Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fashion People Can't Talk

fashion-designer, mispronunciation, mispronounce, marker-illustration, druzy-earrings-illustration, what-did-you-say
All the education you actually need to get a job in fashion design is an Associate's Degree. In this economy, that's actually magnificent news for anyone who's considering. In all other industries, an MA, MFA, or even a PhD would be to your benefit. In fashion, professional experience counts for more than any diploma you could possibly have. And really, that's sort of the way it needs to be. Every fashion company is different, and as I've said before, most of what you need to know needs to be learned on the job.

However, this setup creates an interesting situation. Though there is a vast amount of communication involved in fashion in the way of meetings, presentations, and emailing back and forth with vendors and factories overseas, verbal skills seem fairly low on the list of prerequisites to function at a high level in the fashion industry. While sometimes I find my self taken completely aback by the repeated errors of my colleagues, in the end, I really just have to laugh. And I hope you will, too.

Below you'll find some of my favorite examples of verbal mishaps in the fashion industry.

1. Sequins
          I once had a manager whose diction was not quite the same as mine. While she was american born and raised, she liked to use the fact that she was italian as her excuse for any and all verbal errors. In many a meeting, I noticed she was pronouncing "sequins" in quite a crisp and peculiar way. It was not until I received an email from her regarding apparel embellishment that I realized I may have been misunderstanding her. In the email, she went on and on about what "color sequence" we would use. In my reply, I had said I had thought we were using one color for all embellishment, but was I wrong? What different colors would she like to use in the sequence? And sequence of what? I thought these would all be the same thing - sequins. And then I realized. She thought "sequins" and "sequence" were the same word. And by "sequence," she actually meant the shiny circular things sewn onto garments. I didn't correct her, but form then on, I just noted in my mind that the thought the two were one and the same and that I was, in fact, misspelling "sequence" as "sequins."

2. Sateen
         There is Sateen, and then there is Satin. The two are not the same. Sateen is usually a bit thicker and sturdier than satin and has a much less shiny finish to it. Satin, on the other hand, can be made of silk or polyester or...I'm sure other fabrics...but it's generally shinier and drapier, unless you're talking about a specific make like, say, duchess satin, which has a firmer finish. Sateen is sometimes made of things like cotton but is generally considered a more casual fabric than satin. It's hard to explain, but the two are definitely not the same thing. Well, needless to say, I once had a coworker who was my superior who would continually ask me to enter "cotton satin" in a tech pack and would also type the word "satin" when she meant "sateen." Now, you can imagine the difference between Sateen pants adn Satin pants. One is either sleepwear or very dressy, and the other is, well, everyday. Confusion!

3. Pointelle
          This word is pronounced "point-tell." It's a kind of knit that has little holes in it and sometimes can look like a knitted lace. I was once in a meeting where one presenter pronounced this word "point teal" while everyone else referred to it correctly. It was almost as if she were intentionally rebelling against the correct pronunciation. Cringe-worthy.

4. Concur
          There is an expense reporting software that a lot of companies use called "Concur," but I once had a coworker who, much like the woman in #3, insisted upon pronouncing it as "conquer," no matter how many other people in the conversation said "concur." She did it for weeks until I finally lost it and asked her if she knew that "conquer" and "concur" were two different words. Understandably, she didn't appreciate it.

5. And then there's me...
          After all I'm a fashion person, too. For years I thought the saying was "All the sudden" instead of "all of a sudden." I also used to think the saying "For all intents and purposes," was actually "for all intensive purposes." Thsose are the only two I can think of right now, but I cringe to think what else I'm saying wrong. Probably a lot of things. Because, like I said, I, too, am a fashion person.

So...maybe I am a little bit of a snob, but I get just as embarrassed as the next person when I realize I've been pronouncing something completely wrong for heaven knows how long. But as embarrassing as that can be, I'd rather be corrected and temporarily embarrassed than keep saying it wrong. The moral of this story? Tell me if I'm saying it wrong. Please.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Spinstering out Hard Core: Thursday and Friday

headache, anacin, panic-attack, throbbing-head
I'm writing this post on Friday afternoon from my bed wearing a cat tee shirt from Once While wearing this shirt, a woman stopped me on the street to tell me how much she loved cats. I didn't know what else to say but, "yes, so do I."

My head's been throbbing since Thursday afternoon, though it's not exactly painful, which explains why all the caffein in New York in addition to two Anacin didn't help. I have that strange sensation that my head might either explode or just float away, rendering any serious coherent thoughts an/or ideas fairly impossible. That should explain why this will be more like a journal entry than our regular blog post.

Thursday I left the office round 7pm after a frantic search for rose gold-colored faux leather swatches in all the clear plastic bins under my desk. Having found five cards that had acceptable textures and passable colors, I left the office in hopes my head would stop throbbing in the fresh air. I felt panicked.

On the train I finished the last two pages of American Psycho and realized that, yet again, I had read a book with an ending I found less than satisfactory. I wanted him to end up with Luis Carruthers since this was clearly the only ending that would make any sense. I closed the book and re-read the first two  pages and realized an old man wear G-Star Raw shorts was sort of giddily smiling to himself as he looked around the train. Considering the book I'd just finished, I was creeped out.

At the 47-50th street stop, a couple and their daughter got on the train sort of standing in front of where I was sitting. My head was still throbbing, but I noticed the girl was wearing a Yellow and White Striped Tee with a sequined Tommy Hilfiger logo that had been designed during my tenure at that company. Her shoes were glittery, too, and it was overwhelming.

The girl wouldn't stop moving around or talking or moving in such a way that all the lights reflecting off the sequins on her shirt would hit my eyes, so I had to close my eyes. But that didn't help, either, and I had to press on my forehead and temples.

Two blocks from my apartment I realized I could hear myself breathing, and it didn't sound good. It was sweltering, and I had a feeling I needed a sedative.

In my apartment, the air was thick and hot, and I had immediately to strip down to my underwear on the way to the air conditioner, where I stood until I was sure I wouldn't burst into flames. The next thing I knew, it was 12am. I sat up, frenzied and confused. Where was I? Why was I only wearing my underwear? I had fallen asleep on my sofa, and the TV was on.

Stumbling into my bedroom, I put on the cat shirt and crawled into bed, and the next thing I knew, I had awakened 30 minutes late for my run. And then I was 30 minutes late for work because I thought for sure a run would remedy this whole situation. It did, really, for a little while. But then, around 2pm today, when I was supposed to have been able to leave the office by 1pm, I realized my head had been throbbing again for the past hour.

I left the office and had a chocolate milkshake from an ice cream truck. That helped a little, and so did a stroll though Lord and Taylor. However, the fact that none of the people at the makeup counters offered to do my makeup did not help. So I went to Macy's. There, a girl at Benefit offered to "give me a touchup." Clearly, my answer was yes. And I was soothed for a little while.

But now, here I am again, head throbbing, wearing a cat tee shirt, and writing an all-too-long blog post about a non-headache headache. All I have to say is TGIF.

Hopefully I'll be more coherent tomorrow.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Spinster Friday Jams: Favorite Earworms

rod-stewart, sometimes-when-we-touch, earworm, earworm-playlist, bathrobe, i-wanna-hold-you-til-i-die
Last friday night, I was hanging out with my neighbor, Hannah, and we decided to put on some pretty sweet jams while I worked on Saturday's illustration. Anyone who's ever worked with or near me knows that the only thing that really goes through my head while I'm sketching is an endless loop of "Sometimes When We Touch", "Against All Odds," and "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Why, you ask?  I have no idea. But we put that on our playlist that night along with some other awesomely singable tunes. So this friday, we're takin' it back old school...but not that old school.

