Friday, July 13, 2018

Sunscreen and Lace

______This felt like the first time I've dressed up in weeks. I've been muraling most of the summer and my primary lük has been a paint-stiffened tank, grungy, year-old tennis shoes, and globs of paint in my hair... sweat, sunscreen, and small bugs have been the closest things to makeup I've worn. The first couple of days muraling I'd partake in my usual makeup routine, but knew it would just sweat off or I'd resort to covering my face in sunscreen, thus rendering it moot. Eventually, I succumbed to going makeup-less, and although not anything over a 4-minute regimen, it was nonetheless unnerving those first few days. But then it became easier since I grew more focused on the task at hand and less on the way I looked to potential onlookers.

______And on a day when I wasn't muraling, such as the day these photos were taken, suddenly spending so much time again on my appearance felt like a considerable transformation; regardless, I still recognized myself as me at the core of this so-called transformation. In sum, I'm glad to say I'm comfortable with both versions of myself--it feels just as acceptable for me to be slathered in sweat with my hair in a scraggly, paint-striped ponytail while I'm at work as it does spending time on picking out an outfit and curling my hair for everyday errands.

Dress: Forever 21
Lace kimono: similar
Heels: Vince Camuto (exact)
Necklace: Dolls Kill
Earrings: Francesca's (similar)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Quiet in Blue

______I once read a book where the story's main character was transported from one dimension to another; initially residing in a bustling city, cacophonous from dawn to dusk, she was abruptly transported to a time and place where the sounds of a modern city waned. She noticed, after a few weeks, how at peace she felt with herself and those around her. How every interaction was savored, unhurriedly, how every situation gleamed newness from all that did not distract her. Nothing seemed to irritate her and everything was slow, meditative, deliberate.

______My upstairs neighbors moved out what must have been a couple days ago. I recently returned to my apartment after a week at home and immediately felt the quiet, palpable as ever. There weren't any heavy feet pattering from one side of my ceiling to the next, and chair legs no longer scraped the linoleum. Usually, even into the wee hours of the morning, I'd hear water trickling through the walls, feet shuffling, cabinets opening and closing. If the way my body reacted to these sounds was a line graph, the line would surge sharply with each sound I heard. But now, it was a shallow, undulating line, at ease with the knowledge there would be no surprises in what I was hearing.

______I like the quiet. I'm drawn to the slow serenity nature boasts season to season, from twigs snapping crisply in autumn to the buzzing of bugs in deep summer. I enjoy the sounds birds make, the nocturnes of night owls and the melodies of robins, but the clamor of a metal utensil scraping against a ceramic dish or the drone of vacuuming ramps up my heart rate. I don't know why this is, but I listen to it and can't seem to shake it off as just white noise; unlike nature, it does not eventually fade into the background undetected.

______I think the quiet is an experience I try to recreate in whatever environment I'm in; at home, it's by pairing the soft, orange flames of candles with something I'm interacting with--a drawing, a book, even something on Netflix. In my studio, it's music that cancels out other noises alongside an organized space.

What is the quiet to you?

Dress: Scheels (similar)
Heels: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Earrings: Charming Charlie (similar)
Necklace: Forever 21

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Button Up + eShakti

______Last week, eShakti sent me this lovely navy dress with chunky black buttons which trace the neckline, chunky black buttons that I adore. Adore, I say. The dress came swiftly in the mail--in under a week, which is astounding considering it was customized--and fit just as expected. In the past, I have selected dresses from them which use my specific measurements for a custom fit, but this time around since I had nobody to measure me (#foreveralone), I opted for my usual size and just customized the dress in the form of adding longer sleeves and chopping the skirt length to something shorter.

______eShakti offers sizes 0-36W and a variety of customization details beyond your body's measurements and height: varying sleeve lengths, necklines, adding or removing pockets, dress length, color, and more depending on the specific garment you've selected. So even if a dress seems a little "off" and doesn't necessarily pique your full interest at first, you can tailor it into whatever you'd like. In the end, that basically means you could customize every dress on their website into something you'd like. And that's dangerous, my friends.

