From March 5th-April 17th, I'm taking a social media fast (details here). During these 44 days, I've invited guest bloggers to post each Saturday. Please enjoy reading all about these lovely ladies and their blogs in my absence!
Saturday, March 8, 2014
______Hello to all the sweet little sea urchins that gather to Lily's blog! It's very nice to meet you all. My name is Ali, and I hail from the microscopic land of The Drawing Mannequin. I must thank Lily for allowing me be your host today. As you all know, she's a lovely lady, one who I'm more than honored to be able to call my friend!
How did your blog come about?
______One day, Ali decided to experiment in the kitchen with a new recipe. It called for sugar, spice, and everything sassy. However, in a Powerpuff Girl-esque turn of events, she accidentally spilled in some Chemical F--yes indeed, Chemical Fashion! A great explosion occurred that was heard all around the world, pushing me to the ground and filling my nostrils with smoke. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to notice that I was garbed in brightly colored tights and snazzy fringe jewelry. In addition, my cookie recipe had materialized into some sort of doughy monster that loomed before me. I saw a wooden spoon that was within reach and grasped it, striking the dough monster and voraciously consuming him as I went.
______Finally, I had eaten enough of the dough monster that it puddled to the ground. My stomach gurgled. I twitched a bit. My brain snapped, and I had the sudden urge to start a blog. Somehow, the cookie dough infused with Chemical Fashion began coursing through my veins, giving me the knowledge of HTML and an insatiable need to post stylish selfies on the internet.
______And that is how I became a blogger. After tending for it, week by precious week, month by lengthy month, the little blog grew, and I met a many wondrous person through it.
______That was complete bullshit, just so you know. Can I curse over here? That was total bullturd. Better.
How do you balance blogging and life?
______The mac-and-cheese of it all is that I prepare my blogstuffs on the weekends, snapping photos and the like, then do my college stuff during the week, with maybe some blog post writing scattered throughout. I also only post once or twice per week because I know I can't handle more than that with my nerdy, panicky life. I've always got a few little "stories" or experiences that are pre-written and stored up for those weekends when I know I'm going to be stressed to the max. Also, I bike every day as a stress reliever. The day isn't over until I've biked at least 10 miles.
What are your favorite things to do outside of blogging?
______Being an art major, I actually really do love to make art outside of blogging and classes. I'm into making hordes of tinier paintings and drawings right now along with doing more illustrative figural works.
______I also enjoy baking more than I should. I love an excuse to swarm the house with the sweet aroma of baked goods, as well as eating a hearty portion of the dough (until I have a stomachache--go hard or go home!). Cookies and bars are my favorite to make and I've gotten to the point where I don't even use a recipe anymore. Mainly because I don't want to explain why the recipe was supposed to make 4 dozen cookies but only ended up with 3 dozen because I ate so much dough.
______In light of the above, it's a good thing I'm really into biking--I have been for many years now, but after my dad bought me a most scrumptious Specialized road bike for Christmas, I've been even more into it, zooming around on public roads and having lengthier rides.
What are your greatest fears and biggest dreams?
______My greatest fear is failure along with losing control of my weight. I realize how entirely shallow that sounds, but I've always had problems with eating (or not eating) and overexercising I'm afraid that's going to pop up again to take control of my life when I don't need it to. My biggest dream is to be happy with what I'm doing in the future and with myself--I still want to be able to do something where I am learning daily, writing daily, drawing or doing something artistic often.
Tell us about a personality quirk.
______I am such a loner. Hm, no, loner isn't it--more like introverted. Like, is that a personality quirk? Seriously, I'm seemingly a socialite on the internet with all my witticisms and awful metaphors that you'd think I'm some sort of butterfly that spews masterful, hilarious conversation all over everything I come into contact with; outside of my computer, though, that's kind of sort of quite the opposite. Don't get me wrong: I can talk like madquick with certain people, yo, and be as silly as a parakeet on a Roomba from time to time. However, for the most part I'm a little snail that likes to crawl into its shell, poke an ear and an eye out, and listen to what others have to say. I don't know if it's because of a lack of confidence or fear that what I have to say isn't intelligent enough to run a proper conversation, but I'm secretly a shy 'un who prefers tea and me time to human interaction.
______Unless we're in an art critique. Then I just let it all out and shit gets real. Like, let's make people cry real. Okay, not that intense.
What's your theme song and why?
