Finally, a ray of sunshine. These have been long, dark, cloudy weeks. Many days that blurred into each other… But time has passed, for better and for worse. I’m older, my hair has grown and my eyes probably have more wrinkles from fiddling for hours and hours in front of a screen (or multiple screens tbh). So spring has come, and the days are longer and they are, slowly, getting warmer too. When I get the chance to get out, I’ll be able to enjoy it so much more intensely. And I’m dying for that moment to come.
So this is the good news. Meanwhile, the swallows have arrived, the flowers are blooming, the weeds are growing so tall from all these rainy moody days. All green and ready for us to get out there and enjoy it. I hope we’ll get our kind of normal lives back soon and I hope I’ll have learnt what I want more of, what I want less of and mostly how to keep making the most of my life. And wish you have too.
As this unpredicted but not so unexpected event caused by COVID-19 has us all experiencing all kind of emotions, from home and away from home, like grounded adults, I’m coming back to share my favourite explorations of the first months of this year 2020.
You’ll find it’s a very “fashion”-able post, but your girl has some interests that must be shared. At the end, as usual, some of my favourite techy/geeky and random stuff.
Let’s dive into the fashion world!
You may recall that I mentioned I was reading a biography about Diana Vreeland – Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland – , the great and famous Vogue editor (let’s say a predecessor of the more known today Anne Wintour) when I started exploring more of the fashion world on my reading. I’m not a great fan of Vogue magazine – or any fashion magazine, for that matter – as there’s so much marketing on them… But I do enjoy the photography and essays they publish.So, from time to time, I do explore them. Now, reading about the life of Vreeland makes it a lot more interesting. And by the way, she started at Haper’s Bazaar.
There’s actually a lot of fashion history in those pages and I would totally recommend it to anyone interested in the fashion of the last century. At least for other folks that aren’t yet so familiar with the origins of the great fashion brands of today, but also those interested in fashion communication and how this world came to be how we know it. From the Parisian Haute-couture to today’s fashion walks. I’m pending to read her autobiography though! Looking forward to it.
Now, there’s a lot that I got from Vreeland in that book which goes beyond fashion. It is her philosophy in life and how deeply she believed that one can make herself up – that really stands out for me. We are not what we’ve been told we are, but who we believe we can be. That’s a great power, my dears. And you’ll see how she made herself up if you read the book 😉
Wanna know more about fashion brands and keep reading? Well, there are two more books on my shelf that have been entertaining me for a while.
Always in Fashion: From Clerk to CEO — Lessons for Success in Business and in Life. Kind of a memoir of a man who started out as a designer and built his way up to LVMH (you know, the luxury group to which Louis Vuitton and so many other brands belong to. My key take-away? His philosophy too, the passion he put in his every role, the drive to learn, become better and make the business work, not as a way to only get personal profit but to make the company and one’s work greater. There’s much more to learn in the book though, as there are plenty of behind the scenes in the fashion industry, closer to our days than those in the Vreeland biography.
Third, the book I’m reading right now,The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever . This book does go brand by brand, which is sooo …. nice? It feels very educational while still entertaining, as it analyses the big names in fashion, the luxury brands, how they came to be and where they are headed, while going from designer to designer. I still have a long way to go before I finish this book, so I may add some new thoughts on it in the future.
So, now that I’m so deep into the fashion world… Let me add another recommendation – The Coursera course created by the MOMA which is called Fashion as Design. It’s a very different approach to fashion from the books above. Instead of focusing so much on the big names and shiny brands, it talks pure fashion. The design, the purpose… They explore different themes during the course, while teaching about different clothes and why they are how they are. It’s a must even if you are not interested in fashion (as seen in the media) if you like the design side of things. I totally loved the approach of those lessons and it’s a way to understand fashion that aligns better with my own vision.
Something else. Did you know that there’s a TV program showcasing what’s inside the V&A Museum (Victoria’s & Albert Museum in London)? Well, it started some weeks ago on BBC2 and it’s quite interesting. It shows the work of the museum focusing on various pieces of different kinds in each episode ( p.e. jewellery – painting – costume). It’s called The Secrets of The Museum and you can watch it here (if you’re not in the UK you may want to use a VPN – keep scrolling down, I’ll talk about it later).
Now, let’s travel!
So, not really. You know why, the whole world knows. BUT. If you need a moment to get your mind off everything and fill the weekend with some new, different memories… well, there are a thousand things you could do. The want I’d like to check on today, though, is… VR travelling!
