Thanksgiving in List Form

DSC_0493.jpgSince I was in high school, I’ve tried to put together a list every year of things I’m grateful to have in my life.  Though there are many more–I could definitely pad this out with every brand of General Mills cereal–here are 50 for 2015!

  1. Moxie Girl’s boundless energy.
  2. My parents’ endless support for my brother and me.
  3. Having a job doing something I enjoy.
  4. Access to literally thousands of photography tutorials.
  5. My friends, who love me even when I screw up spectacularly.
  6. Living alone.  Everything is clean all the time!
  7. Public parks.
  8. Being small enough to fit into kids’ clothes and shoes.
  9. Online dating.
  10. My parents’ incredible age-defying genes.
  11. Knowing how to read and write.
  12. Vitamin D supplements, which help chase those winter blues away.
  13. Living 20 minutes from the center of Chicago.
  14. The friends I sit with at lunch, who keep me sane on crazy days at work.
  15. Frequent cancer screenings.
  16. Being close to my family.
  17. Having been encouraged, since I was born, to be no one but myself.
  18. Mental health days.
  19. Friendiversaries.
  20. Having a mom who doubles as a hairdresser.  Free haircuts for life!
  21. Piet Mondrian.
  22. Endless amounts of blogging inspiration.
  23. Having free time.
  24. Practice and improvement.
  25. Winter boots for Moxie.  Not only do they keep her feet dry and salt-free, but she also looks hilarious clomping around in them!
  26. My favorite vintage black granny boots.
  27. The fact that my gram’s cancer is in remission.
  28. The inevitability of change.
  29. Goals (setting and meeting).
  30. Thrift shops in wealthy neighborhoods, where you can get designer clothes for under $5.
  31. Being truly happy with my appearance.
  32. Never having to wonder where my next meal is coming from.
  33. Useless knowledge.
  34. Growing up in the ’90s.
  35. Treat Yo’ Self Day.
  36. Greenhouses and conservatories.
  37. My mom’s cooking.
  38. 24-hour animal hospitals.
  39. Green spaces.
  40. The direct relationship between confidence and age.
  41. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.
  42. Moxie’s very expressive personality.
  43. Being a woman in this day and age.  It’s not perfect, but at least it’s not 1950 anymore.
  44. Potatoes.  Mashed, fried, boiled, baked–all of them.
  45. Podcasts.
  46. Feeling safe in my neighborhood.
  47. My dog walker, who not only takes Moxie on long strolls when I’m at work, but who also sends me pictures and comments from each walk.
  48. The talents of my friends, who inspire me always.
  49. Consciousness.
  50. Knowing that Glenn is still alive.

Outfit: Somebody to Lean On

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Something a lot of people ask me is how I deal with taking outdoor pictures in the winter, especially without a coat.

DSC_0622DSC_0655DSC_0661.jpgDSC_0667.jpgFirst, let me explain the lack of outerwear: my main winter jacket is this huge, puffy, gray behemoth that covers me up from my chin to my knees.  It’s an absolute essential for Chicago winters, but I’m none too certain it would add much to the Mox & Socks aesthetic.  I’ve been doing a lot of thrifting lately, though, so I should have some cute wraps to wear during shoots in the near future.

Second, there is something about these shoots that makes me forget I’m all that cold in the first place.  Maybe it’s because I’m a winter baby, maybe it’s because I prepare myself with ANTM-style pep talks, but I think it’s something else.  Whenever I take pictures, I melt away into the work.  It’s rare for me to carry worries, aches and pains, sickness, or, in this case, a chill, into a shoot.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who gets into the zone like this when it’s picture time.  How do you guys feel when you’re doing an outfit shoot?

Necklace: old, Forever 21

Scarf: old, Charlotte Russe

Sweater: thrifted

Dress: old, ModCloth

Tights: old, Forever 21

Boots: Sperry

Outfit: Grey Tickles

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I’ve found, with this blog, that my interest in certain aspects of it waxes and wanes with some frequency.  For a long time, I only cared about photography and getting all the right shots.  Then I was obsessed with editing.  Now, I’m more focused on styling my outfits.  Of course, I still think photography, editing, and the like are extremely important, but I’d rather put a little more effort into the outfits for now.  That’s why you might start seeing some very simple outfit posts on my Instagram–instead of taking the time to go out and take pictures in the park, I just want to capture what I put together for work, for dates, or for hanging out with Baby Lamb and a pizza.  I’m sure that will change a few weeks or months from now!

Anyway, I took these pictures a few weeks ago, before the wind and rain blew away all the golden leaves that had been clinging so hard to the trees.  I’m going to miss autumn, but this morning I realized Thanksgiving is next week, so I’m pretty happy about that.  Thanksgiving, I’ve come to find, is probably my favorite holiday.  The food is the best I’ll have all year, it’s super chill, and the whole point of the holiday is to take a look at your life and be happy about all the good things you have going on.  Each year, I like to put together a long list of things I’m grateful for, so expect that to be published in the near future.

What about you guys–what’s your favorite holiday?  How do you like to celebrate it?

Hat: vintage

Shirt: vintage

Scarf: old (unsure of origin)

Jeans: Gap

Shoes: ModCloth

Outfit: Love That Keeps Me Waiting

Back when I was a little girl, it was a family tradition to drive all the way out to Sinnissippi Forest to cut down a Christmas tree for our home.  And we did more than just cut down the tree–we’d sip cider and eat donuts in the barn nearby, and when lunchtime came, we’d always go out to a little cabin restaurant tucked in the White Pines State Park.

