Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How to Find a Good Hairdresser

It's a matter of taste and personal preferences. For me, there is also something about the place, but less so. And perhaps something that can’t be fully explained. It’s like with friends. Or with food. Standing at a counter trying to choose among the different flavors in pastry, I once asked the server which was her favorite one. She commented that what she likes is irrelevant. I should find out what my favorite flavor is by myself. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016


I’ve never aspired to be a star other than dreaming of walking in a fancy dress and my most comfortable slippers on a red carpet. In dreams it sounds like fun, especially when my main purpose would be to test my slippers for carpet walking along with other like-minded carpet walkers. Such experience for real however, could turn out to be very different. I prefer walking in peace and just thinking of a red carpet event that comes with large crowds, much shouting and blinding lights gives me the shivers. 

And yet, I’ve got my 2 minutes of fame years ago during grocery shopping at a big supermarket. It was a hot day and I was wearing a simple summer outfit: a brown sleeveless shirt, khaki shorts, string sandals and a straw hat.

When the first couple of people stopped to look at me, I thought there was something wrong with my clothes. I checked myself from head to toe for a stain from something embarrassing like bird droppings. Did I manage to spill coffee on my shorts? I found nothing. Or was it about my hat? As I walked around, more people stopped to take a look at me. I kept blaming my hat since that was the only thing that made me stick out of the crowd. ‘Okay,’ I said to myself, ‘no one has a hat on. But haven’t these folks seen a straw hat before?' It would turn out weeks later that on that day, I was wearing the exact replica of an outfit worn by a contestant of a new reality show. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christian Siriano on Visibility

Christian Siriano Spring Summer 2017 Full Fashion Show - September 2016 Collection

The Seasons

My first thought is about spring. What to do when it happens in the middle of winter? And what to wear in springter? Should there be new collections designed specifically for freak seasons that disrupt the regular ones – like notomn for no-automn or sumter as in summer-in-winter? And when to prepare for these new seasons since they are like uninvited guests that come and go as they please?

New Stars: The Plus-sized Models

I am looking at the plus-sized models walking with the regular ones to see beauty in shape. It’s a great move to give visibility for them. “You have to celebrate as many people as you can because you never know who your costumer is gonna be,” Christian says. I love the color scheme. These vibrant colors might come from a lab but are nature-inspired. It makes me wonder if a shade of red can still be called coral red when one day there won’t be any red corals found in the oceans.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Too-Smart Phone

The call came from the salon. A. told me he was returning my call. “What time did I call you?” I asked. He chuckled. “An hour ago,” he said incredulously. I could hear him take a deep breath. “It wasn’t me but my phone,” I said. He was now trying to stop himself from laughing out loud. He thought that I temporarily lost control over my phone  which was the case – and he found it exceedingly funny.

As I left the house, I dropped my phone in my bag. With the contact list on display and his name highlighted, the dial button got pushed and it did call the salon. Being too busy, A. couldn’t answer it at the time. It would have been really funny if he did, though. It was just about time to make an appointment.

As far as I can tell, my phone demonstrated AI capabilities – something that not even the latest smartphone equipped with the hottest app could do just by itself. That’s what it did that day without any human intervention: dialed the right number at the right time and managed to get a call returned. I’m impressed.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Lost Words of Wisdom

I had a dream last night. I was on a streetcar that was stationary at a stop due to a traffic jam. There was a bunch of kids around me in party costumes having fun. They played pranks to cheer each other up.
Stone-faced and inpatient for the delay, most commuters were uninterested in their antics.

I was standing by the door. Right by my side, there was an elderly woman. She was wearing Indian clothes in bright colors. She had the face of my late grandmother. She wanted to say something to me to remember. I told her that I’d forget about it in no time and asked her to write it down for me.

Each time she tried to write down a word in English it appeared on the paper in Arabic. She wrestled with the translation and I woke up before she could finish it. All I can remember of what she said was, “You are not what you know, but...” The rest is lost for good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What Your Clothes Do not Say About You

I saw a white T-shirt with the caption "We All Maek Mistakes" on the street a few days ago. I made a big one and I went back to correct it. In an earlier post titled The Color Blue, I described a group of Pakistani women in a link pointing to Mustafah Abdulaziz's page as Indian. The caption clearly indicates their nationality, but I didn't pay attention. I made an assumption based on how they look. That's wrong. The clothes of these women might be very similar to the type of clothes worn in some part of India. It's still wrong to make such an assumption based solely on someone's appearance. 

