Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Best Compliments are a bit Awkward

 It has come to my attention that just as many people found my blog by searching 'best ass on the internet' as they did searching 'lagenlook'.  I can only imagine the disappointment of the ass-searching people so I have found a really good ass to feature here.  Isn't it the sweetest ass you have ever seen?

                                                Image Source

 And Now on with the regularly scheduled programme.....

Recently the cleaning girls came.  Usually there are two of them but this time there were three, a new one was being trained as my two regulars are leaving.  Apparently the company is terrible to work for and people are quitting constantly.  It leaves me undecided about what to do, as I don't wish to support a bad company but whomever the next people are who get assigned to cleaning my home need jobs too.  Anyhow, putting that concern aside for the moment, I was amused but pleased to overhear the new girl commenting to the other two about my home.  I heard things like, "Oh my God this home is so eclectic; I just love an eclectic home."  And also, "Oh I love that mirror and I love this too.  When I see things like this I always wonder, where do people find this stuff?"  Several minutes later, she repeated similar sentiments to me personally.  I explained that many of my things, particularly furniture, are hand me downs and inherited things from family  "Oh", she said, "I am always trying to convince my grandparents to give me their stuff."  To which I replied, "Well, mine are actually dead."  It seemed rather pertinent at the time but sounds a little callous now.

Internet websites as well as many popular magazines abound with porn (no this is not a totally random topic switch) and not just the naked humans kind.  There is food porn, house porn, fashion porn and probably plenty  of other types.  On popular blogs, Pinterest and Instagram  there is something known as lifestyle porn and also lifespo (which is lifestyle-inspiration just as there is fitspo and thinspo and probaby others)  Like many people I do enjoy beautiful images but I am well aware that everything we see, not just the models in Vogue, is styled, photo-shopped and presented at the very best angle and with the very best light etc.  Along with all of these inspiration images has come the over-used term 'curated' and while  once curating was something done in a museum or art gallery it is now something people claim to do with their homes, their possessions, their wardrobes.  It is fancy talk for either selecting only what you truly love or, if you are very confident about your taste, selecting only what is truly good.  Some people collect curated images of curated lives.  How complicated this all gets and yet in so much of it the proponents are claiming to achieve and be promoting a sort of minimalism!

I have very minimal photo re-touching skills, and a limited version of iphoto in which to do it.  At most I straighten, crop or make up for the cloudy grey weather by adjusting the light on my uploaded photo.  The ability to straighten the photo after uploading it has made me shockingly lazy about putting the camera onto the tripod properly to begin with.  I don't use Instagram and I don't know as much about my camera as I should so I am clueless about filters.  I didn't even understand that people were using them until quite recently but I did wonder why so many Instagram photos had a that sort of faded, dissolving, I-was-taken-using-that-awful-film- of-the-seventies look.  Now, I get it.  It's a thing.  So while I understood that images in magazines were far from realistic, it took me longer to realise that many blogs had a high degree of fakery styling done to the images.  

Sure we all generally want to present ourselves in our best light literally, so we take ten outfit photos to pick two we think look good, or we take photos of our decorated living room to share on our blog but not the disaster of a den that we haven't yet gotten around to fixing up and is still storing the baby carriage and crib we last needed twenty years ago.  Who wants to see that?  Blogs are meant to be inspirational, right?  Well actually, it had not occurred to me that they were all supposed to be inspirational and I tend to favour the more realistic ones.  A blog in which I see one or two fuzzy photos a day of a  skinny girl with beach-wave hair posed nicely on her beautiful sofa or artfully disheveled bed, drinking tea or making it in her picturesque but minimalist kitchen is, in my opinion, rather dull.  

During a recent insomniatic night, while aimlessly wandering the internet and following suggestions from Sally's Lovely Links, on her blog Already Pretty, I came upon a couple of sites ranting about this phenomenon they were calling the Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl.  This is a variation on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl of course, and she could even be both manic and minimalist.  This highly curated concept minimalism is very popular right now in decor, wardrobe and lifestyle, all being very white and expensive but supposedly looking effortless and artless.  I suspect it is a very American fascination and is tied in with the also very American fascination with the mythic French chic.  

Since I am not much attracted to minimalism myself, I am a bit immune to the Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl's charms, whether she is promoting her wardrobe, her home or her lifestyle.  But there is a so called bohemian version of this too and my Pinterest boards are full of these images.  In them there are rooms full of books and plants and candles and sticks of incense just like my own home, but they are usually contained in a building with impressive architecture, wood floors and huge windows, there is a turntable and a vast collection of old vinyl because hipster and boho sort of overlaps in internet land.  All of these images are designed to make us want something other than what we have or to somehow improve on what we have.  Maybe we need less of something, maybe more, but somehow we are not getting it quite right, are not as cool, effortless or beautiful as the people in the images.  We expect this from a magazine but it seems many people were caught off guard in discovering it exists in blogs too.

