Monday, April 29, 2013

What I wore today: 04/23/2013 (Les Pays Bas)

Missmatch outfit: double floral "buttoned and blossomed sailor shorts" from Anthropologie, red striped mariniere breton top, candy-striped open-toe flats, maiden braids

For some reason blue, red and yellow florals make me think of The Netherlands even when they're not tulips. Consequently, I get the urge to wear my hair in maiden braids. I don't kid myself that either of these things is representative of modern Dutch fashion, but sometimes you want to look like the girl on the windmill cookie box. You know, those terribly overbrown windmill cookies your mom used to buy you at the health food store?

So, I just googled that and discovered there actually never was a girl on those boxes, so I have no idea where my image of a stereotypical Dutch girl actually comes from.

But the point is that some days you want to wear a costume, and you want to feel like a girl in braids and primary-colored florals and possibly wooden shoes who stands in a field (possibly of tulips) in front of a windmill. And, last week, I was having one of those days.

Also stripes and florals look rad together. The end. 

Missmatch outfit: double floral "buttoned and blossomed sailor shorts" from Anthropologie, red striped mariniere breton top, candy-striped open-toe flats, maiden braids
Missmatch outfit: double floral "buttoned and blossomed sailor shorts" from Anthropologie, red striped mariniere breton top, candy-striped open-toe flats, maiden braids
Missmatch outfit: double floral "buttoned and blossomed sailor shorts" from Anthropologie, red striped mariniere breton top, candy-striped open-toe flats, maiden braids
Missmatch outfit: double floral "buttoned and blossomed sailor shorts" from Anthropologie, red striped mariniere breton top, candy-striped open-toe flats, maiden braids
Missmatch outfit: double floral "buttoned and blossomed sailor shorts" from Anthropologie, red striped mariniere breton top, candy-striped open-toe flats, maiden braids

"Buttoned & Blossomed Sailor Shorts" - Anthropologie
Red and white mariniere breton top - J.Crew
Candy-striped open-toed flats - Modcloth

signature color

Friday, April 26, 2013

Beyond Constructive: "Get Off My Internets" and the Phenomenon of Bullying in the Blogging Community

Beyond Constructive

Last week, I checked out Get Off My Internets for the first time. I'd heard about the site before (its tabloid-ish reputation proceeded it), but it never sounded like it was up my alley. (Spoiler alert: it's not!) However, after reading this interview IFB did with a GOMI contributor, I wondered if I hadn't rushed to judgement. 

The contributor, Lancelle was insistent that GOMI is a platform for "constructive criticism" rather than personal attacks: "I think that 50% of readers on GOMI legitimately hate a few GOMI targets, but the other 50% just like having a forum to express constructive criticism."

She also said that a lot of former "targets" (her word, not mine) haven't been "featured" (that's one way of putting it!) in a while because they took note of the criticism and made positive changes. "A few have even thanked GOMI for pointing out their problematic posts or habits," she said.

All this was very convincing, and I was curious what all that constructive criticism looked like, so I popped over. The main page of GOMI is a blog that's difficult to peruse. It has no visible archive or even tags. It soon became clear to me that the forums, not the blog, are the star of the show.  

What I found in those forums was a deep dark hole. 

You know those holes the internet has where you fall in and don't emerge for a few hours at least? Well this is like that. But it's not the lovely interconnected rabbit hole of knowledge that is Wikipedia. Instead it's a deep, dank, smelly hole. Once I emerged, I was in a bad mood for the rest of the day; it just put me in a funk. And I haven't gone near it since for fear of falling in again. 
Let me set the record straight. GOMI forums are not 50% constructive criticism. They are less than 1% that if any at all. What they are instead is a free-for-all of cyber bullying. Let's call GOMI what it is: a burn book.
Here I want to take a moment to clarify terms. Last year, after Dan Savage was accused of bullying Christians by saying that there is "bullshit" in the Bible, an article in the Economist, written by J.F. defined bullying as "the strong picking on the weak, not the other way around (the other way around is satire)."

It may seem to some that bloggers, the ones with a huge platform and a huge audience, are the strong, while lowly forum posters are the weak, but I'd argue that anonymity makes all the difference here. Bloggers post personal information, photos, and feelings on the internet for all to see. We make ourselves vulnerable to our readers, and the more popular a blog is, the more vulnerable the blogger becomes. Forum posters on the other hand, rarely even share their real first names.

