Friday, June 27, 2008

advice like youth, probably wasted on the young... mary schmich

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. Scientists have proven the long-term benefits of sunscreen, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or celebrate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it is worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

every child is an artist...25 june 2008 gratitudes

"every child is an artist...the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up". pablo picasso.

1. had breakfast with my darling amy merrick. she shared this beautiful manuscript of diary entries from her great grandmother that she and her mother unearthed while at her family home in new hampshire. my word, i could have listened to her read these stories to me for hours! what a way to start the morning, hearing a young girl's world read to you by a dear friend. i felt like i was listening to louisa may alcott retelling little women to me.

2. had a moment of dyslexia when looking at the schedule and realized that my day off was today! oh i was so happy, like coming to school on a forgotten holiday, and then getting to leave.

3. ran into the president of the company on the street as i was leaving work. he has been so kind to me, and all of the savannah kids. we are still bewildered that we are here in new york; working where we are; living our lives like this. he has taken such good care of us and we all are still stunned by it all.

4. collected my sweet pete cooney for an adventure in the city!

5. found a book on joseph cornell at the new museum on the bowery. the marionette hot air balloon girl caught my eye and i got goosebumps when i looked at the back of the book. automatic writing sprawled over the page with overlapping words and motifs similar to what i jotted down a few days ago. lord knows automatic writing is a common brainstorming step for artists; it was just so strange to see it staring at me. by chance. in a museum bookstore. i love happy accidents.

6. went to opening ceremony and the new jil sander store. both completely different in concepts, but both like galleries. i love seeing the way stores display their wares.

7. caught up with the sweet cast of characters at opening ceremony. my beautiful and talented friend, madeleine alder-cossitt used to be the assistant designer for the store's in-house label. this store is where i discovered mary ping and gerard tully, two designers and artists i respect and adore very much.

8. dropped off archimedes, my beloved owl ring off to get re-gold plated. i love this ring. it is the most precious ring i own other than my engagement ring. one time, during a window display change at christmas time i thought i had lost it. a full on anxiety attack took over my body until frances pezik prayed to saint anthony, the finder of things lost. hours later, from thin air and no disturbance, i heard the sound of rolling metal on bare precious archimedes ring, rolling back and forth under a clothing rack. now who doesn't believe in magic?

9. stumbled upon the alexander wang sample sale. so flipping excited! i have had the pleasure of meeting this sweet boy a few times; and i might be just as in love with him as his clothing. i've been saying for months that i just want some alexander wang pieces, but couldn't afford them. thank the lord new york city has sample sales.

10. went to the galleries in soho like i had planned a few days ago, when they were all closed. oh how i love looking at art! i love the physical reaction your body feels when a piece touches you and makes you feel something inside. some people like to talk about art because it makes them feel smarter. i am magnetized by how art speaks to different people and how it can change a person's mood, outlook, state of can change everything. i am thankful to be in this city, surrounded by art and the people who create it. in georgia, i only had books and professors telling me what art looked like and how i should feel. now i can look at the originals and feel the way i want to feel. and i love that.

Monday, June 23, 2008

you are the company you keep...

from age 5 to age 18 i was educated at one of the top, academically competitive private schools in the south. unfortunately, i was never naturally one of the brightest bulbs in the bunch. i had my share of teachers who gave up on me right away, dismissing my learning disabilities only to label me as a lost cause. thankfully, i always had at least one patient and kind teacher every year. always had one who took the time to appreciate that i had the heart and passion to do well, it just would take me more than a few tries to get it right. always the underdog, always having to work harder than most just to stay afloat. at the end of the year, when i would give my teachers their thank-you gifts, my mother encouraged me to write "thank you for believing in me" to the ones who made a difference.

i am surrounded by so many supportive people in my life, personally and professionally...

thank you for believing in me.

