Thursday, September 22, 2011

The A to Z of Magoo

(Look at me, I'm an Animorph!)

I have always had a soft spot for surveys.  In middle school, one trend that popped up for a brief amount of time was the slambook: the slambook was basically a notebook filled with questions designed by preteens (e.g. your favorite color, current crush, etc.) and, in this particular instance, it was filled out by every girl in the class.  It was an interesting phenomenon because, even though I certainly wasn't friends with all the girls in my class, we weren't adverse to sharing our secrets in the slambook.  One factoid I recall was that, at that time, my favorite boys' names were Jake and John.  Ultimately, the administration caught wind of these slambooks (presumably because other classes were not as cordial as mine) and they were swiftly banned from school premises.  Fortunately, my interest in surveys in sharing tidbits has never waned and, upon seeing this A to Z of Me survey on a variety of different blogs, I just couldn't stop myself from composing all these little anecdotes.  Surveys definitely won't be a weekly feature on Malarkey Magoo but, even now in then, it's fun to be just a bit fluffy.
A. Age: 25.  I have noticed that many of my peers in their twenties often lament about their age.  For instance, I recall that many of my friends complained about feeling "old" once they hit twenty-two, one of my friends in college hoped that her carcass would be shot out to space by twenty-seven, and I just met someone who admitted that he's cried on almost every one of his birthdays.  Fortunately, I've never been so fearful of aging (because, really, I think it's absurd to think of being "old" at any age under forty) and actually look forward to maturing with time.  Here's to years of wisdom! 
B. Bed size: Full.  Upon getting my first grown-up bed, I was so amazed by the apparent wealth of space that I actually thought I had been given a stately queen-sized bed.  I learned later that it's indeed a full and, while I may not feel so regal, I still love all that space.
C. Chore that you hate: Mopping.  Whenever I try to mop, I feel like the only thing I succeed in doing is dampening the floor while simultaneously spreading around stubborn grime.  It's just a fruitless and tedious task. 
D. Dogs: My dad thought that dogs didn't belong in the city so, unfortunately, I've never had a dog.  As a young child, I was so desperate to have a pup in my life that I apparently asked my mom "When daddy dies, can we get a dog?".  Clearly I had my priorities straight.  Unfortunately, I just haven't been in the right place to get a dog as a grownup and, now that Tim and I are planning to live abroad for several years, a dog just won't fit in to our lives right now.  Someday though we'll get a puppy, kitty, and piggy and we'll be as happy as can be. 
E. Essential start to your day: Toothpaste, deodorant, and supplements. Nothing interesting here.  
F. Favorite color: Pastels.  While I enjoy many hues both vibrant and muted, I love the airy feeling that pastels evoke and I think they also work really well with both my eye color and skin tone. The walls of my future home will definitely be adorned with pastel shades. 
G. Gold or Silver: I have always enjoyed gold more than silver.  While I don't quite know why gold appeals to me, I can only assume that it either makes my hair and skin seem more luminous or perhaps it just meshes well with the shades I wear most often.  Silver has been growing on me, though.  
H. Height: 5’4''.  
I. Instruments you play: None, however, I aspire to be competent in playing an instrument someday.  As an aspiring English language teacher, I learned about different approaches and methods for language teaching in some of my classes and one of the topics we focused on was Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.  His theory is basically that people have strengths or abilities in different arenas and, ideally, a language class should incorporate strategies that address the strengths of all the students.  Upon taking a few tests to determine my intelligences, I consistently find that my musical intelligence is my greatest strength and, while I've always been a dunderhead when it comes to playing an instrument, a musical intelligence is definitely prominent in other ways.  For instance, I can hit notes and remember tunes quite well and, surprisingly, I'm even able to memorize songs in foreign languages.  Unfortunately, I've never been very skilled with my hands - I can type at the speed of a court reporter and can hit the moves from my favorite video games with the greatest of ease, however, I'm not very coordinated when using my hands outside of the technical realm and thus I think that my musical endeavors have suffered.  It also doesn't help that I get a bit anxious and impatient when trying new things and I often stop myself out of frustration before I have the opportunity to grow.  Ultimately, I hope that I get to the point where my neurotic eccentricities don't hinder me from learning a new skill and, if I ever do learn to play an instrument, I hope it's one that's dainty and quirky.  A ukelele, piccolo, triangle, or xylophone would be right up my alley.      
