WhyDid Wisdom: Release Party
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

post ranch innJanuary is the time of year when everyone fools him/herself into thinking he/she is going to right wrongs, fix all flaws and become a whole new “me.”  The gym is suddenly full of soft bodies that hadn’t bothered to lift more than the remote for the last year, but are now walking on the treadmill so slow it’s giving me anxiety because I have to wait.  (Patience, that’s something I should have signed up for in 2014).  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for self improvement.  It’s the only way to grow, but it’s now four months later and we seem to have ditched all of our goals for the new year, but yet have managed to hold onto a lot of other baggage.  Why is it so much easier to let go of the good and not the bad?

We swore we’d lose that extra five pounds by summer, but those nachos at Cowgirl were just too damn tempting and so what if I had three cheat days this week?  Despite the return of the polar vortex, spring will last but a week before a sweaty, scorching summer sets in upon us and no one will be able to hide out under baggy black clothes and layers upon layers.  This is the second time of year when Equinox sees an influx of gymnasium delinquents and I have a near meltdown upon waiting for a stairclimber.  Despite my disdain for faux fitness junkies, I’m a proponent for good health in any form… even if temporary.  And like the mantra emblazoned upon the wall at Flex Studios, “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness,” there is another kind of weightloss that may be even more beneficial to your health and heart.

We cut dairy out of our diets, but continue on with toxic relationships.  We purge our closets, but forget to purge our personal lives.  Sometimes we hold onto people because we feel an obligation to do so.  However, in doing so, we impede our own personal growth and crowd our lives with emotional clutter that blocks anything new and quite possibly better from entering.  In turn, this might be the real type of fat that is weighing down our lives.

I kept saying I wanted this or I wanted that.  All around me, others were moving forward with careers, relationships, families, and goals, yet I seemed to be stagnant.  I couldn’t figure out why I was being left behind by normal social standards and then I realized something.  My actions were contradicting my wishes.  For example, I was in a very volatile relationship for most of the past year and after one too many early morning blow outs and a “vacation” from hell, I finally threw in the towel.  While I had long since stopped answering phone calls and late night incoherent text messages, I was still friends with some of his friends and I was still checking in to see what he was doing. It was far too easy to see what he and his new 18 year old NYU dorm habitating honey were doing and really, why did (or should) I care?  I would gut check myself against what I wanted in a mate versus what I was getting from this relationship and rationally knew it was far from matching up at which point I had to actually say to myself, “Who gives a (expletive)?”  I’m romantic and nostalgic so I find it grueling to cut ties at times.  I am capable of seeing what “could be” rather than what IS.  Sadly, some people are emotional vampires and as hard as it may be, we have to wish them well and part ways.

And maybe sometimes it’s not a specific person that has to be eliminated from our lives, but maybe something that someone has done to us.  We all make mistakes (even me), but there is no use in holding onto difficult and at times traumatizing events from our lives.

A friend of mine who is an up and coming star on the music scene spoke to me about what gives him motivation.  His son was, of course, first on the list along with close friends and family.  But then he told me that the naysayers and haters fueled him.  I reminded him that those people did not deserve his energy and the more time he spent thinking about them, the more of his energy he was allotting to people who, quite frankly, did not deserve it.  The more time spent focusing on your foes, the more you are actually feeding them.  I suggested he only give pieces of himself to people who deserve and appreciate him and to (bleep) the rest of them.  I’m not sure I swayed him to my way of thinking, but sometimes it’s helpful to remind myself of the same thing.

It may be a late start, but too late is always better than never.  Shed those extra five pounds and shed those extra people who are weighing down your health and your heart.



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WhyDid Wisdom: Picture This
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

new york fashion week styleSo, you wanna get your picture snapped at Fashion Week.

