Saturday, March 30, 2013

Progress: A New Beginning

The sun has made a spectacular comeback against Winter today. It was gorgeous. I went outside, the sun was shining and warm, the birds were singing, and the crocuses were starting to bloom.

 That is always one of my favorite parts of spring. When the flowers start to bloom, you know the cold is almost over.


Those little purple buds tell us that spring is almost here. And I love that. 

I have this new thing going where I walk everywhere, not because I really want to, but because there are other things I need to spend money on besides gas. And today was the first day that I went, "Oh. This might not be too bad." I needed to bring my sunglasses and I didn't even have to wear my sweater all day. 

That sunshine was just the recharger I needed. I deliberately took the long walk from the Music Building to my apartment, just to be outside.

The sun has got me dreaming of flowers. And thinking about spring and new beginnings.

It has been 3 months since I severed all ties with my ex, a decision I had surprisingly never regretted. My friends frequently tell me that I am the happiest they have ever seen me, even with the occasional angry and bitter days.

In those three months, I have done things that I would never have with him. I go out late at night, I stay out late, I go to concerts. I am spontaneous and manage to do things without days of planning ahead.

These seem like little things, but they're really not for me. My friend and I went to a Josh Ritter concert (and she's a lot like me with the planning) and we both decided to do as many things by the seat of our pants as we could. We had an "ish" departure time and stopped wherever we felt like stopping. The car even died and we didn't freak out - just went into Sears and asked for help, looking twice as incompetent in our concert attire. But we handled it well.

I love this girl. One of the best friends I have.

There's something else going on too. There's this guy I like. I mean, I like him a lot. He's been a part of my life since freshman year and someone I have always loved the time I've spent with him. And I feel like we're getting closer and closer. We spend more and more time together. And he is someone I don't want to lose out of my life - transferring schools or not.

I don't know that this is ever going to go anywhere. But I want it to. Which surprises me. Because I kind of thought I was going to be alone forever and that I would never even have a crush again.

Can you say new beginning? Can you also say surprise?

 I had this amazing, good thing under my nose the whole time. It was there during a huge wave of ugly. And even if it doesn't go THERE...

Well, let's just not get ahead of ourselves.

New beginnings require baby steps.

Slow moving is good for a while.

Even though I managed a relatively unstructured concert day, that doesn't mean I don't completely rely on my color coded planner to get me from class to rehearsal to meetings to dates and back to class. 

And I am not ashamed of that. Not even a bit.

I have a new mantra as of this week:

Strive for Progress.

Not For Perfection.

It goes back to a really helpful talk I had with a teacher about the danger of being a perfectionist. It's not a good thing. It's like a low form of OCD and not healthy, at least not for me at this point in my life. 

And he reminded me that as long as I am making progress and hitting markers and reaching goals, perfection doesn't matter. Perfection doesn't even exist.


 Well, that's a good thought to keep in mind. 

I'm a young person. I'm not perfect. I suck at budgeting and I love to spend money. I like chocolate and I don't like to work out. I love to dance and I forget to wear my knee brace 9 times out of 10. I register for early morning classes and then I "accidentally" stay up late watching Big Bang Theory. I also love to say yes. 

So how about saying yes to Progress? Yes to something new and something spontaneous and surprising? 

Instead of crying about how Perfection stood me up again. 

I think me and Progress are going to have a good relationship. 



Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Touch Of Whimsy In Our Lives

There is no shame in being whimsical. Allowing whimsy into your everyday in subtle ways is something I think is very important. Allowing yourself a chance to be a little bit





is so good for you! People have little desk sand gardens and stress balls as a way to relieve tensions, but there has to be a better way.

And I am so authoritative and knowledgeable on what is best for everyone so, honestly, trust me on this. 

Dr. Sheldon Cooper even says, "What is life without a bit of whimsy?" And if Sheldon allows whimsy into his life, I think we all can.

How can we add whimsy to our day to day lives? And what exactly is whimsy? 

