What a Wild + Crazy Weekend!

As I write this, it is late Tuesday night. My Uncle Art’s calling hours were tonight and the funeral is tomorrow. Writing just seemed like the best thing to do tonight. Uncle Art was an amazing writer and getting my words out on “paper” has always been therapeutic for me.

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Phew! That was one HELL of a weekend!! You know it’s a good one when you need a whole extra day (or THREE!) just to rest up from your weekend.

On Friday, Amanda & I got tattoos to commemorate our running of the half marathon, 13.1 miles! Our initial plan was to get matching tattoos on our feet, but being such flamboyant individuals, we were unable to decide on one design, so we each got something that spoke to us! Amanda went with the number 13.1 on her wrist next to her Wonder Woman cuff (because once you run at least a half marathon, you become a superhero automatically.) and I decided to get the number spelled out on my right foot, next to my runner cheetah tattoo. The neatest part of both of our tattoos is that they are both in our trainer Alexander’s handwriting. I know that he will say WE did it, not him, but I must say that I would have NEVER run a mile, let alone a 13.1 of ’em if it weren’t for his inspiration and support.

Looking for an awesine tattoo shop?? Check out Fate Tattoo, in Columbus, Ohio! Jack has now done half of my work and I couldn’t be happier!

13.1 Tats

Alexander's Handwriting. The bottom lines are just random letters we might have needed.

Alexander’s Handwriting. The bottom lines are just random letters we might have needed.

Not only did Amanda and I get tattoos, but Allie joined us for the fun! Unfortunately, we could not convince her to get a tattoo, but I think we’ve sold her on getting one eventually! Watching Amanda & I get our tats was her first experience even seeing someone get tattooed! Amanda’s only took (what felt like) 30 seconds and she braved it like a champ, saying didn’t hurt at all (and I’m actually inclined to believe her)! Mine took maybe 5 minutes, but…WOO! I definitely earned that one! My tattoo pain threshold has increased, but there’s something about the side of my foot and ankle that just stings!

This tattoo makes it an even EIGHT tattoos that I have on my body. When I started with my first at the age of 18 (a harmless lil Jesus Fish on my hip), I never thought tattoos would become such a large part of my life. My friend Justin told be the other day that with all my “word tattoos,” I’m gonna become a book eventually! WHich, would be totally fine with me!  All of my tattoos represent a part of my life journey. They either mark an important event in my life or represent a permanent part of my heart & soul. There really isn’t much that I am not willing to talk to people about when it comes to my life story, and I think that tattoos work as a perfect conversation starter. I love telling people my stories and hearing their’s in return. It’s part of that whole “people person” mentality that I embody.

After the tattoo gun was turned off, our wrists and feet were bandaged, and my faced relaxed from its grimace, Amanda, Allie & I fetched another member of our A-Team and headed to Tip Top, a DELICIOUS local restaurant for celebratory dinner and drinks. (As I write this, I am realizing that we celebrate EVERYTHING! You ran a race? Celebrate! You got a tat? Celebrate! You celebrated? Celebrate!)

As we visited with one another, sharing laughs, I took a moment to look at those women and truly soak up the moment. In that moment, I was surrounded by love & support. I am so very blessed to have passionate, smart, beautiful and STRONG women around me. I strive to surround myself with people who build me up to become a better person and that exactly what my friends do. Eating sweet potato fries and sipping malbec wine seems so simple and mundane, but in that moment, it became a memory that I will never forget.

Allie (and her almost real tattoo), Amanda, Amee, & Me

Allie (and her almost real tattoo), Amanda, Amee, & Me

Now onto the rest of the weekend!!

Saturday night was the second annual Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock + Roll Fashion Show! This is an event organized by Amee, breast cancer survivor extraordinaire! The event is a mix of locals bands playing while local fashion designers show off their latest collections. This year, each designer was assigned a band, and they were to design their outfits using the band’s music as inspiration. Not only is Amee is event creator, but she is the lead singer of Black Eyed Betty, a local rock + roll band! Betty closed out the show, barely able to observe the noise ordinance the neighborhood has instilled.The coolest part is that ALL, 100% of the proceeds go towards local cancer warriors, buying them wigs and gas cards to get to their doctors appointments. The bands and designers donate their time and effort and any money they would have pocketed from the event. This year, over $1000 was raised! Thanks to everyone who came!! RAWK!

