Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's been too long since an update...

But I am far too heartbroken to come up with original content right now, so here is what is in my heart and my playlist right now.

All the world just stopped now
So you say you don't wanna stay together anymore
Let me take a deep breath babe
If you need me
Me and Neil'll be hangin' out with the dream king
Neil says hi
By the way I don't believe you're leaving
Cause me and Charles Manson like the same ice cream
I think it's that girl
And I think they're pieces of me you've never seen
Maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen well

All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
All the world is danging...
Dangling'...Danglin' for me darlin'
You don't know the power that you have
With that tear in your hand
Tear in you hand

Maybe I ain't used to maybes
Smashing in a cold room
Cutting my hands up every time I touch you
Maybe maybe it's time to wave goodbye now
Time to wave goodbye now
Caught a ride with the moon
I know I know you well
Better than I
Used to haze all clouded up
My mind in the daze of why it could've never been
So you say and I say
You know you're full of wish
And your "baby baby baby babies"
I tell you they're pieces of me you've never seen
Maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen

All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
All the world is dangin'...
Dangling'...Danglin' for me darlin'
You don't know the power that you have
With that tear in your hand
Tear in you hand
With that tear in you hand

Monday, January 14, 2013

Music Monday: the good version of Umbrella!

So, I really pretty much can't stand Rihanna. Except for Disturbia. That song kicks some major butt. Anyway, Black Nail Cabaret is this amazing... darkwave? dark electro? Eh, duet which creates goth-approved music of an electronic persuasion. And they covered Umbrella back in, like, '08. And if you aren't floored by the awesome, I don't wanna know you.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ode to Planet Fitness

Photo by Daniel Oines, do check out his lovely work!

You guys, I am in love. With a gym. A freakin’ gym.

No, they’re not paying me to say any of this. (Although if anyone from the Planet Fitness marketing department wants to pay me for an endorsement, I am SO down for that.) It’s just that I signed up approximately a week ago, and the soreness of attacking weight machines with all my strength has subsided, and I’m in love. The best part of the whole thing is that it’s only costing me about $20 per month, and it’s open 24/7, so no matter what stupid schedule work throws at me, I can easily stay on the wagon!

(Not that I’m still bitter at work for changing my schedule so I couldn’t keep up with the half-marathon training group last year. Nope, not at all….)

Anyway. They have a 30-minute allover weight training circuit, which is brilliant for defeating that “But I don’t have time!” excuse. The d├ęcor is predominantly purple, which is the best color ever, as anyone who is anyone already knows. There are approximately a zillion cardio machines and treadmills, so even in the thick of Resolution Season, nobody really has to wait for a turn. Members get unlimited tanning. (which, uh, means absolutely zilch to my snow-white hide, but more power to the tanorexics out there.)

Members also get unlimited access to HYDROMASSAGE BEDS! I’m telling you. After a rough day of solving first-world problems and getting cussed up one side and down the other by self-entitled iPhone users, that hydromassage bed is saving me from either committing homicide or suicide. Its warm, soothing water jets are a blessing upon mankind.

Then, there’s the “judgment-free zone” they promote. My curvy behind is right at home on the elliptical, flanked on one side by a rail-thin chick and on the other by someone whose potbelly hangs to their knees. We’re all there to maintain, or become, the best possible versions of ourselves. It’s a beautiful thing. We welcome newbies into the fold every day, showing them how to work the circuit, asking each other for form checks, whatever. It really feels like an empowering environment to me. There’s been one evening so far in which a few guys got into Leery McStare mode. I gave them a dirty look and they straightened up. If they hadn’t, I’d have felt absolutely no qualms about telling staff and trusting them to handle it appropriately. People can relax and get fit here.

There’s also the lanky, cute guy on staff who always greets me with a silly lopsided grin. “Hey, you made it in again!” he says. “Are you kidding? This is my therapy!” I reply. “That leg press is gonna feel my wrath!”

Last night, I caught him and one of the other staffers in full white-boy dance mode to whatever peppy, generic pop music was wafting from overhead. It was totally adorable. I wanted to invite them both goth clubbing.

Not insignificantly, they have over 600 locations. Three of them are in Indianapolis, so if I do get to move back in the near future, my membership will transfer. Score!

One more anecdote from last night. There are huge televisions everywhere, which… well, ugh if you’re a TV-eschewing hipster like me, but whatever. On one screen was Fox News. On the adjacent one was the History Channel. I caught, side by side, the “Rent is Too Damn High” guy and the “I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens” guy. Total meme-ception!

