Thursday, March 1, 2012

Brunch at Tortilla West

If there are two things I love, they’re trying a new restaurant, and having Sunday Brunch. This past Sunday I did both. My Expressions in Food class and I went to Tortilla West—a Mexican restaurant here in west Ghent.

Tortilla West is classified as “Mexican,” but really is a Mexican-American restaurant—not that I mean that as an insult. If you’re looking for one of those Mexican restaurants where you must know Spanish to get by, and even Mexicans recommend it—Tortilla West isn’t for you. But if you enjoy a Mexican-inspired menu, a staff of hipsters, and a Bloody Mary bar—Tortilla West is your place!

Those of you from coastal cities will relate with me on this, but I found T-West to have a “beach vibe.” A restaurant doesn’t have to be on the boardwalk to have that surfers-welcome atmosphere. T-West is actually located 30 minutes from our oceanfront. But in certain cities, the waterside lifestyle really encompasses everything. I know this to be true for Virginia Beach, and I’ve seen it in other cities like Charleston and Los Angeles. Restaurants take on a similar coolness: many of shades of blue (at T-West, alternating with their flame-painted walls); exposed ceilings; broken-in furniture that says they don’t mind if there’s still sand in your shoes and your backside is a bit damp; a menu with a great selection of beer and seafood; and a staff of servers that are in no rush.

This is obviously not characteristic of all our restaurants, and it’s not something I want on the regular, but being in T-West on Sunday, sipping a mimosa and chatting with my foodie classmates while classic rock played in the background felt strangely reminiscent of Saturdays at the beach—something I hadn’t realized I missed.

I ordered huevos rancheros, and their classic mimosa. They have multiple variations of each, but for a first visit to the restaurant, I wanted to start with brunch staples, so I could accurately gauge things.

The mimosa was nothing fancy. The orange juice did taste fresh-squeezed. Fancier versions come with side shots and such, but the classic mimosa is satisfying—and sufficient—if you’re driving.

The huevos rancheros, as the menu describes, “bean and pork tostada topped with cheese, two eggs and enchilada sauce served over a bed of rice and beans.” And it was divine. I had my eggs scrambled (the only way I’ll eat them), which is the first thing you smell as the server puts the dish down. … then the fresh cilantro … then the cheese melted on the pulled pork, and that’s about the same order that the flavors hit your tongue when you taste it.  That medley of flavors, all tied together by the enchilada sauce, is meaty perfection for a hungry Sunday morning.

Other offerings by T-West that I’d like to try in the future include any of the variations on huevos rancheros, shrimp and grits (my other brunch fav.), a large array of local beers on draught, and the Blood Mary bar.
I didn’t have a Bloody Mary, but Patrick Evans-Hylton did. The first one he brought to the table had what looked like an entire side-salad atop it. Of things I could spot in his drink, it looked like olives, artichokes and peppers. For his second, he had simple bleu cheese and celery. I wasn’t personally in the mood for a Bloody Mary, but had I been, the whole thing looked very enticing.

T-West is a perfect brunch destination. Or better yet, come on down to Virginia Beach, spend the morning swimming, and after you’ve worked up an appetite, stop in at T-West and help yourself to huevos rancheros and Bloody Mary—you pass it on the way from the oceanfront to my house anyway.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars' Best-Dressed '12

All day, the Oscars' “Best-Dressed” will be picked apart by gossip rags like Cosmopolitan and People, and by self-proclaimed critics like Joan Rivers. Since it’s the Monday after the Oscars, I guess that’s their job, but I will say I’ve read People, I’ve watched E!, and they couldn’t know less about fashion. People regularly has cover stories about Real Housewives that are heading to rehab, and E! is responsible for giving us “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” So let’s consider the importance of their opinions.

If you want true fashion-based opinions on Oscar gowns, will post pictures, I’m sure (if they haven’t already). New York Magazine’sthe Cut” blog will probably be posting follow-up stories all day. And then check with honest fashion bloggers like the Man Repeller (whom you all know now, I’m obsessed with). I’d expect her to write something.

