Patched/Color Contrast Denim Jeans (and my new favorite pair of jeans)


A few months ago, a woman came into my work work wearing these jeans: gap-indigo-patched-always-skinny-jeans-product-1-15961878-816280953_large_flex

and fell hard for them. (yes, it’s sad, I know). Not since my high school days when I was still able to talk my dad into buying me “cool kid” Diesel jeans (complete with a ridiculous price tag) have I wanted a pair of jeans so badly. Sadly, the jeans, made by Gap were sold out online and in all the stores in my area. Even Ebay didn’t have them.

Disheartened, but not willing to give up,  I thought, “No problem, I will make me those jeans! How hard can it be?” (and because it always turns out well when I ask myself that!)  I am nothing, if not, naive, idealistic and stubborn. But, as it turns out, it was pretty hard.   After several hours consisting of trips to Goodwill and Michaels, cutting, sowing and ironing on the patches, my masterpiece was complete (and looking nothing like the above picture)….

I  couldn’t even get the jeans on past my knees. Yeah…they were waaaay to small. As usual, I got caught up in my excitement and  didn’t think to TRY THE JEANS ON to make sure they fit beforehand. Needless to say, after that, I gave up on the idea for a while. Figuring it just wasn’t meant to be.

Until the other day while scrolling through Nordstrom online, when I came across these:

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Paige Denim ‘Cara’ Paneled Ultra Skinny Jeans ( $135.00.) Although, sold out now on Nordstroms.com, they are available for sale at Anthropolgie.com as well as Saks 5th Ave

BUT, as much as I love buying clothes, I haven’t spent more than $40.00 – $50.00, on any one clothing item for myself in over 10 years and the $135.00 was way out of my price range. I just can’t afford to do it. But, I had some money saved up and in a moment of haste and overcome with “denim lust” (I think the most accurate word for how I felt towards these jeans is “coveted”), I closed my eyes and bought them. I felt sick to my stomach for days after buying them, and ]When they came in the mail, I didn’t open the package for a few days because I was embarrassed of my overspending.

When I finally did try them on, I was absolutely hooked. I fell in love with them. I think I had forgotten what it was like to have a high quality pair of jeans that fit well and feel good. I am not as in shape as I used to be, and my self-confidence is usually always lacking. But the fit, the look, the feel, everything about these jeans felt worth every penny. The cheap jeans I usually always buy, they do the job, but they stretch out easily, or sag in weird parts, or tear, or break quickly. Even the ones that last always look a little “off.” Not these jeans. They fit so well,in all the right places and were so comfortable that I was walking around feeling like a million bucks.

I love everything about these jeans- in the end, the contrasting colors of the jeans that I fell in love with in the first place, were just an added plus.

It’s been years since I have bought myself a clothing item of this price (besides boots or a bag). I was officially out of the game when it came to name brand denim and I had never heard of Paige Denim before but I am definitely sold on this brand and these jeans. And I know this sounds like one big advertisement, but I don’t get a penny to promote any brand on my blog. So, If you have the money to spare, I highly suggest buying yourself a pair of quality jeans- because they will last you for forever, will go with everything, feel great, and look damn good!

I have put together a board of some of my favorite patched/color blocked jeans this season:

patchedcolorblockjeans

Top left: Gap 1969 Patch & Repair Boyfriend Jeans ($84.95), top middle: Current/Elliot Patchwork Fling Jeans ($238.00), top right: Morgan Slim Fit Contrasting Knee Patch Jeans from House of Fraser ($90.00). Bottom left: Paige Denim Skinny “Olga” ankle Colorblock Jeans ($199.00), bottom middle: Joes’ Two-Toned Jeans ($199.00) and bottom right: Urban Renewal Two-Toned Jeans ($59.00)

 

blessed are the cracked for they shall let in the light (15 Things You Can Do if You are Struggling with Depression).

