A New Beginning

 



Resolutions, resolutions.

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions. They’re very cliche, they hardly ever last, and if something needs to be fixed, why wait until the beginning of the year to change?

Alas, a lot of change happened at the end of 2010 for me. So a new beginning at the new year seems apropos.

So here are a hand full of goals that have been rattling around in my head lately. I’m not promising anything to myself or anyone else, but getting them down on paper (er, on the blogosphere?) should be a good start.

Slow Fashion
Last year, I started a resolution that I kept for a good six months or so, and I’m going to pick it back up again. No Fast Fashion. Any clothing I buy in 2011 will come from independent boutiques, vintage shops, or thrift stores. (Or I’ll make them myself!) It’s so easy to go devour the sale racks at Target or Ross or Marshalls — any number of discount department stores, but while shopping is fun, promoting the type of craftsmanship and business practices that go into making cheap garments is scary.

Just as the Slow Food movement promotes mindful eating, both for your own health and for the health of the world around you, the Slow Fashion movement focuses on garments that are ethically produced and whose quality is far superior to your average T-shirt found on the sale rack for $4.99. Not to mention buying said inexpensive T-shirt is absolutely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I’m likely to forget what it is I’ve bought on the drive between the store and home. If, on the other hand, I fall in love with a top at a local boutique and have to pine away and save before I can have it, I’ll treasure it more and keep it around longer.

Along the same lines, I’m going to begin sewing. I’ve had my sewing machine for two years now and haven’t used it anywhere near as much as I’ve wanted to or should have. So beginning now, I’m going to make it a goal to sew two projects every month, mainly clothing. The boy bought me a dressmaker’s mold for Christmas, (yay!) and I have a pattern and fabric all ready for a new dress, I’ve just got to get going on it. It’s a beautiful vintage-inspired wrap dress and the fabric is lovely. I’ll post pictures as soon as it’s done.

And, once again in the Slow Fashion realm, is the goal I’m maybe most excited about. (Drumroll please…) I plan to open a vintage shop on Etsy this year. I’ve been planning this for a while, and have high hopes for my foray into vintage fashion. I’ll also feature some vintage-inspired handmade pieces in the shop (motivation to sew, sew, sew!) which will solidify it as a very green endeavor. Vintage and handmade, what could be more eco-friendly?

Culinary Pleasures
I’m going to start cooking much, much more in 2011. I adore cooking, but I adore going out as well, which isn’t too kind on the wallet or the waistline. So I’ll be cooking healthier, possibly vegetarian during the week, much more fish, and much less meat.

Splurges and treats won’t be forsaken, however. I want to make one complicated/indulgent meal a week, and take pictures of it. (Possibly posting here.) And because of my brand-spankin-new Kitchenaid Mixer (double yay!), I’m going to be doing more baking. (See evidence at the top of this post. My cake decorating skills aside, my Happy Birthday World cake was a hit.)

Creative Endeavors
I’ve had this blog for three and a half years, and the frequency of my posting has ebbed and flowed. I’m going to focus much more on my writing this year, though, and am in the process of chasing down some freelance work. I have all the time in the world on my hands now (due to one of those changes at the end of 2010), so I’m working on building up my portfolio, and I want to be making at least a supplemental income, if not something more substantial, through this writing within six months.

And last but not least, I want to collaborate with the boy on some video projects, possibly turning that collaboration into a semi-frequent side project or even our own company within the next couple of years. I’ll be sharpening my photography skills, learning a bit about video editing, and doing some concepting, scripting, and storyboarding for viral videos and short films. All of which I’m over-the-moon excited about.

So there you have it. 2011 is going to be a big year. I can feel it.

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Was I Dreaming?

Nope. We had a WHITE CHRISTMAS.

In Atlanta.

I’m such a happy girl right now.

Happy holidays!

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I'm not lost, I'm just exploring

Dear Internet,

Life decided to take an unexpected turn on Friday, and I’m still in the midst of processing the implications of said change.

It seemed only apropos to change the name of this blog as well, which along with its owner is starting anew in many ways.

Spontaneity, newness, opportunity, and curiosity are at the forefront of my mind at the moment. Those, among other things, will be reflected here.

Onward and upward.

XOXO,
Jenny

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How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes

Dear Internet,

I have this problem. It’s a problem with commitment. In that I do it often, and for very short periods of time.

When I discover something new, whether it be crocheting, community supported agriculture, or–I don’t know–collecting antique glass bottles, I throw myself into the idea head first. It becomes an obsession. I learn everything I can about the hobby, its history, the culture surrounding it–the works. And then, despite my best intentions, something else will inevitably catch my eye. And even though the day before I’d been researching business plans in preparation to make the production of soy-based, vegan candles my life’s work, it will have become painfully evident that my true calling is to open a combination yoga/dance/martial arts studio. With a coffee house on the ground floor. In Iceland.

While this certainly makes for interesting conversations, I do reach points of despair, and beat myself up over my lack of staying power. For my lack of passion. Because obviously haven’t found what I’m meant to do with my life if I keep on changing my damn mind about it.

But what I’m beginning to realize, dear Internet, is that rapidly rotating interests do not make me flighty. Perhaps they’re even healthy. The key is to not take any of them too seriously. It is ok to like something without it becoming a passion. It’s ok to like something just because I like it.

It’s ok for some things in my life to exist strictly for pleasure.

