Sunday, June 28, 2015

For Kathy

    I think I've mentioned multiples times that one of my favorite hobbies if thrifting.  As I write this, I'm confronted with my computer's spell check alerting me that thrifting is not a real word.  Upon, actually Googling the word, "thrift," I am informed that it's actually considered a noun.  The exact definition reads:  Thrift:  the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully. Individuals like me who thrift, rather regularly, have redefined this word into an actual verb. Unfortunately, for my checking account I'm not a person concerned with the values of thrift.  I'm a lady who thrifts for vintage a lot, and I have to boast, I often find them.
   The pictures above display what I consider one of my finest vintage finds to date.  During one of my late night trolling sessions on my favorite website, "Etsy," I came across this vintage Girl Scouts vest from the 1970's.  Not only was this near forty year old vest in pristine condition, but it had darn near every badge and pin ever awarded to a Girl Scout sewn to it!  Now, I've previously mentioned that many years ago I myself was a Girl Scout.  I remember paging through the Girl Scouts badge catalog and admiring the craftsmanship of each of these little pieces of art.  I would daydream about all the cool activities I would do in order to someday collect every one of these beautiful little gems. "Sigh"...little did I realize how freaking hard it was to actually acquire these little buggers!  Let me tell you, these badges are beautiful for a reason.  The girl who actually earns them deserves a prize of this quality.  Unfortunately for me, I was simply not that dedicated to the cause.  It quickly became fairly obvious, that I was the girl who'd rather eat her cookies than sell them.  
   However upon seeing this vest listed on, "Etsy," I realized, "Holy crap! some girls actually possessed these badges!"  Apparently, they weren't just these mythical illustrations featured in a catalog that one would circle in pen indicating that someday they intended to earn them.  To my amazement, I realized some girls actually got off their butts and achieved these required activities. After I recovered from this heavy revelation, I realized with delight that, "Oh my God, I can now buy another girl's achievements!"  So, I did what any fairly financially stable, soon to be 36 year old woman would do when confronted with an unfulfilled childhood dream.  I bought it!  I could not wait to feast my eyes on these little collectibles that I had long ago realized was way beyond my motivational capabilities.  Lucky for me, they were well within the skill set of what I would define as one remarkable girl named Kathy.  
   Upon receiving this item in the mail Kathy's name was on a pin attached to the vest.  As I mentioned earlier, I am an avid thrifter and collector of vintage apparel.  Keeping this in mind I am extremely comfortable wearing previously owned clothing.  However, in most cases I am not aware of the actual name of the person who owned these items before me.   As I sat and admired all of the badges marking Kathy's unbelievable achievements during the 1970's, I found myself reflecting on what this girl's life must have been like.  I felt certain she was the type of person I would have looked up to while I was in Girl Scouts.  A part of me wished I could have known Kathy at this time in my life.  I couldn't help but think that maybe a girl who possessed so much drive and will power could have taught an admitted slacker like me more than a thing or two.  The one thing I was certain of was that this amazing individual named Kathy must not be living anymore because anyone who put that much work into earning each and every one of those badges would never give them up. Some accomplishments are worth being proud of for life.
   With this realization, I felt a major responsibility to honor the childhood achievements of Kathy.  I decided I would keep the vest fully intact and simply sew it to a green button down shirt in order to transform it into more of a wearable jacket.  In an attempt to keep this item's integrity, I did not remove any of the original items on Kathy's vest, except for her name pin, which I dutifully attached to the inside of the shirt.  I just didn't feel right walking around with her name displayed on my chest because Kathy, I could never be.  What I can be is proud to show off such an obviously exceptional little lady's achievements.  