Anonymity is also what makes cyber bullying different (and, in my opinion, worse) than the classic schoolyard bullying most of us grew up with. When I started to hear the term "cyber bullying" a few years ago, it annoyed me. As linguist Geoff Nunberg points out here
We spent the 1990s tacking "virtual" and "cyber" onto the names of what seemed like new kinds of things. Then we spent the next [decade] taking the prefixes off again, as we realized that the new things were fundamentally the same as the old ones. "I have to get some e-money from the virtual bank so I can play cyber-poker" -- that sounds so 1997.
I thought "cyber-bullying" was the same. Wasn't it just like regular bullying? But, in light of recent events, I've realized that it's different. The anonymity makes it different. People say harsher things in forums than they would ever say to a person's face. In fact, lots of posters claimed to have met various targets in real life but never mentioned doling out any of their "constructive criticism" directly to the blogger during these face-to-face encounters.

Now that I've clarified terms, let me lay out my argument for why GOMI forums are not, as they claim, constructive. 

First of all, one would think that a fair platform meant for the purposes of debate and constructive criticism would have forums structured around questions like Does So-and-So Seam Disingenuous to You? or What Bloggers Don't Disclose C/O Products Well Enough? But most of the threads on GOMI are each titled simply with a blogger's name. Implied in the title, "Jane Doe of Jane's Closet" is "This is the thread where we talk about how much we hate Jane Doe." 

There is not at atmosphere of debate in these threads, and one gets the feeling that any attempt at defending the blogger in question would be unwelcome. In fact, I saw no such defense in my hours of perusing the forums. 

No, these threads are not debates, but instead each is a page in one giant burn book, a free-for-all of personal attacks, name calling, and speculation. 

The attacks are often over tiny, strangely specific things like personal idiosyncrasies. One blogger was repeatedly criticized for overusing the word "peek" as in "Thanks for taking a peek at my new space!" One poster joked that every time this blogger says "peek" she wants to "smack that girl in the face with a shovel." 

The name calling is eerily reminiscent of schoolyard bullying, where kids found some unflattering word that rhymed with the bullied kid's name. One blogger named Jessica is routinely referred to as "Messica," "Messy," or simply "Mess."

As for the speculation, it's just flagrant! In one forum, several posters speculate that a blogger's husband only married her for the bump to his career that her blog must have given. They just can't imagine another human being might be capable of actually loving this women whom they hate so much, nevermind the thousands of readers who do love her. 

Among all the name calling and threats of violence, one blogger was held up, admired, and never criticized: Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific. Lancelle even cited Atlantic-Pacific in her interview with IFB as an example of a blog that she likes, "[Blair Eadie] deserves all the hype she gets because she dresses well and takes photos of what she wears. The end."

I love Blair Eadie's style too. In fact, I think she's in a league of her own style wise. But if I had one complaint about her blog or if I were asked to give constructive criticism about it, I would say that I wish she actually wrote something -- anything -- besides outfit credits. 

Blair doesn't share personal details of her life, ergo she's not an easy target for GOMI. Her blog is literally all photos (good photos) of outfits (amazing outfits) so there's not much to criticize. 

If that's how she wants to run her blog, that's fine. But I don't think an images-and-outfit-credits-only format should be held up as the only acceptable way to write a blog. Bloggers who share opinions, feelings, and snippets of their personal lives are taking a bigger risk, and that should be encouraged, not punished.

The thing that makes blogging such a unique and special platform, and I'd argue one of its biggest appeals to readers (or, at least, to me as a reader) is all the personal stuff. When bloggers share their personality, their personal style, and their opinions; when they make themselves vulnerable, that's where the magic happens. I hate to see that magic discouraged by a forum full of haters. 

Strangely, while bloggers who write in a casual voice and share details from their personal lives are targeted by GOMI forum posters, bloggers who write in a more professional voice are also targeted. They get called "fake."

The more polished and profession a blog is, the more GOMI forum posters label the blogger as "fake" and criticize her for "trying to be perfect all the time." You really can't win. Unless you're off-the-charts stylish and beautiful (but silent) Blair Eadie. 

