All of the Lights

You guys, only 3 days left until NEW YEARSSSS!!! Arguably one of my top three favorite holidays despite also being arguably one of the most stressful. Making plans at all, let alone plans that don’t empty your bank account, proves to be the true Christmas miracle year after year. This is one of the first years that I actually have a plan set more than a week before the actual event! It did in factempty my bank account, but you can’t win ‘em all, right? Even though getting shit together can be a dubious endeavor, I at least always know what I’m wearing by November (October). This year I decided to go with a patterned glitter, floor length, long sleeve black dress from Nasty Gal. Don’t worry, it’s completely sheer because I still wanted to look a little slutty ;). ALSO remember that badass fur coat I posted pictures of a few months ago? Defffffinitely busting that out—can’t wait to look like a high-class, 70’s Madame.

Check out pics of my proposed outfit below, have a happy New Year, and let’s all make it to 2016 in one piece, yeah? Sweet deal.

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shoes
shoes

Shoes: Charles David | Earrings: Pangea/H&M Hybrid (Long Story) | Statement Ring: Pangea

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full outfit

Coat: Flashbacks

"Do You Wash Your Hair?" ("Miley, What's Good?")

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a party at a friend’s house. Right before everyone got up to get food, a blonde girl came up to me and said “Oh my gosh, your hair is SO beautiful!” “Thanks!”, I said back. She then followed up with: “Do you wash it?” …..

*crickets*

……..

*side eye emoji*

……

*looks around for hidden camera*

For everyone who’s missed the implication of her question, this woman has essentially just asked me if my hair is clean. Do I bathe? Do I participate in normal hygiene practices?

After glaring at her with the shade of a thousand redwoods, I slowly, and in my most condescending tone, managed a “…..yyyyyyeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh………” Upon realizing she had possibly offended me (while also being slightly confused as to how I’d been offended), she offered “—I mean, well I just meant like how?? Just cause it’s so—“

Now before I explain how I put her out of her misery, let me just make a couple comments here. First of all, “do you wash” and “how do you wash” are two VERY different questions. The first implies, as I said, that there is a good chance—good enough for me to ask—that you do not wash, which I shouldn’t have to point out is extremely insulting. The second question, though better because it at least assumes the premise that you DO wash your hair, is still problematic because –and let me make this very clear: IT. IS. NONE. OF. YOUR. BUSINESS. Bitch I don’t even know your name yet and you’re gonna come at me with questions about my cleansing habits? Fuck outta here.

Unfortunately, it’s not like this is a new thing for me. Being the only black girl in most of my social spheres for most of my life has led to innumerable inquiries, both polite and less so, about my hair and/or hygiene. But here’s the thing I want us to all understand: Black girls, or any other marginalized group for that matter, are not here to be your informational guides to how they live their lives. I have no obligation to explain to you the (often arduous) process of getting my hair done, or if it’s real, or how I maintain it, or how much of it is mine, etc. That’s none of your business, and you can have a seat. Transgendered people do not have to tell you if they’ve had “the surgery” yet. That’s none of your business, and you can have a seat. Hijabis do not have to tell you what’s under their hijab. That’s none of your business and you can have a seat. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be curious and ask about other people’s cultures or practices that differ from ours in order to expand our own perspectives. Curiosity is different. Curiosity is welcome. But certain curiosities can also be cured by Google. If you are REALLY that interested in how I get my hair done or how I clean it, Apple produces a lovely little pocket-sized computer that makes phone calls and everything! I'm sure most of you have one, feel free to use it. And if you do find yourself wanting to ask someone about themselves, all I ask is that you first make sure you’re doing so with respect. Like for example, a better way to go about this conversation would have been the following:

"Oh my gosh your hair is so beautiful!" "Thanks!" "Yeah wow, it's so intricate, taking care of it must be a lot of work"—

At that point, I could either choose to say "Yeah, it is" and end the conversation, OR if I wanted, I could go into all the things that I do to take care of my hair. Either way, she has expressed appreciation for my hair and admiration for how I maintain it, without low key accusing me of being unclean. See how easy that was?

ANYWAY, so we're still standing next to each other trynna get food after having this horribly awkward encounter, and I assume, in an attempt to ease the palpable if not suffocating tension, she starts to make small talk about the spread. As you may have guessed, I had ZERO interest in continuing any communication with this broad, but I noticed this super interesting thing happened: all of a sudden, even though this girl had totally been an idiot and offended me, I felt like I had to be nice to her to avoid being seen as (perhaps yet another) “unfriendly black girl.”

