September 27, 2013

RAC: A Closet for a Real Life

Well organized, massive closet with floor to ceiling accessories
Well organize, but unnecessarily large closet
I want a closet I can wear. More importantly, I want a closet that I do wear. Lets say you've looked through your look books, you've found your personal style, you've gone out and bought your personal style, you've got a coordinated closet of skirts, high heels, blouses and blazers. It's beautiful. It's perfect. But it remains untouched. Because you are a yoga instructor and are rarely required to wear office wear. 

Your closet should fit your actual daily life- not the daily life you want to have. 

If this seems obvious, it is. Does it still require a blog post? It does.

My closet feels like this sometiems

For instance: in the past year, I have not worn one pair of high heels. I can't bike in them. I can't walk the requisite mile and a half in them. And yet, half my shoe collection is comprised of unworn high heels because I like the idea of them. While my two pairs of flats and single pair of boots are worn down to almost nothing.

Or, I have three fancy winter coats perfect for going to the opera or the ballet. Yet, I never attended either the opera or the ballet once this past year despite loving the idea of it so much. 

These items fit my personal style certainly. They are beautiful, I love how I look in them, but they don't fit my lifestyle and so they go unworn. Does this mean to the donation bin for them? I'm not sure. If there comes a time in my life when I can wear high heels and afford the theater, I'll want these on hand. But in the mean time, one thing I can absolutely do is keep myself first, from buying things I won't wear and second, being on the lookout for things that I would wear on a daily basis. 

A closet full of pretty clothes, might not get worn

How to do this?

A lifestyle analysis. These are the steps I am taking to try and decide what I need to be on the look out at thrift stores and the like.

1. How do you actually spend your days?

This is a difficult question to answer since I feel as though I am in transition for so many things. For paid and regularly attended commitments, I have two: School and Krav Maga.  For the divisions of my days, I attend school, study, hang out with friends, and work on my desk. (As I continue to adjust to my new life, these activities will, hopefully, expand.)

2. What do these activities require in apparel?

Krav Maga: Basic workout clothes:  (clean tennis shoes, plain shorts, plain shirt, sports bra) X 2

School: my school is wonderful and allows me a wide variety of clothing for the basic classes. I can go from very casual jeans and a tee shirt, to my more elaborate daily wear.  However, the practical classes are a little more strict.

Normal Classes: whatever I want: (Skirt, blouse, shoes, jacket, tights, etc) X4

Practical classes: clothes that aren't restrictive and allow access to general musculature. (Tank top, shorts (or skirt), closed toe shoes, something to cover during the colder months.) X3

Study/ Hanging out/ Work at desk: slightly more casual, comfortable clothes. X 7

3. What other conditions should you take into consideration?

You can include anything you want, but for me this is transportation and weather.

Transportation: since I walk at least a mile every day, my shoes need to be practical. Since, I often bike, I can't wear many hats.

Weather: up north, the winters are bitter and the summers miserable. I need two distinct wardrobes. In the winter, an abundance of overcoats, gloves, hats, scarves, sweaters and tights. In the summer, things must be light and flowing.

4. How well does your actual closet fulfill these needs?


My entire wardrobe is geared towards Normal Classes with little regard to transportation though pretty flexible for the weather. I have just enough workout and practicals clothes to last a week, but doing laundry every week would just wear out those pieces too quickly.

5. What needs to go on the shopping list?

From a quick perusal:

~ One pair of black flats.

~ A pair of boots

~ 4-5 new tank tops.

I know it is possible to find all these items in my aesthetic. The tank tops don't have to be practical for work out- they can be richly colored and embellished with lacy details. The shoes can have quirky details. But these will become immediate and instant parts of my wardrobe- not need to be left waiting until I found the right outfit.

It's tempting to create a beautiful wardrobe full of fancy, well matched outfits but only be able to wear it for a fraction of your life. Now that I have a better idea of what my actual daily life requires, I can shift the focus of my wardrobe to have beautiful, matching pieces that I regularly use.

