Some people like to spend their free time playing video games, Pinterest-planning their (imaginary) dream wedding, backpacking across countries or learning about wine. Me? I like to think about color. I collect different hues in my head: the blue-purple of jacaranda trees that almost seems to glow, the cheery yellow reflected off a canary’s wing, the radiant gradient of Flaming June‘s robe. Color is often the first thing I notice about an object, and I tend to catalogue the colors I see, one by one, in my mind palace until I’m left with an intangible, but no less pleasant filing drawer filled with folders marked ROYGBIV.
Jacket: old, similar here and here // Dress: old, similar here and here // Shoes: old, similar here // Earrings: really old, similar here // Lipstick: Sephora in Always Red// Bag: old, similar here // Sunglasses: Karen Walker
“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” – Coco Chanel.
Similarly, a woman who parts her hair differently is about to change her day. Now, don’t get me wrong—my signature side part isn’t going anywhere, but sometimes it’s good to mix things up a bit. A low chignon with loose, face-framing wisps made this outfit composed of lots of old favorites feel fresh and compelling again.
Since I live in Iowa, the shopping options are pretty limited. If I want a new scarf from Zara, I order it online. If I want a veritable rainbow of pompom bag charms, I order them online. If I want pretty much any sort of specialty product, I order it online. And that means I get a lot of packages delivered to my front porch. I’ve always loved getting things in the mail (who doesn’t?), but I don’t think I ever fully appreciated the work of the letter carrier until I read this essay about the trials and tribulations of being a mailwoman. The last paragraph really struck me. In it, the author suggests offering various little treats (Gatorade and cookies) and behavioral changes (check your mail every day) that can really help out your local letter carrier.
And so, in the spirit of offering much-deserved thanks to some of the hardest working civil servants out there, let’s all take a moment to celebrate Thank a Mailman Day tomorrow, February 4th. In my case, I’ll be thanking a woman named Mary. She trudges through snow and across icy sidewalks to get my mail to to me almost every day, and I’m so thankful for her. Since we gave her a $20 Starbucks card for Christmas (Postal Service employees aren’t allowed to accept cash or gifts valued above $20), I wanted to do something a bit more creative for this little-known day of appreciation. So, I whipped out my paints to add some vintage airmail charm to a small wooden box and stuffed a few sets of hand warmers inside. Hopefully they’ll keep Mary’s hands nice and cozy on her route for the rest of the week.
Even if you don’t have the time or resources to make a little gift for your letter carrier, I highly recommend writing him or her a quick note of thanks and dropping it into your mailbox on your way to work tomorrow.
1. Start by painting your box white. You’ll probably need a few coats to get a nice opaque finish.
2. Using a ruler, mark where you want your stripes to be. Paint alternating red and blue stripes and let dry completely.
3. With a fine-tip marker or gel pen, write “Thank You” in the center of your box. Let ink dry.
4. Cover the whole box with two coats of varnish, skipping over the letters if you think the black ink might bleed (try testing this on a separate surface before swiping over the letter with the varnish).
5. Stuff some treats of your choice inside and wrap up with a bow!
I have two people to thank in terms of inspiration for this post: Eugenia Kim and Yankee Doodle. The former is an accomplished milliner who designed this delightful hat, and the latter is, of course, a colonial patriot with a penchant for sticking feathers in his cap. You see where I’m going with this.
Like many a teen who stands before of a masterful work of modern art and, filled with the arrogance of youth, declares, “I could make that!” just a little too loudly, I often find myself trolling the pages of fashion magazines and high-end e-retailers thinking to myself how easily (and how cheaply!) I could recreate designer accessories. This hat is no exception.
So, like the Yankee Doodle of yore, I took a fistful of feathers and began adding them to my favorite budget fedora in order to (very successfully I might add) fashion my own version of Ms. Kim’s creation. I humbly invite you to do the same.
For this project, you’ll need the following:
• a wool fedora (I used this one, and I also own it in navy because it’s just. that. good.)
• feathers (I used these, and I love how saturated the color is.)
• needle and thread
1. Add a small dot of glue to the thicker end of a feather and carefully place it along the band of the hat, making sure the feather lies smoothly along the side. Once the glue has dried for a minute or so, tack the stem end of the feather to the hat with a few stitches, just to make sure it doesn’t budge.
2. Work your way around the hat, overlapping the feathers as you go so that the glue and stitching don’t show. Once you’ve made one loop around the hat, use a tiny bit of glue where needed on the tips of any feathers that are sticking out, again making sure the feathers lie nice and flat.
3. Make another loop around the hat so your band is two feathers high, taking care to fill in any sparse gaps or cover up any errant glue/stitching that’s showing through. You want the band of feathers to be substantial and solid for maximum impact.
4. Let the glue dry completely and you’re all set!
L’esprit de l’escalier, schadenfreude, ennui, l’appel du vide—some über-specific (to borrow again from German) emotions or sensations are more elegantly and efficiently expressed in other languages. The phrase, “Ll’esprit de l’escalier,” for example, translates literally to “staircase wit,” but actually expresses the frustrating experience of thinking of the perfect retort too late. It’s a phrase that would have served Kathleen Kelly well, what with her character-defining inability to “say the exact thing I wanted to say, at the exact moment I wanted to say it.”
Despite a recent proliferation of listicles with titles like 38 Wonderful Foreign Words We Could Use in English or some iteration thereof, there’s one foreign word my friends and I are still seeking. It’s a word that would succinctly and specifically conjure the bitter regret of leaving an article of clothing on a store rack, never to be found again and always to be remembered.
We’ve all had that moment of indecision: you don’t get paid until next week, and you can’t quite decide whether or not that skirt you tried on three different times looks good on you, so you hang it back up and walk away like a responsible grown up. Or so you think.
You go to bed that night still thinking of The Skirt; you spend the better part of the next morning noticing how many things in your closet would look amazing with The Skirt; you start seeing it in cloud formations on your commute back home. And so you do like your mama told you and you go back to buy it because, gosh darn it, you really thought about it and you really love it, but now—tragedy of all retail tragedies—The Skirt is gone. Snapped up by some less wishy-washy buyer. And all you’re left with is this particular brand of regret. In the days following this event, you’ll continue to notice how that pair of heels with that new top would have looked especially good with The Skirt, in some sort of sick, sartorial mutation of phantom limb pain. This, this! is what we need a word for, friends. Polyglots, where you at?!
And so, when I found myself huddled anxiously in a silk-strewn dressing room at Anthropologie a few weeks ago, I knew I needed to buy this dress in order to avoid this nameless non-buyer’s remorse at all costs. It was, of course, on major sale, and I knew in my heart of hearts that I would give this dress a good home. So that’s exactly what I did.