Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Woke Up Like This


I know there has already been enough commotion over Beyonce's surprise album release, but I was out of the country and out of the loop.  My lovely sister gave me the physical album for Christmas and I wanted to hear if it would be as amazing as others have made it out to be.  The cover art hidden beneath the sleeve turned me off (yes Beyonce, we've known you're bootylicious for some time now) and the Parental Advisory sticker was unexpected, but I am angel either so I looked past it and had me a listening session.


Of course I now have it on repeat. I love it XO.  And I've been drankin'.  The pink and black of the album sleeve inspired my color choice today.  I'm half-wondering if this sweater is meant to be cropped because it's actually a petite-sized piece (which I'm not but oh well).  I also decided to apply makeup, something I still don't know how to do so well.  I put too much, forget steps (is translucent powder necessary?) and sometimes look clownish.  But isn't that the fun of it?  Next time I should watch one of the thousands of beauty YouTube videos and try to learn those techniques.  Easy New Year's resolution maybe?  



I feel I should express some kind of sentiment about the year coming to a close and the new year ahead.  It's most appropriate but I wouldn't be saying anything much different from everyone else.  So instead I'll say this: Let's not make December 31st forgettable.  The last day of the month and of the year is likely tired of being overshadowed by NYE emphasis.  The day is more than that. Day >>> Night.  Don't you understand?! lol

Wet n' Wild ColorIcon Eyeshadow in Petal Pusher
Maybelline ColorSensational in Vivid Rose



Outfit Details
St. John Sport by Marie Gray sweater (old from my mom)
white tank (H&M)
Levi's Bold Curve skinny jeans
the stiffest sneakers ever made (Forever 21)
pink necklace I tried to fold into a bracelet
L'elegance bangle (old old old from a fashion yummy-looking jewelry store)


[Still] Happy New Year's Eve to anyone and everyone!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Answer is YES



Source: Pinterest by way of Etsy
Life is an adventure.  When you're young, I think you don't even realize you've said yes to adventures.  Your innocence and natural curiosity just propel you forward, make you think, use your imagination and bombard anyone older than you with never-ending "why?" questions.  As you grow older, and sometimes become disillusioned with reality, you have to remind yourself to say yes.  To chase dreams, take risks and live instead of simply existing.

There are so many big questions waiting for you in the world.  Some abstract and some tangible and some immediate, difficult, stupid.  The answers to some of them could require some work to find and in the end they may not work out best.  But here we have one big question, posed by Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist and writer.  I think that the correct answer should always be yes.
The end.  Happy Sunday.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hey Hey Hey

This Black Friday/Cyber Monday business is dangerous!  From every direction, deals bombarded my inbox, my television screen, and my radio (for those of us who still sometimes heart radio).  30% off this.  20% off that.  One day only, until midnight EST, while supplies last, almost sold out.  HURRY!  These stores are trying to fake us out, trying to make us believe that the only time to buy is now.  Even if you weren't planning to.  Sometimes my better judgement wanders away and I think "Yeah man, the time is now.  I gotta buy this!"  But then it comes back with these questions for me:
  1. Do you really need any of this?  
  2. Could this be a gift for someone you know (and love)? 
If the answer is a definitive "no" or a derivative of "no" (like a  "not really"), then I take a seat and let my bank card live in peace.  That's the way it should go.  But two days ago I was guilty in this regard for the first time.  My mind said "no" and my heart (or something posing as my heart) said "Why not?"  

But for real, why not?  Well, people can blow some serious dough either thinking that every offer is the best deal or simply getting sucked into the world of busted budget bubbles at this time of the year.  Some people might feel it necessary or even required.  And if they can't then December 25 is just an empty day.  But if they fly to the moon, in the new year there might be mixed feelings of regret peeking out from underneath all the leftover holiday joy.  Reality's like, "Man, ain't that credit card bill due soon?"  
A painted postcard of the Riverwalk*
Last year was the first time I was able to buy gifts for everyone in my family and I was excited to do so.  But I also felt obligated to do so.  If I hadn't been excited or willing to finally reciprocate past years of generosity, I think I would feel like I had to.  But sometimes it's best to make yourself willing when you find yourself able.  Be generous, be thoughtful.  The thoughtful part can be difficult and not particularly fun to execute.  What do these people want?!  What would they like?  I became a little invested in seeing reactions upon opening gifts (hoping I'd chosen right), which can be a not-so-good thing if that's all that matters.  Or it can be an amazingly entertaining time if it involves my family.  The gifts were lovely, but the expressions on everyone's face, the candid and posed camera snaps, and just acting crazy were the best.  I don't even remember how much I spent altogether.  But I'm pretty sure I didn't burst any bubbles.

