Thursday, December 17, 2009

Turning People into Fetishes

Blah Blah, I have gastroparesis, blah, blah.
Let's talk about fashion shows.

Has anyone caught the new Bravo show, Launch My Line? From the first, I was pretty sure I was not going to watch this show. Bravo's reality shows typically don't interest me, with the exceptions of Top Chef, and in the past Project Runway. Bravo's shows seem to thrive on the stereotype-for-ratings, and fail to capture any sense of humanity, or include people who live functional or reasonable lives, and I can't relate to the characters displayed in any way. I don't generally enjoy "reality" TV for that reason, but Bravo seems to be one of the worst offenders.
This week, though, I decided to give LML a shot. I won't be doing so again.
If you're unfamiliar with the show, the premise is that 10 designers are paired with 10 professional people who want a clothing line. The show is hosted by twins Dean and Dan Caten. In concept, it's interesting. In practice, the whole thing feels like bad acting in a bad theater production.
Has anyone ever spent a lot of time with "theater people"? Dancers, musical theater folks, or your stereotypical Actor? They're lovely people, and I don't want to disparage a culture, especially not one I'm essentially part of. But often you run across the person who has actually managed to fetishize himself. The person-as-fetish perceives himself as unusually magical or potent, or pays excessive attention to the minutiae of his own real-life appearance and behavior. It is not so much ego as everything that person says or does is Acted and overplayed. It's like taking Tim Gunn's "it's a whole lot of look" saying and applying it to a person's mannerisms, dress, and other personal characteristics.
As I watched LML it became clear that, not only were there a lot of Actors, but the whole show seemed to revolve around that and even encourage it. The show's scripted components were not delivered in ways that seemed fresh or natural. The framework of the show ("We're opening the trim room! It's been stocked with things that fit your animal inspirations! You have a half hour in the trim room, and then you're not allowed back in!") also seemed to lack fluidity. They were set pieces, no more. The effect was heavy-handed in the fact that it clobbered me with, "We're a TV show! We're very dramatic! *wink*" all the time. The whole thing made people into objects, and how can fashion survive and be genuinely creative when the people have their own selves to counterbalance?
It's true that Project Runway has its poor moments, too--especially this season. But I think on the whole PR takes a more mature and adult approach to fashion. There are some oddballs, but often they're gone within the first few weeks because their results seem like jokes that have gotten out of control. PR also doesn't throw around a lot of darlings and sweeties, and LML seems to go that direction often. If you have a young soul, LML might be for you--it has a sort of teenage joie de conflit that some might relate to. I found it grating.
The proof, though, is really in the results. This week's challenge was to do an animal-inspired one-piece look, no dresses allowed. Guess how many jumpsuits? Lots. The parameters of a challenge that would produce that many jumpsuits seem just silly to me.
So, I gave it a try, but this show is not for me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In Which I Become Afraid of Needles

So, it's been a busy week.
I had my endoscopy Wednesday. My Mum was with me. I had a terrible vein-searching experience for blood and IV that made me nauseous and I went in to my procedure with a basin next to me and a cloth on my forehead. Fortunately, it turns out that Monitored Anesthesia Care actually really does mean you are unconscious. At least I was. I spent the rest of the day in bed waiting for the anesthesia to leave me and trying to sleep with, alternately, a giant headache, an upset stomach, and the worst taste and cough ever from the stuff they spray in your throat. All in all, it wasn't a good time, and I worry I may now be phobic of needles, when previously I was fine with them. Also, from what I gather, the test was negative, so they scheduled me for a gastric emptying study Friday.
Here is what the gastric study entailed: I came in early in the morning and ate a cup of oatmeal laden with radioactivity and in which I was allowed to put sugar. Then, I sat with my iPod Shuffle in a chair that reminded me of an armless airline seat, not quite coach but not quite first class. I had a pillow behind my back and one behind my head, because I was going to have to sit absolutely still for an hour and a half. And here's the tricky part--from in front of my face to in my lap, about four or five inches from my body, was a machine taking pictures of me constantly. I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, and listened to a bunch of songs, then landed on two Neko Case songs which I repeated for the last half hour. It was not the worst test I've ever done, but it was kind of like a battle of wills. I definitely went a little numb and got sore. I had to do a few dance stretches when I was finished. I should have the results from this test on Monday at my follow-up appointment.
My Mum stayed with me through all of this, to help me and make sure I didn't set the house on fire while doped up (in fact, at one point when she left to move her car I knocked over and smashed a bottle of olive oil). We went to the MSU at BGSU hockey game last night to celebrate the end of this grueling week (ha ha--gruel. It's an oatmeal joke). I really thought BG would pull through, since they were up 2-0 heading into the third period, but MSU put on a spurt and we got a little lackluster. We lost in overtime, 3-2. And when I say we, I mean BG at this point. I cheer for MSU when they play literally anyone else, but I know virtually the entire BG hockey team, and I want to see them succeed. They're heading up to Munn Arena tonight, and I'll be listening in on the radio to see how it goes.
Meanwhile, Mum has left to get back home before we get ice. I have portfolios needing to be read, and I am ignoring them studiously. I may take some home with me this year, which I've never done before. I really have spent a lot of time resting recently, but somehow I still feel wicked tired and not that well. Very glad I don't have to teach next week, because I need a break from talking. I have to say I am looking forward to a few days of little to no responsibility at some point.
And while you're at it, I have a friend having surgery for breast cancer this week, so some extra prayer her way wouldn't go amiss! I hope you are all well and enjoying yourselves out there.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Hey, all.
Well, having no PR puts quite a dent in my Thursday night TV lineup, but will probably enable me to get some work done.
I'm in the process of getting over a cold right now, one which smacked me down pretty hard over Thanksgiving. One day and night, I could barely swallow. Now, I can't talk too well and my nose needs to be blown with frequency, but I'm doing better.
My stomach is still being kind of a jerk. I'm not feeling it too much usually because we have a little schedule for it that keeps it under control as much as I can. Still having some rough nights. I haven't had any Dr. Pepper for quite some time; been drinking ginger ale as part of the schedule, and not much caffeine. I might try a little Dr. P this weekend, in small doses.
I have an appointment for an endoscopy for next Wednesday; I met with the surgeon today. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but he is like that typical doctor with whom you can't tell if he's really listening, and he moves too quickly from one thing to the next. Anyway, he suggested that if the endoscopy doesn't find anything, we might try a gastric-emptying study to see if I have gastroparesis. I don't have a severe enough case for drastic treatment, but may need to work more with different drugs, which is always a pain to figure out with my sensitivity to most anti-nausea drugs. I think I'll pass on the botulin toxin treatment!
Anyway, I'm trying to kick along and stay warm, since getting cold exacerbates the problem. I've spent a lot of time in fleece pants and my bathrobe lately. I'm hoping this last weekend of grading, during which there are also two hockey games, is not going to put me over the edge again. Just have to keep eating tiny meals and taking my Pepcid AC and compazine, and trying not to get into situations that will make me too nervous or uncontrolled.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

PR: The Finale

I'm sorry I've been so long with this post; I had a hard time picking things out that I liked and disliked about the collections--for some reason, thinks seemed like a blur. Actually, I'm pretty sure the reason is that things were not very exciting, and some of them (looking squarely at Irina) were very difficult to describe for myself--I mean, black coat. Short black coat. Long, formal black coat. It just doesn't "make good copy."
But I have watched the runway show again and am ready to comment. And, for fun, I'm going to do it a bit like a dog show.

Fave from Althea's: I know this will surprise you, but it's the look with the white satin pants and jacket, with the gold shirt with runs in underneath. I'm not sure why, but I think if I were a rock star I would wear that for a concert.
Honorable mentions: The gold gown was pretty--it was a little like updated medieval, but it was fluid, and I like fluid.
Least fave: This may surprise you, too, but it was the outfit Jaslene had on, the dusty lilac short dress. It didn't respond well to the styling required of it to fit in the show, and I had a hard time coming up with a girl that would flatter.
Interesting note: The black and gray off-shoulder sweater was very 80s dancer. You could put that on a ballerina for warmups right this minute. In fact, that disappointed me about it.

Fave from Carol Hannah's: The very first dress, the gold draping with the black stripe. It is a similar shape to the Althea dress I dislike, but it's more sensual and flattering. It's sassy, not flat.
Honorable mentions: The gold gown--love. Also, the purple gown. Girl can make a gown.
Least fave: The turquoise cape with the shorts. Huh what?
Interesting note: Didn't CH's collection remind you of holidaywear? Like, Dillard's (depending on ultimate fabric choice) might stock all of those items right about now to sell to people to wear to holiday parties. The black sweater and poofy skirt (2nd look) reminded me of that most. I honestly think if she'd stood up there and said, "A Carol Hannah girl is one who has lots of Holiday Parties to go to and never wants to repeat an outfit," she might have won this thing.

Fave from Irina's: The 8th look, with the gray sweater coat and the bird tee.
Honorable mentions: I liked the big floofy dress, but not the strap style.
Least fave: The travesty that Kalyn was wearing. Props for the carapace armor look, but the shape was incomprehensible. I guess K deserved to win because she was forced to wear that garment.
Interesting note: Evidently, by "taking care of herself," Irina means she wants her woman to be A: a beetle, and/or b: in bondage. Did no one else get the bondage thing out of her garments?

Best in show: My favorite from Carol Hannah's show
Worst in show: My least favorite from Irina's show.

