Monday, July 14, 2014

Matchy Matchy

Do you ever have those days where you throw something together and you have no idea if you look halfway decent, but at least you put some clothes on and left the house? Yea that's how I've felt pretty much all summer and I haven't been 100% in love with the outfits I've been photographing these past couple months. But the way I see it- I've been branching out a bit for myself. I can wear any number of fit and flare dresses in flattering colors and put together something I like. Wearing various separates and lots of modern or more relaxed clothing definitely starts to feel like I'm stepping outside my comfort zone. Add on the anxiety of shooting in sketchy public places and I think I should have some type of bravery achievement unlocked.

These plaid 90's high waisted shorts were just a dream when I found them on Etsy, but I didn't have a top to go with them right away. I honestly was thinking more of a white or very pale pink top to pair with them, but alas I was wearing one of my go-to blue bralettes and thus this matchy-matchy look was born! Unfortunately I'm way too modest to just wear a bra as a top, so a light cardigan was a must. Owning predominately pastel hues, while lovely, can be a little overwhelmingly matchy, but I threw caution to the wind and decided to try and rock it.

I was back in the art district of Wynwood for these photos. I will be leaving Miami in 2 weeks now (yikes!) so I'm feeling crunched for time to do all the things I wanted to before I leave. As less-than-perfect these past couple months have been here, I don't think I'm ready to pack up and head back North just yet. Even though Miami is definitely not the place for me, it still is such a comfort being somewhere familiar after months of feeling lost. I may have been living in NJ/NYC for 3 years already, but it still feels strangely foreign and I feel I just don't fit. These past 3 months have just whizzed right by and now I'm left feeling like I didn't make the most of it. 

Its unbelievable too that in such a short time I will be moving in to a new apartment accompanied by my boyfriend. After two years of long distance it seems crazy to think all the stresses of that are now gone. Of course now comes a new chapter full of unique struggles with forming a new and very close life together. Although I'm excited I'm also wary because I have seen the end of a friendship with my previous roommate. But I have hope that we're strong enough to make anything work and remember to not let the stresses of the world seep in and corrupt a good thing. We recently celebrated our two year anniversary and I've honestly been so wigged out about how much time has past. 

When I start feeling anxious about time and things changing I'm reminded of why I'm a photographer- struggling to freeze and collect the very tiniest indications of feeling within moments. I'm hoping that once I'm back in NJ I'll start photographing seriously again. I've become so focused on sewing and crafting that I've lost any desire to photograph. Before art school I used to shoot anything and everything, while now I ponder ideas beforehand and harp on the impetus. Oh the struggles of post-modern photography... No matter what I do I know it needs to involve bigger production stuff. I want to make props and costumes for shoots and create fantastical images, but the struggle always comes back to 'what.'

I need to just channel that which is important to me. Whatever I do end up creating will probably have some familiar roots or feminist undertones. While August may not mean bouncing back to creating photos right away, I definitely want to take that time to explore some new ideas. If anyone has any book recommendations (preferably with some awesome female characters) or any other suggestions about fueling the creative fire, please let me know! I've also been considering the role of women throughout various cultures. As Americans its easy for us to sometimes forget that there's a myriad of different practices just beyond our borders and I'm fascinated to see if those ideas can too feed back in to my work. I'm also looking for film and theater play recommendations because I could definitely use that type of inspiration as well. Whatever I do end up doing for this coming year of thesis, I hope that I can create work I truly love.

Outfit Details
Bralette - Charlotte Russe // Cardigan - Old Navy // Shorts - Black Sheep Vintage // Shoes - BAIT Footwear

Monday, July 7, 2014

Florida Supercon 2014

Many of you may have been wondering where I've been lately and my only excuse is that June was an awfully stressful month. With personal anxieties and stresses plus the blood, sweat, and tears I was putting in to my cosplays, it feels like there was either no time or spirit for blogging. But now that FSC has come and gone, I'm in a good place to take this up again with a little write-up about my 3-day con experience. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures. Since I was in cosplay and because I kept forgetting my camera strap (seriously who does that?) I didn't touch my camera once. I had originally booked cosplay shoots and was looking forward to the event as a way to really get in to that scene, but once I was there my social anxiety kicked in and I was far too sheepish to even ask people for quick photos on my phone. Being a HSP I get particularly overwhelmed with the over-stimulation of convention floors, but I'm hoping that with more exposure to these types of environments I can slowly get used to it. The photos of this post were all taken by my lovely boyfriend, so I apologize for any less-than-stellar compositions and blurred shots..he is a newbie after all.

