Category Archives: Cartoon Heart

hello 2012

My new year got off to a pretty auspicious start, seeing X perform at Slim’s in San Francisco along with my friends Sean & Zander and the Black Tibetans!

I’ve gotta say, it’s kind of hard not to feel optimistic about 2012 when you’re watching one of your all-time favorite bands perform “Auld Lang Syne” with balloons flying everywhere and the floor all sticky with cheap champagne.  After the show I somehow worked up the drunken nerve to approach Exene and tell her how amazing she is.  She was nice about it and squeezed my hand and said “thank you” and “happy new year” before wandering off in her adorable purple cowboy boots and rhinestone tiara.

So — it’s a new year!  A fresh start!  A clean slate and all that.  My friend Jennie says New Year’s is her favorite holiday because, as she says, “the only things you have to do are party and set some goals.”  In the past I’ve been inclined to think of the whole new year’s resolutions thing as kind of trite, but this year, whether it’s because 2011 was pretty transitional for me or just because I’m getting older, I’m on board and ready to move forward and create some positive change in my life.  So, as self-serving as this type of post may be, here are my goals for 2012:

 

I’m going to utilize my strange little menagerie of musical instruments (currently in my stable: two guitars, my beloved Magnus Diamond chord organ, an accordion, a glockenspiel, a couple of analog synthesizers, a harmonica and a shiny new white mother-of-pearl lap steel guitar) to their utmost this year.  I’m going to get better at playing all of them, I’m going to expand my ability to play other instruments, and I’m going to try to write a song a week, no matter how much it sucks (both the songwriting process and the resultant song itself).

I’m going to write more.  I’m going to fucking finish the goddamn novel I’ve been working on since I was 21.  I’m going to explore direct publishing on Amazon as a way to try and sell some of the shorter fiction I’ve written over the years via the Kindle store.  I’m going to put out some small zines (Jennie and I will actually be at L.A. Zine Fest in February, promoting and selling our first issue of Library Sciences!).  And — most relevant to you, my readers — I’m hereby pledging to update Cartoon Heart at least once a week.  Feel free to get on my ass about this if I slack off.

I’m going to be good to my family, my friends, and myself.  Every year it becomes clearer to me that there are very few close relationships that are sustainable in one’s life — the ones that you have are worth protecting til death.  I’m fortunate to have an incredible group of people surrounding me and this year I resolve to be as proactive as possible about letting the people who are important to me know that they’re important to me.

I have other goals that are smaller or more private or more complicated just silly, but those are the big three for me this year.

What are your resolutions for 2012?  Think about it — tomorrow I’ve got a special giveaway that’s going to depend on hearing some good ones!

Happy 2012!

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loving and losing and learning

In the fall in San Francisco I was in the bathroom at Zeitgeist and someone had scrawled graffiti in red lipstick on the back of the stall door.  It was big and messy and earnest and it said “MY ♥ IS BROKEN.”

I thought, Me too, girl.  Not broken like brokenhearted — I was in love then — but broken, like, it just don’t work right.

I confess, I have a history of being a serial monogamist.  Since I dove head-first into the dating pool at the tail end of my teens, my longest solo stretch has lasted only about four months.  And even when I’m actively single (meaning actually going out and attempting to connect with other human life forms, as opposed to inactively single, which involves sitting on the couch in my underwear watching “Snapped” marathons on Oxygen), history proves that I tend to spend a lot of that “alone” time hung up on some unavailable asshole or another who gives me enough attention to keep me interested until I find someone else who is actually willing to date me.  Then, inevitably — sometimes after a couple of months, sometimes after a couple of years — I realize I’m in a relationship with someone who, while possibly wonderful, is also probably wrong for me.  And so the whole process begins again.

