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November 24, 2008

Color from the Ground Up

In keeping with the super cool current trend that allows consumers to "design" their own sneakers (choose unique color combinations anyway), Pantone has partnered with Seavees to create Pantone-colored sneakers.

Pantone colored sneakersFor non-designers out there, The Pantone Color Matching System is the most commonly used color reference system for graphic designers. It allows you to communicate better about color to printers, clients and anyone working on a project. Such a system is needed because monitors, papers, printers and all sorts of variables mean that the purple or green you are expecting might turn out very different in a finished product if you don't have a common referral point. A few competing system exist, such as TruMatch but Pantone is the most widely used.

When you use Pantone for years, you come to "know" certain colors like you know your daily possessions or friends. Ketchup can look very 186 (bright but deep red). A sky could look quite 300 (sky blue) or more 312 (turquoise). I love the colors I use a lot and it's also fun to "shop" for new hues.

Being able to tint your own sneakers is a great idea. I would like this idea carried over into clothing. I'd like to be able to get my favorite JBrand jeans in any Pantone shade. That would make me really excited and boy would I buy a lot of them. I'd probably even start to buy outfits for other people since my way of combining colors makes people happy. Listen up, apparel manufacturers; this is a great trend.

November 21, 2008

Girl Power

Hugely successful and hilarious relationship advice book “He's Just Not That Into You” might not be what you would expect from the no-punches pulled title. Even Autumn (the kitty) loved it, as you can see, although like many of us females, you can tell she found the information thought-provoking, in some ways distressing and also illuminating.

He's Just Not That Into You

The essence of the book is that women deserve better treatment than what they are often getting in modern relationships, primarily while dating but also applied to lackluster marriages. Comedian author Greg Behrendt and co-author Liz Tuccillo wrote for Sex and the City, which had an episode that spawned this book. The book is laugh out loud funny and written in a great style. But the serious message is not to accept less than you know you deserve and that if you do, you are keeping yourself from the greatness that waits for you. It's a very pro-female book. And while women might sometimes treat men badly too in relationships, it is a uniquely female trait to be overly solicitous to men who have not earned that honor.

Countless examples that most women will relate to of guys who say one thing and do another are given, such as a guy saying "Oh, wow, we really have to hang out," and then never calling or only calling last minute etc. etc. The book says not to give this guy another thought but just to move on whereas lots of women will ponder and agonize over why he would have said he was interested and then not act on it. This book is like having a blunt parent who adores you telling you, "Honey, that is just not what you deserve. And don't you already really know it too?" Once you pick up on the concept, it truly is freeing and you do feel empowered to only have great relationships in your life. Some traditional dating beliefs are espoused, such as that men need to pursue women and not vice versa. Almost all relationship experts agree on this point, powerful modern free-thinking women notwithstanding. This is great reading for any women you care about who aren't in fantastic relationships.

November 18, 2008

Visions of Adulthood Dancing in My Head

Super popular series MadMen focuses on a Madison Avenue ad agency and its inhabitants in the year 1960. I don't have TV but rented the first season on DVD. The plots bring up many interesting social, cultural and psychological issues, set in a period that is our current time's roots.

MadMen

Good writing and acting and a stylish design aside, what has riveted me to the series' story lines is that this time in history is our current time's immediate predecessor. It's so far away and yet just beyond the door. It informs much of what we don't think about. So much has changed since then, it's almost unbelievable. In this time, men work and women are almost all wives or secretaries. There are three maverick female characters who most modern women will relate to, myself included. They are the wealthy and commanding dazzling leader of a Jewish department store, a free spirited unmarried commercial artist living in the Village and a (scandalous) divorcee who moves into the lead characters' suburban community with her two young children and the other mothers can't figure out how or what she's about.

These societal questions have me thinking more deeply than usual about what adulthood is, what adult roles are and what I myself want out of life, relationships, work and love. I've never seen this period portrayed in a way that made me realize what it was like to live in it as a young adult unless it's just hitting me this way because of my own time when watching it.

