Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Support Independent Artists

Hey friends! Today I want to talk about supporting independent artists.  If you follow me on Instagram (you better! But if you are failing at life, my handle's @gnomecat) you will see I'm a big supporter of independent artists.  I love supporting people who are making a living of their creativity because that is a dream of mine I keep tucked away.  I love the uniqueness of owning things you can't buy in a cookie cutter form from your local department store. I love having things tailored made to my style of nerdiness. Really, Instagram is a great community to support independent artist. At this point, I probably follow more artists/shops than I do actual people. I love being a part of this community!

I buy an array of different things from independent artists--screen printed tees, jewelry, zipper pouches, crafting notions, book swag and, of course, enamel pins just to name a few.  Really, just anything that catches my fancy and is in my price range. It just feels so awesome to support an up-in-comer as well as add some unique swag to my always evolving style.  And if I'm being honest, these are some of my most treasured purchases.

I can understand shopping in the moment; not researching a product before purchasing. We are ALL guilty of that. But as always, the more you know. I understand how hard it can be to make a living off your crafting wares. It is hard as hell. I personally do not mind paying a couple of extra dollars toward an item I love opposed to cheaping out and supporting a horrible chain who are stealing from these hard working individuals.

Which is exactly what happened.

I'm going to use enamel pins for this example.  This is a very small example of the pins that have been blatantly copied and played off as if they were not designed by independent artists who have copyrights over their designs. This is wrong, oh so wrong. These individuals have worked so hard and do not deserve their hard work being ripped off. And this is only a few. I see new cases pop up weekly and it is maddening!  Maddening for those artists and maddening for consumers.  I actually own a few of the independent artist versions of pins that have been stolen. I'm super thankful I didn't get taken by these obviously knockoffs because it could happen so easily, especially if you weren't as immersed in the independent artist world or an Instagram addict.  

My plea is to avoid shopping at places like Zara & Francescas. Even Rue 21 has been accused of this (as much as it breaks my heart!).  I feel the dilemma here. Rue 21 is one of my favorites. Do you boycott them completely or do you limit your shopping to only certain merchandise? It's such a gray area and I think that is a moral area everyone will need to define for themselves. Personally, I solemnly swear I will not buy any pins from those stores. I'll probably still buy clothing but I will continue my support of independent artists world wide.  Will you make this stand with me?


Friday, August 26, 2016

Sweet Summer Dresses

Hey guys! Can you believe summer is almost over?! It has seriously flown by. Heather and I have both had to deal with some seriously heavy parental issues this summer and that could be part of the culprit.  But without much further ado, we are bringing you a new outfit post.  The theme: Summer Dresses!

There is something to be said about the simplicity of summer clothes. In Missouri, it can be hot and humid as hell, so dressing in the lightest fabrics are a must. Save those layers for fall!  Anyway, simplicity. I love being able to throw on a dress and a pair of sandals and face the day.  It's the easiest way to start the day and leaves so much extra time in the mornings for more important things, like reading, catching pokemon or going on walks.

Outfit details:
Dress: Forever21 (on Clearance!) / Sandals: GoJane (very similar ones)

Man, taking outfit post can be such a silly feeling. We both played around with a few different poses this time and I'm really enjoying the results. Sometimes you just have to let your hair down and be silly!  Also, doesn't the library make a great background?

Outfit Details
Dress {Francescas ON SALE} / Sandals {Forever 21} / Sunglasses {Forever 21} 

Thanks for stopping by on our latest round of outfit posts! What are your summer favorites? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Self Care

This is a post all about self care and full of some #realtalk. Since my mom died I've been having a really hard time dealing. I'm usually great at bouncing back, but I've also never had to deal with the kind of trauma that losing a parent entails. I've developed a kind of constant anxiety that caused me to have to leave work one day when I had a full blown panic attack. See, #realtalk. It was so scary and unexpected. I decided to see a doctor, which was the best thing I could have done. He reassured me that everything I'm feeling is normal when dealing with a trauma like this. It was so reassuring to have someone confirm that I wasn't having some kind of abnormal reaction to losing my mom. There's a lot of stress involved in the after affects as well. As the oldest sibling, I'm responsible for making sure her cremation was paid for and I also feel like I need to keep it together for my kids and my boyfriend and my job. After about 10 days of insisting I was fine, it was refreshing to admit that I was not fine. I do wish I could have admitted it without the panic attack, but it is what it is. The body is a crazy, wonderful thing.

My job is amazing. I talked to my lead and my doctor, and we all decided the best thing for me would be to take some time off. It was a really hard thing to say "Yes, I need some time off to focus on myself and get myself back into a good space." I don't know if it's a personal thing or a woman thing, but I wanted so bad to be strong and together so it took a lot to admit that I don't have it together at this moment. I am so very thankful that my job agreed to give me 3 weeks of paid time off to focus on self care. I'm insanely lucky, I know most people don't have this option, and most companies wouldn't offer it. I feel so loved and supported right now. Definitely #blessed.

