Thursday, May 27, 2010

6:34 p.m.

Today, we went to the British Museum to see Magnificent Maps. Rooms full of maps—from a Roman map carved from stone, to a map for King Henry VIII, to Grayson Perry's Map of Nothing — illustrated that their use as a geographic tool was not necessarily as important as their ability to enhance social and political status as works of art and visual history lessons.

The content, colors and details — minute forests to unbelievable mystic serpents — are a testament to humanity's permanent interest in growth, beauty and the unknown. Some maps represented a large period of time, and significant warfare was documented through battling ships on the high seas or forts across vast terrain. Before spending this much time with a variety of historical maps, I had never thought of them as visual histories. T, however, made a good point: there really is no better way to document a war than on a map — what could be more strategic and practical than a map? After all, they play an integral role in warfare.

Admittedly, I have trouble with maps. It takes me ages to figure them out, figure out where I am, and figure out where I'm going. But still, we all have used a map at least once in our lives, and that's why I was delighted to see an amazingly receptive audience at the exhibition. There was so much chatter, quiet laughter (who could resist when faced with the world's largest atlas!?) and animated gesturing among groups of people. They were truly engaged in the exhibit, as was I.

6:24 p.m.

Missouri has received its fair share of rain this Spring, with flowers in bloom and everything so fresh. But, flying over England is like looking out over jeweled hills of emerald, jade and peridot. From a plane, the view is so lovely that the exorbitant amount of annual rainfall and grayness is excusable. Silver chains of winding, twisting roads string identical rowhouses like beads that are clasped together by sparkling interruptions of streams and canals. Peeking past the puh-puh fluff of white clouds is like looking through a frosted glass box at Britain's natural Crown Jewels.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

11:19 a.m.

I profiled ceramic artist Ian Shelly for Review Magazine. Check it!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

11:23 p.m.

Go check out my review of the current show at the Columbia Art League. It's online, at Review Magazine!

Friday, May 21, 2010

9:57 p.m.

Partially moved-out. Partially moved-in. Partially gray-haired.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

6:47 p.m.

The fragrance of onions caramelizing in a pan is well worth the trouble (if there is any) of cooking for one. Their sizzle evokes the greasy, delicious stench of a burger diner with the promise of a pineapple milkshake afterwards, and no lactose intolerance-related consequences.

I admit that I've always been a fan of the London 2012 Olympic logo. It's unusual, striking and whether they like it or not, at least people notice it.

But the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots? I just can't get behind them. Actually, I really don't want to stand near them. Or be seen with them. Their cycloptic stares kind of freak me out.

1:39 p.m.

By far the loveliest thing I'll see (and hear) this afternoon.

12:55 p.m.

12:07 p.m.

I feel like a senior in high school with only two days left.

In the case of maturity, I am acting like a senior in high school with only two days left.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

11:06 p.m.

Showing an apartment is a balancing act. What do they read on Craigslist and what do they see in person?

It's about illusions and personalities among rooms: clean, eucalyptus bathroom smell must somehow mesh with yet distinguish itself from fresh-baked-brownies-kitchen smell.

Also, meeting any potential renter is a test of one's ability to stretch the truth through detail: disheveled books and unsipped tea on the table by the chair near the window imply that happiness, solitude and Vitamin D are constantly acquired whilst living here. Additionally, the unrolled yoga mat and not recently used keyboard say "Yes, you can have it all."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

11:28 p.m.

Words from the impeccable Polly Vernon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

2:52 p.m.

Fruit bouquet!?! Pour moi!?!

Our lovely editor in Florida sent this beauty to me and Alisha, you know, just because. And yes, those are flower-shaped pineapple slices dipped in chocolate. Thanks, Sandy!

2:27 p.m.

In a torrential downpour, I always get homesick for a certain room in my family's home. Designed as a living room, it has adopted several personas over the years. After bouts as a living room, TV room and dining room, it has finally come into its own as a drawing-cum-reading room — an ideal place for consuming large quantities of tea and books. Blood red walls envelope a leather chaise lounge that opens itself to the fireplace. A black armchair and ottoman sit invitingly, drenched in golden lamplight, in a self-made corner by a row of windows.

