Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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Loss of Focus

The Office Jim Falls Asleep

A dull throbbing pain at my temple. The sound of a nearby wall clock ticking away the seconds. The steady hum of a computer fan. The rhythm of the office.

I blink my way out of a dazed expression and re-enter reality. I was just thinking about that one scene in The Office where Jim dies of boredom.

“No, not just thinking about,”as I look down at my to-do list,”living it.”

I adjust in my chair, realizing I had slumped over.

“What’ll it be today? A quick run to the store for a coffee? Or just go all the way and take a quick 15 minute nap right on the keyboard?”

I ponder where I’d go to get coffee…that 10 minute walk into town doesn’t sound too fun. But the 5 minute trip to the grocery store to check out their snacks and drink aisle wouldn’t satisfy my desire for a nice, hot latte. Better skip it.

“Need. To. Focus.”

I look up to my computer screen and see Facebook.

“Ugh. Oh yeah. I came here to update the pages for work and ended up scrolling nonstop through the most uninteresting news feed ever and why did I do that to myself? Facebook has me trained. Enough of that.”

Exiting the page the next Tab open is an article about ’10 Ways to Wow On Social Media.’ Scrolling down, I see an ad for another article: ‘When Baby Kittens Attack.’

“Yes!”

The first .gif of an adorable kitten lunging for a sleeping dog loads and, “Ugh when are the rest of these going to load I want to see kitt…”

“Focus!”…exits article.

“Yes…back to Photoshop. I need these retail banners finished before next Christmas. If that could be accomplished that’d be greeeat. Ha! An Office Space reference. This is my life right now. Alright, now what font would look best here?”

Changing the font on ‘SALE ENDS MONDAY!’ what seems like 100 times, I give up and delete the text.

“That was way too clichéd to write anyway. Back to square one. Ughhh this is hard. ”

Takes out phone and scrolls through Instagram. Stopping at an ad for a retail store, I’m struck by an idea.

“Wait. What if I created something like this for the store?…What if I create a whole theme?!”

I put the phone aside and open a new file in Photoshop. Product photos. Style. Colors. Arrange. A whirlwind of clicking as ideas pop into my head one after the other. My to-do list carries onto a second page as more ideas fill my mind. A mere hour passes and I’m emailing my boss the marketing strategy for the next month along with five example graphics.

I spend the rest of the work day excitedly carrying out the rest of my tasks. Energized, accomplished, and excited to begin the next day, I shut off my computer and leave the office. I walk 10 minutes to a cafe for a celebratory latte.


ISFP-active

This scenario happens to me all the time. I understand having mid-day lulls and the importance of taking breaks, but I’m learning that this lack of focus has a lot to do with my personality type. I hope to explore my ISFP personality and find ways to use it to my advantage! When I’m excited, I’m focused and determined. Otherwise I can really lose track. I hope to report back with some tricks and tips so that inner dialogues like the above happen way less often!

Want to learn your personality type? I used this site.
Also, sorry I made up the article about kittens. But here’s one just as good.


 

This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t anymore. (I’m making a habit of not sticking to the prompt…but I don’t think it’s so necessary as long as I’m writing and learning…is that just me?)


 

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Postcard Collectors

Postcardwal

In Scotland we fell in love with several paintings at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Among many other artists, we were also able to see works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Monet. Not willing to spend too much money or sacrifice too much personal space on the train ride home, we decided to bring home post cards of our favorites as ‘souvenirs’. Then all of a sudden, we had a handful of postcards and a choice to stack them in a nice, neat pile on a shelf or display them somehow.  Display it is!

One of my very favorite wedding memorabilia were our RSVP postcards. We had our guests check yes or no (of course) and in turn write or draw messages of encouragement. I made all these into a cute book that I hope to always have with us.

427903_3741405863539_1404572106_nAnd I would love to add to our current postcard collection! If you have a hankering for snail mail, perhaps we could all be postcard pen pals? (Just let me know!) At any rate, I now have a fun wall of postcards with plans to expand as we continue to visit different places!