Click here for the Spinster Friday Jams: Favorite Earworms playlist!

The Playlist:
1. "Against All Odds" - Phil Collins
2. "Sometimes When We Touch" - Rod Stewart
3. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - Bonnie Tyler
4. "Endless Love" - Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie
5.  "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" - Elton John
6. "What About Love" - Heart
7. "Hold On" - Wilson Phillips
8. "Cowboy Take Me Away" - Dixie Chicks
9. "Baby, Baby" - Amy Grant
10. "My Heart Will Go On" - Celine Dion

I hope you love this as much as we did! Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 Things They'll Never Tell You Before You Become a Fashion Designer

Though I think FIT is absolutely one of the best schools to attend in order to prepare yourself for an actual career in fashion design, there were some things about the industry I just had to learn on the job. This, I'm sure, was as much due to the rapid pace at which the industry was changing as it was to our professors' not wanting to scare us. Now that I think of it, though, they did tell us things like "fashion is a murderer of marriages," and "in this economy you may be interning for a while," so I'm not really sure they were trying to keep us from freaking out...

In any case, today's post is five things they never told me in school, and they probably won't tell you, either. Especially if you're not even going to fashion school. Buuut....they're good things to know. So let's do this!

1. You won't be sketching anything by hand.
          In Fashion School, sketching is really important. I'll have to admit that I think hand sketches are so beautiful, and I love to look at them. In reality, though, sketching by hand as a fashion design is a waste of time. Sooner or later, that image is going to need to be in the computer, so you might as well make it in there to begin with. It's easier to color, enlarge, and edit in Adobe Illustrator, so use that tool to its' fullest extent. Lucky for me, I absolutely love Illustrator, but that's not always how it was. It took time, but we have built our relationship into something closer and much more meaningful than anything I've ever had with a boyfriend. And I only get mad at it when I build a file that's too big and make it crash. And, really, isn't that my fault?

2. At least half of your job will be data entry.
          At FIT, we did have a Web PDM class (Gerber Product Data Management Software), but it wasn't really seen as all that important. In reality, it wasn't. Each company has data entry software, but not all of them use the same one, rendering anything but on the job training utterly useless. However, once you do learn your company's system, you'll be spending a very significant portion of your time creating, updating, re-updating, and then re-re-updating a database of each season's styles. You'll enter all information from Body shape and style all the way down to what kinds of buttons, labels, and thread you'd like to use. I am continually trying to figure out a way this can be outsourced. As yet, I unfortunately have not come upon a way I can telepathically give anyone the information in my brain without actually writing it down myself.

3. You'll be one of the main causes of global warming.
          Fashion office use so much paper. I can't even tell you how much paper is just everywhere. There are printouts of Line Sheets, Tech Packs, full-sized garment CADs, Print Repeat CADs (One copy for you, one for your production partner, and one for each vendor with whom you're sourcing), Cover Pages, and countless other things. And then, every time there's an update, you'll re-print all of these things. And not all offices actually acknowledge that their recycling bins are separate from their trash cans.

4. You can't get a job without knowing all of Adobe Creative Suite, but your boss won't know how to use it.
          This hasn't actually been true everywhere I've worked, but the higher up you go in the design hierarchy, the less computer skills you'll find. I actually once had a boss who asked me how to print an email and how to open excel. All in the same day. This is good information for a young person because it makes your skills fairly indispensable. However, as your boss may not have ever used the program, they often have little to no concept of how long something takes. Gently try to remedy that situation at your earliest convenience. It will make your life easier. Additionally, the longer you spend in the program, the faster you'll get, so if you set that timeline structure in place earlier rather than later, you'll find yourself with more and more leeway as your skills develop.

5. A little diplomacy goes a long way.
          You can be as talented as you want to be, but if you aren't good at dealing with the people in charge, you're going nowhere fast. I have found this to be true over and over and over again. The more pleasant you are to deal with, the easier your job will be. This seems like an obvious statement, but the underlying truth is this: Fashion, like most jobs, is absolutely not a meritocracy. Unless, of course, the merit being rewarded is people skills.

So, to sum it all up, by the end of your first year as a fashion designer, you'll be dating Adobe Illustrator, carrying a flash drive on your key ring, and perfecting your smiling-through-homocidal-rage skills. On the bright side, all of these are pretty useful things to cultivate. So get to it!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

5 Reasons Running at 5 am is Awesome

If you had asked me in college or, really, any time before I started doing it, I would have said running at 5 AM was for crazy people. Now, I think it's a pretty good idea. And here's why:

1. You've got the place to yourself
         At 5 AM, there's no one there to see you jiggling and heaving out there in all your red-faced glory. But even if you are in better shape than I am, there is a real peacefulness to having an otherwise bustling neighborhood or city all to yourself in the damp quiet of the morning. That, and you pretty much never have to wait at an intersection to cross the street.

2. You're awake for your shower
          A lot of people take a shower to wake up in the morning, but already being awake before you hop under the water has some real benefits. For one, you're less likely to shave only one leg. For another, you'll probably remember to take off all your clothes before you get in.

3. It's not hot yet
          In the summer, sometimes it is just too hot to live. If you go running any time after 9 from June to the beginning of September, you feel like you're running through the inside of a down comforter, cutting trails in the thick heat. In the morning, it's cooler, and sometimes there's even a nice dew. Additionally, a lot of people run their sprinklers in the morning, and you can run through them if you want.

4. You can eat breakfast
          Technically, if you're running, you should be eating a smart diet to really maximize the effects of the exercise. However, after  a good three mile run, if you want a bagel, you can eat one without shame, and that is a beautiful thing.

5. You don't have to do it after work.
          When I was running in the evenings, I found myself getting more and more frustrated with my coworkers. If a meeting ran over, I was just sitting there thinking, "this is actually making me fat." Now, I get it done before work, and not only am I much more relaxed at work, but I also have more time to myself in the evenings I can use on really important things like watching every episode of Law and Order, Toddlers and Tiaras, or potentially just more cyst lancing.

So if you haven't been running in the morning, if nothing else, think of all those sprinklers you can run through and all those bagels you can eat. Those two alone are reasons to try it at least once.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

An Open Letter to the Home Shopping Network

This weekend, I discovered I had the Home Shopping Network on my TV and spent more time than I'd like to admit watching Rhonda Shear Shapewear and Intimates from my bed. After watching, though, I have decided that I should be the next host of an HSN show. Below is my open letter to the Home Shopping Network.

Dear Home Shopping Network,

I'm just going to come out and say it. We should be together. I'm not asking for my own line to be sold on the Network. No, I just want to talk about other people's things. Since I'm a fashion designer, I know lots of fashion terms, and I know a good bra-friendly style when I see one. Because I'm a spinster, I also know all about bathrobes, loungewear, and most carbs and desserts. I am also willing to eat any sweets on the air. Don't worry about whether or not I'll have to act like I enjoy them. I will. A lot.