It's much easier to fix a hole in the new poncho I've just bought than to learn from a mistake like that.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How to Be Invisible

I simply do not know anymore. Let’s just say that my invisibility cloak malfunctioned last time at the mall. There is no quick fix to that. What to do in such a case? Call cloak service.

It’s easy to think that the mall is like a bottomless hole swallowing visitors upon entry and rendering them invisible as they become part of the crowd. But that’s not the case. It’s just the opposite: strong lights; large glass doors and walls; security cameras placed discreetly at strategic points; equipment and design to serve the dual purpose of maintaining high visibility as well as public safety and security. Skylight on the roof lets in natural light. At the mall the sun is always up.

Anticipating novelty and the unexpected, security personnel pace the long corridors up and down throughout the day. The unexpected hardly ever happens and the view might get boring after a while and yet, they are undeterred. It’s relatively easy to remain visible at all times when spending time at the mall.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Color Blue

Water is an ambitious project by Mustafah Abdulaziz, an award winning New York photographer.
His images make me reevaluate what my consumption would be like if I had to walk to a well for my daily needs of water and carry the load home – just like my grandmother did.

Having access to running water 24/7 when access simply means turning a handle, taking it for granted might come naturally to most. But easy access overshadows the problem with availability. Water shortage is a serious problem that affects many parts of the world – even some of those previously have thought to be water-secure.

From the series of images the one that caught my eye is the one with three Pakistani women hauling water from a well; their concentrated effort and graceful movements. I know I would wear a pair of old jeans in a situation like this and can't help but admire how pretty their dresses are. 

If you are as concerned about the issue as I am and willing to team up to do something, please feel free to get in touch with me. I have a few ideas, but I don’t know how to proceed, and I can't do much on my own. If you like colors as much as I do, let's do something for the color blue.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fangs for Sale

I own two sets of vampire fangs in mint condition. I am toying with the idea to put one up for sale.
I had such a dream last night. There was this large man, a big boss of some sort, talking to me in a stern voice. With his palms down leaning on a desk for support, he was towering over me like an over-sized statue of a heroic figure. He oozed authority. And he was wearing my one-size-fits-all vampire fangs. They fit him okay.

"Show me your body of work," - he demanded. "I'm sorry. I do not have a body of work,"- I replied. "I have a line of work. I write one line a week so as to have enough number of lines one day for a story." He paused for a moment blinking heavily. And then he disappeared in a cloud of neon green fume never to be seen again. 

Too bad he took my fangs.  

Note to self: This is just a Halloween dream. He was actually right to lose his patience in that dream. It would take seven years to finish a 100-page book at that speed. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016


She is not a regular commuter. She might just be going to a photo shoot or coming from one. With her professional makeup and hair, she should be taking a taxi. She is composed. She has the body language and the looks of a cover girl. She could be working for any of the big international magazines. She is sitting right across from me texting. She doesn’t seem to be lost, but she is not on a familiar route. She gets off at the first big intersection. If she took the other streetcar, she wouldn’t have had to transfer.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Contact Building 101

I meet her by chance. She says she has some 50 pairs of shoes mostly from Italy. She also says there must be more than 2 dozen she’s hardly ever worn. She asks for my telephone number. I make her swear that she won’t share it with anyone. She swears she wouldn’t. I believe her. I write my number down on a small piece of paper along with my name. On the same paper, I write down her name and number. I rip the page apart handing one piece to her and pocketing the other.

I go home.

I have lunch. I want to grab my phone. I can’t find it anywhere; not on the counter or the top of the shoe cabinet – its usual place. It’s on the bed. It must be on sleep mode.

I am excited and ready to call my new contact. I fish out the piece of paper of my pocket; a small crumpled ball. I flatten it out. What I am staring at looks way too familiar: it
s actually my name and number.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grammar Crash

It's like you misspell a word and you can't see the mistake you made. What's worse, the misspelled word happens to be an actual word, but naturally with an entirely different meaning from the one you intended to use. Great. 

You go back and correct your spelling but something is still not good with your text. Now what? You get mad and grab your oversized earring. Telling yourself that it's too heavy for your ear, you make a pendant out of it to let off steam. And what to do with the other half of the pair? It's easy. Just make a second pendant and gift it away.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Old-New Flats

Waiting for her train to arrive at a train station in Holland. She didn't like being photographed, but was okay to pose for a shoe shot. The flats were newly bought at Roodismooi, a now defunct red-themed shop in Amsterdam. She got a 10 percent discount on her purchase for being a redhead. 

