Sunday, 23 October 2011

As I was colouring my hair by myself, I was kind of regretting having long hair. I mean, I love the way long hair looks on me, but I'm beginning to loathe my current haircut. Especially when colouring it by myself. Considering how difficult it was to do myself last time with this colour (Loreal Paris UV3 -  Ultra Violet Black) and knowing how runny the stuff is compared to some other products out there that are much easier to use, maybe I should have considered a different colour, but I REALLY liked the intensity of this one, and it seems to have pretty good coverage. Maybe I should have asked someone for help. But honestly, there are some things I prefer to do myself. Not because I enjoy the challenge, although to say I don't enjoy challenging myself would be a lie. It's more a combination of not wanting to burden other people, and not trusting other people.

I love my friends, I do. But some things I just don't trust to other people. And those things are usually fairly cosmetic. Figures. I don't necessarily think of myself as a shallow person, but when it comes to my appearance I hate it when I don't look the way I want too. It makes me feel uncomfortable. And if I'm doing something, like getting my hair coloured by some one else and they screw it up I get pretty angry with them. Honestly, I get angry at myself too when I screw up something like my hair colour or cut, but at the same time I can use the excuse of doing it myself to justify a few flubs, 'cuz I'm not a professional. But when a professional screws up, I get super pissed. And yes, in the case of dying my hair professionals have screwed up way worse than I ever have on my own. And in the case of friends? Well, I think the reason I don't trust them with my hair is because most of my friends just aren't into the whole beauty thing. And the ones who are don't trust themselves enough to do it and get it professionally done themselves, or I have seen their mistakes and well, don't want to have a similar experience (sorry gals!).

And this whole train of thought got me thinking about my whole quest for identity when I was a teenager. We all quest for our identities at that age, although I'm a super geek who would refer to it as a quest. When I was younger, I wanted to so very badly be that cool feminist intellectual, with wit and a laissez-fair style. I wanted to be Janeane Garofalo. Cynical, witty, dry and oh so uncool that I became cool, so anti-trend I would set the trends. But when we are young, we don't really spend a lot of time reflecting on who we actually are, we just focus on who we want to be. And I didn't ever really understand the distinction until I got interested in style and fashion.

You see, style and fashion taught me that it was okay to have self expression, to like things because I liked them, whether they were popular or not.

(Excuse me, the timer just went off, so I have to go rinse my dye out.)
*twenty minutes later*
Aaah, and the teal menace is gone! (Not that I disliked the teal. But my last highlighting job was only so-so and as it faded, it looked worse and worse...)


My point is, that for me, my self discovery was very much intertwined with my style discovery. It was through clothing that I learned to be myself. To mix patterns and colours boldly, to dress like an insane person one day, and the next dress demure. Through a lot of trial and error, I became more and more self aware. I became the owner of my own opinions on what I liked and didn't like. It's strange now, but when I look back all I really wanted was to be a non-conformist, and fit in with all the other non-conformists. You know, be just like everyone who wasn't just like everyone else. And when I finally "gave up" and "sold out" and "bought in" I all of a sudden gained a lot of personal freedom. And to think, pop culture was telling me that being outside of the system gave us freedom, but being inside of it actually made me feel like I could be more free.

Then one day, I realised it wasn't a choice between one or the other. That I could still be a little goth one day, and a brightly coloured pin-wheel the next. That I could still watch popular sit-coms AND at the same time watch the newest anime to hit Canada straight from Japan. I could still listen to indy music, and rock out to the classics, while on the same playlist jam to the top 40. Most importantly, I could still be intelligent and enjoy style. I could wear pants and a skirt, but never at the same time. I tried that, once. Never again.

I always thought the fashion system, the beauty, the all of that, was bad. I thought it set a poor example, that it made girls starve themselves and have low self esteem and become sluts to fill the void. But you know, it never made me compromise my morals. Loving clothing never made me hate myself, watching a size 0 model never made me want to be a size 0. Fashion taught me that the reason they started using such tiny ass models was because it was cheaper. Marilyn Monroe is still considered a sex symbol, and she wasn't tiny. Even fashion tries to be frugal, although you'd think by their designer prices they weren't. But to me that's a problem with inflation and honestly, society in general. And you can't blame all of fashion for big business. Inflation is everywhere, life costs money, the whole system is broken, recession blah blah... but that isn't the fault of fashion.

The message I take from style, from fashion, is to be yourself, express yourself, find what you like and make it your own. Sure, some things may be out of your price range when it comes to style, but there's a million different takes on what fashion should be and there's a lot of affordable nice things too. There's designers who wont dress girls over a size 8, and there's others who wont dress a girl under a size 8. It's all about expression, it's all about finding who you are, and expressing it through the way you look. And when you look good, you feel good. And that's a matter of pride. Who gives a shit if other people don't like the way you look, if you like the way you look, then you feel like you look good. You've expressed yourself, made a statement, and it almost makes you feel a little more courageous as a result.

I know it seems like such a simple idea, but it actually isn't. Trust me, as women we grow up thinking that you can only be one way or the other. You can be vapid and vain and popular, or you can be uncool and intellectual. That's it, there's no middle ground. Well, the day I learned that there was a middle ground was the day I realised that I am fucking amazing in my own right, I'm beautiful, and don't need to be defined by labels even if I buy them.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pita Chips and Hummus, Let's Be Friends FOREVER. Until I Eat You.

So I'm sitting here, eating my yummy lunch of pita chips, hummus and Italian wedding soup thinking how ridiculous it is that the whole bag of mini-pitas I bought was $1.75, and how quick they toast up and make the equivalent of $5.00 worth of a bag of pita chips. Being fugal has never been more delicious. And it's probably healthier too. That being said, I've been thinking about other things than delicious frugality today, the main thing being branding.