Amee rockin' out with Betty!

Amee rockin’ out with Betty!

Making the event even more special was that Amanda and I got to model for designer Kelli Martin! She has such an edgy, cool aesthetic! This was the 3rd or 4th time I had modeled for her because I will take any chance I can get to rock her clothes. So most of our day was spent at the salon getting our hair and makeup done by the fabulous Jeffrey Steele and his assistant Casey Pennington! I swear, I need a hair and makeup team to follow me around every weekend! Once they were done with me, I looked like an edgy, original, 1950s Barbie Doll! It was a dream come true! My curled bangs and dark eyeliner made my green eyes just pop! And I’m a sucker for my bright-colored lipstick! Kelli’s designs were deranged rockabilly, and I just looked like Barbie on vacation! I got to wear a crop top and high-waisted, pocketed shorts, both in a floral print, and an adorable black, brimmed hat. Kelli’s work is normally very hardcore and requires a runway walk and face that yells, “I’m gonna kill a bitch!” but Saturday’s look was much nicer and more fun. Rather than walking like we re on our way to inflict some pain on some deserving soul, we got to walk with a bounce in our step and smiles from ear to ear. I even played up the hat a little bit, cheesin’ it up for the audience.

CRTC Modeling

Fellow Mobster & Model: Rachel!

Fellow Mobster & Model: Rachel!

Modeli silliness at the end of the night!

Model silliness at the end of the night!

One of the biggest reasons that this event is so important to me is not only because Amee is a kickass survivor and I have become her Hype Girl, supporting all of her inspiring ventures, but because my Grandma passed away from breast cancer when I was 9, my dad is a cancer survivor, my mom died from endometrial cancer 2 years ago and just this past Tuesday, my Uncle Art was taken from us because of pancreatic cancer. I am f**king sick of cancer affecting and taking people we love. I don’t think there is a person in this world that doesn’t know someone touched by cancer. So anything that works towards a cure or supports those battling towards survival is a worthwhile cause, in my eyes.

Which brings us to…

…Mother’s Day. This year was the 3rd Mother’s Day without Mom. It has gotten a little easier to spend it without her, but nonetheless, every radio ad reminding people to get Mom a gift, every Facebook post boasting that their mom is the greatest, only serves to remind me that I don’t have a mom to buy or make a gift for and that my mom really was the greatest mom and was taken from us years too soon. This year, I spent part of the day with a dear friend, Karen. Her mother also died way too early. Losing a parent is a grief I would not wish upon my worst enemy, but it is a blessing to have others to share it with, that understand the big and little pains of not having that person around. Karen and I spent our afternoon shopping for flowers for our yards; something that Karen really inspired me to do last summer. I was refreshing to walk around the nursery and be reminded that even though there can be such ugliness in our world, that there is a God and he is always creating and recreating beautiful things. It was too cold for our scheduled bike ride (ugh. Thanks Ohio. Jerk.), so instead, we went shopping at Rag-O-Rama, a local, quirky, thrift shop. I got a fabulous neon leotard and bright pink sunglasses for an upcoming costumed bar shuffle (I’m channeling Jem!) and a couple of pairs of cute shorts. If my mother taught me anything, it’s that retail therapy is a real thing. Once again, I felt very blessed to have such a compassionate person in my life.

The weekend came to a close with my weekly Sunday evening hot yoga class with Alexander & Co. I sweat out the weekend and left refreshed and ready to do it all over again!

