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November 22nd, 2015
09:24 pm


Passing It On
There comes a time in every life when one must think to the future, and to the legacy one will leave behind.  While it is true that the Radical fashion line never achieved the dominance on the runways of Paris, or in the department stores of America, that one might have wished, there is always hope.  And it seems that my 6-year-old daughter has develped an interest in fashion!  Not to put too much pressure on her at this stage of her development, but I do believe we are witnessing the birth of a major talent!  Already you can see the creativity, the willingness to push the boundaries, the blending of the old with the new, the bold juxtaposition of colors, that herald a true artistic mind.

Current Mood: proud

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March 4th, 2014
09:37 pm


The Radical Woman
I believe it is time to address the question that has been put to so many Project Runway contestants by the esteemed Michael Kors:  "Who is this girl?  Where is she going?"

Of course, the real question is why so many of us give even the slightest bit of credence to people who think "sportswear" includes evening gowns, "business" includes walking shorts and "eveningwear" includes hot pants.  But, I digress.

Without further ado, I present to you the hallmarks of the Radical Woman:


1. She's not afraid to show a little skin.


2. She knows she's fabulous.  She raises her hand 'cause she's sure, she pairs black fishnets with brown shoes, and she wears structured taffeta mini-dresses because she doesn't need to be able to walk to have a good time.  A single piece of notepad paper cannot contain her!


3. She's confident enough to pair a... bathing suit?  Tennis dress?  Ruffled leotard???  Whatever this is... with high-heeled ankle boots.

Toni Alice

4. She knows the best way to spice up a casual denim look is with a touch of gravity-defying whimsy.


5. She'll be the first one at your country club to try out the latest trends in cocktail dresses, such as giant lobster-claw sleeves.


6. She's fun, and she's sassy, sometimes classy, and sometimes brassy.  She's a little bit fashion and a little bit rock and roll.

But the most important quality of the Radical Woman is that, just when you think you've figured out who she is...


7. She'll go and throw you a curve ball.

Current Mood: happyhappy

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February 21st, 2014
11:29 pm


Fashion Inspirations
As I was finding my way as a fashion designer at the tender age of 13 in the mid-80's, I often drew my inspiration from television, or even real life. In other words, I flat-out stole ideas.

These first two were actual outfits worn by the singer Laura Branigan (best known for "Gloria," but I owned and repeatedly listened to two of her tapes and still have quite a soft spot for "Down Like a Rock," "The Lucky One" and even the godawful "Ti Amo"). The jumpsuit I know she wore on an episode of Solid Gold (singing the aforementioned godawful "Ti Amo"), the other one was from a video... "Self Control," maybe? Laura was one of my idols until I figured out that she didn't write her own songs. Then we were done.

Lana Maria

The inspiration for this look should be obvious to anyone who watched MTV in the 80's. Let's see if anyone guesses it. (And if nobody does, we'll all know that I'm an even worse artist than I give myself credit for.)


Now this is a dress that I saw on TV, I am absolutely certain of it, but I cannot remember anything besides the dress. Was it an episode of The Love Boat, perhaps? (Hey, I steal from the best.) I'm pretty sure I drew the model to resemble the actress who was wearing it, so this would have been Heather Locklear, maybe? I named her Olivia - perhaps a tribute to Olivia d'Abo from The Wonder Years? Did she ever wear a purple dress with a sequined top and a chiffon skirt on that show? Was the actual dress green, so that I had no choice but to draw it in order to make it purple? I vaguely remember that it might have been green on TV. ANYWAY, the point is, this was a real dress that I loved so much that I was inspired to re-create it in pencil and magic marker.


My favorite TV show, Buck Rogers, provided a lot of inspiration, particularly the "futuristic outer space" gowns worn by the villainess, Princess Ardala.

Vicki Liza Jan Rhoda

By the way, in case you have not figured this out on your own, I could not draw faces very well, but I knew instinctively (without any coaching from Collier Strong from L'Oreal Paris) that a model's makeup was very important to the overall look of a design, so I developed a system of drawing the face whereby eyelashes meant "this model is wearing makeup," a thin line of rouge on each cheek meant "this model is wearing quite a bit of makeup" and GIANT HALF-CIRCLES of rouge meant "OK, this look needs a SHIT-TON OF MAKEUP, so PILE IT ON."

