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Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Updated 9:30 PM: Hooray!! It arrived! Crisis averted!


So, as I said last week, my plan was to go as an adorable Little Red Riding Hood with a hoodie dress from niceface.etsy.com. Everything went smoothly and perfectly, and I was supposed to have my dress by Saturday, which would have been awesome.

Except I... don't have it yet. My dress is floating around somewhere in San Francisco's postal system. It sucks because it's only the second thing I've had sent to my new address since moving, and it's one of those things where timing is everything. (Again, this is TOTALLY not the seller's fault at ALL -- she did an amazing job of turning around a custom dress order and had it in the mail last Wednesday, and it should have arrived last week if not this Monday, which is more than enough time.)

So I'm flustered and worried and not sure what I'm going to do. I hope it arrives today or tomorrow (or even Friday -- I wasn't planning on wearing it to work), but I'm starting to think about other costumes I can pull together. I'm going to be out tonight and tomorrow so I won't have much (if any) time to run into a store (either Halloween costume store or regular store).

Luckily, Jennine at The-Coveted.com has been doing awesome Halloween in My Closet posts, ranging from sailors to Natasha Fatale to The 60's Housewife. (I'm still holding out hope that she'll do the See's Candies girl, but time is running out and she's got a lot of neat ideas!)

So I'm regarding what I have in my closet, and I have some emergency back-up ideas just in case the USPS lets me down:

- Liz Lemon -- I was thinking about doing this anyway, as people were suggesting I should go as another brunette with glasses (even though my hair is short and blonde), but honestly it would look like "Jeanne eating a bag of Cheetos with a Sabor de Soledad logo pasted on it", especially since I no longer have the time to get myself a wig. I might have to add lettuce to my hair.
- MAC Girl -- We all know what the sales assistants at the MAC stores and counters look like: all in black with silver jewelry and intense eye make-up. Well, I have all black, and I have silver jewelry, and I have a lot of MAC eyeshadows to play with. (I also have a brush belt, but not handy, argh.) This would be an easy one to do, but I don't know if people would get it.
- Edie Sedgwick - I was considering doing this last year anyway, as I love her style and have a lot of the pieces (dark tops, black opaque tights, short blonde hair) already.
- American Apparel model -- I have a ton of AA stuff in my closet. This would be easy to pull together, as all I'd have to do is lie on couches with my sock feet in the air or stand against white walls. Also, I probably would not need to shower.
- Agyness Deyn -- I would totally throw on random things from my closet and go. Plus a hat (or headband).

I will definitely keep you posted on what I ultimately decide, and perhaps there will be pictures! Keep your fingers crossed that my dress shows up, but I'll figure something out no matter what.

Ever had to pull together a last minute costume? And, if you had to help me pick one of these closet costumes, what would you vote for me to choose?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Science Fair for October 20th - 26th

It's a small but entertaining Science Fair this week! (And, uh, a late one, but shhh.)

- Here's an interview with the voice of Sleeping Beauty, which is my all-time favorite Disney movie. (Tchaikovsky!)

- Last night was the season two finale of Mad Men, and so here's an excellent interview with Matthew Weiner. MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT, okay? So please do not yell at me if you click on it and read something you didn't want to know until you watch all of season two, okay? Because SPOILERS.

- In more TV news, you can watch the first episode of Season 3 of 30 Rock now on Hulu.

- And in more Mad Men/Hulu news, here's the SNL clip of Don Draper's guide to picking up women.

- "It's like herding LOLCats."

- And speaking of like LOLCats, check out Upside Down Dogs. Eeee!

Have a great week and a happy Halloween on Friday!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

You wanna be on top (of the masthead)?

So here's something about me you probably don't know: I'm typically very cautious, but sometimes I will jump into something wildly and impulsively. I don't know why, but sometimes I just go, "Oh, what the heck!" and jump and see what happens.

In what may not seem like related news, tonight was the premiere of Stylista, the new fashion reality show on the CW. And here's where they tie in: I tried out for it back in February! I ultimately opted not to continue on in the hopes of becoming Elle's next top junior editor and stick with my job and the blog and my life as normal, because I honestly don't think I could handle the pressure of always being "on" for TV, whether it's behaving myself or always pulling the perfect outfit together. (I also didn't want to have to read about myself on Television Without Pity or Jezebel. Just saying.)

