Sunday, May 28, 2017

A New Perspective

   Man! does it feel good to take pictures in front of something other than a barn door!  I actually considered changing the name of this blog to something like, “Born In A Barn,” due to the fact that I've posted so many photos featuring barn settings.  Okay, so realistically there’s no way in hell I would’ve changed the title of this blog to anything with the word, “barn,” in it.  I think we all know how I feel about mixing farm terminology with fashion.  I promise not to go off on another, “Dress Barn,” rant…for now.  However, lately I’ve been so bored with my rural based pictures that often my instant reaction to them is animal noises.  Can anybody say, “Woof?!”
   Of course now that I have a portable set up for photography I’ve mustered the confidence to make my hobby mobile!  Finally my readers, (bless your hearts for listening to me babble about absolutely nothing,) will be able to have some interesting backgrounds to look at.  In fact, I assume this may be the main thing to look at, considering there are only so many thrift store outfits people are interested in.  While I still possess the same enthusiasm for fashion, I'll state right now I’m more excited to explore town for engaging settings.  I think these new found feelings of inspiration are reflected in the photographs above.  For some reason this outfit is really appealing to me.  While I'll pat myself on the back for coordinating an interesting look, I think credit should be given to the fact that I’m finally not using an ugly garage door as a scenic accent wall.  Oh how I cringe at the amount of bird crap stains I’ve had on display behind me simply because I wanted to use a colored door for a background.  Why?...Why?! apparently thousands of birds like to defecate on our garage door?  I will never know.
   Admittedly taking blog pictures in a public setting does have some setbacks.  Number one is trying to get over my own self-consciousness.  Upon real consideration I find this problem extremely ironic.  I seem to have a real issue with taking glamour shots in front of a few passersby, however I have absolutely no problem posting the same images on the internet for the entire freaking world to see.   This really makes no sense.  As a result, I’ve decided to suck it up and take silly pictures in front of any person that may happen to be around.  I reason it looks a whole lot weirder to suddenly stiffen up and start whistling like nothing is going on every time a stranger walks by.  Besides, most of the people I encounter in public don’t give a crap about what a weirdo like me is up to.  People are busy with their own lives.  Okay, so maybe these individuals give me a glance when they catch me mumbling to myself because I tripped while walking on turf with wedges that are a titch too high for off-roading.
   Speaking of new terrain, in addition to featuring different locations in future blog posts I also look forward to creating a series of self-portraits featuring digitally altered elements.  The last picture of this post is one of these portraits.  I like the idea of displaying these altered pictures along with the untouched images of what I really looked like that day.  It’s kind of like, “Here’s how Rayna really looked…now here’s how Rayna felt like she should look…wished she looked…just thought looked really cool.”  I guess overall I’m most excited about this new self-portrait series.  As I mentioned in a previous post it feels good to incorporate some actual artistic ideas into this usual puff piece blog. 
   Finally, if you happen to be in a public place and you encounter an eccentric woman who reeks of Nag Champa and is hobbling across a cobblestone pathway in platform shoes, while bitching under her breath, “This is ridiculous!  I’m totally gonna fall down this hill.  Did I just scrape the side of my shoe?!  Oh great, I wear them out ONE time and this is what happens!  Stupid!...just stupid!  Why can’t I get this tripod to sit level?  Perfect, now I’m sweating.  That oughta photograph nicely…” keep in mind she’s not dangerous.  She’s just embracing the glamorous life of, “modeling,” on location.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Recognize!...on Record Store Day!