(Kathy's vintage Girl Scout vest upcycled by me with a thrifted shirt)
Jeans:  Gap 
Shoes:  Minnetonka Moccasins
Purse:  Lucky Brand
Bracelets:  Ettika
Ring:  Handmade spoon ring 

*Thank you Kathy, wherever you are.  Please trust that your vest is in good hands.
*All photographs taken by Clark.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Tucked in Tight

   Old habits die hard.  Which means that new habits are sometimes darn hard to form.  Especially for someone with borderline OCD tendencies.  What can I say, I like things to go orderly.  However, fashion is a topic that is forever changing.  Today's trends may be tomorrow's tragedies.  If a lady would like to stay current in the, "latest thing," she had better be able to adapt to what the, "powers that be," dictate as chic.
   Lately, this lady has finally come to the revelation that the style media is telling her to, "stop looking like such a slob girl, and tuck in that shirt!"  Tuck in that shirt, I wonder.  Why I haven't done that since about 1993 and even then I believe I pulled the back half of it out to cover my tail end. Tuck in my shirt, I ponder.  Is it possible I could finally join the high waist fad I've been blathering on about for near a year now?  Huh, tuck in my shirt and there won't be that weird ridge underneath it caused by a high waist pant or skirt.  Instead, I may actually have a waist.  Here's an idea, let's add a belt!  Wait, so my shirt will be tucked in and I'll have a belt on meaning I can totally bend over if I drop something?  When I say bend over I mean at the waist instead of that weird half crouch, back to the corner thing I've done for so long in an attempt to not flash passers by.  Oh my god, do I even remember how to bend at the waist?  It feels so freeing!
   Yes, I've been threatening to join the high waist bandwagon for quite a while now but I just couldn't get past how bulky these pieces looked when I styled them.  Then finally I realized, "tuck your shirt in dumb ass," and life as I've known it has changed forever.  Not only has my wardrobe potential expanded with this revelation, but I foresee my mobility also greatly improving.  Now without the threat of inappropriately exposing myself to the public due to low rise jeans, I can pursue that career I always wanted as a gymnast!  Heck, I may even start throwing my crap on the ground on purpose so I can show off just how nimble I can be while picking it up.  Maybe I'll even achieve my dream of touching my toes again without bending at the knees!  Ok, let's not get too crazy here.
   I guess what I'm saying is simply, I'm going to start tucking my shirt in sometimes.  I really like the new found freedom it's given me.  I now feel secure that my clothing is resting the way it should. I also feel confident that you readers may see me wearing a lot more high waist items.  By this I mean I'm looking for pants and skirts with a zipper over half as long as my forearm.  Because, I'm sick of worrying about flashing my behind at people.  I want to feel classy and secure when I go out in public. Most of all I want to feel comfortable, as comfortable as I am when I'm tucked in tight at bedtime.  In high waist jammies, of course.

T Shirt:  Purchased at the Electric Fetus (Duluth, MN)  Support Local Record Stores!!!
Skirt:  Thrifted  (Handmade)
Boots:  Thrifted
Belt:  Anthropologie
Purse:  Vintage
Necklace:  Vintage (Avon)
Sunglasses:  Dolce and Gabbana

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hello Doug.

   Next month I turn 36 years old.  36!!!  You may remember I had a hard enough time last year facing 35.  I believe I devoted at least three blog posts to the subject in a selfish attempt to physiologically work out my feelings on the topic.  Now that I have finally gotten to the point where I don't uncontrollably stutter while revealing my age I'm going to have to train myself to say thirty ssssmind your own business, will ya?!
   A good friend of mine who is close in age also has a birthday swiftly approaching.  Her and I have been able to commiserate on several occasions regarding our mutual situation.  Surprisingly, her life is extremely similar to mine since she too is one of the few, but proud, remaining women in her thirties who remains unmarried and childless in South Dakota.  Wait, "The Few, The Proud..." isn't that a Marines slogan?  Furthermore, aren't Marines extremely highly regarded in American culture? If, "single," women in their thirties are fighting their own kind of war and able to share a slogan with the likes of some of the world's most recognized heroes, should we too not get a little respect from society?  Did I just compare, "old maids," to Marines?  Yeah, I went there.
   My point here is it can be hard for a woman to remain confident in things like social standing, accomplishments, and especially appearance when all that seems to change in life is the number of her age.  However, a few weeks ago my confidence received a much needed boost when I was introduced to a male stranger.  Lets take a moment here to emphasize the word strange...r. At the time I was certain he said his name was Doug.  Of course, later in the conversation I was told his name was something extremely non Doug-like sounding.  This was after I had called him Doug to his face about five times.  What can I say, the man looked like a Doug to me.  Amazingly, the fact that I could not for the life of me remember this person's name seemed to have absolutely no effect on, "Doug's," reaction to me.  During the course of our twenty minute conversation, "Doug," outright stared me down and proceeded to tell me what a beautiful woman I was.  He then asked me what my hobbies where, if I ever thought about being a rock star, (because he thought I would look good with a guitar in hand), and if I would like to go on a drive to look at the stars with him.  Keep in mind it was about three in the afternoon at the time.  While I was shocked at this dude's total lack of a social filter, I was equally delighted by the fact that this, soon to be 36 year old lady, could still get the attention of a stranger.  Especially, since I was wearing the outfit pictured above and felt like it was a tad too young for me...but what the heck, right?!  
   I would like to close this post with a dedication to all my female friends in their thirties and beyond. It's hard getting older.  We must cope with the transformation of our appearance in any way we can. I recommend going shopping for new exciting clothes, starting a style blog, or paying attention to the crazed ramblings of one inebriated, "Doug."  Oh, did I not mention that, "Doug," was holding what I assumed to be around his ninth beer while he was talking to me?  Well, that just takes some of the magic away from the story, doesn't it?

