Friday, February 27, 2015

Trippin' Down Memory Lane: A Celestial Would-Be Astronomer's Childhood Bedroom


I recently stumbled photos of my childhood bedroom in an ancient digital memory card. This was the room in my late teenage years. Looking back, the space is so tiny and compact. How did I fit four friends in for random sleepovers?! There's no Mid Century Modern in sight (which I liked at the time but didn't collect), but there's still...

Transformers! I used to stay up until the early morning hours working on websites so you'll notice lots of ambient light pieces I enjoyed keeping on, sometimes until the sun came up. I loved the Mexican star lamp on the ceiling, the paper lamps above the bed, and the star lamp on my small bookshelf. I collected my pieces over the years from thrift stores, hippie/new-age shops, Puerto Rico trips and from "ethnic" shops over the years. The beaded curtain was the first thing I ever ordered online. I recall the mixed feelings and regret I felt selling most of everything pictured.

The dressers are still "in the family," my roommate is using the standard one and the mirror above it, the high boy is in my niece's bedroom. The big, ugly TV was in my living room until a couple years back (seen here in 2nd apartment's living room along with me Mexican star and the bookshelf below).

Sorry for the hideous blur here. I used a 4 mega pixel point and shoot camera from ancient times for these shots. At night! This was the work space where I made many of my earlier websites. I still have that Nightmare Before Christmas Lamp (on my vanity) and one of the pen cups. I no longer have sharp teeth and eye balls attached to a stone-age PC, but that printer lasted forever. It just kicked the bucket a couple months back.

I'm writing from that same computer desk right now, it's scuffed and worn from years of heavy use. My childhood Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles poster hangs out in my bathroom. I painted the two memo boards you can barely see with gradient night skies to match the room theme. I still have the pokémon plushies but I recently sold the last of my manga comic books. It's hard to see but there's 3 batman collectibles in this shot and one in the first shot!

The Starry Night pillow was from a kitschy shop in the trendy 5 Points shopping strip, you'd press the moon in and tiny battery powered bulbs made the lights twinkle. The prints above the bed were pages from my calendar and the rabbit (named "Bunny") was a childhood toy. The stars above the bed glowed beautifully at night, I don't think my then-camera was up to the task of documenting that correctly! The theme was inspired by my then love of astronomy. I used to take my telescope out to our deck and peek at celestial wonders on summer nights, by then I knew I'd go to college to be a writer or graphic designer but around age 9 I was obsessed with becoming an astronomer and continued collecting astronomy goods since then.

This room reminds me of former maximalist days, I continue to strive for minimalism. I continue to sell as much as possible, keeping little nostalgic pieces for history. I'm still writing for websites and curating daily like I when I occupied that room. I never would have guessed all the time I spent in this room making websites for fun would turn into a full-time career.

Those walls are now a pale yellow and that old maroon rug's been swapped for a plush cream one. The space has become a "play room" for my nieces and nephews, with space for their toys and a large flat screen TV for their movies and video games.  My mom keeps begging me to a make-over on the kid's space so look for a before/after into the future! For now, it's fun to look at this bit of frozen time. We grow up, we mature, but some things never change.

What was your childhood bedroom like? What era was it? I'd really love to know! Any embarrassing messes, crush's photos or regrettable decor?
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I'm Reading: Self-Improvement, Frugality, Anti-Consumerism, Style and...Smut

I'm a bibliophile that rarely reads, it's sad. This year I want to read my whole library and sell off most of it. I love having books, but I love minimalism and a clear, clutter-free space even more! There will always be more books at the library and exactly 1 trillion books at yard sales, so I feel no need to hold on the ones I have and rarely touch. In a rare moment when I find myself wanting to keep them I imagine myself carrying them up and down flights of stairs for another move and the desire disappears! Ha! Here's what I've polished off lately, for better or worse...

