Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On Sanity, Family, and Peanut Butter

Dear No One in Particular,

If you're following me on Twitter, you're already privy to my horrible job situation. Granted, it could be worse -- I could have no job situation whatsoever -- but last week I hit my lowest career point ever. I cried. At work. In front of my sole male co-worker.

Ever since, I've been working on checking out mentally and physically. I am sensitive to a fault; I take everything personally and hold onto every thoughtless comment for years, the better to beat myself up with. It's a combination not well-suited to customer service, much less retail.

Last night I found myself in a deep funk, dreading the return of the work week like a middle schooler dreads the return of school. But Disneyland couldn't have been 2 months ago! Summer can't be over! My only solution, fueled by a couple of glasses of wine, was to bake.

I'm an avid baker. I fancy myself an American Nigella Lawson, when really, I'm a horrifying mix of Paula Deen's ambivalence towards "heart healthy" ingredients, Martha Stewart's blind ambition, and a wolverine.

The kitchen routinely looks like a bomb exploded, leaving nothing but eggshells and butter wrappers and perfectly decorated cupcakes in the wreckage.
As messy and unorganised as I am in front of the stove, the precision required for baking is deeply calming to me. I'm incredibly self-assured in the kitchen, much more so than I am in regular life. I thrive in my self-made chaos, knowing all along that something beautiful and delicious is being born. A stereotypical control freak, I love knowing that, when I add 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, I get cookies every time. It's math and science I can wrap my head around: the kind that adds to my hips and subtracts from my lifespan.

I was planning on making peanut butter & jelly bar cookies, but I failed to read the recipe before I committed to purchasing all the ingredients. It was unnecessarily complicated, by which I mean I had to refrigerate and roll out the dough. I found myself staring at my KitchenAid mixer with equal amounts peanut butter and laziness. Peanut butter cookies it was then.

My family has a rather spotty history with peanut butter cookies. My mother loves them like I love Tofutti Cuties. They can't be in the house, and if they are, they disappear within hours. There's almost no danger, however, considering my mother can not bake. Her lack of skills are legendary in my household, specifically with regard to -- you guessed it, peanut butter cookies.

The first time I can remember her making them from scratch, she forgot to add the sugar. Needless to say, they were salty, disturbingly savoury little discs that only she was able to choke down.

The second time she forgot the butter. She will never forget the butter again, namely because anytime she mentions baking, I pop up like a little shoulder devil and mock her mercilessly about the butter. To spite me she uses Smart Balance, declaring them to be the same thing. They are not.
After producing peanut butter biscuits and dry, crumbling peanut butter-y sawdust, she stopped attempting to make her favourite dessert. I stepped up to take her place but never made peanut butter cookies, no matter how many times she asked. I would make fluffy, mouth-puckering lemon cakes; moist, fudgy chocolate cupcakes; refreshing berry muffins; even rich creme brulee -- but not peanut butter cookies.

I have an irrational dislike of peanut butter. Chunky is an abomination; creamy is tolerable. My mother always used chunky in her failure cookies, only adding to my increasing dislike of the sweet. But last night, not wanting to waste the pot of organic peanut butter the Boy so thoughtfully picked up for me, I steeled myself to face my nemesis.

There is only one way I really like my peanut butter: with equal amounts of dark chocolate and a nice smattering of salt. Using this recipe as a guide, I omitted the peanut butter chips (ew) and doubled the amount of chocolate.

I watched the oily batter swirl around in the mixer, clunking along as the chocolate chips were incorporated and lamented the fact that I'd have to handle the batter. It was so gooey; it would make an un-godly mess. And then I realised: I'd forgotten the flour.

After years of taunting my mother for forgetting the butter, I'd managed to forget to add all the dry ingredients. After smacking myself across the forehead, I dumped the flour mix into the chocolate-studded goo, praying that it would still come together.

It did. Sort of.
Baking requires that steps be followed and in a specific order. Mix them up and instead of chiffon cake, you'll have an orange-scented doorstop. The balance and control I was hoping to harness in my funk-fueled baking spree was lost. My self-assurance dissipated. There was no method to the madness; there was only madness. Madness, and wine.

So I shrugged and did my best to piece the batter together. In the end, the cookies turned out delightful. A little too sweet -- I wouldn't roll them in sugar next time -- but delicious and better for the fiasco that made them.

