Taking A Sick Day/Weekly Gratitude 2

Monday, January 31, 2011

I don't think I've ever sneezed this much before. Consider this a sick day.

So while I got it together enough to put on clothes that were not pajamas, I did not put on makeup, take pictures, or leave the couch more than three times. In lieu of showing off clothes, I will show off some other, more awesome stuff.

Autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire draws spellbinding 18ft picture of New York from memory... after a 20-minute helicopter ride over city

She Shared Her Post-Baby Body to Help You See the Beauty in Imperfection

Beautiful. Vera Wang does "White" collection for David's Bridal.

Great thoughts over at Already Pretty from guest poster Andrea, covering Authorship, Style, and Stereotypes

Whoa! That is one serious piece of driftwood. No photoshopping involved.

GREAT skirt-hemming tutorial from Unusual Form.

But then again ...
Maybe longer hemlines are worth considering. Below-the-knee lengths are apparently poised for a comeback.

RAGS against the MACHINE had some poignant thoughts about enjoying and admiring your current body.

Hello, Monkeyface had the second installment of a great series on self-photography for style blogging.

*sigh* ... Seriously, Atlantic-Pacific? I am dying for your weather and a strong dose of tangerine.

Loved this post on St. George, Utah from C. Jane. That's my hometown, baby! And I never loved it enough when I was in it.

Loved this mini-retrospective on Carrie Bradshaw's style over at B. Jones (there were many more pictures than these six). And B. proceeded to pay homage to Carrie with her outfits during the week!

And, because I really need to make an effort at gratitude today, here's my Weekly Gratitude list. (I meant to do this yesterday, but the internet was out.)

Gratitude List

1. I'm grateful not to live on or near the Jersey Shore.
2. I'm grateful for my mom. She is truly, truly the best person to talk with when I need advice mixed with sympathy. So much love for her.
3. I'm grateful for the next month of no new clothes, which will be mildly difficult on some days but mostly very good. It will also give me a chance to be more thoughtful about the stuff I'll invest in come March. I won't do any PURCHASING, but you best believe that this computer of mine will see a lot of online window shopping.
4. I'm grateful for the soft lighting of lamps.
5. I'm grateful for oatmeal with brown sugar - the ultimate comfort food when I'm ill.
6. I'm grateful that my husband will get a break from his new, not-totally-fun job this week when he takes off to visit/help out his big brother.
7. I'm grateful for a clean shower (and yes, I'm the one who cleaned it -- this is a big deal for me).
8. I'm grateful that my spiritual education takes place all week long, rather than being confined to Sundays.
9. I'm grateful to have more hangers than clothes (this is a recent change).
10. I'm grateful to have ever tasted the Sweet Carnitas Salad at Costa Vida. Nummers

When I Became A (Mormon) Feminist

Quick note: As I wrote in my blog's description, "I examine daily style and the occasional wandering thought." This post is more on the "wandering thought" side of things. Feel free to read along or skip ahead to a post that holds your interest. No hurt feelings, either way.

LDS WAVE put out a Call to Action this month for all the Mormon feminists out there to write about when they became feminists (you can read the Call to Action here). I've been trying to write a summation of my experience for a while, which is always hard to do when it comes to things that are really dear to my heart. And that should explain why I'm doing this on the very last day of the month.

And also, since every blog post needs pictures (right?), I'm using these fantastic images from Caseface123 on Flickr. She did a project featuring people holding up signs of what the word "feminism" meant to them. These were some of my favorite pictures from her photo series.

I have to start out by saying that there are many kinds of feminists - not just in the sense that each feminist is a unique individual, but also because there are several strands of feminism, each one with its own pet projects, values, and history. These strands include (but are by no means limited to):

Liberal feminism
Conservative feminism
Socialist feminism
Postmodern feminism
Crunk feminism
First-wave, Second-wave, and Third-wave feminism
the Riot Grrl movement
Sex-positive feminism
Black feminism
Amazon feminism
Cultural feminism
Equality feminism
Difference feminism
Essentialist feminism
Third-world and Fourth-world feminism
French feminism
Libertarian feminism
Material feminism
Separatist feminism

... I could seriously go on and on. What I'm trying to get at is that, while the word "feminism" carries certain connotations (both positive and negative, depending on your perspective), it can really mean a variety of different things. Whenever I express my feminist opinions, I'm a little nervous that I'll be labeled unfavorably, even by people I love, because they simply have a different idea of what the word means. As I'm writing this and realizing that it will probably be read by a few people I don't know (and some I do know) ... it's nervewracking. Fingers crossed that I'll make sense and that everyone will be nice.