Celebrating family is a noble purpose for Christmastime.  The insane shopping and gift-giving facilitates that, right?  And who dislikes receiving gifts?  But back in middle school or early high school I remember wondering why.  I thought that maybe instead of exchanging Christmas gifts we should give gifts for the New Year.  New year, new thing to start it off fresh, special and memorable.  But it's hard to break traditions.  What else are we supposed to do on Christmas day besides tear open gifts and eat?  Reflect? (Yeah, that's a good one) Watch Fat Albert in theaters?  (Um...oh wait, that actually happened)

 Yesterday morning on the radio I heard a snippet of a mother lamenting that she can't afford to get her kids anything for Christmas.  I sympathized for her from afar because stories like that make it seem like Christmas is about presents.  Because the expectation for presents exists and has become ingrained into the culture of the holiday season in the U.S.  We wouldn't hear this same mother talk about how she can't afford to buy her kids a birthday gift at any other time of the year.  Her kids would love Christmas presents, but I imagine that she works hard and often for the majority of the year and her kids would probably really appreciate her presence as a present instead.  If assumptions were always true... Though, I understand her heartbrokenness.  It can feel awful to have to choose to break a tradition.  Can't we still keep the heart in these celebrations without feeling beholden to retail?

The end (of the year) is near.  And I'm wondering what in the world I'm trying to conclude here.  I just pulled myself into a rambling, all because of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday hullabaloo.  Hmm... I guess I will say that everyone should do whatever they like (within reason).  Celebrate Advent, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and whatever else in a way that best suits you.  But people should also try to live within their means and not dive head first into debt because something's told them they must.  Some advertising has been proven effective.  Overdosing may....

*pretending to be a photo

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Grass Is Greener

Pretend the blank wall behind me is an architecturally beautiful historical street or an expansive field with orange leaves decorating the sky and ground.  Right now it is freezing enough to numb my ears and it's been made worse by a cold and mean rain.  I could not be outside any longer than necessary (car and back only), so I had to find my own little corner in my own little room.


I wore this to my Bird Bakery outing.  The black and kelly green was not as cheery as the bakery decor, but the light and bright colors should maybe go into semi-retirement.  I'm glad I got a bunch of sweaters and other long-sleeved things shopping in St. Louis with my sister.  I realized that stores in locations with serious winters keep the best options in stock.  Obvious, I know, but now that I'm back down here maybe I should have found myself a warmer coat than this one while I was still up there.

These black Levi's Bold Curve are awesome because I don't need a belt and not awesome because they always look so faded and off-black.  The black oxford heels are here again.  I don't usually wear heels, but according to my sister flats make you look dumpy.  In response to that opinion and to appear more my age (recently mistaken for a high school student...not awful, just inaccurate), I've decided to wear heels more often. 


Now I was tricked into buying that bracelet.  I sign up for so many clothing/accessory places with my junk email address.  I receive newsletters, promotions and lookbooks from Piperlime, Hautelook, Just Fab, Sole Society, Shoe Dazzle, Bauble Bar and finally JewelMint.  All places that I never intend to ever purchase anything from.  Most times the emails go straight from inbox to trash.
But then there was that email from JewelMint advertising $9.99 for the first purchased piece.  Impulse sparked and before I knew it I was browsing their jewelry.  They hooked me and reeled me in.  By making that first purchase I am officially on their payroll each month.  I can skip a month if I don't want to buy anything and I can later cancel altogether.  Ooh, I felt deceived and I'll probably cancel but I was excited to get the bracelet in the mail.  I have since worn it twice in a row.  Well then.