Our first day of the con was this past Friday, Fourth of July, so the whole place felt sort-of dead. We stayed for an alarmingly short amount of time because the vibe was kinda lame and I felt really insecure in my cosplay. It felt great to have "Welcome to Night Vale" fans recognize my Eternal Scout cosplay, but at the same time so many people just clearly didn't get it and it made me feel really awkward. Even fellow WTNV cosplayers seemed to be a little slow to realize what I was at first, so after a couple hours of that nonsense I just wanted to get home and away from people. 

Saturday was the complete opposite. While the previous day had empty halls and few cosplays, Saturday was the day of the costume contest and there were tons of quality cosplayers everywhere. The high-energy of Saturday was far more exhausting, but it definitely kept my spirits up throughout the day. I also wore my Elizabeth (from BioShock Infinite) cosplay and felt fairly confident wearing it which allowed me to just focus on taking in everything around me.

There was a lot of really phenomenal cosplays, but this one actually took my breath away a little bit. I love love The Winter Soldier and would love to cosplay Bucky myself one day, so I love the way this individual took all the badassery of the character and added traditional femininity to the design. I was quite visibly swooning, but I think it just came off as me acting in character or so I hope..

Sunday was definitely the best day, but unfortunately everything closed up rather early and I didn't get to spend as much time there as I wanted to. With all the good vibes and energy of Saturday, but with the fewer numbers of people closer to that of Friday, it was the perfect day to really get to peruse each and every booth. My favorite part of conventions is just admiring all the hand-made items and all the wonderful art. I was definitely kicking myself for not being able to afford much of anything, but I definitely have a ton of business cards for the future when I'm ready to splurge on some more geekery goodness. 

I was lucky enough to find another BioShock Infinite cosplayer and what better than Rosalind Lutece! I may have looked a little frightened to see her at first (you know she is partly responsible for Elizabeth being taken from her father and locked in a tower for a big chunk of her life...), but I was excited to get a photo with her. I saw two other Elizabeths like myself and two other versions of Liz throughout the whole con, but I was surprised I never found a Booker DeWitt cosplayer or even a Little Sister. Perhaps the next con I will find more from this awesome series and get to take some more photos.

I wore Elizabeth for the second time and was so glad I did. It felt amazing to receive so many compliments and have so many people take notice and want photos. A few people were bold enough to say it was one of the best Liz cosplays they had seen in awhile, which made me want to tear up. I barely know how to sew and this was my first attempt at even making something like this, so to have such a strong reaction was wonderful. Even the most amazing critiques and praise I have received in art school doesn't compare. Cosplay is definitely the most rewarding hands-on, creative activity I have ever done and I'm so excited to have this motivation to keep going. I'll be dedicating individual posts to each cos in the future, so stay tuned for that!

All in all, this may not have been the biggest or most exciting con, but it was full of some wonderful and talented people and I'm glad I could be a part of the experience.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Like Light After Rain

Every year as summer approaches I return to that child-like excitement for the season back in my home state. However, I seem to always forget the ever-present gloomy clouds that grace the Sunshine State's skies during our rainy season. While I admit I sometimes spend the whole day inside enjoying the central air, the wind battering at the trees and being startled from sleep by the sound of thunder dampens (pun intended) my mood with sluggishness and lethargy. But then, to my surprise every time, the sun breaks out from clouds just around sunset to provide a quick hour or so of beautiful light. 

Luckily, there's one decent and free park that doesn't look completely like a drug deal site just a few minutes from my house where I can take advantage of these last lights of the day. Unfortunately it closes right at sundown, but its been nice enjoying these beautiful skies with my bf after these little photo shoots. The park also runs near our old high school campus, so its often a fun reminder of some of the past, no matter how bitter some of those memories are. Technically our first ever date was back when I was 16 and we went for a little sunset stroll around the park's lake because I was so nervous and indecisive about what to even do. When taking these photos he scoffed at the idea of someone even bringing a date to this park and I thoroughly enjoyed reminding him of our corny date way back when.

