Friday Favorites

Delayed Friday Favorites, because I spent the past four days recovering from wisdom teeth surgery. The past two weeks have been a reminder that good health trumps all, and I'm looking forward to operating at full health starting this week. Now, for your reading pleasure:

1. George Saunders's Advice to Graduates

George Saunders

I haven't yet read anything by George Saunders (though Tenth of December and others are on my list), but this convocation speech that he delivered to the Syracuse class of 2013 is perfection. It's so good that I'm going to print it out and pin it to my bulletin board at work.

The best excerpt: "Do all the other things, the ambitious things – travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.  That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been."

What a beautiful maxim to live by, to err in the direction of kindness.

2. Fashion Inflation: Why Are Prices Rising So Fast?

orange-birkin-bag12-656x434

For me, a fashion splurge involves a Kate Spade handbag or a J Crew dress, so the languages (and prices) of Hermès, Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin remain unfamiliar and entirely unaccessible. That fact doesn't make me sad. The typical cost for a luxury fashion item boggles my mind, and it simply doesn't fit into my priorities or preferences. I mean, I would rather have a vacation instead of a $1,000 pair of shoes. Every time I read about these high-level brands, however, I wonder: who is buying this stuff? Like this article asks, at one point is the cost too high for a fashion item, no matter the quality? And why do these things cost so much to begin with? Lauren Sherman at Business of Fashion answers.

3. In Defense of Caffeine

memo-leandra-medine

Leandra Medine writes a completely hilarious, thoughtful blog called The Man Repeller, where she muses about all things fashion-related that may or may not--you guessed it, repel men. Once in a while, she'll detour to another random subject, and this piece defending her love for caffeine cracked. me. up. She concludes, "But what I haven’t done and won’t do is ascribe to some glossy version of monkhood for the sake of self-denial. Life’s little luxuries—coffee and cabernet and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—are too delicious to resist."

Sing it, sister.

4. 'Picasso Baby' Live: Jerry Saltz Goes Face-to-Face With Jay-Z

jay-z

Jay-Z is so weird and cool and hip. Can you imagine any other rap artist doing this at an art museum? No, you can't. (Except for maybe Beyonce, OF COURSE.) Be sure to watch the video.