May 31, 2010

Louise Bourgeois

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1911-2010.

May 30, 2010

In Which I Reflect on a Middle School Situation, Publishing a Work I Will Read in Shame in a Matter of Years

In the lunchroom on Thursday, I begrudgingly handed the PTO moms a ten dollar bill in exchange for a slip of paper that read GRADUATION DANCE ADMITTANCE. While taking down my name, one of them gave a prepared speech: "It's Hollywood-themed, and we'll have a 'red carpet' for the parent 'paparazzi,' and, oh, you're all just going to have so much fun!" Before walking away I said thank you and glanced with hatred at the Marilyn Monroe cardboard cut-out that stood pitifully next to the ticket table. And I normally LOVE Marilyn Monroe.

Then Saturday came. I got a rare pimple in the middle of my left cheek and didn't notice for a while (I slept in then listened to Daniel Johnston until late in the day.) While searching half-heartedly through an old issue of Sassy for the six-step zit-zapping guide, my phone buzzed and Ella wanted to know when I was coming over to get ready. Right, that. Soon enough, her mom was waiting outside, so I ran a brush through my white hair and grabbed my leather jacket.

At Ella's, I put on a little eye makeup but found myself constantly cleaning the black gunk off my glasses. I attempted to hide my pimple with concealer but realized that pale is more "me." I felt secretly cool about not having shaved my legs. I decided none of the accessories I had brought would work, but I felt like without any, I was too typical-looking. Too normal. Not weird enough. For once, I felt under-dressed. And underwhelmed. We headed off to the red carpet.

...Which was a long piece of construction paper, with unsure, smiling, they-grow-up-so-fast parents on either side. I saw some friends and, forming what from afar must have looked like a giant meteor of satin bows and taffeta, we all crowded around one another and exchanged compliments. But they seemed, well, genuine. No one was fishing for a confidence-booster in return. Thoughtlessly and without feeling awkward, I was suddenly embracing friend-acquaintances with which I've never clicked this whole year, and we showered each other with nice things about the other's makeup. One seemed shell-shocked at the decency of my appearance and gave me a hug, but I only found the situation funny and sweet. Everyone admired my shoes, and ignored the far from smooth legs that were attached. I then linked arms with a couple pals as we jokingly glided down the red construction paper. I smiled at parents, and then at the Broadway-themed lights that had been mixed in with all the Hollywood stars and movie posters.

If you're not already familiar with the term "grinding," it is when a bunch of kids stand in a line, closer to one another than they would be on a class field trip, and grope like there is no tomorrow, while adult chaperones stand nearby in a panic about the youth of today. Usually reserved for the Cool Kids (or so I'm told,) last night it defied the politics of lunch table seating arrangements, making the lyric "this is why I'm hot" seem less timely than an all-inclusive "This is why WE'RE ALL HOT! Yay team!" The argyle sweater vest-sporters grinded with the girls in Pink perfume. Girls who won Most Likely to be a Philanthropist grinded with the dudes who felt so passionately about the Cubs vs. Sox debate. It was a moment of unity, of disposal of the social structure we'd known for three years, and, in a weird way, a kind of "HA HA" to the nail-biting adults that stood close by, wondering how Twilight hadn't worked as something that would keep kids sure that, while dancing, they would make room for the holy ghost. You decide if that last part is good or bad for yourself. But that's not actually my point.

Normally the idea of a bunch of hormonally raged kids trapped in the same building -- in this case, a single room -- means that the most scarring happenings will ensue. Something was different this time, other than the awful stench, which made me want to run to a Walgreens for giants and bring back a humongous thing of Febreze to shoot at people while screaming about how, one day, hygiene will reign over Pink brand perfume and Axe! IT WILL REIGN!!!! But other than that, the room was alive in the best ways and no one seemed terribly self-conscious. No one stood in the corner and whispered. No one cried in the bathroom. No girls who grinded were called sluts. And there wasn't even just grinding; people were actually dancing! Donks popped, locked, and dropped with confidence. Everyone was very firm that they fancied a bad romance over just being friends, and were in agreement that shawty had indeed gotten very, very low. Up went hands in regard to the single ladies, and our heads and hearts were truly on the dance floor.