Additionally, as a robe-dweller, I know the kinds of things your target audience likely ponders and does. My guess is they are also often robe dwellers in their bed or on their couch. This makes us kindred spirits with similar lifestyles. I know things. Things you might never have imagined.

Another bonus for you: I've been told I like to say things over and over again. It seems like this is really the name of the game at HSN. I can think of lots of different ways to say the same thing. I'm able to create many permutations of the same statement. One of my strengths is secret repetition.

Ok, now that you've read all my reasoning, please see the illustration above. I am not a hideous beast. I'm probably your average size medium (in case you need to get started on my wardrobe). I'll wait for your call.


Myrna Minx

Monday, June 24, 2013

Survival Strategies for the Single Girl (Re: Spinster)

Growing up, my family weren't the type of people who tried to save a bug's life. No, we killed that nasty thing. Or at least, my dad did. As a spinster, though, I don't have a man around to help me out with such things. As such, I've come up with ways to deal with the things you usually ask a man to do. Because, not only is it 2013, but that stuff's gotta get done with or without a man. So, my spinsterly friends, here are five tips to help you survive your manless life on the most everyday level.

1. Have a step stool (or a chair)
          For a girl, I'm on the taller side, but there are still things I can't reach. I wish I had a step stool, but I never remember to pick one up when I'm out, so I use the old trusty kitchen chair. This is helpful for changing light bulbs, getting my sewing machine off the top shelf, and retrieving that secret bag of chocolate I tried to hide from myself even though I know I know where it is.

2. Leave your shoes around
          You never know when or where you're going to see a bug, and you know that freaks you out. Since all you really want to do is scream, run away, or throw up, you should have shoes all around so you are more likely to kill it before it hides away. Don't be squeamish, just do it. You don't have any other choice unless you want to start charging them rent. and let's be honest, I bet they're always late with the check...when they pay it at all.

3. Have a rolling cart
          This may make you feel like an old lady in public, but if you're unable to actually carry something because of it's weight or unwieldy shape, a rolling cart can be just what the doctor ordered. I got mine at kmart, and it folds up for easy storage. However, imagine all the things you could move and carry if you had a real hand truck!

4. Have a tool box
          I have a neon pink tool box full of neon pink tools I got when I graduated from High School. I don't use it often, but when I need a hammer, screw driver, box cutter, or anything else, I know I've got what I need, and I know where it is. Not ready for a whole tool box? They also make these hammers with tools in the handle as well as some pretty fun floral tool sets.

5. Be a googler.
          Most things I need to figure out around the house are googlable. Since I live in an old house, sometimes silverfish slither out of my shower drain. Understandably, I was TOTALLY FREAKED OUT the first time I saw one. And I still am. But that's what the shoes are for. And that's what Google is for. Another googlable situation? Fruit flies. With an old water bottle, a little vinegar, and a rolled up piece of printer paper, that, too, was solved. And also, this is how I figured out my pilot light was still on, when I had concerned. I just googled how to check it out.

So, get it, girl. You don't need a man. Wanting one, though, may be a different story.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Top 5 Questions to Ask in a Fashion Interview

fashion-interview-questions, top-five-questions-to-ask-in-an-interview, top-5-questions-to-ask-in-a-fashion-interview, job-interview-questions
When I was interviewing for jobs right out of design school, I was always caught off guard by the question, "do you have any questions for me?" As I had no real experience yet, and it was such a tough economy at the time, the only question that ever came to my mind was "WILL YOU HIRE ME!?" Thankfully, I knew better than to ask that during the interview. Now, though, when I'm asked if I have any questions, I do have questions, and I have a lot of them. Today, I'm going to share the five that I think are most important to figuring out what kind of place your potential job actually is...and whether you want to work there at all.

1. Work Life Balance
         When I took my first job, I had no idea what "work life balance" was, and apparently, neither did my employers. I found myself working at least twelve hours a day and often on the weekend as well. My manager told me that I had to let her know if I ever had plans to leave the city on the weekend so she could tell me if it as all right.
          In most industries "work life balance" refers to the importance of having plenty of time outside the office so that you can perform well inside the office. It's necessary to ask this question in the interview both to find out whether or not it's a concern at the company as well as letting the interviewer know that it is a major concern for you. In order to perform at a high-functioning level, you need enough rest and alone (or just fun) time to recharge your figurative batteries.

2. Team Structure
          It's important to know what you're getting into in terms of the direct-report structure as well as the overall makeup of the cross-functional teams. It doesn't matter if you're the assistant's assistant's assistant or the Vice President, you need to know how many people are above and/or below you. If you're low on the totem pole, it's incredibly useful to know just how many people will be over you and whether you'll have direct contact with all of them. Ideally, as an underling, the less people you deal with and have to listen to, the better. It can be a real headache when everyone feels like they can ask you to do things for them, especially when those things often conflict with each other. On the other hand, if you're a bit higher up, you'll want to know if you'll have an assistant or if you'll be doing all the work yourself.

3. Potential for advancement
          A lot of times, when you're hired somewhere, title-wise it will be a lateral move. If you've been at the level for which you're interviewing for any length of time, it's important to have a time line for when you'll be eligible for a title increase. Otherwise, you may end up being an assistant designer for four years or something. And that, my friends, would be much too long to be making copies and answering emails from your manager asking you to print things. Because, really, she could have printed it herself in less time than it took her to send you the email asking you to print it.

4. "Collaboration"
          One of the ambiguous buzzwords a lot of interviewers like to use is "collaborative." Sometimes this actually refers to a good thing, like the willingness of the design director to consider input from all levels on the design team. However, more often than not, when a company fancies themselves "collaborative," this is a sneaky way of saying there are always too many cooks in the kitchen. Many times, a "collaborative" environment is one in which everyone, not just the designers, gets to offer up design ideas and make changes to the designs. As a designer, this is something you really want to avoid because you'll be getting more than enough creative input from your boss(es) on the design team without help from your production team or the merchants. The more people who are allowed to give their creative opinion abut your designs, the more you'll feel like all you are is a data entry specialist. And let's be real, you didn't go to design school because you're enjoy or excel (no pun intended) at data entry.

5. Development to Adoption Ratio
          This is a really important one. Essentially, this refers to how much of your work actually goes through to production without being cut. Some companies are really vigilant about having a good ratio (say, design 6 to get to 4) while at others you'll end up dropping over 75% of your developed styles after the proto phase. That can be really disheartening and engender a feeling of futility about all aspects of your job. Even worse, though, are the companies where you drop some 80% of your development only to replace it with another round of new ideas your merchants have submitted and would like you to "design" so that they can then add, drop, or change at will. You want to make sure the place you're going knows that's not ok.

When in the beginning of your career, I know it will feel like the answers to these questions don't matter at all if you can't get hired anywhere. I have to admit, you're probably right. But, that's why it's so important to get really good at interviewing. Until you find a place with which you can live (and not at which you will live), You may change jobs every year or two. That's normal in the fashion industry. So, I hope I've helped just a little in your quest to be an interviewing pro. You're probably going to need it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Fridays Should Be All Year

phone-interview, phone-call, talking-on-the-phone, summer-fridays, friendship-bracelet
Yesterday was friday, and my office has Summer Fridays. If you're not acquainted, this is when employees can leave around 1pm or 2pm to frolic around the city and do what they will. I, for one, went straight to Astoria, stopping only at the Entenmann's Bakery Outlet to purchase a box of sof'tees plain donuts.