Beware of sales trickery.  Read all the lines.

Outfit Details
Free Country reversible jacket
Kenar Extrafine Merino Wool sweater (TJ Maxx)
Levi's Bold Curve skinny jeans (Macy's I think)
B.O.C Oxford heels (DSW)
Clara bracelet (Jewel Mint)
black and purple stone earrings (gift)

Monday, November 25, 2013

About Time for a Cupcake

I have a sweet tooth on a mission to have me visit bakeries around the city and host delicious dessert parties in my mouth.  Why foil such a plan when I could facilitate it?  Last week I somehow came upon Bird Bakery while jumping from tab to tab on the Internet.  Sounds good, looks good.  Grab a friend, let's go.

pumpkin spice and fresh strawberry
On Broadway  they say there's always magic in the air .  And I think they are right.  First, Bird Bakery is next to a TCBY Frozen Yogurt, a childhood favorite.  I thought those stores were extinct -- does anyone remember their teeth-staining rainbow ice cream (which was really just primary-colored vanilla)?  Anyway, back to the charming and quaint bakery.

Second, the space is small and cozy, but big enough for a long table and several square for four and circle for two tables.  Antique-looking bird-cage chandeliers hang from the ceiling and the napkin holders are adorned with little birds or brass spoons.  Monogrammed mugs, mirrors and other knick-knacks are on display and some for sale.  Chalked messages decorate the walls and doors.  This lovely one from Julia Child made me smile and really justified the mission of my sweet tooth:
Everything in moderation... including moderation. 
The dessert counter is glorious.  Cupcakes, cookies, pies, and brownies.  And they have sandwiches-- from turkey to chicken salad to what they called Nostalgic Grilled Cheese.  I'll take that, thank you very much.  Sandwiches come with very crispy ridged potato chips and a pickle spear.  Now let me dish about these cupcakes.  I tasted lemon and fresh strawberry at the bakery.  The cake was moist and dense with just enough icing as to not overwhelm you with sweetness.  The strawberry one was so good I got another for home along with the seasonal pumpkin spice.  But they also had a sweet potato one... next time.

My, what a scary face you have
All the better to tear this cake up
I had already eaten half of it when I thought I should show the world just how good it is.  So good I cannot be confined to a kitchen or any kind of etiquette.

In case Google is broken or something: Bird Bakery 5912 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209  

P.S. After the bakery I went to the theatre to see About Time starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams and I loved it.  Sweet and sentimental...just like cupcakes? Um...no, but yes, a sweet and sentimental movie.  Visit, eat, drink, watch, be merry.  All that.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Summerly


Still in semi-summer mode at the beginning of November.  Now the days pretend to treat us well between giving us some hell.  If hell is chilly...I just wanted to keep the rhyme.  I don't know why I've saved this until the near end of the month, but here 'tis.

Yes, 'tis the season already.  That one station has officially switched into Christmas music.  I happily accepted this change once I heard the cool version of "White Christmas" by the Drifters followed by my all-time favorite, Wham's "Last Christmas."  And I saw The Best Man Holiday last Friday night.  All this before we even get to Thanksgiving?!  Everything is coming so quickly.  Already there are pre-Black Friday sales and stores are decorated red and green.  And everything is going to pass quickly.  November and December kind of blur into each other and then suddenly give way for the new year.  So before all this holiday excitement comes in full force — autumn/winter cold, parties, gift-giving, and  quality T-I-M-E ♫ I have one last summery thing. 


On life: Do you feel like you're all over the place sometimes?  You have an egg (or a piece of shell) in each basket, but you're only really watching out for one basket (and it's the wrong one for the moment).  The thing I've been telling myself lately is that I'm doing the most when I should be doing the least.  I've been blog-centric, visiting Bloglovin' and all these other online magazines and standalone blogs.  I've also resumed by TV addiction (though that never really went away).  As soon as the GRE could leave my life forever I relaxed a little and focused more on my social and hobby baskets to the neglect of the others.

