It's 5.20am, and I'm in the airport en route to Vietnam and Cambodia via a two-night stopover to see my brother (and a very exciting blogger friend!) in Sydney. I got 2 hours sleep last night- this morning?- and due to my sleep deprivation I have already exhibited some bizarre behaviour, so I will keep this short. I will probably update while I'm away, but here are two recent posts I have featured in on other blogs...


100 Things Guest Post on Goodnight Little Spoon

Apparently I have to get on a plane now. Bye! See you later, New Zealand!


Road trip, again

Hi! Firstly I'd like to say thanks to much to everyone who took the time to leave such insightful and awesome comments on my last post, and especially those who sent emails which sparked great conversations. It is really cool to know there are a lot of smart and analytical people reading this blog who think about the same things as I do. All your responses were so valued and valid and awesome.

Second, I just got back from Taranaki and ah it was amazing. I've finished all my papers for this semester, which leaves a 5-week break between handing in my final assignments and the start of my final semester of my degree. So Jack's family kindly flew us to stay with them in rural Taranaki, about 5 hours (by car) north of Wellington. They live in an amazing Art Deco house on a huge orchardy property by the beach, and we were slept upstairs in this funny all-window room that the previous occupants illegally and shoddily built onto the house. His parents think the house is a dump and bought it with the intention of demolishing it asap, but I adore it. It has a green bathtub, leadlight windows, rimu flooring and the most amazing geometric door handles that I regret not photographing. We did nothing at all for 3 days. It was magical. Lots of red wine and chocolate and tamarillos and walks to the beach. And so, so much opshopping. I bought SO MUCH GOOD STUFF, I actually cannot believe it.

Jack's mum is basically my kindred spirit, so no wonder I like him so much. She and I share an immense love of opshopping, preserving fruit, and Kevin McCloud. She somehow knows exactly what I like, and upon arrival I was presented with a Horrockses tropical-print cotton dress, a gorgeous painterly floral blouse, and this perfect sixties banana basket, the likes of which I've lusted over for ages. She sent us back laden with tamarillos and avocados and passionfruit and limes, and also drove us all the way back to Wellington, and we stopped in every thrift store we found on the way. I'd say in the last 4 days I've probably been to around 30 second-hand shops, which is good by me. Here is most of what I got- be warned, there's a ton. Sorry for the mammoth entry.

Modern tea towels suck. I got 7 vintage ones on this trip, as well as 3 aprons, but these two faded Kiwiana ones are my favourites. These were from the New Plymouth Hospice Shop, which was without a doubt the most frantic and chaotic opshop I've ever visited. When I found these I literally clutched them to my chest, as I'd been warned that patrons there have been known to snatch things from other shoppers.

So much yellow! This top is amazing, it's 100% wool and made in New Zealand in the 1950s, and it's 'A May Belle Garment' apparently. It was $2 and is now one of my favourite garments in my whole wardrobe. These 1970s woolen cropped pants were from Savemart, which is undoubtedly the worst chain of opshops in the country. Their prices are ludicrous no matter which city- this one had some old dolls, like the big plastic ones from the 1960s with blinking eyes, for $84.99 each. I can't understand that. But these pants were only $7.

These two were great finds in an opshop in Eltham on the way home- a severed and a whole 1950s dress for $5 each. The dotty one that has been chopped is pretty sad and will have to be hemmed and worn as a blouse, and the pink floral cotton one is just perfect, and fits me well too. So happy with these!

This peach woolen cardigan looks like it's never been worn, and the robot jersey was from the little boys' section of the Sallies in New Plymouth. I often look in the childrens sections at opshops because I am a very little 5'1" or 155 cm, so kids coats and shoes often fit me. The peach lace longline bra was a miraculous find for $1, it's the first I've ever seen in opshops and through some stroke of good luck it fits me absolutely perfectly. It is much comfier than modern ones and gives your bust that excellent conical shape that looks perfect under the fifties mustard tee from up there.

This big smoking fisherman tapestry looks like the guy on the Fisherman's Friend tin, these black t-bar mary janes looked unworn when I got them, and the tooled 1970s leather floral handbag was $1 and I couldn't leave it behind.

Four excellent novelty print fabrics I've acquired recently. The planes and circus are from Trademe, and the waterskiers and whatever the other one is are opshopped on this trip.

