Monday, May 26, 2008

Hiatus until June 8th!

It seems like everyone is going to be in New York City this summer -- from dear Gala who organized a screening of Sex and the City on Friday that I won't be able to attend, to Casey of Teen Fashionista who will be flying out for her internship very soon.

Thankfully, I won't be merely reading other bloggers' experiences in New York City because I'll be there myself for seven weeks.

Summer 2008
June 9th - June 14th
Visiting Boston and New York City with the family
June 15th - August 9th
Internship in New York City
August 11th - August 22nd
Returning home for cheer camp

Until then however, I have to finish up schoolwork, SATs, and finals -- the last high-school finals I will ever take, by the way. My school canceled final exams for seniors both first and second semester so that we could use the precious time to work on college applications. The school administration deserves cupcakes.

What are your summer plans, my lovelies?

Miss Couturable

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Con te partirò

"Excuse me, those shoes are inappropriate; you can't enter," said a patrolling teacher on Thursday, as a freshman tried to enter the awards ceremony in a pair of white slip-on Vans. By junior year, students at my school have (for the most part) accepted "special dress days" as another interesting nuance of our campus experience -- according to the handbook, boys must wear a "coat and tie, folded collar shirt, dress slacks, dress shoes and socks." Similarly, girls must wear a "dress, or skirt and dressy blouse, or dressy pants suit; dress shoes."

I smiled at the poor freshman boy who assumed clean Vans would be deemed acceptable by the administration as "special dress" as long as he wore a tie and a collared shirt -- because our school's peculiarities, though at times confusing in its specificities and formalities, make up much of the richness of our high-school experience. Next year, he'll probably bring a change of shoes.

These past seven days, I finally felt the impending termination of junior year -- like curtains closing as the front door opens.

The junior class regatta -- a day of sailing and class bonding in Monterey Bay -- was a humbling experience against the elements of nature. My classmates and I learned to work with the wind current -- and rediscovered that success cannot be gained merely through memorization and repetition. I gazed out at the endless horizon as the boat tipped and undulated with the waves; time seemed to have stopped, and yet we were still drifting.It was the first time I had ever seen a lighthouse so close. I could not help but think, "No wonder there are endless horror stories about abandoned lighthouses."
"Huckleberry Finn-style" is what I call this sort of rafting. Someday, I'm going to do this -- although without the skin-tight Speedo.

Instead of the traditional senior prank, the senior class of 2008 chose give the entire school a half-day off -- with bouncy houses, a DJ, and a live band.The sun was shining, students were relieved that they didn't have to spend their lunch period finishing up homework, and the wonderful teachers brought their children out to play. We frolicked around the school -- summer finally became a reality. "Only three more weeks," we thought breathlessly.

"Be kind -- for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle," said one of the adult speakers, referring to Plato, at Baccalaureate. He is a loved teacher at my school and is currently battling cancer -- my eyes swelled with tears at his sweet but simple words.

The Baccalaureate ceremony, according to my friend Janet, is "a highly preppy tradition that originated in Oxford University." It's not quite graduation, it's not quite a celebration -- but it was definitely a farewell to the class of 2008. The choir sang "Con te partirò" as we, the class of 2009, sat frozen in our seats in the Quad. Should we have been happy? Should we have been nostalgic? Sad? The emotions left at Baccalaureate were unclear -- and yet unforgettable.

I watched the seniors rehearse for the graduation ceremony, awkwardly practicing how to receive their diploma while smiling charismatically at the camera.

"Okay, we're going to run through this again," I heard. High-school graduation, though a once-in-a-lifetime experience, is rehearsed over and over again. Ironically, it is only the ultimate performance that brings about hearty tears.

I still have two weeks left of school -- but the past three years coexisting with the class of 2008 has taught me that time, that dastardly impenetrable force, withers pasts you before you know it.

Congratulations, dear class of 2008! Oh, and class of 2009? We're almost there, but remember to remember to hold tight.

