Tuesday, February 27, 2007

reduce, reuse, recycle

I had an eventful walk home from work today. For, I was given a fresh look at the classic 90s catch-phrase, reduce, reuse, recycle. And I thought I'd share with you my findings:


Or the lack there of, as I was at the grocery store picking up some mid-week necessities, and managed to spend $45 in the the 10 items or fewer lane. This might be due in part to the landmark decision I made to buy the 2lb. block of Cabot Cheddar instead of Col's usual 8oz. cheese-crumb. Now maybe we can go longer than two days without running out.


There is an ancient barber shop in my town that seems to have been trapped in a time capsule. The chairs are retro, the grimy linoleum floors are retro, and the faded posters on display show hairstyles from the 1950s. I walked by the window and saw it glaring back at me. 56 years. That's what the poster says: 56 years. The cartoon letters look like pubic caterpillars. For they're been written out using, I imagine, 56 years-worth of hair trimmings. Trimmings of all colors and textures. The funny thing is, I've never seen anyone in there getting their hair cut. Ever. So where did all those trimmings come from?


Not far from the barber shop and the grocery store is the YMCA. I walk by there quite often and see parents picking up their children from afternoon activities. This time, as I neared the front entrance, a little girl about 7 or 8 busted out of the door singing, "There's a place in France, where the naked ladies dance. There's a hole in the wall where the men can see it all!" Her father followed her out to the street, blushing all the way.

I had to smile. That was MY song when I was her age—20 years ago!—and I'm sure my father was horrified. Still, it will never grow old, will it? So long as there are silly little girls whispering in each others ears, "Naked ladies, pass it on!"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

little red riding... good?

I wore a red coat today. A long one that falls below my knees. I was amazed at the women who gave me compliments, hinged with surprise: oh what a beautiful color! how striking against the white snow. Had I discovered a new color? Or was their astonishment felt from finding beauty in my sartorial brazenness? What's the big deal anyhow?

Now, I know this much: Red is not a puritanical hue. It was indeed the poisoned red apple that put Snow White to sleep. And her voluptuous red lips that ate it. Oh sinner, Eve! It was the red letter "A" that screamed adultress to all who looked. Scarlett O'Hara. Scarlett Johansson. Oh sexy temptress! Red light district, crimson tide. Aunt Flo. Even the clean girls are never white as snow. Streetcar Named Desire? There's hidden meaning to that name, Blanche. The truth reveals a burning hot fire.

Can't I just wear a beautiful red coat without having to feel like a sinner, like Hester Prynne? And even if I were, does it really matter, oh Judges of Color, of Evil and Good? What about Rose Red. Love. What about Red Riding Hood? For that's really who I felt like today. Little girl on her way to grandmother's house. Young and playful and screaming white red.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

i like the word fashion. do you?

The word fashion can be a cherry bomb. It carries within its glossy womb a hidden artillery of equally laden terms like elitist, anorexia, vanity, waste and excess.

But fashion, like any industry or ideal, has its necessary bags of good and evil. I’m an optimist and tend to see the good in it. Words such as style, inspiration, conceptual art, personal confidence, color, expression, originality, and beauty come to mind.

Anybody can and should have style. To lend excitement to every day, to inspire others with new ideas, and to give every precious moment of life the full effort and limelight it deserves.

Monday, February 19, 2007

the gymnast in me

It can be disconcerting to dig through archives from a past life. Surreal even, like when you fall upon some dark poems you wrote as a sad, misanthrope teenager (as for me, I used to quote Eleanor Rigby) or detailed sketches of vampires and emaciated creatures. Who was that girl? I look at her now and think to myself, she was trying way too hard.

Maybe I was. Or maybe I was just trying something out. Like when I did the happy hippy thing—incense, flowing skirts, and all—for a couple years in high school. Or the black leather thing during my college days in Paris. Some moments I’d just as soon forget.

But there are other glimpses of my past that afford real inspiration to the current Me. I think my best phase was one of my earliest during a time not at all documented but for in my memories and one single photo: it was the gymnast in me. Those were the days of Mary-Lou Retton. I cut my hair short just like hers and started taking gymnastics at the Y. My favorite outfit was a shiny purple leotard that I wore with red tights and a red and purple striped belt. The stretchy elastic kind that hooked together with two metal buckles. I wore it around the house with my pink Velcro sneakers. I wore it doing cart-wheels in the yard. I wore it everywhere.

