11 September 2015

September 11th.

"What's today?"
An innocent, anodyne, purely date-seeking question was posed to me this morning. But when I flicked over to the sidebar to check,

"Oh. It's September 11th."

Like most Americans, especially those around my age, I have a September 11th story. And they usually all start with a variation on 'I remember...'

I remember not long after, people (my parents?) saying this would be our Robert Kennedy moment. Our moon landing. We would all remember this day. And have a picture burned in our minds of exactly what we were doing when we found out. There have certainly been more traumas in the world since. If I was a Londoner, maybe it would have been the 7/7 bombings, or if I lived in Indonesia, the 2004 tsunami. And there will never be enough words on the amount of hurt caused by and still happening due to the 'War or Terror.' Basically, what I'm trying to get at here is the fact that looking at the date and feeling a rush of sadness and dread in the pit of your stomach when you realise it's 9/11, is a largely American reaction. No matter how much I try to shrug off where I come from, my relationship with that date will always be a reminder to myself that part of me is unshakeably American.

Both of my parents worked in Manhattan when I was a kid. It's an anecdote I still pull out to this day as I think it makes me seem cool and cosmopolitan. Hi yes my parents worked in the city while I was in diapers. I never remember seeing their offices but I assume I had been once or twice. I would have been 6 or 7 but I am genuinely disappointed I don't have any memories of visiting New York City proper when we lived just outside it. My dad took meetings in the World Trade Center. I feel like I need to come out here and say that none of my family or friends were directly affected by that day. Just in case this felt like it was building towards something like that.

By 2001 my family had relocated to Tennessee. I couldn't have been away from my Jersey days for more than two or three years. A vague announcement came on over my elementary school intercom. Slowly, one by one, parents were plucking students out of class. Noontime we were all sent home. I don't remember what whispers travelled around the school but I just remember getting home and standing behind the massive green sectional sofa in our living room and gazing at the news replaying footage of two smoking giants. And my dad standing behind me perpetually tying and re-tying his tie. I'm suspicious that the previous sentence is something that my memory has fabricated, but nonetheless, it is there.

I remember frantically calling second grade school friends whose parents I believed still worked in the city. And getting no answer and panicking because there was no answer. In a childish way, I think I was less desperate to know that Cate's dad was okay, and rather seeking a way to be a part of it. A part of the place I was still quite distraught we had moved away from. A part of a tragedy that I could bring to school the next day. An excuse not to go to school the next day. I can't blame myself. It's just a way kids can react to things. And who am I kidding–a way adults sometimes react too.

6 September 2015

Lost at sea.

This feels kind of like walking into a meeting you've been skipping for the last couple months. Everyone lifts up their head to look as you come through the door. And then they go back to shuffling their papers, ignoring your casual sheepish wave.

Hey guys.

For months I've been ruminating about how to write here now that I am not freelance. How do non-freelance people blog?! Comment some examples. I don't want this to be a place where I talk about my job because I spend most of my waking hours doing and thinking about my job. I really want my blog to be a separate entity but I'm beginning to wonder if it can be. My job is a huge part of my life now. And I feel like if I ban myself from talking about it... well, what else will I have to say here?

You read it all the time on blogs (oh bloggers and their crises) but I'm gonna say it too. My life is not that eventful. Frankly I'm happy to keep it that way at the moment. Is this what it is like to get older? A month from tomorrow I will be turning 24 (very, very not best pleased about this). Making me that much further away from being able to unabashedly sing Taylor's 22.

Whenever the weekend rolls around and I have a reprise from the office, I find myself missing posting photos and scraps of thoughts here. But I can't think of things to say that isn't 'I'm tired' or 'Look, I'm adulting' or 'I should be reading right now' or 'Why can't I keep my flat tidy'. Also, I have to say, I quite enjoy doing absolutely nothing. Sue me.

So, of the little that has been going on, here is a life update:

A couple weeks back Ross finally got me to cave and watch the first episode of The Sopranos, and of course I got full-blown addicted. We're on season four now. And we're those horrifically hip people that don't have a television. Nope, we have a projector. I had Emily, Sanne, and Lex over to watch 10 Things I Hate About You. It was great. Rosi, we miss you.

Other ways I now occupy my time is by browsing for secondhand furniture on Gumtree and eBay. We've scored some pretty sweet finds, the most recent being this IKEA sofa in mint condition from a bloke who was moving to New York the next day.

Tiny tangent time: I think the other reason I feel quite lost at the blogging (and YouTube) game stems from not really enjoying makeup and fashion like I used to. I go through swings of not trusting brands. I can get overwhelmed by not wanting to buy items whose suppliers could sell tested-on ingredients or supporting companies that have sustainable fabrics but maybe haven't paid their workers well. The lack of transparency probably upsets me more than it should. Nevertheless it leaves me at a standstill. Of not wanting to buy anything (and feeling guilty when I do). I've created some kind of self-imposed rule that blogging has to be buybuybuy and newnewnew. Maybe this is a wake up call for me to focus on what I have already.


Have to admit my reluctancy about sharing how obsessed I currently am with Snapchat. Keeping my follower count low means I've been able to gloat about ex-lovers looking at two seconds of rats I am babysitting and other mundanities. On a semi-related note, I'm not ready for a pet.

These are my life blood lately. Sourdough bloomers. Tamales for breakfast. Handcrafted ice cream sandwiches. Junk shops and scotch eggs. I have two markets in easy walking distance of my flat and making that a routine of my Saturdays and Sundays is a good way of getting in some much needed vitamin D (#homebody) and a reminder that hey, you live in a world-class city. Get out there wit yo bad self.

Anyway. How are you doing? Are you still reading blogs and watching YouTube? I know I'm not the only person who's found that getting a job has taken over their life and are struggling to find a semblance of balance. If you've written about this, leave a link. And if you've experienced this and have tips, please for the love of god share them.

