Monday, August 24, 2015

For What It's Worth

House
House
(all photos by Brandon Smith)

______Something different for you all today! I've caught myself in another busy rut but managed to get out with one of my friends for a neat little photoshoot in a decrepit old house. These photos are all shot by my friend Brandon, but he allowed me the freedom of editing them to give them an eerie, ghostly feel. I'm all for that blue-tinted, ethereal spirit sauntering through an abandoned house aesthetic.

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______From outside, the house looked like one of those locations you'd expect an unruly gang of ghostbusters to have an absolute ball in attempting communication with spirits. It was quaint, victorian, and decaying, with a roof that sunk from gravity's relentless pull and chipped wooden white railings that lined the front porch. Vines crawled up crinkled blue paneling and into its crevices like sneaky snakes on a sneaky snake mission (whoa, slow down there, Ali). The shingles were warped and uneven like crooked teeth and the windows were barred.

______I mean, it was definitely a nice starter house if you weren't concerned about mold chipping precious years from your life.

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______The back door was open, which is where we made our entrance.

______The air was stagnant and dust motes swam like minnows in the fading light that poured from the windows. Even the spiders had abandoned their webs. In the first room, half the ceiling's surface peeled back like an orange and hung limp against the floor. Another room had a broken window that fell out of itself. My favorite room, which most of the pictures here are in, had a lightbulb dangling at your eye's height, a crumbling fireplace, and the most delectable molded wallpaper. Can you say dream house?

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Nightgown: my mom's from way back when

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cinderelly Dressed In Jelly

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______I woke up this morning and decided I was going to sandwich the two most unlikely pieces together: the most smaaaaaahhhhhhshing neon pink jelly shoes and a confectionary-worthy blue dress. If you don't question the combination, is it even fashion? Boom shakalaka.

______I must shamefully admit that these are the third pair of jelly shoes I've purchased this summer. They were on sale. Don't judge me. Like Twinkies and the Neopets account you'll never be able to delete since you forgot your password, jellified plastic is forever. Jellified plastic is never a bad decision. Unless you're throwing it in an ocean. Then whales eat it, whales fail to digest it, and whales frickin' die. Not cool, man. Not cool.

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______One of my best friends lives in North Carolina and besides texting, we tend to video chat back and forth via extreme, Olympic-worthy Snapchatting. She'll send a stack of videos and I'll reply with my own stack, and usually we'll end up sending so many selfie videos that our conversations run tangent to the initial topic. She may send an inquiry about my most recent thoughts on the current state of the millennial generation, but due to delivery delays, could receive as an apparent reply, a video of me vividly describing a strange blonde bird outside that looks like Donald Trump's hair.

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______One thing that came up in a recent discussion was how we both aren't entirely satisfied with where we are after graduation.

______She confessed that she was envious how I was able to produce art on my fellowship and didn't have the pressure to get a job immediately after graduating; I confessed that I was envious of how she was already financially stable living on her own like a fully functioning adult, free to travel wherever she wanted. We both shifted guiltily, knowing it's selfish to think this way, knowing there are others who have it harder than us and have it much worse. But this is the way we both are: ambitious, desiring to be independent, and with minds that are constantly on the move, like recently hatched baby turtles who hurl themselves into the relentless ocean and expect not to drown.

______We both kind of laughed at the absurdity of desiring each other's successes instead of enjoying our own.

______Sure, she feels like her job is repetitive and knows it won't be her lifelong career, but she's climbing an uphill track and doing extremely well for being out of college for just three months. For that, I am proud of her. And sure, I might be as close to a career as a tomato is to be being a pineapple, but the fellowship I'm on gave me a year to produce work and acquire as much knowledge as possible through the workshops for which I was given funds. In addition, living at home with my parents who I get along with means I don't have to pay for rent or groceries. My friend and I both successful in our own ways, and we've simply failed to come to terms with that since we're too busy focusing on the future instead of the now. And that needs to change.

______Tell me one thing you really, truly appreciate in your life right now. Go!

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Dress: KnowStyle (very similar)
Jelly shoes: Juju (similar)
Ring: graduation gift from dad, local jewelers
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Earrings: Charming Charlie

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pantalones Locos + JORD watches

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______I was recently contacted by JORD Wood Watches to try out a piece from their new line of wooden watches. I chose the Ely model, a hearty piece crafted from a smooth blonde maple that was custom fitted to my wrist. Snug as a bug in a rug. Notched as a watch on a... Loch...ness... monster.

