Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Writer's Life for Me

There's nothing better than discovering that one thing that makes you feel so quintessentially like yourself that you can't live without it.

For me, it's undoubtedly writing.

I was, for lack of a better phrase, in the closet about my writing habit for a long time. As in pretty much my whole life. But I've always written. And even before I could write, I always had a story in my head, giving myself something to think about, a place to where I could disappear.

I started writing when I was as young as probably 8 years old, pretty much as soon as I was old enough to physically know how. But it was after reading Harry Potter and discovering the world of fan fiction that my writing really took off. In fact, I'm still writing the same fan fiction (though a different reincarnation of it as I've matured a bit as a writer since the age of 12. Ha.). I know my characters better than I know myself sometimes.

In addition to my fan fiction, I'm also working on an original fiction novel that I'm hoping to self-publish this summer. It's based on Peter Pan, but since the story is now in the public domain, it takes my story out of the realm of fan fiction. I do hope to do something entirely original someday, but for now, it's comforting to work with characters I know so well.

It's also nice to be able to come back to my fan fiction when I'm having writer's block for my "real" book. It keeps me writing, which is what I love, without all the stress. After ten years, it is so a part of who I am, and I'm finally not ashamed.

It took working on a novel that I eventually hope to publish to come clean about the fact that I write, period. It came as a shock to some people. And then, what once was my deepest, darkest, secret became just a fact:

I write Harry Potter fan fiction. I've done it for ten years. It's over 250,000 words (400 typed pages in Microsoft Word, single spaced). It's part of who I am. And I'm proud of it!

And you know what? No one's disowned me for it. I'm going to continue to write what I love, be it fan fiction or original works or this blog, as long as it makes me happy.

I hope everyone reading this goes forth and does the same. Do what you loved no matter if it's "nerdy" or "unpopular" or whatever. If it makes you happy, you might be surprised how many people are happy for you.

And this happened the other day...instead of studying for finals, I sat at the campus library in my Slytherin shirt and necklace writing my fan fiction.

So what are your guilty pleasures? Any other fan fiction writers out there? And have you shared your obsession with friends or family?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Edgy Looks for Lips

Usually, I'm all about the eyes when it comes to makeup. And by that I mean I smear black eyeliner everywhere, slap on some mascara, and I'm good to go. It was only recently that I really learned how to do much else with my makeup (err...I barely knew what foundation was until a few weeks ago; one of my friends essentially had to teach me how to be a girl). I've been doing a lot of experimenting with my makeup and testing out some new products lately, and I've been having way too much fun. I've also learned the power of quality products; it's amazing how much better my makeup looks (and lasts!) when I don't just buy the cheapest stuff I can find.

Reasons I've loved lipstick lately:
  1.  Laziness. Lipstick makes me feel pulled together when I don't have time or motivation for much else.
  2.  Boredom. I love trying new looks.
  3. Weather. I went to Hawaii for my last college spring break (sob, I feel so old!) and eyeliner and ocean and heat are not a great combo.
Here are edgy lipstick looks I've played with the past few weeks and the colors I recommend.

1. Black. I read the post How Do You Wear Black Lipstick? on the blog Sincerely, Boots, and was inspired to give it a shot. I was surprised how wearable the article made black lipstick look; I'd always thought it would come across as too costume-y. My only problem? I didn't own black lipstick, but wasn't willing if I wasn't sure I'd wear it. My solution? Black eyeliner. I outlined the lips in pencil and filled them in with a gel eyeliner (which had more of a lipstick-y texture). Topped it off with some gloss, and voila! My black lipstick is in the mail as I type this.

