Thursday, April 19, 2012

I went to the woods to live deliberately

Top: Banana Republic, gift from ML; Skirt: Thrift find; 
Shoes: Born Crown; Bracelet: Loft. 

Sometimes I look at these photos and wonder if people who skim this blog think I live in some Walden-esque oasis all the time. I spend just a little of my weekly time outdoors on these bridges and near these lakes, and yet, it's often all that's represented on this blog. I think this blog sometimes represents an ideal that I wish I could live out all the time — how I wish I could camp out on this bridge and call it my own.

But I doubt the rest of my life would be as picturesque. Would I dare to show you:

- How much of my life is played out through emails and Gchats? 
- The bottle graveyard in my house, representing all the Coke Zeros I've consumed in a week?
- The to-do lists that are made in earnest at the beginning of each week, only to be scratched out and rewritten in Sharpies and highlighters?

Probably not. So I take photographs in the park instead.

I found this skirt at a thrift store sometime around St. Patrick's Day, but never got it drycleaned in time to wear during the holiday, so here it is. I've mentioned many times how much I love to dress to match my surroundings (something that Tom and Lorenzo dissect constantly on Mad Men), and here I've done it again. 

Speaking of television, I'm back to blogging at Film Rascal. I'll be dissecting Mad Men and hopefully Game of Thrones this week!

Monday, April 16, 2012

All those days are gone

I spent some time testing out my loaned Canon G-10 this weekend and went persuing through a vintage fairground near my apartment. Items are less expensive there than some of the stores downtown, and I spent a good hour marveling over old cameras, albums, and postcard fonts. The wedding cake topper was my favorite find, because it reminds me of the one my mother kept from her wedding 27 years ago! Not a bad way to spend a Saturday ...

Roamin' holiday

 Dress: Jason Wu for Target; Belt: Loft (from this dress); 
Shoes: Born Crown; Bracelet: gift, from Destin.

These are the first outfit photos I've taken in nearly a month. With school and projects, I've been a really busy graduate student, but I'm happy nonetheless and am trying to incorporate more time for solitude into my schedule. 

So, I'm using a new camera now. My college has a photo lab where you can check out camera equipment, so these photos are from a Canon Powershot G-10 on loan. I had fun playing with all the settings during this shoot, and I can't wait to try advanced DSLR equipment soon. I'm hoping some experimentation will help me figure out which DSLR to splurge on this summer. 

I found this Jason Wu dress on a random Target run last week. My Target is pretty small, and doesn't carry much of the Go! International lines, so I wasn't expecting to find any of the popular soldout line when I perused the clearance racks.  But lo and behold, the Jason Wu poplin dress, in my size for $11. I've already declared my love for red and blue wardrobe pieces, so I think this dress will fit in well with my closet. And with this dress and my new short bangs, I have been feeling very Audrey Hepburn all week.

Speaking of pretty dresses, there's still time to enter my Shabby Apple dress giveaway! I'll pick a winner tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Online friendships & when favorite blogs end

The passage of time is a funny thing in the blog world, and you can meter it through different means: the number of followers you have, or perhaps the number of posts you've written.

For me, if I need to look at a good measuring stick of my 2.5 years of fashion blogging, I only need to look at my blogroll to be reminded of how far I've come -- and who I've met along the way. 

My blogroll is littered with links of dead blogs, and I mourn for them.

No, none of these bloggers have kicked the bucket, but they have passed on -- blogging, that is -- to pursue larger personal ambitions. Don't get me wrong -- I commend and respect them for doing what was best for their lives as they pursued other things. But I still miss their daily online presence in my dashboard.

There was Sara, of Orchids in Buttonholes, whose witty prose and well-chosen wardrobe made me envy her writer life in New York City. Clare, of Between Laundry Days, who championed simplicity in laidback outfits as she braved Chicago winters. And Tania, of What Would a Nerd Wear, whose self-proclaimed "vanilla" academic style was pitch-perfect advice as I too began to navigate the tricky sartorial waters in graduate school. 

Their styles pulled me in as a reader, but I stayed for their stories about everyday life -- whether it related to travel plans or career switches, reading recommendations or recipes, I was along for the ride. And with comments and emails, it felt like a dialogue -- and later, a blog friendship -- began to emerge with each of them over the years. 

I mentioned to a non-blogging friend recently that I was sad about What Would a Nerd Wear's end, and she couldn't understand my emotions over someone I had never met. 

And I understand that confusion. To someone who doesn't blog or engage with an online community, it can seem silly, creepy and downright voyeuristic to read about another's life so thoroughly. It can also seem like intrusive and demanding behavior from readers, especially for those who feel they have ownership over reading a blog, as if a blogger may "owe" an audience life updates or explanations.

And to others, it can seem pointless to follow a blogger -- whose online image may be curated, positioned and edited so as to not reveal its real-life imperfections. In one of my media classes, we've debated whether anyone can really portray a true depiction of themselves online (the jury's still out). Even further, it can seem like frivolous grief, to lament over an online identity of a blogger who is still alive and well -- and is functioning without the constant gaze or comments of readers and followers. 

Whether the bloggers I follow put up a realistic depiction of themselves is not the point, and unless I ever run into them in real life, I may never really know their full stories, and that's okay. 

But what I do know is this: Over hundreds of comments, posts and emails exchanged over the years, a long distance friendship of sorts emerges between bloggers and their readers. When you count up the hours devoted to such communication, it's a lot. In many ways, it's surely possible to feel that you know a blogger you follow better than you know some of your real-life friends and family, or at least on a different depth level.

This is not a desperate plea for Sara or Clare or Tania or any other bloggers who have quit to start back up again. Nor is it meant to be a guilt trip to conflict with their decision to end blogging. But I suppose this opens up to a larger commentary on how our increasingly-technological society creates an over-reliance on online identities, and how that can fragment communication and relationships, and even reality itself. Or even further, perhaps it's existential grounds for exploring the lifespan of a blog.

I don't have a clear answer to any of these musings. 

I do know, though, that my blogroll is littered with the dead, as I miss people who were not quite strangers, but not quite real-life companions, either.

And the Internet is a little lonelier without them.

Have any of your favorite blogs ended, and what were your reactions? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Shabby Apple giveaway

Shabby Apple's known for its vintage-inspired, beautiful women's dresses in various styles, shapes and hemlines. Sidewalk Chic readers now have a chance to win the Waimea dress, a pretty frock from the South Pacific line. 

To enter:
- 'Like' the Shabby Apple Facebook page. Leave a comment here saying that you did. Include an email address so I can get in touch in case you win!
- Extra entry: Leave a comment explaining how you'd style it or where you'd wear it.
- Open to U.S. readers only.
- Winner will be drawn next week on 4/16.

Good luck!

Watson Mill Bridge

 Dress: Erika, thrifted, vintage;
Shoes: Born Crown. 

Yikes, it's been way too long since my last post. School (particularly group projects and case studies) has kept me from my camera and tripod for far too long, and every time a pretty day came and went, I ached to capture it.

I took a recent trip to Watson Mill Bridge with Jeremiah during spring break. This park features the longest covered bridge in the state, and is not too far from my town. Last time I visited I went alone, playing on the rocks and taking photos here and there. It was fun to share it with Jeremiah this time, showing him my favorite spots like some kind of tour guide.

I'll be having a giveaway here soon to make up for my long absence --- stay tuned!
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