Monday, December 26, 2016

Post Spirit Slump

   Christmas is officially over and the worst stretch of winter lies ahead.  Living in South Dakota can be extremely challenging this time of year.  Ordinary daily activities seem virtually impossible when dealing with such harsh climates.  For example, fashion blogging on the plains in December should only be pursued by the extremely determined or slightly insane.  Lately, there have been numerous outfits I've begrudgingly worn due to the fact that I was unable to photograph them without serious risk of frostbite.  Keep in mind I did state one should be insane to pursue outdoor photography this time of year.  Despite my frequent lack of good judgement, lately even I haven't been fool enough to brave the elements for a few glamour shots. 
   Of course, admittedly the quality of my recent, "fashion photography," is not at its finest.  To put it simply, “It’s just too damn cold outside!”  I can’t dress the way I want without freezing to death.  I can’t walk to the locations I prefer as scenery without freezing to death.  I can’t pose for the camera long enough to get that perfect shot without…you got it…freezing to death.  The fear of death is actually quite legitimate when enduring a winter on the prairie.  Keeping that in mind, I refuse to die in my boring old Ugg boots.  I can imagine it now.  The people who would find my body would look at each other with that knowing glance and state, “Another thirty-something wannabe style blogger in Uggs who simply wouldn’t give up on that perfect picture.  I mean please, haven’t we seen these boots in the last four posts?”
   The day I photographed the above images I decided to fight my winter blahs by daring to pair a skirt with my clique Ugg boots.  I was also extremely excited…it’s the little things people…to wear, for the first time, a fabulous new purse I had acquired this year during Black Friday sales.  However, before I left the house it started to sleet and while I refused to let the weather hinder me from photographing the most interesting outfit I’ll probably style this winter, I did decide not to risk ruining the suede on my new handbag. 
   Interestingly enough, the day I wore this outfit I ended up meeting my parents and to my mom’s credit she was carrying an equally awesome purse she had purchased on Black Friday.  I really couldn’t believe she had done it.  Here it was spitting droplets from the sky that could have been lava from the way I was behaving.  However there was mom, carrying her brand new beautiful bag without even seeming to notice.  “I can’t believe you brought that purse out in this weather!” I exclaimed to her.  She answered me by simply stating, “What the hell else am I going to do with it?  I’m not having it displayed in a museum.  I bought this thing and I’m going to enjoy it!” 
   At that moment my mom reminded me of something very important.  Enjoy the things you have in life rather than try to preserve them, because nothing lasts forever…except winter in South Dakota.  I can’t help but think these pictures would be so much better had I just carried my beautiful new bag that day.  It wouldn’t matter that I’m back to taking photographs in front of the garage.  My pained facial expressions from the freezing cold would be of no consequence due to the awesome arm candy I could have carried.  Lastly, any person who may have come across my frozen corpse that afternoon would not have even noticed my tired Ugg boots.  “Would you look at that kick ass purse,” they would have stated, “Now that’s worth freezing for.”

Coat:  Ann Taylor Loft
Sweater:  Ralph Lauren
Skirt:  Vintage
Boots:  Ugg
Purse:  Handmade by Mom  (It may not be Coach, but I still love it!)
Belt:  Thrifted
Necklace:  (Purchased at Zandbroz Variety in Fargo, ND)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Who Needs Cliques When You Could Start A Club?

