Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ooooh, a mashup of two of my favorite things!

Books That Inspired Fashion Designers

Some favorites from this series:

1) I need this sweater from Jaggy Nettle. For real. Gorgeous. A beautiful tribute to this cover of The Bell Jar (a fave of mine), which evokes the psychological state of Esther, the protagonist from the novel. Most impressive because it is not just singular inspiration, but a collaboration with an independent publishing house specializing in poetry in the UK, Faber and Faber. More of these types of collaborations please!

2) Love the simplicity and clean lines of Shipley and Halmos. Ayn Rand, not so much, but the pieces they've featured here, and the quote, are apt.

3) I'm also a fan of Margeurite Duras. Gaby Basora's Tucker does well in evoking The Lover for me.

This kind of stuff makes my day.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A woman ahead of her time, a tireless supporter of gay rights and AIDS education and activism, and one of the last true classic Hollywood icons, gone.


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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I've always been more of a Misfits girl myself.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

So much has happened in the last 10 days, and there's really not much to say that hasn't already been said.

The damage from the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11 to the Tohoku region of Japan was devastating. Each day, as the casualty count rises, my heart breaks.

My 70 year old Japanese expatriate mother says that the Japanese people's greatest strength is their perseverance -- that, and their sense of community. We also both agree it could have been far, far worse. I take some comfort in those truisms.

I am also very glad the Japanese government has been so receptive to international, government-based aid this time around. And the urge to help has been strong internationally among everyday folks too, which makes me feel like we've come so far since WWII. However, I do caution people to be very selective in how they choose to help a country like Japan. The human toll has been high, and so sad, and I know I'm not alone in feeling powerless and wanting to do something, anything, to ease the emotional and physical pain of survivors. But Japan is wealthy, industrialized, intergovernmentally connected, and has infrastructure. Unless you have specific skills that can be put to use, it may be better to send any financial support at this time, in solidarity, to a country still struggling with their earthquake repercussions, like Haiti.

On a personal note, everyone close to my heart is safe, and for that I am grateful. My cousin said that they will live through anything! :)

Nihon, ganbatte ne?

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Happy International Women's Day! Ultimately, this should be an everyday event, but it is great to have a day to really focus on the achievements and contributions of women and remind folks of the continuing fight for women's empowerment around the globe.

I am grateful that I grew up with parents who told me I could achieve anything I wanted in life; even more fundamental is that I was given a solid foundation to thrive by being born in a top notch medical facility after a pregnancy during which my mother had excellent medical care.

There have been countless studies that conclude that women's health and education are primary indicators of the health of a community. This fact, juxtaposed with the sobering and painful reality of so many women all over the world, was one of the reasons I was attracted to working in women's health after I finished college.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 1500 women die everyday from mostly avoidable childbirth related complications. Medical complications in childbirth, such as obstetric hemorrhage (massive bleeding from childbirth), obstructive labor (labor where the mother is unable to deliver the baby), eclampsia (life threatening seizures related to high blood pressure), and sepsis (widespread infection) are emergencies we in the industrialized world understand as serious, but take for granted as unlikely to result in maternal death. This is not the case in many developing nations.

This is why I want to take a moment on International Women's Day to stump for a fantastic nonprofit founded by a female MD in the Bay Area that offers critical services benefiting women in some of the most vulnerable areas of the world.

WE CARE Solar is an organization that provides photovoltaic systems to medical facilities around the globe, ensuring their ability to provide reliable medical care, especially in times of crisis. Having the electrical power to provide health care workers with consistent lighting, mobile communication, and blood bank refrigeration is critical to reducing both infant and maternal mortality rates, and this organization is being utilized by WHO as the model for providing this vital resource.

In honor of the incredible women in your life, I urge you to make a donation to WE CARE, or to another nonprofit working toward women's health, education, or empowerment -- and ultimately, a better world.

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Monday, March 07, 2011

I love the spectacle of Paris Fashion Week, but it is usually just that: spectacle. When something comes along that is both innovative and wearable, I really sit up and pay attention.

Roland Mouret Fall 2011 Ready to Wear



Saturday, March 05, 2011

There are good things afoot in the Oakland brewing world.

Y'all know I love a good brew or bourbon now and again. But -- damn those genetics -- I am a lightweight. So I have been one happy camper with the addition of Dying Vines, brewing out of the Linden Street Brewing Company in Oakland.

They seem to be specializing in session beers, with a keen interest in English bitters at that. Crisp, light body, assertive hops, and that all important factor for me, low ABV. I'd only had their Dee'z Mild, which I thought was stellar, though less crisp and more mouthy. But lucky girl I am, last night I was able to taste Dying Vines' newest venture, Old Brick Bitter. Really outstanding -- a true everyday, easy drinking beer. And I had an imperial pint and never even felt it!

I hear from Pete at the equally outstanding Commonwealth** that Dying Vines is looking into doing some barrel-aged beers. Exciting for them, and I will try them for sure because what I have had so far from them is top notch and the complexity of barrel-aged beer can be really fun, but I am a little disappointed as most of those tend to run in the 8 and 9 and up ABV.

Americans. The trend seems to be to build beers that are 8-11 percent and beyond. I recognize the complexity and deliciousness in some, but most just leave me reeling at the alcohol content.

I visited England for the first time in December (I know, I know, why am I just mentioning this NOW?) and had the luck of being in the North, in Yorkshire. Bitters are a specialty, and I was surprised when confronted with the ABVs at the pubs -- low 3s and 4s all. My friends jokingly asked me to not tell Americans that the Brits were such wusses, but I have trumpeted the low ABV factor far and wide. Love it, and also love that the half-pint is commonplace. I like to try many different beers when I go to a pub, and I just cannae do imperial pints of more than, oh, ONE beer in a sitting. And I hate getting sneered at for asking for a halfer!

**also had Commonwealth's Beer and Ale with Yorkshire pudding last night. omnomnomnom.

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Whenever someone tells me women are now on the same level as men in Western society, or that they have it easy, I just think about all of the men and women who are still alive who remember stuff like this.

Ladies, ladies. One word: bourbon. Two birds, one stone.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

WOOT! Happy fifth anniversary to me and my sine qua non!

Apologies for my lackluster posting as of late, AKA, pic/vid + link + snazzy quip = blog post. You would think unemployment would be more conducive to the regular birth of rants and raves, but there's been way too much sunshine and open road for me and my bicycle lately.

I haven't forgotten my precious. I'm grateful and glad to still be in existence after 5 years, and there will be more to come. Promise.

In case anyone's interested, what got it all started.


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