Saturday, July 30, 2016

Selena Gomez Appreciation

A simple, practically wordless post of appreciation for Selena Gomez on this Saturday evening.

She's grown into such a beautiful woman and I have so loved watching her grow up.
Who else remembers her as a wizard?

It's Disney stars like her, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, who cross over into mainstream media and really make a name for themselves who make me smile.  Selena Gomez is now a powerful female presence, a talented singer, and a beautiful dancer.  She's amazing, and we should all appreciate this woman!

Do you like her?  Hate her?  No opinion until now? Share with me your thoughts!


XOXO,
Taylor

Reader Writes Back

Hey Brainiacs,

First of all, thank you for reading my blog (especially the regulars), commenting, and sharing.  It means the world to me that my writing actually makes a difference in other people's lives.  I aim to inspire, humor, and offer knowledge and information; I hope I am doing so and doing it somewhat well.
That being said, I need your help.  You've been a diligent little reader, but now I need you to write back.  What do you want to see more/less of?  Let me hear your opinion--do not hold back!
For example: maybe for my next blog, you want me to talk more about models?  Current events?  Culture?  Music?  Books?  Fruit salad?  Well, I'm not going to write about fruit salad, but it doesn't hurt to give me your opinion anyway!
Please give me some feedback; it really will mean the world.

XOXO,
Taylor

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 12

Manus x Machina: A Dream Come True

I suppose I should have paid.
Suggested admission is $12 for students...but when you're given the option, who in their right mind chooses to fork over their money?  Especially a starving college student?  
I look around me, trying not to notice that I am the only one without a little sticker attached to my shirt that says: "MET."  The guards and museum docents arranged sporadically around the displays are eyeing me; I feel like there's a red lightbulb above my head or something.  I am Satan, the girl who did not pay to get into the Met Museum (I also cut the entrance line.  This is easy to do when you're small and quiet, but don't try it at home).  
In retrospect, I really should have paid.
But in my defense, I didn't even have enough money for a proper lunch.  How could I have had money to throw at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts?  For some reason, I imagine they're already pretty well off without my dough.
I stumble through the throng of tourists speaking a slur of languages to each other, impatiently pushing my way through to get to the only exhibit I care about.
"Sir, where's the costume exhibit located?" I ask in my syrupy sweet child's voice, reserved for times when I need to get directions to a place I basically barreled my way into.
"Behind the big staircase; go straight and you'll see it," he says with a jaded smile--the smile of an employee who has dealt with one too many tourists and has stood idly by while his job crushed his soul.
"Thanks," I murmur, pushing through an Asian family with a ridiculous amount of cameras and shooting in the direction he pointed me to.
I'm power-walking through the crowd, starting to feel a little claustrophobic and getting anxious as a result.  I unreasonably glare at the people surrounding me, blaming them for my pain.  I'm so hungry I feel like my wrists and ankles are going to snap and I'm being herded like cattle through an exhibit on Ancient Egyptian plates or something--I begin to wonder if this fashion exhibit is even worth it.  I debate turning around and leaving.  Maybe I'll just tell people I went and it wasn't a big deal.  That could work, I irrationally think to myself, already dreaming about diving face first into a hot plate of food from somewhere, anywhere.  It's at this moment I run face first into Manus x Machina, this year's costume exhibit--an exhibit entirely dedicated to the marriage between fashion and technological design.  
My jaw drops open and all feelings of hunger disintegrate.  I'm immediately knocked on my ass (not literally, thank God) by the wonder, the meticulousness, the fascinating art form that is couture.  My eyes begin to water as I drink in the displays one by one, whispering to my childhood self, You're finally here.
(House of Chanel)
See, when you're a little girl growing up in a small town in Southern California and you're obsessed with fashion, the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Exhibit is like a faraway fantasy.  It's a dream, something I always promised myself I would one day see.
As I make my way through the small exhibit, ignoring the stupid comments of tourists ("What do you think of this one, Dave?  Do you like it?" *Dave grunts*, "Can we go to the cafe?") and allowing my hunger to disintegrate (I'm fed, instead, by fashion), I practically pinch myself.  I'm seeing the Costume Exhibit in person.

(Louis Vuitton, Proenza Schouler)
Ever since I was a child, I would rush to the nearest drug store a few weeks after the First Monday in May (the annual Met Gala, for those who don't know), to purchase Vogue's special edition coverage of the Gala itself.  I promised myself two things: that one day I'd see it in person, and that one day I'd be invited to the Met Gala.
One down.