I do know, however, that my strategy would have been to be the one who's there to make friends -- after all, the fashion industry is about connections, and being someone who reaches out to people would have been my plan. Because honestly, if you're coming off as super-negative and you're there for the drah!mah! and airtime and to be a villain, no one is going to hire you when the show is over. And so I'm stoked that Johanna, the fab fashion blogger, is not only super-smart and stylish, but she's also reaching out to Kate and offering to help her out even though she's not even her teammate. (Notice they didn't play her up too much this episode, which means she's in the long game. I watch way too much reality TV, you guys.)

I wish I'd known about Johanna's blog before she decided to take it down (a good call, considering how huge and extensive the contracts and NDAs and background checks etc. etc. are), but I found some more awesome bits and pieces about her from Project Beltway, Fashion is Spinach, and a fabulous five-questions-plus-one from the DC Goodwill Fashionista. (I really do need to do some more blog exploring!)

So while I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I didn't have to face Anne Slowey every day for up to eight weeks, I'm also kind of excited to see what happens. I'm definitely rooting for Johanna and Danielle, since they both seem like awesome girls, and I'm so glad that they're much, much braver than I am.

Have you checked out Stylista? Would you ever consider trying out for a reality TV show? And, help me out with my blog exploring: who am I not reading and should be? I've got my full fashion-and-beauty Bloglines in the left hand sidebar -- where's a noticeable absence?

image from cwtv.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love to dress up ridiculously and I love candy, so... there you go.

Even as a kid, I never liked the Halloween-costume-in-a-bag costumes, and was always making insane demands of my mother and her sewing machine. ("I want to be a parrot! A pink poodle! Odette from Swan Lake!") And now that I'm older and, well, can't ask Mom to do everything for me, it's a little harder to put together some of the awesome costumes I have in mind. And then, of course, I always get the great ideas for what to be next year... on November 1st. (Isn't that how it always is?)

One of the ideas I've been batting around for the past couple of years (way back when I had long brown hair) was to dress up as Persephone, but I have yet to get around to doing so. Still, if I wanted to be some sort of gorgeous mythological figure or nymph or wood sprite, I would be ordering a gorgeous crown from whichgoose.etsy.com. Her work is simply incredible. (Maybe next year. Remind me of this in early October, someone!)

If you're feeling more like a wing-y fairy than a nymph, you should check out the beautiful wings by UpfromtheAshes.etsy.com -- my favorite pair is this blue and black pair with a pink daisy.

Or! If you're feeling more sinister, the excellent things at MTcoffinz.etsy.com (for custom orders) and MTcoffinzUnderground (for ready made) are fun and a little more sassy, especially if you're in the market for excellent and original tutus (because when aren't you in the market for excellent and original tutus?). I love the bat wing cape at MTcoffinzUnderground and the Striped Cherry tutu at MTcoffinz (or the UV Cyber Pink ruffle tutu -- fab!). Love 'em. Kind of want one. A lot.

And finally, to reveal what I'm actually doing for my costume this year, I bought a hoodie dress from niceface.etsy.com. I'd been thinking about it for ages, ever since I saw Persephassa's in her outfit photos for wardrobe_remix (Day 228 and Day 192, for example). I thought it would be fun to be a not-over-the-top-sexy Little Red Riding Hood (I will still be cute, but I won't be Little Red Hot Riding Hood, you know?). Paired with a bow headband from Sweet Rococo, I am set and adorable and then I'll also have a sweet new jersey dress in my wardrobe as well. Hooray!

Timing is of the essence now, so if you're thinking of ordering something off of Etsy in order to get it in time for Halloween next week (I know! So soon!), you should probably do it soon, as well as letting the seller know that you'd like it in time (and might need to upgrade shipping).

