January 26, 2015

the Zodiac Dresser: Capricorn III

This year, like last, the Capricorn inspired post for my Zodiac Dresser series comes a bit late which is kind of ironic considering the scrupulous, no-nonsense nature of this sign. 
50s dress: thrifted in Oregon * tights: Target *scarf: grandma
The last earth sign in the astrological calender, I liken Capricorn to a mountain peak: tough, ambitious and enduring. It should come as no surprise, then, that Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the ancient Roman god of obstacles and discipline. 
necklace: thrifted in Oregon * belt: secondhand 
I chose this brown, 1950s dress because Capricorn is known to be conservative and is associated with the color brown. 
shoes: 80/20
grounded, steady, strong,
always climbing up that hill:
stubborn Capricorn

Are any of you readers Capricorns? Do you tend to dress more conservatively?

January 01, 2015

My Tidy Apartment and 10 Organizing Tips for the Pathologically Messy

Confession: I'm a recovering slob. See, growing up with two neat freak parents (love you!), being messy became a form of rebellion for me. But guess what? At a certain point, you have to stop living your life as a reaction to your family and make the choices that actually benefit you the most. And for the first and only time* I will admit it: my parents were right all along, being organized makes life easier and better. So now that I strive to keep my home tidy, I'd like to share my insights with you while also giving you a glimpse into my space. 
my living room 
1. Find your specific motivation, write it down and remind yourself frequently. My main motivations are being able to host and craft in a pleasant and inspiring environment. By hosting and crafting often (sometimes simultaneously) I am regularly reminded why being tidy matters. 
vintage tin collection 
2. Put like with like. This seems pretty obvious because it's kinda the definition of organization, yet it seems to allude many. This goes for decorating and organizing. For example, all my lanterns and ceiling danglys hang from one general corner, creating a stronger visual statement than if they were spread throughout the apartment. 
I call that my owl-cove. 
3. Make it a daily habit. Anticipate, schedule and commit to about 30-60 minutes of tidying/cleaning up after yourself every.single.day. As tedious as this may sound, having tidy habit maintains a consistently (vs. sporadically) nice space and is much less stressful than marathon cleaning sessions.
4. Start each day by making your bed. Look, it takes all of 5-10 minutes but it makes you feel semi-accomplished right away, looks SO much nicer and establishes the habit of picking up after yourself.
my dresser: top right painting is by me, others by Georgia 
5. Pick up after yourself right away, not later. When you take your jacket off, don't slump it on the chair, hang it up. When you're done eating, put your plate in the sink/dishwasher right away, not an hour later. Procrastinating will not magically clean up your little messes, but could result in them accumulating into one big, seemingly insurmountable mess!
my japanophile collection (in my bedroom) 
6. Use (a) regular cleaning schedule/list(s). It might help to keep separate ones for daily vs. longer term chores. This will keep you on track and on task. Plus, checking off items off a to-do list makes everyone feel good.
curious table, gift from a friend
7. Identify and target your specific weaknesses. My biggest weakness? Leaving clothes all over the place-- big shocker there, right?! My tendency is to try on a bunch of different outfits before going out and leaving the rejects strewn about. So now I work extra hard to counter that negative habit by immediately folding and storing unworn garments once I'm dressed.
gallery wall 
8. Pare down as much as possible. This is easier for some than others, especially collector types such as myself. At a certain point, however, too much stuff overwhelms you and makes it harder to appreciate the real gems. (This trope comes to mind.) If you are a collector, ask yourself: how many of __ do you really need? Can you set a limit and then commit to a one-in-one-out policy? As you keep collecting, your tastes should become more refined and therefore, fewer items should pass the muster. For any given item, determine if having a photo would suffice. I know I feel much better about parting with even beautiful garments if I've blogged them. These days, you can try selling your stuff first but thanks to craigslist and thrift stores, you can make sure useable items don't go to waste. For items of sentimental value that you secretly don't want/like but feel guilty about parting with: would seeing the item in the hands of someone who truly cherishes it maybe better serve the memory?
cabinet of curiosities 
9. Make furniture your friend, not foe. The curiosity cabinet above helps my tchotchke collection stay both manageable and appreciated because everything is artfully grouped together on display. Maximize vertical space with shelves. Buy furniture which is collapsible or with hidden storage. Raise your bed so you can hide out-of-season clothes. Avoid bulky furniture which lacks storage potential unless you truly have the space and/or they are exceptional pieces. Take inspiration from the interiors of boats and Airstreams.
craft pegboard and clown collection 
10. Keep your creative stuff organized! Use drawers, shelves, cubbies, peg boards, wheeled carts and bins/boxes to achieve this and remember to keep like with like. I used to believe the common misconception that "I'm creative so I can't be organized." Yes, creative people often have a lot of tools and materials with which they work and experiment in messy ways. However, you'll find it much easier to find what you need exactly when you need it if everything is in its right place. When you're not actively in process, clean up after yourself until next time.
#skulls #bones #taxidermy #plants #decor #outside #morbid
skull collection on my balcony 
Well, I hope you've all found this list helpful and inspirational. If you have your own tips/suggestions/success stories about organization, please share them in the comments! You can see more photos of mi casa here.


