Saturday, August 30, 2014

Confused Marketing

On my recent travels, I was reminded of the power of language (or misuse of language). One more reason for my students to pay attention in English class. (hotel do not disturb and airplane snack).

Where am I going that I can't be disturbed?
Def "A Hail Mary pass or Hail Mary route is a very long forward pass in American football, made in desperation with only a small chance of success, especially at or near the end of a half."


New Back to School Uniform

At the end of last year, I was told that since I used to be a lawyer I'd be teaching a new legal professions class in addition to my upper level literature classes. When I asked what a "legal professions" class was - my superior shrugged and said, "whatever you want." Hmmm .. In exchange for creating a new curriculum, I feel like I should get a couple "dress down days" so I can sport some of these spiffy Ts.

Ruby 6 ... Pure Gold

I went to Lisa at Ruby 6 in the Village for the first time after getting an orange tinted one-process dye job (pictured in below top left frame). I wanted a deep red, but in the sun, my hair took on a hue that mimicked a SF Giants jersey that had been washed 10000 times. Although I'm pale, I have an olive skin tone, and my hair just made me look washed out and a little green.

I found Lisa in a NY magazine review... I went in for consult and she asked:

"They let you leave the salon like that?"


She noted that the top of my head was a few shades lighter than the bottom, and said, "Did they at least acknowledged they did something wrong?"


She assured me it was easy to fix. She (unlike the other salon) let my roots set for longer, and painted parts of my hair at different intervals. It came out an even rich Auburn that put a smile back on my face. I even made Lisa's Facebook page :)

A few months ago, I would have just dealt with the washed out Wilma Flintstone color; after all, I am lucky to be alive and feeling well - isn't that enough? Call me greedy but I want more. I want to feel pretty... Isn't that what every girl wants? In the words of my dear friend Joe, "no one wants to go through life feeling like an old pair of shoes shoved in the back of the closet."



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sock Baby TOO

When my grandma was sick a couple of years ago, my mom and sister flew out from CA and we all stayed at grandma's house together. I got it into my head that I wanted to make a sock baby because on one of my trips to Barnes and Noble, I picked up this awesome book with really poor grammar: "Stray Sock Sewing, Too." So my sister and I spent a very long night (with my mom supervising) creating my first sock baby: the dinosaur.

This summer I set a craft goal of creating a second sock baby, and son-of-gun I DID IT! I was trying for a pig but it came out more like a cute weird NYC creature. I used all the leftover materials my sister and I bought years ago, but obviously I needed my sister too. It's not nearly as good as sock baby #1... but at least I can check it off my list ;)


Monday, August 25, 2014

Crossing Crossroads

This is the summer of new experiences and fresh fashion, so what better way to fund an updated style than selling some old clothes? I've never been to a clothing reseller before, so I scoured Yelp for the inside scoop on where to go and what to sell; based on the reviews, I settled on Crossroads in the Village.

In general, BUY-SELL clothing stores offer you either 55% of the estimated sale price in store credit, or 35% cash on the spot - which seemed like a gamble worth my time. So I meticulously sorted through my closet and gathered (what I thought to be) a diverse selection of hot cake sellers... some still sporting their original tags. Bulging ecofriendly bag in hand, I boarded the subway from Queens to Manhattan, ready to make a little scratch.

When I arrived at Crossroads, I put my name on their "sell waiting list" and browsed a bit. They had a lot of worn out H&M / American Eagle, with a few smatterings of higher priced ticketed items. When they called my name 20 minutes later, I felt fairly optimistic.

One by one, the sales girl examined each item with paulpable disdain; as if I had just dragged in a trashbag of old unmatched socks, which she now had to sort through.

Finally, she stopped looking bored long enough to announce that I wasn't "in line with current trends" and took only one piece - a Forever XXI shirt with the $18 tag still on it... for which I got a whopping $2.28 - less than the cost of my subway ride home.

All in all, it was a disappointing experience. I left feeling even more desperate to update my seasonal frocks than before - but without any extra spending money.

If I were to reapproach the concept again, I would load up on cheap sundresses from Forever XXI type stores in May and June, and dump the ones that were so-so at the start of August. ... In the meantime I'll take the sales girl's advice and check out this season's fall fashions on their blog to see if I've got anything up to "Crossroads' style standards" that I can recycle... If for no other reason than for a little fashion vindication.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Banksy's Zebra

Often, what makes a piece of art so powerful is our own constructed meaning, rather than the artist's intentions.

