Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Black & Gold

Well.... the temperature rose again. Advice for living in the south - just be on your toes. You'd think by the time December rolled around, the weather would've finally committed to being hot or cold. But alas, that's Georgia for ya. And global warming. Anyways, I hope everyone is surviving their final exams! I'm actually writing this during a study break I set for myself, so it feels nice to be able to breathe for the next 15 or 20 minutes. Whether you're enduring finals, or are just in the midst of a stressful time of the year, there are ways you can push through this time AND still keep your head on. I'm going to share a few of my tips with you all on the Stares today. 

1) Just. Breathe. Literally. Get up, move away from the environment that's causing you stress (I suggest somewhere outside where fresh air can be attained) and take deep breaths while counting backwards from 20 Mississippi. Cliche, but it really does work!

Tip # 2: Take your work to an area that you feel comfortable/happy in. A lot of people may tell you to go to some cold, quiet place to help organize your concentration. But for me personally, I find that I can't get a lot done unless I'm super comfortable (whether that be in a comfortable space or comfortable attire). I like being in spaces that announce good energy. That doesn't necessarily mean somewhere noisy or chaotic. For example, this whole past week I left my apartment to go study at my sister's place because she has a heaven sent bed, her room is decorated with really appealing lights, and she has all these wonderful candles with all these soothing aromas. How could my mind not feel at peace there!

Tip #3: Eat something sweet! Rejuvenate all the endorphins you lost during those long study/work hours. And while your at it, why don't you eat your new endorphin filled goodie with a happy TV show or movie? By the time your show/movie is over, you'll be nice and motivated to pick up the books again! Fun fact: During study season, I keep pieces if candy with me in my purse for when I feel my focus deflating. God Bless you Hershey's Kisses.

Tip #4: Now get organized! Before you start taking on your work load, organize how you want to get things done. Whether that means making lists, schedules, outlines, etc., you will definitely feel a lot better getting tasks done if they're ordered and neat.

Tip #5: Believe in yourself. Sometimes it's easy to forget all that we are capable of when all we can see are hurdles in front of us. But the core power in reaching a goal or getting what you want is to simply believe that you can. Anyone can see all the potential you possess, but none of that really matters if you can't see it in yourself. Even if things don't go the way you want them to, know that A) everything happens for a reason and B) you can't actually fail unless you give up. So keep your head and heart held high, and keep pushing! I believe in you, and so should you.
Hat: by Olive & Oique
Tank: by Forever21
Jeans: by Cotton Exchange
Plaid button-up: by L.L.Bean
Jewelry: Miscellaneous
Shoes: by Charlotte Russe

Photography by Joy Etuk

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Under the Needle - The Swan Queen

A few months ago, I went into the tattoo shop to start a new project on the side of my rib cage (which, by the way, was a little more uncomfortable than I had anticipated). A couple of weeks ago, I finally got it finished up! Today on The Stares, I am sharing the completed project with you all. Here is the final work: 
The inspiration behind this piece came from 2010's psychological thriller The Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky. If you're not familiar with the plot line, I'll give you a brief synopsis:

The story follows a young woman, Nina (Natalie Portman), who was finally able to land her dream role as the lead in her ballet company's production of the classical ballet Swan Lake. The role requires her to dance two parts: the part of the elegant White swan as well as her evil twin sister, the Black swan. While her pure nature makes dancing the White swan an easy task, Nina's struggle to grasp the dark entity in the Black swan causes her to lose grips with herself, as well as reality. In dancing polar opposite roles, this battle to be the "perfect" ballerina will cause Nina to ultimately meet her demise. 
By Tough Tink
The Black Swan by Kitty-Grimm
by Hannes Beer
Now. I know you're probably thinking "Huh. That's some pretty dark stuff" (especially if you've seen the movie). So what was it that I found so inspirational about this movie that led me to get a tattoo in the name of such a dark plot?

Well for one, I love psychological thrillers. They really get me thinking about the human condition and all the different facets of human nature. This movie in particular really had me thinking about the concept of spiritual warfare, and how within each of us there lives a test as old as time: the power for the upper hand of good and evil. Now what I mean by this is that as people, we are born with both the energy of light and darkness inside ourselves. It is the circumstances and experiences that surround our individual lives that causes either one of these energies to expand or dissipate, but never completely disappear. This dance that Nina must master and perform is the "dance" between light and darkness within herself.
by Ktshy
Alter Ego by Sayuri MV Romei
In order for Nina to develop a complete understanding of the black swan's dark force, she herself had to become a dark force. By not only tapping into her hidden lusts and desires, but fears and aggressions, she was able to become the perfect Black swan. However, in becoming the Black swan, its' dark nature succeeded in drowning every last pure fiber of her being. Allowing this evil to fester inside of her ultimately cost her her sanity.

For me personally, I took this message into another direction. Yes, I do believe playing tit for tat with your demons is a catalyst for self-destruction. However, while we may have these strong"dark impulses" that work into our dark energy at times, we also have the choice to not let it overtake us, overpower us, or become us. We have the ability to find the strength within ourselves to let this light we have be our driving force in life. Note that sometimes these dark impulses can sometimes be overwhelming depending on every individual. But all it really takes is seeing the good within ourselves in order for the light to get through. The only person standing your way, after all, is you.
Photography by Jazmyn Wormely & Kayla Johnson
Artwork by Kylie Greene (Walk the Line Tattoo - Athens, GA)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Purple Trench

I hate the cold more than most things in this world. It's definitely on my list of top 5 things I hate most in life. So when it unexpectedly came blowing through Georgia the way it has been, I knew this year I had to be prepared. As far as my experience of being a Southerner goes, we never seem fully prepared for when the temperature drops below 50 degrees. So today on The Stares, I'm taking a Northerner's approach to the cold weather with this beautiful vintage purple trench coat.

Both of my parents are from up north, so it's no surprise that their closets are full great winter apparel while mine consists of crop tops and shorts. So when I found this particular trench coat in our house's coat closet, I was purely fascinated to say the least. And since I've never seen one person in our house ever wear this trench coat in the complete history of our time living at the residency, I didn't see the harm in trying it on...

I you take a closer look, you can also spot some magenta fabric accenting the coat's royal purple fabric as well! 

A light touch of gold really pops on a vibrant color such as this.

While I may hate cold weather, I love winter fashion deeply. Especially boots. I'm starting to lose count of the number of black boots I've collected over the past 22 going-on-23 years of my life now. There's a deep love I have for boots to say the least. 

All in all, I think it's safe to say I will be prepared for winter this year. Between my mother's closet and my own, I've got two closets to work with! I will say you Northerners sure know how to wear winter well. The only thing that could take me up north if it's not a dream job would solely be the boots, hats, gloves, scarves, and coats. Oh, and the Christmas lights! I can't wait until I not only make my first visit to New York, but New York during the holiday season. Fingers crossed that'll be soon!
Trench Coat - vintage
Hat - Divided by H&M
Boots - by BCBG
Broach - (borrowed)
Earrings - (borrowed)