Moved

Hey blog,

I’ve moved. I never shy away from challenges and resolve to be someone who seeks adventure. So despite my penchant for being rooted and earthy, despite my love of Boston, I’ve traveled to the West Coast in pursuit of love, new knowledge and perspective. I do not seek travel for the sake of travel: I am well versed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “giant” and George Harrison’s “Inner Light”.

I’m in pursuit of the best version of myself. I’ve always wanted to live in many places and this first break is the hardest. I don’t want to live apart from my family. Unfortunately, to become the person I want to be, I cannot sit on the banks of the Charles forever.

Love and Light,

Stef

In the Attic

Two weeks ago, Abby excavated my parent’s attic and it became apparent that I inherited the hoarding trait. Or rather, when something’s out of sight, it’s entirely out of my mind. Ma always donated my clothing after Abby wore and grew out of it. Around age twelve, the power of recycling was put in my hands. I put both this power and all of my subsequent clothes in the attic…for the next  fourteen years.

In honor of this gross collection of stained peasant shirts, fantasy novel rough drafts and broken sunglasses, I’ve put together three collages to represent the stages in my life while in this old house. (The truth: I wanted to practice my Adobe Design Suite skills.)

First is the charming early childhood collection. Featured accessories include a Lisa Frank bookmark, the sippy cup I drank Ovaltine hot chocolate out of every morning, and my Little Mermaid shell necklace, glittery water now evaporated. The Little Mermaid came out in 1989 and I was lucky enough to get an Ariel Barbie for Christmas that year. Her purple rubber bra refused to stay on. The background is a creative imagining of myself as Santa. Check out the plush sleigh and chubby reindeer (Lulls, anyone?).

Second is the obligatory awkward middle years collage. This one’s not quite as fun because I simply didn’t photograph as many fun things from this time period. Featured objects include my notorious watermelon retainer (the dark green ‘rind’ merely highlighted my teeth’s flaws) and a scented sachet from my friend Miriam’s bat mitzvah. Mazel tov, Mir! I still remember that night. The background here is a sample page from the informative booklet we were given in health class. Periods, boobs & feelings, y’all.

 

Finally, the hip teen collage. The background is a sheet of extra school photos; this one was my worst ever, not least because my nose is facing a different direction than the rest of my face. Featured objects include my first ever cell phone from senior year (which I used only to call for rides after track practice), a hacky sack (hahahaha) and my assignment notebook/planner, which I covered with a collage. Please note, the little type that pronounces, “I Am The Queen”. Damn right.

Stay tuned for the “In the Attic- Clothing Edition”! I’ll just do it below.

Representing the childhood clothing section is my famed overalls. “I finally found them! I’ve been looking for these for YEARS,” I told my boyfriend excitedly. “Yeah, I know, you’ve mentioned it several times,” he replied, clearly unimpressed. 

I bought this dress in the 8th grade for my first and only middle school dance. I found it heavily discounted at Sears; when I bought it, it was even more discounted and cost a total of $2. This was memorable, as was dancing to Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” and Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”. I fit into this dress but will admit it was a little strained in the hips.

Here’s one of my shining accomplishments of high school and one of my weirder least weird fashion choices (forgot about my corset and snood phase for a moment there). I took a pair of hand-me-down jeans and applied all the craftiness, “cool” imagery and amateur sewing I possibly could. Let’s tour these, bit by bit, ok? The black dragon pocket (a nod to my Chinese birth year) adds a cargo-pants effect. I added fabric to the ankle seams because bellbottoms are timeless. Please note the laminated fortune cookie sewn onto the left knee and the little fairy figure painted onto the upper right pocket. The back of these art jeans is more of the same, plus a painted sunflower covering part of the butt.

So here’s to forgotten clothes, to beloved statements of rebellion, to childhood jewelry and memories of first dances, bat mitzvahs, homework and track practice. May we (I) remember, appreciate, and then donate most of it.

“I brought the bags and bags and bags to the Salvation Army.  The man at the drop off was incredulous.  He has never seen such a contribution.  He was wondering if you had any clothes left in your closets.” -Ma

Gratitude

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Just a simple list of things I’m grateful for. Oprah says to do it every day, Thanksgiving be damned, so let’s go.