AND HEREIN LIES THE FUCKED UP THING ABOUT RACISM (well, one of them):

Something racist happens. Someone of color has been rightfully upset. But by some CRAZY twist of pure fuckery, the offended ends up being the one taking care of the offenders feelings, lest the offended be deemed as “having an attitude problem” or “not a team player” or “hyper-aggressive” or my personal favorite: the “Angry Black Woman”. So here I was, the only black girl at this party, I had just basically been called dirty by this bitch standing next to me, and I’m having to make dumbass quips about potato chips in order to avoid the Angry Black Woman stereotype. Ain’t that some shit. I cannot TELL you how many times I’ve heard a white person say, in one way or another, something like “I dunno, I just feel intimidated by black people, they’re kind of scary. I tried to say hi to a few of them once and they were unfriendly.” And I’m like, WELL DID YOU SAY SOME STUPID SHIT?! Did you walk up like “AY YO WASSUP PLAYAAAAA?!” and try to make a "cool" hand-shake happen that neither of you had previously agreed upon? Did you ask if watermelon was their favorite fruit? Did you ask if they make Kool-Aid at Thanksgiving? (Actual thing that happened on a Fox News segment) Did you ask them if they had a father? Did you use the N-word? DID YOU ASK THEM IF THEY WASH THEIR HAIR?! Lol LIKE. Come onnnnnnnnnn y’all it’s not hard. I know we’ve all been fucked over by this racist system our country’s been steeped in since its inception and it makes things weird but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is common sense and mutual respect. Maybe ask someone’s name first before diving into their hygienic routine. Maybe ask them what they like to do, what music they listen to, where they got their sweater. There are a LOT of ways to build bridges here people. Asking if someone washes their hair is not one of them.

IT'S CHRISTMAS Y'ALL!!!

Merry Christmas month you guys! At my church we just started a series for the season of Advent called “Wait For it… Something Something About Waiting and the Season of Advent” lol. Clearly I've forgotten the actual title, but MY POINT IS it got me thinking about the season in general. I feel like it's cool to celebrate the Christmas story that happened 2000 years ago or whatever, but I think sometimes we forget that the Christmas story is still happening now. For example— I’m gonna talk about myself because that’s the subject I know most about :). But Matt, one of the pastors at Flood, often describes the Christmas story as “God interjecting Himself into the Human Story to bring us life and restoration.” I dunno, I may have made half of that up, but it’s something like that. And I feel like I had my own personal Christmas story a little over two years ago when God interjected himself into my story to save my life – again. And I was no picnic to save either, believe you me. I was broken-hearted, apathetic, and on top of everything else, a complete and total asshole. You know how when lifeguards save a drowning person, the victim is supposed to relax and stop flailing so the lifeguard can do their job? I was the 300 pound man still kicking and thrashing as God was trying to bring me to shore—it wasn't pretty. But I was sooooo in the dark—and I want to talk about that phrase "in the dark" for a second too because I feel like, at least for me growing up in the Church, that phrase was always used to describe non-Christians or "unbelievers" with only the thinnest veiled tone of condescension. Pastors and patrons always talking about how we needed to reach those poor "lost souls" who don't know Jesus yet, and needed to be saved. But I never really heard them talk about Christians needing to be saved, and I would argue that Christians and non-Christians alike are in need of saving ALL the time. I know plenty of non-Christians who have their shit way more together than I do, and I know plenty of Christians who need to figure it the fuck out. People, both pre- and post-salvation prayer, need help. Here I was 23, a Christian for as far back as I could remember, and I couldn’t see shit, let alone have any idea who Jesus was yet. There's a Mumford & Sons lyric in “Roll Away Your Stone” that goes “Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think? And yet it dominates the things I see.” Boom. Called out. Roasted. I heard that line and it hit me that “darkness” doesn’t necessarily mean evil, the way it’s often touted from the pulpit. It’s literally just the absence of light. The absence of clarity. Standing in a pitch black room that may be as familiar to you as your own bedroom, and still not being sure where the dresser is. You don’t have to be a non-Christian to find yourself in the dark. Darkness will come, I think it’s just a thing that happens. At some point you’re gonna feel lost, or mad, or confused, or maybe hate God. And having recited a prayer a week ago, a month ago, ten years ago, 50 years ago, is not going to save you from that. But it helps me to remember this story. That 2000 years ago, God interjected himself into the human story to help us out. That 2 years ago, God interjected himself into my story to help me out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for celebrating Christmas (obviously, I’ve already bought and/or constructed 5 fake Christmas trees and accumulated literal POUNDS of tinsel), but I also think it’s important to stop and think, how is God trying to interject himself into my story now? Do I feel like He is? How do I feel about the fact that I don’t think He is? I expect a written paper and thoughtful discussion next time we meet.

