Oh hey folks. I’ve missed you! I’ve been really busy with my professional writing career, specifically penning my aforementioned memoirs (SEE TITLE). To be released in 2014, riding the coattails of the Tayisha Busay memoir: Judy. Donna. Ponytails, Higher Caliber. Everywhere., which I also happen to be ghostwriting.
So how does this circumstance look? Well, first of all, consists of me hunched over a 1956 Golden Touch Electric Underwood typewriter,
not because I’ve completely succumbed to the inherent hipsterdom that comes with a Bushwick address (though I have), or because it’s the most appropriate machine on which to type with elbow-length “magic” golden gloves (though it is), but because at this point it’s actually more technologically advanced than my sad, Baghdad computer. The only thing my computer is good for anymore is shopping for Liza Minelli memorabilia on ebay. Which, bringing me to my second of all, is actually a total blessing, because finding this vintage t-shirt from Liza’s 198o tour, Liza in Concert, helped start (along with a multifaceted emotional awakening, SEE KATE CHOPIN) the beautifully inspiring river of mascara tears that’s been flowing from my eyeholes for the past two and a half months:
REAL mascara tears, breaking dams and shit. Because $40 and with only a few kool-aid stains (OR THE BLOOD OF LIZA FANS)??? Oh geez, I’m tearing up again…
So that’s it; me bent over my typewriter, clothed in nothing but an oversized Liza in Concert t-shirt and long golden gloves screaming “HOW’M I DOIN MAMA??”
Surrounded by six men in sailor suits for the occasional song and dance, naturally. Did you ever picture my life any other way?
But srsly, coming soon: that happy face. Back off Sandy, it’s always sunny on the Isle of Nathargabaw.
It’s been about two months since Spider Cahoots burst into a pile of pixie dust and floated out of my life on a cloud of failure, propelled by a gentle breeze of best intentions. You know what that means, babies: time for break up hair.
I first practiced the ancient Himalayan art of break up hair after break up numero previouso, with a Rihanna-inspired ‘do that went all but terribly wrong:
But whatever whatever whatever, I made it work. And with Nathanael as an accessory, you really can’t go wrong. Besides, beauty isn’t exactly the objective with these kinds of haircuts. Independence and re-growth and such, you undehstand.
So here goes nothin’:
What’s next for me, girl with the whole wide world as my $1 happy hour oyster? What’s the ultimate objective?
Willoughby Talon Research Institute, Brooklyn, NY 11237
In which we discuss products and productivity.
Nearly six months ago, I landed the coveted position of research assistant to the ruthlessly awesome Dr. Ste Blau, PhD. We’ve worked tirelessly, sometimes late into the night, sometimes through the weekends, burning the midnight Netflix instant queue, to make headway in the most cutting-edge talon research. Many beauty supply stores have been visited. Some dreams have been broken. A table cloth was ruined in a Silkwood-esque toxic spill.
Yep, shit got real.
Yet much hope has been forged in this labor-intensive half-year. Because in the awesomeness research system, talon based research is considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated scientists who investigate these vicious talons are members of an elite squad known as the Willoughby Talon Research Institute. These are their stories.
II. Experimental Procedures
A. Foundations – the cracks of which my fingertips are holding onto.
No matter where you find inspiration or learn technique, in talon research you have exactly one best friend: Sally Hansen. Girlfriend knows. You might be tempted by OPIs flashier polishes and clever copy, and in some cases you should be, but Sally really rocks our world in terms of basics.
I’m not really a belieber in nail hardeners, but this one does the trick as a base coat. The quick-dry top coat is NECESSARY. It’s chip resistant, and
really the only way to avoid pillow stains/marks that magically appear even though you waited 39084598 hours for your nails to dry before going to bed. Necessary. Unfortunately, it can goop up before the bottle is done, causing air bubbles and general grossness, so seal tight and replace often.
Most of the styles shown below can be achieved with a steady hand, but tools are occasionally called for:
Pictured, clockwise from left:
-Seven-step file – for when extensive filing is needed.
-Loose-leaf reinforcements – for half-moon manicures, watermelon rinds, etc.
-Four-step file – for touch ups between manicures.
