Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Happy Birthday to my amazing mother! I hope you have a perfect day!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I'm stepping outside the PR zone for a few minutes to talk about something else.
In the last month, I've developed new understanding for what clinically depressed people experience. I've always sympathized, but now I believe I can empathize.
The drug I am on for the gastroparesis is helping, but it also has some pretty big side effects for me, even at the low dosage I was taking.
I am usually a person who finds pleasure in small things, who enjoys fun solo trips all over the place, or mini-adventures of my own. A trip to the movies, to the zoo, to the mall, or even just an uninterrupted day to sew or hang out--Usually I am able to anticipate these enjoyable activities and while experiencing them feel happy and contented. I want to do them.
Shortly after I was medicated, I realized that the drug was making me simultaneously restless and tired, which was somewhat expected given my previous experience ten years ago. Unexpected, though, was the severe level of apathy. Nothing sounded fun. Nothing felt fun. I didn't look forward to anything, and things that were normally fun felt like chores. I knew I was in trouble when it came time for hockey and I went out of habit and couldn't wait to go home and get back in my pajamas again. (And then, of course, when I got home, my restlessness made it difficult for me to be contented sitting down and watching TV or whatever). Intellectually, I knew I was doing something I enjoy, but I wasn't feeling it, literally. I didn't want to do anything, and didn't feel anything. About the only thing I could do was read, which I have been doing a lot, because it sort of takes me out of myself.
I wasn't sad, most of the time, just completely apathetic to anything, which is somehow worse. I had to make myself do things. For instance, when I went to my last doctor's appointment, right next to the Franklin Park Mall, I had a whole afternoon free; ordinarily, I'd jump all over that and be excited about the field trip. But it took my mother saying, Just go and walk around and think of it as exercise, that made me go. And wander I did, and I suppose in some way I enjoyed it, in the sense that it was something to do that kept my mind busy. And I bought a few cute things...either the apathy or the styles out right now prevented me from spending too much.
Depression is a terrible feeling. You start to wonder what you're doing here, if this is going to last forever, and what the point of anything is. And somehow it was all the more frustrating because I knew it was coming out of a medication I needed. Frustrating because normally I'm a person who has very deep emotions, and here they were completely wasted. Frustrating because it isn't normal to feel absolutely no pleasure or satisfaction about anything, and to have only the worries and stresses to provide any feelings at all, and even those are blunted by the same force. I could really understand how it is that some people just can't get out of bed.
I am now on half the dosage I was taking. It still seems to be working on my stomach somewhat, and I think, though it is early days yet, that the apathy has lessened. It's still there, and is certainly exacerbated by the tough days of this time of year, doing the job I do (which is always frustrating in spring). But today, for instance, I look forward to going home and maybe finishing a big knitting project, or just reading one of the Elizabeth Peters novels my sister sent me, whereas before I would be indifferent. The other day I treated myself to dinner in bed, with a book, which felt nice and decadent. I'm not as happy as I should be about the Michigan State vs. Bowling Green hockey game this weekend, but it doesn't seem like such a big chore. I still miss laughing--nothing has seemed funny for a long time. I also have to be careful about getting excited (positively or negatively) about things because it bothers my stomach. But I have hopes that somehow I will be able to have feelings again, and to experience pleasure like a healthy person.
In a way I'm writing this today to explain an experience. Since my lack of feelings is almost all linked to the medication, I can sort of study it from the outside, whereas if I were clinically depressed I would probably be too far inside to talk about it. In another way, though, this is an apology. I'm struggling, and I have not been very attentive to friends and family, for entirely different reasons than before I started the drug. It is really hard some days just to get dressed and come to work, let alone hang out with people and pretend that I'm having a good time when I can't actually. Sometimes it's just easier to be alone, especially with the way I eat right now. Things are getting better, and I just wanted you to know that I love you and I'm thinking about you, no matter where the rest of me is.

Friday, February 19, 2010

PR: For the Small

"What do you like best about your outfit?" "It has a purse."
And that pretty much sums up last night's Project Runway. There were some weird showings, and some very practical garments. There was a twist and some quaking in boots, but on the whole I think some interesting things came down the runway, even if most of them were flawed in some way.

