Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bird Watching

   The temperatures have dropped and it definitely feels like winter has arrived.  Despite the fact that I was able to wear short sleeves one last time the day these photographs were taken, I was already starting to see the sure signs of a season we have all learned to dread.  
   The change of seasons starts rather subtle.  All of a sudden it's still dark when I wake in the morning.  There's a chill in the air as I leave the house to go to work.  The greenhouse I'm employed at has traded in its' collection of bright flowers for the earthy tones of pumpkins and gourds.  There is the smell of straw bales in the air.  While I enjoy the cozy ambiance of fall, I find myself dreading the short and frigid days of the season to follow.  However, there is no stopping it and looking back at these photographs of the last day of short sleeves makes me already long for the start of spring. 
   I knew fall was officially over when I noticed the squirrel we adopted at the greenhouse had stopped eating the corn we left out for him.  At first many suspected our store cat was responsible for the disappearance of our furry friend.  However, I have always argued our cat is an angel and incapable of such an atrocity.  Besides, I have explained multiple times to our feline companion, we do not eat our friends.  
   It was later noted that all of the squirrels in the neighborhood had simultaneously gone, "missing." To which I replied again, our cat is an angel and would never eat ALL of the squirrels in the neighborhood!...maybe the mice, and a rabbit or two.
   Interestingly enough, at the request of a senior coworker, I have continued to put corn out for our missing squirrel in the hopes that he will inexplicably stumble home from whatever shenanigans he has been up to in his absence.  While we have not seen our missing companion, we do seem to be feeding some nocturnal beast which I am fairly sure may show up someday and expect me to become it's mommy.  With my luck I suspect I have been caring for a badger for the past two weeks. Hey, even ferocious badgers aren't above a handout when they're cold and hungry.
   The second reason I can confirm it's winter is the mouse living in my car.  At first, it didn't register to me what kept gnawing at the caps on my water bottles.  I would sit down in my vehicle, glance at the beverage I had left in the cup holder over night and absent mindedly wonder, why the lid was heavily serrated  around the edge?  Of course, I wondered this while slugging down heavy doses of, what I now refer to as ice cold, "mouse water."  I didn't realize I had a new roommate until I left a bag of cat food in the car overnight and woke up to find it with a shredded. gaping hole.  My first horrified thought was, "My God!  I've been drinking, "mouse water!"  
   I suppose, due to the size of the hole in the bag of cat food, and the amount of subsequent damage the, "mouse," has now inflicted to the interior of my car I could reason that the, "badger," I have been feeding corn too has now moved into my vehicle.  I will state I feel confident it is not a bird since I have not seen any of them around for quite a while.  
   In fact, the only bird I have seen lately is the one I inadvertently, "flipped," in the second to last picture of this post.  While this was not on purpose, I would like to direct this gesture to the upcoming season of winter and the hardships it creates for all the birds, squirrels, badgers, mice, and vehicle upholsteries.  

Shirt:  Vintage
Jeans:  Silver Jeans
Shoes:  Naturalizer
Bracelets:  Cuff:  Leather Bangles:  Gift from a friend.
Sunglasses:  COACH

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Waiting for the Sun"