Inside the door of my apartment, I stripped down to my underwear while I walked to the window air conditioning unit. It had to be done.

It was 2pm, and I had a...shall we say,"very important phone call, 2:30 pm. So, of course, the only logical thing to do was to eat 5 of those donuts for lunch. And that's what I did. And then, at 2:30 when the phone call commenced, I conducted myself in a very professional manner all from the comfort of my bed, in my underwear, with my laptop on my belly. No one had to know...well, until now.

All this is to say, though, that I would like to do something of the like every Friday all year. No one wants to work on friday anyway. Why not just put us all out of our misery and let us take phone calls in our underwear? Think on it and get back to me. Thanks.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Spinster Friday Jams: Kittens on the Brain

We've finally reached the end of another long and tiring week. I, for one, went to a chinese restaurant last night to order takeout with the express purpose of just sitting there and waiting. Think of it as pre-meal meditation, really.

And speaking of meditation, as usual, I have Kittens on the Brain. As such, I have decided that this week's Spinster Friday Jams will be called "Kittens on the Brain," and will include songs about cats, that mention cats, or are sung by Cats (or Katys or Katharines). Click here to listen to the Kittens on the Brain Playlist!

And for those of you who would like to know what you're getting yourself into before actually clicking the link, the songs in the playlist are as follows:

1. "Sea of Love" - Cat Power
2. "How Can I tell you" - Cat Stevens
3. "Kitty Kat" - Beyonce
4. "Over It" - Katharine McPhee
5. "Honky Cat" - Elton John
6. "Look What the Cat Dragged In" - The Rolling Stones
7. "Cat Scratch Fever" - Ted Nugent
8. "The Cat" - Jimmy Smith
9. "Black Cat" - Janet Jackson
10. "Wait a Minute" - The Pussycat Dolls
11. "California Gurls" - Katy Perry (aka: Kitty Purry)

Enjoy your friday! I know I will!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Weirdest Dream

A few weeks ago, I shared a week's worth of dreams with you. While I've heard it said that no one cares about your dreams but you, I kind of like hearing about other people's especially weird dreams. Yesterday at work, for example, one of the CAD designers told me she had dreamed her friend had a baby and named it "Saggy." Gross! Lucky for her, though, (and you) I had quite the strange dream the night before, myself.

In my dream, I was in a restaurant, and I noticed Brad Pitt was there. Trying to be cool, I turned back around and continued with my dinner. About midway through, though, I had to go to the restroom, and when I walked in, there was a woman walking in just before me. She seemed a little giddy.

When we got inside the lady's room, I saw that the woman was looking at the handicap stall. Then, in the stall, I saw that Brad Pitt was standing in the doorway, having disrobed and looking at the woman as if to ask her to join him. She giggled and looked back at me as if to say "who am I to say no?"

The woman went inside the stall, and I didn't really know what to do. I was expecting to have to leave and come back later, but while I contemplated, Brad Pitt strangled the woman to death, and she fell to the ground.

I panicked, but now Brad Pitt inexplicably was dressed and had a gun and was after me. Realizing I would never get away, I just turned to face him, and opened my arms for him to shoot me. He did shoot me, and I fell to the ground, but I only took a short nap. When I realized I was still awake, I made for the door. Just when Brad Pitt was about to shut the door on me and shoot me again, though, I woke up. Thank goodness that was a dream. That was almost more than a spinster could handle in one night.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Meredith's Wedding Dress

unicorn-unitard, peplum-unitard, alicorn-headpiece, unicorn-horn, unicorn-wedding-dress, tacky-wedding-dress, flat-sketch, fashion-design-portfolio-sampleMy lifelong friend and college roommate, Meredith, recently got engaged and will be married within the year. I'm sad to see her exiting the Spinsterhood Ranks, but I suppose I'll survive. Maybe.

Now, we all know there are plenty of wedding dresses out there, but since Meredith and I lived together, ate Chip-a-licious cookies together, and made dance videos together, I thought I'd whip up an extra special design for ol' Mere. So, without further ado, I present you the Unicorn Wedding Unitard.

Made of High-shine, high viscosity Nylon/Spandex jersey, this one-sleeved Unitard is sure to make Meredith's wedding one of a kind. The raw edge circle cut pitched peplum makes this unitard trend-right, while the single sleeve keeps it appropriate for an October wedding.

The tail is glossy faux horse hair in an array of rainbow colors to match back to the subtle pastel ombre of the unitard's body and the white star detail at the shoulder. For the finishing touch, every unicorn bride should have her very own Alicorn head piece, complete with a nice fluffy bow.

unicorn-dress, star-print-dress, star-dress, big-bow-dress, big-pink-bowFor the bridesmaids, I have designed a complimentary dress in a star print to match the star motif at the unitard's shoulder. I decided to go with a more traditional sleeveless scoop neck body so as not to detract from the bride in all her unicorn glory. The cummerbund-style waistband and oversized bow hearken in color back to the bride's luxurious tail and reference the Alicorn head piece's fluffy bow. Clearly, this is a dress the bridesmaids will wear again and again and again. Mostly they will because I designed it.

Well, Meredith, there's no need to thank me. I know you are overwhelmed with the beauty of your wedding unitard. The good news is I think it'll be fairly easy to have made with all the places to buy fake hair of any color in Sumter or Columbia, South Carolina. This pretty much guarantees your nuptials will be the wedding of the century.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Spinster's Dream House

Since I've been running again, I've had a lot of time to both think and check out houses. So, at 5 AM yesterday morning, I started picking out things about the houses that I liked so I could put them all together and create a perfect Spinster Dream House. That is, of course, if they're still unwilling to sell me The Biltmore Estate.

The most important thing about the exterior is that it would have three balconies/terraces. The entire front of the house would have a covered balcony where a spinster could put her rocking chair and drink her tea when she wakes up early in the morning to enjoy the silence of the world before anyone is awake. On either side of the house would be open, uncovered terraces where a spinster could have either a nice dinner party under the stars or a nice day of sunning with her lady friends.

The interior would clearly include a giant bedroom on the second floor whose french doors would open onto the covered balcony. The Bathroom would have a giant shower and tub with water pressure that could comb your hair for you. That way, a spinster could really be sure she's clean before she puts on her bathrobe.

In the bedroom, there would be a walk in closet with a folding table in the center and plenty of shelves, hanging space, and extra wooden hangers. Also, a laundry chute in hopes that the closet wouldn't become a giant pile of discarded running shorts.

Also on the second floor would be the spinster's work studio or home office which would include a waist-high table and plenty of gift wrapping materials. The natural light in this room should be excellent, and this room should open via french doors onto one of the open terraces in case a spinster needed to paint or write or draw in the sunlight.

On the first floor would be the kitchen. Because a spinster may not be all that interested in cleaning, the kitchen would be built like Home Improvement's The Man's Kitchen for durability and easy hosing down.

Some necessities would include more than two full bathrooms, a guest room (for cats), plenty of power outlets, a gas stove, and of course, central heating and air. No spinster should be without central heating and air...but somehow I am.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Top 5 Reasons It Was Good to Be a Spinster This Weekend

This weekend I did some real hard core spinstering, and I loved every minute. I did exactly what I wanted, and I didn't answer to anyone. And, after another rigorous week of all day meetings, that was exactly what I needed to do. So below are the reasons being a spinster was the best this weekend.