 


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My Favorite British Shows & Unblocking Netflix!

I have discovered a super easy way to switch from UK to US Netflix! Why would I want to do that? Because so many US things are blocked! I can now watch The Walking Dead, Parks and Rec, F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Frasier…I mean all the shows I did or didn’t know I missed, I now have easy access to! I thought I’d share the link for Chrome users to anyone interested in unblocking sites for themselves. It can be used to unblock shows from many countries so my next step is to attempt to learn French by watching French children’s cartoons. But, I thought I’d share some of my favorite (mainly) British Netflix shows! Of course, Sherlock and Doctor Who are obvious favorites, so I thought I’d try making a more obscure list.

Unblock shows by adding this: Chrome Extension

+ Sitcom
The IT Crowd – Rating 12 years+ US & UK Netflix
This silly sitcom is based in a London IT department. It’s full of easy laughs and incredibly cheesy/geeky humor. There was supposed to be a U.S. version, but it was cancelled. The U.S. pilot can be watched here.

Little Britain – Rating 17+ UK Netflix

Little Britain is quite crass, but there are some hilarious moments. It follows a few English ‘stereotypes’ and pokes fun of itself quite often. It’s ridiculous at times, but the show sucks you in! HBO has created Little Britain USA, which is even more crass and less funny, but the same characters are on there so the general humor is the same.

+ Humor/Life

Extras – Rating 15+ UK Netflix
This show, like many British shows I seem to be drawn to, has a quiet, subdued humor. Extras is produced by Ricky Gervais, and each episode features a celebrity who essentially make a fool of themselves. Such actors include Kate Winslet, Sir Ian Mckellan (Yes, he does say ‘You shall not pass!) and Daniel Radcliffe.

Outnumbered – Rating 13+ UK Netflix

Outnumbered portrays the everyday life of a British family. The show is about nothing, essentially,and is even semi-unscripted, but is funny and sweet. The parents on the show are a mess of everyday contradictions and their children are hilarious albeit a bit too smart and sinister for their ages. My favorite character is the little girl who always has something shocking (yet totally rational) to say.

The Royle Family -Rating 15+ UK Netflix

This is probably the most ‘everyday living’ show on this list. It’s about a family whose main priority is watching TV. Many of the opening scenes start out the same with the mom asking various people if they’ve ‘had their tea’ (dinner). There are some funny and sweet moments, but it’s really hard to pinpoint what really keeps me watching. If any show can teach me some quintessential British phrases, this one is at the top of the list. With their thick cockney (and Scottish) accents, it takes a bit for this Texan to muddle through their conversations.

Derek – Rating 13+ US Netflix

Yes, Ricky Gervais is on this list a lot. This show is US only, but it’s so great. It holds the same tone as many of Gervais’ shows, with a quiet, everyday life feel to it. Ricky plays ‘Derek’ who is a sweet, caring and funny man who works at a nursing home. This show will have you in tears! It’s still funny, but it also has a deeper meaning about life and people.

+ Documentaries

An Idiot Abroad – Rating 15+ – US Netflix
An Idiot Abroad is a documentary about a man (Karl Pilkington) who hates travelling. His friends, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant send him to several places around the world and has him experience different cultures. The show is based around Karl’s complaints and grumpy attitude, which puts a funny spin on travelling documentaries.

+ Movies/Documentaries

The Dark Matter of Love – Rating 13+ US & UK Netflix
This documentary is a compelling story of a family who adopts three children from Russia. It focuses on the trials of adopting orphans and the emotional stunting/regrowth of  parent and child relationships. I thought this documentary was very interesting as it dives into the psychological subconscious of trust and emotion as well shows a family learning to grow together.

 

 

 


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Canterbury Festival

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Last Saturday marked the start of the annual Canterbury Festival and we decided to visit the city centre to discover how it would unfold.

Basically the festival seems to be a wonderful way to highlight and feature all the fun art events, plays and performances that will be going on from now until November 1st—and beyond. From plays, comedy, choirs, concerts, art galleries—it’s all featured all around the city and brings quite the crowd.