gratitude is the memory of the heart...23 june 2008

once upon a time i had the idea of sweet talking my coworkers into writing down 5 things daily that they were thankful for. when all the commotion had slowed down to a murmur( usually between 8 and 10 pm), i would march around to the different sections of my store, armed with post-its and ballpoint pens. many grumbled, most were compliant, and some even seemed tickled. it was by far the happiest moment of my day. one-by-one, they would return to me with their gratitudes. i stapled the colored notes onto the letterhead stationary and would review the pages like a child reading a bedtime story. and during my time at this store, i collected tomes of thanks.

i miss these moments. i think i shall try and start it up again.

if anyone wants to send me post-its with their daily gratitudes, i guarantee it would brighten both of our days...just a thought...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

eventually all things merge into one. i am haunted by words...

such random thoughts i have...

bell jars. shadow puppets. marionettes. tristan tzara. paper doll chains. clotheslines. fishtail braids. brown eggs. craft paper. boudicca. touchstones. dandelions. daisy chains. jesus and the mary chain. heartstring. ball of string. stockings. bralettes. balloons. alice in wonderland. dorothy. maude. juliet. wishing. curious and curiouser. obsession. repetition. insomnia. paper planes. kites. wink'n, blink'n, and nod. tiddlywinks. goodnight moon. love you to the moon. pat the bunny. baby's breath. snap dragons. hope chest. hope on a rope. soap on a rope. rope swing. jump rope. cat's cradle. hop scotch. chalkboard. sidewalk chalk. doll house. valley of the dolls. milk bottles. bottled emotion. drink me. punch drunk love. book shelves with ladders. jacob's ladder. wallflower. potting soil. clutter. collections. treasure maps. globes. constellations. dippers. ladles. label makers. typewriter. writing pens. love letters. alphabet blocks. flash cards. house of cards. speakeasy. big band. phonograph. photograph. polaroid. polar opposites. opposites attract. laws of attraction. lawyer. eddie. man of my dreams. daydream. automatic writing. surrealism. maya deren. beautiful as the chance meeting upon a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella. duchamp. r mutt. r crumb. henry darger. l frank baum. patchwork girl. quilting bee. spelling bee. bee charmer. charmed life. charm school. etiquette. table manners. cotillion. debutantes. coming of age. how to kill a mockingbird. why is a raven like a writing desk. mome wraths. moths to a flame. magnifying glass. looking glass. mercury glass. mason jars. jam. teapots and cups. clotted cream. egg cup. silver spoons. spooning. sleeping. nightmare. night terror. sleepwalk. talk in your sleep. nonsense. nonsense and kind. year and a day. grandfather clock. lullaby. my mother. my father. twelfth of never. neverland. lost boys. shadow. happy thoughts. thimble. thread. hand sewing. stitch. mend. lend or borrow. on borrowed time. tick tock. calendar. chart. lists. to do. check.

stir my soul... visual gratitudes

all of these make up all of me. i am forever grateful for these artists and their works. my influences and my touchstones. one in the same.

find your heart's content...22 june 2008 gratitudes

1. had a day of wonder with the lovely corrie pellerin.

2. began the day with breakfast in the lower east side at teany. had fruit, yogurt, and granola and a teanychino, followed by a strong cup of black coffee.

3. went on a wild goose chase to find the children's store, maki, in soho. it was closed but we stopped in other children's stores to feel young at heart. there is nothing more special than seeing giggly children. if i could bottle a baby's laugh i would, and make a fortune. i think these kind of stores are my version of a happy place.

4. admired the yummy fabrics and yarns at purl soho and purl patchwork. i was smitten with the clothesline of tiny mohair baby booties. if i could knit, i would recreate this and hang it in my room, across my bedroom window.

5. stopped in washington square park to eat pinkberry and revisit where eddie proposed. i haven't been to the spot since he asked me to marry him. i love that this place will be around forever and we will be able to show our children one day.

6. introduced corrie to the red balloon. its so much fun to share sweet things with this girl. she and i both have hearts of children and are doing our best to fight the jadedness that comes with growing up. i never want to become a cynic. ever.

7. felt young and happy, finding magic at every turn in this city. i love having days off to recharge. i think i will be much lovelier at work tomorrow...fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

summertime, when the living is easy...21 june 2008 gratitudes

1. today is my first full day of rest in some time. and i don't work tomorrow either. it feels like when school is out for summer. that first night; where there is no impending homework looming over your head, and you can just play by your own rules. i love this feeling.

