Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Girl Crushes

Who doesn't have girl crushes? I have a few.

There has probably never been a time when I didn't have a girl crush on Jennifer Aniston. An avid 'Friends' viewer when the show was still airing, she remains my favorite actress. Her style, class and undeniable beauty get me every time. If I could meet one celebrity, it would be her.

Natalie Portman. She sure doesn't look like Padme in this stunning photograph.

Tory Burch is a genius. Not only to I adore her company, but I would really like to sit down to lunch with her and hear how her success began. Talk about a brand taking off!

Reese Witherspoon--her eyes could make any man fall to his knees. Could she get any cuter? I dare say no. Sweet Home Alabama sold me for life.

Evangeline Lilly. She is even more beautiful covered in sweat and sand on LOST. That's not fair.

who are your girl crushes?

Monday, April 26, 2010

on being sincere, silly, and smart

The other day I was reminded of a wonderful speech by Baz Luhrmann that he made for a graduating class of college students in 1997. Entitled "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)," I originally discovered it in high school and found a lot of solace in his words. Now at the edge of another turning point in my life, college graduation, I re-visited what he has to say. There are many standout aspects of his speech that I would like to share with you, but I would also encourage you to listen to him. They are short and simple, sometimes all you need to get your head on straight. 

What Mr. Luhrmann had to say:
1.) worrying about the future is completely, 100%, a waste of time and energy.
2.) do one thing everyday that scares you.
3.) the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. 
4.) keep your old love letters.
5.) your choices are half chance, and so are everybody else's.
6.) rely on your siblings-- they are your best link to your past and will always be there for you in the future.
7.) don't expect anyone else to support you.
8.) be patient with people who's advice you seek.
9.) don't be reckless with other people's hearts, and don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
10.) wear sunscreen.

This inspired me to make my own list.

MPF's list of fabulously important things to remember:
1.) laugh until you cry at least once a day.
2.) dress up every once in awhile--it's amazing what that will do to your attitude.
3.) stay organized. make to-do lists.
4.) go to bed. this is coming from someone who got through all of high school and college without pulling one all-nighter, and I have never handed anything in late. productivity during the day goes a long way.
5.) remember: no one can make you feel small unless you let them.
6.) read the newspaper. a hard copy.
7.) buy books instead of magazines. you learn more from non-fiction than you do from Glamour.
8.) leave notes. who doesn't like finding a little love once in awhile?
9.) every now and then, acknowledge how thankful you are for the people in your life. they will do the same for you.
10.) hold the door.
11.) some days just call for putting your hair up.
12.) always wear your seatbelt. trust me.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beautifully Disorganized

This garden is perfect. Organized chaos at its best. 

Sconset, Nantucket. Summer '08

 My life right now is entirely disorganized with my priorities in strange places and head in the clouds. Deadlines have this strange tendency lately to creep up on me without warning, and it's an understatement to say that I'm putting significantly less effort into my school work than I used to. The funny thing is, I wouldn't have it any other way. Senior year is amassing to hours of laughing until I cry, making interesting life decisions, and spending countless hours doing nothing with glorious people. The end is right around the corner and I'm not about to stand here waiting for it--so what if I spend too much time lying outside soaking up the sunshine and taking advantage of my beautiful campus? The work will get done, but these days will never come again. Sometimes I sit down and laugh at the amount of work that is building up, especially when I consider how little this bothers me. Stress is so yesterday. I'm going out. I'm going for runs when I should be writing research papers. I'm listening to music to the point where I can't concentrate. Maybe this is going to come back and bite me later, but live in the moment and the moment will never let you down. After all, the best advice I've ever received was from my high school youth group leader, and went a little something like this: Be Here Now. Don't worry about a minute ago, don't stress about tomorrow. NOW is what matters. NOW is what make a difference. Be. Here. Now.

"one good thing about music: when it hits, you feel no pain" -bob marley

Music. What the heck would I do without music? There are few things that put me in a better mood than a good song, and whether I'm out for a run or lying on the beach I always have a playlist to accommodate my state of mind. There are some songs I just can't get out of my head and have seen me through the most complicated of times. I compiled the ultimate MPF playlist, enjoy!

