Redwood Black Dog Zine Now Available!

DSC_0012

Redwood Black Dog is now available for purchase! You can buy it in two places:

1. The Poetry Shop page here on this blog
2. My new Etsy shop, Fox & Redwood

I’m really excited about this first step into the world of zinemaking, so I do hope you give my little zine a try.

Writing this was hard, and releasing it into the wild today is both terrifying and exciting. The prose I wrote in this little zine is very personal. It goes over a lot of the feelings and experiences I’ve had while dealing with depression and anxiety, especially over the past couple of years.

The whole process of writing and releasing this zine has actually been a positive force in my life. While it’s scary to be this vulnerable in a public space, I feel proud of my work, and happy I got to collaborate with my dear friend Alex Nazar, who did all the artwork.

Whether you’re struggling yourself or just want to gain a little insight into this kind of experience, please do get a copy of my zine. I put a lot of love into it so I could try to reach out to others.

Sneak Peek: New Zine A-Comin’!

BlackDogandRedwoodCover

COMING 1/19/2016!

I’m releasing my first zine next week! I’m really excited to share this labor of love with you all. It will be available on Etsy, and that link will come on 1/19 when the shop is all ready to go.

First I wanted to share the cover art with you all. It’s by a very close friend of mine, Alex Nazar, my big-haired sister who I met when we were young lasses of 14. She currently lives in Denmark, making beautiful art and being incredibly cool. She even did lots of illustrations for the inside of the zine, which you’ll have to see once you get a copy.

This zine is made up of two personal essays/accounts of my experience with depression, anxiety, and finding self-love. I guess this is the first time I’ve said it in a public space, but I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for many years, and I know very well that feeling like somebody understands can make all the difference in the world for someone who’s depressed. That’s what I want this zine to do; help others feel understood.

For those of you who were at the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fair this December, I did a soft launch of this zine that day. Maybe it’s the punk in me, but I love the zine scene. I read some great zines telling stories I had previously knew little to nothing about. And that’s what I love. Learning new things. Understanding different life experiences.

I plan on making more zines in the near future, with even more collaboration from fellow artists. But for now, the debut zine is coming out on 1/19, so remember to pick up a copy!

Whirlwind

DSC_1895-001

DSC_1906-001

DSC_1907-001

DSC_1890-001

I just discovered this really great artist/beader on Etsy who I must tell you about. His name is Denton Fast Whirlwind, and he’s from the Oglala Lakota Tribe. I recently gave myself a Treat Yo Self day and bought one of his beautiful beaded rope necklaces, pictured here. I’m totally enamored with his work. His beading technique is perfect. Not only does he make super high quality necklaces, but his color combinations are gorgeous too. I’m always a big fan of turquoise/red/orange/yellow with brown or black accents, so of course I had to choose this one. The iridescent brown looks fantastic. The whole piece is bright and sunny, and pairs perfectly with my black and red winter uniform: black cropped sweater, uber-high-waisted red skinny jeans, and of course Doc Martens 1460s.

Check out Denton’s Etsy shop and artist website here.

Denton sends a certificate of authenticity with every purchase, so you know you’re directly supporting a rad Oglala Lakota artist. Etsy is so full of Native appropriation that it’s always good to know where to find the real Native artists.

On an unrelated note, can I just say how liberating it feels to not photoshop my acne out of photos anymore? Learning to accept my skin has really changed my life for the better. I don’t know if I’ve said it on my blog yet, but I thank you to everyone who shared their stories and support back in October when I published my post about living with adult acne. It was so wonderful to hear all your different perspectives, and I hope my post helped you all as much as you all helped me.

Waxing Moon

DSC_1910-002

The first time I wore this beautiful wax printed skirt from Continent Clothing, I was in San Francisco, waiting in line for the commuter ferry. I was working in my sketchbook when, out of nowhere, the guy behind me asked, “Excuse me, is that an African fabric?” First time wearing this skirt, and someone already recognized it was an African piece!

I told him it was from the Gambia. We had a nice conversation about African waxprints, and how we wish we saw more of them in the Bay Area. He told me he was originally from South Africa, and how deep down, he’d love to start a business where he could bring South African clothing to the US and pay the tailors he buys from a living wage. I told him that’s how I came upon this skirt—Continent Clothing sources all their clothing from their team of tailors in Gambia and sells them online and at their brick-and-mortar shops in England. (British readers: they have a flagship shop in Reading and a permanent stall at Camden Lock…definitely check them out!)

