Saturday, June 20, 2009


I'll be in China from June 20th to July 4th -- and I heard China blocked Blogger (why, oh why).

Until then, you can email me while I try to figure out a way to access Miss Couturable (is there a way?). Please have a beautiful summer wherever you are!

Miss Couturable

Sunday, June 14, 2009

College Applications: The Essays

Junior year, I was told by my darling college counselor to start writing my college application essays over the summer. I had heard far-fetched stories of students who finished all of their essays and short answer responses over the summer and lived carefree lives as seniors for the rest of the year, but instead I chose to write the bulk of my applications during the school year and suffer.

And actually, it wasn't a bad idea. I stressed over my imperfect essays for months, only to finally submit them with three clicks of a mouse and never open up those documents ever again. For those rising seniors who are starting to think about what to write on their college applications, I have a few words of advice (words of wisdom? I'm not so sure about that):
  1. You will change as a person throughout the year, so expect your essays to change too. I never thought my priorities would change in six months, but I knew in December that I was not the same person that I was in July. You might think you're getting a headstart by finishing your Common Application essay in July, but you might think the essay wasn't "you" anymore by September. That's okay -- be flexible.
  2. Reuse essays whenever you can to save time. I used my Common Application essay for my University of Southern California essay by tweaking the words. Just make sure you're always answering the prompt.
  3. Those "Why X School?" essays are a pain, but be sincere anyway. Don't be generic about why you want to attend the school -- be passionate and specific and imagine yourself as a student there. Show them that you belong and will thrive there.
  4. If you have a college counselor or teacher willing to read your essays, please let them. I had a classmate who didn't allow her college counselor to read a single one of her essays or responses. Even if you choose not to follow your teacher or counselor's advice, take advantage of it if it's available to you! I realized early on that my counselors and teachers could provide me perspectives on my essays that I couldn't see before.
  5. Write about a specific moment or event. At least, for private colleges and universities, it's easier to see the "real" you and not a rundown of your achievements if you write about a specific moment that impacted you or shaped you. Everyone likes anecdotes, right?
  6. Don't panic if you don't know what to write about. If you experience something this summer that could potentially become a good essay, jot it down in your notebook! Brainstorming and letting the prompt topic sit in your head for a few days do wonders.
  7. Don't offend the reader. Taken straight from my college counselor's mouth, don't write about the guns you're going to bring into your dorm room or your support of the Ku Klux Klan (I'm totally exaggerating, but you get the gist).
  8. Proofread carefully. Your counselor or teacher or parent or friend or sibling is not your proofreader -- you are. Print out a draft and read over it while marking the mistakes and corrections.
  9. After submission, relax and walk away from the computer. Well, you should still open up the submitted application to check for any errors, but don't keep revisiting the document.
I had a lot of fun writing the college application essays, but I may just be saying that in rosy retrospection. Good luck, m'dears!

Miss Couturable

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The jeweler of Wonderland

I've been reading a lot of books from my not-so-distant childhood lately, perhaps in a pathetic attempt to recapture the innocence and wonder of an eight-years-old Noel sitting in an eggplant-colored armchair at the Corvallis Public Library. After rereading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, I am once again both disturbed and intrigued by the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter in the alternate reality that Alice finds herself in.

Alidra Alic is a Danish jeweler who takes inspiration from 19th century Romantic paintings and visionary literary works, such as the floral and tea party motifs in her Alice's Adventures in Wonderland collection. The rings in the collection are surreal with their warped shapes and imperfect designs -- interestingly, Alic admits incorporating alcohol as a theme into this collection.

My personal favorite is the "Drink me" teacup ring. Highly impractical, but Wonderland was never meant to make sense anyway.

Miss Couturable

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hemp is hip

I've seen a few episodes of Project Runway, but I never followed the television show as closely as some people might expect me to. However, I adore the season five winner, Leanne Marshall -- who also writes a fascinating blog about the design process and post-Project Runway life. Apparently she's also from Northern California, used to sketch costumes for her ballet recital, and lived in Oregon for a while! Something in common, no?

Okay, I'm stretching it (Northern California is a big place, after all), but Leanne Marshall is like Vera Wang meets Calvin Klein meets Erin Fetherston meets California supergoddess minus the stereotypical surfing.
(Photo Credit -- Leanne Marshall)
In her Fall 2009 collection, she combines my three favorite colors -- plum, gold, and gray -- with organic and eco-friendly textiles in a delightfully elegant concoction of Old Hollywood glamour. Carefully placed drapes and folds manipulate the soft texture of the fabric in a demure manner -- not too structured but not quite Greco-Roman drapery either. Tailored but not stuffy.
(Photo Credit -- Leanne Marshall)
A hemp organiza and champagne silk taffeta gown? Please tell me you want this as your wedding dress someday too.

Miss Couturable

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Logo for Miss Couturable

Possibly the most relaxed course I have ever taken in my high school career is Graphic Arts -- I spent the majority of the first two weeks drawing squares and circles on Adobe Illustrator. It was a nice way to end my senior year, with a "chill" teacher ("chill" being the only term I can use to describe him) and some new skills under my belt.

I created two slightly different logos for Miss Couturable -- logos that I currently have no use for but may become useful in the future. I am debating whether the bow is too much as a design element.
Which one do you like better?

Miss Couturable