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Your Own Makeover, Bargain Hunting

Since I have you all excited about shopping now, I thought it best to let you in on the best places (and times) to find a deal. After reading Just Try It On! (an otherwise useless book), I made a list that parallels the wardrobe checklist and notes when each style arrives in stores each year. Go when things arrive for the most selection. Wait 6-8 weeks for the clearance sales. The other list is my favorite shops for finding a discount. Remember: go with a list; buy only things that make you look fabulous. You are building your wardrobe over time. Happy shopping!

Bonus: Check for all the latest sale info.

Your Own Makeover, Hair

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Hair is more complicated than makeup. I tried to get away from the “What Not to Wear” crew, but every review said Nick Arrojo's book, Great Hairwas hands-down the best, and having read it, I now agree. His main argument is that you must work with the hair you have instead of spending hours and hundreds of dollars going against it to get someone else's look.

So, first you must know your hair texture—-fine, thick, or medium smooth. Fine hair is delicate, fragile, and seems ready to break. You can usually see the scalp on someone with fine hair both at the part and beyond. Fine hair lays flat against your scalp. Thick hair has a wider shaft and feels a touch coarse or wiry when running your fingers through it. It tends to take a long time to air-dry (an hour or more) and puffs up and out. Medium Smooth hair is everybody in between. Then, you must know your hair shape—straight, wavy, or curly. Hair shape can change on the same head of hair. Many women have more wave below the crown.

Once you know your hair texture and hair shape, you can start to choose a haircut that works with your hair, requiring less styling. I don't really have room or time to discuss all the best haircuts for each hair type, but his book does a pretty good job. Unfortunately, it doesn’t list a whole lot of shoulder-length or longer cuts (maybe because they're all pretty much the same). Fine, thick, and curly heads are the least flexible in terms of styling, so a cut that works is more important. If you have medium-smooth, straight, or wavy hair, you can do most anything, which means, you can focus on framing your face. Bangs are a huge help at this. Short hair that comes to your chin can also do this quite dramatically.

Finally, I learned quite a bit about products and was quite heartened to learn that most hair problems can be solved with the right products and proper technique. He has a chart of products that is very helpful if you don’t know what kind of products would help you style your hair. I had never heard of “Thermal Protector” or “Blow Dry Setting Spray” (both turn out to be crucial for a frizz-free blow-dry). Did you know you are never supposed to rub your hair? It creates frizz. Most all products should be worked into your hair from just below the roots down. Allure Magazine puts out a Best of Beauty Hall of Fame for useful products that have been winners year after year. Feel free to add yours in the comments section:
Sunsilk ThermaShine Conditioner
John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum (try the Thermal Protection Formula)
Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm
Conair Infiniti Tourmaline Hair Designer (I recently tried this, and was amazed at how fast it dried my hair. It was also much straighter than usual, but not smooth & shiny right away)
Wella Liquid Hair Brilliant Spray Gel

All in all, it is a book well worth checking out of the library. I have yet to find the styling regimen that leaves my hair looking great in 20 minutes a day or less, but I no longer believe it is because my hair is impossible--rather, I expect I just need to learn how to style it well (and get bangs!).

Your Own Makeover, Makeup

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I am no expert here, so I consulted books by Bobbi Brown, Kevin Aucoin, and Carmindy (from TLC's "What Not to Wear") and assembled the following list. I tried to include affordable recommended versions for each product. You probably need pictures to get this right, but the essentials seem to be (in the order they should be applied):

Foundation—Use for spot coverage along the center of the face and as a base for eye shadow on eyelids (it will help keep it in place). Carmindy says to use liquid foundation for our age group (try L’Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Makeup) or tinted moisturizer if you have dry, flawless skin (like Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer). Bobbi Brown likes a stick foundation for carrying in her bag. Modern women don’t wear as much foundation as they used to, so it doesn’t have to be such an investment—you just need the color to match. Walk outside into the daylight and check in your compact before buying.

Concealer—Bobbi Brown’s number one product for brightening a face, and the one place she says to invest (maybe that's why she makes such good ones). Buy this somewhere where you can try them on before buying. Multiple shades are fine. Your skin changes color throughout the year, some are good for blemishes (like Stila Cover-Up Stick and Revlon Color Stay Concealer), some for under eyes. Always put this over foundation to prevent overloading on it and getting cakey. Carmindy likes light-reflective concealer sticks for under eyes and on the inside of the nose (like The Body Shop Concealer Pencil or Benefit Eye Bright), and says they look more natural. Under-eye concealer should be a shade lighter than your foundation.