Overall, I could appreciate the craft of Irina, but the boredom I felt while watching her collection was very much a concern. I was the most interested by what Carol Hannah showed, though she also had some big clunkers, or looks that seemed like inexpensive Barbie outfits. Althea had some looks that women would like to wear, but her variety not just in the show but throughout the competition was static. Her clothes are not a "feast for the eyes," which is what I look for. So, if it were my 10,000 dollars, I'd have given it to Carol Hannah. Her looks were the ones that caught my eye the most and made me think about them longest--and, I could describe them. Her looks were not the best crafted, and perhaps she isn't as strong an investment as Irina, but on the whole my taste is for the pretty.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hearts for Nathan Fillion

If I were in charge of finding entertainment's sexiest man, I might be inclined to skew things in favor of Nathan Fillion.
Sure, he's handsome, well spoken, and considered extremely nice by his peers. He also gets personally invested in his projects, and if you read the blog at his myspace, you'll see that he's a funny man, and big on respect for others.
But did you know that he also helped found a charity called The Kids Need to Read? I didn't, until this week.
I feel strongly about children loving to read, wanting to seek out reading and bring imagination into their lives. As my niece and nephew start to grow up, it's been my pleasure to see that they're going for those books the way my sister and I did. I feel passionately about books, about holding them in your hands and poring over them, getting lost in them. I want every kid to grow up the way I did, wanting to read and learn more.
And Nathan Fillion is passionate about that, too.
That's sexy, friends. Sexy times a million!
Nathan Fillion, if you're out there, GOOD ON YA!

Monday, November 16, 2009

To give you a little more literary heft for your week, check out this blog by Stephen Burt about the parallels between Project Runway and poetry criticism, which I was in turn alerted to by a friend at Winter Wheat.

PR: Oops, the real penultimate

I don't actually have very much to say about the first half of the finale. Just this:
1. Carol Hannah, I feel you. How awful is that, to be wicked sick during fashion week?
2. Irina's Coney Island imagery mishap reminded me of Kara Saun's shoe thing (sheesh, remember that season? I still think that was one of the best, if not the best showdowns, between Kara and Jay).
3. Tim Gunn making biscuits.
4. Didn't we all guess in our hearts that Irina would have a prissy dog named Princess?
5. I love seeing the designers' families. And I love that this season all the designers are from supportive families that want their children to succeed. Too often there is the idea that artists have to have messed-up childhoods, which is dumb.

Even though I'm not super-excited, I am looking forward to the final runway, and seeing how things move. And hearing the music choices!

Friday, November 06, 2009

PR: Penultimate

Hey, everyone. It's time for this week's PR throwdown.
I love the art inspiration challenge. It's the kind of thing I'd like to do, and it is great to see it with the final challenge when great things should be created...even if they aren't always. I could really relate to the inspirations of Irina, Carol Hannah, and Gordana. CH in particular--I have been known to be moved by furniture (and have been known to move furniture, also). I thought that was a great choice of muse, especially sitting down in the middle of the floor and enjoying its ambience.

Althea--I, like the judges, was disappointed with this look. Looking at the "behind" picture, it is even more incomprehensible. As one commentor pointed out, we have yet another "floppy tank top" and a skirt that ended up all over the place. It reminded me very much of when Austin Scarlett designed a "wedding dress" for Morgan on his season. It was just a moment of "what just happened?" Althea has had some clunkers in the past, and sometimes I really like her work and sometimes I'm not impressed. But I really thought she might be out. And, to be quite honest, maybe she deserved to be.
Carol Hannah--Nina called this gown safe, and I don't really think it was safe. Yes, CH makes a mean dress, but we've seen much safer gowns in the past. I quite liked the combination of the satin and the chiffon, especially that transition. Did it relate to the bed? Hard to say--It captured the drape of the bed with the gold of the bedposts and decor, and I was fine with that. Just because it isn't the direction you'd take your inspiration doesn't mean it wasn't inspired. No one said the final look had to look like the picture. Andrae was of the opinion that the sweep should have been higher at the hip and lower at the knee, but I disagree. I think the proportion was very suitable.
Christopher--I have seldom agreed with the judges more. I was interested in the design when it started down the runway, with the subtle color play of the greys and greens, but I immediately responded negatively to the stiff bottom of the dress. It was just sort of like he'd taken a yard of tough fabric and made a tube. That's how it moved. I liked the color burst on the skirt, but the dress didn't move in a way that was sinuous, which I think it should have. The look, together, just had an amateurish cast to it, kind of like when I make clothes. Not terrible, and probably wearable to something, but not something that will win you Bryant Park status.
Gordana--I really loved this dress, and I felt a little heartbroken for Gordana. I knew the judges had some prejudice against her for previous flaws (some that I didn't agree with at all), and I can't really think of anything she could have done that would have won them in her favor. I'm really glad that she opted to do something personally edifying, and I was so irritated with Nina when she picked on Gordana's selection of a gauzy Monet painting for her inspiration. I was not bored by this piece, nor did I find it safe. I also thought it accurately represented Gordana as a designer, and I can't help thinking that if Nina had actually been present at all of the challenges, she would have more ground to stand on in her statement against Gordana's aesthetic. The dress was simply beautiful.
Irina, on the other hand--Truly hideous styling choices. It was not better when Kalyn stripped off the accoutrements, because the hair was still wackadoo. I liked the top half of the dress and the color, but was disappointed in the placement of that belt and in the seemingly heavy skirt's length (and uneven hem--the back was shorter than the front, even with the front gathered up so, so much). I am all about ethereal goddessy garments, but really. There was nothing ethereal about this, and if it were a goddess it would be a jaded Hera, moved to Miami, overtanned, sitting on a lounge chair and chain-smoking (Dance, Pool Boy!). The look, in essence, was midjudged.

So, there we go--all-girl finale. I kind of hoped they'd send the four girls, but what can you do? I am hoping Gordana will pick up some business from people who saw this last challenge and felt bad for her, or wanted her to win. I surely wouldn't mind having that dress in my closet--in fact, I'll go so far as to say it is one of my favorite looks of the season. This and Epperson's movie genre outfit.
Speaking of favorites, you should maybe check out Tom & Lorenzo's Worst PR Looks Ever
On another note, did you notice how they didn't have everybody dress each other this season? I wonder if it's because it's so often a disaster.

In other news, Supernatural was hysterical last night and Josh Gates fortunately did not die in Wednesday's episode of Destination Truth. Ah, TV. Next week, I am too busy for you mostly. VCR, you had better function.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I had a dream

You know what would be awesome?
A listing, in pictures, all together, of every look ever created on or for Project Runway, with a label of by whom each was created and for what challenge/show it was.
What I really want is a database, you see. A visual, easy-to-navigate database so I can look at past looks side-by-side when I'm complaining about not being inspired or impressed, or when I want to compare seasonal results of a challenge type.
That would be rad.

Friday, October 30, 2009

PR: No-Your-TV's-Color-Is-Not-Out-Of-Whack

While things came down the runway in an almost never-ending parade of black and grey/silver, I realized that all the winning looks chosen for inspiration except Irina's were also black and grey/silver. Surely, I thought, the judges have shot themselves in the foot with this? They complain about being bored and then essentially mandate that they be bored.

Althea: I didn't care for this look. I'm tired of the slouchy breastfest tops that Althea has made in the past, the ones that are so loose the bosom sort of rockets around while the model walks. The back of the top I liked, and I'm all about big sweaters, but I don't care how fashionable Heidi thinks those pants are.--they're awful. If they were "in," I would never, ever wear them. Is it a "look"? Yes. But not a winner. Sorry, Ohio.
My pick--Carol Hannah: CH is very good at making cute dresses that lots of women would like to wear, and I liked her fabric choices. I did not, though, find much that was original about this dress. It is stylish, and it is a look, and it's possible that I'm being too needy, but I didn't feel really excited. At the same time, I think it was the nicest thing that went down the runway this episode. And that's a little sad. CH is also the designer I currently like the most as a person.
Christopher: Ugh. The top of the dress was well fitted for Katie, but as a garment this dress was a disaster. The shape and draping of that bottom tier was sloppy and unbalanced, and seemed to be made of that cheap-looking white satin that Christopher favors. If you look at the back silhouette it's even less comprehensible. At the same time, that crazy draped-bottom technique seems to be something Christopher does often, and I'm done with it. I really wanted to like the silver petals, but there was too much of it, arranged in an unfortunate way. No. My theory is that the reason Christopher did not go home is that his garments kind of related. Logan's didn't.
Gordana: Ready for an unpopular opinion? I really liked Gordana's jacket. I didn't like the vest underneath (seen better in the Models of the Runway following) and I didn't like the shape of the skirt (petals were a good idea, but not in a tapering shape--the proportion was wrong for Matar), but I really liked that jacket and would totally wear it. And, to be honest, I think I'd be complimented on it. I was wondering, though, what it would be like if that jacket was made of a slightly more luminescent material, or had silver accenting, or was over a silver top, and was paired with a really fluid, silvery pant? I like the jacket as is, but I was trying to think of ways to improve the "look" potential. Anyway, she should not have been bottom 2.
Irina: When I saw Irina's materials, I was excited, and also when she was beginning to work with her mannequin. I was disappointed in the final look. The sheath dress was too short and too tight. The lace-up back was a little slutty--actually, the back looked a little like a craft project, as did the side trim in stripes. It wasn't as well crafted or thought-out as I expect from Irina. Irina has a good idea for color and materials choice, and I think that's part of the reason she does so well. In fact, she's the only one who HAD color this week.
Logan: The skirt of Logan's look was actually kind of cute, abeit paired with a space-dance-costume top. One thing that can be said for Logan is that he has kind of a punk aesthetic and I have seen things like some of his looks go down a few runways. I did not dislike this outfit as much as Christopher's, but really I've lost patience with them both.