The design below features a shirt that existed in real life, in a store, that I really, really wanted. In real life the mesh was white, not black, but I couldn't figure out a way to draw that. I was always wanting to buy things that involved mesh and corsets and the like, and my parents (particularly my stepmother) would try to convince me that those clothes were "too mature" for me because they were "sexy" which made me furious because of course I was not trying to look "sexy" (GROSS), but how was I supposed to achieve my dream of being a glamorous star of the microphone if they kept holding me back from the clothes that were putting Madonna and Cyndi Lauper on magazine covers? They didn't understand ANYTHING about fashion. Witness the cuteness I imagined of me in a red tank/mesh top with jeans. Totally not too sexy, right?


Finally, this is an original design that I chose to accessorize with a belt I actually owned at the time.


Yes. I owned a "breakdancing belt" (but mine was brown rather than the gray pictured here). And wore it to school. No accolades were forthcoming.

It is not easy being a misunderstood artist.

Current Mood: lonelylonely

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February 2nd, 2014
07:59 pm


My Life as a Fashion Designer
I was going to save this for Throwback Thursday, but I'm always so busy on Thursdays.  Anyway, this was my sister's idea, long before Throwback Thursday became a thing.

Sometime around 7th grade, my best friend and I decided we would be fashion designers. Our brand name would be "Radical" and our designer jeans would have the radical sign across the back pocket (you know, from long division). Because we were in middle school in 1986, designer jeans were major status symbols (the girls who wore Jordache and Guess ruled our school), the word "radical" was cool within our age group, and we were still taking middle school math, which is why we knew what the long division sign was called.

Now, I know we were all ridiculous in middle school, but you are in luck because I am a pack rat when it comes to nostalgia, and I saved every single fashion design from my notebooks. And, by and by, you are going to get to see them ALL!  (Unless of course no one sees this and it ends up being for my own amusement, which is fine by me because I am easily amused.)


Meet Iona, the very first model for my budding design house.  This adorable freckled redhead is ready for summer with her green two-piece... um... what is that, exactly?  I'm not sure they make a two-piece set consisting of matching baggy shorts (positive those are pleated in the front) and a spaghetti-strap tube top, particularly since I'm also pretty sure this is supposed to be denim.  But whatever, she's rocking her side ponytail, and the off-center lightning bolts tell you she's hot stuff!


Karen's "electric" two-piece is proof of two things:  1. there are things one can do with markers that are not possible with actual fabric, and 2. I really had no idea how a string bikini was supposed to look and/or function.


The observant among you may notice that there is a faint checkmark in the upper left-hand corner of this design.  This dates from a period during which I decided to catalogue my collection (after having drawn many, many designs) and mark my favorites, to make sure I put into production only my best work once I was able to make my designs reality.  Now, I know what you think you're looking at right now.  You think you're looking at a girl with a big red tumor on her hip, and listen, that's fair enough.  But try to imagine that the gowns worn on Dynasty are the height of fashion, that your favorite TV shows are Buck Rogers and the weekly Solid Gold countdown, and that taffeta is still considered an acceptable fabric from which to construct elegant evening wear, and you'll have some idea of what was in my head.


This was the design from which I learned that one cannot convey a black tulle veil in magic marker without making the model look like a widow at a funeral.  (Albeit a wacky, sexy funeral.)  I'm pretty sure it wasn't until much, much later that I learned the sad reality that fishnet stockings, fishnet gloves and bare midriffs had no place in the realm of elegant evening wear.


Now, I have no idea why this one doesn't have a check mark because I am positive that this was one of my all-time favorite designs.  The slight variation on fishnet to give it some interest.  The angel wings and uneven hemline.  The ROUGE!  Sheena is hot stuff.


I'm going to close out this episode with Mariah because this drawing perplexes me for several reasons.  First of all, I am not sure how I managed to draw her hair off the top of the page.  Secondly, I'm not sure how I thought the heart-shaped cutout would work in real life, particularly in a strapless one-piece.  Finally, why did I change the model's name?  I originally named her "Loni" (no doubt in tribute to that 80's sex goddess Loni Anderson), then crossed it out and wrote "Mariah."  Why?  Did I decide she just wasn't sexy enough to earn the name Loni?  Did I want to save the name for a future design?  (I tried never to duplicate a name, weird compulsive thing.)  Did her brown hair and brown eyes make me think of the heroine of my favorite of the Sweet Dreams romance novels, P.S. I Love You?  If I can't recall, then the world will certainly never know.  And that does not matter to a single person in this world.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Frozen soundtrack

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May 20th, 2011
12:52 pm


Writer's Block: Dynamite with a laser beam
What's your favorite line from a song, and why?

"And if I've found love, why am I so hung up?
Feel like I'm diamond mining and it only bring me dung up."
--"Champion" by Boo!

Best rhyme ever.


