11/22/14

Overdone.






WHEW! I've been out of the blogging game for about two weeks now and it's good to be back. There's been ups and downs in my life and I can't wait to share all the excitement/hardship with you in later posts, but today, I'm finally getting back to fashion and telling you a story. 

So first, Fashion-y stuff:

I know, I know, the mustache craze is over and everyone has had their full of the facial hair, but when I stumbled across this little gem in a Downtown Portland thrift store called Little Ghost, I couldn't say no. The color is one of my favorites, the print is cheeky, and (not that you can tell in this outfit) the back is asymmetrical. It commands attention whether it's with jeans or a statement skirt.  

I donned black tights and my high-heeled boots to deal with the cold front that's been hitting us this week. The colder it gets, the more I'm forced to layer, using my creativity but losing it quickly. There's only so many ways I can jazz up a sweater with out spending a lot of money (which we don't have right now, but that's a story for another post). 

Now that you've had time to marvel at my thrifted goodness, I have a story for you about neighbors. 

Odds are, a high percentage of the people who skim my blog know what it's like to have a bad neighbor. Friends have told me horror stories of terrible roommates or disastrous condo partners but I'm the first one in our circle to add a story about the crazy person who lives in the house next to you. 

Last night, J, Mr. T (my new nickname for our roommate), C ( the brand-spanking-new girlfriend of Mr. T), and I were getting ready to head to a show for The Royal Bones. It was a chilly night, with air so sharp the cold rattled your teeth as you breathed in. J and Mr.T had moved my clunky piano out to the car and started it, not only to let the engine warm up but to protect the instruments. 

I was standing in the kitchen, makeup brush in one hand and mirror in the other, waiting for my tea to boil so I could put it in a travel mug for the road. I braced myself as J and Mr.T came back inside, the door allowing some autumn chill to sneak into the house. We chatted for a few minutes when there were three loud bangs -- sharp, piercing, seeming to throb from the inside of the house. We paused.

"Did you hear that?" I asked. 

J looked over our sink, out the two twin windows. "Oh, God." He said, exasperated. "It's Crazy Santa Man."

Our neighbor's name is obviously not Crazy Santa Man. I just, surprisingly, feel bad about putting his name on the internet. His nickname isn't that creative. He looks like santa, and he is crazy. He had lived in the house next to us when J was a child, and used to pull passive-aggressive stunts on my in-laws, even going so far as to force them rip up and replace their side-of-the-house steps because they extended a few inches into the grass that ran between the houses. 

He was standing on the sidewalk in front of our front steps, armed with a towel and black turtleneck, screaming so hard his face turned into a tomato. In between the high-pitched insistence that we "TURN THAT F*CKING CAR OFF" and his excessive hand-waving, I deduced that he wanted us to turn the car off because it was (and I need to exact-quote this) "GETTING CO2 IN MY HOUSE."

Now, in case you have a brain that has adapted to the ways of modern science, you'll recognize CO2 being the oh-so-dangerous chemical that you breathe out into the universe. According to several extremely macabre websites (that I'm sure will be great to explain in my search history), the average time of death someone can suffocate from CO2 in a 6ft-by-6ft coffin is a little over five hours. Mr.T's car had been running a little over seven minutes at this point. 

Crazy Santa Man continued to yell at the four of us crowded on the steps, ignoring Mr. T's assurances that, yes, he was going to turn the car off, and to chill out, and my asking him to calm down. Our white-bearded neighbor escalated, brandishing his scary towel, telling us "DON'T MAKE ME MAD YOU DON'T WANT TO MAKE ME MAD YOU DON'T WANNA DO THAT." 

I proceeded to ask him if he had windows open or cracks in his house that could possibly be letting the perceived chemicals into his home, to which he responded, "NO. MY WINDOWS ARE SHUT. YOU CAN'T SMELL THAT? ARE YOU DESENSITIZED?" 

"No." I said. "I have insulation in my walls." 