(Saint Laurent)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 11

Hot Date with the Janitor

He beams at me from across the gym floor, an attractive young black man with a goatee and short black curls.  He's dressed in the Planet Fitness uniform with the required khaki pants.  He appears friendly, inviting, laid-back.  Man can looks be deceiving.
I smile back at him, nodding politely, maybe allowing my eyes to linger a bit longer than I should when dealing with  guys like this.
A severe case of runner's knee has banished me from running through the streets of New York and confined me to the gym, but I'm not complaining.  Much like the feeling I get when I walk into a bookstore or a properly curated boutique, walking into a gym always feels like home.  There's a real perk to starting off with a membership at the age of 11 (I lied and told them I was the required minimum age of 12); no matter how hard you try to fight it, nothing feels more soothing than a gym--like a pacifier to a baby.
I rock through my workout, always excited to use different machines and strange equipment to shake things up.  (Yes, these are the things I live for).  I begin to notice a pattern; the same employee, who I've now realized is the gym's janitor, staring at me from different corners of the gym.  He seems to be getting closer, closer...mopping near me when I swear he already went over that spot.  Cleaning the mirrors next to me that are already sparkling.  It begins to sink in...Shit.  This isn't just some friendly guy.  This is another gym creep and I've got to avoid, avoid, avoid!
I move over to the drinking fountain, careful to make sure he's nowhere around.  I bend over to take a nice cool sip, soothed by the clanging of weights in the background and the mild grunts of fellow lifters.  I stand up and wipe my mouth, taking a deep breath and smiling.  I turn around and almost run face first into him.
"Hi," he gushes, staring at me with wide eyes and beaming.  "How are you today?"
"Good, you?" I politely return, nodding like, This is as far as the conversation is going to get.
"Yeah, it's good," he nods, adopting a very cool front.  "So, what are you working on?"
I groan internally.  Oh, God, here we go.  Another "expert" who's going to try and give me "tips" as an excuse to talk to me.  Barf.  "My health," I say, daring him to press.
He does, "Anything specific?"
"Are you a trainer?" I shoot back.  Or are you just the janitor?
"No," he says, suddenly conscious of himself.  He looks down, which causes me to do the same and notice the ridiculous tattoos running up and down his arms.  They look like puffy paint art that he got done in a Port-O-Potty somewhere.  "I'm trying to bulk up though.  I'm pretty strong already; you missed it, I was lifting those treadmills earlier to clean under them.  They're really heavy."
He pauses to stare at me.  I wait a beat, and then realize this is supposed to really impress me.  "Wow," I say, practically patting him on the head and giving him a dog biscuit with my words, "That's great."
"Yeah," he says cockily, leaning against the wall, ever so confident now.  "You know, I like to stay fit.  I'm pretty strong," he repeats.  I wonder if he remembers that he already said this.
"Good for you, health is important," I say with finality, beginning to back away slowly.
"I was wondering, do you like to party?" he asks, lowering his voice a few decibels.
"What do you mean?" I say, stalling, wondering how to get away.
"Like, do you drink or smoke or anything?"
"No."
He stares at me blankly; this clearly wasn't the response he was expecting.  I see him think about something and decide to press on, as if I had given him the correct answer, "Because I was thinking maybe we could go to a bar sometime, hang out."
It's my turn to stare blankly.  "Sure," I say, having absolutely no intention of actually doing that.  "Well, I gotta get going now; work soon!"  I rush away, shoving my headphones back into my ears.
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow!" he calls after me.
I stick up a hand and wave, well aware that I'm not coming to the gym tomorrow and even more aware that I will never admit that to him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 10

A Happy Accident

I assume when most people meet Lisha Cranston, it's in a glamorous way.  Perhaps at a cocktail party, a gala, or a celebrity's housewarming.
They meet her in the back of a limo on the way to a grand opening of a new flagship store, or at Fashion's Night Out.  They meet her over the clink of champagne glasses, with smiles and toasts and cheers to the future.  They shake her hand delicately or kiss her on each cheek, praying to themselves that they've made a good impression.  They hope to God she'll remember their name, their face, any little detail about them.  They consider showering her with gifts and then think against it, realizing it will make them seem too desperate.  Then they rethink the rethink and decide to show up with a little something, a box of chocolates, a bottle of champagne, something to keep them in her memory--not that this will put them as even a blip on her radar, but she'll be diplomatic, kind, she'll make them feel like they're the only people in the world who matter.
This is the ideal way to meet Lisha Cranston.  You meet her at some glamorous event you never dreamed you'd attend and you schmooze and smile and laugh a little too loudly at all her jokes.  You hope she'll follow up and call you for lunch; you debate what the odds are that she'll remember who you are the next day when you call her for lunch.  You go to bed with a smile, satisfied that you've become "friends" with such a fashion celebrity, an icon, the executive editor of Chic Magazine who has made a brand of herself in the fashion world.
Unless you're me.  In which case, your bare naked ass meets her shortly before you ever do.