What are you planning on for Halloween? It's a Friday (woohoo!) this year, so it's a great night to stay out late with the ghoulies!

image from whichgoose.etsy.com

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cabbage Soup for the Soul

As I’ve probably overshared on our blog before, I am on a perpetual quest to better myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of the above take a toll financially, of course, but since we are now in the age of belt-tightening limitations on lifestyle (thanks, recession!), I have become all about tightening the belt in a physical sense rather than financial. Specifically, by the time I got out of grad school this August, I was fed up with the way I was—twenty pounds overweight since 2005 and half-heartedly trying to limit myself to 2,000 calories a day.

Living in New York City the better part of this year, of course, was tough. Pizza is just too delicious sometimes to make you stop and think, “Should I be eating this?” Well, let’s say pizza, tortilla chips, French fries, hot dogs, reuben sandwiches, Mister Softee vanilla soft-serve cones (the best!), the list goes on. I love them all dearly, but the age of emotional eating and self-rewarding with food is over.

So, for the last few months, I started up on the Weight Watchers program for the second (maybe third?) time, determined to change my lifestyle for the better. It hasn’t been wildly successful, I’m losing at a rate of a little less than 0.5 pounds per week, but I am buoyed by the knowledge that every choice I make adds up to a overall effort towards a better, healthier, faster, stronger, spiffier me.

As women, we’re exposed to dietary tips from all angles, on television from lifestyle gurus espousing detox diets when on the Food Network, they’re making frosted cake monuments to Americans’ obsession with food. “Women’s” magazines want you to eat this now and prevent Alzheimer’s disease later in life, drink wrinkle-fighting Amazonian berry purees for perkier boobies, the list goes on. Dieting tips from our mothers and grandmothers are, a la Betty Draper, to in the vein of eating iceberg lettuce instead of that juicy, delicious steak everyone else is having. For the modern-day health-minded woman, it’s tough to know who to trust and what advice to follow. Pay beaucoup bucks for a personal nutritionist and chef, and you’re set, but what are the rest of us supposed to do?

The below is a list of tips and tricks for losing weight through dieting that I’ve heard, tried, or formed an opinion about in the last few years. Everyone has advice on this matter, and it’s hard to know which tidbits are urban myths and which are based in nutritional, dietary, and/or biological fact. Here we go!

-Chew each bite of food 100 times.
…So you get so tired of the taste and texture of it, you just feel like not eating anymore. There is some healthy inspiration behind this tidbit, mainly that most emotional eaters, the time-crunched, the exhausted, the hordes and masses, scarf down their food without actually enjoying it. What a thought! Thoroughly masticating, rather than swallowing whole, also helps digestion along—remember, this is why we evolved to have both molars and cuspids. It’s unnecessary to chew every single bite 100 times, just make sure you chew and savor the flavors and complexity (or simplicity!) of what you’re putting in your mouth.

-Eat an apple before each meal (three apples a day).
I tried this. After about two days, you are so sick of apples you never, ever want to see them again. It’s an easy way to cram in your mandatory servings of fruits and veggies, but it’s not a sustainable dieting method. The “apple” diet, like so many others, is essentially meal replacement. Apples are great, but you can only eat so many out of hand before you start feeling a little sick, so take a dose of reality and just add ONE apple a day to your diet, not three!

-Eat a bowl of soup at the start of each meal.
Soups will fill you up and are an easy, delicious delivery vehicle for those oh-so-important fruits and veggies, but be careful—-soups like cream of broccoli are often more cream than broccoli. If you can curb your cravings for burgers and fries with a nice bowl of chunky vegetable minestrone, then all the more power to you. Soups are great if you're trying to pack your diet full of veggies, but beware of your sodium intake. Most off-the-shelf canned soups and broths are high in sodium, which can lead to water retention, and you won't see that scale budge an inch.

-Drink a glass of water before each meal/snack.
If your tummy is full of liquid, you'll certainly feel full faster, but this method requires a steel resolve. Only mind over matter will convince your brain that you're full of nutritious food instead of water. Be careful with this method as well, believe it or not, over-consumption of water can lead to hyponatremia, a dangerously low level of sodium in your bloodstream, or water intoxication--yes, like alcohol. Healthy guidelines for your daily water intake say that eight glasses or more a day (64+ liquid ounces) is good to keep your body hydrated, and those oh-so-important chemical balances in check.