As for me, I learned about a few financially secure men who wisely keep some of their money saved in the bank. I considered Jay Sean's inquiry of whether or not I was "down." But mostly I put away my unreasonable cynicism and insecurities -- that having fun with my peers would mean contradicting my "non-conformist" attitude, hairy legs, granny glasses, and big, fat, pimple. I danced and enjoyed myself and realized that not being the conductor of a grind train doesn't mean that I have to be a wallflower, and then realizing that any labels are stupid, and that I shouldn't make my dress look ugly because I didn't feel "different" enough, and that I shouldn't buy a Daniel Johnston record because Kurt Cobain wore the shirt to the VMA's, and that I can listen to him and enjoy a little Beyonce on the lunchroom dance floor, and that I would really rather everyone just be themselves. And then I was happy because it seemed like everyone was just being themselves. Normally passive-aggressive, catty types seemed sincere when they said they liked my eye makeup. The Dudeliest of Dudes grinded with the girls that hadn't considered a hair straightener or spritz of perfume for the night, maybe because...what's the big deal? I think everyone was just into the music, and into doing what they wanted, and was trying not be dramatic and shut other people out, and to appreciate one another, and to appreciate the small size and community qualities of our grade that we won't have when we enter high school in a few months. Holy shit, a FEW MONTHS. Anyway, that's that. Then I went back to Ella's, where we watched Destination Truth. Today we went to bookstores and added to the fairy dwelling in her backyard. We then listened to Lady Gaga and Jay Sean. We can do all of that.

(Look, I learned a lesson! But you know what's scary? MIDDLE SCHOOL TAUGHT IT TO ME. Shit, I think they DO prepare you for the real world, a little?)

May 26, 2010

"and to discover for himself, IF THE FIRE IS STILL BURNING" "i'll have the usuallllll" (i like using inside jokes as titles and confusing people)

Sooooo way back in September I met the lovely people at Fred Flare while on the epic journey that was the Weardrobe blogger conference and kept in touch with their wonderful/hilarious Jen, who was then like, "wouldn't it be cool if we sent you a Diana and you took pictures with it?" and I wrote back all "PSH PSH UM UM OMG OMG" and she probably inched quietly away from her computer, frightened. Today she published the pictures and interview on the Fred Flare blog (here, if you're interested) and I'm kind of proud of them? These are my favorites, though there are more on their blog and here:
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The colors colors colors. Blood is the New Black tee, Rodarte for Target jacket, can't tell what skirt I'm wearing...

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Vintage dress from Polly Sue's in D.C.

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Uniqlo heattech shirt, Rodarte for Target skirt, random tights. Now is where I bore you with FTC stuff: I received compensation and pieces from the Rodarte for Target collection for my collaboration with Target, and Uniqlo sent me that shirt, and FredFlare sent me this camera, and BITNB sent me that tee. (I have a love-hate relationship with the FTC regulations -- I like that it's honest but feel weird listing off stuff I got for free.) And here are some randoms:

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When Tommy of Jak & Jil visited to shoot me for Vogue Paris we were in agreement that the Diana looked really cool with the bike and outfit, and I played with it, and a cliched Tumblr photo was born! Har har. I also took a picture of my Comme des Garcons-clad feet:
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And of some weird tinselly stuff I canNOT figure out. I wanna say it's a Christmas tree, but when I look closely I see the ghost of Lady Gaga or something? You could add a really weird religious twist to that if you wanted to.

Thank you to my friend Ella (CLICK THAT LINK) for taking the photos and letting me be bossy and controlling and tell her where to stand and NO YOUR FINGER ISN'T POSITIONED ON THE BUTTON THE RIGHT WAY GOSH YOU'RE LIKE A WHOLE MILLIMETER OFF. And for letting me use her pretty pink walls and curtains. And, obviously, to Jen and everyone else at FredFlare, who are too cool to have their names hyperlinked to an awful Bob Dylan movie from his Curly Orange Mullet And Earrings phase.

May 23, 2010

Favorite Magazines Part UNO

I tend to get a lot of emails or comments asking about my favorite magazines, so here begins a series in which I justify my love for some of them, if only so my parents read and see that they're worth the double-digit figures.