   I’d like to begin by, “recognizing,” the fact that this post is a rather transitional piece.  A careful observer may notice that some of these pictures are larger in size than others.  The reason behind this is that I finally took my phone, “out on location,” with the intention to shoot a few blog photos.  Little did I know that in future posts my phone would be taking all of my pictures.  I know I’ve said it before, but I really can’t get over how portable my hobby has gotten since acquiring this miracle gadget!
   That being stated, the original reason I titled this post, “Recognize!...on Record Store Day!,” is because I took the pictures on…yep, you guessed it…record store day.  Deep, I know.  Okay so there’s a little more to it than that.  To elaborate, on that specific day I decided it was finally time to bust out what is quite possibly my favorite thrift store find ever.  The vintage boots I’m wearing in these pictures are something I acquired from Savers about a year ago.  I literally shrieked when I saw them.  With shaking hands I grappled to get them on.  The whole time I swore I would make them fit even if I had to bind my feet in order to do so.  By some miracle of God these boots, that in my mind were worthy of the likes of Stevie Nicks, fit my feet perfectly.  Upon further inspection I noticed a small, “Made In Italy,” logo embossed on the inside heel.  This was too good!  Boy howdy…was I going to pay for this kind of karma later. 
   Of course the reality of this situation was the whole event almost was too good.  Unfortunately, I put these treasured shoes on such a pedestal that I became almost terrified to actually wear them.  “What if I get them dirty…What if it rains…What if one of the heels becomes lodged in a crack in the sidewalk and it rips off…What if I go to someone’s house and they want me to take them off when I walk on their carpet...HA! as if,” I thought.  Finally last month, in celebration of record store day, I decided to get over my mental block.  I reasoned, “It’s a day to celebrate music and what better way than to flaunt Fleetwood Mac footwear?”  That day I felt proud to, “recognize,” some of my rock heroes.
   Returning to the word, “recognize,” lately I’ve been eager to recognize things about myself as well.  Many individuals I currently know may not be aware of the fact that I was an art major in college.  Sadly, since graduation, I've pursued little in the realm of art.  I’ve always used the excuse that without a community of artists around me I lost the motivation to continue my work.  While there is some truth to this statement, I believe the bigger issue is deeper.  Yep, it’s that deep thing again.  To explain, during the course of my life I've been several different versions of myself.  Of course, this is common to many.  During, “the artist,” version of my life I experienced some extremely turbulent times.  As a result, I feel something close to dread every time I find myself embracing my creative self.  It’s kind of like hearing that song you used to love, but now makes you think of an ex-boyfriend…except in this case the ex-boyfriend is your former self and you dislike her even more than that schmuck of an ex…whoa….  Of course, these unsettled feelings are only magnified by the fact that I seem to have a fascination with the darker side of life as the subject matter for my art.
   …and I’m happy to state I still do.  Lately, I’ve been delving back into my creative doopelganger and finally admitting that she’s actually a part of me.  While this particular post does not reflect any of the pictures I’ve been working on lately, I wanted to, “recognize,” the fact that future posts will.  I’m excited to be embracing the artist in me again.  I'm also pleased to report that the lady wearing the fantastic vintage boots does have more on her mind than just shoes…sometimes.

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Back in Baby's Arms"