In the meantime, please enjoy pictures of my 5 Christmas trees and pounds of tinsel :)

 

Musings on Marriage

Okay guys, before I begin this post, I feel like I'm obligated to tell you that we're headed in a new direction. Not 100% sure what that is yet, but I'm going to be expanding this from just a Fashion blog to like, a Life blog? It'll include fashion, art, crafts, and a lot of my musings. Again, I'm not quite yet sure what it's going to look like, I'm taking a couple months to brainstorm. But if in the meantime, I get inspired and feel like I got shit to say then I shall post it, as I am doing now. Also, other thing I should mention, is that if you are watching or intend to watch Aziz Ansari's new show Master of None, have not yet finished the first season, and do not wish to see spoilers, I highly suggest you stop reading now. The first paragraph describes the entire finale lol. But if that's not you, then by all means forge ahead! Cheers!

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Okay so I just finished watching Master of None and I have so many feelings. In the season finale, Dev and his girlfriend attend a wedding where the bride and groom share ridiculous vows about being 100% in and never having any fears or doubts about their relationship. Upon hearing this, Dev freaks out because he wasn't positive he was 100% sure about his own relationship. He tells his girlfriend who, instead of hearing his fears and examining them as his own issue without making it about herself, freaks out because she feels like he's saying he doesn't want to be with her. And then HE, instead of hearing her fears and assuaging them while still trying to successfully communicate his own, decides that they should each write on pieces of paper what "percentage sure" they are that their relationship is gonna go all the way.

I know, even recounting it makes me almost burst into hives, it was literally the worst idea ever. As you might have guessed, since it was IMPOSSIBLE for them to have predicted each other's exact number, hers ended up being slightly lower than his and because of that they broke up. This whole thing, like I said, makes me want to crawl in a hole and die.

First of all, being 100% sure about the future of your relationship is literally impossible. I'm not sure how many of you guys are hip to this but we can't tell the future. Surprise! And no amount of star gazing, or tarot reading is going to help that. As, thankfully, a smarter character on the show pointed out, the percentage sure you are about your relationship will fluctuate. Sometimes you’ll feel good, sometimes you’ll feel bad, but what doesn't change is the decision you made to try, which I'll address more in a second.

The other worry Dev brought up is not knowing if his girlfriend is the person he is "supposed to be with forever". But… I feel like the whole idea of "supposed to be together" is bullshit. You literally choose— if you are with someone forever, it's not because you were "supposed to be". It's because you decided. And the thing about forever is that it's every minute, every second. Do I know if I will love you forever? No, because I can't tell the future. But also Yes, because I'm loving you now. And now. And now. *a few minutes pass* And now.

That's how people get to forever, it's just a bunch of "nows", one after the other.

I was also struck by the idea that once you're married, the window of time to do "crazy shit" is damn near closed. All it takes is children to put that last nail in the coffin and you are essentially stationary for the rest of your life. Am I the only one who thinks that's ridiculous? Okay the children part, definitely. Because those little shits will consume your entire life and never look back. But I mean marriage? Like okay ya if you marry someone, there's one more person you have to consider before making big decisions like that. But I see no reason why, if your partner has a heart for adventure as well, you can't just both go. Or even if they can't, or you just want a solo mission and you won't be gone for that long, why can't you just go?

Maybe I'm "too independent". Maybe that's not how you're "supposed to do marriage". I dunno, I just— I feel like I understand why marriage is hard but at the same time I don't understand it at all. My therapist told me most of the work of being in a successful relationship is working on yourself, and like everything else, I'm pretty sure she's right. The hard part is learning to decipher what you're feeling and communicate it in a constructive way. But once you've learned that, and you've chosen a partner who's also learned that, all you have to do is keep doing that. Right? Like I understand I'm 26 and have never been married but after observing successful and unsuccessful relationships for many, many moons, I feel like all it boils down to is communication. Because we will change. Your partner will change, you will change... Hopefully it will be towards growth. But I feel like as long as you can communicate your change, it will result in growing together, which I think is how "forever" happens.

