Saturday, December 29, 2012

weird is good.

The older I get, the more childish I become in both my appearance and my activities. It is completely apparent why Peter Pan never wanted to grow up. Though my thoughts and reactions are much more mature, I stomp around in childish clothes with my hair in a knotted mess and glitter on my face, doing arts and crafts and wanting to go romp in the snow or watch The Brave Little Toaster. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. What are 19 year olds supposed to do anyways? I work, I go to university, and my free time is spent doing childish things. I like to go on adventures and cuddle with my dog while reading Nancy Drew. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but when my co-workers talk about hitting the clubs or how many drinks they had the other night, I usually just stand there silent. I go to about two house parties a year, rarely drink, and do not tend to do drugs. Most of my peers seem to do the opposite. I've always felt very abnormal for not partaking in these seemingly "normal" adolescent activites.
But if there's one thing I've learnt over the years: weird is good. Growing up, I was the kid with the bowl cut and the lisp who wore velvet bell bottoms and Doc Martens, who watched Cary Grant movies and cut my own hair. I was weird. And I was okay with it. I was out with a boy the other night (it's been the same boy for a few weeks now - yippeee!) and he asked me if I cared what other people thought about me. "Nope," I told him, "I just be myself and if people don't like me, I couldn't care less." It's true. I'd rather be comfortable with myself and have a few friends than be constantly changing to please others. On the brightside, I'm lucky that so many people accept me for who I am and seem to enjoy it. My friends willingly create sidewalk chalk masterpieces with me, or do tie dye in the alley, or have Disney movie marathons till 2am, or have dance parties to The Monkees. They don't care if they're seen with me when I'm wearing some weird new get up or 4 inch platforms or mom jeans. I'm lucky that so many of my friends seem to agree: weird is good. Or at least, weird Chloe is good.
I've got the house to myself today so I decided to play dress up. I'm wearing a sundress from Fancy Treehouse with my H&M kids Batman sweater, Target socks & stockings, a cardigan from a church sale, and Reeboks which I picked up at a charity shop with my friends David and Tyler. Oh, and also a headband I made with these little bird decorations from the craft store.
This outfit is definitely me. It's a bit childish. It's weird. Clothing is a good way to channel my weirdness. It's always been the most visual personal statement for me and it's why I love clothing so much. It's why I created this blog and change my outfit three times a day (okay, that's a bit of an overexageration). I was always quiet growing up, and maybe still am, so clothing was how I let people know who I am.
Tonight I am volunteering at my church, but the next 3 or so days will be filled with fun and celebration (and a little work). New Year's is right around the corner and there's a lot to celebrate. It's been a good year, and things are only getting better.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Look at My 2012 Achievements, pt. 1

As 2012 winds down, we're all looking back on the year and reflecting on where we started and where we are now. It was when I was 16 that I decided to take control of my life and actually make a change to it. Three years later, I am still working to become a better person. I've narrowed down my 3 strengths of 2012 and thought I'd share them with you (I'll also be sharing my 2 resolutions/goals!). Although I made Urban Tease to be a "fashion" or "personal style" blog, it's become more and more of a "lifestyle" blog or a blog of "ramblings from a hormonal teenage girl" and thus, I find it more and more appropriate to talk about life beyond my clothing choices. So, with that being said, the first of these 3 strengths:

I spent part of my July in Guatemala. I never talked much about it on the blog because it was so impossible to put words to. It was an experience which I still struggle to explain to people or even to myself, because it was so strangely soulful and the English language - or any language - couldn't possibly do it justice. One thing that inspired me when I was down there was the strength of the town we worked in. The town had been a major part of the bloody civil unrest in the '80s and '90s in Guatemala and they are still deeply affected by poverty. But through all of this, the town still manages to smile and to get stuff done, which is largely because of their faith in God. After being in Guatemala, I felt immensely strong. I was filled with a passion to be strong and to, more importantly, use this strength.