How well does your wardrobe match your lifestyle?

September 14, 2013

RAC: Pintrest and Lookbooks

In my current quest to remake my poor, broken wardrobe, I have engaged in an attack on two fronts: both culling what I don't wear from my wardrobe and creating a series of inspirational lookbooks. I have talked about the culling aspect in the past, but not the building of inspiration- which I think is really the more exciting option.

Now, I have about a thousand inspirational pictures stored on my computer- they comprise most of my alternative aesthetic inspiration. But the documents page is unwieldy to use as an inspiration board: the pictures are too small, when you get them the right size you can only see one at a time, deletion is difficult, etc. So, I have finally turned to embrace what people have been using for ages: pintrest.

Pintrest has grown on me. I used to be a little disdainful of the hype and people who collect pictures of what others are doing rather than doing it themselves, but I've fallen fully into the fold. And though it seems like a great deal of the fashion tends towards the mainstream, hipster look- there does seem to be enough of a variety that I don't feel my aesthetics are being influenced by what is available when I create my lookbooks.

What is a lookbook?

For me, a lookbook is my inspiration or mood board. It is a collection of outfits, accessories and style pieces that strike a chord within me. From these pictures I'll be able to discern what I really like and what is just a passing fancy. I'll be able to pick up trends in interests and begin to create a list of what to look for for my wardrobe.

Like with most things I undertake, I have a process: I browse through pintrest searching for certain terms that resonate: vintage, street style, steampunk, elegant, sophisticated, sweater and skirt, etc. I go through the page and pin everything I like to my Lookbook 1. Everything and anything that catches my eye. Once I have reached 100 pins in my first look book, I create my Look Book 2 and continue the process. As of this moment, I am on my fourth lookbook and have found 328 pictures that I like.

However, just finding what you like isn't enough- as evident with my closet. Many different aesthetics appeal to me. Everything from steampunk to coquette. From edgy, leather Goth to modest, feminine styles. Were I to rebuild my wardrobe from this massive collection of pictures, I would end up with something even more ungainly than I had before.

So, every day for the past week, I've been deleting five pictures from each completed lookbook (completed = 100 pictures in it.) This way, I can whittle down what was a passing fancy, any thing that has the right idea but is just filler, and anything that I wouldn't wear.

This last point is very important for me. Usually my tastes in inspiration drift towards the grand, impressive and flamboyant. The clothes you might wear to a convention but not to get groceries. However a wardrobe needs to reflect your lifestyle and if all my inspiration is for once in a lifetime events- no wonder I don't know what to get at the store or feel like I have anything to wear!

This time I've been working very hard at only choosing only clothes that I would legitimately wear to school (my most common outing.) This means ignoring the over the top advertisements or statement pieces and focusing on street wear.

A few trends and ideas have emerged in the process:

~ I am very much a skirt person. I think there may be about 20 out of 320 pictures that tickled my fancy that were pants or shorts based. Lucky for my style, I usually wear skirts anyways!

~ I like a deep red, jewel blues and purples. These colors continue to be repeated in the pictures as accents or statement pieces. I have a closet of mostly black- it sounds like it's time to add some richer colors.

~ Sweaters belted with thin leather belts is apparently an attractive look for me.

~ If I ever got into Instagram, the super saturated filter would be my favorite. At least that is what my pictures are telling me.

~ My aesthetic was honed by pictures 101-200. It is much harder to cull out photos from that lookbook than the first (where I was still learning what I liked) and the second two (where pickings begin to get slimmer as major search categories are exhausted and I begin to get bored and adventuresome.

~ I had to create a "High Fashion" look book to place the extravagant pieces I liked. Just because I wouldn't wear them every day doesn't mean I cant gain valuable analysis from those pieces.

~ It is hard to look at a piece and ask myself if I really like it or if it is just pretty. Same problem with the culling of pieces from my closet I imagine.