-French-tip brush, with pen – for french tips, reverse french, stripes, rain drops that keep falling on your head, and special designs if y’all are artsy.
-French-tip brush, sans pen – the pen doesn’t necessarily do it for me, so I usually defer to the brush-only version. This brand has also been popping up increasingly in drug stores, so points for convenience.
Not pictured, clockwise from the top of my head:
-Tape – for french manicures with regular brushes (I hear rubber bands work as well). Use top coat before applying!
-Sponges – for sponging.
-Q-tips – for clean up and because they’re awesome.
Other than that, we work with what we have. It’s not much,
but actually it is. That’s a lot of fucking nail polish. Now, let’s result and discuss.
III. Results and Discussion
A. Roy G. Biv
B. Maths (specifically geometry)
Luxurious golden blood-mink
Airport flag laundromat pastel
Color block party BYOB
D. Unbreak my heart
Sally Hansen Crackle probably works just as well, for a better price, but the OPI gold is sparklier. Henceforth, vis-a-vis, thus.
E. Caviar (and miller high life)
This shit is expensive!
$25 at Sephora!1 What am I , made of money? The answer is no, I’m not.
Luckily, one hot and sunny Sunday, during a particularly successful beauty store run, we found THIS
Check out that price tag, amirite!? And they’re real beauts, too
F. (for FINALLLLLY) 4th of July Amrika Rilness
As y’all may know I am a PA-TRI-OT, and as such did it up as usual for the 4th with some Ril Amrikan Pearlz
Yes, but do you have a flag? Sure do, boo.
Also btdubs FYI, I was wearing this
If you were wondering, and I’m sure you were, yes, the pattern on the pants is tiny horses.
The Dr. also whipped up something special for our nation’s birfday:
Implicitly reminiscent of gymnastics leotards, a clear nod to the 2012 London Olympics. Go Team USA!! Cheerios!!!!
G. (for: gotcha, there’s one more!, galaxy, galactica, glandular, globule, and gefilte fish) The (s)Kim Milky Way2
Adorning my nails as I type this, I can safely say that it is my favorite manicure ever of all time. Really just tops.
IV. Conclusions and Further Research
Recently, I’ve read a couple of articles on the popularity of nail art, and general consensus suggests that – you guessed it – the deadbeat economy is to thank for the recent surge. It makes sense; in New York specifically rents and student loans are skyrocketing, starting salaries are decreasing, and the city can only think of solutions like this
Smaller and smaller boards for that game night favorite “Small Mouse or Large Roach (Urban Bunny Urban Bunny Urban Bunny)?” Apparently, despite the dearth of economic opportunities, my generation continues to buy more and more luxury items. iPhone? Check. $500 Chanel flats? Not so much. $26 Chanel nail color?
Yes please. (It’s even cheaper when it’s a gift!) The heights you can reach with nail art far surpasses those that can be obtained with apparal, especially when you’re on a budget and in deep debt. To paraphrase the great philosopher Morissette, “It’s like meeting the man of your dreams/and then meeting [a man with a good job who treats you way better].”
Evidence abounds, just check out this lady. Or these gals
Everybody’s talkin’ bout talons. So where do we go from here? I come to you with open arms.
(i) Leopard print.
(iii) Gel manicures with bows, dangly things, crazy prints, etc.
(iv) Prenatal vitamins.
They’re supposedly good for hair, nails, and removing unwanted Brooklyn Ds from your apartment/life.
(v) Be more like Rihanna.
Talon-wise and every day in every way, obvi.
SCIENCE! ‘Til next time, loves.
I would like to thank the Dr. for taking a chance on an unknown kid.
a) Master of Awesome, School of Soft Knocks, The Internet b) Phly & Dope Talon Specialist, The University Formerly Known as New Hebrides, Vanuatu
1. Sephora Nails. 1000 Ways to Get Polished. Sephora University Press, New York, NY, 2012
In which we elaborate on the discussion of what it’s like to be a young career girl from New York City.
Basically, it can be summed up in the first two minutes or so of the following:
But let’s get a fresh perspective.
