Like all humans faced with a turning point, like a new year (even though I will soap box until I'm blue in the face about this being an arbitrary date to celebrate, which Jared Silver articulates well), I’ve spent some solid time reflecting on the past year and what I want to manifest going forward.
To the surprise of literally no one, I plan to persist on my relentless quest to bring more color and sparkle into my own life and the lives of others. To be totally blunt, sometimes that can be really difficult. Life can get dark and it can feel like shadow weights are suddenly strapped to every limb and it's a mammoth task to get out of bed. I've been there, I've lived that, I'm sure it'll happen again. The thing about all of this is, through it all, there's a richness, a texture, to life. There are layers, smooth and pleasing, that make up for those weighty, sandpaper-y ones, and there are always amazing humans that can help dig ya out / help you up. Thank you to all those that helped me over the past year. To all those that I can help going forward I say, "Let's glow". (Yes that's cheesy af, don't @ me.)
I've also decided to really chase after what I want. I'm going to get even louder and bolder. Ask for, demand, take the things that I want, that I deserve. Not to be preachy, but ladies, y'all should do the same. People, kiss the subject of your affection! Go get that raise, that new job! All of our lives will be so much better for it! Let joy and equality abound! I say, here's to "Girls doing whatever the fuck they want in 2018!" (the slogan from The Wing's keychain featured on this month's mood board).
All in all, I strut into this new year, this new month, armed with a squad of amazing humans, a calendar full of adventures, a killer playlist and a slightly sensual new mood board full of bold colors and rich textures. I'm so ready for this. Bring on January, bring on 2018.
dark haired model w lipstick: Rihanna has proven time and time again that she's the reigning queen of beauty, social media, killer naming, branding, idk/idc, you can name it and I will crown her queen of it at this point. This image is part of a post from the Fenty Beauty Instagram which features users / fans of the products looking nearly as queen-ly as RiRi. This girl had the mind-blowingly genius idea to COMBINE the Mattemoiselle lipsticks in shades "PMS" and "Spanked" for both the best name combo ever and the perfect ombre lip. I'm kinda obsessed with this whole deal. In a word, HAWT.
handwriting: What looks like tattoos on the model with the amazing lipstick is actually my handwriting, artfully "faded" (thank you, opacity tool). I wanted to be able to incorporate more words into this piece, but none of the fonts were working for me, and I wanted something more intimate for these words ("leaping", "falling"). Then I thought, "what's more intimate than words written by my own hand?"
balloon turtle: This lil buddy cracks me up every single time I see 'em. Why? I literally do not know. Maybe it's the yellow balloons and something to do with color psychology. Maybe it's because the turtle looks so helpless but yet is totally afloat, but in my mind kinda giddy and confused about it? Maybe it's purely the concept of a turtle flying (sorta like a pig flying, but somehow better)? Maybe it's something about the stoic positioning of the feet and tail, like the turtle really is standing on solid ground in this rendering of it, but yet IT'S FLYING BECAUSE IT'S SUSPENDED BY A HALF DOZEN YELLOW BALLOONS! (And this is the part where I burst out laughing again.) Perhaps the true explanation is much simpler, and it's the fact that in most situations, my knee-jerk reaction is to just start laughing. In the face of absurdity or crisis, in dull times or happy ones, I laugh. This turtle, too, brings me laughter. Thank you, random airborne turtle.
sparkly aqua dress: Ooooh, I think I squealed when I first laid eyes on this Cushnie et Ochs Yvette sequin pencil dress. I wanted to put it on and full body shimmy/wiggle like a glittery, aquamarine sea snake in front of a spotlight and turn into a human disco ball (yes, that was a lot of similes/metaphors).
coral patterned dress: I am and have been in love with all things ocean-related ever since I was young, so when Oscar de la Renta rolled out this collection of tulle dresses covered in foil coral appliqués (the one on this board) and embroidered sea creatures (not pictured) I let out an actual shriek and then started sending photos to my friends, some of whom were like, "thank you?" Turns out, not everyone has a long running history with high fashion houses and deep sea exploration. The more you know.
silver pants: New York reliably has some of the best street style in the world. Obviously, the existence of these pants (especially coupled with that luscious, furry sweater and light blue bag) continue to reinforce that statement. This amazing outfit was brought to my attention by Who What Wear's instagram, courtesy of @collagevintage2. I still have no clue where these pants are from, but they scream "boss ass bitch" and should I ever encounter them IRL in a store, I probably will end up trying them on and then crying because, fun fact, curvy girls and dramatic, lightly colored, wide leg trousers usually aren't the greatest look. C'est la vie.
