Monday
Oct062014

the optimism of breakfast

"In the Optimism of the Morning, it is wise to Get Going. To be Confident, Expansive, Exuberant.
If you find yourself at the Cup and Saucer Coffee Shop - or any coffee shop - with a Jelly Doughnut
and a cup of coffee, staring out the window at the parade of passers by, you could do worse.
A whole lot worse."

-Illustration and words by Maira Kalman,
as printed in the July 22, 2013 issue of the New Yorker

Sunday
Oct052014

Five Interesting Facts about Textiles

This semester, I’m taking an introductory course on textiles that I find to be fascinating. Considering the monumental role that textiles play in my life, I’m sorry to admit that prior to this course I knew very little on the subject. Though I'm only at the semester's midpoint, I can’t go a day without analyzing someone’s clothing and postulating said clothing’s fiber content and care. Laundry, which previously tied hand-washing dishes as my least favorite chore, has become a delight. I wish I were kidding.  

As I reviewed my class notes this evening, I complied a list of five facts that I found to be both helpful and interesting. Perhaps much of below is common knowledge, but it was all new to me! 

  1. Linen is actually flax. The word linen is derived from linum, which is the latin term for the flax plant. I’ve blended flax seed into my breakfast smoothie concoction every morning for the past two months and had no idea that it was remotely associated with linen last week. Dur. 
  2. If a textile is made from 100% Bamboo, it can’t be organic. Unlike linen and cotton, bamboo must be chemically processed into a fiber. Ditto for Eucalyptus.
  3. White Vinegar is magical and can get rid of almost any stain. 
  4. On most washing machines, the delicate cycle is no more gentle than the normal cycle. It is called “delicate” simply because that particular setting skips a few steps in the washing process (ie, it’s just shorter). Prior to this class, I wrongly assumed that the delicate setting was equivalent to hand-washing garments in the tub. I was shocked when I found out what was really going on in there. For me, it was somewhat like the adult equivalent of discovering that Santa isn’t real. 
  5. Adding more soap than recommended to your laundry load to make it “cleaner” is actually counterproductive. All soaps, including laundry detergent, work because they attract dirt. Though clothing is rinsed clean in the wash, a bit of soap will still remain in the item. If you use more soap than necessary, even more soap will be left in the item and thus the item will become dirtier quicker. Prior to learning this, I was totally guilty of abusing soap..! I've since changed my ways:)  

 (photo via D. Porthault

Friday
Sep122014

mindblowing socks

Earlier this summer, I purchased the perfect pair of high-waisted indigo jeans (if you don’t believe me, try them on!). I cropped them just slightly because I thought the silhouette more flattering on my frame. While I don’t regret the alterations, I’ve come to find that the cold air and my exposed ankles do not get along. The solution, of course, is a few great pairs of pattered socks. And in my quest for socks, I discovered two companies that, in my opinion, make the prettiest footwear textiles on earth: Strathcona Stockins and Antipast. My chosen Strathcona Stockings offerings, images one and three, have a Diana Vreeland essence to them… If DV was alive today, she’d be wearing them in her “Garden from Hell” living room whilst sprawled on her red sofa, cigarette in hand, verbally dictating notes to whomever was in earshot. Antipast's "Edelweiss" pair, center, is sweet, expensive and sold at Barneys (so you know it’s good). While we're here, I also am on a hunt for a pair of red socks (the exact shade TBD) but haven't found them yet. I’m very particular, if you can’t tell : ) 

Question of the hour: who makes your favorite pair of socks? 

Tuesday
Aug262014

une citation

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."

-Russel Baker


(Above: Irving Penn's Summer Sleep, New York, 1949)

Monday
Aug042014

the scrapbooks of anne sexton

I adore Anne Sexton. I discovered her work last Fall and am at the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much I've read (though I will say that The Addict is beautiful, and very much spoke to me). Taking her emotional poetry and early suicide into consideration, I believe that she was a person who felt deeply, perhaps more than most. These pages from her personal scrapbook are signs of happier days. If you look closely, you'll see that the pages are filled with momentos from her elopement. They key to their suite, an newspaper ad for a film they say together, a Western Union telegraph from her parents (who are sick with worry). There's something invaluable and sweet that somewhere in this world, these objects exist on paper. I hope to do the same when I reach a similar point in my life. Though I know myself and will think it somewhat inconvienant at the time, Anne Sexton shows me that it'll be worth the effort. 

(images via