Post-college fashion… hard truths.

Last year, I started my dream internship in a whirlwind and realized right then that I had to start dressing like an adult. I ran to H&M and bought 5 collared shirts and some corduroy pants. Basic. Soon I tried to mix it up; realized I could wear jeans if I had a nice top on; found a million sweaters I’d never really worn. 

Six months later, I have also secured a part-time job at the company and spend five to six days a week in the building. I dress for the job, and I am pretty much just too exhausted to change afterwards. 

Now that it’s getting warm–minus yesterday’s snow–I started going through my closet, looking at all of the things I bought last summer, and I want to cry. 

Why the hell did I buy so many CROP TOPS? 

More so, why did I have to rush into adulthood so quickly? And why are the rules of adulthood so different? 

I’m a young, 24 year old woman. If anyone from work saw my closet, though, I think they’d lose a lot of respect for me. It’s not like the clothes are totally inappropriate… they just make me look a lot younger. How is it that freaking Jennifer Aniston can wear a croptop at 40-something and it looks bomb, but I wear one at SXSW and I am nervous to put the pictures on Facebook? 

Gosh damnit, media. You tricked me. Now I have about 16 crop tops and nowhere to go. High-waisted pants are cheating. 

Gellin’ like a felon / Dance Moms: “No One is Safe”

Review: Dance Moms “No One is Safe” (4.5) (Group Dance SPOILER)

Okay. This group dance. It was an absolutely stunning number. Nia danced the greatest I’ve ever seen her dance – and her emotion was on point. I seriously cried while watching it. But…can we please address the giant elephant in the room? (No, that is not a joke about Abby Lee Miller, who actually looks fantastic lately.) That dance was about slavery. Abby and the moms kept saying the dance was about “the Civil Rights movement.” Um, no. That was what the Rosa Parks dance was about. This dance featured Nia as a mistreated servant or slave who was being beaten down repeatedly by all of the other girls while just trying to dance and be treated the same. They were literally jumping at her and doing all of these moves which would signify some kind of physical altercation. Then at the end Nia, as Abby said, “finally breaks free.” “Breaks free,” like… escapes. Had they said “slavery” in the show, it would correctly frame Dr. Holly’s comments about the dance being controversial and her hesitation on allowing Nia to perform. In the end, Dr. Holly decided it was an appropriate and moving tribute.

I don’t know. I just wonder what the thought was behind tip toeing around that when it was so obvious. I am glad they (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) won. (Not much of a spoiler, though. Didn’t we all see that coming? Who wouldn’t pick that dance to win?)

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(TV Challenge – Dance Memories)

One of my favorite set of dance memories is chronicled in Honey Mustard and Miss Rockford – but that is by far from my only story. I danced for over a decade; I grew up a dancer, and I competed for several years as well. Although we didn’t have crazy moms like on “Dance Moms,” it still brings back fond memories of the time I spent in the studio or competing at convention centers.

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Dance competitions took place alongside dance conventions. Dancers were divided by age and given a daily schedules of classes. Conventions were the place we could try new genres (clogging, hip hop, Irish dance, stomp) and learn new tricks and moves in the genres we already knew (jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical.) We also had workshops – audition workshops, stretching workshops, etc. Audition workshops were an anomaly because they didn’t require us to do much. Someone was onstage talking, he or she took volunteers, and then those people demonstrated the different “audition tips and tricks” the speaker gave. After I had been to a few conventions, I felt more comfortable at the workshops. I remember the first time I volunteered to demonstrate was during an audition workshop.

I raised my hand when the woman called for volunteers to demonstrate her first point. My friend Bria and I were called onstage, along with a few other girls. The speaker began talking about ways to be remembered. The first tip was to say something quirky about yourself after announcing your name.

My mind went blank. 150 peers were staring up at the handful of us on the stage, all  secretly glad they weren’t put on the spot. The woman started with the girl at the opposite end of the line, so I had a tiny bit of time. It wasn’t enough, though. As the woman went down the line, listening to each answer and then critiquing it, my mind stirred and stirred but brought up nothing. When it was my turn, I opened my mouth and the following sentence spilled out:

“My name is Rachel _____, and I’m gellin’ like a felon.”

For those of you who aren’t familiar, this was from a Dr. Scholl’s ad campaign for gel insoles. I didn’t wear them, I had no particular affinity for the commercials…. I had no idea why I’d said that. My face immediately grew hot. I thought everyone was secretly laughing; everyone else onstage had said a fun fact about themselves, and I had quoted a commercial. If I’d said that at a real audition, I would have been laughed out of the building. Did this lady even know what I was quoting? Did I watch too much tv? Was the phrase even “gellin like a felon” or was it something else? Did I even say my name? Was I the worst one? Will I ever get a call back at any audition or will this happen every single time?

