Saturday, July 18, 2015

Jelly Magician Magic


______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.

Dork Eating Leaf, digital photograph, 2015Jelly

______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.


______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!


______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

Cotton Candy

______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.

Cotton CandyCotton CandyCotton CandyCotton Candy

______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!"

Cotton CandyCotton Candy

______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)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ever Present, Ever Demanding


______I've always wondered how much less complicated life would be if art wasn't a part of it.

______If creating something wasn't constantly plaguing my mind. If I wasn't drawn in by the way a color engaged another color and the relationship they produced. If I wasn't seduced by the alluring sheen of fabrics and the way they shift and change like oceans' tides, always the same material but infinite in their potential. If I lived my life as someone who never dabbled in anything pertaining to the arts ever.

______But I know I could never be that. I know if I didn't produce something substantial at the end of each day, I'd feel as accomplished as the lone yellow Skittle that everyone probably has wedged between the two seats of their couch cushions. Whether through writing, photography, or textiles, I have this desperate, clawing, grasping at the air need to create.


______The want to make is subtle most days, vaguely present on the mind, but more overwhelming and needy on others. You'll be in prime blogging mode when it creaks open the door and slides in.

______"Hey, babe," it whispers huskily, leaning against the door frame. Personified, it's a male model balancing a silver platter of assorted chocolates in one hand and a golden retriever puppy in the other. You can't help but have your attention taken by its presence (mostly because of the dog, let's be honest here).

______"How 'bout you and I spend the evening together," it coaxes in that same nuanced voice. I'm trying to write, you think, but it carries on: "And the next evening. And the next one. And every hour of your existence while we're at it. Also if you don't give me all the attention in the world, I'll probably kill you and your family and stuff."

______And of course you don't say no to a man with a six-pack, a soft dog, and chocolates. Especially if he threatens to kill you. I mean, uh, you don't say no to art.

______It's a metaphor. Shut up. I'm not lonely.

______So you sigh, close your laptop, and get to work. Because if you don't, you'll probably die. Honest!


______Art is romantic but it's exhausting. It's always begging for attention, always demanding more out of you, always leering over your shoulders and whispering sweet nothings into your ear. It reminds you that if you're not climbing up and pushing conceptual and aesthetic boundaries, you're at a standstill. It makes you push the limits of the grid you've created for yourself, pave new territories, tap into unknown areas that walk the line of those familiar to you, make everything grander, better, more efficient, more pleasing to the eyes. And accomplishing the aforementioned requires feeding your soul at all times. It requires thinking, double-thinking, over-thinking, thinking to the nth degree. And it asks that you absorb as much information as possible, whether art related or that peculiar interest you have in the history of rug weaving. Because everything is important and everything is necessary in some way.

______Because everything pertains to you and you are the only vessel which can spur your creations.


______Art is a greedy thing.

______It makes you feel whole and gives you purpose, but it also drains you and reminds you of the less-than-emphasized role it plays in our culture. There are ups and downs to devoting so much energy to creating, but you can't imagine your life without it. You bawl over the tiniest of art-related decisions, over starting new projects, over wondering where the hell creating these things is taking you in life, over what color fabric to pick next. For god's sake, it's just fabric, you think. But it's important somehow.

______You have mini existentialist crises that make you question why, why, why am I making this. Why am I still doing this? What is the purpose of all of this? And then when you try to quit thinking about it, you feel a certain guilt. There's so much work to do, your mind nags. There's always something to be done. It requires silence, patience, a sharp dedication. Though there's a dreamy air to it, it's as much of a grind as anyone else's job. Why worry about death when you can worry about art?

______I guess I've been working at balancing art and everyday life, but at this point in my experiences, I believe the two are attempting to merge into a single entity. Like art and my life are engaged but unsure if it's too soon to share an apartment. Ugh, just get it together, you two.

______What keeps you up at night?

Dress: KnowStyle (similar)
Boots: Korks
Socks: F21
Necklace: Nasty Gal
Earrings: Charming Charlie
Chain Bracelet: Charming Charlie (similar)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

(Not) Clueless


______"Hey, Ali. Hot Topic called. They want their stuff back!"

______Yeah, yeah: I look like a middler schooler who had ten minutes to put together an outfit using items only sold in Hot Topic. In the 90s. In the dark. Wearing a blindfold with the knowledge that my dog was being held hostage in a foreign country. A foreign country whose population favored cats over dogs. Where dogs received less pets than cats. Less. Pets. Than. Cats.