This is approximately what it looked like.

 And then I finished 5 ½ miles on the elliptical, and imbibed a low-calorie grape Gatorade. At the time, it seemed like the greatest-tasting nectar that had ever crossed my lips.

Do you think exercise seems to make the other moments in life somehow more significant and enjoyable, or is it just me?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Music Monday: Until The End Of The World

This was my jam up 'til December 21. Still kind of is. Silly people freaking out about Mayan apocalypses. Never mind the fact that Mayans still exist, and they all thought we were nuts. Anyway, I love this song, and you should too, because it's entirely perfect.

The Tension Between Fashion and Minimalism (Or, A New Start)

Helen Twelvetrees in an incredible frock and hat, probably by Elsa Schiaparelli, 1935, by Harry Freeman

So, my following of fashion has been half-assed at best lately. Because, again, I’ve been in a state of crisis.  Yes, sigh, again. It’s every bit as annoying to live in as it is to read about.

But, while my observation on the upcoming spring/summer fashion trends has been practically nil, my understanding of my own personal style has skyrocketed, somewhat out of a basic necessity. In the process of overhauling my lifestyle, I’ve made changes to my wardrobe, having learned that you fit into your own skin better when your clothes don’t clash with your life.

Oh, how things have changed in thirteen years. At fifteen, everything had to be sparkly, or velvety, or bedecked in feathers, or in a loud print. I had a pink marabou cardigan and a black marabou pullover. I had a black maxi-skirt that I’d self decorated with lace and glitter. I stuck rhinestones and silver glitter self-created stencil patterns on all my jeans. I remember my friend Mary Beth’s mother remarking, “If people have to discern your personality by your clothes, you’re doing it wrong. Everything you wear doesn’t have to make a statement.

Except that it does! Everything you wear does, indeed, make a statement. Whether it be “I’m very no-nonsense with my plain T and cardigan and Mommy jeans,” “I’m a diva, look at the leopard and sequins over here!” or “I give up” in a stained tracksuit. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, you wear, does indeed make a statement, whether you realize it or not.

Gradually, over the last decade, my style has gone from “OH MY GAWD, LOOK AT ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” to a more quiet, confident polish. Me with confidence? What? When did this happen? (hint: Sometimes I’m faking it. But I find that more and more often, it’s real.)

I recently threw out every article of clothing that isn’t a neutral solid or print, except for some purple accents. The first sweater dress I actually liked. My fabulous plum faux-suede booties that always get compliments. A floral shawl. The corset I wore to senior prom. You get the idea. And you know what? In cutting down my wardrobe to what basically fits in a laundry hamper and a half, I’ve found myself having a way easier time creating crazy-sweet outfits than when I owned four times as many clothes. Also, I still bring the drama with well-placed fishnet bodysuits, sequins, patterns, and frou-frou hats. The hats adorn the shelf of my open closet, next to my impractical high-heel collection. Minimalism ain’t necessarily about an austere, monastic way of being. It’s about a more fulfilling life through owning just the best. Just the things that help you create the life you love.

Minimalist ideas, man. I’ve been reading Becoming Minimalist, Unclutterer, Zen Habits, The Everyday Minimalist, and several other blogs for a while now. I overhauled the crap out of my bedroom and am working on the rest of my apartment. I have literally sequestered my entire living room as unnecessary. Seriously. It, and everything in it, are things I don’t want or need. It’s so very shameful the space, the things, we hoard and waste. My next apartment will be half the size of this one, and my goal is to fit all my possessions in my grandpa’s F-150. Why? Well, in part because I don’t have the time or energy to organize it. I have chronic depression. I just spent the last 3 months doing little more than sleeping and working. It was ugly. Things got gross around here. The fewer things I own, the less I have to clean or put away. That will help me budget my energy toward, y’know, freelancing. Writing. Finishing this blog’s redesign. Hooray!

I’ve come to realize the truth: This really isn’t a fashion blog anymore. It’s a personal blog in which, yes, fashion will come up a lot, because I still love it. I love fashion. I love personal-style development. They make me happy. Most art-forms make me happy, and fashion is such a ridiculously beautiful form of art. Just… taking the time to appreciate the weeks of research and sketching, the hours of meticulous draping of each little fold. The selection of colors and creation of patterns. When you get into it, it’s mindblowing.

