Lessons learned from a Four Year Old Queen

The four year old (and a “HALF!”) I take care of has recently requested a new nanny.


“Because you never wear dresses”

Fair enough. He also pointed out my lack of long hair, my failure to wear jewelry, and my general absence of makeup. Apparently he is not into the no-makeup makeup look.

I think I have a lot to learn from his aesthetic. If he was dressing all the women of the world they would have flower crowns, amulets the size of a deck of cards, and friend crew with a division of labor visible by hair color.

Basically they would look like this woman:

And you know what, he is right, she looks great.

So because I promised, I will be trying to either wear jewelry, lipstick or a dress every day this spring. Here is my first foray into femininity.


$10 at H$M!



Non-original Uniform

In honor of C.’s interest in giving up on individuality, I want to do a little leg work for those of us who just want to look like every hip housewife with a gluten intolerance.

First of all, if you have a lot of money you can just copy women by shopping where they shop. Here is a seasonally confused outfit from the most important purveyor of that “easy” look that you can only afford if you also can afford a townhouse in Park Slope: Bird.


Secondly, you can start to break down the logic of this look. It is really based on a few key brands.

1. Rachel Comey–the designer who has made shapeless sacks and low heeled booties so appealing.


2. Helmut Lang–This is kind of a throwback to the 90s and early 2000’s, but drapey t-shirts never really went out of style.


Or you can focus on key pieces:

Ankle boots–Rachel Comey, Rag and Bone, or Acne. Or of course there is the vast range of knock offs for normalo’s: Dolce Vita, Jeffrey Campbell, Madewell.


It is important, however, to understand that this lady looks like this not because of her ankle booties but because she is wispy size 2.


Then you get yourself a high quality top from Steven Alan, that says “I was so busy getting the kids to Waldorf playgroup that I just threw on this stripey t-shirt” (or for us poor people: Everlane).


Then you also buy that staple of Greenpoint fashion for the days that your Rachel Comey ankle boots are boring you: the No.6 clogs (in winter and summer versions)

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And pair it all with some high-waisted skinny jeans and a cocoon bright coat (wear this coat in the summer to achieve maximal seasonal confusion/street style points):


No foundation, maybe mascara, pair with matte red lip (can only be achieved with Nars Dragon girl or MAC Russian Red). Unfortunately this look requires PERFECT skin, so make your plans accordingly.


See, it is just a formula. We can do it!

Happy Valentines Day

Dear Friend,

Despite our distance from one another, I take comfort in the shared knowledge that tomorrow another quality television show will air, next month “spring” might bestow us with sunlight, and despite the discouraging fact that we will continue to face disappointment and self-doubt we are both good at caring about things.

Love D

Passing the Bechdel Test

D’s recent post on lady culture got me thinking about some of my favorite depictions of female friendship in popular culture from the past couple of years. A few weeks ago, I saw The Heat and while it disappointed me overall, I love the idea of exploring the buddy cop dynamic between two women:

Paul Feig, of course, also gave us one of the best recent representations of girlfriendom in Bridesmaids:

One of the most charming parts about Parks and Recreation is the relationship between Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins:

I’ve also fallen head over heels for the women of Broad City. I think the web series might be funnier than the Comedy Central version of the show, but I’ve only seen one episode of the latter, so it might be too early to tell.

An Approach

I need a new wardrobe. The one I have currently works for the present because I am always covered in the bodily fluids of my two young children and never leave the house. By the summer, however, I hope to enter the workforce and be a bit more social. Would it be at all acceptable to just straight up copy most of this woman’s outfits? My inner high schooler is appalled by this copy cat way of reconstructing my style, but she looks so great in a totally achievable way that I’m seriously tempted to fill my closet with the clothes she features on her site.

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All photographs by Lauren of crumbbums.com


Even if I don’t end up aping her look, I will definitely use her general approach to style as a guide. I’ve already pared down my closet considerably, and will probably do so again in a few months when I’m a different size.*

So far, I can see two problems with the mimic approach to style. Aside from the creepiness of completely copying someone else’s look, there is also the problem of knowing whether I look good in certain clothes. I have no idea, honestly no idea, whether or not I am able to pull off any of the clothes I choose. There are outfits that I think I look perfectly fine in, that I feel like I can count on as a regular go-to that I realize absolutely do not work when I see a picture of myself in them. How do I figure out what cuts and shapes and colors work for me? Should I invest in a day of advice from a personal shopper-type person?


