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Monthly Archives: January 2009

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Starring: Marco, myself & the Ram of Death.

And it was around midnight, I was seriously annoyed and extremely tired. The 2 girls sharing my room were nattering about this & that, preventing me from catching the serious shut-eye I so desired. The place? A boarding school. Location? A time zone other than PST.

Pissed, I climbed into bed, stewing, staring at the night-sky outside of our shared window, wishing they would just shut the hell up. Without warning the inky darkness suddenly turned to eerie daylight, within minutes, shining a whitish-grey light that could only be described as the type of light you would see rimming the heavenly orbs during an eclipse. Shadows seemed longer, leaner, the sunlight was terrifying, promising destruction.

I jumped for the window, tore open the curtains and felt every fibre of my being go rigid. People were filling the streets, screaming, tearing at their hair and skin, crying out, “The sun doesn’t just rise! What’s happening?!! ARMAGEDDON IS NIGH!!”.

Horrified, convinced of certain and total annihilation, all I wanted to do was talk to Marco. Scrambling, I threw my suitcase contents about, desperate to find my cell phone….because surely the apocalypse wouldn’t affect my cellular services. Then I remembered, Marco would be sleeping, I wasn’t in PST, should I wake him & tell him we were all going to die? Would he believe me? I hesitated….of course he would want to know – I had to call!!

I dialed his number, lifted the cell to my ear. He answered, sounding tired and peeved that I would wake him up…he didn’t know what was happening yet!! Before I could start explaining our certain extinction, there was a popping sound. And all sound became null in one mighty vacuous void. I screamed emptiness, ran to the window and looked up to the heavens.

Shimmering into existence for all eyes to see, was the outline of a giant ram. Resembling a hybrid between the common symbolic Ram representative of Aries – crossed with the style of lion found on the flag of Richard the Lionheart. This giant Ram hung, shining in the sky, for about 10 minutes before fading away to nothing.

When the Ram disappeared, all sound came back. I could hear screaming, wailing, cars crashing, buildings burning and everything horrid. But most of all, I could hear my heart beating. We were finished.

And I woke up thinking how weird that I would have seen Aries – when everyone knows that Sagittarius is the harbinger of the end of the universe. Psssh, come on now.

Dreams.

Cityscope – Urban Kaleidoscope by German architect Marco Hemmerling. It is a lighting installation was displayed in cologne, Germany. Dealing with the perception of urban spaces the installation reflects fragmented views on the city and composes a three dimensional image of the surrounding facades. The best part that Cityscope will be illuminated with beautiful lights at night.

cityscope

If you’ve ever dreamed of having an organized and well-stocked closet, along with your own custom lookbook that is readily accessible whenever you need it, here’s the good news is: it’s possible! There are now enough cool new applications online to make it easy and fun to catalog the contents of your closet, put together fun new looks, compile personal lookbooks, create packing lists, and even track what you wore when/where. We’ve compiled a list of all the “tools” you’ll need, plus easy step-by-step instructions. If you invest a bit of time and effort, and you’ll be amazed at the payoff: a formerly out-of-control closet miraculously transformed into a chic cabinet of wardrobe wonders.

THE TOOLS:

  • Hefty bags, a supportive girlfriend…and possibly cocktails
  • Digital Camera or Cameraphone
  • PhotoShop
  • Closet Couture
  • Polyvore
  • Evernote

THE STEPS:

  1. Purge
  2. Shoot
  3. Photo “cleanup”
  4. Create a virtual closet
  5. Make fun outfits
  6. Easy To-Do Lists
  7. Persevere
  8. Stay Streamlined
  9. Gloat

Confessions_of_a_shopaholic_closet

1. THE PURGE Since you’ll be cataloging every – yes, every! – item of clothing you own, you’ll first want to pare down as much as humanly possible. If purging everything all at once seems overwhelming, start with the current season; remove everything that’s out of season, stash it elsewhere, and deal with it another day (see #7). Then get ruthless and repeat after us: if you haven’t worn an item of clothing or a pair of shoes in a year, you’re NOT going to. This item, much as you love it, is actually taking up valuable wardrobe real estate and therefore stressing you out every time you open the closet. If it is really expensive or high-end designer, consign it – we recommend Linda’s Stuff – or sell it yourself on eBay (there is an active market in fancy labels…and we speak from experience). Everything else that you aren’t wearing gets put into the DONATE pile & passed along to the local thrift store. However, because The Purge is easier said than done, we highly recommend recruiting a chic girlfriend to keep the cocktails flowing, stop your spirits from flagging, and most importantly: help you weed without mercy.