The festival began with the Espression Arts Parade, which was an adorable crafty ‘parade’ of children and families followed by a school band and people dressed in renaissance clothing. Before we moved, Taylor and I passed by the Espression Arts cafe everyday on our way to the city centre where we gathered it was a coffee shop and art studio for families. We could see mothers and children painting or reading through the windows.

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We spent the rest of the day exploring the area more and finding a few more shops we knew we would frequent. We plan on heading to some of the many events featured by the festival, starting with a comedy act on Thursday.

However one reason we’ll be skipping out on some of the events is to make a day trip to London to visit a close high school friend and her husband!! They are enjoying the London sights as we speak and I’m so excited to take a short trip to visit some familiar faces!

A quick update: Our new flat is great! We’re slowly acquiring a few necessities, since the flat was essentially empty except for furniture. Taylor had to take a quick trip to a shop last night in the middle of cooking just to buy us a skillet! We’re still using paper plates and cups–early on I jumped at the opportunity to buy some cheap coffee cups and silverware, but haven’t found any plates, bowls and cups I like within our price range. Other than the bareness of our cupboards, we’re settling in quite comfortably. I (finally!) found an art store and bought some paints and large paper. My practical mind knows we can’t afford to outright buy every single thing we need (or want) for this flat immediately, so decoration comes last–(oh how our livingroom needs a rug and plant! That’s all I ask for!) But that won’t stop me from doing my best to make art on my own with which to decorate!

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UK Update | Two Weeks Down

 

The remains of Canterbury Castle

The remains of Canterbury Castle

Our life in the UK has become much easier as we’ve settled into a semi-routine, discovered our favorite cafes and met a couple people. While we have become more comfortable, there are still quite a few issues we are working to sort out, so there is still a feeling of restlessness between us.

Canterbury is a gorgeous city with lovely parks and historical buildings at every turn. We are still in awe that we live here! Canterbury is actually a very tourist/university-driven location, so us being Americans don’t cause us to stick out at all. Taylor has met Canadian, French, German and Bohemian students and teachers. Go to any cafe and the possibility of hearing at least two or three different languages around you is quite high.

Of course living in a tourist and college town does have its downfalls we will need to acclimate ourselves to, such as having droves of people visit the city centre each weekend and the normally peaceful evenings turning into loud nights each Saturday due to students.

We are currently continuing to live in our tiny flat, however we reserved a flat that will hopefully be ours very soon. Waiting on hearing back from the realtor is making us even more restless, but the flat currently has people living in it that aren’t due to leave until the 16th of October so we just need to be patient.

Thankfully our money situation has improved, as well.  We were able to sign up for a UK bank and received a debit card recently, although we’re being sparse with our money as we  want to have as much as possible in the bank ready to be delivered to the new flat if we are able to obtain it.

We have slowed down on being ‘touristy’ to save money, although we did visit the Canterbury Castle recently. We plan on visiting the gorgeous Canterbury Cathedral that I love snagging photos of, we just haven’t been able to make time to visit.

The Fun Stuff:

We’ve started drinking A LOT more tea. At cafes you get an entire pot of tea for half the price of a coffee, and tea bags are much cheaper. I love tea!

Though some groceries offer an ‘American’ section, we’ve yet to find one, although Uncle Ben’s ready-made rice meals are very popular over here.

Eating at restaurants is very different. We have had several meals where our waiter wouldn’t come back to our table! We would sit there not eating for 5,10,15 minutes to no avail. At first it was surprising and confusing until we realized that, unlike in America, waiters are not supposed to bring the check (or bill) until they are waved over. We are quite used to being handed the bill without asking for it, but it is considered rude to do that over here.

Slang and Phrases
‘You’re having a laugh’ -meaning – ‘You must be joking’
‘That’s not bad’ -meaning- ‘That’s good’
‘Quite good’ -meaning- ‘A bit disappointing’
‘Takeaway’-meaning-‘Take out’, ‘to go’, or ‘delivered’
‘Go to hospital’ – a normal phrase used instead saying ‘go to THE hospital’
‘Watch the football’ – as opposed to ‘watch football’ (without ‘the’)–and of course football is soccer
‘Redneck’ – they think it means anyone from the South!


