Monday, June 19, 2017

DIY Floral Print Shoes

Hey there, crafty people of the internet. Today I'm here with a fun tutorial to help you get the most out of your old shoes. We all have that one pair of shoes that just don't get enough use. Maybe they're a little too worn, or maybe we regrettably decorated them and now can't bear to wear them, or maybe we just have a pair we like more. Fortunately, I'm here to help you revamp your shoe wardrobe, just in time for summer. Let me assist you in spiffing up those kicks with a tutorial on how to create floral/jungle print shoes (or any other pattern you like.)

This works especially well on smooth, canvas sneakers, like Converse or Vans. So grab a pair of kicks and take a couple minutes to watch this crafty, DIY video I made, and you'll have spiffed-up shoes in no time!

Hope you enjoyed this DIY!

L8r sk8r,

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

My Opinion on Body Positivity

Body positivity. It's a topic we hear about frequently nowadays; we should love our own bodies and leave the bodies of everyone around us alone. The body positivity movement attempts to destroy the harsh standards of beauty that women have been subjected to for centuries. It serves to remind us that we don't have to be tall, white, able-bodied, and thin. We can just be ourselves, and be happy.

I love this new era of body positivity. It makes me so happy to see girls sharing photos of themselves on Twitter and Instagram, reveling in their own magnificence. I know that it takes courage to rise above the voices that have been telling women how their bodies should and should not look since the dawn of time. And while I enjoy watching the movement progress, and can honestly say I am happy in my own body, I am hesitant to be a leader in crying out for women to just love your bodies! 

Yes, I love my body. But society has also made it very easy for me to love myself. I am skinny, able-bodied, tall, and white. I always have been, and I probably always will be. No, I don't have the curves renowned in our society. I don't have clear skin or a perfectly symmetrical face. But it's easy for me to see myself in the world; every Pacsun ad showcases a skinny, able-bodied white girl. Every makeup advertisement has some semblance to my own features. My relatives tell me I should be eating more, not losing a few pounds. When I shop for jeans, my problem is usually that I can't find a small enough size. The bathroom attendant at the county fair told me I could be a model. I have a freaking thigh gap. Society has never made it very difficult for me to love my body.

While I think it the body positivity movement is important, I will not be a champion of the cause. I'll leave that for people whose bodies are actually marginalized in society. As a person whose body is widely accepted, I'll stand to the side and do my part by appreciating women of all body types, not passing judgement, and being aware of places in society where my body is accepted and others are not, then asking how I can change it.

This isn't all to say that if your body is accepted by society that you don't deserve to love it. We all deserve to feel content in our own skin. But it is important that we recognize why it is easier to love our bodies, and do what we can to steer society along a path to a day when every woman will be able to be happy in her own body.

This also isn't to say that if you fit the criteria for body acceptance in our society, you can't have issues with your own body. The guidelines for beauty that have been forced upon us our so stringent that even the most revered models no doubt have trouble finding comfort in their own skin. I've struggled with body image issues in the past, and as my body continues to change, I could struggle in the future. But, on the whole, I have it easier than many women. My road to body love is shorter because of traits I just happened to be born with. I can recognize the struggles of others without having to discount my own struggles.

I hope my writing has shed some light on a different side of the body positivity movement for you, and perhaps made you consider your own privileges within the movement. If you have anything to add, please do it in the comments. For now, have a wonderful day, and don't forget to show your body a little love.

L8r sk8r,

Monday, April 24, 2017

How to Beat Prom

prom, prom your way, simply scribbles

Hey, y'all. I'm back(ish).

If you're a junior or senior in high school, you have a lot to worry about. There's when to take the SAT and ACT, what college to choose, what career you're leaning towards devoting your life to, whether or not to get a job, bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood, and OMG IT'S PROM SEASON.

Yeah. As a junior, this is my first year attending my school's prom. A few weeks ago, the girls in my pre calc class started surfing the web for prom dresses, and that's when I started to realize the extent to which prom is hyped up in our society. It's now three weeks before our prom, and it seems everyone has already bought a dress from some expensive online retailer. There's even an entire Instagram page devoted to the dresses girls from our school will be wearing. It all just seems a little...much.

I used to love the idea of prom. Well, not prom specifically, but the idea of getting all fancy in a beautiful gown, to go to an elegant ball and have the time of my life. And then, a few months before my first prom, I started having doubts. First of all, prom is being held at the same venue that our winter dance is always held, aka at a hotel. They're hiring the same DJ to play the same mostly-crappy music. The only thing that's different is that the tickets cost twice as much, and so does your dress. Also you have to buy shoes. And jewelry. Oh, and if you're real fancy you get your hair and makeup done beforehand. And this whole thing about renting a limo. Do people, like, actually do that?

Basically, prom is a glorified dance injected with cash. You buy a dress and accessories you'll only wear once, and then rock out on a crowded, dark dance floor to music that is only halfway decent half of the time.

Then there's the whole romantic factor that our society has partnered this night with. You get asked to the prom by the person of your dreams, via an overly-extravagant prom-posal that probably involves confetti and a slew of photos and videos that will inevitably end up on Instagram. I'm not dissing prom-posals; just this week I helped by friend prom-pose to her date (We wrote on our stomachs so it spelled "PROM?" and then interrupted her date's lacrosse practice. She admitted to me that it was mostly for the photos. Cute? Sure. Unnecessary? Probably).

