amy chizmeshya

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

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

photo 3 (1)

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

Best Friendships

“Never trust a girl that doesn’t have girlfriends.” I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before… I know why they say it too, because relationships between women are the most complex. While they can also be the most rewarding, they involve a perfect dance of consciousness, care, social graces, mutual respect and humor that isn’t quite the same as any relationship you’ll have with a guy whether its friendship or romance. I’ve always thought that if a girl cannot maintain a close relationship with another chick she’s probably too selfish because there is nothing more giving than a girl friendship – with men you can get away with being opportunistic, self-focused or independent. With girls you have to relate, being thoughtful of their lives/actions and show that you care, knowing that you’ll always get the same in return. There is a loyalty, selflessness and bond that is unparalleled.

My mom always told me that, while it’s important to love your guy, strongly maintain your friendships with your girlfriends. They’re irreplaceable and will give you things that romance can’t. As always, she is right. There is just something about girlfriends that serves a purpose that men can’t. As woman with a mission to stay happy and sane, it’s a vital necessity to give that kind of BFF love and take it too.

While I’ve been lucky to find a handful of truly spectacular (amazing) women to laugh, love and cry with – to inspire me, help me, humble me and pick me up when times are shit – there is one girl in particular that has won my heart as my truest friend, my soul sister, my PERSON. Let me introduce to you Miss Ashley Rose. 

ash

 We met the first day of pre-college,  in our dorm hallway. Pretty instantly, we became each others family away from family, chosen sisters on a path to creating a truly idyllic 4 years of growth and education that would surpass any semester in STATS 101. We grew the most beautiful friendship two girls could ask for. Among the big best-friend milestones – the trips around the world, the moving in together, the throwing parties together, the merging our social lives- we tucked away little memories that built trust and love piece by piece.

For every woman out there, I hope you have an Ashley. A unique, enthusiastic, sunny chick that makes you feel ridiculous and liberated and happy all at once. A girl who lives off of flamboyance, sparkles, dreams and laughter. A friend who makes you want to tell her you love and appreciate her all the time and reciprocates that feeling.

One of the First Nights We Hung Out... Little Freshman Babies! Hello, Awkward Half-Hug

One of the First Nights We Hung Out… Little Freshman Babies! Hello, Awkward Half-Hug

I make it very clear how highly I think of my darling friend, but the loveliest part is the bond we created. All throughout out college we stuck by one another… simultaneously, the most gregarious pair of social butterflies and obnoxiously joined at the hip. Perhaps that’s why we’ve always worked out, we never stifled one another, we only gave each other more reason to fly. Our bizarre little union was so intense that we cried and laughed our final day of living together because we knew that we’d have a better chance of finding relationships now that we didn’t have each other as often. Maybe we’d actually need boyfriends because we didn’t have our other half… Despite loving my boyfriend very, very much, my relationship with him would be the furthest cry from a “replacement” of my relationship with Ashley. The bond Ash and I have is not something you can replicate.

LoOkInG HaWt

LoOkInG HaWt

I hope you have a girlfriend. It’s good to have a girlfriend. A pal who mocks life’s bullshit the way you do, who agrees with your bitching even when she knows you’re being dramatic. A girl that supports your less-than-perfect habits/humor and thinks you’re funny all the time and encourages another glass of wine or missing the train to take a taxi.

I hope you have a best girl friend. 

Best Friends

Best Friends

To love is to…

If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up and it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.

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Summer is for flowing dresses and iced, sugary drinks :) happy summer Friday everyone!

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Necessities.

Claude Quote

I feel ya bro… or Claude Monet. Flowers are a must for me too. There are a couple things that I promised my grown up self.

1.) You’ll have fresh flowers on your table every week.

2.) You’ll buy yourself an overpriced leather bag when you get your first big girl paycheck.

3.) You’ll do dinner parties.

While I’m still much too cheap to buy myself a purse that cost more than $100 and dinner parties are more like having a friend over and splitting a bottle of red then eventually getting take out, I have managed to keep my promise to myself with the fresh flowers thing. It doesn’t hurt that many of the stores in this city are jam packed with reasonably priced, stunning bouquets. I am kind of in flower heaven and for a weirdo like me, whose life goal is to be an old lady with a substantially bad ass garden, I’m pretty much living the dream.