1.) Skippin' Stones, Flipsyde
2.) Wild At Heart, Gloriana
3.) Wavin' Flag, K'naan
4.) It's A Love Thing, Keith Urban
5.) Happy Ending, Mika
6.) Slide, Goo Goo Dolls
7.) Mexico, Jump Little Children
8.) Take A Minute, K'naan
9.) One Day, Matisyahu
10.) Telluride, Tim McGraw
11.) No Reins, Rascal Flatts
12.) Me Love, Sean Kingston
13.) Grey Street, Dave Matthews
14.) Freedom, Akon
15.) Forever, Chris Brown

Definitely an eclectic mix...no two days are ever the same that's for sure.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two for Tuesday: Necklaces

Today I am choosing two necklaces that I love from Anthropologie.

Fish-Out-Of-Water Necklace, $19.95
There is no question as to why I love this. Absolutely adorable!

Mint Drop Necklace, $68.
This chunky necklace is so much fun, and the spring colors are beautiful!

xo, MPF

Monday, April 19, 2010

Calling all consumers! Yes, you.

Okay, now I know educational posts are not the most intriguing, but I felt it necessary to share some information with the blogworld. I am enrolled in a sociology class called 'Consumer and Corporate Social Responsibility,' and it is one of the best classes I've ever taken. It is taught by a professor who wrote his dissertation on this topic, and happens to be one of the wittiest people I've ever met. He spent over a decade researching America's best and worst corporations, and compiled them into a book entitled The Better World Shopping Guide. This little pocket-sized book has the ability to change the habits of consumers in the U.S. if only we were aware of the information. Social responsibility, put simply, is the extent at which companies (large and small) pay attention to the effects they have on the social world as well as the environment. The concept encompasses issues centered around human rights, animal protection, community involvement, and social justice as well. Interestingly, social responsibility activism targets individual action instead of groups. That means us! If we avoid ONE product that received a low 'grade,' that will make a difference. I'll share with you some of the information from Professor Jones' book. He breaks up the data into broad categories, and assigns each corporation an overall grade (taking all aspects of social responsibility into account). Some surprised me, take a look!

10 'Worst' Corporations List:
1.) Exxon-Mobil
2.) Kraft
3.) Wal-Mart
4.) Chevron-Texaco
5.) Pfizer
6.) Nestle
7.) General Electric
8.) Archer Daniels Midland
9.) General Motors
10.) Tyson Foods
Disclaimer: the reason that large companies make up the worst of the worst is because they have the money to hire lobbyists to advocate their needs in Washington, and because they can pay the most for advertising. Money is power.

Now for some specific categories--
A+   Patagonia
A-    American Apparel
B+   Levi's, Liz Claiborne
B     Gap, Nordstrom
B-    LL Bean, Nicole Miller, Abercrombie and Fitch
C+   Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria's Secret, Izod, Calvin Klein
C     JC Penny, Target, Hanes
C-    Land's End, DKNY
D+   Fruit of the Loom, The Limited, Guess, K-mart
D     Ralph Lauren, Polo, Kohls
D-    TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Macy's, Lord and Taylor
F      Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Dillard's

A    Ugg, Teva, Dansko
A-   Birkenstock
B+  Timberland, Red Wing
B    Chaco
B-   Reebok
C+  Nike, Adidas
C    Puma
C-   New Balance
D+  K Swiss, Stride Rite
D    Converse, Vans, Saucony, Skechers
D-   LA Gear
F     Discount and Department Store Brands (!)

This all being said, I'm definitely not perfect. It's just something to think about because maybe now we'll walk away from some of the corporations who appear to be great and reliable, but really treat their workers and the environment as disposable commodities. There isn't a single person who can't work towards this goal of supporting socially responsible companies! Companies who take it upon themselves to be 'good' to the core should be acknowledged. Use your wallet to make a difference.


