Playing Dress Up

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation about a specific topic, and since then the subject has come up multiple times in my personal life, and in surrounding influences/others’ lives.

I was talking with some friends about how strange it is when people attack you or put you down based on who you inherently are. Not for something you’ve done, or a particular belief or opinion, but rather the ways you’ve embraced and continually express yourself.

The initial conversation with friends began when someone was upset (annoyed?) because an ex-partner was accusing her of being superficial because she enjoys doing her hair, makeup and putting nice outfits together. I immediately related – when my last relationship ended (and I will never disrespect that person here, I’m just sharing this part of my experience), hurt feelings meant that suddenly my love for dressing up, and writing blogs (which I have done since age 15 – thankfully most have dissipated into the internet), and taking photos, etc… was just “my way of seeking attention/being high-maintenance/superficial.”

I know, I know, it’s a silly thing in the grand scheme. But it hurts. Because it isn’t about any of those awful things, and it never has been.

I spent years of my youth feeling bad about myself because I didn’t have the physical attributes of many of my peers. When I hit the ninth grade and discovered the underground music scene (which was INCREDIBLE in the late 1990’s in Wilkes-Barre!), it was one of the single most positive influences of my life. And aside from the many things being a part of that community gave me, my self esteem about how I looked finally emerged.

The older girls I looked up to were covered in tattoos and crazy vintage-inspired clothes, and were politically active, preparing to leave for college at ivy league schools, touring all over the country with bands, writing books, starting craft businesses, and organizing community events. Smart was sexy. And so was wearing what you liked and owning it.

While my style may have shifted slightly over the years (1920’s vamp, ridiculous rockabilly, etc.), I have always felt the most “myself” when expressing it outwardly. It’s fun. It makes me feel good. It has ZERO to do with gender-norms, and EVERYTHING to do with me liking it. So there.

Halloween is a silly time, and everyone has fun dressing up. But why not do that every day? In the first issue of WINK Magazine, lovely Lisa O’Brien wrote a wonderful article about the fun and self-definition that comes with dressing for yourself, whatever that means for you. And in the current issue which focuses on the theme of Costumes, Editor-in-Chief Tina Hemmerle has a wonderful feature once again driving this point home:

“…getting into costume is something we do every day of our lives, EVERY TIME WE GET DRESSED… our costume is a powerful form of non-verbal communication…

It is just plain fun to “dress up”… For me, a great way to turn a dreary day into peaches and rainbows is to wear something that will make other people smile. Even when my plan backfires and people point and scoff, I still feel good knowing I don’t blend in with the crowd. Contrary to a popular general belief, this behavior does NOT come from a need for attention, but rather a desire to express that I am not LIKE everyone else in the crowd, and that I don’t require the approval of others to maintain personal happiness. “

I suppose my point is this: Live your life in a way that feels good and true for you. How can anyone think badly of that?

And: Go out and pick up the new issue of WINK Magazine! There’s an awesome Lady Gaga-inspired photoshoot, a history of local hauntings, my article about literary character/author Halloween costumes, and much more sassiness!

(Photos in post taken from Advanced Style, a wonderful blog that chronicles the street fashion of old people, and Fashion Pirates, a truly fabulous blog by a stylish young lady – she’s only 17!! – that is equally inspiring and hilarious)

You Can Do It! (We Did It!)

Last weekend was the sort of weekend that encourages and supports exactly where you are in life.

I remember meeting with Alison (photographer for WINK Pinup and Magazine, and owner Eskandalo! salon) a few months ago and wanting to plan this cool event for local artists and businesses with an eco-friendly theme. What started with a tote bag became an all-day fun festival with live music, awesome vendors, and community building at the most basic level.

(Thank you so much to Alex for this candid shot of me at my booth! I took pictures of everything but my own table, sheesh!)

The day before I was running around to health food stores and the restaurant supply store for ingredients and take-out containers. I was a woman on a mission, staying up so late on Friday night to make sure my food would taste as delicious as possible.

Once everyone got their booths set up and people came and walked around, my heart felt so full to know that we did this. We created this event, this day. I looked around and saw the smiles on the faces of everyone, friends and neighbors, and it reminded  me just how powerful all of us are in the creation of our own lives.

As for  my food, the biggest compliment came from the people that said “Wow – I have hated tofu every time I tried it, but this is awesome!”, or the people who didn’t believe you could make something decadent without the use of dairy and meat but are now believers! Everyone was so friendly, kind and wonderful. At the end of the day, I had next to nothing left!

That night, I had another dream in which I clearly visualized the future of Save the Kales! A gorgeous restaurant/cafe, a space in the back for cooking classes, an office for nutrition consulting… While I don’t know where I’ll end up, or how my plans will play out, last weekend gave me nudge to keep moving forward with optimism and seizing all opportunities.

The biggest, most heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who came out that day. It means so much to me, personally, even if I never met you before!

Now that my new house is just about in order, I’m going to pick a date for the next cooking class soon! I hope you’ll attend. Til then, enjoy some photos from the weekend:

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce (stuffed w/ tofu, walnuts, sage, cranberries, other yummy things)

Continue reading

Honorable Mention

I am completely overwhelmed and humbled to tell you all that Sarah Kramer (yeah, that one) has mentioned Save the Kales! on her blog, GoVegan.net !!!!!!!!

If you maintain a vegan kitchen, or know anybody that does, you likely have one or more of Sarah’s cookbooks in your possession. She artfully combines so many things near and dear to my heart – tasty cooking, vintage clothes, colorful tattoos, retro design, and a positive attitude! She is a true vegan Renaissance Woman, and personal hero. Sarah, thank you from the very bottom of my overflowing heart!

Please check out GoVegan.net to learn about Sarah’s latest endeavors and past projects!

*This is also an exciting chance to mention: I will be doing a pin-up photoshoot for Save the Kales! at the end of the month!!!   I will be dolled up and photographed by the lovely ladies of WINK Pin-Up Studio located in South Bethlehem, PA. Keep an eye out for some super fun pictures, and learn more about WINK on their facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/people/Wink-Pinup/100000626316044