Lula this and the kirsten dunst-edited one tie for my favorite issue.
Lula is magic. I expect sparkles to fly up in my face with every page turn. I've always imagined that it is created by a bunch of fairies that live in a tree in a forest. More specifically, this tree. In the forest run off to in Marie Antoinette. These Lula fairies have a lot of teacups and their rooms smell like old books and they use laptops made out of tree bark (don't ask me how that works) to communicate with their pals Karen Elson and the creator of Strawberry Shortcake and other fairies.
Now, to some people, this is a good thing! To others, this sounds like Dave Eggers' rant about Joanna Newsom (who is featured in the most recent issue, actually.) For me, it's in between -- sometimes I finish an issue wanting to frolic in a meadow dressed like a ballerina, and sometimes I finish with the need for something really rough and incongruous and loud. But Lula's occasional trips to the dark side -- be it through an article devoted to angsty teens like Enid Coleslaw or an Alison Mosshart interview -- are closer to my tastes, and its aesthetic is fairy and magic and it always accomplishes this. Tough just isn't its thing, and that's cool, though it'd be nice to once in a while see them describe a woman as a powerful, angry force as opposed to a fragile, sparkling Manic Pixie Dream Girl (Anna touched on this topic here.) Still, unless it's one of my Speak In A Monotone And Give Everyone Death Stares days, I finish an issue inspired. I know I can always go to Lula when I feel creatively inept. And through it I have been exposed to so many independent artists, sculptors, photographers, singers, filmmakers, and more, and I like that this is balanced out with contributions from more well-known forces like Ellen von Unwerth and Lynn Yaeger and features on folks such as Keira Knightly and Mia Farrow. Plus there are very few ads and very few products/projects their interviewees have to promote. It's less like a commercial and more like getting a peek into a vessel of creativity where clothes from luxury houses are used primarily because it looks great in the photo and people like Bud Cort are interviewed just because they're awesome. It comes out twice a year (buy it while you can, as they are a bajillion dollars on eBay months later,) is like a book, and is worth it, in my opinion, as long as you like feeling like you're in a field in a flowing white dress and a boater hat with a bunch of pink cats. If you don't like feeling like this, you will by the tenth page.

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I'm a bit biased as I wrote a book review for the next issue, but I wouldn't have done it if I didn't like the magazine, so there! Here are a few things that might sum up Worn for you:
  • The scarce ads are for things like street style blogs or vintage stores.
  • Articles include topics like toddler gender binary when it comes to pink for little girls and blue for little boys, the history of the Keffiyeh before it became a hipster fixture, how beauty aesthetics were redefined during WWII, interviews with the curators of various fashion museums, and more.
  • The pieces about the histories of different types of things like shoes or collars are very educational. It seems like the kind of thing you just know but I like having it laid out for me all neat and simple and more to-the-point than googling "history of clogs."
  • The fashion editorials contain no seasonal clothes, and range from independent designers to Vivienne Westwood to thrift. One was inspired by Nancy Drew, another opened with a Velvet Underground quote.
Do not, however, be mislead by my telling you of the Velvet Underground references and indie-ness. Do not mistake its "DIY" tone for an "indier than thou" one. What with the We're Using These Clothes Because We Like Them And Not Because We're Being Paid To spirit, articles that consider the social commentary of fashion from a feminist viewpoint, and the general outlook on fashion as something fun and creative and important and interesting and not glamorous or exclusive, Worn is very sincere and very enjoyable. Four gold stars, fine holiday fun! (I wanted to insert the respective Clueless gif here, but when I googled "clueless gifs," all I found was a blog that said "WHY CAN'T I FIND ANY CLUELESS GIFS??!!?!")

