Optimized?

At this point I think it is safe to say I have become a total Jia Tolentino fangirl.  (Jia, you’re amazing!)  Her articles are thought-provoking and so on-point, I can’t help but share another.

jia_tolentino_guardian_optimized

A couple weeks ago her essay Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman was published in The Guardian, and I have been thinking about it ever since.  I highly recommend taking a few minutes out of your day to read and ruminate.

“Figuring out how to “get better” at being a woman is a ridiculous and often amoral project – a subset of the larger, equally ridiculous, equally amoral project of learning to get better at life under accelerated capitalism. In these pursuits, most pleasures end up being traps, and every public-facing demand escalates in perpetuity. Satisfaction remains, under the terms of the system, necessarily out of reach.”

–Jia Tolentino

With the expectations of womanhood becoming more insane at every turn, in this era of Instagram and curated feeds and “lifestyle” branding, have we optimized ourselves out of the possibility for genuine contentment?  I myself find it very difficult to feel satisfied and contented, but perhaps it has less to do with any personal failings to “choose happiness” and much more to do with the insidious all-encompassing hamster wheel society has convinced us is necessary.  And at the particularly insidious intersection of capitalism and patriarchy, it becomes even harder.

If capitalism didn’t ingrain in us that we always need more, better, pricier things to signify success, or if the patriarchy didn’t force us to gauge our worth by our attractiveness, youthfulness, and willingness to accommodate, aka our “fuckability”… what then?  Tolentino is correct, I think, that the ultimate question is to ask what we ourselves really want, whether within or despite the systems we live in.  What will make us content?  What will let us feel whole and happy?  Perhaps that becomes the most difficult thing of all —  to find out what our own real desires are, rather than simply wanting to be desired, admired, and optimized.

 

 

Five great pendants

Pendant lighting has been having a real moment of late.  Pendants are classic and versatile, and with so many beautiful choices these days, you can easily find something to refresh your space.  Here are five I am currently coveting:

This lovely milk glass option is feminine in all the right ways.  It would add just the right touch of Parisian flair to a breakfast nook.

A sleek nude nude pendant with Scandi vibes can make a quiet statement wherever you might hang it.

Alabaster combined with a faceted bulb makes for a glam and alluring option.  I’d love to see a pair of these flanking a velvet headboard in a bedroom.

Cement’s industrial edge is tempered by warm wood in this visually well-balanced choice.

This petite pink cylinder pendant is right on-trend with it’s blush hue and diminutive size.  A row of three of these over a kitchen island would be beautiful AND functional — and they’re a great price to boot.

Little rusty

As September gets going, I inevitably think of back-to-school times.  It stays hot in southern CA well through October, but I love fall clothing and could hardly wait to break out that new brown corduroy jumper or pretty sweater.

It is far, far too hot to consider sweaters at the moment, but in the meantime I’m feeling inspired by rusty, earthy hues in every iteration.  Rust can look fresh with white, wicker, and linen, or deliciously moody with deep blues and ochers.  Terracotta, amber, burnt sienna — whatever the hue, these interiors incorporate rust beautifully, and I’m here for it.

Photos via:  livingbylo  petite passport  remodelista  bobby clark  my scandinavian home  rue mag  anthropologie  jessicamenda  sfgirlbybay  altoon sultan

Summertime, an’ the livin’ is easy

I’m not quite ready for summer to end yet!  Breezy neutrals are still on my mind — rattan, wood, linen, and all the rest.  If you’re still feeling as summery as I am, here are a few reading nook chair/table/lamp combos to curl up in and relax over the long weekend, drink in hand.

chair / table / lamp
chair / table / lamp
chair / table / lamp
chair / table / lamp

Eclectic, light, and easy, these pieces will give a relaxing vibe to your home all year long.  And if you need any reading suggestions for the weekend, might I suggest this or this?  Kick back and enjoy!

Tuesday

sonia_delaunay_colored_rhythm
Sonia Delaunay, Colored Rhythm, 1946

 

Tuesday

 

I’d like to package up my life

all the bits that make it up

and place it on a shelf

in a white box

tied up with a golden satin ribbon —

leave it there

safe

for a while

while I try on something 

new.

–Charla M. DelaCuadra

Three Women

three_women_coverWhile on vacation this summer I read Lisa Taddeo’s new book, Three Women.  To say it was arresting would be an understatement.  It is a striking non-fiction work about women and desire, women and sex, but most of all, women and loneliness.

Taddeo spent eight years researching this book, covering the lives of women across the U.S. in their most intimate spaces.  The result is a portrait of three women in very different places in life, but all desirous, lonely, empty and fulfilled by turns.  Lina pulls away from a loveless marriage and begins an affair with her high school sweetheart.  Maggie endures a statutory rape trial while mentally reliving the relationship she shared with her high school teacher.  Sloane is a happily married woman whose husband enjoys choosing other men for her to sleep with.  All of their swirls of emotion are painfully familiar despite their varied situations: an ache for acceptance, a reckoning with the past, isolated loneliness and attempts to escape it, lusty desire, self-doubt and self-examination in equal measure.  Taddeo does a masterful job of creating something far beyond journalism; she paints the lives of these women in a way that is both personal and universal, and she makes sure to give each agency over her own story in the process.

Three Women is a must-read.  Add it to your summer reading list if you haven’t already, and prepare for a book that will affect you profoundly.

Ten days in Europe in one carry-on

0c7717c9-b477-4388-a7dd-01390034dbfcThis summer we spent a glorious ten days in Paris and Brussels.  It was a magical trip and I’ll share more recs for each city soon, but in the meantime… packing!  I’ve had more than one request to share my tips for traveling (relatively) light, so here we are.

Due to both the hassle of wrangling suitcases on trains and metros and the airline fees involved for checking bags, we decided to only take one carry-on for each of us (plus my purse, of course).  It was warm and summery in both cities so I didn’t need to worry about bulky outerwear, which helped immensely!  I knew we were going to be walking quite a bit, so I planned outfits with that in mind.  Stylish and easy, with several options to dress comfortably for a day of sightseeing, or dress up a bit for dinner out.

Here is what I packed: Continue reading “Ten days in Europe in one carry-on”