Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Luv This Guy

That's all.

22 22's: Lauren Conrad

I'm 22, but I will not always be. In fact, my days of repping deuce-deuces will end in 11 short weeks. The thought struck me today when I looked into smiling eyes of pseudo reality star Lauren Conrad (can you believe she landed a September cover?!) and read the quote, "Can you imagine being 22 and having your parents know everything about you?"

I hadn't ever thought that this proponent of the scripted life and I were the same age because we are soooooo different. Anyway, I got really interested in the idea of 22 and what it means to different people. So, I present to you the first 1016 editorial package: 22 22's. I'm going to be profiling darlings that happen to be this age, real, fictional, celebrity and normal, plus asking some of my besties that have passed this age to recount their memories of being 22.

22 22's: Lauren Conrad (1)

Full Name:
Lauren Katherine Conrad

Birth Date: 2/1/1986

Hometown: Laguna Beach, California

Currently Resides:
Los Angeles, California

Famous For:
Being a third in a 90210-like love triangle with Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County co-stars Stephen and Kristin. Not designing a clothing line for LA's Kitson.

Notorious For:
Feuding with former gal-pal Heidi Montag. Pretending to be an intern at Teen Vogue's LA Bureau. Long pauses between words. Great hair that she plays with a lot (while sitting down at her faux-internship).

The Good Life:
She's a fashion intern, yet she sits down all day. Long glances, succinct dialogue and many, many tears satisfy a rabid following that supports her television show, website, clothing line and philanthropic efforts.

Great Quote:
I don’t really even like attention on me.

And in case you haven't noticed, this is one 22 that I don't really luv.

But hey, look out for Season 4 of The Hills on MTV in August. And while you're at it, check out the inspiration for the title, Jay'Z's Reasonable Doubt track 22 Two's, here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Missbehavin', Golden Girls Style

As you may or may not be able to see from the blurry, unfocused image (damn PC's!), Missbehavemag is following my Twitter blog! I've been a HUGE fan of the site ever since Jezebel shouted them out a few months back for being just about the best women's magazine and filling a huge void for us anti-Cosmo gals out there ever since Jane left (RIP.)

Anywhoozlebees, I'm totally addicted to Twitter (check it out to your right ---->) and now feel an intense pressure to lead a more interesting life so that I may therefore have more interesting twitters. Yes, technology makes all of us step our game up.

Before I forget and while we're on the subject of great things that no longer exist, RIP Estelle Getty. I started a long and fabulous post about her and my love for the Golden Girls and how I think SATC copied off of them and how they are waaay more fab than SATC will be on anyday, but, like all of my Golden Girls tributes, it just didn't seem good enough for them. I really, really, really heart the show and my heart goes out to her family and former castmembers. I'll never hear "Let me tell you a story," "There once was a beautiful peasant girl," "Yutz," or any of her other catchphrases and not mourn her great comedic talent.

Talk later, see ya soon and all that...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nine (Musical) Degrees with Erykah Badu

As I pre-order my bottle of White Patchouli, the Tom Ford fragrance that features singer Erykah Badu as the spokes-beauty, over at Neiman's, I noticed my iPod naturally gravitating towards more of Badu's music than usual. This isn't shocking, since I'm convinced that my 'Pod has a personality of her own (yes, her. I've named her Tina), but it did get me to thinking about some of my favorite Badu songs. Here go my favorite 9 songs, from Erykah herself or from related acts. Enjoy!

9. Call Tyrone, Erykah Badu. Any song that begins with "Keep in mind that I'm an artist, and I'm sensitive about my shit," is going to rate very high on my favorites list. Neo-soul lore has it that the song was a freestyle performed while she was in the midst of her first tour.

8. Retrospect for Life, Common featuring Lauryn Hill. This song, performed by Erykah's high-profile former boo, is a poignant, poetic, intelligent and thought-provoking story of love, sex, pregnancy, abortion and parenthood between young lovers.

7. You Got Me, The Roots featuring Erykah Badu and Eve. This is my second favorite song from The Roots. It's storytelling at its best with a soothing and soulful beat and a great verse from a young Eve.

6. Bag Lady, Erykah Badu. Girl power in the least possible cheesiest form, this song is a warning without being preachy and a testament to the diversity and strength of women. I heart.

5. Cruisin', D'Angelo. D'Angelo, a frequent collaborator with Erykah, fully utilizes his smoky, sexy, but still hood vocals on this amazing remake (Shh!! I like this better than Smokey's original). The 'Pod bumps it constantly.

4. A Millie (A Billie Remix), Lil Wayne featuring Jay-Z. Not a direct link, yes, but, Wayne does clearly say "They say I'm rapping like BIG, Jay, and Tupac, Andre 3000, where is Erykah Badu at?" That's enough for me. I just love the song, and especially the fact that the word consigliere finally made it into a rap song.

3. Otherside of the Game, Erykah Badu. I love this song, the cute video with Andre 3000. Singing "brother's got this complex occupation...."

