Thursday, June 16, 2011

Charlotte's Got A Lot

So we went to Charlotte last weekend for the Taste of Charlotte festival. Although the festival itself was not exactly what we imagined it to be, I really did enjoy the city. It has a very unique vibe to it and I enjoyed the architecture there. We also visited the UNCC campus and their architecture school is smaller but WAY WAY nicer facility-wise (A beautiful hall for pin-ups and they provide students with their own chairs?! blasphemers!). The city is very progressive, very green, and reminded me of a mix between Chicago, Philly, and Portland only with more new architecture and more money invested into it. They had a few vintage shops and lots of thrift stores, but it still seems like a city that is in the growing stage. I imagine that unless they create an urban growth boundary in the next few years, it will probably become like Atlanta since it is such a hub.

If I do move to Charlotte in the next few years (i.e. if I can transfer into their bArch program or mArch program) , I really think I want to own my own business and support myself that way. I have always had this silly idea of owning a clothing store that is multi-use, as in maybe crafts this time around. I used to own a cafe that was a vintage clothing/venue/record shop and I really miss that, despite the amount of work and the amount of things I failed miserably with. There's something wonderful about owning your own business. I find time and time again that I always come back to that because to be the creative director of a project is something I love very much, but often I undermine my confidence and everything I do seems to fall short of what I hope it will be. Does this happen to all entrepreneurs?

But regardless, Charlotte has given me some hope. I feel as if my ambition is coming back. I think it is a gift that I have had the ability to do so many things in my life and live so many places, and hopefully when and if I do pick up and go off somewhere else, it will be more suitable to who I am and where I need to be in my life. That may sound selfish, but I think that until I am true to myself and what I am made of, I will probably not be happy with any situation I am in that is less than ideal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


We talked about doing a video for the architecture program. It never happened, but here's the general script of it. Cheesy but true:

10 Ways to Become a Famous Architect
1. Do Everything Completely Different from Everyone Else. (a.k.a. Find new, innovative ways to do things.)

A person pours a cup of coffee normally from a French press. The “architect” turns it upside down and pours it in a ridiculously exaggerated manner.

2. When using a drafting board, make all of your lines appear hand-drawn.
The “architect” starts drafting a straight line and then makes it all bumpy looking. The next scene shows them giving a presentation and one of the professors saying, “Wow, so all these lines are handdrafted! They are so straight! Amazing!” The “architect” just smirks silently.

3. Emulate your idols.
The “architect” is running down a quiet hall with a white sheet pinned to their back yelling, “LOOK! I’m Frank Lloyd Wright!” Everyone that is working on projects briefly stares and then refers back to their work.

4. In fact, emulate all of your idols at once, to stay cutting edge.
The “architect” stands with Le Corbusier’s coke bottle glasses, FLW’s cape, and a pile of Louis Kahn-style scraps of paper.

5. Use some of the most random objects to create your models and therefore appear ahead of your time.
The “architect” presents a study model made of 2 washers, a piece of a pipe, some lint from the dryer, and a banana with squares carved in it. Everyone around them is clearly floored. Professor 1: (whispers) That is the most amazing design I think I have ever seen. Professor 2: “You’re kidding me, right?”

6. When all else fails, break the mold and stand out.
A bunch of people are standing in a room wearing all black and talking. It looks like a formal gathering after a review. The “architect” walks in with very bright attire.
A few people stare at them and move away to reveal a casket. It’s a funeral.

7. Sign all of your work incomprehensibly.
The “architect” quickly scrawls a “signature” across half of a drawing.

8. When presenting your work, make sure to use the largest words you possibly can, and go off on unrelated tangents that casually refer back to your thesis.
The “Architect” is talking and the professor interrupts and says, “Wait…wait..wait. What does a dog in a birthday hat riding in the sidecar of a motorcycle have to do with your building?”

9. Develop really weird eccentricities to convince everyone that you are a genius.
The “architect” walks by and waves to some classmates, wearing a headband made out of a gym sock.
Person 1: “Why does he have a gym sock taped to his head?”
Person 2: “Because he’s a genius. That’s why.”

10. And lastly, ake sure to name-drop as much as possible to show that you have Architecture in your blood.
At a bar, the “Architect” is overheard telling someone of the opposite sex, “You know, my grandfather’s grandfather’s father was also an architect..."

