Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Perpetual Dalliance won't be so perpetual anymore...

This is my last post for PD. This blog was for class, and now that I've graduated I want to move on to a separate graduate life. Thanks for sticking with me through the semester!

---Jay Bee

Friday, May 13, 2011

Resisting the Rain

When it’s raining outside, there are those who look out their windows and think, “It’s raining. I better put on some sweatpants to match today’s mood.” Then there are those who decide “I’m not going to let this define my day.” I fall into the second category. When it’s raining (in the sky or on my life), I’m the person that works to bring everything full circle. When they sky turns gray, the nice outfits come out because I refuse to let outside influences make me feel blue (I don’t even own a pair of sweatpants). This post is dedicated to battling things that rain on life, particularly right now with my LAST set of final exams, graduation, and transitioning to working full time.

There’s nothing wrong with resisting the rain. There are always ways to escape from adverse circumstances by some means. The easiest way is through music. Its so simple— click a song on your ipod (or whatever audio device you use), and music can adjust your mood. When life is moving too fast, choose a slow song. When things seem sluggish, pick up the pace in an instant. Just remember to live in the moment sometimes! There’s also the option of inspirational quotes/mantras/prayers to balance one internally, but my horse isn’t high enough for me to tell others what they should believe in.

Now on to more superficial things (don’t judge me; they can help just as well). I believe clothing choices really can make a difference. Simply put, when one is well-dressed, it makes you less likely to slack off because you are dressed for an exceptional occasion. You are poised more confidently, sit a little straighter…your body language conveys to your own self that you are one the verge of succeeding. On the surface as well is the home. I’m definitely not imploring readers to ‘go regal’ and turn their homes into replicas of 18th century European drawing rooms, but a well put-together room can make your life seem less hectic. I don’t mean stuffy, I mean contemporary. If everything around you is perpetually clean and sleek, you can use this to encourage you to construct your life in the same way.
Tibi is a clothing line that never fails in designing for the self-assured woman, and Contemporist displays modern interior design from around the world.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Everyday Alternative

Looking over my last few posts, it seems to me that there is a theme of me versus capitalism, but that’s not my stance at all. I came to realize this on a trip to Europe where I was actually annoyed by the ‘less is more’ attitude. It didn’t fit the values I grew up with. I found myself thinking, “Where is the big stuff? Why aren’t people thinking More, More More, like we do at home? Why can’t I supersize my meals?” The entire time, I felt like I wanted a big, fat, juicy American hamburger (and I don’t even eat red meat). It’s sad that I missed the fatness and greediness of America, but that’s the reality of it. I’m not against it at all. 

This doesn’t mean I don’t value world consciousness and the green lifestyle. Both have their merits. Therefore, this post is dedicated to uniting the two perspectives. There are large companies that have chosen to take responsible stances, as well as small ones that take their business to a larger level. Here’s H&M’s take on green, and Etsy’s ever-expanding hand-made items market.
H&M frequently has collections that showcase the brands devotion to global awareness, such as the  Green Garden Collection that made use of recycled materials and organic fabrics: 

And the entire Etsy website displays original, artistic and vintage items up for grabs to customers wold-wide, and creates a space where like-minded people can come together as a community:
Estsy clutch, necklace, and painting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sweetlife Festival

Last weekend, a festival was held near DC sponsored by sweetgreen, an eco-friendly restaurant that promotes healthy eating options.  Green initiatives were promoted everywhere I turned, from kiosks to the on-foot orators perched on the walkways. It’s great to see products by companies that are conscious of the environment bringing their services to hundreds of people.

But really I was there for the music. My two favorite acts were slated to perform towards the end— Lupe Fiasco and The Strokes. I hold Lupe Fiasco to a higher standard than most hip-hop artists since his lyrics actually have a message. He demonstrates that he’s politically aware and bravely puts his opinions out there in the public, which is more than one can say about other artists who only sing/rap about superficial topics like money, cars, clothes and women as objects. On a completely different tune, The Strokes were the headlining band. They’re near the top of my list of best artists because their music fits one of my favorite themes- escapism. Everything about the music takes you to another time. The catchy beats of garage rock are reminiscent of the 1950’s and 60’s, and Julian Casablancas’ vocals are unique and represent real talent— way more than the mediocrity you hear on the radio. In general, the atmosphere of festivals has a 60’s feel to it, with hundreds of people coming together because of a common interest. It’s like living in a bubble for several hours, when everything else in your life stops and people simply enjoys live music together.  

Even the trend of festival outfits hinted at escapism. Borrowing from the idea of Pow Wows, there was face paint and feathers everywhere, and it was completely OK. Fashion was inspired by other parts of the world as well, like zebra and leopard print from Africa and the South and Central American Ikat print. Overall, I was satisfied by the Sweetlife Festivals capacity to transport me somewhere else.
What about you? Are there particular events that take you to a place you want to be?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Consumer Confession Post

I found the weirdest thing in my backpack today…It was the latest edition of Architectural Digest magazine. I’m ashamed to say I am in possession of such an object, but in my defense it was an impulse buy during a very stressful day (if that’s a legitimate defense). Most people would probably agree that purchasing such a non-assuming, wholesome magazine in a University bookstore is hardly a crime, but I guess you can say that I caught myself going against self-imposed ethics.

