Passionless Fashion

transforming our lives by transforming our wardrobes

Tag Archives: passion

Day 89 – Monday

Ena - Day 89

Ena: Wow.  I am tired, really tired; like, completely spaced-out, brain-dead, I-don’t-want-to-write-this-post-because-it-seems-too-exhausting-to-even-think-about tired.  I don’t know what’s going on, but all of a sudden a couple of hours ago the accumulated tiredness of my past few sleepless nights hit me like a ton of Lunesta.  I could fall asleep right now as I sit here typing this.  For all the sense this post is making, I could be sleeping right now as I sit here typing this.  Wow.

My current state of incoherence really is unfortunate because I have some very exciting news to report today.  Oh well, here goes.  This Saturday I went to volunteer orientation at 826LA and it was aahhh-mazing!  In their own words, 826 is a, “non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write,” and it is rad, super rad.  I am so unbelievably thrilled to have the opportunity to volunteer for this organization, so much so that I just sorta woke up from my semi-coma while thinking about it.

826 is a nationwide program and there are two locations here in the Los Angeles area; one in Echo Park (where I’ll be volunteering) and one in Venice.  They offer a slew of scholastic services and are super pumped and energetic about everything they do.  If you’re looking for scholastic volunteer opportunities, check them out.  I will be tutoring high school kids from 6 to 8 pm every Tuesday and also volunteering for weekend workshops when my schedule permits.  I am crazy stoked, I can’t wait to start…unfortunately I will have to; it takes 3 to 6 weeks for the background checks to be complete.

Bina - Day 89

Bina: After my long-winded and cathartic post on Friday, this weekend seemed like a great time to do some spring cleaning. I gave my closet a full-gutting, and it felt fantastic. I tried on all of my jeans to see which ones are now so baggy I would look like a member of Kris Kross if I wore them backwards. (Yes, I just referenced Kris Kross, what? I realize out of all the hip-hop possibilities I could have gone with, I went with Kris Kross. Let’s all just move on now, shall we?) And also, I tried them on to see which ones I could now fit my ass into, so to speak, post weight-loss. The results were astounding – to me, at least.

This particular pair of Seven jeans, well, I barely fit into them to begin with, and I barely fit into them now, but by gum, they are on and they are buttoned! I think in the time that they have been sitting on a shelf in my closet, the wash and cut may have gone out of style, but I don’t care. I found these shoes and the little canvas belt at – yep, you guessed it – the Goodwill. I think thrifting is my new addiction. The canvas slip-ons are Grasshoppers; they look brand-new; I adore them. As for the top, you may recall seeing it a couple of times before.

I donated the relics I realized I wasn’t getting any use out of to Planet Aid, and felt a sense of relief from purging excess clutter.  Now, I can make more sense of my closet – it’s a beautiful thing. And I have more room for all those new little gems I picked up at the Goodwill…

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Day 88 – Friday

Ena - Day 88

Ena: I know it doesn’t look like it, but it rained today.  It rained this morning, then the sun came out, then it got cloudy and windy, and then the sun came out again.  We have been experiencing schizophrenic weather here in Los Angeles this week, and, frankly, I’m sick of it.  It’s gonna rain?  Fine, rain; I can deal with rain.  What I cannot deal with is being dressed for rain when it’s actually 70 degrees outside.  What I cannot deal with is being prepared (or unprepared) for whether that might (or might not) happen.  Grrrrr.

Alright, in actuality I can deal with it and I have been; I’m just tired of it.  And yes, I know that we Southern Californian’s are really quite spoiled and that I shouldn’t complain because I’m probably making people sick, so I’ll stop.  Preparing myself for rain this morning and really wanting to be comfortable, I decided to wear my favorite jeans and my crazy thrifted plaid booties to keep my feet dry.  Jeans and booties in place, I proceeded to throw on a number of loose tops attempting to achieve…well, I don’t really know what; a schlumpy-dumpy, messily layered, sorta artsy, (hopefully warm), layered look.  Right.

I really have no idea what compelled me to put this mess together, but here I am.  I am feeling pretty upset with myself over my lack of enthusiasm this week; in my outfit choices, my pictures, my posts – for whatever reason, I feel like a failure this week.  Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go home and eat poinsettias or anything, it’s really quite the contrary; my blah-ness is actually inspiring and motivating me to do better next week.  Next week I’m hoping for better outfits, better pictures, better posts, better everything.  I am also hoping that I can avoid looking like Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope ever again.  Just sayin.