Plus lots of things too boring to photograph. Lots more Agee preserving jars for 30c each (including the really old kind with the extra rim around the top! Exciting!) and some 70s Tupperware to keep the mice out of my lentils and belts and misc kitchenware and pillowcases and scarves and a raincoat and things. We also got 3kg of cheese. No regrets. Sorry for the lack of decent outfit posts lately, I will try to remedy this asap.


Heteronormativity 'n' shit

I recently wrote an essay, for an awesome paper I do on gender and sexuality in the media, on heteronormativity and the fetishisation of marriage in the fashion blogosphere. It was possibly the awesomest essay I've ever written, although I'm not gonna reproduce it here because it is full of boring academic references, and also it specifically analyses several prominent bloggers and their treatment of romantic relationships, and I'd feel weird about putting that on the internet. (If you want to read it though, feel free to email me, my address is on our 'about' page.) But god, I've never thought about blogging as seriously as I did while writing that essay. When you step back and take a look at personal style blogging, it's really, really weird. It's such a tight-knit little community, full of awesome people who love and support each other, but sometimes it's not all it's cracked up to be. It seems like fashion blogging in particular just creates its own conventions and norms, parallel to those in mainstream mass media that blogging is so often praised for being able to subvert and overthrow. There are definitely a set of observable patterns to the style blogs with the most readers, and I don't think I need to list them. I sometimes feel shitty and guilty for buying into them without actively making any choices- I am about as normative you can get in terms of the fashion blogosphere. And often when I mention my boyfriend, even just in passing, I feel a strange guilt for reinforcing heteronormativity in fashion blogs. But nobody should be made to feel guilty for being who they are. Including queer bloggers and individuals. Down with heteronormativity!

 One of my absolute favourite bloggers ever, who also happens to be queer, has spoken to me before about how the style blogging world can be isolating for her due to the whole fetishisation of the photographer-boyfriend (or husband) character. And I know she is not the only one. There is an expectation that extremely stylish bloggers will have extremely stylish boyfriends whose photographs and photographs of whom will feature in their posts, who will have an awesome bloggable life full of food that photographs well and an appropriately whimsical home. Marriage is fetishised to a huge extent, and the event itself is turned into a living blog post. And if you are heterosexual, that's great! And if you have an awesome whimsical wedding, that's also great! Power to you! Wedding posts make me cry for some reason! But there is a hazy sort of line where blogging about one's cute life can become isolating and alientating for anyone who doesn't include a heterosexual partner in their blogging routine- because they don't have a heterosexual partner, or because said partner isn't interested in featuring on a blog.

The assumption is made, both in the blogosphere and in any other aspect of life, that an individual is heterosexual and cisgendered until they say otherwise. And to identify as anything other than utterly normative in terms of gender and sexuality requires this whole process of interpellation and subjectification that is kinda ridiculous. I never have to announce myself as a straight person. But because fashion blogging is often intertwined with lifestyle, mentioning 'me and my boyfriend went opshopping today' is totally innocuous. But if a female blogger mentions she and her girlfriend, it's suddenly perceived as political, or making a statement. On a similar note- I found a reading (I've lost it, if you know the author please let me know because I can't remember) that talked about how interesting it was that we've decided the gender of the person you're sleeping with is what is the most important thing about them, or the most important thing about how we have sex. Nobody ever asks 'are you lights-off?', but 'are you gay?'. Somehow this has become SO important, yet so under-represented in the blogosphere. Studies have repeatedly shown (and I can give you sources, if you want) that members of the LGBT community read blogs and participate actively in the internet at a significantly higher level than straight-identifying individuals, so why is the LGBT presence in fashion blogging so weak? And why are there so many engrained conventions that prioritise heterosexual long-term cohabitation as the holy grail of all relationships in the grand hierarchy of what is legitimate and what isn't?

Speaking of heteronormativity, Kristin drew my attention to this post over at IFB about how you should make sure your blog makes you look smart, successful and sexually available, just in case a guy you're going on a date with googles your name. Because that is possibly the most important thing in the world, right? Also, this article assumes the entire audience is straight, and desperately want advice on how to snag and retain a man. Cool. As Kristin said, blogging is meant to be a place where we can represent ourselves however we want without having to think about being objects of the male gaze like women do constantly in other forms of media. Because we are 100% free to construct our own representations of ourselves, our lifestyles and our relationships, we have absolute agency over our identities as women (or non-women), which we should be using to challenge the way we think about fashion, not to make us look like marriage material. Instead of asking yourself if you would say aloud to 'him' what you have just written, reassure yourself that if he was a decent person he would think it's cool that you write about your passion and express yourself through how you dress yourself.