Despite all the humidity and confusion with the weather, I've managed to throw together another outfit in the same way as my last outfit post. Unintentionally, they are pretty similar. Apparently for me this is the summer of tying all my shirts and cardigans to fulfill some need for layering that I miss from the colder months, but also adding some casual elements to my outfits. A year ago a friend told me that because I owned nothing but vintage dresses at that point that I had no real casual, everyday things to just throw on and be comfy. I took that to heart and definitely branched out in terms of just finding modern items that could still feel retro and interesting with styling.

I used to be an adamant shopper for only natural fabrics and pieces from the 50's and 60's. But because I spent so much time looking for the right stuff, I had very little clothing I actually owned. Since I've broken that shopping habit with those standards, I've been trying to break the habit of only buying dresses. Separates always seem to frustrate me because sometimes it can feel like it will take forever to find the right pairing. When I saw this 70's top I was on the fence, but with an adorable umbrella print I knew I would be fine if I had to wait around for the right piece to complete an outfit.

With all this attention given to the sun showers we have been experiencing, it felt natural to go with a yellow to compliment the blue raindrops of the blouse. Plus, wearing yellow always seems to brighten my day and put a spring in my step. I still don't know if I've quite hit the right looks for summer in terms of overall comfort, but I'm working on it. With every season comes the realization that my wardrobe is definitely lacking in certain areas. However, that's half the fun of such a challenge as I can now hunt down more pieces with a few particulars in mind.

Outfit Details
Top - Vintage // Collar Clips - DIY // Dress - Forever 21 // Shoes - BAIT Footwear

Friday, June 6, 2014

Feelin' Femme Wishlist

Last week I talked about how I want this blog to include more of my interests. Well, one aspect of myself that remains very important to me is my feminist beliefs. Aside from daily rants, my interest in gender issues fuels me as an artist and often becomes the subject of my work. While proclaiming yourself a feminist is often met with assumptions that you are perhaps a misandrist, lesbian, or just overall bitch, I feel that more and more women are becoming increasingly vocal. Even though the trolls may think that just sporting feminist pride is a confrontational call for attention or some other lame thing, I've found that so many people just don't get it. Maybe a brooch, necklace, or patch won't change anyone's mind, but the possibility for curiosity, discussion, and even enlightenment is still there. Plus, looking darn cute and supporting an ideology or movement is rad in my book.These items are a wishlist of sorts and highlight a few of my favorite Etsy sellers tackling some feminist issues in their work.

As a store featuring tons of awesome pop-culture reference jewelry and accessories, Kate Rowland's items have been one of my favorites. I adore the look of wooden handmade goods with their natural, but delicate feeling. I am in love with the simplicity in these designs as they just simply declare their owner a proud card-carrying feminist.

While I normally don't buy T-shirts, these array of tees have got me wanting to sport one with a jean jacket, skater skirt, and some pastel  combat boots. 

(via Human)

Although I'm generally too indecisive to use stickers, I adore these beautifully handmade ones that actually specify direct messages concerning body policing, rape culture, and victim blaming.

Still Not Asking For It :One-Of-A-Kind Feminist StickerNo More Slut Shaming: Glittery Feminist Sticker

Again, I'm not one to usually wear buttons of this sort, but the art and message are just too darling to pass up. Street harassment is something that is such an everyday occurrence in the lives of so many women, myself included, and I just love this adorable confrontation of this prevalent issue. Plus, Sailor Moon is always welcomed in to my life in any way.

kittens againist cat calls | 2.25 inch pin back buttonsailor moon pin | fight like a girl | 2.25 inch pin back button
(via Danny Brito)

These little gems feel so raw and handmade, but are quite endearing in their simplicity. Gotta love the use of Barbie to challenge notions of beauty and femininity too.

abc's of feminism pini'm not a doll pin

Hearts and Cry Baby quotes all in lovely pastel shades... what's not to love?

Rebel Girl Heart Brooch, Feminist Riot Grrrl PinBeat it Creep, Feminist brooch, Riot Grrrl Pin, badge, 90's kid, tumblr, holographic glitter, slime, punk rock
(via Lia Lane)

Admittedly I would have included so many more items from this shop because everything is just pure gold. This shop proves that you can be femme and a feminist, from your handbag to your temporary tattoos. With these items your style can confront patriarchal bullshit or just enhance your feeling of empowerment. I look forward to more artists creating in a similar way in which a variety of items can convey these messages.