Me & my 2 BFFs: Mickey Mouse & Mom (Easter 1987 ~ I was 2)

Me & my 2 BFFs: Mickey Mouse & Mom (Easter 1987 ~ I was 2)

Uncle Art & I playing on the beach in Florida, Mom & Aunt Nancy behind us. The beach is where I will remember Uncle Art most fondly. (Easter 1987)

Uncle Art & I playing on the beach in Florida, Mom & Aunt Nancy behind us. The beach is where I will remember Uncle Art most fondly. (Easter 1987)

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BFF Spotlight: Amee BellWanzo

You probably feel like I’m a bad girlfriend. On again and off again, very unreliable! Well, I apologize! Don’t give up on me now! I know, I know, I keep saying “I’M BAAAACK!!” and then I disappear from the blogosphere for another month and you move on to a younger, hotter blogger with bigger boobs. Well, jerks, life is crazy and, unfortunately, blogging keeps getting pushed to the side. To give you an idea of what has been keeping me from you, here’s a portion of my “Ugh….I have so much shit to do!” List:

  • Finish masters (CHECK!)
    • This included 86 (EIGHTY-FREAKING-SIX!!!) pages of writing over the past 3 months.
  • Grade student essays
    • Each of my seniors is writing 14 “chapters” about their life for a scrapbook project. 14 chapters, at ~2 pages each, times ~50 kids = a lifetime of grading.
    • Also. Please try to imagine the quality of the majority of these essays. I’ve definitely shot myself in the foot over this one.
  • Workout
    • So I’m running the half marathon on May 4th. 13.1 beautiful miles. (Yeah, it’s not so beautiful once you hit mile 8.) Training for this means running. A lot of running. I can run about 6 miles in an hour. So, as you can imagine, this takes a lot of time!
    • Hot Yoga, to stretch my running muscles and calm my brain, twice a week.
    • Other training exercises like biking and weightlifting.
  • Bible Study
    • One night a week, I meet up with folks from my church and remind myself the real reason why and how I’m able to do anything in my life.
  • Alternative Fashion Mob (AFM)
    • I can’t say no to Amee BellWanzo. Plus, the AFM is pretty damn cool and I’d be a fool not to be involved from the beginning.
    • I am now the Mob’s website manager and social media mistress. This job not only requires time on the computer, but there are badass social events, fundraisers and planning meetings involved.
  • Work.
    • Yeah, I still have to do that everyday.
    • (at least until I meet and marry a prince.)
  • Social life
    • I’d go crazy if it weren’t for my friends! I need to spend time with them to keep myself grounded. Plus, they’re each remarkable in their own ways, and I don’t want to miss out on their badassery.
    • Also, I’m a catch! So every once in awhile, I go out with a gentleman caller!

So there. Now you have an idea of the things (some awesome and some required) keeping me from you. It’s certainly not because I don’t want to write anymore! In fact, once such gentleman caller described art as “something you have to do and it pains you not to do it.” In which case, this blog has become my art. It truly has tormented me not being able to create more hours in the day or function on less sleep in order to write. It really feels cathartic to be back here writing.

Anyways! Back to the topic at hand!

Am I the only one, or do you have a best friend (or 6) that has become more like a sibling than a friend? Growing up as an only child, many of my closest friends became more like siblings to me. We saw each other everyday, spent hours of time together, loved the hell out of each other, and engaged in the nastiest of fights. As I have grown up, the fighting part has subsided, thank goodness!

One such of these friends is Amee BellWanzo. I met her about 5 years ago through a mutual friend. I didn’t know much about her, but because we had mutual friends, we both kept showing up at the same places at the same time. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but one thing led to another and I was addicted to her.

Amee’s love of life is contagious. It didn’t take me long to discover why I wanted her in my life and after you read this, you’re gonna be Facebook stalking and requesting her friendship in no time.

This was the first night I met Amee in August 2008. Some things never change.

This was the first night I met Amee in August 2008.
Some things never change.

First of all, and most badass, Amee is a breast cancer survivor. (We actually just had a party celebrating her 5-year anniversary of being cancer free! She is now out of “The Danger Zone” for remission, so of course the party was Top Gun themed!) My mom passed away from cancer 2 years ago, so Amee’s survival is all the more important to me. I already lost one of the most important people in my life to the cancer bitch, I won’t let it happen again. Not on my watch!

We've got Goose, Iceman (me!), Maverick, Charlie and...Evel Knievel!

We’ve got Goose, Iceman (me!), Maverick, Charlie and…Evel Knievel!

