Monday, February 25, 2013

Her name was New York and she had a screwy subway system, among other perfect things about New York City.

It's hard for me to explain to you the way I fell in love with New York City, because to be honest, I don't have much experience with this whole "falling in love" ordeal. I thought maybe I'd fall in love with it the way I fall in love with good shoes or the way I fell in love with Beyonce's "Love on Top" the first time I heard it: fast and hard and easy and undying, though my actual love life hasn't always been just that.

There is a piece of me that was in love with that city long before I ever set foot within a hundred mile radius of it, but that was me loving the idea of it, I guess. So I fell in love with the city in a way that's difficult for me to put into words, because coming out of JFK? It wasn't what I expected. And I was sleep-deprived and jet-lagged and Queens just isn't really all that beautiful, to be honest.

But there was a moment when we came around a corner and the skyline stretched up and up and up and begged for me to reach for it, and I loved it. I loved the way that city can build tunnels underneath rivers and then scrape the clouds on the other end, but I guess the real thing that sold me was the subways. I know that sounds odd, but it just did it for me. That was the moment I knew I loved New York City more than I ever even imagined I would. There was something about the way there is this whole system of dirty, gritty, musky trains tearing through the catacombs of the most glamorous city in the world. What I realized was that home isn't ever going to be perfect. It's not going to always be clean and gleaming and studded with diamonds. Home is where people laugh at your jokes and hold your hand even if it's a little germy.

Maybe what it really is about the subway is this whole poetry in motion thing they've got going on right now. Like, does that scream my name or does that scream my name? My entire life is poetry in motion.

So the subways sold me, weirdly, and after that it was a straight shot to heaven. I welled up in Times Square at night. I spun, arms open, laughing on Fifth Avenue. I stared at a Matisse in the Met and had to do deep breathing. I ate some of the best food I've ever had in my entire life in this bizarre Vietnamese place somewhere in SoHo that I'm sure I'll never be able to find again and that's a travesty. I crushed on every boy on the underground. I wanted to hug the bull on Wall Street and kiss every NYU flag and spend eternity with the weird gorgonzola/pear/honey/greens/balsamic salad my mom found somewhere in Hell's Kitchen. I loved my tour guide and Max Brenner's weird chocolate shop that felt like a nightclub and I don't even like dark chocolate, but there was this gelato place that made this dark chocolate hot chocolate and I think that might be the presence of heaven on earth in food form. I stood and stared at a name in the 9/11 memorial for a solid five minutes and wondered who they were and praised that city for emblazoning that name in bronze because I don't think they should ever be forgotten.

I was proud of myself when I started to figure out that the World Trade Center was to the south and the Empire State Building was north, and I envied every person with their thick city accent who "Yeah, I know the subway routes, why? Where you goin'?" because how the heck do you figure that thing out?!

But I just sort of walked away feeling different. A rite of passage. First bra, first kiss, first trip to New York. Toughens you up a little. Puts a little swagger in your step (or something).

There's a part of me that could go on forever about this. Don't get me started, because I will, but I should stop now, before I get ahead of myself. These last two weeks have been lessons in falling in love. For real this time. And it's never what you expect, except that it feels like coming home.

"If you want to become a real New Yorker, there's only one rule: You have to believe that New York is, has been, and always will be the greatest city on earth. The center of the universe." -Ellen R. Shapiro

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fashion Week Takes London and I Tell You About Boots

It's that time of year again (*drumroll please*): FASHION MONTH! What's really great about fashion week(s) is the way I get all jazzed and sort of slap-happy the whole time, even though the nearest runway show for me is more than 2,000 miles away (but not for long, if I have it my way!).

Anyway. Let me premise this with, well, this: Despite my love of hoodies and my far-from-secret adoration of yoga clothes in all shapes and sizes, you can trust me in this whole fashion thing. I read the Bible and Vogue every night before bed -- Paul's epistle to the Romans and Anna Wintour's epistle to the chic. I care about mint green this season (at least, I care about it for now, but we'll see how it looks at the end of the month), just like I cared about lace when that mattered. I am no stranger to The Sartorialist. For a while there, I even dated Alex Barker, who was not shy to share with me his own expertise on the fashion industry. So yes, I traversed nearly the entire valley last Saturday in a pair of sweat pants and slippers, but, at the end of the day, I, Addy Baird, am a slave to fashion.

