Ladies and gentlemen - fashion in Minnesota:

So we all know that Minneapolis is the mecca of fashion, right? (queue the obvious laugh track) When greeted with the opportunity to attend Cabaret Catwalk, one of Minnesota Fashion Week's exciting fashion shows (laugh track), I thought: heck, why not? First, I'll get to head out with the gals for some dinner and a show, and the show can't really be that bad, right? (laugh track)

In the end, the show really was that bad. Nah, probably worse than bad. But the company (Maria and Amber) made it more than worth it. We had a lovely dinner at The Modern in Northeast Minneapolis - which, between Maria's pregnancy and my insatiable hunger these days, was inhaled in record timing. Yum, beefy pancakes, YUM!! Then the show was conveniently located next door, and the tickets at will call were even more conveniently attached to complimentary drink tickets. Enter my inaugural foray into the world of really yummy cider:

Amber and I had awesome seats, and I'd love to share the experience with you. If you never catch a single Minnesota fashion show in your life, at least you'll know what you're missing (laugh track):

No, you're not hallucinating. That is a silver-studded-sequined-jock strap.

But the laughs! Oh, the healing, embracing laughs armed with endless sarcasm!! You have to understand, this Cabaret Catwalk fashion show was not a fashion show as much as it was an attempt at theatrical performance-- of the most amateur form. I'm talking Gay 90s and reject community theatre dancers dressed in vapid Ragstock rags, makeup applied by a member of KISS, and choreography that would make Britney Spears's sympathy-inducing VMA's performance of '07 look believable. Not just bad. Painful. But beyond the performance itself, this is a fashion show, right? So the garments should have at least hint towards fashionability, no? (laugh track) No, I'm serious here. Amber and I questioned many times if this was a joke, or if the apparent use of someone's 12-year-old sister's leftover dance costumes and lackluster "styling" was a big part of the joke or just another reason why saying the words "Minnesota Fashion Week" is like a contradiction in terms.

Ok, ok, I digress. I understand that this was one of many "fashion shows" during Minnesota Fashion Week, and that the others may have been a step up from the JCPenny's finest we witnessed. Suffice to say, I'm a tad gun shy at the prospect of giving it another go next year.

No matter- Maria and Amber, I THANK you for the laughs, and for a lovely time the whole night through. Can't say I'll support the MN Fashion Week ever again after a showing like that, but if it's sandwiched between amazing dinner prior to and delightful cocktails after, well, I'll be up for another good laugh I suppose (laugh track).

On Kat: Rachel Roy harem pants, Alternative Apparel tee, L.A.M.B. booties

*Styx, signing off



I'm a sports nut. Always have been. I lived for Sundays on the couch with Pa Dukes to watch the Queens (our pet name for the MN Vikings) continue to disappoint the loyal fans of Minnesota. I especially remember those amazing years of Robert Smith at RB, Moss at WR, and Culpepper at QB. Those were great years.

Having been an athlete for so many years, I totally get that when the season ends, it's a huge load lifted and you can't wait to get some sort of a "life" back. So I understand wanting to let loose a bit, but each and every year, those NFL geniuses more than let loose-- they get stupid. Every bloody year, a couple dozen bozos get caught up in some legal crap due to, as far as I can tell, their own senselessness. What's so wrong with being a mature, responsible human being? Who cares if you've got millions, guess what: you are still human and are required to behave with respect just like the rest of us mere mortals.

But no, after a long, hard season (enter wimpering violins) all too many of those dolts head to the clubs with weapons, or drive after downing 30 beers, or go all champagne-room sleezeball on some barely dressed, drunk 'lady' with low self-esteem. It's beyond obnoxious. And no matter how many guys make examples of bad behavior out of themselves, surely the next offseason there'll be another round of farce on blast for the world to see. Great. Now that's news. Pfffffffff.....

No here's some real winners for ya', all having taken place since New Years (oy vay):

2/23/10: Chargers WR Vincent Jackson pleads guilty to DUI charges.

2/20/10: Dolphins CB Will Allen is arrested for DUI.

2/19/10: Redskins CB Byron Westbrook is arrested for DUI, negligent driving, and failure to drive right of center.

2/7/10: Dolphins DE Tony McDaniel is arrested for misdemeanor battery.

2/2/10: Cowboys FB Deon Anderson is arrested for traffic warrants and brandishing a weapon.

2/2/10: Bengals LB Rey Maualuga pleads guilty to DUI.

1/30/10: Chiefs CB Michael Richardson is arrested for various alcohol-related charges.

