Dorkychick Diaries: Oprah Where’s My Advil?

I love Oprah. I used to sit and eat my after school snack and watch her give away cars and interview celebrities. Tom Cruise jumping on the couch as I ate Oreos was good livin’. Over the course of the past few years my mom started sending me articles from her magazine, which were always so wonderful. It’s only logical that one of the wealthiest celebrities of all time would be able to tap the brains of those with remarkable wisdom and superior schooling. I ended up loving the inspiration-packed publication and subscribed a few months ago and it has been nothing short of refreshing and thought provoking.

I’m not one for quotes- not in movies, books, or otherwise. It’s got to be really good to get my attention, however an exception caught my attention by way of contributor Gayle:

“Always be more than you appear, and never appear to be more than you are.”

– Horst Kasner

These words singed my brain and have been haunting me ever since. For as deeply as I attempt to immerse myself in the art of appearance, this sentence called me to reflect upon my own self projection. I felt a question mark ricochet around the walls of my noggin; rebounding off of recent dinner conversations, the unfinished sewing projects that are burning my conscious, blearning and other blog shenanigans, shiny sashes in my closet, and the tendrils of ruby bound in elastic on my head. Am I more than I appear… or just a wannabe? Where does one draw the line on these sorts of things? Where does this fit in with my lifestyle and what I project? Or am I thinking honest thoughts but not saying honest words?! Why on earth is this quote getting under my skin?

Oprah, in your next giveaway, can I have some advil?!

I spent some time thinking about all of the ways I wanted to know that balance in my life. As of late, my vision has been muddied by an influx of deadlines and remastering of priorities. I read the quote again and again as if to beam through fog with laser-vision. There, on a summer afternoon in the midst of some quiet time, I was reminded of the importance of knowing one’s own worth, and pursuing conscious humility. At times, such mentalities feel intangible in this world made of stitches. Fashion alludes to something “more” with every choice of material, photo shoot lighting, and hairstyle. I’ve found myself a contributor to such illusion. Right now I’m sitting on the couch, but it is quite possible your brain thinks I am in a goofy pose wearing a trendy outfit such as the one in the background. Objectively this is misleading, and, for me, discouraging as I sit here on the couch with a daunting workload of sewing and writing deadlines in the days to come. Certainly not playtime. It is these times that require words like those to remind myself that I’m still on the uphill battle. Time to get down to the nitty gritty…. I may need some late-night coffee.

This is one of those moments of clarity I created this blog for. I hope to look back on and say “yeah, I grew up a little bit more that day” as I type through the tension of the petty stresses of my week and clear some headspace for more important thoughts.. Thoughts like: “OW! I just poked myself with a needle again!” and “SH*&^^% I thought I did that right the first time!” It is times like these when I take comfort that every “trrreennnday” picture is a small building block and every missed stitch in a sewing project is one I won’t miss in the future.

My Friday night off of my restaurant job will be filled with the repetition of the sewing needle and cranking out tomorrow’s fashion piece for my college newspaper. It certainly won’t appear to be much more, yet as the breeze and the sweet melodies of a street violinist softly fill my quaint apartment, I admittedly am smirking with gratitude, knowing it is so much more than I could ask for.

xo

DorkyChick Diaries: Heartland Hiatus and Happy New Year

Gosh where is my brain?! Technically it is in Waukee, Iowa sitting at the dining room table of my childhood home. I had so many plans to blog up a storm and to use my break from school obligations for productivity in my creative endeavors. I was going sew and blog and create and do this and that and as soon as I hit touchdown in seat 9A last Thursday my plans dissolved. The hot, sweet summer air has seeped into my lungs and I’m enjoying a kind of serenity that cannot be experienced anywhere other than one’s beloved, familiar hometown.