Normally Mondays are the bane of my existence but today is special: it's my 22nd birthday! My beautiful, amazing friends celebrated with me this weekend, and my parents came up on Friday to take me out to dinner. It may not be 21, but 22 is looking pretty good. 

My favorite things about birthdays (not in any particular order):
1.) Baked treats (cupcakes, strawberry shortcake and rice crispy treats happen to be my weaknesses)
2.) A day dedicated entirely to your birth. That's neat.
3.) Making excuses not to do things I don't feel like doing.
4.) Facebook messages. I know this is dumb, but I don't know one person who doesn't like looking at them at the end of the day.
5.) Dressing for the occasion. Everyone needs to look cute on their day.
7.) Avoiding the library.
8.) Great weather. It's always a gamble when you're born in April, but the weather hasn't let me down in quite a few years. It's gorgeous out today!
9.) Birthday cards. I just love them.
10.) Baked treats.

Thanks to CMG for her post, YOU are adorable! As I mentioned earlier, there are some pretty fabulous people in my life that make me smile without even trying. This post is dedicated to you.

Home friends can never be replaced. I LOVE these girls.

My lovely, beautiful roommates. I couldn't ask for more. 

The gang's all here!

From this picture you would never know how outrageous all of these people are. Well, maybe Brian. 

CNS and CRP. No words.

HC Ski is out of control.

My life wouldn't be the same! THANK YOU

Saturday, April 17, 2010

J. Mendel

My summer plans are falling into place, and I could not be more excited about it. Two weeks ago I interviewed at J. Mendel, a high end French fashion designer in New York City. Turns out I must have done something right because I got the internship! I'm working in the public relations department so I'll get to learn all about something I'm really interested in. J. Mendel's ready made dresses are gorgeous, take a look!

Spring 2007 Collection. These dresses are inspired by architecture and sculpture, and this is reflected in the pattens and geometric shapes incorporated into the designs. Interestingly, the fabrics chosen for this collection reveal an interplay between hard and soft, a metaphor for the modern woman. Fashion design truly is an art form. 

Spring-Summer 2008 Ready-to-Wear Collection. The dress on the right is my favorite, I absolutely love the shimmering quality of the fabric.

The Pre-Fall 2010 Collection includes more than just dresses. J. Mendel is widely known as a fur designer. When I was in the corporate office in NYC I got to look at some of the pieces and see some that aren't complete yet--SO cool!

Spring 2010 Collection. I love every one of these pieces.

Kate Walsh in one of the dresses from the Spring 2010 Collection. She is gorgeous.

May 2010 Bazaar photo shoot. Jersey Shore's Sammi (Sweetheart) Giancola-- right--opts for J. Mendel!

Gilles Mendel, the fifth generation designer of J. Mendel. 

NYC, here I come!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Being Giddy

Have you ever been in one of those moods when you're so giddy that you can't stop laughing no matter how hard you try? I mean to the point where it's getting borderline inappropriate? Tonight is one of those nights. I can't focus. I have resorted to reading article after article online that have nothing to do with productivity. This New York Times article about a 'Critical Shopper' in the Lilly Pulitzer store on Madison Avenue has sufficed in providing significant distraction before panic mode sets in. It is absolutely hilarious. My favorite insight: 
"When I visited the newly refurbished two-story shop on Madison Avenue, I was, as usual, dressed entirely in black, which doesn’t make me self-conscious in most New York locales. But here, it was a bit like attending a children’s birthday party in a latex ski mask."
My mood right now reminds me of a situation this past weekend when my pal CMG and I decided that going to the Wendy's drive-through was the best option for some quick food. I'm not sure what happened in the few seconds between the lady on the loudspeaker asking for my order and my brain kindly letting my mouth know what words should come out, but all that resulted was an obnoxious burst of laughter. I legitimately couldn't hold it together for more than three seconds before I would die laughing again. Looking over at CMG definitely didn't help, and every time I tried to spit out English words the lady would reply, "Ma'am, I can't understand you. Please repeat what you just said." This went on for about five minutes, and during these minutes there were frequent ten second intervals of complete silence. I'm quite surprised she didn't reach out through the speaker and strangle me. Needless to say I finally succeeded, paid the patient soul who waited on me, and then preceded to drive off without our drinks. Perfect. 

