Considering My Relationship with the Oscars

In case you missed my Red Carpet interview, I wore an emerald-colored gown to the Oscars.

When I was 17, this is what I planned to wear to the Oscars....
When I was 17, this is what I planned to wear to the Oscars….

It was a strapless number, structured through the bodice but draping effortlessly from the hips. There are understated gold embellishments that are really only visible when I move — an effect for the Red Carpet paparazzi. It’s vaguely inspired by Whoppie Goldberg’s spoof of Scarlet O’Hara’s curtain gown….. It’s a knock-out, sure to land me on every best dressed list.

And with an imaginary flash of the photographer’s camera, and an adieu to Ryan Seacrest, the daydream ends and I remember: I was not at the Oscars.

When my friend Annie and I were writing our respective masters’ theses, we’d often procrastinate by conjuring up our Oscar nights. I’d always more or less return to the same scenario — attending on the arm of Gerard Butler in my jewel-toned gown with baubles by Harry Winston.

This year, I went with Bradley Cooper….

Anyway, all of this bring me to the point that, when it comes to the Oscars, all I really care about is the clothes.

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the Oscars having seen enough of the nominated movies to give any intelligent input about which deserves what. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions.

I took it very personally the year Russell Crow lost to Denzel Washington for Best Actor. In fact, I was so miffed that I refused to see any Denzel Washington movie since Training Day, for which he won the award. That’s right, I won’t be seeing Flight anytime soon. (Though, I’ve watched Remember the Titans more times than I care to admit…we all make concessions….)

Every year, there’s a movie nominated for Best Picture that I absolutely refuse to see, under any circumstance.

In 2009, it was Avatar. (still haven’t seen it)

I won't see Lincoln... and it's not just because Daniel Day Lewis looks like he's wearing a Halloween costume...
I won’t see Lincoln… and it’s not just because Daniel Day Lewis looks like he’s wearing a Halloween costume…

In 2013, it’s Lincoln. Don’t ask why… you’ll be here for hours….

Oh, and Les Mis. I won’t see Les Mis. I didn’t like it on Broadway, and I don’t expect to like it on the big screen. Even if Russell is in it… So I’m just not going to watch it.

Ever.

I saw Argo and I loved it.

It wasn’t an extraordinary movie, on par with some of the great films in history, but there was something about it’s understated quality and veracity that made it incredibly watchable, dare I say riveting. I want it to win something.

I wished I’d seen Zero Dark Thirty. I’ll probably catch it when it hits Netflix.

When Katherine Bigelow beat out ex hubby and mega egoist James Cameron in all the important categories with her Hurt Locker (hands down one of the most memorable and powerful movies ever made) I was positively giddy. So, I’m secretly (and with blind prejudice) pulling for her latest film to take home some big awards.

If Ann Hathaway walks home with that Oscar this year, there’s a good chance I’ll throw something at the television.

Unless she’s wearing something fantastic…

For the actors, the Oscars mean a lifetime achievement. For me? It's all about the clothes...
For the actors, the Oscars mean a lifetime achievement. For me? It’s all about the clothes…

 

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Promises to My Future Fiance

It’s wedding season, and that means my weekly serving of Sunday Styles is healthier that usual. It’s also the year of my first milestone college reunion. This means I’m officially hitting that life phase when it’s not only strangers announcing their marriages in the Sunday Styles, it’s my friends.

As I watch more and more people I know prepare to “take the plunge” and as I plan my dress-rotation for the upcoming onslaught of receptions and nuptial exchanges, I’ve decided I’d better take note and make some lists for when it’s my turn…

Dear Future Fiance,

I will not make you sit through a staged engagement album photo-shoot that makes us look like a straight-from-the-pages-of-a-Brooks-Brothers-catalog-couple named Chip and Muffy.

This will just never be us.

I mean, yes, it would be nice to have some professional, candid photos of us for the requisite “save the date” cards or NYTimes wedding announcements, but none of that jumping in the air, fake laughing at something “cute” the other person said while wearing polo shirts, khakis and pearls stuff.