Bina - Day 88

Bina: My first love introduced me to Annie Hall. He taught me immeasurable amounts about good movies, music, and art; for that, I’ll always be grateful. You see, he was a whole lot of firsts for me, but I was certainly not a lot of firsts for him. He was different and dangerous; I liked that about him. I had always been the quiet Good Girl; I liked that this Bad Boy noticed me. He said ridiculously romantic things like “you’re my angel” and professed he was falling in love with me while parked in his van on campus after we had been dating for two weeks. He was passionate; he was talented; he was rock and roll. I was completely in over my head.

In my heart of hearts, I knew that he wasn’t faithful. The anxiety about what he was doing behind my back was a sickness – it ate away at my soul. But I didn’t want to believe it. Because I loved him. I was 21, and like many girls with father issues, I thought I could change him.

I remember the day my suspicions were confirmed. Well, there were a series of confirmations really, but there was one in particular that I remember because…well…because I punched him in the face. I had never punched someone in the face, and haven’t since, I swear – I don’t belong on Flavor of Love or anything. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but my fury clearly didn’t last too long because…we got back together.

Being an artist and musician, like any good Bad Boy, he wrote a rock musical called In the Middle of the Ocean partially inspired by our story. With lyrics like “he broke her heart but still she loved him” interwoven with pirate ships and Greek mythology, how could I not swoon? The climactic number is sung by the main character, Camilla, as she pleads with the devil for her love, proclaiming that she is “Anything But Soft.” You can listen to it here; it’s pretty amazing.

And so, we tried to rebuild. We lasted for six years. We matured into our 20s together in New York, and we loved each other, but I could never get over the past. I couldn’t trust, and without trust, relationships die. There’s a line in Annie Hall – “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.” So our shark died, and it was very sad. Because despite all the heartache, he had become my best friend and favorite playmate. But we had to let it go. I had to be anything but soft.

Today, we are friends. He and his wife just had a baby! I’m actually very happy for them, even if I momentarily thought it would be brilliant to mass-produce T-shirts that say “My ex-boyfriend just had a baby and all I got was this lousy blog (insert URL here).” Maybe not.

As for me, well – double gulp – I have a second date tomorrow. La-di-da, la-di-da, la la.

Day 87 – Thursday

Ena - Day 87

Ena: I’ve had the idea of wearing something like this for a while now, and today I did it….kind of.  I should probably explain that a bit more.  I am really interested in mixing bright colors together and then pairing them with an “anchor” color like black or white.  I’m not sure if I’m explaining it very well; does that make sense?  Oh well.

I wear this shirt pretty frequently.  Or, more accurately, I have three different shirts in this exact color, and I wear them pretty frequently.  Though I didn’t like the outfit, I did like last Thursday’s short-pants/high-shoes combo (something else I had been meaning to try for a while) and I made a mental note to attempt the whole thing again sometime soon…which is now.

In case you were wondering, no, I did not purposefully space my short-pants/high-shoes outfits exactly one week apart; it just happened, though I will admit that it is rather odd.  So, for whatever reasons, today I decided to wear this frequently worn bright fuchsia shirt, this black short-pants/high-shoes pant suit, and, to top it all off, this chartreuse-y, yellow-ish, tie-dye scarf.  Tah-dah!

In all seriousness, I absolutely LOVE the way that the colors of the shirt and the scarf look together and paired with the black pant suit – I just could not for the life of me figure out how to stylishly wear them all together.  Bina and I attempted a few colorful (pun intended) looks with minimal success.  The problem, I think, is that the scarf is just too long; there is just too much of that beautiful fabric for one person to know what to do with…too much for this one person at least.

Bina - Day 87

Bina: Growing up with a mother whose native tongue is Japanese and a father whose native tongue is Hindi, you’d think that my brother and I would have picked up one of those two languages. We did not. We went to school in the Southern Baptist town of Aledo, TX; we lived in a neighborhood called White Settlement; there was only one black family from K-12 grades. We spoke English in my house, and we spoke it with a lot of twang. Well, except for my Mom, she still has her Japanese accent, not much Texan twang to speak of there.

We were, however, at least exposed to Indian culture because Dad’s side of the family lived nearby. My cousins and aunties made sure I was always well-versed in Bollywood movies, religious holidays, and Indian dancing. (Oh yeah, I’ve danced at a lot of Indian weddings.) But there were never any other Japanese people around. My Mom seemed like the only one, and though I know that wasn’t really the case, she was the only one in my world anyway.

I’ve wanted to be fluent in Japanese my entire life. I tried to remedy this by taking Japanese in college. I took it for two years and actually learned quite a bit; the next time we went to Japan, I was able to understand and converse much more than I had before, but without everyday practice, I quickly forgot what I had learned. While living in New York, I decided to take a brush-up course. Things came back to me fairly quickly, but, again, once classes were over, and I stopped practicing…konnichi-what now?