Who needs perfection when adding a bit more peanut butter will do?


Friday, January 14, 2011

No Distance That Could Hold Us Back

Dear No One in Particular,

There's something about New Year's that seems to jolt everyone into a sense of self-improvement. I understand it: the symbolism of opening up a fresh calendar, a new start on life with the start of a new year, etc. I'm certainly not immune to it. My resolutions list reads like a stereotype: get a new, more fulfilling job; make a healthy dinner every night; read more books, watch less television. And at the top of the list: lose weight.

I read a lot of wonderfully written self-acceptance blogs, most notably Chicken Soup for the Dorky Soul and Average Fantastic. Heck, I've written posts on self-acceptance myself! But I can't say that I don't occasionally feel a bit hypocritical when I finally admit that, no, I don't really accept my body for what it is.

True, I still hold out hope that fat-phobia will go the way of the dodo bird, but I'd be a liar if I said that I didn't hope that my body fat went extinct with it.

At the end of the day, I still see my body as under construction. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain; the figure you see before you is being renovated.

Sure, a lot of this is stemming from the fact that I'm getting married (yes! The Boy is now officially the Fiance!) and the notion of taking tons of pictures in a white dress is making me break out in cold sweats. Yet, I can't help but entertain the truth that, for all my bravado, this is just an out for all my neuroses.
I'm incapable of viewing my body with a neutral eye. I see every inch of scarred skin, dimpled thighs, hair, crooked teeth, and curves upon curves -- all with a laser-focus that sends warning bells off in my mind.

Laura, of Ruby Bastille and Average Fantastic fame, recently wrote about cosmetic changes vs a message of body acceptance, a topic I've wrestled with myself. Does changing your appearance, however drastically, signal to the rest of the world that you were never really pleased with your body to begin with?

In my mind, self-confidence is the very root of self-acceptance. You can't have one without the other. Laura pointed out:
my self-confidence was suffering, therefore affecting the rest of my appearance. Not wanting to smile morphed into not wanting to be noticed, because I didn’t want anyone to notice that I wasn’t smiling. Not wanting to be noticed just felt gross.

I find my body displeasing, therefore I have poor self-confidence. I have poor self-confidence, therefore I am not pleased with my body. It's a vicious cycle that needs to stop.

If admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, then my journey has begun. I'm not sure where, exactly, it will lead me or how long this adventure will take. I do know that I only have one resolution this year: to be happy with myself, just the way I am.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Try to Fight the Feeling

Dear No One in Particular,

I am one of those people who think in terms of "rounding" and averages. Ever since I first learned how to round up or down, I've looked at numbers according to their distance from the number 5. Greater than 5 qualifies as many; less than 5, few.
This way of thinking is indelibly tied to the way I view age. 0-5 is baby age, 6-10 budding adolescence. 13 is adorably young, while 19 is positively adult -- old, even. All of this is patently ridiculous, of course, but I can't help but look the number 5 as a turning point, the pivot upon which "a little" turns into "a lot".

I'm 24 now, which means that I still see myself as relatively young. But once I turn the corner from 25, I'll be 26 -- a grown-up age. A 26 year old has their life on track; a 26 year old has a 5 year plan, does not live in an apartment and definitely does not have kitchen appliances sitting on the dining room floor like a 24 year old. Despite the fact that 26 is still 2 years away -- so much can happen in 2 years! -- I'm already panicking at the thought that I will be Officially A Grown-Up in very soon.

Of course, being a grown-up is not a switch that turns on after you pass the quarter-life point. It's a process, as Kanye would say. I know in my heart of hearts that I'll be a fine grown-up, whenever that may be. But a part of me wants to be a Toys R Us kid forever.

A good deal of this -- perhaps all of it, if we're being totally honest here (which we should be able to be, right? If I can't be honest with a couple million strangers, then who can I be honest with?) -- has to do with the fact that 3 weeks ago, the Boy and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary. Of course, 3 years is a long time to be with someone, but 6? Six whole years of being in a relationship? That is definitely a long time. And because we've gone past that milestone, marriage is a topic that we've been discussing more and more.