If I could channel all the energy it takes to laugh into studying for my exam tomorrow that would be really great. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Today in a word

If I could describe today in one word it would be...art.

It began with my 9 am drawing class in which we spent two hours with a nude female model... definitely a new experience for me.  I'm looking forward to improving my technique at drawing the human body, so this morning was productive!

For my second class of the day, my history seminar, we went to the Worcester Art Museum. We spent two hours there learning about early American art, and most of it was pretty interesting. Only towards the end when my feet and lower back were killing me did this attitude change.

Anyways, in the spirit of my art-filled day, I'm going to share some images that I enjoy.

I took this picture two years ago while sailing back from Nantucket to Newport. It was the most beautiful sunset, and inevitably reminds me of summer. 

This is a poster that absolutely needs to end up in my first apartment. I found it at The ReForm School, and there are plenty of other images on their website I like as well! 

This just makes me smile. I love balloons, and I love color! Perfect.

These are my two best friends, HMS and CNS. If this picture doesn't scream sisterly love, I don't know what does. 

If CNS and I lived during the '50s, this would be us. 

I saw this sign on a cottage in Sconset, Nantucket a few summers ago. So fitting.

This image is stunning--not only do I love the Kennedys, but I also have a miniature dachshund. I found it on Molly's blog!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Internships: the New Full-Time Job

I have come to the conclusion that as a graduating senior, the best life decision is not to scramble for a full-time job but rather apply for an internship in an area I am genuinely interested in. I went through a stage back in October where I thought the end of the world would be here on May 28th at 10:30 am and if I did not have a succinct plan, all would be lost. This is absolutely positively not the case as I have come to learn in the past few months. Full-time employment is only possible with a resume jam-packed full of relevant internships, of which mine is not. Internships are great: when else do you get to 'test out' an area of work to see if you like it, where there is not actual contracted commitment? How are we supposed to know as recent graduates exactly what we want to do? For those of you who do know, I am jealous. As for me, I'm excited at the prospect of becoming an adult...slowly.

Keeping a level head is a virtue when it comes to applying for life after college, so I came up with a few key points of advice for those of you in a similar position:

1.) Take advantage of your college alumni network. They are there to help you, and it's actually kind of fun to explore all of the ways people like you used their undergraduate degree. It also serves as reassurance that contrary to popular belief, there is in fact life after college.

2.) Do one thing at a time. 

3.) Look for internships that you are interested in. Ask yourself, would I take this position if offered the job? If not, don't waste your or the employers' time.

4.) Know that even if you don't get the position after all, gaining interviewing experience is always to your advantage. The polishing of these skills will help you throughout your life.

5.) Stay away from the 'I'm never going to get this position so I'm not even going to apply' attitude. First of all, pessimism has no place in the application process because regardless, the employer is going to make the final decision. Leave it up to them. Second of all, if you don't apply there is zero chance you will get it, I promise. 

6.) Talk to your friends' parents and your parents' friends. A new perspective is sometimes all you need to find a whole new area of work you would be good at.  

7.) Cast a wide net. This is probably the best advice I've received about this whole process, and the best I can relay onto you. This job (well, internship) market is tough, but if you think outside the box you WILL find something right for you.

8.) Find something unique about yourself, and market that quality. You are your own person. Be able to tell an employer why.

9.) Stay away from internship and career search engines online. Some have been discovered to be scams, and this is certainly not the way you want to invest your time and energy. Go through specific company websites and go to their career page.

10.) Last but not least: once you graduate college, make sure that even if you do not get an internship or full-time job, get a summer job demonstrating some sort of commitment. Your resume will reflect time periods when you sat around for months doing nothing, and this is a red flag for employers. Keep busy! Besides, there's nothing worse than being bored. 