Video would have ended with the "Architect" running around in the cape yelling.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

No Panic/ No Heat

I am stuck at work today and it is crazy hot outside, but not as bad as it has been lately. It has been in the upper 90's for the past few weeks which is too hot for me, thanks. We have been busy bees this past week getting our garden and the house in order. Last night I had to run a baby bird to a rescue shelter because it had either fallen (or was pushed) out of the nest and needed some help. I had to do that with two baby sparrows a couple years ago. I just couldn't bear the thought of it dying! Speaking of dyeing, my hair is now red. As usual I am painfully behind on photos. so here is a recap of recent things.

I really need a haircut but I really haven't had time. I spent most of yesterday evening poring over manufacturers for wholesale habutai, batiste, and organdy. I should be drawing houses but, alas, duty calls...fawn is almost a reality. A little late but nonetheless worth it. Tomorrow is a photo shoot for the lookbook, weather permitting.

The mister brought me a tree! A norway spruce! My dream tree!

Watercolors from my my second-to-last final.

Cool botanical garden building.

Greenhouse at botanical garden.

The mister and I went to a cookout with some friends a few weeks ago.

New dress!


Scary slag at work.

We planted lots of herbs and such this season. I am now growing two types of lavender, rosemary, spicy globe basil, lemon basil, stevia, lemon balm, orange mint, spearmint, leeks, garlic, verbena, eucalyptus, a flowering maple, yarrow, mesclun salad, yellow cherry tomatoes, tomatillas, three types of watermelons, white pumpkins, and honeydew melons. Tree-wise I am growing a norway spruce, a dwarf japanese cedar, a dwarf alberta spruce, two colorado blue spruces, a leyland cypress, a yew that we bought at Middleton Place, an arizona blue cypress, a carolina hemlock, a maple, two white pines, two juniper trees, and some sweet bay magnolias. And then all the cacti that I desperately need to transplant into my sandbox tomorrow. So far everything is still alive, so that's good.

I have been fighting off some nasty stuff lately. I have been coughing for months and went to the doctor finally. He told me that my vocal chords were stripped so now I have to wait 6-8 weeks for them to heal before I can sing again. Then Brandon and I both had a stomach flu for a few days, and now poor Sarah needs to go to the vet on Tuesday because she has been having some issues. I really hope it isn't anything too serious.

Tonight I am planning on doing some laundry, picking up a few groceries, and working on my etsy. I am about to list a fabulous Suzy Perette dress from the 50's, as well as some amazing 60's-70's shifts and maxis and bathing suits. Also a giveaway will be planned on the blog next month so stay tuned! I have less than a month before school starts up again- ugh! Fortunately I am going to Charlotte soon so that will be a welcome diversion. Hope all is well. Ciao, darlings.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Ballad of Reading Gaol

This past week brought many memories flooding back into my consciousness; some good and some bad. It's strange sometimes to think about the person you are now and how greatly your general outlook may differ from your previous incarnation. Memory is oddly photographic but dynamic in that you can retain many other senses along with visual stimulation. I remember a time when I hated being outdoors and would whine constantly about the mosquitos (who indeed love to bite me-- I should feel special, right?) yet now I will labor vigorously in the garden for hours without complaint. I remember wanting nothing more than a low-maintenance apartment, yet now I am apt to enjoy a large house with its little eccentricities. The startling fact is that I have reached some odd state of middle-age. Sometimes in the morning the light filters through the windows and I look out over the backyard, recalling my childhood spent in the woodlands. And sometimes this is such a moving, beautiful picture that I almost cry and am thus almost late to work.

I used to bury my nose in books. I still do, to a great extent, but I think I live less vicariously through them than I once did. I sought to escape from my life because I felt jilted by it. It was as if I was disjointed in some way-- as if my life were a greater abstraction than what my concrete mind could facilitate. Childhood was a brand of culture shock for me and I was ever rebellious in my pursuit of Truth, foregoing the stark revelry of civilization that stood at the brink of madness. I identified with Oscar Wilde and writers like Balzac and Goethe who combined realism with dark humor. I would surround myself with words on a page and the characters that seemed less superficial, more real than the people I met in everyday occurences. Despite the daily dramas of life and the limitations one must run into, there is an anomalous quality of peace that permeates the passing of time. The folly of the human accompaniment to existence is that most of us fail to acknowledge growth and the purveyance of such information is strictly inhibited within a complex social construct.

