Friday, June 28, 2013
______No matter where I go, I always seem to rub eyeballs with the kindest of strangers. From hip young college kids to wizened gentlefolk with wrinkles clawing the corners of their smiling eyes, I've acquainted myself with a good bunch of people around town.
______I take myself on occasional me-dates to Jason's Deli to read and study, for example, 'cause I'm rather excellent at dating myself. Apparently, I have some unique habits that the manager has already taken note of, such as securing myself a booth by fiercely slamming a book on it facedown, eating my salad greens before digging into the chicken and cranberries and pumpkin seeds, and never touching the salad dressing.
______I also like to put my waiting number upside down to keep the servers on their toes.
______I'm quite cruel, really.
______One busy afternoon, the manager joked with me, saying, "Staking your territory again?" as I rushed by him to smash my book on the last open booth. I shot him the whites of my teeth and saluted with two fingers, then immediately hopped my way toward the restaurant's bustling line of hungry people. My booth in tact, I felt at ease and was ready to place my usual order.
______When you frequent the same places, I guess it's a given that you'll cultivate common ground with a soul or two. The workers usually pique interest in my reading material, and one of them even asked me how long it's going to take me to get through the first Game of Thrones book... I'm still picking my way through it, conquering it chapter by chapter, even though it's taken me a month to get halfway.
Top: Charlotte Russe
Skirt: Know Style
Booties: Chelsea Crew
Chevron earrings: Charming Charlie
Spike bracelet: c/o Maxnina
ET pin: I shit you not, one day it just appeared in my ring box
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
______Some time ago, my darling friend and fellow wonderblogger, Amber, contacted me via carrier pigeon for an artsy opportunity.
______The carrier pigeon she sent came as a whirlwind of flapping feathers through my window, swirling alongside my ceiling fan until finally slamming into my bookcase. I scooped the awkward creature up and plucked the note from its scrawny leg, a little peeved about his messy landing. In curly burgundy handwriting, the note read:
______"Dear Ali, pls o pls draw me a thing and we shall rejoice with fancy lemon-enhanced sparking water and tootsie pop bouquets."
______Immediately after I read the note, a second carrier pigeon smashed beak-first into the previous one. This new pigeon was quite pudgy and his leg was equipped with an even lengthier scroll of paper. The chubby bird limped toward me, each hobble-step more agonizing than the previous, and I concluded that he had been emotionally eating upon the realization that Windex would never again employ him as a model in their window cleaner commercials.
______And how effortlessly he crashed into any window, too! Whether diamond-paned or slightly reflective, pummeling into a variety of windows was one thing he could never get wrong. The fat bird sighed.
______I detached the note before the poor creature could hobble any further toward me. The bird flopped over in exasperation, too tired to move or think about his future employment any longer. And so I sat at my desk, two restless birds by my side, and I began to read.
______Since my dream job is to be an illustrator, I inhaled the opportunity to illustrate Miss Amber's short story, which paints the musings of a man who romanticizes those around him to unrealistic expectations. People adored and were enamored with him; however, since he held himself back so much, he was never able to feel and connect with those around him, so the affection was rather one-sided.
*note: no pigeons were harmed or even existed before or during the creation of this post.
Friday, June 21, 2013
______A fortnight ago, I found out I was sensitive to gluten.
______Yeah, a fortnight. You bet I waited two weeks to use that word.
______The signs were subtle at first, with little cramps here and there and a slight rising feeling in my bloodstream after eating something with wheat in it, but I always assumed that was the norm and didn't question it. I'm not one to eat much wheat in the first place, though whenever I did, things never sat right in my stomach; however, I thought that was just how the cookie crumbled and how my stomach rumbled.
______But then on that fateful night two weeks ago, after devouring a marinara-drenched calzone alongside the woman who birthed me and the man who made that birth possible, things went rotten quick. The next morning, it felt like my intensines were being stabbed by needles that expanded and contracted after poking me, and a murky, weak sensation dizzied my mind and body.