I wonder how challenging it might be to showcase an all-red collection without making it visually overwhelming. And how about having people come see red yet keep them happy? As I was writing this my jewelry stand nose dived from the top of the desk crushing into the floor. It might just be a sign that some dusting has been overdue. I noticed a small dust cloud billowing above the crush site. It's definitely a sign. It must be. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Striped Tee

About a month ago, a new boutique opened at the mall offering great introductory prices. So off I went to check out the place. After trying on a few different items, I headed to the counter with a striped tee in my hand. It would be my first purchase on my "tap and go" card and asked the sales associate to show me how to use it. Show it she did with a startled expression on her face.

As she was folding the shirt I also asked her to remove the price tag and the hanging label as well. It was hot. I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and was seriously considering changing into the tee. The startled expression remained.

Finally, I politely told her I would not need the bag in which she was just about to put my tee. That may have startled her even more. As I was leaving it hit me: she might think that the card was stolen. What I left with was just a tee -- a modest purchase well below the transaction limit.

I couldn't help smiling at the thought because the first thing I did with my card was to lose it along with my bus pass a few days before. Since I remembered exactly when and where and, with the return address included on the pass, I was hoping I could retrieve it quickly. I made a couple of phone calls. No such luck.

Then I got concerned and reported my card lost. The good news was that no purchase was made on it and I got a new one within a few days. The same day I picked it up, I found a white envelope in the mailbox. It contained my missing bus pass, my old card and a note: "Be more careful next time." With no return address or signature, I could not say thank you. So I decided to celebrate my luck by buying a new T-shirt.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Unwearable Knitwear

This is my first attempt at knitting with extra thick wool and I decided on to use 5 needles. I had a failed attempt years ago at trying to make socks. Now I wanted to make what else but socks again to face my demons. It proved to be a challenge. I was told that I am using the wrong size needle for the yarn. What I've produced is a tube shape which is what I wanted. It looks fine. I tried it on. It even bends but more like pipe insulation material than a piece of garment. I need to unravel the whole thing and start over. What a drag. The project will take twice as long to complete, but next time I'll know what needle size to pick for my left-over yarn. 

The only other option would be to leave my half-finished piece as is and use it for pipe insulation. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Importance of Saying No

It took me quite some time to learn the importance of saying no. I've learned the hard way just how challenging it can be to give such a definite answer to a request. Depending on the situation, saying no could go against cultural expectations or occasionally, even one's best intentions. My experience is that being able to say no with confidence can be just as important as saying yes. It clears the path towards one's goals and it helps a great deal to define boundaries.

There are really unexpected situations that might seem puzzling at first, but can turn out to be fun and an important learning process. This art project is about when to say yes to have fun no matter how crazy it sounds at first. A group of 9 hairdressers in the video said yes to such a project. Sticking with their individual styling ideas that they wanted to realize, they teamed up to give a haircut to the same model. It just seems an impossible challenge to take considering that hairdressing is no teamwork and yet each hairdresser tried their best to give the model as good a haircut as possible. And that's exactly what a great hairdresser is supposed to do, even when there are 8 other equally great hairdressers around trying to do the same thing on the same model's hair. 


A haircut by 9 hairdressers at once (second attempt)

Director: Koki Tanaka

Location: Zindagi Salon, San Francisco
Production and Commission: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Monday, February 1, 2016


As I walked through an underpass yesterday, I heard a violin solo. It was a classical piece too good to be coming from an amateur street musician. I just knew I had to stop and listen to it. I changed my course to get closer to see the performer. With his eyes half-closed, he was fully absorbed in the music. I wanted to tip him, but had no money with me. I had to cross the underpass to get some and walk all the way back to the violin case that lay open a few feet away from him on the ground. I dropped a handful of change in the case. He nodded without looking up.

I wish I knew what he wore, but I was too captivated by his music to see his outfit. What I remember though is his winter coat. He wore a heavy black winter coat partially open. It was an especially cold night. I was shivering. 


Monday, January 11, 2016

World of Wearable Art

From the land of some of the friendliest folks on the planet and the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy comes the design competition called the World of WearableArt. If you have a creative spirit and wish to enter, check out their great new site HERE.  

See the video, An Incredible Journey with founder of WOW, Dame Suzie Moncrieff, HERE.

"Everyone has a creative spirit but not everyone has the opportunity to explore that side of themselves and WOW gives that opportunity to people."

Dame Suzie Moncrieff

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Black and White

This is K. from a couple of summers ago. She is wearing her new black-and-white dress. She is holding one of her most prized possessions, her cell phone, in one hand while shielding it with the other.

Encouraged by a friend, she decided to enter a beauty contest this past winter. She made it to the first round. For the second round, participants were required to take lessons to learn how to dance in high heels. At this point she changed her mind because she did not like the requirements.