 1. endearing quaintness or oddity: the quality of being slightly odd or playfully humorous, especially in an endearing way. 
2. impulsive notion: an idea that has no immediately obvious reason to exist
             Synonyms: quaintness, oddity, eccentricity, quirkiness, humorousness, oddness, whimsicality
Hmmm, okay, none of these things seem too bad in any way.
Quirky - good.
Endearing -better!
Impulsiveness - Ooooh. Maybe that has a little bit of a negative connotation. But maybe if we look at Definition 2 as a whole, it will clear itself up. Something that has no obvious reason to exist. Something that an outsider looking in doesn't understand why it exists.

My ex bought a violin last October. Why? Because he wanted to learn to play and he had a little extra money. What's wrong with that? 

Absolutely nothing! 
I think I even told him that I was glad he was letting his whimsy out.

That purchase didn't really make a ton of sense. But it was something he was excited about and something that made him happy. So, therefore, it was great! 

What do I have for whimsy in my life? Today I bought a small shelf to hang in my room. I bought that shelf to display dinosaur figures on. To be fair, they were the extras in the pack that my tyrannosaurus for the shoes came out of - more whimsy!
I don't care if other people think they're dumb. I think they're fun and it's my room.

I also try to be whimsical in my fashion choices, whether I do this subtly (with jewelry or scarves) or obviously.

Which leads me to another DIY I would like to tell you about. 

Polka Dotted Jeans. 

This is a trend that has been hot this last season. Hot and expensive - a decent pair running about $50-$100. And, well, I wanted in on the trend. 

So here we are. 

This is THE PANTS halfway finished. This was actually very easy, albeit time consuming.

I didn't do a grid first: I free handed it, and I think you can tell if you really look. I think if I were to make another pair, I probably would do a grid. I would recommend each dot being about 1 inch apart and the rows being about 1/2 inch above each other.

ANYWHO - I used a plain old acrylic white paint (the one that costs $0.97 at Wal-Mart, Michaels, Ben Franklin, wherever) and I actually used the end of a hot glue stick for my circles. That is also a matter of personal preference, depending on how large you want the dots to be.

I started at the bottom of the leg with 4 and 5 dots per row and as the pant leg widened towards the top, I just fudged it, adding in dots as needed in the inside of the leg where it would be less noticeable.

On the back, I kept the pattern consistent across the back pockets - I don't think anyone's bottom, let alone mine, needs too much extra attention, and I am already covering it in white dots so....

This took me probably 2 hours, but spread over 2 days. You must make sure to let them dry the whole way before flipping them over. That's important.

Also - to wash them, turn them INSIDE OUT (also important), wash on cold, and dry on low. And that should keep the paint from peeling off too much. Mine survived it just fine.

And that's it. Now you have a simple, easy pair of polka dot jeans. And they should cost you $20 or under, depending on where you get the jeans.

It also cost me 
large amounts of caffeine, 
paint encrusted fingernails,
painted hair,
and a heating pad for my lower back and knees.

But those things don't really matter, even if it didn't really make much sense to other people. I was excited about it - excited enough to not care about being crouched on the floor. Because I had a project that I worked on, that took my mind off schoolwork when I needed it to, and added a piece of whimsy to my closet. 

Mary Oliver says, "You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.” We have to keep that little touch of whimsy going in our lives, for our own sakes. If we give it up, we give up a part of ourselves that I don't think we really need to sacrifice.

Add some mini dinos or an R2D2 to your sand garden. Get a violin. Buy a fun lunchbox. Put a big vintage pin on your blazer before work. Or make a pair of polka dot jeans. Whatever works, right? 

Just get yourself some whimsy!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Rawr Means I Love You

I made me a pair of dinosaur heels. I am really stinking excited about them. I think they are the coolest pair of footwear ever. 

These shoes got inspired by a friend's post on my wall - saying that she wanted to see these as soon as I made them.... And I replied that I didn't think I was quite fabulous enough for dinosaur heels. A few hours later, I had been thinking and thinking about them and, well, here we are.

I looked up the DIY she sent me and immediately got turned off.... There was filing and welding and all sorts of unnecessary work. I thought that there had to be an easier way to get these on my feet.

My parents actually came up with the insanely simple idea of just drilling a hole through the dinosaur. Which of course just made too much sense.

Then I went on the quest for the shoes and dinos. The heels were easy - Goodwill for $7!! Though I did go through a process for choosing them.