Let’s keep it real, baby.

I will not post every dress/hairstyle/shoe idea for our wedding on a board on Pintrest.

My Pintrest page is for everything, except my wedding.

I’m kinda obsessed with Pintrest. That recipe for the “skinny” chocolate-chip scones. The Burberry Prorsum dress I dropped 2 paychecks on. My favorite painting in that exhibit I went to last week. Sure — that’s all fair game. But when it comes to weddings, it’s about decisions… and excel spreadsheets or powerpoints are more useful for that. Besides,  if you can’t see my wedding dress until I walk down the aisle, no one can.

I will ask your opinion about the color scheme. And what color tux you should wear. And where we should have the reception… but I’m not asking for your opinion on the flowers.

You’ve never been great at buying me flowers, so let me pick those out for our wedding.

Let’s be honest — whether the centerpieces are cascading roses or submerged orchids probably doesn’t matter all that much to you. I organize events,  so those sorts of details do matter to me — whether it’s a wedding or a gallery opening. But it probably does matter to you where we celebrate with our guests — our friends and our family — and what breed of penguin you look like.

A wedding is about Us, after all, not about a 5-year old girl’s fairytale fantasy.

I won’t partake in the annual “Running of the Brides.”

Even though I’ve been contemplating joining the roller derby, this will not be me when I go wedding dress shopping. I promise.

As endearing as you find my competitive streak and my knack for trash-talking opposing teams, the last thing you want to see me do is shop for my wedding dress roller-derby style.

I won’t give you “that look” when you tell me the “boyz” have booked tickets to Vegas for your bachelor party.

That’s fine. I’ll even pack the suitcase for you. Because, baby, I’ve got plans of my own…

Just don’t come back married to someone else, with a tattoo on your face, or with anything communicable. If you don’t remember what happened, that’s probably for the best… but please check in with our GP before our honeymoon.

With Love,

Kathleen

Sculpting Opportunities

Installing an exhibition of sculpture is hard physical work. It's good thing I work out.

I stood in the gallery, bent over backwards staring up blankly into my 50-foot ceiling, trying to assess the durability of my lighting tracks.

“How the hell am I going to suspend an 8-foot winged sculpture from up there?! Fairy dust?”

If that had been my only concern with this exhibition, my nerves would have been easily quelled with one stiff drink and a reassuring “no problem, boss” from my assistant. But no, the weighty sculpture flying 30 feet over the heads of visitors from uncertain supports was, believe it or not, the least of my worries.

I looked down at my floor plan. Up at my ceiling. Back at my floor plan. I spun around the gallery, mentally measuring the walls and open space, counting the number of works I had selected. I had 5 installation days ahead of me and at this point, all I could do is hope that it would all come neatly and elegantly together.

It’s a rare moment when life hands you the opportunity you’ve always wanted. Rarer when you’re young and relatively new to the big leagues. It’s your moment to turn into your greatest success or to fall, face first, into the pile of shit you’ve dug-up along the way.

When I was handed the curatorial reins of our gallery’s biggest exhibition of the season, I realized this was that opportunity for me.  And it was giving me heart palpitations.

Our PR department had confirmed an interview with and a feature in the New York Times. No. Pressure.

My team mounts the wall vinyl -- it's officially an exhibition.

Being 26 and standing at the helm of what was already being heralded as a landmark exhibition is daunting. Youth grants me energy. Passion mandates confidence. But youth, energy, passion and confidence doesn’t guarantee success — just sleepless nights and aching muscles.

“I don’t understand why I’m talking to you,” the writer from the Time said to me as I sat down with her the hour before the opening. “I was expecting to speak with the curators.”

“I am the curator.”

“Oh!”

My youth belied my position of authority. An hour later, my boss popped in to see how things were going on our walk through of the show.

I imagine I felt the way a bride does on her wedding day.Painting: "After the Reception" by Douglas Volk.

