Friday, January 28, 2011

Measure for Measure

T.S. Eliot writes of measuring out life in "coffee spoons", which would be quite appropriate for me, I suppose. But then this stack of magazines came in yesterday. I couldnt believe this tower of books; pages upon pages of art I've handled, words I've edited, each page read by myself at least five times. I realized my life can be measured out by stacks of books. I have a huge collection at my home and in my father's home, and every month it seems like I am contributing to making more and more of these stacks with my writing, my name inside of them. These are the things I will leave behind.
The stack of magazines will be going with me to CHA this weekend. Hope I see you there : )
The stack of books above are gifts I received for Christmas. I think a book is always a beautiful gift, like flowers. These gifts prove that the people who gave them to me know me so well. I want to thank one of my best friends in the world, Michelle, for giving me The Gospel According to Coco Chanel (which I have been eyeing for a long time). And I want to thank Hector for giving me the collected poems of Pablo Neruda and Frederico Garcia Lorca.
Sometimes I worry about what I will leave behind in this world - a pile of dust, a full closet, drawers of jewelry. I have been measuring myself against men like Eliot, Neruda, and Lorca who leave behind volumes and literary prizes. I have been measuring myself against women like Chanel, who left behind a legacy and a fashion house. But I'm slowly beginning to realize that it does no good to measure oneself against others.
I read some of Neruda's work the other night for the first time since college. I don't know why, but I felt like I needed a poem. I hope that someday my words are read by the person who needs to hear them most; that the stacks of books and magazines I leave behind don't collect dust, but instead can be gifted to someone so that they might mean something. I hope that when all is said and done that I am of good measure.
Hope your weekend is full of good reading.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Fabric of Our Lives

Saturday morning I gave up sleeping in and braved the trek to L.A. to see the garment district. I've been to FIDM before, but never quite stepped foot in the actual fabric center of it all. I was blown away. Talk about endless inspiration. Anything is possible with stores filled with fabrics, beads, and every finding in between. I occupied myself on the way down there by reading Selvedge. Love love love the dress on the cover. Is it not amazing?
As someone who sees finished, published work all the time, it is especially of interest to me to see how everything begins, the ingredients before the recipe. I am in awe of the people I work with and the people who design for a living. I think the real art of designing wearables lies in the ability of being able to discern what materials to use, as there are so many gorgeous colors, patterns, weights, materials, and textures.
The reason for my trip was to help my good friend Alexis pick out items for her wedding. I love that Alexis will be making so much for her big day. I think that makes the whole affaire all the more personal. So what makes a wedding? What makes a dress? A necklace? A magazine? I think so many times we become wrapped up in the big picture of it all. It's nice to break things down and remember where everything came from, those small components that make up a larger piece. Only when we appreciate every small facet of a process can we then learn to love the bigger picture in all its parts and appreciate the work that has been invested.
If you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend a jaunt down to the Fashion District in L.A. Even if you arent getting married, arent a seamstress or a jewelry maker, it's worth it to see these small shops all holding small marvels, that when combined make up a huge, lush industry and a truly amazing city.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Double Happiness