The original DIY used a pair of brightly colored snake skin looking heels to further the dinosaur theme. I did have my hands on a green suede pair and a tan snakeskin pair when I saw these blacks. And I decided those were the ones. The reason I went with a "boring" pair of heels was so that I  could wear these shoes




And instead of having them be this flamboyant statement piece, I wanted to mellow them out and make them a little more "vogue" or "chic" or "classy" or whatever word can be used to describe dinosaur heels.

The dinosaur process was waaaay harder. They don't carry toy dinosaurs at Wal-Mart in the discount aisle anymore - which really horrified me. What on Earth is going on with our children's toys nowadays? NO DINOSAURS?

So then I checked the dollar store in my little town and found those packs of multiple dinosaurs, got two of those, and selected the Tyrannosaurus - though I was greatly tempted by the Apatosaurus, but I thought the long neck might be impractical for everyday wear. fa

I didn't know what I would do if his neck snapped off or something.

Once I got the supplies, it was relatively easy. My dad drilled the holes.

Because for some reason, they don't trust me with heavy power tools. 
Me. Perfectly graceful me. 
What on Earth? 
Then we stuck him on there with some glue et viola.

Dinosaur heels. No welding required.

One of the many things I like about them is that from the front, they just look like everyday black heels. Then from the side or the back: 



I think they're great. I wore them for volunteering at the elementary school yesterday and they were a hit with K-5 graders, as well as teachers. 

One more great piece added to my wardrobe - CHECK. 

I really deliberated this picture... I think I look dumb. But I was told it was endearing and cute with the post.
Remember - t-rex hates pushups. (I do too actually).
                     Dinosaurs were extinct before it was cool (that's an Ice Age joke, folks).
                    What kind of material do dinosaurs use for their floors? Rep Tiles. 

I could tell bad dinosaur jokes and post memes and such all day. But I'll spare you. 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Heavily Caffeinated and Wearing A Scarf

I am still not adapted to losing that hour of sleep. I never really get there, I don't think, till the sun comes out and I go outside, look at the crocuses blooming and here the birds and just get to back in the sun. That's when I can forgive Father Time.

That's what I woke up to Tuesday morning. Three inches of powdery snow, and more falling all day. Time to pull my scarves out - and give myself a quick pat on the back for even thinking to pack any - and put on some layers.

Even though I grew up in North Idaho, I'm not cut out for snow. I never liked it. I never got into snowboarding or skiing or sledding. Being cold and wet has no appeal for me, and I would rather pull my fingernails out than drive in the snow.

Especially in Moscow, with all the students who have never even seen snow trying to drive the same way they do in California. It's scary. Legitimately.

I am not made for cold weather. When the sun comes out, I have been found in the practice building, sitting in the most uncomfortable places, simply because that is where the patch of sunshine is coming through. I love me some sunshine.

But right. At the moment, North Idaho is not sunny. Yesterday it snowed and today it is raining.

 It's like Father Time and Mother Nature are conspiring to make the people of North Idaho feel as lurgy as possible. 

(Yes, lurgy is a word. Kind of a mix of blegh and lethargic, but those words on their own just wouldn't quite cover the true feeling.)

So there.

I have now ingested enough caffeine that I feel like I am operating at the speed of light and every task is getting accomplished with enough energy to power a small village for a couple months.

Pray that my heart doesn't stop with the crash from this.

So, as it rains and snows and slushes around, I think I'll get a little crafty. Make some artwork. Do some writing.

Stay dry!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This Girl Is On Fire

I have recently started a morning yoga routine (on the mornings I don't have ballet) to get my energy flowing and help wake my body up before class. Sure, some days I oversleep and miss it, but I can really tell the difference in the days that I take a little time to ground myself and get centered.
Some people use traditional yoga music...I use indie and pop. Few thing relax more than Josh Ritter. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis get me pumped. And Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys just makes me feel like a rock star. So I use that song, almost every morning, along with some other pop girl empowering music. It's my little guilty secret.

I feel like on the days that I skip my yoga (and before I started doing it), I get so overwhelmed by all the things I have to get done. And to be honest, I hold myself to a high standard and I also have a lot to get done. So I don't have time for too many emotional meltdowns.