1. I did girly things with my Summer Friday.
          The job I have now is my first one with Summer Fridays, and boy, do I love them! Instead of having to do something unisex with my extra half a day, though, I went to Little Miss Matched, Tiffany's to see The Great Gatsby exhibit, and of course to Bendel's. Then I came home and fell asleep face down until 8pm, when I wondered what had happened. But I don't suppose that's really girly.

2. I went to the movies by myself.
          This, of course, is one of my favorite things about being a spinster. I not only went to see a movie  I didn't have to justify seeing (The Internship), but I also went in the middle of the day and didn't have to explain that either.

3. I was able to employ The Strategy.
          That's right. Even though I've been battling the Chunk Sitch, I found myself in dire need of some pizza saturday night. So, of course, I ordered the deal - two medium two-topping pizzas, and I didn't have to ask anyone else what kind of toppings they wanted.

4. I got in some serious reading time.
          I got to read on the train Friday afternoon, while drinking a milkshake friday evening, at lunch Saturday afternoon, and on the train to Brooklyn Sunday afternoon. Good thing there was no man to interrupt my disgust with Patrick Bateman.

5. No one was there to interrupt my laundromat nap.
          Yep. That happened. I fell asleep on my own lap at the Laundromat. Not even sure how that happened, but I'm not mad at it.

How could I have had such a magnificent spinsterly weekend if there were a man around, I ask you? Well, I couldn't have.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Men's Fashion Tips from a Spinster

Yesterday on the way home from the grocery store, I saw a man standing outside a laundromat smoking a cigarette wearing a grey one pocket tee, Levi's 505's belted at the waist with a back leather belt, and navy knit underwear. How did I know about his underwear, you ask? Well, he had very neatly tucked his tee shirt into his undergarments. In light of my other sad menswear tale this past week,  I thought maybe today we should discuss five simple tips for men's dressing from a spinster and a fashion designer, though I'm sure we all know this could be an entire book. So, here we go.

1. Don't get too fancy.
          The nineties and early 2000's have gone, and with them, the popularity of both the phrase "metrosexual," and the metrosexual himself. A modern woman no longer has any desire for a man whose morning ritual is more rigorous than hers. And thank goodness for that, right? Things were getting a little weird there for about eight to ten years. As a man, you should know how to look nice, but I ask you this: Do you think Don Draper or President Obama spends any serious time thinking about their skin care regimen or complex pattern mixing? No. And neither should you. And for heaven's sake, leave the hair gel at home. 1998 called and said it doesn't even want it back, that you should just throw it out. 

2. Ask an expert.
          As a man, you may have a female friend who knows a lot about fashion or at least thinks she does. Be wary, though, of your lady friends. They have been watching runway shows, red carpet events, One Direction Videos, and potentially even old episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  If you are not a runway model, movie star, boy band member, singer songwriter, or other public figure, you should acknowledge this to yourself and realize you have no need to wear the kinds of things these men do. As such, don't rely on celebrity style to guide your decisions. Instead, go to a menswear clothing store, at least in the beginning, and ask someone who really knows what they're talking about. Now, let me be clear, though. We're not talking about Express for Men, here. I'm talking about a real menswear store that sells clothes to men who are adults. Don't be buying those shiny sateen shirts with the fold over self placket. You need a separate placket at the very least. If you don't know of a good menswear boutique like this one, you can always start at Ralph Lauren. 

3. Don't wear fashion hats.
          It is no longer necessary for men to wear hats to complete their outfits. Since the average male isn't going to be wearing a hat wherever you are, you shouldn't wear one either. It makes you look like you got too excited about getting dressed and made too much effort. You're not Usher, and you're not Justin Timberlake, and you surely are not Frank Sinatra, so leave the hat at home. Better yet, leave the hat at the store, and don't buy it in the first place. It is unnecessary unless you're bald and freezing.

4. Keep it classic.
          Now, this is not to say you can't follow the subtler trends, like, say, varying tie widths by a few fractions of an inch, or perhaps a check versus a subtle plaid in a sport coat. However, if you don't want to be considered a "fancy man," or perhaps worse, a total dork, try to think about what a stylish man from the fifties or sixties would have worn when it comes to things like shoes and suits. I know you may be tempted to get a pair of what you think are italian-looking long square-toed shoes, but I beg you, resist! Instead, opt for a loafer, a wingtip, a weejun, or even just a nice laceup cap toe with a little perforation. The shoe shape should really just mimic the basic shape of your foot. And no, I do not mean it should be longer where your big toe is. That's weird. Stop over thinking it.

5. Keep it simple.
          Keeping your ensemble simple is the surest way to look masculine when dressing, especially when we're talking about casual combinations. Think about what you will need to wear in order to be physically comfortable while still looking neat and together. By this, I mean, if you think you will be chilly, wear a jacket. If you think you'll be warm, please try not to wear a tank top, but also be aware that you are allowed to wear weather-appropriate clothing. As mentioned in #3, keep all accessories and extraneous pieces to a minimum. Ideally, for a casual outing you should have a top, a bottom, a pair of shoes, a watch, and a wallet. These are the necessities. For a more formal occasion, a suit will suffice, and you should really think twice - or more than twice - before deciding you want to fancy it up with a vest or anything. Any extras you add are choices you made and thus statements of what you think looks good on you, so be careful.

I could say so much more on this subject, but I think keeping it simple is key unless you are, in fact, an expert like my uncle Stanley. If you're not, just try not to go overboard. It weirds people out.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pretty Little Liars is Back!

I know, I know. I'm a few days late, but I just needed to say I'm super excited that the new season of Pretty Little Liars has finally started. While I know I'm probably a little too old to be the target demographic for such a show, I can't help it. I'm addicted. I'm dying to find out who A is, but at the same time I'm afraid that'll mean the end of the series, and I really can't be having that. Plus, I think we all know that at least half the reason we watch Pretty Little Liars is for the fashion. So, now let's talk about that.

Aria - What a teacher lover/indie girl. Aria does a good high-low fashion. Back when Target was doing Go International, she wore at least one of those ensembles mixed with some more expensive pieces. In real life, I imagine she'd shop at Urban Outfitters. I'd say crazy earrings are her accessory of choice.

Hannah - The shopaholic. Hannah is one of my favorite characters. She has such a good smile, and she seems like she'd be a fun friend. She's a Bloomie's girl if I've ever seen one, but I'd bet she likes a good spin around Barney's and Bergdorf's as well. She likes the luxury goods, and she's a definite shoe girl where accessories are concerned.

Emily - The Sporty girl. In Real life, Shay Mitchell modeled for American Eagle, and I think that's a pretty good fit. She's got a sporty all american look while still having that bit of natural exoticism in her face. Emily's not big on accessories, but she will wear a slouchy bag or a bracelet or a simple necklace from time to time. Oh, and a scarf, and I happen to know that Aerie Scarves at American Eagle are a very important piece to the puzzle.

Spencer - Spencer is my fave, and it's not just because her name kind of sounds like "spinster." I think she's so pretty, and she reminds me of my friend Natalie. Spencer has that quirky preppy look that I think could be done well in Marc by Marc Jacobs most seasons. She does wear a lot of neutrals, though, and she has great legs. Legwear is her strong suit. That and a good smokey eye.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Date: American Psycho Style

For lack of a better, less terrifying, and still unread option, I purchased a copy of Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho in the airport bookstore friday morning. As such, I shall proceed to tell you about this   date I had last night American Psycho style. Spoiler alert: I did not kill or torture him....except with my personality.

