Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fashion, Or What You Should Be Wearing This Spring If You Want To Be Popular

Spring has been non-existent in Seward so far this year, but that does not mean spring fashion is going to hold its horses! Oh no. We must press forward toward a brighter, more fashionable future despite the fact that this abysmal weather only makes me want to wear sweatpants and hoodies. However, for those of you that know the fashion calendar, you know that "spring" fashion is really fall fashion. While the general public is just barely thinking about spring dresses and flip-flops in March, designers are already looking ahead to next winter. That's why they call it fashion-FORWARD. At any rate, you may normally go to Style.com to get up to date on the latest trends. But I argue that Sparkle, Sparkle is just as valid, if not more, of an insider source on the fads you shouldn't miss out on. Let's delve.

This girl is clearly making not only a fashion statement, but a philosophical declaration as well. By wearing her cardigan backwards, she defies the normality of button up sweaters and asserts that the opposite of our social standards may very well be considered par for the course, if only we open our minds to the endless possibilities of wearing our clothing improperly. My only question is this: why stop at cardigans? I hope spring 2011 is full of backwards hats, jeans and pumps. So metaphysical.

Just when you thought capes, floppy hats and velveteen pantaloons were so out, Christian Dior proves to us that some trends never go out of style. Whew, what a relief. I was hoping I'd get some more use out of my leatherette blouses.

Now this look really has a lot going for it. It's so accessible, so attainable for the average Joe or Josephine. Just grab your favorite thick-knit sweater, some costume wigs and a glue gun and you've got yourself a DIY project that will take mere minutes to complete. The result? Fashion. Pure fashion.

If someone would have told me last year that furry, rolling suitcases were going to be a must-have for this spring, I probably would have nodded sagely thinking, "Of course. It's about time." What I could not have told you however, was that it would be necessary to pair this timeless accessory with a hairstyle that resembles 1964 on speed. Now that I know this though, you can bet your bottom-dollar I'll be sporting this funky fresh combo as soon as I can get my hair dyed gray.

I'm sure I don't have to remind you of that commonly-said phrase in the fashion world, "Someone's always watching you from within the clothes." What? You've never heard of that phrase? Well, I hate to be so esoteric, but at least you'll get the gist now that you've seen this pretty little ensemble. Yes, those are eyes collaged into her shirt. Now you know why fashion says things like this. And let's not even talk about all of the catchphrases having to do with pink feathers emitting from one's hips. There are just too many to count.

So hopefully this Sparkle, Sparkle guide to spring/fall/arbitrary seasonal fashion will give you some great ideas for how to kick off the season in style. Yes, it's legit. Yes, you'll look amazing. Yes, everyone can pull it off. You're welcome.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beauty, Every Day.

As you may know, lately I've been trying to figure out how to find joy on a daily basis. Sometimes this is really hard for me. I don't wake up every morning and say, "Wow! A new day! Aces!" In fact, I hardly ever use the term "aces" but just go with me here. Sometimes I need a little inspiration, a little push in the right direction. One thing that always makes me love life a little more is finding beautiful things and looking at them or just being around them. And I'd like to introduce you all to a man who knew how to find beautiful things better than anyone else.

For the past two years or so now, I've been studying and learning about the artist Reinhold Marxhausen. At Valpo, I did some preliminary research (that kind of got snuffed out eventually - long story), but I really got to delve into Marxhausen when I got to Seward. In fact, if you know me pretty well, you'll know that this is the guy that my art exhibit in St. Louis is all about. Anyhow, Marxhausen started the art department at Concordia and taught there for about 40 years. He also happens to be the grandfather of my good friend Anne, who I basically knew from the womb. (Our moms and dads are best friends, it's cute.) There's the connection for me. But since jumping on the Marx train, I've been wow-ed over and over again, I can't even count how many times.

This man is so special and unique. His entire artistic philosophy was based around the idea that beauty can be found in everything and anything. A shadow in the bathroom, scraps of wrappers, piano wires, whatever. It was all aesthetically intriguing to Marx. And it shows in his artwork. While he did the traditional oil paintings and watercolors, his more interesting pieces are those that are made out of scrap wire or dryer lint (yes.) I'm not trying to give you an art lesson (not really, at least) but I am trying to point out how this man saw things. I mean, he knew how to see. And it wasn't just a phase he went through. Those who really know him say he was enthusiastic for the wonder of life every single day, because he could see the beauty of life everywhere.

So I have to ask myself, here's this man who I've been studying and he's a fascinating artist and a family friend. And if I think so highly of him (which I do), shouldn't I be infusing his philosophy into my life? I'm probably not going to go out and make a bunch of art, but it's a mindset that I can adopt and embrace. I find joy in beauty, and if beauty is everywhere...well, that suggests that joy is everywhere too. Why do I work so hard to deny that simple fact? All I really have to do is look around, and make sure I've got my eyes open.

(Also. I tried really hard to post some pictures here, but my grandparent's old computer isn't much for cooperating with the user. Rude. Instead, here's a video of when Marxhausen was on the David Letterman show with some of his sound sculpture. You can kinda get the idea of the type of guy he was.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

These Days, Life is a Grab Bag

I would just like to start this post by saying, you all are lucky I don't blog out my thoughts every morning. Why? Because you would be very confused about me and my opinion about everything in life from job to people to future to love to fill-in-the-blank. (Maybe you're confused about me anyways. But believe me, this would make it worse.) That's because I'm feeling very up and down about EVERYTHING right now. I thought about calling it some sort of hormonal freak-out, but Devin referred to it as a "grab bag." Which sounds much more pleasant.