1/18/10: Redskins G Chad Rinehart is arrested for public intoxication.

1/17/10: Chargers WR Vincent Jackson is arrested for driving with a suspended license.

1/15/10: Former Bears DT Dusty Dvoracek is arrested for public intoxication, assault and battery, and interference with an official process.

1/12/10: Jets WR Braylon Edwards pleads no contest to assault charges.

1/10/10: Bucs S Jermaine Phillips is arrested for felony domestic battery by strangulation.

1/1/10: Colts WR Taj Smith is arrested for DUI.

Second only to Tiger (who doesn't count in this conversation, because I'm ragging on NFL guys, not weenie golfers), is this hilarious one from '09:

San Diego Chargers star outside linebacker Shawne Merriman said he did not harm reality TV star Tila Tequila at his home early Sunday and added he was concerned for her safety because she appeared to be intoxicated.

For those of you unaware, here's Tequila:

Yeah, I'm sooooo sure he was "concerned for her safety". Uh huh. That's what they call a drunk tussle with a silicone-filled tan bottle who goes by the classy name "Tequila" these days: concern. Riiiiiiight. Let me guess- she needed your concerned help taking her pants off and dancing on a pole too? Gee, Shawn, you're so compassionate. Thank goodness you're looking out for Tila, what WOULD she do without your 'concern'?

Ok, I'm officially nose-diving from my soap box into a world of stylish home decor and delight. More (uplifting) commentary to come.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I am not, for one moment, asserting that all NFL dudes are this blockheaded. I am proud to be friends with a few of the "good guys". It's just too bad their bad apple counterparts pop up in the news more than those actually making a positive impact in our communities..

*Styx, signing off



All you need to know:
shirt - M
pants/shorts - 30/L
shoes - 10


*Styx, signing off



Ready for something truly hilarious? Check out what Refinery 29, a globally respected fashion blog/website, posted during last fall's fashion week in NYC:

Oh Snap! Our Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Shot By The Sartorialist

You know him. You love him. We do, too. But lest you think it's a snap getting expert Street Style lensman Scott Schuman of Sartorialist fame to spot you on the street, shoot you, AND post your pic on his site...well, think again. In fact, after perusing the past few months' worth of amazing street specimens preening for his expensive camera, we did pick up some interesting sartorial patterns at play. So, want a better shot at, well, getting shot by Scott? Here's our step-by-step guide to increasing the odds...and looking good doing it.

(obviously, you'll need to click to enlarge for this to make any sense to you)

Rather than systematically position myself in the path of where I think maybe perhaps Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) might possibly be on the prowl for something young, spry, and full-on fashionable, I'll just pray he give Minneapolis some lens love some day- and that he brings Garance, because she's great too, and then pray pray pray I have Junior with me (because I'll never not get shot with Junior by my side, but chances are slim without him).

For now, I'm laughing to myself about the thought that there are surely people somewhere, USA or otherwise, following this tongue-in-cheek roadmap for instant blogosphere "arrival". I myself opt to look marginally passable on a daily basis, rather than camera-ready for the world to see. Nope- I'll need a stylist and avid photoshopper for the latter. Ha!

*Styx, signing off
(image courtesy of refinery29.com)


My highly anticipated trip to South Carolina is less than two months away, and I just learned of one exciting new tidbit: the Spoleto Festival will be taking place at the exact time I'm down there. Wunderbar!! The Spoleto Festival is an annual music and theatre performance event in Charleston, SC which, since its 1977 inception, has become one of the world's leading premier festivals for artists. I've been collecting Spoleto Festival posters to frame and hang any time I can get my hands on one (Grandma Punky is particularly helpful with that, since she lives an hour north of Charleston). And now I am elated to have the chance to experience the event in person.

So the burning question is, who/what to check out? I admit I don't recognize any of the names in their line-up (which is somewhat the point- giving exposure to the lesser known acts around the world rather than added PR for the big names), but for certain jazz is at the top of my short list. Check THIS out and shoot me a line if you have any burning recommendations.

To further assist with the visual appeal of what I'm so juiced about, here are some lovely shots of Charleston- an amazing, historic city (that nearly added me to their college basketball roster, except mama wouldn't let me go....) It really is a magical place, and I simply can't wait to hit the city again, and the festival finally!

*Styx, signing off



Is it true? Can it be?? Am I really this smitten with J.Crew's Fall 2010 collection?! Whoa. Dude.

