In the gardens unabashed

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Had to put in a quiet Eve mention somewhere. Being in gardens, so lush and fertile and beautiful, surrounded by dozens of species of flowers, trees, bushes, and other flora, I often think that no wonder Eve bit from the apple of knowledge and fucked everything up. Ignorance may be bliss for some, but not for me. I want to know about everything. What tells flowers it’s time to bloom? Why are some petals soft, others rubbery, and others thick and dense? Why do humans enjoy causing some sort of terror to every living thing, whether it be tramping on gentle flora or ruthlessly carving our names on the bamboo in the gardens?

Regardless, yesterday Liang, Deb, and I all spent some much needed time outside in the gardens at school. We smelled all the blooms and quietly meandered and took pictures of each other. It was a lovely afternoon of quiet in the midst of what feels like multiple storms.

Moonage daydream

32760104591_7e9fa89b36_c32883640865_ab08bc2ded_c32842840796_cf7c35fd08_c32760090951_de9ec4d65b_cTime seems to speed up as spring becomes more and more of a reality. Am I the only one who thinks this? As soon as I can see buds on the trees, hear all the birds chirp and sing, and the sun rises even a bit earlier, it seems my days go by so quickly.

This weekend was spent with good humans. One of the highlights was going to karaoke with a bunch of friends on Friday. Morgan and I did a killer job at singing “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals, and we drank Campari at a a bar/barber shop earlier. And yes, the bar/barbershop establishment was ridiculously trendy. While I was waiting for the washroom there was literally a dude getting his hair cut behind me. At 9:30 pm. On a Friday night. In a bar.

32760100471_e351f8c9f5_c32760096541_35a2acb4ef_cSaturday I spend in some botanical gardens, and then devouring pho with Kaitlin. I walked a lot this weekend, as my mind and heart feel very full. I miss my home, I miss my loved ones, and I miss life when it wasn’t so complex. 2017 will hopefully be better than 2016 was but I know that it will be saturated with challenges I can only welcome, as the only other choice is to dread them and that would mean such a waste of energy. Trying to stay on top of everything that needs doing is overwhelming, and sometimes it gets really hard when my partner is living in another country and I can’t even go and get a hug when I need one.

Nonetheless, the words that define this year already continue to be important: survive/resist/resilient. Kaitlin and I were discussing how to let go of the toxic environment where the news only seems to get worse and everything seems dim and dark. For me, long walks and a good playlist always help. I am lucky to live in a pretty safe city where I can go on walks late at night by myself and feel fairly comfortable doing so, and I know I’ve talked about this on this blog a lot in the past, but long walks are the only thing sometimes that make me feel sane. What do y’all do to keep your heads on straight?

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Anyway, this morning’s walk was marvelous. It was a gorgeous, clear morning here, and the sunrise was epic. I said good morning to older folks on their morning strolls and listened to birds and saw so many crows (crows are the best!). I wore this grey/blue wool turtleneck dress, which essentially is the antithesis of attractive in every way- and that’s kind of my clothing aesthetic I guess? I love wearing lipstick and having my makeup done well but when it comes to clothes challenging ones are better. Big, thick sweaters, turtlenecks, loose shirts, high collars, longer hems, tights- things that hide my body or distort my shape feel safer in a lot of ways and they turn the focus away from my physical self and the value that society puts on it. I feel freer and also more anonymous when I wear things that hide my body. If this sounds strange I am 100% positive there are lots of great writers across the gender spectrum who write about disguises/clothing/dressing for anonymity and comfort and other marvelous topics. Leave me to fumble with my words, thank you very much.

I hope y’all had a glorious weekend and welcome the week with optimism! We must all keep our chins up, as hard as that can be a lot of the time.

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Kodak Yellow

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My love affair with Kodak film has been going strong for years. My mother generously gave me her Olympus OM-G 35mm SLR in my first year of college, patiently taught me how to use the manually attached flash, how to load film, how to change it, and then let me figure out everything else.

This was back in the day, y’all. This was back when film was still fairly abundant (back in 2009!), when Target carried Kodak film with instant cameras and batteries, back when you could still go to CVS and find dusty boxes of almost-expired drugstore brand film and quietly ask if you could get it discounted because it was almost about to be no good. Gah, the good old days! (Yes, I am sitting on a front porch yelling at kids to get off my lawn as I type this.) You could still get 35mm film developed at CVS, Costco, Walmart, Target, Walgreens…wherever! Nowadays, most drugstores don’t bother, as when their developing machines broke I believe it became policy for the corporations to not repair them any more…

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…Anyway, to this day, despite the changes in photography culture, the goldenrod hues of Kodak roll film always quietly whisper promises of beautiful colors, of lush reds and rich skin tones. Kodak 400 speed film has always my preferred film, and my grandfather always favored Kodak over Fujifilm, saying that Fujifilm was far too focused on the green and blue tones of things (which is still true- I buy a lot of Fujifilm because it is cheaper than Kodak but the tones are very different).