All of this ran through my head in the few seconds between my answer and the woman responding, “Nice! Funny! Just make sure you clearly pronounce your last name.”

And that was the end of that. Don’t we make the biggest deals out of the smallest things? The life of a drama queen.

 

Are you ok? / Bones : “The Heiress in the Hill”

(TV Challenge: Travel Journal)

As a woman in my early twenties, I have a great deal of travel under my belt. Most of it is domestic, but I do have that one Europe trip that most everyone my age has these days. Senior year of high school, I went on a school sponsored trip to Europe along with four of my best friends. Over the course of a week, we travelled to England, Ireland, and Wales. Much happened during that short span of time! Since my TV challenge topic for “Bones” is travel journaling, I plan on splitting these Europe stories up and stretching them across as many entries as I can. Everything in Europe translates into a story, after all.

As soon as we landed in Ireland, the touring began. It was no matter that we all had jet lag and no sleep; our tour guide Eleanore was insistent on explaining everything we passed. Unlucky for me, I get very motion sick on tour buses and was extremely drugged up on Dramomine. My friends shook me awake when we made our first stop, about an hour into the drive. It was in this town that my friend Alyssa and I had our first lesson in European custom.

The chaperones released us all into the town with strict orders to meet back at the bus in an hour. Alyssa and I, both vegetarians and of similar appetite, went on a search for something to eat. We entered a cafe and began to scan the menu- what did we want for our first European meal? What could we eat from the menu? As we tried to decipher the dishes, the people behind the counter asked, “Are you okay?” We smiled and replied, “Yes, we’re fine,” and continued looking at all of the choices. “Are you okay?” another woman asked. Alyssa and I both must have thought that these workers were just concerned for the two little tourist girls. “Yes, we are fine!” we assured them. When we were asked for the third time if we were okay, and we said “Yes,” the woman said something like, “Okay, well then what are you going to order?”

“Are you okay?” means “Are you ready to order?” The two of us had been saying, “Yes, we are ready to order!” and then smiling up at the menu like dopes. Holding up the line. Acting like such tourists. Embarrassed.

We did not end up purchasing food from that cafe. I do remember that we ran into our sociology teacher and told him about our mistake. We probably thought it was a bigger deal  to discover this than it was. Isn’t that how everything goes in high school?

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Review: Bones “The Heiress in the Hill” (9.15)

I love Bones. Even though every single time I watch with my mother she diagnoses Dr. Brennan with Aspergers, it is still a show we watch together for bonding’s sake. I’ve probably seen 90% of the episodes in the nine seasons thus far. I find that some episodes of the show add to the larger stories in the cannon (Pelant, Gormogon, the Bones/Booth saga, etc) and some do not. Over all, this week’s was your typical episode: murder, many suspects, Dr. Brennan is insensitive, big twist, and the geniuses at the Jeffersonian win in the end. (This is not an insult to the formula at all! I love “Bones” for how it is set up. Predictable and yet ever changing.)

This episode also opened a new chapter for Hodgins which may play out into something bigger – certainly it developed his character. It was nice to see some attention paid to Jack Hodgins as an individual, since his story lines in the past few years have been largely intertwined with Angela’s. In the beginning of the episode, Jack is visited by an unexpected guest who reveals he has a brother. The brother has been locked away in a mental institution of sorts for Jack’s entire life. The way which he reacts to this and the rest of the news, as well as  the final scene of the episode between Jack and his brother, are huge turning points for Hodgins. I am interested in seeing where this will go!

Thoughts on weddings by age

I’ve never been one to blather on about fairy tale love or buy into the stuff they put in chick flicks. “The Notebook” is one of my least favorite movies of all time. I’m not a bitter old woman, and I don’t think my prospects of someday finding love are zero. I just think it’s annoying, uninteresting, and frankly a bit uncomfortable to talk about love, weddings, or the like.

That said, the other day, I was watching “Bride Wars.” It’s an average rom com where Anne Hathaway & Kate Hudson are best friends who dream of their weddings essentially from birth. (Or first grade, whatever. It’s insanely young.) I was never like that. Ever.

…Any girl who says this is lying, at least a little bit. Out of nowhere, I came up with a list of  things I used to say I wanted at my wedding. None of the things are love-related. They’re all tiny, silly things I at one point loved so much that I wanted to have them “at my wedding.” This was a testament to how much I liked them. I also had qualifications for my wedding- just things that were important to me.

* I wanted a wedding cake frosted with the filling from Fudge Rounds. This changed to Oreos at one point, too.

(Age 10, when I was REALLY into Fudge Rounds…)

*I wanted to make sure that the boy I married was a Christian. I remember dreading the awkward moment when he asked, “Will you marry me?” and I had to first clarify, “Well…are you a Christian?”

(Early elementary school, maybe second grade. Apparently I did not think I would know this about a man before he proposed.)