"Oh, sorry mate!" Lisha blurts in her cunning British accent, politely pointing her gaze down at the floor and backing out of the stall I'm occupying.
I've got my skirt hiked up over my hips and one leg is in the air, ready to flush the toilet with my foot.  My ass felt a breeze when she swung the door open on me, but I was too shocked to react in time.
I whirl around, catching a glimpse of the famous Lisha Cranston herself as she practically falls over trying to get out of the stall.  (It's one of those stalls you go in and think to yourself, Shit, the lock isn't working, but I'll just hold it closed.  I am going to piss myself before I make it to the next stall; what are the odds that someone's actually going to walk in on me?)  Odds are that when someone does walk in on you, it's one of the most talented and revered women in the fashion industry.  And you're an intern.
I straighten up and walk out of the stall with my head held high, no shame.  Shame tends to disintegrate when you've been sharing a one-bedroom apartment with four other people.  I can handle taking a shower right after Serge took his morning dump after a long night of drinking at the pub; I can handle anything.  I pause, wondering if that's something to actually be proud of.
Instead of darting out of there in embarrassment, I linger at the sink, taking an extra amount of time to wash my hands.  I stare at the stalls behind me through the mirror, waiting for Lisha to emerge.  Hi, there was a face attached to that albino butt.
Finally she comes out of the stall, meeting my eyes in the mirror.  I beam at her.  "Hi," I say with a psychotic lack of shame.  "How are you?"
"Doing well," she beams back, bending down to wash her hands from her colossal, model-like height.    "Sorry for walking in on you in the bathroom."
"Don't worry about it," I say, laughing.  If we can't laugh at ourselves, someone else will.
"That's how I meet all my mates," she quips back, appreciating my good humor.  "I'll see you around," she says, giving me a wink before she walks out of the bathroom.
And that's how I met Lisha Cranston, editor extraordinaire.  Not ideal, but definitely makes for a good story.

Wearable Wednesday

Hey Brainiacs,

Happy Hump Day!  Today's blog post is dedicated to wearability.  Ever seen a fashion show and thought to yourself, hmmm, interesting, but who in their right mind would actually wear that?  Today I'm showing you the top 5 (in no particular order) most flamboyantly ridiculous pieces of couture and/or ready-to-wear done by major designers; together we will decide: wearable, or unwearable?

1. Ronald van der Kemp, Fall 2016 Couture

Wearable or Unwearable?  
Taylor says: Unwearable.  This is insane!  Well done and I'm sure it took thousands of hours to compose, but for what purpose?  It looks like a 3-D Picasso painting, and not necessarily in a good way.  Fun to look at with interesting angles, but I can't imagine where this would be appropriate.  Not even to a grand ball.  How would you dance?  How do you even move the upper half of your torso?  What do you say to this?

2. Viktor & Rolf Fall 2016 Couture

Wearable or Unwearable?
Taylor says: Wearable!  Think I'm insane for saying so?  Maybe you're onto something.  Yes, it's wild, unpredictable, perhaps one could even say it looks as though a craft store threw up on an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, but this is what I love about fashion.  The craziness--the insanity that works for a select few and turns off so many others.  I can see myself darting onto the subway in this!  Performing a small gymnastics routine!  Taking a nap!  Lounging out by the pool!  Maybe not the last one.  But whatever I'm doing, I'm turning heads.  I think wearing this shows a sense of humor--not taking oneself or the trade too seriously.  Thoughts?

3. Miu Miu Resort 2017

Wearable or unwearable?
Taylor says: Wearable.  Again, I think this is hilarious and fun.  It's like bag-lady chic.  Yes you'd turn heads and perhaps not in a good way, but who cares?  Do you think all designers are just trying to make a woman look stereotypically sexy?  That would be a mysogynistic disaster and it's not what fashion is about.  Fashion is art, and this says being bright and fun-loving and silky soft is the way to do your vacation.  I agree.  Do you?

4. Faith Connexion Resort 2017

Wearable or Unwearable?
Taylor says: Unwearable, dear God no!  I'm one for free and innovative fashion without boundaries and stereotypes, but this just lacks style.  The sweater looks as though it was rummaged out of a garbage can and I'm sure it costs more than one month's rent.  It does not go with that ratty denim jacket/shorts/skirt/skort contraption which does not go with those tacky, flashy cowboy boots.  What happened here?  And what do you think about this?

5. Elie Saab Fall 2016 Couture

Wearable or Unwearable?
Taylor says: Wearable.  The cape is a risk.  A huge risk.  I don't think I've ever seen someone wear a cape well, but it's all in the confidence.  I don't think many people could make this work, as beautiful as it is, but if you wear it as powerfully as this model does and own that cape like you were born in it, why not?  Why shouldn't we all wear capes every day?  This is what I love about fashion.  Would you wear this cape?

That does it for Wearability Wednesday, but please, I want to hear from YOU!  Make a list 1-5: Wearable or Unwearable?  Why or why not?  I want to hear your opinion on this!  Until next time and keep your eyes peeled for the next Fashion Girl Chapter, set to release by the end of the week.

