Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Adventures in Biking in a Pencil Skirt

Skirt: Halogen ; Shirt: Tommy Bahama (secondhand) ; Sweater: Alice & Olivia ; Shoes: Cinderella of Boston ; Briefcase: secondhand ; Necklace: PYLO

I had a job interview yesterday that I decided to ride my bike to. I haven't been able to get out on my bike as much as I would have liked to this summer due to my confusing work schedule and my allergies being so bloody terrible, but the place I was interviewing at was nearby and so I jumped at the opportunity to bike there. In a non-stretch pencil skirt. And heels.

Bad idea.

Who knew that biking required such mobility in the leg area! Getting on and off the bike was a complete laugh in itself, but then I had to hike my skirt way up just to get the full leg motion of biking... The heels weren't so bad once you got used to them but the getting used to that. There was one time in particular when I dismounted my bike and I thought this guy was about to cause a traffic collision because he was ogling me so intensely. I can't say I blame him. My dismount was terrible.

So despite the rough riding, this outfit at the very least looks good with my bike - amiright or amiright? The place I was interviewing with is really fun and quirky, so I wanted my outfit to match! And what's more fun and quirky than a tasteful Hawaiian t-shirt? I threw in the lime green cardigan because a) the shirt is sleeveless and you can't wear that to an interview and b) the navy blue and red were a bolder clash than I preferred. The green helped take it down a notch, and also played up the turquoise necklace.

Obviously a lot of detail in this outfit. I hope that this employer saw that (among my other qualifications!) and will give me the job. As of Monday I will be completely unemployed and receiving my last known paycheck. Yay, post-grad life and soul crushing student loans...

I'm sorry that my smile does not reach my eyes in any of these photos, making me look like a hollowed out, soulless creep. The sun was bright or something - let's just go with that.

I'm all ready to get back into blogging! It was good to go light this summer - there has been so much stress in my life and I have had to take on a lot of responsibility that required my mind and heart to be elsewhere. But here I am, ready to take the internet by storm once again and be my obnoxiously outspoken self per usual xx

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why I haven't blogged lately

The clarity of the end of June which lead me back into a spur of blogging didn't last long. I was very confident about how life was going - I still am, so let me rephrase that - I was very settled into everything in my life. I was very able to focus on the here and now and not anything but what I want to get done or what I need to get done. I remember the death of my uncle in June brought my life to a bit of a halt as I spent a lot of time thinking about life without this dear man, and what that meant to my life. I find that death, no matter how close or far you were from the departed, opens up this blistering hole into your life where you realize what's missing, what's always been there, what you need to change, what you need to try to understand. It happened after the death of my uncle, shaping my goals for the next year, especially in terms of re-connecting with everyone I've hurt. My uncle taught me to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. It wasn't something I very much understood until he died and suddenly in this hole, there was this lesson in forgiveness. I had always known that it was there before, but it had never struck me with such fierceness and necessity until after his death.

The past month has brought more loss to my life and to the lives of my friends. Someone who I spent a majority of my childhood knowing just recently passed away. I was best friends with his daughter growing up, and we'd spent nights on their back patio eating good food, watching movies, and connecting as an entire family. His death didn't come as a surprise to me, but it was a reminder of the chaos that addiction causes in the lives of not only the addicted, but also the people who were shaped by being a part of their life as well. Surprisingly, this death was not a reminder of the pain caused by my last relationship, but rather a reminder that my friends face much of the same pain that I have and that I will likely face again. Being an overly empathetic person, this left me in pain for my friends knowing that they probably felt very much alone just as I had, very much confused, very much hurt and without help because addiction is one of those things where it is hard to find help when you're on the outside of it.

After the death of this family friend, I learned of the death of one of my own friends. Friend would maybe not be the best term for her. I knew her for many years, but we had been in and out of contact because of personal prejudices which we never confronted or worked through. She had recently reached back out to me and I remember feeling at the time a great sense of appreciation, belonging, and the love in her actions. Her death took me by surprise and shock, reminding me of how important it is to not judge people, to connect with people and make them feel special. I cannot express how much it means to me that this friend made an attempt for amends, and the timing struck me greatly, reminding me of how precious our relationships are. We must tend them with great care and great heart.