Or you can scroll down! Because I wrote my own reviews of what I think were the seven best-dressed. No, my opinions are not nearly as important as Vogue or NYMag, but I can promise you that they will be more sound than People or Joan Rivers.

But first, a special thanks to the seven stylists who worked with these celebrities: … Wait, no one knows who they are, because celebrities like to take the credit. Well, stylists, whomever you are, we know you are out there, and we thank you for being so content in your crucial, behind-the-scenes, thankless job!

7. Judy Greer in Monique Lhuillier. Greer is my wildcard. Her dress is actually too long in the front, but I still really like it. It’s safe, but fashion-forward. It’s geometric, which we love. And it’s slimming. Black stripes down the hips is something most women would find intimidating, but I really think it had a slimming effect on Greer.

6. Tina Fey in Carolina Herrera. Fey jokes about not enjoying these red carpet events, or having to parade around in something high-fashion, but look how well she pulled off this custom Herrera peplum gown! She looks like a million bucks. You’d never guess she prefers Old Navy jeans, and her hand shoved halfway down a Pringles can.

5. Melissa McCarthy in Marina Rinaldo. You’re going to see McCarthy and Octavia Spencer on a lot of people’s best-dressed today, and it’s because we all need a token plus-size woman, so that we, as fashion critics, seem fair and well-rounded. And although both were beautiful, Spencer doesn’t deserve best-dressed because her sleeves fit awkwardly on her fat arms. (Don’t act like you didn’t think it. We’re getting real here). But McCarthy is on my best-dressed because she epitomized the principles I would encourage for any plus-sized woman shopping in my store. Most importantly, she had a waist—and a strong, sparkly one at that. Second, she made the fabric work for her, the way it’s gathered at her waist and then falls out. It adds to her hourglass silhouette. The only thing I’d say is, I’d like to see it without the sleeves that she clearly had tacked on.

4. Livia Giuggioli in Valentino. I don’t know who Giuggioli is. I just found out last night she’s married to Colin Firth. But, I loved her dress in classic Valentino red.

3. Angelina Jolie in Alterier Versace. OK, so Jolie walked around all night, thrusting her thigh out there like a Viking marking his territory. But her obnoxious body language aside, the dress looked awesome.

2. Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton. For whatever reason, I don’t really care for Michelle Williams. But you have to admit, she epitomizes class in this coral/red Vuitton.

1. Glenn Close in Zac Posen. There isn’t anything I don’t love about what Glenn Close wore last night. I love Zac Posen, and she pulled off his dress flawlessly. It was slimming on her. Emerald green is a good color for her. And then she added this touch of masculinity from the tuxedo jacket—a look she carries off so well. Though many of her counterparts are years younger, Close blew away her competition on the red carpet last night.

Special thanks to for loaning me all of my pictures for today's post.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jacob and Marguerite Go to Nawab

While interning for the community relations department at Newport News Public Schools last summer, I found a dear friend in Marguerite Hargreaves. She and I can talk about politics for hours, and without tiring, switch the conversation to potatoes and asparagus and talk for hours more. We first hit it off as fellow journalists at different stages in life; me, the recent college graduate; she, the veteran journalist who, before becoming a staff writer at NNPS, wrote and edited for years and years at the Daily Press.

I would consult Marguerite’s opinion on many subjects: journalism, grammar/style/usage, politics, and definitely food. Of the many roles she filled at the Daily Press, she was, at one point, food critic. Also, her husband, George, opened the Warwick Cheese Shoppe here in Newport News in 1978.

I make a lot of things from scratch when I’m in the kitchen, but I knew Marguerite was in a league of her own when she mentioned baking her own mini hamburger buns for sliders. (She also roasts her own coffee and makes her own vanilla extract.)

I tell you all of this about Marguerite so you understand where I’m coming from. She and I met for lunch last week, and when she suggested an Indian place I had not yet tried—I knew I was in for a treat!

