Painting my Future

Danny Kaye creativity quote

When Spring semester let out, I knew I needed to find some way to make some extra cash during the summer.

I work in a Mexican restaurant Thurs-Sun, but I wanted something different than just serving people.

So, I came up with this idea to paint shoes. I had already made myself a pair to wear to Dragon*Con last year, so I knew I could do it. However, I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to sell them.

If you ever frequent Etsy, you know that they sell on there, and they’re quite expensive. I’ve always been the nerd that *loves* the idea of wearing all these nerdy creations but doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them… mainly because I have more important things to spend money on… like food and rent. So, ย I wanted to make the shoes affordable for everyone.

Captain America Shoes

Captain America Themed Shoes

I started out simple, with a pair for myself to see if there was any interest out there. I painted a nice and modern version of Captain America shoes.

A couple of my friends got onboard and ordered a couple from me. I was really excited about the prospect of creating something special for them, and then, everything started taking off.

I’m not saying that I’m packed to the limits with shoe orders, but this has become a pretty fun and profitable way to save some money for grad school.

Last night, while waiting on a couple at work, we got into a discussion about all things nerdy (I have a Sherlock Holmes tattoo on my wrist, which tends to start conversations), and he had a huge Star Wars tattoo. I had just finished some Star Wars themed shoes, and so I showed them to him.

They gushed about my shoes and art for about 10 mins, and I’m not going to lie, it was nice. I would have stood there longer if it hadn’t been for the whole “I’m at work” thing. ย The man at the table suggested that I could probably do this for a living and not worry about school, but let’s be honest.. not going to happen.

I love painting these shoes, and I love watching people nerd-out over my creations for them. However, painting shoes is not my passion. I will, however, be continuing to paint them.. probably well into grad school because who doesn’t love a bit of extra cash? Plus, painting shoes reminds me of arts and crafts at summer camp so many years ago.

 

We Can Do It!

Rosie The Riveter Feminism

The other night while sitting in my backyard kiddie pool and having a drink with a close friend, we were discussing Beyonce’s new song “Flawless.”

To be honest, the song itself doesn’t impress me (I’m more of a classic song/lyric kind of gal… ya know, the kind that doesn’t throw out b*tches and GD all the time). However, it did make me look into the woman who speaks during the song: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

As I did my research, I found a connection with her. I ended up watching her TedTalks presentation, which is below. She is an incredible storyteller, who is able to make light of a situation that she clearly cares very much about… as we all should.

As a female, I have a lot to say about this subject, but if you watch and listen to her speech, she says it so perfectly.

She is an amazing person, and I will be delving more into her writings and speeches because she is truly an inspiration. I believe that everyone can benefit from her speech because “gender lessons” can be changed through children.. the children that are growing up now, and the children that are yet to be born.

Feminism isn’t about taking off bras and refusing to shave. Feminism can extend to both sexes. It’s about understanding that gender doesn’t change our worth.

I will finish this out with the part of Adichie’s speech that is included in “Flawless”:

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller
We say to girls: “You can have ambition, but not too much
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful
Otherwise, you will threaten the man”
Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important
Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are
Feminist: a person who believes in the social,
Political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

Memory Clutter

Intoxicated by Memories and Feelings

I’ve been going through my stuff recently and getting rid of unnecessary items that I have collected over the years.

As I was doing this the other day, I came across a torn slip of paper. To an outsider, this paper would be trash, but simply by looking at this tiny slip of paper, I was transported back to the place that it ended up in my possession. It was a vivid memory–full of laughter and enjoyment, but it also brought me sorrow because I don’t have those moments anymore.

This is why I find it difficult to throw away even the simplest of items because, even if it means nothing to anyone else, it means something to me. It’s a frozen piece of time from a moment long ago.. or possibly not so long ago.

My mom has always been the type to throw away everything. She hates clutter. To be honest, I hate clutter, but I always find it difficult to let go of these seemingly insignificant material items.

It’s not like I don’t have the memories. I could go back to them anytime I’d like, but being able to touch, see, smell, hear something that was there the moment the memory was created helps me feel more connected. It’s like hearing a song that you used to love as a childhood and immediately remembering every word to the song the moment you hear the tune and sheer joy washes over you.

Smiling like a goofball, I stared at this little piece of paper for about five minutes before I realized that I needed to let it go.

By investing in my past, I am holding back my future. So, I crumpled this little sheet of paper up and sent it packing with all the other clutter-causing agents.

I think it’s important to remember your past and to cherish the memories you have, but material items shouldn’t control you.