   I named this post after the obvious issue I was having the day I took the photographs above.  While I will admit that some of these shots turned out kind of cool due to the roll the sun was playing in them, I will state that I was getting a little frustrated by that infamous, "ball of fire," in the sky.  
   Before I started this blog I never put much thought into lighting when it came to photography.  I find this kind of amusing now, due to the fact that I was an art major in college who took at least one photography course and several drawing and painting classes.  If one really considers it, in art lighting is everything.  Maybe my lack of regard, or understanding, of this is why I had such a difficult time portraying things realistically.  I often heard from my professors that my work was stylized and leaned heavily toward the illustration genre.  At the time, I did not fully understand these statements.  I believed I was painting the world as realistically as I saw it.  Perhaps I was, and maybe that says a lot about my perception of things.  However, that is a topic that simply cannot be explored in just one post.
  Returning to the subject at hand, I now understand that light has been something that has been absent from most of my artwork.  I believe this is the biggest reason that most of my representational pieces, while often engaging in subject matter and emotion, are largely unrealistic and dismissed to the world of illustration.  Not that there is anything wrong with that!
   While taking pictures outdoors for this blog, I have had to deal with many different lighting scenarios.  Dealing with these situations has enabled me to have a better understanding of how light changes the overall appearance of its subject.  It can totally alter the tone, mood, and clarity of a photograph.  For example, light can make an individual appear sickly in one picture and magical in the very next.  As I stated before, lighting is everything.
   While I may have been frustrated while taking the photographs above, due to the fact that I was constantly, "waiting for the sun," I will state that I now fear the lack of it.  Unfortunately, it's time to face the fact that winter is almost upon us.  The days have gotten significantly shorter and now I find myself waiting for the sun to actually appear, rather than wishing for it to move out of the way.  I acknowledge that the sun gives us light, which then reflects color, ultimately allowing for beautifully coordinated outfits.  Also without the sun, how would I be able to wear these fantastic sunglasses?

Jacket:  GAP 1969
Shirt:  7 for all mankind
Jeans:  GAP 1969  (Upcycled with custom Keith Haring patches by me)
Sneakers:  Converse by John Varvatos 
Purse:  Matt & Nat
Necklace:  Vintage
Sunglasses:  COLE HAAN

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Walking a Green Mile

   If you aren't familiar with the saying, "walking a green mile," I can assure you it's not just a nod to the Stephen King serial novel.  Even though, crediting him alone for this phrase would suit me just fine because, Stephen you rule!  No, "walking a green mile," is the long walk a prisoner on death row takes to execution.  Now, you are thinking, "I just checked out this blog to read about light, fluffy things like fashion.  Why is she talking about death and execution?"  Let me tell you why.
   Sometimes fashion accompanies one to places they are not sure they wish to go.  I experienced this recently when I was a groomsman in a good friend's wedding.  Yes, I wrote groomsman. A female groomsman, nontraditional?...maybe.  Over the top?...hardly.  By today's standards of parachuting, "Star Wars" themed, dancing down the aisle weddings I thought a female groomsman was pretty tame.  Besides, in a well tailored suit maybe the little bespectacled ladies in the front of the church wouldn't even notice.  Right?...wrong!
   Wrong, because I was wearing a bridesmaid dress.   Wrong even further, because I was not standing on the bride's side of the alter with the rest of the dress wearing crowd.  I was the lone ranger on the groom's side.  I felt like an island of purple chiffon in a sea of black.  Honestly, all of this wasn't so bad until I realized I was to be walking down the aisle by myself with no one to escort me.  No one to escort me!  How was I supposed to find the alter?  Were people going to titter, thinking I had lost my way and went to the men's side of the church?  What was I going to do with my hands, and most importantly how was I going to keep my balance alone with these shoes?!  My solo walk down the aisle felt to me like, "walking a green mile."
   It was the kind text of a friend the night before the event that soothed the insecurities I was going to feel the next day.  I was told to, "own that walk!"  I reminded myself to hold my head up high, keep my shoulders back, and above all make sure to smile.  Surprisingly, I remembered to do all of these things on my, "legendary," groomsman appearance and everyone in attendance was extremely nice and nonjudgmental.  Could it be that all the worries I had regarding that day only existed in my head? Was it possible, I was the only person who was judging a female groomsman?  Totally.  
   I came away from the experience with the idea that no matter how self conscious you may be about what you are wearing to a public event remember to, "own it."  Even if you're having a hard time keeping your shoes on.  Because even fashion models go barefoot sometimes.

