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Style Post: My “Go To” Casual Outfit for Fall

I love Fall and it’s not just for this reason:

1095d03d380b0aac46ec138bf68d8dd0

What’s not to love about it Fall? (Except of course, if like me, you currently  live in the Midwest, then Fall is accompanied by a gnawing feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach; an impending sense of doom knowing that winter is coming soon). But, I’m handling it the same way I handle all of my life’s problems: denial.

IMG_5959

You know, maybe I am a basic bitch- and maybe that’s ok? because I love all the basic girl things about Autumn: the falling leaves, the brisk weather, and the clothing options: boyfriend jeans, comfy sweaters, colorful  scarves, and boots (LOTS of boots). Comfort is alwayyyys number one.

IMG_5908.jpg

 

Here’s What I’m wearing:

J Cashmere’s Oversized Double V Dolman Sweater, $228.00 (40% regular price) on Amazon

lt-heather-grey-cashmere-oversized-double-v-dolman-sweater-rt

7 For All Mankind Ankle Skinny Jeans in Vibrant Blue

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And my trusty Clarks Women’s Desert Boot Lace-Up Boot (in taupe distressed) at  Amazon  for $57.12:

img-thing

 

And here’s a version of my go to Fall Outfit via a Polyvore set I spent way to much time putting together. You can link directly to each specific item from the list below the collection:

 

casual fall day

 

casual fall day by thiswildpreciouslifeblog featuring blue skinny jeans

Jumpers sweater
stylemoi.nu

Rag bone mini drawstring bag
forwardbyelysewalker.com

Blee Inara hamsa charm
maxandchloe.com

Vita fede jewelry
intermixonline.com

Ona Chan trio ring
$145 – wolfandbadger.com

Drinkware
anthropologie.com
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The Monthly Inspiration Edit: The May Mood Board Mash-up (Jesus Sandal Couture, The Return of Fat Amy and Alabama Shakes)

 

I’e been wanted to create my own mood board since I discovered the wonderful world of digital mood boards. I’ve always loved making collages and inspiration boards in my journals and on my wall-I love the physical and visual process of creating collages and have spent countless hours absorbed in arranging and rearranging pictures…. something about the process is soothing to me and have found them to be a helpful tool for aiding in my creative process because I often find new inspiration for creative projects and ideas.
With online mood boards it’s like a whole new world of inspiration has opened up to me. There are so many talented, artistic designers and artists out there to find inspiration from-

I’m going to try and do a round-up at least once a month….

BUT

I would really love to see what is inspiring every one else out there and wanted to offer to anyone who might be interested in being a guest blogger and creating their own individualized mood board on This Wild Precious Life. It could be any handful of things that are inspiring you at the moment: books, music, food, shoes, movies, art, diy projects…and give you a chance to share here! If you are interested just email me at thiswildpreciouslifeblog@gmail.com with the subject title “my mood board” and we can work out the details!

moodboard may FINAL

 

So here is what is inspiring me in the month of May (2015)….

Wear- Jumpsuits and Rompers

 

 

 

free people flutter romper

http://www.freepeople.com/clothes-jumpsuits-rompers/flutter-romper/BCBGeneration Womens racer front jumpsuitBCBGeneration Women’s Racer Front Jumpsuit
BCBGeneration Women’s Racer Front Jumpsuit

electric feather green jumpsuit spring 2015

http://electricfeathers.com/collections/wardrobe/products/infinite-rope-jumpsuit-1

WALK- 

I’m really happy simple leather sandals (or Jesus sandals as I like to call them) are making a come-back. I don’t know why every time I see a pair of simple classic looking leather sandals I just want to be walking around in Greece or Italy…so the closest I can get to either of those places at the moment is a pair of my very own jesus sandals.

free people cafe wrap espadrille

http://www.freepeople.com/shoes-sandals/cafe-wrap-espadrille/

birkenstock mayari birkenstook
Birkenstock Women’s Mayari Birkibuc Sandal

http://amzn.to/1dqgBIM

FP collection Durango Metal Gladiator

http://www.freepeople.com/shoes-sandals/durango-metal-gladiator-sandals/_/PRODUCTOPTIONIDS/83886FE0-6740-46FF-AABD-B3BC062AB204/

STEVEMADDEN-SANDALS_DONDDI_TAN-LEATHER

Steve Madden Women’s Donddi Sandal

Blowfish Women’s Gill Fisherman Sandal
womens-steve-madden-d-band-cognac-multi-423403_366_45

Steve Madden Women’s D-BAND Sandal

LISTEN: 

Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes

Falling Faster Than You Can Run by Nathaniel Rateliff

Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens

Pitch Perfect 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Carry:

rebecca minkoff fringe backpack

Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack

jericho backpack free people

http://www.freepeople.com/accessories-bags/jericho-backpack-32078669/

patricia nash vasto leather backpack

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/patricia-nash-vasto-leather-backpack/3816140?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=2375500&fashionColor=&resultback=6239

 

the sawyer etsy bag

https://www.etsy.com/listing/184422924/the-sawyer-hand-made-leather-backpack?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=leather%20backpack&ref=sr_gallery_4

READ- 

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo

What Alice Forgot

a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805210318/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0805210318&linkCode=as2&tag=thiwilprelif-20&linkId=BP5TUZMGSEASXI5X”>

Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

 

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Favorite Top for Fall: Affordable, Versatile, Hi/Lo & Open Back

IMG_6687

I have to admit that since I have started trying my hand (try, being the operative word here) at “personal style” and fashion-y posts,  I have gained much admiration & respect for fashion bloggers because, Damn Gina, ya’ll make it look easy. Mad props (my apologies ahead of time, I’m apparently  “Fresh” like the Prince today).

uptown-fresh-prince(complete with shrug and grin…and mustache?)

My current method is propping my little phone up on my purse and setting it on my car to take video or photos & even then it’s hard to find a photo were I don’t look all lumpy and awkward AND not making a ridiculous face. Not  to mention, my photos end up being all sideways because my phone slips slowly out of place and the quality is not very good.

Anyways…. I found this top on a retail website that offered affordable fashion,  much like GoJane, in fact, I stumbled upon the website while looking for GoJane, but frustratingly, every trace of the website has disappeared. I can’t find my receipt (went through the trash) or even the website address (I had cleared my cache on safari to get a program working). All I have to go on is that the brand is called “Better Be” and couldn’t even find a website for them, only find a few items on amazon. I’m frustrated because I really like it, and would love to find more similar to it and in different colors. So if anyone stumbles across it, or something like it, please let me know!!

IMG_6684It is super comfortable fabric, fits well (if a little thin) and goes well dressed up or down.

I wore it with:

my favorites pair of jeans, my Paige Denim Cara Zip Ultra Skinny Jeans, available at ShopBop. 

paige-denim-silver-jeans-cara-zip-skinny-in-runaway-skinny-jeans-product-1-19763240-3-509239273-normal_large_flex

and my open toe, camel colored, blocked heel booties. Something like these Lucky Brand “Lubov” Cutout Booties ($89.95), available at Nordstroms, were my inspiration:

lucky

BUT, ever the deal hunter, I found mine at (and don’t judge!) at Burlington Coat Factory, for $16.99!! And, although they aren’t online anymore, I found a pair of the same brand, (Maurices), offering a similar pair for sale on their website for only $10.00!

open toe booties

With my Gold Eagle Statement Necklace, from Old Navy, that I was so excited to find, I took about 100 selfies of me wearing it, while doing  the thumbs up and pointing to it, in about 50 of pictures.

statement necklace

 

I really do want to see what you guys are wearing and doing, even reading or painting…so if you ever want to be featured on here just email me at thiswildpreciouslifeblog@gmail.com.

Happy Hump day!

http://www.avantlink.com/affiliate_app_confirm.php?mode=js&authResponse=25f9bde4f6a525fe0fd49702dc3ba58973f319dd

 

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Six Life Changing Books

llife changing books

Books saved me. For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading. I genuinely cannot remember a time when I was without books. Even Before I learned to read, I made my mom read my favorite children’s books to me, over and over, until I had  memorized all the words. I would stay up with my lamp on, flipping through each page and narrating my version back to myself.

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”

When I learned to read a whole new universe was open to me. I still remember the first book that transported me completely and utterly into it’s world, a world I never wanted to leave: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I spent months after finishing that book, opening closet doors, shifting through clothes, praying to find a secret passage that would lead me to Narnia.

books

As a child (and still to this day) much of my reading took place late at night. Even as a kid, I had trouble turning my mind off, different anxieties and worries all piling up in my brain and unable to sleep. Books saved me and showed me for the first time, that I wasn’t alone.

Before the wonderful world Goodreads, I compiled a list of every book I read, including the date I finished it and a short review, in notebooks that sat on my night stand. In a separate journal, I still write down quotes and passages that stick out to me, in the books I read (although, Goodreads also has an extensive library of quotes from every book imaginable and allows you to create your own quote list).

A few months ago on Facebook, someone tagged me to come up with Five Books that changed me in some way and that got me thinking……so…. I  came up with a list of six books I’ve read through out the course of my life that have changed me in some way:

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Up until One Hundred Years of Solitude, the only “classic” novels I had read were the ones assigned to me for classes in high school.  In fact, it was Mrs. Barney, my English Honors teacher and favorite teacher who mentioned in class one day that One Hundred Years of Solitude was one of her favorite books…I checked it out from the school library that night.