That's my deal about internships. Hope it was helpful! 
xo, MPF

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Norwegian Recycling

If you like mashups, Norwegian Recycling is definitely worth listening to. Here are some youtube links that I liked the best, let me know what you think!

'Beautiful Girls' mashup

'Viva la Vida' mashup

'Where is the Love' mashup

'Blame on Me' mashup

Wait, you didn't spend at least $300 on your Easter dress? Shame on you.

I finally figured it out. There must be a memo sent out in my hometown newspaper every year that says something along the lines of: 'It's the day we've been waiting all winter for: Easter Sunday! And you know what this means--go out and buy the most expensive, preppy dress for her and tie for him that you can find, because you never know who may have one better than you.' Needless to say, I have never seen so much Lilly Pulitzer in my entire life as this morning at 11am mass. It was borderline concerning. Don't get me wrong: I have a huge, huge appreciation for Lilly, but I am absolutely positive that most of these dresses were bought within the past month for this day. This whole situation is ironic because my buddy SJT wrote a post recently on the 'preppy lifestyle' and how at a certain point it must get exhausting. I completely, full-heartedly agree. I was dressed nicely for church but didn't go out of my way to cover my body in pastels. The whole Easter get-up doesn't stop there however: each of these families, now fighting to get to their cars first once the service ends, are all on their way to The Club for an overpriced brunch. Let me tell you, if you have a sensitive stomach by any means these functions need to be avoided at all costs. That being said, they are almost the kind of situation where you 'do it for the story,' or DIFTS as my friends and I like to say. When I was younger, I admit, my family attended a brunch after mass as well. This was until we realized that we ate about half of the food that we paid for, and the whole afternoon was more of a competition than 'family time.'
This year we did something different, and it was probably the best Easter I've ever had. We packed a picnic, and headed for the beach. We sat at a picnic table right on the water and enjoyed ourselves way more than those fools sitting inside in formal dining room wishing they were outside in the fresh air. I, like SJT, am not trying to bash on preppy lifesyles. Skiing and sailing are my two favorite sports, and believe me I own more than one Vineyard Vines bag. I just don't think the competition involved is at all necessary. So your entire family is clad in Lilly Pulitzer and Tory Burch shoes, including your five-year-old daughter. Good for you. 
I will leave you with this thought: what are these girls supposed to do when they grow up wearing outrageously expensive designer clothes (and not hand-me-downs), and then realize that there is no 'up' from there? Chances are when they graduate college and their parents can't support them anymore for luxuries such as clothing (well, that stopped a long time ago for me but for some people this may be the case), they won't be able to afford them either. Will they ever be able to be happy about a gift that is the same quality as something they received when they were ten? I hope so.

Cute and Comfortable

I like to be comfortable. Shirts that are too short or too tight, dresses that hug my body in awkward places, and jeans that only fit when I'm standing perfectly straight are officially out the window. The fashion world has pretty definitively determined that comfort is the way to go with flowy shirts, boyfriend style jeans, and leggings for every occasion. This trend has been around for awhile but there are pieces out there that really should be brought into the spotlight. So, thank you stretchy, soft, lightweight and long-torsoed material for making my life more enjoyable.

Ella Moss 'Jackie' Racerback Tank. $76.
Ella Moss is one of my favorite designers. Her pieces are reliably soft and all around adorable. This relaxed, loose style certainly borders on maternity but I'm definitely not complaining. As long as you wear a shirt like this with leggings or tighter jeans, you're okay.

AG 'Tomboy' Jeans. $172.
The 'boyfriend' jeans are very trendy at the moment, which is ironic because so are jeans made out of legging material (shown below). Whether you prefer the tight to your leg stretchy material or this loosely fitting classic denim look, both are great!

J. Crew Linen-Cotton 'Boxy Coverstitch' Tee. $39.50.
I am a huge fan of these t-shirts, and Madewell makes ones similar to this that are slightly less expensive for being cotton. This is a great look when you're in a casual mood but want to avoid looking sloppy. They come in a plethora of colors and look great on any body type.

