Setting the Mood: Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake

By |January 20th, 2014|Setting the Mood|

birthday inspiration boardI love birthdays.  Sure, we share our birthdays with approximately 19 million other people (except for you leap year babies, you’re special), but it certainly is nice to have a day dedicated especially to you.  This is a great time to kick up your heels and get wild with a raucous crew or take a personal day to pamper yourself and maybe spend some time alone.  Whatever your cup of tea may be, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating yourself– just not in a Stassi Schroeder type of way.  I suggest spending at least fifteen minutes of completely quiet time reflecting on your year and being thankful for making it through.  Then pop open a bottle of champagne and do whatever the hell you want… it’s your birthday afterall!  In case you haven’t guessed, today is my special day and in case it slipped your mind and you forgot to purchase something sweet for me, you really can’t go wrong with anything cashmere, diamond clad or lacy… I won’t even be mad it’s late.


Diane Kordas Heartbeat 18kt Rose Gold Diamond NecklaceSaint Laurent Signature Rangers Studded Leather Boots,Donna Karan Oversized Wool and Cashmere Blend Pajama TopDolce & Gabbana Glam Floral Brocade Shoulder BagMimi Holiday by Damaris Bisou Bisou Azure Satin and Lace Bodysuit

Happy birthday to the other 18,999,999 January 20th babies.



The List Volume 1/20/2014

By |January 19th, 2014|The List|

kirsten smithOn the eve of my birth, I’m always a bit reflective.  I think about the year passed and its highlights, low points, and lessons learned.  At first when I thought about this year, I really chocked it up as a loss.  I dated wildly inappropriate people, spent much of my time in a very unproductive fashion, and basically acted like the Tasmanian Devil with a raging case of PMS.  But nothing is ever a complete loss.  I fell back in love with running and Pilates, reconnected with old and made new friends, and finally figured out what it is that makes me tick.  I spent the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 in California, a place where I’d lived before and hadn’t associated with the happiest memories.  I didn’t plan on staying as long as I did, but it turned out to be like emotional rehab– where you drink a lot of wine.  Some may say I spent a little too much time on the West Coast and became soft, but really, I just had a life epiphany, which is honestly, the greatest birthday gift I’ve ever been given.

It took me many years and reading the same book several times over before it all really clicked for me.  For so long I was spinning my tires and trying to figure out how the hell to put this bitch in drive.  There were times I’d stare up at the sky and just wish these answers would come to me- preferably in the form of magic fairy dust… or diamonds.  Would have saved me so much time and quite a bit of agony if someone could have just spelled it out for me.  But that’s the thing about life, the most important lessons are often the hardest earned.  So, I decided to share with you some of the valuable nuggets of wisdom I collected this year. I did this once before, but feel it’s worth revisiting.  Even looking back at that list, I laugh to/at myself at what I thought was most important then- only a couple of years ago- although some of them certainly hold true.