I do my yoga and then I arm myself for my day. What does my armor consist of?

1. My iPod. Filled with showtunes, indie, and pop. Because I am an equal opportunity music lover. Except for metal. I don't really like metal.
2.My waterbottle. I get cranky and tend to throw up when I don't drink enough water.
3. The snack pocket. Is the best pocket of my backpack. Is filled with granola bars, fruit snacks, a cup of oatmeal (sometime), craisins, wheat thins. I also tend to throw up and get shaky when I forget to eat. Hence the snack pocket.
4. My celly. I don't go many places without it. I am in constant contact with my mother and father, as well as my friends. Though I got a little to reliant on it during my relationship with the Captain, so I am working on texting less and being present.
5. My outfit. I dress myself very deliberately. If I feel crummy, I am going to wear the brightest colors and best fitting clothes I own - like red corduroys, or high heels, or dresses. I have a very strict no-sweats rule, and yoga pants are only acceptable to ballet, sometimes, if I really, really, really don't want to put a leotard on. 
6. My knowledge of the fact that God put me here, in this place, with these tasks for a reason. Otherwise, I would look at my planner and cry way more than I already do!
  Just kidding. That doesn't happen often. Only like once or twice.

So this is my recharge week and I have been loving it. I have slept way too much and already done lots of thrifting and sewing projects.

And reading.

 I love having time to read. Here's a book I am working on at the moment.
It's a hefty one. But it is so great. It was a book that a friend just handed to me and said, "Here's your spring break reading material." And I said, "ok!"

I don't want to give anything away, but read this book! The language is gorgeous, described as "ineffable" and having engulfed readers in its "limitless beauty." It's a historical fiction sort of novel, so I understand if maybe that's not what you're into, you might want to skip it. But it is definitely a novel to give a chance. Mark Helprin is an author I will want to read more of.

I look at reading and sewing as parts of my armor as well, though they are parts that I cannot maintain as easily or readily as my snack pocket. They are more like parts of my foundation, things I can do that leave a lasting impression. A really good book stays with you, as does a great sewing project.

Speaking of sewing, I altered this great plaid shirt this week.

Before! Just really too big, though it did only cost $3 at a thrift store. I couldn't let a nice flannel like that just get away!

After! With my mom's help, I put 8 darts in the back (4 going each direction) and sewed them down with a red blanket stitch. The darts made the shirt tighter, as well as making an almost bustle-effect of my hips. If I had thought about it, I would have taken a picture from the side as well.

I love being at home with a sewing machine! It makes my DIY desires much easier to act upon.

There is this doctor who also inspires me; he goes by the name of Seuss, Dr. Seuss. And he always provides great little gems of wisdom. I like this one - even though it is thrown about a little less.

 "I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see."

I think Dr. Seuss and Alica Keys have the right idea- troubles can't touch us because we are superstars. Whether we remember we are superstars because we feel good that day or because we need to drag the ol' bat out of the self esteem closet and beat the troubles down, we are nonetheless. 

 "Speak softly and carry a big bat," Teddy Roosevelt said, and that's not just about being aggressive. That's speaking to self preservation. Don't let life bring you down. We are never given more than we can handle, but we are given all the equipment and armor and foundation we need to go out and fight the world.

This girl is on fire! Getting stuff done; kicking ass and taking names, as the saying goes.

 Let's keep on keeping on! Happy spring!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Shooting Stars

I am on Spring Break from the hardest semester ever! So far.  Knock on wood.

 I listen to everybody making their plans to go on trips and play and go a little "Girls Gone Wild" as I quietly pack my bag to go to my lovely mountain home and recharge my batteries, with my list of crafts and projects. 

I am a little bit boring. Oh, wait, no, I'm not. I am hardworking, learning actor/singer/dancer who doesn't sleep enough or take enough time off.

Spring Break is a time for relaxing and there are few things for more relaxing for me than some thrift stores and some projects.

My super cool little brother and I went to a Owl City concert last night, to kick off my Spring Break. It was awesome.
It was like high school me's dream come true.

Most of the songs were off the new album which I haven't really listened to yet, and there was one song called "Shooting Star" that I really, really, kind of fell in love with.