One Hundred Years chronicles the epic rise and fall of the mythical South American town of Macondo, while charting the history of the extensively populated Buendia family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.” (Goodreads)

One Hundred Years of Solitude is the very first book I read as an adult, in which I became completely engrossed in the magnetic, magical, alluring world Marquez created, a world I never wanted to leave.

I had never encountered a writer like Marquez, a genius storyteller, brilliant writer, with questionable sanity.  It created in me a passion for all Gabriel Garcia’s books and introduced me to my favorite fiction genre: magical realism. Solitude was responsible for deepening and broadening my passion for reading and sparked in me a love of words.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez taught me through One Hundred Years of Solitude how to  to look beyond what you can see in the everyday to peer into the beyond.

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Chbosky, Stephen [Paperback(1999£©]

.

 Where One Hundred Years of Solitude is vast and wordy,  making your head spin with detail and complexity, Perks of Being a Wallflower is breathtakingly simple and pure.

The main character and narrator, is Charlie, Perks of Being a Wallflower is responsible for introducing me to  is one of my all time favorite literary characters: Charlie, a shy, introspective, socially awkward, but highly intelligent incoming high school freshman, with a unique and refreshing view of the world.

While Perks of Being a Wallflower is no doubt aimed at younger audiences with it’s simplified style and diminutive number of pages, everyone can identify with the ‘coming of age” themes in the book and misfits trying to fit in.

What endeared me so much to Charlie and Perks of Being a Wallflower was his struggle to understand and deal with his fragile mental health. I am probably not the only one who sees themselves in Charlie, as he tries to understand who he is, why he feels so different from everyone else, desperate to find where he fits in, and to make sense out of life. I wish I had read this book while I was in high school, it would have saved me a lot of stress.

 

East of Eden

3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden is undisputedly one of American Literature’s most esteemed masterpieces, Steinbeck’s “magnus opus.”

Out of some strange book stubbornness, I avoided reading East of Eden for many years. Post college, I think I had burnt myself out on trying to only ever read the classics, I was worried East of Eden would let me down, but of course it did not.

But in Steinbeck’s sprawling Eden, some of fiction’s most mesmerizing characters are born. “He expertly explores :explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.”It is a sprawling story of two families and their intertwined destinies.  East of Eden is often referred to as the “classic retelling of Genesis’ story of Cain and Able” through brothers Cal and Aaron. But Steinbeck goes much, much deeper.

Timshel, my friends, timshel.

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

4. The Waves by Virginia Woolf

One of my favorite past times is underlining beautiful passages in the books I read and write them in my journal….While skimming back through my old copy of The Waves, I noticed that almost every page had at least a few lines underlined, while other pages were almost completely underlined.

The Waves is a novel unlike any other. More poetry, than novel, The NY Times calls Woolf’s writing style in The Waves as“poetic brilliance…a symphonic poem” There are six main characters, although Woolf is not concerned in character formation and is written from the perspective of each character’s inner monologue, in which they think and express themselves in a poetic manner. The Waves focuses on the poetic symbols of life. The language is beautiful, sensual, lyrical ,deeply philosophical and life and nature are interconnected.

Geek Love

5. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn is probably the most disturbingly dark and wonderfully strange books  I have ever read (and I’ve read some weird stuff!) Let me explain why:

Geek Love follows the Binewskis, a  traveling, carnival “freak” show family. And by freaks, I mean freaks:  the narrator and heroine, is Olympia, a deformed, albino, humpbacked dwarf, her brother is Arturo, the Aqua-Boy, born with fins for limbs, the Siamese twin sisters, Electra and Ipheginia, and Furtuno, who, in his family’s eyes, is born disappointingly normal. If that isn’t enough, the parents and the owners of the “Binewski’s Fabulon,” are also lacking in genetic flaws, but addicted to meth-amphetamine among other drugs, in hopes of creating more genetically mutated offspring to boost their business and beat out competitors.

Ahabs Wife6. Ahab’s Wife, or, the Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund

Ahab’s Wife tells the life story of the woman who would marry the sea captain who battles Moby Dick, but she is so much more than that. Ahab’s Wife follows her on her journey to find love and tranquility:

“A magnificent, vast, and enthralling saga, Sena Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife is a remarkable epic spanning a rich, eventful, and dramatic life. Inspired by a brief passage in Moby Dick, it is the story of Una, exiled as a child to live in a lighthouse, removed from the physical and emotional abuse of a religion-mad father. It is the romantic adventure of a young woman setting sail in a cabin boy’s disguise to encounter darkness, wonder, and catastrophe; the story of a devoted wife who witnesses her husband’s destruction by obsession and madness. Ultimately it is the powerful and moving story of a woman’s triumph over tragedy and loss through her courage, creativity, and intelligence.”

