To Do: Get So Fresh and So Spring Clean

Spring has arrived, my little giblets! And in the spirit of newness and pastels and chickens, I hereby challenge you to shake things up a little! Make some changes! Go wild! Cross the road! It’s been a while since I made a list of any sort that didn’t start with “make to do list” just so I could cross off something, so how’s about I give this post a little structure to match my new bra?

HERE IS A LIST OF VERY SPECIFIC CHANGES I HAVE RECENTLY MADE THAT YOU COULD ALSO POTENTIALLY MAKE:

1.) Change your look based on an old photo of an awesome genius.

After two years of obsessive chopping, my hair has finally grown long enough to channel the side-parted chin length curled brilliance of Connie Converse, who, lets face it, I probably was in a past life. If you don’t know who Connie Converse was (is?), first listen to this, then melt, and then spend hours scouring the internet for clues about her disappearance. Her sad and lovely story has inspired me to no end. I’ve never loved 1950′s silhouettes and horn rimmed glasses and mystery so much. For god’s sake, just look at her! What a babe!
connie-guitar

2.) Change your built-in face frames.

In accordance with the self-imposed directive above, I have also grown out my bangs, bangs which I have worn at varying lengths for the last 10 years. My facial structure has always seemed sharp to me, which nicely compliments the daggers I’m always shooting from my eyes, but I’ve usually balanced it with the softness of a little fringe. Now that my perfect forehead is exposed, I look pretty intense. Don’t get me wrong, I am huge a fan of this. But on those days I want to exist in the realm of soft focus Easter romance, I simply leave my eyebrows alone, instead of coloring them in like Brooke Shields as a Bert from Sesame Street for Halloween like I usually do. With my eyebrows subtle and blondish, I seriously look like a completely different girl. Never color yours? Try it out. I actually like to go back and forth between the Whoopi Goldberg and the Martin Scorsese. Keeps people on their toes.

3.) Change your occupation.

Yep, I just did this too. Not necessarily an option for moms or you know, ‘career’ types, but for wanderlusty girls in their very late twenties who have not only dabbled in various fields, but also worked many types of jobs, it’s definitely doable. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re bored, or you aren’t making what you’re worth, shine up that resume! See what’s out there! It also doesn’t hurt to have a contact on the inside. I just got hired as a server at one of the most popular restaurants in Echo Park with very little serving experience by simply blackmailing one of the mangers for several months! Now I get to serve Ryan Gosling deep dish pizza by candlelight and I get to wear pretty dresses to work instead of a t-shirt, apron and baseball cap (don’t ask, please). Not only that, but I am finally making an adult wage! I can afford to wear comfy Clarks to work, so I don’t have to limp home afterward.

4.) Change out your zombie eyes.

So you like your job and style and you are perfectly happy with your beauty routine? What about your soul? I don’t mean is it clean and heaven-destined or any of that shit. What I want to know is, is it hungry? What have you been feeding it? Hours of facebook? The Bachelor? BRAINS? What are you doing in your free time? I’m lucky to have recently moved into a house with two amazing ladies and a huge backyard, where I drink my morning coffee and sunbathe and read actual books sometimes. It’s so tempting to want to zone out after a long day of serving Ryan Gosling pizza, but closing your laptop after three hours and not remembering a single thing you just read is soul-sucking. The internet is a glorious thing, but just do yourself a favor and pretend it’s the 80′s once in a while. It’s the 80′s and there’s nothing on TV and why would you want to be inside on a sunny day like this anyway? Also, um, you’re an adult! Remember back when you weren’t an adult and you were like, “oh man, one day when I’m grown up I’m gonna explore Brazil!” or, “One day, I’m gonna buy enough gummi bears to fill my room all the way to the ceiling and carve tunnels through them and live like that!”
You can seriously do anything you want as long as your landlord doesn’t find out. Also, you know what’s even more fun than zoning out the internet? Drinking.

5.) Change your definition of ‘self-control’.

So I took a non-religious vow to give up meat for Lent. Why? Partly because I have had access to free hot dogs for the last 4 months (doesn’t matter why, don’t worry about it) and was feeling sluggish and beef-witted, partly because my roommates are vegan and I don’t have my own cookware, and partly because I wanted to practice some self-control. I haven’t had the best self-control in the past, but saying “I couldn’t help myself” is such a cop-out.

“I ate your entire birthday cake. Sorry, I had to. I have, like, absolutely no self control.”

“Oh, I know promised I’d help you move, but a friend called at the last minute and asked me to drink Mimosas with her all day and I just couldn’t say no because it sounded like way more fun. Sorry! What else could I doooo?”

Looking back on some bad past decisions can make you see them as just that: decisions. Take responsibility for them. I decided to not practice self-control by eating hot dogs and tater-tots nearly every day for four months, and all it got me was bloated and lethargic. A month and minus five pounds later, I feel like a million (well, maybe 250 thousand) bucks! And what feels even better is the pride that comes with sticking to your guns! Great job! Now you can gloat instead of bloat, guilt free!

6.) Change your mode of communication with that babe in the mirror.