I’m not sewing. I’m not writing. I’m not pretending like I’m motivated to. I was anxious at first about the absence of my motivation, but have suppressed the ants in my pants with much laughter, a few cocktails, and an overabundance of delicious food. It’s a silent celebration for myself. A year ago about this time I sat here looking at this same tree in my front yard with no idea what the next year would look like, coming off such a strange and beautiful year-long Miss Oregon experience. It was pre-reentry into real life, and I was ready for it. I was hopeful that the year to come would be one where I could realize what it meant to be this “new” real-world Caroline vs. Caroline the Miss Oregon. There was no way of knowing, really. In my time under the crown I’d at times been a 35 year old business woman, ambassador, spokesperson, princess, celebrity, a joke/spectacle, an inspiration, a winner, and a loser. I’d tasted the sweetness of victory, experienced loneliness, extended the list of those I call family, was humbled by unrivaled compassion, and discovered within myself a sort of serenity that can only be experienced from maturation. So with these things in mind, I was ready to graduate the accelerated course of life lessons, and move forward in discovering what it meant to know myself after all of this was put away.

Fast forward a year and I’m sitting looking at the same tree from the same window. Likely, I am drinking the same Panera coffee and wearing the same flip flops, however, this time I know the answers to the questions of how my year would go. I have yet to get my “big break”, I didn’t win the MegaMillions Jackpot, and I’m even still a year shy of my college degree, but I am sure that my year went just as I had hoped. I found a group of incredible people to spend time with who not only are great people, but they also love karaoke (bonus), got a job that has taught me so much and has given me a great escape from college life, had some great times exploring my outdoorsy side in the Gorge, found myself immersed in challenging coursework at Portland State that has made me feel like a smarter human, fell in love and enjoyed an unforgettable companionship, grew in friendship with my Miss Oregon sisterhood, dyed my hair fire engine red with no regrets, and, perhaps most importantly, I rediscovered my passion for creativity in both fashion and writing. I would do some things differently, of course, if I were to relive it, but I’m at peace. It wasn’t an easy or mindless year, but it was overwhelmingly positive, and at times magical.

I feel like it is the beginning of a new year. A year from now I hope to write in this same chair for this same blog regarding the answers to my inarticulable questions of what the next twelve months will bring. I’m going to do everything in my little red headed power to live it well.

I’ve got a little more vacation time to soak up before I’m back to my pursuits, and I think I’m best served to prioritize enjoyment over self-obligation. Iowa is not only a wonderful place to grow corn and beans, but it is also a fertile garden bed for dreams.  The endearing idiosyncrasies of Midwestern culture, the feeling of warm,soft grass underneath my feet, and the echoing of unfabricated laughter are the rain, sun, and soil that nurture the fancies of my heart, which I planted in that garden bed many moons ago.

Happy summer, my dear readers. Thank you for peering into my mind, as I love to share. Cheers to sun, simplicity, stupidity, and serenity. And cheers to cheers-ing. I’ll raise a glass to that.

xo

July 1, DorkyChickinLipstick will be full steam seam ahead 🙂 Readers, what would you like to see more of? Trrrrendddayy outfits? Designer highlights? Sewing project updates?  Fashion illustrations? Puns and pop culture references?!?! I know you want it. e-mail me:  dorkychickinlipstick@gmail.com

DorkyChick Diaries: Just a taquito with a dream and a pickle joke

The good news: it’s been unusually beautiful here in Portland, with clear, blue skies and temps in the 70s and 80s.

More good news: my in-home sauna is included in my rent, and it’s on all the time.

This phenomenon is also known as no air conditioning, which means I am roasting like a Cinco de Mayo taquito. Real talk, though, my apartment is toasty as all hell and that means less time for creative sewing projects and drawing practice. Right now, I’m doing what I can to be an observer of the fashion world outside of the house. I admit, I have really saturated myself and I think I’m seeing metaphorical grey hairs. My house is scattered with magazines, my twitter is filled with style blogs and celebrities, and I’ve been creepily admiring stylish outfits around town. A few times I’ve popped my head in clothing shops and thought to myself “oh, I’ll take a peek and look for some summer stuff”  but in these huntings for warm weather fancies, I’ve found that I’m wanting to smack my head against a brick wall. I’m on sensory overload! There is seemingly no limit to color, shape, size, style, and price point. Gone are the days of simple tops and bottoms, forgotten are the days of the gender specified garments, and one-trend-fits-all mentality.

