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Friendly Facade

April 30th, 2011

This light blue kimono is just gorgeous! These pictures do not even do this dress justice. I wore this to the fashion event I was invited to speak at called Project Redesign. I took the opportunity to snap some pics outdoors around the campus of Mount de Sales because I can’t for the life of my camera take decent pictures indoors with low atmospheric lighting! If anyone is interested, I am selling this on eBay. Just like with all the other clothes I own: If I don’t sell them, I just happily wear them until they get sold. If a piece of clothing doesn’t get sold, then that piece and I were meant to be together. I may have to think of this as a spiritual connection…

I’ve been noticing that lately I can hardly put up with people who stay away from communication. It’s one thing to be extremely busy and to apologize for the lack of communication, and it’s another thing to be extremely busy and ignore someone’s invitation to communicate. So today I’m going to turn a rant into constructive criticism of the “friendly facade.” That title is actually from the song that my husband wrote in his old band The Turtle Neck Store. I really like it (of course), so I have embedded the mp3 below, if you’ll have a listen!

: The Turtle Neck Store – “Friendly Facade”

I am not going to use this blog to talk about specific people, and I advise you not to use your blogs or anything—or anyone for that matter—to address a problem you have with someone. Go talk to the person. This is an entry about communication, and that means you should try not to use other mediums to talk to the person indirectly about your problem. I realize that I may be ironically doing this very thing, but I have and am planning to speak with the people I have in mind. Ladies (and some gentlemen), gossiping may feel so good, but it never really solves anything—it will probably make your relationship with the person in question even worse.

I may not be the most accessible person to hang out with, but whenever I get an invitation to spend quality time with someone, I try my best to prioritize that relationship over tasks. I admit that I am not great at it; however, I advise you to try your best to respond to people when they address you directly (to be distinguished from e-mail forwards and other time wasters), whether it be through a phone call, a text, an e-mail—even through Facebook messages. Think about how you may hurt someone’s feelings by ignoring a “what’s up?” or a “happy birthday” text. I really would like to blame the Internet for distracting everyone from the real world by making interaction less personal through its proliferation of mass communication. It’s really not that hard to take a few minutes to respond back to people you personally know (even people you don’t really know but are sincerely addressing you).

It’s hard to reply to e-mails that are incredibly long, but if you kindly let the person know that you received their e-mail and that you will reply at a later time because you want to read their words thoroughly, it leaves both parties satisfied. In the blogosphere, it truly is hard to return every comment, especially if the comment looks generic. Bloggers, just do the best that you can whenever you can.

I should’ve been in a Japanese garden. I just didn’t feel like Photoshopping that in. It would’ve been the perfect setting to go along with these words of wisdom.

Below you’ll find a somewhat related video to this entry. It’s a video of my speech at Project Redesign. The audio is horrible and so was my delivery. That is the result of staying up too late working on midterms the night before. I also probably do poorly when I cannot see people’s faces (due to the bright spotlights in a dim room) when I talk to them. It was nice, though, that a few people from the audience approached me later to thank me for that speech. I’m glad some people still understood what this dear in the headlights was trying to say

Up next: Another giveaway on the next post. Think SWIM!


Some time ago, I wrote an entry called “The Modern Woman’s Pre-Marital To-Do List.” I was pleased that most people read enough of the post to realize that the title was totally sarcastic because I firmly believe that women nowadays fuss too much about the right age and circumstance to marry. Things like needing to have a better job first, a better place to live, a college degree, and a car are so-called “prerequisites” that really do not need to happen before marriage. You might think I have always had it together if you are reading this blog, but I did not and still do not have my own car and also haven’t finished my college degree. I do have a driver’s license, however (got it after marriage). I am a big nerd, so you can trust that I am taking my studies very seriously. Despite these things, I am successfully functioning in a marriage. Why? Because it takes two people’s determination (and God) to keep a covenant and a promise to be together for better or for worse. It has nothing to do with your college education, or your car—and let me throw it in there—your looks, although those things are nice to have.