Okay, I exaggerate but it’s ridiculous that I can’t just have an honest-to-goodness conversation with my grandmother or cousins sans a translator or a lot of charades. I’ve got the basics, but I want to really be able to talk to them. So all this is to say that I’ve been perusing my old textbook, and looking at conversational Japanese courses in the area and online. 私の幸運を祈ってください! (Wish me luck!)

P.S. Oh right, the clothes! This pale mauve top is from the Asian designer sample grab-bag that Christine gave me. It’s totally weird; the straps in the back are twisted, and I’m not quite sure if that’s on purpose or not. But it’s really comfy and I dig its original cut. Plus, I get to try out my new strapless bra – I had a Victoria’s Secret gift certificate so I splurged and got measured. Turns out I was a different size than I thought I was. Huh.

Day 86 – Wednesday


Ena - Day 86

Ena: Today’s post will be short, which is alright because I’m wearing a very boring outfit. I like to think of this as my ready-for-rain look, and since rain is coming I suppose it was an appropriate choice. I have said this before and I’m gonna say it again: I love these boots. These boots still rank as one of the best thrift store purchases I’ve ever made. Sturdy, comfortable, and waterproof, they are the essence of utilitarian-chic. In short, these boots rock – an appropriate adjective I think as they are referred to by my father as my Kiss boots…as in the band, not the action.

Besides the weather, comfort was also on my mind this morning as I pondered over what to wear.  I am headed to the Clippers game after work tonight, so in addition to warm and waterproof, I needed something unrestrictive with an expandable waist line – I love stadium food.  I probably haven’t mentioned it here before, but I love sports; I love to watch them, play them, yell at people I’m watching playing them.  I am very competitive, a personality trait that I often find embarrassing; getting worked up over a heated tennis match is one thing, getting worked up over a friendly game of Scrabble is another.  Over the years, I have tried to embrace those aspects of my character which I haven’t always been proud of, and though I’m still working on coming to terms with my competitive nature, tonight, at the Staples Center, I will be totally comfortable letting my freak flag fly…go Clipps!

Bina - Day 86

Bina: Honey! I’m home!!! I feel like Lucille Ball in this get-up, which is fitting since we work at a movie studio where she used to stage pretend play-dates with her children in front of a New York brownstone facade so that people would think she was home with her kids instead of being a workaholic. What era am I in anyway? 50s? 60s? I don’t know anymore; I’m like a time-traveling fashionista.

This Harriet Hale Original dress was jammed between some bathrobes at the Goodwill. It was so wrinkled that it looked like it must have been wadded up into a ball at some point, and it is missing every single one of its original buttons. But I thought I could make it work; it seemed like it just needed some TLC. I ironed the dress this morning, something I rarely do, and that seemed to make a pretty big difference, though whatever fabric this is makes it extremely prone to more wrinkles, so that didn’t last too long. As for making it work without buttons (until I take the time to sew on new ones), this dress is being held on my body by one bright red elastic belt, and a safety pin. I have managed to gather it in all the right places so you don’t see my hoo-ha or anything. All in all, I’m so glad I was able to see through its damaged facade to the beauty of the dress I thought was possible. I am enjoying my retro persona for the day.

Moving away from the retro, I just taught my mother how to Skype; I have been telling her for the last year that we should video-chat. She seemed to believe this whole idea was just complicated nonsense; a mythical thing I made up that wasn’t possible. Well, finally, one of her friends helped her download the software; my brother bought her a little camera to hook up to her laptop; and she’s learned how to answer a call.  However, there’s usually some technical difficulty on the first few tries.

“Mom! There’s no video! Did you hit ‘Answer’ or ‘Answer with Video’?”

“Oh! Call again!”

“Mom! There’s still no video!”

“I don’t know why? I hit the right button this time…”

“Is the camera hooked up?”

“Oh! Call again!”

“Mom! Move the camera! Now I just see the ceiling!”

And then I have a conversation with my mother’s eyebrows. It’s pretty great actually. After I got the latest update on my Japanese loved ones and hung up with her the other night, I closed my laptop and turned around. And then I saw it on the bookshelf staring back at me: my old, tattered copy of Japanese for Busy People.

Day 85 – Tuesday

Ena - Day 85

Ena: Ok, I was here yesterday, but only for about an hour.  I had an allergic reaction to something that I ate on Saturday, and, as it was progressively getting worse, yesterday morning I decided that it was time to visit the Doc.  So, here I am, slightly itchy, fairly uncomfortable, and covered with small red dots – sorry, no bikini shots today so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Thankfully the weather is still cool enough for me to hide my hideously inflamed skin behind leggings, boots, a cardigan, and a jacket.  And, just in case that wasn’t enough, I decided to go with this bold purple-button necklace in an attempt to divert attention away from my splotchy, irritated face.  What do you think?  Success?