But I’m also into minimalism, self-improvement, feminism, and mental-health advocacy. So I’m working on having room for those things here too. I’m pursuing the life of a bon vivant. Rediscovering joy. There’s no magic bullet to force all of us to rediscover our joy, but I hope that by sharing what does it for me, it might help someone along the way. That’s the new direction of this blog in a nutshell. I hope we can all dig it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Five (more!) Career Tips from Lady Gaga

It’s common knowledge that Lady Gaga is not a guilty pleasure for me, but someone I’m quite happy to enjoy. She’s just addictive to me. On the upside, there are plenty of reasons to not feel guilt for loving her. There are certain days when listening to something that just inexplicably makes you happy is enough. And completely necessary.

Then, there’s her truly smashing business sense. You’ve got to be a strong, powerful, and savvy person to orchestrate such a meteoric rise in such a short time. So I went and compiled a list of five business pointers we could all stand to take from Gaga. Love her or hate her, the advice is indisputably sound.

I have to give credit where it’s due. EZAsset beat me to this. But they didn’t cover all the bases on this topic, so I’m here to finish it off:

- Have a point of view. God, does she ever. And it’s so essential. People. Listen up. Especially in an economy like this, whether you’re seeking that perfect job or you’re an entrepreneur who needs to NAIL this pitch and snag another client, you’ve got to really have something to say, and you’ve got to stand behind it. Your audience can sniff out wishy-washy a mile away. I’m reminded of another of my pop-culture pleasures, Project Runway. The designer with an “off” design who gets voted off is almost never the one who took a risky idea and ran with it. The designer who plays it safe is the one who gets the ax. Because forgettable gets you nowhere.

- Do what you say you’re going to do. Lots of people say “I’m going to be a star.” She did whatever it took to make that happen. That takes a lot of thoughtful pushing. A lot of falling down, getting back up, adjusting your strategy, and pushing some more. Eyes up, focus on the goal, and persevere. It’s not just a perseverance thing, though; it’s an integrity thing. If it’s a promise you don’t know if you can keep, don’t make it. Stretch yourself, not the truth.

-It’s not always about inventing the wheel. Gaga isn’t breaking any ground musically. All she’s done is take a niche of the dance-music genre and make it indisputably her own. I’m all about being super awesome and covering new ground. But if you have an interest that already exists, why not run with it? Take a concept you like, improve on it, become the best and most memorable at it. (Although if you’re going to take inspiration from a predecessor, just be inspired. Don’t crib off the exact same song.)

- Be a team-builder. My favorite thing about Gaga isn’t her musicality, her sassy style, or her larger-than-life attitude. It’s the way she has with choosing the right people, or creating the right combinations of people. Red One. Her Haus of Gaga team. I don’t really like Beyonce much, and I didn’t expect much of that collaboration, but she knew it was the way to go, and y’know what? They made something great together. Nobody is an island. The ability to form just the right creative team that gets stuff done impeccably is a fabulous talent, and skill that we should all work to develop.

- Be gracious. Give thanks when they’re due, every time they’re due. In the business world, this means things like sending a real, snail-mail thank-you note after an interview, or remembering something important to your contacts such as a birthday or anniversary, or being generous with referrals. Or having a flexible return policy. For Lady Gaga, it’s being fabulous to her fan base. She’s sent them thousands of dollars worth of pizza while they waited for her to get to a signing, sent support one-on-one to fans in need via Twitter, and worked tirelessly to help out one of her best supporter networks, the gay community. (I’m still in love with her for her speech at the National Equality march!) Just be excellent to the people in your business life, whatever that business consists of.

Whether or not you’re one of Gaga’s Little Monsters, these are some good tips to take from her interesting persona. Go forth, be bold, be real, and make magic happen!

(Pics are from her Wikipedia page)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I resolve to...

1) Stop being mean to my body to get to a certain size, feed it good healthy things and exercise 'cause I love it and want to care for it.

2) Stop tearing down women's bodies/clothing, or being jealous, in my head or out loud. Be positive toward myself and other women.

3) stop using ableist language like 'retarded' and 'lame.'

4) write at least 15 minutes daily.

5) become more minimalist in my ownership and consumption. Spend my time and money on doing things, not owning things.

And finally... get moved to Indianapolis or another mid-to-large city, and into a job where I can pay the bills comfortably AND not be underutilized and/or bored!