*Any cream highlighters or blushes should be applied before powder.*

Powder—to set makeup down your nose, across your chin, over cheeks and eyelids, and under eyelids if necessary to set concealer. Try Cover Girl Clean Pressed Powder or Mac Blot Powder if you don’t already own any.

Highlighter—Use a powder pearly shimmer under your eyebrows, on the inside corners of your eyes, and the tops of your cheekbones by the outer half of your eye. This is Carmindy’s go-to, better-than-shadow makeup trick. It’s certainly quicker and easier to carry, though for my time, I'll take shadow.

Blush or Bronzer—apply to apples of cheeks with a face powder brush for a seamless finish.

Eyeliner—brown pencil works on everyone. Work it down into the lash line and smudge with a q-tip. Alternatively, you can use a dark shadow and skinny brush, which Carmindy usually does on the show. Start one fourth of the way out from your inner eye to keep it looking light.

Mascara—Apply one coat to top lashes only (classic Maybelline Lash Discovery—-waterproof smears less). I like to put this on before anything else because I always get black spots somewhere and have to wipe them off and start over. Nonetheless, I’m leaving this here because that’s how Carmindy says to do it. If you use mascara, you will need an oil/silicone-based makeup remover, such as Bi-Facils.

Lip Color—surely you have many of these already. One you may not have thought of is just all-over pencil with lip balm.

If you have time, eye shadow makes for a more made-up look. Smoky eyes are sexier than bold lip color for an evening out. To make more of your eye color, use hues that are the opposite, blue eyes=brown shadow, green eyes=purple, hazel=green, brown=blue or green.

Do not run out to buy products unless you have NONE of these at home. If you are at all like me, you have a lifetime supply of these already. Try them back out (especially after using your new self-tanner) before spending your hard-earned money. Label them “summer,” “winter,” etc. Mix heavy or cakey formulations with some lotion. Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to broken powders and press them back into shape (when the rubbing alcohol evaporates, they’ll be back to pressed). Organize eye shadows and lipsticks into “going out,” “work,” “natural,” and “summer” groups so you can grab them easily and remember what goes together to make a look. You will probably have some things you simply don’t like and never really used. Have a makeup party with girlfriends and see if anyone else wants your products before casting them into the landfill (this is perfect for all those sample size things and lipsticks that come free with purchase). If you must go buy something, check the drug-store circular where you shop for specials and coupons (or check, which has discounts and free shipping over $25). Makeup is fantastically over-priced and the discounts can be substantial. Buy department store cosmetics at gift time or when you can get a makeover from a professional makeup artist who will show you how to apply it.

See lists after the jump.

Your Own Makeover, Skincare & Grooming

So, once you’re putting together fabulous outfits, the next step is hair and makeup. For this I reviewed books by Carmindy and Bobbi Brown, and can recommend both, though your average beauty magazine will probably tell you the same thing (except for the part about eyebrows--I hadn't seen that before). I actually think 90% of beauty is a healthy glow, the confidence that comes from being happy with ourselves, and a genuine smile. So you should spend most of your efforts on getting enough sleep, coping with and removing stress, eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables, and getting enough exercise. I know, easier said than done. The things that most help after that are clear, moisturized skin, white teeth, and an appropriate eyebrow shape/color. That means the most important part of your morning makeup routine is actually washing your face, putting on moisturizer with sunscreen, and brushing your teeth.

You should choose your skin care products based on your skin type. If you have oily skin, use foaming gel cleanser (like L’Oreal Ideal Balance) and an oil-free lotion with SPF 15 or higher. You must use lotion to keep your skin from compensating and producing more oil. Lotions with Alpha Hydroxy Acids will help exfoliate skin and keep pores clear. If you have normal skin, you probably actually have combination skin, and need to choose products from the “oily” and “dry” categories as they meet your needs. If you have dry skin, use a creamy cleanser (like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser) and a moisturizing cream with SPF 15 or higher. If skin feels tight five minutes after applying moisturizer, your formula isn’t rich enough. Try using a humidifier in winter for extra moisture. Once you are consistently wearing a moisturizer with SPF, you will need a self-tanner. I hate extra steps, so I wanted a daily moisturizer with SPF and tanning lotion all-in-one. I found:
Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer (which Carmindy recommends), Neutrogena Summer Glow,
Olay Regenerist Touch of Sun UV Regenerating Lotion, and
Olay Complete Touch of Sun.
If none of those is moisturizing enough, you can add some super-moisturizing cream and shake it up (try a small mix first to make sure they play well together).