Being a feminist isn't something that happened for me in an instant, as the result of one dramatic event. In a way, I think this attention to the needs of women has always been a part of me; when I was but a wee one, I had experiences suggesting that, perhaps, I was born caring about women's issues. I've grown up and increased my knowledge of the world around me, becoming more sensitive to feminist ideals a little at a time, having moments that made me wonder.

So, I've written up a brief list of the moments that made me more and more a feminist. This list isn't and could never be exhaustive, but it's a good start. Looking over this list, it's astounding how many of these moments came during church meetings and religious outings. I become more certain all the time that being a feminist isn't a rebellion from my Mormon upbringing or my Mormon beliefs; it's a natural extension of those things. In other words, I'm a feminist because I'm a Mormon, not in spite of it. And I suppose that's why I call myself a Mormon feminist -- because the combination of these two belief systems is the most accurate descriptor I can find.

I became a feminist when I was four, when a primary teacher (drawing from the words of a favorite Mormon hymn) told me that in heaven, there are no single parents, so we must have a Heavenly Father AND a Heavenly Mother. This knowledge felt very special, and I told my parents all about it on the way home, like I had big news for them.

I became a feminist again during a primary class, when a substitute teacher was talking about Mary, Jesus's mother, and discussing her virginity in a really insulting way. It felt wrong, totally irreverent, and I thought to myself, "Her sex life is none of your business."

I became a feminist when I saw my aunt working so, so hard to take care of her kids as a single mom.

I became a feminist when I attended my first Girls' Camp at the age of 12 and felt incredibly close to Heavenly Father, like I was precious to him as a unique daughter.

I became a feminist when I stood up in church and repeated the Young Women theme, affirming every time that I was special, that all women were.

I became a feminist when I spent time with my amazing Young Women leaders - women of all ages and life situations who were funny, smart, beautiful, strong, skilled at teaching and leading.

I became a feminist when I noticed that girls couldn't pass the sacrament, that moms couldn't be in the bishopric, and that dads couldn't be in charge of Primary.

I became a feminist when I heard boys my age spreading sex-related rumors about girls I considered friends, whether I thought the rumors were true or not.

I became a feminist in 9th Grade, when I worked on a writing assignment with a classmate. She wanted to write about how girls should only wear dresses because wearing pants was for boys. I thought her idea was stupid -- people should wear whatever they want to wear.

I became a feminist when I realized that the young men at church got to go on elaborate camping trips every month and earn all kinds of neato badges, while the young women had makeover activities and one (totally fun) camping trip a year.

I became a feminist by singing in church choirs and hearing the beautiful harmonies that could be made between sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses -- between the voices of men and women, working together.

I became a feminist when I went to the county library and picked up the anonymous autobiography of a woman born and still living in the Middle East. Reading about the oppression she and her female family members experienced broke my heart.

I became a feminist when a young woman in my ward was assaulted at a sleepover by her friend's older brother. She received zero support from our Young Women leaders and had an incredibly difficult time feeling safe ever again.

I became a feminist during the unit on women's suffrage in my AP U.S. History class. I learned that feminists fought for my right to vote, work, learn, and be myself, and I began thinking of myself as a feminist.

I became a feminist as I excelled in high school in literature, creative writing, and performing -- working hard like I was taught to do at home and at church.

I became a feminist when my high school girlfriends and I started calling ourselves the Gamma Girls. We were the coolest. We read books (including Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" during lunch break); we alternately went to dances together and lamented over not getting asked.

I became a feminist when I felt strongly impressed that I needed to go on a mission. I became a feminist again when I heard people talk of sister missionaries in a pitying way (as in, "Too bad she couldn't find anyone who wanted to marry her").

I became a feminist when I decided that I wanted to be a high school seminary teacher and then found out how difficult that would be simply because I'm female.

I became a feminist the millions of times that I wished the scriptures would mention women as well or as often as men.

I became a feminist when I earned my own money.

I became a feminist when a guy-friend of mine made sexist jokes just to get a rise out of me. It always hurt my feelings and made me feel less, even though I halfheartedly laughed along to make him think it didn't bother me.