Once you've secured the date of your dreams, you match your outfits and buy a corsage, and then maybe you get photos of you together by the waterfront while the sun gleams on your perfectly clear, radiant skin. Later on in the ballroom, you slow dance to your song. Maybe you get crowned prom king and queen! Or maybe that's just in the movies. I mean, my school doesn't crown prom royalty. Actually, can someone let me know if anyone really does that?

After all my complaining, you're probably thinking, "Okay, Ella, we get it: you're not going to prom. In fact, you're probably going to picket in front of the venue with a cardboard sign and a megaphone." Well, you're wrong. I am going to prom. Mostly because my friends really want me to go and I love them too much to say no. But I'm doing it on my own terms.

My biggest issue with prom is the money part. Everything is just too expensive. Also, the dresses are all the same: floor-length, v-neck, sleeveless, in neutral colors like white or pink. So I challenged myself to find a cheap, unique dress at a thrift shop. And I did. It's a sort-of body con dress, coming to just above the knees, completely and utterly covered in sparkling silver sequins. I quite resemble a disco ball. It's different, fun, and cheap, and that's exactly what I want. How cheap, you may ask? $36.50. Hail thrift stores.

Prom isn't going to be like the movies, and it doesn't have to be a money-guzzling, you-better-get-this-right kinda deal. I don't have a date. I'd rather dance with my friends. I don't have an expensive, floor-length gown. I have a dress I like far better, for far cheaper. I've shed myself of all expectations that prom will be the pinnacle of my high school experience, because I know it won't be. Getting into college will be far more rewarding than prom. Working for months to be the lead in a one-act play this winter was more fulfilling. Going to art camp my freshman year was more life-changing than prom will ever be.

Despite the countless teen movies that end with the all-your-dreams-came-true prom moment, prom is not the climax of your teenage years. Life continues after those mere three hours, and it will take you places far greater than a sweaty, dark dance floor. You can and should have fun at prom. But it doesn't have to be a defining moment in your high school career. And it shouldn't cost hundreds of dollars. Like, seriously.

L8r sk8r,

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

You Have the Power

Hey there. It's been a while since I've been active, but I'm not going to dwell on that. Instead, I'm going to reflect and offer my thoughts on recent national events. I don't usually do this on my blog, but I feel like the occasion calls for it. So here goes. 

First off, the inauguration of Donald Trump. Yikes. Only a few days into his term, and he's already signed anti-choice legislation, approved the Dakota and Keystone XL pipelines, and spent more than enough time blustering lies about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. 

I'm scared for the future of this country, but I'm also more determined than ever to raise my voice and demand positive change. One thing that lifted my spirits was the Women's March on Washington. If you don't know what I'm referring to...well, you do. Knowing that literally millions of women across the country--and even the world--rose up on January 21st to make their voices heard and march for what they believe in fills me with so much pride. I am proud to be a woman. I am proud to be a feminist. I am proud of everyone who participated in the DC march, in a local march, urged others to attend a march, or spread the word. I was able to attend part of the rally in my state, and I was surprised at how huge the crowd was. The March completely overshadowed the inauguration, and signified that the women of America are prepared to stand up for their rights in the face of a President who threatens to strip us of every gain we've painstakingly made since this country was founded.

Now I urge you to action. Stand up. Speak out. Write. Write social media posts. Write blog posts. Write poetry. Write to your Congresspeople. Attend local marches. Donate money, if you're able. And whatever you do, do not become passive. The most dangerous thing you could do is become complacent. Understand reality, but do not accept it. Advocate for change. Force yourself to be shocked and outraged where others have become numb. This is not the new norm. 

If you want a simple, direct way to impact change, visit this link on the Women's March website. Every ten days, they will give you a new, specific challenge to complete to impact change in your country. Currently, it's to write a postcard to your Senator about an issue that matters to you. I will be writing about women's reproductive rights. Sign up on the link to stay updated when new challenges come out. 

In the meantime, remember that you can impact change. I wrote this poem today, and I'd like to share it here to remind you to stay strong and channel the power within you. 


There is power in you.

There is power in your actions.
There is power in the fists you raise,
in the marches you walk,
in the hands you hold 
and the promises you fulfill.

There is power in your words.
There is power in the letters you write,
in the poems you pen,
in the songs you sing to the world,
in the stories you weave
and the mantras you spread.

There is power in your ideas.
There is power in the light in your eyes
when you share your beliefs.
There is power in the hope you create
when you show others that they, too,
can contribute to the making of a better world. 

There is power in your connections.
There is power in the voices you acknowledge,
in the tears you wipe from the eyes of strangers,
in the sense of place you create
when you unite others through passion. 

There is power in your future.
There is power in the possibility
of what you can become,
in the promise of what you will achieve,
and in the strength of will it requires to bring you there. 

There is power in your past.
There is power in the courage it took 
to bring you where you are today,
in the slope you traversed to stand by your beliefs,
in the bonds you may have broken
and the ones you created along the way.

There is power in your aspirations.
There is power in your passion,
and power in your determination
to stand up for what is right.
There is power in your heart,
coursing through your veins,
running from the heels of your feet
to the tip of your tongue. 

There is power
in you.

L8r Sk8r,