______Pokemon theme song, because obviously I want to be the very best like no one ever was. 'Nuff said.
______Thanks for letting me take your blog for a joy ride, Miss Lily! And thank you all for listening to my words! I hope that you come visit me so we can be friiiiiiiiends. Ali out.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
My feelings on social media can be clearly expressed by this sketch below:
Histrionics, pencil, 2011
Sometimes it's quite gratifying, other times it causes great grief.
Don't get me wrong--facebook, instagram, twitter, tumblr, and of course blogging are awesome. You often hear about adopted children searching relentlessly for years to find their biological parents, only to be reunited within days of a facebook post (one story here). And via facebook, I've even been able to keep up with my best friend from 2nd grade, who moved states away.
Social media is incredible for staying updated and finding inspiration (or maybe even doing some inspiring of your own), but certain parts never fail to prompt jealousy, insecurity, and bitterness.
Why didn't she follow me back? How come he unfollowed me? How did she get so many followers and likes so quickly? Why didn't he like my post? Does all this mean that people secretly don't like me? Oh my gosh, they got into premier colleges!...AHH, what if I can't do that?! Why can't I be on an exotic vacation in Cancun? Can you please stop posting so much?
And don't even get me started on how much time we can waste mindlessly scrolling. This old facebook status from a friend (who is quite studious) gets it exactly right:
6:00 PM: I will not internet. I will study.
8:00 PM: I will internet for 30 more minutes. Then I will study.
10:33PM: what is study
It doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to take follows so personally. Following should express how we want to fill our feeds, rather than social cues or quid pro quo. I wish it weren't such an unhealthy obsession, because it can't define our posts, our content, and especially ourselves. And you know what? We don't have to compare our lives to those of others. (Research cites comparison as the main reason that social media depresses us). It's easy to forget that we project airbrushed versions of our lives online. Sure, you'd immediately whip out your phone to update about a college acceptance, but would you even think of posting about a rejection? We're definitely more inclined to share good news and keep the rest to ourselves, especially since other news can come off as whiny or desperate for reassurement.
If we could see social media as merely an outlet to express and stay in the know, rather than an "avenue for social hierarchization," a means of procrastinating, or the entire picture of others' lives, so much grief would immediately dissipate.
So enter my 44-day social media fast.
I'm honestly not sure where I got the crazy idea. But I do know that over the past few months, I've felt dissatisfied with the role social media plays in my life. I've been guilty of all the behavior described earlier, and I absolutely detest that.
So from March 5th to April 17th, I will not access sites including but not limited to: facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr, all my fashion platforms, and even blogger.
While it coincides with Lent, my fast is more than a spiritual search. It's also a search for self-fulfillment and a social experiment. For this reason, I won't break my fast on Sundays like traditional Lent--this is 44 consecutive days (my church is non-denominational anyways, so it doesn't formally endorse Lent).
I hope to find answers, or at least greater understanding in regards to penetrating questions about my faith (prompted by a heated lunch table conversation about the recent creationism debate). I hope to do things I've always wanted to do but never got around to: finish reading Born to Run, submit a personal essay to a newspaper, make a circle skirt, journal at least once a week. I hope to reform my overly-sensitive attitude concerning social media. I hope to reevaluate the purpose of my platforms. I hope to live, without obsessing over my next tweet or wasting precious moments scrolling through the abyss of my tumblr feed.
And above all: by renouncing a facet so engrained in our culture, I hope to discover empowerment.
I'm actually beginning to look forward to this. See you in April.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
This post was sponsored by Influenster. All opinions are my own.
It's another box! When I saw a facebook friend post about a Maybelline lip balm she had gotten through the Influenster program, it immediately piqued my interest. So I joined and after taking a survey, this vivid pink beauty arrived on my doorstep right before Valentine's Day.
I drink tea on the reg, so I was happy to see some intriguing flavors from a brand I had never tried. And considering my ol' intense couponing tendencies, the $2 coupon gets a thumbs up. While I have yet to try the Lemon Chiffon flavor, the Creme Caramel was certainly different. I'm not a huge fan of sweet teas (I prefer the classics like green tea and chamomile tea), so the subtle hint of caramel didn't resonate with my taste buds. I'd much prefer its dash of sweetness in coffee. Adding milk to the tea, however, makes it more of a nice café drink.