When we suffer some sort of hardship, I think our first reaction is to feel bad for ourselves, to feel hopeless and desperately alone. I've dealt with a lot of hardships in this way and although it's easy, it also makes us miserable and causes us to fall deeper and deeper into a hole.

Being in Guatemala really inspired me to feel passion, to work hard, and to make a change. The past 3 years have been so focused on changing myself, but when it comes to larger problems, I've never had too much care. I get sad that the polar bears are dying or that childhood obesity is a growing problem. I'm discouraged by how technology has taken over our lives or over how paranoid our culture is because of the harmful media. But I never actually do anything. I just feel sorry for our society and never make a change.

2012 was the year of making a change. For the first time, I stood up and spoke out on rape. We live in a society where women are categorised and marginalised into prudes or sluts and when rape happens, not much results to make a change. The topic of rape is something which has deeply affected me for a few years now and I never knew how to deal with it or how to channel the confusion and hurt of the subject into something productive. I began to read books on rape culture, blogs on how our media promotes women as objects, and essays on how to make a change. It was scary, but I focused my public speaking speeches on the subject of rape culture. I advocated for my classmates to quit using gender based slander and to facilitate dialogue about it with their friends. It was me standing up and demanding change and furthermore, being a part of that change, for the first time in my life. And damn, it felt good.

The change I advocate for may not have anything to do with the situation in Guatemala, but it was the Guatemalan people who taught me to be a part of the change. There's that tacky quote credited to Ghandi which is slabbed on a million things from coffee mugs to bumper stickers to bracelets - "Be the change you wish to see in the world." It's time to quit advertising the cliches and to actually follow them.

If 2012 was the year of starting to make change, 2013 will be the year of making my voice stronger and of never backing down on making this change happen. I could say a lot about being strong. I could write an entire book about strength. I already wrote an entire blog post about it and see more in my future (and thus, yours too). I absolutely urge you to feel passion towards something, enough passion that it leads you to want to make a change, even if it is only changing a single person's viewpoint. I urge you to take your own hurt and pain and suffering and use it to better the world or the people in it. If there's one thing I will walk away from 2012, and walk into 2013, with, it is that strength is more than changing yourself, but also having the courage to speak up for the better of what lies around you.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

O Tannenbaum

There've been no updates because I've been much too busy doing all of my merry making! Between shifts at work, I've been creating holiday wreaths, making cookies, watching my favourite Christmas movies, wrapping presents, writing Christmas cards, sewing a Christmas dress, and who even knows what else! It's a busy time of year, but my favourite. I promise an update soon & I hope that everyone is keeping busy! What're your Christmas traditions?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

polar style.

And I'm all yours. Finals are all turned in and I feel weird. There's so much to do, I'm overwhelmed by all my instead, I'm trying to do it all and getting nothing done! Today was productive: I started my day off getting (almost!) the rest of my Christmas shopping done and getting a couple of cards in the mail. Last year, I think I had them all out by now - yikes, I am behind! I also attempted to ship a package that's been sitting around for a week but it's going to an APO box, so I have to fill out a customs form. That ended up being miserable and the website didn't have the right form and the dinky grocery store didn't either, so that's one thing I still have to get done!
For all of this errand running, I wore this. It wasn't too chilly out today and I wasn't going far.
I am wearing a polar bear sweater that was my father's, and then my mum's...and now mine. And then I layered it with flannel because, well, this is Minnesota & that's the law, Guess shorts, and sparkly tights! I get coupons for DSW from their rewards programme for $10 off any amount, so I always go in there after work and get myself socks or tights for cheap (or free!). This was one of the pairs. You can't see it very well, but they're sparkly and perfect for the holiday season. I want to go ice skating in them! Oh, and I finished off with ModCloth boots which are divinely warm.
I was having a bad hair day so I pinned it up into this heap of curls on my head. It makes me feel a bit bed head-y, but such is life...and bad hair days.
Moses came out with me, but he's still sick (remember that?) and the medication he's been on has been causing him to lose all his fur and it's also caused him to drop significantly in weight. He's barely keeping it on and is just skin & bones. On the bright side, I can now carry him around all I want because it doesn't cause my arms to ache! When we were out today, he was freezing. His little chin was shaking and he was desperate to crawl up into my arms. When he did, his whole body was shaking from the cold. Poor guy! Minnesota isn't for him. I love him though, what a sweet!
I've had a boy around a couple of times now, and it drives Moses up the wall with jealousy. Whenever this particular boy is over, Moses refuses to leave my arms or lap or wherever he may be situated at that time. It's sort of like having a baby. Everything I do is one handed and all my clothes have pug fur clinging to them (he sheds a lot). I love him though, he's my baby. Even when he makes my life difficult.
This "particular friend" came around today and we decorated a gingerbread house! It was fun...a bit juvenile, but all in the name of Christmas. See you soon & stay warm! xx