My current goal is to whittle down each of my 100 photo look books into a mere 40 each, combine them into a greater file and then whittle those down to 50. At which point I think I will have a pretty solid core of themes and outfits I really enjoy. That should be ready in a couple of weeks.

September 12, 2013

On Polyamorous Relationships

Naturally, I've been thinking a lot about relationships lately and one of the considerations has been the number of people in a relationship: a polyamorous vs. a monogamous relationship.

To define the terms: a monogamous relationship is one where you are in a committed relationship with one person (cheating on your significant other in a monogamous relationship does not make it a polyamorous one- just makes you a cad.) A polyamorous relationship is one where you are in a committed relationship to two to many people, each partner is free to have other partners, and each partner is aware of that there are other partners. (Again, deciding that you are now going to be in a polyamorous relationship without informing both partners doesn't make it so- again, it just makes you a cad.)

 Now, as you can guess, I am a little biased against the idea of polyamorous relationships (so read this post with a grain of salt) but I can't deny them as a viable method of living outright. After all, there was a time when I wanted a polyamorous relationship. During our four years in college, the Law Student and I had an "open" relationship- though neither of us felt compelled to act on it and if we had it might have closed a bit faster. (We did eventually close it when we went our separate ways to grad schools. Or at least I did.)

I thought I understood the appeal of an open relationship. Think of the possibilities in bed! Think of the gifts you could receive from not one but two people! Think of the love and comfort and warm fuzzies that you would get from having two loves!

Then I realized relationships were hard. You have bad days. They have bad days. You need to forgive and shrug off little annoyances. Accept bad habits and different ways of thinking. You have to change yourself (and yes, every relationship requires this- the health of one just depends on how much you do.) It's not easy to love someone. It requires a lot of work on both parties part and I am still learning how to do that properly. If it was this hard to keep a relationship alive and going with one person, how hard would it be with two? Or more?

But! I can't say a polyamorous relationship is immoral or impossible. I think it would take a lot more work. And so while I don't have any tips or guidelines to offer, having never been in one myself, these are some thoughts I've had:

~ Understand your reasons for going into a polyamorous relationship. If, like me, you want multiple loves for the benefits it gives you, that won't work. Even in a monogamous relationship, if you are just using your partner as a tool to make you happy, it's not healthy. I can only imagine this is amplified in a polyamorous one.

~ Understand that you won't have the force of culture behind you. Whether right or wrong, we live in a monogamous culture (though it is swiftly becoming a serially monogamous culture). There aren't the institutions or social support in place to help you when you enter a polyamorous relationship. There aren't books written about what to do when one partner is jealous of the other or how to negotiate the tricky waters of multiple relationships. There are probably support groups of other people who  have chosen this lifestyle and they can offer advice and comfort. But you aren't going to find that in the larger country. If things go wrong, you'll hopefully be met with genuine concern, but I think there will be a tinge of "I told you so" in a lot of people. (After all, you've just confirmed the rightness of their own more normal behavior.)  Again, this doesn't preclude a polyamorous relationship, it just makes it more difficult.

~ Communication becomes even more essential. Jealousy is a normal response in our culture. If you've managed to truly free yourself from the concepts of possession, then that is wonderful and I'd love to hear how. But that takes a level of self-awareness and a understanding that I don't, and I imagine most people, don't have.

~ Don't start a new relationship when you are in a Long Distance Relationship with one or multiple people. New relationships cause new changes in people- as they should. And willingly changing to that degree while you have someone waiting isn't fair to either of you if you are committed to your relationship.

~ All the rules of being in a single relationship still apply.  I'd worry that I would forget this. That when things aren't going well with one person, I just start concentrating on the other rather than work it out with the first. Though, again, this could just be why I am not suited for a polyamorous relationship.

~ Make sure all your partners know that you are interested in a polyamorous relationship from the beginning. If they agree to try it- make sure they are really committed and not just agreeing out of fear of losing you or something else.