The show also illuminated the idea that marriage is a crapshoot anyway because you marry whomever you "happen to be dating" at the "time that people usually get married". Which, while understanding the sentiment, I disagree with. It's not like choosing someone to marry is like spinning the Wheel of Fortune and wherever it lands is who you're stuck with. There is some happenstance involved of course, as there is with all of life, but my hope would be that by the time you're of "marrying age" and are considering marrying someone, it's not just because they were present at the appointed time, but because you have done work on yourself to emotionally mature and they have also done work on themselves to emotionally mature and that's why you've started dating. And marriage happens, not because you both feel you're "supposed to", or because it’s “the time people get married”, but because you've both decided—you've both taken the agency, to WORK. "I will not stop loving you." That is, I will not stop trying to look out for you. Trying to understand you. Trying to support you. Trying to learn you.  It's literal effort. It's a practice. And sometimes you'll nail it and sometimes you won't but the point is to keep trying, which is what I was referring to earlier. And I think in that trying, we grow ourselves, and maybe that's why we do it.

About Dating, Not Fashion. But Here Are Some Flowers

  Okay you guys, listen. I’ve seen a lot of shit on my newsfeed complaining about the state of dating now, mostly from 10 cent articles by Elite Daily or Thought Catalog always complaining about the “Death of Modern Romance”. Ain’t nobody got a problem with either of those publications, I’m sure they’re great people or whatever. I do have a problem with this idea that technology has ruined dating though. First of all, let me say, I fucking hate Tinder. Let’s just get that out of the way. I tried it for a couple years, went on a couple dates, met a professional dirt bike racer (it was a really cool, really stressful 3 months) and then packed it up and told it to hit the bricks. So this isn’t me advocating for Tinder or any other online/app dating thing, I just feel like if we’re going to complain about a problem, we should accurately diagnose the problem. And I’ll tell you right now, Tinder is not the problem. Nor is Grindr, Ok Cupid, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, Snatch, Zippity Fuckbuddy, or any of the like (might have made some up towards the end there). I think all the invention and proliferation of these apps did was reveal the problem, which is that people are shitty. Lol. TA DAAAAA!!! **balloons drop** **confetti cannon shoots** **models come out**. Like that’s it, we’re all just kind of shitty. These articles are right in that it does seem like everyone’s looking for the next best thing, the next swipe right. No one is satisfied. But these articles are blaming the plethora of choices for this sense of dissatisfaction, and I think that’s off the mark. I feel like if you know yourself enough and are mature enough to say what you want, focus on one person, and mean it, the amount of choices at your feet won’t matter. Because here’s the thing: even if you don’t have Tinder, you still have fucking eyes. Yeah maybe you’re not swiping left and right on your phone, but if you want to be distracted, if you want to look for the next best thing or the next adrenaline rush, all you have to do is walk into a bar and look around. Girls everywhere. Boys everywhere. Genitals everywhere. And if you’re kind of a shitty person who lacks strength of character, not having an app on your phone is not going to keep you from hunting for your new play toy. Here’s what I think a lot of people are running into and then blaming the apps for: Patriarchy and Sexism. HA! Thought you’d get all the way through this post without me bringing up an oppressive system of power, eh? WELL THE JOKE’S ON YOU, PAL! And okay, I feel like I should also say that my view might be slightly biased because I follow “Straight White Boys Texting” on Tumblr and it’s just the most awful shit and of course, very one sided, but I don’t think that should take away from the fact that it does point to a bigger issue. A lot of dudes, (not any of you reading this I’m sure because you guys are my friends and amazing, but other dudes) legitimately don’t know how to speak to women. Mostly because they don’t know or understand that there is no such thing as a “Way to Speak to Women.” You know what women are? Humans. Humans with boobies and vaginas, but humans nonetheless. You know how to talk to a human?? Great, then you know how to talk to a woman. Congratulations, you did it. But so many dudes, either too hopped up on porn or encouraged by their dim-witted friends, approach women like they are LITERAL aliens. Aliens you can fuck, if only you could figure out justttttttttt the rightttttt combination of syllables to make contact *squints eyes* *purses lips* *tilts head to one side*: “Wanna see my dick??” Yeah, that should do it. And while there is a very distinct and definite system of oppression that flows only one way, (hint: girls can’t be sexist. Tell your friends) I don’t want to paint boys as the sole destroyers of modern romance. We did it together! **eighties sitcom high-five freeze frame** Because let me tell you, the soul-rotting character flaw that makes boys want to flitter from girl to girl is present in women too. Or it’s the other side of the same coin where girls start dating a dude and as soon as he doesn’t text back within the hour, it’s “YOU KNOW WHAT FUCK HIM ANYWAY I DON’T EVEN CARE I’M A BAD ASS BITCH JUST LIKE BEYONCE HE’S THE BEST THING I NEVER HAD TO THE LEFT TO THE LEFT I DON’T NEED THIS SHIT I’M **FLAWLESS!!!” Full disclosure: I have been this girl. And I get it. And honestly I think what needs to happen is everyone needs to go to therapy lol. I’m serious. All these flaws and all this unhappiness that we’re blaming on the apps is misplaced. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news (not sorry), but in order to date healthily you’re probably gonna have to take a look at your own shit. And ask yourself why you talk to girls the way you do. Or why you can’t feel settled and satisfied with any boy. Like the problem isn’t Tinder, it’s you, compadre. Figure your shit out.