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A Skeptic’s Journey to Falling in Love With Yoga.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved being active. I used to follow my dad to the gym and he taught me at about 6 years old how to use the cardio machines.  I’ve gone through many fitness phases throughout the years, but they always centered around a cardio machine like the elliptical or the treadmill.  In my craziest fitness days, I would spend upwards of 2 hours on the elliptical or running on the treadmill- slowly watching my calories burnt. No doubt, I over did it- and with severe lower back and hip pain (and sciatica) from an early age, all of the repetitive pressure I put on my bones, I ended up completely wearing my body out. Friends, family members and my chiropractor all suggested yoga and countless times and in my stubbornness, I refused, also countless times.

This past winter I hit a brick wall physically. I was desperate to go to the gym and sweat out my issues but every time I got on a treadmill, the pain quickly became to much to continue. So, I figured, okay, let’s try this yoga bs every one is talking about. Considering myself “athletic”(I’m about as bendy as a plank of wood) I had no time for the beginner yoga videos, and went straight to intermediate- where I managed within the first 5 minutes to pull a muscle in my back.

It wasn’t until a few months later when one of my best girl friends was visiting from Oregon, that I seriously considered yoga again. When I picked her up from the airport, I immediately noticed how fit and toned she was. She radiated good health and I wanted some of that…she had been practicing yoga religiously for the past few years and it showed.Every night and every morning she practiced and even had me doing a few poses.

After that, I found myself more and more drawn to yoga and I was determined to do it and do it right. (Which was NOT easy).  I bought an informative book of yoga,  Hatha Yoga Illustrated by Kirk, Boon, and DiTuro, with a short history of yoga, the different practices, meditation and a large index of poses with helpful tips. I also joined in on a yoga challenge on instagram with a few friends. I found that the more I practiced, the better I felt. I woke up one morning with no back pain at all- which hasn’t happened in over 20 years. I was also pleasantly surprised at the  sense of peace and calm that I found while practicing. I found that I loved practicing yoga outdoors, at night, staring at the stars and had some wonderfully blissful and content moments (which for me, is very rare).

I honestly think the world would be a much happier place if everyone practiced yoga. Hopefully, you will join me on this yoga journey! You can find me on instagram at: jessbobessyoga (I promise my account will make you feel better about your practice because I am not kidding when I say I am def. a beginner!) And as always, I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on yoga and what you find most difficult and most beneficial. Email me at: thiswildpreciouslifeblog@gmail.com.

Here are 8 tips I compiled to help those like me, who are starting out on their yoga journey!

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful super moon! A time for new beginnings!

helpful tips for yoga beginners
helpful tips for yoga beginners
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crystal crazed (and pretty darn obsessed with rocks, stones, minerals…)

Before there was Pinterest to feed my obsessive online habits, I quenched my creative thirst by endlessly browsing Etsy for whatever project or subject I was enraptured with at the moment. Whether it was:  amethyst geode bookends, Mexican tooled leather bags, antique blue teacups, vintage French children’s’ books, fresh succulent cuttings or watercolor paintings of feathers, I’d favorite dozens of each and salivate over them until I finally bought something or I got distracted. Sigh…brings back some good memories (and many, many hours!!!). 
Raw minerals and crystals are always one of those things I always come back to. I am drawn to the bright, beautiful array of colors and the amazing and intricate shapes. I am continually in awe of the earth’s ability to create the most astounding works of art. After looking at these rocks and minerals dug out from under the ground, I always come to the conclusion that nothing I, or any human, ever creates will be as beautiful as they are. 
Above are some of my favorites I have put together, most of which can be found on etsy. In the top left image, I love how EarthSkyWarrior (a “Neo-Nostalgic boutique specializing in peculiar One-of-a-Kind home decor misfits & oddities based in Brooklyn, NY”) designed these Blue Agate geode bookends with the plant growing out of one side ($221.00). The top right image is a print by  Vancouver-based artist Jeff Hamada, the creator and founder of http:www.booooooom.com. The middle image of the agate geode slice necklaces are by Linsey, a jewelry designer out of Dallas, Texas and can be found for $48.00 a piece at her Esty shop, MesaBlue. The bottom left is by FAR one of the most beautiful Australian Opal Rings that I have ever seen. I have lusted after it for awhile now and will have to be satisfied with oogling it it via pictures. It is from the brilliant jewelry designer of Sasa Jewelry, Sasa Blackoff. Finally, the bottom right are set of four XL Agate Geode slab coasters by SaraReynoldsJewelry also on Etsy and a steal at $45.00. 

