Monday, July 29, 2013

Are You Kitten Me Right Meow

Happy Monday! In order to set off your week with a smile, look at this ridiculously fat cat
Either you can smile because no matter how bad your troubles may seem, at least you are not a fat cat, or because this feline of grand dimensions makes you chuckle. Either way, I have made your Monday morning a little brighter already, haven't I? (Disclaimer, this cat does not belong to me. While my own cat may certainly be very large, he is a little camera shy at the moment and was reluctant to pose this morning. He is having some self esteem issues that I don't want to aggravate by having strangers smile at his robustness) 

Now on to the business of the day. I did not simply share this cat with you because I take pleasure in seeing his round figure, but because I think we could all learn something from our friends the cats. Have you ever noticed how cats  don't seem to give a single ounce of care as to what others think? Whereas dogs are constantly trying to please their masters, cats just frankly don't give a damn. Why is that? Sure it could have something to do with their selfishness and genetic code, but I like to think it also has something to so with the fact that they are completely comfortable with who they are. A cat doesn't care if other people think it's fat. A cat doesn't care if the neighbors don't like the color of its coat. A cat doesn't care if you were about to sit in the chair it has decided is its new throne. A cat simply doesn't care. So why do we care? Why do we care so much about what other people think about us? It is a little silly to tell you the truth. I mean seriously, everyone is going around worrying about what others are thinking about them that no body actually takes a second to think anything about anybody else. All that precious time worrying gone to waste. You could spend that time thinking positive thoughts about yourself and all those around you. Or thinking about what you should have for lunch. Or thinking about cats. 
On this lovely Monday morning I would like to encourage you all to take a moment and think like a cat. When getting dressed this week, or really doing anything since this topic transcends clothes, please don't give a fig about what others will think about you, but do and put on whatever makes you feel the best and most you-ish. I promise you, if you feel happy, confident, and comfortable in what you are wearing and doing, no one will ever think a bad thought about you (unless of course they feed on the souls of dead fairies and unicorns, and are a bully). 
I feel the most cat like—being the adjective to describe the feeling of total confidence and joy—when I am in something pink, feminine, and completely unique. With at least one bow. 
And of course, in order to have a reminder of why I don't care what others think about me, my cat shoes are a must. 
(Meows the time heels from Modcloth, TeaParty Dress designed and made by yours truly) 

So dear friends, I leave you now with a quest for the week, go forth and find your inner cat. Now drink your Monday coffee and have a fabulous day. 


Monday, July 22, 2013

We Read To Know We Are Not Alone

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it"—Oscar Wilde 

When I read, I don't simply read the words on a page written by some French man living in his Mom's attic 150 years ago. When I read, the written words float up and around me, they flow through me and create images stronger and more vivid than any film producer could ever make. When I read, the words become my reality, everything else is but a dream. Now, some may call my love of literature a characteristic that makes me, as the ignorant call it, nerdy. While I will not deny this, being as I would much prefer the company of a good book over any living creature ( with the exception of a certain fat cat), I cannot say this is a bad thing. Reading allows us to live in lands far and near, real and imaginary. It hands us the opportunity to know a multitude of people before unimaginable. We are given experiences far beyond the capacities of our dull drum lives—from standing in the French court with Charles Darnay to finding the horcruxes with our favorite wizarding trio. I could go on and on about the magnificence of the written word, but that would be superfluous. I will, however, add one more crucial point, the point, in fact, of this entire post. As demonstrated by my dear friend Mr. Wilde in the  quote above, reading can determine who you are. This could mean a multitude of things which I am sure are covered in many psychological books, but I will mention only one. The type of book you read, and the types of characters whom you love and wish to be, directly reflect who you are and/or aspire to be. I, personally, love historical fiction, with strong, independent heroines, impossible (and sometimes heartbreaking) love stories, with enough action and fighting as to be suspenseful, and, more often than not, sad endings, or at least not entirely rainbows and flowers happy endings. What this tells you about me, I don't know. Nevertheless I am aware that it reflects my character, and, be that as it may, I try to reflect the characters in my favorite novels. How do I do this? With my dress bien sûre! One of my favorite games is "who am I today?". Somedays I'm Elizabeth Bennett, others I'm Alice, occasionally I'm Luna. I have never ever been Bella, that is just silly. Some characters are easy to dress like, but with others it can be hard. For example, it would not be appropriate for me to go to school in a full suit of armor and a sword with which to kill the Nazgul king (not that I meet many of those on a daily basis), and so I must find a less obvious way to emulate my favorite heroine of all time (for those of you who have never read or seen Lord of the Rings, ie are a waste if oxygen, I am here referring to Eowyn). I might wear a tunic dress, leggings, and leather boots. No one else may know the game I am playing, or who I am trying to be in a particular day, but that does not matter. That is not the point. The point is that it gives me a test, by dressing as my favorite heroines, I try to put on the cloak of improve-ibility. I can attempt at emulating, not only their looks, but also their characteristics that make them worthy of the title "heroine". Just as in a play, the actors can act as much as is humanly possible, but we don't truly see the characters until the dress rehearsal; the costumes come out, and we are no longer seeing a bunch of starving men and women trying to make a living tromping about on stage, but we see Lady Macbeth going insane, Anne Sullivan transforming Helen Keller's life, and Belle falling in love with a Beast. By putting on a dress that makes me feel like Lucie Manette, I feel it necessary to be kind, sincere, and noble. When I want to be strong and independent I may put on green pants, a black shirt, and leather boots, and tada! I am Katniss Everdeen (minus the blood, tantrums, and fire)