So, fashion bloggers photo-shop themselves thinner and model free designer clothing they were given.  Lifestyle bloggers are pretending their visually gorgeous simple life is easy and inexpensive when probably it is not.  Whether or not we should rail against this or just sigh and move on depends on what battles you plan to pick.   Whether or not railing against this constitutes not supporting other women or whether it doesn't is something my brain will be working on for awhile.  I see the points being made in both arguments and I am not sure which side has persuaded me and maybe neither ever will.  I do believe in women supporting women.  I do believe that women are often highly competitive and deliberately undermine each other.  I believe there is a way of calling out questionable practices without accusing the individals of being bad people but having said that, if someone criticised how I present myself on my blog I would absolutely take it personally and be hurt.  I am not selling anything and I am not making any money from my blog.  I am a small fish in an enormous pond so I don't expect anyone to actually care how I present myself.

I did decided to take some photos of my home that are a little bit different.  They are totally real and I really like them because they show imperfection.  I also think they show beauty.  There is no photo here of a pile of dishes in the sink or the food Miss Mathilda has spilled all over the floor, though my hideous green and yellow cork kitchen floor does show up in the background of my photos often.  It cannot be hidden!  The photos below are snapped quickly.  They are imperfect photos of imperfect but much loved spots in my home.  I think that if my blog is about anything it is about the joys of imperfection.  Go ahead, be inspired to aim for imperfection too.

I call this one Nearly Dead Flowers for the obvious reasons.  It usually takes me a couple of days to clear away a bouquet that has expired.  I hate the wall colour and this is by no means a minimalist setting.  Whether or not you are inspired is up to you.  Other notes:  my tea is just regular breakfast blend from the grocery store and it is only a happy accident that the glasses cleaning cloth matches the flowers.

This one is called Unfolded Laundry and features clean but crumpled bedsheets and a basket full of unrolled socks.  On the floor, sitting on top a discarded pair of jeans is my hair dryer.  I sit there in that spot to dry my hair because all sophisticated grown women sit on the floor to do their hair.   Other notes:  I really dislike the beige carpet and I got paint splotches on it that I couldn't clean off when I painted the room last summer.

And also in my bedroom, this one is called Morning. Pixie dream girls are often sitting on artfully rumpled pure white beds and while I think my bed is very pretty, I would have a different frame if I could and this rumpledness, which includes pink pyjamas discarded at the foot of the bed and fuzzy pink socks and a big white hoodie for wearing when I am up late and cold, this rumpledness is exactly how everything looked when I sat up, pushed the covers back and got out of bed.  It stayed this way all day.  Why make the bed when it looks this great? Other notes:  the curtain situation is still an unfinished one and I am contemplating getting blinds for the window as well.  There is too much light at night.

The photo could do with a bit of straightening but I am too tired to bother.  Vivre L'imperfection!

Sources for further reading:

The Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl, Who She is and Why I Hate Her

The Trouble With Lifestyle Blogger Envy

Your Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl Does Not Exist


  1. i have just read the mentioned articles about the "dream girl" over at sally´s. and like you i´m immun against this kind of (fake) lifestyle - because of my age! i have learned that life leaves traces. and the more life is going on the more traces are visible - in our homes, on our bodies and faces. and of cause it helps too that i worked half my life in an industry that makes money with dreams to recognize the fake.
    i take some details from this boho-style blogs for inspiration, but i never compare. my home must fit only my own personal needs - and that of my hubby. and being honest - with a man in the house it will never look that clean and neat decorated like in this shoots
    i would happily sip some supermarket tea in your "gemütlich" home with you, laughing a lot about your gorgeous jokes and rants :-)))

    1. I love what you say about the traces of life. That is so true and such a beautiful way to say it. I am going to write it on my chalkboard wall! I think I collect the boho style images simply because they appeal to me. It is like picking up a pretty thing and putting it in my pocket. I don't study them and try to imitate them or consciously think okay what should I do to my home that would look boho! LOL I may be an over-thinker but I don't do that kind of thinking. I would LOVE you to come over to sip supermarket tea with me and laugh and talk. By 4pm we will move on to wine. xoxoxo

  2. I adore this post, as a new blogger I just immediately felt out of step with the numerous blogs of perfect, curated lives. I also see these blogs as like a magazine read, pretty but not particularly enriching. They're fine to flip through but as they become more and more prevalent something is lost. The "Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl" (love it!) no further exists in reality than the Manic Pixie of films, yet I imagine it causes a feeling of incompetence and comparison in many people reading them. And I agree, it's not that I want to see piles of dishes either, but there is just a point where it becomes a bit soulless seeming. It's why my tip toeing into beauty blogging led to an up nose picture of my lips which I included, because honestly who has time to take 1200 pictures of their lips?! I like that your photos are real but still lovely, "Nearly Dead Flowers" have a place in this world too! And I love that many people come here looking for the best ass on the internet, that is wonderful! xo