Now that I’m trying to move out of the country, I’m trying to weigh what is really important against what I simply keep to remember. More often than not, the trash can wins the day.

I will always cherish the memories I have, but I need to let go of the material aspect of them. Plus, pictures are mainly digital now… and digital doesn’t count as clutter. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Barefoot in the Kitchen

When baking, Follow instructions. When cooking, go by your own taste

When I was younger, we always knew it was dinnertime when the smoke alarm went off. This is not to say that my mother was a bad cook.. she was just forgetful about the breads and baked goods for dinner.

We all sat down at a dinner table and ate together, swapping stories about our days and thoughts. My mom brought us all together with a simple meal that she cooked.

When I was old enough to be trusted with the stove, I tried to replicate my mom’s ability to throw a dinner together. It didn’t go well. I remember one time, when my parents at work, I actually caught a towel on fire while cooking. Luckily, my mom’s magazines were close-by, so I was able to quickly put it out.

Needless to say, I was not a good cook. My biggest accomplishment as a teenager was cooking Ramen noodles properly.

Once I was in high school, I decided I’d like to learn again. I mean, in a few years there was a chance of me living alone and then what? Ramen noodles every day?

My mom was patient with me, and slowly, I began cooking things that didn’t resemble the mush that they give prisoners in movies.

Now, years later, I’ve found that I excel at difficult recipes. It’s quite odd though because I still struggle at cooking simple items like grilled cheese sandwiches and Kraft Mac and Cheese.

I’ve come to love cooking and baking; it’s like being in science class and mixing ingredients to get the best possible results. When experimenting, I usually use my sense of smell to determine spices and herbs to use.. or in baking, the right amount of sugar and flour.

Me topping off my chocolate cheesecake

Me topping off my chocolate cheesecake

More than cooking and baking, I love having people over to enjoy the foods with me. For some unknown reason, there’s something great about cooking for hours and then having several people gush over how amazing you are. I don’t know what it is, but it’s nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

But seriously, if you “suck” at cooking or feel like it’s a pain, find something that makes it interesting. Find a favorite recipe or something new that you’ve always wanted to try. The key is to keep practicing.

There are times when my food is “just okay” or something I simply toss after a couple bites, but overall, it feels good to finish cooking a good meal and sitting down at the table to eat. It brings me back to the days I lived with my family… and just for good measure, every now and then I burn something to set off the smoke alarm. Totally on purpose.. I promise.

Mothers’ Day Weekend

 

Finally done with the Spring Semester! Finals were finished just in time to celebrate a fake holiday.. Cinco De Mayo. Oh.. Americans.

Then, my mom came to visit me.

When I hear the horror stories that some of my friends have about their mothers, it makes me want to run home and hug my mother! She has always been there for me and is truly my best friend.

I was a good child, but I still made my mom do things that she’d probably rather not have done… and most of them involved baseball.

Mom and Me

My first birthday

For example, the countless number of Atlanta Braves game that my mom took my friends and I to (though she loves baseball, she did not love going to the game). My mom was the one who sat in the nosebleed section with the book that she was reading at the time while my friends and I made idiots out of ourselves with homemade t-shirts and signs.

She was our personal photographer to capture all these details.

We even convinced my mom to drive us all over the southeast to go watch minor league baseball games. Richmond, VA; Greenville, SC; Asheville, NC; and Savannah, GA were all cities that weย graced with our baseball fanatic ways, and not once did my mother show her embarrassment (of course, we were caught up with all the happenings on the field, so there’s a good chance that she was and we just didn’t notice).

My mom and I took trips all the time together, and there was never a time when I didn’t want to spend those times with her. I never laugh as much as when I’m with her… of course, most of the laughing is at the expense of one another.. or my grandma (“I rememba…”)

Now that I’m an adult (at least in age), it’s not as easy to take off and spend time with my mom, but we still find time to goof around. Most of the time she comes to visit me, and we spend days thrift shopping and doing arts and crafts (no joke).

Mom and Me

After Preschool recital

However, no matter how little time we spend together and how many miles are between us, I know that my mom is there for me no matter what… unless our phone conversation lasts more than 15 minutes.. then she gets impatient. ๐Ÿ™‚

She is amazing, and one day, I hope that I can be as sure of myself as she is. There is no better role model for me than the woman who struggled to raise me and my three brothers (and trust me..ย they were a struggle); she sacrificed so much for us.. and still does.

I love her with all my heart.

 

 

Oh, and mom.. if you’re reading this.. can I borrow $20? ๐Ÿ˜‰ just kidding.