What I've been telling myself is not right.  I should never be doing the least in anything.  For this lesson in the importance of priorities and balance I just have to continue with this awful analogy (gotta make it work)...  So, choose the most important baskets, put the right number of eggs in each one, and try real hard to carry them all and still walk straight without dropping anything.  Easier said... But just try.  Real hard. 

Oh, and stay sanely insane.  On this cloudy autumn day when I decided to hold steadfast to a fleeting summer-feel I was grooving to my new favorite song "Right There" by Ariana Grande.  A little silly helps me do the most (err...my best) for the next important thing.  The song is just so bounceable.  I've developed an infatuation with her music ever since I heard "The Way" (which samples Big Pun's "Still Not a Player" which samples Brenda Russell's "A Little Bit of Love").  Everything sounds the same but different, very catchy, very pop/R&B-ish, and she's got those Mariah Carey high frequency notes.

On photography: Well, the first one was treated with some sort of filter on Picasa.  I think it looks a little summertime glamorous, like an editorial in a magazine.  I shot with ISO 200 because the cloudiness was washing the images out but there are other components to exposure that I haven't used because I don't know how or can't use because of camera limitations.  I recall there's something called white balance... for another day.

On the outfit:  This is the only way I know how to wear a denim shirt. Is that still a trend?  Is this thing they call chambray the same?  I'm not sure.  I suppose the traditional denim complements the pastel color in those pants (which might not be the best fit, but I'm stuck with them now).  I really like the idea of candy-colored anything.  Enough of the "blue jean."  (I always scrunched my face whenever my high school band teacher would say that.  Why you gotta have that adjective there all the time?)  This outfit is all quite bright, comfortable for a Texas autumn and of course, fitting to dance in.  


"This is my jam!"

Forever 21 denim shirt
Target dressy tee
Gap legging jean (allergic to plural)
Calvin Klein reversible belt
(Burlington Coat Factory)

Tasha headband (Nordstrom)
Forever 21 necklace
Kelly & Katie sandals (DSW)
Steve Madden crossbody
Goodness, I think this is my second-longest post so far and possibly the most jumpy.  Thanks for reading if you did.  If you didn't thanks for scrolling through. Bye ya'll!

Monday, November 11, 2013

On the Wall

Five minutes into my perusal of SAMA's Contemporary Art Collection, this work caught my attention.  The photograph's caption and the artist's quote on the placard expresses an opinion on a reality that still exists-- the fact that black women and girls are often hidden from the mainstream media or if shown, in one-dimensional or insincere representations.  I gasped the most at how fitting it was to see Mirror, Mirror after reading Twitter and Huffington Post responses to the Black Girls Rock! Awards on BET last week.  1987 then. 2013 now.

Mirror, Mirror (1987)
Ain't Jokin' (photographic project)
Carrie Mae Weems
via
I believe that many people do not know the definition of racism (or any of its derivatives).  Not to say that I am a cultural or linguistic expert on the word's denotation... As I was watching the show I also scrolled through Twitter (it's become a thing I do now, tsk tsk) under the search #BlackGirlsRock and found some bemoaning tweets about others who had a problem with the organization.  Then I purposely looked for that opposition.  Many tweets looked like this: "If there was a White Girls Rock it would be racist."  

I wonder who said so.  Who told these people it would be racist to have a White Girls Rock or a White Entertainment Television?  It would be ludicrous and pointless, not racist.  Those two things already exist with ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, etc. White people are regularly represented, believed to be the default, the mainstream.  There isn't a need to reaffirm the worth of a white person in the United States.    

Beverly Bond created the Black Girls Rock organization to empower young girls in the arts, to show them positive role models.  The awards show was so awesome to me, I wished that I could have participated in something like it when I was younger.  All the honorees and their speeches made me think "Hey, I can be great too."  I can be extraordinary too (had to do it).  In the end it is always true that all girls rock.  Black girls, white girls, South Asian girls, Asian girls.  Shouldn't every girl hear that kind of encouragement?


hmm... right?
 Mirror, Mirror is part of a collection of photographs called Ain't Jokin' (1987-1988).  The captions and/or titles to the other photographs are interesting and so blunt.  The link to Weems' website is underneath the first image up above so check out the rest and more if you like.  I appreciate seeing this at the museum and getting to discover a black female photographer and artist.  Carrie Mae Weems makes me want to be an actual photographer, someone with a vision and something to say.  Right below is her quote about this photograph  printed on the placard at SAMA.  I can imagine someone saying those words today.  