Yes, sometimes digging through old photos and odds and ends can unearth some real gems. I can look at that shiny leotard picture and think, that girl had something. She’s had her pulse on the moment. She didn’t even have to try, she was ahead of her time. And you know what? You can’t see it in the picture, but I even had a rat’s tail. Those were so hot back then. And I wanted one real bad. I was 6 years old.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


I'm working on a new web site, which takes inspiration from my blog, Penelope Post. Gosh, it's really a lot of work, but I'm enjoying it immensely. There are still lots of empty spaces, but I decided to publish it in its working state. Have a look if you'd like: penelopepost.com. I'm especially proud of my quirky little trapeze artist animation.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

snow drops & cherry blossoms

Last night was Valentine’s Day. Col and I had reservations at the Kitchen Table, but with the blizzard of the century brewing outside, we decided to stay in town and were able to snag—last minute—a fabulous table in a tiny nook with my sister and her husband at Trattoria Delia, my absolute favorite Italian restaurant. Dinner was divine. And so was the wine. Afterward, feeling stuffed and giddy, we walked home in the street (the snow on the sidewalks was up to our knees!) and took breaks rolling around in the snow-banks, climbing trees, and waving to the people whizzing by on their cross-country skis.

I must have been slightly romanced at that point, because once we got home to our warm, little apartment around midnight, instead of going to bed, I decided to go online and buy some plates from Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen. Not just any plates, but a beautiful Japanese cherry-blossom pattern. For all of the nice dinners and potlucks we have, it’s about time we have pretty dishes for our guests. I think I’ll start collecting the whole bunch. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

a thing for good soap

I just realized that I have thing for good soap. I realized this just now after I walked into a shop and paid $8 for a bar of everyday soap. And I certainly would have paid a much higher price in the city, to be sure. Nice, French, fragrant, good soap, but everyday, regular-sized soap nonetheless.

I say I realized this just now, but in fact, the realization began last week when I was in the shower. I found myself standing there dripping wet, staring at an empty soap tray and wondering how on earth I forgot to buy more before it ran out. I ALWAYS have a stash of soap somewhere in the loo. But this time, the only stash I could think of was my emergency travel soap—a collection I’d accumulated from stockings, hotels, and Christmas gift bags—soaps which I never thought I’d actually use.

You should never keep soaps that you don’t like in your emergency travel soap stash, because you may end up eventually being forced to use them. In fact, you should only keep very luxurious soaps in your emergency travel soap stash, because when you’re in a bland hotel and feeling homesick, there is nothing like a nice bar of soap to make you feel like a princess (or a prince). Plus, if you run out of soap like I did the other day, you’re probably already feeling traumatized and stressed, and the perfect antidote is finding a gorgeous bar of olive oil-enriched, smells-nice-in-your-skin, and makes-you-feel-oh-so-soft SOAP hidden somewhere amongst the towels.

As it turned out, I ran from my shower and grabbed a bar from my emergency stash blindly. As I started to rub it across my skin, I thought to myself, this is not soap. And in fact, it wasn’t. It was oily. It smelled very nice. But it did not lather. I realized later that it was a luxurious, oil bar that Col picked up for me on a recent trip abroad. It’s meant to renew your skin’s moisture. Luxurious and it smells nice. But it’s not soap.

The second soap I grabbed, I opened quickly while jumping back under the shower. One sniff and I threw that thing half-way across the backroom floor into the bin. Ick. I think it might have been artificial cinnamon scented.

Back to the stash again. Oh god, please don’t make my last option be Col’s slimy old bar of Irish Spring! This black thing looked like soap, but it had sand in it for exfoliation. That hotel soap over there, I thought, might just burn my skin off. Just at that moment, I found a lovely jar of luxurious Figue bath gel. It was luxurious, lathery, clean, and smelled like an aphrodisiac. That did the trick for the dire moment. But it wasn’t soap.

So later that very day I stocked up on good soap. Good soap that’s real, that’s natural, that’s gentle and fragrant. Good soap that makes me feel good. And I’m still stocking. Hence the $8 soap. Am I completely mad?

Monday, February 12, 2007

andy's well-dressed philosphy

"A person has to be very careful about what he's buying these days or else he'll wind up buying junk. And paying a lot for it too. So this means that if you see a well-dressed person today, you know that they've thought a lot about their clothes and how they look. And then that ruins it because you shouldn't really be thinking about how you look so much. The same applies to girls but not as much—they can care a little more about themselves without being unattractively self-interested, because they're naturally prettier. But a man caring about about how he looks is usually trying very hard to be attractive, and that's very unattractive in a man." Andy Warhol from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back Again)

I agree with you Andy, except for this: girls, er women, must try just as hard as men to be attractive. The ones who are successful are the ones who embrace their look with confidence. Confidence is the key. Confidence and intuition. For if a woman, who has the means to purchase a well-tailored, high-quality look, feels ill in her own skin, then she might as well have bought some sweatpants for five bucks. Or better yet, just stayed home. However, that scenario is rare, because women are naturally more intuitive than men. They are much less likely than men to wear a look that makes them feel like they're trying too hard in the first place. Because it just doesn't feel right. This statement might sound sexist, Andy. Possibly even feminist. I assure you that it is.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

just one reason why I love potlucks

I love the idea that food can be the eye into a person's inner culture. Your stew says a lot about you, you know.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

sparkle tower

Here's a little clip from our recent trip to Paris. At nighttime, every hour on the hour, the Eiffel Tower sparkle—albeit sideways—just like fairy dust...

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