*I wanted to use dried petals from my dance recital bouquets for the flower girls.

(Age 11-14. For this purpose, I’d hang and dry all of the flowers I received. I still have the first bag of rose petals that I saved. I am now in the habit of drying bouquets, but I no longer have this dream.)

*I wanted all of my bridesmaids to have a different kind of animal print dress, and I wanted a zebra sash.

(High school… oy vey.)

*I wanted “Everybody Dance Now” to play as my recession music.

(Early College…and sort of still right now. Because how boring is the regular tune?!)

I don’t sit around and make plans for a dream wedding that is faaaaaaar in the distant future. In fact, i mostly just make plans about what I am going to wear to other people’s weddings. But these were fun memories. I guess I proved myself wrong. I have dreamed about my wedding… the TINIEST bit.

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What’s in Your Purse? – Toddler Edition

To begin this post, I must be a cliche 20-something and gush about the little girl I nanny. Addie is 2 years old, has never thrown a tantrum or disobeyed any rules around me, and dresses like a mini-Rachey. Also, she dances every time she hears any music, which really seals the mini-me deal. 

Last week, I brought Addie some late Christmas presents. One was a little blue Cinderella purse. She unwrapped the present with more control than I’ve ever seen a child open anything and carefully removed the gift. Addie thanked me and carried the purse out of the room. Curious, I followed behind. I found her in the office with her new purse and an old one. She was transferring her things to her new purse! I died.

The cutest part was not that, though. It was what she was transferring from purse to purse: a Matchbox car, a toy train, a block, a princess doll, and a plastic hammer.

This reminded me of a story from my own childhood that my parents tell me every so often. When I was Addie’s age, I had a little purse that I loved to bring to church every Sunday. It was a little clear bag with pink lining. Each week, I would go around the house and carefully pack items into the purse. My parents glanced at it, and to their slight embarrassment, I always made sure I had a spare pair of underwear along with the other items. In the clear purse.

There was one other thing that I always brought, though. My mom thought it was a coincidence that I packed this particular item on a weekly basis with other varying items (and the underwear.) Then, one week, I was frantically running around the house before church.

“What are you looking for, Rachel?”

“I can’t find my hotdog! I need it!”

Every week, along with the random trinkets and the spare undies, I would pack a plastic hotdog. Not the bun, just the plain hotdog from my play kitchen. My parents say I knew it wasn’t edible, and they never got out of me exactly why I felt that I needed to bring it. All they know is, I wouldn’t leave the house on a Sunday morning without it.

What a little weirdo.

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Why You Should Shut Up About a Woman’s Body (Not a Feminist rant, but a FITNESS Rant)

I work on a morning radio show. Yesterday morning, our entertainment correspondent and host were talking about Ke$ha’s trip to rehab for an eating disorder. Her manager apparently said she was as big as a refrigerator, and this led to the eating issues. As the entertainment guy was telling this tale, my host became increasingly disgusted, interjecting with “ugh” more than once. Finally, he said this:

 Ugh. Ugh. Yeah, again let me explain this to every male on the planet. Any comment you make about a woman’s physical appearance will be remembered for the rest of [her] life. There’s a place in the female brain where those comments are registered. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing on their part, I’m just saying, understand, you can’t do that.

As soon as I heard this, a list of things poured out from that secret compartment in my mind.

You need to gain some weight. – Oh wow, Did you gain weight? – You’re buff, but don’t get any buffer. – Not enough of a “thigh gap.” – Chubby face. – Small wrists. – Big ass. – No Ass. – Too skinny. –  Squishy tummy. – Need more meat on ribs. – Gain. – Lose. – Gain. – Lose. – 

Oh, no, you’re perfect. But also…all of those things. 

I get so many conflicting messages…from the same people. From the media. From the Instagram hashtags and the  Tumblr posts. I know I am almost 24 and shouldn’t be affected by the media, and I understand that Hollywood is saturated with Photoshop and fashion tape. What affects me the most, I realize, is these comments made by the people I care(d) about in my life.

I can’t tell anymore what a good body is, but I am like 90% sure I have a textbook decent one. I have a healthy BMI, and I workout regularly. I set goals for myself based on (what I think are) my own conceptions of beauty and fitness, and I work hard to achieve them. But how can I stay satisfied with a newfound set of killer abs when someone comments on a picture telling me I look like a concentration camp survivor? Even when my best friend defended me…I had to stop and think. How can this be so subjective?

(And by the way, what the fuck? How rude was that comment? Coming from someone I rarely talk to and have never had any issues with… Totally uncalled for. I digress.)

In regards to men in particular: almost all of those comments floating in my brain come from men. And those comments are shitty, all of them, even if they didn’t all come from an intentionally malicious place. What can I do, though? Whenever I try to address that a comment hurt my feelings, I get a, “Oh, come on, I’m sorry. You know you’re perfect just how you are!” … which is more utterly bullshit than anything else.