It's fair to say that black folks operate under a cloud of invisibility-- this too is part of the work, is indeed central to the work.... This invisibility-- this erasure out of the complex history of our life and time-- is the greatest source of my longing.... That there are so few images of African-American women circulating in popular culture or in fine art is disturbing; the pathology behind it is dangerous.  I mean, we got a sistah in the White House, and yet mediated culture excludes us, denies us, erases us. -- Carrie Mae Weems
Happy Veterans Day!
*hope its not illegal for me to post photos I took of work someone else owns...at least I found the real thing on the artist's site and added credit.  Is that enough acknowledgement? Eek!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

SmART Party

Is there such a thing as the Window of Photography Perfection?  Loosely defined as a period of time when really nice images can be shot outdoors mostly because of the magic of natural light.  If it is a thing then the end of Daylight Saving Time made me miss that window last night.

Too sexy for my face
Without that window I was stuck in a room and tried to make do.  Nighttime photography.  Hmmm....  Well, since it was getting darker by the minute I increased the camera's sensitivity to light: pumped that ISO level up to 400.  (I've been working with ISO 100 or 200, no flash)  It didn't work out very well, so I set the camera to ISO 200 and used flash to illuminate subject and background.  Okay, okay, enough with the technical stuff.  Still not the best results I think, but hey, I'm new at this.
It was all in the name of SAMA Art Party (San Antonio Museum of Art).  Every second Friday of the month, the beautiful museum opens the courtyard area for art,  music, and cocktails, charging a small fee ($10).  Party makes me think "dress!"  And a skirt is pretty much a half-dress.  Or is a dress an extended skirt?  This zebra print looking skirt is probably from Dillards Clearance Outlet, courtesy of my momma.  I bought both the open jacket and shoes on a whim.  The jacket because it was different and on sale at Nordstrom Rack and the shoes because my sister told me I had to buy them.  Apparently that's all it takes to convince me.

I've never worn these things together before and I feel like there might be something missing.  I bet one of those fancy schmancy (too expensive for me) celebrity stylists would have something to make it complete.  Oh, I forgot.  I'm my own personal stylist most of the time.  Every extraordinary ordinary girl is.  Next time, I guess.  But actually I have to say that my mom has bought a good chunk of my clothes and I usually love everything she gets me.  So she's my stylist.  I'm just now taking over.

Gap long sleeved T-shirt
Gianni Bini skirt
Classiques Entier jacket (Nordstrom Rack)
generic black tights
BOC Born Concept oxford shoes (DSW)

P.S.  SAMA is a pretty cool word abbreviation.  But what if it were named the [S]an Antonio [m]useum of ART?  Smart choices, people.  Idea from my love, my sister.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Skip to My Lou

scream it like you mean it
On the weekend I skipped to the Lou and to my love (my sister).  I hadn't seen her in quite some time so everything was wonderful-- movie, musical, and mess.  She made coconut rice and stew, I brought some chin chin and we became weekend wine drinkers -- moscato, stella rosso, and a sweet (dark) red.  As we made our way to the alcoholic beverages at the grocery store I thought "Oh, she needs me to buy it," completely forgetting that she's of legal drinking age.  When the heck did that happen?!  This girl had wine glasses and everything.

Nature and campus stairway
Photo credit: moi
Photo credit: moi encore une fois
How interesting it was to return to St. Louis, the city I used to know.  Everything was pleasantly familiar.  Aye, I remember this airport!  Ooh, Maplewood Commons and the (sometimes) sorry Walmart! And finally, WashU, my alma mater.  This was such a good homecoming. 