I’m Right on Top of That, Rose!
by Ariel Sims
Not just anyone can do what I do. It takes a calculated combination of apathy and grace to endure scoldings for things you aren’t responsible for, a special kind of schizophrenia to deny your last shadow of an ego while smiling gratefully. And it takes a large amount of bravery to trade in your previous, stubborn idea of self for a new, seemingly much less grand version. In my case, entering the workforce as a young, jaded admin is a coming of age story about growing up and dressing the part.
My experience with clothes began as a fantasy of dress up. Trunks of endless thrift store garb and heirloom accessories my mother kept stocked to meet all of my tinker-bell dreams. Every outfit a character; each an opportunity to feel myself differently. I was quite the cliché of a self involved, pretty pretty princess. The way I dressed was intricately tied into my self-esteem- and let’s just say, I wore a lot of pink sequins.
Being the center of the universe, I was lucky enough to have my inner god complex prolonged through college where I was sent off to “live my dreams” which, at that point, happened to still involve wearing pink sequins. It seemed natural that I continued my real life role-playing through acting school- gallivanting around Manhattan in what may as well have been the same princess/mermaid dresses from the dress-up trunk, spending money I didn’t have, believing, intrinsically, I was special enough to never have to grow up (or wear a pair of jeans).
Eventually, College ended, and the loans ran out, along with the fantasy that I could “be whoever I wanted.” So I moved to Brooklyn and got to know much different kind of never never land. With the absence of funds, my post-graduate fellow artists and I lived a life of fashion rebellion where the uniform tended toward the understated and worn: a look that another “ex-princess” friend affectionately refers to as “dressing in your own feces.”
I joined a band, adopted the uniform, screwed the man, and felt like a fashionably disobedient artist with a heart full of punk. As much as this seemed like personal growth, I was most definitely still the center of my self-involved, hipster universe, and relied, to a certain degree, on my outer expression to justify my questionable life choices. Dressing tastefully felt like accepting responsibility I didn’t want. At that time, growing up equaled giving up.
Now, entering act three of my fashion saga, I got a job. Like a J.O.B. In an office. With a Blackberry. Mind you, this lifestyle change didn’t just come out of nowhere- it happened after the realization that I had borrowed money from my dad one too many times. It was time to take responsibility for my life and my future. I needed clothes that were comfortable, nice, and appropriate- and I had no experience in these departments what-so-ever. So I went to some stores and tried on what felt like other peoples clothes. I bought a bunch of random stuff and tried to wear it. But it was all wrong. More than ever before, I was in survival mode- I needed to have confidence, I needed to keep this job. So I had to learn which things gave me power and made me better. I began experimenting with blazers, slacks, loafers, and the ever-elusive line drawn at “business casual.” I no longer thought of my clothes as opportunities to express my inner “why-be-normal” personality; they were tools for getting people to respect and trust me.
For the better part of my life, you could only find me, dressed in my own feces, at the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. But when the time came for growing up, I learned how good it feels to present myself as a hardworking, competent professional that can handle anything. Some may say that I gave in: that I sold my childhood dreams of being a magic fairy princess to an evil corporation for a pay check. And I probably did. But I’m freakin rich now. And, boy… do I look awesome.
Ariel dressed the part, and has been able to keep the job. She still lives in Brooklyn and can occasionally be found dressing in her own feces on the weekends, but she no longer screws the man in any way. Last weekend we went out to dinner and ordered TWO desserts.
Ok, there’s a lot of shit going around out there on the interspiderwebs, so I just want to set the record straight and say, yes, I did in fact go to an awesome 1920s/30s-themed Ste Blau de Mayo party. And no, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Ste Blau, PhD, was born exactly 123 years after the Battle of Puebla. I think her parents probably planned it.
Like Cinco de Mayo before it, Ste Blau de Mayo was an unexpected victory filled with the blood of many Frenchmen…I mean dresses! And tragedy! And new friends! I was lucky enough to be able to provide three of my loveliest dresses that barely see the light of day to three of the loveliest ladies I know. Plus the stunner I wore. As the fortunes cookies I got in Montreal always said, “The first and last love: self love.” It’s as if they knew. So let’s start with that:
Next, let’s take a look at Ariel nailing it with thin-hipped elegance:
It’s actually kind of gangsta. Like “hey, doll, you got moxie” 1920s gangsta. I believe it was called gangster back then.
