Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blue Dusk

______Unless I am intently focused on the completion of some task, there's a gear spinning in my head reminding me of something else I could be doing at that moment. Part of this inability to be completely at ease at all times is anxiety, part of it is likely from existing in a world where you fault yourself if you're not constantly in motion, whether that be mentally or physically. It is retracing thoughts you've already had to make sure you've thought them correctly. It is making unnecessary lists and crossing things off your unnecessary list. It is a constant hum, an anxious white noise machine that spits sounds of buzzing electronics and the heightened voices of news casters arguing over one another.

______I call these things--these happenings of overthinking, of worrying, of not knowing how to chill the heck out during downtime--The Screamings.

______I suppose The Screamings begin about halfway through my morning workout, the moment I wake and become something more than a tired shell of a human stumbling through her typical morning routine. You know, that moment the tea or coffee kicks in and you realize it's a new day with new checkpoints to reach.

______The Screamings can pertain to anything: thought-screaming scenarios that I weave in my brain, thought-screaming encounters with friends or dogs I dream of petting, thought-screaming ideas of future projects to work on in the studio, or even thought-screaming all the things I need to buy at the grocery store and their exact location within the store. If these thought-screams could be illustrated, they would be words tangled in swirling lines that swept across the page like a smudgy charcoal tornado; the paper would be cheap newsprint that'd rip a few times but could be pieced back together.

______Though my brain screams, I wouldn't be myself with it. Were I not constantly busy or thinking of things to do and make, I'd probably not be me. Better busy than stagnant...

Bralette: Alter'd State (similar)
Top: (similar)
Skirt: Urban Outfitters
Jelly shoes: Juju (similar)
Antler ring: c/o BornPretty
Braclets: c/o BornPretty

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Winter's Spoils + BornPretty

______Many times I've heard people say that no situation is perfect, but I find it hard to believe such a saying applies to me at this point in my life. I feel I am in a place of personal growth where I am constantly pushing limits, breaking boundaries, and other such actions with powerful verbage.

______Even if whatever task or project I am pushing through is difficult and I am living on the meager salary of a graduate student (with much help from the parents in other areas, thank goodness), things have been, well, pretty darn swell. Since I've moved to Iowa, I've found myself more comfortable with myself and my surroundings, no matter how unfamiliar they once were and still currently are; I also feel I have a greater understanding with the work I am producing in the studio, even if it constantly stresses me out and twists my dreams into anxious ordeals. Being alone with myself is more of a solitudinous treat to enjoy than a feeling of emptiness that overwhelms.

______I'm feeling more content than I have ever known before, even with the stress I put on myself, minus maybe that one time my grandma fed me an Oreo when I was small and I discovered my life-long passion for all things sweet and chocolatey. But the stress is good stress, because it's stress about the things I care about. Were it not, I'm sure a little grey raincloud would be following me around, dumping and dripping its rain all over me.

______That being said, I know I am thankful for all that I have now and will continue to have through graduate school, no matter what scholastic hardships I may face...

______Appreciation of life aside, BornPretty sent me another round of gold-coated items: this uniquely-designed antler ring, these dangling teardrop leaf earrings, a delicate branch bracelet, and a bracelet with rows and rows of glittering rhinestones. I'm always fond of their bracelet selection, especially the delicate pieces which are perfect for adding subtle detail on outfits which already have a solid amount of bling in them--such as this glitzy mesh top and sparkly tights.

______And as usual, you can get 10% off your purchase at BornPretty with the code ALT10.

Mesh top: Urban Outfitters (exact)
Skirt: Urban Outfitters (similar)
Tights: similar
Boots: Jeffrey Campbell
Necklace: Nasty Gal
Rhinestone bracelet: c/o BornPretty
Leaf bracelet: c/o BornPretty
Earrings: c/o BornPretty
Antler ring: c/o BornPretty

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


______The temperatures peaked in the mid-30s for the first time in what seemed an eternity.  The snow that was blanketing the ground when I left Iowa was completely melted upon return, except for a few frozen patches that lurked in the shadows. It was a much-needed break after so many days filled with icy blasts of wind, unexpected snowfall, and a raw throat from sucking down so much dry air. I do love the quiet and solitude that comes with grey days and snow, but it's nice to escape what Southern's call "the devil's dandruff."

______Good thing the devil acquired some dandruff shampoo. Things were getting a little wild there for a minute.

______I busted out this vintage jean jacket trimmed with rabbit fur that screams "Slightly Gaudy Upper Half of a Canadian tuxedo." I still remember the day I bought it and ran into my printmaking professor who told me it looked like it belonged on a backup dancer straight out of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" video. I did not disagree with her. I snagged the slightly tacky garment nearly two years ago but haven't had any days cold enough to wear it. That's one of my favorite thing about living in the Midwest: I'm actually able to cuddle up in sweaters like I'm being coddled by a dozen golden retriever puppies without feeling like I just did an intense interval workout. I can wear furry scarves and fur-lined cardigans and stay toastier than toast.

______BornPretty (use code ALT10 for 10% off) sent me a four leaf clover ring, blue necklace, and an open rhinestone bangle. More accessories to add to my mountain of accessories, and I am absolutely loving all the glitz, especially when the skies are grey and the temperatures a wee bit sad.

