double denim

A Wear jacket / thrifted Ladahk sweater / J. Crew top / thrifted Cheap Monday jeans / Chucks

On my Chucks, you see how the tongue is so much darker than the sides? Well...I have a story for that. I got these shoes years ago on clearance for around $20 at TJ Maxx. The tongue was originally pastel pink, but with me being the consummate rebel, that was something that I simply couldn't tolerate. So I mixed a bunch of my paints to create a shade of brown that perfectly matched the shoes, painted the tongue. Nowadays I don't have any problem with wearing pink, but it's interesting to see how my shoes have frayed and faded over the years. I also painted a curlique design in silver on the side of my left shoe; that happened back during my obsession with customizing all my clothes a few years.

One time I basically went beserk and decorated the crap out of a pair of jeans. Acrylic paint, puffy paint, glitter paint, patches, splatters, holes -- you name it, I did it. There wasn't a single inch of blank denim; it was all just so garishly colorful...I absolutely loved it. I wore them all the time, especially at school, but then they started enforcing the dress code policy which said you couldn't wear jeans that showed skin (essentially, no holes). So I went around that by wearing fishnet tights underneath.

Here's a picture where you can kind of see them...

This was my sophomore year drama class, the day we got our class t-shirts. And five years later, I still have it! A cyclops cat on the front (our teacher had a one-eyed cat), and on the baack, all of us as animals (drawn by a ridiculously talented classmate), sprouting our classroom in-jokes and secret catch-phrases. I'm the llama on the far left saying, "This is the age of Aquarius," because my favorite musical was/is Hair.

Anyway, back to the jeans. I loved them to bits, and swore that I'd wear them for all eternity. I even inspired my friend to do the same with her jeans; you can see a bit of it in the class picture above. She's the other girl with paint on her jeans, haha. Needless to say, when I think about it now, it seems so silly... But I can't really put myself down for it, as it's just another instance of my adolescent search for identity.

brand new

vintage coat / ASOS shirt & shoes / Zara sweater / Topshop skirt / Barkins tights

Yes, it's official; after five years, I'm finally back to black! Frankly, it's been a long time coming; I'd been wanting to do it for a while but kept putting it off to make myself use up the last of the blue dye. Now that it's done, I feel so free! No more stressing about running low on dye; no more worrying about unsightly roots and staining towels/clothes/pillows/sinks/bathtub; no more having other people think I'm such desperate tryhard (I'm assuming, haha!); and best of all, no more being defined by my hair.

But the one thing I'm really going to miss is having old ladies compliment my hair. It's hard to explain, but somehow it means so much more than a younger person saying the same just makes my day. :)

This is me in 2007, the first time I went blue.

I wasn't very skilled, and the dye I used was crap, so it turned a more purply-greeny shade than a true blue, but it was definitely a learning experience. Oh, and I just found this picture -- proof that I totally had ombre hair before it was cool! I still think it looks awesome thought, even if it fried my hair to a crisp.

I'll have fond memories of my blue hair, but for now it's time to start a new chapter. :)


bringing back the backpack

Chicabooti cardigan / Hollister shirt / ASOS skirt / Valleygirl belt / Zara flats / Baggu bag

I was in the sixth grade the last time I owned a backpack. It was bright purple...with wheels! You can imagine how giddy I was when I spotted it at Wal-Mart, trying desperately to convince my parents that I needed, nay, deserved, a backpack with wheels. They don't give in very often, but when they do, it's only once in a blue moon, and that makes it all the more special. But the special feeling went away once I'd owned it awhile, as I'd realized something that I could never get out of my head: how presumptuous do I look, wheeling around a backpack like it was a suitcase?! It was also awkwardly big for my tiny 4'9" frame (urgh, and ten years later, I'm still only 5" taller, haha) -- I felt like I was trying to lug a house. Ever since then, I've hate backpacks.