It was so cool how a simple skirt could start such a pleasant conversation. I’m always guarded when random guys telling me they like what I’m wearing, because it can get really uncomfortable really quickly. But that wasn’t the nature of this conversation. This guy just wanted to say the fabric was great, and that it had meaning to him. Those are the kind of random conversations I like having!

Sweaters and Statements

DSC_1866-001

DSC_1878-001

DSC_1859-001

It’s time to break out the cold weather clothing again. That means all black all the time, with a few splashes of autumn color here and there. This outfit is definitely inspired by my punk days, but I’ve simplified and updated it to be more reflective of how I express myself today.

This gorgeous beaded necklace comes from an artist from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation. It’s totally stunning. Really intricate, skillful beadwork with a lovely, warm color scheme. My obsession with authentic Native beading has made me build outfits around statement jewelry recently. And this necklace really makes a great statement. When somebody works that hard to make a piece of jewelry so beautiful, I feel compelled to dial back the rest of my outfit to make the jewelry stand out.

I’m also really happy with this pair of Dr. Martens shoes that recently came into my possession. They’re a one-eye style with a pointed toe. I’ve paired them with bright red corgi socks for this outfit, because for some reason I feel like they call for socks that really stand out. I’m currently in the painful breaking-in process, which I’ve been through before with my 1460s, but it feels a bit different with this style. There’s no raw leather rubbing up against my heel; there’s a hard edge doing it instead. So it’s a different kind of pain—a pain that any Dr. Martens lover will know is totally worth it once the leather softens.

DSC_1884-001

DSC_1887-001

DSC_1881-001

Librarian Chic

DSC_1858

DSC_1857

Today I’m serving librarian realness, because I have this outfit made almost entirely of ModCloth label items that I think visually captures my inherent bookishness. And it feels perfect for Fall, should the weather ever truly get cold.

While I own both a huge library of books and a Kindle (I do believe the two can coexist peacefully), I will always prefer a real book to an ebook. Real books are tangible and they smell good. I prefer spending time in bookstores to shopping online, I focus better when I’m looking at paper rather than a screen, and let’s face it, one of the biggest things physical media has over digital is that it’s just way more beautiful. But these aren’t the only reasons I love physical books. It’s also because the vintage lover in me has a thing for collecting old, loved, worn-out printings of classic literature.

DSC_1844

Take this 19th century collection of Longfellow’s poetry. It has a handsome, smooth fabric cover, gold leaf pages, and gold embossing. Who wouldn’t want a cool book like this sitting on their bookshelf? With an ebook, you can enjoy what you’re reading, but you can’t have the experience of reading from a single copy that has a history that’s completely unknown to you. There’s a mystique there that digital just can’t capture.

And just this weekend I picked up a 100-year-old library-bound copy of Joseph Conrad’s The Shadow Line at a used bookshop for only $9, which has me very excited. Library-bound books are always heartier, so I’m not as afraid of the pages falling out when I read it, unlike this Longfellow book or my 1888 collection of Poe’s work. I have to be extra careful with those ones.

While I totally see the benefits of ebooks (they’re great for people with vision problems, they allow people to own thousands of free copies of public domain works rather than borrowing them from the library, etc.) I’m a print book nerd for life, and I’m confident that print will survive. I know a lot of my fellow book lovers are afraid digital is going to destroy print forever, but with the way book publishers have adapted in the rise of ebooks (most notably being the trend of drop-dead gorgeous decorative binding a lot of publishers are doing nowadays), I think those of us who like to turn real pages—or put our noses into the book’s gutter and take a whiff of that lovely paper and ink smell—will still have bookshops and libraries to go to for a long time.

DSC_1843

DSC_1833

Cardigan: ModCloth
Top: ModCloth
Skirt: ModCloth
Bracelet: Handmade by a Jemez Pueblo artist
Shoes: Old

My Own Skin

DSC_1833

I’ve been wearing less makeup in my everyday life, and that’s a good thing for me right now. Today I’m posting totally unedited, completely makeup-free photos of my face. It’s something I need to do.

When a woman posts a photo of herself on social media without makeup, it’s supposed to be an empowering act. It’s about baring your bare face to the world. It’s supposed to be an exercise in self-love. And that’s wonderful. But unfortunately, it’s an act of empowerment that, in its current practice, isn’t as inclusive as it could be, because of society’s general views on what constitutes “beautiful” skin. For the past few years, I’ve wanted so badly to feel like I could go out in public without makeup on, or do an outfit post without wearing concealer. However, I’ve been dealing with chronic adult acne; something that our culture implores us to get rid of or cover up.