I love that I say "we" and "discuss"; the Boy is a typical boy: the thought of marriage is something that is far, far down the line for him. Like, Bejing far. Really, the only man I've ever known to admit to fantasizing about his future wedding is, we all suspect, a very closeted gay man. Who also happens to be very out as a total douchebag, but I digress.
I, on the flipside, am a typical girl: I've been dreaming of weddings since I was 5, making Barbie and Ken (Ken and Prince Eric also went to the chapel to get married, but that's another story) tip-toe down the aisle in lace scraps and cloth napkins.

I've held many an imaginary wedding in my day; my most memorable took place in 5th grade. After magically managing to con one of the boys in our class into being the groom, my best friends and I spent an hour in the bathroom, dressing the "bride" in toilet paper and seat covers. We made a rather convincing veil and bouquet, and a not so convincing train to tuck into her Catholic-school-issue plaid kilt. I officiated the wedding, but unfortunately it dissolved a mere 24 hours later. Luckily for my bestie-bride, I was also a successful divorce attorney and managed to get her a Lunchables as alimony.

Now that I'm getting older and in a long-term, loving relationship, a wedding is becoming a very viable reality. It would stand to reason that my brain is positively sizzling with white lace and flowers; that every synapse is firing to the tune of the "Wedding March". But, oddly enough, it's not.

Somewhere down the line I decided sorry Billy Idol, but I don't want a white wedding. I'm not altogether convinced I want a wedding. Oh sure, I want to be married -- I very much would like to marry the Boy -- but I don't want a wedding.
My ideal situation would be to elope: to call up some close friends and head to Vegas. I would be married by an Elvis impersonator at some cheesy little chapel on the strip. I'm not kidding you guys -- I would wear turquoise blue with cheetah-print pumps and Elvis would officiate. It's my dream, and it's utterly unattainable because it would kill my mother. Kill her dead. And I can't have that on my hands.

So I keep putting together various scenarios for if and when we decide to get married. I have a specific chapel in mind if we must have it indoors, but ideally we'd just sign something at City Hall with as little pomp and circumstance as possible. We'd have dinner with close friends and family at somewhere iconically San Francisco, preferably with a gorgeous view. When dinner ends and all the olds go home, we invite everyone under the sun to a bonfire on the beach, where we dance all night in the firelight. Sparklers, cupcakes, and booze will be involved.

The details are still hazy, but driving home tonight I had a revelation. I've always agonised over the music: what to walk down the aisle to, what will play during our first dance? Tonight I decided.

This will be the first song we will dance to as a couple:

And half-way through, when everyone is getting bored with us watching us spin around the beach, deliriously in love, the needle will skip and this will cut in:

And everyone will dance, deliriously in love with love and life and the way that the flames reach up to tickle the stars.


(I know I'm not the only one who enjoys a good wedding fantasy. Dish in the comments, my darlings, and we will ooh and ahh over the romance together!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More to Love

Dear No One in Particular,

You've probably heard about this absolutely disgusting "fatties r gross LOL" tirade on Marie Claire's website, if not read it and known what it feels like to have FLAMES. FLAMES ON THE SIDES OF YOUR FACE.

There is so much to talk about -- so much hate to cut through I almost need a machete -- I think I'll have to start at the headline. Because yes, darling reader, even the headline manages to be an offensive, judgment-laden fat joke. "Should 'Fatties' Get a Room? (Even on TV)" Honestly, it's like they're TRYING to create controversy!

And let me point out that for one hot minute, I actually thought that this might be a ploy to get pageviews. A horrible, condescending, inhuman, simply revolting act played out by a desperate internet troll masquerading as a journalist to increase traffic to her blog. Surely, I thought in my one hot minute of clutching-at-optimistic-straws, no one can be this thoughtless; could be so lacking in self-awareness; so stupid as to write this in all earnestness.

But, of course, I was wrong. Silly rabbit.

Silly, chubby, revolting, nauseating, obese rabbit monster.

I know I'm wrong because I encounter women like Maura Kelly all day, every day.
It doesn't matter what size I am (as if dress size were a true indicator of health); snap judgments about my weight inevitably directly correlate to my worth as a human being. Simply looking at the actors who play 'Mike' and 'Molly' -- the bizarre, self-loathing sitcom that bore the bizarre, fat-shaming article -- are an assault to Kelly's very delicate sensibilities. Obese people wound her very soul, because they are less than human. They are visual, nutritional monsters; the atrocities committed by Mengele have nothing on "a very, very fat person simply [walking] across a room". And before you charge me with hyperbole, go back and find that quote in the article: she equates a heavy-set individual walking with a heroine junkie riding a high.

