In Which Ella Has a Costume Change

Above ground again, I started walking. I like the city. It’s near impossible to get lost with its even grid of numbered streets and avenues, so I headed north towards the nearest park. And as I walked I became more and more aware of just how awful of an outfit choice I had made. Silk, as it turns out, is not the most breathable material, no matter how thin it is, and when it’s over eighty degrees, wearing a three-quarter length sleeved silk blouse, jeans, and cowboy boots is a spectacularly poor idea.

This is what my shirt looked like:

So I marched myself north, running straight through the university campus, past dogs and their owners, construction sites, and nannies speaking to each other rapidly in foreign languages while the kids in their strollers hugged stuffed animals and blankets. I listened to the determined smacking of my boots against the pavement and caught snippets of people’s conversations, trying to imagine what their stories were. The girl on the cellphone had to be a student. She had a large backpack on her back and was walking too purposefully to be a tourist. Sure enough, I saw her open a university building and walk into the lobby as I passed. One point for Ella.

I began to search for a clothing store to buy a different shirt. I have way too many clothes, but another tee shirt wouldn’t hurt. Something white or black would be nice. They match everything, and I wear all of my black or white shirts to death already. But by the point I had determined what I was going to buy, I was nearly at the park, and turning around to head to the more interesting stores and boutiques would take quite a while, so I settled for the American Eagle.

Walking into the really large chain store in the city is never a pleasant experience. It’s always somewhat chaotic and loud, even when there aren’t loads of people inside. The space is big, there’s music playing, encouraging you to buy more, more, more, and salespeople everywhere with little black headsets. And because it was two p.m. on a Tuesday, it was just me, a Japanese family, a large group of German teenagers, and absolutely no black or white tee shirts. I mean, they had black or white tee shirts with giant eagles and words printed on them, but no nice, plain tee shirts in those colors.

I have a strict rule about clothes that tell everyone where you bought them. It goes like this: Don’t wear it. The only reason why they print the store’s logo on it is so that everyone knows the store where you bought and can guess how much it cost, thereby determining your coolness factor.

So I picked up a grey-blue shirt without any offending eagles, designs, or text and purchased it, ducking into a Wendy’s to change. But I still had hours and hours to kill before the book launch, so I wandered over to the park and sat down to finish The Help.

I’ve been up for eighteen hours now, and I am falling asleep. This will be finished tomorrow.

You can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into me rebloging pictures of pretty houses and clothes, modern art, quotes from books, poetry, cats, and the occasional tv or movie related .gif. Also, the layout has a particularly pleasing shade of green at the top. You should click on the link just to assess the quality of the color for yourself. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

In Which Ella Plus Stickers Equals Embarrassment

This afternoon while unpacking groceries, I decided that it would be a great idea to peel one of the stickers off of the bananas and stick it to my forehead. After all, it said “brain fuel,” and I can never refuse the opportunity to do something silly to make someone laugh.

Of course, in typical fashion, I forgot that it was stuck there, and eight hours later, it is still firmly attached to my forehead. This reminds of me of two embarassing stories from middle school.

When I was fourteen, my waist was too small for most normal pairs of jeans, and I had to resort to the jeans from Kids’ Gap or Lucky Brand (very opposite ends of the price spectrum, I know). My mom had recently purchased me a new pair of jeans, and I was very excited to wear them*. So I put them on and headed off to school, thinking that I looked fabulous. It wasn’t until third period that someone informed me that I still had the very long vertical size sticker still stuck to one of the legs, informing everybody that my jeans were a size 12 narrow and were from the Kids’ Gap. I didn’t live that one down for about a month.

The second one is quite a bit like what happened today, only this time I went off to school with the sticker, which was both upside-down and said “slice me on cheerios.” Once again, no one pointed it out to me until I stood up to give a presentation in French class.

Thankfully, none of these things ever ended up bothering me that much, mostly because I was so wrapped up in trying to prove to people that I was smart and interesting. Weirdly, at the time I kind of liked it when people said something about my appearance because I could always come up with some snappy retort or just give them a smile**.