RUSSH
Russh is way, way up there for me. It just feels like me, ya know? Lula puts me in a fairy world, Vogue Paris puts me in a glamorous one, and Russh is just me in my bedroom. Each issue is like a moodboard, be it about a general idea like "experiment with everything" or a more visual thing, like neon/90's/Proenza Spring 2010. Among their interviews with designers and models are people either very outside of fashion (John Waters) or so inside fashion that they're behind the scenes and we don't know about them (set designers.) In other ways -- moodboard collages that include Michel Gondry stills, Marisa Meltzer's list of top 10 songs she listened to alone in her room as a 90's teen, fashion stories inspired by the movie Badlands -- Russh ties in other forms of art with fashion, but with a voice that feels sincere. I feel like all the film references and flash photography of models against a plain white wall could make the magazine really pretentious, but it isn't. For one, the references are always relevant, not like "LET ME GIVE YOU A SPIKE JONZE STILL FOR MY INDIE CRED," and more "this Spike Jonze still works really well with the mood, and we just want to appreciate and celebrate art." It always makes sure to commend a designer for being a good designer and not for creating the It Shoe each season. The layout isn't so minimalist that it feels inaccessible; there is just enough personality to it. Vintage is mixed with high-end labels in the editorials. And Lesley Arfin's column adds the Talking To Your BFF quality. Still, I'm waiting for Russh to get a little nasty. Surely the person you just interviewed wasn't that nice! (Maybe I am just a cynic.) And they just had a story about investment pieces, which made my brow bunch up into a furrowed caterpillar (I wonder if people buy those articles?) Russh comes out every two months and is I think about 17 US bucks. It sounds narcissistic to say it's worth every cent after having said that it feels like me, but lucky for you, it doesn't talk as much as me, especially in this post.

May 21, 2010

Things I Try To Remember When I Am In A Style Rut, OR, This Looks Like A Refrigerator With Cheesy Magnets, OR, I Have Reached New Pretension Levels

"I like making images that from a distance seem kind of seductive, colorful, luscious and engaging, and then you realize what you’re looking at is something totally opposite. It seems boring to me to pursue the typical idea of beauty, because that is the easiest and the most obvious way to see the world. It’s more challenging to look at the other side."
-Cindy Sherman

A lot of the time I blame my style ruts and lazy dressing on life being poopy (I know I'm lucky, but I'm also angsty, and a teenager) and on hostile environments. No matter how many times I try to stick with the "life is beautiful! Everyone is nice once you get to know them!" mindset, I end up more with the "life sucks, you're standing on my neck" one, because I go to school (or anywhere, but mostly school) and get all sad because there is sexism and racism and ableism and homophobia and other isms and phobias and general depressing...middle schoolyness. For a while I've let myself use this as a reason to wear a very basic combination of things, every day. But really I should use these hostile environments as reasons as to why I should create my own world through my outfits, because a certain outfit totally puts you in a different place, and it's easier to ignore certain kinds of people when I'm in my own world, yes? And as far as life sucking goes, this then makes me want to create and learn and absorb as many interesting things as I can. This doesn't mean the realities of Life Suckage, like the isms and phobias, should go ignored, and I try to do both (not the isms and phobias, I mean creating my own world as well as trying to make life not suck for other people.) This is fulfilling to me. I'm putting this here because I want to hear what you think and because I'll get in more ruts and have to come back to it. If I read this in many years I will shake my head at all the teenagerness, then be sort of pleased.

May 20, 2010

skin and bones

So, camera USB chord: kind of lost! And schoolwork: kind of busy! So, old photos. A while ago the people at the MOCA shop in L.A. were kind enough to send me this book called Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices Between Fashion and Architecture. I don't know if they were being nice or if they wanted me to write about it but it's pretty so I'm posting anyway.
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(I know the cover is lame, but that's why you don't judge books!)

This sounds dangerously similar to that one George Bush quote, but while I haven't read all of the book, it has very pretty pictures! You see, these kinds of special books that I can't take to read in class call for Special Reading Time, which is, by definition, when hours are set aside to read special books that I can't take to read in class. So this summer I will take some time to, at the suggestion of Le Tigre, get off the Internet, and just read these giant books and put a "do not disturb" sign outside our treehouse. It'll be very J.D. Salinger, very secluded and mysterious. Then a few hours will pass, and I'll be like "IS #RTifYouraBelieber STILL TRENDING ON TWITTER OR HAS #UknowUrAddicted2JustinBieberWhen MADE IT TO THE TOP YET???/" and log on. Then I'll see that Bret Easton Ellis is still sexist, and more people are working to create a Stop Angelina From Dressing Shiloh Like A Boy Because Then She Will Literally Be A Murderer When She Grows Up foundation, and more triangles are on Tumblr, and I'll be like, "damn, Internet, you're boring, and you also depress me, and how can I be this grossed out at humans when school is not even in?" Then I'll watch Daria on Youtube because I won't have bought the box set yet because I procrastinate, and I'll be like, "Well, at least you have Daria."