The other day my boyfriend and I were talking about something and he mentioned my blog and I was like 'hey now, you've never even read my blog!' and it suddenly occurred to me why he doesn't care (in the nicest, most caring way possible) about my blog. He sees me and talks to me every day, he sees what I am wearing, asks me where I got that dress, is often with me when I bought said dress. Why would he have any interest in reading it too? He doesn't care what I write about, and I don't think any of my friends, nor my brothers, nor my parents, nor my cousins particularly do either, although they've all read this blog at various times. Also IFB is pretty shit actually, does anyone else agree? I was thinking that perhaps me and some Smashies (you know who you are) and maybe some other awesome feminist bloggers could probably start a pretty good blog for queer and feminist critique of the blogosphere and fashion world, anyone keen?

I can pretend all I want that this blog has potential to be super famous and successful, but I don't have any money, let alone enough to compete with the likes of... y'know. My home will never look like Elsa Billgren's, as much as I would like it to, but we do have awesome space-print curtains we got for a pittance on Trademe and some great paintings and novelty-print pillowcases from opshops. I am utterly content with my life of picking up furniture on the side of the road and freezing half to death in our rickety, over-populated flat, despite its lack of 'mainstream' blog-ability. And I think I might start being a bit more vocal about being an unemployed and very poor student living a very studenty life, because it's one of the very few things that sets me apart from the majority of young professionals in the blogosphere. I don't need to pretend that I have lots of money or quietly gloss over the fact that my savings are rapidly depleting and I am beginning to get anxious about my future, because maybe that's one of the things that could become a bit of a ~selling point~ of my blog entries? I don't know.

Congrats if you have got through all of this. It doesn't really have a thesis statement, just a lot of feelings I have about blogging. I guess this will be my last post for a few days because Jack and I are going to stay with his parents for a while, for another intense runaround of every single opshop in Taranaki and various other districts between there and Wellington. For your time, here are some pictures of my wardrobe rail thing from the other day. I think all the fabrics look so great together.


Musical Happenings

I just got home from a band practice - I'm in a new band with two blonde guys, and I sing, and it's a pretty swell time. Musically, I've always felt like I was too much of a Joni Mitchell (not that I have anything against her, I adore her!) and not enough of a Patti Smith - I always wanted to show a little more anger and be a little crazier on stage and never did. And now I have the opportunity to do that (well, sort of) with a songwriting genius/pedal wizard and a surfing/marathon-running drummer and I had no idea how great it would be. It's all so exciting.

So here we are:

Band logo designed by yours truly.

Liam, Hunter and I performing at the Rockquest heats last weekend (a nationwide band competition for high school students here in NZ) - which we aced, I'm not even going to lie. Photo credit to Frances Martin.

Your support in our ventures into musical territory would be greatly appreciated, no matter what distant part of the world you hail from! You can like our Facebook page here. I would be extremely grateful! We're recording some demos soon so keep an eye out!

On another note, here are a bunch of photos from my Instagram account (my username is typewrite, follow me if you have one too!) involving small details of my recent purchases and day-to-day life over the past few months. Enjoy.
1. dreamcatcher bought in Bali 
2. polka-dot nails that I spent ages doing - OPI Skull & Glossbones and misc cheap black polish
3. a new addition to my Popular Penguin collection and my lovely Bedrock Bones bracelet and  hairbone that I purchased from ONCE'IT 
4. my awesome Demonia creepers
5. the AMAZING Commes Des Garçons PLAY sweater I thrifted for NZ$8!
6. a flyer stuck on a carpark sign
7. the beautiful last days of autumn in the area I recently moved to
8. my Balinese canopy and new bed in my new bedroom
9. sunset in our broken and deconstructed city
10. adorable lacy bloomers that my mother brought back for me from Kitten D'Amour in Australia!

And to finish, here's a shameless self-portrait that I snapped before Rockquest on Sunday. Until next time, lovely followers!

(P.S. I'm publishing this a day late because the internet stopped working last night - today it snowed all day so I'll post some pictures from that tomorrow!)
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