Maiken of Part of me

Hello, dear imperfect idealist readers! I'm Maiken and my blog is briefly called Part of me. I'm from Estonia and me, my fiancé and our fluffy mongrel Elvis live in a small small (circa 5600 people) town in a more than 40-year-old grand house (hence the consistent reparation and renewal). I have bachelor's degree in natural science and I work as a project manager in a company that sells fresh water and cleans wastewater.
Below you can read my answers to Lily's questions that handle blogging, my style, thrift shopping, my best bargains and my other interests.

1. Tell us the story behind your blog. What prompted you to start blogging? How did you choose the name? What is your blogging mission?

I published my very first blog post on February 18, 2009 so not long ago my blog actually had its 5th birthday and to be honest I didn't even notice it, oops. Time flies... But the reason why I started blogging in the first place was the desire to record all my trips, outfits, film reviews, all the important and beautiful (and not so beautiful) moments and events, my best thrift and other finds, my life universally.

The name Maikeni blogi - part of me is half Estonian (Maikeni blogi in Estonian = Maiken's blog in English) and half English. By the way, Part of me is a song by Chris Cornell and back then it was one of my favourite songs. And I'm not sure if it's a mission but it's definitely nice when I can inspire my dear readers to thrift shop and recycle because thrift shopping is like a valuable adventure that enriches our lives.

2. Describe your style and tell us how it has transformed.

When I was in primary school I probably wore the things my parents bought me and at the same time was daydreaming about some very stylish (or quite the contrary - "stylish") pieces like neon orange platform shoes with a white sole and crazily embellished flare jeans. In high school I experienced an all black everything phase, a hip hop phase, an over the top Barbie pink phase... yeah, better let's not talk about that.

But since university until today I have been wearing everything I like and want to wear and it's truly liberating. I can't say my style is strictly this or that because it can be pretty much anything - fancy, casual, sporty, preppy, feminine... anything I feel like wearing at the moment. I don't actually care what's in or what's not and I recommend this philosophy to all the so called fashion victims ;)

3. Tell us about the best bargain you’ve ever scored.

My best bargains are certainly from thrift shops: for instance a Kenzo cardigan/kimono (€5), a brand-new pair of Versace for H&M lace-up suede boots (€8), Miu Miu slide loafers (€4), once again a brand-new Lanvin Black heart (cards) Acne denim dress (€6 or €8), Charles Jourdan pumps (€1), Beverly Feldman loafers (€8), a Moschino skirt (€0), Ray-Ban sunglasses (€2)... but I'm going to stop naming them now because the list is already long enough. And you can click on the prices if you want to see those bargains with your own eyes!

4. Thrifting—yay or nay?

A big big yay, obviously, and pretty much every outfit here includes something thrifted. Thrift shopping is my favourite way of shopping (in the honourable second place comes sale shopping). In my book paying the full price is almost always pointless.

5. How do you balance blogging and life?; 6. What are your favorite things to do outside of blogging?

If all goes well I blog once a week but when the times are extra busy and tough (like now) I must ignore my imaginary schedule. I do what I have to do and that's what I call balancing. If I must skip a week then I do because quality matters, not quantity. And I always give my best.

Now, my favourite things in addition to blogging are thrift shopping, working out (currently I have an exercise bike phase), (mostly nature) photography, orchids, gardening, travelling and road tripping, a certain amount of cookery too.

So, I hope you enjoyed the post and found something interesting among my answers to Lily's questions. I definitely enjoyed doing this and I want to thank sweet Lily who gave me the opportunity to guest post. And before I finish - feel free to visit my blog Part of me (←click) and let's meet! See you!

Francesca of Vintagelillies

Tell us the story behind your blog.

Hi! My name is Francesca Bond and my blog is vintagelillies. I started my blog when I was 13, the summer before I started high school. I had been reading fashion and beauty blogs for a few years, and decided I wanted to contribute my own outfits and ideas thus my blog was born. I wish I could say there is a cool story behind the name of my blog, but I only chose it ebecause I liked vintage style and the flower lilies and thought they sounded cute together. Although, a little funny story is that I spelled lilies wrong (I added another L) and didn’t even realize it until a year later! I never changed it and don’t think I ever will, it feels like a part of the blog and is kind of quirky. Anyways, the reason I blog is to inspire others and show people different outfits they can make, and my interpretation of trends. It’s not all about the style though, I also want to inspire others though my little rambles and philosophies, I hope some people listen. J

Who or what inspires your style?

My style is inspired by quite a few different things. I think my personal style changes day by day, depending on my mood and what I have been surrounded with. I read a lot of magazines, style books and blogs so they influence my style a lot. Parisian style is my biggest inspiration right now, I love how effortlessly Parisians dress and always try to achieve that look.

If you could only pick five items from your closet to wear for a week, what would you choose?

Wow that’s hard, I guess I would choose my favorite pair of skinny jeans, a cream oversize sweater, my trench coat, a white tee shirt, and my blue booties. I hope underwear was already counted. My go-to outfit is an oversize sweater and skinnies and think I would be happy in that, although I would feel a little like a cartoon character wearing the same outfit every day. Also my trench coat is my favorite piece in the whole world so that definitely has to come.

Give us couple shopping and/or style tips.

