Here Goes

Alternate titles for this post: Less Hang Ups and More Finishing or I Probably Owe You a Thank You Note or A Long Post on Perfectionism

I’m a perfectionist.

I know, I know that sounds sexy, doesn’t it? The word “perfect” is right there at the front of it. But much like being a super taster isn’t super (there’s no cape involved), being a perfectionist is not about actually being perfect. It’s more about the fear that nothing you do is ever going to be good enough. What “good enough” really means is unclear but that doesn’t keep you from obsessing over being it. Symptoms include stress, procrastination, stress over the procrastination, sense of worthlessness, sense of guilt, extreme sense of guilt over the sense of worthlessness, denial, zoning out, moodiness, hyper-distractability (wait, I think I see something shiny over there that has the potential to be be perfect), a special kind of passive agressivity that is only acceptable when directed at people who love you most, and stress.

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I’ve Got A Sweet Rainbow Hangover

And there ain’t no cure. Please be patient with me as I figure out how to process all the joy that was my birthday, find the words to thank everyone who participated in both the Hole Sale and the Rainbow Birthday Parade, and figure out a way to share everything all those who could only be there in spirit.

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Hole Sale and Rainbow Birthday Spectacular

Dear glorious second-hand shoes, I shall miss you! I hope you’ve heard by now: this Saturday on my thirty-second birthday, I’m getting rid of over 400 items from my wardrobe! As challenging as it might be, it’s got to happen if I want to get down to the 100-items-or-less closet. I felt I needed to find a way to let go while also celebrating my birthday, and true to my nature, the whole thing has turned into a crazy, hopefully wonderful production.

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100 Items or Less

On March 15, my friend and Studiomate Chris Shiflett put out a call for his readers to write the Ideas of March as a commitment to substantive blog posts. I asked him what I should write about. I don’t usually tackle what others in our webby community would consider stimulating, educational or controversial (although if you knew what actually went on in my head, you’d agree that everything I write is actually all three for me on a personal level). He said, “You have lots of ideas. Just write one of them down.” I decided to choose a subject I’ve been avoiding for a long time and see if I could come up with any fresh ideas worth sharing. True, I had a few drinks, but I must have been inspired because I ended up envisioning what amounts to a major overhaul of important yet neglected area of my life. So without further ado, here’s my contribution to the Ideas of March, and true to my nature, I’ve posted it without a day to spare. 1 hour to imagine; 5 hours to distill and write; an estimated 50 hours of action required.

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Tuesday’s Calico Crazy

When I saw this dress, I knew I had to try it on. Since I’d never come across anything quite like it, I owed it to the thrift gods to give it a shot. To my shock, this became one of my favorite pieces of the entire week. I mean, what exactly is going on here? One part circus, one part artist’s studio, all parts nuts. All I know for sure is it’s a standout, and it was half price (originally marked $20, I got it for $10).

Nothing-New Insight #3
Fitting in is overrated. I spent a whole lot of my life trying to fit in and somehow be myself. JUST BE WHO YOU ARE. If you’re surrounding yourself with the right people, they’ll not only get it, they’ll support and appreciate it.

  • red and silver scarf - $1 Palm Desert Revivals
  • multi-colored dress - $10 Palm Springs Angel View Thrift
  • cowboy boots - $19 Moreno Valley Goodwill
  • TOTAL - $30

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South By Southwest Bound

If you haven’t already, watch this terrific video featuring my friend Alex Blagg of a bajillionhitz.biz.

So this is where we’re headed for the next 5 days… You tell me, should I be worried?

Truly, I’m just happy I’ll get to reunite with some of my Studiomates (past, present and future). Man, I’ve really missed them! Plus I’ll get to hang for the first time with some of the people I’ve fallen in love with over the Internet, like Alissa Walker. And let’s not forget there’s reconnecting with some of my new friends from TEDActive, like Kestrin, Jonathan and Scott of {RV}IP. Yes, {RV}IP is a karaoke lounge inside an RV. No joke. Here’s Creighton in the RV, singing karaoke, as we go barreling down the California freeway at a top speed of 45 mph just one week ago today (good times)...

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Monday’s Art Teacher Chic

I’ve always had a secret thing for smocks and smock-like clothing because it seems like the exact thing my 1970’s-high-school-art-teacher alter-ego would have gone nuts over. This smockish jacket selected for the second day of my Week’s Worth of Undies Project is handmade from a kitschy floral fabric and sports adorably mismatched buttons. Underneath I’ve got a shear, pleated, bright yellow blouse with button details and red pleated slacks. The slacks were missing their button, and while I could have sewn another on, it turned out faster to simply add a skinny red belt with a majestic little pony.

Nothing-New Insight #2
Color is powerful. It’s almost physiologically impossible to be in a bad mood when you’re wearing bright red pants. If you’re happy, you’ll attract other happy people to you. When you’re surrounded by happy people, life gets pretty fun.