Despite my run-in with whatever it is that caused my allergic reaction (still unknown; time for a trip to the Allergist), I had a really good weekend.  On Saturday I attended the GAB training/workshop and on Sunday I spent some quality time with my couch and the remote control…and my boyfriend.  It was the perfect way to spend a cold, rainy weekend.

The GAB workshop was great; it was informative and educational and will, I’m sure, prove very helpful.  Though some of the material covered was, in my opinion, common sense, I did learn a few things on Saturday that would have never crossed my mind.  For example, apparently a large (and difficult) part of the job is finding kids who will let you read to them, you have to actively recruit them, sometimes even resorting to bribery in the form of stickers and pencils; silly me, I thought they’d be lining up.

I also learned a lot about the GAB program, its origins, its aims, and its role in the community.  With the exception of a few full-timers, the program has been primarily powered by volunteers for the past 22 years, and I was amazed to learn the impact it has had on the lives of thousands of children over that period.  This program makes a real difference, it’s something that I believe in and am thrilled to support.

After Saturday’s workshop, I definitely feel more prepared for – and less frightened of – the kids and my stint as a LAPL volunteer, and I feel extremely proud to be participating in the program.  I absolutely cannot wait to get started…unfortunately, I will have to; it takes 3 to 6 weeks for the background checks to be complete.

Bina - Day 85

Bina: I’m like an ad for the Glendale Goodwill today. Well, maybe the Glendale Goodwill circa 1977? I tried something totally different this morning, and I must say I’m pretty pleased with myself. The shoes are a little brighter than I thought they were, but hey, whatever, look at me, I’m wearing yellow shoes! They rule! Thrifted for $14, they are American Eagle brand; I love the color, the sturdy strappy pattern, and the chunky platform heel. As for the shirt, well, I looked at this shirt for a very long time before I bought it for $5 – it reminded me of when I used to raid my Mom and Dad’s closet when I was in 6th grade, because you know, at that point, all my Mom’s stuff from the 70s still fit me. Damn, that woman was tiny.

I remember once getting ready to go out somewhere in college, I was wearing a super-ruffled high-collared mauve long-sleeve blouse that I had taken from my mother’s closet, and my roommate at the time said, “Well, that’s Bina – always different!” Yeah. I like prints and unusual things; being a former-actress-in-recovery, I guess I like clothes with character, clothes that make you feel something.

I learned about the technique of “outside-in” acting from one of my favorite professors in college. Utilizing this method, we would first explore and discover our character’s posture, movement, vocal patterns, facial expressions, clothing choices, etc. And figuring out these things would inform us how to become the character. That’s how this project started. We figured if we put on some nicer threads, we might start to feel like the characters we wanted to become – the best versions of ourselves. I think it’s working, because today, when I look at myself, it feels reminiscent of looking at the grainy photographs from my mother’s old albums. I hope one day to be almost as beautiful.

Inspiration: Andi

Bina: Please welcome Andi Teran! (applause break) I met Andi back in the theatre department at the University of TX at Austin. She was a year ahead of me in the program, and I thought she was quite possibly the coolest girl I’d ever seen. Later, I had the pleasure of working with her on a few plays in New York, always admiring her from afar. For as long as I’ve known who Andi was, I have always thought of her as a force to be reckoned with. Her addictive zeal for life, acting, art, movies, writing, and style make her one of the most beautiful, passionate people I’ve ever had the privilege to come across.

We asked Andi if she would mind taking time out of her very busy schedule, which includes contributing to websites such as VanityFair.com and Vogue.com, and writing her own amazing blog, Verbose Coma (check it out, run don’t walk!), to tell us a little bit about what fashion and style mean to her, as well as what motivates and excites her. We love and admire the way that Andi has turned her passions into her career. She is truly inspirational.

Andi!

Andi: To the French poet and neck-ribbon aficionado (a man after my own heart) Charles Baudelaire who once said, “Style is character,” I must state that I firmly believe character is style. Whether innate or learned, whimsical or reserved, style is always a projection of the self. Some believe it to be an art form, others a philosophical statement, but to me, it is both a choice and a way of life. Also, let’s be honest, clothes are just really, really fun.

For the record, I believe that fashion and style are two entirely different peacocks. Fashion is new and now; style evolves over time. Fashion is chosen by a cognoscenti; style is dictated by the individual. Fashion fades; style is eternal. Now, I love fashion and have worked in and around it for years, but what I truly revere, what continues to speak to me when I open my closet doors every day, is my own style. That probably sounds totally pretentious, but it’s taken me awhile to get here. (Also, geez, I started with a Baudelaire quote! Gag me.)

