cait +tiff


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C / a different take on inspiration

inspo-stuff

I am having a helluva time getting words on pages today. Some days are like this, where I wake up and I feel like I have nothing to say. That’s the fun part, where I get in my head and feel like I am without an original thought to put out into the world. Super awesome spiral there. Some days just work better than others, because of planets, periods, people, or the fact that you can’t get Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage in Cambodia. Which is bullshit.

Now on a scale of 1-actually important, this is a 1. There are a million other issues that deserve more attention in the world that me not being able to get my shit together in the morning, but my brain can be kind of a selfish butthead. In maximum-butthead moments, I shake myself down and look all over for inspiration. Sometimes I just Google “inspiration” and laugh at all the cheesy crap online and feel better about my life, because that is not my job. One time, Google asked if I meant “thinspiration” and I was like “Never talk to me like that again, Google.”

This article, delicately titled “Fuck Inspiration” is great. It talks about tackling issues around the world in the right ways, and reminds me of how my dad talks about how to figure out what you care about. He and the author agree on a few things, but mostly the “get mad” part. The drive that comes from getting pissed off is one of the best super powers that we have, and often it’s the thing that I need to make important changes. For me, I won’t physically fight for something that I think is cool or fun, but I will wreck shop for something that makes me angry.

So that is what I have today, a few bad words, a little bit of snark, and a high five to my dad. There is a part of me that wants to wrap everything up nicely here, and say what really does inspire me. But I don’t feel like making pretty packages today.

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C / role models

role-model

I had role models when I was little but they were mostly animated and poorly placed. I remember talking about it in school and kids would say “the President” or “Big Bird” or “Bill Cosby.” Kids can be really stupid. Since the whole “being Ariel from The Little Mermaid” thing was bound to fail, I looked mostly to my parents and my older brother when I didn’t know what I should be doing. I am lucky that they are all wonderful people, and because of them, I am not a garbage person. But in terms of my career, and the grown up work stuff, I didn’t know where to look because I didn’t know where I fit.

It took me a long time to figure out my career role models, probably because it took me a long time to find a career. But now that I am in it, I see incredible people I can look up to and relate to, and it is infinitely inspiring. The two ladies in the video below,‎ Garance Doré and Diane Von Furstenburg, are two of those people for me. They have very different stories, different jobs, and different lives, but they both value creativity and fashion in the same way. I think they thing I like about them the most is their candor. They both tell it like it is, talk about the bumps and the missteps and the struggles of doing what they do. They are both able to laugh at themselves, and while they live glamorous lives, they don’t take themselves too seriously. I want in on some of that.

I think fashion can be a beautiful, creative, emotional expression, but I fully aware that it can also be a breeding ground for vanity, greed, and over-all shittaaayness. (technical term) What I like about these two women is that they keep their damn heads on straight. One is a raw, authentic writer and photographer who captures beauty and substance in a seemingly effortless way, and the other is the damn fairy godmother of fashion. Here they are talking to each other. Try looking away from Garance’s gold booties. Try.

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C / a proper purge

trash-can

A few times a year, I flip out and shake my life out, getting rid of as much stuff as possible. Now is one of those times. After being in too many countries the past few months and living out of suitcases and on air mattresses, I have collected a bunch of crap that I honestly don’t need.

I think there is also something psychological about it. I am back in Phnom Penh and my brain is trying to figure out how I feel about it.  It feels different to me now after the summer in London, and I don’t want to slip back into pre-London life,  getting stuck in the same old comfortable things. So maybe if I throw a few of those things away, I can make life here feel shiny and new again.

Anyway, enough of the feelings and onto the getting-rid-of-all-the-stuff, stuff. Because I going to purge all the corners of my life, I need to make a list, and be able to physically cross things off. Here is what I have so far.

purge-list

I can’t wait to tick all those boxes.

According to Marie Kondo, who literally wrote about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I am on the right track. It’s worth watching her video below if you don’t have time for her book, as she goes through the process of trashing things in the right way. Her main message is to only hold on to things that bring you joy. Now this is a little tough in some areas, for example, I don’t get joy from toilet cleaner, but I am not throwing that out. But for most items, it makes sense. If you are in charge of what goes in an out of your house and life, why hold onto things that don’t make you happy?

joy

The thing that she doesn’t mention, that I think is CRUCIAL to success, is music. To go through all of your worldly possessions and toss a bunch of them with Adele playing in the background is a terrible idea. The point is to toss, not curl up in the fetal position, sobbing into old movie tickets and a free t-shirt. So pick a fun playlist. Tiff created a bunch of fun ones on our 8tracks channel, and I particularly love this one and this one. You can also just deep dive into the Taylor Swift abyss, which has been known to happen in these parts.

Now I’m off to fill up garbage bags full of things I used to think I needed. I will report back in a few days with the progress, or be suffocated under piles of old tube tops and smelly lotion. Either way I will post a photo.

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C / a little push

tumblr_nunirjm3rx1s69uado1_500

I am done with school at Central Saint Martins, and I head back to Phnom Penh in less than a week. I can’t really tell how I feel about it yet, but I think its somewhere between “Hooray! I get to see people I love” and “Dear God, please don’t let me lose this feeling.” It will be a huge transition, bigger than moving to London, because I don’t exactly know what’s next. I like having something on the horizon, and it’s all haze right now. I don’t love it.

In order to not freak out completely and burn my passport, I am looking for a little push and advice. Now, for those of you who know me, you know very well that I hate advice. I will take advice from exactly 4 people. It’s not because I think I’m smarter than everyone, it’s because I’m crazy stubborn. That being said, Little Miss Stubborn Pants needs a bit of help these days.

This is about my billionth “fresh start” in a new career. Let’s call my CV “diverse.” I am trying to dig in and focus on a direction, but finding it difficult to do so in a field that is, quite literally, riddled with shiny objects. You know Dug the dog from the movie Up? That’s me when I look at fashion jobs; I find something I like, I’m really into it, and then I “SQUIRREL!” (If you don’t get this, watch the clip.)

Because I am bad at asking for help, I have looked for it on the internet. It’s easier that admitting it out loud, and easier to go back to when you really need to hear something again and again. Here you go:

  • My dad told me to read What Color is Your Parachute about 5 years ago, and I am finally doing it. Now if you click on that, be warned that the website looks like that guy is definitely selling a food processor on TV. It’s not a good website. But what is in the book so far is valuable. The first edition was published in 1970, as a guide to job hunting and career changes. It was designed to veterans look for careers after leaving the military, and for those that need some help changing careers and re-directing passion. It’s revised annually, so the information is up-to-date and relevant.
  • Go ahead and make fun of Eat, Pray, Love as much as you want, Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, is monumentally lovely. The podcast goes alongside her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, and she talks to human women about finding and diving into what they are passionate about. I think she’d be a wonderful person to have at Thanksgiving.
  • Kate Arends from Wit & Delight wrote this piece on vernacular and how putting yourself, and other people in boxes, stifles creativity, acceptance, and collaboration. I think letting go of labels that we put ourselves in is really helpful, and for me, it lets me learn from people around me and not judge myself too much.
  • Tiff, in her great wisdom, sent me this article a few days ago and its a great read. BOF asked seven new-ish designers to give advice for creatives. My favorite line is from Christopher Kane, quoting Louise Wilson “There’s always someone better than you. It’s just human nature. So really work with what you have and prevail at what you’re good at, but don’t try to do everything because you’ll burn out.”
  • Mindy Kaling always has something good to say about growing and changing. She’s a funny lady, but also crazy insightful. I like her interview with The Guardian from a few weeks ago, where she talks about perspective, loss, and the importance of being kind.

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