If all girls go to the finale, I am not going to mind a bit.
If you're longing for Bryant Park, I invite you to go to Tom & Lorenzo's blog, where they made lists of the top ten PR:BP looks of all time, and the top ten PR looks of all time. In fact, instead of doing my work I have also spent the last half hour sneakpeeking Bryant Park on Naughty.

Friday, October 23, 2009

PR: "Project I-Didn't-Mind-It"

First, let me say that judging really surprised me this week. I was not expecting the judges to gravitate toward what they did, and considering I didn't have very many strong opinions myself, I was even more confused. My opinion of the garments was pretty much exactly what Milla Jovovich said (see title).
Althea--When the model came out, I had two immediate, conflicting thoughts: "What an adorable chiffony top" and "WHY short shorts?" I loved the way the top draped, but a really cute and uniquely fashioned skirt from that fabric might have been better. (By the way, I think that was gold pleather or something). From what I know of St. Tropez (admittedly little), though, this look seemed appropriate enough. There just wasn't much risk.
Carol Hannah--Okay...I really thought CH was going to get panned at least a little this week, or just be safe. The dress was pretty, and this was a context in which I liked the fabric twisted and braided--in fact, I think the detailing saved it. But the first word in my head was "Uli." It was so strongly reminiscent of her looks that my heart sank a little. And here is where I think Kors' aesthetic came in--I could see the print pleasing Kors, and the style also. This was another look that didn't have much risk, but at least it fit the challenge. I would wear it.
Christopher--I was bothered by the judging of Christopher. The reason why is not what you'd think. Ever been to New Mexico? Ever seen the art there? Yes, there is turquoise involved, but very often it involves sandy pastels. In essence, he went pueblo with his colors, rather than feathers and vibrant hues. Why should that be inappropriate? I think part of the reason he got panned is that he didn't fit in with the judges' preconceptions of what colors "made" Santa Fe, and that made me irritated. I actually tossed out that component of their commentary.
The dress was actually nicer than I expected from the mannequin, though I agree that it looked flat on the runway, and too simplistic. It didn't look like luxe fashion, which is what the challenge was about. If you look at the dress in progress, you see that the top/underskirt is a strange shiny white material that is attached to the brown overskirt in kind of an unsophisticated way. Altogether, it wasn't unwearable, and the brown and aqua were all right, but it was shaky in several of the choices.
Gordana--I didn't care for this dress that much, and I was surprised it rated as highly as it did. The proportion of the top seemed all wrong, and it wasn't styled strongly. In fact, there didn't seem to be any styling at all. The necklace part looked the tiniest bit like tinsel. I liked the striping in the garment, but the dress just hung there on the model. It also made Katie's butt and hips look big and her chest look miniscule. I wanted to like this dress, because I liked the concept, but it didn't please me.
Irina--Let's face it. We knew, looking at the outfits side by side, that Irina would win. She arranged the most fabric, had the best styling, and her model worked it out. As a "look," it was the most complete. Yes, it was a throwback--I thought more to the 60s with the color palette, actually. I also didn't care for the fur vest. But I liked the sweater shape, and as Andrae Gonzalo has pointed out before in his blog, well constructed sportswear is carrying the day. The fans are kind of in a tirade on the Rate the Runway this week, bored by the colors and the cowl, but brown and cowlnecks are popular right now, and Irina seemed to have the most collected look. The sweater was very Victoria's Secret, but in a good way--something they would only put in the Holiday lookbook. It was more of the "fantasy" Nina Garcia seemed to be looking for (and what is up with that? She was kind of harping on that theme this week.) (Nick Verreos calls this look, "Ukrainian mafia arms dealer.” Perfect.)
Logan--I was kind of intrigued by the punkish jacket of Logan's look. I really cannot stand the skinny white jeans look, though, especially not with zippers at the back of the leg. Zippers on the back pockets I can deal with. I also do not care for suspenders. This is very early 90s and I have lived through that fashion craziness. I also didn't care for the striping on the top, which reminded me of something I might see in a Talbots catalog. Thus, in sum, this look was not aesthetically pleasing to me at all. That being said, it was one of Logan's better construction efforts. Someone on the Rate the Runway mentioned London rather than Hollywood, and I thought that was interesting and possibly accurate. It did have kind of a Carnaby Street look to it.
Nicolas--I liked what Nicolas was doing with the pleating of the pant leg. Then I saw the rest of the pant. I think it would have been okay for any designer to make something that we wouldn't think of when we thought of a world location, but when we saw the garment we could say, "Wow, I never thought of that interpretation, but I like it!" But I didn't get anything Grecian out of Nicolas' look. It would have been just as relevant to call that swathing material Egyptian or something. (By the way, how fun would it be to go to a fashion show in Egypt? I think that would rock!) Milla Jovovich was onto something interesting when she spoke of a whole dress made of that overlapping white material, maybe one with no sleeve. I'm kind of intrigued by that. Anyway, Nicolas' fashion crimes were the worst this week; at least I agreed about that.

I keep hoping for something amazing in this show. Witness Top Chef--they have some truly masterful chefs on there this year, some who seem almost unstoppable. On PR, I think we do have some good designers, but I haven't seen much that I really LOVE or that impresses me with its unique beauty. I want something to fashionably poke me in the eye! I want to twist my hands and be completely baffled as to who should win because there are several equally amazing garments, not just equal garments!

Friday, October 16, 2009

PR: I Heart Bob Mackie

I don't know why I like Bob Mackie so much. I just do (it might be the Barbies he used to do, and his amazing work on Carol Burnett's show). The opposite is true of Christina Aguilera. I don't like her. Never have. Sure, she has pipes, but she bothers me in some indefinable way (or perhaps it's her speaking voice and her frequent tackiness).
That being said, it was her challenge, and I was actually surprised at the ineffectiveness of the garments. Even the winner (which was also my winner) was not really right for an energetic singer who dances in her show.
Althea: Clever with the fabric--it looked good and it was a creative solution. The gown, however, was completely impractical for the stage unless Aguilera was going to be seated the whole time. It might work better for a Grammy red carpet outfit or something.
Carol Hannah: My favorite, hands down. This one would also be cute for the Grammys (onstage for a slow song or for the red carpet); it probably would never work for Aguilera's stage show since it seemed like it would be difficult to move in, but I couldn't get over how nice it was to look at, and it looked like the kind of thing Aguilera would like.
Christopher: Seriously? This was like a cheap Halloween interpretation of Aguilera's old look. The judges were completely right about this travesty. See more below.
Gordana: Horrific. I still haven't figured out what is up with the top--I think there are little slashes right over the breasts or nipple areas. It's very confusing. Oh, immunity. Never have you been so required.
Irina: This look was too nightgowny. Or, alternatively, it looks like a tap costume. Styled with some pinstriped tights and a fedora, it might have been better, but it then would have been a little too Moulin Rouge or Cabaret star. I also am over Irina's attitude.
Logan: I have to be blunt--I hate this fabric choice. With the flatness of the garment (it has no silhouette whatsoever except straightness), it looks like a cheap hooker dress. I agree with the website commentor that the side view is better, but you don't look at people from the side onstage much. I mean, really, can you imagine Aguilera wearing that? I can't. The fabric itself just looks cheap. In a more expensive-looking fabric, I think this could have worked, but I just cannot get over the choice of fabric with the shape of the garment.
Nicolas: In Nicolas' favor, he clearly thought about the constraints of stagework, and the top of the garment in close up is actually very pretty. However, I don't think it was "big" enough, and also it reminded me too much of Chicago (and I came up with that independently, though Chris March actually mentions it in his blog also). I also don't think it was the right color for Aguilera. Not a winner.
Shirin: Okay, I'll go on record as saying that the judges' decision this week was whackadoo. Yes, Shirin's garment looks like a cross between a ballroom costume and a cabaret outfit. BUT, it was wearble, and I could see what she was after. It was too long, it was too fluffy, but I actually think Aguilera could pull it off. I also think that there could be a few slight alterations done to make it better.
Christopher's outfit, on the other hand, was unfixable and LAZY. It was old and not fancy enough and the judges didn't like any of it, whereas they at least liked the top of Shirin's dress. How does that add up? HOW? I'm so mad about this. And that's not even considering prior work, because I know the judges really don't that much mid-season. Christopher has had poorly executed outfits repeatedly, and this was another example of the same. Why is he still here? The same is true of Logan. The mind boggles.