When the sun goes down and the lights burn out 
Then it's time for you to shine 
Brighter than a shooting star
So shine no matter where you are 
Fill the darkest night with a brilliant light
'Cause its time for you to shine  
Brighter than a shooting star  
So shine no matter where you are... tonight

No matter how dark or overwhelming things end up feeling, we can always get through it.


Each of us is a shooting star, each of us is filled with energy and momentum and light. We can all change our worlds.

I have noticed that my quest for happiness has resulted in some major decisions - I moved, I removed myself from bad relationship and managed to stand by that decision, I built new friendships, I take time off when I am overwhelmed, I learned to say no, I learned to draw, and I became a fervent DIYer and  thrifter. 
Shoes: GIFT, Pants -Rue21 $0.60, Shirt - thrifted $0.99
This spring break, I have 10 thrift stores I want to hit up.
I also want to alter 2 (or 4) pairs of pants, depending on how the thrifting goes. I want to finish a pair of hand painted polka dot pants. And I get to start designing costumes for my school's Opera Scenes program. And I might make a pair of dinosaur heels.

Then I go back to Moscow for Star Wars Craft day. 

I've got some good stuff going on. And I'm happy. 

Stay happy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Being A Wallflower

Today was a gloriously sunny day. It was so nice. Even yesterday was sunny, with the wind whipping snowflakes around Main Street. The sunshine lends me some energy, especially when I am beginning to feel worn down physically, scholastically, and emotionally.

The sun is a just a big ball of rejuvenation in the sky. It reminds me that even when things seem dark and exhausting, the sun comes out. Every time. It's always going to be there.

Which leads me to my new favorite movie. If you have not yet seen or read The Perks of Being A Wallflower, go out and do it now. I'm not kidding, it's amazing.

It's a beautiful coming of age story. A story of triumph, facing your demons, and somehow or another managing to come out on top, even when "on top" is a really ugly, hard won, painful triumph.

Sam is a girl who has been at rock bottom and found herself there, coming out strong and beautiful and scarred. And scarred is okay. She asks Charlie at one point, "Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we are nothing?"

"Because we accept the love we think we deserve."

Whoa. How true is that? If I think I am nothing, I can't accept someone who thinks I am the world. It's just not possible. We have a hard enough time as a culture accepting compliments for goodness' sakes.  But Sam decides that her job is no longer to please the world, but to validate herself. And that is how she finds herself. What a lesson.
 One of the best things about this film/book is that the story is not really happy. It's not a candy coated illustration of high school like so many are, it is raw and real and really hard to watch at times. It reminds us that high school and being a youth is hard, even if they aren't paying bills or living on their own or going to college.

"I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. Ad maybe we'll never know most of them. But even we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there."

Stuff happens. Whether we're high schoolers or students or adults. Stuff like breakups and death and abuse. And we can't control that. We can't control the scars we earn. I can't control whether or not my ex begs me to take him back because he misses me. I can't change that I had a friend pass away in high school and I have a real scar to mark the day. Those events formed me.

And the peace in between the moments of chaos - between the running across campus, the arguing, the fear - the moments when you first open your eyes in the morning and you can see the sunshine through your eyelashes and all you can feel in softness or when you are driving to campus singing, or when you get to sing in your choir and just be - those moments are suspended in time.

We are infinite. Just like the book tells us. We can just throw our arms open and cast our eyes forward and just be. Be happy with our lives. Because to be honest, I am happier with my life than I have been in a long time. And I didn't completely believe that that was true until it was put to the test - I could have gone back to something -and it was offered- and I realized I didn't want it. I had actually managed to make the right choice about something!

"The one moment when you realize you're not a sad story. You are alive..." - The Perks of Being A Wallflower.

Being alive is pretty cool. Even when you feel you're not touching someone's life, you are. Your life is important. Even when things are tough.

Seriously, guys, go read this book. Rent the movie. And shed a few tears with me.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Contents of My Closet

Just a portion of my extensive closet.

 So I have been thinking of doing this post for a really long time, but I kept putting it off because I knew how long it would take to count and photograph all my clothes. But I did it!

So we are going to look at, first, the sheer magnitude of clothing that I have, as well how many of them are second hand and how many of them are handmade.