-Eat off of a fork without letting your lips touch the tines.
I remember seeing Jennifer Jason Leigh do this in The Best Little Girl in the World when I was a young teen, and it scarred me for life. Thanks, JJL, for ensuring that my parents would never have to force-feed me peanut butter sandwiches in the middle of the night, because you certainly discouraged me from anorexia in any way, shape, or form. The idea behind the fork method is a kooky one. If your lips don't touch the food, you're sparing yourself the (meager) calories on the fork with every bite, and depriving yourself of the act of enjoying that food. This sort of thing is the sign of an unhealthy relationship with food and pleasure. You've been warned. Go watch a 1981 vintage anorexia movie.

-Replace one meal a day with [Special K, Ensure, PowerBar, Grape Nuts, SlimFast, etc. etc.]
You see it on all the packages in the grocery store, some woman lost six pounds in a month by eating cereal for two meals every day and obviously, it MUST be the cereal, not simple ol' meal replacement and limiting calories! It's a bit of a hoax, ladies, because A) you aren't getting the satisfaction of eating different kinds of foods, B) you'll get so sick of that meal replacement so fast it's not even funny, and C) in the long term, it can lead to vitamin deficiencies. This is a short-term boon for short-term weight loss. Once you start eating real meals regularly, you'll gain that weight back. And, don't forget, if you apply yourself, eat healthily and exercise, you should be able to lose two pounds per week--more than the Special K box says!

-Eat with chopsticks (smaller bites).
I heard this cockamamie nonsense from somebody in Weight Watchers, and I had to laugh. I've been eating with chopsticks all my life and I am certainly no skinny Minnie. You might be taking smaller bites, but if you're still ordering the chicken karaage and tonkatsu or kung pao chicken and larded-up fried rice, you're eating the same number of calories in one go as your neighbor shoveling it in with a fork and spoon. I do think eating with chopsticks allows you to savor eat bite and experience the balance of flavors and textures more than a big spoonful would. Then again, Asian cuisine has evolved to be eaten with chopsticks, while the creamy pastas and creamy chicken bakes of the West are to be eaten with forks, so maybe there is a little something more complex behind this one.

-Don't pick up the next bite of food until you have completely finished chewing, swallowing, and savoring the previous one.
Like chewing a bite 100 times, eating smaller bites, or anything, this is easier said than done. I tried it for about a week and it's true that the way we eat today, there is no pause for contemplation between bites. I really had to force myself to stop picking up the next bite through sheer will--try it, it's excruciating.

-Stall the bread basket.
All too often when you go out to eat, the bread/chips/dip/fries/something fattening is on the table before you've even gotten a glass of water. If you think about it, no one does this at home, so why do restaurants insist on ruining your appetite with fried goodies? I always thought it was embarrassing to have to send the bread basket back to the kitchen untouched, or to tell the waiter to take it away, but watch yourself the next time you dine out. You'd be surprised how many slices of bread end up in your stomach before your main meal arrives! It's a good temptation to avoid, if you're just starting out of the dieting gate--particularly hold the butter, or olive oil dip. (I remember watching my vegetarian cousins eat pats of butter once as kids at an Italian restaurant, and now I can't even look at those little gold-wrapped pats.)

-Say "no cheese" or "no dressing" on soups, pizzas, and salads.
My mother always insisted on this, and let me tell you, cheeseless pizza is an abomination. Still, if you go without the creamy, mayonnaise-y dressings, you're always better off calorie-wise. The other habit she taught me was to order salad dressing on the side, and rather than dumping the whole ramekin-full onto your greens, dip your fork delicately into the dressing before spearing your veggies. You'll get the whole flavor shebang without the whole serving of dressing ending up on your thighs. (Does that sound like your mother, too, or what?)

I'll end this rather dour list of scathing diet reviews with some interesting, delicious, and outlandish recommendations out of the media lately:
-USAToday has menus for six healthified "comfort" foods, making up a daily intake under 1,500 calories.

-ABC News says the pen is mightier than the pounds.

-Out of the UK, the Times asks, Can eating au naturale help you diet?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Roller derby!!