Friday, October 09, 2009

PR: Hospital Gowns and Wedding Gowns

Before I give my PR report, I'm going to try to explain what happened to me last night.
You see, I watched PR in the ER. I had a rough night the night before, with insomnia again, heartburn, trouble breathing, and a cough coming on. I didn't feel nauseous, but I felt ODD. In the morning, I was weak and shaking, and still having trouble breathing evenly. I made it through two and a half classes and was feeling better, but then suddenly felt awful again, and had to send my third class away early. I was scared. I went to ReadyCare, and because of the breathing they sent me to the ER, expecting labs would be needed.
I got to the ER around 7. I tried to explain my symptoms several times, and since I was feeling lethargic and stupid, I relied on the list I'd written down. I just couldn't seem to string a sentence together. The doctor, a resident, was very nice, and took me very seriously. He did some quick physical tests, and then ordered blood work, and an IV of fluids. A little later he came in and said my D Dimer level was high, unexpectedly, and he'd ordered a CAT scan to look for a blood clot.
Ever had a CAT scan? It feels weirder than 85 % of the things you could experience. When the heat of the contrast hit my veins it was the first time in hours I'd been warm, and it actually made me feel a little sick. Anyway, the scan was negative for anything, which was a relief. The non-relieving part was that there is no answer for my D Dimer being high. The rest of my blood work came back normal, and all other vital signs were normal enough.
I did develop an outrageous head and body ache, which is why, even though I had the TV on and watched snippets of Supernatural and Fringe, I didn't really feel like watching them, and of course I was interrupted numerous times. I am watching Fringe right now on hulu--anyone got ideas for how I can catch Supernatural?
The end of the story is that we're theorizing anxiety attack, and I was given medication for that purpose, to be used whenever I felt I needed it. It's a pretty powerful drug, and I asked him to prescribe half the normal dose given my size. He sent me home with one pill to take so I could sleep that night, and I took half, after eating some toast. I'm supposed to go to my own doctor next week (he is out of town right now!) for a follow-up. Today, I have a headache, but I feel stronger, and I'm not coughing. I'm breathing like a champ. Also, I had deviled eggs for breakfast and a brownie bowl for lunch. Did I mention I'm pampering myself?
I watched PR while I was waiting for CAT results, and to be dismissed. I was feeling a little more energetic by that point, so I did get a good look at the designs.
My pick for the Winner: Gordanna
My pick for the Auf'd: Logan or Christopher
Althea--I didn't care for Althea's design . It looked like the breasts were in bags...the loose cup with that contrast color were not so flattering, and the back was a little sloppy. I liked the colors, but the dress seemed a little too childlike up top.
Carol-Hannah did a good job. her dress was really chic and wearable. People have complained on the website about the color, but the dusty lavenderish look of it on my screen is nice. I actually put this in my top three.
Christopher--Seriously? This was meant to be flattering? The look was was very unflattering to the model, and probably would have been to any other model. It was poorly fit, and I couldn't figure out what about the construction was meant to show skill or difficulty. In short, I am panning this look.
Epperson--Unlike Heidi, I am not panning this look. I don't know where she was coming from with Oktoberfest. I think she just got that into her head and couldn't get it out, even though it was an inapt comparison. Was it a winning garment? No, but it was not a losing garment. I think they were looking for a reason not to make a decision, and they picked on his admission that he'd started with a different understanding of the challenge.
Gordanna--The color of this garment was a little iffy for this client, but the dress was sassy and well designed, and took a lot of work. It wins my "I'd wear it" seal of approval. It also responded really well both to the challenge and to the client's desires. The dress was the badass garment of the week, and I was really glad Gordanna got good credit for it.
Irina--The colors of this garment were really lovely, and I always respect a good fabric dye job. Someone on the website, though, made a similar comment to my feeling: The dress was a little bit mother-of-the-bride. It is a pretty dress, don't get me wrong. It was just a little too much in the same event category as the original dress.
Logan--Ouch. I like Logan as a person, but I don't like Logan's choices. Nothing seemed to go, the top of the garment was unflattering on the client, and the construction had errors obvious even to the TV audience. Even though Christopher's outfit was seriously questionable, I think this one should have been the Auf'er.
Nicolas--I know this opinion might be unpopular, but I thought the jacket was actually kind of cute...albeit paired with completely the wrong outfit. The pants were not that exciting, and the camisole questionable, but the jacket would be really cute with, say, a peach strapless dress or something. As an outfit, this was prety incomprehensible.
Shrin is what I call the good save. Her dress was passable--I wouldn't have top 3'd it, but she ultimately produced a good idea from the wreckage of her stressed brain and the tawdriness desired from the client. The end result was perhaps a bit too feminine, but it was at least respectable fashion.

Chris March's blog tells me that the divine Bob Mackie is the guest judge next week, so I do not know what that entails but I'm ready.

In the meantime, in an effort to "reduce my anxiety" (It's clinical, people!) I ordered the two sweaters (one in rose, one in bark (I need something pretty for hockey nights) and the sweater dress from Victoria's Secret, and some things to bulk up my Lush stock, which is dwindling more drastically than I'd thought. I have essays on tap, and Falcon hockey upcoming on the radio--which will win? I'll get some essays done, but after last night I'm going to take it slow.
Peace out for the week!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Project Runway: Snoozefest.

Unfortunately, the judges' snarkiness ruined my interest in the judging this week. I watched, but only with half an ear, while I graded essays. They were pointier than usual and belabored their points unnecessarily, trying to come up with the worst metaphorical insults to sling at people for sound bytes without actually talking about the fashion constructively, or providing intelligent comments. I hated it. It was, to use last week's term, a snoozefest. Fail, Project Runway. Also, did anyone notice how Tim's comments were completely different from the judges'? This isn't normal.
At least I learned why I don't "get along" with Nicolas--anyone so rabidly anti-ruffle cannot be a personality I enjoy. I have, in the previous challenge, made my feelings about ruffles pretty clear.
My pick for the winner: Carol Hannah and Shirin. The dress was reasonably cute and wearable. The color combinations of the blue were a little questionnable, but it made sense for the customer, and as the Macy's person herself said, if the two outfits were placed together in the store, they would relate well as sets and would sell. I wasn't all that keen on the top myself, but it made sense. Since this was a challenge about making relating outfits, I thought Carol Hannah did the best job meeting those parameters.
Althea and Logan: The jacket wasn't bad, but it was kind of boring. The skirt was a nightmare, and the pieces didn't look nice together. For the pants outfit, I thought the pieces worked nicely together and were realistic. I think this second outfit saved the pair from the trainwreck of the first.
Irina and Gordana: I thought the blouse was pretty, but wasn't as well crafted and ethereal as it could have been. It was ultimately a little heavy, and the back fastening was questionable. The skirt was bland. The dress was the prettiest things made for this challenge. I'd like to have it. But I think this pair won just on the strength of this dress, and that was annoying. The two outfits made did not really relate.
Christopher and Epperson: That greenish shirt reminded me of something you might find at Deb, something you might pick up inexpensively to wear to a party and never put on again because you spilled soda on it...and you didn't really care. The shirt dress was more manageable, and I disagreed with the judges' panning of it. That was a realistic look for you, Macy's. I've seen you sell things like this before, so don't act like they have insulted you. That being said, I disagreed with Tim's comment that C & E were reinventing the shirt dress. I didn't see anything particularly dynamic about it. But what really bothered me about this duo was the complete lack of relationship between their outfits. They were from two different planets, which missed the challenge.
Louise and Nicolas: Did anyone notice how, when the dark blue dress was on the mannequin, and the ruffle was pinned flat to the dress, with that bit of contrast showing, that it looked chic and even elegant? I actually thought that was going to be the final look of the dress, and I wish it had been, because it was cute. For the final look, the ruffle was either too big or not big enough, and it looked undecided. For the other dress, unfortunately, it had nothing to do with the sketch, and it looked heavy-handed and also indecisive--the bow on the back is a good example. I will miss Louise very much, but (and it pains me to admit this) I think she has trouble knowing her customer and designing for a customer. She got rattled and never got back on track.

Next week looks a little scandalous. I also wish for no more team challenges this season. I hardly ever like them.

In other news, I am trying to decide whether to buy this dress or this dress or both, at some point this season. I feel like sweaterdresses might be just the thing for my professional wardrobe here in freezy Ohio. They also have some new boucle colors so it might be time to get that shawl collar v-neck sweater I've had my eye on...since Lord knows 11 boucle sweaters (or whatever the number now is) isn't enough. It's a shame they're so hard to wash because I'm completely addicted. They have a v-neck with puffed sleeves, too. I haven't seen that much fall fashion I like this year, which is probably a good thing, but these sweaters...
Speaking of which, hockey tomorrow at noon (I know, weird, right?) and I need to figure out what I'm wearing!

Friday, September 25, 2009

PR: Lights and Camera, but Little Action

First of all, let me just say that last night's TV was better than most. Supernatural made me squirm uneasily and also nearly choke with laughter on a piece of candy. Fringe was creepy as all get out, and in between (since I recorded Fringe) I had Project Runway to keep me company.

I liked this costume challenge, and it was interesting to see the different interpretations of the challenge. However, if it were up to me, this episode would have been entitled "Epperson Gets Robbed." Let's see why, shall we?