Famed graffiti artist "Banksy" creates political conversations through his street art; but for me, this image of a woman washing a zebra's stripes - atop the rubbled roofs of Timbuktu, Africa - is more than an ironic statement on desert realities ... It is a reminder of the daily work it takes to keep positive and moving forward in an often deserted, unforgiving land where (on average) a carcinoid patient is screaming into the wind for 3-7 years before someone brings them an ounce of relief for the right diagnosis.

Keep on keeping on my zebra friends.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Talking Zebras with Allure's Beauty Director

Jenny Bailly and I at Saks 5th Ave
Last Thursday, I met the charming deputy Beauty Director of Allure magazine, Jenny Bailly, at Saks Fifth Avenue's 3rd annual Beauty Editors Day, sponsored by "Look Good Feel Better" - an organization that provides free cosmetics and makeovers for women with cancer.

I first became involved with Look Good Feel Better as a patient at Sloan Kettering. Two days after my right hemicolectomy surgery for carcinoid cancer, my mom came into my hospital room and giddily announced: "I signed you up for a makeover! The nurse will come get you in an hour."

At the time, the last thing I wanted to do was "glam up" my hospital gown and medical tubes, but the incredibly sweet and caring beauty volunteers of Look Good Feel Better not only made me physically appear "less sick", but also gave my mom a memorable non-cancer moment with her daughter. (CLICK here for my original blog post about my hospital makeover.) It was amazing how a little mascara made me feel more like a "normal" girl and less like a walking war.

Fast forward four years.

I was flipping through Allure magazine, and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the below editor's note:

I couldn't register fast enough.

The day of the event, I was more than nervous - after all, there is nothing about me that screams high fashion; but as soon as I met deputy Beauty Director Jenny Bailly at the Dior counter, her genuine warm welcome immediately set me at ease. I told her how special this event was for me personally, and shared my carcinoid story. I even gave her a carcinoid zebra-ribbon fashion lesson!

We continued chatting for a while and discovered that we were both English Literature majors, which took us down two similarly circuitous paths - hers leading to the beauty industry, mine to teaching. We also discussed the immense social media pressures facing today's teenage girls, and I posed a question: if she could go back in time and give her 16-yr old self some advice, what would it be?
"Don't be afraid to play. Makeup is supposed to be fun... I wish I hadn't played it so safe when I was younger." Bailly wistfully answered.

I thought that was great advice; we ran through a short list of celebrities and agreed actress Lupita Nyong’o embodies an enviable free spirit when it comes to style, and is a wonderful fashion role model.

Like Lupita, Bailly is constantantly experimenting with the latest trends and beauty advancements. She explained that as Beauty Director, she receives literally crates of products to try out. In fact, sometimes she has to "split" her face down the middle and apply different products to each side - just to get through it all.

I asked her if the job ever became tedious, and she was quick to respond, "I never get tired of it. I still love it." Then she flashed me a smile that mimicked what a kid would look like after getting a job at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

After a thoroughly delightful conversation with Bailly, I was whisked to the other side of the Dior counter for a makeover. Several of the Dior ladies said they overheard my cancer story and wanted to tell me how fabulous I looked.

Really? I don't consider myself "fashion forward". Every piece of make up I own can fit into a ziplock bag; when I force myself to get a pedicure, I correct papers so the time seems "less wasted"; the few occasions I've updated my wardrobe in the last 6 years have been primarily out of shear necessity because of weight loss...

Bailly's advice sparked an epiphany of sorts - I have been so busy putting on a brave face for others, that I had forgotten to throw on a bright red lipstick or neon green eyeliner once in a while - just for me. Bailly inspired me to finally take the time to create a personal style that makes me feel confident and feminine. After all, this blog is named after style icon Jackie-O, who captivated a nation through her signature look and seamless elegance.

Every time I share carcinoid information with people in the media, I become a little more hopeful that someday the mainstream medical community will adopt this orphan disease. In the meantime, I'm going to head over to my local Sephora and frolic among the candy colored, rainbow shades of liquids, powders and lacquers... because for the rest of the summer this girl is banning beige.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Theme Song for Kicking Cancer's Butt

This amazing woman says it all.