Monday, March 28, 2011

Under Construction

Hey guys.  Just a heads up to let the eight of you that actually read this know that I'm not going to be around for a while.  I've got a senior thesis to write, college to graduate from, and a wedding to get through.  But I promise that this isn't the end of this short lived little project.  Once I am nice and settled in Nashville, Tennessee as a happy Mrs., I'll be back and hopefully making this site better than ever.  I hope you all bear with me in the gap, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

XO Jamie

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Devil Would Carry the Target Bag

I had forgotten about this gem of a clip from The Devil Wears Prada explaining how all fashion influences another.  Should Target be penalized as well for choosing those particular colors of the bag?  After all, someone probably has used them first.  I bet Marc Jacobs is livid right now.

What?  He doesn't care?  Oh... okay then.

Special thanks to a wonderful comment from Valerie.  Go check out her blogs.  Her life is way more interesting than mine.

Rock On, Target

Target Mossimo messenger bags are darling, right?
So there's been a little bit of uproar lately regarding Target's super cute new Mossimo messenger bags.  The deal is, apparently the bag, which can be purchased for $34.95, bears a striking resemblance to Proenza Schouler's slightly more expensive (cough) PS1 bag.  The blogosphere has been buzzing for weeks about the similarities, and recently, Proenza Schouler's designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough let everyone know that they were not happy about the striking resemblance.

The Mossimo bag does bear a striking resemblance to the PS1
Granted, there are several differences.  The first being the price.  Again, the Mossimo bag can be purchased for $34.95, which is nothing compared to the PS1 price tag that reads $1,595.  The quality of Target's bag is also much lower, as it is made from fake leather and lacks the trademark brass closure of the PS1.  It seems like the poor girl's alternative to a celebrity's bag, right?  Mr. McCollough is not a fan of this idea, stating with plenty of sarcasm, “Yeah, why save up and buy ours when you can buy theirs right away?”

I say hold up right there.  I'm sorry, Mr. McCollough.  Your bag is beautiful and all, but I am never going to spend that much money on a purse.  I'm just not, no matter how much I've saved up.  And I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of other girls like me out there.  All Target is doing is taking something that you have made super exclusive and offering it to the common people.  And let's be honest, their bag looks an awful lot like the Mulberry Alexa too.    
Did Target "copy" the PS1 or the Alexa?
Besides, is Proenza Schouler losing any real business over it?    I have a feeling that people who are truly interested in the PS1 wouldn't be caught dead with the Target knock off, which is clearly not as nice.  I'd probably be a little more in support of Proenza Schouler had their bag not come out two years ago.  Technically, it should be considered last season... After that much time, I say fair game in the knock off world.

For more of Proenza Schouler's reactions to the Target bag, check out this article by New York Times Fashion.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Makeup at the Gym: Do or Don't?

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you are completely over everything, and it is only Tuesday?  Perhaps, like me, you had a very trying Monday, and by the the time Tuesday morning rolls around, you just don't know if you can handle the rest of the week.  That's definitely where I was this morning.  So much so, that I flat out refused to get out of bed until the very last moment.  By 9:50, I could no longer deny that I had to be up and at pilates in ten minutes, so it was time to drag my sorry tail out of bed.  Naturally, this left me with 0.07 seconds to get ready, and so my pilates class was afforded the luxury of seeing me without a stitch of makeup on with the worst ponytail known to man.  And I'm not talking about a Neutrogena ad girl with "no makeup" on.  If only, right?

No, I'm talking more along the lines of my girl, Jessica Simpson, with no makeup on. It isn't a very pretty sight.  I actually think we had the same hair and facial expression this morning.  It was so blatant that one of my dearest friends and sorority sisters looked at me when I arrived and said, "So, you definitely just woke up."  Thanks a lot, Beth.  Remind me to point out a flaw or two of yours next class.  I'm kidding... Maybe.

Anyway, it got me thinking about the age old question:  should you wear makeup to the gym?  Now, my pilates studio hardly warrants to be called the gym.  My class is 80% female, and half of those girls are either in my sorority or one of my neighbors.  All have seen me looking worse, or at least similar, to the way I did this morning.  No, I'm talking about the real gym.  The one I stay away from because the athletes use it and it's intimidating to work out in front of someone who can bench press you.  Should you wear makeup there?  