Amee ridin' right out of the Danger Zone!

Amee ridin’ right out of the Danger Zone!

Because Amee knows firsthand what it’s like to live with and survive cancer, she has created an organization focused on supporting people going through cancer: Columbus Rocks the Cure. For the past 4 summers, Amee has organized a large handful of local CBus bands who all come together for one night to raise money to support cancer fighters. The bands play for free and local companies donate their wares and gift cards as raffle items. All of the money raised (yeah. 100-freaking-percent) goes towards buying wigs (girl can’t have no cheap weave!) and gas cards (some patients drive upwards of 100 miles each week to get to a hospital for their treatments) for current cancer patients. This is an amazing and fun event my friends and I look forward to every year.

Sometimes, you just need an F-Bomb

Sometimes, you just need an F-Bomb

Columbus Rocks the Cure 2012 Bands: Black Eyed Betty, Millur Boyette, Fresh Wreckage & The Girls

Columbus Rocks the Cure 2012 Bands: Black Eyed Betty, Millur Boyette, Fresh Wreckage & The Girls

Last year, Amee added a fashion twist to Columbus Rocks the Cure and we now have Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show! This is a night of music and fashion mixed together! Four bands shred it while models strut their stuff rocking designs created by local artists inspired by the music. And once again, 100% of the profits “support local cancer warriors, right here, right now in the Columbus area.”

This year’s show is Saturday, May 11th, 8pm at Ace of Cups! Click here to buy tickets!

Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show

Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show

So I mentioned that Amee organizes Columbus Rocks the Cure and Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show, where a bunch of awesome bands play. Well, one of said bands is Black Eyed Betty; lead singer, Amee BellWanzo! RIGHT?!? She’s a legit rockstar! Black Eyed Betty (BEB or Betty) is a punk metal/hard rock band fronted by Amee, flanked by twins Kevin and Keith (bass & guitar), and backed by T-Bart on drums. Betty can be found just about every weekend playing somewhere in CBus, from a local bar, to Columbus Rocks the Cure to ComFest to for the first time ever this year, Red, White & Boom (Columbus’ 4th of July Extravaganza)! Their music is catchy, well-written and super fun to dance and jump around to. I was privileged enough to travel with them on a 4-stop mini tour this past summer and act as roadie/groupie/merch girl. I was definitely living the rock ‘n roll lifestyle vicariously through Betty!

Amee rockin' with Betty!

Amee rockin’ with Betty!

We had A LOT of down time/photo ops in the car.

We had A LOT of down time/photo ops in the car.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Amee has recently ganged up with a horde of Columbus fashion advocates (designers, stylists, fanatics, etc.) to create the Alternative Fashion Mob (AFM).

The AFM “believes that fashion is for everyone. It should be accessible to all people, regardless of age, shape, sex or economic status. Our celebration of Columbus fashion invites all members of our community – especially the fashion-forward, creatively focused, and community-minded – to participate and embrace as we showcase, nurture, and enjoy our local design talent. You’ll see us around Columbus at events, fundraisers, pop-up boutiques, and at the mother of all fashion fests, Alternative Fashion Week. A portion of all money raised will be donated to worthwhile charities, while the remainder will be used to fund the Columbus Fashion Incubator. The goal of the Incubator is to (eventually) provide retail and studio space, marketing and business resources, opportunities, and connections for up-and-coming local designers.”

The AFM has already hosted a handful of events around the city to help raise funds for our Alternative Fashion Week in June. Wait…I just said “our.” Yup. I have joined the horde and become an AFMobster. My duties include maintaining our social networks and updating the AFM website. I am so proud to be working alongside people who are overflowing with passion for what they do. Just like Amee’s joy for life, their passion is contagious. After my first AFM meeting, I was ready to quit my job and become a fulltime mobster. I have always liked fashion and tried to exude my own style, but that was about as involved as I got with the art form. I am now proud to be associated with a passionate group of people looking to shake things up a bit around this city.

AFM

Click here for a glimpse of upcoming AFM events!