These three deaths have left me feeling three holes filled with the knowledge and lessons taught to me by these three people: the importance of forgiving and asking for forgiveness; a reminder of the hurt that our friends face and how we can do better to understand that hurt; and how truly precious our friendships and relationships are, and how much care we should be putting into them.

Because of these three lessons, it has been difficult for me to focus on something like blogging. At this time in my life, it feels...not insignificant, but simply not something I'm ready to jump immediately back into. I think I still need another week before I feel refreshed and ready to face the world with this new knowledge. I am still figuring out exactly how I want to process these holes in my life, and how I want to honour them, more importantly. Because when you're left with these holes, you need to fill them back up again. I'm just trying to find a way to fill them back up so that they are as significant as the lessons that were left behind.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

O My Soul

Bell bottoms: handmade/DIY ; Bralette: Spell Designs ; Flannel: Shaun White for Target

A few weeks ago I rode my bike over to Art Scraps, a little store on Saint Clair jammed pack with weird trinkets and things verging on trash. I used to go there all the time when I was very young and much more crafty, but I popped in the other day to bring in some donations, and ended up buying quite a lot of stuff. One of the things I bought was an old lace curtain for $2. It was in good condition (or so it appeared in the store) and I thought it'd be great for sewing either a maxi skirt or bell bottoms - and it was as you can see above!

Lace bell bottoms seem to be really in right now and since I cannot afford a $90 pair from Miracle Eye, much less one of Spell Designs beautiful $200 pairs, I decided to just make my own.

When I brought the curtain home, I realized that it was way dirtier than it looked in the store, and also had a few holes. After some research, I decided on what seemed like a proper way to clean the curtain - I think it had come from a smoking home, as it was pretty smelly and very very yellow. I put baking soda and detergent with OxyClean in a big vat of boiling water and then, intending to let the water cool but completely forgetting, I put the curtain in the still boiling water. I completely fried all of the elastic (as the curtain was extremely stretchy) but I think it ended up making it easier to sew as the lace melded together a little bit. I washed the lace this way two or three times and they're finally a nice creamy color, free of the terrible stains from before. I managed to cut the pattern out around any major holes and oh yeah did I mention that the curtain only cost me TWO DOLLARS?!?!?!

The bell bottoms pattern I used was an old one from the '70s (Butterick, I believe) that I bought for like 25 cents at a garage sale. I didn't have to make many adjustments to the pattern other than taking out the darts & fitted waistband to use elastic instead. The pants were also really weird in that the pattern wanted you to make both of the legs in four pieces each (?!?!?!?!) so I just taped the pattern together into two pieces for each leg. I lined the pants with little silky shorts (which was like $17/yard, unfortunately, but I made by with only a third of a yard). The shorts ended up - surprisingly - being the most difficult thing to sew. I fought with the fabric forever. Sewing the lace was surprisingly easy! I searched a little bit online and in sewing books for tips on sewing lace, but didn't find anything. I ended up using a needle for delicate fabrics and had about 24 stitches per inch (excessive, I know!), hoping not to miss any of the fabric. The seams seem very solid and I'm still amazed at how simple lace was to sew. This project would have only taken me about half an hour if it wasn't for the bastard shorts. That fabric frayed and slipped so badly! But now I have some rad bell bottoms at a fraction of the price of what you can find in stores.

I've kind of talked myself out after such a long-winded explanation of making these bells. In a meeting at work yesterday, I was talking about how I'm not good with using Twitter because nothing I say is short, I'm a very long-winded person, to which my boss smirked in agreement (you should hear the long explanations I bring to him - I have no shame!). I think it's why I do so well with blogging. I'm definitely not one of those person style bloggers who just lists what they're wearing and maybe add a witty blurb or two.

I'm sort of stuck between knowing if these bell bottoms are so totally rad, or if they're pretty horrific and I just want them to be cool because I'm weird. I have this problem a lot. One of my volunteers at work the other day mentioned a photo of me in overalls that he saw on Facebook - I can't remember if he said he liked the overalls or not, but he got this huge mocking grin on his face, obviously indicating how out of date overalls are. I grinned back at him and said, "I wear really ugly things sometimes because they make me feel beautiful." So that is why I am wearing these perhaps very terrible bell bottoms - but they make me feel as rad as ever, so who really cares?