check my swag and get up to date

I woke up this morning with Kanye in my head, and I think that strut carried me through the day and into three rather lovely professional triumphs. I've been feeling like a baller all day, and it's awesome.

Thankfully, I dressed well to go with my swagger today, because at 3:15 this afternoon I got the news that I'd gotten the hook up to attend a reception with Justice Sonia Sotomayor... at 3:30. Yes, really. Sometimes I have to step back and say, "wait, real life, really? sweet!"

Dress, Target (yes, I wore a Target dress to a reception with a Supreme Court
Justice); scarf, Forever 21; brooch, vintage; tights, Hue; bag, Matt & Nat;
heels, Etienne Aigner; watch, Nixon; bracelet, Until There's A Cure.


imaginary women

"Seeing is a form of thinking.": the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jim Nutt exhibition.

I really, really need to go dunk myself in modern art about three times per week. It's good for my brain. (And like any art opening, it's a parade of People Wearing Nice Glasses. Did I think about this when deciding to wear my glasses today? Not consciously, no, but I'm sure my plans to go to the MCA tonight after work informed the eschewing of contacts on some level.)

Blazer, Nick & Mo; sweater, Uniqlo; bangle, Urban Outfitters; jeans, Uniqlo; booties, Via Spigia.

This might be failing the "stop looking boring" project, but it's failing better.


coffee, black

This morning, I was, for once, awake at a decent hour. This is opposed to my very very bad habit of waking up at 7:45 when I absolutely must leave the house no later than 8:15 and running around half-dazed until I step outside and the cold air shocks me into alertness. As I was conscious and mostly functional at 7:00, I had a moment to grab the camera and tripod for a pre-work outfit photo. I was rather pleased with my outfit choice for the day, and felt I was fulfilling the “stop looking boring” mandate.

I grabbed my mug of coffee, stood still for a few photos, and reviewed the pictures before heading out the door. Only by looking at photos did I realize that I was wearing one pointy-toed black leather boot, and one square-toed black leather boot. The heels on these boots are not even the same height.

The appropriate boot was swapped out, and more photos were taken, and this time I clutched my mug of coffee to me, as it was clear that I required a little extra caffeinated help for my brain. I’m a grown-up, and I can dress myself. Mostly.

(This afternoon at work, I touched up some scuffs on the toes of these boots with a black sharpie. +2 points for fixing the appearance of my shoes, -5 points for doing so with a permanent marker in lieu of black shoe polish.)

Ribbed cardigan, Target; houndstooth dress, Target; belt, vintage; watch, Nixon; generic and
snagged tights; wonderfully warm and lovely knee-high socks, Uniqlo; boots, Enzo Angiolini.



(all images from the amazing and wonderful blog of Vivian Maier's photography, where there's lots more to see)

The story behind Vivian Maier's street photography, her negatives being rediscovered by two Chicagoans, her photos being printed, and their exhibition is utterly fascinating. Even more so are her photographs, which take my breath away.
They're on view at the "Finding Vivian Maier: Chicago Street Photographer" exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, and well worth going to see. I went to the opening party was a few weeks ago, and I think that had the crush of people not effectively held me up with their collective density, I may have fallen into a swoon. I demand that you go see this exhibition.


hoof it

I am deeply, ridiculously susceptible to suggestion, especially when it comes in the dulcet tones of Bill Cunningham. (He just wants you to look good! And take your photo! Well, if you are impossibly gorgeous and/or Important, that is. Small details.)
So naturally, I am now on an obsessive quest for ankle boots. Join me.

Like a sherpa, but for awesomeness instead of Everest. Does the fleecy lining mean they're practical winter-in-Chicago footwear? Please?

These are like the shoe equivalent of Bambi, all fawn-colored and pettable. If that's not creepy. And it probably is.

Do you know how fucking tall I would be in these? (Yes, approximately 6'1".)

Back zipper: "I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you walk away."