My final thoughts are that polyamorous relationships are a lot like communism. They sound great on paper, but in practice a host of human weaknesses come to light and the thing collapses. Of course, some people can thrive in a communal living situation and I have heard of polyamorous relationships that work wonderfully for everyone involved. It's just that the benefits of both lifestyles are only achieved through more hard work and personal changes of thought and feelings than I think most people who embark on them are aware.

September 10, 2013

RAC: What to do with Old Clothes

A sort of stunning picture

The zipper doesn't work.

There is a hole in the material.

There is a permanent stain down the front.

The cloth is all but worn through.

Two buttons are missing.

It happens. Clothes, just like everything, have an end date. Maybe not as soon as garment industries would like us to believe, but there comes a point when you need to say goodbye to a piece of clothing. For real.

I found a sweater like this. The poor thing has been with me for 10 years now. I received it in my freshman year of highschool and it has been a staple of my closet  ever since then. But after countless wearings and laundry loads, it has lost it's shape, its warmth, it's texture. It is old, raggidy and shiny around the collars. Even my higher tolerance with wear and tear can't support it- so I'm throwing it away.

Yep, throwing something away feels even stranger than giving it away. But often times the thrift store isn't the option with a piece of clothing too far past it's use. No matter how nice it would be to think that everything has value to someone else. If you wouldn't pick it up in a thrift store, don't assume someone else will.

So what to do?

First, harvest all the hardware. Snip buttons, take out zippers, unstitch trimmings- if there. If you sew, upcycle these items into other projects. If you don't, from personal experience I can assure you that zippers and buttons are a great find at a thrift store.

Second, if the material is 100% something and you have a compost bin, try slicing it up into strips and composting it. I've heard this from a few other sites- not sure how the dye would affect anything, but it's what the Victorians did with their materials.

Third, if neither of those apply, throw it away and don't feel guilty. Cloth still decomposes faster than plastic bags. (But this is another excellent reason to only buy natural fibers.)

What do you do with clothes that are too old to be donated?

September 9, 2013

Remaking an Aristocrat's Closet: Lessons from Rarity

Yes, that Rarity.

Like many of my generation, I am a fan of My Little Pony. I like the expansion in variety of female archetypes for girls. I approve of the lessons of the show for the most part. I appreciate the integrity of the aesthetic. It is a fun, pretty show with a good host of characters and a great thing to watch before bed.

Rarity is, by far, my favorite. Does that really come as a surprise to anyone? She is elegant, passionate, intelligent and mature. It is possible, she proves, to possess both femininity and strength. She also represents the element of generosity.

The more I think on elegance and nobility, which I do think Rarity possesses, the more accurate her element appears. Elegance is inherently generous. It operates from a position of abundance because a mark of beauty is that it is enough. Beauty exists when nothing else can be removed.

Generosity is a quality that I with which I.... could use some improvement. I have a tendency to hoard on the chance of a "what if." I like to accumulate clothing, books, pretty trinkets and then guard them jealously. Even if I don't use them. Even if they just sit there collecting dust. At least I know they are there.

The things I have, I don't like to share. Not snacks. Not books. God forbid you want to borrow some clothes. But more than my things, I am jealous of my time and energy. There are several times I fall into the unfortunate mindset that everyone else is out to drain my precious minutes of alone down time which I hoard with all the powers of my Introvertedness to.... read webcomics? But that is a discussion for another day.

The mental shift I am trying to engender with Rarity's lessons of generosity is this: the clothes which are sitting in my closet and being admired but not worn could be used instead to make someone else very happy.

Now, to satisfy the Randian in me which is balking at that statement, this is not to say that I should give away my favorite pieces that I do wear just because they might make someone happy. Rather those pieces which have the right color, but not the right cut; have the right style but don't quite fit; have more sentimental value than use; that might be used one day for a cosplay of something- those are the pieces which need to move on.

And they are the hard ones to move on- because they are the just ifs. If I just lose a little weight. If I just find the right skirt. If I just remembered it existed. They have sentimental value. They have aesthetic value. But they are still taking up valuable space in your closet.