Tip: You’re not losing anything by giving it up clothes and footwear you’re not wearing; rather, you’re letting someone else have a chance to use them, and freeing up valuable closet space so it’s only filled with the clothes you love and are actually wearing.

Fashion_clothing_photography_2 2. SHOOT Pull everything that remains from The Purge out of the closet, lay it out on a white sheet or plain background, and snap a digital pic of each individual item. The white background is key so you don’t have to PhotoShop later (see #3) in order to remove a background that distracts from the fabulousness of the items in your lookbook. Alternatively, if you happen to find an item online that looks pretty much like the one in your closet, right-click it and use it instead.

Tip: For your lookbook to look as stylish as possible, steal tips on how to shoot off-figure fashion pix from NET-A-PORTER.com or InStyle.com.

Photoshop_background_removal 3. CLEAN UP YOUR CLOTHING PHOTOS If you end up with a clothing pic that needs the background removed, try PhotoShop. Here’s the quick & dirty 411: Open your picture in PhotoShop, and in the box that appears to the side entitled LAYERS, double-click on the layer titled BACKGROUND; this action turns your photo into a layer. Then click on IMAGE to pull down a menu from which you want to select EXTRACT; alternatively, if you can’t find Extract under Image, click on FILTER and then on EXTRACT. Once the Extract workspace opens up, use the MARKER tool to allow you to outline your garment completely; to change the size of the marker, look on the right under TOOL OPTIONS & change the BRUSH SIZE. To get a closer look at what you’re outlining, magnify the photo with the MAGNIFYING LENS icon, and as you progress with outlining, move the image around with the HAND ICON. Once the garment is completely outlined, click first on the BUCKET icon and then on your outlined garment to “fill” it (ie. extract it). Click OKAY, and you’re done: your outfit is background-free.

Tip: An easy way to remember that you’re looking for the Extract function is that you’re “extracting” your item of clothing from its background. For an additional tutorial on how to remove a background, here’s one we’ve found helpful at PhotoShopCafe.com.

Online_closet_couture 4. PUT YOUR WARDROBE ONLINE Sign up for ClosetCouture.com – this is where you will maintain a virtual version of your wardrobe. It is organized by clothing category – including dresses, tops, knits, and shoes – which makes it a cinch to create your own personal lookbooks. They have a helpful quickie video so you can get started right away uploading your clothing photos.

Online_closet_wardrobe_help 5. MAKE FUN OUTFITS Use the Closet Couture function called Dressing Room to pull items out of your wardrobe and create fabulous outfits. Once you’ve created an ensemble you like, give it a name, and add it to an Album, ie. a lookbook. You can create as many lookbooks as you like – by season, by occasion (cocktails; date; work; travel) or even by clothing item (every possible outfit you can make with your LBD, your red shoes, etc). Have something in your closet you wish you could get more mileage out of? Red_dress_gray_grey_accessories This is where you’ll want to take advantage of Polyvore (Polyvore.com). It’s a community of fashionistas who enjoy nothing more than creating fabulous outfits. You can either make your own like our red dress set at right (we were working on what to pair our new frock with other than tried-and-true black) or find someone else’s outfits that are inspiring. Then do a screen-capture and add to your Inspiration Lookbook using the Closet Couture feature under Albums called Upload Picture.

Tip: Unlike print magazines where fashion editorials are motivated mostly by advertising dollars, Polyvore users simply adore fashion & creating cool outfits. So why not find an item on Polyvore that’s similar to one in your closet, and see what kind of creative outfits the Polyvore users have come up with. You’ll be amazed at the range and variety.

Evernote 6. KEEP A TO-DO LIST As you’re photographing clothing from your wardrobe and putting outfits together, you’ll inevitably think of details you want to remember: get those pants hemmed; fix that loose button; buy a chic navy sweater so you can get more mileage out of that new floral-print dress…which is where Evernote comes in: it’s like having searchable Post-it notes that are accessible online. The trick to making Evernote work is to be diligent as you’re cataloging and organizing your wardrobe: the minute you think of something, make an Evernote of it, and pretty soon, you’ll have a working To Do List of what alterations & fixes you need in your closet, plus a shopping list to fill in any holes. Sign up for free at Evernote.com.

Tip: Unlike the yellow sticky notes we all love in real life, the ones on Evernote aren’t limited by size & you can write as much stuff as you want on each one. Best of all, they’re accessible from any online-ready gadget so you’ll always have your shopping & to-do lists handy, even when you’re away from your computer.

