Saturday, February 25, 2012

The classic L.L Bean initials

This may be a vaguely creepy action shot of a guy walking in front of me..taken without his permission..but the classic monogramed L.L Bean 'Book Pack' is one of my favourite 'campus trends' that I've encountered so far and I wanted to share it. 

What I like about it is that it's really not a 'trend', it's just a classic bag that most people had at one stage as a kid and they're still kicking about. (And so this won't be news to anyAmericans reading, but for me it's a novelty I rather like.) Everybody, absolutely everybody (myself included) wears a rucksack at University and I've seen many a L.L Bean rucksack bob past with with neatly embroidered initials on; I'm always a sucker for a bit of personalisation. Kind of like the name tags we had sewn into the collars of our school jumpers at school, I like that this is a leftover bag, a sort of second nature thing to sling on your shoulder that's been carrying your books for years. 

I have to say, and it pains me to do so, that generally speaking the guys really beat the girls in the style stakes here. The biggest campus trend amongst girls really baffles me and involves wearing a North Face fleece, yoga pants and Ugg boots. I even saw a girl yesterday wearing this combination with Ugg slippers. Backless slippers! In the freezing cold! This was the ultimate nail in the coffin where my British sensibilities are concerned. While on the one hand I like the idea of having a uniform, it's incredible how many people wear this head-to-toe go-to look. I saw four girls sitting together at dinner recently all wearing North Face fleeces, yoga pants and Uggs and it reminded me of The Ashley's from Recess and their matching outfits which acted like a code of membership to the friendship group. Of course not all of the girls dress like this, I'm just finding it interesting that there are very clear codes when it comes to dressing at college here and there is a lot of uniformity amongst students. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spring in the air

Fuzzy Grey Cropped Sweater, Etsy/ A-line wool skirt, Cos/ Clematis Clutch, Christopher Kane/ Butterfly Hairslide (part of a set), Topshop/ Lace up shoes, Topshop/ Dr. Bronner's Magic Almond soap/ Compact mirror, Paul and Joe.

Spring is in the air! Or at least it's temporarily hanging out as a little preview of what is to come. I keep getting caught out when I step outside each morning and having to run to a bathroom to strip off the multiple vests I've been in the habit of layering underneath my clothes. For some reason when it's really sunny on this campus, the light is particularly penetrating and since losing my sunglasses it's impossible to walk around without watery eyes and unavoidable Scream style facial expressions. This is one of the downsides to the sunshine. It is however putting a 'spring' (heh) into my step and making me want to buy new things. I fully acknowledge the urge to buy new things as 'spring fever' when the new magazine campaigns come out and chide you into thinking that wearing cheekily bright skirts and carrying a Christopher Kane clematis bag would just make things so much better. But it would, I'm sure of it.

After staying at my old couchsurfing base in Brooklyn this weekend I've also fallen back in love with Dr Bronner's Magic Liquid soap. I stole a bit while I was having a shower and used it as shampoo. Usually the whole 'all-in-one' concept doesn't appeal to me when it comes to bath products but, there's something about Dr Bronners. Who knows, maybe it's the use of the word 'magic' that butters me up-either way, it felt nice to use something gentle in my hair and fuss free to then use the same magic to wash my toes. I only ever seem to use Dr Bronner's when I'm staying at other people's houses. So perhaps it down the the psychology of showering in other people's bathrooms. Novelty and choice! 'Ooh, I always wondered if this conditioner was any good..' Yoink. Or, 'ooh, they have such nice sponges. Proper sponges. And a pumice stone! I should start using a pumice stone. Mmm pumice stone.' Come to think of it, I quite like showering at other peoples houses. Is that weird?