2. Ms. Jackson, Outkast. Besides the fact that it kinda, sorta, a little bit sounds like Andre might be talking about Mrs. Wright on this song, it's just funny and oh-so-trill in true Outkast fashion. Plus the cats bobbing their heads in the video was precious.

1. On & On + Next Lifetime, Erykah Badu. The two songs that started it all with me and EB. Classic, no explanation needed.

Smell ya later,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Get A Little Obssessive...

...about beautiful brown girls modeling fragrances.

Check out what (former Jane magazine) style.com staffer, Celia Ellenberg, wrote:

Given that it's coming from one of the fashion industry's visionaries, it's not that surprising that the launch of Tom Ford's newest fragrance is as much about the advertising image as it is about perfume itself. White Patchouli, which is a modern twist on the classic bohemian (read: dirty hippie) ingredient, will be available in September, along with a series of black-and-white photo ads—produced by Ford, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, and starring… Erykah Badu. The Grammy Award-winning singer, known for her neo-soul musical stylings and eccentric fashion sense, credits the collaboration to a "mutual respect and admiration" between herself and the former Gucci group designer. "I trusted him to pair my image with a fragrance that was exquisite, and he did that and more," she says. "I look forward to working with him again." In the studio, perhaps? Ford seems like he'd have a great contralto.

Photo: Courtesy of Tom Ford Beauty

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Commercialization of Ideas

"All good things are wild and free" -Thoreau, goes the quote plastered across my wall. The only problem is that I tore it from a magazine where it was written in pink, lipstick typeface across an advertisement for surfwear company Billabong. Errr, so you see my dilemma?

Revolutionary authors have their thoughts whored out to companies that make thong bikinis, one of my favorite quotes by Laurel Ulrich Thatcher ("well-behaved women rarely make history,") is available on Facebook as a bumpersticker, the faces of Che Guevara and Barack Obama are plastered all across T-shirts, the likes of Common and The Roots name rap albums after classic books that they admit to never having read (Like Water for Chocolate, The Tipping Point, Things Fall Apart) and soulless singers like Solange Knowles freely evoke the words and images of great thinkers in music video clips that will play on MTV alongside Tila Tequila's A Shot at Love.

This, for me, is kind of a problem. Not only does it cheapen the art when, say, Biggie's Juicy is played during a Boost Mobile commercial, but it diminishes the importance of what that person, or that movement, stands for.

Jay-Z proudly wore his El Che T-shirt while performing his MTV Unplugged selections to an audience that probably neither knew nor cared who he was. I think that was kind of the end of great thinkers actually being famous for their thoughts.

Having worked for a marketing company that was very successful at convincing non-black people that black people were cool so that they'd buy products that were marketed to black people but were actually consumed by non-black people, I can attest to the hours spent brainstorming on everything from why black people like sweeter drinks to the history of black people and dance to sell things like gum or body oil. The simple fact is that images like revolutionary communists and words that big-up a woman's carefree side pull strings in our hearts that marketers know ultimately cause us to consume not just a product, but to believe that a brand "gets us." Yes, it's that deep.

I know this trend is really old and isn't going anywhere. I just wish that, alongside her proud Team Obama lapel pin, that 21-year-old Brooklyn hipster would read some of Obama's policies, or that when a neo-soul artist uses a book as inspiration for an album, they actually read it, OR that Solange doesn't plaster images of freedom fighters being hosed down during the Civil Rights movement and then write MySpace blog entries about A Piece of Cake being the best book she's ever read (meaning it was probably the third book she's ever finished. In life).

Handy (Wo)Man

This weekend, I simultaneously realized my maturity and my shortcomings.

My apartment is hotter than hell this summer and I had been making due with two big box fans oscillating constantly in my room. When temps in NYC reached the high 90s, I spent my Saturday in Home Depot picking out the cheapest, possible air conditioner and lamenting over the fact that I had to pay $21 to get it delivered to my house.

Once I got it in my living room (only 10 minutes after the 3 hour window began), I spent another 10 minutes lugging it into my bedroom and carefully rolling it out of the box and onto the bed. I was excited to get it up and running when I realized that I needed to install screws and hammer nails. Damn! I had neither hammer nor screwdriver. I felt so helpless (but, hey, I didn't feel hot because I've been content to blast the AC from my windowsill.) and decided that I'd correctly install that unit if it was the last thing I did.

Then, I did the only logical thing and immediately googled "pink tools," which brought me to an eBay auction that was selling off this cute little baby for only $11. I put in my bid for $15, went to work, and got the triumphant email in a few hours that this cute and functional tool kit was all mine.

Here's to the fix it girl!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm Really A Prep At Heart

So I'm beginning to build my fall wardrobe in my mind (my wallet ain't nowhere near ready yet) and I checked out the online lookbook of designer Trina Turk. I realize that I buy the same items over and over, but I still get excited when I see something that looks like something I'd wear.