______Ha ha. Um. Anyway, it arrived in a beautifully crafted wooden box with a slide-open top that's a delicacy in itself. Their watches are eco-friendly, meaning tossing them into a forest won't turn it into a forsaken landscape of rusted metal scraps and burnt pines. But I wouldn't recommend throwing your watch into a forest for many reasons, one of them being because it's too darn purty, hyuck hyuck. Honestly though, I'll be wearing this watch around as much as I can!

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______I don't believe it's necessary to have your phone on the entire day, and I think watches oughtta wiggle back into our generation for timekeeping. Phones tempt us with their glowing screens and suck us in like your favorite Disney movie, making it easy for us to ignore those in our company,  the ones with whom we should really be sharing an experience. There's nothing that makes you feel more like poo poo than when you're talking to someone and they're more absorbed in their phone than you. Watches allow you to be in the now, 'cause they don't tell you that Arnold Schwarzenegger retweeted a Vine of Paula Deen's cooking show dubbed with 2 Fast 2 Furious dialogue. As great as that Vine is, it'll be there for you when you get home, I promise.

______And if you take a whole gosh darn three hours to reply to a text message, I guarantee that nobody's going to viciously shave your eyebrows off the next time they see you in person for it. Unless their text message read "I'm going to viciously shave your eyebrows off the next time I see you." Then like, you better learn how to draw those suckers on with a Sharpie.

______You don't need to apologize for not being momentarily available. Patience really is a virtue.

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______Though you can't always manage what happens with your time, you can do your best to enjoy those free moments. The weeks spent with my grandma at the sewing workshop in Florida were some of the most peaceful I had, even if my thoughts were swirling with notions of finishing projects and remembering responsibilities when I returned to the land of Alabama. But when you have some down time and are literally forced to be away from your work and usual routine, really make the most of it. Living inside a retirement community and sewing amongst a lively clique of sweet old ladies taught me a lot about slowing down, having patience, and being in the now. It made me a little forlorn, too, but I'll focus on the happy stuff.

______We spring onions should glean some living philosophies from the older folks. For example, in your free time, you should take an hour to whip up a batch of walnut cookies plump with chocolate chips, ask your grandpa about his war stories (because he probably still knows Morse code like the back of his hand), shimmy on over to the pool and toast under the bristling palm trees, or plot how you're going to take over an uninhabited island whilst diligently marking up the daily crossword.

______And do it slow. Savor each step in the process. Really be certain you want to take over the northern island opposed to that one to the east. The one to the east is full of hermit crabs that fart a lot, you know. Nobody wants an island full of those. Not even the crabs do, man.

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Watch: Ely, c/o JORD Wood Watches
Pants: Bealles (exact)
Top: Charlotte Russe
Heels: ASOS (exact)
Ampersand ring: c/o BornPretty
Rings: Charming Charlie (similar)

Ladies Wooden Watches

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Jelly Magician Magic

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______I'm megathrilled (WORD SMAAASH) that jelly shoes are plastered all over the interwebs like wanted posters in a back alley. Not only are they cheap, but they feel cheap, look cheap, and make your feet all hot and bothered in the summer. Aside from an overwhelming majority of cons, there's absolutely no denying they're a) cute as heck and b) jelly magician magic.

______And as one should knowledgeably know, jelly magician magic trumps all.

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______Jelly shoes teleport us to when we were naive nuggets who delighted in the televised adventures of 2D characters, to when wooden spoons skimmed the tops of our single serve ice creams, and to when we hopped on scotch instead of drinking it. When making mud pies garnished with leaves was the closest thing we knew to preparing a well-rounded meal. When riding around with your friends on scooters wearing clunky helmets and knee pads was an absolute daily must. When familiar everyday sounds were the sloshing of water inside glittery hula hoops, the Windows 95 startup tune, the comforting digital screech of dial-up connection, and the pop of a PlayDoh can lid.

______Back to when the stresses of adulthood were things we could not even begin to comprehend. The hardest decision we had to make was how long to stay on the toilet playing our Gameboy Colors after finishing business. Okay, okay: the hardest decision was which starter Pokémon to choose. But you could do that from the toliet.

______What I'm getting at is that jelly shoes, though meager and materialistic, are an escape from adulthood, a portal to a place where all things are fresh and new again... we yearn for that renewal somehow, for that excitement of a first-time discovery. I feel like that's the reason items are reconfigured into new but familiar delights after a few decades: for the sweet feeling of nostalgia.