(Soundtrack to my sunny morning walks into university-Cosmic Trip by Air)

Sindy's shoes

Nice shoes, Frida! My favourite thing about this shoot from Spring 2012 issue of Pop Magazine is that Frida's free standing pose and Nike Air Max 90s and Christopher Kane dress combo makes me think of Sindy dolls, who I always thought had a superior taste in shoes over Barbies, it was just a shame their feet were never compatible to share.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


1. 'Interior with a Tall Plant' painting by Paul Winstanley/ 2. New Yorkers crossing the Brooklyn Bridge during the Transit Strike of 1980, via The New York Times/ 3. Plastic Cut Cuff from Weekday/ 4. Kirsten Dunst shot by Yelena Yemchuk in Vogue Italia February 2012/ 5. Can we just take a minute and appreciate the absolute brilliance of this photograph of Rihanna with Kate Moss and Stella McCartney? I love it so much and though I'm not that big on her music (bar 'the hits') I've been absolutely loving Rihanna's style over the last 6 months. You could easily replace Stella for Aliyah back in the 90s and it would look completely legitimate./ 6. Marques Almeida SS12 shoes. I saw these in Opening Ceremony over the weekend and really wanted to try them on but needed the loo too much so had to dash. Boo! / 7. Shot from the 'Dubbing in the Back Yard' spread shot by Jason Hughes for b. store's b Magazine FW11 / 8. A hulking plate of French toast I devoured this weekend. The toast itself wasn't as tasty as it may look, but I appreciated eating off a sunshine yellow plate on a sunny Saturday morning. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Note to self: get hands on copy of HUSK Magazine when opportunity next permits it. For a proper up-close and personal gawp at the brilliant 'Alina' spread photographed by Hanna Putz and styled by 'our very own' (as they say in the blogging world) Elle Korhaliller if for nothing else.
It looks like a promising read.


Ah yes, 'bathroom portraits' are a part of my life again now that I'm back living in halls. This weekend I made the most of the President's Holiday by spending 3 days in Brooklyn. It was so lovely and as much as I'm enjoying living in Amherst, it made me realise how much I'm missing city life. 

I got to catch up with some people I met when I couchsurfed across America a couple of years ago and also got to finally meet Siri. She took me for a delicious brunch at Teddy's -I had the Rancheros, she had the Strawberry and Blueberry Pancakes- and we talked about her tiny home island in Washington and the perils of deadlines. She also introduced me to Toby's Estate Coffee, a really good coffee place which has recently opened, with a big industrial coffee grinder in the corner and lots of coffee related classic design pieces on display but a joint I think to be taken with a pinch salt as it really is a hipster palace. I've never seen so many handsome haircuts, leather boots or well-selected sunglasses under one roof.

I went with a very clear ambition of buying a few additions for my wardrobe as since arriving I've exhausted everything I brought with me to the States and reached a '5 outfit' block. I picked up this camouflage coat in the mens section at Beacon's Closet (which I must say I was disappointed by given it's reputation.) It has fantastically deep pockets for furrowing my hands and my possessions into and is nice and thick so it's a practical substitute for the puffa jacket which I've been wearing day in and out. The sun was shining on campus today and wear it felt good. 

I also picked up the latest copy of Apartamento, one of my favourite magazines-I know I never stop banging on about it- and a pretty little gold signet ring with an 'S' engraved into it. And then on the bus back home I lost my absolute favourite pair of sunglasses, my transparent cat eyes that I wear at any sign of sunshine. At first I wanted to cry. And then I wanted to high-five myself and kiss the floor as a thank you to the world when I found them still available online over a year after buying them, which reminded me how important it is to buy two pairs of an item when you really, truly love it. I didn't, but you know, it reminded me that it's a good idea. One of those grown-up things that I'll do someday.

Friday, February 17, 2012


(Image sources: 1. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.)

Currently on my mind: Jeeps! I always used to go on 'gas guzzling' tirades when I was younger and still don't dig the idea of wasting vast amounts of petrol for the purpose of car vanity but all of a sudden I really rather like jeeps. It's a combination of seeing nice battered black Wranglers zipping around Amherst driven by men with sheepskin denim jackets and nice dogs, watching The Descendants and that photography of girl crush Lulu Kennedy sitting on her own jeep.

Dazed and Confused March 2012. Frida Aasen, a monkey with his goolies on show and the cover line "2012: IF IT'S NOT EXCITING, YOU'RE NOT DOING IT PROPERLY." I like. (Incidentally, if 2012  hasn't been all that exciting for you, hold tight. Don't take this as an attack on your demeanour; It is winter after all. Things usually get better when your face stops being the same colour as the sole of a ghosts foot. I'm saying this because that face is mine, right now.)