It's fine to dislike some blogs, and it's fine to have valid criticisms (like the criticism of GOMI I'm sharing right here in this post), but GOMI has gone so far beyond that. I would never argue that critical opinions shouldn't have a space on the internet or anywhere else, but I don't think that means we have to make a place for bullying in our community.



signature color

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What I wore today: 04/21/2013 (LBD)

LBD Outfit: Sik suede back capelet dress from Anrthropologie, seamed stockings, black pointy heels, vintage Moschino letter belt, gold arrow necklace, pavé cable link bracelet, snake arm band

On Sunday, our dear friend Megan had her Viola recital in celebration of her Masters of Music. I'm very proud of her, and it was amazing to see her perform classical pieces (solo and with piano accompaniment) since I've only ever seen her perform with her indie rock band before. She's at a level where, even though I know nothing about Viola, I can tell she's really very good.

We ran straight from the recital to my brother's for our weekly dinner and Game of Thrones session (which has become the highlight of my week), and, as soon as I got there, I changed into stretch corduroys, wool socks, and a comfy sweater (because you just can't watch Game of Thrones in tights and a dress). But, for a hot minute, I was wearing this.

LBD Outfit: Sik suede back capelet dress from Anrthropologie, seamed stockings, black pointy heels, vintage Moschino letter belt, gold arrow necklace, pavé cable link bracelet, snake arm band
LBD Outfit: Sik suede back capelet dress from Anrthropologie, seamed stockings, black pointy heels, vintage Moschino letter belt, gold arrow necklace, pavé cable link bracelet, snake arm band
LBD Outfit: Sik suede back capelet dress from Anrthropologie, seamed stockings, black pointy heels, vintage Moschino letter belt, gold arrow necklace, pavé cable link bracelet, snake arm band
LBD Outfit: Sik suede back capelet dress from Anrthropologie, seamed stockings, black pointy heels, vintage Moschino letter belt, gold arrow necklace, pavé cable link bracelet, snake arm band
LBD Outfit: Sik suede back capelet dress from Anrthropologie, seamed stockings, black pointy heels, vintage Moschino letter belt, gold arrow necklace, pavé cable link bracelet, snake arm band

Silk-suede black capelet dress - Anthropologie
Seamed stockings - gift
Pointy-toed heels - Target
Vintage letter belt - Moschino, eBay
Arrow necklace - Etsy, Valentine's Day gift
Pavé cable-link Bracelet - J.Crew
Snake armband - had forever

signature color

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Recipe: Angel Food Cake with Balsamic Black-Pepper Strawberries

Angle food cake with balsamic-back-pepper strawberries

Did you know that in Italy people love to eat strawberries with balsamic vinegar and black pepper? I know it sounds a little nuts, but you just have to believe me that it's the ideal combination of sweet, sour, and spicy. Such a party for your taste buds!

Sometimes we eat this mixture plain (greedily, out of a mixing bowl) and sometimes we put it on salads. But it's also really good on vanilla ice cream. Last week, Ryan's family was getting together for Italian take-out, so I decided to bring an angel food cake and serve it with this yummy, strawberry mixture. It was a hit!

I don't usually add any sugar to the mix when eating this plain or on salad. But, in order to bring out the juices, making it more of a sauce, I added a bit here. I chose brown sugar to further complicate the flavors, but white sugar would also do the trick. 

Angle food cake with balsamic-back-pepper strawberries
Angle food cake with balsamic-back-pepper strawberries
Angle food cake with balsamic-back-pepper strawberries

Angel Food Cake with Balsamic Black-Pepper Strawberries


Ingredients: 
1 angel food cake (store bought or homemade)
1 pint strawberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
A very generous grinding of black pepper

01. Hull and slice strawberries. I like to slice them vertically because I think the strawberry-shaped slices are much prettier than rounds.
02. Mix sliced strawberries with brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.
03. Serve in the hallow of the angel food cake. There will be additional berry mixture to serve alongside as well. 

