Monthly Archives: May 2011

Hair Inspiration Part Two

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DZ Spring Collection

Spring is finally here! (I know it’s almost done, but this draft has been waiting to be published for so long) This year, the official trend is influenced by 1970s style and Victorian elegance.  Key elements seem to be lace, soft flowing, big sunglasses, high waists, and lots of jewelry.  This year’s color palette is bold, bright, and mismatched – hot pink; bright blue; tan; red; Chartreuse; lots of white.  Cosmetically, bright lips and “flushed cheeks” seem to be the main look.  So that’s the trend break down, now let’s jazz it up.  DZ is always promoting the individual, so the collection has to incorporate that philosophy.  I bounced around the world to see what others were gearing towards, and we all seem to be feeling the same…. the “romantic-victorian with a touch of flare.”

The Koreans seem to have the Victorian trend down pretty well.  I love these outfits they put together.

Source: koreanfashiononline.com

This one has an edgy-gypsy feel. Love it! Would work if you are tall and lean.

This one has that elegant retro feel.  My favorite.

So, the key elements for this look – to make it “user-friendly” – are ruffled and slightly loose-fitting tops.  They must give off the feeling of being “airy” and “flowy.” Lace material usually works best.  Keep to whites, tan, and black and accent with purple or green or any other rich color.  Accessorize with pearls, feathers, fascinators, or scarves.  Fitted or wide-legged high-waist pants or skirts work the best.

The 70s style is a bit more flexible and has elements that are easy to acquire, especially since we are not trying to fully replicate “Saturday Night Fever.”

Big sunglasses are a must…but not the ones that make you look like a bug.

Big hats are a must and work lovely with lace.

Now, if you really want to be “super fly,” then you must look to the one and only – Cleopatra Jones…which is what I will be using as inspiration.

Looks like some other designers have already stolen my idea…

Source: ilovecatparty.blogspot.com

So, the key elements for this look, regardless if you want it simple or super-sonic: large sunglasses, either round like Audrey Hepburn or slightly square.  All those wide rimmed hats you see in the stores are also a major part.  To maintain a modern look, don’t wear dark colors and don’t fill your entire outfit with 70s funk.  Accessorize or accent with the hat, or the high waist pants, or the big bow…not all at once.

Have fun.  If I come up with anything memorable, I might post it here.

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The Lonely Ones

Last month another student committed suicide at my university.  I did not personally know him, but it did cause me to pause and ask, what are we doing to prevent this?  This school year started with a tragedy in New Jersey of a boy jumping over a bridge due to cyber bullying.  Just this past year, multiple youths have died the same way.  Gone are the days when all a child had to worry about is the bully at school who would take your lunch money and maybe shove you in a locker.  At least then everyone could see who the culprit was, even if not much was done to stop it.  Now, cowards can use the internet to ruin others lives without a trace.  It began with adults (but most of the time other youths) posing as children on myspace.com and posting mean remarks on others pages resulting in the person hanging themselves.  In my recollection, this caused a rise in youth suicide.  The way social networking has expanded, it is much easier for this sort of bullying to get out of hand.   Students in high school and college are ranked the highest in suicide deaths.  This has not always been the case, so what has changed?  Is it only access and expansion of the internet?  Or is it something else?  Have we just evolved to become a meaner society?  Loneliness seems to be the main factor that leads to these deaths.  Every education institution has a counseling center, but what I have yet to see is a training program or guide for the entire student body on how to handle a person who might need help.  If a person seems lonely and depressed, the automatic response should not be, “that’s not my problem” or “don’t want to get into other people’s business.”  If a person is obviously on medication and seems to be going through something physically and mentally, the response is usually, “i don’t know ____ like that” or “we’re guys, we don’t talk about that kind of stuff.”  Why do we feel this way?  Why are we so concerned about offending someone’s privacy that we end up allowing so many to fall through the cracks?  Don’t want to dwell too much, but next time, don’t be afraid to lend a hand, a shoulder, or an ear.  Don’t hesitate when you witness bully-posts.  It could save someone’s life.