Until my next crisis,

7 June 2015

Porthcurno, September 2014, analogue, light.

I'm taking a break from frantically packing everything I own into tote bags (I'm moving Tuesday) to share with you some completely unrelated photos. You. Are. Welcome.

You may recall a similarly titled post that cropped up here back in April. Yes? Yes! These are part two, the 'Light' series, of my Cornwall photos (aka, the prints from the Boots disposable that didn't turn out as dark and grainy). Ross and I stayed in the guesthouse of one the cottages pictured above. See the one on the right with the trio of windows jutting out from the roof? Dat us. Literally on the edge of England. See those rocks? Yeah, they drop directly down to ocean.

More of Ross's fine cooking handiwork. Bro needs a blog. (Oh wait.) This is a potato rosti, or as I affectionately like to call it 'egg in potato cocoon.' Yeah... I don't actually called it that but regardless it is freaking delicious. He combines mash with fried onions, garlic and spices, bakes it for a bit, then for the last couple minutes of cooking, cracks an egg on top and cooks it to gently runny perfection. If Ross ever opens a restaurant (which will ofc serve brunch *sassy hand emoji*), I demand this to be on the menu.

I read The Goldfinch on that trip and seeing these photos make me realise I really miss reading that book. I saw on Rosianna's Instagram that she is rereading The Secret History and oh what I would give to drop everything and return to this little corner of the world to read it.

And yes, that is an honesty box outdoor egg mart. Oh, countryside. (Sorry, I'm very gif/meme heavy this evening not sure what that's all about.)

Ross's walked in from football so imma wrap this up early. (Ross's arrival tends to mean imminent food time and, well, food trumps all.) He's just told me he got Man of the Match. Bless 'im. Right, pizza ordering time. Gotta scoot. Hope you had a lovely weekend!

3 June 2015

Fair Trade & Sustainable Fashion.

L: SVILU Tailored Green Pants, £140  //  R: Groceries Apparel Black Jersey Dress, £40    

I'm gonna come out and say that shopping for sustainably made fair trade clothes is a bit of a minefield. 

I started this journey only a couple months agothe journey being to locate where I can actually buy ethical, sustainable clothes, or is it thrift shops and eBay for the rest of eternity. Spoiler alert: I found some places.

In a previous post I mentioned that I want to live more consciously and sustainably. I made a pledge to myself to stop buying from stores that have their products predominantly made by exploited children and impoverished workers. Cool.  Good. Step in the right direction. Now where do I cloth myself?

Sanne, Lex, and Rosi can duly testify that whilst walking down the high street, I've taken up muttering 'slaves' when passing pretty much any clothing establishment. I can't walk into an H&M or a Topshop anymore without seeing all the people who have been taken advantage of so we can have fast, cheap (and sometimes not-so-cheap) fashion.

L: Tara Starlet Homefront Dress, £80 //  R: Upstate Maria Shirt Dress, £230 

So great, you're ready to commit? You're done giving your money to the oppressive high street? Awesome, let's start shopping SEFT*! But you need to check yourself at the door because there's gonna be a few of those fast fashion luxuries we need to shake off and SEFT myths to debunk.
*I've abbreviated 'sustainable, ethical, & fair trade' to SEFT because frankly it's a lot to spell out every damn time.

Here's what I've learned over the past couple months.

'Sustainable', 'fair trade' & 'ethical' are not mutually exclusive labels.
I think the issue at the heart here is that these terms often have intersecting meanings and there aren't set industry definitions to make it any easier. Currently, it's lucky if an item meets two of these criteria. And if you're trying to tick all these boxes, plus have it vegan too? Good. Luck.

'Sustainable', 'fair trade' & 'ethical' do not always mean high quality.
Sanne recently got a dress from People Tree that had a dyed pattern that wore away after one wear. I have a cotton shirt from them that looks nice but doesn't feel great (I also have a dress from them that I love and the quality is top notch—it's a roll of the dice). I've come across numerous other brands selling flimsy, wrinkled shirts.

Say goodbye to the budget buy.
There are reasonable prices and great sales but you need to forget the idea of seeing a full price top for £15. To soften the blow of higher price tags, I remind myself it reflects that the person who made this item actually got paid decently.

The websites for the most part? Terrible.
The majority that I'm sharing today have their shit together. But there's a lot of clunky and unaesthetic websites to wade through to get to the good ones.

Selection and 'fashionability' is missing.
SEFT clothes sadly aren't the most fashion-forward. A lot of it is designed for middle aged women, which makes sense because they are the clientele more able to afford its price point. The Acey is one place that is thankfully on trend as hell (but also with high-end prices). You're not going to see the wide-range of selection offered by a typical high street clothing store. They call it slow fashion for a reason. It means a lot of waiting around for next season if you aren't crazy for the current collection.

L: MAYAMIKO Baroque Rust A-line Skirt, £35 //  R: Braintree Coira Stripe Bamboo Socks, £4.90 

There's a lot of compromises to be made as SEFT fashion is still a very young industry. But with the growing strength of the cruelty-free movement, I can't help but see this being the next logical step for conscious consumers. Like with cruelty-free products, it's not perfect. You're putting your trust in these brands that they are being honest about their practices. But regardless, I think brands that seek to be fair trade/ethically produced, sustainable, and/or vegan are making a move in the right direction. And that's something the rest of the fashion giants have largely ignored and continue to ignore. 

I hope this will be the first post of many on SEFT fashion and brands. For now, I've compiled a list of clothing/fashion brands I've stumbled across. Some are great, and some of the websites are clunky. But I hope you find it helpful! If you have any brands to share (UK please if possible!), do jot them down below.