XOXO,
Taylor

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 9

The Mooch

I wander down Spring Street, keeping my eyes peeled.
Clothing store, clothing store, shoe boutique.  Nope.
Library?  Maybe...no.  Not open yet.
Cafe?  Definitely...but I'm not hungry.
I've become an expert at this point--an expert at picking out which place will have a public bathroom and/or drinking fountain.  It's best when you come across a supermarket or pharmacy; big enough that the staff won't give you dirty looks for simply walking in to use the facilities, and almost always contains a drinking fountain.  If anyone questions you, you just say, "I'm looking for (insert random fictitious brand name of protein bars: i.e., Olympic Protein.  What?)."  Trust me, it works every time.

My eyes settle on a bookstore.  I've sworn the places off for my trip; it's nearly impossible for me to step into one without being overcome with the insatiable itch to buy 25 different novels.  However, this one is so cute...my feet do the thinking for me.  Before I know it, I'm inside.

My eyes glaze over and run the length of the store, which (like most places in New York) seems about three times bigger once you're inside than it did from the outside.  I feel the same way I feel every time I walk into a new bookstore: like a newborn baby discovering the world for the first time.  I wander around like an idiot, shuffling my feet and most likely annoying everyone within a ten foot radius.  I run my hands over the hardbacks and paperbacks, practically drooling on the freshly printed pages.  New books always smell so good.  I take a few whiffs when I'm positive no one is looking.
The whir of a cappuccino machine snaps me out of my daze; a cafe inside the bookstore!  Like a bloodhound, I know what this means--there must be a bathroom somewhere in here.  My full bladder does cartwheels of excitement and I gallop down a staircase, my gut telling me the bathroom is downstairs.
Bathroom Bloodhound strikes again! I think triumphantly once I locate it, in the corner of the bottom floor next to the Language section.  I approach the door, my expression waning once I realize it's locked.  Bastards.  
I whirl around with my omniscient nostrils, sniffing out the help desk employee at his post on the other end of the floor.
"Hi," I greet him, trying to banish the panicked craze I'm sure is in my eyes.  "Do you happen to have the bathroom key?" I murmur softly.  In situations where you know you're asking for something you don't necessarily deserve ("For paying customers only"), I find it's always best to take advantage of the fact that I look twelve years old and act like a perfect, angelic lamb.  I bat my eyes at him and wrap my thin arms around my even thinner body like, Please, suh.  May I have the bathroom key?
"It takes quarters," he purrs back to me, doing everything short of patting me on the head and giving me a lollipop.  "Here you go," he says, handing me a shiny coin.
"Thanks," I beam, whirling around to take full advantage of the water fountain.
Once I've voided my bladder and hydrated again (it's a vicious cycle here in the City), I continue perusing the books, unconsciously tucking five under my arm and taking a seat in the cafe to read through them.  Maybe I can just buy one, I think.  You know what, screw it.  I deserve one book, don't I? I naughtily reason with myself.
I glance around the cafe, very aware of the fact that everyone else has purchased a coffee and/or food item to justify their being there.  I start to imagine people glancing up at me, resenting me for being such a cheap-ass.


I'm a college student, damn it!  I want to scream.  New York isn't cheap, you know!  In reality, no one gives a shit what I'm doing.
I keep glancing at the barista regardless.  I'm going to buy this book, my eyes plead with her.  She's yet to notice that I'm even here.
I take another hour reading through all the books.  I fan them out in front of me, on the verge of tears.  I feel like I've given birth to quintuplets and am now being forced to choose one to take home with me.  I pick one I think will be the best and run away from the rest before I change my mind, headed straight for the cash register.  Once I've been rung up I return to the basement floor to use the restroom again, praying it'll be a different guy at the help desk.  To my relief, it is.
"Hi," I say in my child's voice.  "Can I have a coin for the bathroom?"
"Sure," he grins.  I can tell he wants to slap a Hello Kitty bandaid on me and ruffle up my hair.
New York is the best city in the world.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Model Monday: Cami Morrone

This week's Model Monday goes out to yet another Argentinean (can you tell I have a type?), Cami Morrone.  She's only 19, yet another model making me feel like a washed up dinosaur at 21 years of age, and was born in Buenos Aires.

Cami has done work for both Sports Illustrated and Pink, but she's quickly been making a name for herself in the fashion world--her workout routine was featured on Vogue.com a few months ago.

Not only is she fit, fashionable, and drop-dread gorgeous: she's making herself a brand.  She recently launched her own website, run by herself, called cami-morrone.com.  The website has a collection of articles on fitness and health, beauty, food, traveling, and fashion.  Is she trying to compete with me?

