arms are rested over the backs of their chairs. Napkins rest, crumpled on finished plates. They share jokes from TV shows. They talk to each other because they are friends. This is not an awkward date, there are no pretenses. They just share thoughts, unconsciously, with love. This is connection and community. This is what makes my heart leap and what makes me love this moment of being twenty.


I am fascinated by community. How people can be joined together through hashtags: 'Wow I love your #whitepeopleproblems joke I found through the hashtag.' 'Hey can we meet up? I found you through a #socialmediaweek hashtag and loved your tweets.' 'Dude your fashion blog is so fun, let's be friends?' How people's passions can intersect with another's dreams. How people's work can overlap projects with those of other visionaries. How people can simply comment on the show Community and the awesomeness of Troy and Abed. How people can share thoughts together out of a pure love for something, anything.


I am not fascinated by personal facades presented on a timeline. Instagram photos from last night flood my newsfeed. Oh is your political insight relevant for Facebook? I see some polaroids to document our many yesterdays, only to make our tomorrow's into another hazy candid moment proving we have lived yesterday. The friend I see on Facebook is not the edited person I am friends with in the flesh. This acquaintance with x number of friends and x number of likes on their latest status is not the person I want to judge them to be. The friends I adore on Facebook are not quite the friends I love in real life.

In a similar vein, I'm actually not fascinated by Beyonce. The celebrities I follow are not who they are in real life. And may I dare propose, the Queen Bey America bows to is another collection of performances played for her own self-directed timeline of life. We praise, we like, we heart it. But do we really know it? Do we really love it? Shakespeare was right--what's new--all the world is, in fact, a stage.

I don't know that I will ever be able to properly articulate my thoughts about Facebook. I distantly participate in it, but mostly detest it. The one thing I can define that contributes to my bad Facebook after taste is that this social "network" lacks community. I go online and I look at 'cool people' and lives I've only intersected with once or twice. Or I look at edited punchlines people want to share because maybe it's a cool story that 20+ people will 'like'--i.e. tangible proof of success. Clicking through Facebook, through curated cover photos and capricious likes, I do not feel like I'm part of a community--I feel ever so alone. I miss the crumpled napkins on plates that held Hayden cookies. I miss the polaroid-ed moments that made me feel so alive. Instead of enjoying anything, instead of living my life, instead of being myself, I suck a facade of a reality in and I miss it all. I miss the lives around me. I miss being myself.


"Students definitely come away from the Berlin course excited and wanting to stay or visit again. Studying Berlin's art, history and growth builds a connection among students different from anything else." Salty tears wet the rims of my eyes in Gallatin. My heart leaps not because I want another instagram photo of the Berlin Wall, but because I have tasted community in my life. Listening to the adviser's words, the sugar of that human love lingers on my tongue. Real life, to me, is characterized by community. I live for the connection that lies between two people, and the many webs of people that ensue from connecting two people to another two and the four to eight to twenty four to infinity.

I remember my mom. Far away, I cannot hold her, I cannot tell how fast or slow her heart pulses at night, but I know she is joyful for me. She loves me beyond words could sing, she loves me beyond my stupid efforts at comprehending. We are an expensive and difficult plane ticket apart, and yet, we are together. We're connected.

This is community. being able to say that I have love in my life. The love of my friends who decide to text me good tidings, the love of a professor who thinks of me during her busy week to gift something for me, the love of a friend I've only met a few weeks ago who draws a cupcake in a fancy Papyrus-y card for me, the love of my friends who decide to record a ridiculous video emotionally reciting a ridiculous poem complete with ridiculous drum beats.

As I celebrate the end of nineteen going on twenty and a fresh start saying goodbye to any awkward judgments that come with saying I'm ___teen yrs old, I'm not scared. Mostly I am in love with life. I am in love with the fact that I cry during study abroad information sessions and I am in love with the fact that I am overwhelmed with joy to see friends talk without pretenses in dining halls. I am happy to be twenty, to be nineteen, to be tomorrow, to be yesterday to be or not to be to be whatever.

After all is said and done, I don't mind that I haven't broken records with an Oscar in my hand or that someone else is doing that instead. I don't mind that I'm not on Facebook enough or I'm not like any sassy fake fashionista out there. I am happy to be me. I'm happy my friends are real no matter what any social media says. I'm happy I can connect with an androgynously beautiful model through words. I'm happy to be alive. And most of all. I'm happy to be alive with you.

<3 br="" nbsp=""> To make a long post even longer and more arduous to scroll through:

And I wore this cardigan two days in a row. Don't judge. Actually go ahead. I like it.

(So many people were just staring at my tights whilst I was gallivanting in the city.)

I honestly have no idea what I just wrote up there, but I do have an idea of this happiness I feel aftering having written it even if it is 2AM and I am going to writhe in pain from having to do homework all day on my birthday. Having written this post, I am quite happy. I hope it does a little something for you, too.


song of the moment
Anything from Michael Jackson's This is It and some Dr. Dre here and there (though not while reading this blog post, I don't think the moods would jive. actually....)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thinking Pink (in 3 ways)

I was browsing J.Crew a week or two ago for no good reason--what's new. And in the sale section, I found probably the cheapest thing in store: a striped sweater/top for $10, which turned out to be $8.50 with a student discount. It was bright, colorful and in a size XXS in women's, so you bet I took it home with me. (I bet you're surprised I didn't purchase anything from Crewcuts).

