Why Did You Wear That: American Girl in Paris, Part Deux

By |February 5th, 2015|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

kirsten smith paris why did blogErnest Hemingway, my sometimes emotional doppelganger, has been quoted as saying, “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”  Well, this is lesson one in WhyDid’s Guide to Paris.  Years ago, when I was dating my first boyfriend in New York and first real love as an adult, he took me away for my birthday to Puerto Vallarta.  I was nervous, but excited because while it’s one thing to spend time together over fancy dinners and attend occasional sleepovers at each others’ apartments, it’s another thing entirely to be bound to one another in a foreign country.  While there were some mishaps along the way, a meltdown over a missing watch, a diverted flight leading to a night spent exploring Mexico City, the experience was an overall positive one– thanks in large part to my easy going nature, and ability to keep calm in a “crisis.”  He deemed me the ultimate travel companion (I’d nominate Smitty) and from then on, I’ve had similar experiences… except for that one trip a couple of summers ago…

While being “go with the flow” has its obvious benefits, in a city like Paris, it is important to come in with a game plan or else you’ll find yourself still in the apartment past noon and wondering where all the time went by the end of the week.  Upon arriving in Paris, people spoke to me in French, which I’ll take as a compliment, until the look of disgust appeared upon their faces as I butchered the phrase, “Anglais, s’il vous plait,” while sipping my champagne and batting my lashes.  Madame Cook, my highschool French teacher is somewhere mortified.  Most people in Paris do speak English, but if you even attempt to call and make a reservation at one of the upwardly trendy restaurants, they will without fail respond with, “Booked.”  We found it easier to show up and luck our way into a table, but I can’t guarantee that would work everywhere or for everyone.  When attempting to tell someone the address of your destination, just show them on your phone because they will pretend they have no idea what you are saying.

In any case, during my first days wherein I was alone because I couldn’t be bothered booking a flight that wasn’t direct, I wandered the streets of the 7th arrondisment, where we were staying, and as luck would have it, a Parisian friend from New York, happened to be on his way to the city of light as well.  He picked me up one evening and we went to the Park Hyatt, which is allegedly a celebrity favorite, for a drink and to catch up.  He was surprised to see the place so empty, and when another friend of his, a model, of course, who lives full time in Paris arrived, she informed us that it had been quite quiet following the Charlie Hedbo incident.  She also added that it was unusually cold for Paris.

After people watching for a while, we decided to liven things up by heading to Hotel Costes.  Known for being a place to be seen and to bump into the beautiful people, we were surprised to find the soundtrack that evening being provided by crickets.  In hopes that it was just still a little bit early, we camped out in a corner table and had another cocktail.  Things never really picked up and true to form, I fell asleep sitting up, which I blamed on jetlag, but anyone close to me knows this is a rather common occurrence.  After toasting to my birthday, it was after midnight in Paris afterall, we decided to fold and my friend walked me home and that’s when the real adventure began.

kirsten smith why did blog

kirsten smith whydid blog

paris vespa fashion street style

paris street style fashion blog

paris kirsten smith why did blogsweater: UNIF Lisa Funnel Neck Sweater, jeans: 7 for All Mankind, shoes: Adidas Originals Stan Smith, bag: Balenciaga Classic Velo, sunglasses: Chloé, coat: Andrew Marc

WhyDid Wisdom: Acid Spoils the Container

By |April 18th, 2013|WhyDid Wisdom|

be quiet hushErnest Hemingway was quoted as saying, “There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  (Sidenote: If it’s possible to have a crush on a deceased man, I do. He’s a genius and degenerate at the same time.  Precisely my type).  Writing is exactly that, bleeding, giving yourself, your insides.  There are days, even weeks, when I feel I have absolutely nothing to give and I’m not one to speak just to hear my own voice or to make sure that everyone knows I’m still alive (Don’t worry, I am).  Quite the conundrum for a blogger, when oversharing is sometimes a crucial part of the game.

Which leads me to this post.  If you don’t have something nice to say, well, don’t.

Sadly, bullying is nothing new, but it seems the Internet has only exacerbated the problem in recent years.  Have you ever perused the comment sections below articles on the web?  People are vicious, aggressive, and just plain mean.  While most commenters tend to be anonymous (read: cowardly), Internet drive-bys aren’t confined to websites and blogs alone.  Social media has created a virtual verbal battleground as well as the ability to peak into every aspect of another human’s life.  Along with all the positives, like reconnecting with old friends and sharing special moments (your cat’s christening), come all the passive aggressive comments, the just plain out aggressive comments, and snarky, backhanded compliments.  When did our “friends” become our enemies?

I write a blog, a public forum, making me a target for this kind of thing. While I’ve been fairly lucky avoiding complete ridicule, I’m not immune—like the one time someone said I had no eyebrows (I’m sorry, I have light hair.  Blame my dad.  His eyelashes are clear).  I don’t write a blog to be mean. I write it to help other people be it with love or leggings and hopefully make somebody, anybody, laugh in the meantime (with me or at me, doesn’t really matter), which is why I could not comprehend why people just had to be so nasty to one another.  I used to get so hurt by the negativity of others to the point of it affecting my mood, my day, and my own actions. And then one day, I started to realize where it came from.

Sure, I see things all the time that I don’t like. I mean, do I want to see another photo of your pregnant belly or hear you say, “rise and grind” again?  Not really.  And while I may roll my eyes, sigh a heavy sigh, and shake my head, I’m not going to hold onto it and let it ruin my day.  Any time those sneaky feelings of jealousy, or hatefulness towards someone else pop up, I stop for a moment and ask myself, “What’s your problem?”