It was the same song this year.  I found someone in January that I came to love a lot.  I still love him.  But the longer I stayed with him the more I realized how incapable I was of being in a successful relationship.  I hadn’t given myself enough time to figure myself out before falling back into the comfort of being part of a couple.  Maybe I had never given myself enough time.  I thought for a while I could somehow both find myself and figure out what it is I wanted and still stay with this kind, sweet person whom I feel is so deserving of good love.  Ultimately I had to come to terms with the fact that I was wrong.  My search for myself made me neglectful of my relationship to the point where it was unfair to remain.

It hurt.  It still hurts.  It’s really hard to leave someone you love when things just aren’t working and you can’t put your finger on quite why.  But I’m trying to be an adult and being an adult, I guess, means facing up to your issues and dealing with them instead of repeating the same old patterns.  So that’s what I’m trying to do.

As I’ve grown older I’ve really come to terms with the extent to which I thrive on male attention.  It’s not a quality I find particularly attractive in myself.  I like to think of myself as a strong, independent person, yet I find that I seem to thrive in a relationship, at least at first.  I like having a partner, someone that’s always in my corner, someone that I can call and complain to about the most inane shit and someone that will hold me when I’m feeling lonely, which is often.

But, you know, who doesn’t like that?  Just because I like that doesn’t mean it’s what I need right now.  My girlfriends tell me that feeling of emptiness passes, that you get used to being by yourself.  I have to admit that I have never been alone long enough to get used to it.  I’ve never not had that void in my stomach when I’ve been by myself.  I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at filling it with meaningless pseudorelationships and half-hearted connections, but the older I get the more I realize that filling a hole with crap is not the same as repairing one.

So I’m attempting to avoid falling into the same pattern.  And it’s not easy.  When I’m alone by myself lately (which is often, now being single and still with that pesky issue of not really having much of a job or social life) I find myself doing weird things like standing in one place in the kitchen staring out the window and then looking at the clock and realizing I’ve been doing that for twenty minutes.  Or going on endless slow walks around the same block that I’m sure make me look slightly crazy to my neighbors.  Or reading sample after self-help book sample on my Kindle while rolling my eyes and feeling vaguely patronized.  Or playing the same song twenty times on my guitar until all the people who live in a 100-yard radius of me wish I’d never learned “Rainbow Connection.”  It turns out — for me, at least — that being freshly single is a lot like being freshly unemployed.  There’s the same overwhelming combined feeling of ennui and uselessness.  The difference is that at least when that feeling comes from being unemployed you can blame some other bastard, whereas when you’re single by your own fault, the only bastard is you.

But just like being unemployed, I think there’s a hump here that is possible to get over.  I’m just trying to figure out exactly how to pull it off.  I know it involves keeping busy and developing new hobbies and making a lot of time for myself and it probably doesn’t involve drinking a lot during the daytime.  So now, as I seem to be wont to do whenever I’m faced with any kind of internal problem, I’m turning to you, my infallible readers, because you’re always full of good ideas and great advice.

What do I do?  What do I read?  Where do I go?  How do I figure this all out?  I want to have a successful relationship someday.  I really do.  The problem is getting from Point A to Point B in one solid piece.

hippie speedball shirts!

I’m so beyond psyched that my HIPPIE SPEEDBALL t-shirts and tanks are finally here! Everything is now up in my Etsy shop.

Getting these shirts out has been a major, major labor of love, but I can’t tell you guys how stoked I am on them.  As you might already know, I illustrated all the graphics myself and picked out what I think are the best cut, softest, coziest shirts to print on.  So these shirts are really a representation of Cartoon Heart style at its finest — especially because I did everything I could to keep them affordable.  Topping out at $30, they’re not super cheap, but they also cost less then any other screened t-shirt of this quality that you’ll find online, I promise.

And also, because I’m so excited about this, you can use the coupon code CARTOON on my Etsy for 10% off anything in the shop through Sunday night!  I’ll post how I’m wearing my shirts soon.

my leather, my love

If I could be said to have a signature piece in my wardrobe, it would definitely be my cropped motorcycle jacket, an item I reach for so often that I simply refer to it as “my leather.”

