Monday, September 30, 2013

The Stans

During the month of August I had the most extraordinary experience traveling around Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan with the fam. Needless to say, I knew next to nothing about this part of the world- we just don't tend to cover much of Central Asia in the American education system. But each country was uniquely fascinating, from their role in the Silk Road to the influences that impacted their cultures ie. everyone speaks Russian in addition to local languages due to their inclusion in the former Soviet Union. Turkmenistan alone was mind-blowing; it's considered the North Korea of Central Asia and deserves it's own post, so keep an eye out for it. (For a head start, check out the extremely beautiful but incredibly bizarre city of Aşgabat.)

My amateur interest in filming trips started last summer when I was awarded a research grant to study textiles in Southeast Asia. I decided to make a short movie covering my experiences in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand (I watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat three consecutive mornings to get the perfect shot for the opening scene). I found that the video was such a wonderful souvenir that I did the same for a family trip to Cuba last winter. 

Throughout the Stans trip I captured footage of the ruins, monuments, mosques, madrasas, deserts and markets that we visited. I figured it would be an interesting insight into an area of the world relatively unknown to the West. Enjoy!

P.S. Make sure to watch it in HD. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

How To: Colorful Paper Bunting

Last weekend Ariella and I threw our house warming party, but we needed a lil something special for our entrance way to welcome our lovely guests. Technically, we're not supposed to hang things in the hallway of our building... buuut we have the whole top floor to ourselves so liiiiike whose going to see it?

 The best aesthetic is a Pinterest aesthetic (btw- looking to host a "Wine and Pinterest" party if anyone is interested... it's exactly what it sounds like), so I did my best to make some cutesy bunting that you'd find on an "English Garden Party" board. It's super easy to make and we've decided to leave it up because it's such a wonderful sight to come home to. Warms the heart and cheers the spirits. Or some Pinterest-y saying like that.

P.S. I went to TOWN on the washi tape in my apartment. I can't get enough. It's addicting. Beware. 

Time as a Hexadecimal Colour Value

I just found your new screensaver: The Colour Clock.

 This mesmerizing time tracker, by British designer Jack Hughes, toggles between the hour and it's corresponding hexadecimal colour value (a.k.a. the six numbers representing colours used in web design). It's kind of like the digital equivalent of exploring paint chips at Home Depot, but without the energy expenditure and the smell of fertilizer (IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: the smell of home depot has its own facebook page). 

So if you've decided the slideshow of "Cabo with the Girlz" falls into the category of #NSFW, maybe give this one a go.

P. S. colour. ha ha.

via Selina.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Only Time Its Okay to Put Your Feet on the Table

Earlier this week, I conducted an interview for NYLON. Considering this was the first legit interview I'd ever given, I was afraid. I was very afraid. Okay so yes, it was a phone interview and yes, it was from the safety of my apartment. But still. Baby steps. 

 The morning of the interview, as I was sipping my "focus" tea and twitching uncontrollably, I was perusing TED Talks (as one does) and came across a little nugget of wisdom (and science!) that I actually used before my interview. And guess what? It worked.

Amy Cuddy gave a TED Talks on the power of body language. Now, I'm sure our parents have all grilled into our heads not to slump, cross our arms etc etc during an interview because it sends out messages of disinterest and boredom. But Cuddy discusses the influence your body language has over your own perception of self. If you don't have twenty minutes to watch the talk, that's understandable. But you close out of this to go watch a 30 minute puppy video, let's recheck our priorities (however, if its a puppy emergency, Ariella has some recommendations).  The long story short is that if you stand in power-poses before an interview, your testosterone levels will rise and you will carry yourself with more confidence and self-assurance. Well, count me in! Where were TED Talks when I was in middle school?!?

Twenty minutes before my phone interview, I'm literally walking around my apartment with my arms in the air, putting my leg up on objects Captain Jack-style and attempting to trick my body into thinking that I'm a BO$$. 

When my phone rang, I calmly answered and gave the best first interview of my life.

 Check it out below. Or, you know, don't.
P.S. If you don't watch the video, at least watch the 15 second clip at 1:25. Burrrrrn.