Jacket:  Vintage (Betty Rose)
Dress:  Thrifted
Jeans:  Liverpool
Boots:  Victorian Trading Co.
Purse:  Ivanka Trump


Sunday, June 7, 2015

After All Rayna was an Android

   Not so long ago I attended the movie, "Ex Machina," with my parents.  "Wow, another movie with her parents," you're probably thinking.  "Yep," is all I can answer because I know how sad it must seem.  However, I will justify the movie was pretty darn good and us sci-fi geeks have to accompany one another to these type of events because there simply aren't enough of us around and interested. "Yeah, that's the ticket.  It's a geeky solidarity thing not a lack of cool issue.  Yeah..."
   Anyway, if you're not familiar with the film, "Ex Machina," it's a British science fiction thriller that revolves around a young computer programmer who finds himself falling in love with a beautiful android who possesses artificial intelligence.  Personally, I've always enjoyed stories that revolve around robots since I was actually named after an android character featured in an episode of the original Star Trek TV series.  During the episode, "Requiem for Methuselah," Rayna was the man made representation of the perfect woman as well as Captain James T. Kirk's romantic interest for about fifty four minutes.  Here's where I argue that I really never stood a chance.  I was born to be a science fiction geek.  However, I realize it's not everyone's cup of tea.  Even though I personally believe way more people should start drinking it.  
   Now I'm not going to go into an in depth discussion regarding the multiple ethical and philosophical subjects, "Ex Machina," addresses.  Instead, I'm going to take the ultra shallow route and talk about what I my movie date...with my parents... Wow.  I took the pictures above just before meeting them at the theater.  Upon arrival, my like minded mom and I could not stop cracking jokes about my outfit.  As soon as I showed up I felt like the lady at the counter would automatically assume I was going to the newest, "Fast & Furious," movie due to what I was wearing. I mean come on, with this getup it only seemed logical.  For the rest of the opening credits I found myself making little revving engine noises in an attempt to fully embrace the character I had inadvertently developed.  Not that there's anything wrong with liking the, "Fast & Furious," series, I just wouldn't know since I've seen none of them.  Like I mentioned earlier it's simply not my cup of tea, or in this case I should clarify it's not my slug of Monster energy drink. Which I assume is what these fans enjoy and would outright kill me since I haven't drank caffeine since about 2004. Decaf lattes all the way baby!  I'm nothing if not extreme.
   Honestly, I have no idea how this outfit came about.  It makes me laugh now looking at it since I know how out of character it is for me.  I think it all started with those darn sneakers.  They have opened up a whole new realm of fashion I never even considered exploring.  Then, like a game of dominoes, I found myself drawn to this extremely strange baseball jacket I found at Savers.  Yes, it's tiny, it's teal, and even shiny!  Also, the fact that it has no label seems more exotic to me than the giant embroidered geisha and dragon on the back.  Of course, that didn't hurt either because nothing speaks louder to geeks than dragons on clothing.  In other words, it had to be mine.
   One would think I would be a little self conscious wearing such and ensemble but that person clearly doesn't know me.  Besides, I was already hanging out with my parents so why not take the image all the way.  Surprisingly, after the movie I ended up going off by myself to do some shopping and I received a very nice compliment from a super chic sales clerk who stated, "she loved my jacket."  At that moment, being accepted by the hippest of the hipsters, I realized my look was not the mainstream, "Fast & Furious," but more the cult noir of Ryan Gosling's, "Drive."  I always wanted that satin scorpion jacket and finally I'm one step closer.  Now pass me that Red Bull.