Well, here's my answer:  Of course, I wear makeup to the gym!  I'm not talking a full face of freshly applied makeup, but are you joking?  Step into that lion's den without my concealer and mascara - aka my armor?  Shut your mouth.

Why do I think I, and women like me, wear makeup to the gym?  Easy.  It's called compensating for our shortcomings.  Next time you go to the gym, take a look around.  I'd bet that the majority of the non-makeup wearers (excluding those who look like Miss High School Musical, up there - if I could pull that off, I'd never wear makeup again and save myself a buttload of money) are very competent at what they are doing.  Who cares if they may have that "look of the living dead" vibe that I get without eyeliner - they're kicking serious butt: running more than just a few miles, lifting more than ten pounds at a time, etc...  Us makeup wearers, on the other hand, tend to be gym neophytes.  We are more at home in a pilates class than with the free weights, but we're trying!  We want to be like you crazy toned women, but in the mean time, while I'm being judged for only being able to do the machine with the base weight (not even on the first setting), I can at least look cute while doing it.  Give my self esteem that much, please.  
So, what do you think?  Is makeup a do or don't at the gym?  How much is okay?  Why do you wear makeup at the gym?  Comment below.  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

China: Not the Country

I am such a lazy blogger.  I was doing so good, but then Spring Break ended and real life started up again.  Pity.

Anyway, in the very near future I'll be posting a shameless advertisement review for the great new site I discovered, but in the meantime, check out my totally awesome wedding china that we found last weekend.  I never thought I'd be the kind of girl to care about plates, by the way, but they are addicting!

Precious, darling Capucine by Bernardaud.  We've got the dinner plate, bread & butter plate, and teacup & sauce in this pattern.  And now for our lovely accent:

This is Eden (Turquoise) by Bernardaud, also known as the prettiest thing in the entire world.  If it were possible to marry a china pattern, my fiance would be out of luck.  We chose this pattern for our salad plates for two reasons.  One, it provides a nice contrast, and two, I will never complain about eating only salads again if I can eat it off that plate.  My waistline will thank me later.  Still, I have a feeling it will eventually take over my entire house.  Entire. House.

The result of our lovely mix 'n match venture:
I think I'm in love.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Grammar Day!

Today is my new favorite holiday.  Twitter pals, GrammarGirl and Martha Brockenbrough have informed me that today is the a very important event for those of us in the literary world - National Grammar Day!  In honor of this, the holiest of days, I would like to retell a story that was told to me way back in the seventh grade on another very fateful day - the day I fell in love with English.  This is a very powerful story about the might punctuation can yield.  Use it wisely.

Once upon a time, there was a very bright English class with a very enthusiastic teacher.  One day, during their grammar lesson, they were learning all about the rules of punctuation when a mysterious man suddenly entered the classroom.  He asked if he could speak to the students, and the teacher reluctantly agreed.

Pacing in front of the students, he began a lecture of his own.  "Grammar is not important!" He cried.  "No one really needs punctuation!  Everything she tells you is a lie.  Your teacher... is stupid!"

The students gasped in horror at the attack on their beloved teacher, but she just stood by calmly.  After a moment, she finally spoke, "Stranger, I can prove you wrong.  I have proof that punctuation is important."  With a gleam in her eye, she moved towards the chalk board and picked up one piece of chalk.  Then, she began to write.

The stranger said teacher is stupid

Standing back, she let her students and their visitor read what she had written.  Then, with a small smile, she walked back to the board and began to write again.  There was a flurry of punctuation, and this is what emerged.

"The stranger," said teacher, "is stupid."

Standing back, she watched with triumph as the stranger fell to his knees in defeat before running out of the room.  Turning to her students with her hands on her hips, she grinned.  Punctuation is important, indeed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Google Algorithm: eHow? Really?

Most of us in the Freelance community have had a rather taxing week.  Google's dreaded algorithm has thrown many of our favorite income sources into a complete tailspin, and we are left to scratch our heads and wonder why.  Sure, most writing sites are going to have less than great writers.  I am sure that there is a faction of every site that could be labelled as "content millers," but there are also some amazing writers.  I publish my little articles alongside published writers and experts in their fields, and I have a hard time believing that Google could degrade their writing.