Look At All the Shiny Things

With everything that’s been going on in South Carolina, I feel like my blog has been one of the last things on my mind, sorry not sorry. I’m not gonna talk about any of my thoughts on it in here because A) You’ve probably already seen it all over facebook and B) I’m just flat out exhausted, so let’s talk about literally anything else! :D

Last week I and my friend Rachel—who is slowly becoming solely responsible for all beauty and creative inspiration in my life—went shopping for apartment goodies! We hit a bunch of thrift stores and then mainstreamed it to Target and Ikea—but like, only #ironically, obvi. I got a bunch of cool stuff including, but not limited to: a 2 dollar wine rack with only 3 holes because the odds of me ever having more than 3 unopened bottles of wine in my house at one time are slim at best. Heck, you’d be hard pressed to find even one unopened bottle of wine in my house. Either there’re no bottles, because I just finished one, or there’s one bottle and I’m already 3 glasses deep OOPS. I also picked up this awesome gold bust of who I think is supposed to be Thomas Jefferson? It’s a tough call, I feel like whoever made it was like “yeah this vaguely looks like an American President right? Just pick one.”  **kanye shrug** Works for me! Next fave was this antique lamp that I’m hoping to fill with one of those super hip filament light bulbs and stick on a nightstand which I have yet to buy. Pro Tip: Decorating always works best if you plan it around furniture you don’t yet own. You're welcome. Speaking of, if any of you are walking through life and happen to come upon an antique-y, perhaps French looking nightstand, holler at a player! I’m trynna get this shit together so I can finally throw my housewarminggggg!! :D

Lamp, Bust, and Wine Rack all from Alliance for African Assistance on El Cajon Blvd.

Lions and Lemons and Lips, Oh My!

Okay so I'm expanding. I will now be including my artwork on here as well as pictures of clothes and shit. You may have seen some of this stuff before, the newest thing is the gold lip print I made to hang in my living room (I'm a little bit obsessed with lips, in case you couldn't tell). In any case, we're expanding our boarders. Exploring new horizons! Claiming our Manifest Destiny! #America

All Fur Everything

You guys, this past weekend I finally got to take actual photos with a real camera! **studio audience cheering**

My pretty friend, Rachel Ruiz, and I traipsed around Kensington and North Park while I played dress up. A few things I learned: 1) Taking pictures is actually kind of exhausting. 2) You shouldn’t change your top in a car without tinted windows while stopped at a stop sign near a restaurant with patio seating. Of course this only applies if you have boobs. Men, feel free. 3) Rachel is a genius. Which I guess I already knew, but you can’t make a list without putting at least 3 things on it.

We photographed 5 outfits— this one’s going first because it’s my favorite. I was originally thinking of waiting and being like “noooooo I’ll save it for later” but I lack self-control so here we are. First of all, I want everyone to look at this AMAZING FUR COAT. Do you see that shit??? Fifty bucks at Flashbacks in Hillcrest! I know, I couldn’t believe it either. I mean, I understand that there is absolutely no reason for me, living in San Diego, to own a fur coat, but like, look at it! Even if I never wear it for anything real in life, I feel like I made the right decision. NO REGRETS TAKE NOPRISONERS. Okay maybe that last part is different haha. Oh and btw the fur is fake you guys, don’t call PETA okay thanks.

The dress I got from Urban (that’s Urban Outfitters for all you non hepcats). I paid way too much for it (standard) but it is a great dress. Bodycon, pencil skirt length, racer front, all black, nailed it. For my hair, I’ve recently really gotten into tying headscarves. I’ll credit this to that Tumblr blog I follow, blackgirlsrpretty2—which, just quick side note, I really recommend everyone follow beauty blogs that show pictures of people who look like you. Representation is important and I think it’s too often overlooked. So black girls, find black beauty blogs. Hispanic girls, find Hispanic beauty blogs, etc. White girls, you can just turn on the TV or open Vogue/any other major magazine publication and you should be fine. #shotsfired #sorrynotsorry. BUT ANYWAY as I was saying before I decided to fight everyone, I love that beauty blog and I’m super into headscarves right now. I just put my hair in a bun and then I wrap a scarf from Target around it and all of a sudden I look like I own a country or some shit, it’s tight. I’ll post more of the outfits in the coming days, but I was too excited not to share this one now! Enjoy!