*Huff, this might not happen. I can’t seem to shake the last twenty pounds of my baby weight. However, I am trying to be cool with this because taking care of two younguns really f*cking hard and I need to cut myself some slack.

(In)defensible Lady Culture

Ladies are very powerful in culture right now, particularly between the ages of 22 and 32. Or so we would think from the End of Men and the rise of Lena Dunham. But if you grew up between women getting the franchise and Riot Grrrl feminism, you might be mildly uncomfortable with the boy-obsessed, nail art loving, and “like” dense speaking habits of ladies dominating our cultural landscape. I don’t think we have to give this mildly self-hating new version of lady power a total free pass, but let me defend some of my favorite iterations:

The Mindy Project


Mindy Kaling has brought a woman of color into a starring comedy role on network television. Amazing. But Kaling has basically failed to have any other women on the show. After early attempts at Mindy having a best girl friend, the show really found its groove when it dropped all other lady characters and made Mindy’s male co-workers the center of the show. Like the New Girl, the show is most funny when it explores the friendships between Mindy and her boy buds. But unlike the New Girl, Mindy is a strong center to this dynamic. Mindy is unabashedly “girly” and competent and she is the heart of the comedy rather than the foil.

Girl Code

This show is based on the premise that girls have a code that helps them navigate the troubled waters of dating, boozing, and shopping. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any place in the code for figuring out how to get a raise or decide between engineering or chemistry as a life path. But despite this narrow focus, this show features more young female comedians than ANY other show on tv. Cast from UCB and the stand up circuit in NYC, the young and diverse cast is both funny and sisterly. I actually would feel pretty okay about my daughter learning about drinking from these ladies because they describe “partying” as a pretty boring box of wine that you drink with your girlfriends while talking about your butt sweat.

Taylor Swift

Taylor is not as impressively calculated as Beyonce, or as authentic as Kacey Musgraves. But Taylor is totally and completely devoted to honestly describing the experience of being an emotional and deluded young woman. And that is all you get. She doesn’t dance, she is not an amazing performer, nor does she have much of a voice. But Taylor writes the kind of songs that are both sweet and stupid enough to actually express how ridiculous young women feel about themselves and the world. And these perfect pop/country songs are expertly crafted (if that category makes you cringe, you need to take a long hard look at your love of Patsy Cline, ’cause that was some pop country if I ever heard it).



Paleo Parenting

Recently I was bragging to my parent about how great I am at raising children because I follow the principles laid out in the recent All Joy, No Fun parenting manifesto. If you are like me and don’t want to read the whole book, you can read the article and listen to this podcast. The author finds some awesome pseudo science about the idea of “flow” and how children are happiest when they are not aware of time. The problem is that parents are terrible at joining in children’s flow (I cannot watch the same Tinker Bell movie 10,000 times or convincingly get lost in a game of doll dressing and undressing). The other problem is that parents these days are incapable of ignoring their own children, thus becoming sad and tired, while inhibiting their kids’ flow. I LOVE this theory because it justifies all of my nanny technique. Basically I ignore the child by reading a New Yorker or having a conversation with another adult. The kid is all like “I don’t know what to do!” and I’m like “figure it out.” Then an hour later I notice that he is roaming around the house talking to himself and making sure all his My Little Ponies are appropriately prepared for the Grand Galloping Gala. This works even better when another kid is around and can also talk to itself while walking around next to him. But life is not always one big play date, sometimes you have to have a play date with yourself. You know, work on your own flow. God I love this term.


But, as I was talking about how great I am at childcare with my parent, they were like “I used to fantasize about potty training all my children by having them be naked all the time.” See the genius idea is that if the kid did not have diapers or pants to mystify its own pee, then it would learn to hold its pee, direct its pee, put its pee on particular things.

Then we had a real revelation: this single genius parenting idea could be the basis of a whole parenting manifesto: Paleo Parenting! Like people who try to rid themselves of fat and disease by getting back to a caveman’s diet, we could help (trick?) parents into raising children without the shackles of modernity! Think about it–all paleo kids would have long hair and no clothes and thus evade the gender distinctions of hairstyles and dresses vs. pants. They would be around each others’ genitals all the time and thus get over the weird secrecy surrounding “private parts.” We could play on the nostalgia for the negligent parenting of the 70’s by having the kids run around outside and build structurally unsound forts without any parental supervision. I would make a million dollars writing this book (as would you C., if you want to co-author) because having things be unsupervised is the opposite of how Park Slope parents raise their kids and 1) Park Slope parents love a counter-intuitive theory and 2) they love buying parenting manifestos.


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