We went to Nawab, a locally-owned Indian restaurant on Jefferson Ave. in Newport News, Va. (Nawab has three other locations in Williamsburg, Norfolk and Virginia Beach). And let me tell you, it was divine. For lunch, they offer a buffet that’s just $9.

I’m not a connoisseur of Indian cuisine, and if you heard me pronouncing these menu items in person, I’m sure I’m saying most of them incorrectly. But I don’t believe you need to be a connoisseur to appreciate well-cooked Indian food.

Pictured below is my first plate: 7 o’clock, basmati rice; 9 o’clock, chicken methi; 11 o’clock, sabji palak; 12 o’clock, chana masala; 5 o’clock, goan vegetable curry; and in the center, blending in with the green of the sabji palak is a vegetable pakora; and a lemon wedge—the lemon wedge, I didn’t use, because everything was seasoned perfectly.

You knew the selections for that day were well thought through, because the flavors of each item were stronger than the last, but none were in competition, as one might fear an Indian buffet to be.

Of the things I ate that day, three of them were my favorites: The first, vegetable pakora—because I am American after all. I don’t know its specific ingredients, but it seems like it was spinach, mixed with a batter and fried. Like many Asian dishes do so well, it was fried, but didn’t taste like grease. The spinach flavor remained, so you don’t feel guilty having three or four.

Then there was the chana masala. This was chicken simmered in a tomato-fenugreek sauce. Fenugreek is vegetable/herb in curry powder offering a warm spicy flavor. When mixed with tomato, the ensemble creates a sweet-savory combination that is perfect when drizzled over the basmati rice. I thought the chicken in that dish was a bit tough, but the sauce was so good, I didn’t care.

Finally, there was the goan vegetable curry. The main parts of this dish are potatoes and cabbage—my two favorite vegetables. They were sautéed with coconut curry and mustard seeds. The cabbage was cooked through, but still slightly crunchy, and the potatoes had a slight breading to them that comforted you like a little Indian french fry absorbing the flavors of his curry friends.

I chose just those three, because I’m afraid I won’t do the other items justice in my lack of Indian cuisine knowledge. But now that I know of Nawab, I will be returning regularly and hope to become more familiar with these new dishes that I will be sure to share with you in the future.

Thanks so much, Marguerite, for introducing me to a new favorite!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Expression in Food

So now that New York Fashion Week is over, it’s time for me to start writing about the serious stuff—food.

Although I’m still enjoying dressing mannequins at the Gap, if I can’t find a job using my degree in writing or public relations, I’m going to have to continue to hone my writing skills, because I’m going crazy. And like a sign from above, I found the perfect place to do that.

Here in the 757, we have a magazine called Hampton Roads Magazine. For all intensive purposes, it’s OUR New York Magazine. And just like NYMag has Adam Platt, food critic—HRM has Patrick Evans-Hylton. I read Patrick’s blog, “Bay Seasoned,” and he recently posted that he would be teaching a course titled “Expressions in Food” at the Muse Writers Center in Ghent. (For those of you unfamiliar, Ghent is district in downtown Norfolk where, to put it nicely, people generally have better taste than other areas of the 757). Anyway, I signed up for his class, and although we’re only one session in—I’m certain that I’m going to enjoy myself.

For your visualization, Patrick Evans-Hylton resembles, and even shares the same kind-hearted disposition of Chris March from season four of Project Runway, and later, Bravo’s “Mad Fashion.” Remember him?

So this class has roughly 10 people. Some of the people are from the restaurant industry, but most of us, completely different fields: financiers, nurses, writers, editors, etc. But what we all do have in common is that we’re foodies. And what can make you happier than sitting around for three hours on a Sunday afternoon, jabbering on with other people about a mutual love affair with parmesan reggiano?!