J, with a vein now protruding in his neck, rose his voice to match Crazy Santa Man as our bearded neighborhood repeatedly told us to "SHUT UP" and "F*CK OFF" all while being very close to our faces. Mr. T finally shut the car off and our neighborhood strode off in a huff, his temper tantrum done, upset that I refused to entertain his fantasy of our car putting CO2 through the walls and closed windows of his house. 

The next day our in-laws contacted the police for us, revealing that Crazy Santa Man had never been that aggressive with them and that he was only that threatening with us because he thought we were just kids who he could bully. We found out through the police that since his problems with neighbors extended back a long time, we could call them whenever he decides to be a bully again. 

* * * * * * * *

So there ya go. Hopefully this week I'll be back on my blogging game and be able to keep up with all your awesome thoughts. :D

love,
a

skirt -- thrifted!
sweater -- thrifted!
boots -- thrifted!

11/19/14

I'm glad you don't need feminism, but the rest of us aren't so lucky.



It comes as an ABSOLUTE shock to the millions of minorities who are used to seeing the Majority-in-power people conquer and kill and crusade, but somewhere in the internet a white woman wrote an article about why feminism is bad because she has two sons.  Feminism has come a long way in the past few years but, as always, there are people who will do anything to stop the social tide from turning. After seeing this article shared three times in my facebook newsfeed (all from men, so, I'll just let you construe that in your own way), I knew I had to do something. She weakly waded through her four cherry-picked issues, displaying an incredible lack of knowledge about feminist theory and facts. I felt like I left an abstinence-only class with a leaflet warning about the dangers of floozie women. The article not only misses the entire core point of feminism but it fails to address where the problems actually arose, as well as pinning the terrible behavior of extremists on an entire belief system. 

It's become popular to say that "everyone needs feminism", and while I personally think it's true, I'm convinced that the better way to say it is "feminism can benefit everyone." 

Because while being a feminist can better the lives of everyone around us, it's a fallacy to say everyone needs it. Clearly, some people don't desperately need the message of feminism. The truth is some people are so disillusioned that they are shut in the highest room of the tallest tower guarded by a flaming dragon of just-under-the-surface sexism. They're wrapped in layers of indoctrination and gender roles. They haven't left the swamp of Privilege in years. The patriarchy serves them well. So no, they don't need feminism. But here's why everyone else does. 


Shrek metaphors. He's hairy, smelly, and hates everyone, just like those dang tootin' feminists. AM I RIGHT OR WHAT?


1)We need Feminism because gender roles still exist and, if they are forced upon people who can't fit the mold, they are extremely damaging. 

I noticed right away that our dear author tried to introduce herself as "one of the guys" by claiming she liked things those other silly women didn't, as if beer, sports, and being a business owner have a gender and she was somehow super special for being into them. The implication was, of course, that we were supposed to gasp and wring our hands, surprised at how someone who liked such "male" pastimes could be anti-feminist. I don't know about you, guys, but her pastimes have nothing to do with her gender because, oh yeah, THINGS DON'T HAVE GENDER. 

A quick skimming of the rest of her article led me to see that she expects her boys to be able to carry heavy loads and open doors and shell out money, because more gender roles you guys. Didn't you know that a man is always stronger and way more rich? Duh. 

This ball of sport actually has a penis and a wallet hidden in the back. You know, guy stuff. 


She goes on to say how there's really nothing wrong with the gender roles we humans have been assuming for thousands of years, saying "I want my sons to choose a partner who honors their manliness, strength, valor, chivalry and masculinity,".

In case you missed it, yes, she did just describe a typical hero-saves-the-damsel-in-distress storybook character and yes, she did just ascribe those particular personality traits to a particular set of genitals. She goes on to admit that she wants her sons to admire those personality traits in their partner, "even if those qualities include being maternal, ladylike, demure, and feminine."

One of the big no-no's of feminism is putting people into boxes they don't want to be put in. You want to be a quiet, sweet, dresses-in-long-skirts-and-turtlenecks chick who wants the door to be held open for you? Awesome! You want to be a sassy, opinionated women in a pair of ripped jeans who works out three times a week so you can get your own damn door, even open the door for your dude? Awesome! But what nobody wants is to have the dude ASSUME you need him/want him to open the door. That implies that he thinks he is inherently stronger and more capable than you.