A bright light in our world went out and now my heart feels heavy. With everything going on in the world right now: the unending riots in Ferguson, and the constant ISIS terrorist threats, just to name a few, it is Robin Williams’ unexpected suicide that I constantly find myself thinking about. I feel guilty that out of all of the chaos, death, and injustice going on around the world, it is the death of an actor that has affected me most. I asked myself why that is and I think it’s because his suicide was so unexpected and it is sad to think that someone who brought so much joy and happiness to the world, could be so unhappy himself.

robin williams

The loss of any human life is painful, but something about Robin Williams’ suicide saddens me to the very core of my being. I have first hand experience with depression and feelings of hopelessness that Robin must have been feeling in order to take his life. And while I struggle with being “real” and transparent about anything serious on my blog (or any other of my social media outlets) about my life but I realized that writing posts like this were the reason I started blogging in the first place about 10 years ago and that is: 

to reach out and connect to someone (anyone) who like me, often feels “different,” struggles with depression or anxiety, feels hopeless, like they don’t fit in, that are depressed…

and although I try to hide my struggle from friends and family, I think it’s pretty obvious to the people in my “World,” who try to get to know me, (my friends, family, co-workers, ect), know there is something “different” about me. I’m the friend who falls off the planet for days, weeks, months at a time, the friend who cancels plans and no one hears from, who isolates themselves, sleeps too much… my family and other loved ones kindly skirt around the issue but I struggle with depression and have since I was 15 years old. 

What saddens me so much about Robin’s death is that…no one really saw it coming and I hope that he had people he could trust in his life and who loved him unconditionally- his wife, his daughter and I hope he knows he was loved.

and now finally I am getting to the point of this post….

it’s okay. I promise. I swear. It gets better. I know that’s not much, but I have been there in that dark, hopeless place where there is no light, no exit.

And while I never contemplated suicide, there were so many times in my life that I thought I could never be happy in life- where sleeping was always a better option for me than living life- that the drain of just being awake and conscious was sometimes to much-

just keep going. one foot in front of the other, baby steps. Don’t stop striving to be happy, develop your passions (no matter what they are), and when things get hard or tough, try to remember that (and this is what I wish I could tell the 12 year old version of myself, for the 16 year old version of my self, the 23 year old version of myself):

you are not alone. however helpless or alone you might feel. I can tell you because I have been in that place- a place I never thought I could leave- and I did.

I have come up with a list of 15 things I hope will be helpful for anyone who has ever been depressed:

1. Talk to someone, anyone. A friend, family member, co-worker, or anyone you feel you can trust. It is important to get your thoughts out of your head and also a welcome relief to feel that you no longer have to struggle completely alone. Don’t feel that you have anyone to talk too? There are hotlines and chatrooms created with the sole purpose of helping people struggling with depression: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=urgent_crisis_hotline has a list of resources. Still unsure? My email address is ourwildpreciouslives@gmail.com, I am here.

2. Laugh. I could (and do) watch hours  of funny youtube animal videos at a time..There is about a 95% chance that if I am laughing while on my phone or laptop, I am probably watching a cat in a shark costume, on a roomba, chasing a duck, or a dog with a bad case of the Mondays.

my dog, Henri, in a shark costume

my dog, Henri, in a shark costume

Whatever makes you laugh, do it: silly dancing, corny jokes, baby kittens…find your happy place and visit it often. Laughing is not only a quick way to boost your mood, but the neurological process of laughing also releases endorphins and gives your body a boost of adrenaline (much like exercising), leaving you in a better mental place.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others. In today’s society, with all of our social media outlets, it is hard for me to NOT constantly be comparing myself to other people. Be content with where you are in life and who you are..stay focused on your own hopes and dreams and remain true to what makes you happy. I am not Kim Kardashian and I may not be at the same point in life where it seems many of peers are, but thats okay and I have to constantly remind myself that it is ok. This is your life, and your journey, no one else’s! One of the hardest things for me to do is to change my negative thinking patterns. I noticed that for me, most days I struggle with starting a new day with a positive frame of mind and I used to find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning…once I realized this about myself (and it took longer than you would think!) I had to start forcing myself to think positively in the morning and started coming up with (or borrowing) little phrases or mantras to “trick” myself into thinking positively. To this day, I still go back to one of my favorite mental health spokespersons:

I'm Sailing!