J. Job title: Unemployed Cutie.  On September 15, I quit my job as a legal secretary and, while it is kind of scary to be without a consistent source of income or any clear leads for the future, leaving my sensible job is one of the best decisions I ever made and I'm already feeling much more content and at ease.  Thankfully I have the support of my husband, family, and good friends and I plan on maximizing my penniless cuteness as much as possible. 
K. Kids: No, no, no, no, no. 
L. Live: Seattle, WA.  In the near future, my husband and I intend to move to Japan to teach English but, since we're open to living just about anywhere, we might choose to move to South Korea, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, or Indonesia next year.  We're also interested in teaching in Chile or Turkey and, if we decide to become volunteer organic farmers, we could live just about anywhere in the world.  I can hardly contain my excitement for the future! 
M. Mother’s name: Joanna.  Upon selecting the name 'Joanna' for my mom, my grandma informed one of my great-aunts of this decision and, apparently, this great-aunt insisted that this was a made up name.  My grandma, not surprisingly, was livid.  "It's in the bible!", she exclaimed.  I've heard this story on many occasions and it's only heightened my lifelong interest in names.     
N. Nicknames: Maggie, the name I go by in real life, is perhaps the most epic of my nicknames.  In addition to the expected Maggie, my M-based nicknames have also included Maggie May (and 'May' is my middle name), Magoo, Magpie, Mags, M, Margaret at the Market, and the ever-delightful Maggot.  Magoo, however, is clearly my favorite nickname. 
O. Overnight hospital stays: None! 
P. Pet peeves: One trait in particular that irks me is the notion talking at as opposed to engaging with potential friends.  In general, I seem to forge more friendships with men and, while I especially love to befriend guys that are passionate and excited by things in life, I often find that this passion manifests as obsessive, incoherent, and even inconsiderate rambling.  I actually enjoy hearing complex thoughts on politics, physics, and even occasionally Star Trek, however, it often seems that the only purpose I serve in these conversations is to be an obedient and active listener.  Seldom am I ever asked by these friends about my opinions or beliefs.  Furthermore, in those instances where the other party actually inquires about my feelings, typically I'm only able to get a sentence or two out before a random word is used as springboard to go off on a bizarre tangent.  Friendship, at the very least, should be a mutual exchange of ideas and it just baffles me that so many guys just want a warm body to talk at.  How sad that, by comparison, it would almost be a joy to have friends that would at least feign interest in what I have to say.    
Q. Quote from a movie: "Right now I'd be glad to trade some growth for happiness."  - Harvey Pekar (via American Splendor)
R. Right or left handed: Right. 
S. Siblings: I have an older brother and, in his most epic move yet, apparently he was able to humanely release a bat that somehow got stuck in his apartment.  Way to be macho, Stefan!
T. Tattoos: There have been a few instances where I considered getting a tattoo but, ultimately, it's just not meant to be.  While I like that tattoos can represent different stages in your life and it would be pretty sweet to get some obscure animals (like a proboscis monkey) inked on my arm, I just feel like it would be too challenging to coordinate my tattoos with my outfits and, as much as I enjoy aging, I don't know if I would enjoy the inevitable wrinkled tattoos of the future.  I think I'll just be sticking to those dollar store tattoos of unicorns.
U. Underwear: I have an incredible collection of holiday-themed underwear.  For Christmas, my mom likes to use underwear as stocking stuffers and, since I also tend to also receive a wealth of underwear for my birthday, I still manage to have some underwear from as far back as middle school.  TMI alert! 
V. Vegetable you hate: Bok choy. 
W. What makes you run late: Outfit indecision is often the worst offender.  As much as I would like to plan my outfits ahead of time, I often just try to make my visions a reality in the morning and, when those creations aren't quite what I expected, I frantically throw together outfits until I find something that's somewhat acceptable.  It can be quite distressing.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: I think I've only had them on the teeth but, boy, is that a laborious and uncomfortable process.  
