Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I'm All About the A/C and Authors

Image see item #2.

1) The city of NYC requested that building management firms notify citizens of tips to stay cool in the heat. So, slid under my door along with contact information for city agencies is a list of advisories reminding me to drink water and wear cool clothing. People down south are finding this panic over heat in the northeast amusing. But people in the northeast don't see snow and close the city. It's all in what you're used to. I admit I find the advice a little spoilsport, Darwinwise, but I grew up in Texas and California. Chicago regularly blows hotter and colder than here. Still, I think most people rational enough to read and absorb such directives are also likely to be keen enough to know hydration is an essential of life and to stay out of sunlight hot enough to actually hurt as it blazes against bare skin. Maybe not.

Recently, in Queens, some people were without electric for almost two weeks. Very tough for mere loose clothing to compensate for no A/C, ice, or fans in a part of the world not engineered like the Alhambra of Spain to use the breezes to maximum advantage. Let this be my own notice to the city and utilities. You just keep the power juicing, and I'll take care not to stink up the joint with my rotting corpse. The better news Ill sneak in: Castro might beat me to the beyond, and DDT's back on the menu.

2) I really enjoyed blogger Kathryn Finney's How To Be A Budget Fashionista. Like her site that inspired it, the book is wonderfully good-natured and good-humored. It's also nicely formatted with lots of illustrations, charts, and lists for variety hounds like me with short-attention spans. She starts by focusing on getting real with our budget and desires in order to ensure we have the wardrobe we need while being able to afford the things we'll love. The tone is friendly and leavened with her own budgetary missteps. I laughed aloud at the motivational sticker she put across the face of her credit card reminding her, "You ain't Oprah!"

Her advice about mercilessly paring what's not working in a wardrobe and monetizing it toward better purchases is concrete and practical. She has tips for earning opportunities to help fashionistas fatten their clothing accounts, as well as discussing what qualities beside price separate designer goods from knockoffs and how to take care of clothes for their best appearance and longevity. She creates a process to help readers target their own mix of styles, and carry it from aspirational looks through actual purchases. Best of all, she includes oodles of weblinks to other resources from good foundation garment suppliers to consignment shops. Even if you already know some or most of this stuff, you'll undoubtedly find a tip or two worth trying. And besides, it's oh-so nice to have a cheerleader echoing that it's not only okay but fun and stylish to mix your cheapest finds with trophies of couture. She understands a legitimate reply to the compliment "Cute skirt," is "$17, Elder Beerman weekend sale with double coupons."

Reading what she wrote about how layaway is no more, I was reminded how with it we lost a sense of savoring our consumption and the notion that having the money before spending it is a pretty solid chronology. When I was in junior high, my mom helped me put a knitted vest on layaway. It was in lustrous ivory yarn with a zipper, ribbed split-collar, and a shearling lining. How I loved it. I loved going in the store to look at it when we gave them pieces of my allowance along with my mother's additional contributions. Mom didn't usually buy much on layaway, preferring seasonal shopping trips and the absolute No when it came to foolish expediture, but I think she wanted to know whether I really wanted it enough to sacrifice other pleasures. When we finally picked it up and took it home on its plastic-covered hanger, I was so epically happy. Of course, I know now that especially paired with my suede and shearling elf boots, I must've looked like an insulated steam pipe, but I gazed upon that vest with fondness for years because I'd invested so much in it. Whether it's a shoe, handbag, outfit, jewelry, or none of the above that inspires your passionate craving, Kathryn Finney's book is a reminder of the simple, normal joys that can be had while planning for, saving for, and then experiencing something worth treasuring.

3) In other bookish news, I'll be sharing the room with three famous authors tonight. Granted, Radio City Music Hall is a very big room, and I doubt they'll mention me personally, but I'm still looking forward to the Harry, Carrie, and Garp readings by J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and John Irving. King and Irving are already putting the full-court press on their comrade about Rowling potentially offing her hero.


Beth said...

I agree, it is all about perspective (and being properly hydrated) when it comes to climate. However, I am getting a little irked with the entire country being in a frenzy. I swear...there's always something, isn't there?

I've heard glorious things about "How to be a Budget Fashionista." I will have to check it out, stat.

By the way, do you have a book out? I've been recommending your blog to a few chums of mine, it's one of my favorite reads. ;)

Henway Twingo said...

Thanks for the recommendations!

No, sadly. No book out (yet). Just received another form rejection by mail yesterday. I have a dark Gothic thriller manuscript I'm selling, a surreal comic mystery I'm working on, as well as a series of horror short stories that team with a graphic novel. I am busy trying to entertain myself creating something someone will eventually want to buy and publish. So far, no luck with that elusive creature, but knowing you enjoy the stuff here made my day.

Beth said...

Aw. Well, hang in there. I'm sure a publisher will pick one of them up. Seriously. Coming to your blog is a treat. I'm in the process of studying for the GRE, so not only am I entertained when I read, lots of GRE vocab words are reinforced. LOL And I sincerely mean that as a compliment. I love words!

My fingers are crossed for you! Keep us updated. I'll be one of the first to buy. :)