I’m Sailing!

and his favorite phrases: “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful” and “Baby steps.” Interestingly enough, when I tell myself this in the morning before I get out of bed, I end up feeling better, greater and more wonderful. 

4. Spend time outdoors/ be Active.

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Research has shown that sunlight is a natural mood booster and one of the easiest ways to fight depression by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. The sun is also is a rich source of Vitamin D and is also shown to help in bone health, heart health and to reduce the chance of strokes. I enjoy spend time outdoors: hiking in the woods, doing yoga or simply taking the time to be in awe of Nature by listening and looking. I have a habit of collecting leaves, feathers, branches, twigs, stones, seashells..ect…

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and keep a couple of my favorite ones in a vase by my bed. I sincerely feel that spending time outdoors as one of the best ways to re-focus on whats important and to remember that beauty and life is all around me, all I have to do is pay attention to it. 

5. Keep a journal. 

a page from one of my old journals

a page from one of my old journals

I find this especially helpful, if you are like me and tend to be more introverted and have trouble opening up. It helps me to look back on my journals and to reflect on how far I have come. It is also a great way to motivate yourself and a place to channel your inspirations. It also gives you a place to write down positive quotes, bucket lists, and to keep track of happy memories such as: concert tickets stubs and photos. 

6. Keep a daily routine. If you are like me, or the dog in the video in #`1with a case of the Mondays, this is not easy. I confess, This is one of the HARDEST things for me to do. The idea of a consistent, daily routine always scared me and I still struggle with it every day. I always made excuses for why I didn’t need a daily routine…but sometimes this is a very important step for those who struggle with depression. I love sleeping, I always have and used to put off getting up until the very last moment. But as a result, I never gave myself time to wake up, reflect on the day, focus on what i wanted to get done and to have a general sense of well-being. Even though the initial half an hour or so after I am up is a struggle, I feel better, more calm and more prepared for the day when I have given myself time in the morning before rushing off. 

7. Consider meditation/yoga. (dwell in the moment)

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 This one fits in with many of the other tips. Giving yourself time to reflect on life, or even to be still and think about nothing but your breath, helps to clear your head and give you a sense of well-being. I scoffed at the idea of quiet meditation for a long time, thinking it sounded to new age or something for me. I also have very little patience and always thought “There is no way I could ever sit still for an hour thinking about nothing.” And that thought is still true! I lowered my expectations and started timing myself of how long I could just “be still.” I don’t think I have ever made it past 60 seconds until my mind has wandered. But if you are intentional in trying and most of all, patient with yourself, you will get better at it and be better for it. 

8. Make plans for the future. Have an old friend you want to visit? (Cassie, I’m coming for you!) or have you always wanted to take a road trip, visit the Lourve, eat real soul food? While spending too much time thinking about the future and not enough time in the present is not healthy, it is important to have something in your life to look forward too. It could be that you are unhappy in your career or with your health. Maybe you have always wanted to write a novel or take an art class. It could be as simple as thinking about something different and fun you always wanted to cook for dinner- just give yourself something to look forward to every day! 

9. Weed out negative influences/people from your life.

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easier said then done right? If you are human, chances are you come in contact with unhappy people or negative situations SEVERAL times a day. At my current customer service job, I deal with many unhappy people and even when I try to remain positive, negativity is draining and wears you down.  There is a difference from coming in contact with negative people or situations and ALLOWING negative people/influences space in your life and brain. Do your best when you must deal with these situations. Be your best self and you will leave the situation with confidence and self-assurance, knowing that you did your best. But, unhappy people, generally don’t like happy  people and may try to bring you down with them (misery loves company). Don’t let them- shrug them off and go your own way (frolic in the fields, hug your dog, laugh with a friend) and don’t waste any more of your time or brain space on them than is absolutely necessary. Most importantly don’t feel guilty about being happy. 