______This wasn't one of those food hangovers that we all get once in a while after stuffing ourselves silly like a Thanksgiving turkey. This was AMURICA, LAND OF THE FR--wait no, I mean this was the unfortunate result of having a gluten intolerance.
______Not as cool. Or as free.
______Upon unearthing this tibdit of information, I've been able to purge gluten from my diet for two weeks, and my stomach hasn't hurt once! I've had a lot more energy, too, and thankfully nothing has really changed with what I'm eating. The only wheat I ever ate before was a slice of wholegrain toast in the morning with a hearty slathering of cashew butter on it, and that's been ever so easily swapped with a brown rice cake.
______That's not to say I'm thanking my gluten intolerance for not making me too much of a prisoner in its grasp, because I'll surely miss sinking my teeth into the occasional soft-crusted pizza or chewy chocolate chunk cookie. But it is something I can endure, and definitely one of the least horrible things that could've been messed up with my insides. I mean, the internet is totally teeming with gluten-free recipe blogs to fill any food gaps I'll be missing, right?
______I sure hope so! Things could have been much worse--I could have discovered that I was lactose intolerant, for goodness sake. If I couldn't have the occasional scoop (or two, or five) of ice cream, I'd be desperately lost and miserable for all of eternity. Stumbling on such a realization, I'd probably scramble to the nearest pit full of searing hot coals, vicious unicorns, and hungry cannibalistic Vikings, and dive right in, praying the pit's contents would shred me to pieces as quickly and painlessly as possible.
______Luscious dairy delights are one of those things I couldn't ever give up. I love me some ice cream, I love me some yogurt, I love me some mold-ridden cheese, and I love me some goats.
______(The last one doesn't relate, really, but I just wanted to share my adoration of goats.)
______What's one food you could never give up?
Top: Forever 21 (please excuse how obsessed with the back of it I am)
Skirt: Know Style
Oxford heels: Jeffrey Campbell
Rose earrings: Charming Charlie
Saturday, June 15, 2013
______One of the most relieving feelings is when you're able to fervently type out a new blog post from start to finish out in under an hour. I find that these moments occur most often at night, when it is somehow easier to tear yourself open and tug at your heartstrings and pour out whatever stuff your soul can fabricate into the form of words.
______Ah, yes. You have done it! You have corralled your tangled mind-words into a single dimension and smoothed them into something coherent. Your words have finally stained black on digital white parchment and no more cursor-dragging, highlighting, and deleting is necessary. It took some time, but you are hands-on-your-hips proud. You have done your deed as a blogger. And now, upon framing your post with a set of outfit photos, it is time to publish dat shit, as they say so coolly on the internet.
______And you wait. And the comments begin to trickle in. The first one is chewy and hard to digest:
______"cute dress xoxo follow me via GFC?"
______Your eyes twitches; you are slightly repelled by your screen. Och. Well, maybe the next one?
______"love your blog, check mine out sweetie!"
______The web address and closing signature this one left is longer than the painfully heart-felt comment itself. Though you've never before acquainted yourself to this anonymous commentator, a sense of betrayal invades you.
______I want there to be meaning and substance behind my posts, and for you all to realize there's a living, breathing, partial-human-and-possibly-part-mythical-creature-being on the other side of the screen. I want my posts to unveil something beyond a staged set of selfies picturing cutesy oxfords and flippy skirts. I don't want to be as shallow as a kiddie pool, seen through easily by the surface; I want to be a lagoon, an ocean, murky and swimming with sensations and emotions and other metaphorical sea-goodies.
______I feel like it's difficult to say that as someone who kind of categorizes herself as a fashion blogger, someone who gets giddy over shopping and window-gazing and dreaming of outfits and ogling slender mannequins donned in gilded jewelry, frothy lace skirts, and twirl-worthy dresses. Yes, I do get excited over finding a pretty dress. And yes, I do probably spend too much time opening and closing internet tabs in hasty search for fashionable things. And yeah, if the opportunity comes where I can make a post in exchange for a pretty, tangible something, I'm probably gonna snatch it up.