Want more TED Talks? This one is also really good: Jane McGonigal: The Game That Can Give You Ten Extra Minutes of Life 
(Just don't mind her outfit because I honestly cannot explain what she was thinking. Those boots.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

"Blank Walls Are Criminal" -Banksy

I am not allowed to mark on my walls or put nails into it. This has led to an apartment full of blue tape and 3M hooks a.k.a. my college dorm room. While this is unfortunate, the apartment does have wonderfully high ceilings. You win some you lose some. 

Banksy is well-known for agreeing with my theory that white walls kill creativity, so I wanted to create a little somethin somethin using removable black painters tape to fill the space. However, a thorough search through Home Depot, Michaels and Paper Source led me to believe that no such thing exists. So armed with plebeian masking tape and a jumbo black sharpie, I meticulously colored-in several yards of tape and pulled a poor man's Pygmalion on my wall. I also decided to film the process and set it to happy music because why would you not.
*spoiler pic at the bottom of post*

Friday, September 20, 2013

Apples and Oranges

When you read one of the thousands of articles in fashion magazines titled, "What is the Best Party Dress for Your Body Type", the body types they give you consist of fruits, vegetables and variations of sensitive synonyms for fat (FYI no one wants to be called an apple).

WELL LO AND BEHOLD! A new era for curvey women has begun! Refinery29 did a piece on "Cute Skirts That Flatter Your Body Type" yesterday, and the first type was (drumroll please):
 Now as you may or may not know, I have a *slight* obsession with Botticelli (my college essay was about seeing his work in the Uffizi for the first time. Whaddup Wash U, thanks for liking it!!), and this was a body type I could get behind. Heck, YES I'll compare myself to Venus. It's like a mini-compliment I'm forced to pay myself. Who wouldn't want to claim those bodacious curves, amiright?

Unfortunately, the following body type lingo R29 chose is "carrot." Carrot. Why would you EVER call a human being a carrot?? No one even genuinely likes carrots, they just happen to be a convenient high-nutrient, low-calorie snack. My thoughts go out to those of you with broad shoulders and skinny legs (sort of). 

So future body-type writers, next time you decide to write a piece on how women should dress their bodies, take a page out of an art history book (might I recommend "History of Art" by H W Jansen) and refer to women as a Modigliani Mistress (long and lean), Klimt Cutie (pear-shaped), Degas Diva (athletic) or a Rubens Rebel (apple). 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We Crave a Different Kind of Buzz

 Ten Reasons Why I Want to Be Lorde

          1. That hair
          2. She is only 16 and already more famous than you will ever be
          3. Grimes tweets at her
          4. She rocks a laurel wreath better than Caesar
          5. She can sing without opening her mouth
          6. Her real name is Ella Yelich-O'Connor
          7. Her life is so exotic
          8. She does Yeezus better than Yeezus
          9. She's been called "The Thinking Person's Lana Del Rey" (I thought Lana Del Rey was the thinking person's Lana Del Rey but whatev) 
          10. She's Queen Bee 

One Reason Why it Would Never Work Out Between Us

                                           1. Tigers on a gold leash don't interest her 

How To: Glitter Antlers

The perks (and downfalls) of living in Williamsburg: I am two blocks away from Saturdays' Smorgasburg  and Sunday's Brooklyn Flea. This means ramen burgers (yes, that's a thing) at my fingertips, and overpriced mason jars that I never knew I needed but, in fact, were the only things missing from my life. 

While I had been exemplifying excellent self-restraint last Sunday, I happened upon a collection of antlers that made me weak in the knees. Now, everything looks good with gold glitter on it. But dead animal body parts? Those take the cake. 

So I purchased my friend, here, for $20 (read: almost a month's worth of Green Peace "donations"). The older man who collected these pieces kindly informed me that the antlers' name was Buck. I said thank you and slowly backed away. What does that even mean?? Are these the remains of a childhood pet deer whose time had come? Or did he shoot the wild animal and then name it? The jury is still out. And will probably never come back.

Seeing as some of the few belongings I brought with me when I first came to NYC included two industrial-sized jars of gold glitter, I had plenty to experiment with. I'm also at a point in my life where, if glitter gets all over every surface in my room (and it will), I embrace it. That's an important part of DIY-ing, by the way: having a good space to DIY in. It was a delightful Sunday evening in my own special DIY space; candles were lit, Sam Cooke was on the turntable, and Buck was in my arms. 