   Initially when I titled this post I intended to write about a return to something I love.  Well that, and lately I’ve had Patsy Cline songs on my mind.  It’s really been quite nice.  Not at all like that Tina Turner stint that almost drove one of my closest friends totally insane. 
   Anyhow as I mentioned, at first I believed I was going to write about rekindling a lost love.  To explain, I'm happy to report I finally broke through my thrifting funk!  Honestly it was a dry seven months in the land of vintage.  This lifelong thrift store enthusiast had nearly given up until that horrendous cold hit me…for the second time…and I was banished to the land of Etsy while bed ridden.  Who knew it would simply take the purchase of one fantastic vintage Krizia coat to re-inspire this clothing collector's urge to hunt!...and that’s basically all I have to say about that...which really doesn't cover enough ground for an entire blog post. Huh...what to say now?  Uh…"GO VINTAGE?!"
   Speaking of being, “back in baby’s arms,” one could also comment that I’ve had a lot of babies in my arms as of late.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I currently work in childcare.  It would be logical for one to assume that I am referring to my job with this last comment.  While this conclusion has some truth to it, I must admit the, "babies," I’m currently discussing are my cats.  Yes, I've finally completed my transformation into the middle aged cat lady who refers to animals as her children.  I now plan on buying a puffy paint sweatshirt featuring cats playing with yarn balls.  Okay maybe it hasn’t gotten quite that bad yet, but I’ve seriously been eyeing Laurel Burch tote bags.  I have to be able to argue they qualify as kitschy 90’s vintage…right?     
   Anyway I find myself joking a lot about being the proverbial, “crazy cat lady.”  Initially I always believed this title referred to a woman of eccentricity who was extremely enthusiastic about cats.  However, lately my perception of the, “crazy cat lady,” title has changed.  I now believe it refers to a woman who has slowly and agonizingly been driven mad by her furry feline friends.  Believe me, this is a much more accurate depiction of a, “crazy cat lady.”
   Every night when I get home from work I find myself dog…ha! more animal references…tired from entertaining children all day.  All I can think of is collapsing in front of my laptop and staring at endless pages of vintage crap on Etsy in order to numb my mind.  Instead I find myself frantically searching the yard yelling, “HERE KITTY, KITTY, KITTIEEEE,” in a desperate attempt to get my, “babies,” secured in the shop before nightfall when all the really big and bad beasties come out.  The other day I was unable to find one of my, “children,” until I heard a muffled, but recognizable, squalling coming from a sealed off hayloft in one of our barns.  Instantly I panicked, when I realized with horror my cat had made the precarious climb to the ceiling of our barn and jumped into a two foot opening that dropped down into a hayloft that no longer had any other entrance.  I could hear her crying until her voice was raw and I’m not too proud to admit I shed almost as many tears.  At that moment I feared the worst may happen.
   Finally, my boyfriend came outside to see what was taking me so long to…let’s face it...cook dinner.  He found me, half crazed, trying to climb the barn’s hundred year old support beams while wearing my work wedges.  I tell you…it could only be defined as a mother’s love.  Thankfully this man, who is often highly inconvenienced and annoyed by my fondness for furry strays, ended up climbing a ladder about seventeen feet in the air while swinging a sledge hammer into the side of a solid wood wall.  After quite a few! these old barns are built to last...he was able to bust a hole big enough for a cat to fit through.  As a result, one terrified calico kitty came scurrying down and thankfully, “baby was back in my arms”…which ultimately caused me to be, “back in baby’s arms,” trolling vintage again since that’s the only thing that seems to soothe the insanity of this, “crazy cat lady.”  As for my boyfriend…well, good luck to him because this place is nuts.

Cardigan:  Nick & Mo
Jeans:  Gap
Boots:  Esprit
Purse:  Vintage
Necklace:  Thrifted (Joan River's Collection)
Sunglasses:  Chloe

Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Hello me, it's me again."

   This week I decided to use the deeply introspective lyrics of a Megadeth song in order to title my post.  Of course, I’m being super sarcastic with this last comment.  I've always thought, “Hello me, it’s me again,” was a ridiculous line for a song.  However taking into account the number of times I’ve felt compelled to listen to this little ditty, I have to question if I’m really mocking anything.  "Sigh"…alright I’ll admit it.  Sometimes I really dig Megadeth.  "Sometimes," meaning I named a blog post after their lyrics and I've seen them in concert...twice.  Whew! That was tough to admit!
   Anyway, cheesy metal aside, the phrase, “Hello me, it’s me again,” perfectly describes how I’ve been feeling lately.  Honestly looking at these pictures now is giving me some serious, “ho-hum,” vibes.  As a result, I’m finding it hard to get enthused about posting lately.  Actually that’s not totally true.  In reality I’m very stoked to start posting some of the new pictures I’ve been taking.  Unfortunately I have a backstock of photographs from the past few months that I feel guilty about trashing in order to skip to the good stuff.  I’m trying to view this challenge as a test of self-control.  However I know all too well how my willpower has panned out in the past.  Let’s just say I don’t have to buy another purse for the rest of my life…but I will.
   The reason I’m so excited to publish some of my latest pictures is because I’ve been taking them in a whole different way.  After four years of blogging I've changed my routine.  This is HUGE for me.  I don't often alter my behavior, despite the fact that every time I have it's usually resulted in a positive change.  I'm embarrassed to admit that the catalyst for all this upheaval is yet again my iPhone.  Okay, so I realize I’ve mentioned my new phone in several posts now.  I'm also aware of how incredibly pathetic this is.  However, I have to justify my behavior by stating yet again, “All this technology is brand new to me!”  I had never even touched a smartphone until I got my own…like a month ago.  Think of a person from 2002, who is suddenly transported to 2017, and you’ve got an accurate depiction of me and the reaction I have towards my phone.  I simply can’t get over this amazing little gadget!
   As a result, I’ve become obsessed with my phone’s camera.  I find the quality of these images to be outstanding.  I also am so excited with how portable my hobby has become.  In the past I always resorted to taking blog pictures at home.  I felt self-conscious about the idea of lugging around a big camera and tripod in public.  Now all I have to do is subtly slip my phone and miniature tripod in one of my many purses...I knew there was a reason I was hoarding them...and away I go, to whatever exotic location South Dakota can provide.  I’m so pleased to finally have images of me not standing in front of a barn door…even though that door has served me well for many years.  In addition, I’m absolutely in love with the photography apps I’ve found.  I can't believe how I can now alter my images to whatever I want.  The purist in me kind of considers it cheating, but honestly altered images can be so much more interesting!
   In conclusion, the post, “Hello me, it’s me again,” is my frustrated reaction at having to wait to reveal the photographs I’ve been really excited about.  The pictures featured in this post are of the same old lady, hanging around her same old yard, wearing her same old boots, listening to the same old metal songs, fighting the same old wind in order to try to get that perfect shot…naturally.  It’s no wonder I’ve never been a big fan of nature art.