I first learned about style from an Australian woman on CNN. Like every other third grader in suburban Texas, I watched cartoons on Saturday morning. One day, while flipping channels, I came across a woman with a severe black bob and red lipstick. She had on a pretty dress and spoke to me like I was a grown-up. With a backdrop of classical music, the kind I imagined played on loudspeakers all over France, this woman, Elsa, introduced me to designers who made crazy bright colored clothes for models who could punch bullies with their eyelashes. I was enchanted. Elsa went on and on about things like patterns and the importance of a great necklace in this calm, elegant way. It was unexpected, but from that Saturday forward, I stopped getting up for The Smurfs and made sure I was awake for Style with Elsa Klensch.

Soon after (the result of many impassioned pleas), my mom took me shopping for school clothes and agreed to let me put together an outfit of my choosing. I wanted something with an animal on it because I liked animals, but I also wanted to make Elsa proud. I chose a black, button-up shirt covered in giant orange and white striped zebras paired with Tang-orange baggy pants also covered in zebras, these in black and white—the yin to the shirt’s yang, if you will. I figured it would pass the fancy fashion test because the shirt had buttons (I was used to wearing t-shirts), and it had to be tucked into the trousers. I topped this ensemble with a dark sweater vest, remembering a recent designer on the show who had a penchant for wearing all black, and tipped it out with my favorite brown lace-up shoes. The look was what I considered safari superhero chic, and it made me feel powerful and transformed.

At school the next day, I was christened with a new nickname: “zebra head.” I hid during recess until the bell rang. Even my best friend—who always looked cute in pink and blonde—left me alone. I didn’t understand. My outfit made me feel good and was something I had put together myself. It was a long walk back to class, but somewhere on that dusty road of elementary fashion fallout, something had changed. A kindergartener passed us in the hall, pointed at my clothes and said, “I like your pants! I like zebras!” This restored my confidence. If only one person other than me liked my ensemble, that helped, yes, but I liked it, and this meant everything.

Today, I still wear animal prints as often as possible (leopard is always beatnik-y and classic). I like menswear mismatched with floral shirts and huge plastic accessories. I don’t care about labels but live for good construction. Elsa taught me that all you need is a simple outfit that fits well; you can then trick it out with fantastic accessories. The only things I save for are well-made, comfortable shoes that last (like leather oxfords which go with everything, look cute with dresses, and stand up to NYC concrete). Splurging on a black leather handbag that holds all your everyday stuff or investing in a classic, tailored black blazer is good, too. The one thing I’ve really learned on my own, though, is if it makes me feel fantastic when I put it on, then I know that it works.

I moved to New York City to be an actress (SO many costumes, SO many different people to dress up and be!), but if you’d told me I’d wind up working in fashion, that one day I’d attend fashion week (a lifelong dream) and meet some of the people profiled on Elsa’s show, I’d have passed out right then and there. I’ve seen all kinds of crazy “fabulosity”, but the people who have stood out from the crowd, the ones whose zebra pants I like the best, are always the ones just living their lives in outfits that illustrate who they are inside. Brave women who don’t give a toss if anybody thinks they look pretty or cool, like Isabella Blow and her crazy hats, or Daphne Guinness in feathers and Cruella hair. I’m obsessed with regal lady-bird Iris Apfel, an octogenarian who layers tons of necklaces atop loud tropical prints. I like women who take the time to care, as well as those who look like they aren’t trying at all (hi, Patti Smith). The point is, style begins with you. Never forget to outfit your inner superhero.

Day 33 – Tuesday

Ena - Day 33

Ena: Alright, blah!  Today is boring, or – to be more accurate – today I am boring.  Boring pants, boring top, boring accessories,…boring, boring, boring.  In particular on this boring day, I am so bored with my boring hair that I want to rip it right out of its boring roots.  That would definitely not be boring.  I should do it.  Maybe I will.

I suppose that today’s lone high note is my shiny patent leather mary-jane flats which, though I quite like them, I have not worn in quite a while (because I am boring) and which I am very excited to start wearing again.  We have been so busy at work for the past month that I have had very little time to peruse my favorite fashion blogs in search of inspiration – work can be terribly inconvenient sometimes – and my wardrobe is beginning to feel…well, more boring.

Bina and I have just made tentative plans for a thrift-shop outing this weekend and I do hope that we make it happen and that we are able to find some pieces to spice up our wardrobes as well as our attitudes.  One other thing that I hope to accomplish this week – which is why I am including it in this post  – is to place a call to the Los Angeles Public Library inquiring about their volunteer opportunities, something I have been meaning to do for a long time.  I am hoping that my fear of disappointing all five of our readers will help me complete my task and save myself from my boring life.

Bina - Day 33

Bina: The sweater I’m wearing today was a gift from one of my many cousins. I call her Didi which means “older sister” in Hindi.  I really like my new sweater, especially because it was given to me with such love.