Below is a picture of the food we all brought for the first day of class. There you’ll see crab dip, ham & cheese brunch squares, guacamole, parmesan reggiano, creamy parmesan, lemon pound cake (Mine. My godmother's recipe, actually), wings, duck truffle mousse—all of this among other assorted side items. (See how I already know I’m going to love this class?)

In a nutshell, that’s what I’m up to these days. So as my balance of fashion posts and food posts tips in favor of restaurant reviews and love letters about southern foods, you know why. And hopefully, you'll be on the receiving end of any positive changes this class will make to my writing.

New York Fashion Week, fall '12

            Well I wanted this to publish this last Friday, but lo, I have a life. Not to mention, Fashion Week is a daunting subject for a writer to take on. But after hours of watching, re-watching and analyzing shows on, I’ve narrowed New York Fashion Week down to the 22 designers whom I thought were the best, and the top 93 looks from their collections. For those of you who followed Fashion Week, I hope you agree. And to those of you who didn’t—I hope this adequately covers the highlights.
            I’ve put each designer I liked into one of three categories so you can grasp the big picture. But before you look at individual looks, there are a few trends you should be mentally noting:

1. FUR! The fall/winter shows are always fur-heavy—this year, even more so. It was a PETA nightmare on the runways. And of course, like sweatshops and child labor, we fashion people don’t really care. Pictured is BCBG and Theyskens demonstrating my favorite form fur took this season, and that’s the fur sleeve. Pictured: Not pictured is Michael Kors, who was probably the heaviest with his fur this season. I didn’t review Kors, and that’s not to say that his show wasn’t great, but Kors is a household name these days. I’m not going to tell you anything about him you don’t already know.
    2. Pleats. People ask me all the time, “How do you know what’s ‘in’ and what’s not?” One way we know what’s “in” is what styles last from season to season. For example, one look on the runway last September was safari/tribal. But we didn’t see it resurface last week. Therefore: it’s not a trend. Pleats, however, surfaced last season, and now we’ve seen them continue into last week. So pleats are “in.” Pictured: BCBG.
      3. The conservative/ladylike/vaguely-vintage look. This is hard to explain, because a few things factor into it. We know that conservative (less cleavage, less leg, less arm) is in. On top of that, many looks on the runway have been vaguely vintage. It’s not really ’20s, ’40s or ’80s, but sort of a mix of the three. Things are just ambiguously vintage through the use of gloves, lapel width, waist height, shoulders, skirt fit/length … and there is no other way I can demonstrate this than to show you a trio of pictures by Donna Karan, Jason Wu and Rodarte that, together, sort of capture the essence of this look that we see emerging. It’s matronly, but refreshingly ladylike at the same time. If you’re a conservative Christian or Orthodox Jew—now’s the perfect time to play off your overly-modest apparel as “in.”

      4. Western European flair. This is an odd thing for the fashion industry to embrace. Like China, Antarctica and the Southwestern United States, western Europe is historically absent of anything fashion-forward. There’s no “Moscow Fashion Week.” But we’ve seen the heavy fabrics, military styles, hats and general harsh look of these people injected into our fashions. I don’t know that I like it—but I have to acknowledge it’s there. Reviewed farther below is Marc by Marc Jacobs, who did embrace the western European look this season, and he, I think, pulled it off very well. Pictured: Jason Wu.

      5. Finally, man repelling! And by “man repelling,” I am, of course, referencing blogger, Leandra “The Man Repeller” Medine. Medine gave us this look just over a year ago, and it’s sunken into fashion psyche. I don’t know if it’s something Medine saw coming, and named it before it got here, or if we’re all into the “man repeller” look because Medine introduced us to it. Regardless, it’s here, it’s beautiful, get used to it. Pictured is the Man Repeller. Below, I’ll note all of the collections that I feel repel. And to those of you not familiar with man repelling, Medine classifies it as being so fashion-forward, one can actually be a repellent to the opposite sex. But specifically, Medine’s style can be characterized by excessive layering, pattern mixing, balancing high-low, bold color blocking, and ungodly amounts of jewelry. She’s basically Carrie Bradshaw incarnate.