Yesterday. I was feeling the need to be willful, hopeful, and adventurous, so I chose a girl from one of my favorite series, The Luxe, Diana Holland. Diana lives in high society, turn of the century New York. She rebels against every constraint of her high born life, dreams of a life as a daring adventurer, and will do anything for love. I needed the assurance that I am going to survive in all the scary new adventures approaching for me. I needed to find my willful, fighting nature that I see reflected in Diana Holland. 
I am wearing a chiffon and chambray shirt from I forget, an old navy belt, Romeo and Juliet Couture chiffon maxi skirt, and Rebel wedges. 

Although no one else could tell that inside I was pretending to be a rebellious New York socialite, I knew, and that's all that mattered to turn my view point around and regain the courage to face the scary world ahead.

And so, dear readers, I encourage you to read. Read anything, and let it full your mind and influence your life, it will do you worlds of good. 

And with that I bid you adieu

Ps here is a list of my favorite books, if you need a place to start. 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens 
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Alice in Wonderland (etc) by Lewis Carroll
Scarlet by AC Gaughen 
The Luxe series by Anna Godsbersen
His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
Harry Potter (of course)
Lord of the Rings (obviously)
The Narnia Chronicles by CS Lewis 
The Red Necklace and the Silver Blade by Sally Gardner
The Princetta by Anne-Laure Bondoux
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Expressions and impressions

It is truth universally acknowledged that the purpose of fashion is for self expression. So what happens when you can't find anything that will express your uniqueness in stores? What then? Are you supposed to repress your shine simply because the mass market can't come up with a way to symbolize everybody's individual taste? NO! NAY! NEVER! In such instances that you are just so incredibly unique that nothing in the world of conformity could possibly do you justice, you compromise and make your own. This could either mean getting a simple H&M sweater an adding patches and oversized buttons, finding a vintage wedding dress and making it in to a 21st century party dress, or making your own clothes entirely. I am a strong believer in the power of personal style, and I highly recommend that everyone take some personal time over a cup of tea to delve deep inside themselves and find themselves—or at least find your personal style, we don't have to get too psychological or spiritual here. 
Now everyone is unique, this is true or otherwise we would have a world of Stepford wives, and I think it would be safe to say that in my family we have some very unique individuals (if you've ever met us, you'll understand). In this installment regaring personal style I would like to discuss my middle sister, who for purposes of anonymity shall be here named Nan. Nan is 6ft 1, a teacher, has a perpetual smile, brings a party wherever she goes, and is a cook extraordinaire. Think mrs. Frizzle with a mix of Julia Child and Mary Poppins. So, you can probably imagine that it is hard to find clothes that fit her, let alone truly embody who she is. And as she is a teacher, she is required to dress nicely, modestly, and, to keep the kids interested, fun-ly. In order to compromise the lack of full dresses in fun colors that are well made in stores like Zara, we created a pattern specifically for Nan and now make all of her clothes. She now can strut around all day with her ginormous smile that attracts all sorta of people while feeling completely confident in who she is because she knows that she looks fabulous, feels comfortable, and is in a dress as unique as she is. 
This dress of brown an white polka dots has a yellow and red apple print lining, to give it an extra punch of fun. It is long enough to cover her knees, and the pleated skirt is full enough to allow for any spinning and skipping opportunity.
As Nan peers into the window of an old school house, we can see a metal zipper which adds another exciting detail that is available only in homemade clothes (unless you want to spend a lot more money than is accessible to a middle school teacher).
The repetition of red and polka dot pattern makes this dress simultaneously a little crazy and put together, the perfect combination of the many characteristics of my sis Nan.
Finally, as I have said in the past, making your own clothes has many benefits, one in particular being that it saves money for buying, say, shoes! Any outfit of Nan's would never be complete without a pair of at least 3 inch heels.