Behold my weekly floral… 

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$3.99 at Trader Joes? Don’t mind if I do…

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This is a pricier set at a whopping $4.99 (SpLuRgE)

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And these are far far out of my price range at $70+ They were a gift from the lover. He knows I kind of cringe with the typical red roses and really out did himself ;) There is even cabbage in it! What the heck?! I could see the florist being like, yeah, we’re freakin organic and local, throw some cabbage in that bitch!

design

And so, in lieu of my true obsession with flowers, I dreamed up this summery flower dream. I want it in real life. For me. Maybe a potential project for when I finally decide to start sewing again.

Elegance

“Elegance is not standing out, but being remembered.”

- Giorgio Armani

elegance

Comfort Vs. Style

 I love my morning walk to the office. I like taking in the morning sun beams shooting through the cityscape’s cracks and crevices, taking in my good, jivin music that makes me feel all cool and urban and ambitious and ready for life and (my favorite) taking in all the cool outfits from my fellow city dwellers.

I  see a nice blend of highly professional, stuffy, stiff ensembles and super laid back, casual-chic get ups. In a city where style is prevalent, but smarts is much higher on the totem poll, its not uncommon to see considerably casual work outfits in very high powered rolls. Albeit, that casual sports jacket might cost a grand and come from some really uppity retailer. Still, the general vibe is efficiency over pomp, comfort over show and subtle glamour.

One morning, through the throngs of busy-bee commuters, I noticed a girl that looked absolutely glamorous. Her hair was in a perfectly bouncy ponytail, her vibrant red pencil skirt contrasted her simply navy and white dotted blouse. While admiring her perfectly poised appearance she awkwardly attempted to pull down her skirt, tugging and fussing discretely. All of sudden, she didn’t seem as easy, breezy and confident but I smiled because I’d been there too, many times, along with the rest of the female population.

We have every intention to look effortlessly glamorous and find ourselves pulling and prodding to keep that look solid. I’m pretty sure I did it the other week when I wore a fitted skirt that would start out office appropriate and ride all the way up to stripper status by the end of a two block walk. My cool look was ruined by my continuous pulling of the skirt. I looked uncomfortable, I felt uncomfortable. The worst part is that it kills the whole image. Nothing is less stylish than looking like you’re awkward  in your own skin/outfit. As all the big fashion labels put it, confidence is key.

With this in mind, I’ve spent much of my semi-adult life finding clothing that looks stylish but feels 100% comfortable. There have been a few hiccups along the way – you know,  those sad little purchases that seem promising but are worn once and end up getting dusty in your closet after you noticed the zip kept itching your side or your boobs look smooshed in it. However, much of the time I’ve become fairly successful at finding that perfect blend of what I find comfortable and what I find stylish. My go-to’s are listed below.

Sturdy Heels/Wedges:

If you actually plan on walking at all and not wobbling like a newborn deer, I suggest wearing a semi-thick, semi-low heel that has a toe strap and upper ankle strap. They’re always more secure and make your entire foot work, rather than placing all the weight/strain on one part. Also, please note the emphasis on SEMI low and thick heels, anything else is considered a “kitten heel,” which sounds really cute but is actually really scary and should be limited to your 1999 prom photos.

Nudist

Nudes are my favorite ;) Not only do they sound scandalous when you write them on a blog but they elongate your legs by blending with your skin tone and they pretty much go with everything because, ta-da, they’re neutral and understated. YES.

Wedges

As seen in pretty much every sorority photo on earth, wedges are a girls best friend – cue the hand-on-hip, leg popped, head tilt pose with plastered smile. While they look deceptively similar to a platform heel, they are actually a thousand times better.  They make you look like you actually care about your appearance and elongate your legs without bringing on the killer discomfort that comes after wearing heels for more than 60 seconds.

The Ultimate Summer Heels

Alas, my ultimate summer heel. Quite frankly, I have no friggin clue what these are called other than heaven. They’re painless, comfy, breezy but close-toed and have gotten about a bajillion compliments since date of purchase.

Tights:

Tights are a working girls best friend. When that dress/skirt just seems too short for comfort at work, try tights to make you feel insta-appropriate and work-safe. Pair with a cute pair of riding boots and you’ve got yourself chic and cozy. Also, hello hidden leg fuzz. You can truly do a week straight of fashionable but sans-shave if you mix some tights into the plethora of pants. Some girls might find this gross, I find it to be quite savvy. Sorry I’m not sorry :)

Tights

True story  - While I received zero of those questionable glances at work (woo passed the work-approriate test!) I also had a man stop in front of me while I was in line at lunch and  silently make his pecs dance and flex his arms for me… weirdest way I’ve ever been hit on in my life but apparently, while this outfit gets the thumbs up at work, its also capable of attracting strange men. I wore jeans the next day.

Loose Tops:

Speaking of lunch, loose tops are my best friends. Nothing is better than letting the gut loose after a gargantuan lunch. I prefer tops that flatter your collarbone and shoulders and sneakily hide that  midday pooch. Also, black is boring but always a fantastic compliment to another louder piece. I may or may not have a closet full of black tops…

Loose Tops

THE sweater:

Not necessarily a vital piece when I was back in Arizona, but here in San Francisco where the weather is a daily mystery, nothing is more important than a cozy, simple sweater that fits in your purse AND keeps you relatively warm. While its not apparent in this photo, the sweater I am wearing actually has a sorta massive rip on the back left shoulder. I was so in love with this stupid thing that I decided to wear it till its death 2 months ago and finally bought another, less awesome, crew neck to replace it. I still keep it in my closet because I have a problem with letting go you never know…

Looking Serious

PS: I am embarrassed to look this serious. Channeling my inner fashion bitch.

Accessories:

Saving the best for last! Whenever it’s 10 minutes till departure and my outfit is dull (lots of black) and I am too lazy to change, accessories are the BEST way to look like I actually care about my appearance. Whip on some watch, slide on some rings, clip a damn flower in your hair and get ready to feel all jazzed up.

frost yourself

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As of late, statement necklaces make me beam. I may or may not take off these pieces halfway through my day and find them in my purse when I decide to be a responsible adult and clean it out a month later… but that is beside the point.

All in all, work clothes is really up to the place you work. Some people might have to wear fancy pants (literally) while others can get away with jeans and a tee. I’m lucky to be at a company that really lets me do whatever as long as I look put together. As my director put it the other day, wear what will make you feel most professional AND ready to face the day. No matter what you think, there is a little part of you that will act the way you feel and if your look makes you feel on top of your shit, you will be.

sketch

 (coffee + camera=blurry + apologies)

Epic Hike: Dos

I’m a little late on this post, but its much easier to regurgitate the happiness of a beautiful day when the day has passed. Had a written it the day of, my post would simply be some variation of Man it was just epic, JUST epic on auto-replay.

As mentioned in previous posts, my boyfriend is quite averse to the impromptu or spontaneous. When I decided to throw out a burst of enthusiasm for a day hike, I knew I had to sell it. I also knew that best technique was a sneak attack and then retreat so he could sit on the idea and finally accept it. After a hop in the shower to leave him to himself and his self-soothing (meticulous) planning, we compromised on a hike in Marin County through the Matt Davis Trail that started at Stinson Beach and looped its way through Mount Tamalpais.

Just a little heads up, we don’t actually hike every weekend. While claiming love of outdoor adventures, I’ll be the first to admit we are glued to the couch much of the weekend with bits and pieces of errands, adventures or good company. There is nothing as addictive as a Netflix series and a fully juiced phone for hours of playing Threes (don’t even get me started).

Come noon, we hopped on the subway to our friends apartment, grabbed some overpriced water/breakfast at the adjacent Whole Foods and headed into their garage to find our car where we left it, ready for her next outing, holding remnant bottles from the last.