Thanks, hipsamatic! You get me.
As always, it was a real treat to host The Lovely Scientist for the holiday,
wearing a dress I bought because it reminded me of that part in Home Alone where Catherine O’Hara is trying to do tradesies to get that old lady’s plane ticket and she’s like “oh and the earrings! don’t forget the earrings!” and the old lady’s husband is like “she’s got a whole shoebox of earrings at home, uh dannnngly ones.” You know. That part. Anyway,
Does this reveal something about my color palette?
And perhaps also my wily ways? Srsly tho, I’m closer than I thought to my goal of owning only [my-own-]flesh toned outfits. Step one: appear naked all the time. Step two: Inevitable world domination, obvio.
This brings us to the lady of the evening (but not in that way), dressed in frange,
and wrapped in the finest clothes from Bergdorf-Goodman:
All making out with minks and shit
The plethora of fab ladies was comforting, especially after the Ste Blau de Mayo treats were such a disaster, with
turning out more like
That’s what failure looks like, folks. Luckily we befriended Señor Piñata Bigote later in the night, who helped soften the blow (OH PUN WHAT NOW?)
What, you may ask, have I been up to in the past six months? Um, just like the most exciting things ever, mostly involving lavish NYC parties, during the majority of which I lie luxuriantly recumbent on a [bi]polar-bear rug, impeccably coiffed and awesomely self-styled to the highest standard, plucking individual grains of low-carb-high-fiber-whole-grain rice from my gifted gold-rimmed Waterford crystal bowl with my gibbon-breastbone chopsticks and bringing them seductively to my plump, red-glossed, restylane-aided lips. Why, just see for yourself!
Oh, man, I had you going didn’t I?! Come on, this is AMERICA and 99% of us are having an economic crisis, y’all. Even the Mittens those Kittens lost are down to a just couple Cadillacs apiece. GM? How plebe!
So, while I and nearly everyone around me continues to practice looking awesome, in preparing for the impending economic apocalypse I’ve sadly fallen behind on documentation. I could have instead sacrificed my OTHER hobby of wearing saddle shoes and being sad in front of Midtown street art
but, nah. So how goes my preparation, or as I like to call it, “Project Moving on Up”? Great, thanks for asking! Could I outline the steps of Project Moving on Up in a convenient list? Uh…yes, and I love making lists, so thanks again for asking you fine, fine human specimen.
INVEST? IN TIMES LIKE THESE? Stop shouting, silly goose! Your portfolio should consist only of the most valuable stock: bottled water, canned food, guns, ammunition, gasoline, and all the tools necessary to build a Jurassic Park-like electric fence. And as much of it as possible.
2) Run away.
Yeah, they don’t call themselves the Real McCoy for nothing. Modern. Day. Prophets. After you break free from the slavish Orwellian existence the economic apocalypse has no doubt trapped you in, flee to the remote land your gentleman friend owns in rural Virginia. Build aforementioned Jurassic Park-like electric fence around the land. Use the problem-solving skills you’ve developed from this experience to steal cows and chickens/protect your new cows and chickens/hunt Dr. Hammond’s grandchildren in the kitchen. This will hopefully bring you one step closer to your life long goal of being known as “Clever Girl” (if you are me)
I am notorious for owning exclusively inappropriate footwear (or as notorious as one can be for such a thing). So in planning Project Moving on Up, I looked to Spider Cahoots, owner of remote Virginian farmland and endless pairs of awesome sneakers, for inspiration. We took collective stock, and I think we’re covered for most occasions.
“The Spiffy Tricksters”:
“The Peaceful Gardeners”:
Of course, he is seemingly more prepared with additional provisions
NOT like it’s a competition or anything…but if it was…
RINGER! Oh what’s that? White snakeskin Adidas?
Well never mind then. Still, catch me if you can, apocalypse.
So Ben has this great post, in which he presents these vintage hand towels with eerily accurate depictions of Ariel and I playing tennis embroidered on them. You should check it out HERE because it’s pretty fucking awesome.
