Lila: No touch, Odge! Mama's magazine!She's got it. My 2-1/2-year-old daughter has inherited the magazine gene. Yes, the dreaded maga-gene. Lila, Lila, Lila. You've got an interesting road ahead... one filled with Glamour do's and don'ts, the best little black party dresses, staff's picks for spring makeup, insider fashion tips, and the Top 9 Reasons He'll Cheat On You. Mix it up with a little Fall fashion forecasting, add some splashes of book reviews and What Not to Say on a First Date, and you'll have made yourself a healthy little magazine life salad. At only 200 calories, it's friendly to your waistline. Recipe on page 97.
AJ [holding the May issue of InStyle up to his nose]: Ooooh... that smells niiice!
Lila: Mama's magazine, Odge!
AJ: Ooh, who's dis guy? [pointing to picture of Michael Kors]
Lila: Mama's. Magazine!! Here, you have this. [frustrated, hands AJ a soccer ball]
AJ: Ohhh-kaaaay. [resigned, kicks the ball directly into the console, DVDs crashing onto the tiles; proceeds immediately to suck on the case of Marley & Me and skip into the kitchen on his never-ending hunt for a brownie]
Lila [speaking softly and with a faraway look; lightly fingering the glossy, colorful pages of said magazine; entranced]: Lila's magazine...
Ever since I flipped over the cover of YM (Young Miss, which later become Young & Modern, then Your Magazine, and then defunct), I was hooked. They had me at Bonne Bell. Hell, they had me at gauchos. Though never incredibly fashionable (understatement, people), boy did I love my magazines. I soon discovered (and became) Seventeen. And then it was on to Glamour, Elle, and the rest of the posse...
In college, my magazine obsession grew. For a Penn State graphics course, I even designed a cover, contents page, and 6-page spread for a faux fashion magazine I named Posh. My project got an A-. (My fashion sense, consisting of pegged Army cargo pants, Chuck Taylors, mock turtlenecks, and way too much hair product, sadly did not receive such high honors.) I remember a time during senior year my roommates and I (all eight of us) got together one night to hash out our differences. We wrote down our issues with eachother and put the, umm... comments into a bowl to be read aloud. (Yes. Sounds like the makings for one hell of a "Real Housewives" episode. It wasn't pretty.) I remember voicing aloud the words neatly and succinctly written upon that crumpled piece of notebook paper like it was yesterday: "Jen reads way too many magazines and doesn't recycle them." *sigh* Well, I guess it could have been worse. They could have found out I never cleaned the downstairs bathroom.
The distance from true magazine life to my own does not escape me, mind you. A couple of snippets from a randomly picked page of Allure remind me of this. I am informed that actress Maggie Q loves to snowboard in the quaint little ski town of Whistler, BC, though she's "jelly on skis", whilst Loise Roe, a TV host, wears a Madeline Thompson cashmere beanie "for walks in the English countryside on the weekends."
Hm. I should take pictures and add captions for the places and the fashions I enjoy. It would go something along the lines of: "Aside from the occasional piles of poo and the pervasive odor of Schlitz, I love to be dragged by Stella's leash along the surf of Dog Beach in Bonita Springs, FL" or "I like to wear this gently worn Save Darfur tee while strolling the aisles of Target." [Disclaimer: I keeed, dear readers. I love my life, and in no way mean to downgrade what sheer luck I have to be happy and to have a healthy family and dear friends. That said, I am very far from choosing the perfect cashmere cap to make my jaunts around the neighborhood complete.]
There is no rhyme nor reason to my fashion choices these days. Where back in the days of Hoboken happy hour and Manhattan after hours, I would spend hours upon hours contemplating the aesthetic value of wearing a filmy romantic top and jeans versus a chic black-on-black ensemble (Do I want to come across as sweet and loving? or as an independent go-getter?), these days I get all of us ready in an hour. One hour. Everyone. To include Lila's and AJ's outfits, the baby bag, the house cleaned, the meals done, the dishes washed, extra outfits for all four, the dog fed, and, oh. I forgot. I have no makeup on. And my outfit? It usually ends up something akin to a ponytail, aforementioned Save Darfur tee, plus ripped jeans and flips. Sa-weet.
And there's always something a bit askew to whatever I have fashioned myself with on any given day. Not in the Sienna Miller-esque I-am-wearing-black-biker-shorts-with-equestrian-boots-a-baby's-frock-and-offset-menswear-chapeau. No, mine is more like the I-have-stained-jeans-an-unfortunate-see-thru-tee-and-I-forgot-to-wear-mascara look. I am also not famous. Big difference there.
OK. Regardless of how fashion magazines had/have no impact upon my "look", per se, I love that they provide me with things to look forward to. Be they materialistic and trite, I enjoy these things. For instance, were it not for magazines, I would not be looking forward to (right now):
- reading the book American Taliban
- wearing Estee Lauder Michael Kors Very Hollywood Lip Gloss in Bungalow Pink
- trying out Lindsay Lohan's SevinNyne tanning mist
- sporting Jennifer Aniston's soon-to-be-released Lolavie fragrance
- displaying the beautiful coffee table book, "Beachlife"
- perhaps fashioning Green, Osborne & Little's "Kew" fabric into a slipcover or shades (oooh, really reaching, here...)
- finally getting another pair of Ray-Ban aviators (My last pair was demolished by the hooves of a horse named Jah at a '92 steeplechase in Red Bank. Yeah. Long story. Miss those specs...)
- and, saving up for a giclee by Anne Packard...
And whatever people may say about the death of print, fashion mags will not. go out. of style. It's a tactile experience. It's necessary. It's a habit. Something that cannot be replaced by a finger touching a screen. I need to buy at least four of them before hopping on a plane. They rest heavy in my bag, and I like it. It's what I do. Well, did. Pre-kids. I still buy four before boarding, but I read them sporadically over the next, say, four months. Soo, I don't have much time to read magazines anymore. The Coastal Living and In Style I do get delivered to my door end up in our bathroom for "private time." Lots of time spent in there, gotta say. Note to self: Must inform hubby that my issues are not gastrointestinal, but, rather, of the magazine variety...
I think that magazines make me hopeful for an even more colorful life. I can expand upon what I already have, and make tomorrow one full of even more promise. I get that this sounds like some BS spouted by a Thursday afternoon team leader during a boring business meeting right before happy hour. I've been there, believe me. (Refusing to take notes. Clicking off the minutes to a cold Amstel...) But it's true. Magazines, in some odd way, add hope for additional beauty to my life. I love and appreciate what I have. But I also see the beauty that's out there (though I may never make it to Whistler donning cashmere), and I appreciate it. I dig it. I may not adhere to the fashion rules, but I admire them. I may wear a tee with Lila-drool and an unfortunate rip under the pit, but it's while I'm shopping for the mascara that makes my lashes curl, dammitt...
And I get that material things are for the birds. (Flamingos, grab your organza.) But, alas, during my neverending search for enlightenment (and while AJ still hunts for his brownie), it's nice to think about some sparkly translucent powder and skinny jeans... perhaps that's me wearing them while sniffing a Diptyque candle or two... Two. It's always two.
In the life of an individual, an aesthetic sensibility is both more authentic and more commendable than a political or religious one. ~ Tom Robbins