______I like clothes!
______I like stuuuuuuuff!
______But wait, there's more! There is?
______I also like substance, the innate kind of substance. The substance you can't touch, but that can be extracted to the form of words. Yes, I like to surround myself in things that I feel define me, fill a part of me, describe something about me, says something I fear words cannot.
______But I also like to share the stuff inside of me--and I'm totally not talking about guts and intestines and those wiggly, fleshy, organ-like things we all have. I mean yo soul. The experiences, the adventures, the stories and the silly little moments in life that can't be worn in the form of clothing. The expressions that flash and ignite and smoke and fire in your eyes when you're gaping about something you're absolutely enamored with, absolutely passionate about. The maestro-esque hand motions and the slight body shifts that are you and nobody else. Those innard thingies are just as eager to seep from my mind and stain my blog as the tangible stuff is.
______And I hope it does.
______I guess in a metaphorical sense, I want the words of inside-me inside accompany the fashion-y pictures of outside-me. I try to present inside and outside; shell and core.
______But does that mean that's all there is to me? Just because I like to decorate my exterior, does that mean my intristic value is somehow reduced, overshadowed? I feel like that's a myth surrounding fashion-type blogs, and I wish it'd be mythbusted asap.
______It almost seems like too much of a contrast, too much clashing. You can't have both a worthy soul and dress yourself funky, can you? I hope you can. I hope you can dress pretty and be intelligent, too. I hope you can be more. And I hope that people don't accept that as a fashion blogger, that's "all there is to you."
______I hope that someone doesn't scratch at my surface and end up with more surface. I don't want to just be layers of surface. Nobody wants to bite into a Reese's peanut butter cup only to discover a lack of peanut butter.
______I don't want to have 1,000 followers and not know a single blip about you guys. I get that some people aren't here to make friends, but just to become America's Next Top Model, but I dunno if I would be good at blogging for that sole purpose. I want to be able to regurgitate facts about the people I've met, like how I know Linda is probably the strongest-willed, most down-to-earth gal I've met, and how Katherine has a keen taste for unique foods and drinks and is wearied by the same old, same old, and how Katie is one of the kindest souls to walk this planet, and how Keit could royally kick your ass in real life (and probably in any video game ever), and how Marlen is an incredibly adept writer, and how Lyddie has a superb and eclectic musical taste. I could go on...!
______I like watching the snow fall as much as anyone else, but I don't want to end up snowed in; I want to watch each snowflake and learn its little intricacies, your little intricacies, and where they repeat in a quirky manner or what parts of it are geometrically slashed out. You all are my snowflakes, and I could never be warmer.
______I wanna know people! And I do know people, and I'm thankful for those that I do know. I'm honored to have met as many amazing people as I have, and I want to thank all of you who I've met and befriended and who read my posts with a genuine care. You know who you are. If even the smallest flame of acknowledgement flickered in your mind, you are, you are, you are.
______Why do you blog?
Dress: Cynthia Rowland (via TJ Maxx)
Sandals: Franco Sarto
Necklace, Earrings: Charming Charlie
Hair: styled by my lovely momma
Monday, June 10, 2013
______I don't know about you guys, but I'm always planning out little conversations and comebacks in my head for all sorts of situations that could unexpectedly pop up and smack me in the face. That way, if the day where I am pulled over by a police car ever does come, I'll be ready for it, charm and wit in one hand, dashing decent looks and every ounce of confidence in the other.
______So let's pretend that day has finally come, shall we? That day when suddenly, piercing blue lights appear in my rear view window, causing my heart to sink and my stomach to churn a thousand shades of panic.
______Like a cautious turtle on a traffic infested road, I ease my car to the pavement's edge. I roll my window down and keep my hands firmly on the steering wheel--ain't nothing sketchy here! Just a female in her convertible beetle bug, the most innocuous of cars.