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Insecurities and How Mine are the Bomb

curlyhair

Looking back, my journey with naturally curly hair has been a big battle. Curly hair is so difficult to manage, and when I was a kid, it seemed  the “only” way to manage it was by hiding it completely under a fog of de-frizzers and heat or chemical-straightening options.

In fact, my pre-teen years were spent thinking my hair would just eventually ‘calm’ down as I aged. I had no idea what adulthood (and arguably reality) actually looked like.

My teenage years were spent straightening my hair as much as possible. I didn’t understand my natural hair and it was frustrating that no matter how carefully I followed the (sans heat) steps to “sleek, straight hair”, all I got was brushed out fluffy, frizz.

Eventually, I learned a few tricks of the trade which got me past the wear-it-in-a-low-bun phase, but just because I learned how to better manage my hair doesn’t mean I understood my unique texture. Maybe partly because of all this:

2005 Seventeen Magazine Covers

These Seventeen magazines, circa 2005, were my teenage go-to’s. Maybe once or twice a year there would be an article on ‘curly’ hair, but the model clearly did NOT have curly hair, merely shiny, soft curling-iron curls. (Probably something that fueled my naive hope to “grow up” and get calmed, sleek beautiful waves.) I never saw anyone else with the type of hair I had, except my family members.

Honestly, the hair in these magazines aren’t even the biggest issues, though, which is kind of the point of my attempt at airing out my own insecurities. Just look at those magazine captions. Was I the only one who was disappointed when their oh-so-helpful tips and tricks for ‘Perfect Hair, Skin & Makeup-For You!’ failed oh-so-miserably? Thanks, Photoshop for giving me unrealistic views of women! Little did I know my skin, makeup, lips, outfits, body and especially my frizzy hair would never look like those magazine models!

Even now, as a graphic designer who spends every day in Photoshop I still have trouble disassociating the models–as human beings–from their overly-Photoshopped magazine versions of themselves.

Except when Photoshop blunders like this happen:

photoshop fail

I saw these two movie covers in Hastings with two totally different versions of this poor guy. To note, his arm is in a different position and his chest and abs look like two totally different people. Even the angle of his head is weird and the scar on his side is different. I mean, at least keep the Photoshopping consistent, right?

I’ve seen amazing shifts lately, in general, with people really starting to grasp the idea that this built-up view of perfection is all a digital hoax. In fact, it almost seems like a trend to call foul (fowl? sports metaphors? what?) on companies who really take liberties with changing their models’ appearances. For instance videos like this one which shows a beautiful person transform into a completely different person (including hair texture!) all with editing tools, and ad campaigns like this which shows, not only different age and body types, but also features an amputee and paralympian competitor. Also, i can’t forget to mention my frizzy haired saviors from Naturally Curly who have helped me truly understand my hair texture and help all people celebrate their hair instead of hating it.

Honestly, these small changes are awesome. It’s not enough, but it’s a start. I would love to see this ‘trend’ of awareness become more than just a trendy eye-opener and really seep into our culture. Photo editing isn’t going away. It’s a fun tool that nearly everyone uses these days. (Instagram filters for the win) So it’s not JUST about shaming companies who use it unnecessarily. Yes, they have a powerful way of influencing people and they should use that for good!

However, it’s also about changing those everyday conversations we all have. Instead of  “I’m so fat!” how about trying to edit our perspective into a body-positive one; “I’m so awesome, and I’m proud that I’ve been exercising.” Giving ourselves positive motivation can completely change our outlook. Then suddenly our positive attitudes are all like, “Look how awesome my legs look!” In fact, look how awesome this chick’s body-positive messages are; so much so that I would love to have her confidence.

Or, going back to one of my biggest insecurities: ROCKING my frizz on East Texas days like today that are so humid my hair could possibly balloon up into an mad scientist-esque proportions.