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anything to Say You're Mine

Bad weather and finals finals finals means no blog updates, or at least hasty ones. I took these photos the other day and was in an awkward panic which isn't typical of me. I moved location about a million times because of the ice and snow and awkward sunlight glinting off of every surface imaginable due to the bright light. So, as a result, we have 3 nearly identical poses in 3 very different spots. And not much commentary.
Thursday was my first day off from class for the semester (which is when these photos are from). I slept in till 10 (yippeee!) and then went down to the village to do my Christmas shopping, which also left me in a stressed out panic (and my wallet quite a bit thinner) and then came home to work on my final French essay for 6 hours before it was due at midnight.
You can see why I've been so stressed out lately. And also why I haven't been able to update in a week. I had a final today and then after this I only have one more exam and one more essay!
When I went out to do my Christmas shopping I wore this. Except the boots, because I took these photos first and soon after realised that I'd probably snap my neck if I wore them out. Today, it is raining. But for the past week the roads have been awful and coated with uneven layers of ice and snow. I've slipped numerous times, resulting in only humiliation and an attempt to giggle at my clumsiness and remind myself, "It'll only happen a million more times this season!"
Anyways, I'm intellectually spent and mostly excited to get my Christmas on! A boy is coming over in a couple hours to help me decorate the tree, and I have a list of people to get cards out to, Christmas DIYs to complete, and presents to wrap! Take care everyone and I promise, updates soon (and better photos) xx

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The perfect ending to the perfect day... snowed! A lot. It started Friday afternoon. At work, my co-workers and I were whispering excitedly to each other about the 1 - 2 inches that the weatherman was predicting. As soon as the first flakes started falling, I continued in my annual tradition of going out in the first big snowfall with a work boyfriend (work boyfriend being the person who you take break with, pal around with, etc. at work). I called him up and said, "Get over here, stat!" and then we stood around outside as the frosty flakes settled on our eyelashes. It really is the most beautiful time of year.
The 1 - 2 inches predicted has turned into about 12 inches, with flakes still coming down. I spent most of my day hopping between church services, eating, and watching the snow tumble down. I also got out and shovelled the walk which has left my arms aching. The snow is so heavy! Time for hot chocolate and carols!
The snow, of course, means a wardrobe change. Although the temperature was only at freezing today, it's supposed to drop severely below freezing for the rest of the week with tonnes of wind. It's time to pull out my Khombu snow boots, pile on the sweaters, and wear long underwear. Hmmm, I see mom jeans in my future...
Today, I wore a turtleneck (even though I always feel like I'm choking when I wear them), a black dress, polka dot tights, new booties from ModCloth, my H&M faux leather jacket, handmade mittens from a cancer charity event, and a scarf which I purchased from a church sale. I believe it was made by women in Kenya working in a co-op. I really wish I could remember might be India. Either way, it's fuzzy and warm and I love burrowing my face into it. It's made by the same women who knit my super nice cardigan.
I'm wiped. This snow is making me antsy to go out and play! Christmas is near and I've so much to get done! I'm done with finals on the 15th & I have left to do 1 presentation, 3 papers, and 3 exams. So close. Then I'm going to decorate the tree, watch movies, read A Christmas Carol and Holidays on Ice, drink hot chocolate with friends, decorate a ginger bread house... Hmmm, what else should I do?
Keep warm & see you soon! xx