Love,
Jenny

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On Feminism

I saw this article the other day, and couldn’t suppress the urge to post it absolutely everywhere coupled with the exclamation, “Yes! Yes, I am!”

Taken from Tomato Nation

Yes, You Are

Submitted by Sarah D. Bunting

feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests — feminist n or adjfeministic adj

Above, the dictionary definition of feminism — the entire dictionary definition of feminism. It is quite straightforward and concise. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Yes, you are.

The definition of feminism does not ask for two forms of photo ID. It does not care what you look like. It does not care what color skin you have, or whether that skin is clear, or how much you weigh, or what you do with your hair. You can bite your nails, or you can get them done once a week. You can spend two hours on your makeup, or five minutes, or the time it takes to find a Chapstick without any lint sticking to it. You can rock a cord mini, or khakis, or a sari, and you can layer all three. The definition of feminism does not include a mandatory leg-hair check; wax on, wax off, whatever you want. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Yes, you are.

The definition of feminism does not mention a membership fee or a graduated tax or “…unless you got your phone turned off by mistake.” Rockefellers, the homeless, bad credit, no credit, no problem. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Yes, you are.

The definition of feminism does not require a diploma or other proof of graduation. It is not reserved for those who teach women’s studies classes, or to those who majored in women’s studies, or to those who graduated from college, or to those who graduated from high school, or to those who graduated from Brownie to Girl Scout. It doesn’t care if you went to Princeton or the school of hard knocks. You can have a PhD, or a GED, or a degree in mixology, or a library card, or all of the above, or none of the above. You don’t have to write a twenty-page paper on Valerie Solanas’s use of satire in The S.C.U.M. Manifesto, and if you do write it, you don’t have to get better than a C-plus on it. You can really believe math is hard, or you can teach math. You don’t have to take a test to get in. You don’t have to speak English. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Yes, you are.

The definition of feminism is not an insurance policy; it doesn’t exclude anyone based on age. It doesn’t have a “you must be this tall to ride the ride” sign on it anywhere. It doesn’t specify how you get from place to place, so whether you use or a walker or a stroller or a skateboard or a carpool, if you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Yes, you are.

The definition of feminism does not tell you how to vote or what to think. You can vote Republican or Libertarian or Socialist or “I like that guy’s hair.” You can bag voting entirely. You can believe whatever you like about child-care subsidies, drafting women, fiscal accountability, Anita Hill, environmental law, property taxes, Ann Coulter, interventionist politics, soft money, gay marriage, tort reform, decriminalization of marijuana, gun control, affirmative action, and why that pothole at the end of the street still isn’t fixed. You can exist wherever on the choice continuum you feel comfortable. You can feel ambivalent about Hillary Clinton. You can like the ERA in theory, but dread getting drafted in practice. The definition does not stipulate any of that. The definition does not stipulate anything at all, except itself. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Yes, you are.

The definition of feminism does not judge your lifestyle. You like girls, you like boys, doesn’t matter. You eat meat, you don’t eat meat, you don’t eat meat or dairy, you don’t eat fast food, doesn’t matter. You can get married, and you can change your name or keep the one your parents gave you, doesn’t matter. You can have kids, you can stay home with them or not, you can hate kids, doesn’t matter. You can stay a virgin or you can boink everyone in sight, doesn’t matter. It’s not in the definition. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

Yes, you are.

Yes. You are. You are a feminist. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist. Period. It’s more complicated than that — of course it is. And yet…it’s exactly that simple. It has nothing to do with your sexual preference or your sense of humor or your fashion sense or your charitable donations, or what pronouns you use in official correspondence, or whether you think Andrea Dworkin is full of crap, or how often you read Bust or Ms. — or, actually, whether you’ve got a vagina. In the end, it’s not about that. It is about political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, and it is about claiming that definition on its own terms, instead of qualifying it because you don’t want anyone to think that you don’t shave your pits. It is about saying that you are a feminist and just letting the statement sit there, instead of feeling a compulsion to modify it immediately with “but not, you know, that kind of feminist” because you don’t want to come off all Angry Girl. It is about understanding that liking Oprah and Chanel doesn’t make you a “bad” feminist — that only “liking” the wage gap makes you a “bad” feminist, because “bad” does not enter into the definition of feminism. It is about knowing that, if folks can’t grab a dictionary and see for themselves that the entry for “feminism” doesn’t say anything about hating men or chick flicks or any of that crap, it’s their problem.

It is about knowing that a woman is the equal of a man in art, at work, and under the law, whether you say it out loud or not — but for God’s sake start saying it out loud already. You are a feminist.

I am a feminist too. Look it up.

{Artwork taken from The Graphics Fairy}

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What is art?

Why do we sacrifice so much energy to our art?

Not in order to teach others but to learn with them what our existence, our organism, our personal and unrepeatable experience have to give us;

to learn to break down the barriers which surround us… and to free ourselves from the breaks which hold us back, from the lies about ourselves which we manufacture daily for ourselves and for others;

to destroy the limitations caused by our ignorance and lack of courage;

in short, to fill the emptiness in us: to fulfill ourselves.

Art is neither a state of the soul (in the sense of some extraordinary, unpredictable moment of inspiration) nor a state of man (in the sense of a profession or social function).

Art is a ripening, an evolution, an uplifting which enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light.

– Grotowski

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A Quickening


Dancing

Originally uploaded by strictlyforpleasure

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.

–Martha Graham

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