I became a feminist when I heard baby blessings in church; the baby girls' blessings would always talk about finding a worthy young man "who would take [her] to the temple," and the baby boys' blessings would always reference finding a worthy young woman "who [he] could take to the temple." Why the difference? Why this "taking" and "being taken," instead of both willingly walking inside together?

I became a feminist as I delighted in dressing modestly and honoring my body, but I felt frustrated at the same time because the most frequent reason given for dressing modestly was that it would help young men keep their thoughts clean. I wanted to dress modestly for myself, not for boys.

I became a feminist in Relief Society meetings, feeling the power of sisterhood.

I became a feminist in college, reading tons of feminist essays and thinking to myself, "That's a very good point."

I became a feminist while living in Portland with my closest friend.

I became a feminist in a Salt Lake City bookstore, realizing from out of nowhere how strange it is that women traditionally change their last names when they get married.

I became a feminist while watching and performing in "The Vagina Monologues."

I became a feminist when I got married and felt what a joy it is to have an egalitarian man for my husband.

I became a feminist when I realized how hard it was to believe in myself and how impossible it was to love a body that just didn't measure up to the world's stupid perfection.

I became a feminist when I became an aunt to one nephew and four nieces, looking at them and seeing the precious, valuable people they are.

I became a feminist when I cried on the phone with my mom, feeling certain that God loved me less because I'm a girl.

I became a feminist when I realized (and every time I re-realize) that I am in charge of my own life, that no one else can do this for me, and that I am a valuable work-in-progress

I become a feminist more and more as I think about becoming a mom someday. I feel such awe and majesty when I think of carrying and delivering a baby. The responsibility of teaching my children the worth and beauty of all people is staggering to me.

I become a feminist every time something makes me feel sad to be a woman. I take that sadness home with me and pray my guts out, asking Heavenly Father to give me a hand and wipe my mind of all these feminist ideals if that's what he wants for me. It seems like it would be so much easier to have a brain that didn't notice this stuff. You know what? No matter how hard I pray to be a different sort of lady, God has never given in to my demands. I take that to mean something; maybe all this thinking will get me somewhere that God needs me to go. Maybe this is an essential part of me, something that I couldn't change if I still wanted to be myself. I can't say for sure, but I do wonder. After all this list-making and all the living I've done, I sort of suspect that I became a feminist when I came into being.

Sunday's Outfit

Earrings: honeymoon gift from husband
Ribbon necklace: made it
Bead necklace: Wal-Mart, $5
Cardigan: Old Navy, $15
Sweater: Gap, "borrowed" from husband
Skirt: Penguin by Munsingwear brand, $15 (secondhand)
Leggings: Wal-Mart, $3
Socks: TJ Maxx, $4 for 2-pack
Boots: Laredo brand, $1 (thrifted)

I have never in my life taken anything to be dry cleaned. When I came across this "dry-clean only" skirt in my laundry pile, I thought, "Why start now?" I threw it in the wash, and while the results weren't too disastrous, the length did shrink a bit. Looks like it will only be worn with tights, leggings, or a long slip from now on. Which, when I think about it, kinda bums me out. Lesson learned: don't risk ruining a favorite piece just because you're feeling lazy.

In other "items that are no longer perfect" news, check out my necklace.



After a careful investigation of all of today's pictures, I believe the broken strand originated at this precise moment:

As you can see, I (unintentionally) grabbed hold of my necklace while jumping. Not smart. Fortunately, the necklace (which I just bought a few days ago) only needs a simple repair.

Only one more day of dressing before the 30x30! I feel the need to wear all of my non-30x30 items at once, just because I won't be able to wear them for an entire month. We'll call it Bag Lady Chic.

Play It Cool

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Necklace: Wal-Mart, $5
Striped thermal: Old Navy, $8
Vest: BDG brand, $9 (secondhand)
Ring: Kohl's, $15 (2007)
Jeans: Old Navy, $20 (2007)
Boots: gift from mom

I've been noticing lately that A LOT of my clothes are on the cool side - not "cool" as in "My best friend is so cool," but "cool" as in greens, blues, purples, and grays in washed-out tones. Today is an example of that fact. Here are some others from the past month:


Blue, green, and purple have always been really flattering colors for me, and I don't want to fight the stuff that looks good, the stuff I've been attracted to since I was a little kid. What I would like to change is the dark and/or washed-out tones that populate my closet as of now. Instead of powder blue, why not turquoise? Why not go for magenta instead of lavender? This is where I'd like to add more variety in my wardrobe, and if it hadn't been for this blog forcing me to take pictures of myself each day, I wouldn't have even noticed this little habit. The internet has saved me yet again.