Coat:  London Fog
Jacket:  Lux
Jeans:  GUESS
Shoes:  Libby Edelman
Bracelet:  Thrifted
Ring:  GUESS
Sunglasses:  Vintage

(Congratulations to Josh and Betsy on their recent nuptials.  Despite any insecurities I may have felt that day, I was truly honored to be in your wedding and had a lovely time.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Gone Girl"

   It is a rare and beautiful thing when a person gets to witness a novel they enjoy translate well to the big screen.  Upon first hearing, "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn was being made into a movie starring, (gasp, say it ain't so!), Ben Affleck, I was more than a little concerned.  Before anyone comments, yes, I did see, "Argo," and liked it for what it was.  Which in my mind was an example of Ben Affleck's one scholarly performance.  I just can't get the beer juggling, eye winking, point and shoot bartender Ben from, "200 Cigarettes," out of my mind.  He just played that role so well!
   However, I am willing to admit when I'm wrong.  After seeing, "Gone Girl," as a movie starring, (gasp, I guess, "Argo," was more than a one time fluke,) Ben Affleck I was near converted.  Now, don't get me wrong, he was far from the best part of the film.  I just feel like I must state in print that he was not the worst part of it.  
   I repeat, I believe it is rare to see a great novel made into a fairly fantastic movie.  As I stated, I was pretty skeptical until I saw David Fincher, (director of the 1995 thriller, "Seven,")  was this film's director.  In addition, I was equally excited to see Trent Reznor, (from Nine Inch Nails,) collaborated on the original music score for the film.  If you are familiar with the bodies of work produced from these two individuals you probably realize this duo mixed with Gillian Flynn's twisted tale is a recipe for the most morbid mind game imaginable.  Basically, I saw the opening credits and was instantly thrilled...and then nervous, very very nervous.
   I will not bore everyone with a point by point summary of this film.  What I will do is urge anyone who read and enjoyed, "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn to watch this movie immediately.  Not only did it make this viewer feel completely disturbed, it simultaneously made me giddy with the realization that my faith was restored in Hollywood's ability to portray what I believe to be great modern day literature.
   Oh, and as far as Ben Affleck's co star, Rosamund Pike, is concerned, all I can state is well done! Kudos, to the casting director who picked her to demonstrate the ultimate cautionary tale for all cheating husbands.  I doubt there was one married man who left that theater not feeling totally satisfied with his, "boring and all too routine," relationship.
   In closing, this may be the one and only time I state, read the book and then make sure to watch the 
movie.  Although I would not suggest doing this back to back.  Unless you like to sleep with one eye open.

Hoodie:  Thrifted
Skirt:  GAP 1969
Leggings:  FOREVER 21
Boots:  Thrifted
Purse:  Matt & Nat
Scarf:  Vintage
Ring:  Purchased at an Art Fair
Sunglasses:  Vintage

Sunday, November 16, 2014

...and exhale

   Recently, I had the pleasure of modeling fall fashion ideas for a local women's magazine.  It was one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences I have had in a long time.  Exciting, because deep down inside I think it is every fashionista's dream to emulate the models who often define the clothing we adore. Terrifying, because I am not one of these models and still take many photographs that make me look like a character from, "Dumb and Dumber."  
    Now why, you ask, would someone with a personal style blog even think twice about posing for a professional photographer?  Am I not just playing the role of model every time I compose a blog post?  Maybe, but the difference is great and I feel that I need to explain it.  To begin, I photograph nearly all of my own blog pictures.  God bless the self timer option on my camera!  The ability to take my own pictures allows me to relax and basically, "ham it up," all I want without feeling like a total idiot in front of others.  I have learned that usually my favorite pictures are the oddest or most candid of shots.  In other words, the pictures of behavior I only display when I am alone.  
   Writing about this now reminds me of a time back in college when a fellow art major asked me to model for one of his photography projects.  I was quite excited to be included until I broke out in a funky stress rash during the photo shoot.  Between the rash, and my, "deer in the headlights," expression the session ended abruptly with an embarrassed model and frustrated photography student. In my opinion, there is just something so difficult about posing in front of others without feeling like a, "poser."  It's almost like the inauthentic behavior of posing eats my confidence alive.  Of course, this is only in front of others. When I am by myself I can, "lie my butt off," in front of the camera.  Who else is around to argue?
   This brings me to my second problem where I admit I have a very hard time smiling into the camera.  I can prove this by suggesting that a reader go back through the photographs in my posts and count how many times I have smiled.  I am willing to bet it is not many.  I cannot fake smiling.  I envy those who can.  I believe this talent would have allowed me to avoid many conflicts I have had in my life.  Unfortunately, I am just not capable of it.  I want to clarify, it is not that I do not smile.  I just need a legitimate reason to do it.  
   Luckily, the photographer who worked with me was extremely kind and professional.  She was quite helpful at directing me through poses and never once asked me to smile.  In fact, when I tried she stated, "let's try without smiling."  This statement convinced me the woman knew, not only the photography business, but her model.  
   I will admit I was excited to see the final product of my, "break out," photo shoot.  More than that, I was excited to take part in it.  This experience allowed me to catch a tiny glimpse of the fabulous world of modeling.  As a result it made me feel accepted in an industry I adore.  Now if I can just remember hands on the hips, turn towards the light, sultry stare, queue the wind machine, and suck in.