Today I wore a Banana Republic shirt dress with princess seams in a navy foulard print that was almost old enough to be called vintage, my trusty Coach Legacy Bag, a Vera Bradley wallet, my jade bracelet, oval Morganite and rose gold studs, an Oval Morganite and Diamonds in Rose Gold Ring, Caramel colored ombre Anne Klein New York prescription glasses, and grey leather peep toe double kiltie slingback No. 6 clogs. Underwear by Gap Body.

I walked, carrying my Duane Reade brand umbrella ($9 on a rainy day at the Steinway Street Duane Reade), to 44th street between fifth and sixth to Gregory's where we were to meet for tea. My date was late and carrying an orange Jamba Juice. He was, by all accounts, shorter than I was in my No. 6 clogs, and was wearing khaki cargo shorts, a white tee shirt with "summer football league" printed in orange and black (most likely the free tee shirt from an actual summer football league), Running shoes with white quarter top socks, a navy and black backpack, and an oxidized silver cross necklace whose chain was about three inches too long and whose charm was about 25% too larger, and whose existence was altogether questionable at best. Of course, I overlooked all of this as he seemed to be a nice enough guy and was a 99% match on the online dating site.

As is my way, I talked too much about myself and Adobe Illustrator. I had the medium black tea with sugar which I bought myself, and we sat at a small circular marble table where I struggled to make eye contact due to my constant searching for correct vocabulary. The date ended with his looking at his watch and saying he had to go. It was pouring rain, and my clogs got drenched.

I took the M train from the 42nd street stop by Bryant Park and ate an Amy's vegetarian lasagna when I got home while I typed this post and watched Season 5, Episode 1 of Mad Men. I watched it on Netflix, so I don't have to return any video tapes.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tacky Wedding Dresses

On road trips to the beach growing up, we passed long stretches of vacant land, occasionally spotted by an abandoned shack or run down and roofless cinder block house with tall grass taking over its inside. This, of course, eventually gave way to the "that's your house" discussion, where we all pointed out what we thought were the worst accommodations, saying they were the abode of our seat neighbor.

With wedding season upon us, of course I have re-appropriated this game to be something more approprate. Namely, "that's your dress." As such, one of my very favorite new Google image searches is "tacky wedding dresses." Go ahead. Google it. You're in for a treat.

Today, as a very special wedding season treat, I've decided to illustrate two of my very favorite hideous dresses as if they were actually legitimate options. The first is a really heinous strapless dress you can of which you can find an image here. Surprisingly, I found more than one woman who decided this was THE dress for her special day. Yikes. The second is a sassy little number that is basically halter top unitard. You can find an image here. Nice, right? I thought you'd like it.

Well, now that you, too, have discovered all of these awesomely horrendous wedding gowns, I'll leave you to it. If you find a really terrible one, I'm going to need to know about it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Taylor Swift is my Spirit Animal

top-five-reasons-i-love-taylor-swift, taylor-swift-stars, taylor-swift-bust, taylor-swift-graphic
When I lived in the village, my roommate used to refer to Taylor Swift as "Fetus Face." Not having listened to much Taylor Swift, I didn't fight for her honor. Now, though, I know better. When I heard "We Are Never Getting Back Together," I knew Taylor was my girl. And really, I think she might be every girl's girl. So, below you'll find the five reasons I think Taylor Swift embodies the spirit I'd like to see in myself and is thus my spirit animal.

1. She dates all the good looking fellows, and then she complains about it when they break up.
          Every girl wants to do this when she has a particularly bad breakup or any breakup at all, but we all know it's particularly taboo if we ever want to date anyone again. Taylor Swift, though, writes about it, sings about it, and everyone wants to listen. Homegirl says what we're all thinking but believe we're not allowed to say. AND, she still gets dates with all the eligible bachelors. After all she can just chalk it all up to R&D for her next album.

2. She wants to get married, and she's not afraid to admit everyone.
          Taylor Swift isn't tryna pretend she doesn't believe in marriage. In fact, I want to say she mentions  marriage in, like, half of her songs. In this day and age, it takes a real woman to admit she's into that since almost every guy I know is ambivalent at best. And, of course, you know I'm saying that because I believe in marriage, too.

3. She writes her own songs:
          Taylor Swift isn't just a pretty face with a pretty voice. She's creative, skilled, and an excellent performer. And the songs she writes have the real, girly truth in them, not what we think we should think. What we actually think. She's impassioned, hyperbolic, and she clearly gets ahead of herself in her internal monologue. And what girl do you know that doesn't put the cart before the horse at least once every thirty seconds?

4. Her hair looks great both natural and straight.
          Taylor swift has excellent naturally curly hair, and of course she did that for a while. Then, to everyone's surprise, she went straight and got those awesome bangs. Both are excellent hair looks. And also, she has great legs and apparently an amazing stylist. I have yet to see her in a bad outfit.

5. She's not one of the cool kids.
          I'm not one of the "cool kids," so of course Taylor Swift's songs about being a dork or being undesirable or being picked on or being unknown by the "cool kids," make me feel like she's my soul sister. The fact that she has had some seriously awkward moments in her career makes her even more lovable (re: the Kanye West debacle and the feud with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler). As much s I love Tina Fey, I have to say I can totally relate to her getting really upset about something and maybe saying something she shouldn't have. Haven't we all?

So, the next time you need to listen to the melodic musing of a girl who knows how you feel, think about my girl Taylor Swift. She gets it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spinstering in LA: A Recap

This past weekend was my first trip to Los Angeles, California, and I loved it. The weather was beautiful, and the water pressure in my hotel room's bathroom was so good I thought it was combing my hair for me. We stayed at the Hollywood Standard, and my room (like,  I think all rooms there, maybe) had its own little balcony. I love that. However, rather than detailing every moment of my work trip (you'd be bored), I'm just going to detail out what I think are the five most important things that happened on this trip.

1. I had a Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake.
          The food at the Standard, both here in New York and in California, is known to be delicious. So, when I saw the milkshake on the room service menu after a long day of shopping and secretively photographing items of clothing on the floors of dressing room, I decided it was just what the doctor ordered for a dinner eaten over writing an end-of-day report to my boss. Let me tell you, I was right. It was one of the best milkshakes I've ever had.

2. I saw a Raccoon Fairy.
          At least, I think it was a raccoon. Saturday morning, having the benefit of jet lag on my side, I rose at 6 am California time (that's 9 am New York time) and went for a run down Santa Monica Boulevard, back up Melrose Avenue, ending in quite the strenuous climb up a hill on La Cienega to get back to Sunset Boulevard. In the excellently cool morning air, running down Melrose, I passed the window of Blu Dot, where I saw the awesome raccoon fairy pictured above. Pretty awesome.

3. I discovered Fred Segal isn't the name of a store.
          So, everyone always talks about how great Fred Segal is for shopping, so I had just always assumed it was a store. Apparently, though, Fred Segal is just the name of a real estate property, and the store is different at each location. The store we shopped was called Ron Herman. Who knew?