I just cleared out two paper bags worth of such items and I have to keep myself from going back to them and hanging the items up- because of those just ifs. But I look in my closet and it feels healthier without the dead weight. Looks slimmer and fuller of potential. And yet I want to go hang up that Lolita shirt (I decided that it would be easier to thrift the shirts) or the silk shirt from Thailand that is wrong color and has slits up to my bra straps but that my mum bought for me years ago.

So rather than thinking of these clothes as a loss from my life, I am trying to think of them as a gift into other people's lives.

It's helping a little.

September 8, 2013

Remaking an Aristocrats Closet: Goodbye Lolita

Ever since the beginning, Lolita has been one of my inspirations for creating the Neo-Aristocrat look.  I fell in love with the strange silhouette, the delicate details, the care and attention of the enthusiasts, and the general aesthetic. It was so different than what I had experienced before. Petticoats, ruffles, learning the difference between a OP and a JSK and a cutsew. Learning to identify favorite style, favorite brands and then- the purchase of my first dress. It was a Lolita Blog that inspired me to begin blogging. Lolita is the only alternative aesthetic I've actually purchased clothing from.

And yet, it is time to say goodbye. 

This is not to say that I shall shun Lolita. Delete all my lolita bloggers. Or even keep from looking at various brands for their new designs. Because the aesthetic is still immensely appealing. 

Just not for me anymore. 

One of the hallmarks of Lolita is the delicacy of the outfits and, by extension the maidens who wear it. When I look at the outfits, I am filled with admiration, but also a sense of ungainliness. I'm a relatively short person, but when I consider Lolita I feel too tall and lumbering. Like I wouldn't know what to do with my hands, the ruffles, the frills and lace. The clothing, even classic, just seems young and suited for a lifestyle I don't share. 

And frankly, that's not what you want out of a style. Even one as beautiful and appealing as Lolita. Fashion should make you feel elegant and confident. It should bring out your best qualities, not make you feel lesser. For some people, Lolita does this. For me, it doesn't. Since I am now in a place where I want to start defining my style- being able to cross of Lolita from my list is a relief rather than sad. 

Currently, I have two lolita blouses, two lolita dresses and a petticoat. I'm not sure what to do with them since they reside in the part of the closet that I adore but never wear. Perhaps I'll see if I can sell them or try to incorporate them into my new wardrobe. If not, maybe they can inspire some other girl in a thrift shop. 

It feels like the end of an era, but also good. I can now cross off a particular aesthetic from my list rather than leave it open as a possibility. Hopefully, as I do this, I'll slowly whittle down my vast interests into something that is genuinely me. 

Remaking an Aristocrats Closet: Introduction

Dear readers, I have a confession to make: my closet is a mess.

Not your normal mess. Not a mess that can be fixed by a few more hangers or better arranged shoes. No. The mess that my closet is is far, far deeper.  An utterly flawed, unmatched, disconnected, chaotic mess that leaves me wondering how so many nice clothes can lead to so few good outfits. Perhaps you know the feeling.

How did this happen?

My philosophy for clothing has always been: if I like it, I buy it. Does it matter that it isn't quite the right fit? No! I'll tailor it in my copious spare time. Does it matter that I don't attend enough black tie events to warrant another party dress? No! It's pretty! Does it matter that this top matches none of my skirts or pants? Absolutely not! I'll just find something for it later.  After all, it's thrifted, of natural fibers, and I like it. What other requirements does my closet need?

A lot apparently. Because if you follow this philosophy, what do you have?

10 of 15 skirts that just need to be taken in a bit at the waist or hemmed just a tad or are being saved for a special steampunk occasion. A fraction of shirts that I feel comfortable wearing to class because the rest are too frilly, too fancy, too brown for my black skirts,  or too bright to wear. A beautiful collection of high heel shoes- except I only ever walk or bike 1.5 miles to school and you can't do that in heels. An extensive array of lacy bras and mismatched underwear- and none of them neutral colored. A dozen various necklaces, bracelets and rings which don't quite go with anything. A box of headbands, bows, and flowers which are collecting dust. Five hats which don't match my coats. Seven various coats of which I wear two. Six pairs of gloves and I wear none of them. And no basics.