7. PERSEVERE…until every single item of clothing you own is photographed, cataloged, and placed into a Closet Couture lookbook. Even if the entire process takes a few months or more, keep at it until everything in your actual closet has a virtual clone and is in a lookbook.

Dream_organized_closet_3 8. STAY STREAMLINED Once you’ve reached this hard-won point, make it a firm policy that Something New Means Something Goes. If you buy a new dress, one that’s already in your closet needs to go – either donated or consigned. Any new purchases will need to be photographed, added to your virtual wardrobe, and put into one of your lookbooks. Because the real “work” begins once you get your item home, it should help the end mindless recreational shopping that got you in trouble in the first place. The beauty of this approach is that instead of aimless spending, each new purchase will be a stylish, powerful addition to your fashion life.

Tip: If every time you buy something new you get rid of something old, you’ll never again end up with a closet stuffed beyond recognition.

9. ENJOY CLOSET NIRVANA…and by all means, feel free to be annoyingly zen and smug to everyone with regards to your new wardrobe mastery.

– Lesley Scott (http://fashiontribes.typepad.com/fashion/2009/01/organizing-your.html#more)

Starring: Marco, myself, Steve Senyk, Jared, Andrew Hurysz, Mike Muehlherr, Paris Hilton & Nicole Ritchie.

And we were on a hovercraft boat, Andrew at the helm, Marco, Mike & I gripping the ropes along the side of the raft as we flew, quickly, over the clear grassy glades. Destination? To find Steve at this mansion on an island – because Steve had the drugs we wanted. The plan? To pick up & head to the last night of Lollapalooza, followed by an outdoor all-day-night rave the day after. {of course}

The sun was setting in the sky, I would guesstimate it to be around 8pm, summer season…somewhere. The island loomed into sight, impressive, tropical, and beautiful. On the cliff face was a siiiick mansion, jutting out in modern directions, oozing wealth. We’d arrived.

Andrew, Marco & I climbed out of the boat. I turned & scooped up Mike…who for all obvious reasons, was only about 9” tall…about the height of a regular bottle of beer. Anyway, I scooped up Mike & deposited him in my cardigan pocket (deep enough that he could sit down, hold on & peer out as we ventured).

Inside the mansion, everyone was sleeping. Turns out, the owner of this place was some kind of Hollywood kingpin drug lord homosexual. Everyone there was passed out, sleeping off the previous Lollapalooza night’s party destruction. As we went room to room, it was hard not to notice that everyone there was gay, in various states of undress and compromising positions…asleep.

Finally, we came to the last bedroom & found Steve, standing beside a bed, covered in jackets (presumably those of the people passed out everywhere). Jared lay snoring underneath the jacket mountain, oblivious to the weight of stylized fabrics upon him.

Steve gave me a hug, told us he had “the stuff” and asked us to toss our coats onto the Jared-pile; we obliged. At the time, I remember watching Mike remove his teensy weensy leather jacket & it crossed my mind that his jacket may get lost…

As the night progressed, the house came alive. Creepsters, Queens & Skags awoke and started partying it up, pulling on clothing, puffing on joints, snorting up everything in sight, guzzling booze from every filthy glass. Steve offered us some beer, which we gulped enthusiastically. He even had mini-beers for Mike to enjoy.

I put Mike on a shelf-top with his mini-beers, turned around and was disgusted to find Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie had arrived. They were standing on the opposite side of the room, surrounded by a pack of adoring Putos, oozing stupidity. Mike became incredibly nervous, sweating profusely from his every tiny pore. He told me that he wouldn’t (didn’t) know what to say to them, that he didn’t want to talk to them. I assured him that I wouldn’t be talking to the likes of them and not to worry about it. Then I picked him up, greasy with sweat & put him back in my pocket for safe-keeping.

Shortly thereafter Steve announced that it was time to roll & ushered everyone to the Jared-pile to get our jackets. One faux fur by one snakeskin leather, the pile diminished, everyone adorning their outer shells, stumbling off into the night. Jared roused, shook off his twitching & followed suit.

Andrew, myself and Marco pulled on our jackets and then realized that Mike’s little leather jacket was nowhere to be found. Anxiously we split up, looking on, under and around the bed…nothing. We scanned the floors, furniture and every room…that little coat was gone-zo. Mike was devastated. No amount of mini-beer would console him over the loss.

And I woke up thinking I should tell my younger stepbrother, Mike, that he played out as a “little brother” literally in my head. That Steve & Jared would probably find this dream funny. That Marco would listen, as I babbled this out to him. We would probably both wonder why Andrew was in this dream…and who the hell invited Paris and Nicole into my sacred brain space?

Dreams.

pot-safer-than-crack