Sunday, May 31, 2009


sit down and fire away,
i know it's tricky when you're feeling low,
when you feel like your flavour
has gone the way of a pre-shelled pistachio...

--Pistachio by Lisa Hannigan

It wasn’t the best of days for my sister—oh, let me count the ways!

1. UCLA library books due, Autumn crouched to pick them up from her bedroom floor, only to find that a particular impossible pooch had also been there! The corners of the books showed signs being chewed! Autumn would have some explaining to do in front of the college librarian.
2. Autumn’s sprained ankle from skim boarding at the beach some weeks before makes so that she whizzes from class to class on a motorized Razor scooter. It’s a good solution, unless she’s traveling near one of the groups of middle schoolers that constantly seem to be visiting the campus, which she did that day. “The kids were laughing, and I would think that it was at me,” Autumn later confided.
3. Then, in the halls of UCLA, Autumn called out to a professor that she needed to talk with and soon realized that the man that she was addressing was not in fact her professor! Thinking fast, Autumn turned around and busied herself with her cell phone just as this man turned to see what all the commotion was about.  

What to do when you feel like a “pre-shelled pistachio?”

Take care of yourself—of course!

According to H&M Magazine for spring 2009, the look this season is sporty chic. As you will read in the “how-to,” the look's all about the brows:

1. Trim your eyebrows. Try to create a gently rounded oval shape. Trim the outside of the brows in particular. Be sure not to overdo it. Keep them looking natural.
2. Use matte powder eye shadow in a color close to your eyebrow color. Use a slightly blunted pencil to fill in the color where needed—in holes underneath and to extend the brow. Don’t actually draw with the pencil—you’re just making little corrections.
3. If you want to darken your eyebrows, use brown mascara. If your brows don’t want to behave, clear mascara will keep them in place. Brush upwards for a bushy effect.
4. Apply black mascara to the top lashes. Putting mascara only on the top lashes is a good way of emphasizing the almond shape of your eyes.
5. Finish the look with a beige-pink lipstick.

My sister does this simple look perfectly, don’t you think?

When I was a student at UCLA, there were nights when I didn’t get a wink of sleep for staying up to finish a final paper or to study for an exam. Despite the exhaustion that I probably felt, I chose to dress in my favorite clothes—for the purpose of helping to lift my spirits. It wasn’t uncommon on these days for me to wear my click-clicking high-heeled shoes because they made me happy!

Autumn dresses for style and comfort in her pastel-colored jeans that are fashionable now. Isn’t it appropriate that they are in pistachio?

Don't worry, Autumn, everybody has days like this...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blessed are the debonair

On that same trip to the Americana at Brand in the city of Glendale, these two stylish people, my sister Autumn and our brother James, took pause from their efforts for refreshment.

“How about a milk?” said Autumn. (Scratch that--Autumn, who is slightly allergic to milk, would never say that.)

“I’m thirsty,” Autumn said, “let’s get something to drink.”

“I would like something,” James paused to think for a moment before saying, “something bubbly.”

And it happened that the pair came upon a soda pop seller in the very peopled courtyard of the Americana. She was very cheerful and wearing an all-white outfit. In fact, her whole ensemble was white, her shirt and pants, the cart that was really a cooler to keep the different flavored sodas cold, and the large umbrella that shaded them, lending an appeal that was altogether pristine and old-fashioned. Autumn and James decided together that this young lady was delightful, because with the smiles that she generously gave her customers who lined up to tell her which flavor they would like, she made it seem as if she wanted nothing other or else in the world than to be "the soda pop girl."

Autumn indeed looks elegant in her black silhouette, and with her lovely hair and wrist accessories! But, it's James' hat that I want to talk about--doesn't my brother look debonair in his cloth band straw hat? It was a fine find from an old-time-y men's hat shop on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, which my brother got first for a singing performance. (No, he didn't sing "Give Me a Straw Hat and a Cane;" the song was more along the lines of Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz.")

James likes his hat--so much that he exclaimed, "Please watch my hat!" when he wasn't wearing it for pictures. Such a unique thing would be difficult to replace if lost. I once heard someone say, "You can be anything that you would like to be, but you cannot be everything." It's true--and I think that this saying also applies to clothes. Besides, there is a certain pleasure in having just the right accent item.

Back to debonair: that word always reminds me of a charming and funny anecdotal read, Life with Father by Clarence Day, Jr. A favorite part of the book is when the author talks about the French language Bible that he chooses to read:

The French were notoriously godless, however. It made me laugh, though it frightened me, too, to see the liberties they had taken. In my English Bible, David was a fine Anglo-Saxon-type, 'a youth ruddy and of fair countenance.' In the French, he was a revolting little snip from the boulevards, 'un enfant blond, et d'une belle figure.' Where my Bible spoke of 'leviathan,' the French said 'le crocodile,' which ruined the grandeur and mystery of that famous beast. And where mine said, 'Behold now behemoth,' they said, 'Voici l'hippopotame!'

As hilarious as that part is, I enjoy this part even better:

But before putting the books back on my shelf, I hunted up the one place in the French Bible that I really liked. 'Blessed are the meek,' my English Bible said, 'for they shall inherit the earth.' I had always hated that verse. It made all religion so difficult.... But poring over the French Bible one evening, I had found to my delight that some daring Frenchman had altered this passage and had changed the Sermon on the Mount into something that a fellow could stand. 'Heureux les debonnaires,' he had represented Jesus as saying, 'car ils heriteront de la terre.'

The debonair! That was more like it! I cheerfully jumped into bed.