Since I've been really feeling this punchy top, here are three ways I found myself wearing it. If you have a bright top you've lost inspiration to wear, or wanna try somethin' new with it, you've come to the right place. And even if you don't have such a top, I think you've still come to the right place. 

1. Over a shift dress + tights

 2. Over a button down + rolled up khakis + oxfords/wingtips (coif not included but suggested for additional sass)

This was probably my favorite way I wore it. Wearing pants is so comfortable, esp. these chinos (is that what they're called? I feel unnecessarily racist when I say it?) also from J.Crew. Menswear inspired looks are my deal, and add a little kids flair and you've won me over. (the top is from Banana Republic. I've worn it for years. It has been the shirt that has helped me realize my penchant for collars, and it all started with a good sale, just like with today's story!)

3. With a long skirt + fun brooch

I wore this look on Valentine's Day! I felt like a walking strawberry short cake with my pastel pink knit socks from Anthrologie, and the overall pink/cream mix happening. The skirt is also from Anthro.

Heart pins, esp with an arrow through it, are very wearable. Really glad I got this gem long ago during a brooch rummage at the Brooklyn Flea. You really can't go wrong with heart-themed pins. 

I have blogged three days in row. This is too good to be true. Or maybe the beginning of a very good truth. We'll see. Signing out.

song of the moment
senorita - justin timberlake

Saturday, February 16, 2013

an erin state of mind

30% extra off the sale price of things doesn't sound like a bad idea. somehow i ended up on madewell's website clicking through the sale menu as if i'm about to order something. i never end up ordering. madewell is one of those. but then i remember, crewcuts (i.e. jcrew's kids clothes to clarify for the people who are so out of touch of the erin state of mind that is always scoping kids clothes) is a point of no return for me. and because i have no reason to take advantage of their current sale, i thought i'd share it with you, although you probably also have no reason to take advantage of their current sale at least with my picks from the kid's section--mostly because you prob aren't the size of a 10 year old boy like I am, but WHATEVER.

here's a glimpse into what i'd buy if i really needed some clothes from head to toe (in this case, ankle, if you want to get really particular). mind you, these pieces are all on sale and at very reasonable prices with the additional sale happening. so i'm serious about if i would actually buy these. henceforth, you should buy these so i can feel like i bought them.

(isn't this jacket so lady like?! mad props for the 6 year old that wears this, or props to the parent i guess.)

if you wear it right, all this stuff is totally passable as "womens"wear! so like i said, since i'm not buying these goods, get em while they're hot--and share if you do. or actually, my birthday may or may not be around the corner. whether or not that's the truth? you'll never know. 

song of the moment 
She is Love - Blaqstarr

Friday, February 15, 2013

smile cuz it's JCREW

Each model was wearing some ensemble of surprise. Whether it was a loosely tucked in shirt or jacquard-ed out pants or a baseball cap or quizzical prints of an exotic land, J. Crew's Fall/Winter 2013 collection covered the essentials for styling and tailoring your wardrobe. 

It was almost too much for me. Each piece seemed seemed wearable and exciting. But the collection as a whole, I was confused. I was longing for a sense of coherency but the only theme that stringed everything together was kind of a chaos. I guess J.Crew is a very wide-market brand--or so it seems, I know nothing about how to judge markets--so they covered lots of interests and captured the eye, that's for sure. However, it captures my eye in so many places that I'm almost lost. I don't know where we are, but maybe that is actually where modern America is. Maybe we are actually at the center of this hodgepodge of culture, Maybe this is the contemporary definition of America envisioned a la Jenna Lyons: USA as an eclectic crossroads of exotic inspirations.  

I loved that this model smiled at me. I love when any of em smile. I think they are all more radiant with a smile. 

When I said there was a lot happening, I wasn't kidding right? I do appreciate the coif and bright lip motifs. They were kind of my hand rail throughout the collection; I knew I could expect at least that consistency. 

Varsity jackets are an instant win for me. And funny, I was wearing a varsity jacket that day. 

fun fact totally irrelevant to the fashion part of this. the model of this photo thought she recognized me and started to wave at me and speak to me in chinese and i SO wanted to go with it and actually have been her friend but obviously at some point she realized i wasn't the best friend she had in mind but oh well. it was cool for a second. i thought someone knew me or something. 

another fun fact totally irrelevant, actually 100% relevant in it's own way: i totally was not planning on going to this show. like, i wasn't even supposed to. but somehow i walked in. and i am not complaining. HO HO

This chick was one of my favorite models from the show. It's interesting, once you get a feel for a few shows, you kind of learn to build quick chemistry with the models when you take their photos. It's actually my favorite part. Yup, leave it to me for my favorite part to be about human interaction and smiling people. Anyway, this gal had a lot of energy and was sweetly playful through her smile. I find myself picking out fav models from shows unconsciously. It happens, and it's cool.

I told you! Isn't she lovely? 

Once I turned around, I realized there was a whole line of gorgeous men behind me. That was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Key words: casual, collegiate, creative.

Oh and, sartorialist surprise! I spot Scott Shuman of The Sartorialist looking quite bundled up in some fun, genteel prints. 

song of the moment
The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding