amy chizmeshya

A business college grad becoming a self-proclaimed student of fashion.

Relieving the Pressure (You Put On Yourself)

Tonight carries a certain sort of mental twilight… the kind that emanates from a peaceful state of mind. It streams out of methodical, rhythmic actions, flooding the cracks and crevices of the remaining evening – all resulting in your head just falling on the pillow, feeling content, sleepy and null of those pesky anxieties that keep us from that REM sleep.

These nights rarely occur during a weekday and, knowing this, I stopped myself to put my finger on it. Why was tonight different from any other weekday? What put a subconscious halt to my eternal hamster-wheel of a brain?

I took the pressure off.

I didn’t pick up dinner ingredients. I grabbed Chipolte on the way home. I didn’t debate if I was too exhausted for the gym. I just got up and went… and worked my literal ass off to the point of looking part-radish, part-human. I didn’t force myself to be in bed early. I sat at my desk and started churning this out. 

These are not particularly ambitious or particularly indulgent things but I stopped worrying about meeting a personal quota or agenda. I simply lived and told myself, “this is enough… I am enough for today.”

Nights can’t always be this mentally calm. I will stress about that looming credit card bill or planning that weekend trip or whitening my teeth or whatever other random concoction I need to feel that buzz of stress and 5 minutes of satisfaction for getting it completed. But in this night where I simply let myself live, I’ll remember that taking the pressure off feels so much better than falling into that black hole of “you haven’t done enough.”

Those little bricks will create an eventual big house and no matter how small, they still keep you growing… that one workout, that one blog post.

Pressure off ;)

Ignore the text... this was drawn at work, on the back of a document.

Ignore the text… this was drawn at work, on the back of a document.

Do

“Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do” – Oprah

Wise words from a major mogul

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Boundless

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

– Maya Angelou

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Be

Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.

– Dave Willis

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Life Happening vs. Goals in the Making

Sorry I’ve been gone. Life always seems to be a strange blend of impulses that have to be satiated and regiments that leave no room anything outside of the to-do list. Writing a blog post has been neither an impulse or a necessity towards the path of short-term successes… so its been on a back (BACK) burner. I also realize it tends to soothe only one soul, my own, and hangs low on the totem pole of goals because not too many people read this and if you do, well thanks! And I hope it is enticing and valuable to your brain/heart/whatever needs to be fulfilled.

Well this morning I woke up earlier than anticipated, got out of bed, got back in bed, realized I didn’t want to leave that perfect atmosphere of cozy duvet during morning chill, perused my news feeds (junk but that good kind, like the Jerry Springer of news articles) and finally realized another snooze wasn’t gonna happen. Slipping out of bed, careful not to wake the sleepy bunny next to me, I tip-toed to the couch and sat without distraction staring off into the light trickling through the shades.

I thought back to when I had many days “off”, when I was looking for  a job in this massive, overqualified city of ambitious and brilliant people. I thought about how its been almost a year since we moved here and how things have progressed but changed in ways I didn’t anticipate. The job I got in the industry I never expected with opportunities I never entertained. It reminded me of how irritating it was to hear the question,

“Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” 

Uh. Somewhere where I’m ten years older, hopefully ten years wiser and have more than $500 in my bank account? The last two years have been multiple series of “what the hell am I doing?!” and its enough for me to see that life changes A LOT. If I had a solid plan of exactly where I wanted to be, I’m pretty positive I would be too narrow-minded to make the changes I need to live in accordance to whats needed to really use up my full potential and LIVE. But in the same sense I definitely see that goals and ambition are important, they remind you that life cannot be built off of convenience or simply necessity. You have to step outside of those boxes, stay on the path toward your goal and not fall into a comfort zone.  

I guess the best way to put it is –  create goals for yourself because they are vital to staying alive, but don’t create such a massive plan that when life happens and presents you with a hidden little nugget of gold, something that seems rough around the edges and not quite your grand plan, that you’re outside of your dreams enough to see that those goals can develop and be achieved in unforeseeable instances.

I was reminded that maybe my lack of writing was really just letting life get in the way – with its odd blend of comfort-zoning and finding dire need in small achievements that quite likely won’t make a difference in 5 years but seem like a really big deal right now. So I let those things get there fifteen minutes of fame in my life and I sat on the couch just a little longer than usual after work – but I remembered goals don’t come to fruition out of brainstorming while watching Netflix or eyeing my unfinished painting and thinking about how I’m gonna get it done tomorrow but I totally don’t have time right now.

Goals are met by always biting off a little more than you can chew and continuously taking something on, regardless of if it seems like a big deal or a little deal in life. Stating the obvious here, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated a lot to be heard and processed and utilized. 

 

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Inevitable

The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” – Robert Henri

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The Theory of Green Grass and Love

I’ve always had such a strong intention to blend my desired concept and my dreams with my real life. I’ve always loved theories, brief puffs of emotion, imagination, segments of beauty, Kodak moments. According to the popularity of Pinterest, so does everyone else.  They like believing that the picture will match the real life occasion. The part where the dinner we made was delicious and the music we played made us feel like we were making a feast on some coastal French terrace with friends that are really tan and laugh a lot while drinking red wine.  Our imaginations like to create this beautiful scene but leave out the parts where our feet are hurting from today’s work pumps and the pot of burnt rice is still left in the sink with brown crud at the bottom. Concept is vague, an associated feeling, a segment of an entire, messy process, but just the good part. Reality brings in the dusty bits of imperfection.

But as we’ve been shown time and again with research about the online-ego we create, we don’t want reality. We want to Photoshop our daily lives, leave out the boring, stressful, tedious, painful parts. And I know I am the biggest offender in this department. I skip through songs to get to the best part, I reminisce the good parts of my memories over and over and over again, disregarding the whatever parts, I meticulously follow blogs that have pretty pictures and ignore the text,  practically drowning myself in make believe or “feel good,” because sometimes that is all I’ve got to work on – reality can be disappointingly practical.

Nothing drew my attention to this more, than my relationship with my boyfriend. Even writing that I kinda want to make that mock gag signal by pointing a finger down my throat. I mean, maintaining this ego-driven idea that I’m this deep-thinking feminist, it makes me frown that I’m discussing my relationship and exhibiting any impact it has on my life. You guys all know, I’m a free thinking individual  ;) Alas, I’m also a huge liar. I think about, care about and work a lot on my relationship. It matters to me more than I’d prefer to express and, well, it’s changed me.

I truly thought that love came in one category – one of pure bliss, perfection, pleasure, happiness, romance (I hate admitting that one) and (my fav illusion) that HE would complete me. By that I actually meant he wouldn’t challenge me in any way, but he would just tell me I’m the best thing on this earth and was always right and that he wanted to do everything that I wanted to do at the exact same time that I wanted to do it and would feel the same way. Basically, I didn’t realize it, but I wanted to date a idea. I wanted to be loved by someone so much that it would validate me thinking I was really great and life was perfect. I didn’t want to love someone. I just wanted to be 100% adored and live an expectation I set for myself.

Loving him was accidental, fateful, sometimes shitty, sometimes beautiful, sometimes perfect and sometimes all levels of WTF. I was my own biggest fool of love, thinking it was all about myself, my ideas, my theories, my dreams and was put smack dab in the middle of loving someone who was none of these ideas in many respects. I had to negotiate with myself and many times I hated it, I countered my own emotions saying that if I was with the right person, if I had fallen in love with the right person, everything would perfect and going exactly as planned.

I didn’t realize that love is one of those things you don’t really chose. It just happens and if you want it, you maintain it.

He’ll be the first to admit this. Omitting the rare occasion that he is super mushy because I’ve engulfed him in a weekend of lovey-dovey, couple-centric activities, this guy is NOT romantic. He hates fantasy. He lives for facts, practicality, NPR and statistics. He likes things simple. He doesn’t like being emotional. Crying turns him into stone. He savors being alone and does not prefer to mule of his emotions but rather play some really aggressive/militant video game. Art just confuses him and he gets no joy from posting cute pictures of us on Facebook (HA I can’t even imagine).  I love make believe, kittens, talking about myself and my emotions, talking about other peoples lives and analyzing them. I live for beautiful things and crying is like crack to me. It feels good to let it out when I need to. I also love being around other people, pretty much all the time, even if I’m not talking to them.  Art makes the blood course through my damn veins and I love showing the fun, happy, romantic, cute, epic parts of my life.

But there are many things Facebook, Pinterest, imagination and dreams cannot foresee. They don’t consider the monotonous weeknights that are turned humorous or simply happy from his company, they don’t show the times I’ve been all levels fucked-up/crying/crazy woman and had his shoulder to cry on. Most importantly my imaginary relationship doesn’t show the total function of all the little things, the little crap that is insignificant, boring, stressful, shitty or down right UGH that we’ve pulled through together or made all better by supporting each other.

While Mr.Serious might not give a rats ass about smiling in pictures and looking like we’re having the time of our lives, he will really be there in the moment and not because he’s envisioning how the moment should go, it just does and he lives it. (gushing words, get ready) I love the way he is so truly genuine that he may not seem like the warmest person, the most likeable, popular, charismatic person, but while everybody else is trying to prove themselves to you and their social setting, he’ll be the one who catches your fall whether he seems to like you or not. Whether he loves you or hates you, he will always respect you and show it. He is not above anyone or below anyone, he just is. Humble and confident all at once.

Truth be told he could theoretically be my other half. We have many commonalities but a ton of huge differences that really turn each other inside out and see what we each lack or fulfill.  While I’ve spent much of my life thinking that I was open minded, I never realized how close minded I was to people that weren’t into the same things as me, who didn’t thrive off of other peoples energy or love talking on the phone. It took loving a man as such to see a little better as to what I am, to see how much imagined love and true love  can both intersect and all at once seem like oil and water. I’ve learned that love is not green grass you placed in your imaginary yard as a little girl – love is not always a “match the two identical cards” game but sometimes a two very well fitting, albeit jagged, puzzle pieces game.

love

DIY Seamless Panties

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I’m not much of a brand-whore but I do love quality. After a round on interning/selling for Nordstrom , this sale-savvy, bargain shopping gal made a self-discovery. Quality product is worth it to me. And considering that people generally enjoy products that they can rely on and fit all their needs, I imagine you do too.

After breaking my aversion towards pricey (but valuable) products I also discovered that my pockets aren’t as deep as my desire to buy quality. The next paycheck will barely cover rent let alone a $100 t-shirt from Vince (but god, the fabric and fit… I want to be buried in that shirt). That being said, I also can’t spend $10 on 5 pairs of panties… specifically the no-show seamless panties from Victoria Secret.

So off I went to my favorite fabric shop in town, Fabric Outlet in the Mission. This place is like a home away from home and by that I mean its a fantastic equivalent to SAS Fabrics in Phoenix, a koo koo fabric heaven that is a bit of a visual fuck. So. MUCH. Fabric. And Beads. And Lace. And whoa.  I bee-lined it to the remnant bin, found a piece of nylon/lycra fabric for 50 cents and grabbed a yard of stretch lace. And so it begins.

DIY Seamless Panties – Pattern and Sewing 

Ingredients:

1/2 yard of Nylon/Lyrca Fabric or random remnant cuts

1 yard of stretchy lace

1 sheet of remnant tissue paper from your latest birthday present

Total Cost: $1.62

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Make sure to have your slippers in the picture too. It helps…

Step 1

Take your favorite pair of panties (of similar fabric so that when they stretch they maintain the same amount of stretch and the measurements are accurate)  – trace the outline of the front.

Add length to the crotch so that the fabric can meet up with the back piece of fabric. By the way, isn’t crotch the grossest word? Woof. Not a fan but it is what it is…

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Step 2

Create a measuring point for the back side of your undies. I measure how high to create a point and how far from the side edge – then added a dot and free hand an arch to that point.

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Chuck wanted me to remind you all of his fantastic photographic accuracy. Note the picture being so sharp that you can even see the hair growing out of the mole on my left arm. #truetalent #thanksforpointingthatoutchuck

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***Note the Points on each side and the free-handed arch that leads to it and down to meet the other piece of fabric***

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Since these are seamless panties you don’t have to consider the seam on most of the pattern but I did add some length to the sides for the seam where we will sew. I also said it was  1/7th of something. I don’t know what because it doesn’t make any sense but in my caffeinated, creative haze I wrote 1/7th so there you have it.

Step 3

Pin and cut the fabric according to the pattern! Both the front and then the back. Sorry, you can only use this homemade very legit pattern once.

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Drink lots of coffee and eat nothing so that you shake like a little Chihuahua and take blurry pictures.

Step 4

Take a small cut of fabric and sew a quick little pouch around the crotch (cringing). All you ladies know this unmentionable but absolutely necessary  little strip of fabric. OK then. On to the next step.

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Step 5

Pin and sew the sides of the pieces. So easy and quick!

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Sew the crotch (god, how many times to I have to use this word?) parts together by hand. It’s a tiny piece of fabric and you really want to make sure its a solid seam.

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Step 6

Pin the lace and sew it to the top rim of the panties. I chose to have the lace half on the fabric/half on the skin.

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Viola! “Seamless” panties!

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Andrea

Many women can agree that a loving mother is a strange blend of your most annoying conscience and your saving grace.  She’ll be the first person to hassle you and the last person to leave when shit hits the fan. She can’t help but fuss over you and its kind of okay because even though you aren’t a little girl anymore it feels good to have her love. And bit by bit you’ll watch her trust you too. If you are really close, she’ll start peeling back the layers of armor she’s accumulated over the years, built up through all the times she fought for herself and then for you, and you’ll get a glimpse of the girl she was and the woman she’s become outside of your Mother. She’ll become more than your Mother. She’ll become a woman that you respect and love and admire and watch out for just the way she watched out for you all your life.

While she always will be my mother above all else, I admire her as a woman named Andrea, a woman that has taught me lessons outside of her role in my upbringing.  A fun chick that speaks her mind and spreads her warmth and makes life more enjoyable, less boring. A woman you ought to know and learn from as well. Meet Andrea and her amazing life lessons….

Young Andrea

Young Andrea

1.) If you’re ready to forgive, say sorry first.

One of the most valuable life lessons my mom ever taught me was to be humble in your own fighting fouls. I remember getting into heated arguments with my mom. You know – the hysterics, crying, whining, hating, stomping, slamming (as you can imagine, I was the model child). After time in my room,  I would come to my senses and go apologize for being a nut case. Even when I was a little girl, she would apologize as well, which I found to be so rare and phenomenal for a parent. I knew she was never my equal but I felt a sense of respect from her and love from her that trumped being my disciplinary.

When she was actually at fault for anything, she always gave an earnest apology. This carried on in my own lifestyle. While I’ve always had a sense of self respect, I’ve learned that pride is a whole other ugly mess. When I’m feeling hot-headed and filled with pride, I always remember how fair my mom is. I remember that resolution will always be a bigger consolation than isolating yourself in your anger or blame.

My Mom and I when I graduated University

My Mom and I when I graduated University

2.) Spend money on travel.

While we all know that money cannot buy happiness, it can definitely encourage marvelous experiences. I have the fondest memories of traveling with my parents to Canada, San Diego, Europe, New Orleans and cabins up north. While the hotels were rarely glamorous and half of our meals were comprised of homemade picnics, my mom encouraged smalls indulgences, big adventures and embracing other lifestyles. My dad almost always had a shit fit about spending money on travel – telling us it was worthless and a horrible way to spend money – but we always knew it was due to his strong disdain for change and that even he would come back happier, lighter and more in tune with the important things in life. Cliched as it may be, travel does open your eyes to the possibilities in life. It forces you to embrace spontaneity and most importantly, it gives you a fresh perspective. It’s always healthy to get out of your little bubble. You see what is holding you back and also what makes home so great.

Mom Traveling in her 20's

Mom Traveling in her 20’s

3.) Be genuine.

When I think of a one word definition of my mom, its genuine. The woman speaks her mind. Sometimes it gets her in trouble, but she has enough social graces and confidence to breeze past it. What makes her so pleasantly genuine? You always know where you stand and yet it never offends because she is not close minded towards your stance. She embraces her opinion but will always respect yours. She has taught me that to maintain the perfect balance of self-respect and thoughtfulness, you must stand your ground but accept when others won’t agree with grace. They might not be perfect but neither are you.

4.) Find humor in life and then spread it.

A very fortunate trait that my sisters and I happened to inherit  is my mom’s ability to find humor in humanity – our oddities, our endearing, bizarre traits. There is something so wonderful in the way my mom giggles at the little child busying themselves with the simplest task or the old man that is irrevocably grouchy because he just can’t help himself. It is the way she finds compassion in peoples faults and values their approach on life. I can absolutely attribute my sense of humor to my mother and I’m so grateful. Much of my families bonding is built of off harmless mocking of one another and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Rather than rush through life with your headphones in and your sunglasses on – stop avoiding people and their unique, brief impacts on your life. Seek to understand and appreciate them. If nothing else, you’ll have a hilarious story to share.

Happy Girl

Happy Girl

5.) Don’t waste time worrying. Spend time living.

During a particularly rough patch in life, my mom was my default therapist. She heard all the ugly and all the anguish. While it was a little of just me going in mental circles with no relief, there was a lot of her trying to get me to see that worry is a complete waste of life. It will still happen. Time will pass and you’ll look back and realize that your anguish was just a waste of precious life – precious time that you can’t get back. In a period of worry or stress, its feels so impossible to look paste the thick fog of anxiety but you have to realize that life will still happen. That day will still pass. You’ll still get older and all the times your worried about the what if’s are times that you could have spent just living it. Everyone says live in the moment and as simple and exhausted this phrase is, do it. Live in the moment. It’s a popular term for self-salvation because it works. Just enjoy it. Stop dissecting and just live. There is too much shit in life to hold onto the bad stuff. Absorb the good and forget the rest. 

The Present Day Beauty

The Present Day Beauty

Her Color.

Her Color.

DIY Art and Metal Framing

A few weeks back I had visit from one of my good old Arizonan friends. Cool as cool can be since we met in high school, girlfriend is the original hipster (that means before the word became tainted and meant a truly original-effortlessly chic little lady). Naturally, my  default taste for black, white and pretty much anything painfully orthodox is completely disrupted by her presence. She polishes her nails and lightly curls her hair but chooses her outfits like a little girl plays dress up – fearlessly, playfully – adorning herself in subtle baubles that don’t scream ACCESSORIZE  and patterns that don’t “match,” but actually totally do.

I love this about her. The way she is so truly immersed in her own sense of style and yet it so refreshingly original and perfect all at once that everyone wants to have it but no one can fathom how to emulate it.

So, of course, going out to a thrift store together, I ended up making a haste purchase of very unnecessary, un-like-me things, like a gorgeously framed/matted picture that was terribly faded and bland. Hello $7 art project.

And so the DIY Art story goes…

Here is the before picture. Very faded from the sun. Boring and apparently not an original. I don’t know who spends big bucks on getting this poster professionally framed but there must be a small population who likes to do that so… more power to them!

Before Image

Before Image

We also payed a visit to my favorite addiction, Daiso. Pretty much a Japanese dollar store that mass produces everything you could ever possibly need but somehow adds a touch of pink or a cute animal shape to it. You can get erases that look like food and just about every baking utensil or mold you could ever possibly need but all in the size of an easy bake oven kit.

Paper Strips

Paper Strips

So we bought these strips to make paper stars and realized they were the wrong size….

Strips!

Strips!

So with a help of some Modge Podge, a really thick paint brush and patience that I rarely have for crafts as such, you’ll get artwork like the geometric rainbow effect below. Clearly, I liked all the colors so I just went to town but if you happen to be more into darks or more into pastels the packet had a ton of each so you could easily vary a smaller amount of colors.

Simply line up and stack the strips one by one. I also added a strip down the center to break the horizontal lines.

Finished Art

Finished Art

Now on to the FUN stuff.

I might have spontaneously felt really inspired to get this started and literally ripped apart the original framing. I ended up cracking the glass and coercing my assistant (errrhm, my boyfriend) to assist me in cleaning it up after it scattered all over his desk rug. WOOPS.

Alas, getting started on framing the new art, I had no idea how to put back the hack job that I made out of the (previously gorgeous) metal frame. I searched EVERYWHERE on Youtube and the internet on how to frame artwork. Apparently everyone and their dog needs to learn how to put a picture in a pre-made frame  (insert impatient glare here) and how to cut matting so it matches the photo (insert Grumpy Cat’s face here) but no one cares about building tricky metal frames. Finally, I found a video on how to do so and, while I spent the majority of my video debating the sex of the demonstrator, it proved to be a really easy task!

Frame

Frame

Start with the four metal sides, your screws, corners and spring clips.

Screws, Corners and Spring Clips

Screws, Corners and Spring Clips

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Secure the bottom left and right corners.

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Put all your screws on the shag rug so you lose them and spend twice as long framing this art.

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Once you’ve tighten the bottom two corners, carefully slide the art into place.

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This was personal preference, but I lined up the spring clips before I slid them in so that they’d be evenly dispersed.

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The final product.

Wall Art

Wall Art

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