LUSH Haul FT. THIS IDIOT

You guys, I save my true feelings for a place like this where I can write them down.

The truth is I’m disenchanted with YouTube right now. Their algorithm is designed to favor only the people who already have giant followings and will therefore make YouTube more money.

I almost didn’t even post this video because I have such a bad taste in my mouth with them right now. But I did. Because my freak flag knows few bounds. Enjoy.

How Buying A House Made Me Richer

You probably already know, I just bought my first house, and I never want to leave. I get to wallow in self-indulgence looking around at all the plush carpet, granite countertops, high ceilings and, well, empty rooms I just “bought” and even utter, “yay, me!” if I want. But what it’s done to my outlook on life is what I find most surprising.  Continue reading How Buying A House Made Me Richer

My New House

 

It’s easy to boil things down to milestones. We tend to associate our 30s with “settling down” and other adult-isms. When 2017 rang in, I was almost afraid to set my sights on a resolution so grown-up as owning a house, but it’s incredible what happens when you put positivity into the universe: you get it in return.

The story is simple, because the process was simple. I put down a small sum of money on a large pile of dirt back in January, and for the next six months I watched a house emerge from nothing. First came a foundation, then a frame, bathtubs, ducts, fixtures, lights. I was positively vibrating with anticipation at the time of this video’s filming.

We’re all moved in now, and nothing is perfect, of course. Building on top of a dirt mound means evicting its former denizens – loads of critters, mainly roaches, but that’s what an exterminator is for.

Feverishly cleaning and patching dings in paint as we break in the new dwelling has turned me into my mother, and I finally get it. When it’s yours, it’s just different. No one will value your space like you do.

Affordability in a place like Austin, Texas, growing at a breakneck pace as it is, does mean compromising on certain conveniences. We’re not spoiled as we were renting, living in a glorified shack but mere walking distance to the waterfront, 50 years of tree cover lining the neighborhood roads, millionaires paying the sky-high HOA fees to keep the roads clear of any offending debris.

But now we’re the guardians of a new chapter. This place is ours. And the feeling I can’t seem to drink in quickly enough is the overwhelming sense of gratitude I have for where I’ve come from and where I am. To assume I’ve deserved every blessing I’ve enjoyed would be arrogant, not to mention grossly untrue. I’ve been very lucky.

But to assume I’ve been handed this life would also be inaccurate. The money I paid to own a mere percentage of the place I call home (shout out to the bank for trusting me and stuff), was earned by me and only me. And that feels insane, and humbling, and awesome.

We can’t build our futures on an unsure foundation. That’s a lay-up of a metaphor in this case. I hadn’t anticipated feeling so sure about a big decision like buying a house, but when you put your trust in the universe, it pays dividends of confidence in each step you take. And with each small step, you can really amaze yourself at how far you’ll go.

Things I REQUIRE From Mara Hoffman F/W 2017

Did you guys watch the live runway show for Mara Hoffman’s new season? No? Just me?

Let’s begin at the beginning. I’ll try not to sound like the art school kid that I am here, but art is innately connected to time and space. Yeah, bye. Unsubscribe below.

If you’re still here, thanks. I promise this won’t be douchey. What I mean by the above is that yes, styles come and go, and the “best” art should be transcendent, but works of art – fashion included – are inextricably linked to the time they were made. The influence of the environment, be it social, political, personal, really all of the above, on the creator is what makes something objectively worth a shit to people.mara-hoffman-rtw-fw17-new-york-3590-1487003465-mediumbigthumb

I say “objectively” because of how often I hear people say, “Art is so subjective. How do I even know if it’s good?” (This is usually alongside comments like, “my four year old niece could draw this,” and “it’s just a urinal. I don’t get it.”)

While we’re all entitled to our opinions, there’s no substitute for learning the context of a piece of art when trying to understand why this particular hack got his scribble drawing in a famous gallery selling for the GDP of a third-world country.

Fortunately for all of us, contemporary art – again, fashion included – is, as its name implies, of our time. It’s happening right now, being created by people who are still alive. Therefore we can at the very least appreciate it as it relates to us and our own lives, and if we really give a shit about it, we can even ask the artist what they were thinking.

Steering the conversation now specifically toward fashion, I released a post yesterday about how frustrated I am with my own wardrobe. It struck me as interesting in hindsight, though, because it seems the real issue is that what appealed to me when I bought the pieces isn’t as important to me now.

Could it be that in a happier time – when my parents’ insurance was safe, when we all felt good about the pace at which LGBTQ rights were progressing, when Muslim US immigrants didn’t feel at odds with their adoptive homeland, when we as Americans felt protected by our government – my approach to my appearance reflected the same whimsical vibe?

By that logic, it makes perfect sense that I suddenly feel betrayed by my disproportionately cheerful closet. It doesn’t feel right to act like everything’s okay, even when it comes to what I wear.

My initial “attending a funeral” approach aimed to bring the inside out after the election of our current oligarch. But it wasn’t satisfying. I want to be LOUD and angry, not shrink into the background. I want to be unforgettable, un-overlook-able, and yet, unmistakably serious.

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So back to the Mara Hoffman fashion show. I opened an email on February 13, inviting me to watch the show live. I sat at work – tried to work – while streaming the show with the other half of my brain, but it quickly commanded all of my attention.

Four women stood in front of the crowd of spectators and photographers, dressed in humble black outfits, one of whom was now ubiquitous activist and Women’s March on Washington organizer Linda Sarsour. What followed was a stark and sobering statement women’s rights, and I encourage you to watch it here.

It would be easy for a critic to dismiss this ceremony as a sort of appropriation of Hoffman’s platform – sure, great, show us the clothes. But what no one might have expected was how Hoffman’s collection, as it came into focus, was itself a statement on public sentiment.

Fans of Mara Hoffman’s lines are very accustomed to blinding colors and busy patterns. She began as a swimsuit designer and thereafter succeeded in making her name synonymous with buoyant, happy clothes. I partially dreaded her new line, anticipating the same cloying taste in my mouth I got when YouTubers continued to post saccharine sweet content and tweet blithe platitudes while our nation suffered blow after blow at the hands of a naked emperor.

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But this was different – it is different. I’ve often said I have a greater appreciation for things that are ugly on purpose and beautiful by accident than the other way around. That’s how I would describe this season.

The models in equal parts walked with purpose and danced with abandon around the stark concrete room. The clothes were decidedly demure, but decisive in their details. This was not a sad woman who had given up in the face of injustice – these were not the uniform for depression. The collection was entirely Mara, but at the same time definitely not fucking around. This woman is beautiful, she knows it, and she does not have time for bullshit.

A year ago, I would have seen this collection and audibly uttered, “huh?” But a year ago, I’d have responded similarly to the idea that our country – the world – would look the way it does right now. This is what I mean when I say art is innately connected to time and space. The meaning of this collection is inextricably linked to the double-edged battle intersectional feminism faces – one of an intimidatingly unworn path with a great deal of resistance, and one of emerging leadership in spite of the odds.

We decide with our every day. We become more of how we will be remembered with the small and seemingly meaningless choices we make in real time. In the face of austerity, of scary change, of the bad guys winning, art does not become less meaningful. To the contrary, it will be the creatives, the misfits, the weirdos who will speak for our generation  in history, relay through expression the ways we related to our own adversities.

And, as promised, the pieces I REQUIRE (when they go on sale I hope), from Mara Hoffman F/W 2017.

This article probably wasn’t what you bargained for – thanks for bearing with me – it wasn’t what I thought it would be, either.

[images via modaoperandi + nowfashion]

 

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