Friday, June 29, 2012

girl from mars

Yesterday a group of old friends piled into the back of a pick up truck and drove into Stillwater, MN for a day of eating ice cream, wandering aimlessly in antique malls, and chasing baby geese down the St. Croix. It was what one could define as a near-perfect summer day, and we ended it with a dip in the pool. I hadn't been swimming in a couple of years because it makes me nervous to be surrounded by water...but yet, for whatever reason, the thought of putting on a swimsuit and paddling around a chlorine pool seemed fun, so I ended up going in. Maybe swimming isn't as bad as I build it up to be?
It was pretty warm out yesterday so I went for a classy-cool look. I've been wearing my old Guess cut offs pretty much everyday, so I wanted to switch it up and not be quite so trashy...
The shorts I'm wearing here are by Mink Pink. I bought them from ModCloth on sale for $20 a couple of years ago. It's funny, because I used to force myself to wear floral. I secretly hated it but because it was a trend and it was something different from the rest of my wardrobe, I'd buy floral pieces and begrudgingly wear them. These shorts ended up growing on me a lot. I think it's because they're cute and edgy. So many floral patterned pieces are frilly dresses and blouses. Blech. Put it in something edgy and the two juxtapose perfectly.
I'm also wearing a lingerie top that I bought a few months ago when Mighty Swell was having their Valentine's Day lingerie sale. I ended up knotting it and wearing it as a top, fearing that it was going to open and expose my breastage at any moment. I'm secretly into the lingerie as daily wear trend (wait...does this mean it's not a secret anymore?) but I couldn't bring myself to wearing a lot of it in public. I've seen it done well and not so well, but I still have my reservations. I mean...a bra isn't a shirt...or is it? Hmmm time to mull this over in my fashionable little head.
I did my hair up in some sort of weird half-up thing, but it was so warm out, I ended up just throwing it into a side pony and rockin' it. I also cut my bangs short and blunt again. I feel like I just get really bored of seeing the same thing in the mirror day in and day out and need to change it sometimes. Since going bubble gum pink isn't a realistic option what with my job and all, I decided to just cut the bangs. Ho hum.
Also, if you're blind (or just new to the blog) and didn't notice, I'm not in my usual photo-taking spot. I momentarily became some sort of garden faerie nymph creature when I set myself up in the alley for blog photos, only to have the garbage truck come along. Also, my creepy old Republican neighbour was out cutting his hedge and watching my every move, judging me. So I scurried into the backyard and set up there. At that time, my other creepy neighbour came home and let his dog Buddy (who, trust me, isn't anyone's buddy) out. So I took these photos while being stared down by a shar pei, but I decided that it was better that than garbage men or Republicans.
I'm off for a belated Birthday lunch with my sister and then I do my usual Friday night gig at work. Remember that you can now become a fan of Urban Tease over at Facebook by clicking here! xx

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I would consider myself a very political person. I would also consider myself a fashion-minded person. So what's better than when you can mix together your favourite presidential candidate and a stylish new t-shirt? Well, I certainly can't think of anything. Except maybe apple pie, because that's how All-American I am.
I was absolutely giddy with excitment when I recieved this shirt in the mail. I've been closely following politics since the 2008 election. It was that fall that I was in a social sciences class for which our homework was largely to follow the campaign trails of all the candidates. I found the presidential debates to be strangely exciting and was always keen to lead discussion during class. Of course, this faltered slightly the day I said, "I didn't really understand the article because I had no idea who Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are..." I recovered after the entire class erupted in continuous laughter for about 20 minutes and I'd consider myself all the wiser from the experience.
Either way, no matter which candidate you support for a better America (or whatever country you live in) it's important to have an educated opinion and know what's going on. Okay, time to get off my soap box.
I've been having Tuesdays & Thursdays off of work latealy, which is lovely because it gives me free time during the work week to be outside and run around town, knocking over liquor stores or whatever it is that catches my fancy. My father had work off yesterday so I coerced him into taking photos for me. He adores the Obamas (and, coincidentally, me), so he jumped at the chance.
I'd categorise this outfit under the genre of All-American-alternative-feminist-teenage-blogger in summer. I am wearing my absolute favourite shoes here. They are falling to pieces, just like Patsy Cline, and I fear they are going to be thrown in the trash some day while I'm at work. I found them on sale for $6 at Famous Footwear three years ago and I still wear them to this day (duh). I think Rocket Dog have quit making women's size 5, which is a pity because these seem like pretty quality shoes and I'll probably wear them until the soles fall off. And then my soul will fall off. (That's some shoe humour for you.)
I'm in a strangely great mood today because the future is looking bright (thanks Mr. President!) and I have summer-y plans coming up. Also, because I have the cutest dog in the world...
And also because....