Do you have any funny and embarrassing stories involving stickers or from when you were in middle school? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

*In another somewhat related embarrassing story, I wore sweaters, Keens with socks, and black velour bell-bottoms for the entirety of seventh grade. I feel it’s necessary to note that my fashion sense has improved significantly since then.

**Giving someone a big smile when they’re trying to hurt you is actually incredibly effective and feels really, really good.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Ella and the Haircut

Today, I got a haircut! And because I know that my father will inevitably read this blog post and ask me which specific piece of hair I decided to get trimmed, I feel the need to clarify that I got a large majority of them cut.

I have never been a huge fan of the hair cutting process. I don’t think that I have ever walked away from a haircut totally loving how I look, so I’ll let you be the judge of this new style.

In Which I Badly Write Notes and Cecelia Decides to Change my Future

Today when I opened my binder to start studying some Supreme Court cases for a quiz I have tomorrow, I found some notes that I had been passing back and forth with people in class. The best one was with Cecelia.

I must have gotten very bored because the note is full of simplistic, oddly spaced, and very poorly written musings.

One day, I will live in a house in D.C., Boston, or on the Cape and write. It will be lovely.

I will also have cats, and you will be welcome to visit.

I will eat lots of tofu and lentils. There will also be chocolate cheesecake.

There will always be orange juice in the refrigerator, and I will have a place to sit outside without bees.

And despite the fact that the note is very bad, it is a pretty accurate reflection of some of my wishes. I take a great deal of comfort in being hopeful about the future.

Then, because Cecelia is Cecelia, she ripped the paper out of my hands and modified it. It now reads:

One day, I will live in a housemilk carton in D.C.Mumbai, BostonBirmingham, or on the CapeGanges and write. It will be lovely.

I will also have catsducks, and you will be welcome to visitroast them.

I will eat lots of tofubeef and lentilswurst. There will also be chocolate liver cheesecake.

There will always be orange juiceblood in the refrigerator, and I will have a place to sit outside without beessunshine.

It’s things like this that make me feel so blessed to have friends. After all, not anyone will turn your future plans into a version of Mad-Libs, be patient with your morning shenanigans the way Tal does, answer your strange questions the way Audrey does, sing your name whenever you walk into the room the way Clara does, or make you smile when you’re crying the way Lily does. (I really could go on and on.)

In related news, when I was picking out a dress to wear this morning, I remembered that Alice and I have two identical dresses that we each purchased independently. I think this is a sign that we have very good taste in fashion. Well, either that or we’re very slowly going to morph into the same person.

Oscar Night

Tonight, in an attempt to run away from all that is awful and scary, I will be at Audrey’s house, watching the Oscars. I’m bringing sparkling cider and we’re going eat Chinese food, because we’re pretty classy people. (I am hopeful that the combination won’t be comparable to the time that I mixed falafel mix with pink lemonade.) I’ve got Oscar predictions sheets printed out and ready to go. I’m even wearing a dress (not a fancy one, though) and some silvery blue eyeshadow on to match the navy material to get into the glamour spirit. I can barely contain my excitement!

On the Freezing Cold, Godmothers, Sun Dresses, and Chocolate Frappes

Today, I headed into the City with my mother to meet up with my godmother and her daughter, Isla, to spend the morning shopping, before having lunch at a restaurant specializing in chocolate.

It snowed last night, so when we got up this morning, we had to shovel out, before driving to the only train station in town that’s open on holidays and weekends. We got there, and we were standing on the platform, staring at the train waiting on the other tracks until someone told us that the trains were running on the opposite sides of the tracks today. Then, we had to run lickity-split up three flights of stairs through the glass overpass and back down the other set of stairs. Normally, I would have required five minutes to inch my way up and down the stairs and God knows how long across the overpass, but I was moving too quickly to even think about the height. Skidding our way onto the train, we collapsed into our seats, and endured a train ride riddled with delays and passenger confusion at every stop.

We hopped on the subway and headed downtown to spend some shopping before meeting up with my godmother. I insisted upon dragging my mother into my second-favorite independent book store (after Politics and Prose, of course). She kept insisting that she had never been there before, until we walked in. Living with my dad means that you will spend lots of time in bookstores, pouring over history books and getting antsy after it’s been an hour and a half, and he’s showing no sign of leaving. We bought Pippa some gifts for a care package and a cookbook, because cookbooks and do-hickeys are the sorts of things you buy when you go book shopping with my mother. I got happily lost in the new books and memoirs sections because that’s what you buy when you go book shopping with me.