When you have acne, you live a life where you’re always trying to hide your face, and that really sucks. You become hyper aware of the fact that when a woman with clear skin posts a makeup-free photo for everyone to see, she’s more likely to get positive feedback than if a woman whose complexion isn’t as clear did the same exact thing. Because we’re bombarded with the idea that clear skin is what’s beautiful, and anything else is unsightly.

That’s the word I most often hear associated with acne: “unsightly.” It’s bound to make anyone who has it feel hideous.

But why should those of us with “problem skin” feel hideous? Just because we don’t have a naturally clear, even complexion? Should I be ashamed because I now don’t cover my entire face in concealer and foundation (which only inflames my skin more)? Hell to the no. I’m going to believe I’m beautiful. I’m going to know I’m beautiful. I don’t need messed up beauty standards telling me otherwise.

DSC_1834

My acne is hereditary and hormonal. Believe me, it has nothing to do with how often I wash my face or my bedding, or from what I eat. And I think that’s true for a lot of people. Only recently have I found a treatment that actually works for me, and it was recommended to me by another person with acne, rather than someone who only has to deal with the occasional pimple. And it has helped significantly. That’s why I feel safe posting these unedited photos today, fading scars and all—because my skin has actually improved. I would have never dreamed of doing this even a month ago because it would have been too scary for me. I wasn’t ready. And it’s unfortunate that I felt that way, because I shouldn’t feel ashamed of my skin. But I still have some spots showing, and I’m not covering them up.

I recently read a great zine from Craft or DIY about the importance of including skin conditions into the body acceptance movement. It’s a great read, and very relatable for me personally. I wish I had read this when my acne was worse—it would have made me feel so much better—but it still helps even now that the scars are slowly fading. It’s what inspired me to finally post these makeup-free photos.

For many people, acne is just something you deal with when you’re a teenager, then afterward you get to enjoy a relatively acne-free adulthood. Apparently this isn’t how my life worked out.

And you know what? That’s okay. I’m learning to finally be happy in my own skin and love myself, acne and scars and all.

DSC_1836

Appreciation

DSC_1798

DSC_1823

DSC_1831

In today’s post, I’d like to show my appreciation for the local Native artists who made the beautiful pieces of jewelry in these photos. I recently attended a cultural event put on by the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, where I purchased most of these pieces of beaded jewelry from local Pomo artists. The aquamarine-colored necklace and earrings look like they’re part of a set, but they were actually made by two different artists, and I love wearing them together. I also really like the red, black, and white beaded loop earrings, which look great with all my black clothes (I have lots) and bright turquoise stones.

Ever since I was a kid, I have received inconsistent education on our continent’s indigenous peoples. I was fed the whitewashed Thanksgiving stories and problematic depictions of Native Americans all throughout my youth, and I got very little information on what tribal life is like today. But I also had a lot of local tribal education as a kid, learning extensively about the local Miwok and Pomo people. And of course as a teenager I finally got to learn the real, totally awful Thanksgiving/Columbus stories. So while the seeds for indigenous appreciation were sown early on, I didn’t have enough resources to truly know what it means to be a good ally, or to tell the difference between cultural appreciation and appropriation.

In this recent wave of indigenous appropriation and corporate commercialization of native aesthetics, there has been a ton of information available on what appropriation is and isn’t, and how to truly appreciate Native American cultures without appropriating. Native AppropriationsEveryday Feminism, and Jezebel all are great resources on how to show your respect and honor this continent’s native people.

DSC_1819

DSC_1803

Buying arts and crafts directly from Native artists is an awesome way to respectfully incorporate Native culture in your everyday life. Brush up on the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 so you can know what to look for when searching for authentic Native-made goods. Or just head over to Beyond Buckskin Boutique and behold the incredible beauty of their gorgeous Native-made jewelry and incredibly cool, modern clothing.

One of the best parts of buying from actual Native artists is making that human connection. Meeting talented artists and supporting their craft is really important, and that’s true for people of any cultural background. When I buy items from outside my culture, I want to buy them from somebody of that culture. It seems only right.