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Bye, bye city. We we’re off to Stinson Beach. The roads to the beach were insanely curly and tight. I had a nice blend of nausea and anxiety with all these winding roads having ZERO buffer. For some reason, California government has no problem with people literally driving off cliffs. The only other time I had dealt with such treacherous mountain highways was in Croatia as a child, where the laws are leaner and the cars are smaller.

 

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Alas we made it and started our hike in a Jurassic Park -like  climb near a mountain creek. There were massive trees with so many limbs it looked like veins (note the teeny tiny person in the bottom right of the picture) and beautiful ferns sprouting all over.

 

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The best part about the trail was that we hit so many different terrains. Just when the scenery started to blend into a monotony, we’d come across a new path. After Jurassic Park we hit a dry, windy mountain top with this infinite scene of wooded pretty. And then we took a turn into the loveliest rolling hills, complete with a warm, subtle breeze.

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With the exception of the trail being about 2 feet wide with a 50 foot grassy cliff to your right, this part felt as beautiful as it looks and sounds. We also founds this epic Fern Gully-esque terrain with a bunch of fallen trees…

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As you can see here, Chuck lifted a couple twigs in the way of your path. No big deal ;)Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

 

All was fine and dandy until about halfway in when Coolio Cool Pants over here decided to run the trail “to get ahead of the crowd” and twisted/sprained/idk-what her ankle. Chuck picked me up right away and we slowly walked it off, finished the remainder of the hike in an hour ish time. You can see the beautifully swollen results below.

 

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To reward ourselves for being healthy and adventurous we found ourselves a very cozy indoor/outdoor cafe with a nice selection of unhealthy, unadventurous beer and burgers with a hefty side of onion rings.  It’s the kind of meal that has you seeing stars and smiling like some dopey cartoon character that got hit with a frying pan. We were positively gluttonous, fueling our tired limbs with saturated fats and carbs. YUM!

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Regardless of my flimsy ankle, this hike proved to be the best one yet – beautiful, challenging, evolving and overall rewarding – much like life. Yes, I just ended my post with THAT tedious metaphor. Sorry, I’m not sorry :)

Writing Can be Such a Bitch

Every morning, after I’ve spent what feels like an hour of dozing in and out but actually totals to the excruciating nine minutes of my snooze option, I heave myself out of bed, stumble to the kitchen to make coffee and validate the necessity of “getting ready” for work by splashing my sleepy, warm face with water and calling it a job well done… and I started this position with a vow to wear make up and plan my outfits each day day. After all, this was the only way to exude my A-game and show my professionalism.

As you can conclude, I’ve taken the new approach of simply getting to work on time, staying late and working my ass off to get noticed for a promotion. Let’s just admit that this is as cosmetically lazy as it is a stance on feminism or whatever legitimate logic I feel like masquerading.

Coffee

Morning Coffee

 

 

My true intention in the morning is to get coffee in my system and savor 20 minutes devoted to peaceful, twinkly music, blog posts from my favorite writers and happy feelings only. No stress allowed. No reminder that by 7:30 I’ll be out the door, transforming from an individual with soul and sentimentality and peace to a speck in a sea of commuters and emerging on the 11th floor of my office as a focused and caffeinated professional. A link in a big chain of massive strides by myself, as a department and as a company.

 

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Working in Financial District, San Francisco

This past week I was so sad about my bloggers. They let me down! Not a single legit post all week. What the heck? Where was my morning dose of happy and pretty? How was I going to ease myself into a Manic Monday without some goods words and  carefully selected pictures from a $1,000 Cannon that could make trash dump look like a trendy day trip location?  Well, my friends, its because they were busy becoming more legit than they already were… if that’s possible? Apparently, I really have a taste for a particular type of writing because all my go-to’s ended up taking some writers retreat and emerging even more soulful, relatable and awesome than before with an emphasis on bearing it all via writing.