Several years ago, the tree farm closed, and it was a deep loss for us.*  However, we’re keeping the tradition of visiting that cozy restaurant in the woods, and this year, I brought my parents there for their 30th anniversary.  Since the weather was so beautiful and the foliage in such high color, I just had to take a few pictures while we were out there.

Being out on this gorgeous land is really making me want to take a few days off and spend them in a cabin with a stack of books and my camera.  My phone doesn’t even work out there, so I could, theoretically, settle my mind for a little while.  The only downside is I couldn’t bring Mox!

Scarf: old, Charlotte Russe

Sweater: old, ModCloth

Shorts: old, H&M

Socks: old, ModCloth

Shoes: seriously old, Urban Outfitters

*In doing my research for this post, I found out the farm has reopened!  Seems like it’s got new owners.  Stay tuned for more details.

Story Hour: Online Dating, Part 1

You guys, I miss telling stories.  It seems like in the years since I’ve finished college, most of my interactions have been fairly surface-level.  I like talking–that’s for sure–but I seldom dig deep anymore.  It’s amazing how long I can go on about the weather or complain about the lack of veggie chips at work, but I want to get back in the habit of being a rambling old lady who can wax poetic about chicken pockets and pizza Nazis.

In fact, that’s the story I want to start with: the Pizza Nazi.

I’ve been acquainted with the world of online dating ever since I could drive, which, for me, was right before my twenty-second birthday.  Before that, I’d been too afraid to meet up with anyone because it would mean my date would have to pick me up to go out, and that wasn’t how I wanted to start a relationship.  Not only was it embarrassing to admit I didn’t drive, but who gets in the car with a perfect stranger?  That’s not the smart girl my parents raised me to be.

Shortly after I acquired my license and took a few solo spins in my parents’ 1999 Taurus, I set up my profile on OkCupid.  Within minutes, I was already getting a good amount of messages.  It felt great to see them piling up in my inbox, but when I actually set about reading them, well, it was a different story.

This is an all-ages blog, so I’ll spare you the content, but suffice it to say a lot of it was vomit-inducingly disgusting.  (It still is, of course, but this was a huge shock to my doe-eyed younger self.)  Another good chunk of the messages were along the lines of, “hey whats up my name is andy ur cute i think we have alot in common message me back if ur interested.”  At first, those ones annoyed me because of the poor grammar, but now they irritate me because I know that the guy is most likely copying and pasting those same few lines over and over to dozens of other women.

But every now and again, someone would write a message that had meaning.  The guy had clearly read my profile and was trying to connect with me in a way that had some substance.  He wanted to talk about my love of cereal!  Or he had a cute dog!  I really appreciate those kinds of messages.  When I get one of those, I do like to make an effort and see if the conversation goes anywhere.  Most of the time, it kind of fizzles out, but sometimes, of course, it leads to a date.

Which is exactly how things commenced for my very first online date.

I’d been messaging this guy–let’s call him Luke–for about a week or so.  He was still in school and told me about some of the classes he was taking.  He’d been interested in culinary courses of late, and he had recently begun working at a pizzeria.  One afternoon, he asked me out, and I agreed to meet him at the local Starbucks.

I rolled up in my parents’ Taurus and, to my delight, found that Luke was already there, waiting for me.  I greeted him with a hug, ordered a coffee, and sat down to talk.  We chatted for a bit about work, and then he said he wanted to show me some of the pizzas he’d made.  You see, sometimes when he was bored, he would make designs out of the pepperoni or mushrooms on the pizzas.  A rose.  A smiley face.  A swastika.

A swastika.

Luke laughed when he showed me that one.  “That one was my favorite.  The guy we delivered to was so pissed when he got it, but it was hilarious!  People need to lighten up.”

I didn’t think it was funny, either.  Of all the pictures you could show a girl on your first date with her, why did it have to be a pizza with a swastika on it?  If you were going for shock value, why not a penis?  I could laugh at a penis on a pizza.  But not a swastika.

What was I supposed to do, then?  I didn’t have time to lecture this weirdo on why that symbol doesn’t belong on a pizza (or anywhere, really), and I didn’t think he’d understand even if I started enumerating the atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazi Party.  I could talk about the 11 million people who lost their lives, or the millions more who lost their friends and families, and still this bozo wouldn’t care.

I simply got up and left.  I drove home in the Taurus and deleted my profile that night.  If this was the caliber of men I was going to meet on OkCupid, then screw it!

Of course, that resolve didn’t last long…

Outfit: Finish What We Started

I hardly think there’s anything I love more than a good night’s sleep.  A solid eight hours (eight-and-a-half if I’m lucky) with my nose just above my quilt and a warm puppy at my feet does my soul good.  I look forward to bedtime with the kind of relish that most people reserve for a really good dessert.  And if I don’t get to enjoy a full night of rest, it’s best to stay out of my way until I can erase my sleep debt.

I’ll go to great lengths to get to bed on time, which is why yesterday was so unusual.  I was editing these pictures and just kept going.  My bedtime came and went, yet I was still up and tweaking each photo until it was just right.  I started playing with the shadows and saturation and enjoyed it so much that I had to talk myself into bed.

That’s how you know you’ve found work you love.

Anyway, taking these pictures was also pretty fun.  I came across a Little Free Library box and spent some minutes flipping through a Wishbone book.  Have you ever seen these?  In my town, there are little birdhouse-like boxes set up all over the place and filled with books.  Take what you want to read, donate a novel you love–it’s up to you.  I love the idea and have picked up a few books already.  Still deciding what I could donate, though!

Jacket: ModCloth

Sweater: thrifted

Turtle necklace: vintage

Skirt: hand-me-down

Socks: old, Forever 21

Shoes: Payless