See the problem? Really, the only thing I've done right is have a single pair of jeans.

My closet isn't full of junk. The clothes are made of good material, are high quality. Nothing from Forever 21, H&M, or other cheap manufacturers. I genuinely like everything I have in my closet and thought that personal preference would be enough to create a cohesive wardrobe.

It isn't. Not even close.

If you've been reading my blog, you'll know by now that I find fashion to be essential to defining our aesthetic and, thus, who we are. As I am at a crossroads in my life, it is time to really take stock of who I am and who I want to be. What better way to help me on my journey than by remaking my closet into a real wardrobe?

What is a wardrobe?

A collection of clothes, shoes and accessories that display a cohesive, integrated whole. Everything matches. Nothing exists for that far off someday. The pieces are well made, of high quality, and fit beautifully. They reflect my personal style but fit my actual lifestyle. Every peice makes me feel elegant, beautiful and well dressed- even if I just grabbed what I could in five minutes.

This is going to be a long project. Especially since I'm going to try to thrift or make as many of the items as possible. I don't want to throw out everything and begin again, but rather learn how to weed out the things that don't fit and to create a beautiful collection.

As a guide for this journey, I've chosen Into Mind's 10 Step Wardrobe Revamp. I just found her this past week and have been devouring her website for inspiration. If you like this blog, you'll probably like hers. She has a wildly different aesthetic, but I really appreciate the thought and care she put into writing out each of the steps.

Hopefully this will be a fun journey, so expect a greater increase in fashion posts.

September 7, 2013

Long Distance Relationships

In short, don't.

If you are not in a hurry, here is the longer version:

The Law Student and myself attended the same undergrad, and many of the same classes, together. It was a rare day that we did not see each other. However, our choices for grad school drew us to opposite poles of the country. We both wanted the best possible schooling, since we both valued education so. My best school was up North and, even though he was accepted into schools in the same city, his best school was in the South where he eventually was accepted and attended.

I do not know if this was a mistake. It is impossible to know or guess how things might have unfolded had we been together. Which is better: the personal development the pain of being on my own in a strange city forced or the sweet joys of companionship and stability?

But I do know that the distance contributed to the sudden shattering of my relationship.

It was a ten hour bus ride between our cities and we were both full time, busy students. Seeing each other for a week became nothing short of a miracle as we usually had to fit our reunion of a month at a time into the space of two- three days.  Sometimes it seemed easier to just to not see him, rather than say goodbye again. There were so many times that I made the long treck back to my house, fighting back tears.

During our times apart, we talked on the phone or on the computer, but when our days were focused on learning the very nuances of two very different professions, there was precious little common ground to fall back on. After all, we hadn't the day to day experiences to discuss and we hadn't the energy or time to discuss the arts or philosophies we both enjoyed. Our conversations revolved around old memories and plans for the future. They ended quickly and lacked a certain spark.

It became easier when we did see each other to share media, rather than talk. We nocticed that it took time to warm up and become used to eachother and it was harder the longer we were apart. Also, the weekends were our precious down time for both of us. We were both introverts. At the end of the week, there wasn't quite the energy or drive to go out and explore. So we played computer games. I have seen most all of Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space 9 in the course of a handful of weekends and breaks this past year.  We weren't making new memories. The Law Student, already a devoted Trekie, wasn't even seeing anything new.

Of course, in our own personal lives, we were continuing to develop and evolve. School, new locations, meeting new people- these are were forcing us to change. Only, we were no longer meeting the same people, reading the same books, going to the same places. Instead, we were developing in different directions under different influences in such subtle ways that- for all our introspection- we didn't discuss. After all, there were no discussions over dinner or in bed to bring us up on those fleeting revelations of the day.