I was on my way to my first Tahitian dance class today (more on that later) when I returned a call to Didi. She wanted to tell me about something her 9-yr old son, Abhi, said about me.  He calls me Masi which loosely translates to “Second Mother.”  I love this boy. He’s one of the biggest lights of my life, and he’s such a sweetheart!  I had called him over Christmas break in Texas to make plans, and when he hung up with me, he promptly turned to his Mom and announced, “I’ve got a date with Masi – better pick up some flowers!”  Too cute. I don’t know where he gets it, but he’s teaching my Dad a thing or two.  Upon learning about Abhi’s chivalry via Facebook – God bless the internet – he returned home from a shopping excursion with flowers for both me and my mother! This is very out of character; I had to check to see if he had a fever.  Needless to say, my mother was elated at the surprising little gesture.  Anyway, Didi wanted to share an anecdote with me about a conversation Abhi remembered from our “date.”  Abhi had asked me if I was older or younger than one of our relatives who just had an arranged marriage in India.  When I told him I was older, he seemed surprised and wanted to know why she got married before me.  I tried to explain that people are different and I haven’t met the right person yet and I’m not in a rush to get married.

I guess he took that conversation to heart because the next day he told his mom, “Masi said she’s not in a rush to get married.”  He had questions, and she tried to explain that most of our relatives had gotten arranged marriages, and that I wanted a “love marriage” which sometimes takes longer to find.  He was still perplexed and said “But Masi doesn’t need a love marriage because we already love her.”  Awwwww. (But I still don’t think I’ll be getting that arranged marriage.)

I had to hang up the phone to go into that Tahitian dance class I mentioned earlier.  Holy. Crap. What a workout.  It was like a freakin’ Shakira video up in there – nobody’s hips were lying about anything, they were just shaking and circling like crazy.  I needed some discipline in my life and this is how I’ve decided to get it – twice a week, busting my ass at Nonosina Polynesia.  I was inspired by my mother to sign up.  In the last couple of years, she finally found her passion – Hula and Tahitian dance – and I’ve never seen her happier.  It’s truly a beautiful, beautiful thing.  Though  I don’t know yet if Tahitian dance will be my new Passion, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  It felt really good to dance again.  And I wasn’t too shabby for my first class.  I got the Bollywood hips down; I can do this.

 

Day 31 – Wednesday

100 Days of Fashion.  It is decided.  We like deadlines and structure so we set a goal to keep this project going for 100 work days and see what happens.  Today is our last entry before the winter break.  Our regularly scheduled programming will resume Monday, January 3rd.

Ena - Day 31

Ena: Today is Day 31.  Bina and I agreed that since 31 days is about a month – and since Day 31 conveniently falls on our last day of work before beginning our holiday – we would take a moment in today’s post to reflect on the project thus far.  Hummm…

In case it hasn’t become apparent to everyone already, I will be frank; I am not really what you would call a sharer.  In fact, the idea of sharing personal information with anyone (anyone!) makes me feel queasy, defensive, and upset.  Wait, wait…that’s not entirely accurate.   I guess I should be honest – that’s the point, right?  I will share personal and sometimes highly inappropriate things with people I barely know, but that’s only if it’s something I want to share, something I want you to know.  I have a very difficult time sharing my feelings…look, it just took me, like, three sentences and significant beating around the bush just to get that out…and, I’m feeling a little light headed and angry now and every time I reread that sentence my pulse skyrockets.  Pathetic.

Truth be told, I have been inspired by Bina’s fearlessness, bravery, and brutal honesty – I really don’t know how she does it; she is much, much tougher than me – and feeling like I too should put myself out there emotionally.  After all, the point of this project is not just to learn to dress like we’re happy, passionate people, it is to actually become happy, passionate people.  So, in the spirit of really, really, embracing this project and getting my money’s worth so to speak, I will attempt to share how this project has been making me feel…here goes.

Thinking (and looking) back to November 5th – the day we hatched our genius plan – I find it surprisingly difficult to identify with what I was feeling at the time.  I had just turned 30.  Republicans had just made major gains in the mid-term elections.  The Giants had just won the World Series.  It felt like a precursor to Armageddon.  I was beyond dejected, feeling slightly hopeless, and finding it difficult to locate a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and I was wearing my melancholy on my sleeve…and my back…and my legs…and my feet…and my – oh well, you get the picture.

Now, I am not one who is prone to depression – I have even been known to be happy about being sad – so I knew that the pathetic mess that was my life at that time would not last forever, but I also knew that something needed to change.  Since finishing my MA last June, I have been feeling directionless, purposeless, and like I’ve lost all ambition.  I no longer have a goal.  This may not seem like a big deal, but I have not not had a goal for the last 25 years.  What do I do now?  Well, besides panic?

