BACK TO BASICS // jeans one

On Saturday I take the stage for the grand Adventures in Oz production.  I haven't had the butterflies hit yet, but I'm sure in those moments before, standing in the wings, I'll get that rush.  It's been a while since I took the stage for a performance, but more than anything I'm feeling excited.  I love the whole process.  The transformation from normal person, getting done up in hair and make up, putting on a costume, and then taking the stage as someone else.  As a kid I'd wrangled my siblings and our neighbor's kids into learning and performing Cats, yes that Cats, for our very patient parents.  For years.  We even had seasons.  Summers were for playing outside, but once fall hit, we started rehearsing and making costumes and creating set pieces for our "stage."  I knew all the words and dance moves to every song.  I can still probably sing all of the songs.  I suppose it's a good drunken party trick nowadays.  I was particularly drawn to Bombalurina, and performing her sexy number was my favorite, probably a gateway drug to burlesque, I suppose!  


top(similar) + jeans + blazer(similar + similar)/courtesy of modcloth 
necklace/courtesy of noonday collection :: glasses/courtesy of bonlook
bag(similar)/courtesy of fossil :: shoes/courtesy of baliELF 

This outfit is just a slightly more fancy version of the first outfit in the back to basics series.  I'm unintentionally also remixing this blazer a ton during this series as well.  It's not really a standard basic, though a good blazer is definitely a solid basic.  I used to have a basic blazer but I don't know where it ended up.  I actually really like getting little boys' blazers from the thrift stores.  Their arms are too short, but I always roll up the sleeves anyway.  I love them because the fit is a little slimmer and they're slightly shorter. 

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BACK TO BASICS // black dress five

This last iteration of the black dress is pretty "northwest girl."  90% of the outfits that don't make it on the blog are composed of this orange flannel and jeans.  This weekend has been gloriously sunny and warm, but it's supposed to start raining again on Tuesday, so bare legs will probably be going away until the next summer tease.  Luckily my next back to basics item in the series is jeans, how appropriate.  
Dan and I took our bikes out to get beers on the patio of a local bar and it was so nice to just soak up the evening sun wearing shorts and a tank top without needing a sweater or coat to keep warm.  It's easy to forget how magical the summers are here when I'm stuck in the perpetual grey drizzle of the Pacific Northwest winters.  But as soon as the first warm day hits, everyone drags their shorts out of storage and walks down the streets with a big grin, knowing that this is why we slog through the rainy months.


dress(similar) + flannel(similar)/thrifted :: tank/courtesy of modcloth
 shoes(similar)/kensiegirl :: backpack/courtesy of everlane
hat/the north face :: necklace/courtesy of moorea seal 

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BACK TO BASICS // black dress four

I know there's this thing where people think bloggers' lives are perfect and pretty and full of free product from sponsors and beautifully lit and shot by professional photographers, but the fact is, sometimes it's shitty.  Sure sometimes it is perfect and pretty and there is the occasional product sent by a sponsor, and yeah, sometimes the lighting works out, but not always.  Yesterday I was a hormonal crazy person who felt like a total and complete failure, sat in the car for 10 minutes trying to figure out where to take outfit photos, decided I was never going to take outfit photos again, got out of the car and stormed into the house, sat morosely at the computer, mumbled responses to Dan, told him he could take the car with his friend and then decided to take the car to grab these pictures instead, like an asshole.  It only took about 10 to 15 minutes to take the photos, but it was still a bitchy thing to leave without saying anything when I'd promised he could have the car.  The smiles in these photos were fake and uncomfortable.  I didn't take the sunglasses off because I didn't want my eyes in the photos because they were lifeless and angry.

Photos are lies sometimes.  Not always intentionally.  But sometimes we don't care to share the ugly backstory.  Real life exists regardless of if you can see the "realness" in the photos.

dress + boots/thrifted :: top/h&m :: necklace/gift :: jacket/courtesy of lulu's
shades/courtesy of bonlook

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BACK TO BASICS // black dress three

I've been so enjoying the heartfelt and honest discussion in the comments of my last post.  It's been a topic that I've been wanting to write about for months now, and have been slowly writing that post for a while, but after that ad campaign I couldn't put it off any longer.  Sometimes I get into phases of being "over" the blogosphere, but then I realize that the blogosphere is a place where we the people get to fight against what culture and the media tell us we should be or think or believe.  It's finally a place where those who don't have a seat at the table of the gatekeepers of culture get to have a voice.  And surprisingly there are lots of people out here who disagree with what culture deems right and proper and appropriate.  It's an amazing realization to know that you aren't as alone as you thought.  There are other people who've had the same thoughts, been through similar experiences, felt pain and joy, just like you.  It's empowering in a way.  You tend to dismiss your own struggles when you think that you're the only one with XYZ problem.  You think that you're the only one who doesn't have their shit together and that everyone else totally has things figured out way more.  There must be something wrong with you, something different.  But that's a lie.  And I love blogs for exposing that lie.  I love blogs for being authored by real people, not editorial teams.  For the authenticity of being a human being sharing his or her real story.   The more we read other people's stories, the more we realize we're all in this together and it makes us feel less alone and more interested in supporting one another through life, rather than tearing one another down.


dress(similar) + sheer dress(similar)/thrifted :: moccasins/minnetonka
cuff(similar) + hat(similar)/courtesy of lulu's
necklaces/courtesy of adorn by sarah lewis :: rings/thrifted + jewelmint

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your femininity is not defined by body hair

I've had part of this post written for months, but today the straw broke the camel's back and I had to finish it.  Because people, I'm over it.  I'm done with this idea that, as a grown woman, its gross, undesirable, unfeminine for me to have body hair.  I hear this message over. and over. and over in our culture.  But yesterday I heard it in probably the most unapologetic way I've heard it yet:

Don't worry, there's at least three other similar ads from the same campaign for your viewing pleasure.