In August, I went to my first roller derby bout and was immediately caught up in it; I'm super-competitive, love terrible puns, and am all for women doing awesome fun things. So of course I fell hard for the roller derby.

This past weekend, Karen and I went again (as I mentioned in Out and About and Karen did in Science Fair), and we both agreed that we want to give it a try. Wacky, right? We've already gone to a roller-skating rink and rented quad skates, but all we've been able to talk about the past couple of days is when we're going to go get our own skates.

Anyway, after my first trip to the derby back in August, I was inspired to create a Polyvore set of a roller derby player for a made-up team, because part of the fun of derby is taking on a persona and accessorizing accordingly. The Oakland Outlaws, for example, have Pandamonium who paints big black panda-circles around her eyes. The Richmond Wrecking Belles have a fierce blocker, Demanda Riot, with full face paint -- all white except for a black stripe across the eyes -- and doubled-up tights. (You can see her on the Wikipedia roller derby page, too.) It's really inspiring and a lot of fun, and so I had to play around with the idea.

I started with a pink Dickie's dress, which would obviously be shortened -- most derby girl dresses/jerseys/tops are cut to the hip to allow for more movement. Thus, underneath, the navy blue booty shorts from American Apparel. In addition to all of the protective gear (wrist, elbow, knees, and, of course, helmet), I added fishnets (of course!), pink-and-black striped armwarmers, and pink laces/wheels on the black skates.

The pink star means that this skater would be a jammer -- the skater who has to break through the pack from behind, then lap the pack to start scoring points. These stars are on fabric helmet covers, which the girls pop on and off of their helmets depending on which jam they're in. I think that the jammer might be a role I'd be good at, since I'm little and (somewhat) speedy. Therefore, the jammer!

I also focused a lot on the make-up, since that's something I'd definitely want to play with. There are pink and purple eyeshadows, including the MAC Heatherette palette from last spring. That said, a lot of the new Mineralize eyeshadows from the new "Red" She Said collection would be awesome, especially the Danger Zone trio (not pink and purple, but definitely derby-friendly with its hot red/silver/black combo... so I think I might have to have it). I also threw a red lipstick in there, because you need to have some of that going on too, and MAC always does great reds (thus why the red lip is the basis of their new collection). I included the Urban Decay black liquid eyeliner as well, since you need strong long-lasting liner when you're sweating like crazy. (It goes without saying that one would be using Primer Potion, right?)

Finally, since I love nail polish, there are four options for nail color, depending on how cute and girly (red or pink) or dark and tough (black or navy) the skater wants to go. I know I'd be going for the dark nails, because it would just look so awesome.

What have you been inspired by lately? What fun sporty things are you enjoying? (I could just as easily do a baseball or football inspired theme, and I know I'm not the only one who picks her colors based on her team!)

And, if you were a derby girl, what would your name be? (I'm not telling mine, because someday it will be mine for real...)

image from polyvore.com

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Science Fair for October 6th-12th

Fall has come to California! It was so bitterly cold this morning that I almost busted out my winter wool coat from NYC, can you believe it? Jeanne and I spent the day out in San Francisco yesterday, where we discovered tons of great, new, local designers, poorly behaved Boston terriers, and how totally awesome the roller derby is. More to come from us re: those designers, and roller derby, so keep an eye out! Now for your weekly dose of the Science Fair:

-I am a lady on a mission, and that mission is to smell like freshly picked apples all day long. It's taken a lot of research, a lot of flim-flamming about on the internet, but we have managed to compile a treasure trove of fragrances that should do the trick. I suppose one could always carry around a perfectly ripe honeycrisp apple to bite into at appropriately dramatic moments, but my purse is only so big.

-Speaking of apples, I've also been making pies like a madwoman these days. I'd post pictures if they weren't attacked with forks and knives the minute they come out of the oven, alas and alack! Not only does my co-worker bring in bags of freshly picked apples from his trees every week, but I am a die-hard (maybe the secondmost die-hard-est) fan of Pushing Daisies. Specifically, I think everyone in the whole world should be watching it, loving it, and living it as I do. Lee Pace, do you know how much I love you?