Amy: Ok, first I have to speak up in Amy's defense. I nearly fell out of my chair when that judge said, "I don't think blue and orange are really that complementary of colors, do you?" My dear woman, complementary is the definition of blue and orange. Geez, art history much? Open a book.
Anyway. Props to the little model for speaking up for Amy. I liked the skirt and the sweater. The leggings--no. I also didn't care for the pants on the lady model. I wondered if she would have been better off with a toned down version of the petaling in a skirt (like the look when she was originally laying the pieces out on a background fabric). That might have had a little more appeal. I'm glad Amy wasn't auf'd, but it was a close one.
Anthony: I thought the design for the little girl was adorable. The ruffle neckline really didn't need to be such a V shape, but the concept and fabrics were darling together. I didn't care for the lady dress (or top and skirt--I see a bit of belly peeking out on the photo). It was a little too cheap-looking, in construction and in design.
Ben: The little dress was kind of sweet but also kind of plain--it wouldn't jump off a hanger. I liked the skirt to the lady outfit, but the shirt, with that shoulder treatment he's so fond of--didn't care for it. It was so dark. They didn't look like they were going to the same place.
Emilio: I have to be honest, I've seen patterns for a very similar dress to the little one Emilio made. That could be a Butterick, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it's not really the purpose of the competition. The lady dress was kind of saccharine for my tastes--like a confection, but in a bridesmaid color, not really practical for life. I might have liked it better in a lighter, more sophisticated peachy color.
Janeane: I actually liked the lady top that Janeane made. I was not offended by the rest of the garments, but I do agree that there was a little too much simplicity (or Simplicity--that's a pattern joke) in them. She produced both a bubble skirt and leggings, neither of which I like generally. I did see the perspective of playclothes in them, and it's hard to find cute playclothes, but at the same time, I would have thought Janeane would realize playclothes wouldn't win a design competition. Michael Kors is obsessed with ladies' sportswear, but when it comes to kids' clothes, they were looking for something new and fashion forward, as dictated specifically in the challenge. Janeane didn't meet those parameters.
Jay N.: Burgundy and black for casualwear? It was so dark! Also, the little dress had a keyhole back, which is completely unnecessary. I didn't hate this outfit, but it didn't grab my eye at all, and while the lady top was attractive, that's really all there was to the lady outfit. The pants weren't that interesting, unlike Seth Aaron's. I wondered if for sophisticated gothic parents the child's look would be attractive and meet their style desires, but I just did not respond favorably to this look. In Jay's semi-favor, though, I might be biased by the styling. A scarf was completely unnecessary for this tank dress. It looked sloppy and obscured the already obscured-by-darkness dress.
Jesse: I think this look will be a little controversial. I loved the gray and red trim together, and the red coat for the little outfit. I hated the asymmetrical design. As someone pointed out in comments, kids' clothes are always getting swung around or bunched up, and the design element would therefore be pointless. The lady outfit...well, I can see what he was going for, and the shape is nice, but I don't think I could wear this outfit. I love love love that coat, though. Love. And that is why he was in the top 3, I think.
Jonathan: Oh, Jonathan. So up, so down. There had to be better ways to glam up a sweet little yellow dress and bolero other than putting scratchy organza on it. Right? I really liked the fabric treatment with the bolero and the color blocking with the yellow on the dress. The organza just seemed unnecessary. For the lady look--I could understand his vision better than Kors; it was as though he were going for something a little couture. I've seen worse, and I thought he was attacked mostly because of the context of the challenge. He overdid. In any case, the garments were not well paired.
Maya: I really liked Maya's looks. I responded positively to them on the runway because they were bright and practical. This is more like well designed playclothes than what Janeane put together, and it seemed like lady and little could play together, whereas Janeane's was more like, little plays while lady watches. I don't care for leggings, as I mentioned, and I wish I could have gotten a look at the little top, but I thought this pair looked nice. I don't know what exactly it is about them, but I really liked these.
Mila: Mila is Mila, right? I liked the lady coat, though it was a little too much of a 60s throwback for didn't have much in the way of updating. Really didn't care for the little dress. It looked garish rather than sweet, and the giant black pockets were offputting. Watermelon colors with spotted print? I just don't see it.
Seth Aaron: Glad SA won this round. I really enjoyed the lady jacket. I don't normally go for that sort of thing, but I thought the garment was tasteful and I'd totally wear that, zippers and all. That little girl was adorable enough on her own, but that little hoodie looked perfect for her. Some may argue that this looks like something you could buy, but to my eye the hoodie had just enough original design elements to it to make it stand out from purchasable items. It's like the type of thing a store would make a knock-off of, but the original would still be there. I just think Seth Aaron had a great balance of wearable design. He designed smart this week.

In a great take of "chacun a son gout" reading the PR blogs is a trip this week. No one agrees about anything, it seems. As in, Chris March loved Mila, Carol Hannah hated her look, and Tim was neutral. Good times!
Next week, the hardware store. I'm hoping for good things.

Friday, February 12, 2010

PR: Cover Klum

It seemed like a lot of designers missed the challenge this week, no? For such a high-stakes prize, I'd have thought they'd pay more attention to the instructions they were given. Very few did, however, and there weren't many looks that would have worked on the cover of a magazine. And the one said you had to use lime green to represent spring, but at least something that has some richness to it would have been appropriate! I honestly don't think anyone put his or her best foot forward this week.