 2. Purple. Next look, purple lip stain. I am OBSESSED with Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain (I'm wearing blackberry wine). It lasts almost all day (I wore it on the flight to Hawaii a few weeks ago and didn't have to reapply! I've learned my lesson wearing eye makeup on planes...I always manage to sleep so that it comes completely off one eye). Also, this purple color is great for green or hazel-eyed girls like myself. My eyes usually look brown, but the purple lipstick really brings out the green! Mascara, brows, lips, done.
3. Red ombre. I love classic red lips (once again, I swear by the Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain, this time in bold classic red), but I wanted to make them bold and edgy. (Well, bolder and edgier; red lips already make a statement). I outlined my lips in black pencil (eyeliner again), applying extra at the outer corners of my lips. Then, starting from the center to keep some true red, I applied the lip stain, blending it with the eyeliner as I got the border of my lips. Paired with big waves and a black mesh dress, the looks was perfect for a night out, or with relaxed hair and a denim jacket for a more casual look.


Which is your favorite? What is your signature lip color?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

DIY Day: Studded Asymmetrical Dress and Boots

New seasons always make me want to invest in a new wardrobe. Unfortunately, that isn't always feasible on a college budget. But, thanks to some Pinterest inspiration, a pair of scissors, and some studs, I was able to give a few items in my closet a much needed update yesterday.

I bought the following items a while back (please excuse the stain on my carpet; I drink wayyyy too much coffee and unsurprisingly spill it everywhere). The dress was a $3 thrift store find that fit really well despite being overly conservative with a high neckline and hem that hit mid-shin (I suspect it was supposed to be a maxi dress, but with all the stretch I managed to squeeze the size "petite small" over my six-foot frame). I bought it anyway, figuring that one can never have too many black dresses ( last count I had thirteen). And, for $3, I wouldn't be heartbroken if my desire to DIY was a total flop. 

The boots I snagged on sale at Target a couple seasons ago. They were never quite as edgy as I wanted them to be, but I wore them to death anyway. Finally bored with them, I thought they were another perfect DIY candidate.

First, the dress. I found my inspiration at NastyGal, and decided it would be easy to recreate a similar style. I folded the dress in half and cut a diagonal line from the back hem up to mid-way up the front where I wanted the shortest point to be. This created a nice, flowing, asymmetrical hem, and made it  much less conservative. Next, I cut a V to create the matching plunging neckline in the front and back. Last, I studded the neckline both front and back with 1/2" pyramid studs that I got at Studs & Spikes

If you're going to do your own studding, I recommend at least purchasing a dart awl for studding, otherwise it is quite difficult to poke through the fabric. I used a pair of pliers to bend the prongs on the spikes, which was fine for the thin fabric of the dress, but much more difficult for the thicker material of the boots. I will update this post with a picture of how the dress looks on when I get a chance to wear it! I was really pleased with the result.

Ta-da! The finished dress

Next the boots. Man, were these a lot of work. Which basically means I watched an ungodly amount of Netflix yesterday during the process. Anyway...
I used the small 1/4" pyramid studs and 1/2" conical studs in an alternating pattern on the toes and tongue, and the 1/2" pyramid studs down the back. After my experience, I would highly advice against using really small studs on such a thick material. The prongs on the 1/4" studs (the 1/2" worked just fine) barely reached through the material, which made it hard to bend the prongs down. But so far at least my feet haven't been stabbed...

Front and back views.

Has anyone else undertaken any DIY wardrobe updates lately? Or have any advice to offer when it comes to adding studs and spikes to garments? I'd love to hear your feedback!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Rockin' Ruby

In general, I like to dress myself by first deciding on a character or theme...unsurprisingly, usually "witch" or "pirate." Ahem. I loved dress-up as a kid, and I never quite grew out of it. I find it fun to embrace a new character or personality just by changing outfits.

My outfit inspiration for this week? Ruby from Once Upon a Time. I adore that girl's edgy, over-the-top style; and I used her for inspiration to try some things that were a bit out of my comfort zone.

I got the armwarmers as a gift from a friend, and I loved them but never felt I could pull them off. I thought they looked like something Ruby might wear, so I gave it a go. Perfect way to jazz up a plain white tee. 

Also. Pigtails. Aside from Halloween, I probably haven't worn my hair like that since elementary school. But worn low with a bit of teasing and colored extensions, I felt sassy rather than silly.