Epperson: This garment rocked my face off. Let's face it--Western could mean classic Western, but it could also mean a reinterpretation of Western. As soon as I saw this outfit, I thought, "Firefly." Yet if I saw it in a kind of badass Western film, I might believe it, too. It was so badass I wanted to own it immediately, and I do not feel this way about any outfits generally. It was classy, interpretive, feisty, and meticulously constructed, and SO clearly should have won. (Chris March disses this outfit in his blog, as does Nick Verreos to a lesser extent, and they can both go do something unprintable. I shall not be moved. Andrae Gonzalo, on the other hand, also mentions E getting "robbed." I heart you, Andrae.)
And the rest (these aren't even in order of how much I liked them, because I tried doing that, but I only feel really passionately about the top 1 (in my eyes) and the bottom 3, and I kept changing my mind):
Christopher: The fit (or lack thereof) of Christopher's cincher bothered me a lot. I liked the idea of the blouse, but it basically looked like the girl had no middle of any kind from the front. If one looks at a side view, the back part looks all right, but in the front the cincher is doing the girl no favors. Lord knows I am a sucker for ruffled, flouncy skirts with a period feel to them, but the fit and proportions of this garment were off and it disappointed me that the judges were that gung-ho about it. It was fun, but it didn't fit. (Entertainingly, Andrae Gonzalo disses the "pick-up" technique used here and by WAY too many bridal designers. And I totally agree.)
Nicolas: I actually liked the floral icicle detailing around the neck and shoulders. But in a challenge that is about constructing a costume that will look good on the runway, I was disappointed that Nicolas won--because it seemed like the reason was that it would photograph well for a film. But that's not an appropriate reason--and it still looks kind of B-movie in the pictures I'm looking at. It wasn't a bad garment, but it was not a winner.
Carol Hannah: This seemed well constructed, and really could have worked for action or sci-fi. It was a little too Matrixy, but I quite liked the cut of the trenchcoat.
Irina: The cape was underworked (it looked like a shower curtain to me), and the dress panels went down too far--you don't need lace over your hips, with unattractive seaming. I respected the idea of the dress, but wish it could have been executed with more polish.
Logan: Well fitted, but a little too Lara Croft. Difficult to make? Sure. But derivative. And while we're on the subject, why pick action adventure and immediately put a girl in leatha, Logan and Carol Hannah? You really both went "female assassin" rather than something more interesting, like "adventurer" or "ballerina who's really a spy." The story was too easy.
Gordana: Gordana's dress was beautiful and styled in a pretty way. Unlike last week, though, when the designer made a completely unconventional material look normal, which was edgy, this week when she had all the license in the world to be creative, she made something kind of conventional. It didn't have her stamp on it. In fact, if you take away the styling, including the jewelry, hair, and shoes, the garment is even less inspiring. Very similar situation to Logan. Even so, I know her garment was difficult to make and I respect that she selected this tricky gold beaded fabric.
Shirin: Look. If you're going to make a cancan saloon girl outfit, you better make a frickin' awesome one. This garment was only slightly more lush than the type of thing you can get at an online costume shop, and then only because it has more fabric. Completely uncreative. Seriously...Western is a very rich category, and she could have done almost anything to reinvent it. I did think the way Ebony shook her dress as if she was completely bored was funny, though. (Nick Verreos, in his blog, favors this look over Epperson's because it's more "Western," but I couldn't disagree more. This costume was not actually period Western any more than E's was, and was less period than Gordana's, and as I said, looks like a Halloween costume.)
Althea: While classically Althea (as in, making the backside look awesome), I didn't get the costume out of this look at all. When I looked at the garment, I couldn't even remember what her movie genre was supposed to be. It looked too modern, and there were some construction issues with the hem.
Louise: Oh, Louise. I was so afraid you'd go home this week. I am looking at the pictures, and I still can't figure this garment out. The guest judge hit it on the nail when she said it wouldn't photograph well, but it didn't seem to look good on the runway, either. Its silhouette is confusing and its construction looks scattered. It was not the worst thing on the runway. But it was the second worst. Louise, I'm glad you're still in, but I'm begging you to step it up!
Ra'Mon: No. I can sympathize with Ra'Mon because I know exactly how it feels to envision something, work hard to craft it, and then realize that for some reason it's just not working. It happens to me all the time, because my vision is more creative than my hands. I can't think of anything about this garment that I like, though, and it was a definite out. In a strange way, it reminded me of the Flintstones again...just like Johnny's last week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

PR: Off the Press and into My TV

Hello, mes amis.
Well, it was time for the "alternative materials" challenge this week! I am pretty fond of some of these types of challenges (grocery store whatnot, anyone?), and I have to say I was geeked for the newspaper. It was fun to see the papers whiz around the Times office, but beyond that you just knew things were going to get crazy. I think we, the viewers, were at a disadvantage this week because construction issues (like tape or rips) would be invisible to us and not to the judges.
Judging was also much smoother this week; I think the cool classiness of Tommy Hilfigger kept things under control, and while I'm sure Eva Longoria Parker can be sassy, I think they respected her "presence" as the judging went on.
This week, I put things in order of how much I liked them, just for a change. Entirely based on my personal preference!
Carol Hannah--I have to say, I wish she'd been in the top three. I know her model had to be lifted on and off stage, but this garment looked immaculate and feisty. I loved the color choice.
Gordana--I was disturbed that they called her out for being boring. The dress was not boring; it was pretty and seemed well constructed. It looked like a real, fabric garment--personally, I think that's genius! I would put that on and wear it out of this office building right this minute, and expect compliments. I didn't think it was safe at all, even if the challenge had been to make something out of fabric. I was very confused by the judges' response.
Althea--Her garment actually looked like it was composed of feathers. The fit was a little sketchy, but it was nice to see Dayton (as I call her in my head, like she's a newsie or something) rise to the challenge.
Irina--I was not surprised that Irina won. The collar and cuffs of her coat were indeed very interesting. The bottom half of the coat, though, was kind of boring in comparison; it wasn't as well constructed as the top, and it looked a lot like what it was--a sheet of newspaper. I didn't especially want the garment to win, though as I said I'm not surprised it did.
Epperson--E is always true to himself; I knew who that garment belonged to before I saw the label come up. While it didn't move well, I liked the basic shape of this dress, and the patterning of the colored portions.
Christopher--In terms of ballgowns made of newspaper, I prefered Carol Hannah's. I liked the idea of Christopher's, and I know his garment took a ton of labor. The feathering, though, looked a little raggedy or crude to me. Cutting them in a more curved or slanted way, rather than like palm leaves, might have been more sophisticated.
Logan--The paint job was a little sloppy up close, but it had the right effect on the runway. The shape was also unique. I wouldn't call it a top 3, but it was a good garment. I'm kind of a sucker for ruffles these days. It did look a little 80s.
Louise--This dress reminded me of Rami's winning dress from the candy challenge. It had the same feel to it. I didn't especially care for it, but I could see why it was safe.
Shirin--I want to say for the record that I hate this skirt style. I have no interest in looking like a car muffler. If there were a bottom 4, Shirin would be in it this week.
Ra'Mon--This dress was the other one to round out my personal bottom three. It looked messy. The patterning idea was cool, but the two pieces together didn't match in style and the thing looked overworked as a result. It didn't make sense.
Nicolas--Oh, does this man irritate me. If I could have kicked him and Johnny off this week, I would have. Unlike the judges, I understood the alternateen direction this dress was heading in (punk was the wrong word), but the garment looked too drab rag doll/It's a hardknock life as soon as it appeared. This designer is slinging insults around the room, but the talent level he's shown is nothing to brag about.
Johnny--I am in completely agreement with the departure of Johnny in this challenge. As soon as the garment came onto the runway, I was positive he'd be auf'd. It looked kind of like the Flintstones, didn't it? And how weird was it to hear Tim call Johnny out with the other designers for his tall tale? I can't say that's the best thing I've ever seen Tim do--a little unprofessional. I bet he rues that making it to TV.

Friday, September 11, 2009

PR: Model Party

The Vent:
I think this week is a good example of Project Runway on auto-pilot. It was not a standout, and the person who went home did so because she did not stand out. I didn't hate anything except for the judges.
Seriously. The judges this week were snarky, mean, and fussy for the wrong reasons. The judges, admittedly, are usually snarky, but this week they were not even respectable. If Heidi asks a model how she likes her dress, and she says she likes it, even after hearing criticisms, it is completely unwarranted for another judge to say "Well, that's why you're not the designer." That was classless, and bruised the model because she answered honestly a question the JUDGES asked her, when she is not usually going to be called upon to answer questions at all. Model Valerie seemed to handle this with her usual cool calmness, whereas I probably would have called the judge on the carpet. When the models seem more intelligent that the judges, it's time to make some changes. If I were a producer, I wouldn't ask any of those substitute judges back.
The clothes:
Althea--The jacket was not "all that" as the kids say, and I was offended that the judges were talking up a bra for Epperson's flat model, but not for this model, who looked lewd and nippy in her sagging top. Her breasts were going everywhere! Gross. I quite liked the skirt, though I thought another inch of length would have better. Eye-catching? Yes, but not for the right reasons. Not a loser, but not the winner in my book. Still, go Dayton! (Hilariously, Nick Verreos, I have just discovered, said A's look was not "all that" in his blog this week. With quotes. So it's not just the kids.)
Carol Hannah--I liked the color of the top and the print of the bottom. I did not like the saggy, matte attachment piece between them, which made it seem unfinished. The proportion of the skirt also troubled me a bit. That being said, this was one of the more interesting garments and I wasn't surprised to see it in the top three.
Christopher--Great color, construction questionable. Talk about prom dress...this looked like an eighties prom dress. The black pieces were very peculiar in shape and fit. Had the dress been a different shape (not fitted through the hip, for instance) and the black bits been styled differently, I would have been more intrigued.
Epperson--While Matar looked a little too hippy in this dress (and I mean physically, not as in a 70s flower child), I actually voted for this mentally for the win. I didn't care for the back of the garment, but the front was very eye-catching, and the color was perfect for the model. Yes, a little bra space would be nice, but this dress was unique and engaging enough to get around that problem--and I know from experience. I mean, she's a model. Designers don't want to see breasts. This was my favorite dress this week.
Gordana--I was pleasantly surprised by this look. I had my doubts, thinking it would be too modest, but it looked great on the model. The skirt had some construction issues in the back, which I suspect got it some lower scores, but on the whole it was an innovative solution to the design challenge. Unexpectedly risky without being risque.
Irina--The two pieces here didn't go together; the coat was the wrong shape for an evening party, or even a model party at any time of day. It was too Sex in the City Charlotte at lunch. The dress was the right print for the event, but I never got to see the top part. The jacket aged it up too much. I actually liked the jacket, but thought it was wrong for the occasion and the dress. (And Chris March also calls out this outfit for S in the C overtones in his blog.)
Johnny--I am not at all surprised that Johnny got called out. His garment was indeed wearable, but it was a little young-looking (like a homecoming or Winter Ball dress, not a bridesmaid, Heidi), and entirely conventional. It was a likable garment, and I completely disagree with the idea that things are "too accessible" (things can be very accessible mentally without being physically accessible) but I do concur that the garment wasn't innovative and was, in the literal sense, something you could buy already.
Logan--I'm going to defend Logan a bit here. I was surprised that his result was so cute after the crises he had in construction. The dress was a prom shape, but I disagree with the judges' comment that it looked prommy. The blue was very striking, and he did manage to "edge up" the middle a bit. If the model sat at that party on a white couch and looked alluring, people would be drawn right to her. I'm pretty sure no one agrees with me about this judgment, but I don't care. I'm right. Could it have been better? Yes. But it wasn't as bad as everyone made out.
Louise--Louise did a great job this week. All that pleating by hand...yikes. She captured Fatma's personality perfectly. This was one of my top garments this week and, although it's black, I wish it had gotten more positive attention by the judges. I think it was my second favorite.
Nicolas--The top of this garment had a weird fit, almost like it wasn't fitted at all on the model, which was a bad choice, but I was intrigued by the neck piece. The color looked great on the model, though I don't think white is a very practical color for a cocktail party.
Qristyl--I have made my irritation with the judges clear. That being said, the basic gist of their comments were right on for Qristyl's garment. This dress was boring--not because it "aged" Valerie, but because it was just plain dull. The back was edgier than the front, but the dress in sum was just not going to cut it. Not at this level. Not a bit surprised Q went home.
Ra'Mon--Not a big fan of this dress. The color was exciting, but that flower was a bit much on the whole. It looked a little corny.
Shirin--Shirin had a lot to work with demandwise from her model. The finished product was kind of dull...This was another dress that looks like something you could already buy in a store. I was not all that intrigued by the back's design detail.