Confession: I have been intensely, disappointingly boring lately.
Well, I am marinating some Korean-esque pork and making yuzu crème brulée* at the moment, which I think is both interesting and delicious, but I'm thinking more specifically about the wardrobe.

The Stop Dressing Like An Undergrad project was spectacularly good for me, in that gave me a theme and a goal and such. I definitely failed at dressing like a grown-up on many occasions, but damned if I didn't keep trying. But of late, I realize that I'm in a clothing rut. I look boring. Or worse than boring, I look over-thought.

One of the things spurring this is the state of my closet. No, not a "I have nothing to weaaaaaaar" lament: I have plenty of clothes. Two closets full of clothes. The tragedy here is that only about one closet's worth of those clothes currently fits. I did a much-needed cleaning this week, and it was humbling. Probably 45% of the clothes I own currently fit me. That's not because I buy things in small sizes and say "oh, I'll wear that someday"- these are all clothes that have fit me well within the last three years. Clothes that I bought and loved and wore constantly, as they were flattering and made me feel good. And now most of those clothes cannot be zipped up or worn outside the house, and this is fucking sad.
(*hey, these two things are related!)

I set aside all the "this is far too small" stuff, but not too far aside. I want to see those pieces and remind myself how much I loved wearing that vintage dress with the panel skirt, and the wide-legged pinstripe trousers, and the high-waisted brocade skirt, and the low-backed dress from the 1930's.

I'd been ignoring this for too long, and I'd started reaching for the same four things in my closet nearly every day. Black pencil skirt, grey tights, grey v-neck sweater, black long cardigan; sometimes I'd mix it up and grab grey jeans, black boots, black v-neck sweater, and black long cardigan. And yes, that can look nice. But every goddamn day, D? Step it up. Make an effort. Stop looking boring. And then I'd panic and swing too far in the opposite direction in a desperate over-correction, and I'd find myself in a miniskirt, knee-highs, 5" heels, and a sweater. No one looks stylish in that ensemble, I promise you. Can one be twenty-eight and fall under "mutton dressed as lamb"? If so, that has been me.

And thank god that I was emailing A Lady about outfit choices and had to type out "miniskirt, knee-highs, Serious Heels" - seeing that in print made me go "oh, man, that's a pretty terrible idea". Thank god A Lady will raise an eyebrow (I assume she is doing this, and possibly giving me a very concerned look as she replies to my email) and remind me that there is no need to pull a Boobs Legsly and throw every single trick of attention-getting dressing into one outfit. "Soignée, dear", she says. "We are going for soignée here."

Admittedly, I am never going to achieve soignée. I am too prone to walking into doorframes - to cackling when I laugh - to mistaking a fancy sphere-shaped butter pat for a mint and popping it into my mouth in full view of others (yes, that happened) - to cursing uncontrollably whenever I am really excited about something - to ever be considered truly soignée. But you know what? Damned if I won't try. Let's avoid boring. Let's avoid over-thought.

Let's try to look Interesting and Soignée and Grown-Up. If I fail, then I fail. It happens. But it can happen less often, and happen for better reasons than laziness and desperation.

Today: baby steps.
Tie-neck blouse, vintage; Kiss of Death pendant, Culp Baubles; jeans, Jil Sander for Uniqlo;
bag, Topshop; suede heels, Steve Madden; bangle, Until There's A Cure; ring, Allumonde.



"... I cannot say that have felt that in my personal life or my home setting I have ever attained what I see in my critical mind's eye. If I could I would have looked smarter than any Vogue mannequin and my décor would have been much more to my liking."

-Edna Woolman Chase, from her utterly delightful autobiography Always in Vogue



I have exactly fifty-three weeks until I turn 30. I wonder how that Thirty Before Thirty list is coming along, eh?