Of course, this lead me to question my own writing. I began this blog as a type of documentation for my fashion sketches, meek sewing attempts and a little bit of writing for necessary content. Well, big surprise, it grew into a blog much more about pictures and writing than the aforementioned purpose? Really striking it out with that unique blog, right? ;)

I couldn’t help myself though. These crazy-good writers, they’ve reminded me of the beauty in life’s grey. Writing is a way to dissect and make the hazy things clear. It’s not about being frank – putting a strong divide of this is black and this is white, but a slow unfolding of this is why this makes me think, feel, do this way… maybe that’s what you feel too? They somehow know how to sift through the sand of daily drudgery or stress and find the flecks of gold that make life so clear. Not only do they hit the nail on the head but they seem to articulate it just ever so perfectly so, as a reader, you think, “Yes! This is what I was feeling but I couldn’t think of how to explain it, even to myself!”

I know more than anyone else that it takes a sort of mental clarity to be able to dig that deep in your brain and emotion to really find how you feel and its relevance to your life. It’s a soulfulness that I’m guilty to admit has been lost with the onset of my own life path to adulthood. Regardless of being more hormonal and uber-girly than I care to divulge, I have a tendency to be strangely masculine with my communications. Honest, blunt words feel easy and just flow while I realize that its still not enough. It isn’t digging deep enough to satisfy that itch of getting through, putting words to the sensation. I mean, these writers really now how to make things just sound right. They could be explaining the way the take a shit and I would come out of that post thinking, “Man, that’s exactly right! I need to do that too! It’s the perfect scenario and it sounds amazing! Such good writing!”

All in all, I’ve felt a loud reminder to knock down the laziness or hesitation or “writers block,” to try to dig a little deeper. Maybe it will result in a post like this, maybe I will take 770 words to finally get to what I’m trying to say… Sorry, 12th grade AP English teacher, I’m not getting to the point very well but DGAF this is my blog ;) I wake up every morning trying to defy the reality of the remainder of my day… perhaps my morning routine is actually a better way to get in touch with a whole new level of reality in life… that it isn’t just about the strides but also the reflection.

Gown

Gown

La Family

Hello again. It’s been a while.

Life in the past few weeks has been a bit of a whirlwind and, consequently, blogging has been sitting on the back burner of my brain. I started my new job and had my family  (minus my endearingly travel-adverse dad) visit all in one chunk of time. A nice little blend of comfort and newness. While both of these topics are relatable and relevant, I’ll save the job stuff for another post. Family usually takes precedence in my life and so it should do the same in my blog.

San Francisco

San Francisco

A lot of people say that family doesn’t have to be a blood relative but someone you choose to love. I agree. I have a couple loved ones who have massively surpassed every token moment of friendship or romance and nestled into my heart as a feeling of home. I also recognize that I’m ridiculously lucky to be close to all of my immediate family – my mom, dad and two sisters.

Upon meeting my family, people are either pleasantly surprised or uncomfortable. As one of my friends so perfectly stated, my family has a candid, genuine vibe of closeness that is both alarming to some and relieving to others. It is clearly visible that we love each, value each other, need each other, miss each other… and all at once have zero hesitation to call each other out on our bullshit and  dispel  our venomous discontent with one another.

My Beautiful Mom

My Beautiful Mom

Big Sister

Big Sister

Little Sister

Little Sister

Perhaps this is why I have never kept a filter with others and “played nice” in my relationships when I was truly put off.  I pride myself on being fair and kind but I don’t hold my frustrations inside. I’ve always felt that love and honesty go hand in hand – if you love someone very much and they love you too – those petty little irritations can be brought up with a momentary air of shittiness and settle back into “yeah, but I think you’re the best anyway.”

My big sister, little sister, mom and dad – we’re all different. We all have a very definitive stance on each others strengths and weaknesses (which usually have something to do with one another). While I can complain that my little sister is being too sensitive to my prying, if I hear one of her catty, pre-teen friends dish the same criticism, my inner mother bear will undoubtedly shine.  Same goes for anyone else in my family. Its a beautiful kind of hypocrisy that I’ll never give up. We nag each other and build each other up every single day. The ferocity of my belief in their value is unparalleled. I don’t believe in God and only sometimes believe in fate, but man, someone really did good making us a family. I got lucky and I know it.

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