   The day I photographed the above pictures I was reminded of my obsession with clubs.  On this particular afternoon I was at the coffee house enjoying decaf vanilla lattes with my father when I found myself, yet again, exclaiming the sentence, “We should start a club!”  For those of you who may not know me, this is a phrase I say almost monthly.  Usually I receive a lot of chuckling and eye rolling in return.  There's a lot of, “Aww how precious, the 37 year old woman wants to start her own club.  Look who’s finally decided to go out and make friends!”  At least, I like to think these people refer to my obsession as precious.  Otherwise, they just find me pathetic…sigh.
   I’ve often analyzed this peculiar proclivity of mine in a quest to discover why a habitually anti-social individual is interested in organizing a GROUP of people to interact with.  Is it because I’m lonely?  Are the days spent solo, toiling my time away at the library or Starbucks, simply not enough for me anymore?  Or is it something deeper?  Could it be that this solitary style maven…wait... sorry, I couldn’t help myself with that one.  A sweet and incredibly creative acquaintance of mine recently referred to me as a, “fashion maven,” and it struck me as one of the coolest compliments I’ve ever received.  Anyway, back to my question, could it be that this thirty-something showboat is still lamenting the awkward days of elementary school when she was rejected from the, “cool club," because she didn’t own the right pair of designer boots?  Hey yeah, maybe that’s it!  Perhaps I don’t have a problem with buying shoes.  Instead I have a problem with feeling like they’re never cool enough to get into the right club!  Huh, I wonder if my boyfriend will believe that? 
   Despite my desperate ploy to justify more shoes, I know this is not the answer to my obsession.  I also realize that my interest does not lie in the pursuit of friendship.  If it did I anticipate I wouldn't constantly be trying to rope my parents, brother, and already close acquaintances into these arrangements.  It took the blunt, but always honest, words of my aforementioned brother to point out my compulsion for clubs comes from a need to control. Apparently, this lady likes to be in charge.  Who knew?
   At first, I was horrified by this revelation.  “I’m a sensitive loner...a self-contained unit...a solo glamour shots and random ramblings are all the juice I need!”  I thought while simultaneously ripping off the movie, “Singles.”  However, after some consideration I began to realize, “I guess it's kind of nice to, "really talk," to other people…as long as it’s about the things I’m interested in.”  Suddenly, it struck me, “Oh my God! My brother’s right!  I’m using, "clubs," to try to force people to watch the bizzaro movies I’m interested in, read the bloodthirsty books I like, listen to the eclectic tunes I’m into, and lastly eat at the restaurants that appeal to me...remember that supper club I started?  Think Rayna!…think!  Did you always pick where we ate?”
   Writing this now reminds me of a time in high school when I was outraged by a close friend’s comment stating, “She really didn’t enjoy hanging out with me anymore because I always had to be in control…even when it came down to choosing a radio station.”  I distinctly remember blowing off her statement while thinking, “Well, I do have better taste in music than you.”  Now, about twenty years later, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that she may have been right...about me being bossy...not her radio station selections.  As a result, I promise I’ll attempt to refrain from asking anyone reading this blog to start a club with me...even though cool people have referred to me as a, “maven.”  You know that means I'm kind of an expert, right?

Cardigan:  Thrifted
Jeans:  Guess
Boots:  Ugg
Purse:  Vintage
Scarf:  Missoni
Sunglasses:  Roberto Cavalli

Sunday, December 11, 2016

"It's all about the MONEY!!!"

