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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What's On My Shelf?: Current Reads and Recommendations

What's On My Shelf?: Current Reads and Recommendations
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Lately I've been trying as hard as I can to spend less time staring at screens and stick my nose in a book every once in a while. When it comes to the books I read in my free time, I'm not someone that finds inspiration on the New York Times' Best Sellers list. Most books I purchase have been shared with me either through friend recommendations or when I come across an enticing movie trailer with the phrase "based on the best-selling book..." attached to it. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite books that I would highly recommend along with what's currently on my nightstand. (A while ago I used to be pretty consistent with my book and "favorites" recommendations, so a couple of these might be repeats.) 

For those getting back into reading...

Let's admit it, getting back into reading is hard. Whether it's because school has sucked out any ounce of pleasure or you've just been living life removed from a novel for far too long, reading can seem like a challenge rather than a leisurely activity. Both Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay and Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman are collections of essays that will make you actually laugh out loud...or at least that weird quick-exhale-out-your-nose thing. Roxane Gay talks about her experience as a feminist (among other identities) and navigating modern pop culture and other spaces deemed at odds with feminism. What makes it funny is her crush on Channing Tatum and other modern references. Each of Chuck Klosterman’s essays focus on various subcultures as well as other elements like the rise of celebrity culture and consumerism. If you're like me and was a literal baby during the boom of the Internet and most of the 1990s, some references might need some Internet-searching. 

For the science fiction lovers...

I'd say these books would entice science fiction lovers as much as it would for those people who like to boast that "the books were better than the film". I read both for the first time during my sophomore year of college when I was desperately searching for stories to reinvigorate my love for reading.  Science fiction is one of my favorite genres and I loved Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer not only for the storytelling, but the fact that the story is centered around a team of four women in scientific fields. Science fiction stories, especially those popularized in mainstream culture or through their film adaptations, focus on male protagonists and have little-to-no minority representation. (I'm excited to see what Ex-Machina director Alex Garland does with the story.) As for Ready Player One, I've already discussed how much I like it. One reason why is because it introduced me to songs and movies that I've been consuming ever since. Ever since the trailer for the movie premiered at San Diego Comic Con last summer, people are either really excited or hate the film solely based on the number of franchises referenced in the film (aka a reason why I like it). If anything, I think most people are just mad that Ernest Cline has brought attention to fandoms everywhere that their "niche" interests can't stay small for long when they create millions to billions in revenue. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

For those that want to read the books they should have read in high school...

Out of all the books I read in high school, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 will always be my go-to. The ideas of censorship and "rewriting history" hit too close to home in the era of "fake news." Some people also seem to agree because HBO has a television film adaptation slated for this year a starring everyone's new obsession, Michael B. Jordan.

What I'm currently reading..
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
The Girls by Emma Cline

One of my goals with getting back into reading is to find more stories written by women or centered around a female protagonist. Books are the easiest way to both find representation of minorities and to understand the world from a different perspective. White Teeth by Zadie Smith was recommended to me by a few pals during our semester abroad in London this time last year. Besides the humble brag, I mention it because I think the collective image of London is whitewashed with the only diversity coming from certain members of the Spice Girls and One Direction. Since I only really understand racial tensions from the American perspective, I'm excited to read White Teeth and later delve into Zadie Smith's other works. Girls by Emma Cline, on the other hand, is feeding into my pre-exisitng interest in cults and the nostalgia of the 60/ 70s. The story is loosely based around the Manson cult, which is the topic of one of my favorite podcasts at the moment. Lastly, I always have a "self-help" book on hand. The Success Principles was given to me by my mom as a sort of "required family reading," but you can never be too keen on self-improvement.

Hope you enjoyed this list. Have somethin' to say about any of these books? Tweet me @torixcat!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My New Uniform

My New Uniform
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
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A little bit of tummy never hurt anybody.

Juicy crop sweater | Eggie Shop 'Connor' Set | Skate shoes

The first outfit post of the new year! Can I still mention the new year even though we are well into February? This set was featured in my "Black Friday" haul and since then I've fallen in love with just how versatile it can be. From going to brunch to a night out, I've been wearing this set to pieces. My favorite way to style it is with statement shoes, a mesh top, and chain belt. 

Contrast stitching has become a micro-trend on its own. If done well, the stitching can help trick the eye to elongate the body. It is also a small detail that many trending aesthetics share. The few that immediately come to mind are "gothic western", and the "industrial" 2000s. Personally, I also love it because in the times of logomania, contrast stitching is a simple way to declare the quality of your clothing.

My wonderful friend Noël wanted to go a bit more experimental on the photos this time 'round, especially for a pretty basic look. What do you think? The pink edit is giving me dystopian/"Los Angeles is burning" vibes.

Photos by Noël Dombroski

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Grammys 2018 Red Carpet #TimesUp

Grammys 2018 Red Carpet #TimesUp
Sunday, January 28, 2018
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And the #TimesUp movement keeps moving forward. With so many influential men in Hollywood getting their dose of public shame and lawsuits, will the hidden perpetrators in the recording industry be next? (Judging by the lack of women in the production of music, I'm gonna guess this might take a bit.) Many artists brought white roses with them on the red carpet to show their support of the movement. Artists were encouraged by the organization "Voices in Entertainment" to show solidarity. Though the white rose traditionally represents love, hope, sympathy, and resistance, I just couldn't stop thinking about the way it as used ironically in The Hunger Games for the same reason.