Anyway, for those of you stuck with the belief that all models are brainless anorexics, Cami defies you all.  She's strong and fit with a healthy appetite and an intelligence and grace that shows through in both her writing and speaking.  Now please enjoy a few photos of this Monday's babe and feel free to chime in with opinion, as always.  Have a great Monday, kick this week's ass, and love yourself wildly and completely!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 8

The Tourist Prevails

Take step, ouch.  Take step, ouch.  Step, ouch.  Step, ouch.
"Go around, nothing to see here!"
Step, ouch.
Step...step...ouch.
"Ugh," an older woman scoffs at me as she bypasses me down the stairs, giving me whiplash with how fast she's moving in comparison to me.
"What do you want from me ma'am?!" I want to scream.  Instead I bare my teeth and internally groan, OUCH.
It's the close of my third week on my own in New York and from all the running, walking, climbing, and overall exercise I've been forcing upon myself (you don't need to take a cab, it's only forty blocks.  Just walk!), my body is falling apart.  
Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but between the severe runner's knee, the blisters on my feet, and the soreness in my shoulders from lugging what must have been one thousand pounds of groceries up thirty blocks, I can barely clear the subway staircase in less than thirty minutes.  It's character building if anything, right?
I moan as a few more people shove past me, making sure to shoot me angry looks as they do so, as if I have any say in the matter.  The words "Just rest for a few days" echo in my mind.  I've never been one to follow directions.
I shove my way through the turn style and half-jog, half-limp my way to the E Train which thankfully hasn't left the station yet.  I feel so triumphant.  I must look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  
I leap through the doors, sort of expecting them to close right behind me dramatically.  They stay open, which is rather anticlimactic.  I make my way through the train, looking for an empty seat.  Weekends are crazy on the subway and I've yet to find a seat on a train today.  Luckily, some big lug with a heavy Queens accent instructs the kid next to him to scoot over so I can sit down.  "Right here, sweetheart," he calls to me, hoping to be my knight in shining armor.  I allow it.
"Thank you," I gush appreciatively, settling into my seat and allowing my eyes to wander.  A mini panic goes through me; I usually take the C train instead of the E, but on the weekends the C doesn't run in the same direction.  I'm hoping the E will take me to my stop, but too tired to get up and figure it out.  "Do you know if this train goes to Washington Square?" I desperately murmur to my lug, not really sure I'll get up and leave if he says no.  Maybe I could just go to Queens.  Hang out with this guy and his family.  I bet he has cute kids.
"I don't think so," he returns, furrowing his brow.  "Hey, Joe," he calls to his friend.  His friend turns to face us; he can't possibly be less than 250 pounds of pure muscle and bulk and his face resembles granite.  
"Yeah?"
"Does this train go to Washington Square?"
"No, it goes to Queens," Joe answers.
I'm thinking to myself, Yes sir, I'm aware.  I'm going to get off before it gets to Queens.  Instead I just nod and say, "Okay, thank you."  Although these men have clearly lived here their entire lives and I've been here exactly three weeks, I know I'm right.  That kind of comes with the territory of my genes.
The two men stare at me, probably confused that I haven't jumped up and run out of the train in a panic.  I settle into my seat, closing my eyes and waiting for the train to start up.  It's going to Washington Square.  And if it doesn't, I get off somewhere else.
I crack an eye open to glance at the kid sitting next to me.  He's about my age, maybe a year or so younger, dressed in workout gear and stabilizing a Whole Foods bag between his feet while he messes around on his phone.  
He's staring at a photo of a really cute guy holding a cake and smiling.  The guy in the picture looks familiar; sure enough, I glance up at the real life boy sitting next to me--it's him.  He's staring at a picture of himself.

I keep watching him, kind of intrigued by how long he's been staring at this picture.  It's been like five minutes, I think to myself incredulously, glancing around to see if anyone else has noticed, but I am the only one with a view of his phone.  I continue watching; there's nothing better to do when you're waiting for the train to start moving.
He zooms in on his face, using an app to remove the red eye.  This doesn't really phase me; it's a pretty common thing to do to a photo of yourself.  However, then he zooms in on his teeth.  He begins to use the app to whiten his teeth, redden his gums.  He moves his fingers over his face, brushing over blemishes and darkening the line of his eyebrows.  
At this point, I'm practically hysterical.  I am about to burst with laughter.  Others on the train stare at me like I'm insane.  Little do they know what my new friend is up to.
I remove my phone to stealthily take a picture of him, just to prove that you can't make this stuff up.  He's so encapsulated by his own face that he doesn't even notice.  Every once in a while he glances up and around to make sure no one can see what he's up to.  Every time he glances up, I pretend to be asleep.  
It gets better.  The boy zooms in on his armpits.  In the photo he's wearing gray, and we all know how unkind that can be to pit stains.  There's a slight darkness where his armpits are in the photo.  This is what kills me--this is where I CAN'T STOP LAUGHING.  He uses the app to brush over his armpits, removing the pit stains.  
How can we trust anyone after this?  How can anyone's social media profiles be credible anymore?  I will never look at a photograph the same again.
Finally, the cherry on top, the BEST thing I've seen all day, the boy moves the photo into a folder he's titled, "Ready for Insta." As in, Instagram.  As in, he does this to every photo he takes of himself and then moves it into a folder ready to post to social media.  This is a man with a plan.  I bet if he put this much effort into just about anything else, he'd be a billionaire.  An entrepreneurial genius.  A god damn savant.  
By now the train is moving; I'm too giddy from this hilarious display to really even notice.  "Next stop, Washington Square," the conductor blares over the speaker.  This brings me back to reality.  
I whip my head back to the lug on my other side with a crazed excitement in my big brown eyes.  "Hey, did you hear that?  I told you it went to Washington Square!"  I'm practically salivating, I'm so excited.  I don't really know why, but I am.
"Oh, yeah," he says, smiling at me.  "Hey Joe, it does go to Washington Square."  Joe simply nods; also quite anticlimactic, but I don't really care.  The tourist knew more than the locals, and she's ecstatic about it.  
"I'm glad you didn't get off," the lug grins, leaning into me so close that our noses almost touch.  Time to get out.
"Yup, thanks!" I exclaim, backing away sharply and smiling at him like, Yeah right, dude.  "See you!" I call as I leap up and rush out the subway doors.  I'm practically skipping down the platform, runner's knee be damned.
I'd imagine he called something like, "Take care, sweetheart!" after me, but I'm already gone.
Part of me wonders how long the young boy stayed on that E train, completely oblivious to his surroundings and completely absorbed by his own cute little face.