    1. I now need to get over to your blog so I can enjoy the view up your nose! My photos are very real, and thanks for thinking they are lovely. I sometimes think with horror about all of the hideous pictures of me that are now on the internet but then I try to believe I am the poster girl for 'real'. LOL xoxo

  3. I love all the natural wood in your home Shawna. Great post. Like you I often peruse random sites, sometimes following links on blogs I already read. And the perfect homes, just make me tired to even think about. I could never have a perfect home. Mostly because I can't be bothered. And partly because I wouldn't want to get rid of most of my things. What would I do with my old butter churn that I brought home when my mum moved out of our old farmhouse, or the ceramic cat from my grandmother's house that sits on the floor of my spare bedroom, or the pine dressers I bought when my husband and I first moved in together? And as my husband said one day when I commented on the perfect home that friends of ours have....well, we could have that too if we made different NOT going to Australia and New Zealand for three months (twice) or the trek to the Yukon, or the month in France this May. And if we can't afford to have the perfect home AND travel, well, I'd rather travel. I mean, I don't think we'd chuckle over a glass of wine about that salesman in the furniture store or the window renovation like we do about our travel adventures!

    1. Well, there are some salesmen who have given me a good chuckle, but I agree the memories of travel are still more enjoyable and last longer. As someone who cannot travel I choose to make my home my little bit of heaven. I think the key thing here is that given a comfortable income, we have choices and that is such a privilege! Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, Susan.

  4. Sometimes, I am really REALLY glad that I am not immersed in the world of blogging and Instagram and Pinterest! I have no idea what Minimalist Pixie Dream Girls are, thank goodness, nor do I follow any highly polished/professional-looking lifestyle or fashion blogs. The blogs I follow are chosen because of the people writing them, not because of the quality of their photos, their homes, their clothes or their lifestyles. I want to hear a voice and catch a glimpse of a real person, not swoon over perfect images. And I can't see my choice to ignore those bloggers as something unsupportive or an example of female competitive bitchery - they just don't interest me, any more than my blog would interest them. And that's fine, isn't it? We all find our own niche and community.
    The girl helping with your cleaning was right, you do have plenty of interesting and appealing pieces in your home, and I appreciate an eclectic mix too. The idea of "curating" one's own possessions sounds hilarious to me - we're just buying/inheriting/being given stuff, which we keep or we don't, and arrange in a way we like, more or less.
    Your bedroom is really pretty, and I dry my hair squatting on the floor too! Oh the glamour... xxx

    1. Oh I agree that choosing not to support them by following is not at all competitive bitchery. It's that some people write scathing comments about them with titles such as '..why I hate them' that could bring to mind competitive bitchery. Still, with that particular article it is debatable whether or not the author meant the women themselves or the concepts and ideals they represent. I think what delights me most about it is that it shows how words have such power and are so often wielded carelessly.
      If you squat while drying your hair, you must have killer glutes and thus I nominate YOU for best ass on the internet. ;-) xoxoxo

  5. lovely post :) Happy Easter, have a nice day :)

  6. Shawna, what a wonderful post! I LOVE your home, and I would feel so cozy and so at home, and so inspired in it - as home should feel for me, personally. I love eclectic, imperfect interiors which speak of their owners - and yours is marvelous that way! Love all the added paintings, the huge mirror on the floor, the unmade bed, the evidence of writing and drawing and... just living there.

    I really do try not to judge people. I think we all play different games as we grow up, just like we do as kids, and also just as kids, we learn while playing - learn about life, its meaning and essence. I think when people aim for perfection, they aim for beauty and for doing things right. And in itself, it really is a wonderful goal to achieve. The only thing is... it's unachievable, and it gets very hard very fast, and people get burned. I think the best favor we need to do to ourselves is stop being self-critical and just enjoy life, ourselves and others. And it's the hardest one, it seems. For pretty much anyone I see...

    Life is beautiful...

    Love xxxx

    1. I suppose self-criticism has a purpose up to a point. It is connected to motivation, the desire to try harder and to improve. It just seems to go too far too often. I really agree with what you said about the aiming for perfection being aiming for beauty and many of us aim for beauty as we see it. I consider myself lucky that my idea of beauty involves wilted flowers. ;-) xoxoxo

  7. Your home is so beautiful! (And still cleaner than mine.) I'm with the cleaning girl- you have some killer pieces. This was a beautiful read and very inspirational.

    I love your little baby donkey. What a sweetie.

    1. But remember Meghan, I didn't show you the dirty dishes in the kitchen and inspirational pieces come with age/time. Let's make a deal: I will envy and admire your sewing and you can envy and admire my dead flowers. ;-) xoxo

  8. I never photo-shopped myself because a) I don't know how to do it b) I don't see any sense in it c) then I would have to do it all the time, right d) it's time consuming ...

    I'm not against photo shop in general as it can be a real tool for real photographs. Plus, if it makes people feel better about themselves, who am I to judge?


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