So, when I learned that Opening Ceremony had done a small capsule collection with Kodak, I freaked out. Yes, it came out in Fall 2015. Yes, it was for men. Nonetheless, when I found out, I immediately went and looked. Did I want the gorgeous leather jacket that cost something like $500? Oh yes, yes. However, on my budget all I could justify was buying the OC hat I wear in some of these pictures. It was a Christmas gift to myself, and if that sounds silly it’s because it really is. This hat has the gorgeous colors of Kodak film, along with the timeless logo, and it’s a loud little beanie (tuque if you’re in Canada, which I am, which I can still never call a hat like this a tuque).

Paired with this goldenrod shirt and my omnipresent Dr. Marten boots, I feel a little intimidating and a little nostalgic, and that’s quite alright with me. I got to see a lot of crows this morning and some ducks and get rained on a little bit, and all of that was just fine, too. Now, back to writing the introduction to my thesis!

P.S. I picked up a funky little film camera for $8 at a thrift shop that has a pretty decent reputation and so I’m trying to run some film through it! Stay tuned for scans sometime this week! There will be cat pictures.

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The red girls

I spent my amazing week in Los Angeles staying with these two girls. I slept in their room, invaded their space, and used their Ibuprofen, and they were very gracious about all of this.

We had a great week-I don’t really have words to describe how much I needed to be somewhere warm and sunny and sit in the grass outside. Montana winters are long, dark, and cold, and every March it seems I feel the need to escape in an almost violent way.

We ate like queens, drank beer like we were raised in breweries, and wore dresses without tights. I was amazed at 80 degree weather, and actually had to apply sunscreen! My freckles popped out, my hair was loose and I felt like a new person.

I’ll be posting more photographs from my trip soon but these are two of my favorite frames. Thanks Chelsea and Comrade Kate for everything!

 

An afternoon of raspberries and violet.

 

Tuesday Chelsea, Julia and I got together and took some photographs. My two best cameras are currently out of commission, so I had to make do with an old Minolta Talk-O-Matic from around 1983. I am pretty pleased with the end result, though.

Chelsea and Julia wore lovely shades of purple and pearl collars. I brought bubbles and we sat in Julia’s front yard, picking raspberries. The sunlight was a little harsh, and normally I would have waited until it was later to get the right lighting, but we had to get to Trivia Tuesdays at our local Irish pub!

Lately I’m trying to find some sort of inspiration, and these two friends help me find it. I think we’re planning an extravagant picnic in a local graveyard- it’s one of the more beautifully landscaped places in town.

Until later, tschüß!

 

Sorry for the poor quality of some of these photographs. However, please drool!

This collection is everything I love- playing with proportions, warping our sense of the body, adding in colors and patterns that feel very Frida Kahlo-ish meets Vegas meets a circus. It’s, to be honest, tragic- because i will never be able to afford these crafted creations!

Recycled Fashion Show

Again, my posting has been sporadic! Yeesh, I wish I was better at sitting down and seriously committing to making blog posts these days!

This last Tuesday Julia, Chelsea, and I showed off the magical creation we designed from duct tape, foam, an old skirt, and other various recycled things. This year it was sort of Alexander McQueen-y, sort of Christopher Kane, and a whole lot of awesome. Last year we set the bar pretty high by re-making an Alexander McQueen Highland inspired thing, which turned out beautifully!

When Julia walked out, the crowd sort of got a little quiet. Our creations the last two years have always been a little on the avant-garde side, at least as far as Helena goes, and lots of people definitely didn’t know what to do with our work of art!

Afterwards we celebrated at Shellie’s with pie, coffee, and discussions of everything and anything. It was a perfect way to end the successful evening!

I have many more blog posts in my mind! I hope to seriously settle down and record my life recently, bear with me!

 

Tangible Things I Love

Here are a few of my favorite looks from fashion recently. Most of the images are via Style.com. 

Zang Toi F/W 2011. I love the crepe look and the movement in this skirt.

Moschino Cheap & Chic, F/W 2012. Just…everything.

Lino Villaventura, F/W 2012. Foto : Ze Takahashi / Ag. Fotosite

Helsinki street style- I love the textures, the lack of complexity but the amazing textures and fabrics she uses. It’s effortless but so intuitive.

Gloria Coelho, F/W 2012

Dolce & Gabbana shoes, F/W 2012

Carven F/W 2012. I love that it has panels from Hieronymous Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” on it. Too bad the retail is upwards of $1,000! It’s my dream dress, no question.

Montana State University’s 3rd Annual Condom Fashion Show

Last night Kristin, Renee, and I lined up two hours before the doors opened at the Condom Fashion Show, “Latex and Lace”.