4. I bought a top.
          When I was in college, one summer I went to Penland School of Crafts (totally worth going if you ever get the chance.) One of the girls in my weaving class was from Los Angeles, and she worked at a store called Creatures of Comfort. She was cool, and so I checked out the website. We have one in New York, but I've never been. However, while shopping What Katie Did for work, I saw Creature of Comfort was open. What a super cool store. I snuck a lot of photos and bought a top. Hooray! But I lost my sunglasses. Boo.

5. I went to Rose Bowl.
          Rose Bowl flee market was one of our biggest plans for the trip, and it did not disappoint. I was only sad I was so far from home because there were so many ceramic cats, and I wanted them all. I feel like that's what a spinster should have in her home. I must return.

I'm writing this post Monday evening, and I am so sleepy. My flight got in at 1 AM last night, and I am going to pass out. Sorry for the lack of illustration! Tomorrow the drawings shall return!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Spinster Friday Jams #2

girl-wearing-sunglasses, summer-playlist, sunset, california, see-you-soon
Today's post has two purposes. The first is to tell you that I won't be posting again until Tuesday as I have to go to LA this weekend for work. Of course I'm super excited (I've never been to California before), but I want you to know that I shall return. If you find yourself missing me especially, I suggest you read the following three posts for the three days I'll be absent:
1. #26: Go to the movies...By Yourself
2. Massages
3. Laundry Love

They're from the archives, but maybe they'll give you a little chuckle. Or potentially a little chortle.

Now, for the second portion: The Second Spinster Friday Jams Playlist! If you'd like to be surprised by the playlist, just click this link for the playlist.

If you want to look through the songs first, Here's the playlist:

1. "Downtown" - Petula Clark
2. "Waltz" - Fiona Apple
3. "Animal" - Neon Trees
4. "Extraordinary" - Liz Phair
5. "Gone" - Ben Folds
6. "We Get On" - Kate Nash
7. "Tymps" - Fiona Apple
8. "Dancing in the Moonlight" - King Harvest
9. "Love Me for Me" - Ashlee Simpson
10. "Put Your Records On" - Corinne Bailey Rae
11. "Super Bass" - Nicki Minaj
12. "Get me Bodied" - Beyonce
13. "The World Should Revolve Around Me" - Little Jackie
14. "Since You've Been Gone" - Kelly Clarkson

I hope you enjoy these for your Friday workday!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Spinster Excuses

excuses-drawing, excuses-illustration, girl-making-excuses
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the disruptions washing your hair and shaving your legs can introduce into your life. However, sometimes that very fact makes quite the handy excuse. In high school, my friend Greg used to say I gave terrible excuses not to hang out, giving examples like "I can't; I have to go laminate my dog." Though I wish I had actually used that excuse, I had not. Furthermore, I think I have become more adept at making excuses now, and I will impart five of them to you today, since I know you must avoid socializing at all costs as much as I do (at least in the winter.) However, since the summer is upon us, I recognize you may be out of practice, so hopefully these tips will help you.

1. I can't. I have to clean out my fridge.
          This is a perfectly logical excuse. Since you're a spinster, you probably make somewhat of a habit of cooking things you never finish eating. Who knows what monstrosities are growing in your icebox? In all honesty, I once found a prune in my crisper which had started out as a plumb. With things like that happening, the need for a full fridge overhaul could be quite urgent. No one has to know you're actually just planning to eat the contents of your fridge instead of disposing of them. ( least the ones that are still good.)

2. I can't. I have to unpack my suitcase.
          Ok, everyone knows you never unpack your suitcase until you have to use it again, discovering things you'd forgotten you even owned. However, no one will actually admit that outside of their apartment, so no one can catch you in your fib. Instead of cleaning out your suitcase, I'm guessing you're actually just going to throw more stuff in it when you get home, zip it up, and put it back where it goes, using it as junk storage until you need it next and kick yourself for having no foresight. You know I'm right.

3. I can't. I have to pet my cat.
          There's a guy in my office that always leaves, saying he needs to feed his dog. If you ask me, it's a pretty good excuse since that means another being whose life depends on you is just waiting for you to come home. Since you're a spinster, though, it's more appropriate you mention cats. It's more believable. It doesn't matter if you actually have a cat or not. Plus, petting a cat ultimately takes much longer than feeding it, which makes this excuse believable. You need to leave right now to pet your cat because it could take quite a while.

4. I can't. I have to watch Netflix.
          Ok, so everyone knows that Netflix is on demand, and it's not time sensitive. But let's be real here. Once you sit down, you absolutely need to watch an entire season of Breaking Bad or Frasier or (heaven help you) Law and Order. It's necesary, and it will take hours or even days.

5. I can't. Downton's on tonight.
          Of course, in the US this only applies for Sunday nights, but the fact that Downton Abbey
is only on in real time once a week and is a whole commercial-free hour is both serious and time consuming. You have to really prepare before you watch that, and it requires you to shower, use the bathroom, and have all of your snacks at the ready. The preparation alone could take a couple of hours. You're in it for the long haul, and this is serious.

So, now that I've imparted to you my five best excuses, you may use them at will. However, to reinforce your ploy, you should probably instagram whatever you're supposedly doing, just to make sure it goes off without a hitch.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Guest Spinster: Alexandra Lubensky

tracking-your-outfits, outfits, clothing, wardrobe,
Today's Guest Spinster needs little to no introduction as I constantly mention her in my posts. She is an excellent Spinsterhood Sounding board and killer of roaches. Today she brings you her hilarious yet practical suggestions for keeping your wardrobe looking fresh to those around you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


While I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself fashionable, I do normally put at least some minimal thought into what I’m wearing (unless I am running errands in the neighborhood, because after all of the interesting sartorial choices I have seen in Astoria, nothing I own could possibly be deemed embarrassing or inappropriate). The reason for my attention to clothing is that I assume everybody with whom I interact remembers at least (at least!) the last three outfits they have seen me wear. This is not to say that I can claim the same powers of recollection when it comes to other people. Unless you donned taffeta or neon spandex, my mind is blank. But of course everybody else keeps a detailed account of what I wear, and so I must be very strategic when planning out outfits. I am a huge fan of reusing winning combinations. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? A kick-ass jean and blouse duo tested on Thursday is very likely to be trotted out again on Saturday, provided I can guarantee not to see any of the same people. This is where having several distinct friend groups is helpful.

Problems arises when you simply cannot remember what you wore when and where. I don’t know if it is my age or past misdeeds, but my memory for small details is just not what it used to be. Last summer, I found myself spending far too much time retracing my steps and trying to piece together what I was doing on a particular day and what my outfit choice could have possibly been for the occasion. This was eating into precious spinster time that could have been spent taking long walks by myself while listening to Radiolab or catching up on Breaking Bad.

Then I remembered the magic solution to just about any life problem: Excel Spreadsheets. Whenever I feel myself overwhelmed by a task (apartment hunting, pantry management, vacation plans, grad school decisions), I create a spreadsheet. Just this simple act makes me feel accomplished, even if I don’t get any further. My outfit tracker consisted of two columns: date and outfit description. If I were less lazy (and let’s face it, I am EXTREMELY lazy), I would have taken photos every day to provide a visual supplement. Perhaps those of you who are more ambitious may choose to do so (because I know everyone is about to run to their computers and create their very own outfit tracker). I recommend using Google Docs, that way you can access your data from work or home or even on your phone. This is helpful when you’re coming home late and want to make sure you can lay out your clothing for the next day as soon as you get to your room.

