A Style Post. No, really.

Have you ever seen Waiting for Guffman? It is one of my favorite movies. Eugene Levy is in it, and he plays one of my favorite characters. At one point in the mocumentary, he explains something to the camera. He says, “People say, ‘You must have been the class clown’. And I say, No, I wasn’t. But I sat next to the class clown, and I studied him.”

I think it is so funny. The unfunny part though, is that I think it is funny because I can relate to it. I am an analytical person by nature. Often a curse, rarely a blessing, I frequently ask really obvious questions just to hear it answered in an articulate way that satisfies some logical need somewhere in my bones. I can’t simply, “catch on”. 

I need to know why it works, exactly. If it is too far above me, like rocket science, I can give it up. I do possess that gift, which is my saving grace. Basically because I am not that smart so I don’t have a choice. But if something in me says, “Jenny, that easily makes sense, but it was too easily understood. You should think about why it makes sense, and analyze it until you want to cut your brain out and burn it”, then I don’t have a choice. I have to think about it, meditate on it, mull it over, marinate it in a bath of my brain fluids, talk it out…until it fits perfectly into the corresponding shape cut out on the surface of my brain.


I enjoy torturing myself in this way regarding all sorts of topics: humor, (I just laughed at that! How enjoyable! Wait….but why was it enjoyable?). Science (very, very basic science). Algebra (true story: my brain literally almost turned to ashes once in high school over an answer that was correct, but painfully easy to answer without knowing how I got to that conclusion). Foreign languages. Grammar. Beauty. Life. 

If you are wondering how I can even live life, it is really quite easy: I am smart enough to see these puzzles in many daily things, but not smart enough to see all of them. Therefore, my thoughts are fairly evenly divided between agonizingly simple concepts made painfully difficult, and casually brushed aside deep and profound thoughts incorrectly identified as “overly thought-out ideas”. I prefer the fresh stuff like, “what makes a task ‘fun’?” People don’t ask that. But it has an answer, and I’d like to be able to talk to you about it, some time.

My life would be so much easier if I were a genius. But alas, I am not. 

Do you feel kinda overwhelmed right now? Almost like you just finished watching a 24 marathon and you are relieved that it is not, in reality, the life you live? Well, I am not the only person with a brain like mine. There must be a name for us. Victims of left brained paranoia, maybe? 

Anyway, I say all of that because it is a nice and natural transition into what this post is actually about: style.

Fashion. 

I happen to like fashion. I always have. But, unfortunately, when it comes to my more right-brained pursuits, I can’t always leave my left brain behind. It’s like this lurking shadow who is not fun to have around at first, but teaches you a valuable lesson in the end, so you have come to respect him. 

So guess what. My interest in fashion is tainted by my left-brain’s self-invite to the creativity party. My subconscious says, “This clothing advertisement is alluring.” Then Lefty comes in and raises his hand, prefaces his first question with the warning that after I answer it, there will be a follow up question, thereby feeling justified in hogging the floor for the next five minutes (don’t you hate those people?): “why can she pull this look off? Is it because she looks confident in it? Maybe. Maybe her strong collar bone gives her a sense of strength while her skinny arms denote femininity. And then her leather skirt balances out her vulnerable posture, and the raw, untouched nature in which she is surrounded provides an element of attainability that makes me feel like I could pull this look off, too…”

All of this leads to a question I have been mulling over for quite some time: what is personal style? How does one attain it? Is there a formula? Or is the lack of formula the definition?

Questions that, indeed, many others have asked before me. But perhaps not in such an obnoxious way. So I would like to pulverize the idea with you until you wish you had never even come across JenEric Generation with every fiber of your being. But I have taken too much time with my back story, so come back later for a relaxing post on visuals and aesthetics, and the sweet and sappy definition of “personal style”. I promise not to get too crazy.

It is okay to obsess over British Royalty: with one caveat

With the Royal family yet again at the forefront of international news, I would like to take this opportunity to let my stance be known on the matter. For apparently it is a “matter”. You are either obsessed with the Royal family, or you shun them as a matter of principle because they are at best, public figures of some small importance, or at worst, mere celebrities.

 

 

It doesn’t really matter to me how you feel about the Duchess and Prince. I for one, cannot help but love every scrap of news that comes out about them. Eric on the other hand, does not care much about them at all, as their existence does not affect him in the slightest. I cannot argue with that.
 
However, what fascinates me (and likely most of you who enjoy reading about them), is that they are part of a long lineage of royals, and did not ask for this life. Okay, Kate kind of did, but I really do believe she would have married Will had he been no one of great importance*, so really, she just accepted her new role gracefully in my mind.
 
“Duty” is an old fashioned word, but I think that is what Anglophiles are subconsciously attracted to about British royalty. As Americans, we grew up learning about the evils of tyranny and the horrible outcomes of giving sole power to one person, or a small group of people. In the middle of that, we lost touch with what it means to be born into a very public, important role. Take away all the cons of monarchy, and you do have a few pros when you consider the many royals who have taken up their roles with dignity and respect for their position, knowing that with privilege, comes great responsibility (and others have exceedingly failed–but that is also fascinating).


Of course at this point, people in Eric’s camp would argue that these modern day “monarchs” are merely the face of a country. They have no real power. And it’s true. Those Brits do love their traditions, and even when you take away the power of kings, they still want their royal family card board cut outs.