Thursday, December 6, 2012

You smiled and then the spell was cast

I'm still in this grungey mood. All I want to wear is layers upon layers and Doc Martens and hats and braid my hair. That sentence's grammar is hardly intact, but I cannot be bothered. It's finals season. You really cannot blame me. This laziness in dressing is not however entering my school life. I've been kicking ass left and right this week - heck, this entire semester - and I feel like I'm going to go out strong.
I decided to add a bit of class to my look today. Don't get me wrong, I really just wanted to wear a dress and ripped tights and at least two sweaters and a hat. But I resisted. Okay, I added the Doc Martens for a little dose of grunge. And crushed velvet makes my grungey little heart happy.
I'm also wearing a blouse from Lalamagic, a secondhand sweater from Gap, and a triple strand (see, classy!). This is probably the most stereotypically feminine that I've dressed in a while. I need to get back into this, I can't keep going to church looking like I just rolled out of bed and grabbed something off the floor.
I hate thinking about how Christmas is in less than 20 days and I have yet to get any decorations out! I haven't done any Christmas shopping (and I don't even have much to do!) or even sent my cards out (and I have loads of those!). Instead, I'm trying to keep my head up, plow through this last bit of semester, and then I have a plan to fit all my Christmas cheer into the 10 remaning days after I've turned in all my finals. Does anyone have suggestions on how to get a quick Christmas boost? I'm also looking for good recipes, gift ideas, crafts, etc! All and everything is appreciated.
Take care & stay warm (I was freezing taking these photos!) xx

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


In going with tradition and starting the post off about weather: Global warming is going to ruin Christmas. Minnesota is already 10 inches behind on snowfall for this season and yesterday was 52°F out. I feel like, to remedy the problem, I need to set out and plant a bunch of trees in a desperate attempt to stop the icebergs from melting and bring Minnesota back to its natural chill. It's really rotten when other people ruin things for you. Like the environment. I don't drive. I rarely fly. I recycle everything under the sun. I take short showers. I re-use practically everything barring toilet paper and tampons. My little corner of the universe should be luxuriously snowy with a fully fleshed out polar bear population. I shouldn't have to suffer because the idiots around me want to drive huge vehicles and throw away plastic bottles and whatever other thoughtless things people do.
Sometimes I just want to punch people in the face. I want to go ice skating and for polar bears to stop dying, dammit! I deserve that!
Since it was disturbingly warm out yesterday, I decided to go the shorts and stockings route. My friend David Mendolia gifted me these shoes the last time I saw him. Apparently his mum drank loads of 7-Up when she was younger and collected enough pop tops (or something) to send off for these sweet kicks. Despite the wedge giving me a couple inches of lift, I felt sadly short anyways. It's the weight of my hopes and dreams - I'm shrinking from dragging them around for years and years without relief. I'm also wearing brand new slouchy socks from Ralph Lauren. I treated myself to them when I was in Macy's last week buying socks for my giving tree girl. I deserve a new pair of socks once in a while, am I right or am I right?
The coat is my mum's. She bought it back in 1989 when she was pregnant with my older sister. I love it. It's like a safety blanket, not to mention the colours and the print are amazing. It was the only jacket with green in it that I could find (to match my kicks). Given that it was raining (while I took these photos) it's a good thing that it has a hood.
Also while I was taking these photos: on the block down from me, a girl came out in the alley and also started to take photos of herself. Fellow blogger? I hope so. Minnesota is seriously lacking. I know of Cambria from Jupe...but that might be it. Where're all my fellow Minnesotans at?
Oh, to finish off what I'm wearing, the vest (for extra un-needed warmth) is from Tunnel Vision. Shorts are guess and the sweatshirt is something old from the back of my closet.
 I can't wait till I can start focusing on Christmas! I have 2 more presentations (1 in French), 4 final papers (2 in French), 1 production, and 3 final exams. Plus apparently a couple of worksheets, which is silly if you ask me. But then after that, it's Christmas Christmas Christmas! And wishing for snow.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What it says on the bathroom wall