The Grammys is an award show that is no stranger to statements, in all forms. Out of all the red carpet events that take place during awards season, The Grammys is the best place to see the most extremes of a "Best and Worst Dressed" list, possible wardrobe malfunctions, and ensembles that best capture the most current fashions. Keep on reading to see my favorites from the red carpet and how you can incorporate some elements into your own looks.

Kristin Cavallari in Alex Perry; Cardi B in Ashi; Hailee Steinfeld in Alexandre Vauthier

I'm kind of confused as to why Kristin Cavallari was on the red carpet, but she looked incredible. The whole look gives me major Margot Robbie vibes with the strong shoulder silhouette and smoky eyes. Cardi B seemed to trade in her nickname "Cinderella of Hip Hop" for the role of the fairy godmother. I'm loving Hailee Steinfeld's fresh take on the high slit. I appreciate the risk.
Lana del Rey in Gucci; SZA in Atelier Versace; Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town in Monica Lhuillier

As both a fan of all things celestial and a fellow Gemini, I love Lana del Rey's custom Gucci gown. I'm definitely saving this for my music festival inspiration. The silhouette of the dress reminded me of the wrap dresses that are super popular as of late. SZA looked ethereal as ever, especially with the flared tulle as sleeves. Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town) was rocking the feather trend that is also super popular. Ditch lace this year for delicate feathers for the added oomph.
Miley Cyrus in Jean Paul Gaultier; Janelle Monae in Dolce and Gabbana; Alessia Cara in Rag & Bone

Say what you want about Miley Cyrus' current discography, but her red carpet style has been killer. If you're someone who's not too crazy about jewelry, try finding an embellished heel to go with the look. If you're the kind of person who never shys away from embellishments, follow Janelle Monae. Just like her opening speech for Kesha, she is perfect! Check the major barrettes in her hair, proving that they're more of a statement rather than a functional item now. Alessia Cara's simple and semi-casual suit really let her natural beauty shine. This definitely beats Millie Bobby-Brown's attempt to rock Converse on the red carpet.
Chrissy Teigen in Yanina Couture; Lady Gaga in Armani Privé; Julia Michaels in Paolo Sabastian

My love for Chrissy Teigen knows no bounds. From her flawless lob to the over-the-top sequins, there are definitely style cues you can take away from her. The empire waist and exaggerated shoulder pads are not only trends reminiscent of the 80s, but they are tricks to elongating the figure and look slimmer. Lady Gaga and Julia Michaels killed it in their respective gowns. Usually trains like these are most commonly seen on Oscar and Golden Globes carpets, but they still stun. Loved Julia's white rose tattoo as her take for #TimesUp. 
Eve in Naheem Khan; Kesha in Nudie; Anna Kendrick in Balmain

If you don't already have a suit or matching co-ord in your closet, I hope these ladies will change your mind. Eve's bejeweled set had the perfect balance of glamour and sex. There are so many modern brands doing their own spin on this kind of silhouette! If you're not daring enough to follow through sans lingerie, try the Anna Kendrick method. The houndstooth print is also very popular right now and can easily replace any boring black pant. (Look again at the gaudy buttons and shoulder pads...the 80s are calling.) Kesha's modern western look has elements you can incorporate right now. If you can't get your hands on an embroidered cowboy shirt, finding pants with contrast stitching will be a breeze.
Zayn Malik; Sam Smith; Khalid

Can't forget about the boys either! I love The Grammys because there's way more color on the carpet. I love the late embrace of "millennial pink" by Zayn and Khalid. Khalid is also featuring the microtrend of the mockneck that many fashionable men are showcasing right now. Sam Smith, on the other hand, looks like a model straight out of an Acne Studios shoot.
Jaden Smith; Childish Gambino; Tyler, the Creator

I commend Jaden Smith and Tyler, the Creator's looks. Though Jaden has been in many high fashion campaigns and editorials, like Tyler, he is definitely known for his street style. He's just an ICON livin'. I can see future hypebeasts and fashion lovers alike looking back at Tyler's outfit long after the hype around GOLF and his Converse collaboration die. As for Childish Gambino, he's the physical manifestation of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together."

I hope you took something away from this. Fashion trends are finally catching up to pop's obsession with the 80s! Statement shoes and co-ords are worth investing in! Streetwear style is infiltrating the red carpet! Sneakers and suits are no longer awful!

As for the actual show, I am still devastated that my girl Lorde didn't win "Album of the Year" nor did Kesha win "Best Pop Solo Performance" especially after her triumphant return to pop music. The performances this year seemed lackluster, even with the Cardi B and Bruno Mars mash up of their "Finesse" remix and "Bartier Cardi." The inclusion of #TimesUp on the red carpet, while admirable, didn't have the same punch as the Golden Globes. Though sexism and abuse of power is in all industries, I think it would have been more impactful to direct our attention to other issues within music like the way hip hop has become incredibly lucrative yet the same artists lost every year for non-genre specific categories (*cough* Kendrick Lamar) or country artists' stances on gun laws after what happened in Vegas. Then again, it's foolish to ask more from an industry on a night dedicated to celebrating itself. Guess if you're going to take a stand, make sure it's already trending.