Friday, December 28, 2012

Drop Crotch December Dreams and Caribbean Cruise Scams

Nothing like drop crotch parachute pants for leaping into 75 degree weather! I am oh so blessed to spend another December in Jupiter. 

Besides romping around in my breezy pants (which I scored from the Bedouins when I was in Israel), the last few days have consisted of bike rides, pony-gawking, and lavender sunsets with dusk moons peeking over the Atlantic. 

The next few days involve participating in what I have now researched to become suspicious of as a cruise scam, with Caribbean Cruises (follow the link to read an article about whether it's legit or not). It was supposedly "free"... which in hindsight should have been a red flag as it is... and has been a predictable headache ever since. But what's done is done, so all I can really do now is enjoy this bizarre situation to the fullest! I shall do full recon and let you all know exactly how terrible (or wonderful??) it is. Sending warmth your way XOXO

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Approbation or Inspiration?

I, like everyone else, have been seeing a lot of this in the last few years:

Heck, I even wrote about how much I was loving "Mexican" and "Native American-esque prints" over a year ago. I still find these patterns beautiful and inspiring... but now I have to wonder: was I being ignorant? Is it not okay for these patterns and textiles to be mass produced and sold by corporations?

Sasha Houston Brown doesn't think so. She wrote an open letter to Urban Outfitters (which you can read on the very cool Racialicious blog), condemning their use of the word Navajo to describe a line of their products, as well as the designs of the products themselves. The word "Navajo" is trademarked by the Navajo Nation, and in Brown's opinion, the Native Nations should be the ones to design, produce, and earn revenue from native-inspired fashion. She makes a ton of good points in an interview on, and has me teetering on the edge of a moral conundrum. 

This "print" hat is for sale at Urban Outfitters online. Image source. 

Is there a difference between inspiration and approbation, and where does one draw the line? 

As devil's advocate, I could also argue that Nordic Prints are very popular right now and have been for quite some time. Much like the "Native" products circulating the market, I'm certain these "Nordic" products are devoid of their cultural significance and don't actually reflect Nordic heritage. The same could even be said for Hawaiian prints; the iconic Hawaiian shirt is mass produced, probably without the involvement of Hawaiian designers and craftspeople. Would a person from a Nordic country or from Hawaii find their culture's print on panties offensive? 

There is no denying that these prints are attractive and even inspiring, but when in the hands of a major corporation, are stripped of the soul and meaning they had for the originating culture. Is that okay? Or should using these prints be the sole domain of members of this culture? That seems limiting to other artists...what a conundrum!

What do you think? Is there an appropriate and sensitive way that artists and designers can incorporate traditional images from other cultures? Are major labels being inspired by these popular prints, or flat-out stealing them? Is it inspiration, exploitation, approbation, or something in between? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Images of Fall

We were blessed with an extra long Fall this year, with mild temperatures well into mid-December. For me, it was a season of blazing color, bows, cardigans, and private school esque outfits. I took some photos with my "real" camera for a change, something I would like to do more of.

Monday, November 26, 2012

compost queen

I don't know about you, but I always get this twinge of guilt when I throw something away that I know can be reused. I've felt a particularly strong twinge every time I've thrown away table scraps that I know would make good composting.

In case this concept is new to you, any raw food such as peels, cores, stems, etc make excellent composting. Compost is the rich soil produced from decomposed plant matter and is extremely healthy and delicious to plants! Composting is nature's recycling bin, and if I claim to be green, then by golly, I'm wanna be green down to my cooking scraps.

Actual bee on actual flower at Truly Living Well Urban Farm

However, composting is difficult. It requires space; outdoor space. And frequent tending to. You have to have the right balance of food scraps and "brown" substance (basically mulch) or else the compost will be all wrong and attract animals and become a big stinky mess. If you live in an apartment, like I do, it's not an option. So what to do other then sadly watch your wilted lettuces and hardy potato peels be carted off to the landfill where they're no use to anyone?

In my search to end this moral conundrum, I found several solutions. One is making something called garbage soup. Appetizing, no? You keep your tasty leftover bits in the freezer, and at the end of the month you make a vegetable broth out of them. This option didn't really work for me because I just don't find myself making vegetable broth very often. My freezer scraps eventually made their way to the trash can, iced over and pungent. But if you like to cook soup, this could work for you.

If you live in a super cool progressive city like Portland, there is an amazing service where people on bikes will come and collect your composting scraps at the end of the week. But I live in no such city.

So I researched community gardens to see if any nearby greenspace would appreciate my leftover scraps. Several gardens declined, saying that to keep their crops organic they must only use compost matter produced from the garden itself. Finally, I discovered Truly Living Well, an urban farm located surprisingly central to Down Town Atlanta.