Beyond being involved in a million organizations, Amee is, simply put, one of my best friends. She has been my accomplice on summers full of misadventures (an excerpt from this past summer: “We walked half a mile in the wrong direction towards the Jazz & Ribs Fest. We waited in line for 30 minutes for ribs and then bailed. We ordered a family size bucket of fried veggies and ate 10% of it. A homeless woman asked us for money, and when we said we had no cash but offered her our veggies, she turned her nose up at them, and I said, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers!’ We went to the wrong house for Olde Towne East Roving and yet were welcomed into the party, as strangers, for a drink. At the gay bar, we were mistaken for either sisters or lovers.”). She has patiently listened to me prattle on about a special guy one day and bemoan the end of the relationship the next. Sure, she will tell me when I’m being especially bitchy, but she’s also the first person to applaud my accomplishments. I know that whether we are sitting on the couch judging Project Runway, dancing at the local gay bar, or boozin’ it up with cowboys, my life is better with her in it. My relationship with Amee has most certainly developed from acquaintance, to follower, to sidekick and has found solid ground at sister. I mean, her husband Chris once said that I am the younger, taller version of Amee…and she taught me how to sneak a flask into just about anywhere. If that’s not the mark of an amazing big sister (I promised I wouldn’t call her “older.”), I’m truly not sure what is.

Misadventures

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."  ~Oprah Winfrey

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” ~Oprah Winfrey

Pecha Kucha!

God bless you!

Nooooo…Pecha Kucha is not the sound you make when you sneeze and fart at the same time. Pecha Kucha (pronounced puh-cha kuh-cha) is “a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.” It is actually Japanese for “chit chat.” The idea is for local folks to share what they are doing around town, what’s important to them, or anything that might be of interest to other locals in a quick, yet informational format. Anyone can present from a 5-year-old talking about her art, to a 69-year-old showing photos og her elaborate wedding cake decorations. Pecha Kucha originated in Tokyo in 2003 and has become in international project spanning 500 cities around the world. Columbus’ Pecha Kucha Night was formed 6 years ago.

Thursday night, I got to experience Pecha Kucha Columbus #24. I had heard about this event this past summer, but was not able to attend. Plus, I wasn’t really sure what to expect and just wasn’t sold on the idea. I was drawn to Thursday night’s event because one of my best friends, Amee BellWanzo was presenting with her fashion entourage. Because Amee has been such a significant part of my life over the past…uhh….6ish years, I try to support all the crazy, awesome things she does. (I also support her because these things are ALWAYS super fun and she inspires the shit out of me for a bazillion reasons…but those reason are for another post!) So, even though I was little wary because I had no clue what to expect, I headed over to the Columbus Gateway Film Center and waited to be amazed.

I walked in and was immediately overcome by the fact that this place was packed. The movie theater lobby had about 50 chairs setup that were all filled with happy butts and probably about 50 more people were standing, surrounding the seating area. Above us, the bar/balcony area was also filled to the brim. Not only were people overlooking the balcony, but about 8 people had set up cameras to video-record the event. I was with a few other friends, all of us new to Pecha Kucha. Before we were able to figure out what to do with ourselves, we spotted Amee & Co. in line for adult beverages. phew! Nothing like a little booze to help you figure out where you belong! Oh! And doughnuts. Doughnuts help everyone feel at ease and the doughnuts made by Destination Doughnuts were flipping AMAZING. After a vodka soda and Blackberry Sage doughnut (that’s a normal combination, right?!), Amee 7 Co. had to leave to get organized and my entourage was left to fend for ourselves. At this point, we discovered that you could watch the presentations in ANY of the movie theaters! So, seriously, this place was packed! We decided that it would be cooler to see the presentations live and in-person, so we found a comfortable column and perched ourselves against it. I eventually gave in and sat on the ground.

{And then the fun began.}

First up was “thoughtful comedian,” Zachariah Baird. He spoke about why comedy is funny made us all laugh a decent amount.