We braved the terrible cold and mighty wind to walk over to agnès b where I fell in love with a million blazers that I most certainly did not need, but most certainly wanted. After meeting up with my godmother and Isla, we went to Free People, which is a store quite firmly on my list of places-where-I-walk-in-and-want-everything-in-sight. I milled around and wondering, for the millionth time, how do people come up with so many amazing designs? (I’m always wondering when and what will happen when all the creative ideas in the world will run out, when every idea will all be used up and already done, and they’ll be nothing else to find. I don’t expect that it will ever happen, but it’s a thought that keeps me going when I can’t sleep, and I’ve exhausted nearly every self-conversation topic in the book.)

My mother ended up getting me a bunch of things for my birthday. . .which is in late May. Though to be fair, a majority of the clothes were summer and spring oriented. I’m a very, very happy camper. My favorite piece that my mother bought me was this dress:

I can't wait to walk around barefoot at my beach house in this dress with my straw hat on my head.

I love dresses with low backs like this.

Then, my godmother surprised me by buying me the other dress that I really wanted. I still can’t believe my windfall. It’s just lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Sun dresses are such the best, and I love them so so so much. Like big smiles and laugher much. This is what that dress looks like:

My love of eyelet knows no bounds.

I love the corset detail on the back.

Today was one of those days where shopping makes me feel beautiful and charming and attractive. Everything I put on fit, and I liked nearly everything that I brought into the dressing room. My godmother found the best pair of cargo pants (and I am not normally a fan of cargo pants) that fit me really well. Among other things, I now have another long-sleeved purple shirt. God, I love purple. The saleslady wrapped it all up and put it in the neatest bag. I swear, all of my favorite clothing stores have developed bags that I want to reuse again and again and again. I mean, look at it:

It just begs to carry home groceries and the like.

Lunch was amazing. The restaurant we went to is, essentially, a shrine to chocolate. There are pipes on the ceiling that are actually pumping chocolate, and right when you walk in, you see these giant vats, stirring gallons and gallons of chocolate. And the smell just hits you like…uh…a bulldozer carrying all things good and wonderful. The food is wonderful, the waffle fries are dusted with cocoa (and other spices), and every time I read the dessert menu my brain melts a little, and I feel tempted to order anything and everything on it. (Of course, the little voice of anorexia kicks in pretty quickly, and I start estimating the number of calories in whatever I’ve picked out and the number of calories I’ve burned by walking around.)

My godmother and I both had fish tacos, and Isla and my mom both had a B.L.A.T. (a B.L.T. with avocado). I really, really wanted to order for one of them and say, ” I’ll have the splat, I mean blat, please!” but I didn’t, because I’m seventeen now and mature (about three-quarters of the time). And the food was really, really good. There was mango in my taco, and for some inexplicable, yet awesome, reason, my mom gave me all of her waffle fries. I ate one and the rest are hanging out in the fridge in a doggy bag for when I feel less like a tub of jelly.

But while the food-food portion of the meal was excellent, the dessert portion was miles and miles better. I had a combo that came on the cutest tiny cake stand dusted with powdered sugar that had a little chocolate cake with a red raspberry heart, a shot glass with a chocolate frappe and loads of whipped cream, and a tiny saucer with vanilla bourbon ice cream with crêpe flakes. And I did a pretty good job of eating half of it and enjoying it, too.

While I really had to fight against the anxiety over all the calories that I was consuming and the worry that no one would like the restaurant that I picked, I managed to make it through the meal unscathed. I took lots of deep breaths, counted by threes to ninety-nine and negative ninety-nine, and did various mudras under the table. It was hard work not to talk about the nutritional value of the food, if I looked too fat, or if everyone was having a good time every five seconds, but I saved all of those concerns for therapy this afternoon. I consider that a job quite well done.

In other news, I have been asked to give the Senior Sermon at my Episcopal Church. I’m very, very excited and nervous, but mostly excited.