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Annie - San Francisco, CA

I don't live-blog from the tents.

poeticandchic [at] gmail

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Image by Julie Michelle.

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Friday
Dec302011

Goodbye Eleven, Hello Twelve!

Just like everyone else, this week has been about looking back at the past year and giving it some thought. In my case, I was reminded once again of what a banner year 2011 has been for me and Poetic & Chic. I am still amazed at all of the wonderful opportunities and people that came my way this year, and which have developed into more good things to come in the next year! I'm filled with gratitude for all of it.

In 2011, I continued my intermittent series of Bang Envy posts, P&C Questionnaires, and of course the Postcard of the Week. Of all of them, I was surprised to learn that the postcards mean the most to my readers. At a recent gathering, I was told time and again about how much people look forward to the postcards and the little stories I dig up about them. Nothing could have been more enlightening! The postcards rarely seem to get comments, but I was told this was because they go "too deep" and bring up so many things that it's difficult to put together a response. To me, they are a little bit of ephemera - a little journey to take at mid-week. It's always interesting where they lead me, which I suppose makes them equally interesting to all of you. I'm so happy to learn that they are appreciated.

The year began with a bang for me, as I interviewed two very famous people on THE SAME DAY. What are the chances? The first was Vogue Magazine's European Editor at Large, Hamish Bowles, about his exhibit, Balenciaga & Spain at the de Young Museum. This was a privilege that I will cherish and remember forever. I sincerely hope our paths cross again some day.

My second interview that day was with the very talented Darren Criss, who plays Blaine on Glee. Darren and I are alumni of the same high school, so the interview was ostensibly for our alumni magazine but premiered on my blog. All I can say is this: if you ever want an explosion of blog traffic, write about a teen idol. Suddenly my interview was copied and posted all over the internet (without permission), and now I'm even one of the links on Darren Criss' Wikipedia page. Oh my.

Riding the momentum form these two wonderful interviews, I ended up getting nominated, and even reaching the top 3 fashion blogs on the SF Weekly Web Awards. This honor was totally unexpected and I still feel undeserving, but it was so nice to be recognized in this way! Because of this, I was invited to host a little Fashion's Night Out gathering at Jonathan Adler, which was such fun for the gang of bloggers and stylists I have come to know and love this year. Likewise, I was equally honored to have my first feature story in Matchbook Magazine this December, as a lead-in for the San Francisco Fashion Film Festival which will happen next Spring. All of these things were more than I ever expected this year.

Of course, the main even of the year for me was the 5th anniversary of Poetic & Chic. When I launched this site in 2006 I had no idea I'd still be here this many years later. I cannot even believe it myself! So, when some friends suggested that I throw a party for this milestone, I could only agree. What a wonderful night! I'm so happy so many people came out to celebrate, and honored that so many of my creative friends sent me their "fives" for the blog... The whole occasion is something I will treasure.

Here are some of my other favorite posts of the year...

The Best of 2011:

Coachella Style: Does Anyone Care?

Speculation: Miss Middleton's Wedding Dress

Life Lessons From Working Girl

Picasso, The Steins, and Modern Art in San Francisco

Cheetah Chic

On the Make: Glitter Reduxed

Influences: The Winged Messenger

Fashion's Night Out at Jonathan Adler

Influences: Cleopatra

Here's to an equally fulfilling 2012 with more challenges and opportunities, new work, creativity, fun, and friendship! Once again, I feel that this quote bears repeating, especially at the top of a new year! Sending lots of love and best wishes to everyone for the New Year!

Friday
Dec302011

Postcard: Ferry Building at Night, San Francisco

Sorry for the delay on postcard posting this week! I've been enjoying the mellow week between the holidays and trying to get organized for the year ahead... So for this week's card I stayed close to home: a classic view from San Francisco featuring the Ferry Building back in the early 20th Century - probably from the 1920s or 1930s.

Sunday
Dec252011

Merry Christmas!

Not just one, but two images to wish you a Merry Christmas! The first is an old snapshot of my Mom (on the bike) and my Grandma on Christmas morning years ago. From my Mom's age, I'd say it was the late 1940s or about 1950. I just love the look on her face!