Here are some of the drawings I did in my sketchbook.I definitely need a lot of practice, drawing gems, crystals and minerals takes a lot more patience and focus than I am used to!



Here are a few more of my favorites, just because I couldn’t stop!


drusy diamond ring

r

drusy ring

Gem and Mineral Grid Collage

geometric print

Boulder Opal

2014 minerals calendar

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Artist Spotlight: Photographer Peter Hoffman

This is a VERY long overdue post on my extremely talented friend and all around amazing person, Peter Hoffman. Pete and I go way back (all the way to high school!) and he is inspiration to me, as n artist and a human being. He was able to take his passion, photography, and turn it into a successful profession, while at the same time making a positive impact on society and shedding light on social and cultural issues. And taking some damn beautiful photographs. Thanks Pete for humoring me and answering these questions.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/short-works/fox-river-derivatives/

All photos were taken by Peter Hoffman, are his property, and can be found on his website: http://www.peterghoffman.com. 

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/bryan-house-/
Who are you and what do you do?
Not to be contrarian, but I see a question like this as very open to interpretation. My first instinct is to say something like “how the hell can I say who I am? and what I do? I don’t know. I try to make the world hate itself less while trying to make myself love the world more?”
Maybe you should change this to “What is your name and what is your medium?” – unless you would prefer the above answer.

I think what you’re looking for is “My name is Peter Hoffman and usually I make photographs”

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/people-and-land-nnfpcenter-for-rural-strategies/
 Describe yourself in five words:
Awake, tired, conflicted, critical optimist

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/portraits/
 Do you have a favorite piece of yours?  If so, why is it your favorite?
Not really. I haven’t made a work that I feel is successful yet. On the other hand, if I did then maybe I’d stop trying.

My favorite art that I have own are my photo books – right now I’m into Stephen Gill’s Coexistence, Julian Germain’s For Every Minute You are Angry You Lose Sixty Seconds of Happiness. I am itching to get Lise Sarfati’s and Vivianne Sassen’s recent books too – those ladies are super talented.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/chch-nz/

 Any tips or inspiring words for other artists?
Make it a point to get outside of your comfort zone, make the work that you NEED to make, and if you are trying to make a career of your art, well, figure out a way not to stress too much about your work once it’s out of your hands. Work your tail off but not at the expense of your important personal relationships – unless artistic success is more important to you than
not being miserable. Also, try not to let yourself get in the way of yourself and make sure you give a shit about something.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/characters-in-a-juvenile-study/

 Can we find you anywhere on the world wide web?

You can find me too many places on the web – it’s a necessary evil I’ve come to terms with because the internet essentially allows me to make my living by making photographs, and this is something I am immensely thankful for. I don’t get hired for commissions if people don’t know my work exists.
You can see me at http://www.peterghoffman.com and http://www.peterghoffman.tumblr.com and twitter @peterghoffman.
I also just had a piece published on CNN Photos so you can see me there: http://cnnphotos.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/22/aftershocks-of-the-christchurch-earthquake/

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/people-and-land-nnfpcenter-for-rural-strategies/
 What is your favorite: I don’t play favorites generally because they change so I will give you current interests

Color? Navy, Grey, Crimson
Animal? I’m just really jealous of anything that can flies so I think that’s backhanded favoritism. Let’s go with the Peregrine Falcon.
Movie? I really enjoyed Beasts of the Southern Wild this year. I have a short memory with films. Visually I thought Pi – Aronofksy’s first film was really great and Enter the Void was also a challenging film though I don’t think I’d watch it again.
Book? I read magazines a lot more. My subscription to Harper’s is valuable. Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling are examples of literature that is important to me though. I know it’s sort of cliché but I also loved Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance and think I need to reread it now that I have a bike that will need some soon, if only to get in the right mindset.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/bryan-house-/
What work do you most enjoy doing?
I like walking in empty places and taking pictures of natural and constructed chaos. I also really enjoy formal portraiture and have gotten to meet some really fascinating people this way.
In general I like the places photography brings me more than the photography itself. I’m naturally introverted so it has been a good medium to challenge my natural ways and has gotten me to live differently, and for that I am very thankful. 