Like Urban Tease? Of course you do - why else would you be reading this right now? Well now you can "like" it on Facebook! Click here to "like" the blog - I'll be updating daily with inspiration photos, witty thoughts, and stuff I'm liking at the moment.
Anyways, now that I've thrown myself at your Facebook "like"-ing mercy, I should make a quick exit. Stay cool friends (quite literally - it's 94°F out right now). Treats soon! xx

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Learn to Be a Better Reader

There is a certain feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing a book, or a short story, or even an article in a magazine. It was a feeling that I didn't feel for quite some time while I was in college with a goal of skim reading every article assigned and spending free time working and socialising. Between 2009 and late 2011, I hadn't completed a single book, but very recently I have become an avid reader and it's a rarity to not find my face in some novel or newspaper. I think there comes a time in most young academics' lives when you haven't picked up a book in years. Or, if you have, you haven't finished one in quite some time.

I've recently taken it upon myself to promote reading and literature. Modern pop culture's focus has turned to Jersey Shore and Keeping up with the Kardashians as a means of entertainment and mental stimulation. Violent video games fill the attention spans of young adults instead of the pages of books. Cable television and smart phones are making people progressively stupider. Don't fall into the trend; Get your hand off the remote and get your head into a good book.
1. Don't view it as homework.
A huge setback is thinking of reading as a chore. Think of reading as going on an adventure even when the weather is crummy or you're stuck on the bus. When you're reading an article for school, you can view it as gaining a new perspective or learning about a situation that you wouldn't otherwise be familiarised with. Changing your viewpoint on reading is the first step; view it as something exciting instead of a time consuming task.
2. Find time to read.
Unless if you're working 3 jobs, going to school full time, and raising a kid, you probably have a bit of downtime when you can crack open a book or a newspaper. My personal favourite time of day to read is while at the bus stop or on the train. Read instead of flipping through your hundreds of cable channels. Read while you're sitting around on a Saturday night waiting for a boy to call. Read while on break at work or when your girlfriend is shoe shopping. Read instead of Facebook stalking people you hardly know or clicking through endless amounts of fashion blogs written by 19-year-old girls.

3. Find your genre.
There. Now that we've cleared away some time for you to read, now to decide what to read. Head over to the library or, if you don't like reading books numerous other people have paged through or ate over, go to the bookstore. If you like poetry, head to the poetry section and start digging. If you like essays, choose a topic you're passionate about and find a book on it. If you like biographies, choose one about a person you're particularly fascinated or inspired by. A certain era in time may send you to the non-fiction category, or a childhood favourite might send you back for those Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries. Always remember, it's okay to start small. Don't jump for Faulker or Gogol if it doesn't interest you or if it'll be way over your head. This will only discourage you rather than delight you.

4. Talk about literature.
It helps to talk about what you read with other people. Form a bookclub if you like, or even just ask a friend about what they've been reading lately. Having debates over literature with other people will fuel your interest in the topic and lead you to want to read more, or read again. A friend who recently read The Great Gatsby inspired me to re-read it in order to have a more definite opinion on Daisy's character. A man who recently told me that rape certainly is not "normal" and the best way to deal with it was to take a gun to a rapist's head, gave me motivation to finish Transforming a Rape Culture so I can back up my own opinion on the normalcy of rape in our culture. Discussion with others creates motivation for reading.