{writer’s note: I can’t remember everyone, so if someone gets left out, I am eternally sorry!}

Then came photographer, connectrovert and Yenta, Rachel Joy Baransi. Rachel spoke about her life goal to become a Yenta, or matchmaker. She explained that there are Introverts, Extroverts, and Connectroverts. Connectroverts are the people who bring other people together. She gave tips and tricks of how to bring two of your friends together if you think they would make a successful/interesting/adorable romantic match. Needless to say, I have found her on Facebook and expressed a serious interest in her developing Yenta skills.

Geologist Kelly Barrett talked about why rocks ROCK and what it actually means to be a geologist. Her presentation was quite punny!

Ryan Hoke is a host at Speak Easy, “the city’s premier night for live storytelling!” He told us about why storytelling is important and how to tell better stories. Speak Easy definitely sounds interesting and will be something I check out in the near future. I imagine you can meet a lot of very interesting people through something like that!

Local comic book creator Max Ink spoke about how he fell in love with comics (it all started with Star Wars, surprisingly!) and why he began writing them. He has recently expanded the story line of his female protagonist, Blink and was promoting her graphic novels. One of the coolest parts of his stories is that they’re set in Columbus! Flipping through his graphic novels gives readers a nice taste of our amazing city. Max gave out free mini books as a teaser to the real thing!

Clay Lowe is a Ohio State film professor and photographer for WOSU. Clay shared Then & Now photos of the Short North. The comparisons were beautiful and it was incredibly interesting to see how far our city has come over the years. His projet has been turned into a video you can watch here. It’s a good 28 minutes long, so I haven’t had a chance to watch it, but I definitely will be. Not only did Clay show his photos, but he introduced a new troupe of photographers that will be documenting The Short North now.

One of my favorite presenters of the night was Sarah Storer. She writes a blog, The Naked Redhead (sorry boys, not porn!) as a way to “soul puke.” I haven’t gotten to read much of it yet, but I plan on taking a week and doing nothing soaking up Red’s soul puke (mmm!!!!). Her presentation Thursday night focused on how to survive a breakup. Having recently survived a breakup myself, I felt like she was speaking to my soul. Sarah was right on the money and hilarious at the same time. You can see a video of her presentation right…..HERE! I highly recommend taking the 7 minutes and 20 seconds to watch it. Sarah seems like the type of person I should be friends with, so I am excited to learn a bit about her.

But my most favoriteist (yeah…look it up. I know. I’m a teacher.) presentation of the night was by Amee, Kelli Martin & Annette Klaus of Columbus’ Alternative Fashion Mob. The Alternative Fashion Mob preaches that fashion should be “accessible to all people, regardless of age, shape, sex or economic status” and is made up of “a collection of fashion designers, industry professionals, and couture enthusiasts who are dedicated to furthering the fashion industry in Columbus.” I am particularly excited about this because I am always redefining my look and would love to be able to do that on a budget while supporting local Columbus artists. Ok, and yeah…I got to model a few times (here and here and here) for designer Kelli Martin! Seriously though, the Alternative Fashion Mob entourage are amazing people with a brilliant vision and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Part of Pecha Kucha is making connections. Apparently Max Ink (the comic book guy) approached The Alternative Fashion Mob about connecting comics and fashion. Max said his favorite part of drawing a female character is deciding what she gets to wear. How cool could that be?!? Fashion meets graphic novel, CBus style??!

Pecha Kucha was an evening of inspiration and learning. I am inspired to really grow this blog and see what it can be. Maybe someday I will be like the fabulous, gorgeous and brilliant Sarah Storer. Maybe someday I’ll be like Ryan Hoke and have have some intriguing stories to tell (okay, that time is now, but I need to learn to TELL my stories!). Years and years from now, I hope to have CDs full of old pictures (Auntie A, what’s a CD? iPhone?? What’s that??) to compare to wherever our beautiful city ends up. But most f all, when someday comes, I hope to have followed my inspirations and never lived a life of “What if??” I learned from Pecha Kucha that our city is full of people supporting dreams and inspirations.

Some photos from Pecha Kucha #24:

Host Johnny DiLoretto (and a FULL house!)

Host Johnny DiLoretto (and a FULL house!)

WOSU Photographer Clay Lowe

WOSU Photographer Clay Lowe

Copies of Max Ink's mini books!