  1. Family is everything and friends are second families.  Cherish them and let them know how much you do.
  2. If you’re going to worry, you may as well pray (to whomever).  Worrying is quite literally a waste of energy.  Use your energy for positivity and prayer instead- or at least go do some yoga.
  3. Never become complacent.  There’s way too much in this world and in you to waste any of your precious time being boring or bored.
  4. All broken hearts heal– and surprisingly enough, each one gets a little bit less painful.  It’s a difficult concept to grasp while in the middle of complete and utter heartache, but I swear to you, you won’t even remember what’s his/her name a year or two from now.
  5. There is absolutely nothing more exciting or more important happening on the internet or social media than what is happening right in front of your own face right this instant.  Be present in your own life and put down your phone.
  6. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.  Spoiler alert: there will always be someone younger, smarter, prettier, thinner, wealthier, etc. than you.  But you’re perfect.  You’re you.
  7. Get healthy now.  When I was 18, I could and would house an entire pizza in one sitting and on my very first test shoot, the photographer and his wife asked what I did to stay in such good shape.  I shrugged and said, “nothing.”  Well, that doesn’t last for most of us forever.  Learn to love wholesome food and exercise and remember there’s a difference between doing it for health and doing it to be “skinny.”  When you switch your mindset, it’s not such a chore.
  8. When you feel like your life sucks, do something for someone who has even less.
  9. Let shit go.  This is something I have struggled and still struggle with, but I finally realized: I am not a caped crusader here to save the world.  It’s not my job to teach people what’s right or wrong.  I often felt it was my duty to make sure justice was served, but like they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
  10. People will shock the shit out of you (in good ways and bad).
  11. It really is okay to be happy.  People, society, and advertisers will try and lead you to believe otherwise, but there’s nothing wrong with being happy.  There isn’t anything cool or edgy about angst.  Besides, all negative emotions are rooted in fear.
  12. Don’t worry about everybody else.  They don’t know what the fuck they’re doing either.  Some just happen to be better at hiding it.
  13. It’s a lot easier to be nice to people than mean.  Trust me, I’ve made a living crafting snarky commentary and let me tell you- it’s exhausting.  Also, being kind to someone or complimenting them doesn’t detract anything from you.
  14. Take care of your skin.  It’s the only set you get.
  15. You do not need to be married with children living in the suburbs before the age of 30.  Not doing that or not wanting that does not by any means make you a failure.  If you allow people (or yourself) to make you feel bad about bucking the social norm, you’re going to drive yourself insane and probably end up marrying the wrong guy out of sheer panic.
  16. It’s okay to express your opinions.  Just learn to do so respectfully and eloquently.
  17. Be happy and supportive of others’ accomplishments.  Don’t be a hater because there’s more than enough to go around.
  18. Find what makes you happy and do it.  Figure out what gives you those butterflies in your stomach and makes you smile just thinking about it.  Don’t worry what other people think about your dreams.  They’re just scared of their own.  Fuck ’em.  Yes, you are going to have to do some mundane tasks in life, but don’t do things that you don’t love.  True excellence can only come from a place of love and if you hate what you’re doing, it will show.
  19. Learn when to say, “no” and when to say, “yes.”  Not all opportunities are good opportunities.  And some good opportunities are missed out of fear.
  20. Fall absolutely head over heels in love with yourself.

Somewhere my elders are simultaneously smirking and shaking their heads because I’m fairly certain they did try and teach me these things.  And that’s why I’ll just tell you to forget everything I said and make your own mistakes… you’re going to anyway.



Why Did You Wear That: Five Years, What’s that in Blog Years?

By |December 4th, 2013|Why Did You Wear That?|

whydid blog kirsten smithTHANK YOU!!!



WhyDid Wisdom: Five Alive

By |December 3rd, 2013|WhyDid Wisdom|

why did kirsten smithSo, a girl and her computer walk into a bar… five years later and here I sit.  Different computer, same girl.  Kind of.  I nearly forgot that the day may have come and gone because the actual WhyDid launch date is a bit blurry as there was a time when I started on Tumblr and made the switch to my very own URL (what a tedious three days of transferring that was).  What I do know is that it was after a triple date at Pastis either at the end of November or the beginning of December when I sat at my grey desk in my grey cube at Henri Bendel crafting my very first blog post.  I had no idea at the time what the hell I was doing, but I pressed on and before you knew it, it was December again.  The first year I threw a party, but every year following instead of the celebration getting bigger along with my traffic and following, it seemed to get a little bit quieter.  And perhaps that’s my own fault.  Five years?  That’s kind of a big deal and without boring you with stats, facts, and figures, I’ve come a long way from a girl in her cube picking out a Tumblr template in between entering PO numbers.  It’s no longer just my parents and dog reading my posts anymore.  WhyDid’s gone global and that’s certainly something to smile about.  So, why am I the one who has the hardest time being proud of that?