This postcard was sent on Christmas Day in 1909 from Reno, Nevada. It's a gorgeous card made by "Tuck's Post Card - Raphael Tuck & Sons, Art Publishers to their Majesties the King & Queen". There's even a royal seal printed in the corner. What I love about this one is that it's embossed with texture on the trees and ground, and then given a final layer of gilt in the emboss. These extra steps definitely made it a more expensive card, but the effect is lovely.

Wishing all of you a wonderful, happy and healthy Christmas full of everything you want - or at least lots of thoughts about how to get what you want in the coming year! Wishing all of you love and joy...

Friday
Dec232011

Getting Better...With Help!

Some roasted brussel sprouts I made with golden raisins...

It's been almost 2 weeks since I wrote about my healing crisis, so I wanted to check-in and thank everyone for their many well wishes! I am doing much better after a getting to a fantastic chiropractor and getting some rest. My chiropractor determined that all of the back pain was the result of issues in my cervical spine (right in my neck) which created spinal strain. I do have sacro-iliac issues, but this problem was the main culprit. My C1 vertebrae was rotated 15 degrees and my C2 vertebrae was rotated 23 degrees! This is like having a spiral staircase in your neck... Because of this, my ribs and shoulders were "doing the work" usually done by my neck, so they were out of whack too.

Within just one treatment, my chiropractor had my neck fixed and readjusted my ribs so everything is in its proper place. It's kind of amazing - I'm breathing better and its even easier to swallow. I had no idea that all of this was the problem! And my back pain is all but non-existent. I do have some on-going aches from the sacro-iliac, but we're sorting that out too.

In the meantime, I've also had some wonderful on-going help in the overall health & nutrition area which has been invaluable. I mentioned last time that I had taken myself off of caffeine and was moving into gluten-free as a way to control inflammation. I had started doing this on my own, but in November I joined an amazing group led by Lisa Thiele of With Style & Grace and Lacy Young of LacyLike. Lisa and Lacy are sharing their knowledge of health, nutrition (specifically gluten-free) and lifestyle in order to help some of us make the transition.

The group is more about coaching & motivation than do's & don'ts, which is the key when trying to make habitual changes and make them stick. It's all about new ways of thinking and new approaches, rather than shoulds and shouldn'ts.

To be honest, it's been really nice to have a Jiminy Cricket, as it were, during the holiday social whirl. Because of the group I've been able to enjoy myself but still keep in mind some basics, such as eating greens every day. I've been ordering every type of leafy green from kale to spinach to chard at almost every meal out, and at home I've been cooking up kale chips and roasted brussel sprouts. I know it sounds simple (and it is), but sometimes it takes an implicit agreement with a like-minded group to help keep you honest about these things. After greens, we focused on grains such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc, as well as my favorite, brown rice. (Yes, I'm the girl that eats the brown rice sushi.)

Lacy is also teaching us about why calorie-counting is a big mistake and that we should all be aware of the happy, fulfilling things in life that are our "primary foods". It's all a lot to think about and reflect upon, especially as I come out of this current health situation. I'm so glad that I'm a part of this group to help me through it. As I come to more conclusions and get into more of a groove with this transition, I'll be sharing even more!

In the meantime, keep in mind that Lisa & Lacy are starting another group in early January to help kick-start people right after the holidays!

Wednesday
Dec212011

Follow Poetic & Chic on Instagram!

Just in case you haven't noticed...I'm on Instagram! Follow @poeticandchic to get all of my updates! Because only some of them get tweeted...

Wednesday
Dec212011

Postcard: Jackson Lake Lodge

Jackson Lake Lodge, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. The majestic guest lounge, over 100 feet long, is highlighted by its 60 foot picture window. This window frames the sweep of the Tetons, one of the scenic spectacles of the National Parks.

If there's anything to love about this postcard it's the chic mid-century modern design with a touch of Wyoming rustic. I love the giant tree root in the center of the square of sofas, and the Danish-looking wood end tables. I also love the oversized lamps placed here & there. I have no idea how this room looks now, but I prefer to think of it in this decor.

I've seen a few editions of this postcard, so I would imagine it was free-bee left for hotel guests in each room. Quite a view to bring home!