Well, you’re in luck because it’s not all that difficult.  You see, outside of the hypothetical “tents” at Lincoln Center lie photographers on a fashion safari and you’re the creature in the wild whose head is likely to be mounted next to that antelope in the den.  It’s a mixed bag out there.  Some people are actual photographers from credible media outlets.  Others are bloggers capturing street style rather than shows.  And then there are people who maybe just so happen to own cameras and decided to hang around as true fashion hangers on.  It’s quite the spectacle and if you still think you’d like to find yourself on a .rus website one day a year from now, here are three hard and fast rules to having your mug captured for all of the internet to consume.

mbfw street style

  1. Be famous.  I believe this is self explanatory, but maybe not because “famous” is relative these days.
  2. Look like a crazy ass Olsen twin who may or may not have ingested bath salts pre-show.  In my experience, people who look like total maniacs will always be photographed.  This either says a lot about modern day “journalism” or these photographers somewhere along the way mistook freakshow for  fashion.  Basically layer on the weirdest shit you’ve got laying around your apartment.  Add a turban and body glitter for good measure.  For some reason, looking insane confuses these photographers and your pic will be snapped for better or worse.
  3. Go fashion editor chic.  The last and, in my opinion best, way to get noticed is to be clean, polished, and preferably wearing something designer.  Definitely stick on a pair of dark shades so as to add to the mystery.  Is she famous?  Is she not?  Doesn’t matter, they’ll shoot you just to be sure.  A fur coat also seems to be the ticket to getting clicked this year.  Look important by texting as you breeze by on the way up the stairs and into the shows.

mbfw street style 2And honestly, even if you don’t want your picture taken, too bad.  It’s being taken.  As I exited the shows and stuck around for a few to snap some photos of the outdoor ambience, I found that I was being photographed photographing everyone else.  No one bothered to ask for my information, outfit details, or hand me a card, so heaven knows where my image may appear on the world wide web.  Occupational hazard, I suppose.  Welcome to Fashion Week.  They don’t call New York the concrete jungle for nothing.



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WhyDid Wisdom: Reserve Yourself
Written by: WhyDid | WhyDid Wisdom

annoying callerWinter is the time of year when many of us yearn to couple up in order to stay warm and potentially lower our ConEd bills. A lot of my friends are what could be considered professional daters. I’ve stopped asking what any of their chaps’ names are because I can’t keep up and would need a very elaborate flow chart in order to stay entirely in the loop. I’m always in utter amazement as to how they meet all of these fellas because most of my male companionship comes from my dog, gentlemen playing for the other team, and re-runs of Frasier. Ironically, I think I’ve just cracked the code as to my singledom with that last sentence.

Anyway, unlike myself, you’ve been hitting the town and getting hit on, you little minx, you. And in the mix of things, you’ve met a couple of cuties who have actually made it beyond asking for your number in between swigs of Jameson and you’ve spent a handful of cozy dinners and Saturday brunches at Extra Virgin and Cafe Cluny with one, maybe two, in particular. You knew it was meant to be when he ordered another round of mimosas and declared that there may be nothing better in this world than a great chocolate chip pancake except for maybe a hammock on Alphonse Island. In your mind, you’ve already started planning your June wedding at the St. Regis and have named your first born child due early next fall (you decided on something gender neutral and inanimate). You’re a perfect match much like Domenico and Stefano, so you can’t quite put your perfectly polished finger on why your affections, and text messages aren’t being returned.

Ready for an awful truth?

(You may need a quaalude and a seat for this). Okay, you know that one guy who continues to text you after countless subtle blow offs, blatant verbal abuse and finally virtual radio silence? You know… the one who tricked you into giving him your number after you said you’d just take his and then called himself from your phone. Yeah, that guy. Well, you may very well be that girl.

I know. It seems highly improbable, even mind blowing, that anyone male, female, or house plant could possibly resist your feminine wiles, biting wit, and Pilates body. But alas, as hard as it is to wrap your pretty little head around, you may have found the one and only human this side of the galaxy not interested in you or the Illuminati conspiracy theories.