I'm a woman.  I'm a grown-ass woman.  I may only be 5'1" but I'm a grown ass woman.  My culture tells me that to be sexy or feminine I have to "groom" my lady hair, which really just means removing it.  Now I don't care what your personal preference is regarding the "grooming" of your own body hair, but can we all agree that telling an entire culture of women that having hair anywhere other than their heads is unsexy... is totally and completely ridiculous?  Is it just me?  It can't be, right?

I shave my legs and armpits.  Not every single day (in fact, it's usually more like once or twice a week, sorry, Veet), but I do, as do many women in America.  I've gotten a Brazillian twice and I think I've hit my quota for my entire life on any sort of wax type substance or razor ever going near that area ever again.  I don't think that it's wrong to remove body hair if you want to, but the message that it's inherently unfeminine is profoundly damaging.  As a girl growing up in America, body hair was a stressful subject for me, or at least it used to be.  I have a lot of hair, and it's not just on my head.

We're pretty obsessed with youth in our American culture, especially when it comes to beauty.  We want to avoid wrinkles, keep the flat tummy we had at 16, and never go grey... but this preoccupation with youth also leads to elevating the hairless bodies of prepubescent girls as that of ultimate sexiness, and oddly enough, ideal womanliness.  I've heard from plenty of men that porn has absolutely informed their ideas of what's sexy, and unfortunately a lot of porn is populated with absolutely hairless (or meticulously groomed) girls.  How many men do you have to encounter who hold this idea that women with body hair are gross or unsexy before it starts to make you want to look like women in pornography?  I have a friend who removed her hair for years because the boys she dated were turned off by it.  Now that she's single, she's let her hair grow and has felt a new appreciation for her womanly body.  It makes her feel sensual and beautiful and natural.  It's soft and traps pheromones.  Her ex is confused at her new "obsession" with pubic hair.  He doesn't get it.  Hey buddy, we're not obsessed with body hair, we just happen to have it and don't find it bothersome.

I wasn't much bothered by my own possession of a bushy nether region until I was in my 20's and informed by a boyfriend that he was extremely turned off by body hair.  I was devastated.  Someone you love telling you that, essentially, your body is gross and unsexy... it hits you in one of the most vulnerable places, quite literally.  Revealing your body to someone is incredibly vulnerable, and typically you do it only when you trust the person to accept you as you are.  So there I was, feeling gross.  Because of how my body naturally looks (and is supposed to look).  And you know what?  That's absolute bullshit.  I get that people have sexual preferences and that some people are turned off by some things, but HI THIS IS HOW MY BODY JUST IS.  Also, hi this is how nearly every woman's body is.  My lady business hasn't looked like a porn star's lady biz since I was like seven.
photo via girlpower

Recently, Petra Collins, a photographer for ROOKIE Mag, had her instagram account deleted, due to the presence of her pubic hair (see top left photo), even though the same photo sans hair would be commonplace.
"I'm used to the fact that images of unaltered women are seen as unacceptable. I've taught myself to ignore it (as much as I can) and through the Internet (via sites like ROOKIE) and social media platforms (like Instagram and Facebook) I've been able to freely share images and start discussions about these issues. Recently, I had my Instagram account deleted. I did nothing that violated the terms of use. No nudity, violence, pornography, unlawful, hateful or infringing imagery. What I did have was an image of MY body that didn't meet society's standard of "femininity." The image I posted was from the waist down wearing a bathing suit bottom in front of a sparkly backdrop. Unlike the 5,883,628 (this is how many images are tagged #bikini) bathing suit images on Instagram (see here and here) mine depicted my own unaltered state -- an unshaven bikini line. Up until this moment, I had obviously seen and felt the pressure to regulate my body, but never thought I would literally experience it."
Back in 2011 I was the leader of a group of high schoolers at a summer camp and overheard one of my male interns talking about a girl who had "poor hygiene" because she had pubic hair.  I may or may not have slightly ripped him a new one explaining to him that it's not poor hygiene to have pubic hair (I imagine he himself possessed some generous pubes and didn't consider it a hygiene issue).  But it was one of those moments where I realized that men out there not only are learning to find body hair on women unsexy, but they even think it's poor hygiene for a woman to have it.

Girls, I don't know what you've been told, either directly from boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, or indirectly from tv ads, shows, books, movies, but having body hair is not gross.  You get to choose what you want to do about it, it's nobody else's choice.  If you want to wax it all off every two weeks, fine by me.  If you want to go au naturale, awesome.  If you want to shave your legs and pits, cool.  But lets not continue this ridiculous message to the next generation that the only way to be feminine and sexy is to be hairless prepubescent porn stars.  There is never one way to be feminine or sexy.  In fact there are as many ways to be feminine and sexy as there are women.  You do you, ladies.

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