But hey, guess what? I'm newly in love again! All it took was a decade and Annie from Community proving that you can look cute with a backpack on.

look twice

A Wear jacket / Barkins shirt / Topshop jeans / thrifted belt / Nine West shoes

I'd never really considered this spot in my backyard to be a very good place to take outfit photos. Since it's in the shade, the grass is always damp which makes it not the most pleasant place to prance around in heels. But they were doing construction this morning in my usual photo spot, so this was a bit of a last resort...and I'm so happy, because this has to be my new favorite place! It's surprisingly photogenic considering the fact that in real life, it generally looks like an miniature jungle of overgrown weeds, which is why I've always overlooked it. It kind of makes me wonder what other treasures I've disregarded because my attitude was stupid and shallow at that particular moment...

In other news, I got back a major assignment today (the one on the history of secularism) -- 90%! You have no idea how much this means to me. In Australia, 75+ is considered extremely good, and it's what I always aim for; long story short, it doesn't happen very often for me, but this time it did, and I'm shocked and ecstatic at how big of a margin I passed it by! I thought it was a typo when I saw it on my paper; I honestly believed my tutor meant to write '70%' but then the 7 came out funny. The revelation that it was, in fact, a 9, resulted in a few more minor mental heart attacks...the good kind, of course. ;D I'd figured that it would've been pretty obnoxious to celebrate/brag while in class, so I'm doing it now on this blog. Ahhh...I'm pretty much completely content with my life right now... :)

growing up

J. Crew top / ASOS skirt / Topshop belt / ASOS shoes

Let's ignore my horrible roots and focus on a few of my other deficiencies. I am sadly lacking in wardrobe essentials. It's sort of embarrassing how long I've been searching for a pair of basic black leather flats; you'd think they'd be everywhere, but none of the ones I've found are perfect, they're either too expensive, too bulky, too flimsy, too orthopedic-looking, or too polyurethane-y. I'm still holding out for my dream pair, hopefully it'll be worth the wait! Another thing that I've been on the hunt for is a skinny black leather high-waist belt; no frills, no embellishments, just the belt. Once again, it's been surprisingly difficult to find the perfect one, and so I'm holding out. It's funny that I've spent years going crazy accumulating random, colorful, out-there clothes that I never even stopped to put together a foundational wardrobe. I've grown up a bit since then, and now I finally understand the sense in doing it. Better late than never, I suppose.

I'm so happy that I finally feel like I'm starting to grow up, too. You know on your birthday, you expect to suddenly be older, and you're always disappointed that you don't feel any different? That's been the case for me for years, it was as if I got to a certain point, mentally/emotionally, and just sort of stagnated for a few birthdays. I felt like a child imposter in an adult world, trying so desperately to stay afloat while watching everyone else master everything like it was nothing. That fear's been fading ever so gradually, and I can only assume that it's a product of growing up. I'm just glad to realize that I'm not abnormal after all. Because as unique and exemplary as we claim to be (as we shout it from the rooftops), deep down I know that all we want is just to fit in.

witchy toes

Topshop sweater / Poof Excellence top / American Apparel skirt / ASOS socks / Mossimo shoes

Warning: the following rant has nothing to do with my outfit!

It's nearly midnight and I've spent the entire day working on another assignment; this one's about South Sudan's (torturous) path to independence. Honestly, the Middle East and Africa must be the most fascinating region to learn about, there's just so much history, so much bloody conflict, it simply never ends. I know I've said this before, but I feel cheated that all I ever got in school was a (very narrow) history of the US and Europe. Year after year, that's all we studied in history. I remember one particular world history class, we started in Ancient Egypt, skipped several thousand years to the Enlightenment, then right to the World Wars, and then oh what? Cold War's over! An entire semester, and that was literally it.

Another big thing that sticks in my mind was the fact that we only ever really learned events in isolation; it was like, X happened in 1843, Y happened in 1856. No sense of causality, continuity, connection. I suppose that was why so many people found history boring; nobody ever bothered to tell it like a story, like the way it actually happened. Sure we learned that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand set off World War I, but we never learned why. It was just, this happened, then this other thing happened, they're somehow connected, but really, they're just two facts that you need to memorize for the test.