Miss Couturable

Friday, May 23, 2008

Forget the prom dress, I want a hanbok

I have a confession to make: I always joke with my friends that I love Korea for its good-looking pop stars and incredibly cheesy television dramas -- but ever since I was a wee little one, I've been fascinated by the traditional Korean dress, the hanbok. I relished school trips to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco because they have a hanbok exhibit -- silky, marvelous garbs adorned with precious jewels and gold embroidery.

Not surprisingly, I immediately fell in love with Young-Hee Lee's designs the moment my eyes passed upon her iGoogle theme. Her renowned designs have been showcased throughout the world, including New York City, Paris, and Seoul -- and for good reason, as they are so much more than trendy East-West fusion.

Her designs -- from traditional hanboks to white wedding dresses -- combine eastern formality with classical sensuality. Traditional is never subordinate to modernity with her work; instead, the garbs of the past collide with the present in a melting harmony of jewel tones and craftsmanship.

Miss Couturable

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nolcha Metier: Issue 1

I recently received copies of Issue 1 of Nolcha Metier in the mail -- a fashion business print publication that I write and edit for. I was highly impressed by the independent magazine -- a succinct glossy publication with professional design, focus on the fashion business, and filaments of style.
I'm especially grateful to all of the adults in the company, who took a chance on a high-school junior like me for the premiere issue of their publishing venture. Given the wonderful task and privilege as an editor and writer, I remember sleepless nights trying to refine my articles and uncover last-minute research -- while frantically cramming for my calculus exam and finishing my history paper."How collaborations are a boost for retail sales" and "Cyber Monday: the power of online business" -- my first two articles for the magazine! It was definitely an adventure to navigate the unfamiliar intricacies of the fashion business, but I've come to realize that one cannot expect success in any industry without understanding the concepts of business first.

I'm currently working on a number of articles for Issue 3 of Nolcha Metier. I've been published in print (including glossies) before, but it is a wonderful and rejuvenating experience to lay eyes upon a piece of published writing that wasn't originally in my comfort zone. All writers must share a special type of joy when they see their names in print, whether it's their first published piece in the corner of the school newspaper or the fiftieth column they've written for a major publication. I hope to never lose this adrenaline rush.

Miss Couturable

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Sunday Six: May 18th, 2008

As the temperature climbs to unreasonably high degrees, I am reminded that summer -- the season of fantastic beginnings and bittersweet endings -- is approaching.
  1. So I always thought frozen yogurt couldn't be topped after Pinkberry, but that was before Yogurtland opened up shop nearby. This candy-colored store sells self-serve frozen yogurt, only $.30 an ounce. Within the past week, I've been here three times -- overflowing my container with mango tart frozen yogurt and mochi ball toppings.
  2. Phyllis Schlafly received an honorary degree from Washington University in St. Louis. This is a woman who believes married women can't be raped, who spent her whole career telling other women to stay in the home. I'm rather outraged that she who doesn't advocate advancement for other women would be honored with a degree herself.
  3. Dear Alexander McQueen, I've never thirstily coveted a purse before until I laid eyes upon your deliciously buttery 'Elvie' bag -- structurally artistic with tailored elegance.
  4. Frankie Morello Spring 2008 is so remarkably kitschy and fun -- forget about skin-tight Indy 500 racing suits when you can have a fabulous checkerprint miniskirt instead. With haute couture and Hollywood glamour, it's easy for one to forget the pure playful fun in fashion.
  5. Looking for stylish summer reading? Trend de la Creme recommends the top 5 fashion books to own.
  6. The Diane von Furstenbuerg Surrenda Skirt proves that organza isn't just for old-fashioned prom dresses.
The plane tickets to New York City and Boston have been bought -- updates on my summer plans coming up soon, after I get through the rest of these resort collections and my biology test.

Miss Couturable

Saturday, May 17, 2008

These are the best days of our lives: Prom 2008

Let's face it -- not everything under the sun goes according to plan. My prom ensemble, for example, deviated from my original plan.