5. Make recommendations, take recommendations.
Talking about literature will often open up the opportunity to make recommendations as well as recieve them. Making a recommendation will often lead to further discussion about the book or possibly inspire another person to be active about your cause. Accepting a recommendation may deepen your interest in the subject matter or lead you to discover a new title, genre, or author that you may have overlooked.
6. Take delight in literature.
Learning to love these new characters, new worlds, and new perspectives will lead you to take delight in literature and appreciate it as a form of entertainment or knowledge.
As part of transforming Urban Tease from a mindless fashion blog and more into a lifestyle blog to stimulate the creative mind, I will now feature weekly book reviews. Feel free to offer up recommendations to me and I hope that some of my future suggestions might inspire you to crack open a new book!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Jazz Singer

Birthday weekend has been spent almost entirely sleeping and blowing my nose. I came down with a sudden, violent illness on Thursday and thus, 19th birthday has been spent in bed. I managed to sneak out on Saturday night to get dinner with my best friend before she heads back up to university till August. It will be strangely lonely not having her just down the alley from me. We spent the evening at Moscow on the Hill eating chicken kiev and dark chocolate mousse. Oh, I do love the Russians!
As soon as the waitress set the chocolate mousse on the table and I saw the beautifully sugared cookie butterfly, I became one of those people who take photos of food and plaster them over the internet. It was short lived, but it was lovely (the mousse, not the obsessive food-photo-taking).

I was so excited to wear this beautiful new dress for the first time. I bought it over spring break from a local boutique called Primp (conveniently located just down the street from Moscow on the Hill). I liked the flapper appeal to it. I'm not usually the type to wear loose fitting sheaths, but this was an exception in the siren red colour, with the drop waist and the pleats flanking the sides. I snuck in a lot of gold to compliment the red and promote a bohemian feel.
The fringe purse is by R&Em from Macy's a couple of years ago. It's beautiful and I absolutely do not use it enough. I also paired it with the gold heels and gold belt which I frequently put together. (Remember this and this?) (I hope I didn't just ruin the magic...) The heels are finally wearing in enough to be wearable without getting massive cuts and being in agony for days after. Thank goodness!
To further influence the bohemian vibes, I threw in some bangles around my upper arm and pinned one of my grandmother's necklaces in my hair. I'm getting really "into doing this" because it works great with curly hair and it doesn't give me a headache the way that headbands do. Seriously, what fool who invented the headband ever thought that having a metal band digging it's way into your skull was a good idea?
Summer has been annoying un-eventful thus far. I've spent a great deal of it at work, sick, or spending rainy days indoors watching movies. I was spoiled last summer when I backpacked Europe and everyday was some great adventure (and often times disaster). And even the summer before that, which I spent being in love, running around the countryside late at night, stargazing, hiking, and living with a crazy Swiss kid named Jojo.
It sounds ridiculous, but I'm actually looking forward to going back to school. I'm just out floating right now, uncertain of everything. But once when I'm back in university, I have a routine and things to do and I won't feel entirely pathetic when I spend my nights alone watching Cary Grant classics.
But I'm a flapper at heart, and I wish to be out drinking gin and dancing and kissing pretty boys. Just kidding. I prefer vodka.
I work three days this week (time to make money - I went home sick twice last week) but should probably find myself something to do on my days off so I can quit whining and make the most of my summer. I want to go hiking, and camping, and have a bonfire. Time to find a companion to do it all with!
Moses came by to say hello! Unfortunately he isn't a good companion for any of the aforementioned activities. He won't even go for a walk around the block, lazy pup...

Friday, June 22, 2012

some memories, some reflections

Although I made a comment in the last post about updating on my 19th birthday with a lecture about what I learned in the past year (I do love lecturing, don't I?), I have found myself with nothing to say (this is rather a new, strange thing). So instead, I've decided to share a few gems from the family archives. I just finished reading The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt (a birthday gift from my mother) and thought to share some photos of summer festivities from years past. I included captions from photos which featured them, but I've found that my past relatives were very bad with marking things, and if they did bother, their scribbles are illegible.

Some relatives or neighbours down the block from where I grew up.
"Musky Lake. July 1922."

My parents' cat Cinder.
Completely unknown & left up to interpretation.
My parents, accompanied by my aunt, on their wedding. September 1980.