The only other skin product that people are really insistent on at our age is eye cream. If you have puffiness, look for formulas that firm (like Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream). If, like me, you have dark circles under your eyes, you need to accept that concealer will probably do more for you than anything else. If you have allergies, sometimes getting allergy shots to reduce your reaction can help. When looking for dark circle products, find ones with vitamin K and that DO NOT address puffiness—they can thin the skin making circles appear darker. Shea butter and beeswax are ultra-hydrating at night, but in general, what works during the day should work during the night. Amazon reviewers see results from:
Vita-K solutions,
Neutrogena Radiance Boost Eye Cream, and
Skin-Ceuticals Eye Cream.

If you want more contoured and tanned limbs, body lotion is also a must. Olay makes a Body Touch of Sun without SPF that might be good for legs and arms in the winter. Otherwise, you can make your own. Buy unscented lotion from the drugstore, then mix in essential oils (like coconut, jasmine, or rose), and liquid shimmer (try Sephora Luminizer, Neutrogena Shimmer Sheer, LORAC TANtalizer, Stila All Over Shimmer, or Laura Geller Illuminizing Color Wash).

As for teeth, I think bleaching your teeth sounds scary, so either chat with your dentist or try a whitening toothpaste (such as Colgate Simply White Advanced Whitening). If you’re feeling adventurous, there are many varieties of whitening strips that can be used with strengthening toothpaste.

Perfect brow-shaping:
Carmindy gives the most concrete description I have ever seen of how to shape your brows, and it’s worth checking the book out of the library just to see the pictures.
1) She starts with brushing brows up and trimming any extra-long hairs.
2) Then, you must identify where the brow should begin—she says to rest a brow brush along the side of your nose, and where the brow brush crosses your brow is where your brow should start (or even a tiny bit closer to your nose, according to the picture). Pluck right after your shower for the least pain. Remove any stray hairs in between brows.
3) Your arch should be where the brush crosses your brow when lined up with the outside of your lip and the outer edge of the iris. Pluck hairs under the arch to make it taper more clearly.
4) Your endpoint should be where the brush crosses your brow and is lined up with your nostril and the outer corner of your eye. Pluck any that stray beyond.
In general, err on the side of fuller brows, since they look more youthful.
Interestingly, most models and celebrities dye their brows to both make their hair color more believable and to make their eyes pop. Darker eyebrows give eyes definition, lighter brows soften your look. You lighten them with plain drug-store hair bleach. Take it off in 5-minute intervals your first time until you have a sense of how long to leave it on.

Once you have all of those down, you should be able to do makeup in five quick minutes.

Your Own Makeover, Part II

There is one important part of the clothing makeover that I left out before—style. Previously, I was just aiming to not look bad as inexpensively as possible. However, for many people, there is another level—a personal style. Tim Gunn discusses the need to acquaint yourself with particular looks and choose a style mentor. He lists many women and several common styles, but because his book doesn’t have pictures, I had sort of skipped over that part. The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style fills in the gap with MANY pictures, lists of key items, shots of iconic wardrobes, and lists of stores to shop at to get the look (most are very expensive). It covers ten styles:
1) Euro Chic (early Catherine DeNeuve, Carine Roitfeld, Charlotte Gainsbourg)
2) California Casual (Faye Dunaway)
3) Rock and Roll (Debbie Harry)
4) Posh Eclectic (Kate Winslett, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett)
5) Mod (Selma Blair, Zooey Deschanel, see “Austin Powers” movies)
6) American Classic (Grace Kelley, Katherine Hepburn, Jackie Onassis)
7) Bombshell (Marilyn Monroe, Ditta Von Teese, Sophia Loren, Scarlett Johanssen)
8) Arty Slick (Tilda Swinton, Bjork)
9) Bohemian (Ali MacGraw, Stevie Nicks)
10) Gamine (Audrey Hepburn, Sofia Coppola, Natalie Portman, Kirsten Dunst)
It also has a limited “Mix and Match” section at the end.