Friday, July 22, 2016

French Friday: Vanessa Paradis

Hey Brainiacs and Happy French Friday!

What Frenchness is on your mind today?  Balmain?  Chanel?  Baguettes?  Hairy armpits?  Fries?  Whatever it may be, shut it down and focus on MINE: Vanessa Paradis.


A renowned actress/model, and perhaps even more renowned ex-girlfriend of Johnny Depp, she's talented, well-spoken, and absolutely breathtaking.  
She's a strong woman with delicate features and a wry expression that makes anyone crack a grin.  It doesn't even matter that I don't speak French.
Here are a few of my favorite Paradis pics, but feel free to share some of your own!

On that gorgeous note, Happy French Friday! Stay safe, stay cool, stay true to yourself!

XOXO,
Taylor

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 7

Veganing Your Way Through NYC

A surprisingly simple thing to accomplish.  When I first visited NYC 9 years ago, I had just converted to vegetarianism and was convinced I'd never find anything to eat.  New York is all about slices of pizza bigger than your face and hot dogs from a stand on a corner, right?  I'd been spoiled in California with all of the healthy yoga douchebags and their juicing and organics and I'd starve to death in New York, right?
Wrong.
I was shocked to discover that there are actually more vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options in New York than any other place I've visited, even more so within the last five years.  Here in the City, you can go almost anywhere at any time of day and find an option free of animal product, gluten, GMO, and whatever else you're maniacally avoiding.

This post is dedicated entirely to food, which I feel is long overdue.

Markets:

There's a Whole Foods on almost every corner, which is exciting and terrifying (for your wallet) at the same time.  Specifically in the Upper West Side, you're surrounded by a plethora of healthy markets.  A few of my favorites: Westside Market, Zabar's, Life Thyme Natural Market (which is actually down in the West Village), and good ol' Trader Joe's.
Westside Market appears to be a tiny little convenient store from the outside, but take a few steps and you find yourself in the organic market version of Mary Poppins' purse.  Just look at this cheese aisle:

Just for cheese! Isn't that amazing?
Life Thyme Market I actually discovered by mistake.  I was desperate to use a bathroom and happened to pass Life Thyme on my way to get some ice cream.  I stopped in (it's necessary to have a voided bladder when you're consuming delicious ice cream so that all of your focus can be on the flavor, obviously), which was the best decision I made all day...besides the ice cream, which I'll discuss shortly.  Much like Westside, the market opened up before my eyes into a grand bazaar of health foods, organic products, a bakery, a fresh salad and meal bar, and deli.  I wanted to take everything home with me.  I simply couldn't leave the store without taking a few samples of the fresh food (made daily) they had on display, which fed me for an entire weekend.  But honestly, who could turn down a hippie paradise like this?


These are just a few markets out of the thousands you come across here.  It's simply overwhelming.  There's something for everyone, with every diet and every food tolerance/intolerance you could possibly think of.

Eats:

I've been making it a point to eat out at a different restaurant once a week.  While the food here is otherworldly, I'm also on a budget which means I am forcing myself to home cook most of my meals.  This process is a lot less enticing in New York than it was in La Habra.  Anyway, this last weekend my roommate Bella took me to the most delightful restaurant I think I've ever been to: Rockin' Raw.

This Peruvian restaurant is delicious, healthy, and incredibly creative.  Much like the name presumes, nothing (except for one dish) is cooked.  Every dish, including desserts, is made of raw ingredients.  This means "pasta" made out of zucchini or spaghetti squash, delicious vegan "cheese" made out of cashews, and "pie crust" made of flax seed meal.  I had to force myself to stop eating--everything was so fantastic.  We ordered an embarrassing number of appetizers and desserts, and even ordered more for the road.  No regrets.