Meadham Kirchoff SS12 nail art. Put your hands up if you missed out on the Topshop x Meadham Kirchoff nail art? Yessir, me too. Here's to friends with steady hands and friday nights with candy coloured nail varnish splayed in front of the television.

Alexa Chung's Fashion Week nails. When you've mastered and tired of the Meadham Kirchoff prettiness, try out these evil eye designs, a la Alexa. Slightly more grown up but that may also be because they subliminaly say 'I've got my eye on you.'

Sherry Younge. I found out about Sherry Younge because I've been getting really into her husband Adrian Younge's productions and music. Sherry is a stylist at The Artform Studio, a record store-cum-vintage hair studio-arts collective hangout in Los Angeles and always wears amazing vintage frames and sixties dos. I also highly recommend you add Adrian Younge on Facebook as he posts absolutely brilliant songs everyday (From Donald Byrd to his own mixes) Basically they're an all-round stylish musical couple with heaps of fantastic taste between them.

Nipples in vest tops. That liberating moment of the day when you've taken your bra off and you're brushing your teeth in a vest and a pair of knickers and feeling pretty good. That moment should be an all-day long thing. (Photograph, Chloe Sevigny by Christian Witkin, 1997)

Jamaica daydreaming. When I told my Aunt that I've just booked a trip for Jamaica she sent me an email with the line "I'm thinking of you wearing something cool and floaty that shows off your endless cafe au lait tanned legs, barefoot in the warm, white sand, nibbling on jerked red snapper, sipping a rum cocktail/icey cold Red Stripe, reggae beats pulsating lazily in the ganja-scented night air." Holla idealistic daydreaming! She wrote it to be taken with a massive pinch of salt, naturally, but I'm blithely ignoring any notion that this won't be the exact template for my holiday and dreaming of ice cold Red Stripe all the same. (This is a brilliant Red Stripe advert from 2002.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

jah bless

Novelty Flamingo sunglasses/ Gold Flatforms, Topshop Unique / Terry towelling beach shirt/ US Army camouflage jacket/ rum cocktail/ Ian Fleming's 'Dr No.'

Is it wrong to be dreaming away the days thinking about Vitamin D induced sunshine-comas? They say that this is a mild New England winter, and I shall remain respectful and smile as I warmly proclaim 'Mm, yes, toasty!' and rub my hands together convincingly but there is only so much wind chill I can take. I need some rays, man! So I'm incredibly excited to have just booked a trip to Jamaica with a couple of friends from UMass for Spring Break. Hurrah! Now my life goes like this: nodding off in front row of Maritime History class: dreaming of rum cocktails. Waiting in line at the dining commons omelette counter: humming Harry Belafonte. Saying goodbye to the teaching assistant at the end of a discussion: mentally saying 'have a blesss day.' In my fantasies I look like Kate Moss in novelly sunglasses, drink in hand, army jacket slung over my shoulders..

On a side note, we used to sing 'Jamaica Farewell' in assemblies at my primary school, 300 small children with one combined patois accent.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


I've now been living in Amherst for two weeks! Time is flying already- I feel like I'm just settling in and getting the hand of things so hopefully this can be the end of the fallow blogging period. As somebody who has always lived in big cities it certainly feels very different to find myself in a New England town which, though bolstered by a two university communities otherwise feels quite 'small town'. I'm enjoying it though, the night before last I ventured over to Northampton to watch Shame with a friend (beautiful film, beautiful score) and enjoy a lamb shawarma. I've learnt to embrace the half-time entertainment at the Ice Hockey and Basketball games (which involves shouting 'YOU SUCK!' to the tune of Gary Glitter's Rock And Roll Part 2.. They don't seem to know about Gary Glitter's 'other side' here so they don't have qualms about doing this.) I've met somebody called 'Zeus' and I've also contributed a couple of pieces to the Arts section of the paper, something I always said I'd do back in Manchester but never got around to. I've felt super motivated since I arrived and it feels good. I know I'll only have 5 months here and want to make the most of it and spend less time being one of those people who 'says' and start being someone who 'does'.