   Lately the topic of money has been on my mind.  I believe in December it’s pretty common for most individuals to feel the burden of finances.  Not only is one expected to keep up with their everyday expenses, but they’re obligated to tack on everything that comes with the holidays.  The, "season of giving," should probably be referred to as, "the season of giving one’s ass away." 
   Like many people, I actually enjoy giving presents.  Christmas is the one time of year this privileged princess finally focuses on contributing to others. As you may suspect, I'm an individual who has absolutely no problem spoiling herself.  If I see something I really want one can bet I’m eventually going to get it. However lately I’ve been unable to indulge in my usual frivolous spending.  Between buying Christmas gifts and paying for about a hundred cats to get spayed and neutered…oh yeah, didn’t I mention that I’m now officially the crazy cat lady?  I always knew this would happen.  I just didn’t realize it would come to fruition in my thirties.  However the cats chose me.  Only a monster would send away hungry orphan kittens.  Besides, who says five cats are too many? 
   Anyway, back to the topic at hand, between all the extra expenses I haven’t been able to go hog wild on the holiday catalogs.  I seriously might not be able to use my annual coveted Sunglasses Hut coupon on the pair of Fendi shades I’ve been eyeing for months.  I'm embarrassed to admit I've honestly been upset about it.  I guess I’ve been feeling like the world has somehow robbed me of something I was owed.  Doesn’t God understand how important designer eye wear is?
   The reason I paired the above photographs with this particular post is because of the purse I’m carrying.  This bag was given to me by my extremely generous mother.  It's made by and is an item that can be purchased in order to contribute to a charity that helps end child hunger around the world.  This specific purse was not cheap and I was in awe of the fact that my mom simply gave it to me.  “I hope she doesn’t want my Fendi sunglasses when I finally get them,” my one track mind thought.
   Of course looking at these photographs of me, with the beautiful bag my mother bought in the hopes of helping children, makes me reflect on my work place.  I've mentioned before I work at a facility that provides childcare for low income individuals.  Lately, we’ve been asking many of the kids what they would like Santa to bring them for Christmas.  Many of their answers have struck me, but none have made more of an impression than that of a little boy who stated he would love to have a, “family sized bag of Takis of his very own.”  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Takis they’re a rolled up tortilla chip that is extremely spicy…like I can't eat them my finicky stomach would explode from more than five of them spicy.  Keeping this in mind, let me repeat, a family sized bag of chips was the most awesome thing this child could ask for.  I was dumbfounded…I was ashamed…I was finally at peace with not using my Sunglasses Hut coupon.
   I guess I just wanted to write this post and state how grateful I am for all that I have.  In addition, I recognize how I’m constantly humbled by the kids that I work with and am in awe at how their wisdom and bravery can keep me grounded.  Maybe there’s hope for this spoiled brat yet.  In the meantime, I don’t see an end to the constant spending. However now I'm wondering just how many family sized bags of Takis I can get for the price of Fendi?

Skirt:  Vintage
Boots:  Thrifted
Purse:  Gift from my Mom
Belt:  Anthropologie
Necklace:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Dolce & Gabbana

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pre Paint Job

   I always find it exciting to publish a post that features a setting other than my backyard.  Being an individual who doesn’t travel much can really take a toll on the uniqueness of one's photography.  Yes, I’m aware that I don’t have to leave town in order to get a different backdrop for glamour shots.  However setting up the old tripod in a, "gasp"... different location qualifies as unfamiliar territory to me.  I count this is as travel.  Therefore, a reader can safely bet on seeing many more pictures of this homebody standing in front of her all too familiar favorite barn door.  I’ve actually considered changing the name of this blog to something relating to that door since the majority of my best photographs are taken in front of it.  Of course, a title of this sort would undoubtedly include the word, “barn,” in its’ name and we all know how I feel about that word in relation to fashion.  Let’s not dredge up the infamous Dressbarn rant again.
   I guess the main reason I haven’t changed the title of my blog is simply that I hope to eventually catch the wanderlust bug and be inspired to photograph myself in more exciting locations…like Fargo.  Yes, I wrote Fargo.  Wait, we weren’t all thinking of North Dakota as the ideal exotic location?  Huh…some people.
   Despite what the general public may think, Fargo proved to be the perfect background for the vintage orange blazer I’m wearing in the photographs above.  Of course, one just needed to know where to look.  It was this blogger’s good fortune to have a brother who knew of the absolute ideal alley to compliment such a bright piece of clothing.  In fact, this urban jewel is right around the corner from his apartment.  As a result, I anticipate a return to this spot in future blog posts.  I simply can’t let walls like these go to waste.
   Ironically I almost feel like I did, “waste,” this artistic opportunity due to the way I look in some of these photographs.  To explain, on this particular occasion I was unable to wear my usual makeup due to the fact that I had a pretty painful sore on the side of my mouth that I didn't want to get infected.  Totally grody, I know.  Exactly the opposite words one wants to hear from a, “fashion expert.”  However, I’m not a fashion expert.  I’m a lady who often likes to stay home and play dress up in order to take, “pretty,” pictures of herself.  Luckily, it can be hard to see mutations through a camera lens.  Keep in mind this doesn't mean they’re not there!
   Anyway, on this particular afternoon my mutated face and I were introduced to a passageway that looked like the perfect setting for a monster like me.  My brother took multiple pictures and while I loved the way the background looked I was dismayed at how, “un-me,” I appeared in them.  On second thought, I may have been upset by how VERY me I looked.  Without my regular made up mask my appearance was very bland compared to it's surroundings.  "I look like I just rolled out of bed!," I thought.  I now like to refer to these images as pre-paint job.   Think of my face as the plain wall in the first photograph of this post.  Isn’t it amazing what a little paint can do for an outfit?…that and a little Prada.  I’m now totally convinced there’s no physical anomaly that a pair of gaudy designer sunglasses can’t fix.