In some ways I believe we all come full circle. The structure of one's own life is purely metaphorical yet likewise homologous. It is much easier to confuse substance with structure-- ideals with actual experiences. I have spent my whole life questioning my own sanity only to find that perhaps intelligence is simply subversive in our culture. Beyond reason and measure, social constraints tend to euthanize any thought processes that seek to extricate meaning out of events or circumstances. To be self-aware is to balk against the very framework our society has managed to implement-- a universal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Many people don't want to know and don't want to think because it is much easier to pretend. They are able to abstract their ideas and beliefs into something more centralized and easier to navigate, while the rest of us are off floundering around in some degree of self-alienation. I'm not sure which way is more intelligent in the course of life, but I imagine both have their shares of difficulties and setbacks.

In my personal opinion (which may change over time, I'm sure. At twenty-five or even a hundred I simply haven't all the answers), life is more about the journey than the destination. We are here to learn and to teach. We are here to touch lives, reflect actions, and promote continuity. Whether this is our only incarnation or not, I can't really say. But if not, it seems fitting to justify that actions will overlap, lessons will have to be repeated sometimes, and the growth boundary is less in time but more in experience, regardless of life or death. It is we who put limitations on the psyche and time itself. We are the fountainhead of our experiences and adaptations. It is in our personal sphere that we affect the outcome of our lives. It is when we choose not to see this that life becomes exasperatingly difficult. By choosing not to see, we fetter our own growth.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

wandering spirits + favorite things

I am trying to make a conscious effort to update this blog more. Today I have been listening to the newest Chad VanGaalen album, "Diaper Island" and so far I think it might be one of the best albums I have heard this year, next to my friends The Royal Bangs, Other Lives, and Beach Fossils. If you haven't given any of them a listen, you should do that ASAP. And get a nonfat chai latte with coconut added at Starbuck's. It is simply divine.

The mister and I have been busy growing and planting a variety of conifers in my yard. If you don't know this about me, you do now: I LOVE SPRUCE TREES. and fir trees. And cedar trees. and pine trees. And redwoods. and sequoias. and other trees that I can't pronounce their names but they have little cones. My Arizona cypress that I transplanted last year from my flower box is already taller than me! We are trying to figure out what to do as a privacy barrier on my patio. I am thinking of taking old salvaged wood and making a screen and he thinks bamboo would be better. Any suggestions? I am also thinking of building a makeshift greenhouse out of scrap wood and plastic for my cacti so they don't freeze like they did this past winter. Brandon's latest bout of awesomeness was to completely redo my herb garden on the side of my carport AND buy me a Norway spruce (my most favorite tree). He is indeed a man after my own heart. :) I am going over to his house soon to help him lay pine straw.

The magazine is on hiatus again because I am starting work on the CLOTHING LINE and lookbook. I am getting ready to write up an ad for models for f a w n, which is pretty exciting. My goal is to produce 10 dresses next week now that the designs are sorted out. It's going to be a tough haul with etsy and work going as well, but I have to utilize what time I have between now and when architecture school starts up again. The biggest setback has been that I have all sorts of awesome vintage fabrics but wanted to keep a certain color palette. It is challenging to create a coherent line when all you want to do is use crazy 1960's brocades! My latest challenge is finding awesome silk in the right colors at a decent price. Ugh! I wanted everything to be silk and polished cotton originally but that is easier said than done. Laramie and I are busy bees anyway but this will be an exciting project for us to undertake. She is trying to con me into taking ballet and bellydancing classes with her and thus far I have held out, but it is tempting and could happen in the near future...

Speaking of, I am getting ready to do custom couple woodburned portraits on etsy. I did some a few years back for some friends as gifts (as well as one for Unknown Hinson to give to him when we had our interview with him for p+w) and someone suggested that I give them a run on etsy. They're relatively easy to do and look pretty fabulous once they are finished. I think I am going to opt for danish or teak oil rather than polyurethane this time around, though. I used some of that for one of my architecture final projects and it turned out much better and had a more handmade feel to it. Stay tuned. :)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


via: ffffound

source: ffffound

Sometimes happiness is a lot of things.

Lately, for me, "happiness" is...

...finding out you made all A's and B's in the classes you struggled with all semester.