This, to me, is the crux of a "healthy" person's misguided approach to shaming a fattie into being a hottie: they see food as the enemy, as the sole cause of the repulsive "rolls and rolls of fat" being shoved in their line of vision. I will tell you right now: food is not the sole reason.

I'm about to get all SCIENCE-Y on you, so if you're still pondering how magnets work, you best move onto another blog -- but sometimes (a lot of times, actually) it's genetics. Some are genetically predisposed to be bigger individuals; it's a biological imperative based on thousands of years of evolution and genetic adaptation in response to environmental stresses, a.k.a. by science-y types: Allen's Rule. (See also [if you're into that sort of thing]: Bergmann's Rule.)
Regardless, my point stands: it's not always as simple as 'stop eating so much and exercise more'. If it were, there would be no fat people. And then who would the Maura Kellys and the MeMe Roths of the world hate on?

And for some, food is a drug. Just like most alcoholics don't drink simply because they like the taste of cheap vodka in the morning, afternoon, and night, those who bury the pain with food don't overeat because they can't say no to another bite. You can't tell a crack addict not to smoke and force them to stop through sheer force of will. You can't just tell an anorexic to have a cheeseburger. And you can't berate a fat person into losing weight.

So no, it's not something that can be easily changed, if only they put their minds to it. I can't think and hope and pray really, really hard that I'll change my DNA and suddenly have the ability to grow 5 inches and have the metabolism of a greyhound.
What can be easily changed, however, is the frustratingly horrible mindset that morons like Kelly cling to. You can not look at a person and know their health, so stop assuming that this is possible. You can, however, look at a person and not be utterly offended by their appearance. It's not an easy road, and I'm happy to give you some suggestions, like stop being pig-headed and an asshole, but you can also visit a therapist! YOU CAN DO IT!

I must admit, I feel a tinge of sadness and -- dare I say it? -- pity for Kelly. Not for the piling on of criticism she's received -- oh no, that she truly deserves -- but for the plaintive admission that she suffered (suffers?) from anorexia. Without a doubt, her history of disordered eating has forever coloured the way she views food and people who happen to have visible body fat. Her righteous attitude is certainly a hold-over from her less-healthy days; it just goes to show that pushing what you think is the proper antidote to a perceived problem is just fuel for the unhealthy fire. Plus, it makes you look like a jerk.

Ultimately, this article served its purpose. It got people to talk about the perils fat-phobia, albeit in a totally unintended way. Moreover, the article -- and the subsequent backlash -- serve to remind us that, just like you can't simply look at a person and judge their health, you can't shame people into being what you want them to be.

A sick body is a symptom of a sick mind. Let's get healthy, people, each of us in our own way.


Friday, October 1, 2010

No Place Like Home

Dear No One in Particular,

Well, hello there. Fancy meeting you here.

I bet you thought I had forgotten about this little space. Not a chance.

I'm back from Australia, although I was sorely tempted to become a permanent ex-pat. Seriously: I LOVED it. It was so much more than I had hoped it would be, and nothing like I had dreamed. Something had pushed me to Oz, told me something incredible awaited me there. Not to sound too San Francisco-hippie, but I left the States knowing that the universe had great plans for me.

It's hard for me to recount, what exactly, was so amazing about being there. I wasn't given anything tangible -- not a souvenir, a job offer, or even a picture of a single piece of magnificence -- to hold up and say "THIS. This is why I had to go." But the fact remains that I'm a different person now. Visiting Australia, even for that short period of time, changed me. I can't wait to go back and see what else will happen.

I do, however, have a highlight reel and tons of photos:

If you're planning your Mighty Life List and thinking Australia should be on it, let me be the first to stand up and shout a resounding yes! It's an incredible place and there is so much to see, that I recommend making multiple trips if you can swing it. Or, if you have more stamina than I, take a long, long vacation and travel the entire country. I only made it to the big cities, and my only regret is that I didn't allot time to visit the Great Barrier Reef while I was there.

This is technically a wallaby, but my point still stands.

One thing that every visitor to Australia must do is feed a kangaroo. Honestly, I almost edited my Life List to include this, because I wish I had thought of it sooner. I'd only seen kangaroos in zoos, behind plexiglass walls, so when my cousins told me that I would get the chance to feed them -- feed them with my own hands -- I just about peed myself with excitement. It was hilarious and amazing and kind of cheesy in a really great way.