Amy: This dress looked a little too hodgepodgey to me. The top was also a little too similar to her previous dress. It didn't seem to fit the challenge as a spring cover look. Just too busy all around.
Anna: Oh, Anna. In her defense, the blouse was kind of cute, but I'm so tired of that short pinstripe short thing (Really? Business fabric and hoochie shorts?), and I really disliked that vest. The look lacked sophistication.
Anthony: This is kind of weird, but when I saw Anthony's strips of fabrics, I kind of composed something in my mind that was really similar to what he came up with. The only difference is that my strips made more of a wave over the whole breast area, and were more petite, like a ruffle. Thus, I was a little surprised on the runway to see what he produced. I had a feeling the judges might pick this one; I have to say, though, I'm kind of tired of seeing that length and shape of skirt on Anthony's looks. They're all the same size and cut around the legs, and this is really the first one that hasn't been too trashy.
Ben: Okay, styling wise, I didn't like this--he made his model look like a drag queen, with much too heavy a makeup job. The garment itself, though, I liked. I thought this was very much inside Ben's comfort zone, and I would have liked to see this one win. I think. If only because it was different.
Emilio: No. Cute? Yes. For Heidi? No. Talk about one-note--Emilio seems to make great dresses for the youthful, as Nina says, Juniors set. Even without the straps, the cut of the skirt was very babydoll and it looked like a skating costume. I think this did well mainly because of the color.
Janeane: I actually liked that little bolero, but it really was much too bridal looking. A lot of comments on the website declare this ugly; I don't think so at all, I think it's pretty, but for a bridal party. I also see some construction issues. Definitely not meeting the challenge.
Jay: Linen color on a magazine cover? I'm not so sure about that. I confess I don't spend much time looking at magazine covers, but I found that choice questionnable. I liked the flow of this garment, and its shape, but the fabric choice made it look like a prairie fantasy look, maybe for an inside cover shoot, but not a cover.
Jesse: I liked the basket weaving, but Jesse basically disregarded the instructions: Details won't show up on a magazine cover, especially not in dark fabrics. Think if he had done this in silver or a lighter green. Maybe then. But this said evening, not spring. The back also did not look carefully constructed.
Jonathan: I honestly am not sure what to say about this. A gold romper. That's what I have to work with here. OK--I liked the garment. Surprised? No, I did. I thought it fluid and handsome. However, I liked it as a bedroom outfit. I'd sleep in that. Or maybe throw some brown legwarmers and character shoes on and you have an outfit for some dance practice. Maybe he was considering that they'd only photograph from the waist up?
Maya: I didn't understand this look. With major changes to the disparate elements, I could see it, like if that top blue part was heavier and more jacket like and the neck ring more deliberate. And a sleeve of some kind. But that's not what went down the runway, and I just don't get it.
Mila: I don't get this either. Even if that central color were peach, that was too much peach, a weak color compared to the others, especially at the top. I can't figure out how this would have looked right on a magazine cover. The top is downright matronly, and I hate that word.
Seth Aaron: It looked like the construction was on with this suit, but it was not the right color. I could see it on Heidi, as an outfit for another event, but not for the cover of an April issue, when you're desperate for something that isn't gray.

Kids next week...I'm scared.

Monday, February 08, 2010


So, I did things backward this week, and I kind of liked it. I recorded the show because I had work to do. Then, before I watched the show, I looked at the pictures online and read Tim's blog. Then, I watched the runway show in a rerun, but not the first part. Then, I watched bits and pieces of the show I'd recorded. I think I caught all of it by now.
I caught enough to know, for example, that this was a better "everyday woman" challenge than past efforts. People were respectful to their models, and the complaints about ladies' sizes were kept to a minimum, and only as a personal challenge sort of thing, not an actual complaint. More than usual seemed pleased about designing for full-sized women, like Mila. I like the prize for this challenge, a place in a gala runway, and the challenge itself was interesting--and forced the designers to use color In all, given the reality that the dress would be made and sold to people, I think the judges made the right choice on the winner, and I was glad to see Amy pull one out. I think she's doing well at responding to the challenge at hand, keeping a point of view without getting precious or obstinate about meeting challenge constraints.
And it is interesting, no, that after the frustrations over Jesus and Ping staying in, they are both out shortly thereafter? Gives a sort of feeling of rightness.