Jean jacket: vintage
Dress: Forever 21 (exact)
Tights: Nordstrom (exact)
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell
Clover ring: c/o BornPretty
Necklace: c/o BornPretty
Rhinestone bangle: c/o BornPretty

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Flying Solo

______It was as dark as it could have been along an ice-encrusted highway in Iowa at four in the morning. Wind blasted the windshield. There were heaps of snow at the shoulders of the road from the plows that had shoved them there the night before, and a thick blanket of white covered the fields the airport shuttle whizzed by. Stars speckled the clear, inky sky like lint on a black T-shirt, winking and blinking and probably trying to flirt with each other under the cover of night. I glanced at the dashboard in the shuttle: in lime green, the temperature professed it was a toasty -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

______I made my way through the first airport easily enough; it was rather small and the signs were massive and colorful with writing even giants could read, kind of like Airporting For Beginners. The plane began boarding and I sat next to a kind middle-aged man on the plane who was more than content I switched seats with the woman-and-baby duo previously sitting there. When the plane descended from Iowa into Atlanta an hour and a half later, the man generously offered to show me my way around the airport and to my next gate. I was quite thankful for this as the Atlanta airport is a eclectic smorsgaboard of escalators, subway systems, moot stores, and human beings who shuffled eagerly from one place to the next.

______It was definitely not Airporting For Beginners. It was Airporting: Expert Mode, Gold Collector's Edition.*

______*with voiceovers by special guest Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

______The man and I paced through the airport like two bros on a mission, speedier than any subway system could ever be, and he even implored to carry my bag. My bag was a one-hander opposed to a backpack that distributed weight evenly, and it was weighing me down like a willow tree that sagged one way after a heavy rain shower.

______It was safe to say I did not turn down the offer. We passed a bar filled only with two bored employees who wore white shirts and loosened black ties; both were scrolling through their phones to occupy their slow morning. There was a Sonoma store boasting wireless noise-blocking headphones and a Swarovski store stocked with glistening jewels that dazzled under hot white spotlights. The smells of various fast food joints--hamburgers that sizzled on greasy grills, spicy Thai cuisine, and slimy burritos--all permeated our noses.

______I wondered if people ever went there solely to shop and eat. I would.

______As it turned out, our flights were in the same wing of the airport. We got coffee between our two gates had a jolly conversation pertaining to dogs, Alabama football, the state of the economy, and a strangely similar tradition our families had of going out to watch a movie on Christmas Day. I discovered he had five dogs in his residence, three of which his wife had brought in as shelter dogs. I could only wish my life would be as exhilarating and dog-filled someday. There is no sarcasm whatsoever in that sentence.

______I hopped on the plane, hugged the kind stranger goodbye, and after a second 34-minute flight, was reunited with me mum and pop in the land of Alabama.

Top: Forever 21 (similar)
Skirt: Forever 21 (exact)
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell (similar)
Sparkle tights: TJ Maxx (similar)
Necklace: Forever 21
Bow ring: c/o BornPretty
Bone ring: c/o BornPretty
Rhinestone cuff bracelet: c/o BornPretty
Twist bracelet: c/o BornPretty

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Black Velvet + BornPretty

______I haven't purchased jewelry in two years and it's all thanks to BornPretty and their eclectic selection of shimmery accessories.  Thankfully their products are always on point and the recent set of items I recieved is no exception; that being said, I've had a wee bit of an obsession with choker necklaces ever since they made their revival from the 90s, and this heart choker brings me back those perplexing days of middle school and the its curious fashion trends.  I also received a silver bone ring, rhinestone bowknot ring, and a thin criss-cross bracelet.  All sorts of things that mix girly and edgy.

______As always, you can get 10% off your order with code ALT10.

______Somehow we are already three weeks away from winter break even though it feels like the semester has just begun and that I only started making my way around the land of Iowa.  Whereas I only used to know where one Walmart is, I now know where both Walmarts are. I know. It's wild.  Fight me. I also know of many more local spots that once I may have never discovered were it not for outings with friends. Some of the entrances to these places go underground or up to another floor and have tiny doors squished between two buildings that nearly go missed when one passes by. These places remind me of the scene in that beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where the buildings split apart to reveal a secret building in the middle...

______Nonetheless, I'm already dreaming of baking mountains upon endless mountains of cookies that spill over the countertops of my mother's kitchen (she reads this and dreads such disarray in her domestic space), shopping at home where the bell-filled sounds and piney smells of Christmas permeate the stores, and seeing the glittering lights at night that speckle the homes of my parents' neighborhood.  Even driving along what is normally a mundane highway at night is transformed over Christmas, for each of the traffic light poles is accented with a lit-up snowflake, reindeer, or bell marquee.

______The same goes for up here in Iowa: I'll admit to driving around at night just to soak in the delicacy that is the light-wrapped trees and lampposts on and off campus. It really may be the most wonderful time of the year...

Top: TJ Maxx
Skirt: Urban Outfitters
Oxford heels: Jeffrey Campbell
Socks: ASOS
Bow ring: c/o BornPretty
Rhinestone heart choker: c/o BornPretty
Bone ring: c/o BornPretty
Thin cross bracelet: c/o BornPretty