keychain: One of my favorite companies / brands / things in general of last year and I'm sure this year too, is The Wing. They're a femme-only "clubhouse" / co-working space expanding quickly, with multiple locations in New York, and another in D.C. They refer to their group of members as a "coven" and members as "witches", on-site blowouts are part of membership, they’ve held events with Venus Williams and hosted a co-branded Chanel launch event recently, and obviously, I absolutely live for every single detail of it. During the holidays, they released / promoted a slew of new merchandise, including these 2018 keychains proudly proclaiming / encouraging "girls doing whatever the fuck they want in 2018". I hope they open a San Francisco location in the coming year, and I'll proudly hang my membership tag and keys from this keychain. #vibes.
skyscraper painting: I went on a full on digital art crawl to find the perfect painting to fit the proper aesthetic and and vibe for this month / this board. Thanks to this avid pursuit, I discovered the work of Thelma Appel. She paints the most gorgeous and bright landscapes of cities, with this perfect interpretative twist. She somehow takes these very recognizable places and brings new light and perspective to them. One of the best examples of that is her Times Square series. It's very obvious that the location is what it is, but yet she eliminates the dread and tourist-y baggage and evoke this electricity and magic of it, that is so often lost. "Times Square IV" is the painting that ended up in this mood board. It also felt fitting for this to be the painting that made the final cut, as I'll be spending a large portion of January in New York (but I can't say much, if any, will be spent in Times Square).
yellow flower dress: I like to think of this as a cross between a field of flowers and Big Bird. I can't imagine the designers/team at Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2013 would be particularly thrilled to hear it described that way, but it's true to the aesthetic, so I don't know how mad they can be. Personally, I'm a fan of Big Bird, and not a fan of feathers, but adore tulle, so I'd rock this in a heartbeat. It's just so cheerful and somehow also structured! Sometimes I swear designers are magic. And by sometimes, I mean a lot of the time. Fashion is awesome.
hot pink dress: For a moment, this Reem Acra dress made me miss my long hair so I could truly pretend it was me in this photo, wearing this fuchsia gown. Alas, I'm rocking a bob, and literally every other second of the day couldn't be happier about it (it's so bouncy!). The dress fantasy lingers, though. I LOVE hot pink. I'm one of the only people I know to relentlessly embrace bright-to-the-point-of-neon colors with open arms, and if I'm going to wear a gown, OF COURSE I want people to be looking at me. The bustle detail and low-key train would flatter my butt without being obvious, and the way the skirt drapes is the dress world equivalent of Beyonce singing "I woke up like this". It's just cut that well, and LOOK AT THAT TRIM. That's not f*cking around. That's gonna lay nicely and behave. I wonder if they have this on Rent the Runway... Also, do they list events where I could make up a plausible excuse to wear this...?
knit sweater: LET'S TALK ABOUT TEXTURE. This Delpozo Resort 2018 sweater is part Irish fisherman's knit "jumper" and part high fashion homage to a deep ocean reef and I'm absolutely living for it. If I could casually drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a sweater, it'd be this one. I WANT TO LOOK LIKE AN OCEAN, especially one this freaking cool with all the different things going on with materials! Wool! Sequins! That bulky collar! Please!
jumping girl: The spunky bit of joy in the corner is Freddie Harrel, one of my favorite fashion bloggers / entrepreneurs. I've been following her career for years via Instagram now, and it's been a pure delight to watch her. I see a kindred spirit in her— the hustle, the spark, the style. When I saw this ensemble, replete with this jumping pose, I knew she'd have to make an appearance.
girl sipping champagne: Vogue magazine posted this photo on Instagram as a bit about "NYE fashion", but it ended up perfectly encapsulating the sexier side I've been tapping into as of late. The deep v of the dress mimics that of the jumpsuit I can't wait to wear to my bestie's birthday bash, while the sly smile half hidden behind a small glass of wine reminds me of a delightful date and glances exchanged. I can't wait to see where this particular bit of "muse" from the mood board leads me, especially in that jumpsuit. Ayyyy!
colorful background: I've discussed my discovery of and love for Dana Schutz in prior mood board posts, so I won't go into that again. Her work never fails to blow my mind. It somehow straddles the line between abstract, surrealism, and realism all at the same time, while absolutely glowing with bright color despite thick, opaque layers of paint. "Building the Boat While Sailing" is a complicated and beautiful piece, the title of which I found out about after deciding to include this piece. However, the title is perhaps the most applicable bit of this board to my current stage of life. It feels like everything is in transition, a blur of movement and color and change. I'm building my boat as I sail it— quite literally traveling and piecing together my next moves as I go.