In fact, all of the Australian wildlife is pretty great:

Case in point.

My favourite vacation fun fact: all of the koalas in Australia have chlamydia.

This is the face of chlamydia.

Speaking of wildlife, the fairy penguins? SO PRECIOUS. I was a bit hesitant to actually drive all the way out to Phillip Island, since I had heard that there were more tourists than penguins these days. I was even more hesitant when they told us to dress extra-warm, since we would be sitting on concrete bleachers at dusk on the beach. But! All of that changed when we saw the first bitty penguin waddle up out of the surf and scurry across the sand toward safety. The Centre is built right on top of the penguins' natural migration path, so you can walk up the hill alongside the tiny tuxedo-ed birds. No joke, it was the cutest damn thing I'd ever seen.
Unfortunately, there are no pictures of this event, since camera flashes scare the penguins. I snapped one photo inside the Visitor's Centre, which conveniently has little peek-a-boo windows into the fairy penguin's burrows.

Real live fairy penguins, in a real live fairy penguin burrow,
having a real live fairy penguin cuddle.

Another "must-do", specifically if you're in Melbourne, is see an Aussie Rules Football game. Don't worry about trying to make sense of the game; the rules are ridiculous and obviously made up by a bunch of drunk criminals who were bored with cricket. It's obscenely violent, but the fans are incredible (they put soccer hooligans to shame) and the players are gorgeous, in a very beefcakey, missing-multiple-teeth sort of way.

Remember how I said that Melbourne was the place I most wanted to see? Yeah, I take that back. Don't get me wrong -- Melbourne is marvelous! The Queen Victoria Market is heaven on Earth and I would kick a puppy to have even the palest imitation of it here in San Francisco. But I wasn't totally in love, ready to drop everything and set up home in Fitzroy -- not for Melbourne, that is.

I loved Sydney. LOVED IT, you guys; loved it like ... I can't even think of a proper analogy, I loved it that much. We had flown out of Sydney to spend a week in Melbourne, and on our flight back in, I remember the plane's wheels hitting the tarmac and sighing internally, thinking "Ahhh ... we're home." 5 all too short days in this glorious city, and it had imprinted itself on my mind as home. Every so often I wake up with my heart strings tugging me back to Sydney, and I want to cry.
I'm not so sure why I loved Sydney more when all signs pointed in the other direction. The food was better in Melbourne (marginally, because I must say the food in Australia is altogether tremendous; it's a country full of foodies), it's much less of a metropolis and more of a cultural hub, etc.

But Sydney, with it's gorgeous weather, delightful people, and cinematic familiarity just felt right. It felt as if the whole sun-soaked city reached out, hugged me close, and whispered "Welcome. We've been expecting you."

I've been mulling this over for months now, wondering why I felt so strongly about Australia in general, and Sydney (Sydney!) specifically. Before I left, I spent months dreaming about Oz and the wonders it held for me. Those dreams still continue, urging me to go back, to return home.

Australia isn't done with me yet, not by a long shot. But for now, I have photos to remember and a special place in my heart carved out for the land down under.


Oh! Before I forget: remember, how, like 2 years ago, I asked Santa to bring me a pygmy hippo for Christmas? I SAW HER. No joke, she now lives at the Melbourne Zoo and I thought I had managed to stop screaming long enough to take a couple of photos of her walking around underwater, but apparently they were so blurry and out-of-focus that the Boy deleted them. But trust me: Monifa (hilarious name) is adorable and wee and just so precious.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Off To See the Wizard

Dear No One in Particular,

I know this blog has been long neglected. I'm afraid that it's going to be neglected a bit longer, since I am indulging my wanderlust again and fleeing the country.

I'm crossing off the #1 item on my Mighty Life List: Go to Australia.
In t-minus 9 days, there will be a check next to that sentence, and I can't be more excited.

Obviously the "stay as long as necessary" bit isn't applicable; I am, however, going to be in Oz for 2 glorious weeks. There's so much to do and see in Down Under, so I'm severely limiting the number of places the Boy and I are visiting. That way, I can cap my spending and really get the feel of a city AND I've given myself an excuse to return.

The Boy and I are only hitting up the major cities, Sydney and Melbourne. I can't tell you how excited I am to visit Melbourne. I've already made birthday dinner reservations -- that's amped I am to be exploring the city.