Shirt:  Vintage
Jeans:  Kasil Workshop
Boots:  Sundance
Purse:  Banana Republic
Necklace:  House of Harlow 
Earrings:  Kenneth Cole
Sunglasses:  Versace

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Are you as uncomfortable as I am with this smile?

   Well, I lied.  It’s not the first time and it certainly won’t be the last.  Against my better judgement, at the beginning of my previous blog post I proclaimed winter to be over.  Of course a winter storm has now been predicted for Monday so, "What the heck do I know?"  Never listen to me.  I seriously just blather on about nothing in order to entertain…mostly myself.
   Keeping this in mind I also lied about the fact that I had reached the end of my, “winter photographs.”  I had conveniently forgotten about this set and was dismayed by the fact that I could be potentially posting pictures that featured snow on the ground while it was 70 degrees outside.  No problemo folks!  I guess even cruddy weather has an upside.
   The reason I stated I, “conveniently,” forgot these pictures was due to the fact that the last image makes me uncomfortable.  I simply can’t decide if it’s one of my favorites or just plain awkward.  However, I reasoned the outfit I had on that particular day was well styled and I shouldn’t sweep it under the rug because I decided to crack a smile for once.  GASP!  My God!  The robot has feelings!  To explain to those of you I have not yet bored with this story, I was named after a character in an old episode of the original, “Star Trek,” series.  This character was an android and supposedly created to be, “the perfect woman.”  She was also Captain Kirk’s love interest…for that episode…which ultimately lead to her demise.  Honestly, this particular story was not very flattering to the female gender.  However it was the 1960's and things were different then, right?
   Except when I really contemplate it I realize things haven’t changed all that much.  I mean here I am, Rayna the android, still trying to take enough glamour shots to portray myself as the, “perfect woman.”  Many times I find myself pouring over these images all the while picking them apart for every inadequacy I can detect.  “Wow, my nose looks huge in that one!” and, “Holy crap, skinny jeans do not work with my thighs!,” I think.  One of the biggest things I regret regarding my appearance is my smile.  I simply can’t get right with that enormous toothy grin. 
   However other people seem fine with it.  In fact, I'll never forget the time I was flipping through pictures I'd taken of myself and my dad commented on one stating, “I like that one.  It really looks like you.”  I was mortified!  In my mind the image in question was beyond wretched.  I mean sure, I was laughing hysterically and seemingly having a really good time.  However, all I could see was that massive overbite full of giant chompers.  “Is this really how people see me?,” I feared. 
   It’s taken me a while but finally I've come to terms with the idea that, “Yeah, this is probably how a lot of people see me.”  I admit to being kind of a goofy person, who laughs a lot, and attempts…keyword… to make others do the same.  I suppose for someone so concerned with looking, “perfect,” this is odd, but I can’t help it.  Besides, I’m not the one subjected to every twisted contortion my face makes.  I have my glamour shots to make me feel, “perfect.”  Hmm…glamour shots, another example of how I lie.  I may have a problem here.
   In conclusion, I decided to post this last picture of myself in an attempt to, “get right,” with what Rayna the android REALLY looks like.  Yeah she’s silly, and her teeth are far from perfect, but she’s happy.  Plus, she’s quite the snappy dresser.  Maybe Captain Kirk’s Rayna would have lasted longer had she been more concerned with clothes rather than appearing perfect.