Copies of Max Ink’s mini books!

A few of Sarah's witty slides. Following her Breakup Survival Steps leads to Ryan Reynolds. Thank God I'm on the "Pie" step.

A few of Sarah’s witty slides. Following her Breakup Survival Steps leads to Ryan Gosling. Thank God I’m on the “Pie” step.

The Fantastic Alternative Fashion Mob! {psstt...that's Amanda & I on the slide in the bottom righthand corner!}

The Fantastic Alternative Fashion Mob! {psstt…that’s Amanda & I on the slide in the bottom righthand corner!}

Thanks, Allie!

As I have mentioned before, many of my fabulous friends are taking their thoughts, opinions and ideas and making them public through blogging. I love this for many reasons, one of which being that I get to be inspired by them on an almost daily basis. Well, they do inspire me daily, but this is just a cherry on the Inspiration Pie (I prefer pie to cake, I have recently discovered!).

One of these said friends, Allie, has started a fashion blog, Two Way Mirror, with her quirky husband, Joe. If you haven’t checked it out yet, the gist is that she models amazing outfits and writes why she likes them, where she got them, etc. Then, Joe adds in his 2 cents along with a few humorous quips, usually referencing the 90s or his complete cluelessness regarding women’s fashion.

As far as my fashion sense goes, I have some, but it’s kinda all over the place…actually I think that’s kind of “my thing.” I can’t tell you how many times a girlfriend has said to me, “I could never pull this off, but Ashley, you totally could!” Well, needless to say, I have been trying to add some new tricks to my fashion box, so last weekend, I took Allie shopping. Or she took me shopping. Either way, we were shopping! The goal was to find an inexpensive pair of brown riding boots like the ones she posted about here. There is one GIANT reason that I don’t already own a pair of boots like this, even though they’ve been trendy for about a year now…THEY’RE FLAT!!!!

Okay. Flat footed, I stand (proudly!) at a statuesque (I’m so humble) 5’10”. A few years ago, I decided that it just wasn’t fair that only the short girls should get to wear the sexy stilettos and I’m stuck in flats just because I’m already a head taller than everyone else. I came to this decision because I was in Bakers shoe store (this store would come to be my credit card’s archenemy!) looking for a pair of simple black heels to go with a New Year’s Eve dress, I believe. Well, the pair I fell in love with (and still wear!) were black suede with a 5.5″ heel. Yup. When I step into these ladies, I hover at 6’3″, baby! And that was the start of my obsession with giant heels.

So for me to even consider buying a pair of flat shoes is an exercise in spontaneity. After about an hour of traversing the aisles of DSW, I spied the perfect pair of brown, FLAT riding boots. They were simple, but had just enough flair to not be boring, and were in the clearance rack! Huzzah!

TaaDaaa!!!

TaaDaaa!!!

From shoes, we continued on into the makeup world and Allie showed me things no woman has ever shown me before! But that’s for another post 😉

I woke up this morning feelin’ like P. Diddy…wait, no. I never wake up feeling like P. Diddy. But I DID wake up feeling like I wanted to add some pizazz to my usually casual Friday ensemble. So I thought to myself, WWAW…What Would Allie Wear? and pulled together a pair of skinny jeans from Express, a button-down white shirt, also from Express, a black short sleeve sweater from The Limited and a a necklace (not sure of its origins…I’ve had it FOREVER!). My biggest challenge in this outfit actually was the necklace, which is odd for me because my friends usually come to me for jewelry advice! I think I need bigger pieces to go with more simple outfits. I added my own “Ashley Flair” with some bangles and a tiger ring.

So here it is, my Allie-Inspired outfit!

TaaDaaaaaa (again)!!!!

TaaDaaaaaa (again)!!!! {click to see me bigger!}

So thank you to the beautiful and inspiring Allie for making just a little bit fancier on this frigid Friday!

Nice Tats!