December 23, 2014

The Zodiac Dresser: Sporty Sagittarius

Welcome to my last post of 2013, an installment of my Zodiac Dresser series in which I explore astrology through outfits. Today's post is inspired by Sagittarius, symbolized by the Centaur, a mythical half-archer-half-horse lending this sign a deep sense of physicality and sportiness. I've taken an abstract, "vibes based" approach to inspiration for this outfit and focused on Sagittarius's masculine, sporty and casual qualities. 
jeans: thrifted, originally Diesel * shoes: New Balance
The final fire sign in the zodiac, I compare Sagittarius to embers, warm but not intense like the youthful explosiveness of Aries or Leo. There's a casualness and independence to Sagittarian energy that's cool and breezy while simultaneously friendly, jovial and generous. Sagittarius has the enthusiastic spiritedness of fire combined with the wisdom and cheer of ruling planet Jupiter.
detail of vintage track jacket, found in free pile. pretty badass, right?
This sign is associated with the color royal purple; in Roman myth, Jupiter was ruler of the heavens and god of abundance and fortune. Accordingly, this sign is often considered to both be lucky as well as bring good luck. 
and now the backside...

lucky ruler of the stars,
wise archer, half beast.
Are any of you born under the sign Sagittarius?

November 20, 2014

Zodiac Dresser: Scorpio III

Welcome to another installment of the Zodiac Dresser, my series dedicated to astrologically inspired outfits. Today's post celebrates ScorpioScott P. Yates Photography helped me capture the sensual moodiness (or is it moody sensuality?) of this water sign in industrial Manchester. (Photos by Scott P. Yates, duh.) 
vintage 50s dress, handmade: thrifted in Eugene * tights: Oroblu *shoes: Clarks 
Crimson and other deep shades of red are associated with Scorpio, a sign notorious for being jealous, emotional, lustful, sensitive, mysterious and artistic. Scorpio is ruled by Pluto,  a planet named for the Roman god of the netherworld, hence the darker qualities of this sign.  An astrologer friend of mine once told me that the purpose of Scorpio is to bring the darkness to the light. On a personal level, this is one of my favorite signs exactly because of its beautifully dark aspect. I have moon in Scorpio, meaning my id operates much like this sign and I find it a constant source of artistic inspiration. 
scarf: grandma 
Dark undercurrent
of Pluto's death and rebirth:
sensitive Scorpio. 

Thanks again to Scott P. Yates for these photos. I'm happy to hear from any Scorpios in the comments. 

November 10, 2014

Cinnamon is another warming, spicy plant I appreciate most during winter. A member of the laurel family, cinnamon is a tropical evergreen native to Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines and the West Indes. The bark and young twigs of the cinnamon tree are cut and fermented in the field before dried and used as curled pieces or ground spice. Because cinnamon bark is too potent, the leaves are used instead to make an essential oil which is antiseptic, antibiotic and antiviral.  
This essential oil increases energy, motivation and creativity through its stimulating effects. Inhale a drop of cinnamon oil on a tissue to ease mental exhaustion. Use in steam with essential oil of sweet orange to uplift mood. You can also disinfect a toothbrush in a glass of water mixed with a couple drops of cinnamon oil. 
Cinnamon oil can also be used topically to help the immune and circulation systems. A few drops of ginger and cinnamon oils can be added to a bath to ease symptoms of the flu or colds and also added to a massage oil to improve circulation. 