singer: So, SZA went on SNL as the musical guest and absolutely SLAYED IT. Both in regards to vocal performance (ENCHANTING) and her wardrobe (UHHH STUNNA). I still can't get over the details of this whole audio-visual experience. Let's dive in, though. Her voice is so smooth, but yet she inserts these playful pauses and choppy bits that infuse texture and this "teasing" element that's so sexy, fun and addictive to listen to. Then THAT GREEN DRESS. It's this silk/satin concoction by Vivetta with the perfect slit right up the side, ADORNED WITH A DAMN BOA. Like, STEPPIN OUT GURL. OOH! There was magnificent, colorful on the bodice and then you get to the fishnet sleeves. AH. Bow down. She's killing it. Give her all the awards.
lady in purple: ULTRAVIOLET, PEOPLE! It's the color of the year, prep your wardrobe, prep your body, prep your eyes. This little monochrome number is being rocked by Linda Evangelista and was photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue all the way back in 1980. Because FASHION IS CYCLICAL. Tbh, I'm a little torn on purple as a color in general, but this hue, and the specific Pantone shade are both quite pleasing to me. Maybe I'm getting older, wiser, and more tolerant; maybe I watched "The Christmas Prince" too many times over the holidays and therefore am really feeling ~the color of royalty~.
bey in gold: Beyoncé reminds me of an Oscars statue in this, but yet, so much better. Because it's her! Her melanin, her curves, her sass, her history, her story, her power, her style. Now that I'm going on this rant, I'm starting to truly question why we'd EVER hand out those stupid Oscar statuettes again. Let's hand out some damn 3D-printed Beyonce's. Genuinely, I need to take a moment to truly appreciate what a total QUEEN this woman is. She's a mother of THREE now, still caring for infants (with help, I know), simultaneously keeping it tight and bringing thicc back, slaying the fashion game, dealing with all the nonsense from Jay as he goes through whatever "emotional journey" he's on (like seriously dude, keep yo damn dick in yo pants, or at the very least keep it in your own house, you're married to BEY), prepping to headline Coachella this year... Mad respect. It's not easy doing what she does, and she handles it with such aplomb.
colorful sculpture, paintings: I went on an Instagram following spree while watching the Netflix docu-series "Abstract", and ended up following a bunch of illustrators, graphic designers, painters and museums towards the end of 2017. Thanks to the The Broad Museum's epic collection / feed, I discovered the work of Yayoi Kusama, and her "My Infinite Soul" series. This sculpture reminded me of the silhouette of some of the layered tulle dresses I'd seen coming down the runway in the past few seasons, and the way the little "tentacle" pieces flared off at the ends reminded me of a flippy hairstyle I aspired to in intermediate school. The colors and patterns on the piece are so vibrant, they seem to vibrate / radiate good vibes out at you just by being near it. The paintings that correlate with the sculpture series tie the aesthetic together so perfectly, I can't imagine the piece standing on it's own against a white wall, it'd seem smaller and sadder without the festively colored canvases around it. It reminds me of having great friends. Each person's spark gets brighter when it's magnified by those that they love / that make them better.
pink lips: As is well documented now, I'm not-so-low-key obsessed with lips. I find them absolutely fascinating and fun. They're also my favorite feature to ~accessorize~, which means ALL THE LIPSTICK! This is one of my favorites, Ciaté glitter flip, which is this magical liquid lipstick that you put on then rub your lips together and suddenly they're shining like a disco plus twinkly lights. Aka, all my favorite things.
solange: AH, THE KNOWLES SISTERS! Does Tina know what she was blessing us with? I wonder this on a regular basis. This is Solange on the African cover of Elle magazine. It's not particularly recent, but I thought it a fitting homage, given her recent inability to perform at the Johannesburg Afro-Punk festival due to illness. I empathize on a foundational level with the suck level of chronic auto-immune diseases, and I wish her all the best. So here's to Solange, being herself, aka a radiant warrior queen.
tropical painting: This past month I discovered the work of Angela Mckay (@ohkiistudio) on Instagram and immediately became enamored with her lush, detailed tropical scenery. Every watercolor makes me want to hop a plane to a tropical destination, verdant with lush ferns and other rainforest/island-y plants. Although I am admittedly averse to most of those things IRL, Angela's paintings make them real and beautiful for me, with none of the bugs or humidity. It's my ideal scenario.
typography: One of the words not-so-hidden in this piece is "empowered" which is something I've been working to re-attain. Thanks to some amazing people in my life, I feel like I am reclaiming my power, in so many aspects of my life. With renewed confidence, hope, clarity, goals, and *flair*, I strut forth, empowered, passing forth empowerment to those around me. All the love and shout outs! 💖