Enough chitchat. The garments:
Amy (flowy red strapless): Practical and pretty. I know some might not be happy with the deconstructed work she did as trim, but this dress moved beautifully and would be appealing to many customers. Kind of wish it wasn't strapless, but I think Amy did well on enhancing a current trend (the maxi-dress) to fit this challenge. This was my favorite garment this week. Adventurous it was not, but that wasn't the point.
Anna (red with nude shoulders and trim): Even Anna knew she'd made some bad choices. The colorblocking idea wasn't a terrible one, but doing it in nude (essentially tan) with bright red was not a good move, nor was the design of the colorblocking. It could be argued that the dress would look nice on a thin model-type, but I'm not so sure. The colors and design of that blocking...I just think not.
Anthony (red skirt and vest): I'll just say it--I thought this look was whorish. It was too short and too tight, and the design of that little vest gave more volume to the woman, not less. Talk about questionable taste level.
Ben (long dress with slit and gold beltlike area): Tim's Take is all about Ben. While I have liked some of his work, other garments not so much. With this dress, I didn't really care for the armpit/shoulder treatment (that's not going to be comfortable, especially if you are freshly shaven or waxed!). I also didn't admire the fit of the top half. The midsection treatment was interesting, but I didn't care for the color and I think it has useless buttons...not very appealing. Is it a hideous dress? No. But I can't figure out why Tim is so gaga over it. There were also some construction errors. Essentially, it looked like it was trying to combine a glamorous look with kitcsh elements, and I wasn't sold.
Emilio (strapless babydoll): This look was pretty safe. Emilio in general seems to do pretty and safe looks a lot. The fabric even had dots on it, which made the whole thing borderline cutesy. It was a dress I might wear if I looked nice in that shade of red, and if I could wear a strapless like that, but this was not a winner for its simplicity. I'd like to see Emilio and his cute little dresses kick it up a little.
Janeane Marie (red dress with white crepey trim): For some reason, JM liked her hem. What the what? a half hearted bubble with a strange white underbelly? I find the bottom of this dress incomprehensible enough to kill any sort of interest I had in the top.
Jay Nicolas (red carapace bustier with red skirt): I found this dress kind of regal in a Queen of Hearts sort of way--seriously, can't you see her wearing this? The model looked very sweet in it. I found the top construction interesting, but ultimately questionned its reproducibility for the sales on the website. I also am not sure how I liked the Campbell's fabric used as piping at the waistline. I recognize there weren't too many options, but that's not what I would have chosen.
Jesse (red dress with white jacket): Jesse was falsely panned. There was obvious trouble with the fit of his straps, but I really liked the fit of his skirt in front and liked the shape of the garment from the back. I didn't mind the jacket at all, but would have preferred it unbuttoned, I think. I really did not expect to see him in the bottom 3. This look wasn't a winner, but it was better than at least 3 of its competitors.
Jesus (red with rhinestone straps): Oh, dear. Now I think, sans rhinestone straps, maybe with something else up there, people might wear this dress. But this garment really did look like that of a hooker. A high-class hooker, maybe--I could see her in a Vegas In addition to the questionnable taste, the top half of the dress looked really badly sewn. Just no.
Jonathan (deep red tiered dress): Tim is also very about Jonathan. My problem with this dress started when the front of the dress looked like a back. The model has a flat or low chest, seemingly, like mine. Thus, I don't know if the look of the top was all that flattering on her since it enhanced her flatness. I sometimes like tiered dresses, but I thought this one was a little too voluminous and thus borderline dust ruffly. Also didn't like the bright red and white Campbell's logo for the belt, nor the weird bright red chiffon part of the bottom tier in the back. It looked like he ran out of fabric. Props, though, for using a color of deep red that would suit more ladies.
Maya (red dress with half a heart): I liked Mila's idea with the heart. I was all about that. I am not sure how I felt about the gold color of said half heart, but I thought the front was striking in a good way, if not executed as well as I (and Mila) would have liked. I didn't like the weird cut out with the back (in fact, several designers did something similar, and none of them succeeded). I like the conception of this dress more than its result, but I respected it.
Mila (gown with white stars): Okay, go with me here--when I saw this dress, I thought, Fourth of July parade costume. Yes it was well constructed, and I suppose it fit the theme, but I thought it costumey and it reminded me of fireworks. I know, I know, there was no blue, but July 4th memorability isn't always red, white, and blue, especially when you're not trying to be too kitschy. I just couldn't get past that, and I didn't think it was a dress that a lot of women would buy and wear, as part of the challenge's prize required. So, bravo for taking a risk, and putting something interesting together, but not a winner.
Seth Aaron (black skirt, red and Campbell's top): This outfit was not terribly evening nor terribly classy. I think some women might wear this, but not the market this event was geared toward. It sort of looks like she should put on a cowboy hat. I can't justify that, maybe it's the red, white, and black, but that immediately entered my mind when I saw the look. Not a stunner. Kind of surprised this wasn't in the bottom...or rather, might have been had there not been some other incomprehensible looks.

So--my bottom looks were Jesus, Janeane Marie, and either Anna or Anthony, possibly Seth Aaron. My top looks were Amy, Jay Nicolas, and I guess Mila, though as I noted that wouldn't be my winner. In all, I was happy with the judging results this week.