Friday
Dec162011

What I Wore: Gazelles, Not Reindeer

Jeans: Gap, Always Skinny

Shirt: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Vest: Sanctuary Clothing

Shoes: Nine West

Necklace: J.Crew

Bracelets: J. Crew, Banana Republic, Marc by Marc Jacobs

Everyone seems to think this shirt is covered in reindeer, especially at this time of year. In fact, they are "running gazelles" according to Mr. Marc Jacobs. Also, I'm not really wearing heels because heels are bad for me right now, but they look the best with the outfit, so it was too perfect NOT to photograph it that way...

Tuesday
Dec132011

Postcard: Mile of Christmas Trees, Pasadena, CA 1933

MILE OF CHRISTMAS TREES, Pasadena, California. Stretching north from the city limits of Pasadena through the heart of beautiful Altadena, these giant Deodars have long been famous. These trees were grown from seed brought from the Himalaya Mountains in India, where the Deodar is grown as the tree of God. They were first planted here in 1885, and now reach a height of about one hundred feed, and have a spread of from forty to fifty feet.

Postmarked from South Pasadena, CA on January 4, 1933, this postcard was sent to Wayton, Ohio by a woman named Edythe. From her brief message I can only glean that she was newly-arrived Californian... She says "Was glad to receive letter from so many at one time. We are having a lovely time. Went to this place Xmas eve. Yesterday was the big Rose Parade. I wish every one at home could see it...."

Now I haven't seen it myself, but Altadena still has the "Mile of Christmas Trees". While the trees were planted in the late 1880s by an early California booster, they first lighting of the trees was in 1920, over just a quarter-mile of trees. Each year thereafter the lighting expanded to include 150 trees.

This year, the trees will be lit until January 1, 2012, and are lit from dusk until 10 PM during the week and midnight on the weekends.

Monday
Dec122011

San Francisco Fashion Film Festival

Hedy Lamarr in Ziegfeld Girl, MGM 1941

"I remember Ziegfeld Girl...Hedy Lamarr, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Jimmy Stewart... You know for me, a young guy of 13, to see this sort of beauty. I think from that moment I decide: I want to create clothes for ladies." -Valentino Garavani in Valentino: The Last Emperor

As some of you may already know, I'm working with Kim of J'Adore Couture and Adelle of FashionistaLab to put together the first annual San Francisco Fashion Film Festival! We have been working on this for weeks, sorting out the venue, film permissions, and other logistics. We have lots of ideas of talks and panels, not to mention the possible special guest!

We don't have a final list of titles yet, but we will be screening films from the indie sector, documentaries, and yes, feature films too. We have a short list of what we'd like to show, but I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion before we come to any final selections. What I can tell you is that the titles may be surprising and unexpected. We want this festival to dig deeper and explore all different aspects of design on film, not just the usual Audrey Hepburn films, for lack of a better example. Not that there's anything wrong with those (we love Audrey!), but we just want to offer something different and more exciting than what's been done before.

What are the films that fashion designers watch over and over again? What films are referenced on the runway and why? How have filmmakers celebrated fashion in their work? What films tell the stories of the creative powerhouses that define our trends, our style, our culture? These are the questions we want to explore at the San Francisco Fashion Film Festival.

Are you a filmmaker? Do you have a film that would be a good fit for our festival? Please visit our site to make a submission!

How can you help? Please visit our Kickstarter page and make a donation, however big or small. We have a number of fabulous rewards on offer, but the main reward will be getting the festival to happen! We can't do that without your fundraising support.

Follow us on Twitter: @fashfilmfest, and on Facebook: http://facebook.com/FashFilmFest, and visit our website to see our blog and read all about us! http://www.fashfilmfest.org.

Image from Doctor Macro.

Sunday
Dec112011

The Healing Crisis

Mainbocher Corset, Horst P. Horst, 1939

You may have noticed I've had scant presence on here since last week, er - actually no presence at all. I wish I had a better reason for you such as a surprise vacation or glamorous business trip, but alas, nothing so glamorous. In fact, my reason is the antithesis of glamour.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been dealing with some chronic back pain which has been sourced around my sacro-iliac joint. Commonly known as the SI joint, this is an immovable little spot that connects your scrum to your hip at the base of your spine. There are no discs involved or anything like that, it's just a little joint that commonly gets inflamed among women of my age and health. I had pretty much solved the problem, but re-injured the area at work last September which has been a drag.