...having an amazing stepfather that takes you on camping trips like he and his dad used to take, shows you some of the places he visited as a boy, and likes spending quality time with you.

...having a wonderful mother who plans a surprise daytrip with you to Charlotte to go visit the campus and eat some scrumptious foods from some of the best restaurants in town.

...when your boyfriend turns your no good, very bad day into a super good one by surprising you with chai and a romantic walk at UT Gardens (it's the little things that make all the difference in the world.)

...having two great kiddos that snuggle up with you in bed when the boyfriend's away and like watching cheesy shows like Mister Ed with you.

...finding out you received a small scholarship and won't owe $909 out-of-pocket for your summer classes.

...having incredible girlfriends that put up with your many moods, changes of heart, and constant entrepreneurial enterprises with tolerance, gelato, and love.

...having all your socks and sheets match accordingly. (dumb, I know, but it makes a big difference....believe me.)

... having a great job for the past almost five years that has kept me afloat through several life transitions, moves, and architecture school.

...feeling very lucky to have good food on the table, everything I need or want (within reason), and some of the best people in my life. I feel truly humbled and blessed today.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ambergris//let's stay together

Finals are pretty much over, which means I will finally be able to actually have time to blog and a social life again and all that. It amazes me when I see older posts and then come back periodically how much my life alters in a span of time.

Big news? There's plenty to share. For one, my final reviews went poorly. Well, poorly for a perfectionist. They were probably okay but I always worry about them if they don't go as well as planned. Generally speaking, I have started to notice a trend in my work, which is mostly that I feel like simple lines in ink on mylar are not enough for a final presentation, so I overcompensate by pocheing everything and making it ultimately stand out like a sore thumb. I have been told by two professors now that I need to abtract things and simplify them more, and I unfortunately think that is the most difficult task of all. It amazes me that I can spend an hour or two doing the most intricate detailing on a drawing and then spend ten hours stumped over simple diagrams. I guess that means I'm probably not as dumb as I always assumed I was, but it also means that I have to work extra hard to compensate for internal complexity. I overcomplicate everything in my life-- is it any surprise that I would overcomplicate even Architecture?

The second big news is that in a year (or year and a half, depending on many factors), I am moving to Charlotte. And that is, of course, if I get admitted to transfer into the architecture program at UNCC. There are many reasons for this, but mostly because despite being happy with many things in my life, as a whole I am not as happy as I should be. I kept hoping it was a phase I was just going through but I feel like it is more than that. It may be a disaster, but I think a change of pace will do me good. Granted, there are many reasons I am "escaping" (allergies, fundamentalism, and some other stuff I'd rather not go into right now), but I think it is necessary escape.

The idea of selling 3/4 of what I own, probably working a job that is very different from what I have been doing the past few years, and focusing on just one thing rather than 500 seems like a step it the right direction. I have been dragging my feet because of various reasons, and now I have decided to accept and be at peace with the fact that those reasons are simply not enough to sustain me and will probably waste even more of my time. Not to be a pessimist or anything, but I have to be realistic and recognize that this path has just outlived its journey.

It's time for me to work towards something else and progress as a human being and honestly I don't feel like I can do that in Knoxville. I love my friends and it is nice to be closer to my parents, but I think the only way I am going to be satisfied with my life is to start with a clean slate, have less of everything, and focus on the things that make me happiest. As I told my boyfriend a few weeks ago, "I feel as if I am living someone else's life. I don't feel as if I am living at all in reality. I am just watching events unravel and I feel like a ghost." It is somewhat saddening and I will miss a lot of people here, but it's like riding a bicycle: you have to take off your training wheels and let go and some point. I have to stop making excuses and focus on results. And if that means completely uprooting myself from everything, it is just something I will have to do.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

to be myself completely

I haven't updated much, sorry to say.
Architecture school is back in full swing.
Homework every night, work/classes all day, and my internet is being buggy at home.
Plus a lot of deliberation on the job-work-money front. This is a year of big changes, I do believe.
Not to mention that someone has been taking up most of my attentions, in a good way. I feel really good right now. Not trying to be overzealous...but the world is much more colorful these days. All is right with the world and right in my little world-- the way it should be. I keep asking myself if this is all really happening..and yes, it is. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

here's to you, bachelor life

So, I think it is quite possible that I was a bachelor in a prior life. Why do I believe this?