My aunt and father camping in the mid sixties.
My father on another family camping trip with his pup Pepper. Note the Buddy Holly glasses.
Unknown couple in love on a haystack.
My grandfather Ray, accompanied by my mother, proudly pictured with his new grill.
My grandfather Raymond, the Star Chef wearing his Hot Dog Diggity apron.
"Taken while on a jubilee Oct 1 -1912, Slim Knopp, J. Brill"

Unknown and slightly mysterious postcard with impossible to read handwriting all over.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I risked suffering heat stroke in order to bring you this post today, so I sure as heck hope everyone appreciates it. I think that "death by blogging" would be the most tragic thing to be written in my obituary so I'm glad the 93°F heatwave didn't knock me out. (Mind you, I'm pure Minnesotan and anything past about 80°F is killer. I can take -15°F any day though. Try me. I dare you.)
I bought this dress online from Fancy Treehouse because she was having a sale and I'm a sucker for the fantasy print and anything in sundress form...because sundresses are perfect for layering and are cooler than you and I put together.
I've been a bit more explorative with my style lately. I have a theory that it's because I'm single and feeling a bit more free and willing to be crazy. I'm an independent woman, so why not dress however I feel? Who am I trying to please? (Except the whole blogosphere, but if you don't like what I wear then get the fuck out.) I've been feeling inspired by fellow bloggers like Aileen of the little android and Madeline of jean greige because they wear what they want and explore different corners of fashion while still keeping it personal.
It also helps that I just recently re-watched "My So-Called Life" and that I adore every bit & piece of fashion in that series. The '90s grunge trend is taking over my wardrobe and this sundress has recently been enlisted to fight for the cause.
As you can see, I am so much cooler now that I'm independent and exploring my wardobe more. So much more, in fact, that I am now too cool to even look at the camera.
Just kidding. I looked. This lace shirt is my one piece from American Apparel. I bought it with a gift card, figuring that I might as well buy something other than a neon t-shirt and a sweatband. It adds a bit of class to my wardrobe, a wardrobe with so little of it, and is great for layering. Living in a place like Minnesota, layering is key all year round...which is probably why I'm constantly bringing it up and with so much excitement in my voice. Layering, layering, layering la la la!
I'm also rockin' that side pony.
What's a blog post without showing some leg? I recently told a co-worker that I'm striving to be a bit less weird. In reply, he burst out laughing and said, "I don't see that happening any time soon!" Cheers!
My birthday is on Friday and I can already feel myself sinking into a quarter-life crisis. I'll be 19, the last of my teen years. Gone so soon. Youth, come back! Expect a boring birthday post in which I lecture on what I learned in my 18th year of life. Till then, keep cool friends.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

hippie dippie

Now that summer has prevailed, I find myself only wanting to wear shorts and t-shirts and nothing else. But alas, I have moral issues with wearing shorts to church (especially shorts that are, let's admit it, as short as the ones I wear). I slipped this dress on since I hadn't worn it recently and it seemed church appropriate, even with the pot-smoking-patchouli-smelling-sitar-strumming-hippie vibes. To be fair, I picked it up at an annual church sale. Once a year, missionaries come back to sell products from the countries which they're missionaries in as a means of raising money and spreading knowledge of global issues. This "dress" is actually a kurta from Afghanistan and was hand-sewn by widows and children seeking to gain self-sufficiency.
My main inspiration this summer has been 90s grunge and '60s patterns, prints, and silhouettes. This flowy hippie-dippie number isn't quite gelling with these sources of inspiration. I'll have my personal style mojo back soon enough!
I only have two photos for you today. Being Father's Day & all, I thought it would be nice to have some father-daughter bonding in the form of blog photo taking. I tossed my camera to my father and let him have a go. As a result, these are the only 2 photos that came out among the 30+ which he snapped. Happy Father's Day, everyone! Stay cool and rock those side ponies (yupp, I'm still reppin' this).

Friday, June 15, 2012

Interview: Carrie Jade

Carrie Jade is a 19-year old Fashion Communication (and former Photography) student at Ryerson University in Toronto. She likes the colour silver, Lana del Rey, eating sushi and red velvet cupcakes, and watching The Princess Bride. I asked her a few questions about her journey into photography and the inevitable mix of fashion within.