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/people-and-land-nnfpcenter-for-rural-strategies/
Name something you love, and why?
Some THING? 
I really like my trail running shoes, my old finicky motorcycle, my snowboard and my surfboard. All are vehicles for getting the wind to blow in my face which is one of my favorite sensations in the world.
If I am not limited to material objects then I love being in new places with wonderful people on a light whisky buzz. I love being outside in the summer with my good friends and family. I love stopping and looking at the trees and running in the woods.
Isn’t love just a substitute word for that which you can’t describe your feeling for? I just love when I feel alive. That can some at the strangest of times and be triggered by the most unexpected things. I love that I can’t explain it. 

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/editorial/people-and-land-nnfpcenter-for-rural-strategies/

Name something you don’t love, and why?
Honestly, for me this is a dangerous question. I get pretty upset about the world in a myriad of different ways so I could answer this any number of ways depending on what I read in the news.
One of the core reasons I make photographs is to address things that frustrate, concern or sadden me.
And Anne Coulter. Heinous, wretched woman.
 

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/loop/


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be yourself.  I think Sesame Street told me. That said, I’m really sorry that Anne Coulter feels free to be herself.

What couldn’t you do without?
Creating, and the wonderful people in my life. And almonds. And at this point probably running and crossfit.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/loop/

 You’ve been selected to go on an all-expenses paid drinking binge with one famous artist, one famous writer, and one free choice.  Who would you choose?
We’ll go surfing in the Maledives and sip on top shelf whisky around a campfire at night.
I’ll go with Andy Goldsworthy in his prime because I want to see what he builds (he can start with the whisky earlier than the rest of us), St. Augustine because I still want to ask him about “Confessions” and my wildcard would be my girlfriend because I wouldn’t want to have a great experience like that without being able to share it with her.

http://peterghoffman.com/index.php/project/loop/

Would you rather eat a handful of hair or lick three public telephones?
Definitely lick telephones. Joke’s on you – try to find me three public telephones anymore!

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Summer Reading List.

Zorba the Greek (3rd Edition) (Google Affiliate Ad)

 

Wuthering Heights by Bronte, E (Google Affiliate Ad)

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Artist Spotlight: Natalie Jean Bauer

by Natalie Jean Bauer 
This “Artist Spotlight” post idea came to me one night when I was thinking of how so many of my friends are talented artists and besides that, they are all also pretty hilarious. This is my little way of exposing the world (or a few hundred people a month) to the amazing-ness that they bring to my world and how happy they make me. And hopefully share that with someone else! So, I came up with some questions (some I borrowed from other art blogs) and asked my friend Natalie if she would let me interview her and post some of her artwork on my blog. Natalie is one of the most humble artists (and also one of the funniest) that I know. I have (selfishly) asked her when she is planning on making prints of her artwork and selling them, so I can buy one…but not yet. I’m wearing you down Natalie! So, hopefully you get some enjoyment out of this post AND…
if YOU or anyone you know wants to be featured in an “Artist Spotlight” post, then email me at forourcity@gmail.com. Send me a couple pieces of your artwork (whether its music, paintings, photography, dancing, stand up comedy..it all works for me!) and answer the questions. I will feature you in the next post! 

 Who are you and what do you do?

I am Natalie Jean Bauer.  I try to paint, draw, and write as often as my big dumb brain will allow.
Describe yourself in five words:
Usually really terrible at this.
Do you have a favorite piece of yours?  If so, why is it your favorite?

No favorites, really.  They are all a labor of love and yet I am my own worst critic.  The entire process of creating anything has always been essential for me, but the second I finish a piece (be it a painting, story, comic, whatever) I still notice every rough edge, every single area that shows room for improvement.  This is good in that it always drives me to further develop whatever skills I may possess, but awful when it comes to confidence in my own abilities.  I’ll probably spend the rest of my life trying to shut this off.  I am ruthless and insatiable.
Any tips or inspiring words for other artists?

Find it in yourself.  Keep fumbling and learning and don’t lose heart.  Surround yourself with books and songs that make you want to scream and explode into a million stupid pieces because of how good they are.  Pile more love and effort on literally everything you’re doing.

 Can we find you anywhere on the world wide web?


Art-wise?  Besides Facebook, not really.  I don’t have a personal website, at least not yet.  I’ve always been intensely private and enjoyed my anonymity.  A bit selfish, probably, but so often I anticipate being critiqued in a way I won’t recover from.  I don’t handle rejection well despite all the practice I’ve had.
What is your favorite:
Color?  The particular shade of green usually limited to chalkboards; grey in the beard of a young man.
Animal?  My dog, Roxy Carmichael, is the obvious answer here.  She has the personality of Gilda Radner, the heart of Gandhi, and the eyes of everyone you’ve ever loved.
Movie?  “Santa Sangre” has been in heavy rotation for me lately.  Otherwise, Martin Short’s “Clifford” never fails to improve my mood.
Book?  I just re-read Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves” for maybe the fifth time and it is always such a task but so beautiful and worthwhile.
What work do you most enjoy doing?