Y. Yummy food that you make: Drunken Banana Bread, Pumpkin Pancakes with Sweetened Whipped Cream, and Orangies (aka orange brownies or creamsicle bars) are among some of my greatest hits. 
Z. Zoo animal: I have always adored obscure animals.  While I can't say for certain that I have always preferred unusual animals like the aye-aye or gibbon over the standard zoo fare, I just find the variety of life on earth to be infinitely fascinating and I have always been intrigued by those creatures that are far from the limelight.  Some of my favorite zoo animals include red pandas, toucans, and the ever-elusive maned wolf. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Best of Seasons

My New Best Angle
One of my short-term objectives is to refine my wardrobe.  While my plans for the future are far from being settled, Tim and I intend to move out of the country within the next few months and, since such a cross-continental journey will require us to pare down our collection of stuff, I hope to use this move as an opportunity to fine-tune my closet.  I have, not surprisingly, acquired quite a heap of clothes over the years.  As much as I would love to ship every last deconstructed sweater, novelty pin, or pair of animal-print socks across the Pacific Ocean, I will most likely be living in a much smaller space once we've found our home abroad and, frankly, I doubt that I will want to spend upwards of a hundred dollars simply to ship one package of goofy socks.  It has been fun for me to think about how I might pare down pieces and create an ultimate wardrobe before we make the big move abroad.  For instance, I been thinking a lot about concepts I never really considered such as versatility, dressing for the seasons, and durability and I've had a lot of fun exploring these ideas through new-to-me outfits.  The outfit I wore last Saturday was my first attempt at dressing for autumn and, while I certainly won't be able to do this everyday, I think it was quite the success.
One Autumnal Duo
Hands Hands Hands!
I think that seasonality, especially in how it pertains to fashion, is an endlessly fascinating subject. From my casual observations of the world around me, it seems like seasonality is becoming a hop topic in both pop culture and alternative media alike - reality shows like Top Chef tout the importance of fresh and local ingredients, farmers' markets seem to have sprung up in nearly every neighborhood in Seattle, and it seems like everyone I know is salivating over those infamous pumpkin-spiced lattes. Fashion, while certainly not dependent on crops or harvests, does seem to interpret the seasons in interesting ways. Upon experiencing my first autumn in the fashion blogging world a year ago, I was amazed by how many bloggers were able to smoothly transition to a sea of burnt orange, mustard, and crimson hues from the moment September arrived. Some bloggers seemed to more subtly mix autumnal colors with items from previous seasons while others appeared to be walking pile of fallen leaves. As much as I would like to have the dedication or closet space needed to amass a seemingly-endless collection of seasonally-appropriate clothing, I think I've realized that I'm more about wearing versatile items that compliment one another than dressing for the seasons. Never do I want to feel like I can't wear my beloved pastels just because they're not traditionally worn in cooler weather At this point, I will not hesitate to pair autumnal hues if I have enough pieces to make an outfit work however, as much as I admire others that dress to match their surroundings, I'm just not that kind of girl.
Another Autumnal Duo
An Uncomfortable View of the Squirrel Pin
It is, admittedly, going to be a challenge for me to weed through my wardrobe and determine which items feel the most like me. While I likely won't spend too much time worrying over how my clothing and accessories may match the seasons, I consider selecting versatile items that can transition between multiple seasons and climates to be of the utmost importance. Layering, a concept that was once foreign to me, will certainly be essential when I move abroad. For instance, when Tim and I traveled to Japan last winter, I learned that most business will have their heat jacked up to a sweltering degree in an attempt to combat the frigid temperatures outside and, well, this led to uncomfortable meals. I hope to have enough layering pieces someday that I'll be comfortable even in the isolated and frigid region of Hokkaido. Ultimately, my wardrobe is bound to evolve with me as a I prepare to transition to a new life abroad and, much like how I can hardly contain my excitement for what the next few months will bring, I just can't wait to experiment with and redefine my style.
Smilng with my Face and my Eyes
Vintage Hat
Thrifted Vintage Sweater
Vintage Skirt
Wild Diva Shoes
BDG Belt
Vintage Squirrel Pin