And let me give this disclaimer, too: I do not in any way claim to be an expert on any of this. I am not some sort of heaven-sent, all-knowing fashion goddess. Fashion, like all art, is one billion percent subject to opinion, and anything I say is nothing more than my own opinion. Really, most of my fashion discoveries have just been 17 years of running around malls and hunching over webpages and sifting through Kaitlyn Lindley's closet. I don't claim to know everything or appreciate everything or even understand European sizing 100%, but I was raised (and still am being raised) by a woman who appreciated a good outfit, and now I take to the blogosphere with my own thoughts and opinions, just as subjective and personal as anyone else's.

On that note, let me tell you. I own a lot of shoes, and I think I know a good shoe when I see one. Even more than I know shoes, I know boots. So, inspired by Kari's inquiry on Hunter rainboots, I present to you: The Wonderful World of Boots (inside my closet). But boots! Boots! Boots are the one type of shoes you can wear for all four seasons, which makes them generally awesome on all levels.

Rainboots: The first pair of boots I remember falling head over heels in love with was a pair of turquoise Hunter rainboots just like these.
Now, I'm going to tell you something you may or may not approve of. These boots were $125, and that was four years ago. They now retail for $135, but listen: I have had these boots for four whole years. Four years, I tell you! That's 1,460 days, which means these boots have cost me less than a penny a day. If you don't think that's a bargain, you're wrong, which leads us very nicely into the pros and cons of Hunter rainboots.

-They will literally last you forever.
-They are warm.
-You can purchase Hunter boot liners like these:
which only add to the warmth and winter wonder.
-They go with everything. If you don't believe me, ask me if I've worn them with basically every item in my closet.
-If you go with a colored boot, they're a perfect staple piece in any outfit.
-They are not weather-specific, despite what people may say when you wear them in July.

-They can be somewhat clunky.
-They are so warm your feet may possibly overheat occasionally.
-They can get a bit scuffed up if you wear them every other day for four years, though you can't really blame them for that.

Combat Boots: My sophomore year of high school, Madison Russon, in all her glory, had a pair of combat boots, and I loved them from the moment I saw them. (In fact, whenever love at first sight comes up, I am not shy to scream that I have, really and truly, experienced real love at first sight, no matter that it was with a pair of boots.) So I talked my mother into buying me a gorgeous pair of combat boots, pretty much exactly like the ones below (except mine didn't have studs). A Miz Mooz Harlem boot, and it was the love of my life.
The great thing about Miz Mooz is that entire point of the brand is comfort without being hideous. I guess the guy who started the name was tired of seeing women in tennys on the subway carrying their heels and wondered why the heck we can't have shoes that are comfortable and chic. Amen to that, I say!

So I wore my Harlem boots until I literally couldn't wear them anymore. I remember at the beginning of junior year when combat boots were suddenly the trendiest thing on the face of the earth, Jared Bloom said to me, "I remember when you got those boots. You had them before anyone else." Madison Russon had them first, in fact, but thank you. I actually ruined the zipper (and got it fixed twice) before I finally retired them, though I loved them so incredibly much that I still have the broken ones downstairs on a shelf. 5 stars.

After my combat boots had become quite literally the staple of my closet, I was lost without my love. I knew, however sad it may be, I needed to find a replacement, and thus the Steve Madden Troopa boot waltzed into my life.

You know that Taylor Swift song that's like, "On a Wednesday/in a cafe/I watched it begin again"? I only know it because I sometimes let Morgan pick the music in the car, but that's what it felt like. Right when I thought all hope was lost, love appeared in my life again. Praise Mr. Madden.

I wore these ones just as thin as the Miz Mooz. I trekked through Japanese gardens in these babies. I celebrated Independence Day on the river outside of Portland in these. I fell in love (with an actual person) in these. I started senior year in these. The day the heel broke on one of them, I was shattered.

The only problem with these beauties is that, unlike Miz Mooz, they aren't actually made simply to be comfortable. I had to break them in a little, wear some thick socks and deal with a few hot spots for a couple days before they were perfect, but once they were perfect, they were perfect. 4.5 stars.

So then I started on my next search for new boots, and I ended up with these babies:
Avery calls them "a very Addy shoe" and I like that. Another Steve Madden creation. They're definitely the least comfortable of the three, but, again, broken in a little they're not bad at all. Plus, it's like having three pairs of boots in one because of the versatility in the buttons and lacing and folding. I wear them 3 days out of 5. 4.5 stars.