Honestly, it depends on my mood and focus.  It all comes in waves; I’ll sometimes go weeks where I mainly focus on writing and finishing a story and not pick up a brush or pencil at all.  But then before I even know it, the opposite becomes true:  I’ll slave over new paintings or comics before I become conscious of the fact that I haven’t written anything in months.  It’s bizarre.  My Moleskines are erratic at best.

Name something you love, and why?


I love The Voyager Golden Record.  It’s this gold-plated record that was sent into space on The Voyager so that if any aliens ever found it, they could listen to this record and know what Earth was like.  The record had an introduction, greetings in fifty-five languages, and the sounds of our planet — a whale song, crickets, the sound of an earthquake, a volcano, thunder, laughter, footsteps, wind, water, a kiss, a wild dog, heartbeats I think.  It had twenty-seven songs on it from all over the world, including Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chuck Berry, and Louis Armstrong.  At the end of the record there were brainwaves.  The wife of one of the men in charge of the record got hooked up to a machine and her brainwaves were turned into sound.  She thought all about the earth and the life on it, poverty, suffering, and some history she could remember.  At the end, she decided to make a personal statement.  The very last thing she wanted her brainwaves to send out there, the very last thing on this golden record that we sent into space for aliens to find and learn and judge about us, was what it felt like to fall in love.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

More often than not, I feel I have no truly creative ideas.  And everything I write, think, paint, or say has already been written, thought, painted, or said by many others.  And though I value the wonderful varied perspectives of people everywhere, it makes me feel like poo.  During a public internet meltdown of sorts, I had two people whose brains and artistic endeavors I admire impart two pieces of wisdom to me in such a way that it helped to hear at that precise moment.  The first was:  the truth is that all creativity amounts to in the first place is putting the basic stuff of existence into different patterns.  These patterns have personal meaning to us.  We ourselves constitute a changing pattern in relation to the rest of the universe.  Creativity is either infinite or ‘virtually infinite.’

The second was:  you just worry about making art because you’ll die if you don’t.

I try to remember both of these things in my worst moments of self-sabotage and doubt.


Name something you don’t love, and why?

I hate labels so much.  Here I am not referring to ethnic, racial, or other discriminatory and/or offensive tags (although OF COURSE I hate those, too).  Specifically I mean things such as price tags and the stickers on plastic bins that helpfully note “Sterilite Storage Bin.  For storage.  Store your shit up in this piece, mofo!”  I compulsively pick labels off of everything that is around for even a short time in my life.  This urge is slightly in opposition to my love of text — I like monograms, painting words on walls, having lots of chalkboards and papers and quotes and journals sitting around, just to put thoughts down on.  I guess it’s just that I want to control how many and what kinds of words and text are thrown at me in my home.  Everything outside is so coated in manipulative slogans and advertising (I mean seriously, you can’t even pee at a bar without forty flyers adding to the visual chaos) that I need to be able to look around my apartment without It’sallinside-Nobodydoesn’tlove-Refrescante-Eatfresh-Ownstheroad-Stayclosealittlelonger-Doubleyourpleasure-Choiceofthenew-Camitasmejors-Gentleman’sclub-Whatissexy-It’syourlife-Thenewalbum-Unböring-Unbroken-Undecided-Uncoordinated-Unlisted-Underground-Unrefined blazing across my retinas like Satan’s own stock ticker.

What couldn’t you do without?

It’s so clichéd of an answer, but there’s no way in hell I would have lasted this long without the people I am so blessed enough to call my friends.  I couldn’t have asked-begged-prayed-starved for better people to keep.

.

 You’ve been selected to go on an all-expenses paid drinking binge with one famous artist, one famous writer, and one free choice.  Who would you choose?


Dead or alive?  I think this answer changes daily for me.  So today I would probably go with Odilon Redon because stylistically I have never wanted to emulate someone SO MUCH.  His paintings are pure magic.  Oscar Wilde, because deep-down I identify with the burned-out view and the scathing insight.  And the free choice…  I guess it’d be that neighbor dog with short legs who runs the way shrimp swim. I like when there’s a dog at a party so my social anxiety doesn’t run down my phone’s battery
Would you rather eat a handful of hair or lick three public telephones?

Whose hair?  My own hair?  I think I’d sooner set myself on fire than lick a public ANYTHING, to be honest.  I probably ingest more than a handful of dog hair on a daily basis anyway, thanks to Roxy Carmichael’s proclivity for shedding.  I’m going with the hair.  I think I could better survive that from an emotional standpoint.