A body-positive society starts by changing our inner-conversations, which leaks out into our everyday conversations, which could eventually completely change our childrens’ conversations. Maybe future generations won’t even notice or worry about their ‘imperfections’ because they are surrounded by people like us who decided to change their fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, frizzy hair-shaming ways.

Let’s change the conversation. Let’s motivate ourselves, not to ‘be skinny’ or ‘be perfect’, but to be happy with who we are.

We are all more awesome than the Photoshopped versions of ourselves.

 

 


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Upcycling Vintage-Glitter

Glitter is fast becoming a D.I.Y. trend in the online world. I’ve always been interested in upcycling vintage pieces and thought matching glitter with vintage would be the perfect way to get started!

Here are the blogs that have given me glitter fever:

A Beautiful Mess: Glitter Shoes
Hand Bag Heaven: Glitter Handbag 

Check out my own glittery upcycled vintage pieces in my shop! Mismatched Mess Etsy Shop


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Finishing Up a Chapter

Sometimes you have a wonderful story to tell. You think long and hard about the story process—how the beginning shall begin, how the middle will raise expectations and excite the minds, and how the end will pull the whole thing together into a beautiful, inspiring conclusion.

And sometimes you have a week like this:

-Three final projects due by tomorrow
-Aton of cleaning
-A ton of packing
-A ton of moving
-A ton of responsibilities that have been put off

So. Oh, also, I’m tired. Sleep deprived. But, since I can’t work on my projects because I’m at work, I’ve decided to take a little break and do some online shopping for SUMMER CLOTHING:

I love this tunic. Forever21 $8.80

A simple, lovely tank. Not too tight or short. Forever21 $7.90

An awesome romper. I’m wary to buy rompers, because I have a longer torso, but this one is stretchy! Forever21 $9.80

AND FOR MY DO-IT-YOURSELF FIX:

You can buy this shirt, sure, but it appeals to my D.I.Y. nature(and I could make it for cheaper!) Forever21 $13.80

Ok. This slashed tee is a bit much. But I do like the idea. Definitely going to D.I.Y. it Forever21 $11.80

Oh and to explain the list—I’m moving out of the campus apartments. I’m moving in with my Mamaw and finishing out the last semester of college there. Once I move in there, I’m really not sure at all what my plans are. I hope to find a summer job, save up some money, start planning my wedding, and graduate college. After graduation…whew. More scariness. I hope to dive straight into my work field–searching for a job that can start my career in design. That…is very scary.


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Try on Your Best Colors

I’ve been curious about some new hair colors and what colors could actually work for my skin tone (flash back to the first day of 7th grade: orangey blonde hair. sad, sad, sad). Clairol.com has a great ‘try it on’ section you can use for free. It’s probably not the best out there, but I found a lot of hair colors that look decent on me.

That being said, I really love my dark brown hair, so even if the hair color looks good on me, who knows if I’ll love it in reality.

Here are some of the choices. Which one looks best on me in your opinion?

ORIGINAL. (This photo is old, but that is basically my hair color I think)

SHADES OF BROWN:

SHADES OF RED:


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my new favorite photoshop filter

I wanted to give Taylor something really awesome this Valentine’s Day so  took a bunch of pictures of me! Conceited, I know!

But oh how these pictures turned out! They were fun and a workout! And they were the surprise I was excited to show you!

BEHIND THE SCENES

1. I set up my Canon Rebel xsi on a tripod and turned the lens high above my head, and set an automatic timer. And then, an hour of jumping up and down ensued!

2. I then went into Photoshop and chose ‘Posterize’ filter in a red color

3. Then I chose from an array of brushes for a fun look

4. There were three ‘parts’ to my photos:

1. A booklet I made that had a hand written letter from me to him.

2. A story using pictures where the first photo was me with a heart thought bubble and it the last photo was hearts bursting out of the thought bubble, the message being “My love can not be contained.”

3. A ton of random jumping photos–I chose the craziest photos for this section!

I had SUCH fun creating this! Even if you don’t have any editing software, I would recommend shooting a photo shoot where everyone is jumping! It’s perfect for any occasion, or non occasion.