Frankly, I'm at a bit of a loss. I'm trying to work on this whole business plan thing for getting my designs out there to sell and making a name for myself, a brand. And right now, my working business name is ... horrible. I hate it. It's so... cute. I mean, it sounds like a company that makes jewellery in a small town and sells it at a gift shop. Which is, ironically, exactly what I'm currently doing but that's not the point! I want a name that will grow with my designs, and that feels accessible to the people I design for. Right now, the only saleable pieces I have are my Jellyfish earrings, which are fun and whimsical, and the current name I'm using for my "company" -- Little Biggs Designs -- suits them in a silly girly way. But what about when I start getting some saleable pieces of say, the Cream Soda Shorts? Or the Wrap Skirt? Little Biggs Designs is just not a name that speaks to me, and I don't think it speaks to my customers either.

I've been thinking a lot about my client, who I am designing for. And honestly, my niche is in the semi-geeky quirky girl, the kind of woman who cares about her appearance, but doesn't give a shit about what's "on trend" exactly. She's the kind of girl who would wear a corset as street wear, who wears retro head phones while listening to classic rock, who paints her nails to glam up her look, and then lets them chip away rather than removing it. It might be said her style is a little laissez-faire, and layers are her friend. She loves piercings, and tattoos, yet would still gleefully raid her grandmothers closet for vintage pieces of awesome. My client loves the idea of reclaimed clothing, and organic cloth, but will still wear polyester if it's rad enough. She also says rad. And she is a living rainbow.

Then it occurred to me, I am designing for myself.

And I'm a bit of a hipster, aren't I?

But anyway, after thinking a lot about that, I'm trying to come up with something that speaks to me on a few different levels. I've been getting a lot of ideas from people in my life, well input more than ideas. A lot of the input has been helpful in finding a direction, but some of it is derailing me. And now I'm a little stuck. A friend of mine who works in web design and print design gave me a few pointers on dealing with the internet, and how I want to make my business name something Google searchable, related to the product I'm selling. His exact example was "if someone is looking for edgy awesome earrings, and they Google that the first thing Google will pull up is EdgyAwesome Designs giving it most points for relating to the search." My current business name will not come up in that search, unless I inundate the site itself with text that says "Edgy" and "Awesome" all over it. Which I am not adverse to doing.

Right now, I'm stuck on one idea I'm particularly fond of, but it has nothing to do with anything I've made. But it sounds artsy and I kind of like it.

Maybe I should just call my business Terribly Titled too, because I apparently am no good at titles...

Friday, 14 October 2011

I've never understood the expression sick as a dog.

I am not feeling well. Went to the burlesque show last night, and although it was probably the best one yet I couldn't stay for the whole show. After the use of a smoke machine and some angle grinders on stage, I was having trouble breathing. And I decided I wanted to drink a whiskey sour, and that was also a mistake when combining with hootin' and hollarin' for the girls when I already had a sore throat to begin with. Then combine the random waves of vertigo and the fact that where I was sitting was right under a very cold fan, I started to get chills even when the fan wasn't running. Today I'm running a bit of a fever as a result, an my throat has blisters. I hate it when that happens.

So I'm taking it easy today, drinking some herbal remedy tea made by this company, that if you are in Canada and don't believe in taking cough medicine I highly suggest trying it. I've been able to find it at all sorts of grocery stores, Save On Foods carries it. It's not that I don't believe in cough medicine, it works for some people. But I find when I have a mild cold or flu that when I take alcohol and sugar based remedies, it only makes the symptoms worse when the medicine wares off and before I know it I have a sinus infection or strep throat or bronchitis again. Sugars and alcohols only increase the bodies acidity, making it hard for the body to fight infection on it's own. So although the cough medicine may make the symptoms feel better, it's making the illness worse. I'm also eating probiotic yogurt with honey and almond granola, because honey has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and yogurt helps reduce acidity. And it's just super yummy and easy to eat when you are feeling icky.

Anyway, other than feeling sick I'm pretty happy about this week. Made some money selling the Lace Jellyfish and only have 1 pair left in store, so I'm making more. I was super stoked when I realised I'm turning a profit on the things, I've made back what I've spent on supplies already! Now I just need to get a bunch of stock made and get serious with selling them online too. I also need to work out some new and fun designs, keeping with the crochet lace look because I want some consistency. I also want to gather some supplies for more shell and feather hair pins. So many ideas! I'm also working on a few upcycled items, like fingerless gloves and legwarmers, and some cool ideas I have for vests made from denim. Hopefully I can get my butt in gear to get enough stock and a bit of money down on it to consider doing my own booth at the farmers market.

But today, I'm not going to worry about any of it, except maybe crocheting some jellyfish while I relax and watch Netflix. Which is getting so much better here in Canada than it was when I first signed up! So many amazing TV shows are on it now, like X-Files and Buffy, and even some newer stuff like Walking Dead. And the movie selection has expanded. I had just read an article about how Netflix lost liscencing in the states, and then all of a sudden it got better in Canada. My other plans for the day include finishing Storm of Swords (book three in George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series also now known as the inspiration for the HBO series Game of Thrones). I started reading the series like, a month and a bit ago. It took me awhile to get through the first two books, but it's taken me less than a week to read through the third one. I'm probably going to have to run to Bookland tomorrow to buy the next one, because I don't want to stop until I'm caught up. I should also probably do dishes and laundry, but the illness says no to that! I tidied up my sewing room this morning, and it made me feel super light headed. Dishes really need doing though, and I think I might just have to suck it up and get 'er done. Being an adult is difficult some days...