Friday, April 22, 2011

Graduation, Inspiration

Brian's Etsy shop (Happy birthday, Brian!)

The end of the semester at any university is a time full of pomp and circumstance. Commencements happen left and right at my giant state university, and everyone always knows someone graduating (in my case, it's my brother-in-law Mike, from pharmacy school. Congrats, Dr. Mike!). The program in which I work is a transitional program for international students to improve their English before continuing their education elsewhere, so no one ever really graduates. As a result, we have a commencement ceremony at the end of every semester and recognize everyone, whether they're returning or not.

Commencement was this morning and since I'm one of the hand-shakers, I wanted to look nice. I normally wear flowery dresses and skirts to spring commencement, but today I switched it up a little. I borrowed liberally from Jessica at Monster Cakes, who wore something very similar yesterday and looked adorable. I added some new nude heels, a trend that I was reluctant to embrace at first, but am seeing the benefits of now. Hello, longer-appearing legs!

And now, some Friend Friday inspirational questions for this inspirational commencement day:

1. What celebrity/celebrities do you look to for fashion inspiration? I tend to draw more inspiration from real life people and other bloggers, but my favorite sartorial celebrity is Audrey Hepburn. Everything she wore was timeless and figure-flattering. I like to wear feminine, simple clothes like hers.

2. When it comes to your own personal style, what inspires you? Reading other blogs really inspires me. Since joining the blogging community, I've taken a lot more fashion risks (for me) because I can watch others try them out first. I also grew up with a very fashionable mother and grandmother; in fact, my grandmother was a model in the '40s. They both taught by example that caring about style isn't shallow or silly, but an important part of taking care of and expressing yourself.

3. How do you hope to inspire your readers? I hope to show my readers what I just described learning from my mother and grandmother. Too often in academia, fashion is associated with shallowness. Serious academic women wear serious academic clothes, and style is left to the sororities. I just don't think that has to be true. I have a master's degree and I work in a highly accredited program at a highly accredited university; if I can wear cute clothes, everyone can.

4. Outside the realm of fashion, who/what inspires you? Well, my husband inspires me. He's intelligent and passionate about his field of work (and really, life in general), and fearless about trying new things. I tend to be more cautious, so his willingness to give anything a try inspires me to do the same. I've already described how my mom inspires me, but my dad does too. He is a real renaissance man - an engineer who writes music and take pictures and reads Dostoevsky, and a great example of pursuing a life of many interests. Finally, my students inspire me. The courage it takes to move to a new country is immense, and they all adapt with enthusiasm and an open-minded approach to their host culture. I want to be equally brave and flexible when I travel.

5. And since Idol is ending, what songs inspire you? I've always been inspired by the Beatles - I've listened to them so much, I feel like they're old friends. (If you're reading this, Sir Paul McCartney, I think we could be friends in real life. Please?) I'd say "Blackbird" is their most inspiring song for me. Blackbird singing in the dead of night/Take these broken wings and learn to fly/All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise. How could you not be inspired by that?

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