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Atlas Shrugged – The Movie

So, Atlas Shrugged the movie premiered in select theaters on April 15th.  I had been anticipating on watching this film for about a month or so.  For those of you who are Any-Rand-inclined, the novel Atlas Shrugged has a character named Dagny Taggart.  This is where my parents got my name from.  I myself have read the book, along with “The Fountain Head,” “Anthem,” and “We The Living.”  I might be a little biased, but I believe “Atlas Shrugged” is one of the greatest books in the world.  There are so many themes and messages and philosophy woven together in a story so complex and innovating.  Everything in it is relevant to our current economic situation as much so as it was in Rand’s time.

The film is set in the year 2016, where the economy is in shambles, several oil spills have occurred, and airplanes have been dismantled due to its cost.  The majority of the American population is unemployed.  There were even a few scenes where men in suits are holding large cardboard signs with their resume written in marker walking on the sidewalk.  The only reliable mode of transportation has regressed to trains.  There are a few businesses that focus on technology or transportation that are owned by a few key players.  The government considers them a monopoly and focuses all their time and effort to create laws to limit them.  As the story unfolds, different men are confronted by a tall man in a trench coat asking if they know who they are.  Then the scene freezes and words appear under the image showing their name, the company they own, and the day they disappeared.  The span of time skips around in a similar way.  For instance, once the bill was passed that limited the number of company’s a person could own and the amount a person could produce, there were several repetitive scenes of the character Henry Rearden signing off his various companies and handing a folder to different men.  I know it was supposed to signify the effect of the bill, but I don’t think there was enough explanation behind it.  Everyone repeats the question “who is John Galt?” without any context or implication of significance.

Even though this was only part 1 of the story, the film seemed to rush through it.  Skimming over key pieces, the plot is diluted to a branch of government that believes monopolists are selfish and one woman who is obsessed with a railroad.  Transitions between scenes and dialogue are not smooth, which makes it difficult for the audience to connect the dots.  I’m not sure if I should blame the script writer or the actors, but the majority of the dialogue and its delivery was blunt.

As for the characters, this might have been the most disappointing part.  Let’s start with Henry Rearden.  Even though I expected him to have a bit of a thicker figure and to seem a bit older, the actor – Grant Bowler – was a good fit.  He was able to convey the character pretty well, in particular when he tried to explain the importance of his steel.  However, the delivery of some of his lines were stilted and sometimes lacked a definite emotion or tone.  Next, Francisco D’Anconia.  A copper-mine-tycoon-womanizer who is smarter than everyone thinks.  The actor they chose for this part – Jsu Garcia – really couldn’t carry it.  When I read the book, I pictured a slightly darker version of Antonio Banderes.  Garcia could not portray any form of royalty, wit, or appeal.  The few scenes he was in were not memorable.  John Galt, the man always wearing a trench coat and hat lurking in the shadows and is the cause of all the disappearances, is played by the director – Paul Johansson.  Not much happening there.  Lastly, Dagny Taggart.  Being the origin of my name and one of my alter egos, it really was heartbreaking to watch Taylor Schilling play Dagny in this film.  Starting with what one could see, blonde, skinny, and lifeless is definitely not what I read in the book.  None of her outfits were tailored or of any quality that the real character would have worn.  It was like her instructions were just to keep a straight face, but they forgot to tell her to play a character.  Thus, she ended up being one-dimensional.  There was no explanation to why the railroad was important, why she was linked to D’Anconia, her philosophy of society in general, and a myriad of other key elements.  Years ago when rumors of this film started spreading, apparently Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron were on the list to play Dagny Taggart.  I’m not sure how that would have happened since it was always known that this was going to be a low-budget film.  Nonetheless, I feel either of them would have done a better job.  Dagny Taggart is a woman who is so complex and deep, that one would need a person who could convey that without saying anything.  Unfortunately, there was nothing striking or intriguing about Schilling (actress).

It is true that taking this novel to film is a very difficult endeavor.  I commend the director for his bravery, but his attempt was not satisfactory.  This is probably why Ayn Rand fought so hard to keep anyone from taking this story to film.  It might also explain why all other attempts – starting in 1972 – fell through.  Maybe they should have hired the director of “Lord of the Rings” or the first director for “Harry Potter.”  Bringing a book to life is key when it comes to film adaptation.  Fiddling with the time period and omitting certain themes are not a good starting point.  So, as the cliché goes, “the book is always better.”

“I swear by my life and my love it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask for another man to live for mine.” -John Galt

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