  • floral smock - $6 Moreno Valley Goodwill
  • yellow pleated blouse - $6 Moreno Valley Goodwill
  • multi-colored bracelets - $3 Palm Desert Revivals
  • red horse-buckle belt - $3 Moreno Valley Goodwill
  • red slacks - $3 Palm Desert As Good As New
  • cowboy boots - $19 Moreno Valley Goodwill
  • TOTAL - $40

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Sunday’s Shiny Tigress

Here’s what I wore to kick off TED Palm Springs Week’s Worth of Undies Project. I loved wearing this gold sequin skirt because so many wonderful people stopped me to comment on it!

For the TEDYou Talk I gave, I paired each day’s outfit with an important life lesson I wouldn’t have learned if not for this crazy nothing-new adventure I’ve embarked on. So here goes the first…

Nothing-New Insight #1
You do NOT have to spend a lot to look great. You can always look amazing for under $100, and you can almost always look amazing for under $50. At $55, this was my most expensive outfit of the week.

  • red jacket - $12 Palm Desert Revivals Thrift
  • red disk necklace - $2 Cathedral City Angel View Thrift
  • yellow and black blouse - $8 Palm Springs Angel View Thrift
  • sequin skirt - $10 Palm Desert Angel View Thrift
  • cowboy boots - $19 Moreno Valley Goodwill
  • TOTAL $55 with jacket, $43 without

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Week’s Worth of Undies

It seemed simple enough… I’ll go on a trip, and the only thing I’ll pack in a tiny suitcase is the underwear I’ll need. All other clothing will be procured at thrift stores once I arrive at my destination. I’ll wear it, photograph it and have a grand ole time with it, but then I’ve got to give it away, returning home with only my original undies.

But what ensued was awesomeness on a level I’m not even sure I’m capable of processing. Let’s just say, short of every person I love having landed next to me in a giant rainbow-colored hot air balloon, I don’t see how life could have gotten any better.

In Summary:
10 Thrift Stores + $275 + A Week in the California Desert + 600 Incredible Folks + 1 Three-Minute Talk = AWESOMENESS OVERLOAD!

I have to attribute much of the magic of the week to where I chose to carry out this project for the first time: TEDActive in Palm Springs. That’s a yearly gathering of more than 600 uniquely intense and beautiful people out in the California desert. We watch TED2011 as it’s simulcast from Long Beach, meet one another, go on field trips, swim, bike, eat, dance and have a generally amazing time. What made this TED truly special was that we (WORKSHOP) actually worked with TED to create the visual identity for this year’s conference, The Rediscovery of Wonder. So as we were walking about, we got to see our design on posters, guide books, signage, iPad apps and more.

The most exciting yet nerve-wracking part of the week was that I was selected to give a TEDYou Talk about the Undies Project. Yippie and yikes at the same time! It was a lot of work for me and Josh to get up at 6:30 every morning to take photos of the outfits before each day got started. Plus I agonized over the words, the slides, pretty much every aspect of the presentation; you name it, I second-guessed myself. But in the end, the Talk felt like a huge triumph! So many people showered me with love, and I started to realize for the first time that my outfit obsession and quest to be true to myself could actually inspire others, particularly those brave souls known as teenage girls. 

Giving TEDYou Talk
On stage at TEDActive! photo credit: Michael Brands / TED

Get ready, because I’m about to post the 7 outfits (plus the set of pajamas) I found to wear during this unforgettable week.

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Who Wants to Show This Dress a Good Time?

It’s finally here! Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m wrapping up this week of red and pink with a color blast from the past. I can only imagine the fun this dress has seen since it left the rack for the first time in what I’m going to guess was 1986.

But the fun doesn’t end here; this dress is about to hit the road! Proudly presenting Lucky So and So’s first ever (drumroll please)...

Closet Share

Do you have a special occasion, dance party or walk in the the park coming up that’s crying out for some pink ruffley goodness? Share your idea for the dress and become one of its next wearers!

Here’s how I think it will go down: I’ll chose three people whose ideas for the dress I like, and they will in turn send me their mailing addresses. I’ll send the dress to the first person on the list who will wear it, document it, dryclean it and then be responsible for shipping it to the next person on the list. Kind of like clothing chain mail… or Netflix for dresses? I’m really into collaborative consumption, and I’ve been searching for some way to creatively lessen my closet’s load. So let’s see how it goes! Ideas will be selected based on creativity and whimsy and may involve a guest judge. To be considered, submit your idea as a comment to this post by Thursday, February 17.

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The Weekender (in Red and Pink)

There was a lot to take care of in a weekend! Errands to run, work to catch up on, thrift stores, friends and art galleries to visit. For me, perfect weekend outfits mean comfort; shoes I can run in; plenty of pockets to stuff lip balm, receipts and cookies in; and color, lots and lots of color. This weekend’s color is in keeping with my theme for the week.