Blazer:   Vintage  (Pendleton)
Blouse:  Banana Republic
Jeans:  Joe’s Jeans
Boots:  Ugg
Purse:  Sonia Rykiel
Hat:  Wooden Ships
Gloves:  Vintage
Brooch:  Vintage  (Gift)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Curse of Looking Crappy

    I think I’ve finally posted the last of my pictures from this winter.  It's probably time to hang up the black leather gloves until next season.  Honestly, this is the only aspect of the changing season that perturbs me.  Man, I adore a good pair of vintage gloves!  I would love to find another pair like the ones I have on in these pictures.  Can you believe they were a $3.00 find at St. Vincent de Paul thrift store?!  They really were one of those, "once in a lifetime," finds.  However those odds won’t stop me from trolling Etsy for the rest of the summer in the hopes of finding another similar pair.  Unfortunately, like most vintage items, women's gloves seem to run small.  Apparently there weren’t many tall ladies with big man hands back in the day.  Yet another reason I should have been a pro basketball player.  Sigh…I may have missed my calling.
   Ironically enough…or maybe not, since I go there so often…the skirt I’m wearing in the above photographs is also from the same thrift store.  It's actually part of a set and came with a fantastic matching cropped blazer that features some of the best structured shoulder pads I’ve seen since the days of, “Dallas.”  Not to get off topic here but I feel it’s noteworthy to mention that the original TV show, “Dallas,” has been the deciding factor of many items I've thrifted over the years.  I often find myself holding a questionable article of clothing while thinking, “Is this piece worthy of Sue Ellen?”  
   While I've not quite mustered the courage to wear both parts of this set together I've worn the items separately.  Did I mention how versatile this skirt is?  I'm just saying, it has a fantastic elastic waistband and pockets.  So not only can I pig out on the new Hershey Cookie Layer Crunch Bars, (holy shit they're good!) while wearing this item, I can also carry a supply of them in my pockets. 
   One might be thinking, “With all these wonderful features why are you not wearing this skirt all the time?”  Actually it would be a miracle if one was thinking that, considering this is a totally pointless post this week and I would be highly surprised if anyone were to read this far.  Anyhow, the reason I don’t have more pictures of this particular garment is because I believe it to be cursed.  Yes, I said cursed.  To explain, every time I wear this skirt the weather turns to absolute crap and I can’t get a good picture to save my life.  It’s so frustrating!  I put it on and always think, "Wow!  I love everything about this skirt.  Why don’t I wear this thing more?”  Immediately upon stepping outside torrential rain and hurricane winds will greet me.  During this particular photo shoot it was the latter of the two.  By the time I finally figured out I had to retreat to the barn in order to get a usable image my hair was trashed.  It actually really irritated me because I was feeling pretty spiffy that day and these pictures simply don’t do those feelings justice...
   …unless, the skirt is not cursed at all.  Could it be the exact opposite is true?  Maybe I simply woke up looking like dog crap and when I put on this charmed item I instantly felt like a million bucks.  Perhaps it took actual pictures to make me realize I really didn’t look so great that day.  I guess my overall point here is, whether it be cursed or charmed, this piece is definitely magical.  Now if it could just prove lucky enough to help me strike oil in the backyard in order to complete my Sue Ellen transformation.

Jacket:  Casual Corner 
Skirt:  Vintage
Boots:  Dr. Martens
 Gloves:  Vintage