The world is going digital (ughh… hello black mirror nightmares), so there are lots of digital alternatives to anything right now. From the digital online fashion shows to Google earth in VR to shopping in 3d scenarios . Check out this recent article by the Independent about places you could visit digitally that I recently found (or this other one). And I’m quite sure there are many, many more similar opportunities. Think of any museum you’ve ever wanted to visit and look at their website for digital tours and exhibitions. Think about it: sometimes, even just a well structured article to be read on the sofa could be better than 4 hours of standing in front of pieces and looking for the small captions. At least, you can get some previous knowledge about the great pieces in display. For example, I found that the museums of Edinburgh have this Mode article in which to discover 30 pieces of fashion – and you can see them in 180º!
Another possibility is to check the outdoors online, and not only by a webcam – which is not such a bad option after a whole week spent looking through the same window to a boring view – but you can go on a dreamy vacation instead. Not a bad way to visualize a future destination, right? It’s as easy as going to Youtube and searching for “virtual tour” of your destination of choice. Or let the suggestions get on the way and visit things like “The Titanic” or a million dollar home. Would you like to fly over a particular place ? We can do that too! See! And this! What about entering the worlds of Dali?
Just found my place on Youtube now. I’ll be spending all my remaining internet data here. I’m doomed.
Let’s get techie!
Lately, everywhere on the internet there are references and ads about VPNs. They are important to surf more safely, adding a layer of privacy, to access sites restricted by geography, trick apps and games that depend on your location and even recommended if you download software in not a very legal way.
I personally feel very much against the restrictions of location. The internet is a door to the whole world, from my point of view, and I have always loved it for that. Finding I can’t read articles or watch a video because I live in Europe terribly disappoints, so sometimes I use Windscribe. It’s free up to 2gb with an account, no credit card needed. I had used Tor in the past as a way to navigate privately, but it’s a browser and it changes the experience. As you see, I have no experience in VPNs but if you don’t need much, that one can be useful. I also downloaded an app for my phone, which I haven’t used really but looks fine enough : it’s Tunnel Bear, also free for about 500 mb and options to get more by sharing the app (or upgrading).
If you’ve seen my post My commitment to creativity in these lock-down days, you may remember that the first day I had a break down with my computer. I had to erase the whole hard drive and so I lost all my apps. As a consequence, I had to quickly get the ones I needed the most to start working. So when it comes to 3D software, I went straight for Blender. I had been using other apps, but it’s been a while anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t be so bad to use Blender. By the way, they have now plenty of lives everyday in here.
Well, it has surprised me in a very good way. The first time I used Blender I may have been 14 years old, maybe a bit older. I remember having the instructions printed at home for ages. I never followed all of them. I like modeling and 3D scenarios but I’ve never given it enough time to learn them. Now, I do intend to be able to do some basic things, as I have a purpose on mind. Blender has improved so much since then! And it’s free and there are plenty of resources and tutorials about it. I’ll show you how I’m planning to use it soon!
Now that we are spending so much time at home, working from home, what about monitoring the time you spend on your computer? I recently installed RescueTime, so I can get a register of the hours I’m on the computer. Not that I needed to know what I’ve done and what I haven’t, but it’s nice to see it in graphics and numbers. I’m a very visual person, so it helps me to know I have to focus. And it clearly states I spend too much time on Firefox. Maybe I’m blogging too much??
Oh my girl! I’m dying to watch these documentaries : “5 Design World Documentaries to Stream For Free” ! I’ve seen “Helvetica”, of course, but I just wish I got more time to kill (and more gb of Internet). Now that I’m thinking about it, I still have some episodes of Abstract to watch… 😁
You know, where there’s change, or where there’s a problem, there’s an opportunity.
And even though I hate being forced to be kept at home, I may not deny that these days could be really productive if I do things well. But they should be fun as well.
So I’m doing this mini-challenge of dressing up everyday as if I was going to work and sharing it – and hopefully it won’t be just another selfie post for Instagram.
Is that vanity? Is that a waste of time? I like to think that I’m practicing some skills : I’m styling, I’m making aesthetic decisions, I’m getting practice with my new camera, getting comfortable with how I look and the act of sharing it. And I love when clothing reflects how you feel inside!
Is this all?
Hahaha nop. I have plenty of creative projects waiting for my attention. And a lot of resources to check up, and actual work. But you know what, as I can’t pursue a balance in life (no meeting with people, no swimming, no surfing, no running, no biking, no beach time…) I may try at least to juggle different kinds of projects that can help me hone my skills. In this way, even if I don’t accomplish and finish all my projects, I will have improved myself!