Every year, I toy with the notion of putting down my proverbial pen and this past year was certainly a year when I, again, reevaluated everything and considered shuttering WhyDid’s storefront.  I felt beaten down and emotionally exhausted because it is hard to give a piece of yourself on an almost daily basis that may be judged, criticized, or flat out ignored.  It makes you wonder why you are putting forth so much effort at times, but during each moment of  coming incredibly close to giving up, I’d receive a message or a comment from someone thanking me for what I’d written, for being so honest, or for just being me.  These messages more often than not were from people I’d never met before from places I’ve never been.  Realizing that I’d reached someone and made some form of connection, whether large or small has been WhyDid’s salvation.  That’s why I’m even typing this post from sunny California right this minute.   And perhaps, just maybe (okay, definitely) I should have printed out this post from last year and re-read it from time to time during those “walk away from the ledge” moments.

why did blog kirsten smithMy mom recently told me she found a childhood diary of mine.  She swore she hadn’t read through the whole thing, but she did read a few especially endearing adolescent excerpts from my pre-teen thought catalog aloud that made me half laugh, half cringe.  And while I may blush with embarrassment over such silly juvenile musings of my own creation, it’s pretty special to be able to look back at who I was before the world tainted my precious little soul.

Even now when I look back at the things I’ve written here, the images that caught my eye, the way I styled something, or interpreted a trend, I get a little red in the face but I can quite literally see the ways in which I’ve grown and evolved as a human, writer, and editor.  On more than one occasion I’ve looked back and shaken my head about how foolish I’d been, while other times I’m proud of how far I’ve come.  Sometimes I look back only to realize that I already knew all the answers to lessons I’m still learning… over and over again.

One day I received a really nasty comment on one of my posts, ironically about a year ago, wherein an anonymous commenter (because they’re always anonymous) told me my blog was just a dumb personal diary and that no one really cared what I thought.  At the time, I was really hurt by this verbal drive by, but as I pondered longer, yeah, WhyDid is like my diary.  It’s a collection from my own journey and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s my kitchen and my kettle and if you don’t like it, that’s okay, find something else to drink.  I’ll still sit with ya.  I also now realize that whoever this person was, didn’t particularly grasp the concept of blogs or social media for that matter.  We’re all documenting something.  Especially in this digital age.  It may no longer be as romantic as a pen and paper or a reel of paper on a typewriter, but it’s just the same.

top knot stylelistAlthough I have yet to be plucked from obscurity and presented with a Pullitzer , it’s those little comments, emails, and messages that keep me going.  At least I know someone out there be it Beijing or Berlin is really reading what I write, truly understanding me, and not just skimming along.  Besides, over the years I’ve learned that sometimes your most loyal supporters aren’t always your closest friends, but perfect strangers who you may never meet, but have kindred spirits and that’s really beautiful.  I have friends, ahem, who don’t even bother reading my blog at all… but I won’t get in trouble for saying so because, well…

Nonetheless, even if no one ever reads what you write, maybe if you never even read what you write, even if it will make no sense to someone who might one day stumble upon it in a pile of antiquities, writing down your thoughts is a gift to your current self as well as future self and potentially someone who needs your words.  A mere sentence or partial phrase with a date can be like a ticket back to memories and emotions past.  We all have old photographs that document the way we’ve changed on the outside, but I now have a vault, a time capsule, of the way my brain and heart and head looked over the past five years and you just so happen to have the key.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.




Friday Frocks: Put On Your Party Dress

By |January 18th, 2013|Friday Frocks|

playing dress upLike I said, once the girl’s got the dress, all the rest lies in the details.  But until we find the dress, there is nothing else on our brains.  Okay, maybe some things, but not much else.  Birthdays are all about indulgence, right?  Right.  This week, let’s look at some dresses that I won’t be wearing this weekend to celebrate my own arrival on planet earth… but wouldn’t mind if I was.

1. Valentino Tonal Lace Dress, $3,390, 2. Nina Ricci Tank Dress, $2,068, 3. Reem Acra Lace Cocktail Dress, $2,250, 4. Versace Chainmail and Silk Satin Minidress, $26,725, 5. Matthew Williamson Sequined Silk Dress, $3,995, 6. Cushnie et Ochs Ruched Georgette Dress, $1,750, 7. Nina Ricci Ruffled Eyelet Dress, $1,425, 8. Miu Miu Crepe Trimmed Metallic Brocade Dress, $2,875, 9. Alexander McQueen Cap Sleeve Minidress, $1,395, 10. Sonia Rykiel Short Sleeve Lace Dress, $1,995

Time to party.