Blazer:  Vintage
Jeans:  Henry & Belle
Boots:  Dr. Martens
Purse:  Matt & Nat
Necklace:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Prada

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Might've been Missoni

   While the weather might be taking a turn for the worse, thrifting right now couldn't be better.  “Why?” a secondhand novice may ask.  “IT’S UGLY SWEATER SEASON!!!”  Living in South Dakota requires me to wear sweaters for a large portion of the year...and thank God for that!  Seriously, without sweaters and blazers I would have no clue how to dress myself.  I think this is why I struggle so much in the summer with styling outfits.  I can’t get away from t-shirts.  At least during the colder months I can mask my t-shirt affliction by pairing them with a snazzy cardigan or overcoat.  See, I’m still only wearing a t-shirt and jeans but now it looks fancy.  Yep, I cheat.
   Not only do I cheat, but I’m also cheap when it comes to my outerwear.  I simply can’t justify paying full price for mainstream sweaters that are boring.  Just because this girl has the common sense to stay warm doesn’t mean she doesn’t possess the frivolous need to stand out in a crowd.  I guess what I’m getting at here is, I’ve never seen a sweater with sequins and shoulder pads at The Gap. 
   This last sentence brings me to the important question of, “What banishes an article of clothing to a thrift store's ugly sweater rack?”  While some pieces are obvious seasonal train wrecks created only to destroy the wardrobe of well-meaning middle aged woman, other items are simply old.  Let me clarify when I say old I mean vintage…like the stuff hipsters will pay big money for if presented in the right setting.  Since when does vintage mean ugly?  Please don’t interpret this statement wrong.  I'm thrilled to have Savers pull all of their mohair lovelies and display them in one organized area.  However it does break my heart to think anyone would consider these one of kind treasures ugly, solely because of their age.  However that's society today isn’t it?  People equate old with ugly.
   I’ll admit some vintage fashion items aren’t for everyone.  For example things like:  linebacker shoulders, more sparkle than a Vegas showgirl, and enough fringe to make even Cher jealous could all be considered questionable trends.  When one really considers it all couture from the 1980’s might be defined as borderline ugly.  Of course, this is something I find hard to fathom since these things help construct my dream sweater.  While there are a lot of garments for the garish available, some vintage items I’ve come across in the ugly sweater aisle are truly timeless.  An example of this can be found in the pictures above.  The cardigan I’m wearing in these photographs was one of my finds from last year’s ugly sweater selection.  For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would define this piece as ugly.  In fact it’s this blogger’s opinion that this sweater looks like something that could have been created by the iconic Italian label, Missoni.  As soon as I extracted it from a mass of cardinal and Santa adorned atrocities I knew it was meant to go home with me. 
   Lastly, as I sit here admiring how nice this, “ugly sweater,” looks in photographs I wonder how many times I’ve labeled something, “hideous,” that another individual may find beautiful.  Perhaps an article of clothing can only be ugly while hanging on the rack.  Maybe when the piece in question finally finds its’ fated owner it transforms into the distinguished beauty it was destined to be.  Is it possible the ugly sweater rack is full of potential Cinderella stories?  Maybe…however, it seems more likely that this blogger, with a tendency to romanticize and an attraction to all things tacky, might just be walking around in ugly clothes. 

Sweater:  Vintage  (Ugly Sweater Rack at Savers)
Belt:  Vintage  (Etoile)
Boots:  Vintage
Purse:  Frye
Necklace:  Thrifted
Sunglasses:  Roberto Cavalli