So, this book! I just realized that I took way more pictures of the fashion pages than the architecture ones (naturally, I guess) but they really are best together when you can see an insane building immediately followed by an incredibly similar dress. There are the obvious designers -- Hussein Chalayan, Viktor & Rolf, and more that are usually considered "architectural" because their clothing tends to have more structure to it. But then there were some like Alber Elbaz or Dries van Noten, whose designs are no table dress, who I had never thought of as having much in common with architecture the same way Yohji Yamamoto does. The inclusion of Alaia surprised me, for example, but the book knew where I was going: "While his designs may appear simple, their manufacture is complex." It goes into detail about his specific techniques before showing a photo of a Shigeru Ban house. Besides the similarities in the actual construction of all the clothes or buildings, the book also discusses the cultural messages they all give out or referenced, and I found it to be very interesting to compare the way a designer executes a concept to the way an architect does.
But enough rambling! Photo time!

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How I plan to get married. No spouse necessary, I would really just like to wear a giant hat and a dress that requires assitants.
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More photos here. Does anyone else own this book? Aren't the photos great? Are the actual words any good?

May 18, 2010

revamped

Fellow Chicagoans, I would like your attention please!
And if this photo of a dress MADE OUT OF M&M WRAPPERS doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will.
Yellow Peanut M&M Dress
This Friday, EarthShare is hosting an event about eco-friendly fashion. EarthShare is my green non-profit organization of choice because it raises funds through workplaces and distributes them between 60 more green non-profit organizations, locally, nationally, and internationally. That's sort of cheating though, because that's like saying 60 organizations are my favorite. But whatever! Not important! This thing is happening Friday! And the non-profit part should tell you that I'm not getting paid to write this -- I want people to know about it, dammit!
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At the L2 event I attended and took part in last Friday, Erin Schrode's talk about her project, Teens Turning Green, was especially inspiring. She pointed out that eventually, sustainable clothes shouldn't be special or exclusive or expensive, they should be the norm. Ashamedly, I can't claim to be demonstrating this too well, other than that most of the clothes I buy are from thrift stores or yard sales. Anyway, this show will be a slightly nuttier, less everyday version of that idea, with clothes made out of things like the above M&M wrappers and plenty other weird things that are probably crazy detailed and cool to see in person. And, y'know, Chicago isn't really a fashion city, like, at ALL, so I always like learning about the designers here, especially when dresses made out of cardboard are thrown into the mix. I won't be there but can't wait to see photos. If you end up going, email me. I want to hear all about it!

May 12, 2010

A Shaded View on Fashion Film 2010

People with ideas, get to work! Talenthouse has invited epic veiled blogger and ZOO editor Diane Pernet and myself to take part in judging the A Shaded View on Fashion Film 2010 competition. Interpret the idea of "fashion film" however you want -- but most importantly, send us your submission!
(Sidenote, wouldn't it be AMAZING if the size difference between the two of us was for real and we were like this little judging duo and I carried her on my shoulder or something?)

Submit your videos here and make them about whatever you want, as long as it's in keeping with the theme of fashion, style, and beauty. On August 12th we will announce the winner, so you have 67 days (get to work.) The details and criteria and rules are here. I think that the Internet should be used more as a source of finding new talent, especially in fashion, which has been very behind, so I'm incredibly excited for this. But before I go into an entire thesis on that, you should make and send in your fashion film, and stop reading this, sooo go away and get to work!

May 11, 2010

warren beatty

Guess who is going to be all fancy n stuff and talk at L2's Generation Y conference this Friday? Me, that's who! And I'm going to be talking about the Unpredictability of Gen Y, and just to be unpredictable and Gen Y-ish, I'm not going to tell you any more than that! Other than that I have considered the outcomes of arranging some kind of musical number that would force the audience to participate, but quickly put that idea away and decided to save my voice for failed attempts at the same thing in the cafeteria, from which I have learned that these kinds of things only happen in movies like The Breakfast Club and Empire Records. Not a fan of teen unity, us kids! Except for when we're fictional characters!