So far the itinerary includes: Bondi Beach, Queen Victoria Market, a football game at MCG, a looong drive down Great Ocean Road, and cooing over fairy penguins on Phillip Island. I am really looking forward to spending a couple of afternoons picnicking in Melbourne, just people-watching, and soaking up the sun on Bondi and Manly beaches.

Anything we're missing? My cousin (who will serve as tour guide) has also mentioned taking us on wine tastings in Yarra Valley, and I have no doubt she has a ton of fun stuff planned. We have a guidebook, but if you've been and know of something I absolutely MUST SEE, please let me know!

Au revoire!


P.S. I have a 14 hour flight ahead of me, so if you have book recommendations, send them my way! Something light and fun, but not totally brainless would be lovely. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

C'mon Vogue

Dear No One in Particular,

I was going to write a post about food, and scratching a goal off my Life List, because hello -- are you new here? I'm Amanda and I live to eat. I also write to eat and slang strollers so that I can afford to eat at delicious restaurants.


Gorgeous Vanessa from Chicken Soup for the Dorky Soul (which is how she should introduce herself from now on) posted about something that irritated me to the point that I can no longer ignore my blog and lie on my sofa watching re-runs of 'The Office'.

Apparently blinding, psychotic rage is my muse.

I've written about fashion and public perceptions of beauty quite a bit, because I believe that the notion that fashion is frivolity and therefore below examination is really very dangerous. I would argue that the fashion and beauty industries control quite a bit of the average Western woman's life; to ignore that, or to dismiss it as fluff belies how incredibly menacing they can be.
How many stories have you heard of aspiring models being hospitalized due to eating disorders? How many skin bleaching products line the shelves of pharmacies around the world? Waving these questions off as unimportant is tantamount to waving off all the women who slave under the misapprehension that if only they were skinnier, whiter, younger -- if they simply fit the ideal -- they would be set for life.

At the centre of this maelstrom of self-hatred and misogyny is Vogue. Not just American Vogue, which, let's face it: is almost a parody of its former self, but the whole Vogue family.

Vogue Italia (which I used to hate marginally less than most Vogues) recently added a couple of subsections to their main website: Vogue Curvy and Vogue Black.

I have to admit: I kind of love both of these websites. They're well-laid out, the articles are really good, and most surprising of all: they feature what they advertise. The curvy ladies splashed about are actually curvy; no Lara "boobs = curves LOL" Stone here. 'Vogue Black', hilariously enough, opens with a giant shot of Michael Jackson, but also features Grace Jones.

Sure, I should be glad that a captain of industry such as Vogue would dare acknowledge such outliers as women with curves and black people, but I'm not -- at least, not really.
In fact, my initial reaction was: Fuck me, Vogue is obnoxious.

They are so backward in their thinking -- and so self-righteous in their ignorance that it's maddening. I thought it was just Wintour that acted like a pompous ostrich with her head in the sand, but it appears that the whole Vogue family is infected. And I LIKED Vogue Italia for a minute there, specifically when they published that fabulous Black Issue.
Vogue suffers from delusions of grandeur: they think that if they release an issue with a handful of pages featuring women who fall marginally outside of their norm they should be lauded as heroes. What's even more maddening is the way they treat such features: the copy is heavy, weighted down with style-jargon trying to explain how they dare let such freaks associate with their shining white name; the photos are airbrushed to the point of amusement; and the features only exist to highlight the "otherness" of the subject.

Vogue (and publications like it) takes gorgeous women like the ones featured on the new websites and makes them into a sideshow of freaks. They are not normal -- they're barely even human -- because they fall outside the "obscenely skeletal white teenage girl" norm that dominates Western fashion.

I refuse to believe that I'm simply bitter because I fall outside the norm. I continue to hope against hope that the fashion industry will start to look more like a rainbow rather than a gathering of emaciated Hitler Youth.

We need to stop segregating minorities from the rest of the fashion world and start not just including them, but welcoming them into fashion proper.
Fuck the fashion magazines that publish spreads with Crystal Renn and Chanel Iman and then demand praise as if they did something extraordinary. I want to open a magazine and see women that look like me: women with boobs and hips, with wild curls, and darker skin. That is a magazine I would praise with my hard-earned cash. I know that this magazine is out there, waiting to be willed into existence.

C'mon, Vogue.