Enter this ABSTRACT HOUNDSTOOTH dress in Charcoal, accessorized with a great pair of berry-colored, fingerless gloves and matching tights. I love it! I'm a fool for a houndstooth print and the colored bottom takes me back to Morningside Elementary when I rocked different shades of tights each day of the week.

You already know that with the $278 pricetag that I probably won't be purchasing the real thing, but I hope to score a really good replica in the coming months.

Let you know as soon as I see something!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Case for Emily AKA The "She's Just Doing Her Job" Manifesto

In the spirit of a previous post, I've decided to outline the many, many merits of Emily in The Devil Wears Prada (played by Emily Blunt).

Like Sex and the City, TDWP has garnered kind of a cult following among the up-and-comers in the arts, publishing and fashion. Interns, assistants, freelancers and contributors all took the film's true-to-life portrayal of life at the bottom like a gerfelta fish to water.

I, too, having loved the book, quickly became a member of the cult. I was a lowly fashion intern at a big-name publication when I first saw the movie and laughed and cried through the many, many tribulations of Andi and Emily.

Here's my question: why does everyone demonize Emily and glorify Andi?

Emily wasn't the devil. In my opinion, she was just as much a victim as Andi, but much less whiny. "The job a million girls would die for" wasn't just a catchy tagline for the book; it's the truth. I see it everyday as I live and work in publishing in New York, how uncharacteristically lucky it was for Andi to land a job of that magnitude without much effort. Yes Miranda's a bitch, but who isn't? The check-out girls at Target have to deal with as much from their bosses and they don't get free clothes.

The bottom line: Emily was a smart, efficient woman that took her cues from her boss. She was more savvy and professional than Andi could hope to be and if we didn't live in a world that rewarded ungrateful assistants with money and book deals in return for their gossipy, horribly-written, tell-alls, she'd undoubtedly be the more successful of two. Work is just that, work! It's not supposed to be easy. The most you can hope for is that it's leading you where you eventually want to go and pays your rent. Period.

And here's my two cents: young people should stop walking through life with their hands out. No one is going to give you anything and you don't deserve it anymore than the next person.

**Stepping down from my soapbox**

That is all.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Need This, Well Maybe Not This Exactly

While working on my second official assignment as a Beauty Blogger, I stumbled across this online trunk show for Marc by Marc Jacob's Fall Collection. I will freely admit that I'm not as up-on-thangs when it comes to fashion as I am in other areas, so I'm sure this is old news.

But I'm still salivating for some of pieces, particularly a Script Plaid Twill Dress, priced at $458. I don't mind telling you that it's about 70% of what I pay each month for my apartment. Needless to say, it ain't happening.

BUT, what might happen is that I score a fabulous knock-off or shockingly similar piece at one of my favorite cheapy chic haunts like Target, H&M or Old Navy.

The dress if perfecta for several reasons:

-The cowl neckline: I'm a fool for a turtleneck (and I always have been, I think it started in, like, 1st grade), so I love that it gives the same effect with more edge.

-Houndstooth is my buddie: One of my favorite dresses last winter was a maroon and black houndstooth little number that I scored from target.com for about $8. It looked great with black tights and patent-leather mary-janes, or over a very mod, black turtleneck.

Am I the only one that trolls designer sites only to emulate the look for a fraction of the price?

Word to my (anorexic) clothing budget,

Monday, July 07, 2008

Black Girls Readin'

If you know me at all, you know that I'm kind of a bibliophile. I love to read and I love (almost as much) to discuss what I'm reading/have read. Enter, Uptown Literatti, a cute little book spot that my friend Nicole and I began back in April.

After one of our many "book talks," I revealed that in my sophomore year of high school I set out to read all of the classics; those undeniable great books that will constantly be referenced in popular culture and in contemporary books. The works that inspire artists of all genres like The Color Purple, Vanity Fair, Things Fall Apart, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird and The Grapes of Wrath. I got through about 10% of the list (that the Collegeboard outlined here) that year and read another portion throughout high school and college, but there were so many that I still hadn't conquered. Thus, Uptown Literatti was born.

Two of my favorite readers, Nikita and Melissa, wanted in on the action and so we formed our foursome of readers, and vowed to intrepidly slave through these masterpieces. We started with The Bell Jar, one of my favorites by Sylvia Plath that both Nicole and I related to a great deal. We went on to The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner and got as far as the second chapter before putting it in our "To-Read" pile. We just finished up A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce and we're on to something more contemporary.

Oh, did I mention, we'll also be compiling our own little list of Great Contemporary Books? I'm angling for us to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith next. My Harlem sublet is ending in September and I'm more than a little obsessed with the other borough these days. I've recently been seen rocking out to this 9th Wonder joint, Brooklyn on my Mind.

Lots of people have an idea about what a classic books makes, and they've outlined it. Check out some of my favorite "good book" lists and start reading. Just make sure to tell me what you think :)

-101 Great Books: The Collegeboard
-Strand 80: Strand Bookstore NYC
-Books of a Century: New York Public Library
-The Complete List of Oprah's Book Club
-Uptown Literatti's Great Contemporary Books

With Love and Literature,