We're about to head into the Winter 30x30 challenge, and along with it, a shopping hiatus, so I won't be picking up any super-bright new pieces in the immediate future. However, this is something I'll be keeping an eye out for, and as I see possible gaps in my wardrobe, I'll do my darnedest to seek out bright pieces to fill those gaps.

I gave milkmaid braids a try today. Can you dig it? I don't think my hair is quite long enough or thick enough for it to have the appropriate impact, but it was worth a shot.

And now, a parting shot for the ages.


I would like to say "YAY" about a thousand times. This is loverly news.

Hopefully, their online selection will be on a similar level as the in-store selection. Anyway, as someone who lives six hours away from the nearest H&M, this is certainly a welcome announcement. YAY YAY YAY (repeat 996 more times).

"...seeing that the world won't crumble."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gingham shirt: Old Navy, $19 (I couldn't stand to wait for it to go on sale - silly me)
Earrings (on collar): thrifted, $1
Necklace: Wal-Mart, $8
Jeans: Levis brand, $6 (secondhand)
Socks: gift
Shoes: Payless, $15

This outfit has a lot going on, so let's start from the bottom and work our way up.

Your eyes are not deceiving you; the colors on your monitor aren't broken. I am wearing one silver shoe and one black shoe.

Amidst all the fashion analysis for this year's Golden Globes Awards, you may have read an unfriendly comment or two in regards to Helena Bonham Carter's ensemble. Her hair was messy, her dress was kooky, and her shoes - though the exact same style - were mismatched (one was red, the other was green).

If I were going to the Golden Globes, this is pretty much the last thing I would wear. I can't imagine feeling confident or comfortable in such a getup. HOWEVER, the brilliant thing is that I didn't have to feel confident or comfortable -- Helena Bonham Carter did. And by jove, I think she really enjoyed how she looked. Here's what she said (from an interview with People magazine):

... fashion is all about having fun. I think fashion has been hijacked by the fashion industry creating rules on what one should wear and I feel like breaking the mold and seeing that the world won’t crumble ... Why not wear mismatching shoes? Who says we can’t? I was just having fun.

PREACH, sister! Look, people are entitled to their opinions. I have my opinion about how Helena Bonham Carter was dressed that night, and my opinion is, "I don't like that." What I do like is her spirit of fun and her willingness to wear what she likes, understanding full well that the rest of us might not "get it." One thing's for sure: if I were going to a prestigious award show where I'd been nominated, I'd want to wear whatever the heck I felt like. Kudos to Helena Bonham Carter for doing just that.

So anyhow, in honor of a little whimsy and a little coloring-outside-the-lines, I wore my funkiest socks and some mismatched flats today. Did I like the combination? Nope, not really. But the world won't crumble.

Working up from the shoes/socks, we have the pants. I pulled these Levis out of my closet today and realized that they might just be perfect for the whole "boyfriend jeans" trend. (Psst: I feel a little silly using that phrase, since these are my jeans, not my boyfriend's ... I don't even have a boyfriend ... unless you count my husband, since he's my eternal boyfriend whom I share all my money with. But anyway, that's the accepted phrase, so I'll use it.) I've admired boyfriend jeans on others, but haven't ever tried it for myself. They're supposed to be rolled-up like I've done here, right? I feel like that's how I always see them worn. So how come they look so good on other people and look like farming/fishing gear on me?

You know?

Maybe I was just being too ambitious, trying to pull off a new-to-me trend and making my "BE YOURSELF!!!" statement with the footwear, all in the same day. But anyway, how should I have done this differently? Sneakers and no socks? Heels with a pretty printed top? How do you wear boyfriend jeans?

And finally, the only part of the look that I was really pleased with, except I feel a little weird about having the top button fastened (my mom taught me that that button was only for boys when they were wearing neckties). I've seen a few bloggers wear their shirts and necklaces this way, with the necklace under the collar, and I can honestly say that I never would have thought of this on my own; it was something I had to see in order to believe it could look good. I'm not sure why, but I added these earrings to the collar as well. Why not, right?

(I can breathe a little easier with the top button undone.)

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