        Category I: Good Shows.
        That sounds vague, right? That’s the only way I can put it. There are designers that, every season, won’t knock your socks off, but they will, however, consistently impress you with a solid, tasteful collection.

        1.     Carolina Herrera. To me, Herrera epitomizes class. Her tailoring is always impeccable, and her style is always elegant without being too stuffy. She’s very first lady-esque. Also, you can see with Herrera’s clothes that she was into the “vaguely vintage” look I mentioned.

        2.     Oscar de la Renta. Like Carolina Herrera, ODLR is a classic. He’s famous for understanding the female silhouette better than any other designer, and his style is always the epitome of good taste.

        3.     Rebecca Minkoff. Her collection this season was generally, OK. But these two looks, I fell in love wit: the pop of snake skin against her color blocking; her Man Repeller layering … each is beautiful. Really.

        4.     Rodarte. This season, Rodarte took that vintage/conservative look to the extreme, but in a way that you can’t help but love. These clothes have that 1910 farm-life look to them, but they’re still beautiful, and the color palette couldn’t be easier on the eyes.

        5.     Marc by Marc Jacobs. (Side note: Since the general tone of my blog has been more informative this season, let me explain the difference between Marc by Marc Jacobs and Marc Jacobs for some of you. Some designers have a second line of clothes that is generally less formal, and more expressive. For a realistic parallel, consider the Gap and Banana Republic. The same people own them both. They share a general style and aesthetic, but each fulfills a specific niche. In this example, Marc by Marc Jacobs would be the Gap.) This season, MbMJ had the strongest western European influence, but I still enjoyed it. The look of the clothes stuck to Jacobs’ typical style, but definitely played with something new.

        6.     Diane Von Fürstenberg. DVF is in that league with Herrera and Oscar de la Renta. What is there to say, really? Classy, tasteful perfection. That’s DVF. Also, DVF is collaborating with GapKids for a collection that's coming out March 15. I'm very excited for it.

        7.     Zac Posen. A Zac Posen collection is so overly formal that when I finish viewing his collection, I want to head straight to Urban Outfitters and grunge down. But although a Posen collection is like watching a charity benefit at the Plaza, you can’t help but be taken aback by its beauty.

        8.     Vera Wang. You’re all familiar with her bridal clothes, but Wang’s genius is not reserved for white gowns. This season, Wang tried her hand at a style that I think is a bit futuristically inspired? It’s great. There was this x across the chest motif that lent itself to the most graceful tiering and fringing of fabrics on her looks that virtually floated down the runway.

        Category II: The Fun Shows
        Each season, there are those shows that make boring people say, “What the?! …” These looks aren’t to be picked up and dropped on the sidewalk. They’re art, and should be considered as such. A fashion show is just that—a show. As you look at these three labels, dissect the clothes for individual pieces that can function realistically in other outfits, but enjoy them for the theatre/art that they are.

        1.     Gant by Michael Bastian. I don’t personally find GbMB to be avant-garde, but I know some of you will. And unless you’re someone like me, or Brad Goreski, you probably wouldn’t wear one of these outfits full-on. Regardless, I always think GbMG is one of the most fun collections. And in addition to designing good clothes, Bastian’s styling is truly inspirational.

        2.     Marc Jacobs. This season, Jacobs went Mary Poppins meets pilgrims, but it was so much fun! The clothes were heavy; the fabrics were thick; it was a meaty fall/winter show. And yes, the looks were borderline costume, but they’re beautiful. And his skirt/dress over the short pants look—very Man Repeller.

        3.     Thom Browne. Browne is a personal favorite of mine. He puts the most ridiculous clothes on the runway, but I find them to be laugh-out-loud fun. You can’t help but smile when you’re watching his show. In department stores, Browne will have clothes that are considerably more “wearable,” but the fun part about Thom Browne is that he embraces the “show” of a fashion show head-on and says, “You know what, I’m going to show you a good time. I’m not going to take this fashion stuff to seriously. We’re here to have fun.” And we do. Every time.