When did you get into photography and what inspired you to keep shooting?
I think I got interested around 2007, between middle school and high school. I started joining art communities like DeviantArt, and the artwork on there was sort of a culture shock. They were so inspiring, and I really wanted to be a part of it. I took two photography courses in high school, and around that same time I started getting interested in fashion. Editorials in magazines like Teen Vogue and Nylon, and most importantly, Richard Avedon's work–truly inspiring, iconic photographs –really inspired me, so I kept at it with the intention of hoping to produce beautiful work like that one day.

I've never had a “niche,” so I wasn’t spending my time on or doing anything else. And it was cool, my friends thought it was cool. But I never take it too seriously. I think you lose the fun and spontaneity. I don't take myself seriously and try not to call myself a photographer unless it’s business related. I feel a little pretentious when I do. Everyone owns a camera now and calls themselves a photographer. It’s lost its substance, I think, and I don’t think I have “the” body of work to truly call myself that. Maybe one day!
To be honest, I also fall in and out of taking photos. I’m not consistent enough, or truly devoted enough. I can see that in my photos—not sure if others can—but I’m hoping that, by switching majors, I’ll get back a sort of creative freedom I lost when doing assignments for school. There’s something different about being inspired by other photographers and famous photographs, versus being inspired by fashion, culture, and other mediums of art. I prefer the latter; you compare yourself less and do work you really care about, that’s more reflective of you, rather than obsessing over who’s better or why you’re just “not good enough,” or doing it just as a way of proving to yourself and others that you actually can. That was my biggest problem during school this year, and it was a terrible feeling.

You work with a lot of Toronto-based designers for their look books and you also shoot for Toronto Fashion week. What's your favourite part of translating fashion through photography?
Getting to incorporate both my interests into one! And it’s very inspiring. Fashion is something I care a lot about, so being able to use that in my art is very expressive of who I am as a person. Like everyone says, fashion is a form of art. So it’s kind of like a double pow-wow to get to mix two different forms of expression together.

What's been your favourite photoshoot that you've done?
I'll always love my Lipgloss & Black A/W 2010 shoot (left) because it was such an amazing team and I've made wonderful friends out of it, and one of my first real photo shoots. It's probably a tie between that and a shoot I did for school (above). The theme was fast food, so I titled it “Fries with that?” and tried to make it like a fashion editorial. I feel like it’s the strongest work I've done to date because I really knew what I wanted, and also the most fashion-forward/style-driven.

Do you style for your own shoots?
Usually yes, though I don’t think they’re as inspiring as I would like them to be. Which is why my latest shoot is my favourite—I really took the styling as an important element of the shoot, and I loved the results. I’m hoping to continue doing so! Always looking to work with stylists and designers, though!

Do you try to reflect your own style in your photoshoots?
I would like to reflect my own style in my shoots, but I don't think I do. But now that I've gotten a pretty good handle on what I like in regards to my own personal style, I think it'll come across more.

My personal style is kind of all over the place, but I wear a lot of black and flow-y stuff. I’m sort of a nu-goth flower child, sans black lipstick. I love lace and that whole festival, hippie thing, with floppy hats and flower crowns. I live for maxis and crushed velvet. For the past fashion week, my colour palette was black, gray, burgundy and red velvet. It doesn't mean I don't love colour, though. I just have a hard time wearing it.

What would your dream shoot be? You can choose any model, location, etc.
A shoot with Boyd Holbrook. He was one of the first male models I became “aware” of, and years later I’m still not over him. He was so versatile and did some of my favourite editorials and campaigns.  He’s doing more acting now, landing a supporting role in The Host (another Stephenie Meyer book-turned-movie that stars a bunch of my fav actors), which is sure to be a blockbuster. Maybe a fun, edgy editorial while he’s promoting that? Haha, I should get to building a solid portfolio, eh? Loved him in the recent History channel mini-series Hatfields & McCoys. He’s just so talented, it’d be very inspiring.

Where would you like your photography to progress to from this point? Model testing with agencies, to shoot their new faces. A small step, but hopefully that'll lead to magazine submissions, and published work! That would be a lot of fun. And just being more consistent in shooting and producing work I’m proud of. Consistency is really something I need to work on, and actually publishing/posting my work online. I’ve never regarded photography, or being a photographer, as a career, and I still don’t. But I love it, and always will, so I won’t stop doing it.

You can find Carrie at her website Carrie Jade Photography, at her personal blog Factory Darling, or follow her on Twitter.