Dear Elizabeth Arden, Amen, Sister.

A little known fact about me: I love quotes. In fact, in high school I had this terrible tendency to begin every paper with a provocative quote. And my Chanukah present sophomore year, an encyclopedia of quotes. I could search for quotes thematically, which was ideal when constructing a paper in need of a quote on freedom, censorship, or tyranny. Simply stated, no gift has ever given me such delightfully pseudo-intellectual pleasure.

Except, perhaps, the unexpected gift I received today from J. Peterman Company, my favorite traveling clothing and accessories store. I won the infamous Counterfeit Mailbag (which carries a particularly egregious price tag):

Simply by entering a Facebook contest that required a bit of witticism and a whole lot of luck, I secured a $329 bag for free. As a senior on the brink of being broke, free is, of course, my favorite word in the English language. Ok, maybe second favorite word after “coffee.”

Nonetheless, I found the winning revelation a wonderful contrast to the weather and unfortunate Wednesday schedule I have to endure. Despite the blizzard/ice storm/tush-threatening disaster that is the New England outdoors, I have to attend both my classes. And I have to attend them in the absence of my favorite caffeinated beverage. (Did I mention I am on my third diet coke?)

On a normal day, in which I fail to procure expensive accessories for free, I would be bitter and self-deprecating. But today, within seconds of learning of my small victory, I encountered a quote from one of my fashion icons: Elizabeth Arden. Years after building her cosmetics empire, a reporter asked her the secret to success. Her answer: “I only want people around me who can do the impossible.”

Arden has dreamed the impossible, and in the most cliched ways possible, she had achieved the impossible. Taking a cue from my sassy gay friend, I then considered my life and my choices. Yes, I have to go class today, and yes, in doing so, I risk potential bone breakage.

But biological traumas aside, I am in a very fortunate position. Like Arden, I have big dreams. Dreams that drove me four years ago to attend a secular women’s college beyond my New York Jewish bubble, and dreams that will propel me into an equally foreign landscape this summer: South Africa.

If a high school friend had told me four years ago I would be reporting for one of the largest newspapers in (South) Africa when I graduated from college, I would have responded, “Someone forgot to drink her latte this morning.”

So here’s to dreaming the impossible, and as my Wellesley partners-in-crime have taught me, to surrounding yourself with similar dreamers.


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