Back to School: Outfit Planning

The first day of school is fast approaching, and as much summer work as I still have to do, what’s most on my mind is what I’m going to wear! On the first day of school everyone breaks out their best new dresses and jewelry, so for a few days the school is swarming with fashionistas wearing nice shoes. By the second week of school, everyone has given up on looking nice, and the sweatpants begin to reemerge from the closet. This is when I start wearing all my nice new clothes, because if I wore them during Week 1, I would be lost in the sea of  fashion!

So my back-to-school looks are casual, comfortable, simple outfits, tied together with my staple red lipstick. I used Polyvore to model some of the looks I have in mind, with pieces similar to those in my closet. I hope you enjoy them!

back to school 1 back to school 3 back to school 2

OOTD: stripes and summer

P1120046 P1120052 P1120070crop top: pacsun / docs: drmartens.com / jeans: bullhead black skinniest / necklace: vintage (gifted) / wooden faux-gauge earrings: yankee ingenuity in chatham / saints bracelet: gifted 

| photography by yours truly |

 

On being an artist

via my flickr

via my flickr

The other day in my biology class we were all sitting around relaxing and talking, now that the AP exam is over. One senior girl was discussing how much work goes into the science research program, which is a three-year course at our school that offers students a chance to work with a mentor from an outside institution and delve deeper into a scientific topic of their choice. Making a case for the time she’s put into the class, she said, “I’ve been working my ass off for three years! I’m not one of those people that just took a bunch of art electives and skated by.”

Immediately, the class erupted in indignation, and I’m glad it did. Because art is a lot of work. I have invariably had to put more time into all my art and music classes than I have for any other class I’ve taken in high school, because art demands that time. You can’t bullshit art the night before it’s due. You can copy someone else’s history notes, but you can’t copy creativity. You can’t copy rolls of film. You can’t copy the ability to play an instrument. You can’t throw a sketchbook together twenty minutes before it’s collected. Art is something you simply can’t fake, because it is so personal. You put your soul into it.

Why be an artist, anyway? Sometimes I ask myself the same question. Without a lot of luck and good publicity, it’s difficult to make a living off of it. It sucks up huge amounts of time. There are a lot of ways in which being an artist isn’t ideal, but I wouldn’t change for the world. Being an artist is about seeing the beauty in small moments. Sometimes, for one beautiful second, a ray of golden sunlight will catch a fluffy white dandelion at just the right angle, and it’ll make my whole day. Being an artist is about taking those moments and freezing them in time. Capturing a smile, a mood, an idea, and making it so that everyone can feel what you felt.

I think art is so important, and I’ve neglected it for too long. I was under the silly impression that my art isn’t as important as my grades. But it is. A lot of people will probably think that’s foolish, but I’m not going to major in test taking. In life, a number on a piece of paper won’t inspire you; it won’t make your mind gears turn or your soul sour. Art will. Art speaks the way nothing else does.

On the life you miss when you rush

When I was making myself pasta after school today, I found myself complaining about how long water takes to boil. “It takes a solid ten minutes for the water alone, and then you have to cook the pasta for another eight minutes after that!” I groaned to my mother, staring grumpily at the clock. As I sat there waiting for the water and lamenting the lack of Star Trek replicator technology in my kitchen, I started to wonder: what’s the rush?

Technology has warped the fabric of society—we now expect and require instant gratification. The need for speed started with communication, eventually spreading to every aspect of modern life. Food, from cream puffs to chicken cordon bleu, comes frozen and ready in ten minutes; you can buy makeup in a three-in-one color palette where a single swipe creates a smoky eye; the Internet is available anywhere on a smart phone, because posting those pictures simply can’t wait until later. The ten-minute workout, the breakfast shake, the protein bar: even healthcare must be lightning-fast. We live in a turbo-charged world, and it almost seems like we’re all rushing simply because we can.

The fact of the matter is, some of the best things in the world take time. You can live your whole life without experiencing it if you don’t stop every once in a while and appreciate your existence. Baking an apple pie from scratch, that takes time. You can complain and take the premade crust shortcut, or you can set aside a Sunday morning and enjoy the feeling of creating something delicious. Creating art, that takes time. You can try a sketch and throw down your pencil in frustration, or you can spend a while learning the basics and improving your technique over the years. Reading a book takes time. So does making a friend. Falling in love. Getting in shape. Learning a sport. Building a tree house. Even little things, like making a fresh pot of coffee, writing a letter, taking a walk. The world is full of shortcuts, but these things don’t happen right if you try to rush through them.

We are obsessed with results, and we are obsessed with having them as quickly as possible. No longer are people interested in the process, in the journey, in the why or the how. It’s sad, because these things are the beautiful part. Have you ever seen a time lapse of a flower in bloom? Sure, flowers are lovely, but the way they unfurl in the morning dew is breathtaking. And if you stick your head outside just before a summer storm, you can feel power hanging in the air. An author’s first draft is always about himself more than his characters, and the painstaking concentration on an artist’s face is often more telling than the finished painting. I like real, tangible books because when you put a long one down, you can feel the weight of the time you’ve spent in your palm. If you close your eyes and focus, you’ll begin to notice how hard your body is working just to keep you alive. I think that’s beautiful.

And maybe the process is a little messy, or confusing, or not as pretty as you’d like. But no one is born ready, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Often, the destination is the journey. We certainly learn more there than by admiring a finished product. So take a moment today to appreciate growth, praise sweat, and celebrate half-finished projects. Take those two extra minutes. Step out of your schedule. The universe won’t crash around your ears, I promise.