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February 17th, 2011
06:41 pm


What I Want To Be When I Grow Up
My sister and I have spent some time lately talking about our respective careers - whether the jobs we're in are the right ones, what else we could see ourselves maybe doing, what the right money/happiness balance is - so it's been on my mind, which is I guess why I had this dream.

I was in the middle of disembodied voices giving me various career advice. Then phones started ringing. Then resumes started flying into my hands. Then it just got louder and louder and crazier and crazier until the voices were shouting and the resumes were swirling around me, trapping me in this vortex, until I literally put my foot down and, shouting to be heard over all the noise, said, "I want! To be! A SONGWRITER!"

Yeah. Still.

There are all kinds of things I've thought about doing over the years. I like languages. I could do PR. I would probably be good at teaching. I actually really like ticketing, though that's a pretty small world with few job openings. Working with children, maybe? They say the medical field is the only one that's actually creating jobs right now; perhaps I could do something with that. (Do I sound like Nigel Tufnel being asked what he'd be doing if he weren't playing lead guitar for a heavy metal band and saying, "Surgery. I like surgery"?)

But I have always, and I mean always, wanted to be a songwriter. I didn't know that was a real thing that you could be until I was 13, but even before that, I wanted to be it. Even when everything else related to music goes out the window because I'm busy or broke or lazy, I still write songs. It's really the only thing that I love, that I'm good at, and that feels like MY thing that I was meant to do.

I just don't know how to make it THE thing that I do.

I did the DIY singer/songwriter thing (but never enough, never wholeheartedly, what if I tried it again but really committed?) and burned out on that. There was a local singer/songwriter, years ago, who got a job with the publishing division of a record company; they set her up in a house in California and paid her $30,000 a year to write songs for other people. Pretty much sounds like my dream job! But then she came back to Atlanta and put out an album called "Be Careful What You Wish For."

This is all musing for naught at the moment, though, because I have to get back to working on my resume. I'm applying for a job. In marketing. Which was never even on my list, but forward motion... or even just motion... oh, I don't know. Wish me luck.

Current Mood: sicksick
Current Music: monitor (baby's napping)

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January 3rd, 2011
05:21 pm


2010 Wrap Up Survey
End of Year Survey for 2010Collapse )

Current Mood: complacentcomplacent

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December 23rd, 2010
12:47 pm


Is It Christmas Yet?
I am not exactly what you'd call a procrastinator, but I'm also not one of those super-organized people who start their Christmas shopping in August (or right after the previous Christmas when all the Christmas stuff is on sale; I just don't have that kind of energy). I'm usually right in the middle there and so have figured out mostly what I'm going to get people before December begins and then I have most of the month to buy it all, wrap it all, figure out who I forgot, buy and wrap things for them, put things in the mail to whichever family I'm not going to see over the holidays, and send out Christmas cards. I have done it this way for so long that I've never viewed it as a negative or a positive way to do things.

Last year at Christmas time, droid18 and I read Dave Ramsey's book and put ourselves on the Total Money Makeover plan, in order to streamline our expenses and attempt to put more money into savings and less into... well, everything else. We are nearing the end of year one, and we haven't met our savings goal, but the fact that we have savings at all - while being debt-free apart from our mortgage - is pretty darn cool, especially considering where we started when we first moved in together (being stuck in a terrible auto financing deal and one of us owing 5 years' worth of back taxes). But so anyway, I, being ever proactive, decided that one of us (which ended up being me) would get a second part-time job during the holidays, with the proceeds paying for Christmas. This way, our other income would be distributed as normal, and we would not have to dip into our hard-won savings. Because I wanted to be super-organized and "gazelle-intense" (a Dave Ramsey saying) about this, droid18 and I made a budget for Christmas and agreed to spread out our Christmas spending over November and December, the two months I had the job. Therefore, though it must be said that droid18 went decidedly over budget on gifts for the baby, we have had the tree up and all the presents purchased (100% online), wrapped, and mailed since December 15th.

You're impressed, right? I mean, come on!

However, I have in the weeks since realized a flaw in my planning, which is twofold:

1. I have experienced virtually no excitement or adrenaline about the coming holiday.
2. I have been waiting for Christmas FOREVER, and it is still not here.

I have been stuck in a holding pattern, working two jobs that have nothing to do with Christmas (only one caroling gig this year due to my extremely full work schedule) and constantly checking the calendar, only to see that Christmas is still two weeks/a whole week/ four days away. It has been so incredibly depressing!