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______For the next two weeks, I'm staying with my grandmother in Florida. We're going to a week-long quilting and sewing workshop together to enhance our craft and be hardcore ladies in general, and I've gotta say I'm super pumped for it! I'm more than thrilled to spend some much needed time with my g-ma. She's one of the most talented and selfless human beings on earth, always writing poems for her grandchildren and creating eye-popping quilts for them that make you awe in wonder at their intricate designs. She's ridiculously trendy, too, for she plays Mario on her Nintendo 64, texts with truckloads of emojis, and isn't afraid to call someone out when they be trippin'.

______My grandma is some eleventy-billion stars out of ten according to IMDB.

______The workshop we're attending is being held in a fancy resort so I'm definitely keeping expectations high. I've already packed my faux pearl earrings and downed every online guide on how to differentiate various forks and their specific uses (did you know the pokey parts of forks are called "tines"?). After each day of sewing, I'm hoping grandma and I will return to our room to origami towels shaped like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West with a foil-wrapped chocolate placed atop each of their cloth heads. Hopefully, there will be LED lights that line the rim of the toilet which blink eagerly with each flush. A butler in our closet wedged between the fold-out ironing board and metal hangers. And just piles of money everywhere.

______See you guys in a few!

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______What are some of the key elements of your childhood?

Top: Knowstyle (similar style)
Skirt: Charlotte Russe (exact)
Bracelets: Charming Charlie
Jelly shoes: Juju (exact) 
Necklace: Nasty Gal (similar styles)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cotton Candy Mermaid

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______Yesterday I turned the ripe, senile age of 22. Which means that besides beginning to grow fond of those who share inspirational quotes plastered over idyllic landscapes on my Facebook feed, I have decided to dress as mature as possible, donning myself in clothing fit for a cotton candy mermaid...

______My day was fairly eventful. Other than buying four pairs of shoes from dee interwebs (my god, Ali, you materialistic piece of poo poo pie), baking myself a cookie cake and eating far too much of it in the process, I went on an extra long bike ride, even managing to cross paths with the eccentric cyclist you may remember me writing about months ago, the one called Northern Lights. When I run into him, I always tell myself I'll turn around and get back at him for all the times he's shouted incoherent ramblings at me, but I've never quite managed to put that plan into action when we actually do cross paths.

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______When he approaches, I can't help but grin because the whole ordeal is just so stupid. His entrance is always the same and always comical: he spots me from afar, jerks his head around to check for oncoming vehicles, and immediately veers to the yellow centerline like the hungriest of sharks as he hunches protectively over his road bike. I always know it's him because the instant we become aware of each other his demeanor changes as if he is a piglet who has suddenly discovered a mud puddle.

______I like this guy. I am entertained by his presence. I feel we've developed a sort of kinship, like two frat bros who both have red trucks and nod coolly as they pass on campus. We don't know each other's names, but I feel like we'd have a thing or two to discuss if we met in the grocery store.

______But back to the story.

______This time, Northern Lights puffed his chest out and pulled his shoulders back, hands balled into fists on his hips as he rode toward me. He screamed something which, as per usual, I could not quite comprehend, and in response I shouted, "BIKE HIGH FIVE!" because it's a game by now, you know, and we did try our very best to high five one another but failed by a shameful amount of yards. It's strange how distance can be so distorted when you're biking opposed to driving or walking on a road.

______Immediately after the unsuccessful bro-five, blinking lights man shouted, "Wake up earlier!"

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______Wake up earlier? Was he implying that I should wake up earlier to join him in his biking shenanigans? Usually he's riding the opposite way, so if I timed it right, we could ride the same way... And with that, possibly gain entrance into the unofficial blinking lights biker cult. Yep, I think that's exactly what he meant. And I think it's a challenge. A challenge I will accept with utmost fervor, ferocity, and... f... f... ferocity again.

______Yeah. So ferocious.

______Hope you all are having a great start to your July. And I just want to say that I'm gleeful as ever to be back in blogland communicating with you all. Your meaningfully written, novel-worthy comments mean the world to me!

Cotton Candy

Top: Lotus Boutique (similar)
Skirt: c/o ForElyse (exact)
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell
Bra: Victoria's Secret (exact)
All jewelry from Charming Charlie (yes, it's ridiculous)