As a final flourish to these dilemmas, we didn't have a good method to discuss our personal problems for as good at discussion as we were. Our fights in five years could be counted on three fingers and were a such a strange and alien discussion that any anthropologist would be confused.  We discussed the thoughts of the mind and, not speaking for him, I never wanted to discuss my fears and confusions with him for fear of not being rational enough.

Retrospect ties up experiences into neat lessons and reveals flaws indiscernible in the moment. But I can't say that I didn't have some worries about these problems. There were a handful of times I tried to address them and was met with incredulity. Or else fixes were tried but never maintained and we fell back on the same habits. It's only now that I realize how toxic those little worries were.

But the problem is, I don't know what we could have done to prevent these. The circumstances (our Introvertedness, school, the long distance, etc) couldn't be changed. Or else, if they were changed, it would be incredibly drastic: moving schools, the time and money to visit every other weekend, forcing past our exhaustion to go do "things," etc. As with environmental change, drastic steps seem out of proportion until a disaster.

These are problems that I think would plague most long distance relationships, even if the circumstances aren't exactly like ours. However, if you are in or are thinking about being in, these are a few of my thoughts:

~ When you are together, make an effort to make memories. Plan ahead for dinners, hikes, events or whatever interests you share. Make each meeting cherished and a building block to being closer. Don't rely on memories or future plans to keep you going.

~ Be of a less impressionable age. I know the threshold for the end of adolescence keeps being pushed further and further back, but make sure both you and your significant other are done with the major life defining shifts before you part. I think this is just age, but it might be experience. This way, you won't change too drastically while you're apart.

~ Find something you could do together that is new and exciting for you both. A common ground that you can discuss and explore together. Maybe its a book, maybe its a new activity. But you need something to discuss and share in common.

~ Make every effort as possible to see each other. Yes, it might mean missing out on some opportunities in your current situation, but its worth it for the relationship.

~ Be honest about your feelings and try to talk about them as much as possible.

~ Finally, and most importantly, when you are separated- don't look at other people. Don't entertain thoughts of them. Don't try to get to know them better if you are interested. It's not fair for anyone involved.

I wouldn't do a long distance relationship again. Ever. Much less for three years. I'd much rather relocate or not go than have the pain of being apart for all that time. Because, and I might have glossed over this, but these relationships hurt. It's lonely, miserable and fraught with problems.

This is an example of the more personal posts I may sometimes be indulging in. It really does help with retrospection now, even if I go back to delete it later.

September 4, 2013

Une Petite Pensee: Books in Bags

Victorian Clutch Found Here

Now possessing a bag that can hold more than a wallet and a phone, I have the delightful option to carry books and notebooks with me where ever I go. When putting books in bags, put them spine facing up. Small items are less likely to be lost in the pages or the pages themselves to be crushed.

September 3, 2013

On Journaling

I've been journaling since I was 13. Over the last ten years, I've filled up six journals of varying thickness and with varying consistency. Or rather, startlingly regular inconsistency. I'll start, write every day for about two weeks and then forget about the journal for two months.

Still, even though my consistency leaves much to be desired (yet one more point for blogging: there is that slight pressure to keep writing) when I do journal I reap wonderful benefit. Really, I count as journalling any time you put pen to paper to help sort out the tangle of your mental confusion. Thus, your journal need not be concentrated in one book (though it is convenient). I probably have three times the amount of writing found in my bound journals spread out over moleskins, school note books, random scraps of paper, backs of receipts.

But I really think the value of journaling is less in having a perfect record of your past years and more for the insight it allows the workings of your mind. My mind scatters and scrambles and flits from point to point like a berserk butterfly. I can't sit down and really think through an issue. But when a pen is forcing me to focus my thoughts, I can reach much deeper levels of comprehension because I don't get distracted by my nails, or what I'll wear tomorrow, or how so-and-so brushed me off, etc. Conclusions I couldn't have reached on my own can be found in journaling. And, if you're more consistent than me, trends longer than the memory can hold can be found. Reading back through past entries over the years, I realized that there was a certain two week period in the fall when I felt horribly down, depressed and exhausted. Now, rather than assuming this was because of classes or relationships, I know that it is just something that happens.