I admit, I've got some good ol' staples (striped tees, mostly) from the consistently overpriced, bordering on pretentious suburban soccer mom brand. But in general (and as you probably figure at this point) I'm less inclined toward the linen-blend-embellished-tank-and-kitten-heels as much as the grommet-ridden-studs-n-metal-on-black-on-top-of-black-and-more-black-grounded-with-a-stupidly-monumental-pair-of-platforms. Having said that, there is a certain grungy, rock and roll edge to J.Crew's latest collection, thanks to my new girl crush - J.Crew's Creative Director, Jenna Lyons:

Her style is a tad preppy for my taste, but I dig the extremes she favors which echo my own: if it's skinnies I'm wearing, they're super skinny; if they're wide leg, they're super super wide; I'm not a chinos kinda person.

Amen sister. Death to the Midwest uniform. Here's what's making me say huh? Uh-huuuuuh:

Even beyond her whimsical yet edgy Fall 2010 collection, Lyons has impeccable taste on the home front. I fell in LOOOOOVE with her dressing room months ago, and the rest of her epic Brooklyn pad is equally as awe-inspiring and totally cool:

There's a certain sensibility and calm to the home- as if not a care in the world enters those pristine brownstone double doors. Sparse, albeit masterfully selected pieces give the eye a taste of excitement here and there, but most thankfully not everywhere(that mirror above the fireplace! the artwork above the OTHER fireplace!) Black and white and muted tones, to perfection. The VIEW during morning coffee. It's all just so whoa, so moi, so so so... Jenna Lyons. Love her - home, work, style, aura. Brava!

And as for my deep dark secret - I've been pouring over J.Crew catalogs for years. But now, I might actually bite! (Don't tell Miss Sixty, they'll loathe my betrayal for sure.)

*Styx, signing off
(images courtesy of habituallychic.com)



I like to plan. I get my ducks in a row, make arrangements as needed and then count down the days with excitement and anticipation for what is to come. Give me a game plan, and I'll run the play. But leaving things to chance? Last minute arrangements as a way of life? Not for me. I'm all for spontaneity, but I love the process of planning for a special event or trip. Which is why I'm planning for my 30th birthday bonanza now, despite the fact that I haven't turned 29 yet (but I'm already calling myself 29, to myself.. it's only two months away). Hecate and I agreed that France would be an ideal locale. We LOVED Paris, Lyon, Nice, Corsica, Dijon, and every wine vineyard in between, last we visited in 2001. So considering our undeniable affection for the European stunner, France is top of list.

But then, I came across this:
So how 'bout Santorini, sis? And Bre? And anyone else interested in a week of unadulterated renewal and relaxation? The jury's still out, and I'm still gung ho about Provence (France), but I need to get planning so...... Any other suggestions?? Current score: tie between France and Santorini.

And since we're talking about France, I experienced a strange blast from the past with this photo, which oddly and closely resembles very kitchen in the Brooklyn loft Senor Sperm Donor temporarily lived in...
(If I lost you, just enjoy the pick and imagine me cooking up late night brownies for a bunch of visiting Frenchies in this glorious kitchen. The rest, as we know it, is history.)

*Styx, signing off
(images courtesy of decorno.com)



It's Good Friday, so it seems like a good time to feed your brain some introspective "meat" - since the literal animal is off limits today. You may even choose to sit cross-legged with a warm cup of hot yerba matte while I enlighten you (thanks to Pa Dukes, my steadfast source of enlightenment and reason). Together now, let's learn about Mental Heuristics:

A heuristic is a "rule-of-thumb", advice that helps an AI program or human think and act more efficiently by directing thinking in an useful direction.

Some of these heuristics are age-old wisdom, bordering on cliche, but most are actually helpful.

If you want something done, do it yourself

Obviously true, and doing it is usually very good for your self esteem. A surprising amount of work can be done this way, and experts are not always necessary. However, there is a risk of becoming overworked if you try to do everything yourself - we all need other people after all.

Never procrastinate anything you can do right now

Very powerful. There are many things that can be fixed or solved with a minimum of effort, but are often pushed aside as unimportant. Unfortunately they won't go away, and in time the feelings of guilt for not having done them will make you even less likely of fixing the problems.

When you have several things you could be doing and don't know which to do: Just do any one of them!

If you cannot decide between two or more possibilities, then there is a good chance that the differences don't matter. However, most people begin to hesitate in this kind of situation (Fredkin's paradox). If you are conscious of this, you can just choose one choice randomly or according to some standard method.

Always assume that you will succeed

If you don't expect to succeed in an endeavor, then you will not do your best and will not notice possible solutions, while if you feel that you will eventually succeed you will concentrate all your power at the problem. Of course, there is no point in attempting what you cannot do, a certain amount of self-knowledge is always needed.