DSC_1828

DSC_1825

The only links I’m able to give for the jewelry shown are White Buffalo for the turquoise stone necklace and Mitla Moda for the beaded bracelet. Unfortunately I don’t have any information on the artists I met who made the beaded earrings and abalone necklace. But what I can say about them is that they were really talented people and I really enjoyed talking to them and learning about their work. The woman who made the aquamarine-colored beaded earrings was selling alongside her sister, and they had me laughing the whole time with all their quick back-and-forth jokes. And the abalone necklace was sold to me by a sweet elderly woman whose beading is delicate and colorful. She told me she would be selling more around Christmastime at a Native market in Santa Rosa. I want to find out when this is so I can see more of her work!

Being a good ally means constant learning, listening, and growing. No ally is perfect. But making an effort to show true respect for other cultures, and learning to take criticism and learn from our experiences when we screw up, is important in good allyship.

The Jezebel link I posted above has great information on the 3 S’s to consider when buying Native goods (Source, Significance/Sacredness, and Similarity). I’ll post it again right here so you don’t have to scroll back up to find it.

Easy Breezy

DSC_1774

DSC_1785

DSC_1784

Top: Mitla Moda / Skirt: H&M / Necklace: Matr Boomie / Earrings: Greenola Style / Left wrist bracelet: Mitla Moda / Right wrist bracelets: various / Boots: Dr. Martens / Shoes: Alegria

I have to give some love to Mitla Moda this instant. I just got this black and red cotton top from them in the mail and it is the coolest. It’s hand-woven and fairly traded from Mexico. The top is breezy and billowy in all the best ways, and below the waist is all elastic smocking, so it fits perfectly under skirts. I want to try this style out with a pencil skirt too, or maybe some high waisted jeans. It’s made from a heavy cotton of beautiful quality, so it works great for all seasons.

(Though I don’t believe any clothing of any kind has been appropriate for this recent 100-degree heat. El Nino can’t come soon enough!)

Each piece of clothing Mitla Moda sells is hand-woven by masterful indigenous weavers in Oaxaca and procured through fair trade practices. You can truly see the love and skill in each stitch. Right now I’m totally coveting their Chickadee crop tops (they come in both black and white with embroidery in a whole rainbow of colors).

When I was taking these photos, I had a hard time choosing between my red mary janes and my Doc Martens, so I took photos with both (as you can see above). As long as this heat keeps hitting California, I’ll wear this outfit with the red mary janes, but once things start cooling down, it will be Doc Martens all day every day. With cute tights.

And of course, no outfit post is complete without an Odo outtake, right?

DSC_1768

Monarchs, Bluebells, and Goldfish

DSC_1750

My aunt Mary is rad. She takes naturally to the art of creating beautiful things, from crafts to baked goods and everything in-between. I’ve always loved and respected my aunt for her hard work and artistic skill, which shows in everything she makes. The list of things she’s excellent at is a long one, but I wanted to focus on one thing she’s been working on over the past few years that has really blown me (and the rest of the family) out of the water: clay bead making. She creates her own designs, molds them, stretches them, cures them, and cuts them all by hand. The results are stunning, and so intricate they appear hand-painted. I have quite a few pairs of her handmade clay earrings now, and I always get compliments every time I wear them. I wanted to show you all a few of her designs, because they’re just so beautiful and I believe the world needs to see them. You can see details of each of the pairs in the photo above, which is helpful for the goldfish design (the itty-bitty ones also pictured about seven photos down).

DSC_1727-001

DSC_1728-001

DSC_1730-001

My aunt has been doing the monarch butterfly wing design for a while, and I think it may be my favorite. I get tons of compliments any time I wear any of her monarch designs. They’re just so lovely!

DSC_1709-001

DSC_1711-001

DSC_1713-001

These purple flowers are some of her newer designs. I love how they hang as if they’re wet with rain, and they go so beautifully with my purple Greenola Style acai seed choker. I’m starting to think purple may be my color.

DSC_1741-001

You can see these much better in the first photo of this post, but these are the adorable little goldfish earrings. They’re such a cute addition to any summer outfit. The design is just so simple and cheery!

DSC_1706-001

DSC_1707-001

These are some blue feathers she designed a while ago. They’re very fun to wear, and while I can attest that they look amazing with a short haircut, I bet they’d look really beautiful with long hair too.

DSC_1716-001

DSC_1718-001

DSC_1723-001

This design reminds me of a mandala. I love how these pair with a choker, but they’re so intricate that they stand alone as statement earrings as well.

Clearly my aunt is a super badass at making beautiful jewelry. She doesn’t have a web presence yet, but if any of you are interested in her stuff, leave a comment here with your email address, or direct message me on Twitter @unpetitfauve, or email unpetitfauve [at] gmail [dot] com and I can help!