And that's it! It's getting easier by the week to get this written as they drop, one by one!

Monday, September 07, 2009

PR: Team + "Avant Garde" = Yuck

Add this past week's episode to my least favorite PRs. Not only did it involve teams, but it also involved avant garde, the results of which episodes have always been sketchy. Bleh. After it was over, I asked myself if I had learned anything, agreed with the results, or enjoyed more than one or two designs, and the answer was no. Sad.

Althea and Louise: Good synergy on this team, and their looks were reasonably polished. I quite liked their black dress with the frilly train (surprise, surprise), though admittedly I didn't really get the "surf" out of it, and it didn't strike me as AG. Really, I think this was the only dress I'd like to wear. My feelings about bubble skirts have been previously documented, though the effect was minimized in their red dress...overall, I thought this team did well.
Christopher and Logan: The drabness of the greyish shirt with the goldish pants was simultaneously odd and dull. When their AG look came down the runway, I could see its relationship to the first look, but didn't care for it...except the back, which was tidier and more interesting. Some of the comments on the website coincide with this view, so I'm not alone. Ultimately, the first outfit was so dull I was turned off for this team. Since I have had this reaction to both of these designers before, I have concerns about them.
Irina and Johnny: As above with the drabness of the shirt from Christopher's design, the drabness of the skirt for Irina's bothered me. I liked the slouch top, but actually disliked the colors of their macrame focal point, which the judges raved about. Paired with the just didn't seem to come together well. Regarding their AG look, I totally agreed with Irina's self-criticism--good idea, mess in construction. Granted, they didn't have much time, but I would have enjoyed this look much more if it had been more polished.
Mitchell and Ra'Mon: I've taken to writing notes while I watch the runway, and for this team, I wrote, "Yuck." I didn't like either of their looks and am appalled that they won. Or that Ra'Mon did (it was time for Mitchell to go, as I noted last week). The chiffon dress, though it had nice coloring, was not at all innovative (it seemed to be just ombre fabric in a simple design that was untidy in construction...I could be wrong about the fabric, but still), and I HATED the neoprene AG dress. I liked that it got some painting, but even that seemed random and slapdash. It was like a giant sneezed and they put it on the model. In the words of Yoda, Ra'Mon, "Control, control--you must learn control!"
Nicolas and Gordana: I am in agreement that the macrame of the top was a unique feature. The top looked pretty cool; while the judges dissed their white pants, though, I liked them. They looked comfy and totally appropriate to the challenge. The AG garment? I hated it as much as I hated the neoprene. I think I know what he was going for, but it was outdated at best and hideous at worst. It had absolutely no relevance to the challenge or to its sister garment.
Qristyl and Epperson: The judges liked the top of the palm tree dress, and I liked it, too...the dress seemed wearable, but ultimately not that interesting. On the other garment--again with the attachment or growth, as in Qristyl's first dress. There was nothing Avant Garde about either of these outfits. And how disappointed was I in how these two related to each other? I actually have sympathy for Qristyl because she seemed to fall into that trap that women often do--she's trying to assert herself with someone overbearing by nature (even if quietly so) and used to being in charge, and then gets picked on for poor leadership because she can't rein him in. Yet, if she had asserted herself more, she would have gotten labeled a nightmarish bitch that has...poor leadership. Obviously, the interactions are edited down, but ultimately this was a Kobayashi Maru.
Shirin and Carol Hannah: The AG dress (long, blues) was a little too much drapey-drapey, but I "got" it. I liked their regular look, which seemed very practical. It wasn't thrilling, and I think it drew too heavily from the currently popular maxi dress trend, but it was a respectable garment. I didn't see much relationship between these two garments (wasn't that part of the challenge) but it was better than some.

So--I might conceivably wear Shirin and Carol Hannah's swim garment, or Louise and Althea's "AG" look. Everything else pretty much gets a fail. Sorry, designers. Better luck next week. I was also wondering about the aspect of Garnier challenge. Sure, they had a "consultation" with the hair dressers, but they kind of have that every week, and it seemed to take just about one minute out of the whole show. What was the point? It ended up looking like sloppy advertising rather than sleek part of the show, and "by the way have you tried our product?" Disappointing all the way around.
In other TV news, new Supernatural this week...and next week, new Fringe at the same time. Why? WHY?

Friday, August 28, 2009

PR: Ep. 2, Baby on Board

Lifetime: Well, I'm pleased to say that Lifetime fixed the issue with the photos, so you can now see photos of the individual garments without rating them--and they've one-upped Bravo by giving you four pictures of each dress--well, three of the dress and one of the fabrics. Still sad that "Tim's Take" is still basically video of his critiques in the workroom, and that two of the other blogs are video-based. I read faster than I can watch a video. But the improvement of the picture situation gets my thumbs up.
The Challenge: A pregnancy challenge is a GREAT idea. I know from sisterly experience that maternity shopping is in itself a challenge, and that it is expensive. They have lots more cute clothes than they used to, but it is a lot of money to spend on a nine-month outfit.
And therein lies the problem. I just can't care that Rebecca Romijn has "trouble" finding chic maternity clothes. I know this was probably supposed to make me say, "Hey, she has troubles just like me!" but she doesn't. She can afford to have things custom made, and she can afford the cute things that are actually in the shops/websites...oh, and she's a model. I can't sympathize with her and I certainly can't pity her. I'm sure lots of people will disagree with me and that's fine, but I thought she made the actual idea of the challenge less fantastic for me.
I think this could have been a great opportunity to do a new take on the "everyday woman" challenge by giving regular pregnant ladies really chic outfits, to show that ANY pregnant lady can have lovely things and feel elegant.
Sermon over.
The Clothes:
This week, my two favorites and my two least favorites coincided with the judges. Not having been pregnant, I can't vouch for whether my feelings are right, but here's my rundown (and I actually took notes this week and watched the runway show twice):
Althea: I'm going to defend this outfit--The dress was glamorous and I'd wear it. The judges were right to call Althea out on the too-tiny top, which was impractical, BUT, I have also seen pregnant famous ladies wearing very low cut tops at Red Carpet events, and after all, we were dressing Romijn, not the everyday woman. Some small adjustments would have made that top just right. The dress would also need to be a little shorter, as someone pointed out in comments at Lifetime, because it was dangerously long, but if it was hemmed a bit differently, this dress would be suitable for a fancy do, which I respect. It could also be worn with low-heeled shoes (a lot of designers seemed to neglect this their styling--hello, swollen ankles and baby weight? I admit, RR was wearing high heels.).
Carol Hannah: CH is kind of in love with herself, no? I liked the little jacket with this dress, but I didn't care for the back of the dress, and I thought the swoop on the front was a little too accentuating. The placement of it bothered me, I guess. I can't really see RR wearing this outfit, which was my ultimate issue.
Christopher: Leggings? Really? Boring. I can get those anywhere. The top was a pretty color, and I liked the pleating, but the bubble silhouette is overdone and a bit of a copout, I thought. I didn't dislike the top, but doing a top with plain leggings troubled me.
Epperson: Go with me here: This was an interesting direction. I thought the volume of the jacket was too much--it was a little too much like a crumpled-paper project in the midsection. Personally, I would not wear a jumpsuit like this, but I could see where he was going for Rebecca Romijn, who might. I would have liked to see her in it actually, because that's how different it was from anything I'd envisioned myself. Ultimately, I think it was a little too strange, but I like the creativity of this outfit. I am a little bothered that we've heard practically nothing of Epperson at all. What does this mean?
Gordana: I was a little bored by this outfit, as I was with Christopher's. Again--leggings. Why? That's what you choose to show off your design skills? The little cardi was a nice color, but not out of the ordinary, and the top, while pretty, was also not that unusual. Thus, while the design overall was attractive, there was nothing special or striking about it to my eye.
Irina: I quite liked Irina's garment. Problems: The flowers at the front were not quite the right color, I think. The front of the dress (as someone pointed out in the Lifetime comments) should have been a bit longer...either that or the model's babybump was way out of whack. There were a couple of construction issues indicated by the photos that I didn't see on the runway. That being said, cute colors and cute design, just some sewing issues. I would totally wear this dress, though, and I think it was my third favorite look, designwise. It looked fresh and young, and I think that's how I might like to look if I were pregnant in the summer.
Johnny: I liked the side seam on Johnny's garment. The piping was a good idea in the design he chose. Overall, the design wasn't very eyecatching for me. I never did figure out the back...was the back loose in some way? Like a cape? I can't tell from the photos, either. Something got lost in translation.
Logan: Boring. Boring boring boring. This really looks like something you could buy in a store. In some ways, that could be good, because it's a realistic and wearable garment. However, with the challenge being a design for a celebrity and to wow the judges...I didn't see it. It's a safe, middle-of-the road garment. Nothing more. And LEGGINGS AGAIN.
Louise: Louise conflicts me. I wasn't super wowed by her garment, though I like that she was able to bring her aesthetic into the challenge, and still create something the celeb judge would like. I also love that she hand-dyed her lace. Sure, it's not that hard, but my positive feelings about designers slowing down and thinking about their fabrics is previously documented. And it was really beautifully dyed. I'm wondering if all her garments are going to have shoulder flowers, and hoping she's not going to get stuck. All that being said, I think her garment ranked round about number 4 for me.
Malvin: Oh, Malvin. Okay. On the mannequin, before we got all the black involved, I thought I saw some interesting and soft draping of a lush fabric, and I thought maybe we had a fall garment with potential. Then we got to the runway and I had to play the WTF? card. What I thought I saw was obviously not the intention. Let's go backward. I beautiful lush wrap from that ivory fabric paired with a fawn or gray draped shirt maybe, or a sleek dress? I can sort of see something in my mind. But those pants were awful, and the look didn't come together, and the execution was not appealing. However...
Mitchell: Mitchell, in my mind, is out this week. I don't know what else he'll do, and maybe he will come back in a big way, but I will always think he maybe shouldn't be there. His look was neither well executed nor well designed. Yes, the top and cardi were wearable (in fact, I quite liked the flow of the cardi), but let's face it: We're looking at really horrific shorts and a top two garments you could get at Target or somewhere similar. The whole thing looked sloppy and unkempt. Honestly, as soon as I saw it I thought it was something B. Spears might wear and get made fun of for, because it would make her look flighty. The idea was to provide clothes a pregnant lady couldn't buy that would flatter her. Malvin was at least trying to produce something creative. This was the bigger fashion crime for me.
Nicolas: This look, while not terrible or really boring, made me think these adjectives: untidy, overworked, vampy. The skirt was too short and too tight, and the severe color choices were not tempered by anything, as were Althea's. Ultimately, I didn't care for this as a maternity dress, and I'm not sure I'd like it as a regular dress, either. It wants a bit of softness somewhere.
Qristyl: Qristyl went a little earth mothery this week, and I respect her color choice for the top. The bottom--is that brown or black? I couldn't tell. I think it was too dark, either way, and it was kind of startling, and also made flaws with the bottom of the top part stand out. I'm all for flowy-drapey-wrappy, but the bottom of the dress bothered me.
Ra'Mon: I always love it when something said in the workroom is repeated verbatim by the judges. Everyone thought bowling bag with this dress. Colors? Super. Fit? Awful. Construction? Um. What happened, Ra'Mon? He was trying a chancey design, and it didn't work. I really wanted him to do well with these fabrics, and I didn't want him to be in the bottom three, but I look at the other designs and can't really find anything worse, aside from M & M. Thus, he kind of has to get that position by default. Hopefully that will be a wakeup and he'll get back on track next week. I think he has more experimenting to do.
Shirin: I love the colors of the dress and lining, and thought the flyaway coat was very chic. Admittedly, I wasn't sold on this design at first, and thought it mid-range, but the second time around in the runway show, I completely revised my estimation. It was a smart response to the challenge, and worked both for the judge and for any woman. I do hope she does some different skirt cuts, though, because the dress shape and draping of the top is FAR too similar to what she did the first week. I liked it better for this challenge, so I wasn't sorry she won, and the coat was a new element, but let's keep track of her, shall we? I will go right off her if I see this dress again.
Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to Andrae Gonzalo's blog, which I find carefully considered and tastefully written this week. His last segment explains why Ra'Mon and Malvin failed at the essential maternity portion of this challenge.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Return of Project Runway