1. I really like having space on my side of the bed. Or all the bed to myself (and the kiddos of course.) I love cuddling up before bedtime, but I usually don't sleep that way for long before I shove the other person to the other side of the bed. Do you remember that episode of Friends (christ...a "Friends" reference. what is happening to me?) where they did the "hug-and-roll" so they could have space in the bed? Yeah-- it's pretty much like that.
2. I love cooking strange concoctions that no one else would like eating because every person I've dated has hated the key ingredients I cook with: onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Blasphemy!!
3. Although I am surprisingly a neat freak, I like that I could potentially let the dishes or laundry slide for a couple days without anyone griping at me.
4. I get to keep my own hours and see friends (of both sexes) without getting guilt-tripped or accused of dastardly deeds.
5. It is a well-proven fact that after the initial honeymoon is over, boys do not want to have random dance parties and listen to records at 1am in your living room.
6. I don't really watch much TV, but I can very well spend a good 8 hours watching old episodes of The Office on Netflix's Instant Play. In my jammies. And "comfy socks." With pet hair all over me. Eating scandalous foods that I would probably regret later.
7. The idea of someone putting a plush leather couch or rattan furniture in my house is absolutely terrifying. I'm pretty sure the idea of having to make my home entirely unisex is the reason I have so much stuff in the first place-- it's like having a bottle of animal repellent so your cat doesn't pee on your ottoman.
8. I have to fix things on my car myself (unless it is major-- then I DO need help.) But it is kind of nice to be relatively self-sufficient.
9. I seem to get more work done home alone. If I ever met someone that was as self-sufficient as I was, he would probably be a bachelor (and if he isn't straining his pasta with an old gym sock, we might be in business.)
10. I can go out and look pretty, and no one ever has to know about my secret fears, weird habits, random thoughts that enter my head, or my complete recitation of "Bohemian Rhapsody (acted out via the Wayne's World method.)"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I survived 2010 (or, the great feat)

grrrlike a tiger print, 9 usd, from poppopportraits

woodburned spruce trivet, 10 usd, by nickoli

double autumn branch necklace, 26 usd, from mineralsandmetalwork

adorable cowgirl brooch, 15 usd, from yalipaz

PRETTIEST wreath from NHWoodscreations, 35 usd.

This is pretty much the most amazing thing I have seen in a while. 2011 Letterpress wall art foxes calendar, 25 usd, by sycamorestreetpress.

Okay, so I don't approve of pets wearing clothes (although mine have some utilitarian clothing for special purposes.....shut up) but this is pretty awesome. skipper pea coat, 70 usd, from RoverDog.

I've been slowly working my way through Jean-Luc Goddard's films and am now on Une Femme Mariee. I like Goddard's films because the dialogue is very similar to what goes through my mind on a daily basis. He took simple notions and made them dynamic, while intertwining them with philosophy and history. My favorite line from this film: "Women live for men but won't do anything for them." I think, if I could choose a different era to be my age now in, it is a tossup between 1920's New York and 1960's France. Goddard's France, of course. In black and white.

I survived 2010. I would say, in some respect, that 2010 was a year of exceptional emotional growth for me. When I look at how I reacted to things in 2009 versus 2010, it amazes me to be sure. I feel like 2011 will be a continuity of such growth, but probably with more emphasis on organization and finances. At least, that is how it is panning out thus far. Although I have been a complete grouch since Sunday for no reason-- I think I need a vacation!

It is a very snowy day in Tennessee. I really enjoy snow and after four years of living here I am finally seeing quite a bit of it! I have been exhausted all day long for no reason whatsoever. I am thinking of grabbing a soy chai latte (my second cup of tea today-- geez; so much for that new year's resolution...), pulling out my inspiration file (from my fashion school days-- I'm sure some of it is laughable to say the least), and working on the clothing line today. I found some really great fabric this weekend (and a plethora of other amazing vintage finds) and I am dying to get a few things made before I start back to classes on Wednesday. I will probably end up sitting at a coffeeshop somewhere because ever since winter hit, my wireless at home has completely sucked. I spent an hour last night just trying to update my flickr page and do some stuff for school and I finally just gave up and went to bed. Each night is kind of hit or miss with my wireless, so maybe I will get lucky and be able to curl up at home, listen to Benoit Pioulard's newest album, drink tea, and get my work done.

And now for something completely different.