What’s the point, if nobody sees it?
Would you dress up if no one could see you? In the past, I wouldn’t. When the days come and go and nothing changes, it’s easy to lose motivation (for anything) as there is no compensation waiting for you in a foreseeable future. Although, guess what? There will never be. The motivation that you need is knowing that in the future you’ll be a better version of yourself because you did what you thought you had to do. You decided it, you struggled in its pursuit but you did it, even if some days you failed. You progressed, you made an effort, and that’s what really counts. Even if nobody sees it. You know it. Every past experience adds up to who you are becoming, even if it doesn’t show.
While staying home these days, nobody sees us if we don’t show up on social media (or personal messaging / calls / DMs). But we still decide how to do it. Will you be sharing this exceptional meal you’ve just cooked? Will you be showing your past vacations? Or will you enjoy this time on your own to do the work that is never shown? Like the household duties, the studying, the listening to your own desires?
We have temporarily lost the freedom to go out, but we have won the freedom to stay in, to stay invisible, to do our own without asking for permission or approval. Let’s take advantage of that. And let’s keep our minds sane.
To Be Updated – daily
This weekend had a special feeling. Like time has been paused, like there was more silence in the world (probably there was). This is the start of some weeks that will be different. Trying to be positive here, but I already liked how weeks were. With no outdoor activities to do, it’s time to be creative and do more of the indoors stuff. But…
It’s never a good day when you start it by having to erase the hard-drive of your computer. So I got a busy techy day, trying to make my Macbook come back to its full functionality. But no time is ever wasted, so I cleaned my car 😛
I spent sometime too dreaming up this fantasy like scenario, peacefully playing with a typewriter, worrying about nothing else than the letters on the paper…
But on these calm days, I feel everything but peace…
You know what? I’ve been wanting to wear this blazer since the day I got it. So, I thought, well, as it doesn’t seem as if I’m gonna have the opportunity right away, why don’t just wear it today? So yes, I loved working from home with this on. Why wear pajamas when you can look busy-chic?
Chose to show up on a quite cold and sad Wednesday in pink and black, heavy textured items. Maybe too much of a soft look for such a moody day. Wanted to bring in some light, but only got new shadows (did you get it ;)?
Did I see the light? There actually was a window of time during midday when the sun finally shone in the sky. Then, it actually rained. When Thursday arrives, I always feel like the week passed by too quickly. It was no exception. I woke up with a firm intention though, that even if I’m not gonna be on fire all the time these days I’ll be making an effort to try to change my scattered self to a focused one. I’m well-known in my circles for always being over the place, I like so many things that I’m always pursuing multiple interests at the same time. It’s a great way to have a broad view of the world but also a good one for not going deep into anything. Now, it may take me a while to learn how to stop the multitasking, the multi-interesting thing, however, I must start at some point.
And because I woke up full of energy, I got myself my brown ankle boots, a pair of shorts with hose and a jersey to be comfy and casual. Ready for my tea party with my zoom friends. But where’s the booze?
There’s been moments of sunshine, so we can say the week has improved! Apart from that, though…
Let me take a break and reflect. The weekend calls for time away from the week routine, even in these lock-down days. I’d like to be able to embrace it like any other day and spend many hours on my computer, but, after being used to using the weekends for doing very different things, it’s not easy to not to do so. And yes, I skipped this commitment for the whole weekend. How embarrassing… Well, not really. Saturday was for exercising, cleaning, watching a movie and doing some crafts. Sunday was for sleeping until late -it seems I needed it, as I didn’t hear the alarm go off- cooking, painting and a bit of computer projects. I could have shared my go-to-gym clothes, but… Better days will come.
Do you know something I really love about working from an office, with set hours? You can’t get bothered with tasks that are not part of the job, no personal life or personal projects coming in. Time is completely blocked. That’s something I rarely get at home. Part of it is my fault, but it’s just easier for anyone or anything to take your attention away, especially when you don’t live alone. I honestly have a great admiration for parents and the like who manage to work from home. I should find my situation so easy!
But anyways, today I’m showing up again! Got the comfiest pants in the world, super-stretchy black corduroy plus the basic black blazer. And heels. Because you get a better view of the week over heels. 😛 Pink sweater underneath.
And guess what? Today snowed. 🤦♀️
On other news, I decided that today’s the last update for this post. I may keep on with something similar (probably a Me-Made-May article) but won’t be updating it everyday. Let’s see if I can create less quantity and more quality for the next edition. Also, doing tasks in bulks is more productive and I have to focus, so… See you at the end of the week!