The windows in this room, I think, are the best part. Beginning at stomach height and rising toward the ceiling, a line of glass cuts its way around the house's corner and stretches down the south-westerly facing side. Because of the height of the house and its proximity to the forest, looking out provides one with a sense of not being in an ordinary house at all. In summer the overwhelming foliage almost cushions the foundation and plays with depth perception, producing a treehouse-like effect. This room, however, is best in stormy weather. The dark walls and furniture and minimal light instill a brooding aura. Trees shiver like frail bodies trying to stay warm, and behind rain-streaked glass, the forest becomes a landlocked explorer's ocean — shallows of leafy, woodland terrain mix into deeper trenches of gnarled roots and ancient, winding streams. My terrestrial sea. I read my book in what I've secretly deemed the ship's helm room and ride out the rain.

10:27 a.m.

If you are nearby, make a trip to the new Chelsea Market Anthropologie to see some lovely, handmade (and miniature!) urban greenscapes that draw inspiration from the architecture and life of the Big Apple.

And take some more photos for me!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

9:16 p.m.

I read a fantastic piece in British Vogue by designer Bella Freud, who instead of shopping for trends, looks "for something I can wear effortlessly but that recasts my identity." This proves a practical and still fashion-forward mantra by which to live. The best garments for you should enhance without overpowering, and they should look effortless because they are a part of your personality. And what is attractive about a personality that's faking it? If you are choosing things based on self and not a trend forecast, you will always be in style. After all, Freud says, "It is people who are interesting. Without that, their clothes are just other people's ideas."

I am coming to terms with the hard fact that as long as one wears seasonally appropriate ensembles in colors and fits that flatter, one will forever and always be en vogue. As much as I love fashion magazines, blogs and Jess Cartner-Morley, 10-12 different trends per season makes it possible for one to never really need to go shopping; as long as you are semi-remotely-kind-of-sort-of interested in fashion, you are most likely already in possession of something lovely that falls into one of the many, many ever-changing-but-not-really trend categories.

All of this and still, I could not talk myself out of recently buying the prettiest painterly prints, linen slouchy pants, blush-colored pumps and bubble gum colored lipstick. Guh!

6:30 p.m.

From last week's Sartorialist, but still the dress of my dreams

Thursday, May 6, 2010

12:28 p.m.

Politics of Fashion

If you've been following Britain's political race, don your own Election Day coverage.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

12:35 a.m.

My neighbors who live in the house that faces College Avenue are having a party to, I think, celebrate the end of the school year, or maybe graduation. A fuse blew in my bedroom and now none of the lights work. The landlord didn't know how to fix it, but he called an electrician to come this week. And so I sit by the slotted, blinded light of my window and listen to the conversation and smell the cigarette smoke that trickles into my room from the silhouetted partygoers who hunch around the picnic table that is about 15 feet away from where I now sit cross-legged. Music I cannot identify pulsates from my other window and vibrates along the wood floors. I should try to sleep, but I do not have earplugs, and as much as I mostly disliked college parties, peripherally experiencing this one makes me nostalgic and flutter-hearted. Not really for any one or any thing in particular, but mostly for a certain feeling I have only realized in retrospect that I did not appreciate enough. The constantly busy, always-moving, stressed-out, blindly enthusiastic feeling that anything is possible. The knowing that your talent and knowledge and creativity is pure, without motivation, and true to the only one who matters: you. It's a feeling that only really knocks the wind out of you with its power and thrill when you're on the verge of losing it.

It is after midnight, and today last year I was also sitting on picnic table like the one outside my window. The emotion is different now. It's impossible to recultivate. Perhaps the aforementioned feeling is reserved for undergrads. At present, I am still stressed-out, but I am also forward-looking and searching in dusty corners for the inspiration I temporarily lost. It's here, I know it, and now it doesn't require a semester schedule. It's a readiness I didn't have today last year. Or even six months ago. But now I long for the wind to knock out my baited breath because I'm tired of waiting to start.

Monday, May 3, 2010

11:35 p.m.

This is perfect.

It's just perfect!

9:20 p.m.

When I return after even just several days of being away, I am in perpetual awe, for at least a few hours of what, if anything, has changed since I left. Tonight, after being gone for four days, I arrived at the apartment to find a two-foot-deep moat surrounding my building, very clearly the product of the now-dormant construction Caterpillar-types outside my living room window. Although I live on Windsor, this building is certainly not a castle. The only other reason for the moat is most likely a flooded apartment, and thankfully, it is not mine.