And this is how we learn about ourselves, right? We try new things. And what I have learned about myself this year is that I absolutely MUST have chaos at Christmas time. I have not been to the mall, not once, to dash around looking for last-minute gifts, I have not tried to squeeze one caroling gig and two Christmas parties into one night, I have not spent a single late night frantically wrapping presents that need to go into the mail the next day, trying to find the Scotch tape that I could swear was on the table a second ago, and I have hardly sung any Christmas music at all. (Thank God for Charles' party last night; I feel SO much better now.) And it has SUCKED! (I did manage to be late sending out my holiday cards, though, so that's something.) Next year will be a return to Christmas madness because spending Advent as it is supposed to be spent, in sober reflection and contemplation of the coming Christmas season and meaning of same is for the birds.

Current Mood: boredbored

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November 25th, 2010
11:01 pm


Top Model Dream
Those of you who have read my various journals for a while know that I often have very vivid dreams. I try to only post the highly entertaining ones, to whit:

Last night, I dreamt I was on America's Next Top Model. For the first episode, they divided the house into two teams for a challenge, which was described as "the Thai food challenge." Each team had a certain amount of time to get in the van, go to a Thai restaurant, choose a selection of attractive Thai food (much of it vegetables carved into flower shapes and then stuffed with Pad Thai or other noodle dishes; it was really very lovely), arrange it into an attractive buffet, and then pose with it. In the van on the way over, I suggested that we all pose in a way that would evoke Thai princesses, while still keeping it fashion. I held out my hands in a flower shape next to my face to demonstrate, while making sure to keep my shoulders down so I wouldn't lose my neck.

Despite my valuable feedback, I was eliminated. I made sure to give a cheerful exit interview about how great it was just to have the experience because I didn't want to be one of those girls who cried during her exit interview, but secretly I was crushed.

Current Mood: thankfulthankful

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October 27th, 2010
11:04 am


Gaga Youth
When Lady Gaga appeared on the scene, I immediately dismissed her as just another attention seeker who had decided to become a "singer" in order to wear tiny clothing on television.

Then I started hearing from people whose taste I respected who admired her, and I read a couple of interviews, and I started to come around. I respect her point of view and, especially, the way she has embraced the paparazzi celebrity culture. Girlfriend wears a costume every day of her life because she understands that she is starring in her own 24/7 reality show. There will never be embarrassing paparazzi photos that bring about her downfall because she simply cannot be embarrassed. She is open and honest about her past, her relationships, and her career, and she is controlling her image and her message every step of the way. Madonna may have paved the way for this kind of career, but Lady Gaga has taken it to a new level.

In addition to her media savvy, Lady Gaga actually seems to have the musical goods. She sings, plays, and writes her own songs, and even though it's the same kind of produced-within-an-inch-of-its-life dance pop that has been sent across the airwaves by many people before her, I'm not going to hold that against her if that's the kind of music she really wants to be making. Her songs are as catchy, hooky, and danceable as anything else out there, and they deserve their place at the top of the pop charts. As tedious as I often find that style of music, I'm not going to pretend that I've never had the chorus of "Poker Face" stuck in my head.

Now, here's where she loses me. Lady Gaga claims to be more than just a pop star; she claims to be a pop artist. She compares herself to Andy Warhol a lot. She is so intelligent and articulate in her interviews and so obviously knows what she's talking about (this is not Britney thinking that "I Love Rock and Roll" is a Pat Benatar song or Avril Levigne claiming to know what punk rock is) that I get excited to experience her work and see and hear her influences and her point of view translated into pop music.

Then, I watch her videos, and here's what I see: a nubile woman wearing tiny clothes and outlandish accessories, dancing provocatively on a stylish set with half naked models. Based on her music and her videos, she could be Beyonce, Britney, Christina Aguilera, or any of the rest of them. I know she thinks her video featuring pictures of beautiful models looking dead is some kind of revolutionary commentary on the nature of celebrity, but "dead models" has been so much and for so long that it was actually a challenge on America's Next Top Model, and while I'm on the subject, is there no comment that can be made without the use of attractive models? If she really has something to say as an artist, then why is she putting herself in that same old, tired "sexy pop star" mold? She doesn't even really have a new spin on it, at least not in her videos. She talks such a good game that I really wish the results were more artful.

Lady Gaga claims that she does it all for her fans (she calls them "little monsters"). Well, Lady Gaga, if you're listening, I would love to be your little monster. I may not be in high school anymore, but I still long for that same connection you are trying to provide, and I have been waiting and waiting for something interesting to happen in music videos again. You're just not there for me yet. I hope you find a way to put some soul into your beautifully constructed artifice because there's more to real art than fabulousness. I want to love you, but I am waiting for you to take me somewhere I haven't been.

Current Mood: crankycranky

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