        Category III: The Shows I Loved (My Favorites in Ascending Order)

        1.     Rachel Zoe. If you read my fashion reviews in September, you know that I had nothing positive to say about Rachel Zoe’s spring ’12 collection. I will admit, however, that her fall ’12 collection is significantly better. Last season Zoe showed us things that were already trends. This season I believe she found a niche, and designed looks that are new, and that there is a market for. Now we can only hope that she will abandon styling for designing, if this is where her heart is, because you can’t be a non-biased stylist as well as a designer at the same time. It will be a continual conflict of interest. We’ll see what the continued success of the RZ label means for her future career ventures.

        2.     Theyskens’ Theory was a solid, diverse collection. It went from refined casual to formal and all of it was beautiful.

        3.     Michael Bastian. I want to dress from the Michael Bastian collection every day. It’s like his Gant by Michael Bastian collection, but office-friendly. Michael Bastian is GQ incarnate. He is dressy/professional/formal—for whatever occasion you need—without abandoning individuality, and that’s SUCH a hard balance to strike in menswear. It’s usually all party/inappropriate, or appropriate/boring. Bastian continually reminds us that men’s fashion is fun too, and I love him for that.

        4.     Naeem Kahn. I don’t think people talk about Kahn enough. Kahn is on that same level of formality as Zac Posen, but you’re not turned off to it. Kahn is in a league of his own with his formalwear. It’s divine.

        5.     Prabal Gurung. His look is his own, but like Vera Wang, I think Gurung was channeling this futuristic thing that worked well for him. Gurungs fabrics, silhouettes and patterns were all very 2080, but very fun. I look at his fabrics and initially think, “Wow, that’s obnoxious,” but then it just grows on you.

        6.     Derek Lam. I think Lam had some of the best patterns and silhouettes of the season. Each of his looks were very conservative, and very fashion-forward. There was this Marc Jacobs meets Prada look to his clothes—very classy.

        7.     Jill Stuart. If I heard the Man Repeller collaborated with Jill Stuart, I’d believe it. Stuart’s play of pattern on patter was head-on perfect. And there were two concepts she played with that I normally hate, but she made me love: ’70s silhouettes and sweetheart cut/curves around the bust, but each was executed in a really sexy way. Her short, A-line skirts are flirty/fun, and the dresses with the sheer cleavage—it’s all gorgeous. She stretched my imagination and my taste.

        8.     BCBG Max Azria. Wow! What can I say? Color blocking . Fur. Pleats. If I had to pick one collection that epitomized what NYFW fall ’12 was about, I’d have to say BCBG Max Azria. The Lubov and Max Azria had a vision for where fashion was going this season, and they nailed it.
        9.     J.Crew. Finally, my favorite: J.Crew. There is nothing negative you can say. J.Crew is my favorite because it represents all things I love about Fashion Week this year, and it’s stylistically inspirational. Just when we think we couldn’t love designer Jenna Lyons anymore, she goes designs another flawless collection. And I think the most impressive thing Lyons has done with her clothes is make us reconsider J.Crew. If you remember back five years ago, J.Crew was just another Ralph Lauren—it was a stuffy label for yuppies with little personality. And now look at it. That refinement that characterizes J.Crew is still there, but Lyons has propelled them to a level of fashion-forwardness that no high-end label achieves, while still keeping J.Crew one of the most affordable in the business. Also, Lyons not only suggestions trends to her customers through the clothes she creates, but through the outfits she styles. Everything about a J.Crew collection permeates realness. The J.Crew models are, in fact, sidewalk-ready. They have that Man Repeller layering flair while remaining J.Crew-esque. All things that are good in fashion; all things that I love, are wrapped up in J.Crew.