Andy and April are characters from a show my husband and I love to watch on Thursday nights called Parks and Recreation. Andy and April are a really odd couple and have the weirdest relationship, but they love each other. On last week’s episode, they decided to marry. It was a huge surprise to everyone because they had only been together for a short time, and they are also very young. Only one person really objected to their wedding—April’s boss, Leslie Knope, played by the ever hilarious Amy Poehler. Leslie really cares for both April and Andy and claims that she doesn’t want to see their relationship get ruined by marrying this early or this young (so she said “Knope!”). However, everyone else cheers them on with hope, including April’s parents who give convincing testimonies of their own successful early marriage. In the end, Leslie realizes that she was just overreacting with no proof of their future marriage being a blunder, and that she was projecting her own insecurity about starting a relationship with a guy at work (we had to read between the lines for that one, but it was pretty clear at the end when she told the guy to keep the job in Pawnee instead of taking a job in another state). In the story, besides being young and marrying early, Andy and April do not have a lot of money nor have they found a place to stay. Leslie used these very reasons to convince the love bugs to reconsider and to stop their wedding. As expected, her disciplinary dissuasion (or parental persuasion) did not have an affect on anyone but herself.

This episode really brought back a lot of hurtful memories from when I decided to marry. One particular person was the Leslie Knope of my singlehood, but I did not have the welcoming entourage that the couple did to counterbalance the negativity when they announced their wedding. Instead of having one concerned Leslie, I had little shadows of Leslie and one big unreasonable Leslie telling me that I was basically wasting my brain and talent by being married early. I was really offended, but I wish that I had been as calm as these coolies (unskilled laborers?) were. April and Andy are very immature, so I can kind of understand why Leslie reacted negatively. I would only really try to convince a friend to stop a marriage if I saw that the couple wasn’t taking the concept of marriage seriously and had not made a solid enough commitment to stick it out for the long haul. Besides that, who are we to say that someone’s future is not going to be a good one? Even if a marriage does go bad, what is essential in a marriage is the constant attitude and determination to love each other and work things out until they are better. If you’d like to read my thoughts on early marriages in more detail, you can read that old post of mine!

Ironically, Aubrey Plaza, the actress who plays April, tweeted in February asked for support to help her “poor” friend get her dream wedding by voting for her to be in a wedding reality TV show, citing how her friend didn’t “have enough money to get married.” Andy and April from Parks and Recreation are both “poor,” but they were able to pull off a successful wedding. Rob and I barely had money when we got married, and we had both agreed earlier on in our relationship that a fancy wedding wasn’t really necessary. The wedding was wonderful. Not having enough money to be married should not be an excuse to not get married or prolong an engagement. Isn’t sharing assets going to help financially? Marriage is statistically very beneficial financially. It has sure helped us by pooling our earnings together. If you think weddings are about money, in some respects you’re right! Marriage is a great economic stiumuli (assuming the wedding isn’t too expensive).

Another character I applaud in the story is Andy for turning down his virtual bachelor party strippers (guys, I recommend that you look away from the screen during this scene, as the blurred images are still pretty graphic, though meant for comedic purposes… still not cool, Parks!). Indulging in other women sexually right before your marriage (or after) is never a good idea. Bachelor parties like that make grooms keep wanting more women other than their own brides. Lust never gets satisfied no matter how good looking or nice a spouse is. More men should react the way Andy did in this situation, all the time—even before they have a girlfriend! He is silly, but is quite the loyal lad.

Aren’t these guys so cute? Their relationship is so bizarre.


Would you like some snazzy personalized stationary with your blog or business logo on it? UPrinting is having me give away 500 letterheads to one lucky reader. I will be running this giveaway only until the 25th of April at 11pm EST, so don’t delay participating!

Prize Details:
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Restriction: Limited to US residents 18 years old and above only.

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The winner is Erin Marie Grimm. Congratulations!

Remember Rachel Galloway from this interview? Well, we finally met in person last weekend in Philadelphia for Danielson’s Best of Gloucester County tour! That show was a lot of fun! If you’d like to check out their music, here is the link to purchase their new album. For Sufjan Stevens fans, you might like to know that he played the banjo on this album, as he has on a couple other Danielson records in the past. It was nice to see Danielson’s uniforms on stage, including the new flags, which you’ll see I took a photo of below. They are just full of good cheery energy and intriguing symbolism, and their music is sort of an approachable avant garde folk rock/pop.