Ella Moss 'Essentials' Knit Blazer. $119.
This is another piece for the casual yet put together look. Cotton blazers look great matched with a loosely fitting 'tissue tee' (like the one above for example) and long necklace. This one by Ella Moss is reliably comfortable and perfect for going to class or going out for a day of shopping.

AG Stretch Denim Jeans. $172.
I'm not sure how I personally feel about 'jeggings' yet, but this style is definitely taking off. The other day I went into a store to buy a new pair of jeans, and immediately the salesperson directed me over to a pair of these. I didn't go for it, but I know plenty of people who are rocking them and look great doing it.

Anthropologie Slate Stripes Shift. $128.
This 'shift' style dress is my personal favorite of the spring collection at Anthropologie. The vertical lines running down the center of the dress create a flattering physique even though the piece itself fits loosely on the body. I really like the change of direction of these lines on different areas of the dress as well. It was clearly designed for comfort, comfort, comfort!

I hope everyone had a fabulously warm and sunny Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Favorite Spaces

Interior design is a pretty significant interest of mine, however at this point in my life I have resorted to avidly reading Architectural Digest and looking at interior accessories and design techniques online. Spaces are an important part of interior design, because this is where you start! Finding your favorite space(s) is a fun activity because most people never really think about the physical area around them and why it is aesthetically pleasing. Someday I hope to put this love for interiors to use, but for now, I'll share with you some of my favorite aspects of architectural and interior design.

A Wide View of the World: Large Windows
Oversized windows are gorgeous, and work very effectively to open up and brighten the interior of any house. Open spaces inside a home are beautiful, and even if the rooms themselves are not large, they will appear so with a plethora of light. 

A Taste of the Country: Barn Doors
Barn doors are classic and a great touch on the appropriate exterior. They convey a familiar, welcoming gesture to any guest of the home, not to mention that they are beautiful!

A Neighborhood Must-Have: Wrap-Around Porches
Please tell me something that is more relaxing than sitting on your front porch during the summer drinking iced tea. There is so much you can do with a wrap around porch, and the furniture is a blast to pick out. You can go with a combination of swinging chairs, rocking chairs and wicker furniture with fun cushions. Regardless of if the view you look out on is the ocean or your neighbor's front yard, a wrap around porch is certainly a luxury for any home. 

Solid and Simple: Hardwood Floors
I love varnished, hardwood floors for almost every space in a home. Apart from bedrooms and bathrooms, hardwood floors really add a sense of clean, crisp feel to any space. I definitely have a preference for this kind of flooring, so I can only hope I get the chance to design these kind of floors to my home or apartment when I have a family!

Nautical Splendor: Boat Decks
This is an incredibly luxurious yacht, but designing this unique kind of space would be awesome. The ocean air and constant sunshine and wind create new challenges that put a new spin on design options. Canvas pillows and cushions with simple nautical designs are a popular choice, demonstrated above.

Kick Back and Relax: Finished Basements
A finished basement (in this case complete with a bar) is a teenage/grown child's dream. It is a space to relax apart from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house, not to mention great for company. Superbowl and World Series celebrations are perfect for this kind of space!

Calm and Cozy: Fireplaces
There is something magical about a space with a fireplace. It makes you want to sit down and chat with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. The smell in and of itself adds to the overall aura of the space, not to mention the great company that inevitably fills the room. The fireplace does not have to be dramatic or huge, but it should take on a central role in the overall area. 

Bright and Merry: Simply Decorated Kitchens
Light wood and stainless steel appliances make for a bright, happy space for your kitchen. Since the kitchen is one of the most widely used spaces in an average home, it is necessary for them to be enjoyable and not too busy or cluttered. I began appreciating kitchens when our house was renovated years ago, and I can definitely see the benefit to a classy and cool kitchen area!

Designing a home or apartment does not have to break the bank: auction houses and thrift shops are a great place to start! I really can't wait until the time comes when I can begin the adventure of decorating the interior of my own space!

Hope everyone has a great Thursday.
xo, MPF