Isn't she beautiful? And fantastic? Can't you just tell what kind of person she is based simply off what she is wearing? Even though we could never find a dress that embodies her so well in any store for under $200, Nan has successfully achieved the goal of fashion and is expressing herself from head to toe. 

Until next time

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pink please

"I believe in pink. I believe laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."— Audrey Hepburn

Sometimes when I am feeling lost and confused, or scared and unsure, I need to be reminded of who I am. So, I do what does that best, I get dressed up. I get dressed up in something pink with bows and heels. Because that is who I am. It may not fix my long term problems, but it sure does a good job at reminding me of who I am, why I do what I do, and gives me the strength to continue on. 

In a homemade dress of pink and white polka dots with navy accents, I feel more comfortable than any sweatpants could ever make me feel. 
And while my Irregular Choice heels may not be the most comfortable, they certainly are the most me.
As I believe that a girl without a bow is not a girl, all my dresses must be appropriately accessorized  with the proper accouterments.

My new My Flat In London necklace is perfect for a good feminine accent (since you outfit wasn't feminine enough already...)

And voila! All those parts of the puzzle add together to make the perfect recipe for reinvigorated confidence, and I am once again at peace with myself and filled with a renewed joy for life. See how much simply dressing up can do for you? Aren't clothes amazing?


Saturday, July 6, 2013

A-Dressing the Realm

There are certain activities in which one can partake where particular costumes are required. One would be a gala at a museum. Another would be a music festival. A third would be a Renaissance Festival. Out of these three, I personally find the third the most fun to attend. Why? Well because underneath my fashionista veneer I am completely and utterly a nerd. There is nothing I enjoy more on a summer Saturday than dressing up in a ren-fest costume I made myself and trudging around a made up renaissance village looking at odd nick nacks, watching innuendo filled shows, and being flattered by men dressed up as blacksmiths, knights, and celts all while listening to the drone of the bagpipes. Yes, to me that is the essence of perfection. Add on top of that some people dressed up as anyone from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and others making obscure history references to William Wallace and I am in heaven. However, upon commencing a journey to a land that time forgot, one must be aware. There are four kind of people that go to Ren Fests. 1) Those who wish they could dress up, but do not have a costume, 2) those who think they are too cool for costumes, and therefore spend the day making fun of those dressed up, 3) those who enjoy dressing up just for the sake of dressing up and because they like to pretend every once in a while that they are princesses or knights or bar wenches or fools, and 4) those who wish they actually lived in another time period and thus focus their lives around the few weekends in which they can dress up as someone else and live a completely different life and take the matter far too seriously all together. Of these four types of people there are two to beware of, those would be the 2s and the 4s. The 2s should just not go to Ren Fests in the first place and the 4s are just a little dangerously stuck in a life they cannot have and probably have some other issues that I am sure Freud has covered. However, the 1s and 3s are perfectly safe. Everyone starts out as a 1, but (depending on their level of enjoyment during the first time, they will most likely become 3s in the future). Now of course, those who work at the festivals are completely exempt from this list as they are dressing up as part of their job and lively hood–which brings up other questions regarding their mental statuses, beyond simply the motives behind donning their costumes in the mornings. If you have never gone to a renaissance festival/fair, I highly recommend that you attend one soon, as your life will surely be benefitted by the experience. And as we all need to escape the daily restrictions of our modern fashions (like pants. pants are evil) I recommend, nay, command you, to where a costume of some sort, because we all need to embrace our inner nerd every once in a while–and it is just so darn fun.
In order to convince you, I shall now share with you some pictures I took during today's venture to the Larkspur, Colorado Renaissance Festival

This year I chose to go with the bar wench look instead of a Princess,
you know, gotta switch some stuff up sometimes (costume made by yours truly)

My Sister in her customary Pirate garb
(bought at the same ren fest 4 years ago. except the bloomers. those I made)

This Woman's full hoop skirt and silk dress is quite beautiful, but probably very hot,
so I would recommend bringing a fan. unless you enjoy sweating. 