  • magenta cotton dress - $6 Manhattan’s 23rd Street Salvation Army
  • red tie belt - free (because vendor liked me!) Alameda Swap Meet
  • red cotton tights - $10 The Sock Man on St. Marks
  • heart-pattern Vans slip ons - $13 East Village Buffalo Exchange
  • maroon corduroy jacket - $20 Brooklyn Flea
  • TOTAL - $49 with jacket, $29 without

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French Pinky Friday

One of my favorite parts of our workspace is that on Fridays, my Studiomate Skylar brings in his French Bulldog, Pinky. She adds so much joy to the studio, finding patches of sunlight for her adorable naps, jumping from lap to lap, and entertaining us with her games of fetch (or as Pinky interprets it, keep away). Since this week’s theme is red and pink, it’s only appropriate that today’s outfit photos include cameos of Pinky.

  • red blazer - $5 Burlington Salvation Army
  • pink blouse - $3 Starkville Palmer Home Thrift
  • red belt - $2 Baltimore Salvation Army
  • high-waisted jeans - $18 Sideshow Clothing Co. of Hudson, NY
  • magenta Reebok high tops - $24 Etsy (seller Kasifoundthis)
  • TOTAL - $52

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Love Saves The Day Dress

I found this dress the day before the iconic East Village vintage toy and clothing store, Love Saves The Day, closed its doors for good. It was 75% off of $60, so I had to grab it, but until yesterday, I’d never actually worn it. I’m glad this week’s theme of red and pink finally provided the excuse I guess I needed, and now I’m addicted to swooshing around the studio in layers of crinoline and taffeta. This was a great dress for welcoming alumni and professors of the Mississippi State University Art Department to Studiomates for drinks. (In case you’re wondering, bourbon only increases the desire to swoosh.)

I miss Love Saves The Day, which I will go out on a limb to say is possibly the best name for a store… ever. I guess I’ll have to make a trip to its new location in, get this, New Hope, Pennsylvania.

  • pink wooden beads - can’t remember… from college
  • red cashmere cardigan - passed down from my friend Casson’s mom
  • pink and red print dress - $15 Love Saves The Day on 2nd Avenue
  • grey belt - $1 Starkville Salvation Army
  • grey heather burnout leggings - $20 Alternative Apparel (link below)
  • mauve Frye boots - $20 DUMBO Parent’s Association Stoop Sale
  • TOTAL - $56

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Tulips for Typekit

In keeping with this week’s theme of red and pink, I’m unveiling a brand new dress, found this weekend at the Brooklyn Flea. I was so excited to purchase this dress because while in theory I knew the tulip sleeve must exist, it is exceedingly rare. (I myself have never even seen a tulip sleeve in person.) I could barely contain my giddiness on the bus home from the Flea, and Creighton, goodness love him, actually acted just as excited. I guess it’s not hard to see why he’s the one for me.

Today deserves a very special dress because today is the first time an event (outside of Beer Friday) is being hosted in our Studiomates space! Two of my studiomates, Mandy Brown and Jason Santa Maria, are organizing a Typekit Talk with Tim Brown, and we’re expecting 75 attendees! Why wouldn’t I want to look my best?

  • pink satin ribbon barrette - borrowed from my friend Casson
  • pink beads - $2 Manhattan’s 23rd Street Salvation Army
  • red wrap dress - $30 Jelly Roll at Brooklyn Flea
  • purple tights - $10 The Sock Man on St. Marks
  • tan slouch cowboy boots - $48 Etsy (seller PureVintageClothing)
  • TOTAL - $90

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A Perfect Valentine’s “Costume”

I’m kicking off the Week of Red and Pink with this, the outfit I wore last year on Valentine’s Day. We celebrated by having dinner at our neighborhood favorite, Vinegar Hill House. As we waited for a table and drank fancy pants cocktails at the bar, a sweet older gentleman felt compelled to tell Creighton, “You’re a lucky man. Your date has the best costume in the whole place.”

That’s right… costume.

  • pink librarian’s sweater - $15 Jelly Roll at Brooklyn Flea
  • red cherries - $5 Alameda Swap Meet
  • plaid flannel skirt - $10 Jelly Roll at Brooklyn Flea
  • charcoal heather tights - $8 The Sock Man on St. Marks
  • brown peep-toe oxford pumps - $28 Etsy (seller PowBamBoom)
  • TOTAL - $66

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Scheme for the Week: Red and Pink

It’s grey and icy outside. My studiomate Rob commented that it looks as if someone turned down the contrast on the view from our windows. In an attempt to counteract this, I’ve decided to celebrate the week leading up to Valentine’s Day bumping up the saturation with one of my favorite color palettes: red and pink. So get ready; here comes a Strawberry Shortcake smack to the February blahs.

Rainbow Rosie Sushi for Amy

My sister Amy lives in Starkville, Mississippi, so I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like. But whenever I’m home, we always have the best time. She and her husband own Starkville’s best restaurant, and we like to close down its bar with a slightly intoxicated style all our own… She commandeers the sound system, we play our favorites for each other, then we end up dancing like idiots who don’t care who’s watching.

Here’s to my sister on her birthday. I love you and the person you’ve grown up to be. The best is yet to come!

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