It’s exactly what it sounds like- people, sponsored by health clinics and local businesses, create costumes out of prophylactics. The point isn’t just to strut around in latex- it’s to raise awareness of STI’s, safe sex, and the real cost of NOT being safe when engaging in sex. So, we combine all of this information with a dash of creativity and a lot of personality!

The show was such a success. It was my first time going, and we got third row seats. I raised my camera above my head and took a lot of guesstimation shots, so sorry about the bad angles and such. One couple were gangsters, complete with basketball jerseys, grills, and tattoos. Big Bird, from the iconic show Sesame Street, strutted down covered in neon yellow condoms, carrying sign reading “C is for Condom”. Sailor Moon came out, sponsered by the anime club, in an ornate costume of woven condoms- seriously amazing! Somebody dressed like Marilyn Monroe in her white dress- the skirt was made from hundreds of carefully cut condoms, and it looked like it was actually made of real fringe, not latex! There were many many more costumes that were fantastic.

Afterwards, we drove downtown and went to Plonk, Bozeman’s classy wine bar. It’s hard to find a table, and Plonk is known for catering to the Bozeman bourgeois. None of us were yet 21, so it was hard to NOT get laughed at by the waiters when we ordered coffees and such, which felt a little ridiculous. Ageism, I say! The desserts we got were worth it, though.

We seated ourselves in a corner surrounded by felt hats, belt buckles, long cardigans, and lots of iPhones- the Bozemanites have all got them, and the old people love taking photographs. A cheese platter, a flourless torte, and two strawberry crepes later, we left the dark, delicious interior of Plonk to each head to bed.

I kind of want a skirt made of condoms now. They bounced and twirled so well!

In all seriousness, though, this was a fantastic way to spread awareness in a colorful, fun, and comfortable environment. The truth is, education is key to sexual health and awareness. The more comfortable we as a society are with sex, too, the easier it will be to channel important information.

Street Fashion in Helsinki.

 

Maria:  “I found my warm winter coat in Kaivarin Kanuuna, the trousers cost 20 cents at the recycling centre, the knit is Benetton and the shoes from DinSko. I like down-to-earth colours and classic beauty icons like Jane Birkin and Audrey Hepburn. Now I’m looking for a perfect pencil skirt.”

Jenny:  “I’m wearing a pullover from Reykjavik, my godmother’s old boots and Seppälä trousers which cost 2,5 euros. I don’t think about clothes that much. I often wear trousers and layers and I like tights.”

Hanni: “Marimekko‘s Mari-essu dress makes me happy. The bag is from the 70s and my mother’s old, the shoes are Swedish Hasbeens. I like playful and colourful clothes. Vintage Vuokko and Marimekko dresses from the 60s and the 70s are my treasures.”

Annica:  “My style is inspired by the 90s and the early nineties. Movies like Cry Baby, Clueless and 13 inspire me, too.”

Ruth:  “My style is schizophrenic. This outfit is really conservative for me. I love colours and colour co-ordination. I buy second hand only. Leigh Bowery is my style icon.”

Meeri:  “I just came from Barcelona where I accidentally found a store called Me and My Bitch. I bought 10 things, including this shirt and pants. The handbag is my grandmother’s old. I like vintage, especially the 50s. I appreciate ethic production, naturalness and handicraft in clothes.”

My best friend Hannah showed me this fantastic website, saying that one of the girls (Ruth) is my fashion doppelganger- and I agree. I love all these looks, and how they layer and use color in such a strong sense. I love how the proportions are played with, even if it’s not super “flattering”, but rather how the outfit lets the personality come through so strongly.

Here are a few of my favorite Helsinki street looks as of late. Slash it makes me want to go buy baggy trousers! GAH!

Paul Rule Archive: Continued

My fascination with this archive of a globe trotting, fashionable family has led to me regularly going through and finding more and more of their old slides fantastic.

This time I focused on style. Although I only uploaded three photographs, there are dozens more where style, though subtle, peeks through and makes me feel inspired. Click the link through each photograph to look at it and delve into the wonders of vintage photography!

Reflections on the awesomeness of velvet.

I acquired a velvet dress at a local thrift shop for $3, and hemmed it terribly, and have promptly become deeply infatuated with this lovely article of clothing. It is blue and purple velvet, and seriously, I think I have velvet fever. Velvet tights are the next thing on my dream clothing list, and I can’t stop wearing it. I love how it changes color and how it hangs on my body. It’s not tight, it’s loose and perfect, and honestly the 90’s need to make a come back so I can find more dresses with qualities like it.

 

Paul Rule Photographic Archive

Alright, so Flickr being the treasure trove it was delivered: a multi-generational, globe trotting family, slowly being revealed in wonderful old Kodachrome slides scanned onto Flickr.

I’d like to give you a taste of the amazingness that is this photographic archive!

You can find all these photographs by clicking through to the Flickr set. I’ll probably add up more of these to this blog, I find them fascinating and inspiring.