Because… let’s be real for a second. Literally every single girl who has ever been in this situation gets that response. And every single girl does not have a perfect body. It’s impossible. I’ve gotten that at every stage of fitness/nonfitness I’ve ever been. Someone my height and twice my weight has gotten that comment, too. Someone who plays video games all day, eating potato chips and taking zero care of her body has heard the same thing.

I don’t know the point of this rant, other than perhaps to emphasize Steve’s point. We need to stop judging other people’s bodies and we REALLY need to stop commenting on them. Fitness is subjective! Beauty is subjective! Stop feeding women, men, everyone all of these shitty comments and all of the bullshit cover-up compliments afterwords. How about we look at ourselves in the mirror for once and figure that out first.

A woman will always remember the comments you make about her body. THE END.

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Inspiration Nation

“You can’t be inspired every day, just like you can’t be madly, deeply, insanely in love every day. But how such moments manifest as you move through the world and the world moves through you defines the core of your creativity.” -Jeff Vandermeer

Today, I began reading the book which my father gave me for Christmas: Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer. Although I never pinned myself for a fantasy/scifi writer, this book had already proven itself to be a guide to much more than that. I’m on the second chapter, for goodness sake, and I’m already pulling quotes to put into my blog and journal.

This idea about inspiration hit me the hardest today. I was thinking of this blog, trying to figure out what I wanted to write today and worried that, without inspiration, it would feel forced. But how true is that analogy of inspiration and love?! Absolutely stunning. Mind blowing.

I’m on a crowded Metra car and still not feeling particularly like anything I write will be of much value. However, I am pleased to say that this book will give me fodder for any day which I am otherwise uninspired: it gives several creative prompts for stretching imagination and honing particular technical skills. I will be completing these and sharing whenever I’m proud of the work, or because I have nothing to say. Saved by the bell! (…book.)

Baby Agendas

Baby Agendas

I have another blog project which I started a few months ago and abandoned after things got hectic. One of my goals for this year is to get it back up and running again. I find embarrassing things that I wrote as a child/adolescent/person last week, and I share them shamelessly with the world.

My mother just sent me scans of 32 pages from the journal she kept when I was a baby, documenting all of the things I did, liked, said, etc. Some of them are too classic to pass up, so I decided to make a sub-section of the project called “Baby Agendas.”

Today’s post is one of those. Click the link and enjoy!

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Welcome to the New Age..

…to the new age. Welcome to the new age!

(Have you ever realized that you somehow knew a song without ever consciously listening to it before? That is me and whatever song I just quoted there.)

I am going to try this again, writing 365 days this year. As I said in my resolutions, I am going to write 7 days a week and post at least 2. Of course, I will ideally post more than two. :)

It’s time for a new journey and I cannot wait to see what 2014 and my 24th year of life bring. 2013 started out rather rocky, and just when I had no hope for the future, everything fell into place right at the end. Now I am working in my dream internship, living once again in my favorite city on Earth, and feeling more fulfilled each day.

I love being immersed in the world of radio every single day, and I feel as though I am finally living out my dreams and passions. I finally feel like I am making my family proud; my mom’s face lights up now every time someone asks her where I am working.

With all of the weights lifted from my shoulders, I feel more open to enjoy the little things. And I feel more open to blog again. :) Well, I am rather distracted and someone is reading over my shoulder, so for now, I am going to sign off.

Happy New Year! xo

2014 is Upon Us!

And with 2014 upon us, I’d like to take a moment to be cliche and record here the brief version of my New Years Resolutions. (I expanded on each in my journal, but for myself.) I know New Years Resolutions are considered by many to be corny, unnecessary, cliche, or unattainable…but I stand by these nonetheless. Perhaps it is because, with my birthday right around the corner, I also consider these a list of things I need to be doing by the time this new age arrives. The new age, 24, looks rather daunting. These are things I need to do to prepare for my last year of my “early twenties.”

1. Workout like I used to. (5-6 days minimum.)

2. Write ideally 7 days a week, at least 6, and post at least 2 of these every week.

3. Be more confident in all I do…or fake it until I make it. Stop second guessing  myself. On a related note: BE DIRECT.

4. Be exponentially more responsible with money.

5. Eat better. This is not a test!

6. Be consistent. I know what this means, so that is enough. 

7. Act more like an adult…a young, fun loving adult…but an adult nonetheless.

8. Read more! And keep a log of the books I read throughout the year.

9. Music. Practice, play, try new things, learn more. Expand. The only way to get better!

10. Stop wasting time! (Less Internet, Less TV – or at least start blogging about it, WAY less Facebook.)

Every day this year is valuable. I must make it count! 

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