It’s evident that mainstream fashion has really reached the 21st century, because conformity  isn’t the norm any longer. Why would I settle for pants and a shirt when I could have a silky see-through tunic, a patterned camisole, pleather leggings, and boots that are also sandals!?  And nobody would even think me strange for rocking that in a grocery store! On the other hand, it would be just as sensible for me to go find a standard shorts/sandals/tank look, but therein lies the struggle as I have to sift through manufactured frays, patterns, fabrics, prices, and lengths before I can even get to the dressing room! *gasp for air*

Sure there are trends! The high-low skirt, the printed pant, and the summer scarf are practically everywhere. However, I would suggest a case for the disintegration of trends as being boxes to check for of-the-moment wardrobe relevance.  Variety appears to me as the biggest trend. I think it’s going to be more difficult than ever to say “oh that is such a 2010’s trend”. We’ve made such a habit of recycling the past 100 years of design, that truly “new” hardly exists anymore. Those who claim to be independents are really going to find themselves in a pickle if they think that clothing is truly the answer to deflecting conformity. Or they could just wear this.. then they’d really be in a pickle.

sweat-shirt-for-stoners-7

I hope a ticklish person buys this.

tee hee.

Perhaps it’s unrealistic to consider fashion to have a future as something it isn’t already. But let’s not turn this into  a philosophy blog 🙂  

My time spent these past few beautiful weeks of observation have led me to put down the magazines to attempt a handful of dressing rooms where I found less that suited me than I’d hoped. This led me to Target for some fingers-crossed budget hunting that ended in 4 grey and white tanks and tees.

*snore*

I was looking for trends, but the problem is, trends seemed to evade me! The magazines say they are there, the stores put them in their windows, but with so many stores and so many window and so many “trends” I started to shake my head. Were I relegated to a specific demographic, I’d be set, but I’m not! Specificity doesn’t seem to appeal to me or my peers quite as much as it once did, such as in decades past when standards were more arguably uniform. Today, you can look like a punk-princess/safari-mailman/businesswoman, but then how to differentiate or express oneself next to the nautical-femme/boho-rainforest-clubdancer? Both are a mishmosh of inspirations, ideas, and repeated shapes and colors. Both are so hot right now.

It’s a style trap, with no style map.

I hit a turning point when doing some troubleshooting on Google. I had searched “wardrobe checklist” and up came list after list of must-haves for each season, lifestyle, and every which way in between. No two lists were alike. The bottom line was to just not be naked, I guess, and the only clear pattern was that there was no pattern. You can’t express yourself on a checklist, and I’m more sure than ever that all I really care to do is express myself. If I do that, then I can’t lose.  This doesn’t mean I have to reject all the trends, this doesn’t mean I don’t wish to faun over designers, nor does it mean that the fashion industry has lost it’s ability to captivate me. It just means that we’re in a new era. Which may be a “duh” factor to you, but it really seemed to sink in with me this week as I shook my head at wardrobe lists telling me I needed 4 different kinds of panty-hose and only 3 casual (a.k.a. not spelled out for me) outfits.

I think that’s why I want to be a designer. I know I’m not a punk-princess/safari-mailman/businesswoman or a fraction of it, but I know myself, and I have to express that. I won’t always find what I’m looking for at the mall, and if I can create what I can’t find, then it can become part of my ability to communicate. Each garment can be a word in my fashion language, meant to share with any and all who want in on the conversation.

I came up with a new checklist for Summer 2013

Wardrobe Checklist: Dorky Chick in Lipstick Style

 

images-6  Outfits for kicking ass

images-6 Outfits for laughing really hard in

images-6 Outfits for living it up

images-6 Outfits for feeling like $1,000,000,000 (yes, billion)

images-6 Outfits for matching your outside to your inside ❤

 

This could mean owning half the merch in this month’s InStyle, or this might mean that pantyhose and pantsuits are still key players behind your closet doors. What’s important in 2013 is that we recognize that we’ve hit a privileged sweet spot of more fashion freedom than ever before.  As long as we’re expressing our hearts as our sleeves, we can’t go wrong. 

 

This week I learned a lot, but I know I need to get back to my art supplies. I’m glad I got to take a break, get some sun, and let that vitamin D reinvigorate my spirits. Right now, I’m a sleepy lady with an early morning. And I can think of a perfect outfit that will check the one-billion-dollar box 🙂

….my PJ’s, of course.

Goodnight readers new and old.

xo