Fine, maybe you didn’t bamboozle your way into his Blackberry (who still has one of those, by the way?), so let’s use another example. You know the sort of goofy handsome guy you went out with from Goldman Sachs? While he was perfectly nice and in “theory” should be a totally perfect partner completely capable of rearing healthy children and providing a stable lifestyle for your future family, there was just one problem. You didn’t feel any of that wild, crazy, I must have you more than this season’s Céline. He didn’t do anything wrong, per se. He was a perfect gentleman and has since then been hitting you up to have a second, third, and final date… before that wedding he’s planned in his head complete with future (already named) child.

Yep. It’s all starting to click isn’t it?

beyonceWe’ve all got a few of those guys lying around much like the Federal Reserve has a few spare bricks of gold. They’ll never get used, but it’s nice to know that they’re there for security’s sake and all. At one point, there were so many “code names” in my phone that I hadn’t really any clue who was calling anymore. I just knew I wasn’t going to answer under any circumstance. Not even after two dirty martinis. Okay, I have responded on occasion to these “reserves.” Sometimes because I’m just too nice and felt guilty leaving them hanging (passive aggressive much?). Other times I’ve just been totally bored in between checking Twitter and Instagram. There have been lonely nights in between relationships with people I actually liked. And sometimes my friends and I think it’s downright hilarious. Call me a mean girl if you want, but your nose may be growing at this very moment. You’ve totally done the same thing. We all have. And whether you admit it out loud or not, I want you to realize that it’s entirely possible that’s what is going on with you and Mr. Perfect.

While it can take women a little bit longer to warm up to a potential mate, guys know what they want almost instantly. They are hunters by nature and when they see something they want, they go for it. Full force. It’s science. A guy can sway us to the other side after a couple of dates by revealing a shared love of cheese, a dark sense of humor, or just general kindness and good behavior. Inversely, a guy can be completely smitten with a girl and she can crash and burn merely by being a bitch. Don’t be a bitch.

I’ve been given a hard time for having fairly high expectations, and while I may be asking a lot for wanting a 6’0+ gentleman with great style, a sense of humor, brains, charisma, love of small white dogs named Smitty and a handle on his personal finances, I don’t think common courtesy is too much to ask. I certainly do expect my potential love interest to have the capacity to craft up a cohesive text message using the proper your/you’re and two/to/too, let alone actually grasp the concept of dialing my telephone number for voice on voice conversation. As a matter of fact, I don’t think any of that is too much to ask- and you shouldn’t either. I have been pursued hard, like verging on restraining order, so, I know the difference between being the “reserve” and the “jackpot.” If someone can’t even take a moment from his or her grueling life (barring he/she is doing volunteer work in a country without telephone wiring or toilets), that person is probably not particularly interested in you. At very least, you just aren’t ranking high on the priority list and well, that’s a problem.

Listen, it may be disappointing to realize you aren’t someone’s ideal match but, there’s no need to beat yourself up about it or shamelessly and repeatedly throw yourself at someone who just thinks you’re “ok for now.” (Remember DBDG?) Essentially he’s doing you a favor by self eliminating. It’s like Darwinian dating. Instead of wasting any more time on someone who doesn’t see how absolutely spectacular you are, you can keep on stepping… right on towards your true “Mr. Right.” (And you should probably throw in a hair toss or two). You wouldn’t jam your feet into shoes that don’t fit (I mean, maybe), so why would you try to force a connection that just isn’t there? All that comes from that is uncomfortableness and corns. Just repeat to yourself, “No answer is your answer.”

So, next time you are staring at your gold iPhone imploringly, just remember that poor ol’ chap you’ve renamed “Never Gonna Happen” and reserve yourself.




Coincidentally saw this video this afternoon post-posting.  All too fitting.

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The List Volume 1/20/2014
Written by: WhyDid | 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.



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WhyDid Wisdom: Five Alive
Written by: WhyDid | 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.




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