So self care. I've always been a big supporter of self care and I've been thinking of all the things I can do for myself during this time. Losing my mom is going to be so painful for a long time, maybe forever. I do need to get to a place where this anxiety isn't affecting me at the level it is currently. I've been waking up early every day and going for 2-3 mile walks first thing. It's been such an amazing way to start my day. I've also been writing a lot about my mom, kind of diary style. It's helped a lot. I've made a therapy appointment, to maybe talk out some of my feelings with a professional and get some good coping strategies. I've made my own cold brew and been reading outside daily. I got some cool paper face masks and taken nightly bubble baths. Lots of cat snuggles and talking to friends when I'm feeling low. I feel like I've really deepened some friendships after losing my mom and it's made me so grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life. Next up to try is some yoga and meditation.

I'm starting to feel like I'm getting to a better coping place. It's most likely a combo of medication and the self care strategies I've started using. If you have anything that helps when you are going through something rough, definitely let me know! I'm open to trying anything!

Thanks for reading! I'm also grateful for this little blog and every person who takes the time to stop by. xoxo.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Oh My Overalls

Hey friends! Are you ready for an overall fashion edition of Bestie Style? If you want my opinion, it is way overdue!

Overalls are one of my most favorite fashion trends.  They are such a 90's throwback.  My childhood was filled with them. I wore hand-me-downs from my brother. I had matching ones with my sister. My mom had several pairs. Rachel from Friends rocked the shit out of them. To me, they are timeless staple pieces. They are so easy to style, look effortless and are comfortable as hell. Plus, the bibs make a great canvas to display your pingame.  I love that they come in so many options: long pants, shorts, capri length and as a dress/skirt.  They just seem so versatile! At this point, I think I have more overalls than fingers on one hand so the love is strong. I'm constantly keeping my eye open for overall outfit ideas and really just overalls in general. 

Outfit details:
Shorteralls  (ASOS) / Tee (Forever 21) / Kicks (Converse) / Pins (see below) 

Pin Details:
The Snape pin is from OsloandAlfred on Etsy.
The cat pins are from ThePinkSamurai on Etsy.
The WhateverForever pin is by Sara M. Lyons.
The Office Space pin is by Houseof4D.
Stay at Home Club is by Stay at Home Club.
The 5 remaining pop culture pins are from Heartificial on Etsy. 

Also, with all the intellectual property theft going on in the pin world, especially in regards to Zara's blatant thievery, I'm advocating to shop independent and not big corporations. It is hard enough to establish a business without this type of setback. Support your local artists, friends!

Outfit Details 
Overall shorts (Target/clearance) / Striped Tee (Target) / Sandals & Sunglasses (Forever 21) 

Are overalls a staple in your life too? Hit us up in the comments about your favorite pair or send us hints where we can find some new pairs for our collection. Share your secret love of overalls with us!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Mom

Two weeks ago my mom died. She was diagnosed with a incurable form of bone cancer 15 months ago and was aggressively doing chemotherapy until it stopped working. She started getting worse at the beginning of July and then last week she spent 3 days in the hospital, with her condition rapidly declining until she passed. 

It feels so weird to talk about my mom in the past tense. It feels impossible that it’s been weeks without her. My mom and I had a rocky relationship for a huge chunk of my life, but the past few years we were able to mend most of the pain and have a relationship. I will always be grateful that I got these years with my mom. I will always be grateful that I got to spend her last days in the hospital holding her hand. The last thing she was able to say to me before she stopped responding to anything was that she loved me. 

Grief is heavy. It has settled over me like a blanket. It sometimes feels like the intensity of not having my mom anymore is too much, like my heart might stop at any second because there is no way one person can deal with this much pain and hurt and sadness. I miss my mom. I think about her constantly. I wish I could talk to her again, to ask her all the things about herself I never got to know. My mom can never tell me. Other people can tell me stories or what they know but it’s not the same as my mom telling me. 

Two weeks feels so long. It doesn’t feel real that I will never talk to my mom again, or hear her laugh. My kids might not remember their grandma. She won’t be able to see them grow up or have sleepovers with the girls. She will never text me or call me or a million other things that can hit me out of nowhere. I’m 29 and I don’t have my mom anymore. My sister Stephanie is 27 and Ciara is 20. That feels so young to not have a mom. 

Jen said it best. My mom had the biggest heart, even when she wasn’t at her best. She always had good intentions and I have never doubted for a second that my mom loved me fiercely. I never thought about losing my mom or what they would mean. I assumed it would happen when I was old and my kids were grown but that’s not how things worked out. Everyone asks how you are doing, and I’m doing ok. I’m taking it one day at a time. I think that is the best I can hope for right now, when the grief feels so heavy. 

I debated sharing this on the blog, but it felt inauthentic to not acknowledge this huge, life changing event. Jen is always gracious with my blog planning and we’ve taken an even longer break because I just could not write a post without first sharing this about my mom. I love having a blog with my best friend and I have so many ideas and plans that I can’t wait to share, but I needed time. So we are still here and still have all kinds of bookish things we want to share. I'm ready to get back to blogging now.

Thank you so much for reading this incredibly personal post <3