In short, you should journal. Journaling is good. Allows yourself insight. Lets you vent some emotion on paper. Gives you a record to look back on. And here are some tips I've found for journaling:

~ Don't assume that you need an hour. You can get through a lot in ten minutes- or even five. Take a bit each night before bed if you can.

~ Don't write for an audience. Swear. Say bad things about other people. Give vent for your true feelings. Don't worry about your future self reading it or how it will look to historians. This is about you. Right now.

~ Write what is on your mind and in your heart right then. Too often I feel compelled to catch myself up to how I'm feeling and spend a page describing all the past events. When I finally do get to the point I really want to journal, I'm bored of it. So skip the context and the pretext- just write what is on your mind.

~ Journal dreams when you wake up. They are great to analyze later.

~ Make references to conversations you had with other people. You can chart friendships or relationships and it's great to see the first time you mentioned someone and your initial reactions.

~ Make sure you like the medium you're writing with and what you're writing on. I need a broad expanse of page and if my pen skips it annoys me to pieces.

Do you journal? What tips or guidelines do you follow?

September 2, 2013

New Beginnings and a New Direction

September has always marked the New Year for me.  Although the seasons were winding down the slow decline to winter, I was just gearing up for the new school year. New classes, new books, new clothes, new possibilities- each september promised a reinvention of myself. What more could you ask from a New Year?

Time and age have diminished the excitement of the beginning of the school year, as they do so many things, but this year I am faced with- what I am trying desperately to see as- a chance at a total new beginning. What better time to have it than now in September?

While this blog has discussed my personal experiences as I try to apply my aesthetic of Neo-Aristocracy to my life, there has been a level of abstraction. I've presented situations and scenarios that, while personal, have already been thought through until that nugget of knowledge or inspiration could be found. However, I'm going to need this blog for something more personal.

Two weeks ago, my fiance, The Law Student, cheated on and then broke up with me. It would have been five years this month.

We had met the first year of undergrad and spent four of our most formative- or so I thought- years in uncanny harmony. That time culminated in 6 weeks spent travelling Europe with no love lost despite the continual presence. It was in Europe that we agreed to be married after school. But Gradschool pulled us to opposite ends of the country. I went up North for Acupuncture; he went south for law school.  I now have some very strong thoughts about long distant relationships.

Then this summer, he met someone. What started as a dismissible crush turned into all night conversations and declarations of mutual love, before he told me everything that happened. I wanted to rebuild our relationship; he wanted a polyamorous one among other things. After a weeks discussion and reflection, he finally made a decision and broke up with me.

There is a lot to process about this break up. A lot of the details were very ugly and poorly handled- especially on his part. It has raised so many more questions about the nature of relationships and difficult situations and given me a few revelations about life. So much of what I thought I knew about how the world and the human mind worked is gone.

As I'll probably explain later, having this blog has helped me in so many ways than I thought possible- but also as an avenue for self-exploration. Journaling is essential and important, but sometimes the extra push of knowing others will be reading your thoughts is needed.

Some degree of distance is essential for a blog- after all, my readers- though dear- are not family or friends and a blog is public for all. So there will be no furious rants or heartfelt sobs. Yet, this is too important a change to not mention.

How will this blog change? I can't say for certain. I'll analyze certain parts of this experience and try to draw greater lessons from them. I'll certainly be putting some more thoughts about romance, relationships, and love. A lot of reflection about what I now want from my life. I'd love to hear your thoughts on them too. But I'll still want to discuss clothing, aesthetics, food and the principles of Neo-Aristocracy, but there will be this more personal tinge as well.

It has been a very busy and life changing August and this next year will offer many opportunities for growth and change. What changes will you be going through?