But in some ways, it makes their roles more impressive, or possibly, more pitiful (in the true sense of the word). The truth is, it is difficult for us as Americans to imagine being handed such a role. It is difficult for us to imagine being told what to do, how to act in public, and feeling pressure to choose a name for our kid from a small pool of ancestors. Sure, American politicians must keep up appearances, but they still have a choice to leave that world and live a fairly normal life again. Royals cannot opt out. And that makes things interesting.** The idea of not having choices, to us Americans, is kind of unfathomable. Almost a great offense to the core of our being.

I love tradition. I also love America, which doesn’t always love traditions quite so much. So, as a citizen of the United States, I love exercising my right to obsess about the traditions of the British, and am thankful I get to be a normal, anonymous female with a plethora of choices every day.

But all that being said, I would like to request that if you indulge in the gossip of the current royal family, you would also sink yourself into the gossip (also known as history) surrounding those who came before them. Here are some of my favorite tasty bits of news:

My all-time favorite English ruler, and possible all-time favorite person in history, Elizabeth I:
 

Before she was queen, she was imprisoned by her Catholic sister for a year because she suspected her of being in cahoots with Protestant Rebels. Elizabeth had to pretend she was Catholic around her sister for fear that she might be reprimanded (aka getting beheaded). Sisterly love. What would the Daily Mail have had to say about that?

Fun fact: they are buried on top of one another in Westminster Abbey, but Elizabeth has the huge memorial on top of it. It reads:  “Consorts in realm and tomb, here we sleep, Elizabeth and Mary, sisters, in hope of resurrection”.

Richard III

File:Richard III earliest surviving portrait.jpg
This handsome fellow, whom Shakespeare wrote his play about, was not confident in his hold over the throne. He had two young nephews who were seen as a possible threat, who one day, people realized they had not seen in a while. Richard never showed them in public to prove that they were a-okay, which historians find suspicious. Almost two hundred years later, the skeletons of two boys were found under a stairwell in the Tower of London, Richard seen as the most likely suspect. Can you imagine the hubbub that caused in 1674?
Lady Jane Grey

Another person in history I am completely fascinated with, the lovely Lady Jane. She was a first cousin once removed to Elizabeth I, and succeeded Elizabeth’s little brother, Edward VI, to the throne. She was young, innocent, well-educated, not interested in the throne at all, and Protestant (a fact that did not work in her favor). I would call her a victim of some self-interested advisers. While she was named the successor to the throne by Edward, Elizabeth’s older sister, Mary, was willing to do anything to take the throne from Jane. After a mere nine days of being queen, Mary’s supporters were able to get Mary on the throne, and Jane was imprisoned. She was accused of high treason and sentenced to death by beheading. She was 16 or 17 at the time.

So that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fascinating stories surrounding British rule. However, I can understand how the birth of a legitimate child to parents who do not hold the power to behead anyone, could be far more interesting.

My sincerest congratulations to Prince William and Kate.

*My opinions are based solely on my very objective conclusions after reading many biased news sources.

 
**Technically, they do have a choice. Old Edward VIII disgraced the family name when he abdicated and ran away with an American Divorcee. If you want to accuse royals of being celebrities, accuse Edward. Not the ones who chose not to run away from their lot in life.

To DC, with love: the landmarks

Eric and I went on a walk a few weeks ago, and I took along my 35mm Canon. I am still trying to master lighting and such, but even if the photos don’t turn out exactly as I imagine they will, I just love that they will never look like iphone pictures. So maybe I am a little old-fashioned (some call that the irony of the hipster), but I just like the less-than-predictable aspect of film (said every other member of Generation Y).

Walking through DC, even on a hot summer’s day surrounded by tourists (check out the neon green t-shirts behind me. Ain’t no one gettin’ lost in that group!), just never gets old. And plus, we saw President Obama’s motorcade a little later, which is always thrilling (or annoying if you are driving). I always forget we live in the same city.

For such a short post, I have a lot of parentheticals. I apologize (I just really like the word “parenthetical”!) (…and parenthesis.)









Happy Wednesday, guys. Remember: grammar and syntax can be fun.

returning


Oh, hello! It’s good to be back. Want to know something funny? I never meant to take a break from blogging. I just suddenly didn’t have any ideas. It was the strangest thing: my creativity grew stale and my motivation to spend time trying to come up with something (anything) completely vanished. I didn’t care that I didn’t care, and I just went on living life.

It was refreshing, actually.

Then the time came for Eric’s and my annual trip to Oklahoma to be with my family for the 4th of July. We spent time with my parents, all three of of my siblings (wahoo!), my niece and new nephew, a long lost cousin, good friends, and Gus (my parents’ puppy below–I am in love). We watched my dad’s famous fireworks show in the front yard, saw Mrs. Carter on tour, went to a wedding, saw some amazing live bluegrass, and I read a few things that breathed life into my soul. And all of these things combined resulted in a little spark that led to this post weeks later. 

Maybe now is a good time to mention that while I was home my mom made my sisters and me watch the music video for Miranda Lambert’s “The House that Built Me”. I don’t even listen to Miranda Lambert. But something about seeing my mom tear up while watching it, and being in, you know, the house that built me, well, let’s just say the result was pretty ridiculous.

 

 

(My niece, Alice, and me)

 

Turns out my brain knew it was time for a break before I did, and I am glad I didn’t fight it. I am feeling refreshed despite the high humidity that DC is known for, and I should be posting more regularly now. Thanks for letting me take the vacation I aparently so greatly needed! Now fill me in on all the latest. Is Twitter still cool?

P.S. I am sorry for the annoying “are you sure you want to be redirected?” pages that have come as a result of trying to change my blog URL. We are working on it!