In keeping with these thoughts, the other day I thought about the Joni Mitchell lyrics from her song Court and Spark:

“It seemed like he read my mind
He saw me mistrusting him
And still acting kind
He saw how I worried sometimes
I worry sometimes”

Like MadMen and other stories and art, there are moments when meaning pops out and talks directly to us. I heard these lyrics differently than I had heard them before and it made me think about Joni Mitchell writing them and feeling them as an adult. When I first heard them, I thought of them at face value. Now I feel that “adult worry” and the worry in a relationship too is such a deep and troubling thing and I get so much more from what she is saying. I guess you never stop growing up in life, if you're lucky, that is.

November 8, 2008

A Joint to Drop Into

Let there be Jazz. Down at 55 Christopher Street is the logically named 55 Bar, which they call “a Prohibition era dive bar with incredible live Jazz, Funk & Blues nightly in Greenwich Village.”

55 Bar

What's different about the 55 Bar from other nice places to go hear jazz is that it's cozy and not super expensive but still in a mainstream location. Also, the music is top notch. Major players play there yet the cover is $10 and drinks are reasonable. Only drawback is I went with a friend this Friday and it was so packed to capacity that we couldn't get in. (We settled for drinks at a nice casual place next door.) I have to say, this is good news for jazz fans, though. To all those who say that jazz has no followers, there were plenty out on Friday. The Dave Liebman Band was playing and I look forward to hearing them soon when I can get in; they play here frequently.

November 4, 2008

Jeans with Great Genes

Now that I've gotten acquainted with the current crop of fancy schmancy jeans out there — thanks to previously mentioned Beginnings Bleus, a fantastic jeans store — my hands-down favorite brand is J Brand. Rocketed to popularity with their skinny jeans line — styles called the Cigarette, the Pencil and the Skinny, they also make the best flare leg out there, a style called Lovestory.

J Brand Jeans

L to R: J Brand Lovestory, J Brand Pencil in Lapis, J Brand Lovestory in White

Fitting jeans is personal and different factors — styles, washes, preferences, trends, body type etc. — go into picking the right pair(s). J Brand is one of the best fitting brands out there. I've gotten lots of compliments whenever I wear them, proving it's not just subjective opinion. They are also known for being very clean — no tricked out pockets or hardware or rips — and are meant to flatter the woman and make her look good instead of focusing on the jeans. And it works! They incorporate advanced materials in different stretch fabrics added to cotton. They take a little getting used to, as they mold to your body a bit more with wear and do stretch out a little, as do most jeans. As with all of these high-end jeans brands, every wash runs differently, even within the same style, so a great store like Beginnings Bleus is a must, despite great online resources once you know what you want. A fantastic mixture of classic style and modern technology.

November 3, 2008

Social Dragonfly

For Halloween four days ago, I was a dragonfly.

Dragonfly

As with last year, being in costume on Halloween is a ton of fun. People smile as you walk down the street and the other costumed people make for a festive scene. Union Hall in Brooklyn was much emptier than last year, which I think is because it was a Friday night so many people may have had private parties to go to whereas on a week night, they'd be more likely to go to a local spot. But it was still a blast.

November 2, 2008

Kittygate VII: A Two-Part Series

Part I: One Lump or Two

Kittygate has been quietly working its charms the past few months. My two feline furballs have made tremendous progress, as you can see in the event below, with pretty fur lumps in very close proximity.

Kitty Cordiality

Part II: First Touch

And now for the nearly impossible: the first touch occurred the other day. It makes a kitty lump owner's heart swell to witness this from two cats who couldn't stay in the same room together. And it was all made possible by the KittyGate. I highly recommend slow introductions to all catowners who have struggled with two cats that seem to want to rip each other to shreds. It's an interesting lesson in psychology overall too, how slow but steady wins the day, as if you didn't know that already, you clever you.

First Touch for the Kitties

NOTE: To follow the KittyGate series trail, just enter KittyGate in the search box of this blog and you'll witness the whole journey, from installation to first touch. To see the gate itself, see the first entry.