______I know. The horror.

______...I was that middle schooler, though. I remember the days of pink and black striped tube socks, converses with apathetic AFI lyrics scrawled in Sharpie on the rubber parts, and neon jelly bracelets stacked up my wrists. I also had like zero friends at that time and watched a lot of Inuyasha. Those were dark, dark days, ones which were recorded in too many embarrassing diary entries, but going through these faux-punk-rock phases are what makes us who we are in the now.


______Now that I'm all graduated, if anyone has tips on functioning as a REAL LIVE ADULT (all caps necessary), I'd love them. From what I hear, it's all about pretending to know what you're doing, pontificating with friends about interior decorating over wine and cheese from time to time, and buying off-brand everything. Oh! And baking cookies for neighbors if you have new neighbors. You've gotta be polite, right? I can incorporate all those things into my new adult life, plus I can start carrying a monocle and whipping it out while saying "quite, quite / very indeed so / lovely, really / biscuits and tax exemptions" when I need to converse with another so-called adult.

______I do hope you're all having a fabulous end of the week, and forgive me for my awkwardly spaced, awkwardly written posts as I get back into the swing of blogging. I'll have plenty of stories and the like to tell as I remember how to ride this rodeo. Yee haw and stuff, dudes! Have a good weekend!


Skirt: beat up a scotsman and stole it (along with his lunch money) (similar)
Socks: ASOS (similar)
Choker: Nasty Gal
Oxfords: Jeffrey Campbell

Monday, June 8, 2015

I-I-I-I'm Stayin' Alive


______I promise you all I haven't fallen off the face of the earth like a gob of queso falls from a tortilla chip, just as I promise I haven't been taken hostage by a vicious band of time traveling bards. I have merely remained hidden these past few months. Unbeknownst to you, I've been observing everything from behind a very suspicious looking bush. I waddle around on concrete shaking my plastic leaves obnoxiously so everybody knows I'm not a real bush rooted to the earth, but I still inhabit the bush because pretending to be a bush makes you laugh at yourself for hours.

______And you guys know how I love poking fun at myself; that way, you guys can't do it. Because I know you would. BIG JERKS. I bet you all flick ladybugs for fun.

______Besides, if I was taken hostage by time traveling bards, I'd probably join them in their fifteenth century shenanegins. I've always wanted to sharpen my lute skills, become infected with the incurable plague, and be discriminated against since I'm a woman. At heart, I always knew I was a peasant wench.


______My final semester as an undergraduate was the busiest of all with 18 hours of classes and a part-time illustration job. It was a persevering trial where I was included in three shows (one which was an exhibition in a space an undergraduate has never shown before), received a handsome $15,000 fellowship that will allow me to pursue my textile-based art for another year or so (holy potbelly pigs on a plane, batman!), tried to understand my own art and practice through the longest artist statement I've ever written, exchanged names with a range of vibrant people, and performed all those other daily mundane tasks that sap precious minutes away, like exercising and remembering to eat.

such peptomilk

______I'm in no way complaining because being busy is my jam and biscuits, yo.

______It was a nice, productive sort of drowning… like drowning in chocolate milk, and everything around you is so tasty you can't complain. And sometimes opportunistic marshmallows float by and other times obstacles present themselves, like wasps that are still alive are veering toward you on their backs, barely a threat but still terrifying and always looming. And your professors are wearing floaties or lounging on inner tubes and pull you up when your arms need a rest and you need a pep talk, but soon after you willingly dump yourself back in to the chocolate milk. You know you've gotta swim hard since they're always watching.

______Always watching. They could be in a plastic bush watching you slurp down that tea in the art quad. Shake shake. What's that? Oh shit, it's your professor wearing a bush! GET BACK TO WORK, PEASANT STUDENT.

______And then, just like that, graduation smacks you in the face like a drunk guy's sweaty manboob in a mosh pit. And now I've finally begun working on art with the money I've received from the Windgate Fellowship. Basically with that, I was given 15k to better my textile craft-based work, which I've put aside for delicious pricy fabrics and embellishments, two sewing workshops, and renting a studio space.

______So... that's where I've been. I'll be back and frequent as ever on here! Thanks for sticking with me, you guys. You're cooler than cool. You're ice cold. Aw-right-aw-right-aw-right-aw-right.

______Here's to the next year! (I say as I clink my apple juice-filled wine glass to my laptop screen)