You see, having taken the time to self reflect, I started to realize the times I felt most affected were the times when I felt there was something missing in my own life.  “It’s not you it’s me,” couldn’t be a more accurate statement. Sadly, it’s hardly ever used in this context.  Most likely if those being cruel knew it was “them”, they wouldn’t be acting that way in the first place.  They’d be rescuing kittens or painting pictures of sunsets.

Bottom line: the people trying to break you are actually the broken ones.  Once you make this connection and switch your way of thinking, your life will be changed forever.  Pinky promise.

If we spent less time worrying about other people’s lives and more time worrying about our own, we could be doing something amazing for ourselves leaving no room for jealousy because our own lives would be so rad.  Be honest, how many times have you found yourself lost in the lives of others on Instagram, the king of passive aggressive behavior?  That’s forty-five minutes you’ll never get back and you have nothing to show for it except maybe a bruised ego.

If you don’t like something, move on. Don’t obsess over it or waste your precious time putting someone else down when you could be doing something positive for yourself or someone else. Guess what?  Putting someone else down is never going to lift you up.  It’s a time and energy suck that just, well, sucks.

So, the next time you experience someone spewing venom, say a little prayer for them that their void may be filled and perhaps they’ll pick up a hobby along the way.  And don’t you be the toxic one.  Mom always told me, “acid spoils the container,” and you’re way too pretty of a container to be ruined.



Girl Crush: Free to Be Dree

By |February 8th, 2012|Celebrity Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

Speaking of luscious literary ladies, this beyond gorgeous gal has deeply rooted family history in American Literature.  Granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, Dree Hemingway has made a name for herself and it may have to more to do with her looks than books.  I have a mild to moderate interest in Ernest Hemingway, so when one of my best friends indulged me in visiting the Hemingway Home in Key West back in November, we were intrigued to see family photos including those of Margaux and Mariel Hemingway, Dree’s mom.  Upon further Wikipediaing (is that a verb yet?), we discovered Dree and her sister, the equally lovely, Langley Fox.  It’s hard to believe so many beautiful and interesting people share the same DNA.

But back to my girl crush du jour, Dree.  She’s chic.  She’s understated.  She’s the girl we all wish we were.  The epitome of “Oh, this ol’ thing?  I thought I knew a thing or two about layering, but Dree could even school the Olsens!  It seems I’m not alone in my admiration of this lanky blonde’s style.  You may recognize her from Madewell’s holiday (choose your own adventure) campaign and Sandro tapped her to design a capsule collection for the brand.  With her classica all-American looks and fun free spirit, I get the feeling this is just the begininning for Dree… and there’s plenty more to see.

dree hemingway clothes1. Nightcap Clothing Triangle Sweater Top, $132, 2. Kinross Cashmere Oversize Featherweight Scarf, $132, 3. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in Le Orange, $30, 4. Elizabeth and James Swelt Flat Cuff Bootie, $175, 5. Splendid Modal Lycra Maxi Skirt, $79, 6. Marc New York Distressed Asymmetrical Leather Jacket, $298.80, 7. Madewell Rail Straight Jeans, $98.50, 8. Sandro Cleo Paneled Washed Silk Shirt, $285 



Why Don’t You Do What You Love?

By |August 9th, 2011|WhyDid Wisdom|

Recently, I finished a really great book called The Paris Wife (by Paula McLain).  And while you probably think this is going to be a painfully dull book review, it’s not… although if you’re looking for a great end of summer read, I certainly suggest that one.  Without digressing too far, the book is basically written from the point of view of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson.  It chronicles the early years in Paris where he penned one of his more notable novels (though there are many), The Sun Also Rises.  During the 1920’s,  those considered to be “interesting” were living in Paris.  Some hypothesize it had something to do with the exchange rate, but others insist that this was a place where writers and artists alike could be creative.

After finishing this book, it became very clear to me that things have certainly changed since then.  Some for the better, but one thing very much for the worst.  While as a society, we’ve evolved in terms of technology and modern conveniences but, we’ve managed to slip backwards in regards to the arts.  Sure, there are people who call themselves “artists”, but it seems to me that most people doing whatever it is that they do, are doing it for the money rather than the actual passion that should propel the craft and that comes across in the final product.

Instead of making something truly authentic, people make what will appeal to the masses.  They create what will be considered commercially acceptable and will bring in the most cash.  They’d rather sell records and hit sales levels than break ground and be true to his or her talent.  Sure, I like to bust a move along to a poppy Katy Perry tune, but can we really call that art?  What happened to real bands that play real instruments and don’t rely so heavily on autotune?  When’s the last time you saw a painting by someone currently living that truly moved you?  Banksy is cool, but is graffiti really comparable to canvas?

When I talk to friends, it seems we are all stuck somewhere in between doing what we love and doing what will pay the rent/mortgage/Louboutins.  I feel quite certain that this has a lot to do with why there is a disappearance of people dedicated to doing what they love.  It appears our generation has no soul.  We’re driven by money and “stuff.”  I’m not saying that we all need to be a bunch of emo hipsters, but I do think it wouldn’t hurt to “gut check” from time to time to make sure we’re all living lives that feel authentic.

Don’t do it for the fame.  The money.  The glory.




Photos via Hemingway’s Paris