Dress: c/o eShakti
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell
Bracelet: Lulus, probably an ancient artifact by now
Ring: from papa bee
Earrings: similar

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Racing Stripes

______I've always been compelled to keep a personal timeline through text and image since I was young, and this has been accomplished through a variety of mediums: diaries, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and even restaurant napkins. Diaries and the like are basically self-portraits you write in order to figure yourself out, to figure out wha image you are projecting into the world. That being said, I don't always see my own image clearly, which is perhaps strange since all this text is accompanied by none other than pictures of myself.

______I see photos of myself and don't always recognize them as me. I see them as someone I recognize on a daily basis but often fail to view that person as myself. I've always struggled with body image, but recently it's been less about body image and more about attempting to construct who I am in my head, noting what it is other people see in me--not necessarily just in terms of physical appearance, but with personality and demeanor, too. I feel like I'm composed of parts and pieces due to pulling personalities and styles from my friends and other influences, taking in their little witticisms and sayings and absorbing and merging them with my own. Perhaps all this image-taking and writing is just me trying to figure out how everything I've come into contact with congeals into one cohesive Ali.

_____ I know I have blonde hair and hazel, sometimes dark green, eyes. I have a scar on my chin from crashing my bike into a parked car and a caterpillar-like scar on my leg from where I had a large birthmark removed many moons ago. I nibble on my nails but don't bite them. I twiddle my hair a lot. I've got some pretty decent sewing skills and lots of pin-pricks on my fingertips to prove it. I spend more time with words in my head than I do speaking them. I get exhausted by people quicker than most, and thus need a solid amount of alone time per day. I don't think I've gone a day in my life without nibbling on some form of chocolate.

_____ Though I have a plethora of photos of myself from day to day that I can look at and definitely confirm as me, I suppose I never think of myself as a specific-looking person when I'm doing something. I suppose in the end, that's what's important: seeing yourself as the actions you perform or the things you do rather than solely your outward appearance.

Dress: Lulus (similar)
Jacket: F21
Gloves: ASOS (similar)
Tights: ASOS
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell
Choker: Valfré (similar)
Rose earrings: Charming Charlie (similar)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Glitter Bomb

______Glitter, rhinestones, metallics, and faceted glass... though acceptable year-round, they seem even more appropriate during the colder months, as they resemble those scintillating and radiant wintry moments like dripping icicles or glittering snow piled in comfortable tufts on the ground. It doesn't get terribly cold in Alabama until late January (traveling from Iowa to Alabama, I gained fifty degrees and shed a few layers of clothing) so one must make up for the lack of winter through other mediums: festive Christmas decorations, twinkling lights, even the way one dresses.

______It's strange to not partake in any of the Christmas decorating at my parents' home; rather, I come home to perfectly fluffed garlands, draping lights, crisply wrapped presents, and tiny elves strategically sprinkled in various nooks and crannies. I miss watching a tree become slowly enshrouded with ornaments until nearly every branch has something nostalgic dangling from it, just as I miss the way the outdoor lights snap on right as night falls. I no longer have much of a way to decorate for Christmas in my Iowa apartment, that is, unless you count the white icicle lights which reside in my apartment year-round or the fir-scented candles that crack like a fire. I feel that decorating any further would be a waste as I end up coming home over the holidays anyway. It's a strange in-between state to be in.

______Nonetheless, I still celebrate in all the ways I can: listening to cheesy, overplayed holiday music and more contemporary versions of the same thing, wrapping and making presents for my own friends and family, and baking a variety of holiday themed goodies are just a few...

Top: Lulus
Skirt: Urban Outfitters
Fur vest: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Heels: ASOS (similar)
Rhinestone tights: Amazon (exact)
Opal ring: gift from dad
Choker: Forever 21
Open glass bracelet: c/o BornPretty
Earrings: Charming Charlie