So glad to have the honor to be working with jewelry designer to the stars/author Stephanie Wells. Her book, The Earring Style Book is currently available. It's a stunner, and when you visit her Web site, you can buy some of her exquisite handmade goods. If you want a crack at creating your own pieces with her techniques, you will want to reference the upcoming Jewelry Affaire (out April 1). I'm partial to the ring directly above, as it is named Esme, which happens to be my favorite name.
Stephanie's company is called Double Happiness Jewelry. The term "double happiness" refers to marriage in Chinese culture. When I read about this term it got me thinking, about what it means to be truly happy, and how you can't really make someone else happy (double your happiness) unless you are happy with yourself.
After doing a lot of thinking on these things, I've come to the conclusion that when love finds you (and it does find you, you don't find it) it gives you many gifts. Sure, happiness is one of them. But perhaps some of the greater gifts it gives you is that it makes you realize a great deal about yourself. True love makes you see those things inside of yourself that you have put off, ignored for too long, those things that need work, that need changing, oftentimes, need fixing. You see these things because you want to make yourself better, you want to make yourself happy, so that you can make someone else happy; so that you can share in each other's joy, in helping each other, and ultimately you both come out for the better, and in turn make the world a bit better.
Loving yourself, like loving someone else, takes work. Loving the things you make (be it jewelry or a magazine) takes work. And we should take pride in our work, even if it's self-help. There's something infinitely encouraging in realizing your own shortcomings rather than having someone else point them out to you. There's something inspiring in knowing that with one step at a time, you can help yourself be happy, rather than relying fully on someone else to fix and support you.
One time I said to my good friend Paulette ( "we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves" and her reply "yes, but no one loves themselves anymore" stuck with me. I think she's right. But I also think when we open ourselves to loving another, we are given the immense gift of learning to love ourselves more. One of my lit. professors in college made the observation that "love is selfish." And perhaps it should be. Otherwise we would never learn about those things that make us truly happy. We tend to become consumed in another person on the road to finding love, but when love finds you, it causes you to be consumed in the relationship, that goal of finding double happiness, so that you can reflect on yourself as well as the other person.
Happy happy Friday. Show yourself some love.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Finish Line

I've realized lately that I am a builder of walls. I am a runner. I like things moving fast, I dont like to rest, I like the thrill of wondering if I'll be able to keep up, and ultimately, I love the high that comes with finishing a race.

Sometimes work is my drug of choice. It's an odd thing to say, but there are times I take great comfort in my work. A sentence will always be in need of punctuation, a book will always need to be read again before being published, a magazine is always in the works. I have grown so comfortable with my job and what I do here, that it seems fixed; it seems safe. It's so easy to stay in the confines of my office walls, get lost in a blog, to think of every January as Springtime (because we work so far ahead) and getting used to thinking it's Christmas in July. I've worked so hard at keeping myself safe, sheltered, and structured that I'm not used to seeking or needing comfort from those outside of my bubble.

It's instances when I get holiday greeting cards from someone like Nerissa ( that I remember that the world is big, and as far as Im concerned, vastly undiscovered. Nerissa sent me these photographs/calendars from Kuwait.
Or when I receive the lovely surprise of a greeting from THE Marisa Lynch ( who will be featured in the February issue of ALT. Marisa and I have only just begun working together, but the kindness she has shown me and Altered Couture, make all the hard work of producing a magazine worth while.
And when my friends Paulette ( and Julie ( came to visit me on Friday, I remembered to slow down, sit with them, relax, and take in a meal. And it actually felt good to let people in, to share, to say some of the things I'm used to just thinking. Julie gifted me with this delicious mug (cherries!) and while she and Paulette were here, two more friends arrived: my preview issues of apronology and Altered Couture.
It was so exciting to hold apronology in my hands and to share that moment with these women. That's when it struck me, that this is the thing I'm running towards, this feeling, this sense of accomplishment. How easy it is to get so excited over something, then to set it down and start on the next thing. But it really did me some good to cherish the moment, to touch every page, to breathe a sigh of relief and say "this is what I hoped it would be." Magazine makers have the strange job of predicting the future. They write about trends to come and capture great moments on film and in words that will speak to audiences and hold their interests for months of shelf life. And while things rarely turn out as we plan, while there is always a risk, there's also always the chance that you will win the race; but it all comes down to who's waiting for you at the finish line.
Thank you Nerissa, Marisa, Paulette, and Julie for your words and your friendship. A special thanks to Monica ( for inspiring this post. I'm so glad I can share with all of you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sand & Sun

Resort Wear is typically not my favorite of the fashion "seasons" (and yes, the fashion world abides by its own calendar). But after returning from a place that's all about casualness and ease, I've realized the importance of producing collections meant purely for the vacationer's eye. These laidback looks remind me of the sand and sun in Kauai, lots of earthy tones and Mai Tai oranges. Just like watching a sunset on the beach. My favorite are the rings from House of Harlow. All can be found at Even if you're not going to an island paradise anytime soon, these are great pieces to stock up on. Summer will be here before you know it.