10. Create something. 

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You don’t have to have graduated from art school to create something beautiful that brings you and others joy and happiness. Maybe you love baking cookies or always wanted to build a bird house. There is something very satisfying in creating something that took a lot of hard work and being able to look at with a sense of pride (even if it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would when you started) and thinking “I made this.” Even better if you can share it with the people in your life. 

11. Take time for yourself. Again, this ties in to many of the other tips. But I just want to re-affirm that it is okay to take time for yourself, doing something that makes you happy. Many of us have spouses, children, parents, friends, co-workers that we spend most of our time and energy on and that is a good and healthy thing (see #13). But at the same time, you shouldn’t  be walking around feeling like a zombie, drained of emotional and physical energy. You are your able to be your best version of yourself for others, and for you when you are re-charged and re-energized. I would love nothing more than an hour long massage by a professional massage therapist (complete with the aromatherapy candles, oils, and whale nosies playing in the background) every few days if time and money allowed. Maybe it’s getting a manicure or having a glass of wine and reading a good book for 30 minutes after everyone else in the house is asleep. These little moments will re-charge you. 

12. renew your sense of purpose in life. All of us have hopes and dreams and desires for our lives. And as we get older, our lives our shaping up to be very different than what we imagined they would be when we were young and carefree (and that’s okay). While I wouldn’t change anything that has happened to me in my life (the good and the bad), because it made me who I am today..rememembering what I am passionate about gives me a greater sense of purpose in life. Don’t sell yourself short of your daydreams and don’t let anyone talk to you out of what you know you want (unless you’ve always wanted to be a gas station attendant or a tool booth worker…then we made need to talk). 

13. give back/ invest in relationships.

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Balance in life is so important. Too much time spent on only on yourself will cause imbalance, just as much as too much time spent on others (and not enough time for yourself) will leave you completely drained. I promise there is someone out there who feels lost and who could use you in their life. I also guarantee that there is someone out there that YOU are important to and who would love to hear from you. Maybe you are not ready to open up to people which brings me to my next point…

14. Adopt a Pet.

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The best thing I did when i first moved in to my own place 8 years ago and was feeling particularly alone and easily sad was adopting my dog Henri. There is something so wonderful about always coming home and knowing that my dog missed me and is happy to see me. I don’t argue that pets are a big responsibility and you should always consider your realistic limitations (such as money, time away from home, space). If you are not in the position for a bigger animal, how about a bird, or hamster, or even a fish! 

15. Don’t ever give up. Finally, and most importantly, don’t forget that there is ALWAYS hope. You can and will be happy. Life is a gift. I mean it. We have all made mistakes, but that is what it means to be alive and to be human. Today is a new day. Trust me, I know this mushy positive talk is annoying when you are depressed. But please, if you take one thing away from this post, let it be that, I know you will make it through this and you can be happy. Chances are, if you are like me, dealing with depression will likely be something I struggle seriously with again at some point- but even when that happens, there is hope. 

And I leave you with this beautiful tribute to Robin Williams and his thoughts on the beauty of life: 

“Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this earth. Life is fleeting. And if you are ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky, and the stars that are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting start streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish. Think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.” 

