Today (and the two days after this), it’s fashion and body television! I’m going to talk about three shows: Say Yes to the Dress, Project Runway, and America’s Next Top Model. I love them, but sometimes I feel incredibly guilty for watching them at all.
Say Yes to the Dress
I like to say that I watch this show as a sociological experiment, and it is true that it often makes me think about how ridiculous and vapid people can be, and how the patriarchy ruins everything, and also how even though nobody is going to want to marry me and I never grew up thinking I was entitled to a wedding, I would love to be a wedding gown model, just so that I could see myself being gorgeous for a minute. Because yeah, $8000-dollar dresses are absurd, but they are also fantastic and beautiful. Continue reading
I am incredibly gifted at languages and linguistics. Not bragging, just saying. That’s my strong point. I can mimic the sounds of a foreign language after not much exposure. It only takes a little bit of partial or full immersion for me to start understanding the grammatical structure of a language, even if I don’t know any of the words. After four years of choir, a year of eighth-grade Latin, a semester of Portuguese, two and a half years of French, and many years of Spanish, I can recognize and “read” written languages, especially Germanic and Romance ones, competently enough. When I learn new words, I invariably pronounce them correctly. Languages are my strong point. We all have areas in which we excel, linguistic nuance happens to be one of mine.
So it’s interesting that last night I was writing a quick, informal review of a book on GoodReads, and I spent a great amount of time grasping for a word that I could literally see and hear, through some kind of curtain, in my head, but could not totally get out. I am very, very attached to my thesaurus, which is weird when you consider that I almost never need to look words up when I’m reading. I understand and remember the meaning of most English words, and I can look at them and probably tell you what language they come from, but I can’t call words up out of my head without a problem. And even though I can read a page of Spanish and be perfectly satisfied with the 80-100% I probably understood, I have a lot of difficulty translating word for word, and I absolutely hate it when people ask me “how do you say [blank] in Spanish?” because I cannot tell you, even if I previously spoke or read the word in question. I suppose my language skills are based on nuance, context, and intuition, not direct correlation. This is probably also why I don’t keep my languages separate in my brain, and why I don’t think I’ll ever be totally fluent in any of the languages I’ve studied, because they mix together. From growing up, my most comfortable way of talking about tropical fruit is to say the names in Portuguese, I use regionalisms and Spanglish slang, especially when talking about cultural or food things, I’m not funny except when I’m using Yiddish, and I adore learning new compound German nouns, because they are so damn good at expressing ideas. Continue reading
I kind of abandoned my food blog because I have too much stuff going on, but that doesn’t mean I abandoned my interest in food, health, or food books. I think that’s a love that will last a lifetime. But it’s always good to be reminded of why and how you stay healthy and happy through food. I think it’s especially important since I’ve otherwise been making so many other awesome, positive changes in my life. That’s why I recently read Susan Albers’ Eating Mindfully and The Naked Foods Cookbook by Margaret Floyd.
There’s something about buying a Kindle that makes you more willing to read self-help books. Eating Mindfully can definitely be categorized as such, but it also makes some really good points about eating smaller meals, enjoying the smell of your food before you eat it, and taking time to enjoy the entire process of food, from buying the groceries to chopping them up. Albers brings up psychological and physiological reasons to eat more slowly and mindfully, and makes points that should appeal to a variety of readers, from those who are interested in New Age sap and those who just want to lose weight. She quotes Buddha, cites quotes and results from her own patients, and gives little exercises to do. You can write yourself a mindful eating contract, learn how to meditate, or take time to use your five senses. Continue reading