This book is a real departure from The One Hundred’s simple philosophy that owning a number of classic can’t-go-wrong pieces would allow you to assemble “classic” looks that are uniquely you. It is a book about “looks” someone else made famous and that a million other people are all trying to copy better than the next person. While I believe fashion to be a kind of language, and that you need to learn the vocabulary, I doubt this book is the best way to do it. It is filled with too many pictures of “essentials” disembodied from people, making it difficult to see what makes them essential or how they would go together in an outfit. In short, it can lead to that junior high mentality of deciding who the cool girls are and then trying to get their clothes. The best part about it is that by seeing other people’s wardrobes and hearing them talk about their choices, you begin to be able to see yourself in more daring styles. However, that could probably be better accomplished by watching iconic women in the films that created the styles. In Tim Gunn’s book, he lists a movie for most of the looks he identifies:
1) Euro Chic?/Les Francaises—Catherine DeNeuve in “Belle de Jour”
2) Masculin/Feminin—Katharine Hepburn, Coco Chanel “Masculin/Feminin”, “Desk Set” ”, “Last Year at Marienbad” (Costumed by Coco Chanel)
3) Risk Takers—Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chloe Sevigny, “Sex in the City” *Tim Gunn notes that you should only borrow one piece from any outfit of theirs.
4) Rock and Roll—Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Cat Power, or your favorite rockstar.
5) Bohemians—Beatrice Wood, Donna Karan, Edith Bouvier Beale, “Grey Gardens”
6) Les Doyennes—Deeda Blair, Pauline de Rothschild, Lee Radziwell
7) Power Brokers—Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Vanessa Redgrave “Blow Up,” “The Devil Wears Prada”
8) American Classic—Anything with Grace Kelly or Katharine Hepburn. “The Philadelphia Story”, “Rear Window”, “To Catch a Thief”
9) Bombshell— “L’Avventura”, “Il Grido”, “How to Marry a Millionaire”
10) Siren—Angelina Jolie, Nigella Lawson, Julie Christie “Dr. Zhivago”, “Darling”, “The Go-Between”, “Shampoo”
11) Gamine (the Audrey Hepburn “waif” look)—“Funny Face” or “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” more recently, “Amelie.”

So queue up the NetFlix and settle on the styles you like. The goal is to get a clearer picture of how clothes can help you achieve particular looks and to fall in love with pieces that could make your signature look. If you need a little extra help, our friend Tracy does fashion consulting. She helped me five years ago when I had no idea what to do. In about five hours, I went from having four items of clothing to having an entire wardrobe. Having her hand me something I thought was crazy and then seeing how chic it looked on gave me the courage to move away from "cute" to "professional and hip." Sometimes another point of view is what you really need to remake your style.

Your Own Makeover

Every five years or so, I decide it's time to polish my personal style. This usually happens when I start to look teacherly (ugh!). It happened again recently, and I decided in my usual fashion to do exhaustive research and compile a list of action items. You all are the beneficiaries of my madness.

Finding Your Style
I highly recommend watching "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" and "What Not to Wear," with special attention to the "rules" and "opti-scan" segments. Those will help you learn what looks good on your body. Stacy & Clinton's book, Dress Your Best, does the best job of going body-type by body-type and showing you pictures of things that will minimize your "flaws" (see also The Lucky Shopping Manual). Nina Garcia, however makes a point that your "flaws" may be what distinguishes you (think Frida Kahlo's uni-brow or Barbara Streisand's nose), so if you have ample hips, you might just want to show them off sometimes. The goal is to understand Tim Gunn's mantra "fit, proportion, and silhouette" as it applies specifically to you. Where does a well-fitting jacket hit on the shoulder? How should your pants lay? (hint: no gathering under the toosh or across the crotch) Where should jackets hit your hip? Where should your skirts hit your knee? What shapes of skirt and trouser best balance your frame? What size print is in proportion with your height? What kind of neckline draws the most attention to your face? (hint: it is almost always v-neck) Get to where you feel comfortable answering those kinds of questions about your body. It was very helpful for me to find a movie star with my body type and then watch what the costumers put her in in movies. Before you tell me there are no movie stars with your shape, consider boy-shaped Cameron Diaz, full-figured America Ferrera, top-heavy Katherine Heigl and Jennifer Connelly, petite Kelly Ripa and Sarah Michelle Gellar, curvy Scarlett Johanssen, tall Julia Roberts, and pear-shaped Heidi Klum, J. Lo, and Beyonce. You can also make note of clothes that look awful on you, as often their opposites look best. Do your own research until you feel like you know what you're looking for.