– Robin Williams

All photos used in this post are mine, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use, just please credit me and link back to my blog. Thank you so much! 

tattoos: i want them, i need them pt. 3

my forearm tattoo with the Native American symbol for rain clouds (which symbolizes continual growth and renewal) and “kenaz” which stands for inspiration and creativity)

I can always tell when I start to get an itch for another tattoo…last night I was up until 3am looking at pictures of tattoos on the internet.  I am in awe of some of these tattoo artists…especially the one’s who specialize in watercolor tattoos. I think it is hard enough to create a watercolor painting, but these tattoo artists who can make realistic looking watercolor tattoos have my upmost respect.  I don’t know anything about the art of tattooing, except that it looks extremely difficult and you can’t make any mistakes- so I can only imagine how difficult it must be to blend colors and to do shading on skin. I want to give credit to the artists who created these tattoos and tried to find out who did each tattoo…so I listed their names and their websites if possible. but there were a few that I couldn’t put a name to, so if you recognize it and who it belongs to please feel free to let me know!

This is a beautiful watercolor tattoo by Ondrash out of the Czech Republic. 

This is another piece by Ondrash

AND four MORE by Ondrash! 

This one is by a tattoo artist based in Las Vegas, Holly Thomas. She currently works at Voodoo Tattoo studio located behind the Palms Casino.

                              
I love this tattoo…I like the simplicity and detail of this watercolor tattoo by Amanda Wachob. I love the splash of light blue and the black splashes dotting up behind the ear.  I would seriously consider getting a tattoo very similar to this but with a second bright color and only a few bits of black.

                   

Okay, so funny story about this tattoo. I randomly came across this tattoo last night (via http://blogs.discovermagazine.com) and recognized it right away as a inking of a neuron. And, not just any type of neuron, a hippocampal neuron. Those of you who know me or have read any of my other blog posts, might be asking yourselves how I would know something like this, since I am pretty clueless when it comes to all things math and science. Well, my husband is a neuroscientist who works with these exact types of neurons. In fact, I noticed a tracing of a neuron pinned up in his lab one day and commented how that would make an awesome tattoo. So, I  scrolled down to the comment section and the first comment was from Nelson Spruston who said: “Patrick, this is super cool. I think it’s a neuron I reconstructed years ago and published in a 2005 J. Physiology paper (Golding et al.). It’s a beautiful neuron and it looks great as a tattoo.” Who is he? And why does it matter? He happens to be the professor who runs the lab where my husband works. small world! And that’s my story. Yay.

               
I could not for the life of me find out who this tattoo belongs to or where it orginated. but I love it and it makes me want to add more simple lines to my tattoo.


While engaging in my endless online search of tattoos, I came across ALOT of feather and bird tattoos. This one stood out to me because of it’s vibrant colors. I am not sure who the tattoo artist for this feather was but I found it on fyeahtattoos.com

I wish I was cool enough to rock a tattoo like this one. (sigh). This one is by the tattoo artist Guy Le

Do you notice a pattern? I really like tattoos with simple lines. I found this one on http://rodeo.net/tattoologist/.

Another cool idea that incorporates the simple lines but can convey a powerful message. This one also comes from http://rodeo.net/tattoologist/.


goodness. I will never be as cool as this chick. I don’t even have enough confidence to wear shorts in the summer let alone get a huge dream catcher tattoo down the side of my thigh.

diy recycled gift wrapping paper

I meant to get this post in before the Holiday Season ended but didn’t have enough time, or it might be because I was to busy eating chocolate, reading, and taking naps :/ 
Using stamps that I have carved from rubber, (except for the gnome stamp which I bought at Paper Source), paper grocery bags, ribbon and colorful paper, I was able to wrap some gifts. I love doing this, whenever I have the time, because the gift wrapping becomes like an extra gift. It’s a nice way for me to show people I care about them, even though I may not be able to afford an extravagant present (at least that is what I tell myself). 

 I recommend using a pigment based (or thicker) ink for the stamp so it really stands out against the brown of the bag. Color Box stamp ink is my absolute favorite.

Mirthful minute pt.2

I just had to post this pic of my poor little dog Henri! I found his old Halloween costume and made him
Wear it around for a little while. He was so miserable. It was shortly after pulling this sad face that I managed to capture on camera, that I decided he had enough torture for one day! It’s the little things in life right now that are helping me get through more difficult times.