It was a proper fall over there, whatever that means.  Sunny and chilly.  My love kindly took some of these photos.  You should see this sweater when my arms are fully extended: it becomes a boxy parachute.  But that's how I wanted it when I compared sizes at Burlington Coat Factory.  And that's how everyone else seems to like it too.  As I strolled through campus like a student a woman complimented me on the sweater.  Next time I'll cuff the pants to show off dem boots. ☺

So this is just me wearing some clothes that I like, which is always the best thing.  They say you are the best when you feel the best.  Or is it "You feel the best when you look the best"?  I don't know.  I really just make things up as I go.  But they both sound good, right? 

prism prison

DKNY Jeans jumper
Cynthia Rowley T-shirt
Rebecca Minkoff Mac bag
The best jeans
Dem boots
Favorite bracelets

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Shoe of the Leopard


You know the feeling, right? As the sun scintillates through the tree branch openings it becomes clear just how beautiful the day will be and you feel a pleasant pressure building up within you until you just scream out with conviction:

♫ I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
dancing through the fire
'cause I am a champion
and you're gonna hear me roar 

Or maybe you don't know the feeling since I made it all up.  But can't you just imagine the power of the sun in that photo?  Wouldn't you like to sing Katy Perry's song while darting through the trees and dancing through the fire?  Because you are a champion, as am I.  Anyway...in terms of outer beauty I do not have the eye of the tiger, but I do have the shoe of the leopard... print.

um...what?
This was some time ago, before fall befell us (the heat then was no joke).  My lovely mother came to visit me and I had to dress to impress.  Only because my momma always looks amazing and I have to at least try to match-- I couldn't just wear jeans when she came all the way to see me.  Ironically, she happened to wear jeans that day, but still chic (the ultimate style descriptor for her). 

Still simple, still comfortable, and still different from what I'd usually wear on the weekend.  These pants are everything, actually.  I have no ounce of regret in buying them.  Okay, I had one ounce while at the store but I let the clerks keep it once I left and wore the pants the following day.  Oh, one thing about the flats: I really like this blogger/vlogger Shirley B. Eniang at Meek-n-Mild (blog link on the right) and I felt a little inspired by her style when I saw the shoes at Target.  Cool, cool.  Hope you enjoy my silliness, like the outfit, and have a lovely day.

Karate Kid crane kick...obviously

♫ I'm a huntress on an African safari 

New York & Co. top
Gap cap(ris)
Target Mossimo leopard flats
Ruche earrings
crossbody purse
My skinny bangles

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Oh Autumn!

As far as I'm concerned fall officially began four days ago.  The autumnal equinox and one weekend of rain ushered in the new season but I was not truly aware until I decided to step out in decidedly warm-weather clothes.  While everyone else had broken out their boots, sweaters and cool colors, I had on sandals, short sleeves and summer pastels (which is an actual fashion-type phrase! also, awesome alliteration!).

This is autumn!!!!!!!
It's always a challenge for me to dress smartly (or even decently) when the weather turns drab.  And since I maintain a pre-weather forecast mindset, I almost never check the predictions and constantly walk out the door ill-prepared.  Sometimes I run back in to grab an umbrella or jacket and other times...
Once in college I put on this knee-length denim skirt and a zip-up hoodie (yes, I remember outfits I've worn as far back as age 8).  The ugliest grey ribbed ankle-length tights for "warmth" and flats (which I live in) tied it all together.  That day the wind was harsh and it rained relentlessly.  I got to trudge across campus cold, wet, and uncute.  As I battled the wind's attempts to invert my umbrella I thought "Why did I wear this?! My feet are so wet! Why do I have a doctor's appointment today and why is Student Health Services on the opposite end of campus?!"  

So let's see if I can keep this style blog up through March (oh winter!).  I guess it's always the right time to be creative and actually make effort to look nice. That's the point of this.  To everyone, Happy Autumn!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fit for Last Week


Doesn't this have that senior portrait vibe?
Too bad I've graduated twice without the real thing.
This morning I woke up feeling ambitious and decided to make scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Chopped tomatoes, onions, and half a Habanero chili pepper...  The onion venom violated my eyes and although I was a fork and an arm away from the pepper, it stung my eyes too.  But I was feeling good about these eggs, so I kept going.  I alternated whites and yolks and added thyme, curry powder and salt. Heard a nice sizzle in the skillet, a promising process.