I don't want to be taking a lot of pills, so I've been managing my pain with my usual gyrotonic practice, deep tendon therapy, acupuncture sessions, rest, herbal supplements, and more recently, a big change in diet. Both my trainer and my acupuncturist recommended I start practicing an anti-inflammatory diet to help cool my system down and thereby alleviate some pain. So, I've been off of caffeine for about 6 weeks now, (which I'm actually completely fine with!) have reduced my dairy intake as well as my sugar & alcohol intake. Now I'm trying to go gluten-free. (The lovely Lisa Thiele of With Style & Grace is helping me, but much more on that in a post this week!)

All of this has been on-going for the past few weeks.

OPI's Wocka Wocka - from the Muppets Collection 2011

Last Saturday was my birthday. On Friday to get ready, I had treated myself to a mani-pedi with OPI's new Muppet special color called "Wocka Wocka", which is a gorgeous shade of red. (I mean, Fozzie Bear has a nailpolish? Yes please!) Feeling festive, I had a very fun night out with friends and woke up the next day feeling relaxed and happy. I worked a full day without any pain. Monday was more of the same, but on Monday evening I started to realize that my back was hurting when I usually wouldn't be... I even ended up laying on the floor for a while to try to even myself out. Then, I took a hot bath with epsom salts (which usually cures everything) and went to bed....

And when I woke up on Tuesday, I couldn't move. Well, I tried to move and did sort of, shuffle here and there but trying to roll out of bed and come to standing sent severe shooting pain up my back. My entire core seized up and it even hurt to breathe deeply. Trying to press on, I showered and made an attempt to "put my face on" before I cried foul and called my boss to tell him I couldn't come to work. He told me not to worry, and then I blacked out while sitting on the end of my bed.

I had seen my worker's comp doctor on Friday afternoon for a check-up (who, during the exam with me in an awful backless cotton gown, remarked on my lovely "Wocka Wocka" red toenails) but boy was she surprised to see me again so soon. I got in to see her on Tuesday morning and I don't even know how I made it in there. Getting into a taxi was excruciating, never mind feeling every bump in the road on the way. The doctor gave me a prescription for vicodin and I got into another taxi to come home, but only after blacking out again in front of the doctor.

Once home, I took 2 vicodin and went to bed. My Dad brought me dinner and we watched Judge Judy before I went back to bed again. Wednesday dawned and once again I couldn't move. I took 2 vicodin just to get out of bed, but it didn't even help. I tried to cook some egg whites (because you're supposed to take pills with food) and started to black out again standing over the stove. Luckily I turned off the gas, but those eggs were on the stove for the next 6 hours or so. That's because my boss Arnelle took me to the ER, where I got into another awful backless cotton gown and got shot full of valium and some other drug I couldn't remember.

Le Violon D'Ingres, Man Ray, 1924

Dr. O'Brien of the ER also remarked on how lovely my "Wocka Wocka" toes looked, which was probably the most put-together part of me. Let's face it, I was crying my eyes out. Despite the 2 vicodin, my back was seizing up uncontrollably, so much so that it hurt to breathe. It was downright scary. I had an X-ray taken, which showed nothing was broken or out of place, but rendered no other useful information. The actual cause of all this is still, in fact, a big mystery.

My wonderful friend Genevieve came to be with me at the hospital and even ran to get my new prescriptions, this time of valium and percoset. She then took me home, tucked me into bed, and waited with me until my Dad came by later on with more dinner. Then, my acupuncturist, Jana, made a house call to help too. Yes, a house call.

So, that was Wednesday and tonight is Sunday. The days in between have been slow, full of long afternoon naps and drug-induced movement. I've had another acupuncture session and a deep tendon therapy session too. I haven't been back to work, which is scary, but I don't know if I could do it at the moment. Both my trainer and my acupuncturist mentioned the idea of a "healing crisis" to me - that the body has a natural reaction to habit changes, even when they are healthier ones. As the body expels toxins they can make you sick, often manifesting in the same symptoms as the ones you are trying to prevent or remedy.

Thus, my healing crisis. I'm getting better, but it's taking baby steps. I know that I have a lot of posts waiting to go up, and so much to share with all of you...but please bear with me as it will take some time.

Much thanks and love to my many dear friends and family and doctors and healers for all of your help and faith. You are all so wonderful & I would be so much worse without you!