I’ve been making a serious effort lately to look inward. Okay, maybe ‘lately’ isn’t really accurate. It’s more of an every day of my life thing. Constant Psychological Self-Diagnosis is literally my middle name. Yes, literally. And while self-diagnosis isn’t necessarily the best method for physical issues (I decided I was allergic to gluten and have been depriving myself of all sorts of things for the last 8 months-turns out it’s just an allergy to baker’s yeast and I could have been eating burritos this WHOLE TIME), it makes a lot of sense to look within for answers in regards to your own psyche. Who on Earth knows you better than you? Has something been bothering you? Try and figure out why. Have you been making strange, irrational decisions and eating potting soil? There must be a reason. What are you feeling when you open that bag of peat moss and aged compost? Loss? Hope? The best way I’ve found to sort through these dirty feelings is journaling. Throw back a few brewskis and start journaling. I’m actually serious. Talk to yourself like you’re drunkenly rambling to an old friend whom you can trust with any secret, because that’s exactly who you are. You’ve always been there for you, even if you and yourself weren’t on speaking terms. Spend some time getting reacquainted with your best friend since birth and don’t just talk. Listen to what they have to contribute to the friendship.

7.) Change your stress level.

Last but not least, chill the fuck out. I know you know this, but stress is not your friend. It will not help you make good decisions or achieve quality results. It will not get you to work on time. It will not keep your friend who you were supposed to help move from finding out that the “appointment” you had was to drink poolside mimosas all day with that girl she doesn’t like who you swear you aren’t friends with anymore. Avoid potential stressors by leaving for work early and not making bad friend moves in the first place, Jamaica. You won’t have to be hard on yourself if you act like an adult.

7a.) On that note, don’t worry so much. Trust that your hunky boyfriend is an adult as well, and is not going to get stranded on his hiking trip with no food, nor is he going to fall to his death while ascending Mount Horrible (I’m not even remotely kidding. It is absolutely called that).

8.) Make “To Do” List

“Creative Juices” Revealed to Actually be Faygo, Or How Jam Got Her Groove Back

A reoccurring daydream of mine has been to have too much time to myself, isolated from the world for several months with nothing but my sewing machine, a large iTunes library, and enough super healthy food that I wouldn’t have to venture into the world at all.

It’s a reverie that has calmed me when overwhelmed, hungover or sick to death of my job. I would plan my escape, figuring how much I would have to save up, where I would go, who I would tell (very few), and what I would do if somebody tried to break into this hypothetical house while I was sleeping and murder me for no reason I know this is an absurd thing to stress myself out about but I can’t help it and I have done it since I was a kid and nothing remotely like that has ever happened to me but I still freak out about it and on a similar note camping is terrifying.

Um. Well, as luck would have it, this scenario (the house to myself, not the faceless axe-wielding maniac*) was handed to me on a silver platter right when I got back from accidentally spending two and a half weeks in the Bible Belt (Make that four and a half weeks for Rian and Ryan, who are finally hauling yacht back to LA).

When my friend Monique asked me to dog/cat/veggie garden/house sit for most of July, I jumped at the chance. A perfect opportunity to cash in on some much needed alone time and prepare for the fashion show I agreed to do July 20th, my first in over a year. So I moved my few belongings in, bought a ton a healthy food, turned on some Moonface and sat down to sketch…

And nothing.

Everything I drew looked contrived and amateurish. And boring. I concentrated on the theme. I looked at magazines. I finally joined Pinterest. I had long phone conversations with my mom on the topic(s) of art vs. business vs. selling out vs. no one cares vs. blah blah blah and had countless revelations which I immediately forgot.

After a week and a half spent hunkered down, trying to concentrate, cursing my lack of vision/motivation/a flat stomach, I had a little facebook chat with my friend Michael Lopez. A fellow designer, he seems to be constantly producing things, updating his etsy store, doing photoshoots…he displays a level of excitement and productivity I haven’t felt since I was 22 or so (not counting a few little spurts coinciding with wanting to impress someone, or that little known internet gem called Concrete and Cashmere).

Michael explained that when he didn’t feel inspired to sew, he’d screen print, or just make basic crop tops, just make something. Slowly I began to remember what it’s like to sew. Most of the time when I end up with a piece I really love, it was one that continuously morphed as I made it. Sure, I’d have a basic sketch, but since I rarely work from patterns, I’d always be compensating, changing it from the shape I originally intended and into something new and beautiful that I didn’t expect. (<<< check out that sick metaphor 4 life, bro.)

So instead of sitting around watching the first two seasons of Louie and getting more and more depressed, (well, not instead. I should have said, after watching the first two seasons of Louie and the Joan Rivers episode totally punching me in the revelation gut, and the duckling episode making me cry) I made a decision.

I decided to stop thinking.

Specifically, thinking about the future. My mind had been occupied with so many career-related what-ifs and if-I-can’t-make-clothes-then-what-is-my-purpose-in-lifes, that my hands had become immobile. All I had to do was pick up the fucking scissors and get to work. And so I did. And I made a couple of really shitty pieces of clothing.

But it was either actively try to create, or give up and slump into a lethargic Netflix globule, whining to the dogs about how pathetic I am.