You know you were waiting for it, my first PR blog! Spoilers probably will abound here, so if you didn't get to watch the premier, skip the blog for now.

First, let's talk about the All-Star Challenge.
I can only think of a few people I know who are more annoying than Santino, and I am thus pretty glad that I don't know him. I know he does it mostly for show, and I actually don't mind him at all in his vulnerable moments, but other than that, I know that, were I in his presence in a workroom, I would block out literally everything he said.
Now. I'm conflicted.
I love Daniel V. I always liked the polished work he did and, while his final collection was not my favorite, I always liked how generally classy he was.
I did not care for his collection last night. I understand he was doing something sporty, but, since I'm being honest, I wasn't really impressed with the garments he produced. The rivet thing in his main dress was kind of cool, and I liked the bold blue, but...the judges kept going on about how much Daniel V. learned, yadda yadda, which was interesting since he was one of their favorites back in the day. I don't know. I love how respectful he is of the learning process and of the judges' views. I just wasn't excited about the clothes, and I didn't like the direction he seems to be going in. Remember how exquisite his flower imitation outfit was? That's the Daniel V. I love.
I really liked Korto's black dress and red dress. She does tend to stick with a particular aesthetic, but the whole point of the challenge was to present a personal point of view, and I really don't think she had to "learn a lot" or change what she does in response to judges. She's pretty much a package that I already respect. I'd wear her clothing and love it. I adored what she did with those lava rocks. Being able to visualize and change a fabric always makes me excited.
I liked Uli's collection and thought it would rate higher. I was confused by that, especially with the wearability of her 4th look. I loved her chiffon ruffly dress, which I think would be a cute addition to my wardrobe. I didn't find her collection boring at all...I think Uli was hurt by others' expectations of her. She wanted to show growth in sophistication, and she did; she expanded her arsenal. Like Korto, I'd wear her clothing and love it.
Of the other garments, I liked Chris's coat (look 2, I think), Mychael's skirt, and Sweet P's green ruffly dress.
Jeffrey's collection looked a little lazy to me, and Santino's looked a little too much like something a cougar might wear (and I mean the woman, not the animal).
So, the shakedown of the 8 was off for me. I liked Korto and Uli the best, and as I watched the judging I was nervous, because it seemed like I was in for another season of the judges and me not matching at all, which is kind of unpleasant.

Now, let's move on to the Big Game.
And let me first say that Lifetime has some serious navigation problems with their PR pictures online; if you want to see the dresses, you have to rate them one by one. Terrible idea. At this point, there is also no Tim's Take...instead there are just extended videos of what he said, while the challenge was in progress. Also not what I want. In the portfolio section, the buttons don't work properly yet. They have a long way to go over there.
On to the clothes (and this is assuming Lifetime has the pictures synched up with the right names!):

I liked Althea's dress for a particular purpose. Go Ohio! It wasn't as sophisticated as Ra'mon's and some of the others, but it was pretty and appropriate for a younger star, like maybe Abigail Breslin in three or four years.
Ari. Oh dear. I don't have a problem with her not sketching, and in theory I don't have a problem with edgy gear. But her garment didn't even seem fitted properly. I think she's got some re-conceptualizting of herself to do.
What Carol Hannah wanted to do seemed unique, but the fit of the dress was kind of baggy, and I mean that literally--the bottom two tiers looked like bunchy bags, with not enough contrast in the shape. If that portion had been sleeker, with perhaps a bit of trim in lines or something, I think she would have had a contender.
Christopher irritates me, and I'll tell you why: He goes on and on about how he has no education in garments and he's entirely self-taught, etc. etc. But he doesn't know what smocking is, or what godets are. Seriously? I know that, and I don't have any garment education either, aside from what I have read in patterns. There's a broad line in this case between self-taught and ignorant, and I'm sorry to see that Christopher is applauding his ignorance. If you want to work in fashion, maybe you should actually educate yourself, or at least learn some terms. Now, I thought his dress was cute and entirely appropriate for the VMAs, but if he continues to stand there and say, basically, "huh huh huh, I totally won, and I don't know anything!" I'm going to be MAD. Open a book, dude. Get a sewing dictionary. Read it.
Epperson's garment conflicts me. On the one hand, it's kind of badass (though the shape at the bottom, where the trim is sewn on, could be better); on the other, I can't think what Red Carpet event it would fit for. It looked a little too boudoir noir for me. It would be really interesting to see that piece in a full collection, but for the challenge at hand I was a little baffled.
Gordana's structural elements were interesting; this is not a garment I would have selected to wear, though. Pretty color, kind of boring bottom. It felt unbalanced spatially.
Irina's dress rocked. I loved it. I know the nude color is a little daring, but the shape and movement of the dress were great. It felt pretty and I bet it would be really lovely on a red carpet. I gather Rami Kashou is an inspiration of hers, and you could really tell.
Johnny's dress had a Grammy feel to it. I didn't care for the skirt of the front, but I also didn't mind the scarlet. I thought a deeper wine color might be interesting. All the same, this was not one of my favorite garments, and I was surprised it was top 3.
I was interested in Logan's dress. It didn't blow my mind, but I thought it was pretty and fluid, and I would probably wear it. I think it has a fashionable Grammy possibility, or perhaps Golden Globes.
Louise--I want to like Louise's clothes a lot. I don't know how she'll do, but she has an interesting aesthetic. I didn't especially care for the bottom of the dress (gathered up on one side might have been interesting, though) but I liked her fabric choice, even though the color washed out. I have that problem sometimes, too.
Malvin--Um, see Shirin below, because I feel the exact same way about her garment as I do about Malvin's.
Like Tim, I was bemused by Mitchell's initial creation. I can't tell from the sketch, either. I have no idea what he's up to. I reserve judgment for the week.
I didn't care that much for Nicolas's dress...I didn't dislike it, I just wasn't interested. It was also wicked different from his sketch. I could, however, see Lohan wearing it.
Qristyl. Poor Qristyl. Good idea, bad result. I will be interested to see what she does with prints in the future, but this was not her day. It didn't look all that bad on TV, in motion, but from the still picture you see what the judges were talking about.
Ra'Mon--While I don't always match the judges in their favorites, I liked Ra'Mon's dress. It was a bit reminiscent of someone else's dress a while back, and I can't remember whose, but I liked the structural elements and the pleating, and it was very glamorous without being old. I think it was one of few that was Oscar-ready.
Shirin's silver dress was a little boring to me...the cut of the skirt didn't strike me as particularly red carpet.