Do people mean it this way? Absolutely not. No one opens the door for me, thinking, "YES LONG LIVE THE PATRIARCHY LOOK AT THIS FEEBLE WOMEN BWAAHAHAAAA". But we as a society have been bred to see women as less capable. This is unfair to girls and puts a lot of pressure on the guys. What about the guy in a wheelchair? Or a guy who has his hands full carrying your heavy shit and can't get the door? Are we supposed to support a system that can make others feel bad for just being themselves?


2)We need feminism because women's bodies are still used as a measure of their worth and their appearance is used to justify bad treatment. 

I found it superbly interesting that one of the first paragraphs has this woman claiming she is raising her boys to love people for their insides and then right away she jumps in to judging other women for what they wear. 

I know this is really, really, REALLY hard to grasp,  but people wear what they want for their own enjoyment, everyone's mode of expression is different, and their appearance does not define them in any way. For example, in summer it gets hot. When it's hot, I wear short shorts and short skirts. If I'm wearing them at work, I put on bicycle shorts underneath for function's sake, but out on the town , hello thigh city. If our lovely author had her way, I would be the "easy" girl that her boys need to stay away from, probably cause I'm infected with worms and satan or whatever. 

Pictured: Satan, probably. 


As some of my readers know, I was a virgin until I got married. Both me and my husband were. If we're using the vastly wrong social scale to determine who was a "good woman", then my virginity would have put me on the top of the list. But man, those short shorts and tank tops and midriff baring clothes that obviously screamed I was easy. So easy. Except that I was the poster child for the opposite of that. 

The point is that not only does a person's appearance not define who they are, but it's usually got nothing to do with the people around them. Am I cruising looking for some extra tail in my short shorts? Um, no, I'm a monogamous married Asexual. I'm the antithesis of someone looking for sex. And yet if the author had had it her way, we would be judging people up and down for their appearances. 

But not people. Not men. Women. Other women. The author has yet to complain about that hot lifeguard with the six-pack abs strolling down the sidewalk in front of her sons. Which brings us to our next point --

3)We need feminism because heteronormativity is causing us to flat-out ignore the experiences of others.

What is heteronormativity? I try to describe it as only looking at the world as if straight people have vanilla sex, ascribe perfectly to gender roles, and everything else is either devient or made up. Not the best way to describe it, but for our purposes let's roll with it.

The author makes a point to say "partner" in her article but seems to only be upset with easy women who she'll have to talk to her sons about. But if her son was gay, that easy woman wouldn't even register on his radar.  It's almost like she can't fathom being in a universe where women aren't shamed for how they dress and what kind of sex life they allegedly have.

Heteronormativity says that there is, and should only be, straight vanilla sex where the woman is feminine, submissive and passive. Reality says, hey, guys, different people look different and like different things. Feminism is a huge advocate for all types of people of all gender expressions and all sexualities. Instead of shaming women for dressing they way they do (and assuming her sons are attracted to and curious about breasts), a feminist mom would say, "Look, son, there are a lot of different people in the world and they all want different things from a partner. You need to decide what you are comfortable with and communicate this. And remember, someone elses' body is not your business. "


Intolerant feminist parents, fighting for their son's right to love another man. So much man-hating going on in this picture. 

Heteronormativity robs us of having a diverse world view. When I came out as Asexual in a blog post of mine, I learned that my sexuality became a discussion around the dinner table of a friend, where they promptly decided Aseuxality didn't exist. Why didn't it exist? Well, because THEY liked sex so how could someone else possible not? I need feminism specifically because I have heard at least four people say that my sexuality didn't exist, and one person suggest I leave my husband because I was OBVIOUSLY lying and had the hots for another dude. 

Assuming that the appearance and alleged sexual life of others as imaginary or distasteful or needs-to-be-shamed is wrong. Feminists fight for the right of the LGBTQA people to be seen, heard, and respected. 

4)We need feminism because rape culture exists and it is terrifying. 