Two days later, things started to turn around. Tonight I finished a fourth gorgeous dress and I couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming show. As I stated in my last post, the evening’s theme is Future Primitive, something that at first didn’t resonate with me. Now, however, I can confidently see where this collection is going and pinpoint its main themes. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready. The designs in their essence:

Lascaux cave paintings -meets- Juggalo babes going to the opera.

(I’d like to note for the record: I just spent twenty minutes photoshopping hatchetmen** onto a cave wall for you and then said aloud “What the fuck am I doing?”)

If you happen to be in Tucson, I’ll see you Friday, but I’ll post pictures as soon as I can after the show, which is FREEEEEE.

*I am fully aware of my absurdity here, and have talked my heart out of exploding countless times: What are the chances that there is a guy with an axe/revovler/candlestick just wandering through these woods right now? It’s raining anyway, he’d be too damp and uncomfortable to be in the mood to kill me, and besides he doesn’t know me. Most murders are committed by someone the victim knows, right? Or am I thinking of rapes? Or am I thinking of most car crashes occurring within five miles of your house? Whatever. There would be no motive, is what I’m getting at. And if this imaginary calculating brute is for some reason an acquaintance of mine, why me? I’m so nice! And I’m poor! I have literally nothing this creep could want. He couldn’t even want my identity, since I have somehow managed to achieve a terrible credit score, despite the fact that I didn’t go to college and I’ve never had a credit card. To conclude, there is no chance that anyone is trying to kill me. That sound I heard was probably just a bear.

**The irony of this post involving potential “axe wielding” individuals AND hatchetmen just now hit me.

preen (and buffalo exchange!) fashion show for tucson HocoFest 2009

what’s HocoFest?  oh, you know…  i had no idea either.  until there was a fashion show involved (and that right there sums up the extent of the brain-space i devote to anything non textile-related…).

so turns out, it’s a pretty freakin’ awesome 3-day festival that “a celebration of all things music, solar & sustainable during labor day weekend in sunny tucson, AZ- home to one of the best indie music scenes in the states.”
(aw!  thanks hocofest website!  i think tucson has one of the best “indie music scenes in the states” as well!)

 

emilie

emilie, half of the preen-ownership duo.  um, was this dress MADE for her, or are you going to be 
stubborn and argue with the obvious?

so everyone’s favorite vintage shop in tucson, preen, would be getting involved, obviously.  
how so?  by combining with the also-fabulous buffalo exchange to create a  ”sustainable fashion show.”

um, hi world!  did you say that the show involved all things thrifted and vintage?  
huh…  i suppose we could work within those parameters.

 

preen tucson

pre-show. we (and by “we” i mean emilie,) did a fantastic job with the theme, no?  

so the theme was “glam rock,” something which i personally have never embraced as a style choice. it turned out to be a lot of fun to work with though, actually.

amber and i spent way too many hours combing through photos of david bowie, lamenting over our lack of one armed/one legged psychedelic jumpsuits, and listening to all things sparkly and amazing in our itunes.  we styled some really amazing catwalk outfits, which were immediately tossed out the door the minute we set foot in preen and realized we had some serious options to work with.  

 

d and ambo

me, amber and evee, wearing more makeup, leopard print and hairspray than we will for 
the entire rest of the year combined.

 

so preen had eight models total, and buffalo exchange had somewhere around 30, but we totally managed to kill it anyway. the missing 8th model from the group picture at the top?  this handsome looking fellow, abraham:

 

abraham, preen fashion show abraham, one of the only men i know who can totally rock pleather pants and a sequined bomber.

 

something else amazing?  tuani’s vintage gold fringe skirt, docs, and one glove:
seriously emilie, how do you pull this off?!?!

 

tauni malmgrenok, so she’s glove-less here, but i promise one came on for the show…

 

so enough “behind the scenes” already, right?!?!   you’re ready for some actual show-action!!
well, that’s “behind the scenes” too.  (hey, best spot in the house.  and a change of scenery…)

so…  some of us had never actually walked the the runway before and were actually a wee bit terrified.  i won’t say who this “someone” is, because i’d be embarrassed.  (hey!  i’m not a model, i’m a designer and a stylist!  being stared at is terrifying!)

this photo does the situation no justice – we’re all on the runway at this point – which i’m cool with.  but how does a girl with absolutely no catwalk experience pull it off when it’s her turn alone down the runway?  well, if you’re ever in the same situation, i’ll give you a little hint: do your most ridiculous dance and pretend everyone is eating it up.  

 

runwaythere’s no terror in large groups…

 

and not to save the best for last, but the show-stopper of the evening?  i don’t think anyone can argue with this:

 

eveeevee, in her cage-dress/vintage lingerie/black velvet little-boy blazer number, with the most amazing hair ever…

AND

erin's dressum, yeah.  an amazing trash can ball gown erin bradley, the other half of the preen
magnificence created by hand.  
yeah, i said it.  BY HAND.

and in case all that wasn’t enough, the Meat Puppets played immediately after our part of the show.  the meat puppets!  stop and think about that for a minute or two.  seriously, how awesome are the 90s?!?!