The only cooked dish: Jambalaya with flax seed meal

Left: Jalapeno poppers stuffed with "cheese", Right: "Pasta" dish.

This is just one of the MANY vegan organic restaurants I've been to since I moved here.  Would you like to hear me talk about more restaurants, or has this been a huge snooze fest?  Give me feedback! Also, is there anything about my trip you're specifically curious about?  Keep me posted.

Until next time,
Fashion Girl

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Awareness Wednesday

Hey Guys,

Brainiacs from way back might recall the way I like my breakfast: with a side of chamomile tea and fashion/culture news websites, primarily Vogue.com and i-D.vice.com.  Living in a new city means things change, but only marginally.  I still take my chamomile tea warm and with a little cinnamon, and I still can't start my day without my news sites.  The only difference is, I'm writing this blog post from the cafeteria at Chic Magazine while people around me grab a quick but delicious breakfast on their way to work.

Anyway, as most Brainiacs should know by now, I'm very involved in cultural politics--specifically that of identity.  This morning I've become aware of a Youtube music campaign that has recently been released.  The campaign features men and women of different genders, ethnicities, and orientations doing things that make them feel beautiful.  Things that may scare them to death, but things that they force themselves to do anyway and come out with a huge smile.

The videos include an Asian American boy flooded with the confidence to walk past a group of older, intimidating men with his head held high and a teenage boy struck with the bravery to dress up in women's clothing and dance around.  They include much more acts of daring SELFNESS, but I'll let the videos do the talking.

Here is "Alex's Theme," one of the many videos launched under the campaign title:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zq6Va901ME

What are your thoughts?  Hate? Love?  Feel inspired?  Feel like the world is slowly working to actual ACCEPTANCE?  Let me know!

XOXO,
Taylor

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Watch Out!


For Fashion Girl's next chapter!  She will be sharing one of the many ways to be vegan in the City.

While you sit biting your nails in front of your computer in anticipation of her next installment, how about a little feedback?  Do you like Fashion Girl's posts?  Why or why not?  What is something you want her to write about?  What is something you want her to shut up about?  What do you want to see more/less of?  Leave a comment!  Your opinion is everything...or nothing.  Depending on how good it is.

Best,
Taylor 

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 6

Not All West Village Babes Are For You

He's gorgeous; perhaps the most handsome man I've seen in the City yet.
We stand next to each other on the subway platform.  His eyes are fixated down the tunnel where the train is expected to arrive from.  My eyes are fixated on him.
He's about 6 feet tall with deeply tan skin and the rugged, taut muscles of a rock climber.  He's wearing a backwards cap over his golden brown curls, stubble peppers his chin in the perfect combination of sexy and lazy, and he's got green eyes that go right through you.  He's perfect.
I stealthily open my pocket mirror inside my purse, stealing a glance at my reflection.  Damn girl, I think to myself, smiling and nodding in satisfaction.  You've got it going on.  Bella let me borrow her curve-grazing dress, Ana did my hair, and honestly I am it.  I'm it down here in this damp, grimy, underground oversized mole tunnel.  I glance around at my fellow subway-goers.  Just as I thought; no one comes close.
I casually wait for him to look my way and be blinded by my exuberance and beauty; it's bound to happen any second now.
I bet he's in finance, I think to myself.  He's a finance guy who knows how to have fun on the weekends.  He probably just got back from rock climbing with some of his old fraternity brothers.  He's probably on his way to have lunch with his mom, because he's obviously a good son.  
He loves me, I conclude.
But something isn't quite right.  My new boyfriend is glancing at his phone, tapping his foot.  Sure, these are all the telltale signs of an impatient New Yorker waiting for the train, but he's given up looking down the tunnel and is now focused on the staircase that leads down to the platform.  
Maybe I've gotten it all wrong.  Maybe he's not a New Yorker at all; he could be Russian or Bolivian for all I know, here visiting for the weekend.  My eyes search his person for any signs of tourism: a brightly colored city map, an obnoxious and poorly curated guidebook, a large water bottle, a lunch box full of snacks, orange sneakers.  None of the above.  Curiouser and curiouser...
Maybe he's not all there mentally.  Maybe he was in a dangerous accident and now he has trouble knowing the difference between uptown and downtown.  He figures he might be on the wrong track; he's trying to gauge whether or not he has enough time to dart over to the other side.
Or maybe he just got injured during his rock climbing excursion.  Maybe he hit his head on a boulder and he can barely even remember where he lives.  Maybe he's been wandering back and forth between subway lines all day, trying to figure out which way is up.  Let's face it: his fraternity brothers wouldn't have seen to it that he got home okay.  In fact, they probably all met for a drink afterward and didn't even think to invite him.
I'm fuming now, flames practically blowing out of my nostrils.  How dare anyone treat my new boyfriend like this?
Suddenly I smile, calm down a bit, soothed by the fact that he has me.  This is why fate has put us together in this subway station today: so that I can rescue my man and live happily ever after.
I glance down into my compact once more, making minor adjustments on my lipstick and smoothing down my baby hairs.  I toss it fully into my purse, gearing up to approach him and ask him if he needs help.  Introduce him to his future wife.
I begin to move closer to him, willing him to look up and lock eyes with me.  You know, fall in love instantly.  This is it; this is my movie moment.  This is the meet-cute we'll tell our grandchildren about...but it'll only work if he looks up at me!
Look at me look at me look at me.
Suddenly my prayers are answered.  I'm within twenty feet of Future Mr. Fashion Girl when his gaze turns up to meet mine.  I'm right next to the staircase when he beams at me, giving me a small wave and showing off his gorgeous white teeth.  My heart skips a beat.  My hand floats up next to my left cheek, half-swooning and half fixed to wave back at him.  What a friendly boyfriend this guy is.
"Hey," I fashion my mouth to say, giving him a look like, Well it's about time we met.  What took us so long, am I right?  I shake my head a little ironically, like we're against the world and in on a joke together.
He keeps smiling, like he's anticipating something.  I become slightly confused because he doesn't seem to be looking at me anymore--more like directly through me.  
I whirl around to figure out what's happening, which is at the precise moment that an even handsomer man envelops my boyfriend in an embrace and plants a big, passionate, Casablanca kiss on him.
Well, he's definitely someone's boyfriend.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fashion Girl's Top 5 Snacks