-Since Jeanne and I just went to the roller derby (Oakland vs Richmond, it was glorious), we have been obsessed with taking up quad-skating. I've been looking at SkateMall, which even has a separate derby-related section, but am offended by the ridiculous names all of the other skates have. Why are ladies' skates called "angel" and "cheerleader" when the exact same skate, in black, is only for men and called "senator" or "athelete"? If you've ever seen derby girls in action, they are most definitely athletes, thank you very much, skate-making industry! I want to eventually join the Silicon Valley Roller Girls, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

-Last weekend, I saw Stuart Townsend's Battle in Seattle, a slightly fictionalized version of the protests at the 1999 WTO meeting. As somewhat of an expert in riot control agents, I found the escalation of tensions and confusion between the police, government, protestors, and locals fascinating, and it's something you see every day on the streets of America, on a smaller scale. It's still happening today in Thailand.

We have political signs in our front yards, on bumper stickers, and tensions are running high right now. The message, really, is to remember that we are all human beings, all working to make this a better world for ourselves, if not one another. So, ladies and gentlemen, be kind, be understanding, and above all make your own opinion. You don't have to follow the party line just because you feel obliged, or everyone else is, you have to do what is right, and be passionate about it. That's all.

Well, that was pretty much MY week. We put up a "Vote NO on Prop 8" sign in our front yard. If you're a Californian please do your research and make an informed decision. Above all, have a great week, eat some fresh apples, and enjoy these early fall days!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Out and About: October 11th and 12th

Yay, another Out and About! Fun things that are going on this weekend!

- Tomorrow is the Bay Area Guide to Independent Fashion at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts! Karen and I will be there! It will be fun!

- Also tomorrow, with doors at 7 and the bout starting at 8, is the Bay Area Derby Girls League Championships! It's the Oakland Outlas versus the Richmond Wrecking Belles, and it should be awesome.

- Sunday the San Francisco Indie Mart returns to Thee Parkside. Fair warning, last time I mentioned how delicious the Thee Parkside french fries are? Yeah, everyone knows and wants to eat them, so you will end up in line for hours for fries. Just saying. (But they are delicious!) I hope to be there, but I might be getting some furniture delivered...

Do you have fun plans for this weekend? If so, I'd love to hear them!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Boots, briefly

It's October, and I am super-busy, and I am thinking about boots.

Now that I've moved, I'm one of the commuters who walks to and from public transit (in my case, the train) every day. I've mapped it out in Google Maps and that's about three miles a day. So, understandably, I'm looking for comfortable, flat shoes that aren't sneakers. I've got sneakers, and I've been wearing sneakers, buuut they're sneakers and maybe I should wear actual shoes that don't untie themselves every so often. Also, I have cute skirts and dresses and a huge collection of colored tights that I should be wearing more often.

So, to go with said colored tights, I'm thinking about Frye's Veronica shortie. I think they have the right balance of girly, classic, and sturdy that I could possibly justify the $268 cost if I order direct from Frye because they'll last forever. (That said, holy dang, that's a lot of money that I probably should be saving instead, but a good pair of boots is a good investment...)

The thing is, I think they're too short to go well over jeans, and my jeans are too skinny to go over the boots, so they'd have to be worn with skirts and dresses only. Which I can do. I'll think about it.

So, to go with my skinny jeans, I'm considering some Minnetonka moccasin boots. I've been thinking about them since, oh, January, back when I was hoping that spring was around the corner. My major concern would be the suede on rainy days when I'd be dodging puddles and walking through wet grass, but I also think they could be super-comfortable. It would be like wearing slippers to the office! These I wouldn't wear with skirts/tights etc., but would go well with jeans. Plus they're $38.95 (I'd be getting them in black; the white is more expensive), which isn't bad. It would be much more justifiable to spend forty bucks on them.

So, while on the train, I've been thinking about boots. I don't know if I'll be buying either pair, but it's something I'm keeping in the back of my mind. There are other pairs I'm thinking about too, but these two are definitely front runners.