  • Have a season subscription to a theatre (The Hypocrites)
  • Surprise someone with a lavish, extravagant present for no reason at all other than that I love them
  • Can/preserve some food
  • Donate to an arts organization I love
  • Grow orchids
  • Invest $50 in a stock
I Swear It Can Happen
  • Learn to drive a stick shift
  • Have a season subscription to the opera and to a dance company
  • Get acupuncture for my wonky shoulder, hips, ankle, back, omg I am broken
  • Learn to surf (countdown to Peru and surf lessons: four weeks!)
  • Complete a mini-triathalon
  • Pick up the tab at the grocery store for someone who needs it
  • Be able to ice-skate backwards (I am working assiduously on this.)
  • Spend two weeks eating a Raw Foods diet
  • Attend a yoga retreat or one of those intense weekend-long yoga workshops
  • Learn basic conversational Spanish
  • Read a book in French (and no, rereading Huis Clos/Le Petit Prince/anything I read in high school or college for French class doesn’t count)
  • Take a serious wine-tasting class
  • Be able to give really good career advice to someone
  • Finally be able to parallel-park with confidence
  • Travel somewhere completely new, solo
  • Attend one of those “secret” dinner parties (yeah, they were trendy a few years ago. So what? I still think a secret dinner party sounds like a good time.)
  • Actually decorate my apartment, rather than just putting all my stuff in it and hoping that it might not be too terrible-looking
  • Get my Slouching Towards Bethlehem tattoo
  • Try a regional/ethnic cuisine that I have zero familiarity with (Inuit? Dutch? Egyptian?)
  • Go on a camping/biking trip that crosses at least two states in one day (Admittedly, this is relatively easy in Chicago: one can bike to Indiana or Wisconsin via trails that are structured for rather leisurely cycling.)
  • Watch a game in the new Yankee Stadium
Um, I'll Do That Later
  • Visit the catacombs
  • Visit my sister in Hong Kong
  • Attend a real masquerade
  • Learn to snowboard



I was in the throes of a rare soft-creamy-nougat-center moment of sappiness a week or so ago (damn you, end-of-year retrospectives for prompting one to take stock of one's year). Turns out, 2010 was pretty fucking excellent. I tried to think of one highlight per month, but that fell apart when I hit "March", so here goes: a year's worth of my brain saying oh my god I am so lucky to be right here right now.

January 2010: C comes to Chicago on a surprise birthday visit. Definite highlight of 2010; nothing can top that.

February 2010: I saw "The Cabinet" at Redmoon Theatre. Mind = blown. Truly one of the most perfect things I've ever seen on stage.

March is a blank.

April 2010: my lovely Emult got married. I was her maid of honor, a duty that I thought meant "show up, keep bride's glass full of champagne, give speech". She is excellent and did not mind that the really involved Maid of Honor stuff didn't happen.

May 2010: spent a gorgeous summer's day inside a windowless garage, watching the Beckett Festival at Steppenwolf. Grinned like mad.

June 2010: had my first meeting with the New Millennium Orchestra for a consulting project. Fell a touch in love with their manifesto. (Yes, really, going to a meeting was a highlight of 2010. I fucking love this orchestra, and they don't seem to mind that I don't really know anything about music.)

July 2010: went to Minneapolis for work for a few days, didn't sleep, instead decided to simply walk around the entire city swooning for 72 hours. It was absolutely worth all the sleep deprivation. Plus, Pizza Lucé delivery.

August 2010: in the span of four days, I saw one of the greatest original productions in recent memory ("That Sordid Little Story" at New Colony), saw The National play a fucking killer Lollapalooza after-show until something like 4 a.m., and saw Joan Jett & the Blackhearts play a free concert. August was obviously amazing.

September 2010: I've got nothing.

October 2010: LCD Soundsystem at the Aragon Theater. Lifechanging, people.

November 2010: I went to NYC and (finally!) met A Lady, then spent a long weekend wearing her alpaca slippers.

December 2010: saw Doomtree play a balls-out amazing show at the Bottom Lounge, played thumb war with P.O.S. immediately following the concert.