I could share a photo of me using this clay mask, but that would be a poor life decision. Translation: it's suuuper attractive and too hot to handle. Gray gunk smeared all over your face gets all the boys, you know. But in all seriousness, this would have to be my favorite item in the box. It does just what it claims--soaking up all the accumlated gunk in your pores and making your face feel all soft. You can even feel your pores tightening up as the clay dries--kinda strange but oddly satisfying. A word of caution, however: make sure you shake the bottle real good before use since the water and clay separate when they settle. Definitely a yes to this one!
I dislike using even mascara, so I'm even more wary of false lashes. Not that my eyelashes are exceptionally long, but I just don't feel the need to use them. There's a fine balance between enhancing your look and giving yourself a new face, and I'm not sure how I stand on falsies--they seem to me a super super special ocassion thing. I have nothing against people who use em, but they're definitely not for me. I may try them out of curiousity eventually.
This little box interested me right away since I long for straight hair again some days. After using the product, I feel much more ambivalent--I didn't fall in love, but I didn't dislike it. It definitely made my hair straighter than just a normal flat iron, but the chemicals weakened my already-damaged strands. And for something that advertises "frizz-ease," it sure didn't turn out that way for me at first (the frizz did settle after I woke up). Maybe I just have stubborn hair. If your hair isn't chemically treated and you have the time to use it at night, I might give this product a whirl since it otherwise was fine.
CHOCOLATE. Enough said. Hershey Kisses are a classic and I love how little they are--you can pop a couple without feeling guilty. But since my heart truly belongs to dark chocolate, I had a few then took em to school to share. Happiness ensued.
To all of you lovely bloggers--definitely check these products and Influenster out! I'm sure they'd love to have more experienced beauty gurus offer their insight. There's nothing like getting such a bright and fun box in the mail!
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Left: Top, Burlington Coat Factory | Cardigan, Macy's | Leggings, Burlington | Boots, Burlington
Right: Sweater, Target | Boots, Old Navy | Bag, c/o Sammydress ($19) |Necklace, Maxnina | Hair bow, Rire Boutique
The bag in these photos was sponsored by Sammydress, but all opinions are my own. I find the color cognac truly versatile, and this brown bag is no exception. While the strap is too short to be a cross-body bag, it still makes for a chic shoulder bag with ample room. At $18.78, the bag is a quality steal--I love the luxe glossy sheen. Be sure to check Sammydress out--as an Asian wholesale retailer, they have a huge selection of trendy, affordable items.
It best describes my state of mind lately. I feel like I've been floating, observing life from the outside. It's so surreal.
A boy in my grade passed away earlier this week. I had only talked to him once, before the ACT, but I remember that he was an engaging conversationalist with a genunine smile. He had the rare charisma that brightened each person's day. He wore cowboy boots to school, not caring that they made him stand out.
He committed suicide.
The announcement at school was so unnerving. Many of my classmates had just seen him a couple days ago at our winter formal dance. What a harsh jolt to reality. Only three more months, and he would've graduated. Then began college. Then entered the real world.
He was an only child. And I can still hear the mournful cries of his faithful dog at his candlelight vigil.
I didn't know him well, so I decided it would be flippant to attend his funeral. I feel guilty even writing about it in this post, but I mean for this blog to encompass my entire life, the frivolous and the profound, and this tragedy has forced me to come to terms with reality.
It's another painful reminder that life is so precious. It's another reminder to grasp each opportunity before it disappears. It's another reminder to acknowledge how much your loved ones mean to you. It's another reminder to renounce going through the motions and just live.
I've decided to take a month and a half blogging hiatus from March 5th to April 17th, coinciding with Lent, the bulk of track season, and college decision time. Social media has been making me feel funny lately, and this event only encourages me to step away from the computer screen. More details will follow in the next post.
Life hasn't been all lugubrious lately though. It's heartbreaking news one day, happy the next. I'll have to be vague until April, but there's life for ya.
Anyways, these thoughts are for all those who are struggling. Who fiercely try to search for light in darkness, but come up empty-handed. For the people whose lives appear flawless on the outside, but face complete internal turmoil. For the people who question their worth and purpose. For the little boats looking for a harbor (reference to Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller).
There is light. There is hope. There is purpose. There is a somewhere you belong. Keeping looking. Stay strong.
I'll leave you with this quote. It's getting late, so I'll reply to comments tomorrow. I hope you know that I love you guys and cherish the friendships I've formed via blogging. I care about each and every one of you, and if you ever need anything or just want to chat, don't hesitate to shoot me an email.
"Death leaves a memory no one can heal, but love leaves a memory no one can steal." --an Irish epitaph