For the past 4 months, I have sat with my friends while they permanently inked their bodies. I had 4 tattoos and after watching my crew add to their tattoo collections one-by-one, I knew I had to be next. I had a million ideas swirling in my head of what I wanted my next one to be. I couldn’t narrow it down, so I went to Pinterest to find more inspiration and try to narrow down my ideas. Well, I certainly acquired more inspiration, but as for narrowing down my ideas…ooh fah! I only added MORE ideas to my mental bulletin board! I have so many passions, thoughts and feelings that I want to showcase on my canvas…it makes it close to impossible to choose just one!

So, I chose 3. Tonight, I had 2 of my 3 ideas inked onto my skin permanently and I couldn’t be happier.

The skull & crossbones tattoo is an homage to my dear friend Emily and I’s 10 year Depp-a-Thon tradition. In short, it’s a weekend-long Johnny Depp movie marathon. And it’s awesome. And it all started with the first Pirates of the Caribbean! We saw it together and immediately knew that we had to see every movie (and TV show!) that he has ever been in. And in 10 years, we have accomplished that.

The words “be still” are in memory to my beautiful and amazing mother who passed away from endometrial cancer October 27th, 2010. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) was her favorite Bible verse and she passed its sentiment on to me. When everything around me is chaos and I feel lost in the maelstrom, I only need to bow my head and remember that He is God and has everything under control.

On Monday, I will return to Jack at Fate Tattoo and have my 3rd piece done! Stay tuned!

I’d love to hear about your tattoos (already done or floating around in your head as haphazard ideas)! What are they? Where are they? Tell me all about it, stud!

That’s It, I Quit. I’m Moving On…

…to a new career! Screw teaching! Imma gonna be a professional model!

Just kidding….but it would be kinda fun, huh? But I did play hooky from school today to model for the fabulous Kelli Martin. You may recognize Kelli’s name or face from the 5th season of Project Runway. She lives in Columbus and designs fierce clothes. I met her about 2 years ago when we were being photographed for an article in 614 magazine. Since then, we bump into each other every now and again. Most recently, I got the fabulous opportunity to model for her in a fashion show Columbus’ Independent Fest this past September. Two days ago, she messaged me and a handful of other girls wanting to know if we would be available to model for a last-minute photo shoot. I figured that since my students were in a place where if I were gone a day, they’d be okay, and considering that day I was cussed out by 2 of them, I could finagle something. To be honest though, even considering those factors, I still had a twinge of guilt inside. But then I decided, Y’know, you’re only young once, your responsibilities are limited…might as well get your kicks while you’re still young enough to get ’em! So I told Kelli I would be there.

Today was spent downing large amounts of caffeine, cigarettes and 2 M&Ms – the model diet. Just kidding! But there really was a good amount of caffeine! I had my hair done by the talented stylists and makeup applied by Jeffrey Steele at Cut N Blow Salon on N. High St. From the salon, we went to a warehouse on W. Rich St (the ware house also houses The Dinin’ Hall) and got into our dresses and did some final touch-ups. I got to work with 3 other girls that have obviously done this quite a bit more than me, but I had fun nonetheless and I think Kelli is happy with the final product. Our inspiration for this shoot was to become kind of broken dolls. Kelli told us to pose like we were broken and “If it feels awkward, then you’re doing it right!” Well, for me, everything about modeling feels awkward, so I suppose this was the shoot for me! One of the great things about Kelli’s designs is that they aren’t focused on perfection. She didn’t care that my nail polish was chipped and my dress had threads hanging from it. I feel like she mixes elegance with dishevelment. And it works perfectly.

So next time you’re on an AirTran flight, make sure to check out GO Magazine for a familiar face! Until then, we were told the article will also be published online (the March issue).

Although I am not, nor will I ever be, a professional model, it was fun to get away from my normal routine and do something unique. When I get older, it will be awesome to look back on my life and say, “Oh yeah, I did some modeling in my 20s!” And as one of my co-workers said, “Your life is so full of fun!”

Click here for a few sneak peeks from the shoot today!

I was totally, unashamedly, nerding out over Kelli's Mood bag! She said it's the one she actually got on the show! #fanmoment!

I was totally, unashamedly, nerding out over Kelli’s Mood bag! She said it’s the one she actually got on the show! #fanmoment!