At first glance, their stuff might seem kiddy. Their cover art is quirky and so is their music, but they really are very serious and creative musicians. They’ve maintained a strong following and good critical rep in the secular indie rock scene despite their being solid Christians.  One particular song that has a serious message enveloped in a silly and playful song is “Rubbernecker,” from the Tri-Danielson!!! (Alpha) album. It’s a song that criticizes lust and that I was really glad they made. They have a lot of songs encouraging us to avoid lust, including a favorite of my husband’s, “Flesh Thang.” Besides appreciating this aspect of their music, I really can’t get enough of the visual symbols, too.

Aside: As I see it, the whole world is a big round (oblate) symbol resonating with lyrical messages, hoping for humans to understand the point of its existence and ours. Our job then is to interpret this message as best as we can given the clues that were left for us thousands of years ago. There is much scientific truth in the bible—more than you know. I hope I didn’t weird Daniel out too much when I explained what my drawings on my husband’s CD meant! He and Rachel each have a copy of a sample mix of my husband’s newest album, and I drew on one cover a windmill with birds dying, one with the earth emanating Wi-Fi signals to other planets, and an extra (for her bro-in-law from Soul-Junk) with our world side by side with a parallel universe underneath. Actually, I don’t know which one got which, but it doesn’t really matter. I must come off as insane sometimes. I’m glad some people still like me.


Here is a photo I took of Rachel waving at the camera. I think the girls might’ve taken some photos of the audience too while they were setting up, and I thought that was neat. They are so laid back!

Evan made the best faces.

Eye saw the new flags next to the stage:

Here’s Elin temporarily wearing a Norwegian apron during “Li’l Norge:”

The girls: Megan, Rachel, and Elin; Daniel on the far right


Three videos I took of the show (in a playlist):

View the official video for “Grow Up”:

Ignorance & Bliss

April 12th, 2011

A lot of our mistakes in general, I believe, are based on greed. It is perhaps because of abuse of our freedom of choice that we are spoiled babies. We often choose to ignore problems for the sake of bliss even when we know something is important. I remember when my mother, strong in her faith, prayed that God would either take her difficult situations away or make her ignorant of them. I admit that most of the time I find it easier on my conscience and my comfort to not dwell on the problems that personally affect me—what more for problems that do not directly affect me?

I find that the difficulty with having to teach people about pressing social and moral issues is that people just don’t want to care. My speaking at a high school event reflected that. Last weekend, I spoke to a big audience of high schoolers and their families about modesty and sexual purity after having been invited for the second time. Although I expected that high schoolers just wouldn’t get what I was going to say, I decided to give it another chance. I dropped everything I was doing, preparing for finals and finishing work deadlines, just to pour my heart out once more.

It was a lovely event, with the majority of people commenting on my outfit and only about three older women thanking me for the topic I spoke about. Mind you, that gym was half filled. The statistic is sad but true, and it goes to show that most of us would rather hear about happy trivial things than important things that make us uncomfortable—e.g., we watch movies to be entertained and be removed from reality. Before becoming an adult, I had always been the type to avoid confrontation anyway, especially when I was younger. How could I expect the young to understand the need to be involved in moral issues when most adults don’t even give a lick about these things, and neither did I in high school? Heck, some people even think that modesty is a clothing style and not a philosophical lifestyle to abide by.

The other day I read about the ever-growing global population problem from ecologist Garret Hardin’s essay “Tragedy of the Commons.” According to him, the population problem has no technical solution, because people have the unalienable right to pursue a life of happiness by being the sole determiner of the number of children they wish to have. By having untapped freedom to reproduce abundantly, we will end up having to fight for our finite resources in the future. Because of this, to choose to enjoy our right could mean taking away someone else’s equal right to our common resources. Anyway in one point in his essay, he basically said that there was no point to stir people’s conscience to limit the number of children they have. He said it was better to just create a law to get people not to do something. This is because people who respond to the appeal to change will limit themselves as requested, but those who don’t give a hoot will continue to populate the world with children who will think the same way as they. I see some truth in that, but of course, I can give people the benefit of the doubt that they can change despite their history. Thinking that people can’t change because their family background has always been of a certain disposition is frankly, to a fault, Darwinian. I went from having the personality type of INFJ/INTJ to INFP in just a couple of years (UPDATE: as of 4/2011, I am back to INFJ/ INTJ combo), and as you know, I used to be a riot for not dressing modestly. I believe in the human spirit, that we can change if we will ourselves to.