When I realized that the Betsey Johnson Clover Shoes that I originally coveted were no longer available in size 6, I opted for a pair of yellow Betsey Johnson 'Felicia' Pumps. Usually I'm not a fan of florals, but the bright colors contrasted well with my otherwise faded pink consignment store dress find. Along with a vintage gold and porcelain flower pin, single strand of pearls, polka-dotted clutch, and black silhouette earrings, I was ready for prom night.

But not so ready for the 105°F weather. By the time I left my house in my 4-inch stilettos and and thick tulle-lined dress, sweat was dripping down my forehead, smearing moist black eyeliner along the bottom ridges of my eyes.

Nonetheless, prom was a smashing celebration of high-school, from the impossibly discernible screams and gyrating hips on the dance floor to the burnt chocolate chip cookies at 3:00 in the morning.
Even though my shoes stood out against my mostly pastel ensemble, my corsage matched my pumps with a bright yellow ribbon and raspberry-colored flowers.
I enjoyed a plate of succulent medium rare lamp chops from a phenomenal Mediterranean restaurant -- actually no, I had gorged on pita bread and a Shirley Temple cocktail before the lamp chops came, so I only had one of the lamp chops before I discovered the taste wonders of spinach.I must have had three Shirley Temples that night -- because at the actual dance, there was a bar. If I wasn't so full, I probably would have spent the rest of the dance snacking on cakes and fruits dipped in the chocolate fountain.

"You guys, I think I'm going to cry," exclaimed a senior, resplendent in a satin black gown, after the last song.

A friend once mentioned that prom is the happiest night for juniors and the saddest night for seniors. As I gazed at that senior walking by me, I bit my lip at the imminence of her departure from high-school -- and yet as a junior, I could not help but hold onto my sweat-drenched friends a bit more tighter.

Miss Couturable

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Math is love

No, "Math is love" probably isn't something one would normally hear me say. Or think. Or even consider as plausible in my life. I have an on-and-off long-term relationship with math.

However, I recently learned that the poem, "The Square Root of 3", was written by one of the amazing computer science teachers at my school, Dave Feinberg. This particular poem is in the new movie, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay -- I believe he went to high school with the director, but please correct me if I'm wrong.
The Square Root of 3 by Dave Feinberg

I’m sure that I will always be
A lonely number like root three

The three is all that’s good and right,
Why must my three keep out of sight
Beneath the vicious square root sign,
I wish instead I were a nine

For nine could thwart this evil trick,
with just some quick arithmetic

I know I’ll never see the sun, as 1.7321
Such is my reality, a sad irrationality

When hark! What is this I see,
Another square root of a three

As quietly co-waltzing by,
Together now we multiply
To form a number we prefer,
Rejoicing as an integer

We break free from our mortal bonds
With the wave of magic wands

Our square root signs become unglued
Your love for me has been renewed
Watch the movie clip on Youtube -- romantic, yes? I'm still technically on hiatus because of academic commitments, but I figure this counts as math.

Miss Couturable

P.S. Apparently someone used this poem to ask his girlfriend to prom -- Mr. Feinberg, you are amazing.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

2008 to 2009

I recently saw my former driver -- a wonderful grandfatherly figure from Vietnam who loves little kids.

He was wearing his navy blue "UCSD Dad" baseball cap as usual.

"Are you applying to college soon?" he asked, "My son is premed at UCSD. He got a scholarship there."

He beamed and sighed proudly, and I beamed along with him in the backseat of the car. It was transparently obvious how proud he was of his son -- and I was proud too.

As the Class of 2008 is about to graduate, I cannot help but swell with pride at the maturation of the first faces I met when I came to visit my high-school as an eighth grader.

Natalie to Harvard, Heidi to Wellesley, Stephanie to Georgetown -- from Natalie's amazing sense of style that I do not know how to emulate to my early-morning chats with Heidi about boys to the numerous girly conversations about clothes and college with Stephanie, they will sorely be missed as they jet off to their wonderful colleges on the east coast.

I will brush my tears aside and be happy for and proud of the Class of 2008. It's their moment to shine.

Class of 2009, are you ready?

Miss Couturable