Jacket:  Thrifted
Jeans:  Silver Jeans
Sneakers:  New Balance
Purse:  Ivanka Trump

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Good, Better, Best

   During my time spent as an Art Major in college I learned that editing is a major part of the creative process.  This can be very difficult for some people.  For instance, it's extremely hard to put up one's personal creation to be critiqued by a bunch of people you may not necessarily know, trust, or even respect.  However, I will state that some of my best suggestions for editing have come from near strangers. When looking for an honest opinion on one's work, it is key to have an impartial party to communicate with.  This allows the exchange of honest opinions without the guilt of hurting one another's feelings.  The key to understanding the critique process is to realize there simply is no personal investment between the individuals involved.
   This was a lesson that took me a few years to fully comprehend.  Upon receiving the first public criticism towards my paintings, I felt severely embarrassed.  Somehow, every suggestion one of my peers would give me seemed like an outright accusation that I did not belong in a college level Art program.  I remember more than a few occasions where other classmates would actually break down in tears after a rather grueling critique of their piece.  Admittedly, there were times where constructive criticism just seemed...and excuse me for lack of a better phrase...WAY HARSH!  Who knew being a sensitive artist required one to not be so damn sensitive? 
   I always found it extremely hard to edit my paintings, especially since the subject matter was always so personal to me.  I thought, "Who are these people to tell me how to represent my feelings?" What I eventually learned was those people were other individuals with equally important feelings, experiences, and most importantly talents.  I found the more I ignored my own insecurities and actually listened to their suggestions, the better my paintings became.  I think this was in part because I was no longer just a childish amateur painting secrets only I could understand.  I was striving to be an artist who conveyed her thoughts and themes to a wider audience.  In my mind art is ultimately about SHARING all aspects of the human condition.  Wait, what were we talking about here?
   Oh yes editing, and with that I can honestly state I obviously have difficulty editing while writing as well.  I can admit that I have a tendency to meander when I write.  Heck, I have a tendency to meander when I walk too.  I blame this on being a creative type.  There is no clear path from Point A to Point B with me.  Basically, if you're ever in my company on a trip make sure you pack a bag with some extra clothes in it because we may not be back for awhile.
   Which finally brings me to the subject of clothes.  Like the topics of painting and writing, I often find it challenging to edit my outfits.  A lot of people, especially in the mostly conservative state of South Dakota, seem to take a very, "less is more," approach to dressing.  This is not an approach I am familiar with.  In fact, it is common for me to get dressed in the morning and pile on loads of over the top accessories.  Then that little voice in my head from Art class will whisper, "is this outfit conveying your thoughts and themes to a wider audience?  Or will the public just think you're playing a freaky version of dress up?"  This is when I remind myself to, "reel it in," a bit.  I can still portray an original personal style while being semi-relatable to the general public.  It's these times I have to remind myself not everyone believes one should have fringe on their purse, jacket, and shoes all at once. Hard to believe, right?
   In closing, on most occasions I find myself editing out elements of my outfits.  However there are times, as the pictures display above, where I end up adding items throughout the day.  On this particular instance I ended up finding the most adorable do-rag halfway through the afternoon.  As soon as I put it on my head I knew it was the missing piece to an otherwise pretty, "vanilla," outfit.  I instantly felt better about the persona I was, "presenting to a wider audience."  I mean, I said I wanted to be relatable not repetitive!

Shirt:  Nick & Mo
Jeans:  Silver Jeans
Sandals:  Frye
Purse:  Free People
Bracelet:  Betsey Johnson
Sunglasses:  Coach