Cinnamon can also be taken internally for medicinal purposes as a spice or tea made by boiling the bark. Cinnamon aids in digestion by blocking the creation of chemicals that cause inflammation. It also contains propanoic acid which helps prevent peptic ulcers. Cinnamon tea's anti-fungal properties can help combat thrush and yeast infections. 
Additionally, cinnamon tea and spice are warming, seasonal and comforting so it doesn't seem like "medicine" at all. 





Balch, Phyllis A.. Prescription for Herbal Healing. New York: Avery, 2002.

Guyton, Anita. The Book of Natural Beauty. London: Stanley Paul & Co. Ltd., 1981.

Harding, Jennie. The Essential Oils Handbook. London: Watkins Publishing, 2008. 

Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. San Rafael, CA: New World Library, 1991.

October 17, 2014

Five Things I Like: Cosmetics and Color

All my favorites this time are about color! Mostly in the form of makeup! My favorite! Let's get to it:
I've been fantasizing about Urban Decay's Electric Palette for the past few weeks and caved in earlier today. I'm especially enchanted by Slowburn, the neon orange shade on top, but really all the shades inspire me. For the most part I'd like to use these wet as bold eyeliner.

Another product I'm excited to use is Stila Magnificent Metals Eyeliner in Gunmetal. In person, this product has a very cool toned, slate-like cast almost verging on purple. However, true to the name, this liner does look almost like molten gunmetal. During the holidays, I will use this on my upper lids with a very heavy, only slightly winged line.
Berry, plum, bordeaux, oxblood or whatever you call deep shades of red, it looks alluring on lips. Last year I discovered that MAC's Deepest Wish with lipglass in bold and brash layered on top creates a gorgeously dimensional, jewel-like mouth (photos coming up soon on Instagram). 
On a similar vein, I'm digging Dark Magenta Combined with Teal. This doesn't appeal to me as a good makeup combo so much as for furnishings and clothes, especially if mixed with sage green and/or pink. 
Seen here on foxy Yolandi Vi$$er, White Eyeliner also strikes my fancy this fall. I am using Rimmel's white eyeliner and/or MAC's Avalanche with a wet angled brush. 

This fall I feel completely reinvigorated about my wardrobe and about makeup in general, especially on the eyes. I have a hard time getting good pictures these days, but I do post outfits and makeup weekly on Instagram so check me out!

October 13, 2014

Zodiac Dresser: Libra III

Welcome to another installment of my Zodiac Dresser series in which I find sartorial inspiration from astrological signs. Today's look was influenced by the sign Libra. Libra is primarily focused on balance and is appropriately symbolized by the scales. As a result, creating a Libra-themed outfit for me is about balancing disparate influences and elements into a cohesive look.
vintage skirt: barter at Fall Line Fest '13 *boots: Ariat, courtesy Country Outfitters
This outfit is laid-back, much like Libra is known to be, while subtly combining a few different influences and eras. The 60s pleated knit skirt adds a feminine, almost formal element to the outfi. The wool shirt is also vintage, a 70s Pendleton "Knockabouts" balances the skirt by adding a casual, almost rugged touch, further enhanced by the cowboy boots. However, the Japanese t-shirt keeps the outfit quirky versus costumey. And that's how I think of Libra, a sign focused on weighing elements against each other in order to achieve harmony.
Judicious Libra, 
always weighing the options, 
seeking a balance.
from my 2003 trip to Japan, by Betty's Blue
Finally, the look is made a bit edgier and yet more feminine with a big, bold line of magenta eye makeup.
eyeshadow, used as liner: Caravaggio by Nars
As an air sign I liken the Libra personality to a crisp breeze since both are relaxed and generally likable. 


If you follow me on Instagram, this outfit may look familiar and that is because I liked this outfit so much when I first put it together that I couldn't wait to wear it! 


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