The short answer, figure it out.  So, that’s what I’m doing, that’s what projects like this are designed for.  As I said, I find it difficult to identify with what and how I was feeling when we began this project.  But, does that mean it’s working?  Am I happier now because I’m dressing better, or am I happier now because the shock of some of those traumatizing events has finally worn off?  It’s impossible to tell really.

So, to sum up this terribly long (you asked for feelings) post I’d like to offer two lists.  First, the most challenging things about this project so far; and they are: sharing my feelings (duh), facing my insecurities in such a public way, taking pictures every day, dressing myself well (yes, that is still hard), and not knowing how it will all turn out.  Second, the most rewarding things about this project so far; and they are: feeling more confident in appearance (well, most of the time), conquering some of my biggest and longest-held fears, inspiring others – like my wonderful sister who is much more beautiful and talented than I will ever be, having a reason to get out of bed in the morning even if that reason is only to get dressed…and not knowing how it will all turn out.

Bina - Day 31

Bina: When I look back on the full gamut of my outfits and emotions, it is kind of amazing to me how far I’ve come in about 6 weeks.  There have been hits and misses, for sure, but I feel like I am finally taking pride in my appearance on a daily basis and now that I’ve tasted the sweetly satisfying nectar of looking good, I don’t know that I could go back to my homely ways.

I’ve learned a lot so far about dressing to  impress.  I’ve learned that tights aren’t so bad and can totally make an outfit way cuter than I thought possible.  I’ve learned a little eyeliner and mascara goes a long way.  I’ve learned that men check me out way more when my waistline and legs are showing and my hair is down.  I’ve learned that I desperately need a haircut.  I’ve learned that while I’m proud of my rack, I’d rather it not dictate my whole look.  I’ve learned that I walk around with my heart on my sleeve and on my face – the photos never lied about how I was feeling that day.  And I’ve learned about the healing powers of looking your best and knowing it.

I’ve also learned that I will get out of this project what I put into it, like most things in life.  This blog is a good way for me to be held accountable to keep pushing and moving forward.  That even though I sometimes feel beaten into submission by life, it is far from over and I have faith that the best is still yet to come.  In the meantime, I can keep doing things to strengthen my soul and take care of myself.  I’ve discovered the restorative powers of yoga, rock’n’roll, and volunteerism.  I will be open to trying new things, and I will stop letting the fear of failure hold me back from the things I’m capable of accomplishing – both in my clothing choices and in life.  2011 will be a year of change, perseverance, new beginnings – and also, lots of fabulous outfits.

Day 30 – Tuesday

Ena - Day 30

Ena: Well, much like yesterday, it is still raining and I still have nothing to wear in the rain.  So, I guess that’s that.  As suspected, a thorough tossing of my closets turned up nothing in the way of stylish rain apparel or even waterproof clothing, and I found myself attempting to get ready for work this morning with very few options – how that is different from any other morning, I do not know.

After discovering that my “rain” boots have sprung a leak, I am left with exactly two pairs of waterproof shoes; the ones I am wearing today and my running shoes, which may not actually be waterproof, but which definitely do not have holes in the soles – I know this to be true because I have hardly worn them…great, now I’m depressed.

Since returning from the Thanksgiving holiday I don’t even wanna think about how many weeks ago, I have been to the gym exactly three times.  There, I’ve said it.  Prior to the break I had been exercising three to four days a week during my lunch hour, but since returning my workload has not allowed me to keep the same schedule.  Work really does get in the way of life.

And, to make matters worse, our office has been experiencing an onslaught of gifted sweets since Halloween.  Unfortunately, efforts have been ramped-up in recent weeks due to the upcoming holiday, and getting from my office to the bathroom is like navigating an empty calorie minefield; I find myself faced with cookies, brownies, muffins, and cupcakes at every turn.  Danger!

Just today I have consumed three extremely buttery and delicious cookies which were delivered to our office courtesy of some bastard client; three cookies!  I didn’t even space them out, I just shoveled them into my mouth as fast as I could…as if that would allow me to avoid the impending shame spiral.  I have also had two rich dark chocolate truffles and half of a muffin.

Don’t worry, I have no intention of turning this blog into a food diary…though, maybe I should.  I wonder if knowing that at the end of each day I was obligated to share – with the five people who actually read this blog at least – what I have put in my body would have as life-changing an effect on me as knowing that I’m obligated to share what I have put on it.