Grrrl Power Temporary Tattoo SetDear Patriarchy Brooch
Not Your Doll Pocket MirrorBeyonce Flawless Statement Necklace
Feminist Hands NecklaceNO Pink Heart Ring
Femme Power Button Set in Glitz

P.S. If you don't share the same beliefs as me, that's totally cool- just don't be rude or attack people on the internet! xoxo

Monday, June 2, 2014

After The Storm

Life on summer break here has been rather uneventful. Days are passing by rapidly and while it was starting to freak me out, I think I've finally made peace with the eventual end of this summer. Come August I'll be heading back to NJ to have my bf move in with me. Usually my summers are spent fully in Florida and come September I'm weeping about leaving him and my family. But now I'm just trying to train myself to be excited about a new life with him, rather than be sad about what we're leaving behind. I don't know if his presence will change the way I feel about my life in NJ/NYC, but I'm also trying to remain positive about my future. I was using grad school as a legitimate excuse to leave the area, but now I'm sure I want to take a couple years off before pursuing my Masters. I don't know what the future holds for me, but I don't want to be pressured or feel like I must stay in NYC if I ever want a job. My mental health comes first and a job will have to come second. I have to just believe that wherever I am, things will work out for the best.

There's not much to do in South Florida. Sure there's beaches, bars, and clubs, but that stuff gets old real quick and really isn't my thing. Any decent park or nature-filled area is usually not free and risks the possibility of being full of annoying or rude people. Even the food here is not of my tastes. I think I've been spoiled in NYC because there seems like there's always something to do or something going on somewhere. But because I don't know how much I'll be visiting here again in the future, I wanted to do things here I haven't done since I was a kid and go places I haven't quite fully explored. 

We took an impromptu drive to Coconut Grove because I knew there was a little dock/boardwalk thing a part of Peacock Park. Its actually a tiny area that is mostly just a field with a few trees on its outskirts. However, this park was where my parents first met, so it feels sort of lovely to return somewhere they once were 40 some odd years ago. It had just rained a little while before, but the tumultuous sky looked quite wonderful. Unfortunately we had only snapped a few photos before we were getting rained on. Every time I get sad that I don't have perfect hair for outfit posts I just need to remember the Florida humidity and possibly hit myself.

After sitting in the car waiting for the rain to stop, another couple with a big camera took to our spot on the boardwalk and stayed there awhile. We decided then that we should just relocate. A few blocks down the street and we found a free park that led out to the water in various spots full of rocks and mangroves. While almost every single area had some people fishing, we got lucky in finding this little area. The trees were so overgrown too that I often felt like no one could see me, which was a huge plus. The ground was also riddled with crab holes and even though I only saw a glimpse of a claw, I got super excited.

Before I got ready I had gone through 4 or 5 outfit changes. I've been feeling very upset with my wardrobe as I've been buying pieces that don't have anything to go with. Then add the whole dilemma of "well what are we doing today" and you have one confused, stressed out Dee standing in her closet with a pile of rejected looks. In NYC I always see stylish people and feel inspired, but here every one is in comfortable clothes and following trends. While there's nothing wrong with that, I definitely do feel like I'm being stared down a lot of times and that's why these past two outfit posts have featured pretty simple, casual looks. As much as I love wearing some of my favorite vintage dresses, there also is the issue of where I'm going. For instance, I almost wore heels to this rocky, rainy excursion. While we do attempt to go places, we generally are homebodies and getting really dressed up feels like a waste when I'll only have it on for a couple hours and then get in my pajamas for some Netflix marathons or video game playing. 


After getting too frustrated at my failed looks and receiving multiple texts about hanging out, I threw together this outfit and went out the door. These were both two pieces that I felt I had no way to style or wear, but when I saw them together I had an "aha!" moment. 
I don't know how either of us didn't slip and fall on these rocks. We are both not known to be graceful and there was definitely tons of "oh my god this is the end" moments. The spot was definitely an interesting place and maybe next time I'll come with some shorts/pants and sit by the water. Even though we got rained out, it was definitely a fun little trip in discovering some spots we had never been to together.

Outfit Details
Top - Goodwill // Dress - Ahoy Miss Shop My Closet // Shoes - B.A.I.T. Footwear // Purse - Modcloth // Brooch - DIY