“This is a fabulous exhibition! I’m having a great time!”

Could it be that I had just won over the New York Times?

At 6PM, only minutes after the final wall label had gone up on the wall, the doors swung open, a crowd poured in and the champagne bottles were popped. I can’t exactly tell you what happened over the next two hours — it was a whirlwind of hellos, of press interviews, of congratulations.

I imagine the way I felt is very much how a bride feels on her wedding day: exhausted from all the planning and preparations, unsure of the durability of her lipstick and full-body-ness of her hair, but excited because she knows she’s just launched herself happily head-long into a brand new life.

Every William Needs a Kate, So Yes, I’m Waking up at 4AM on Friday to Watch the Royal Wedding

In case you haven't noticed, there's only one story in the news these days -- the British Family's Royal Wedding

In case you haven’t noticed, the presses have all stopped. Rising gas prices, NCAA Title IX infringements, and pending government shut-downs are no longer news. There is but one story to cover in the broad sheets and on the television: the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton.

I can’t say that I’ve been following the pre-wedding press — I’m content to wait till the big day to see the dress. But as a girl who religiously reads the New York Times wedding announcements because she’d rather pass her Sunday morning indulging in happy people than tearing-up over explosions and tsunamis, it’s no surprise I’m somewhat thrilled that a wedding has become the focal point of World News Tonight.

Friday is a workday and the prospect of waking long, long before sunrise to watch the wedding ceremony live on television, when I could easily watch it repeated later, is not at all sensible. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to set my alarm for 4:00AM so I can watch the royal wedding unfold in real time. Why? Because, as my mother pointed out, it’s not every summer a future king gets married. It’s as much a historical event as it is an opulent party. 1 billion apparently tuned in to watch Prince Charles marry Diana. That many people don’t join together to watch something unless they feel there’s something important going on — not even the Olympics, the sporting event meant to unite the world in competition gets that kind of viewership.

Everyone is getting geared up for the Royal Wedding, in whatever way they know how

Weddings never fail to captivate. Between April and July, the air rings with the joy of nuptials. Besides the magazine stands buckling under the weight of 700-page wedding-themed publications (thank you Modern Bride and Martha Stewart Weddings), movie theaters are stocked with films telling terrible tales of bridezillas or “always the bride’s maid” woes.  Every so often, we’re lucky to have a real wedding worth tracking (last year, it was Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky).

And if ever there was a love story worth tracking, it’s the one between the future King of England and his Princess. Every William needs a Catherine, and at 4AM on Friday morning, with my scones, clotted cream, poached egg and breakfast tea, I’ll be rooting for their happily ever after.

Kiss Me Baby On an Easter Sunday

You can call me Godless, but I'm going to have my Easter Bunny and all his friends. And that's that.

Lev accused me of being a Godless-Christian-Pagan who celebrated empty holidays and believed in nothing but Bloomingdales. If I didn’t know this was an attempt at flirtatious fighting, I would have thought attacking me, the Church of Couture, and the Easter Bunny was a terrible way to woo me.

“Do you even go to church on Easter?”

“No.”

He then launched into a history lesson about Catholicism  — how it usurped Pagan holidays and how modern society has commoditized formerly sacred festivities. I took a sip of wine and prepared myself for battle.

I confessed: I am a terrible Catholic — I dropped out of CCD, I can’t remember the last time I attended mass, and I don’t know the “Hail Mary.”

But I am an devout Easterer. I look forward to the pageantry of the holiday and the togetherness it inspires.

On Easter morning, I would awake to a cartoonishly large chocolate bunny I was never allowed to eat — it was too expensive to devour right away and too bad for my teeth to be eaten period. I still wonder why my mother didn’t just buy a plastic chocolate bunny she could use as a flower planter between Easters.

Hot Cross Buns. Ceramic egg trees. Symbols of spring. There's nothing I don't love about Eater.