2. found some old "g" letterpresses at a stamp shop. i wanted to find a classic lowercase g that resembles how i draw mine...but that will be for another day.

3. unearthed a wall hanging at a flea market that looks like an indian crazy quilt. it is massive and completely hand-beaded, hand-sequined, hand-pieced, and hand-stitched. this massive piece is completely untouched by machine. i wish i could photograph the whole cloth in a way that does it justice. its beautiful. my favorite colors coupled with my favorite techniques and oh so shiny.

4. flipped through my magazines to find good poses for illustration inspiration. i am completely obsessed with lara stone, the gap-toothed chanteuse who never seems to be wearing clothes. i'm also rekindling my love affair with bruce webber and his naughty photography. his new spread in w magazine is pretty spectacular. and i included some swipes from french playboy to prove that it is not just another smutty men's magazine.

5. had breakfast with vaughn vance at cafe cluny. he is such a good boy and i loved watching all the girls(and boys) at the restaurant turn their heads as he walked past. what's even better is he's so humble that he doesn't even notice.

6. about to go and attempt to tackle the danger zone that is my bedroom. i wish i was a tidier girl...but i guess i'm just too much of a free spirit... yes...that's my excuse. whenever i meet artists that are clean, neat, and organized i am in complete and utter awe. illustrator and muse, alyson fox, apparently keeps a tidy workspace and i envy her. how does she do it? i need tips.

Friday, June 20, 2008

the happiest day of the year...20 june 2008 gratitudes

1. today is the first day of summer, normally my least favorite season( because i hate the heat) but i think this one will be exciting. i can feel a change in the air. apparently today is the happiest day of the year. hopes are high and winter is but a distant memory.

2. snatched some more marc jacobs bras. i have a sincere problem, i can't stop. my "unmentionables" drawer is bursting with the prettiest bras in my colors: grey, black, nude, pink, dusty rose, and mauve. the bras ran really small this season, and lucky for me i have a most modestly sized chest!

3. the new steiff keychains came in to little marc today. i couldn't resist but buy a bunch for presents for friends and laboring over who got which one. my darling friend, haylie bird waring believes in identifying your "spirit animal". i'm a hedgehog. you know, because i'm nurturing...

4. listening to my summer playlists. au revoir simone is on heavy rotation. they are the cutest, most enchanting band i have ever seen. i am smitten with these girls. i had the pleasure of meeting them at a fashion show and i nearly fainted. as sweet and lovely as their songs.

5. went to a poetry slam at bowery poetry club to support the talented jaime lewis aka "rip" and his group "writers block". i felt like i was in a scene of some 60s film. the women were amazing. a stylistic range from headwraps and layers of chunky beads to highwaisted denim shorts and paper-thin, slouchy knits. and before the spoken word began, the d.j. cut a mean list of fun songs for all to dance to. i love to dance.

6. saw corrie at the store. she is going to be working just around the corner from me and i can't believe it! all of my dear friends work within a few blocks of me. its magical. new york is such a big city and yet we all have pooled together in the west village. makes my heart feel so full!

7. the sweet waitress from the spotted pig, anna, came buy the store. she is so positive and encouraging about the headbands pete, chelsea, and i are working on. she was speaking french to her stylist friend, anouck, and i could have listened to them all day. anouck pledged her love of bows to me, and i knew we would be friends. its funny how a detail can bring people together.

8. saw kusum lynn at the store. she, aya kanai, and nicky cohen have left an indelible mark in my memory. these were the main stylists/fashion editors at nylon when i had my first internship. these women were iconic to me and still are. she currently freelances and styles for lula magazine. heavy sigh.

9. got a sweet care package from my pete cooney. a custom made alice-in-wonderland stamp, an alice notebook, and a mauve ink pad. so thoughtful. the cover of the notebook has the quote, "why, sometimes i've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast". so true it's eerie. i'm a constant dreamer.
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