The result was a bland fail. Even adding Sriracha sauce could not save it.  It was eaten anyway, followed by some chocolate (yeah, chocolate in the morning).  I will try again, make no mistake. That's my boring story for today. Maybe something better will happen, something good at my kickboxing class tonight.  Definitely doubt that... kickboxing is not my friend right now.

Oh so I stepped out in this getup last Thursday to visit my neighborhood Academy Sports and Outdoors for some kickboxing gloves.  Then I played with Picasa a little bit.  I'd always wondered how people created that focal point color, everything else black and white effect. And now I know.  Happy Thursday and not-so-happy government shutdown day 10. Whoo! Whew!

Cynthia Rowley t-shirt
F21 chaqueta
F21 skirt
sandals "stolen" from my cousin's closet

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Make It Look Easy



Live music performances are awesome.  And when one of your favorite singers is performing in your city...yeah, even more awesome!  Oh and when you get to meet that favorite singer...well, yeah 3x.  

His name is Travis Garland, his music is really good, and he's from Texas (home state solidarity, ya'll).  I discovered the tour in July and spent two months thinking about it and wondering who to go with.  Because I have no sidekick friend or anyone I felt comfortable asking, I decided to make it a solo adventure.  To go to a never-before-heard-of bar with zero parking and fight against my natural awkwardness. But at least I would have VIP status!

The VIP people sent a slew of emails about the Meet and Greet times: first 4:30 (oops, that was for Austin), then 6:45, then 5:30 (more than two hours before doors open?!), then back to 6:45.  I met two lovely ladies in line and we kinda stuck together once inside.  From 6:45 to midnight I was in the company of a gaggle of girls.  Teenage girls, far-traveling girls, funny girls-- feeling breathless at Travis Garland's presence, pretending to faint, and yelling out why he was still wearing clothes, after he took off his jacket (I'm thinking "Aye, this is not supposed to be Usher or Trey Songz. Calm yourself down.")

VIP got me and the gaggle of girls a pre-show acoustic performance of two songs, a personal photograph and an autographed poster in one of those drawstring bags people always give out. Oooh, I was nervous for that personal photograph. He stood there and asked "Who's first?" This one girl ran into his arms ahead of everyone.  We all wanted to be first, but who would be brave enough? This one girl would, so she did. 

I want to know where his smile went
I also want to know what kind of camera angle this is
After the meet and greet I had to rush outside to move my car (to where?!) or pay $5 (to these money collectors whose sign was not there before.  How is that acceptable?).  Our headliner was scheduled to play at 10:45.  In between we heard a Chicagoan named Spaceship or Starship-- just joking, her name is Storm Calysta.  Electronic music is not my favorite (or even least favorite) and I could barely hear her lyrics over the music but her voice was pretty nice especially in this acoustic song she wrote about Beowulf called "Hero".  Next up was Eddie Gomez.  He sung a made up little something during soundcheck and it was amazing so I was expecting no less than more amazingness.  Expectations met.  Then I decided to meet him too (and of course get a photo, which was not without difficulty).

Attempt #25
Attempt #26

Man, this concert/show/whatever was SO MUCH FUN.  I'm glad I went. I was standing right in front of the stage.  If I was fangirl (or just plain crazy) enough, I could have reached over to touch the microphone stand or maybe even his shoe.  Oh my goodness, that reminds me... Travis Garland had this shirt that he used to gratuitously wipe sweat from his forehead and abdomen and all that.  Then he threw it out to the audience, where two girls caught it at each end.  Yikes.  I would never fight for anything like that.  Would you?  If it just landed in my hands, no struggle, I still don't know what I'd do because that's kinda nasty.  