After you have figured out what looks good on you, the next step is to clean out your closet. I like to go one section at a time, so it may be advisable to start by organizing your closet into work and casual pants, skirts, tops, jackets, coats, and dresses. Start with the stuff that's been in storage longest since it will be easy to give away and will give you momentum. Try on anything you haven't worn in the last year, and if it doesn't make you look fabulous, give it away. If you find it hard to part with, wear it for a day and see how you feel--I'm usually happy to get rid of too-tight, itchy, or doesn't-go-with-anything clothes after I've spent a day dealing with them. Also give away anything you find yourself tugging at all day. Keep in mind Tim Gunn's guidelines of fit, style, and proportion. If it doesn't fit, or is ill-proportioned for your body-type, or is out of style, let it go. Do not save pieces thinking the style will come back around. It will come around again updated and your pieces won't work. If you still need help purging, invite a fashionable friend over to watch you try on things you wear often, but have never gotten compliments on (you should definitely do this if you are as fashion-impaired as the women on the makeover shows, otherwise you will end up saving hideous items). Finally, if you are a packrat, I suggest imposing an artificial limit of three similar items. If you have five black work skirts, and you prioritize them, you probably don't actually ever wear skirts 4 and 5. If they really seem like good, timeless items, or you're not wearing them temporarily, on a very limited basis you can make a "shopping in your own closet" box. This box is for things you can use when you wear out the things you are using now (i.e. you found the perfect sweater and bought two, shoes were eighty percent off and you bought five different pairs of black work pumps, etc.). There should not be more than one such box. If you go into it later and decide not to take something out to use, you MUST give that item away. When you finish, you should love getting dressed in the morning because everything you have in your closet makes you look fabulous--that's your goal.

If you have things that might be able to be repaired, follow Tim Gunn's rule that you should take them in within five days, and if you don't, they don't matter enough to you to keep. You may also find that you have things you would love if they were just hemmed or had darts added, etc. Your dry-cleaner can probably do these things, but it is well worth finding a good tailor if you aren't the fit model for your size. In the meantime, Nordstrom has an alterations department for things you buy (or bought) there (no proof required, but they're not going to hem your target jeans). If you have a small budget and a friend who sews, this may be a great option for you (I got a little black dress and fitted jacket for $20 through this option). Get everything washed, mended and dry-cleaned so you can have a clear view of what you own for the next step.

Cataloging (The Most Fun!)
So now that you only have things you love, you are hopefully developing a better picture of what your personal style is, as well as probably some gaps in your wardrobe. Lucky for you, I compiled everyone's checklists into one list of essential items with specific suggestions. I suggest also at least leafing through Nina Garcia's The One Hundred to see why the classics are classics, and to find out which are the best versions. It may help you picture good versions of basic items, and it has lovely illustrations. So take the list, check off the things that are already in your closet, and consider what you're missing. Try to visualize something that would add variety to your wardrobe and that follows the guidelines for things that make you look fabulous. You may now go forth, and shop!

From now on, you are shopping with a shopping list, like going to the grocery store. You don't wander around the grocery store when you are hungry--you end up with terrible things that all make you look worse. The same thing happens at a sale when you don't have a list. I suggest thinking of your closet as a sort of "fashion pantry" (even though you will all laugh at me). It works best when stocked with the things you always use. The more classic the piece, the more things it will go with and the longer you will wear it. Buy these classic pieces when they are on sale so your wardrobe is always stocked. This way, you can take your time building it up, and it will be easier to afford. This season will have many of the best deals you will see for years. Retailers bought their winter inventory before consumer spending tanked and will have to mark it down fantastically. They know what's up for next season, so the deals will still be good, but not as good as right now. Find out when your favorite retailer's "Friends and Family Days" are and sign up to get the coupon, since it usually applies to everything and goes on top of clearance (I'm not suggesting you buy everything on clearance, it's just that if you know when sales are going to be and you are planful about your shopping, you can avoid meltdown moments in the dressing room of knowing you have to buy something and can to splurge when you find the perfect thing at full price. It puts you back in control). If you don't have tons of disposable cash lying around, build a wishlist--the holidays are coming and Amazon now has its "Universal Wishlist Button" that lets you add items from all over the internet. Good luck, and enjoy!