I'm that person who was never ever popular in high school or middle school. I was sort of the dorky loser who palled around with the other dorky losers and who no one had any interest in whatsoever. I always sort of yearned to have some ridiculous rumour about me spread like wildfire down the hallway during passing time. That was never the case. No one could care less about me, even when I started dating one of the more popular boys in school. Since I left high school after 10th grade to start college, I completely missed out on a good two years of gossip, bad school dances, and lunch room pranks. To fill this void, I've been doing two things. One is watching high school movies, like Sixteen Candles, Heathers, Pretty in Pink, Clueless, etc.
The second way is at work. I swear, the place I work is more like a high school. There's so much bad gossip and so many outlandish rumours that float around there. There's a lot of inter-department dating and questionable pregnancies. When I left for Europe in 2011, I tried to convince a coworker to spread the rumour that I was pregnant and my parents shipped me off to a convent to have the child. That rumour didn't go anywhere. I've since pretty much given up hope...
In an attempt to be thought of, I started writing "I love Chloe" on all the boxes at work. We each carry a different box with us each day and we share them from day to day. My graffiti is now on 4 boxes. I've been writing it because a) I'm a dork and b) I want my co-workers to see it and think to themselves, "Oh yeah, I do love Chloe!" and then be lost in thought about me for the rest of their shift. It's a little bit devious.
I also had a manager wave me over today to gush, "I know who has a crush on you!" I guessed immediately (she gives obvious clues) and then was asked out by said boy as I left work. It really is like high school there sometimes, I swear.
One thing that is different: I no longer dress like I'm in high school! When I walked into class the other day, a boy said to me, "Is it really warmer to wear tights?" Nope, I just have to layer up on top so all your body heat can be concentrated in your legs. But it's worth it to not have to wear pants. It was 34°F the other day so I decided it would be alright to wear shorts (I won't if it's much below that), as long as I bundled up on top. I wore MinkPink shorts that I picked up from ModCloth a couple of years ago, paired with a polka dot top from Lalamagic, a thrift store sweater, a cardigan from a church sale, and Doc Martens. I was so toasty warm on top that I barely even noticed that my legs were a bit numb. All in all, an outfit success.
Moses also came out with me (he looovvvveeesss me) and wanted to be in some photos. He was a bit dopey and this was the best one. It also shows off the runs in my stockings, which I wasn't aware were there...
Anyways, this is a short post because I'm exhausted. The count down is on: 8 days, 4 presentations, 5 final essays (2 in French), 3 final exams, 1 production. I'm going to be exhausted. Wish me luck, and best of luck to all those also in the same boat as me. Keep warm and study hard xx

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

If you wanna be happy...