The thing that stopped me in my tracks was this:

"The FCKH8 Campaign would have girls tell my sons to “fuck off” if they called them pretty or reached for their hand without permission."
Yes. Yes they would. And yes they should.  I'm going to say this once: *inhales once to prepare herself for being loud, obnoxious, unfeminine, man-hating, whatever else people are going to say about feminists*

MY BODY IS NOT YOUR PROPERTY. I DON'T AUTOMATICALLY WANT YOUR TOUCH. TOUCHING ME WITHOUT CONSENT IS ASSUALT. IT IS NOT ROMANTIC, SWEET, ENDEARING, OR GENTLEMANLY TO ASSUME THAT I WANT TO BE TOUCHED. IT DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTES TO RAPE CULTURE.
I made this picture extra-large so you could imagine my big voice. 


What is rape culture? If you say it doesn't exist, you're wrong. Rape culture is the thoughts surrounding rape and how victim-blaming is so deeply built into our society that it encourages people to take advantage of others and makes excuses for the aggressor. 

One of the things that can help to take down Rape Culture is more knowledge and passion about consent. You know, consent is sexy? Well, no, CONSENT IS F*CKING NECESSARY. Consent is not the absence of no but a flat-out, plain-as-day, YES. Reaching for a girl's hand without your consent? Maybe her hand hurts. Maybe she doesn't like you like that. Maybe she's the type that needs space when she is hurting. Maybe she's warm. Maybe her religion prohibits hand-holding and she's devoted to her faith. Maybe the sky is green and the grass is red. Maybe her reason doesn't matter because you should ask, and she should give consent. But Rape Culture has taught her --- like the original article, funny how that plays out --- that she should appreciate someone feeling like they have a right to hold her hand and that she is a bitch for wanting to control everything that happens to her body. 

The author laments that feminists are making little girls think that anyone with a penis is 100% evil. Not only is that ignoring the non-binary gender/gender expression community, but the author chooses to ignore rape statistics because they might make certain people feel bad. 

STATISTIC TIME!
  • 1 in 5 women are raped.
  • that's 20% in a nationwide 2011 study.
  • Only 1 in 7 rapes are reported, so holy crap that percentage should be even higher.
  • Rape is officially recognized as a weapon of terror in war-torn countries.
  • 60% of rapes are acquaintances.
  • 32% of rapes are partners.
  • 98% of all documented rape is male-on-female.
I am not sharing these statistics to make men feel ashamed of being men. I am not saying this stuff to imply that little boys are destined to be rapists. I work with a classroom of mostly little boys and I love them all like my own children. I am married to a man. I can think of 50 men right off the top of my head who have never assaulted a woman and who would never dream of doing so.

What these figures should do is not scare little girls into hating men, but educate women about reality and educate men about what their gender is doing and hope the good ones can stand with us to stop it. 


Remember when we talked about gender roles and how they really stink? We're going to bring it back there and combine it with Rape Culture. And that combination tells us that men can't be raped, because women are obviously weaker and less capable of violence. 1 in 71 men have been raped. It's not as high as the woman's statistic, but it's still too high. Feminism works to stop Rape Culture so we can heal all the victims and prevent all the violence. 


I don't have a funny caption for this one. This is serious stuff.


Feminism is for women and for men. Which brings me to my next point:


5)We need feminism because people don't understand what it actually means and think that "Equalist" and "Humanist" are synonyms.

Something I hear a lot is that people refuse to use the term Feminist because it is sexist. Or because they think feminists are crazy and they don't want to be lumped in with that crowd. Or because the term makes them uncomfortable to have the prefix "fem" and they think it's shameful to be lumped in with women. Actually, I just made that last one up cause that's what it all sounds like to me.

As this video artfully explains, the three terms have vastly different meanings. Ascribing to equalism means you think men and women are completely equal and have been since the dawn of time, and that women can be equal by acting like men. Humanism isn't a political movement, it's a rejection of a possible divine and supernatural using reason and logic; it's an anti-religion movement, not an social justice parade (though many feminists are humanists). Saying you are a feminist means that you recognize that, for ages, women have been specifically targeted and oppressed for their gender and are still suffering from institutionalized sexism to this very day. Saying you are a feminist means you are aware of the ramifications of injustice, not only to women, but to any minority that isn't part of the heteronormative patriarchy. Feminism specifically says that you, as a human, pledge to work to remove barriers for all people so we can be truly equal without having to modify their behavior to a certain standard. 

Feminism takes a stand against sexism, racism, ableism, classism, ageism, expressionism, homophobia, and transphobia. Feminism is for everyone. You want to be a stay-at-home-mom? Feminism says you have the right to be respected. You want to be a stay-at-home-dad? Feminism says you have the right to be respected. You identify as a woman and you have a penis? Feminism says you have the right to be respected. You a young boy who wants to take ballet? Feminism says you have the right to be respected. 

Feminism.


and, lastly.....


6)We need feminism because people who think like Tara Kennedy-Kline exist. 

They do. They are out there right now, running our courts, teaching our children, sitting in the pew next to us, voting in elections. Are they terrible people? No, They are people whose life views have given them different opinions, and if we want to help educate them about what's going on with real feminism, we need to be active in keeping it alive. I'm pretty open about the faith that I have faith in God and even though Westboro Baptist exists, I am unafraid to have the same title and be the example to change some people's minds. I feel the same way about Feminism. You heard about feminist extremist who acted like assholes? Then you be the difference. 

If we let the only voice on feminism be people who know nothing about it, we cannot change the world. 

which is why it matters. To me. 

love,
a







11/6/14

The Most Interesting Update Ever .007


It's that time of the month again. 


A new dinner favorite of mine -- Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff.

 J recently became a vegetarian and we've been searching for meatless alternatives to his favorite childhood dishes. His (self-proclaimed) all-time favorite meal is beef stroganoff, which is decidedly non-vegan. This dish made him ask for seconds and then thirds to take to lunch the next day. The mushrooms provide just enough of a meaty texture and the sauce is incredibly easy to make on the stove! This is the recipe I follow, and I add onions and garlic when sauteing the mushrooms and Franks Red Hot when making the sauce. 




Behold, the artwork to our second EP that almost didn't happen. 

So, quick story:

About two weeks ago, J's computer bit the dust after a power surge ripped through our neighborhood one Sunday Morning. We thought we had lost our music. Recording at home is not a calming or easy process, so with a heavy heart we prepared to delay the release of our second EP and start re-recording the entire thing. But then J got onto bandcamp and discovered that he had already uploaded our EP! Our music was saved thanks to him wasting lots of time on the internet. Never thought I'd say that.

So, even though the songs weren't mixed all the way (read: the vocals are too quiet or too loud in most of the songs) we were able to release our second EP on time! Here is our bandcamp, where you can check out our music.


WHSN 89.3 is a radio station from Maine that is going to be playing one of our songs this Saturday! It's almost like being famous except the actually being famous part. 




J and I went to a Halloween party dressed as Death and his Deadly Bride. 




I'm super proud of that mask because I made it. Do you want to know how soothing it is to individually apply tiny sequins? Not at all. 



A solid piece of advice. 



How I lounge around; black bodysuit, extra-large cardigan, and patterned scarf. 




Also, in other news, I have an Instagram! Follow me  @miss_decaf! It's my third week on Instagram and it's beyond addicting. I post pictures of my food, #ootd, and little snippets of my life. So basically like everyone else on any instagram ever.


love,
a


11/2/14

Coven.












With the first snowstorm of the season looming overhead, I present to you pictures shot indoors, away from the blustering wind and sharp snow. 

Yesterday was J's birthday (yay! He's finally the same age as me!) and we had a day filled with cleaning and baking before some of his friends came over. We put off our chores until today, which wasn't the smartest choice in the world, because we found out pretty quick that the amount of snow we had gotten overnight was a little much for our car. After grocery shopping and slipping and sliding all over the road, we snuggled in for the day. Part of hunkering down indoors means lots of binge-watching TV shows. And ugly yoga pants that I don't actually do yoga in. 

J and I are a little bit late, but we're finally jumping on the American Horror Story train. I'm addicted. We're currently on season three, Coven, and there is this scene in the early episodes where The Supreme (the big boss witch) tells the witches-in-training to "wear something black" and they took her direction and just spewed bad-ass-ery all over the place. 

When in doubt, I find an all-black outfit never fails. The saying "___ is the new black" has always confused me because colors keep trying to replace black and they keep failing. I'm all for progress but in order to usurp, something has to be better. I have yet to find a color that you can seamlessly piece together as black. It's King. 

This skirt is 1) yes, very see-through when in front of direct light and 2) a mildly sexy slip that I turned into a functional skirt. I greatly enjoy the dramatic flair this skirt provides, fully covering and yet fully revealing. The lace scalloped edges are delicate and compliment the rather, ahem, generous slit up from the front. The darker the tone of the outfit, the more textures you should have to keep it interesting. 

Everyone congratulate J on taking some beautiful pictures! :D

love,
a

slip skirt -- thrifted!
black sweater -- thrifted!
boots -- thrifted!





10/28/14

A Friendly Ghost.
















My zombie pumpkin.



As I showed you last year, my extended family has a thing for Halloween parties. J and I ventured up to my Auntie Boo's house this past Saturday to carve pumpkins and snack on goodies. It was very nice, as time with my family usually is, and as you can see we are quite the pumpkin artists. 

While on a thrifting spree for Halloween costumes with friends, our tall, tattooed fellow pulled this turtleneck from the rack and snickered, "You should wear this for the kids." 

So I bought it to wear on Halloween. It's very light  and cheerful with smiling ghosts and brightly colored broomsticks. I'm a sucker for anything holiday-themed. It brings out the cheesy teacher in me. 

If my dear Decaffinites from the blogging world could keep me in their prayers/good vibes, that would be awesome. I may or may not be going through some massive changes soon.

love,
a


10/21/14

Charming.




(check out those goosebumps -- it's getting chilly but vanity stays strong.)







You can't get much more English Schoolgirl than menswear shoes, a plaid dress, a lionshead necklace, and a vintage floral bag. 

My lovely plaid number was hanging in the back of a thrift store, lonely and forgotten, probably because of the borderline gross color scheme it's got going on. It took the right feel and a few key pieces to bring it out of it's ugly shell. 

It seems that I only wear green when I have red hair. I like the way it brings out the copper tones. Blue is another favorite of mine when I'm sporting the fiery tresses. It's funny how a hair color can influence your wardrobe so much, particularly a detail freak like myself. 

So I feel like I've been spoiling you guys with a plethora of fashion posts, but don't worry, that's not all I have up my sleeve! Mwahaha, Thursday post will be another update when I have some exciting things to share with my lovely Decaffinites.

until then!

love,
a

plaid dress -- thrifted!
yellow sweater -- thrifted!
menswear shoes -- thrifted.
floral purse -- thrifted!


10/18/14

The Owl Speaks.








Everyone, say hi to Sister. 

Sister and I were invited (along with J) to a Masquarade-themed Halloween party (as in, from Phantom of the Opera) so of course we had to embark on a thrifting and crafting adventure to prepare ourselves thusly. Sister wasn't planning on ending up in my blog shoot but I really dug her dress so I made her scoot in there for a couple shots. 

We've had a warm spell here in Maine for the past week. I was really worried I wasn't going to able to pull out my owl maxidress to stun you guys with, but when I was able to walk out to the car without shivering this morning I was like YES NOW IS MY TIME. So I slapped on a blue sweater, chunky necklace, and plaid heels to complete the ensemble. 

And, as you can see, I've changed my hair color yet again. I was originally thinking brunette, but as I perused the color aisle at my local Sally's Beauty Supply I paused by the red section, called J over, and we picked our a color together.  My red in the past has been a deep ruby color, bordering on pink, but this time I wanted to shoot for a more natural shade. 

As someone who has dabbled in the rainbow of hair colors, it's always been fascinating to me how a hair color influences your choice in clothing colors. My favorite color to sport when I had blonde hair -- bright red -- now looks a little out of place when I wear it close to my head. Now I wear it on my feet. :D

love,
a

owl maxidress -- THRIFTED BOOYAH.
plaid shoes -- thrifted.
blue sweater -- Target Sale Rack.