Download the checklist.

Garcia, Nina, and Ruben Toledo. The Little Black Book of Style. New York: Rayo, 2007.

Garcia, Nina. The One Hundred : An A-to-Z Guide to the 100 Items Every Stylish Woman Must Own. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.

Gunn, Tim. Tim Gunn : A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style. New York: Abrams Image, 2007.

Kelly, Clinton, and Stacy London. Dress Your Best : The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That's Right for Your Body. New York: Three Rivers P, 2005.

These I have not read yet, but they are next on my list because they have pictures of exactly what Tim Gunn recommends doing:
France, Kim, and Andrea Linett. The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style : Creating Iconic Looks and Making Them Your Own. New York: Gotham, 2008.

France, Kim, and Andrea Linett. The Lucky Shopping Manual : Building and Improving Your Wardrobe Piece by Piece. New York: Gotham, 2003.

The Greatest Movies Ever Made

So it's getting on to the end of the year, and life is pretty miserable. They want the year to be over; I want the year to be over. So today I tried to figure out what I would do for the last few weeks of school. It occurred to me to do a unit on film, and that got me thinking, "what suitably excellent piece of cinema could I show high school students and expect them to enjoy?" I got a little side-tracked and ended up compiling a list of The Greatest Films Ever Made. Now all I need is a Netflix account.

Homer's Odyssey: Part 2

Books III & IV

What does Telemachus learn from Nestor and Meneleus?

It seemed to me/us that though both had arrived home and were with their families, neither were so enviable as Odysseus would be on his day of homecoming.

Nestor attributes just about everything to the gods, surrendering much of the control in his life. He is the opposite of “resourceful” Odysseus who makes his own way. Of the two great counselors at Troy, Nestor proves to be famous only for making it home quickly, while Odysseus wins wide fame for the scheme that sacked Troy. Nestor seems a little bitter and spends an awful lot of time talking about how right he was to leave early.

Meneleus represents the other end of the spectrum in terms of “resourcelessness.” He presents a picture of impotence, being unable to keep his wife at home, wage his own war, save his brother, or even discern how to please the gods and arrive home. Katrina pointed out that he is a man of big words, saying that he would displace a city to have Odysseus near him, and he would trade all his wealth to save those who died at Troy, but he is unable to deliver. Nestor is humble even to the exclusion of glory (kleios). Perhaps Odysseus will represent something like a golden mean, though seemingly a different one from Aristotle’s great-souled man. His a man of many resources who more than the others seems to drive his own fate.

It seems that while on the trip, Telemachus should have seen that simply arriving home is not all it’s cracked up to be, that Odysseus is a greater counselor than Nestor and has a better wife than Meneleus has, but what did he learn about becoming a man, a king like his father? What evidence is there that he learned? There is the lie he tells Meneleus about needing to hurry back to his companions in Pylos, but what other evidence is there that Telemachus understands his father better and is becoming like him?

Why does he keep asking about Orestes?

Homer's Odyssey: Part 1

My friend, Katrina, and I are reading the Odyssey, by Homer. We are suitably
baffled by parts and you are cordially invited to both join us in our inquiry,
and resolve our confusion.

Book I

Questions we pursued:

· Why, out of all the misadventures Odysseus endures does Homer mention the slaughter of Apollo's cattle in the first paragraph? What is recklessness?

· Why is Zeus thinking about "blameless" Aigisthos (we're not totally clear on how Orestes failing to accept Aigisthos shows the need to tame a son's ambitions)?

· Why is Telemachus so hard on Penelope when she asks Phemios not to sing the song about Troy (do his words have a different meaning for the suitors than they do for Penelope, who lays his serious words deep away in her spirit?)?

Questions that remain:

· Why does an epic about homecoming have to have a polytropos hero?

· Does the companions' recklessness with the cattle have anything to do with the recklessness Zeus speaks of in line 34? Is Aigisthos reckless?

· How much of her plan does Athena articulate in the council?

· Why does Telemachus invite the suitors to eat and hear Phemios, then tell them that tomorrow at the assembly he will kick them out, then lie to them about Odysseus being alive? It seems a strange sequence of hospitality, boldness/truth, and lies.

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