If you can't find a solution, change the rules

Remember that there are no no-win scenarios.

If you cannot do anything about something, there is no point in worrying about it

Worrying is stressful, and in most situations doesn't accomplish anything - it just wastes energy. Instead of worrying about things, either do something about them or find ways around the problem. One useful idea is to write down your worries on slips of paper, and then put them away in a box. Regularly, once a week or so, you open the box and see what you can do about the worries that are still relevant.

Do not rely on conscious decisions for speed - Just Do It

The conscious mind is surprisingly slow, conscious choices and actions are delayed for a significant time (a reflex acts within some tens of milliseconds, an unconscious reaction to external stimuli circa 100 milliseconds and a conscious choice several seconds). The duty of the conscious mind is usually to inhibit rather than start action, and if you become too conscious of what you are doing in a tense situation you will hesitate or slow down.

It is a good idea to learn to rely on your non-conscious mind, since our conscious mind is slow and has very low bandwidth while the other systems in our brains have a tremendous capacity and actually do most of the real work anyway.

Don't try to explain away your actions for yourself

While we often do things we do not want to explain our real motivations for before other people (out of fear of embarrassment, anger or loss of image), it is a bad idea to try to convince oneself that the motivation was anything different from what it was. It will only reduce your self-knowledge with deliberate misinformation, and it is often valuable to understand what motivations you have (even if you dislike them or would never admit them in public).

Listen to your intuition, but do not believe it unconditionally

Intuitive or emotional thinking, analogies, "gut feelings" or "flashes of inspiration" can sometimes give fantastic new insights or show problems from a new direction. Unfortunately such thinking isn't always reliable, and quite often completely wrong! Such insights should never be accepted because you admire their beauty or they are intuitive, only because they fit with reality.

And now I'll add one of my own, realized just this last week:


Case in point: my hair is growing at a snail's pace, so I jumped on the prenatal vitamin train. Seemed like a good idea, it worked for hair growth and nail strengthening when I was pregnant, why should this be any different? In theory, great idea. In execution, a total disaster. What ensued was a week of multiplying facial issues, including but not limited to a total, complete, disastrous breakout of head turning proportions, when I went to a modeling call back with the face of a cosmetic chemical peel gone terribly wrong. (Think Samantha in Sex in the City, at Carrie's book signing party. Red, white, splotchy, looking like a red velvet cupcake exploded in my face.) Nevertheless, I'm content wearing hats through the remainder of spring, then summer and into fall as my hair continues to maybe think about growing, if it means my face won't make a casting agency (or small children) cringe. The prenatals, I've decided, are best left to the childbearing and lactating.

But really, and back to the point of my "heuristic" addition, summer's on its way and it's all too easy to get self-conscious and hide in a muumuu. Nay, I tell you! Get out there, exercise, eat healthy foods to feed your bones and your brain, read stories of inspiration and optimism, and love thyself! Stretch marks and all. (Oh wait, maybe that's just me...)

*Styx, signing off
(image courtesy of sabinepieper.com)



What the bluchk?

I'm baffled by a few social faux pas('s?), those irksome, left-eyebrow raising behaviors that seem commonplace (at least in good ol' passive aggressive Minnie). Here's my current (not so) favorite:
Talking on the cell phone while on the pot in a public restroom. I witness this at minimum once a week in the office loo. Really? Becky's awful outfit from last night's cocktail party discussion can't wait two minutes for you to finish your bidness in a sanitary fashion? Because believe you me, these are the same folks who think two seconds of water sprinkle (if they even go that extra step) is sufficient, post-bidness. Does the caller on the other end REALLY want to hear what's going on here? Methinks no. Ah, yes, ok, and then to top it off, this cesspool of germs and ignoble chatter is your next interviewee! Oh, yay! And you "get" to shake their post-bidness-barely-water-powdered phalanges! Greaaaaat. Oy vay, chivalry is DEAD!!

(And I am clearly in need of a Prozac refill.)

Join me, then, to a happy place: Garance Dore

Garance Dore's latest video installment- A Month In Fashion, serving as a sort of culmination of the whirlwind Fashion Weeks that just ended, is diviiiiiiine. Take me there. Where? Oh silly, I don't care. Choose a major market and I'll be pleased. New York, Milan, Paris. At this point, I don't care. If it means I don't have to be the third wheel in another stranger's "potty" prattle, I'm THERE!

*Styx, signing out
(image courtesy of garancedore.fr/en)