These are the days of wanting to stay in bed all day, eating cookies, drinking hot chocolate, and watching Home Alone. These are also the days of less daylight, below-freezing temperatures, final essays, presentations, projects, and exams. As many cozy layers as I can pile on top of my 5 foot tall frame are an everyday necessity not only to fight the chill but also to create the illusion that I've never left bed and can nestle my face in the blankets whenever I need to escape to somewhere soft and sleepy.
These photos are from yesterday, when it was around 34°F out (warm for Minnesotans) and I just didn't want to wear anything or drag myself out of bed, much less the house. As a result, I put on this purple dress from New Mexico, a super cozy fuzzy knit turtleneck, flannel by Shaun White for Target, an old hat that I used to put on my teddy bear, purple Doc Martens, a scarf gifted to me by my best friend, and an old coat from the charity shop.
Because of all these layers of knits and flannels and linings, I barely felt like I'd left bed all day. I also had horrible hat hair which was equivalent to bed head, so double win.
I cleaned out my closet the other night and found some old things that I'd forgotten I'd had, including this purple sun dress. I haven't bought myself clothes, accessories, or much of anything except food for a few months now. I haven't had time this semester even to do online shopping. I feel good about this. I feel really good about this. I haven't felt the need to fill some void with material goods, only to be unsatisfied and buy more and more. I have more than what I need as it is. I think a lot of people, especially in Western civilizations, live in excess and waste their money on stupid things they don't need, like another pair of jeans or leggings or cable television or the newest Apple product. Seriously, who needs an iPad? No one. Who needs 4 pairs of jeans? No one. Who needs cable television? Yupp, you guessed it - no one.
I used to buy a lot of clothes and DVDs and shoes because I thought that they made me feel more complete. What a misconception. I've wasted so much money on buying shit I don't need or even really want that badly - or worse, that I only want for about 15 minutes. This semester, I've barely bought myself anything - and I feel good. I have less clutter in my room, I have more money in my pocket, and I feel less stressed about the amount of money I'm spending.
Because I haven't bought myself much of anything this semester, and because I'm not spending more than $15 per person for Christmas (I brought everyone gifts back from Guatemala), I decided to take a tag from the giving tree at my church and fulfill the gifts on the wishlist of a 19 year old girl living in Rezek House. Rezek House is an establishment for homeless teens aged 16 - 21 who need a stable and affordable living situation. So today, between classes, I set out for downtown Minneapolis to buy my girl an across-the-body purse and a dozen pairs of crazy, colourful socks. She also wants a personal heater, which I've yet to research & purchase.
I hadn't spent this much money in months - maybe even since last Christmas - and it was so strange. At first I felt really stressed about how much I was spending, but then I remembered that it isn't for me. I'm buying this girl gifts because I just want to make her smile, even if I'm not there to see it. In my case, I don't need material gifts in order to have a happy Christmas, because I am so blessed to have a job and have parents who let me live at home and eat their food. If someone asked me what material gift I wanted for Christmas, I couldn't even be able to tell them. I want all my friends to be together with me. I want my sister to stay healthy. I want the strength to succeed in school and be able to study abroad... I have plenty of socks. I have a nice purse. I live in a home with central heating. I don't need any of this, or really any more material gifts. I don't feel compelled to buy any of this type of stuff for myself. But if these things will make someone else happy, then why shouldn't I help to make her smile?
I urge everyone, in the spirit of the holiday season, to look beyond the material needs of both yourself and your privileged friends and family, and reach out to those in need. Trust me, it's a great feeling.
(That said, I fully support buying yourself a reward if you've worked really hard this year and want to buy yourself a puppy or some chocolates or what have you.)
I always end up getting on my soapbox when I don't even mean too...
Speaking of soapboxing, I'm watching Charlie Brown Christmas. This is quite possibly my favourite Christmas television special. No, it is my favourite! I love the wisdom that the Peanuts gang shares. Especially Linus. And I love Charlie Brown for being so introspective. And Lucy for being so brash. Snoopy is hilarious and creative, and I love Sally for how obsessed she is with Linus. I think we all can relate to that - when little hearts pop up around her and she gets all googly eyed and says, "That's the boy I'm going to marry!" - we've all been there. I remember growing up and always thinking that I'd marry a man like Schroeder - dedicated to his art and intensely serious. The Peanuts gang is just so dynamic...I love it. And the Charlie Brown Christmas special captures the true spirit of Christmas in a way that a lot of movies and television specials just...can't.
My mum bought me a gingerbread kit at the grocery store today and I'm so excited to make it once when I'm finished with finals! That's when I'm really gonna have my fun.
Take care and stay warm from the cold! Hopefully I'll be back soon, less exhausted and with more Christmas spirit! And in case I didn't cheer you up much, maybe Jimmy Soul can. xx