Well, I think that's everyone! I was most interested in the garments of Irina and Ra'Mon. I am excited for the coming weeks of PR and wondering how it's going to fit into my Thursday life. Thursday has a lot of shows for me, as does Wednesday!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hats for the Lady

Sometimes, instead of indulging myself in looking at wedding gowns online, I look at hats. Fancy ones. Like, hats you'd wear to the races or to meet the Queen. For instance, from Victorian Trading Company:

Sometimes I wish we still wore fancy hats places, just so I could go shopping for millinery. Realistically, my head is a weird shape and I don't find many hats that look good on me, but wouldn't it be fun to go try hats on for a day? And then go have a cream tea in a local hotel restaurant?
Somehow, going to the fancy hat department in JC Penney just doesn't quite cover it.

And while we're on the subject of fashion, I don't usually go for this kind of style, but I wouldn't be embarrassed to get married in this, also VTC:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's up? The sky. And rocks. Falling ones.

In our youth, each August, my sister and I would prepare for meteors. The Perseids look awesome where we live: There is little city light interference, we have a giant backyard, and our dock stretches a bit into the lake, and rests at a slant perfect for looking upward. We'd bundle up and put some serious mosquito spray on, grab a snack (for instance, a Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake bar) and head out into the dark. My sister being the astronomy expert, she'd point out where to look and why. Sometimes our Dad joined us, sometimes the cat. We'd talk or not talk, and count each meteor we saw, sometimes confirming them with each other--the bats swooping around were a little deceptive, as were the fireflies.
When it's clear, and the temperature is good, I sometimes find a quiet spot to look up when the Perseids peak. Last night was such an occasion. I went to one of the parking lots on campus and lay back across the hood of my car. I actually saw a meteor right when I got out, which surprised me. Number 4 was one of those that burn up right before your eyes. I also had the Great Blue Heron that hangs out on campus fly by about ten feet away! And lots of bats.
When I'd seen 5 meteors, I went in search of a darker spot. I drove around on 25 for a bit, went to the park, and then ended up right back where I'd started, one parking lot over, as being the darkest and safest place. By that time, there was lightning off to the east, so I had a combination show. The lightning was a bit distracting, though, so I prepared to go home, but then I thought, if I sit in my car and lie back, I might be able to see a few more, and sure enough, I did see a couple of good ones in my chosen swath of sky. The last one burned so brightly there was an after-streak.
Meteor-hunting is the ultimate game of "just one more, just one more" with the sky. Just like at the fireworks, when a particularly great meteor pops up, I say, "Good job, sky." I suppose meteor-hunting requires patience, but I actually think time passes quickly. I went out just before 11, and before I knew it midnight arrived. The solitude and the silent waiting of the expanse of sky quiets my heart and my head. I do miss skywatching with my sister, though, just one of those sisterly things that made summers great.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Space Cadet

So, it's my own fault, I know; I'm not really complaining here so much as explaining.
My apartment is hot. HOT. I took a cold shower and put my top sheet in the fridge for a half hour before I went to bed to help me be cool when I went to sleep, and I ran my (admittedly ineffectual) small fan. I shut out the light just before two. And waited. At 4, I got worried, having slept for no more than twenty minutes. At 5, I gave up and went to my other apartment, which has a more powerful fan and windows that are next to the couch on which I sacked out. I cooled down enough to need a covering, which is what it usually takes for me to sleep. I fell asleep probably around 6, and slept off and on until about 10, at which time the apartment had too much light in it and I went back to my bed, where I clocked in another forty minutes or so, off and on. All told, I couldn't have gotten more than 3 or 4 hours.
The worst part is, at 5 last night, I wasn't really sleepy at all. I was wide awake, despite finishing my soda twelve hours earlier, despite having a nice drink with dinner. That made me panic, which of course didn't help. I haven't had this kind of insomnia in quite a while, and I'd forgotten how dull it makes me.
Right now, I feel spacy. I'm awake, I'm thinking, I'm moving around, but my head is a little slow. I hope that tonight I make the call to move earlier if I can't sleep, and that I have enough energy to pull out the couch bed rather than just sacking out on the couch itself. I might do some rearranging of my sewing materials tonight to facilitate this. We're supposed to have a cooler night tonight, so I'm hoping that will solve the problem.

Monday, August 03, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation: Travel edition.

Last week I returned from a week of travel in Wisconsin, Crystal Valley, MI, and East Lansing, respectively. Here is a sampling of my trip highlights:


Meeting my nephew. Nichol is a strong baby, and pretty mellow at this point. He's starting to respond with smiles and my sister was training him to stick out his tongue. I was trying to see if he'd curl it, to no avail. Nichol is pretty comfortable so far with other people besides his mum holding him, so I got a few peaceful half hours with him tucked onto my shoulder. He did amazingly well when we went to the mall, only howling once when he was hungry and sleeping the rest of the time. He also favors "Va Pensiero," which I hummed whenever he fussed. (I made sure to pass this along to my Dad, who started the whole humming opera thing.)
Chasing Ruth. We had a nice walk in a big field and around the Fox City gardens, and some quality play time at home and out and about. My niece is two now, and full of energy. Sometimes when she came down the slide at the mall, she'd take a lap around the play area waving her hands in the air and dancing like a little sprite. She also chased a little boy with her stuffed frog. That's my girl. The mall is also where she got some brand new sneakers with princesses on the side and lights on the bottom. They're awesome. I forgot to mention that when I got to their house, and Ruth came down from her nap, she came right to me and didn't leave my side for at least an hour. Love!
Houseboat. The movie. I include this because for some reason Ruth was very engaged by this film. One night after she'd been playing outside I was watching it, and she sat still in my lap for ages drinking her milk and gazing at the screen. Later, she got down, puttered around for a bit, and then told me she wanted to go to sleep in her bed. "Nice baby," she said.
Sister giggles. It didn't take long--my sister and I had a giggle fit my first night during dinner, based on Ruth's new conversational trick. It's totally natural to repeat what a toddler says to be sure you understood, but she tricked us, as if the whole thing was our idea.
Ruth: "Baby go park. Go park? Baby p'ay in park. Baby go park."
Sarah: "Baby go park?"
Ruth: "Ok."
It was funny as is, but even funnier because we kept walking into her cleverly laid trap.
Family. My favorite time of the whole trip was a blissful hour or so when the Brewers won their baseball game, we had a delicious dinner, Sarah was playing with Ruth on the floor, and Dave was having "man time" with Nichol. It was so peaceful that I located their camcorder and took some footage (I think--I have little experience with camcorders). I mean, THAT'S living. A cozy, intelligent, warm family. It was beautiful, and I feel blessed.


That's right, I took the ferry again. The weather was supposed to be fine and clear, and the wave forecast was 0-1 feet. After much consultation with my Dad via phone, and considering that it was going to pour over the northern route to Michigan, I opted for the boat. I'm glad I did. I had a good trip, and I finished Stardust, which I'd borrowed from my sister. I also met a guy who is an athletic trainer grad student here at BGSU, who gently parked my car on the boat for me and left his info in the car in case I ever want free tickets. Coming into Ludington, I was standing next to a woman to whom it turns out I'm distantly related.


Ludington. My gran and I went up and had lunch at a little place in Ludington. Then we sat in the car and looked at the lake for a bit, chatting. I also took her to Meijer. We came back and both of us had a long nap--all that lake air. It was nice to be able to help my grandma out a little and get some time to catch up. I tried to ask her questions, more than I usually do, learning for instance about what sorts of foods they canned when she was little and which was her favorite in the middle of winter. Things like that.
Party. Some cousins were having a party for another cousin, and so we drove the mile or two to the giant house of Vince and (drat...can't remember his wife's name--and she's the one I'm related to). I knew only a couple of people at the party, and most of them were outside my age range one way or another. I walked about and chatted with a few people, though, and then I hung out with Patrick, Vince's son, who is 26 and was literally the only person my age there. He gave me a tour and we had a nice long conversation about our respective lives. After the party, Gran and I stopped by a little market owned by some neighbors. We also took a spin around the cemetery to visit the vast number of family members I have there.
Barn. The barn at the farm is for storage now, but it used to have animals in it and, in its somewhat dilapidated current state, it's always been fun to poke around in. No one's been in there for some months, except for some foxes, so I spent an hour clambering around. If my sister and I were playing archaeologists again, we would have been in heaven. It was full of various animal bones and not-bones, and feathers, and all kinds of things. I made a list.
Church. My grandmother's church is tiny, and in the summer it's even tinier. I guesstimate 3/4 of the attendees on Sunday were my family in one way or another!


I spent a night at home before I came back for a board meeting. I spent much of the day and evening regaling my parents with stories of Ruth and Nichol, and also of my grandmother. I basically gave them a report, and also showed them my pictures. There was much to say, but we took a break to watch the most confusing Miss Marple ever, after dinner. It was a nice visit, as short as it was, and I was glad to be able to convey good stories and information.