And of course, you can always purchase costumes at the fairs. 
That is, of course, if you are willing to spend your entire pay check on something you'll wear, um, once. 

This is Twig. She is a real fairy. She gave me a magic rock with fairy dust one it.
And I like her wings. 

There is a certain style to wear antlers or animal ears. That is always an option. I am not one to judge (only at the renaissance festival. Every where else I get to be part of the fashion police.) 
This young man opted more for a Victorian, slightly steam punk look,
Complete with a magnifying glass thing-a-ma-jig on his glasses

Cool shoes are a must.

This man is my favorite. I can't even describe how much he is my favorite. So I will just leave it at that. 

The Ren Fest is one of the only situations in which the men have as many, if not more, clothing and accessory options as women. So guys (I mean gentlemen) live it up!

It is nice to remember that just because it says "Renaissance Festival", one does not have to dress up in Renaissance costume. Alice in Wonderland works just as well. As is a jester. After all, I don't think anyone at the fairs actually knows when or what the Renaissance was anyways, so it doesn't matter!

I hope my friends that you inspired to go out there, find a costume, and go on an adventure at a Renaissance Festival. However, if I have not yet given you enough inspiration, here is a picture of the village idiot. Now you have to go. 

Now that I have taken a nice reprieve from the modern world and spent a day as a bar wench eating turkey legs and flirting shamelessly with men in tights and chain male, I shall now return to the real world, content to live in the century into which I was born (like I had any choice...). It is pink dresses and heels on the morrow as usual.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bombs, Bloomers, and Barbeques

Today is the fourth of July. Yes it is a date. Most days tend to be. This also means that today, being the fourth of July, is Independence day. If you are un aware as to what that means, here is a brief history. In 1776 on July 4th this group of men wrote a really important list of things they find valuable on a piece of paper and signed it. This was called the "Declaration of Independence". They then sent this pice of paper over to the guy on the throne in England and basically told him that they wanted to break up (the colonists wanted to be free from the British crown). And so they all fought for a couple years and in 1783 the independence of the United States was recognized. For more information on this subject you can go back to High School and get an education or watch this very enlightening and education musical    so aptly titled "1776" 
Not only is this a great day in history and in the making of our great nation, but it is also a big day in the world of fashion (the world I tend to spend most of my time in). Sure today we all take this chance to break out our daisy dukes and star spangled bikini tops, but 237 years ago those words weren't even invented yet. So what were those ladies and gents wearing as they liberated our country from the evil brits? (no offense meant to my British friends. I love England. In fact I just got back from England) Now this is actually quite an interesting subject which I could delve into so deeply as to write a large essay on it (oh wait. I already did that, except about the French Revolution) because whether we are aware of it or not, what we wear relates directly to the world around us. Due to the rapid social and political changes of the late 1700s, fashion changed very much in that time. It started with the introduction of the Enlightenment movement and the writings of Voltaire and Rousseau. As the general thought of the populace was changing, their clothes reflected what was going on in their heads. Fashion became a bit simpler and less elaborate. (This may have also had something to do with the growing animosity between classes, but really that is more relevant to the French Revolution)

Now thinking about this, those people, our forefathers and mothers, had to be uncomfortable. I would not fancy walking around in July heat in approximately 10 yards of fabric, not to mention a corset and a wig and a cap. Yuck. It gives a certain amount of respect, even more than they already deserve, to those people who helped liberate our great country. 
During this time there was another great change in fashion. In fact, it is during this time that fashion became the concept of fashion that we understand today–a means of self expression. Because fabric was becoming more accessible and production was becoming simpler and therefore cheaper, it was easier for people to find ways to express their individuality through what they were wearing. This was, of course, essential during a time of political upheaval. Everyone has an opinion, and so everyone chooses different sides, and as we are human and want attention, we have to advertise this information. Today we all get our slogan t-shirts ready with our different buttons, but I much prefer the style of the 1700s. They just created whole dresses color coordinated for what team they were rooting for, including hats, 3 ft hair-dos, and of course embroidered petty-coats. Heaven forbid someone should mistake you for a Tory. 

And my friends in honor of this great day, I say we all ditch the daisy dukes and swimsuits and instead darn complete 1776 musical costumes and celebrate the fact that we are free from the oppression of the corset, I mean the British crown. 

Or just wear the shorts, they're more comfortable any way
And do not forget the red, white, and blue
and of course some sparkles

Happy Independence Day Friends 
God Bless America and God Bless clothes