Angle food cake with balsamic-back-pepper strawberries
Angle food cake with balsamic-back-pepper strawberries
Angle food cake with balsamic-back-pepper strawberries
Angle food cake with balsamic-back-pepper strawberries

signature color

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Recipe: Green Bean, Asiago, and Tomato Quiche

Green bean, asiago, and tomato quiche recipe

Fancy as it may look, this is a dinner I put together one night with minimal effort using items we happened to have on hand. I made it small by using a tart dish, so this recipe only serves two. However, you can roll the crust thinner and double the other ingredients to make a quiche that serves four. 

Though I love a pie crust from scratch, I opted to save time (and dirty fewer dishes) by using pre-made puff pastry dough. This frozen dough is so versatile and such a lifesaver on nights when you don't want to work too hard. I always have some in my freezer. 

I also used frozen green beans, though the tomatoes were fresh, and the eggs came from chicken's Ryan's coworker has. If you can get farm-fresh eggs, I really recommend them, especially for dishes like quiche or these migas where the eggs are the focal point. There's really no comparison in flavor.

Although, you can find good eggs at any farmer's market, as soon as we have the slightest scrap of backyard, I'm going to get some chickens of my own. We had them when I was a kid, and they are an absolute joy to raise!

Like I said, I chose my ingredients based on what we had on hand. But, one of the great things about quiche is that it's infinitely customizable. Asparagus would make a good substitute for the green beans here; any cheese from cheddar to brie would be lovely; and you can even add meat if you want, too. Ham, bacon, and sausage are all good choices. 

Green bean, asiago, and tomato quiche recipe

Green Bean, Asiago, & Tomato Quiche

Ingredients:
One sheet puff pastry, thawed
3 eggs (Ours were small. 2 grocery-store eggs is about the same volume.)
2 Tablespoons milk
1/3 cup shredded asiago cheese
1/3 cup frozen (or fresh) green beans, blanched 
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small tomato
Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste

01. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Celsius). 
02. Trim puff pastry to fit tart pan (roll thinner if needed). 
03. Slice tomato into three rounds. Eat remaining tomato with salt. 
04. Beat eggs. Stir in the milk, onions, cheese, and desired spices.
05. Line crust with green beans, top with egg mixture, and arrange tomato slices on top. 
06. Bake for 30 minutes or until egg sets and crust is golden brown. 

Green bean, asiago, and tomato quiche recipe
Green bean, asiago, and tomato quiche recipe
Green bean, asiago, and tomato quiche recipe

signature color

Sunday, April 21, 2013

FIE Featured in IFB's Links à la Mode

Last week, I wrote a very special and personal post about creative motivation and my recent fears and achievements in the creativity department. I was very honored to learn, this week, that it's been featured in IFB's Links à la Mode. 

I'm in good company, featured along side some really interesting pieces, so much sure to check those out, and give my piece a look if you haven't seen it already. 

Merci beaucoup, cheris!

lalam418

World Click

Does it matter where you blog from? I say this as I've lived in four cities during my blogging career, and to tell the truth, it kind of does, but it also kind of doesn't. This week Style Bizarre asks that question to a few bloggers about their experiences with blogging and location. We also travel around to Australia to check out their MBFW, how Man Repeller got us thinking about Japan (again), about how female politicians across the globe relate to fashion (should they?) and where you can get globally conscious accessories. As always it's a mixed bag, so enjoy!

Links à la Mode: April 18th    

  1. Anna Lou Elliott: 3 ways to wear white: for day, night and work 
  2. Attire Club: What We Can Learn From Superheroes
  3. Cosmolawitan: Dove: Empowering Women With Its Ad Campaigns
  4. Dressed Up on a Cloudy Day: How to Combine Colors : Analogous Colors
  5. Fashion is Evolution: 4 Tips for Pushing Yourself to Achieve Your Creative Goals
  6. Fashion Moriarty: Are female politicians reduced to what they wear?
  7. Hey Mishka: 5 Globally Conscious Festive Accessories For Summer
  8. HH Designs: Glamping: My Overall Lack of Roughing It...
  9. Lara Lizard: Test : Are you the cutest creature of the social media?
  10. Incognito: On how Man Repeller got me thinking about fashion in Japan
  11. Modestelle: Mercedes Benz Australia Review 2013-2014
  12. Mis Papelicos: My 6 Easy Steps to Happiness
  13. Nothing to wear: The Rookie Department: Hair Styling For Beginners
  14. Runway to Style: 7 Style Guidelines To Look Your Best at Prom and More
  15. Style Bizarre: Blogging: How important is your location? 
  16. The Curatorial: Vale Jewelry: Algorithms and Delicate Jewelry  
  17. Undercover Dress Up: Interview with lolita icon Emilka P.  
  18. We Are Ready Made: Irreverent Youth    
  19. Wild Beauty World: War Paint
  20. Youth Savage: Fashion Blogging vs. the World