This is a pretty complicated one, so please read the instructions carefully.
(P.S. How much more legit do DIY photos look when you Google "hipster fonts" and write things on them?? Score!)

Monday, September 16, 2013

How to Lose Money and Make Friends

I would just like to point out that some of Nathan Pyle's "NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette" can also be extremely useful in other places. Such as, say, wandering South Congress in Austin. Take this one, for example:


While in town for SXSW last spring, I had the unfortunate luck of being vampired by a Green Peace representative. "Vampired" is a term I just came up, but I think it's fairly accurate to describe the way they sink their teeth into your skin and suck your blood.

I was flanked by two of my North Easterner friends who walked right past him. But my Southern blood is weak and susceptible to solicitation, and I had no choice but to stop and listen to him describe the sad fate of Bengal tigers.

Now don't get me wrong, Bengal tigers are beautiful creatures that deserve to thrive on this planet and Green Peace is a highly respectable organization. But COME ON. Don't you think if I wanted to spend $25 a month saving the planet I would already be doing it?? Of course, now I'm a terrible person for saying that because $25 is, like, three coffees at Starbucks. Well, guess what? I don't go to Starbucks.

 Needless to say, I didn't know how to say "no", so I signed up, thinking, "Ha! I'll just unsign-up when I get home, sucker." But I can't figure out how. I've searched their website so often, it was on my Top Sites homepage for weeks. Consequently, I've been leaking $25 a month to these guys.  Your grandchildren can thank me. And their pets, too. (By 2040, I'm hoping that we will have domesticated tigers.)

Anyway, then I moved to NYC and was approached by more of their drones. No wait, "approached" is the wrong word. I was yelled at from across the street in Soho, "Hey, you look like a hippie! Sign up for Green Peace!" That was the second time that day I had been called a hippie (I wasn't even wearing anything weird!) and I was in no mood to save the polar bears because I was hungry and it was hot. I politely told him I was already signed up, and he grilled me on the details of whereabouts I sold my soul to the devil. Apparently, he has friends in Austin. Cool, bro. Now let me sweat through all of my clothing in peace.

After living here for three months, I thought I had finally perfected my New York City Indifference, but last week I had a thirty minute conversation in Union Square with a man trying to sign me up for a hair salon -__-  Apparently, his girlfriend recently visited Austin and is now convinced it's the new Mecca. Good story, bro. Now let me eat my Chloe's soft serve fruit in peace.

So hey, maybe I'm a sucker and maybe my friends will continue to make fun of me for contributing $300 a year to Green Peace (ahem Richard), but at least I'm making personal connections on a-day-to-day basis, and how many New Yorkers can say that, huh?
(BONUS: If my parents ever sell our house in Austin, I'll have a plethora of semi-mutual friends I can stay with when I go home!)


Also, this illustrated tip by Pyle. EVERYDAY without fail I witness this on the subway. And EVERYDAY I want to yell at these people, "YOU CAN HAVE THEIR SPOT IF YOU LET THEM OUT." Morons.

NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette via Selina

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How To: Color Code Keys

The most exciting thing about a new apartment (other than having a place to live) is the set of keys that come with it. However, as much as I love my new neighborhood, I feel as though people can get touchy with newcomers because, well, they were in Williamsburg before it was "cool". And nothing screams newbie like fumbling with your keys at the front door as droves of hipsters scoot by (has anyone else noticed the rise in razor scooters??) (Also, is the active verb "scoot" in this situation? Plz advise.)

But fear no more, new kids on the block! With this nifty DIY project, you can discreetly check which key is which before stepping onto your stoop. People will think you've lived there for years.
 Jokes on them!

P.S.  Bonus points if you match your nails to your keys. Surprisingly, the nail art craze is still alive and well, so don't worry about being passé (for now).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

a haiku

life is about change
because if we stayed the same
that would be boring

hello real world, goodbye college
hello brooklyn, goodbye stl/atx
hello chantagold speaks, goodbye glitterature.

sometimes we just need a fresh start.