To stop myself from encouraging people about modesty and some other things I strongly believe in is subscribing to the idea that people can’t change. They might never change, or it might be a long and difficult process to, but I’ll always have to continue trying. Plainly speaking, it truly sucks to be ignored. This sort of thing reminds me that I am not promoting my blog for my personal gain but instead for a purpose worth fighting for.

Ignorance may be bliss, but it is not a very noble goal.
– Margaret Edson, Wit

Femmes et al

April 7th, 2011

Broke out with the fingerless gloves the other day that I got from SoHo. I think these kinds of gloves can make or break your image depending on what you wear them with. If you overdo it, you might end up looking like early 80s Madonna (which I do like). If you’re a bit sloppy, you might end up looking like a hobo (they’re okay). If you play it cool, you might end up looking like Karen O (yes).
I’ve always liked seeing strength in females—either physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally. I get turned off seeing Hollywood actresses that are obviously just playing the part. I particularly like the women in Quentin Tarantino’s (a favorite auteur) movies, because they are convincingly women you don’t want to mess with—but they are still wives, mothers, what have you… or in some way emotionally vulnerable. Consider Emmanuelle Mimieux from Inglorious Bastards or Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill, both of whom were strong and faithful to their men. They are not your typical femmes fatale who seduce men to their doom. Instead, they kick butt doing what they do (doesn’t have to be literal), still act feminine, and are driven by an ardent mission. If you’re looking for strong female characters to look up to, look to those who are convincingly dressed to kill. Heroes in scantily clad clothing and heels purely exist for entertainment. What a major faux pax!

I guess you can argue that movies are for entertainment, but the problem is that 1) men tend to build unrealistic expectations of women from seeing too many movies objectifying the opposite sex, 2) women try to be like these impossible characters to please men, and 3) young girls imitate what they see, and there are rarely women out there who actively steer their daughters away from faulty role models

A good mind, even without a good physical build paired with it, is beautiful in a woman. Whoever made the conclusion that men do not like brains in women is sexist. If you consider being “brainy” the same as being a smart alec, then I guess that phrase would be perfectly justified regardless of gender. Having at least a sensible mind—a good balance of logic and emotion—is a strength that women should pursue. Prancing around flirtatiously with no intention of a serious relationship is not proof of a sensible mind.

The image of the dangerous femme fatale is not representative—nor should it be—of femmes et al (all of us women). Our strength does not come from seduction. If this isn’t so, then we are born vile, proving we continue to be the cause of death in that garden of paradise. Our strength should come from our good character—not showing love to men by using them for our own greed, but instead loving them by treating them as we would brothers.

Don’t forget, this Saturday (4/9) is the end of Jesus Couture’s giveaway and also when I’m going to be speaking at Project Redesign. Everyone is invited!

What I Wore: Shirt and beret from Goodwill – Tights from Burlington Coat Factory – Shoes from UrbanOG – Fingerless gloves from SoHo

Project Redesign: RSVP Now!

April 1st, 2011

I truly apologize for the slow updating! It’s right around finals time, and I’ve got killer deadlines to meet at work. However, it is confirmed. I will be speaking at the 3rd annual Project Redesign fashion show in Maryland! Everyone is welcome to attend. If you are a business interested in advertising or setting up a booth, don’t hesitate to contact Rachel Harkins at her e-mail address, rachel(at)mountdesales.org. It will be a great opportunity for fun and networking!

What: 3rd annual Project Redesign fashion show

Where: Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, MD (view map)

When: April 9, 2011 from 6 p.m. — 9 p.m. EST


If you missed my talk at one of their planning meetings, just go a few entries back. To view my coverage of last year’s show, you may read it in a previous post. If you’d like to book me to talk at an event, just drop me a line!

Please keep in mind to dress appropriately. Besides that, all I have to say is that I can’t wait to meet you all!

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