Top 5 Snacks to Nosh on to Get You Through a Long Day

As Fashion Girl mentioned in her last installment of The Chronicles, living in a big city takes a big toll on the body.  While you may be accustomed to portion control and counting calories, moving nonstop from destination to destination burns pretty much everything you're consuming.  While this is an anorexic's dream come true, it's not exactly ideal for premium health.

To follow up, here are Fashion Girl's top 5 favorite snacks she carries with her throughout the city to keep her energy up.  She recommends having at least two of these handy at all times: you never know when the subway's going to stall and you've been starving yourself all day so you can gorge on some Lombardi's Pizza later!  

1. Nuts

I cannot stress this enough: nuts are life.  Rich in flavor and loaded with fat (the healthy kind...the kind we need), nuts are the ultimate snack.  Make sure not to gorge yourself; even healthy fats have a maximum intake level.  Help yourself to a hearty handful, throw it in a Ziploc, and go.










2. String cheese

Kind of a random choice, but cheese is rich in calcium and the healthy fats (again, yay) and will give you an energy boost when necessary.  The probiotics are also good for complexion and digestive health, when taken in moderation.  Then again, everything in moderation.  Vegan? No problem: try some Rice Cheeze, vegan "cheese" that's healthy and tastes just as good as the real thing.
Again, this couldn't be easier.  Rip off a piece and toss it in your bag. Yum.

3. Veggie sticks

Another clean and simple snack.  Buy some organic celery, carrots, beets, cucumbers, and whatever other root vegetable strikes your fancy, give them a nice bath, and chop them up into little sticks.  Too lazy to do that much?  Sounds like too big of a deal to bathe your vegetables?  Fine!  Most grocery stores sell veggie sticks precut and washed for the bummiest of shoppers.  You can bring a little container of hummus or peanut butter, or just eat them plain and enjoy Mother Nature's natural flavors!  (Or, just douse them in hummus and never look back).

4. Protein bar

Vegetables just aren't going to cut it?  You ate a small lunch to feel thin and now you're starving to death? You can't possibly make it to dinner?  Whip out a protein bar!  Literally zero preparation necessary.  Most places have them in the vending machines for God's sake.  You don't even have to use your brain for this one.  Most protein bars are low in sugar, high in protein (duh) and high in fiber, making regularity your friend.  Some of FG's favorite brands: QuestBar, Pure Protein, Clif, and Luna, but there are so many out there.  Go crazy, try them all.  I'm sure most of your local grocery stores go something like this:

5. Fruit

Last and certainly not least...who can turn down a good piece of fruit?  Fashion Girl's only warning here is that it's best to eat most of your fruit earlier in the day so your body has time to break down and burn the glucose (most fruits are pretty high in sugar).  Make this your mid-morning snack to get you through the day!  Some of FG's favorites at her local bodega: bananas, Honey Crisp apples, peaches, nectarines, and grapefruit.  All perfectly portable.  Wrap in a napkin and take a nice, refreshing bite.

This concludes FG's tips for the day.  Enjoy your week and don't let the Monday blues get you down! Stay positive, happy, and love yourself for everything you've got.  Stay tuned for the next blog post Brainiacs, set to come out over the next couple of days!

XOXO,
Taylor