Five Quick Snaps

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Photos taken with Sanfranista’s Instagram

Starting today, I’d like to take time weekly to share bits and pieces of the day-to-day beauty that I get to experience by living here. I rarely have my “real” camera with me, so all these snaps come through my iPhone while I’m traveling around San Francisco. I’m always partial to views of the skyline, but I also love to capture a beautiful storefront or small things I find along the way. What are the details you notice throughout your day?

Above, pastel buildings with a stripey awning steal my heart every time. I love the Fillmore Street area in Pacific Heights for its classic beauty and boutique-y charm. Below, I’m very rarely in the Potrero Hill area, but this view gives me reason enough to return.

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I can’t ever get used to the criss-crossed, spiderweb pattern of the electric bus cables. They’re always make me think of Terminator for some reason- am I the only one? Love it.

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Who said BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, for you out-of-towners) can’t be beautiful?

View to the west from Rockridge BART at sunset

If I had to choose a favorite nighttime neighborhood in the city, I’d probably grimace and adopt a martyred expression (“How could I ever choose?!?”), but this image would almost certainly pop into my mind. It’s one blockĀ  from a historic beat poet bar, Chinese food that will blow your mind, a super-swanky champagne lounge, and the best dive karaoke bar… ever.

North Beach at NightHave a beautiful weekend, everyone!

Listening: “Underwater” – Metric

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Is Fashion Blogging Hazardous to Your Body Image?

Outside Benefit San Francisco, photo by Sarah Lee
On the sidewalk outside Benefit San Francisco

Fashion bloggers aren’t generally known for their low self-esteem. Theoretically, if you’re publicly documenting your life/opinions/outfits, there’s an implicit assumption that you believe others would find it interesting enough to read. But when you put your life out on a public forum, you invite criticism in. Blogging is a constant game of risk, of weighing the merits of having your voice heard with fear of the potential backlash that will follow. So why do we do it, and how does it affect us?

Although not a fashion blogger, writer Alicia Lutes recently experienced out-of-the-blue hatred towards her body and discovered that her photograph was used as a cautionary tale on a “thinspiration” blog. Instead of humiliating the young woman behind the blog, Lutes reached out to her on her own blog with great poise and strength. Insecure people have always leveled anger at those brave enough to bare themselves to the world, and when you aren’t staring the person in the face, it’s easy to forget that they’re human.

Sometimes, our most hurtful critic stares at us every time we look in the mirror. One of my favorite bloggers recently wrote a brave and heartbreaking post about how photographing herself for outfit posts triggered feelings of low self-esteem and dissatisfaction with her appearance. I had noticed a decrease of photos on her blog showing her face, and it made my insides squeeze to learn the painful reason behind this shift. But she didn’t let these doubts sink her. She shared a vulnerable side of herself and emboldened her readers to consider their own self-image in the process.

Aside from being a newly minted fashion blogger, I’ve seen the fashion industry from a different angle by working as a model. As a size 6 woman working in a size 0 world, I’m supposed to tolerate photographers praising my modeling prowess and criticizing my weight in the same breath. To be frank, it’s harmed the way I see my body. Where I previously saw a pleasantly pear-shaped figure that could rock a miniskirt, I now see too-big hips and an embarrassing muffin top. And you know what? That’s not ok.

Until blogs exploded on the scene, the only fashion icons I had access to were locked within the gilded, impossible-to-emulate pages of fashion magazines. Now I open my blogroll and see real women with real bodies proudly expressing their style and personalities, and it’s changed how I see myself. When I take photos for my blog, I keep my readers in mind, but I pose for me. When I’m selecting content for my own blog, nobody cringes about the width of my hips or laments how amazing that jacket would have looked if only my arms were a bit narrower. My blog photos are just photos of me, as I am, and I keep reminding myself that I have nothing to hide.

That being said, I also acknowledge that I’m new in this world and have yet to earn my stripes by seeing cruel comments on my posts. When I do, as I know I will, I will do my best to remind myself of brave women like Alicia and Jen who endure critics, either internal or external, and push onward to tell the tale.

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There Will Be Pumpkins

Sarah in the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch mazeToday, I’m giving you a break from our regularly scheduled fashion programming to pay my respects to the most important part of fall. I spent all of last weekend in pumpkin patches, running through corn mazes and discovering that there is a type of gourd that could find work as an octopus stunt double. I dressed in nothing more exciting than jeans and a wool shirt (fine, a vintage Pendleton), and it seemed silly to feature such a straight-forward outfit when I could showcase the glory of the patches themselves. I’ll be returning to my regular outfit posts this week, but I hope you enjoy my happy diversion.

Thankfully, the Children of the Corn did not crash our 10-foot-tall corn maze expedition. Even though it was 2 PM and I was surrounded by happy, non-homicidal families, I kept expecting one to pop out riding the alien from Signs. Methinks it’s time to switch to comedies.

Petaluma Corn MazeI blatantly disobeyed the first part of Rule #2 on the sign below. It was awesome.

Do Not Throw the CornYou had to be under the age of 12 to get a photo on the tractor. #lifeisrough

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch TractorYou know you live in San Francisco when you forget that the temperature rises above 65 degrees in some parts of the world.

Please note the octogourd below, which manages to be both creepy and awesome.

And finally, a day well spent, we returned to the fog.
Are there any other fellow pumpkin patch lovers? How do you celebrate the arrival of fall?

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