It's nestled away by the Martin Luther King Center, and you'd never know this bit of green heaven existed unless you stumbled right on top of it. The friendly (mostly volunteer!) staff was delighted to accept my composting scraps. Not only that, I started the school I work at on a composting regimin, and deliver the entire school's scraps every week, too! Teachers and parents, this is a wonderful learning oportunity and children love visiting the farm and delivering their scraps in person. It's a great way for them to physically interact with the food cycle and to think about their own waste and green choices.

You can buy simple compost bins for your counter top at stores like Walmart and Home Depot. I use this one for the school and a simple tupperware in the fridge for at home. I find that reduces the smell factor.

It feels awesome doing something (even so small) for the planet. And it tastes great too. I like to stop by Truly Living Well's market when I'm done delivering my scraps and peruse their organic, locally grown goodies. I even like to flatter myself by thinking that in a way, I helped grow them. YUM!

What can you do? Use the ever-trusty google search engine to find community gardens in your area, and start making calls. Even if they can't help you directly, they may have some good leads for you. That's how I found my own urban farm utopia! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Raven Cliff Saturdays

ATLiens, if you want a fresh way to experience Fall, I recommend taking the 2 hour drive from Atlanta to Raven Cliffs Falls. It's a lovely, easy trail ending in some impressive waterfalls. The last bit of the hike you have to scramble up these tree roots to get to a a cliff that causes your stomach to pay a visit to your throat when you peer over the edge.

I loved this weekend because it gave me an excuse to wear my cute polkadot backpack I bought in China and my vintage Outdoorables by Daniel Green. (I'll tell you a secret... I changed into ugly unstylish tennis shoes for the actual hike). I also threw on a bow, because, well, I just can't help myself sometimes.

I can't seem to stop photographing mushrooms. Below are just two favorites of the dozens I found. Did you know the "mushroom" we see is actually just the fruit? The real mushroom is underground, unseen to us. Being a 2nd grade teacher is fun because you learn things like this. Fact: Hanging out with 8 year olds all week makes you smarter.

Lastly, is there anything more lovely than the sight of your own dear city sparkling across the interstate as you make your way home?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

hot toddie season

Hot Toddie Season, dare I say you approach too slowly?

My annual injury has occurred, this time in the United States (rather than in China... or France...)!

I'm quite alright.
My first set of stitches, so I feel like I've finally reached adulthood in a way.

I'm still mushroom hunting with my students.

And I wore this jersey H&M Suzhou dress with my grandmother's Liz Clairborn cardigan. On my sore little feet, flats that have been spiced up with some vintage shoe accents. Like so:

If you were wondering, yes, my cane is leopard print.

Now to snuggle up with hot toddies and a warm critter and let the healing continue. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's been awhile

A lot has happened.

And New York. 
Then I came back. 
Maybe I'll tell you guys a little about it sometime?

The weather has begun to nod its head towards something resembling Fall.
My hair has gotten quite long, reminding me why I chopped it all off three years ago.

The seasonal shift brought with it the blessed Dragon Con, allowing me to dress like a random wood nymph for a night.

I've kept my eye on Atlanta's street art.

(I still love rabbits). 

And school has begun, allowing me to dive back into the magic of mushroom hunting and exploring big juicy caterpillars on the playground, dressed like so. 

I dress "teacher" so often, it's not even Ironic anymore.
Denim dress from thrift store
Striped shirt borrowed (stolen?) from gentleman lover
Minnetonka moccasins
Sunnies from cool shop in NYC.
I've been busy, but I miss blogging. I will try not to be such a stranger in this little corner of the internet.

Thank you for reading. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Zombies on the move! Israel bound

For the next ten days I will be far from stylish; I'm going on an incredible FREE trip to Israel with an organization called Birthright. The lack of style comes from the outdoor adventure theme, so imagine lots of sweaty T-shirts and running shorts, and yes, even chocos. Worth it for a once in a lifetime chance to ride camels and float in the Dead Sea!

If you are even slightly Jewish (non practicing is fine, it's not a religious trip), and between the ages of 18 and 26, you should look into this amazing gift for yourself.

It's gotten off to a slightly rough start... Suffice it to say there was a strip search involved... But I'll choose to think of it as a VIP tour of the back rooms of the airport. Anyway, as I sit on the plane and awkwardly type this on my phone, I am flooded with excitement and gratitude. If I can, I will blog, but otherwise, I will see y'all on the other side of this grand adventure! Look out for recaps of my too-short time in NYC. Thanks for reading. Xoxo

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