What boots are you thinking about this fall?

images from thefryecompany.com and minnetonkamoccasinshop.com

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Science Fair for September 29th - October 5th

I have officially moved into my new apartment (is it really official if all of your nail polish and make-up has yet to make the move? but they'll be arriving today), and so here is this week's Science Fair! It's very fashion-y this week.

- The New York Times talks with American-grown Gothic Lolitas.

- Bruno has been out and about in Milan, Stella McCartney's show, and yet another Paris show. I have to say, though, because of the higher visibility of these fashion shows, won't it make the movie kind of less shocking/funny because we already know where he'll be and what he's doing?

- SFIndieFashion.com points out three ways indie fashion fans can save money while still supporting independent designers.

- And finally, while everyone may be a little nervous about what preservatives are in your body products and cosmetics and how they might affect us, I think it's just as important to see what happens when you don't have preservatives...

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mad Girl and Gossip Men

Gossip Girl fans, I'd like to introduce you to the Mad Men fans. Mad Men fans, meet the Gossip Girl fans.

Jezebel has been running posts on Mad Men on Monday mornings, since MM airs on Sundays, and Tracie, Jezebel editor, has made the excellent point that "Mad Men is Gossip Girl for grown-ups". And, well, it's true. There's enough overlap between the two shows that there should be more audience overlap as well.

First off, there's no denying the fashion influence of both Gossip Girl and Mad Men. Whether it's walking down the runways or walking down the street, we as viewers and consumers are drawn to these looks -- and we want to recreate them ourselves. And fashion designers are taking note.

But beyond the fact that both shows are really really pretty to look at, they have a lot of thematic similarities. The basic gist of Gossip Girl is that these four -- Serena, Blair, Nate, and Chuck -- are always on display and trying to keep their private lives out of the public eye of Gossip Girl herself. They have their secrets and their pasts and, especially in the case of Blair, the desire to maintain control over their own image. With Mad Men, everyone's got to maintain appearances and their own secrets, whether it's Don's affairs as well as his past, Betty's domestic unhappiness, or Peggy's denial of her present. (I am trying so hard not to spoil everyone, you guys!) In both shows, it's all about how you present yourself in public and how that collides with the people who know -- or should know -- who you really are.

There's also a common character in both shows -- New York City, but a New York City that most of us can never or will never know. I'm never going to be a high school student on the Upper East Side (and thank goodness, because I'm so done with high school!), and I'll never be a woman in the 1960s (another HUGE thank goodness here). And so while there is a form of escapism present in both shows, it's pretty clear that where they are is not so great. None of the GG characters are happy, and things aren't so great for the women or minorities of MM (to put it extremely lightly).

An interesting thought I had is -- where would Blair go in Mad Men? How would she fit in? Obviously, the direct connection is with Joan; Blair rules her group of underclassmen with an iron fist and a tight smile, while Joan, the head secretary, runs the entire corps of secretaries at Sterling Cooper much the same. I think they would either get along really well... or destroy each other in the process. Then again, I can also see Blair as Trudy Campbell, the well-to-do wife of Pete Campbell. Considering that that's basically what her mother and Nate's parents wanted for her in Season One, there's a good fit there. (Plus you know Trudy would be able to go toe-to-toe with someone like Joan or Blair if needed.) But Blair could also go the path of Betty Draper, of the overbearing mother, who's achieved exactly what she wanted: to be beautiful, to have the husband and the children, to have the perfect life... and found it to be something other than she expected. So that's just something that's been rolling around my mind lately.

Finally, both shows need you to watch. For all of the buzz and the awards and the blogs (you know, like us) talking about these two shows, they're both struggling to get actual viewers. Mad Men averaged less than a million viewers during its first season. Gossip Girl does a little better, but is still in the 3 million viewer range. Sure, you can factor in that a lot of us are watching online or waiting until the DVDs come out, but networks are in the business of putting shows on television, not online or on DVD, and if they don't think the viewers are there, they very well could kill the show...

So: there's my argument. If you like Mad Men, Gossip Girl might surprise you. And if you like Gossip Girl, you should be checking out Mad Men.

Do you watch either? Or do you watch both? What do you think?

images from amctv.com and youknowyouloveme.org

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