In college, it is really easy to shop when you're bored. Or sad. Or lonely. Or happy. Or angry. Or trying to kill time. Or whatever. And, therefore, you can run out of money faster than you can say "ooh shoes." So I am working on a way to get my shopping fix in without driving my bank account into the ground (besides just having self control).

Second hand stores! Sure, thrifting can be hard work, but you can get some finds that you will wear all time!


Dresses are my favorite thing to wear. I would wear a dress everyday if I didn't live in a snowy, windy city that even tights and legwarmer can't keep me warm in.
52 dresses!!!! (3 maxi dresses)
14 of them are second-hand
12 of of them are handmade

Look at all the colors in my skirt selection! Lots of colors and patterns (and, yes, one of them is a sequin mermaid tail) - I really do have a skirt for any occasion.
22 skirts!
4 of them are second-hand.
2 of them are handmade.

Sweaters are one of my favorite winter wardrobe pieces, especially on the way to 8 am classes in negative degree weather. One of my favorite sweaters the second-hand  mustard sweater on the right - I added maroon elbow patches to it and I think that makes it really fun!   
I own 11 sweaters.
5 of them are second-hand.
2 of them are homemade - though I do have to give my mom the credit there, I am not a proficient knitter or crocheter.

I also have a lot of these, I think they're great for spring or fall evenings when a full jacket is just too much. I have a GREAT vintage, teal-velvet jacket, with brass buttons and laces up the back - you can see the sleeve at the very top of this picture - that was a Christmas gift. 
I have 22 blazers and jackets and such.
10 of them are second hand (though most of the rest came off of clearance racks).

 I am kind of new with vests, but it's a trend I am excited to try out for spring. I have had the two flowing vests for a while and wear them exclusively in the summer, but I think the more structures ones will be fun with tank tops, dresses, plain tees, anything and will add a quirky element to a more boring outfit. 
I have 5 vests.
4 of them are secondhand.
1 of them is handmade (the floral one - one of my friends crocheted the straps and did the sewing for me)

This number really shocked me! I almost don't want to confess how many shirts I have. It's bad. 
I have 83 shirts. 83! WHAT. 
30 of them are second-hand, and, again, many of them were bought on clearance and at sales. But still. Holey moley.

I have 22 tanks in all - ranging from dressy to more of a workout type of tank.
And 6 of them are second hand.

Writing about my shorts and tank tops makes me really miss summertime! But it's coming! 
I have 11 pairs of shorts. 
7 of them are second-hand.
1 pair is homemade - meaning I cut them off and painted them myself. 

 I have 6 pairs of pants, including teal, coral, plaid, red, and mint ones.
4 pairs of them are second hand.

Whoa. I have a lot of clothes. But as you can see, this a huge collection compiled from all sorts of places. It is perfectly possible to have a wardrobe built from things you make yourself or get from inexpensive places. 

The key to thrifting is to keep looking. There are plenty of times that I go into Goodwill and do not find a single thing. But other times I go in and come out with a ton of stuff. I regularly stop into my favorite thrift stores and anytime I'm in the mall I check my favorite clearance racks. 

In order to save money, though, I have a list of things I am looking for for my wardrobe, with things in order of need, like a white tee shirt is ahead of brown lace-up boots. I also keep a list of DIYs I want to do, right now I am turning a pair of thrift store jeans into polka dot jeans with some white paint, because polka dot jeans cost about $100 dollars from a store. So far, my pair costs about $20.

Some of my favorite stores: 
The Hope Center
The Storm Cellar (which is a local consignment shop, that I really think should give me a loyal customer discount)
Rue21 (definitely a hit or miss store, however)
DownEast Outfitters (try to catch those sales!!!!)

If you start looking for something, like a peplum top, that helps, but don't forget to look at patterns too! With Pinterest, we have access to all sorts of DIYs  and patterns and you can alter anything to your little heart's content. 

Also, when you thrift, clearance shop, or sew, you end up with a wardrobe that is entirely your own, from every decade, that fits every mood, and just says YOU. 

One of these days, I'll do this post for my shoes and jewelry and scarves and hats too. 

Happy thrifting!
Happy styling!!