Hmm I’ll just give a few of my general style tips. A white tee is essential in every wardrobe. Stock up on skirts because they are easy ways to dress up outfits and can be worn with most sweaters. Find style inspiration everywhere, especially people on the street, and remember what you like and apply it to outfits in the future. Always try to look presentable because you never know what the day will bring. And finally, no matter what you wear, don’t try to be someone you’re not and be confident in yourself. Nothing looks better on a girl than confidence.

How do you balance blogging and life?

It gets kind of difficult because I have a pretty busy schedule. The hard part is not writing the posts but finding time to take the photos. I need to find the right location, outfit and timing and it gets pretty hard, which is why I only update about once a week. I just remember that blogging is a priority and focus on making time for it.

What’s on your bucket list?

My number one thing is to go to Paris. I imagine it would be a lot like when Audrey Hepburn goes in “Funny Face”. I want to experience Paris like a Parisian and see all it has to offer. I also want to start my own magazine, fall in love, meet Justin Timberlake. I dream big.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years I’ll be 26, and I see myself living in NYC in a tiny apartment interning at a magazine or newspaper trying to make it as a journalist, if all goes well. That’s where I would like to be in ten years.

How do you approach life? What’s your philosophy?

Life is a very confusing, crazy experience. Everyone is just trying to be the best they can be, and make it. My philosophy is that is you are happy, kind, and generous, no matter what happens in your life you will have succeeded because you made a difference. “Whatever you are, be a good one.”

What are your greatest fears and biggest dreams?

I have a lot of fears unfortunately, because I’m a huge worrier and sometimes get scared about things I can’t help. But I know that everything will turn out alright and that if I work hard, I can make my own dreams come true. So my biggest dreams are to raise a family, work at Vogue and start my own magazine and be happy with my life.

Linda of The Dragonfruit Diaries

Hello there! My name's Linda, and I'm just an awkwardly social girl who likes to post about my personal style and day-to-day life over at my blog, The Dragonfruit Diaries. I'm so flattered Lily asked me to help her out during her social media fast (which, by the way, is totally inspiring)! Also, if the following interview intrigues you, don't hesitate to pop on over to my blog and ask me some questions yourself.

Tell us the story behind your blog.
When I first started blogging during my Senior year of high school, I used the name Trendy Teal because it sounded cute and was the first thing I came up with. Having a blog gave me a reason to dress up for school and was a fun way to document day-to-day outfits and also write about valuable memories that I can look back on. However, by the end of last summer, I felt as if Trendy Teal no longer fit me. So I decided to revamp my blog and give it a new name that I put more thought into. The Dragonfruit Diaries came about due to my evolving style into something more edgy, although I’ve still maintained my cheerful, sweet personality (that’s what others tell me anyway)! My blog is a place where I not only share my personal style, but a lot of my thoughts and day-to-day happenings – it’s my diary.

 Describe your style and tell us how it has transformed.
When I first started my blog, I just wore whatever I thought was considered cool. I cringe looking back at those old posts! I kept cycling through various styles and trends, never quite finding my niche. It took a depressing breakup for me to set out and discover what it was that I liked. Today, I like to describe my style as boho rocker. Earthy textures and edgy aesthetics make me positively gleeful!

Thrifting—yay or nay?
 YAY! I’m a huge thrifter – I’d say about 80% of my closet is thrifted. It’s like an exciting treasure hunt, because you never know what you’ll find when you walk in! It takes patience and some disappointment, but more often than not, you can find some unexpected gems in those rusty old racks. 

How do you balance blogging and life?
As a full time college student with two part time jobs, I get this question a lot. The truth is, I create several sets of outfits on weekends, and get help photographing them in my short amount of free time. After that, it’s a simple (but time-consuming) process of editing photos, scheduling posts, and spending about 1 to 2 hours responding to comments. In some ways, I consider blogging my third part time job! But it’s something I love, so it’s definitely worth my time.

What are your favorite things to do outside of blogging?
While I don’t have that much time to do recreational things, I’m lucky enough to have classes worked into my schedule that involve doing things I love. This semester I’m taking Painting 1 and Printmaking. There’s nothing more soothing than to dab away at a canvas and watch something appear. The same goes for printmaking, an entirely new process that I’m thoroughly enjoying!
Besides that, I love photography, trying out recipes on Pinterest, and disappearing into a blackhole on Netflix (New Girl marathon anyone?).

Tell us about your major and what prompted you to select that.
My first semester at my community college, I was an English major. However, during the spring, I took a digital photography class and was reminded about my other love, visual art. Most of my friends consider me artistic and some even know about the art competitions I used to enter when I was younger. I’d achieved some blue ribbons during that time, but as I grew older, it became a skill that I set aside. Over the summer, I almost chose to go into Dental Hygiene. There were money issues going on in my family, which was why I considered the program – it would eventually provide security. However, I decided to go against logic and signed myself up as a Visual Arts major. So far, I consider it to be the best decision I’ve made.

Ali of The Drawing Mannequin

Spotty Biscotti

______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!

Ace of Diamonds

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.

Dreamscenes I

______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.

Social Media: A Love-Hate Relationship

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.

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Review: Influenster J'adore Voxbox

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 cafĂ© 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!
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P.S. I am disabling comments indefinitely (excluding the guest posts coming up during my hiatus, of course!) since other priorities make it too difficult to leave quality notes on your own blogs. I promise that I have been keeping up, and first thing I return I'll be sure to pop by! Also keep an eye out in the next few days for the rationale and hopes behind my quickly approaching, 44-day social media fast.


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