Growing up, I enjoyed putting on my floral-print dress and running around the yard with friends on a hunt for eggs I had laboriously bejeweled and speckled the night before with the help of my parents.

Once I got older and the neighborhood kids moved away, I held a 50+ Easter egg hunt. I assembled the adults who had once been the designated “hiders” and turned them into “seekers.” It was a no-holds-barred kind of hunt where there was only one rule for me to follow — no eggs hidden below waist level. Bending/squatting to retrieve something they’d prefer to dress with mayo and serve in a sandwich seemed too hazardous an activity. I obliged.

At the end of the day, I think my family members were grateful for the chance to rekindle their inner-children — that is what Easter is largely about, isn’t it? Renewed life.

“Call me Godless, but I’m going to have my Easter Bunny,” I told him. “And my bonnet. And my tie-dyed eggs. And my Christmas tree. And that’s that.”

Lev popped in with a cheeky remark about behaving like a rabbit and how Easter was interfering. I rolled my eyes and handed him a Cadbury cream egg in my purse.

“Even a Scrooge deserves a little holiday love,” I said as I bid him good-night. It was Good Friday, and I had hot-cross buns to put in the oven 😉

Indispensable Desk Items

Happiness is a very small desk and a very big wastebasket. — Robert Orben

Desks are very personal spaces, our life's command station. And to command our lives effectively, some tools are indispensable.

Desks are life’s command stations. From there we apply for jobs, complete assignments, plan vacations, write novels, and scan the internet for photos of celebrity’s cellulite so we can feel better about ourselves in a bikini. As a result, desks, like bedrooms, are very personal spaces and their states becomes a metaphor for our lives in general — controlled chaos, perfectly systematized, completely swamped, etc.

Recycled canisters are Kitschy, functional, and green!

As we curate our workspace, we arm it with indispensable items that help us wrangle our day-to-day, and sometimes, are even pretty to look at. No matter what I throw out on designated clean-up days, these things will never see a wastebasket…

Storage Facilities Made from Salvaged Containers

I’ll never understand why people pay for desk accessories when a washed 28-ounce food can and an old box will suffice. The Tory Burch gift box houses post-it notes, staples, and fountain pen ink cartridges while the recycled can stores my pen supply. Equal parts kitschy, functional, and green!

Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style”

Sometimes, I forget how to use commas. This little book reminds me when punctuation is necessary.

Kiehl’s Hand Salve and Chantecaille Lip Chic gloss stick in Zinnia

For when the postman rings twice, hand cream and lipstick are never far from reach

Moleskin Calendar

It’s red, compact, portable, features monthly as well as weekly calendars, and gives me note pages. The added bonus of stickers makes me feel both organized and like a kid again — how can I miss martini night when there’s a bright neon green sticker to remind me!?

Vintage Stapler loaded with colored staples

I'm very possessive of my stapler and its colored staples

When it comes to staplers, I’m very fussy. Milton Waddams ain’t got nothing on me. This one has been in the family longer than I have and I refuse to share it. I gave up on standard silver staples in high school — the red slash in the corner of my resume is my version of Elle Woods’ scented paper.

Vitamin D3 Supplements

Vitamin D is the new super vitamin, apparently. Spending most of the winter cooped up inside depletes resources. I take my daily dose to stay happy and healthy, do you?

Quiet, Supportive Companions

It's always good to have silent, supportive companions my your side to cheer you on through the work day.

Meet Jorge, Mozart and Mooey.

Jorge is my traveling NY Yankees gnome. I bought him one night after watching an Amazing Race Travelocity challenge episode. Jorge has seen some pretty cool places since then.

Mozart is a reminder that I’m cultured.

Mooey is a flashlight that moos, and is the only thing that will stop my dog from trying to eat my bird for dinner.

A 5-lbs Dumbbell

Just because you’ve got your ass in a chair and deadlines to meet, doesn’t mean you can’t pump some iron and workout those biceps. Can you tell I’m a big believer in multitasking?

So, common, your turn… what’s on your desk?