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i swear we were infinite.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge book nerd. I think partly because I’ve always had trouble sleeping, even as a kid, and without a T.V. in my bedroom, I lost myself in books. Also, I have an extremely short attention span and I liked that I could read a few pages, put it down when I got distracted and pick it right back up. The Boxcar Children, The Babysitters’ Club, Little House on the Prairie…I read through all of them eventually.
 As I have gotten older books have continued to play an important role in my life. I’ve always had trouble “switching off” and “winding down” at the end of the day. I just can’t turn my brain off, thinking about everything I need to do, should have done, SHOULDN’T have done…ect. and reading before bed has been the most effective way for me to de-stress.
I’ll admit it, in college, I was a huge book snob. I felt that anything I read had to be a classic, a prize winner and challenging.  While I read some of my favorite books during this time including: The Brothers Karamazov by Dosteovesky, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy…

I was halfway through Swann’s Way by Proust (and had almost no clue what was happening in the book) that I started to realize that I no longer was enjoying reading!

So, it was at this point that I decided..gosh darnit! I was going to read whatever I wanted and never looked back! Anyways, that was bit of a rant but there is a reason behind it I swear…about 6 months ago I picked up a book entitled Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I was heading to NYC for a quick getaway and wanted a book that I could carry in my bag….I admit I picked it up because it was a thin book and I liked the bright cover (okay, not the best reasons for picking a book but sadly I pick books based on their covers more often than I should). Needless to say, I started reading it on the plane and couldn’t put it down. I finished it that night in the hotel. I don’t like trying to summarize or explain what it’s about because I always do a lousy job and if I tried then you might not want to read it. So, I will refrain, except to say “YOU SHOULD READ IT NOW!”


The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Turtleback Scho Edition) by Chbosky, (Google Affiliate Ad)

For Christmas, I bought 6 copies of Perks of Being a Wallflower and gave it out to close friends and families. Some of these recipients might be classified still as “book snobs” (Sorry guys if you’re reading this but it’s true). I asked one friend if he had started reading it and he said he tried but writing style was too simple and thus, he said, he didn’t think the author was a very good writer. The book is written from the perspective of a freshman in high school named Charlie and he has a unique and fresh perspective on the world around him that is profoundly simple. Please, do yourself (And me) a favor and read this book. And then you can email me and we can talk about how awesome it was.

Anyways, it didn’t take me long to find that I wasn’t the only one who was so moved by the book. I find lots of lovely body art and artwork inspired by the book and I am including them here:

                                       http://literarytattoos.livejournal.com/990589.html

http://thisisrexxie23.tumblr.com/

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art lately.

I am going through difficult times right now in my personal life. I am gravitating towards creating art that is uplifting and positive and bright.

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The Happiness Project.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Lately, I have been reading the Happiness Project, a memoir by Gretchen Rubin. I picked it up, after much hesitation since I had been seeing it everywhere and was a little weary of it, for a couple of reasons. My personal life took a drastic and unexpected turn about a month ago and I was forced to reevaluate my life. I realized that I had not been happy and was not living my “best” life. Every day life had gotten ahold of me and I had stopped enjoying the little things like spending time with my loved ones, taking time to reflect and relax, and doing new and exciting things. This sparked an idea I had to come up with my own bucket list. Well, not a bucket list, but a “life list.” I started compiling a list of things that I wanted to do (not necessarily before I died) that I had been missing out on. My list included simple things like: “cooking dinner more,” “buying a bike”, “spend more time outdoors.” Things that I have always wanted to do and always told myself I would do, but never got around too. I started compiling them in a journal and it kind of took on a life of it’s own. 

So far, my list is 72 items and counting.

The first thing I did on my list, was the most physically noticeable and required the least amount of effort on my part: #18: cut all my hair off! Now, let me explain why this is a big deal. The last time I cut my hair more than an inch every two months or so, was when I was in the 3rd grade (over 20 years ago!) Of course, this was pre-puberty and my peers were merciless. Even adults made comments on it. My brother told me years later that his teacher asked him that first day I came to school after my hair cut, “who is the new boy at school?” 
I tried finding my year book photo but this is the closest pic I could find…another bad hair cut idea of mine (the perm)
Needless to say, I was scarred and scared to cut my hair after that so I let it go and it got looooooong. 

So one Sunday morning a couple weeks ago, I was having breakfast with an old friend and told her I wanted to cut my hair. She got excited and we called around to different salons and took the first open appointment. By lunch time 21 inches of my hair was in a baggy and most of my hair was gone! 

It really is amazing how doing something as simple as cutting your hair can make you feel like a new person and spark you to make changes. 
Has anyone else read the Happiness Project and/or made a life/bucket list?