______Alright, Ali, you got this! You're not going to get a ticket, no way. If all comes to worst and your winning personality suddenly can't handle it anymore, just cry. Cry a river. Cry a lake. Cry the saltiest sea of all, and feign immense sorrow and regret, and hope the police officer has a soft spot for desolate young females who are simply trying to find their place in life.
______I hear a door open and close swiftly, followed immediately by the crackling sound of footsteps on gravel; it sounds like bubble wrap popping and it is growing louder, getting closer. Cars make sudden whooshing noises as they speed by. Crunch, crunch, pop. The police officer is unfazed by the vehicles racing closely alongside him. He feels empowered by his physical proximity to them. Snap, crackle, pop. The Rice Krispie elves might be summoned soon if he takes any longer to make it to my car. Crunch, crunch. I am getting hungry for Rice Krispie treats. Crunch.
______Already, I sense that the policeman has no fear. He crunches rocks with ease. I catch a glimpse of him in the mirror and see a tall, uniformed man decked out in sleek cop gadgets. His mirrored aviators make him feel strong, mysterious, hidden within himself, though clearly present. He finally approaches my window and peers over his mirrored sunglasses at me. I see a twisted, curved reflection of myself in them--exactly what I must be in this moment.
______His brow creases and he says, "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
______Here it is. Now is time for my response. Do or die.
______I muster up my courage and liquify it into words, replying quickly, "Is it because you are a police officer who wanted to put my heart under cardiac arrest?" I snicker to myself because I am so witty and thought of this utterly clever pick-up line all by my hilarious self. Goddamn! I think. I will get out of this so easily. Nobody can resist the charm of Ali Hval.
______Mr. Cop-Man grins slightly and releases one of those laughs that is really just air blowing through the nose, but stops himself immediately and pauses. He warily takes a step back. He, a police officer, has revealed an emotion on duty. He has shown that there is indeed a human beyond his fortified exterior, one who can laugh and be surprised and possibly even choke back a tear at the end of a touching episode of Blue's Clues. Faltering upon the revelation of his humanity, he falls silent. What will I say? He thinks. There is nothing left for me to say.
______In his mind, he plays back the two most important rules he learned in cop camp about being a successful cop on duty:
______Rule one: thou shalt purge thyself of human emotions
______Rule two: stop eating donuts on the job; it's giving us a bad rep
______The second one was difficult enough. He should have been an Iron Chef, just like he had dreamed throughout his high school years. Then not only could he be the emotion-laden man he truly was, but he could also eat all the donuts in public he wanted. Heck, he could make his own donuts, ones polished with sweet glazes and pumped full of chokecherry jelly. But no, he chose the life of a policeman, which simultaneously crumbled his zealous dreams of becoming a small-town pastry chef. Doubting his life choices, and suddenly spiraling into some semblance of a mid-life crisis, the policeman self-combusts as swiftly as the Pokémon Voltorb.
______I roll up my window and drive away. I am ready.
Dress: Ross Dress for Less ($8!)
Heels: Chelsea Crew
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Purse: Ralph Lauren
Thursday, June 6, 2013
______I don't watch much television, but when I do, it's either nostalgic anime or cartoon episodes streamed through the internet or a certain something on HBO. That something on HBO? Why, it's no other than my mother and I's guilty pleasure: da da dum... True Blood.
______Go ahead and judge me--I've heard it all. Your petty peasant insults do no more harm to my wellbeing than flinging marshmallows at iron would.
______Moving on--one of my favorite characters from the show is Sophie Anne, or who I refer to as the queen bitch. She's the vampire queen of Louisiana and doesn't hesitate to let people know that. She carries herself regally, though she's also a little distracted and has the crazy-smart-weird intelligence of... well, a crazy-smart-intelligent person. Basically, she's a sinister little lady who can fry people's minds with her words and charming good looks, and well, I wouldn't mind dressing like someone who can do that. And so I did!