signature color

Friday, April 19, 2013

What I Wore Today: 04/16/2013 (Paint it Black)

Gray AG "Stevie" jeans, Prabal Gurung for Target sandals, black and white people-print silk camisole, white cardigan, J.Crew pavé link bracelet, "Anthropologie deco trinket bangle",, knocker cuff bracelet, DIY nail-poish striped iPhone case

I do not endorse rubber flip flops outside of a dormitory's communal shower, but I do love a flat sandal, especially one with a little metal detailing. As such, these shoes were one of the three items I brought home from Praba Gurung's collection for Target. (See the others here and here.) With weather what it is, however, I didn't get to wear them until this week.

By the way, did you notice how I mentioned in my last outfit post that spring makes me want to wear lots of colors, and then followed that up with a completely black, white, and gray ensemble? Yeah, consistency isn't always my strong point.

I have a colorful iPhone case, though. 

Gray AG "Stevie" jeans, Prabal Gurung for Target sandals, black and white people-print silk camisole, white cardigan, J.Crew pavé link bracelet, "Anthropologie deco trinket bangle",, knocker cuff bracelet, DIY nail-poish striped iPhone case
Gray AG "Stevie" jeans, Prabal Gurung for Target sandals, black and white people-print silk camisole, white cardigan, J.Crew pavé link bracelet, "Anthropologie deco trinket bangle",, knocker cuff bracelet, DIY nail-poish striped iPhone case
Gray AG "Stevie" jeans, Prabal Gurung for Target sandals, black and white people-print silk camisole, white cardigan, J.Crew pavé link bracelet, "Anthropologie deco trinket bangle",, knocker cuff bracelet, DIY nail-poish striped iPhone case
Gray AG "Stevie" jeans, Prabal Gurung for Target sandals, black and white people-print silk camisole, white cardigan, J.Crew pavé link bracelet, "Anthropologie deco trinket bangle",, knocker cuff bracelet, DIY nail-poish striped iPhone case

Metal-detail sandals - Prabal Gurung for Target
Gray "Stevie" jeans - AG, Anthropologie
People-pring silk camisole - Anthropologie
White cardigan - Target
Pavé cable link bracelet - J.Crew
Knocker bracelet - Tibi
Art-deco "deco-trinket bangle" bracelet - Anthropologie
Nail-polish striped iPhone case - DIY

signature color

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What I Wore Today: 04/14/2013 (Bradford)


Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet

In the springtime, I find myself wanting to wear more colors, wanting to mix colors to form unexpected combinations, and wanting to parade out all my favorite patterns like stripes and dots.

I cherish this time in fashion, this short period we get in spring and again in fall where weather isn't such a dictator of what we can wear. I relish the freedom of light layers.

Without the cardigan, this outfit would be perfect for the Fourth of July, but it's still a bit cold out, so I added a layer and found I really liked the new direction that mint took the color story.

By the way, only looking at the photos now do I realize that I happened to have on mint and red nail polish to match my outfit perfectly. A complete lucky coincidence! 

Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable braceletBradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet
Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet
Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet
Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet
Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet
Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet
Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet
Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet
Bradford Pear outfit: Polkadot AG "Stevie Ankle" jeans, thrifted white eyelet buttondown, mint green "Jackie" J.Crew cardigan, Modcloth candy-stripe flats, DIY nail-polish iPhone case, J.Crew pavé cable bracelet

Polkadot jeans - AG, Anthropologie
Candy-stripe flats - Modcloth
Eyelet button-down - thrifted
Mint green "Jackie" cardigan - J.Crew
Pavé link bracelet - J.Crew
Nail-polish-spriped iPhone case - DIY

signature color