Just this morning, I came across this little beauty that presents "The Algorithm" as a competition crusher for eHow.  Clearly, this is a bit disheartening when we consider the quality of many eHow articles.  I am not bashing all eHow or Demand Media articles, or their writers.  I have found, over the course of several years, a dozen or so articles that have been very helpful.  Seriously, I would have been lost without this doozie on how to make a pb&j.

Anyway, in light of the ridiculous eHow articles now being highlighted and more reputable works being downgraded (for the purposes of this post, I'm going to use Suite101 as my comparison), I thought I would compare and contrast some of eHow's scintillating articles with those of some of my Suite colleagues.  You tell me which one looks like a content mill.

Round One:
I'm hoping that someone with my sense of humor submitted this as a joke, but I'm afraid that this is not the case.  For the record, this is one of four eHow articles about identifying vampires.  Let's all pause to sigh together now.  My favorite part?  People who are too beautiful must be vampires.  Perfect hair?  Vampire.  Perfect skin?  Undead.  Perfect eyes? Stay away.  Apparently, there is an entire hoard of undead supermodels walking the earth.  Why has no one done anything about this?! Let's put Buffy and Heidi Klum on a televised match to the death!  I like it.
Okay, so I was a little hard pressed to find anything on Suite to help me identify vampires, but I think that's a good thing.  What I did find, however, was an interesting article by Amelia Hill that provides a scientific explanation for the appearance of the vampire.  See what's there at the bottom?  That's right, sources.  Four of them.  That way, we know she's not making up stuff up like butyric fermentation. Looks like a nice, well researched article to me.  

Round Two:
eHow article - How to Not Be Fat
For those of you wondering, yes, that truly is the title of this article.  Strike one, "yourself" is listed under "Things You'll Need."  Time for a collective, "No, duh."  This article actually did not start off too bad.  The first step did not make me cringe at all - although, I was still snickering about the title.  Things took a turn for the comical when I was instructed to pet my cat to keep from eating.  When I was told to eat my meals slowly to enjoy how sensual it was, I started laughing again.  Then came this line: "The ONLY WAY you are going to lose weight is to REDUCE your food intake."  That's right, everyone!  Exercise is a lie!  But the real kicker is the last thing that this scholarly writer left us with: "You are not going to die or become ugly or never be happy again if you don't eat. In fact, it's quite healthy to go without eating for long periods of time every once and a while."  Good to know, eHow.  Good to know.
Suite101 article - Practical Dieting
First of all, take a look at that nice, green check on this article.  Editor's choice, everyone.  Way to go, Deb Powers.  Since our eHow friend told us that reducing food intake is the only way to lose weight, I tried hard to find a Suite article that did not mention exercise.  Anyone who knows anything about nutrition knows that it is practically impossible to mention one without the other.  Even Ms. Powers mentions it briefly in her diet specific article.  Still, diet is her focus.  Here, she gives us ten helpful tips for dieting, many of which fly in the face of our eHow article.  Let's here it for small snacks and not starving ourselves!

Round Three:
In this article, not only are parents choosing their young child's career path for them, but they are also using the best tactics ever - practically chain your child to the piano while making them sit through a decade of piano lessons.  I'm glad that the child's hopes and dreams were consulted here.  Maybe when they get older, they can check out one of my personal favorites.  Now if only there was an eHow article for how to get the "nerves of steel" mentioned.  Someone get on that, will you?
While pushy stage parents are all the rage nowadays, Karen Berger's article puts the needs and development of the child first.  Her article also does not passive aggressively map out a career plan for a five year old, just saying.  It should also be noted that Ms. Berger is a classical pianist, herself, and teaches piano.  There's that "experts in their fields" thing that I mentioned earlier.  

So there you have it.  I know it's only three examples, but I could be here all day if I had the time.  For those of you craving more, check out the clever (and oh-so-beautiful!) Jeff Bercovici and his witty Demand Studios Classification System.

**For the record, I do know several qualified writers who write for Demand Media and I congratulate those who do well by them.  If things do not change with "The Algorithm," I may even be forced to apply there myself.  Then you can all judge me as well.  This blog post is not intended to belittle the talent that DMS does have.  Rather, it is simply questioning the "content mill" aspect of eHow.  So don't get your undies in a bunch, mmkay?**