Let me explain further—

I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t let the pull of consumer-glamour get to them. In my mind, I imagine the modern day Don Drapers plotting together in their still highly-stratified offices on ways that will appeal to our weakness, and make us think we have to buy things in order to be happy. I realized a long time ago that keeping up with the Joneses would only bring a superficial satisfaction at best. This is why I believe so much in the green concept— acquiring or making items that have some sort of substance to them. Whether it’s the enriching history of an antique/vintage piece, or the sense of fulfillment one gets from going green and doing their part to save the planet. On this side of the fence, there is also a nod to the individual, the unique. Hand-made items become more personal because you know they weren’t made in factories halfway across the world, but by crafty individuals who have a passion for working with their hands.

This is why Architectural Digest is such a no-no for me. Purchasing it was like giving in to that Draper caricature. I wanted to see how the other half was living (or rather how the other 2% was living), knowing it had the potential to make me unhappy with my current situation. Luckily, as I flipped through the pages, I began to realize that I was not the target audience. It was geared towards a much more fragile demographic— the middle-aged man. You know, the ones going through mid-life crises who buy the convertibles and stock up on Rogaine. So fortunately, I was spared!

I’m not anywhere near Catholic, but in keeping with the title of my post, here are my 3 Hail Mary’s. These are blogs/websites that offer you a little more substance:
I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with my guilt! Hopefully some of you can relate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Word Nerd

Being an English Literature major, I like to think I have a special admiration for words and their power (strangely, I have a unique appreciation for paper as well…don’t judge me). Since my early childhood, I have gravitated towards spelling and writing more so than mathematics and sciences. Also, certain words resonate especially profound with me. I get a prick of interest whenever I come across them or have the opportunity to use them in my own writing. This is a post dedicated solely to that ambition, and the Word of the Day is Myriad.
Dictionary.com defines Myriad as follows:

As you can probably deduce from the title of my blog, I prefer to incorporate euphemisms when other options might be perceived in a negative or disagreeable light. Myriad is a beautiful way of conveying I don’t know the exact amount of the item I’m talking about. But it doesn’t have a negative connotation; in fact it serves to romanticize the concept. Myriad communicates the idea of limitlessness. It brings to mind the potential of endless possibilities, the ability to reach for the sky. To me, the word is inherently optimistic and expresses a feeling of enormity and enthusiasm.
The other meaning for Myriad describes the notion of constant deviation. To some, this might seem like more of a con than pro, but for me it’s quite exciting. The fact that things can be indefinable gives the World of Words more credibility. This allows for a more accurate description of the world around you. You can convey the feeling that things are more than just black and white. Myriad can represent the grey areas of life, not the “either/or”s but the “and/but”s, which are often more complex.

I think I’ve proved my nerdy-ness for the time being, but feel free to add your own thoughts!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Break: Around the World in 7 Days

Okay, the title is a bit exaggerated— I didn’t leave the DC area, but my friends and I tried our hardest to make trips to another place or time. As a local, it’s rare that I see my city as this Great Place worthy of millions of visitors from all around the world. When I encounter the occasional starry-eyed tourist with a camera glued to their face, I think Oh, they’ll get over it in a few days. But my excursions during Spring Break inspired me to develop a newfound appreciation for my city as I discovered new ways to get away without hopping on a plane. Isn’t it true that when you visit a place, you want to be immersed in its culture…but when you’re used to it, you are constantly searching for ways to escape? Here are my top three excursions during Spring Break 2011:

#1—Bus Boys and Poets
This is a trendy restaurant I’ve been meaning to visit for a while. The food is delicious (I had a yummy crab cake sandwich) but what people come here for is the atmosphere. It has a chic, slightly counter-culture vibe and seem to be progressive and world-conscious. We attended the Open Mic segment and were entertained by the spoken word performances from local artists.  

#2—National Gallery of Art
I know, very touristy. However, art history is one of my passions and I unapologetically dragged my friends around for hours, mostly within the Modern and Contemporary Art sections. I’m currently taking a Modern Art class, and it was a different experience looking at the art up close rather than from a projector screen. It was definitely worth looking at my friends’ blank expressions and ignoring their dragging footsteps.

A Roy Lichenstein  

A Henri Matisse

#3— A Taste of India
I’m not one to experiment with food, but this time I was outvoted. I was reluctant to taste anything, but as soon as I took a bite I was converted. The entire meal was exquisite, from the main dish to every single one of the sauces. Not to mention the environment. The restaurant was decorated in textiles and pillows that added character and gave it a very rich feeling.