  • my healthy, loving family
  • Boston sunrises, stretching peach across the Pru
  • early runs with mum and Adhiti
  • my cooking skills & fresh local produce
  • happy friends willing to try new things
  • all those clothes I used to own…thankful both for the privilege of being clothed and now to be rid of all that excess
  • “Here Comes the Sun”
  • Mike’s hospitality & the horizon
  • spending Christmas in Boston
  • being active, healthy and injury-free
  • Abby, always.

NYC In Pieces

HOYT HOYT HOYT repeated the subway tiles, monotony smeared with filth.

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Her liquid eyeliner eyes scanned me up and down- looking for designer items, or something-before smirking and marking a face at her friend in a mask of makeup. A third girl asked, “Who do you think, like, owns the subway?”

I’ve never seen three women dress so similarly without an mascara flick of irony. Each bore Michael Kors accessories, a fashionably understated button-up, tight jeans tucked into knee-high riding boots, ne’er to grace a stable. I smiled at their disdain, hoping to freak them out and also thinking about all my weird that they couldn’t see and judge: my t-shirt on backwards, tag nestled in between my collarbones, the blood drying on the inside of my jeans, my watch clearly not on time, a killer hangover buzzing loudly in my forehead. Did these girls hide similar humanities beneath their uniforms?

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Union Square- Saturday Morning

I’m one of the people sitting on the steps, among loads of people, watching other people, assessing dogs and feeling the warmth of the sun. “Yes to chess!” shouts a man in a gaudy baseball jacket, trying to lure strangers into a game. I become a background figure in several selfies, Asian tourist shots and a small television segment.

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We board our vessel south. It’s possible to never once talk to another and it’s possible to spin the five hours into fine conversation threads. At the intermission, some venture outside to take advantage of the remaining sun. We stand each of us alone, in a vacant parking lot, staring at nothing, scattered like stone markers in a graveyard. (Alternate title: Anyone Else Taken the Bus to NYC?)

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I crane my neck to see the stories of windows punch the sky. I try to imagine the teeming masses the building contains and then pass another and another. At 72nd and Broadway, people extend arms, the long wave of vehicular necessity. Equinox, Cafe Paris, a shuttered cupcake boutique from a bygone fad will eventually give way as I travel north…to Cinderella Eyebrow Spa and Checks Cashed Here. Crowds are no longer at petite candle-lit walnut tables but perched on stained stoops, empty shopping cart watching the traffic creep by. This transition repeats all over the city, stretching and splitting, overlapping and lying together.

Book Review: The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

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The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

by Mira Jacob

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I was torn from reality the moment I opened my advanced reader’s copy. Every preconception and previous memory of Indian American immigrant stories was tossed to the wind. Instead I was engrossed by the book’s freshness, raw honesty and deeply compelling characters.

The Sleepwalker’s Guide is a book about loss. The book was more true to life than anything I’ve ever read- absolutely devastating and yet it continues and still there can be moments of cheer, surprise and beauty. I reread the least two chapters several times, unwilling to let the characters rest and fade to memory. Do not miss this debut work from Mira Jacob.

Running Fashion- November 3rd 2014

Running instead of cleaning my room…I know. Can you tell I found a camera tripod?

Running instead of cleaning my room…I know. Can you tell I found a camera tripod?

3 miles,

Cambridge

33-39 degrees F

It’s that time again…daylight savings, random frosts, snow that incites New England veterans to react like they’ve never seen weather before…This day I ran with mittens and two layers under the traffic cone I call a marathon jacket. The air warmed enough to make me regret one of my layers by the end of the run—sometimes there’s no way to win, either because of the changing air temps or changing body temps. My Running Fashion absence during the summer wasn’t due to a lack of material (I prefer running in the heat!) but a belief that the fewer half-naked photos of me on the internet, the better.

On this run, I only passed female runners- confirming something my ma said recently- that most runners are female. Upon returning home, I checked the statistics. According to Running USA, 57% of race event finishers are women. Men still lead as the majority of marathon participants. Don’t be afraid of the distance, ladies! As a group, we excel in distance, especially the ultramarathons.

Have you seen Runner’s World & the Running Time’s “What to Wear” Calculator? If you’re not experienced in how many layers to throw on based on the mercury, pull up this handy website. You enter the outside conditions and your physical conditions and it spits out recommendations. I’ve found it to be pretty accurate, thanks to one of its questions: “How do you like to feel? Cool/In Between/Warm?”. Try it out!