        Special thanks to the great people at who unknowingly loaned me all of my pictures for today’s blog post. And remember, New York Magazine’s “the Cut” blog is the fastest, most accurate source for staying up on your fashion news.

        Thursday, February 16, 2012

        What IS "Fashion Week"?

        I’m working on assembling one big post about my thoughts on New York Fashion Week, which just wrapped up today. But before I do, I realized this week through reading your tweets and texts that, at this point, my average reader is not as fashion-obsessed as I; so let me explain what’s happening here. (And to those of you who already know these things, my apologies for insulting your intelligence).
        Fashion Week (which actually lasts four weeks across four cities) occurs twice a year: September and February. The February shows are for designers to preview their clothes for the coming fall/winter season; and September shows are for the spring/summer collection.
        Why do we work so far in advance? Think about it. As I type this, Vogue’s March and April issues have already gone to press; May-July are half complete, and its editors are already talking ideas for August-October. This coming week, art directors from magazines (Vogue, Elle, Bazaar, etc.) and buyers from department stores (Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Ave., etc.) will be contacting the public relations departments of designers, and deciding what runway looks will be going in their magazines/stores.
        And although the majority of the collections that showed this week in New York were women’s wear, some men’s clothes were on the runway. (The rest of a designer’s menswear collection probably showed in Milan or Paris about a month ago during Men’s Fashion Week(s). Milan is the predominant men’s city, and its shows always precede women.) After Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York (this year, 2/9-2/16), the natural progression is London Fashion Week (2/17-2/21); Milan (2/22-2/28); and then the big Parisian finale (2/28-3/7). Designers typically showcase in their respected countries of origin.
        Other runway collections that are sprinkled throughout the year include: couture shows of the licensed French houses (sometime this summer); resort wear (which is clothing strictly designed for millionaires who need “vacation outfits”); pre-fall; pre-spring; and bridal. Few houses participate in all of the above, and the amount of participation a fashion house has with any of those is directly proportional to a fashion house’s size, globalization and/or budget i.e. houses like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Christian Dior.
        So … if I haven’t completely lost you in all of that—check back (tomorrow, hopefully), for my rundown of what I loved and hated from this year’s New York Fashion Week.

        Wednesday, February 1, 2012

        It's Like a Classy 'Whatever'

        You know how when you hang around a friend, your catchphrases and mannerisms rub off on each other? For me, one of those is, “It is not that serious!” I say it all the time, and it’s a total rip-off from my friend Brittany.

        I hadn’t really thought about what I was saying until someone commented to me the other day. I got a refill on my coffee at Starbucks, but my cup wasn’t empty. It was one of these mornings where, 15 minutes after they’d filled my cup, I’d downed all of it, except a gulp or two. The barista asked, “Do you want me to dump this out before I refill it?” To which I replied, “It is not even that serious. Just fill it up.” She laughed, and said that she appreciated my attitude. We went on to have a conversation about how neurotic Starbucks customers can be. And I get it. I used to work at Starbucks. I understand; we want our coffee fresh-ground, brewed within the last 30 minutes, and piping hot. But at that particular moment, it just wasn’t that serious.

        Later that day, I kept thinking about Brittany’s catchphrase. Best I can conclude, it’s a classier way of saying, “whatever.” But if you go around actually saying, “whatever” all the time, you’ll sound less like Brittany, and more like a ninth-grade girl.

        And even though it’s another way to say, “whatever,” philosophically, if I may over-analyze the statement, it’s a good attitude to have—especially on the east coast where we are a high-strung people. (Though generally speaking, I appreciate that about us.) Each of us has an opinion that’s louder than the next. We like things done well, and done quickly. And if you’re not from a large city on the east coast, it’s dangerous of you to attempt driving in one. Our highways epitomize “dog-eat-dog.” The idea of sipping green tea and enjoying the weather—that crap is for Los Angeles.

        But for the things in your life where compromise is an option, I recommend choosing your battles and chilling out a bit on things that aren’t really that serious.

        Thanks, B(Titus)Camp.