And since I can't think of an image to accompany post, I'll just post a scene from Empire Records of my favorite character, Eddie. The only one I could find was in French, though, so I'll pretend that I did this on purpose, like how lots of fashion blogs and Tumblrs are obsessed with posting videos in French or stills from French cinema. But mine is better because he has great eyebrows and special brownies, so take that, Godard fans!



Back to the Generation Next talk: details are here. Wish me luck!

a revolution, i sense it

There is something to be said for the fact that three magazines have just put designers and editors themselves on the cover. It means either that they're becoming more celebrities or that some magazines are brave enough to use the people thatt make what we love on the covers over a model or actor wearing what we love. For some reason this gets me so, so excited.

May 8, 2010

May 6, 2010

Thursday Three

1. These Pierre Hardy for Gap wedges that came today in the mail are, how do you say...SICK AS HELL?
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They are so 70's. They are so comfy and soft and nom nom nom. They are so Loopholes You Can Stick Any Ribbon Through (I really want to try those twisty thingys you use to tie bags at the grocery store?) They are so perfect at showing what a great feet model I am. And the clompy factor on these is huge, what with the height and flopping ribbons, it's the kind of clunkiness I was so drawn to when I watched the video of the Louis Vuitton Spring 2010 show. Maybe I should also wear a giant afro with these?

2. I have a mild obsession with Prada lookbooks. I tried to go to Kinko's once to have one of the images printed on big fancy paper to hang up on my wall, but the girl working there was chomping on a Twizzler and staring at me like I was nuts for wanting to PRINT AN IMAGE AT KINKO'S MY GOD HOW STRANGE. Then she said something about copyright and I said it was for personal use only, and then she was all "why do you want a photo of a girl and an octopus anyway?" and I was all WHAT DO YOU CARE THIS IS KINKO'S PRINT MY IMAGE ALSO DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE TWIZZLERS I'M KIND OF HUNGRY.

Then I blogged about it, and hoped she would never come across this blog where a photo of a girl and an octopus does not elicit angry Twizzler-chomping or staring and is, in fact, welcomed! As are photos of girls with rainbows, and girls blending into buildings, and giant shoes on a beach, and - what's this? A Prada lookbook in my possession?! How lovely! Thank you, Prada! I shall sleep with it under my pillow every night in the hopes that I will wake up to rainbows and giant feet. Well, not giant feet, because feet tend to be ugly and smell. But rainbows! Chandelier dresses! Yeah!
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This was the collection I initially disliked but came around to. Maybe I came around a little too much, as those chandelier shoes have been in my dreams, and this is unhealthy. Usually hearing the inspiration behind a collection makes me like it more because I know where the designer is going, but the idea of hallways and corridors confused me, in this case. Then this video came out, and every magazine and their mom was using the crystal dress, and I was like ANGUISHHHHH *changes Twitter background to the rainbow photo right above.*

These are my favorites, but more are in this Flickr set.

3. I have been very busy doing some room cleaning! Still! Except now I have shelves! From Ikea! They were on sale! You do not care about any of this, however, but I still felt like playing Selby and taking a few pictures of what I've arranged so far. It feels so fresh and nice and nice and fresh. Plus, some of these things are fashion-related and therefore relevant?

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Yes, I am that person.

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Self-explanatory, and maybe my favorite part of my room.

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I have taken pictures of so many of these books and magazines to write about on here...and never gotten around to it. ACK! (When you click the photo there's a list of them.)
To think that I've accumulated all this within the amount of time I've accumulated all this is frightening. Who wants to get a pool going for Amount Of Shit I Will Have Bought By The Time I'm Fifteen?

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My Lulas get their own shelf, though, mainly because they are they're own world. This is where I get really Teenage Girl On Tumblr Who Posts Sofia Coppola Stills And Photos Of Perfumes With Macaroons. But, that's okay! Because I enjoy it and feel like a fairy!

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That is all. Goodnight!