All of this is to say, even a spinster needs to make a good impression on others, and you can’t do that if people think you only own one dress (no matter how amazing that dress may be). Tracking your outfits means you can squeeze maximum use out of every winning combination without fear of being called out for your thriftiness (laziness).    

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to Avoid Men

Ryan-Gosling-Shirtless, Beefcake, Ryan-Gosling-Body, no-Ryan-Gosling
Have you had your fill of men and their tomfoolery? Sick of those boys always trying to have their cake and eat it, too? Never want to listen to another boring conversation about sports or beer or video games or unwise decisions? Well, then today's post is just for you! Through long years of honing and practice, I have perfected the art of never coming into contact with any eligible bachelors whatsoever. Lucky for you, I'm willing to impart the five most important steps to how you, too, can become a spinster who may never hold hands or gaze into the eyes of someone who fancies her again. You lucky duck!

1. Work in a female dominated field:
          Personally, I suggest fashion. Any men working in your office - all five of them - will be either married, gay, or in a seriously committed long term relationship. So, in other words, you'll be safe. Other options might include working in an elementary school, being a hair stylist or makeup artist, being an aesthetician, or working at a women-only gym. Professions to avoid include but are not limited to: Finance, any medical field or anything in the sciences, Law, IT, Computer Programming,  and being a sports agent.

2. Eat lunch at your desk:
          The less time you spend outside of your office, the less opportunity those men will have to try and make eyes at you or ask for your name or phone number. You wouldn't want them thinking you might actually enjoy eating lunch with someone other than your computer monitor and your desk neighbor, now would you? Additionally, you might want to stick to lighter fare at lunch like salad-only spots and places that serve things like a small soup and half a sandwich. There will be less men there.

3. Go to a gym that's just for women:
          Don't want to stare at sweaty beefcakes lifting weights? Good. Neither do I. Especially not Ryan Gosling. I mean, seriously. The best way to avoid having to see or be seen by physically fit men is to join a gym that's just for women. This way, when you're sweating it up, you can wear that unicorn shirt without shame. Bonus: you'll never meet a guy who thinks you're lookin' pretty cute on that treadmill. Becuase you don't want him to think that you're always going to be fit, right?

4. Be a non-drinker:
          I know, this is a tough one for a lot of people, but believe me, it works. If I had a dime for every guy I haven't met or gone out with or dated because I'm a nondrinker...I mean...I'd live in the Biltmore Estate. Or I'd at least own my apartment. Lots of guys like to hang out at bars with their guy friends in the hopes that they'll meet the ladies or just have fun out together. I mean, why would you want to go to a place where you know there are going to be lots of single guys? That's just asking to be flirted with. And, really, who wants that?

5. Be interested in Girly things:
          No, I don't mean Girly magazines. Get your mind out of the gutter. I mean you should watch only movies and TV shows that you like without regards to whether any man will have or will want to see them. Stay up on celebrity gossip, and read lots of fashion and design blogs. Make lots of wedding pinboards on Pinterest, and keep a scrap book of how your wedding will be. (Full disclosure, I don't do either of these things, but I really think they're both great ideas.) Interests to avoid: Video Games, Technology, Sports, Cars, Action Movies, Building Things, Travel, and Will Ferrell.

If you adhere to these five suggestions, you should be in a testosterone-free zone in no time. If you want to speed up the process, get yourself a kitten calendar and start wearing cat shirts and talking about kittens all the time. I've found it usually really helps.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Obsession Confession

I think we can all agree that Google is one of the greatest things created in my lifetime. I love Googling. In fact, at work it's a joke that I should have Googling on my resumé because they think I have a finely honed skill. But let's be real here. You don't need a special skill to find stuff on Google. That's why it's so amazing. 

However, Google isn't directly what we're talking about today. A few months ago, I had the burning need to know what, exactly, is all that stuff inside of pimples. Upon researching, I found out that it's this stuff called Sebum. And then, upon searching further I found out that some of the worse blemishes become infected and are something called Sebaceous cysts. Grody. 

The other day I was talking to someone about the Punch in the Box idea, and I misheard my friend saying, "you should send photos of fists," thinking she said "you should send pictures of cysts." Disgusting. But of course I had to google it. Pictures of cysts are foul.

You wanna know what's worse, though? YOUTUBE VIDEOS OF DRAINING CYSTS! So disgusting but also somehow wildly satisfying. I would link to a video here, but there are so many. That, and I am afraid you'd be thoroughly disgusted. However, a lot of the videos had over a million views. So...maybe you will want to watch them. I may or may not have watched quite a few over the weekend. Don't judge me. This is why I live alone. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Reasons It's Good to be a Spinster

I wilted in the oppressive heat of a concrete summer yesterday on my run, but the battle against the chunk sitch rages on. Today, I try a new yoga studio. Fingers and toes crossed it is air conditioned.

Before I proceed with today's post, I would just like to say that New York is ridiculous in the summer. Not everyone has enough air conditioning, and I just don't understand. It gets real hot here. Why isnt' it mandatory here that everyone have central air conditioning like they do in the south?

Anyway, on the train ride back from Friday night's barbecue, one of my favorite spinsters and I discussed all the reasons we were glad to be riding the train home together as two single ladies. So, below is this weekend's list of reasons it's great to be a spinster as mostly thought of by Alexandra Lubensky.

1. You can leave a party whenever you want without having to ask anyone.
2. You can fall asleep however you like (I like to sleep with my TV on and of course the foot fan, and Alex likes her noise machine.)
3. You can strip down to your underwear as soon as you get in the door and stand in front of the air conditioner.
4. You can eat frozen dinners all week long without having to be embarrassed.
5. You don't have to shave as much.
6. On the weekend, you can wear makeup or not wear makeup at your own discretion. Bonus: you can also take it off whenever you want.
7. You don't have to do a scan of your apartment before you walk in to make sure there are no underwear or other lady things lying about.
8. You can wake up at 6AM on the weekend if you want to and go running...or not.
9. You can read on the train instead of trying to be social with your train partner.
10. You can wear your Halloween underwear all year round.

So, in case you were feeling down about being a spinster today, don't worry. You're in charge of everything, and that's nice.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Spinster Party Food: Reese's Pieces Brownies

So, last night I went to a rooftop BBQ, and of course I needed to bring a treat. I was going to make these brownies my mom makes with the toffee Symphony bar baked inside them, but when I couldn't find the candy bar at the grocery store, my plan was a little foiled. Brownie mix in hand, though, I stood in front of the candy thinking. Snickers? Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? Ah! Reese's Pieces!

So, basically all I did was follow the directions on the back of the Duncan Hines brownie mix, and then, before I put the mix in the pan, I stirred in half a large bag of Reese's Pieces. I baked for the regular amount of time, and when I pulled them out, I pushed a few more of the candies into the top of the brownies.

Well, once they'd cooled a little, and I was cutting them into squares, I took one and had a little taste. Of course I took a corner piece because those are the best. But, the peanut butter in the Reese's Pieces had melted, and it was really, really delicious. So, I recommend next time you want to jazz up your brownies, you consider trying adding some Reese's Pieces!

Also, pictured here, the Brownies are in a tin from the container store, on my navy velvet sofa, in front of the pillow my mother made and sent to me at work this week. All treats!