Fashion, Paper, and Femininity: Isabelle de Borchgrave

While studying art & culture in London in 2014, I spent an amazing day at Tate Modern and came across a poster so sarcastic, I thought it was serious at first. The poster, created by Guerrilla Feminism, is called "The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist." I bought it for my best friend & woman artist, Shelby Kay. A great deal of Guerrilla Feminism's work focuses on women in the fine arts, the limited recognition they receive, and the exploitation of female bodies in the arts (see: "Do Women Have to Be Naked to Get Into the Met. Museum?"). So when I saw there was an entire exhibit at The Four Arts Society dedicated to female artist, Isabelle de Borchgrave, I jumped at the opportunity to support a fellow woman in the arts. 

Isabelle de Borchgrave is a female artist famous for recreating historic garments and costumes with mind-boggling accuracy and attention to detail. Even more astounding is that these recreations of hers are made entirely out of PAPER and trampleoi. Her collection, Fashioning Art from Paper, is currently on tour in the U.S. Click here to find out where it'll be next and scroll through my favorite works below.

 

 

5 Self Care Steps You Should Take Right Now

Happy Sunday, Fab Feminists!

I wanted to share something that I've been practicing when I feel like my life is running me and not the other way around: treating the five senses. I've found that if I take a couple minutes to focus on the needs of each of my senses, it takes me out of my stress-bubble and allows me  to ground myself quickly and effectively. Do one activity for each sense in whatever order you feel like! Combine them into one activity if you want, but make sure to spend equal time engaging each sensation.


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Eau, My! A Perfect Day at the Eau Spa.

The Eau Resort and Spa has been on my bucket list for ages and this month, I finally treated myself to a day of indulgence. My workload is pretty seasonal, so after flying by the seat of my pants for the past six months, I was ready to take a day off and lounge around. Plus, now that summer's arrived and the snowbirds are gone, I can take advantage of some of the perks (read: killer discounts) that come with being a WPB local. 

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How I Cut Back On Avocado Toast

 
 

This piece has been revised and improved since its original posting on May 25, 2017.

Let me just say right now, right here: I have never eaten avocado toast. I don't even BUY avocados because every time I BUY an avocado, it's not ripe enough to eat and it spoils before I realize it's edible. I have a mountain of student debt that eats up a couple hundred dollars of my income every month. I live in a city where millennials live with their parents at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country. Only at 25 did I become financially independent for the first time in my life.

The 'Avocado Toast' Philosophy, in case you don't remember, was first presented by Tim Gurner on 60 Minutes while preaching to millennials about how to buy a house, as if frivolity was the only reason we can't afford to go hundreds of thousands further in debt. Taken as a blanket statement, it oversimplifies the problem and vilifies the millennial. We live in such a polar society (it's absolute absurdity that we can't all accept that trans folks deserve respect and acceptance, people with vaginas deserve access to whatever birth control they want, the patriarchy damages everyone, and children deserve access to a good education/the fact that school funding comes from property tax is a CLASSIST IN ITS VERY NATURE. But I digress) but if we consider that there could be some truth to the statement that millennials spend frivolously, we can begin to examine where we ourselves might be spending money where we don't have to. Hear me out.

We have grown up with access to the internet. We lived pre-Great Recession and are notoriously nostalgic. We LOOOOOOOVE brunch. We know what it's like to have shitty prospects and want to live in the present moment. None of these things are our fault, but it couldn't hurt to take a second to consider how they affect our decisions now, right?  Asking ourselves, "Where's the toast?" and, "How can I eliminate the excess in my own life in order to feel more fulfilled?" can mean the difference between financial independence and paycheck to paycheck.

SO! Where to start? Take a good, hard look at the stuff you mindlessly impulse purchase. Meals out, cell phone apps, nail/hair appointments, Starbucks. The stuff you think counts as "treating yourself" that serves no purpose after that instant gratification fix. When I realized I was spending over $1,100 a year on my hair and nails alone, I was flabbergasted. Giving up my nex-gen nails and wax appointments was an easy way to make a LOT of cushion in my budget. There's this great app called Clarity (which I like better than Mint by QuickBooks) that simplifies what you spend money on, helps you track your habits, AND encourages you to start a saving habit.

This next tip might sound harder than you think it is, but: utility usage can be a great way to squeeze a little more blood out of a turnip--er, avocado. Being mindful about how much water you consume can make a significant impact in your wallet. From personal experience, I can tell you that mindful water consumption meant the difference between a 50% increase and a reasonable bill. You can also implement a grey water system to mindfully conserve water AND your spending. Check on your cell phone plan and auto insurance, too; updating these bills to reflect your current usage is a great way to maintain control over your finances.

Giuls and I talk really openly about our finances and what we're doing to manage our spending. We even created a buddy system for spending frugally while on vacation. To help me stay on the straight an narrow with my day to day spending, Giuls created a budget sheet that YOU can download here! This worksheet is formulated to easily calculate your monthly expenses and we're PRETTY DARN PROUD of it. Here's to taking responsibility of our spending and focusing inward to live our best lives!

Recent Experiment Proves Millenials Capable of Budgeting, Utilizing Buddy System

 
 Illustration by Lindsey Ashley

Illustration by Lindsey Ashley

 

So you blew your budget on swimsuits and a bottle of Patrón before your vacation even started because you #ballsohard. We get it. But now you're destined to spring break like a #peasant, and you're suuuper bummed about it. Don't fret! Your fairy finance mother is here to teach you how to broke-girl vacation step-by-step. I brainstormed and executed the following strategy this weekend and didn't blow my budget ONCE! THERE IS NOTHING SO EMPOWERING; LET ME TELL YOU.

Step 1: Plan your itinerary. This inherently makes planning for spending WAY easier, plus you get the added bonus of not having to waste precious vacation time deciding the fate of said vacation. 

Step 2: Gather some supplies. You'll need a writing utensil, as much cash as you plan to spend (plus 20 percent of that number if you're able) in small bills, your tongue, and a few envelopes -- three will PROBABLY do. Don't get those big-ass envelopes; get the ones that are the same size as... money. See where I'm going here?

Step 3: Prepare one (1) container with enough liquid to cover a 3"x2" object. Submerge your debit and/or credit card. Place container in freezer.  Affirm that you will stick to your budget by chanting, "I am a fiscally responsible adult," as you spin around with your forehead on a bat.

Step 4: Remove your bullshit hat. I am 100 percent serious. Grab it by its invisible rim and set it on your invisible table. Shit's about to get real. If you think this sounds ridiculous, just remember that a second ago you were spinning around on a bat chanting about how fiscally responsible you are.

Step 5: Find a Buddy. Budgeting by yourself is hard and not fun, but budgeting with a buddy makes it all bearable. Walk your Budget Buddy though steps 1 through 4.

Step 6: Decide together how much you're going to spend on each activity. Your numbers should all be the same bc this is a BUDDY SYSTEM. You will stick to your guns more if you've got a friend sticking to theirs. Grab two envelopes each and write "S.O.S." and "Travel" on them. Put that extra 20 percent of funds we told you about in those envelopes. NOTE: TEQUILA ONLY COUNTS AS AN EMERGENCY IN THE LAST 24 HOURS OF YOUR TRIP. Lick those envelopes shut!

Step 7: Divvy up the remainder of the cash between the last two envelopes, and write on both of them how much you're allotted for every activity. Don't try to thrift evenly across the board -- you'll be more likely to stay on budget with only $20 at the bar tonight if you've got $40 to blow at brunch tomorrow.

Step 8: Once you get there, lock that cash you're not using in a safe, and have a great vacation!!!