Make it Mighty Ugly: Exercised & Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain't Pretty

Self-Doubt, Perfection, Fear of Failure, Blocks and Procrastination. They are the universal creative demons, sabotaging our ability to create no work and be productive. This book is filled with helpful exercises and quotes to help you slay the beasts. A fun read with pithy, relatable stories. My demons still seize hold, but now I can recognize an attack them when they appear.

What is Your What: Discover the One Thing Your Were Born To Do

My dad's office was hosting a book swap and he decided this book was just the one for me. "Thanks, dad!" I said jokingly-sarcastically when I got the book. I know it's true, I have a busy-ass brain and it's really hard for me to settle on doing any one thing at one time; not to mention choosing a forever-life path! If you're a creative that looks at other businesses and often proclaim, "I could do that!" this book is for you. If you're lethargic and lost with no idea where to start, this book is for you! I'd argue that this book would be illuminating for everyone. It has step-by-step work throughs to help you discover your hinderances, passions, and how to find your life's work and audience. Working through it resolved a lot of anxiety, I feel more peaceful afterwards. Excellent read.

Tim Gunn A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style

I was considering, but mostly abandoned, an idea of making a combo up-cycled and vintage clothing line. Because, too much. Stop, busy-brain. I spent some time researching style throughout the decades and the idea of personal style. Even if I'm not making my line anymore, I do want to write more about hunting down classic pieces that won't age. I'm sick of "fast fashion" pieces that fall apart with one wash, wouldn't it be fun to have an mostly vintage wardrobe filled with pieces that have lasted through the decades? This is a good, light read that should help you streamline your wardrobe and choose pieces that work for you, your size and personality. I'll share more later but my favorite part is when Tim asks you to think of yourself as a billboard when you leave the house. What's the message you're trying to share with the world with the pieces you choose to wear?

Poor Craft: The Funnybook Fundamentals of Living Well on Less

This should be the new go-to gift for every high school and/or college graduate. This should be in every public school library, in every home. Cute, light, and fun to read yet jam-packed with every you need to know on living a full, frugal life. There's everything from transportation, cooking of all kinds, hospital visits, finding free events, low-cost housing, and more.

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping

I'd been dying to own my own copy of this book for years, and somehow appropriately, found it sitting on top on a huge bin of books at a Goodwill Outlet (where you buy items by weight). Not Buying It is Judith Levine's diary of the year 2004, the year George Bush would tell Americans to "shop" to fix all of our country's then-woes. I love this book for the information on the psychology of buying. A story on how empty she felt for skipping buying a purse in Chinatown and later feeling regret not because of the literal bag but because how the bag would make her look as bohemian as a young artist that crossed her path still plays in my mind before I buy nearly anything; is it the item I want, or how the item makes me feel?

Readers previously detracted this one for the author's lack of using the thrift store but I disagree. She does break the rules and use it once for cheap clothes for a trip, anyway, but that's not why she's refusing to use thrift stores. This is not merely a money saving exercise. She's challenging her will power and resourcefulness and confronting her consumerism demons, discovering what she always buys and why. Judith and her husband's exceptions were narrow: no plays, movies, or eating out. I've done similar experiences and at first it can really burn. Then, like the couple in the book, you learn new skills. You fix your own things, make your own clothes/accessories, you borrow, you find new free events and spaces. I highly recommend this book and a "buy nothing" challenge to everyone. Not just for the money saved, but the experience.

I don't just love so-bad-it's-good unintentionally funny movies, I also love so-bad-they're-good corny, kitschy books! I re-discovered a cache of V.C Andrews books while helping my mom clean out the attic (irony- Andrews starts her career writing about 4 kids locked in an attic) and couldn't bring myself to donate and/or sell them... yet.  I don't even have them out with the rest of the books, they don't deserve the honor of display. They're tucked out of sight in my TV stand!

Bottom photo: the books shamefully tucked away out of sight. Like the many illegitimate children in V.C Andrews novels. Reoccurring theme.

