Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We're 'Saurin...

When my brother and I were kids, my mom would drive us out to the desert toward Palm Springs to visit our cousins pretty regularly, and we’d always drive by “the dinosaurs.” But we never stopped to visit them; they only signaled that we were “almost there.”

So last weekend when my parents and I went to the Cabazon outlets for a day of shopping, I pleaded that we stop by the dinosaurs to fulfill that childhood wish. These dinosaurs are classic roadside kitsch! They’re the world’s biggest man-made dinosaurs. (Official website here.) Why wouldn’t you stop to visit them?! I mean, yeah, their paint is faded; they’ve definitely seen better days…but they demand at least a raised eyebrow or a ten-minute stop. Respect, people! They’re movie stars, after all! You might remember them from such cinematic gems as Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure or The Wizard, starring Fred Savage, Jenny Lewis, and Christian Slater.

There are two main dinosaurs, the apatosaurus (formerly known as the brontosaurus) and the T-rex. As I stood inside the gift shop located in the belly of Ms. Dinney (the apatosaurus), I couldn’t help but think “This is why twitter was invented” as I quickly texted “I am currently standing inside the biggest man-made dinosaur in the world” to 40404. In the gift shop you can even snag a pamphlet discussing creation, science, and evolution. The owner of the dinosaurs is a Christian whose motto is “By Design, Not By Chance.” Bible verses can be found throughout the gift shop. The only problem about the pamphlet is that it disputes evolution by arguing that dinosaurs exist today—“In just the last hundred years there have been thousands of sightings reported of creatures described like one dinosaur or another.” Wait…what?

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for stopping at the dinosaurs for me! (And Dad…sorry that you missed the first exit and we had to drive about four miles until we hit the next one so we could turn around…WORTH IT!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Speaking of Fashion...

I saw this shirt in a fashion magazine and realized that it's from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store! This is a plain T-shirt with a trompe l'oeil necklace printed on it. You can buy it here. (Just so you know, we'll be the same if you buy one. At least give me credit when people ask you about your amazing shirt.) I love that the design is based off of a collar necklace that was found in an ancient Egyptian tomb. Necklaces like this symbolized Egyptian royalty and decadence. Royalty and decadence on an awesome printed T-shirt? Yes, please!

Pair this baby with some skinny jeans...

Some cute strappy sandals...

Some oversized sunglasses...

A big luxe bag...

Grab a latte...and you're good to go.

See...museums are awesome, even if you don't like art!

Check out the MET Museum here!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


TO: Men of Orange County, California...and the world

FROM: Lisa Birle, fashion-concerned citizen
DATE: 19 May 2009

SUBJECT: Clothing Suggestion

It has come to my attention that many males do not put much effort into their clothing. In the eloquent words of Cher Horowitz from the 1995 film Clueless, "So okay, I don't want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don't get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair - ew - and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we're expected to swoon? I don't think so."
I understand that fashion is less of a concern for men than women. However, I find it difficult to accept the fact that society's standards dictate that females must dress in a way that often requires much preparation, effort, and sometimes an elevated level of discomfort. Men, however, adhere to much lower standards when it comes to looking good and choosing what to wear; comfort, mobility, and just plain cleanliness are often the only criteria that dictate their fashion choices.

Might I call upon you to try something new, XYs? I know this might seem far-fetched. I know that this might be a big step for you. I know you might not be able to find these items at Abercrombie or Target. But...have you ever considered sporting an ascot or cravat? They are quite dashing, you know. Chuck Bass wears ascots when he plays basketball. (I mean, yeah...he's a fictional character. But that's not the point.) I'm not asking you to wear one while playing basketball. But what about at a night to the theater? During tea? While playing cricket?
Oh, wait. That's right. This is 2009. And Orange County.
But still...they just look so good!

Here are some examples of cravats and ascots. (Oh, and I can help you tie an ascot if you need it.)
And yes, I've noticed that some of these photos are of movie characters based on 19th-Century English literature. And no, that does not stop me from asking you to mimic their fashion choices.
Velvet...nice, J.T....nice.
Mr. Darcy. He's the best.
Becks...looking good, as always.He looks like he's going to kick ascot...
Only Johnny Depp can pull a look like this off...
Love James McAvoy in "Becoming Jane."