Bina - Day 30

Bina: Last Sunday, something happened.  It had been a rough weekend for my psyche, filled with doubt and self-loathing and misery, but I had given myself a pep talk and put on a dress to go out and socialize at my friends’ holiday party.  I was actually having quite a lovely time – it was nice to see my sweet and supportive friends in one room together (some of us in our holiday finest, others in ratty t-shirts) – when I heard a loud voice.  Suddenly, the room seemed like it was shrinking.  No, it wasn’t an ex-boyfriend.  It was someone I hadn’t seen in years whom I strongly dislike, and I do not dislike many people, but you know what, I hate this guy.  The reasons for our mutual dislike are too convoluted to get into here, but he has felt the need to insult me on more than one occasion.  I was sitting on the couch talking to my friend Katie and feeling decent about myself when this guy sat down right next to me and said “So Bina, still single, huh?” and then he got up and walked away.

Now, perhaps I read way too much into that remark.  Or perhaps he’s an asshole.  Either way, it shouldn’t have mattered.  But at that moment, in my heartbroken haze, it did.  It mattered a lot.  My head was swimming with all the questions I had been asking myself all weekend  – “What’s wrong with you?” was at the top of the list – and tears immediately sprang to my eyes.  I had to get out of there immediately.  Katie encouraged me not to let that jerk get to me, but I did.  I went to the restroom and pulled myself together. I gathered my things and did my best not to Irish-goodbye the whole party.

Now, as I sit here a week and a half later, that remark seems, well, irrelevant.  I spend far too much time worrying about what everyone else thinks of me all the time, when in reality, they probably don’t give me much thought at all.  I’ve spent quite a long time trying to live my life by other people’s standards and it hasn’t worked out so great.  Although I’m still feeling a little blue and each day is a new challenge, I’m starting to see the world again.  And the world gets to see these goofy pictures of me attempting to be stylish.

Seriously, what am I doing?  Hiding?  Begging for bread?  Peeing on a fire-hydrant?  Who knows?  But I’m doing it wearing a sweater I bought in Tokyo and then relegated to a bottom drawer for the last 5 years.   Now that I have it on, I find myself admiring its sweet details, warmth, and excellent quality.  I should wear it more often.

Day 29 – Monday

Ena - Day 29

Ena: Well, it’s still raining here in Los Angeles.  It’s relentless, which is fitting since I am drowning in work.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain – none of us Angelenos should – but I’m gonna.  It’s terrible.  I hate it.  It makes me want to stay inside under a blanket.  It makes me want to wear pajamas and galoshes to work.  It makes me whine.

Perhaps worst of all, it makes me realize just how ill-equipped we – and our beautiful city – are for dealing with a little rain.  In all seriousness, it’s only been raining for four days (straight!), yet everything seems to be falling apart.  Our recently burned hillsides are sliding, our usually underworked gutters are spewing out water, and our streets have been plagued with an epidemic of potholes.

As for me, I have realized just how spoiled – and dry – I usually am.  My roof appears to have a leak (who knew?) and I am hoping that I do not return home tonight to find that my ceiling and my floor have become intimately acquainted.  My very cheap and very non-leather boots which I had considered great for wet weather also appear to have a leak (again, who knew?) and I have been walking around all day with soggy socks.  Also, I realized sometime this weekend that I do not have a raincoat – that is, a coat which is waterproof – and that I have become quite soft since leaving Seattle.

If this rain does not stop soon, I will be forced to get “creative” with my ensembles.  I plan to go home this evening and toss my closets looking for chic, stylish clothes which are well suited for work and bad weather.  I also plan to find nothing at all matching that description.  This is going to get interesting.

Bina - Day 29

Bina: Okay, I like the rain and all, but goodness, this is a lot of rain!  The torrential downpour has thwarted our best efforts to take pictures today, so this is what you get – photos of me and Ena toting umbrellas in our matching boots and knee-socks (apparently our fashion cycles have sync’d up) and with slightly frazzled looks on our faces.

Today’s outfit was inspired by my viewing of Black Swan this weekend.  (I was originally wearing ballet flats but had to switch to boots to maneuver puddles.)  Whoa.  I really do feel a doctor’s note should be required prior to seeing that movie.  Upon leaving the theatre, I felt deranged and a little nauseous.  (I felt even weirder about the fact that I got to my car and there was a pack of tissues from Jesus on my windshield.)  Being inside Natalie Portman’s head like that was viscerally upsetting, but of course, I thought it was very good.  And though I was nowhere near the caliber of dancer depicted in the movie, it reminded me that I used to love to dance.  In 2011, I plan to shake my booty again.  I will be trying out aerial dancing as well as Tahitian dance, and maybe some other forms as well.  I really think it would help raise my spirits to get my groove on, you know?

Black Swan reminded me about something else I used to possess: Ambition.  I don’t know where it went.  Hello?  It’s around here somewhere….I’ll find it – just as soon as I can look at myself in the mirror again…