So yes, life is a grab bag right now. I never know how I'm going to feel on any given day. Today, I think about life in Seward, and I think, "Eh, things could definitely be a lot worse!" But just a few days ago, I thought about life in Seward and thought, "I can't believe I've failed on so many other levels that this is where I have to settle." Sometimes I think about life in Seward and I think, "Thank God I don't have to be flung out into the real world yet." And there are more mindsets that float in and out of fashion, too. It's been sort of frustrating. To not know how I'll approach the day until I'm in the midst of it... well, I'd just really appreciate a little heads up.

But alas, that's not how things work. I'm coming to terms with a lot of things right now, and one of them is that I just plain-old don't know what's going to happen next in life. As someone who likes to plan and organize, this totally throws me off my game. How am I supposed to plan for the next 10 years of my life if I don't know what my job situation will be in 3 months!? And if I can't plan for the next 10 years of my life, how am I supposed to SURVIVE!?! OK, hopefully it's not really that drastic, but it often feels that way.

So how do I embrace the grab-bagginess of life? As several people (Mama Lange, Papa Lange and Davo) have told me lately, it's all about the attitude. One of the few things I can control in this crazy world. I don't consider myself a natural optimist, so sometimes it's hard to find the good in everything that comes along. It's just hard to stay pumped up about one thing when I really want another. But it's not too late to change, right? Granted, changing an entire facet of my self is going to be difficult, but here starts my venture to become a person who joyfully goes with the flow. I need to live up to my middle name! Find excitement in the unknown, not fear or anxiety. Take what comes and make that what I want. Never forget the power of a slight change of perception. And most importantly, be grateful.

I'll probably need your help for this. If you see me being a downer - smack me upside the head and set me straight! I won't be offended, I'll be tickled that people read Sparkle, Sparkle and truly take it to heart. So yeah, I'm going out with joy today. And hopefully tomorrow and the day after that too. Cheers!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


This may be hard for some of you to believe, but I'm not always all sparkle, sparkle. I know, I know. This blog has been nothing but pure joy for all of you all the time. (Don't worry, I know I've complained a lot. I do the sarcasm thing. It's happening right now.) Despite my best attempts to be sparkly the past few weeks, it's been muy dificil for me. If you read my previous post, you know that I've been reaching new and unexplored levels of insanity lately. A combination of craziness at work, life decisions galore and my seemingly WORSENING cell reception have me constantly contemplating jumping off my roof. I need to get back to a sparkly place, stat.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that I may be staying in Seward for at least another year. This means I definitely need all the sparkle I can get. Not that I don't love this town for all of the nostalgia it holds in my heart, but sometimes a gal just needs a Target within 20 minutes. Or like, a Starbucks. I know I sound completely shallow but you all know you'd feel the same way. I'm just not a small-town girl. So let me try and find some sparkly qualities about all of this...

-I save money on gas since I can walk to work in 10 minutes.
-The Rivoli is a super cute, 1940's vibe, one-screen movie theater. I feel like if I keep going there enough, I'll meet Ryan Gosling a la The Notebook and we'll live happily ever after.
-We've got brick streets here. They look quite pretty.

Ok, I'm struggling a little. I talked to my dad today and he told me to take the "unfortunately" out of my situation. As in, unfortunately I won't be going to grad school this fall, leaving the rural life, and getting closer to the musuem world. Even though those things were part of my expectations for life, I have to admit I'm still very blessed in the scheme of things. I have a JOB for goodness' sakes! That in itself is a great commodity these days. I am lucky to live near my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and younger cousins. I never saw them that often growing up, and now we get to be a part of each others' lives on a regular basis. And hey, I have my health. (Despite the allergies.) In the end, I should be saying "fortunately" about my life.

I know a lot of people who have been dealing with the post-grad blues. It seems to be one of those things that just comes with the territory. If you're having a day where all you can think of is the unfortunately's of life, try thinking of even the smallest things that are good. Maybe you had a cupcake for lunch. Maybe it's Friday. Maybe you're NOT recovering from a car crash. When you think of it, I bet the pros outweigh the cons. We all experience events in life that throw our expectations out the window, and that's often hard to deal with. I guess we just have to take a second to reassess, take a deep inhale/exhale, and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Maybe even buy a pair of boots that have straps to really flesh out the analogy. Or just buy shoes in general! On that note, I'm starting to feel so much sparklier already. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Lately my life feels crazy. Like I'm blindfolded on a treadmill that's just 3 clicks too fast for me, and all the while people are chucking snowballs at me from all sides. Sound awesome? This is what I get for being a Type A personality and not having a life plan. (If by the way, you have a spare life plan, or have a good idea as to where I can find one, please let me know.) Everything I'm doing right now seems to be random, and I much prefer cohesiveness. Now I suppose that's not something that very many people get in life. It seems much more common to have a million unrelated tasks and projects going on at once.


Apparently so. I'm hoping down the line this little period of freneticism will turn out to be a great learning experience. You know, I'll be like, really good at multi-tasking and stuff. And in the larger scheme of things, this is nowhere near the hardest time of my life by any means. It just feels...disconnected. Hopefully I'll figure out how to piece it all together soon, or I may go insane. Although judging by this post and how I've been talking and acting lately, most of you probably feel I've already hit that point. Whatever. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

This blog post is even disjointed! Seriously. I apologize for making you read this. I actually hope you've stopped by now. If you haven't, here's a good chance... riiiiight now. Stop.

For any of you brave enough to venture on, I'll reward you with a sweet little piece of irony (cue Alanis Morrisette). I felt my first 10 minutes of calm today...while using a power tool. This buffer not only shined up the stained glass windows we're working on here at the CLA, but it also brought a little peace to my mind. Whatever works, no?