Flowers in the Attic

The first, and best, V.C Andrews novel. A controversial book nearly every 12-year-old girl reads as a weirdo "right of passage"; because only a 12-year-old would have such a skewed understanding of sexuality to read this and take it seriously. I've re-read this at different stages of life and always come away with more reasons to loathe all of the characters! This book is hilarious. I could write many essays on the weirdness of it all. I think the saddest part is that an adaptation has the potential to be incredible, there are some excellent themes and visuals in this book. Tim Burton or the American Horror Story team could do the book justice. It is, after all, hyperbolized like a fairy tale. Instead it always gets a vanilla treatment. A love and hate for this one, it's so bad and so good.

Unfinished Symphony

The last book in "Melody's" story. This is when the publisher knew the target audience for V.C Andrews books was getting younger and younger and the books got dumber and dumber. (I was, after all, 9 when I read my first V.C Andrews book.) This book was awful, getting through the last pages was an endurance test. Melody has a lot of "informed" attributes. She's "intelligent, witty, brave, beautiful, and strong" affecting every character that she meets deeply. Nearly every male character is so taken with her they try to rape her (no police calls are ever made, and I'm alone shouting in my house shouting "YOU LITTLE IDIOT! CALL THE POLICE! I HATE YOU!") which is a horribly dated stylistic convention anyway. She's the class valedictorian yet so dumb she falls for the stupidest shit left and right?

Nope. Cannot with these books anymore. They are unbearable. Anyone want to buy a bunch of V.C Andrews books from me? I give up!

Web Recommendation: As much as I adore bad novels, I can't bring myself to pay for Fifty Shades of Gray. The whole book series was at a yard sale but they were asking too much. I think it was somewhere between $5 and $10. Still too much. I read the first few pages in a book store and realized what a chore it would be to get through. Luckily, another writer on the web has done is for us! Jenny Trout's hilarious read-through is the perfect way to get to the "funniest parts" of the book without having to endure the drawn out sex scenes, poor character development and atrocious writing errors/style. Check it out, it's laugh-out-loud hilarious. There's even an audio-book part for some of it.

Been reading anything good lately? Got any recommendations for me?
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Mid Century Modern and Antiques on Display at the Museum of Science and History


It's fun to travel to exotic locations, but sometimes the things right in your own back yard offer just as many surprises. I live 8 minutes away from The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) and haven't been back to explore it for years. AJ and I explored the large space to escape Thursday's icy breeze and will have much more to look at with the next visit, there was so much to read and see.

It was painful but I left my SLR camera at home to give myself a "break" from it. I take product photos for clients, photos of my own merchandise, and photos for blog posts/personal use -every- single day. I've considered to share Project 365 on the blog because I definitely take photos every day, but it would be hard to choose which photo to pick for each day! I need a bigger challenge! Besides, does anyone else find that it can take you out of the moment to constantly, perfectly document your life with a big camera?

Our favorite exhibit was the walk through time showing the history of Jacksonville, Florida from the Timucuan Indians to the modern area. With gorgeous props, real antiques/artifacts and music and sound affects it did a beautiful job setting the tone. I spent the longest while looking at the artifacts from the early and mid 1900s, of course! The goodies I've bought and sold for years. It was the next-best thing to a time machine.

All photos were swiftly snapped with my smart phone while exiting. The workers found us going through the proverbial labyrinth and told us the space was already closed! We'll definitely be back ASAP to explore and read all the data in detail.

Question for anyone who lived through the era. In many re-creations (museums, photos, movie sets) a 1950s-60s era home is often shown in perfect, new, atomic-style mid century modern wares. I doubt the authenticity there, since this would imply there were no conflicting antique hand-me-downs thrown in the mix and the house was only assembled with newest furniture pieces. Just something this mid-century-lover has been curious about. I feel like this type of house is more American-fantasy than reality.

That's why I appreciate shows like Mad Men, the main character's upper middle class early 1960s home looks like this and this; because even monied people didn't up and change their whole asthetic to something trendy immediately. And others stayed rooted in tradition. Just food for thought, I think way too deeply about details all day every day...
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