Jeans:  Guess
Shoes:  Libby Edelman
Purse:  Matt & Nat
Necklace:  Baublebar

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sweata Weatha

   So, I thought I was being all kinds of clever coming up with the title of this post.  That was until I started reading all of my other favorite style blogs and noticed that the post entitled, "Sweater Weather," must be a mandatory thing in the fall.  I will have you note that mine is called, "Sweata Weatha," so it is still fairly original.  See how I justified that.
   I think fashion bloggers take note of this type of weather since it is the first time we are able to put away our tired t shirts and finally switch over to, what I define as one of my favorite items of apparel, the sweater.  Whether it be a cardigan or pullover, wool or mohair, chic or ugly I love this cool weather favorite and have amassed quite a collection of them over the years.  In fact, it would be an interesting experiment to count my sweaters versus purses.  The numbers could be downright staggering.
   Keeping this in mind, I have become rather picky when it comes to purchasing sweaters.  Once one has accumulated so many, it is only natural to eventually demand a certain grade of quality and originality.  At this point, the majority of my sweaters are all purchased at either consignment or thrift stores.  I find these establishments often carry the special, one of a kind items, I am searching for at a price I can reasonably afford.  However, I will admit to the occasional sweater splurge from the Free People website.  Some items are just so beautiful one does not care if a hundred other fashionistas are wearing it.
   My favorite time to shop for sweaters is definitely Christmas.  I credit this to the genius individual who thought up the concept of the ugly sweater party.  My understanding of the ugly sweater party is it's a gathering where individuals are required to show up wearing what they consider the ugliest representations of this fashion favorite.  However, I have quickly learned that my definition of ugly differs greatly from what others may consider hideous.  It is at this time of year that thrift stores such as, Savers, devote a full aisle of clothing to what they think is the ugliest of the "ugly."  This is where I enter the situation.  More often than not I have found beautiful one of a kind vintage sweaters cast aside in the ugly sweater rack!  Now I ask you, does sequins, shoulder pads, or hand embroidery automatically curse an item to be banished to the ugly aisle?  Isn't it possible to work something bedazzled into the modern day wardrobe?  My answer to this question would be yes, and this winter I intend to prove it by photographing some of my, "ugliest," sweaters.  In doing this I hope to demonstrate how most vintage items deserve a second chance.
   In the meantime, I want to thank the employees at Savers for handpicking some of the most original pieces I have in my wardrobe.  While the sweater I am wearing in the above pictures is not one of these awesome pieces, it's rather mainstream look gives me an infinite appreciation for all things, "ugly."

Sweater:  Sleeping On Snow
Socks:  OZONE  
Slippers:  Purchased at Target
Purse:  Vintage
Sunglasses:  COACH