I mean, come on.

Hoping you'll consider my proposition...



Saturday, May 16, 2009

Let Me Explain...

I’ve retitled my blog several times. Unfortunately, it has had a few uninteresting and uncreative names. But I love the name “Impressions” for several reasons.

First, one of the greatest novels in the history of the world, Pride and Prejudice, was originally titled First Impressions, which I love, because the book explores the consequences of judging people’s character based on first impressions, which are often incorrect!

Second, when Claude Monet was criticized for giving his paintings monotonous titles (Entry into the Village, Morning in the Village, etc.…), he said “Just put ‘Impression.’” Monet’s interest was in reflecting his visual perception of nature…his impression of things.

So, there you go. That's how I came up with the title "Impressions." And really...that's exactly what my blog is about. I love that the title “Impressions” references both Austen and Monet…literature and paintings…books and art…things that I love with all my heart.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm Yours

Dear Jason Mraz,

I know you screwed up. And screwing up is okay...just not when your mistake is recorded on an album that I listen to every single day of my life. I mean, did you think I wouldn't notice?

I love the song "I'm Yours." In fact, I probably sing along to it two or three times a day in my car. Loudly. I enjoy the carefree, summery feel of the song and singing the word "love" over and over again. But I absolutely hate hearing...

"It's our God-forsaken right to be loved..."

I know you meant "God-intended right." After all, those were the words you used when you performed the song on SNL (I liked the straw fedora you wore on the show, by the way. I'm looking for something similar.).

So, my question is...why didn't you record the song with the proper lyrics? Laziness? Time or money constraints? Indifference? Would you think no one would notice? Because that screwed-up sentence dramatically changes the sentiment of the message you are trying to communicate with the rest of the song. "God-forsaken" would imply that our right to be loved has been abandoned by God. And we all know that you cannot separate God and love; that's just silly.

I mean, I still like you and all. I'm just letting you know...I notice these things.

I'm Yours,


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Death...and Life

Sometimes....infrequently…once in a while…I find myself in Walmart on a Saturday night, grabbing a box of movie candy, a DVD, a magazine, or something else just as frivolous but necessary for the instant gratification and entertainment that the evening requires.

And a Saturday night at Walmart is always so profoundly depressing. (Nothing against Walmart. I am not above shopping there. It’s just that depressing things about it are magnified on weekends after 9pm.) The fluorescent lights present the place with all the charm of a prison. The outdated pop songs being pumped into one’s ears create an eerie enough mood that one might wonder if they’re in a B-horror movie, their predator waiting for them in the parking lot to follow them home. The floors reek of generic hospital floor cleaner, as if vomit had just been cleaned up on aisle five. No smiley-faced sign indicating a price cut is met with a smile from me, for no bargain is worth being at Walmart on a Saturday night. And the people. “Have they nowhere else to go?” I wonder. But I cannot pass judgment. Although I feel like an outsider, I’m there, too, standing in the checkout line with the rest of them, feeling like a Death Eater is sucking my soul out of me. (Not to be dramatic or anything.)

Now, try to think of a place opposite this one. A place that is life-giving, engages one’s heart, hugs one’s soul as he enters its doors. Of course…the bookstore.

I went to a bookstore last night...and I felt so alive and happy. (No Death Eaters.) I loved hearing the coffee being made amidst the soft jazz music, and smelling the books, and thumbing through them, and looking at their covers. I felt a sense of belonging. I felt camaraderie among the anonymous kindred spirits around me, knowing that we could have interesting conversations. I heard novels saying, “Pick me!” Plays calling, “Lisa! Hi!” Collections of poems shouting, “Over here!” Never is my self-control at its weakest. I’d spend any Saturday sitting there with a coffee and a good story.

So, Walmart, next time I need some Junior Mints before my 10pm movie, can you just dim the lights a bit, play some jazz, throw some retro book cover posters on your walls, and smell like books and coffee? Because that would be really great for me…

Monday, May 4, 2009

“There is no use trying” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

-From Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll