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. 


10/14/14

Pan-Fried Chickpeas and Chard with Lemon.

It's time to talk about one of my favorite foods of all time and an unsung nutrition hero: the chickpea. 


Besides being a nutritional powerhouse, chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are incredibly versatile and make up the bulk of my recipes. I use them to make hummus, fake "tuna" sandwiches with avocado, tasty wraps, sensational stir-frys, and today I'm going to tell you about a new dish that knocked my husband's socks off.



J is a good sport and has indulged all my cooking adventures. He's honest with me, though, if I make something that's gross, which makes it all the more rewarding when he really, really enjoys a dish. 


Ingredients: 

1 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 small spoonfuls of garlic (my personal edit)
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
3/4 cup fresh kale (my personal edit)
1 small lemon
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Black pepper, to taste



I began by chopping about half of the red onion (PRO TIP: Hold a small piece of bread in your teeth to absorb the onion fumes and you won't cry. Red onions are especially pungent.) and sauteing it in olive oil until translucent. Then I added the garlic and let it fry for about 15 seconds. 

Dump in the chickpeas and cook until the beans are a light brown or taste toasty.  Be sure to turn down the heat on your burner and cover your pan with a splatter screen -- the chickpeas have a tendency to "pop" in high heat and they have surprisingly strong force. 



Say hello to Chard, a distant relative of Spinach with more of a buttery texture when cooked. If you don't have chard laying around (which I didn't. I had to buy it specifically.) you can use spinach in it's place. I also snuck some kale in there, because HELL YES KALE, that's why. 



(Gosh, nature makes pretty colors.)

Stir in Chard and Kale and cook until they begin to wilt, about 5 -7 minutes. Not to long or they'll be stringy! There's nothing quite as gross as stringy Chard.  After your vegetables are cooked, zest your lemon OR put into about a 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice. It taste better if you zest it. 


After the dish was all cooked, I added some Nutritional Yeast on top for garnish, which was definitely not necessary but added a personal touch.  It blended nicely. 



And Voila! Yummy dish. And easy. 

Happy vegan cooking!

love,
a





10/11/14

Fall Fruit.














I find it quite amusing that I waited until October to pull off a crop top. 

While I steadily work on having a healthy body image, I do so while continuing to go to the gym. Sometimes I'm just like, you know, I did a whole bunch of ab work in the last few sessions and I'm proud of my body. I worked for this, and I like the way it looks, so darn tootin' I'm going to wear a midriff-baring top if I want to. 

I have found that wearing a flat shoe helps balance out a crop top (not that I need permission to wear whatever I want, but aesthetically, you get what I'm saying) and a sweater that skims your body pulls the outfit together. 

 I must confess, Fall is not my favorite season, but it is certainly the season that photographs the best, and it is the season that I find myself dressing for instead of dressing in spite of. It's incredibly easy to find inspiration in the colors and scenery of Autumn. 

Also, fun fact, tonight is my last night as a blonde/brunette who was growing out her bleached hair. I've been bitten by the hair color bug and will be going on that journey tonight. 

love,
a

yellow sweater -- thrifted.
pineapple shirt -- Target clearance. 
Red jeans -- thrifted.
black boots -- thrifted!

10/8/14

spicy.








Feast your eyes on my skin-tight black bodysuit that I found in the clearance section of Target, a bodysuit so tight that I felt uncomfortable wearing it out by itself, so I layered it with a loosely-tied wrap dress and bright red cardigan. Boom. 

The bodysuit was actually quite warm and a nice alternative to tights. I've worn tights, like, twice this Autumn, and both times have been to work. I'm just not ready for that step yet. 

This look is technically conservative because, well, everything is covered in black material, and yet it feels edgy. It's weird. I've never worn this dress before with the front open and flapping. It was slightly alarming and invigorating at the same time. 

love,
a

black body suit-- Target!
dress - thrifted.
cardigan - thrifted.
boots -- thrifted. 

10/4/14

in between.










First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone who gave me feedback on my blog post about how we teach sexism to children when we implement dress codes, whether it was on my actual post or on facebook. I really enjoy hearing everyone's opinion on social issues like this, because it helps me understand exactly how I can reach others to help us make this upcoming generation a better place for women to live in. So thank you! :)

So even though the weather is getting colder and colder (J and I have turned the heat on and paid our first oil bill today, Yikes. Who knew dead liquid dinosaur would be so expensive?) we still have days where the sun shines with strength. I try to be outside as much as possible on these lingering days between summer and autumn, sitting on our deck that will soon be covered in snow. 

There's nothing quite like lounging in a maxidress. There's something just so comfortable about having fabric that doesn't really cling so you can let your body relax. I work out about three days a week and do yoga, so I'm pretty toned and my muscles are usually active. It's nice to have a piece of clothing that doesn't skim me so closely so I can let the abs rest, you know? Not that I have to have a flat stomach to wear whatever I want. I would totally support anyone who wants to rock a spandex minidress no matter their size but when it comes to myself I'm just super critical. It's something I still have to work on. 

Orange and purple is a great color mixture to ease you into fall. My teal necklace kept a little bit of summer while the leaves turned yellow. My in between. 

love,
a

maxidress -- thrifted!




10/1/14

just say no to dress codes.

It's my Senior year of High School and we were sitting in a "Modesty Meeting."

There were no boys there, of course. Because not only would it have been inappropriate to include the boys and expect them to cover themselves as well, it would be unthinkable to discuss female body parts in front of them. Female body parts are dirty and yet also don't exist. Don't ask me to explain it. Nobody really gets it. 

We talked about arbitrary rules, how low was too low, how high was too high, given even more arbitrary measurements to make sure our provocative bodies were hidden (skirt length to the fingertips? Why, thank you, Gorilla arms, I guess I'll wear pants all year.), and had a mildly unhealthy discussion about how our bodies were causing all the little boys to sin. Sin, sin sin. Goodness, I have no idea how those boys learned at all with all the devil boobies surrounding them. 


Growing up with the Modesty Mentality, this kind of treatment was nothing new to me. Some people said it nicer than others but the message was still the same. 

pull your skirt down. 

pull your shirt up.

wear layers in the summer. who cares if you're hot. 

we're embarrassed by your thighs. 

your shoulders are sexual.

your body is dirty. 

your body is to blame.

hide it. 

hide it. 

think of the boys.

hide. 


I didn't separate the idea of slut-shaming from the idea of modesty until after I was married. I thought them to be the same thing. I assumed that being ashamed of your body was paramount to how much you loved yourself, how much you loved your fellow brother's in Christ. It became a game, sliding from one extreme of How Much Can I Show And Still Be The Good Girl and Not Get Sent Home, to How Holier Than Thou Can I Be To Prove How Much I Respect Myself. 

It wasn't until I escaped High School, got married and started appreciating all the goodness a body can do, and started using clothes as an artistic outlet that I saw how damaging the More Clothing = More Respect equation can be. 

Which brings me to my new vendetta. 

No. More. Dress. Codes. 


I need to clarify that I am speaking specifically of dress codes in a school environment and not a workplace (that's a whole other kettle of fish, m'dear). To me, dress codes in a school are incredibly sinister because of the impressionable minds they are molding. 

You will hear, of course, after some read this that dress codes are needed. Kids get distracted, they say, by other kids. They say it will be hard to (actual quote) "study with tits and ass hanging out". The only way children will learn, they say, is by being surrounded by mindless drones who have their dirty bodies covered so their pure eyes can scan the textbooks in a completely silent room.

The implication is alarming. 


Dress codes teach:

1) Originality is bad and distracting. 

The school in particular that I went to had rules against boys having hair longer than their earlobes, "extreme haircuts", unnaturally colored hair, facial piercings, tattoos, and other body modifications. 

This is terrible, not only for the fear it instills in children against the tattooed and pierced community, but also for how much it takes these hormone-ridden and trying-to-find-their-place children and squishes them into a little box, refusing them an important outlet of expression. Children who feel as though they are not able to express themselves act out. Children who feel as though originality is bad will grow up to treat the "Weird" kid with cruelty. 

2) You are not responsible for your actions if you are a boy. 

The major focus of our Modesty Meetings was how to keep our brothers from stumbling. That's right. The sliver of thigh atop my knee was going to send my brethren careening down a dark path where he would trip straight into hell. 

Nevermind that their eyes are in their head. Never mind that their head is attached to a neck with nerves and muscles and shit. Never mind that in the bible there is a passage which specifically states that one look is unavoidable because people pass through our vision, but that it is up to the man not to take a second look. I would like to point out that even the bible recognizes that choosing to gape and fantasize lies squarely on the dude's shoulders. 

Dress codes, however, are built on the foundation that if a body is in the room, the man will look at it, he will be distracted and driven to sin, and that it is the girl's fault.... for.. existing in the same room, I guess. 

Note: My husband, who is extremely attracted to women, would like to point out that a beautiful, confident women is attractive no matter what she is wearing and if she was covered in head to toe it would still be possible for a man to choose to be distracted and lust after her. 



3) the bodies of women are dirty and dangerous.

I know some will try to frame dress codes under the guise of "self-respect" and that "women's bodies hold so much power they need to be covered". But, you see, saying that respect for a woman hinges how much skin she does or doesn't show is dangerous. You are defining her worth as a person by the outside. You know what else did that? Slavery. 

Not only does this mentality scar women sexually -- by the way, going from NO DON'T HAVE SEX IT'S DIRTY to YES YOU'RE MARRIED HAVE ALL THE SEX NOW DO IT NOW LOVE IT LIKE IT GIVE IT ALL THE TIME doesn't work --  but it throws vulnerable teenage girls under the bus, held captive by her own changing body that she cannot control, being told her body is a weapon of mass destruction. When you emphasise the body as bad you make this girl feel like she deserves bad things. 


Arbitrary words, arbitrary judgements.

When you apply these limits and labels to women, when you insist that you need to be covered to have respect, when you insist that Boys Will Be Boys and that "they can't help it",

this is what you are saying.





This is going to be a surprise to people who purport dress codes, but rape isn't triggered by anything. 

Rape is not about sexual attraction.

Rape is not about opportunity.

Rape is not about "that type of girl".

Rape is about violence and hatred. 

Stop giving rapists excuses. 




love,
a