If for some reason you’ve yet to accept Jesus Christ or Nathanael Vaky as your lord and personal savior, and are thus too lazy to click on that, you can read it below:
There are some pretty amazing things in my Grandparents house, remnants of my Grandmother’s decorating throughout the decades. Of all things I think my favorite are these hand towels in the guest bathroom.
Every time I look at them I think how they are obviously of Kim and Ariel. That one above is Kim with her messy up-do held together with a perfectly matching head scarf. And on the other side of the towel rack is Ariel:
Right down to the skin so ghostly pale it barely shows up at all. And I think we can all agree that if Kim and Ariel were ever to play tennis they would most definitely do it in heels.
Can you guys please please go as my grandparent’s guest bathroom hand towels for Halloween?!?!
Oh creamy old England! I must say, I don’t quite share their enthusiasm…though Hugh Laurie can drive his bus down my Garboldisham Lane any day (gross!…but seriously, there’s a lovely village there). I’ve never been much of an anglophile, mostly due to my full-blooded, second-generation, Irish-American father, who throughout my life has thrown me gems like “When I was a kid, I used to march in the St. Patrick’s day holding a sign that said ‘England Free Ireland!'” and, my all-time favorite, “The English are tremendous pricks” (best Thanksgiving convo EVER).
Still, in light of working for an English company, and in an effort to subvert the bottomless mire of eternal negativity that is, unfortunately, my natural disposition, I’m trying to be more Brit-positive (and just more positive in general, HENCE THE DELIGHTFUL BLOG DUH). SO, since I haven’t made a list in quite a while (holy coincidence Batman! That list is American themed!), I’ve compiled my top five favorite awesome-looking English things.
#5 – Eddie Izzard.
Need I say more? He’s funny, he’s sexy, and you can borrow his tuxedo jackets and high-heel boots. Also, in real life he wears glasses, which means you can trust him.
#4 – Fish & Chips
Ok, so you can’t exactly wear it (or can you? Seriously Hugh Laurie, let’s do this), but awesome nonetheless. Besides, I enjoy how the vaguely handsome Englishmen at A Salt & Battery nostalgically flirt with me, as they recognize a pretty girl desperately trying to control the bad teeth and skin she inherited from her British Isle ancestors, and it makes them long for home.
#3 – The Mod Movement
I almost chose Teddy Boys, but I thought that movement wasn’t specific enough to England (despite the Edwardian twist, they’re too similar to American Greasers). Besides, the best part of the Teddy Boy-ish style were Widgies,
an Australian/Kiwi phenomenon.
I digress, comme d’habitude. I’m distressed. I feel oppressed. I’ve become depressed. Kidding, I’m doing it again! Anyway, despite the fact that everyone looks hungry all the time, the mod movement remains one of my biggest style influences. I’d like to travel back to 1960’s London and feed everyone deep-fried turkeys and ham sandwiches while looking awesome, a la Mama Cass.
#2 – This Commercial (note the references to Widgies AND Mods, though oddly not in that order)
In honor of a new shopping center in East London, some sexy ad men (I naturally assume that all ad men are sexy…Don Draper, Spider Cahoots, etc. And that they’re all men, because I’m ragingly sexist) made this RIDICULOUS commercial, which I cannot stop watching. It combines two of my very favorite things: dance and historical fashion.
#1 – Lauralou
Best thing to hit London since…reverse pilgrams? I don’t know, ever. If I’m not mistaken, the story goes something like this: Lauralou’s ancestor’s emigrate from England to the US during early colonization. When the colonists rebel, they flee to Canada, since they are strict loyalists and Canada is still under unwavering British rule. (What I’ve learned about Canadian history: X arrives on Canadian shores; current Canadian settlers capitulate without a fight; offer them polite tea and resentment; Canada is eventually offered independence from UK on moving day; Quebec is denied independence from greater Canada but granted the right to hold infinite parades and rallies; the Queen continues to hang out there on holiday, Kate Middleton wears awesome dresses.) One hundred and forty-four and a half years later Lauralou moves back to England and TAKES THE PUBLISHING WORLD BY STORM!!!!! I love her.