I guess I can sympathize with the fact that educators just don't have the time to teach everything that has ever happened in the world, but the bias against the Global South is absolutely mindboggling. You know, spend a couple weeks out of thirteen years of education to teach about South America, the Middle East, and Africa, maybe? I'm sure I can survivor without the second, third, and fourth times studying the Enlightenment. Maybe the continued influence of the Enlightment in the West is reason enough to study it, and because of that, it's more relevant to us than, say, the Islamization of Southern Sudan. That whole idea of 'out of sight, out of mind' just rubs me the wrong way, though; it's like an excuse to remain ignorant.

Did you know that South Sudan became the world's newest state in 2011? Very well-deserved, I'd say, considering all the crap it's had to put up with from the North: two civil wars and a mess-load of oppression. All right, I'm off to bed now, hopefully my next entry will be more cheerful in content, haha. :)

on photography

Mak cardigan / ASOS top / Topshop skirt / thrifted tights / ASOS shoes

Today at lunch, a couple girls came up to us and asked to do an interview for an assignment they had, about the relationship between technology and people, I think. The question they asked was, "Why do you take pictures?" It's only now, as I'm writing this post that I realize that even though obviously there's no correct answer, they were probably looking for an answer like 'to preserve memories' or something, but my little ramble veered in a completely random direction. In my defense, it's a little unnerving to put on the spot like that, especially because I had so much to say and wanted to do it justice.

I subconsciously changed the subject from 'taking pictures' to 'photography,' and had a little spiel about it being a creative outlet for me...I love it because I'm not obligated to do it, and even though there's a lot work involved to get the perfect shot, for me it's about the fun more than anything. I love having something to strive for, something to work towards; I'm constantly looking to better myself, and everyday is a learning experience. And, on a more superficial level, who doesn't love lusting after things? In addition to designer shoes and handbags, I covet unattainably expensive cameras and lenses. One day, I want to have the talent and expertise (and money!) to be able to justify buying a thousand-dollar lens. I love having something to want, and having the determination to work for it.

full-skirt fifties

SES cardigan / thrifted vintage Review dress / Topshop belt / Nine West shoes

musings on individuality and self-worth

Louche cardigan / thrifted Witchery top / American Apparel skirt / thrifted Pinét shoes

Here's an amusing, stupid, but very much character-revealing story from my youngsterhood (that does relate to today's outfit!). When I was in the seventh grade, I made such a big deal about categorizing and compartmentalizing all the little aspects of my life, and most notably, compiling my list of 'favorites.' Favorite book, favorite food, favorite number (?).... all these trivialities; if you were to ask me what my favorite ______ was, there'd be no hemming and hawing, I had my answer almost immediately. For better or worse, at that point in my life, my idea of a 'person' was what they liked, we were essentially the sum of our favorite things.

So 12-year-old me is strutting around with the entire meaning of existence bouncing around in my brain, and a thought came up: armed with this knowledge, how can I make myself as unique as possible? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, being different was my other life philosophy -- because you're not truly alive unless you stand out from the crowd. Are you rolling your eyes as much as I am right now? Haha... Anyway, I decided that I was going to use my favorite things as my way to be different; I 'changed' my favorite color to gray. You know, because no one else would ever choose gray, I must be such a special snowflake! (Oh god, I'm cringing as I type this...)

It was completely idiotic and I didn't even like gray, but it was the 'sacrifice' I made to affirm my difference. It took years before I was finally able to accept the utter ridiculousness of my adolescent life philosophy, and frankly, there are more important things to worry about than whether or not I'm 'different' enough. Nowadays I can enjoy the charms of the color gray without having to attach to it silly notions of individualism and self-worth.

My wearing of monochrome today is also an instance of a rebellion against a rebellion. Originally, I started wearing bright and clashing colors (and lots of them) as another attempt at nonconformity...but then, as we all know, color-blocking happened, and inevitably I was forced to re-evaluate my self-worth. This is what I learned: there is no bigger blow to your ego and your sense of individuality than trying so desperately to be unique only to realize that you're no different from anyone else.

So...I stopped trying so hard. This means that I can go a month without wearing heels if I don't want to; that I can wear jeans every day for a week and not feel like my very identity is being threatened; and most important of all, that I don't have to force myself to dress up just to take outfit photos. It's also given me more time to focus on things that are vastly more meaningful, namely, my continuous overload of assignments! And with that, I'm back to work on my 3,500-word monster on the Bush Doctrine... :)