So here's the thing: If I were to tell you to purchase one exact pair of combat boots, I would say, "BUY THE MIZ MOOZ HARLEM BOOTS! BUY THEM! BUY THEM NOW!" But, alas, the Miz Mooz Harlem boots are not being made anymore. (We can all shed a collective tear over that one.) So to you I say: Buy the Steve Madden Troopas. Another glory of the Troopa is that they're only $99.

Allow me to digress for a moment here, with a lecture that will probably surface often in this new blog: I understand that for many of you, $99 is not something you have to spare on a student budget, but I beg of you. Buy nice shoes! Although I push for quality in all clothing, it's shoes I really care about. Don't go for the cheapies. It took me months and months to ruin my boots, and I promise you that if you buy cheap, you'll kill them before you even have the chance. So please. Eat in for a month. Refuse to purchase new eyeliner. BUY THE NICE SHOES.

At the end of the day, the best thing about combat boots in general is that they possess a strange power that makes the wearer feel as if they are about to conquer the entire world -- and how could they not with names like "Harlem" and "Troopa"? I promise you that the day I become Supreme Empress of the Planet/move to NYC, I'll be wearing some real awesome combat boots.

Riding Boots: I'm convinced everyone needs a good pair of riding boots. They seem a little less versatile season-wise to me, but they're beautiful. These are my Miz Mooz (yeah, them again, because they rock and make good shoes in my size) Kelsey boots.
My one word of warning in purchasing riding/knee-highs is to make sure they aren't too high for your legs. I'm almost 5'9", so these work perfectly for me (actually, Matt Davis thinks they're a little too tall even for me, but Matt also thinks my bed is too big for my room and that the exterior of Avery's house isn't quite right, so you sometimes have to pick and chose which one of Matt's opinions you want to agree with).

I will admit that these are probably some of the most expensive shoes I own, although they were a gift, though I'd still probably have splurged and bought them myself. They are on sale on right now, though!

Snow Boots: If you live in Utah, Colorado, work at a ski resort (like I did) -- basically anything that includes some amount of snow, I beg of you, please invest in a pair of Sorels. They will never, ever fail you. These are your truest friends.

Doc Martins: I conclude this post with perhaps the best things that have ever happened to me (excluding all the other best things that have happened to me highlighted in this post). Last spring, my mother came back from Paris with these:

Hello, beauties. I love you more than anything ever in the history of the world. One of the funniest things about DMs is the way you can tell a lot about a person depending on what they say about your shoes. Chic ladies working in Lush at City Creek will die over these. Your cool best friends will say things like, "If those go missing, don't check my closet." Cool basketball stars at your high school will compliment them in history class.

On the other hand, idiot boys in your Art History class will make comments like, "Oh my gosh, you have clown feet in those shoes," which, when you're a size ten like me, is not completely untrue.

However, my favorite thing about DMs is the way they embody not only just my philosophy on shoes -- not even just my philosophy on fashion -- but my philosophy on life: This above all: You put them on, you rock it, strut around like you own the place, and no one will ever doubt you (exhibit a being Gretel Tam). As Tim Tincher would say, "Werk it, gurl."

"Styles fade. Fashion is eternal." -Yves St. Laurent

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Post Numero Uno

Hey, blog world. Addy here.

So. New blog. Because I've been over at All My Love since, like, what? 2009? And I was getting tired of Ambiguous You posts and, quite frankly, generally tired of blogging.

So I don't really know what I'm doing here, because it's not going to be the same old thing. Here's what I think you should probably expect:

1.) Maybe an attempt in fashion blogging.
2.) Discussions of art and art history.
3.) Beyonce and other ladies I wish I could be.
4.) My own discoveries in my attempts to try new and exciting things.
5.) Cat pictures.
6.) Hot celebrities.
7.) Occasional poems.
8.) Retail therapy desires.
9.) Music.
10.) Maybe even politics (if I get brave) (and researched)
11.) Photography? Travels? Wherever the world takes me, I suppose.

Oh. And joy. Or "zeal," as my mother calls it. Because that's what started to go missing.

And whatever else comes out, I guess.
I'm just ready for something new.
Let's try this all again.
But better this time.
The follow button is right up there. You can join me if you like.

"If you're brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello." -Paulo Coelho