About my personal stylings: I was going to be real extra and wear some heels or a dress (or try to fit the artist's style), but I thought it'd be better to be myself and dress casual cute.  That top required strategic bra strap arrangement, enough to balance out plain Levi's and sandals.  Secretly apologetic to my one friend who deems it unacceptable to expose your toes if unpolished.  Now every time I think to wear open-toed shoes, I think of what she would say to me.  Sometimes I begrudgingly make myself find an alternative shoe and other times, like the night of this concert, I decide to pretend that I couldn't care less. 

video
Above is a little clip of the show.  I didn't want to record the whole time, because I think it's important to be in the moment, but I wanted a concrete memory.  

There are three things to take away from this: 1) I'm a ♪ balla baby ♫ 2) Don't be afraid to do what you think you'd have fun doing, even if there's no one to do it with and 3) check out Travis Garland right now. Start with "Where to Land", then "Motel Pool", then "Neighbor" (in the clip), and follow with everything else.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Arm Akimbo



What do you do to meet potential suitors when the ratio of women to men at work is high, everyone is way older than you anyway, and whenever you leave the house, you are mostly found shopping for plums, tripods and Chobani?  In my case, your mother encourages you to try speed dating and you are already ahead of her.

It was a month ago when I registered for this 20s to 30s singles mixer event thing similar to speed dating but not really.  The event details read "dress to impress" and all I could think about was finding a freakum dress to wear (but not too freakum, excuse me). I was too excited about getting dressed up to be too nervous about doing something so far out of my comfort zone.

It all went down two weeks ago.  No romantic connections made, but I made a couple of friends and won two drawings: free admission to another event and $20! The most luck I've ever had was in elementary school cake walks...so this was a pleasant surprise.
Now for self-taught lessons in photography.  No lighting, highlight or contrast changes have been made by my minimal editing resources.  Only the first one below with two overexposed images juxtaposed followed by two crops (which takes away crispness, but still better images than before).

The light engulfs me
The top photo was a first attempt on a makeshift tripod around 7 pm.  A little too much light. Second and third attempts with changed camera angles gave me the combo below lol.  Then I balanced the camera on a car facing an open space--success!  See, people take great photos; cameras can make it easier but can never do all the work. Later, pretending to know anything about white balance and ISO beyond their names, I tried manual settings when indoors at night (probably the worst combination for taking clear, crisp photos).  I remember increasing the light sensitivity (bigger ISO) and changing the white balance to tungsten--not as successful.

Car as tripod #1
Car as tripod #2
It's amazing how a person uses the same camera
to capture the light-floods above
and then these two pieces of clarity
Deep into the night at 10 pm

dress by Phoebe Couture
clutch by Michael Kors
spiky heels by Guess
(hidden) black earrings by Ruche
chunky bangles from my momma
twist-out by me
Natural light is the best light. That's what I've learned. Also, I love to put one arm on my hip.

Friday, September 20, 2013

It's A Little Much

uh oh!

dress from somewhere
bangle/bracelets from that one place
Nine West heels
Steve Madden crossbody purse
Hello, hello!

I nearly killed my point-and-shoot trying to take these photos. Hold, fiddle, fumble, drop. The lens got jammed in and like it was someone's dislocated shoulder, I popped it out with a little force.  I then revived it from unconsciousness, so behold... I wore these things this past Sunday. A little much right? Short skirt, tsk tsk.

Since I'm without a tripod or a servant to be my personal photographer, I'm sticking indoors for now and using impromptu (yet totally stable) household items to balance the camera. It was really cool to play with the natural lighting from the window shutters, to see what happens when there's too much light and when there's not enough. This is too much fun already. Good day to you!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Don't Break The Bank


I knew that guitar was good for something!
I don't know WHY you got that stank face on, but...

Ruche dress
L: vest from ThredUp
R: F21 chaqueta
Steve Madden crossbody bag
Cole Haan leather boots from Nordstrom Rack
(jk, they only came in a Cole Haan shoebox)

When I saw my cousin that Saturday afternoon he said "So you just decided to wear a dress today?" Yup. I wanted to get dressed. For an ordinary trip to the bank to  get my money up . And to visit my second home, Walmart. ♫ No lie