A quick perusal of my tagged photos on Facebook turns up more pictures of me in my leather than not.  Clearly, I love this thing.

Full disclosure: my leather is not actually leather.  It’s a leatherette motorcycle jacket from H&M Divided — not very punk rock, but I don’t care.  I got it on sale for $19.99 about four years ago.  It was the only one on the rack, it was my size, and it is perfect in every way.  (I like to think it was fate.)  I’ve come close to losing it a few times and every time I do I have heart palpitations.  Without my leather I’d be lost.

A standby leather motorcycle jacket is nothing original, especially if you hang around with people who have punk in their past, but what I appreciate about people and their leathers is how they get personalized over the years with studs and paint and patches and pins.  Personally, mine is dripping with flair, and it makes me laugh because most of the buttons and shit on my leather are pretty silly.  From afar it might look like anyone’s pinned-up leather jacket, but when you get close up it’s totally completely me.

A guide to my leather in ten easy steps:

1. Cunt Sparrer badge.  Nothing wrong with a little self-promotion.  I guess it’s kind of lame to wear your own band’s pin but I’m proud of my band and I’ma sport it.

2. Cramps pin.  One of my favorite bands of all time and like the only pin on my leather that would actually be at home on anyone else’s.

3. Vintage Slayer “War Eagle” tack pin.  My friend Katy stole this from a metalhead ex-boyfriend she had long ago and gave it to me as a gift (attached to a sick ’80s dress) a couple of years ago.  It’s heavy duty and badass and people try to steal it from me all the time.  Back off and get your own, dudes.

 

4. “Too Much Politics” button.  I got this at Paxton Gate in San Francisco (a seriously fucking rad shop) when I was up there with the band earlier this year.  I love the little dude in his coffin because this is basically how I feel whenever people start going off on political tirades.

 

5. “Fuck Harry Nemer Week” political badge.  I found this at the Cypress College swapmeet along with a handful of other weird treasures.  Who is Harry Nemer and why was there a whole week dedicated to telling him to fuck off?  I Googled him, but nothing comes up.  This is such a weird little piece of history that I will never understand, but it’s an awesome fabric-covered pin and people always want to talk about it.  I wish I knew what it was all about.

6. All Of Me lenticular pin.  OK THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST THINGS I OWN.  I got it at the same swapmeet table where I found the “Fuck Harry Nemer Week” pin and when I saw it I pretty much lost my fucking shit.  All Of Me starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin is one of my favorite movies and when I found this pin I had just watched it a couple of days before.  When it’s turned one way it shows Steve Martin’s face and it says “Why Not Take…” and when you turn it the other way it’s Lily Tomlin and it says “All Of Me.”  SO CUTE.  It always confuses people.  A few months ago when I was on tour with the band my drummer Jen turned to me and said “Dude, that pin is weird.  Sometimes that chick looks like Steve Martin.”

 

7. JonBenet Baphomet pin.  People always think I am creepy because of this pin but I don’t care.  It marries two of my weirder obsessions — the occult and freaky child pageants.  It was made by Less Than Zero, a really sick Etsy shop based out of Sacto.

 

 

8. FabuLisa pin.  This is my friend Lisa Nguyen, a seriously incredible and vibrant woman who passed away far too soon last winter.  She had the greatest style of anyone I’ve ever met in my life and I love having this little piece of her with me every day.

9. Black Fag pin.  Black Fag is an “Absolutely Fabulous” Black Flag tribute band that Cunt Sparrer plays with a lot.  They are fucking amazing and hilarious and I am desperately in love with all of them.

10. Red sunglasses.  A band of cute boys gave us these at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas.  What else do you need?

In summary, I love you, leather.  Never leave me.

snakerider

Here’s what I wore yesterday…

Forever 21 hat, skirt, and wedges; Käärme t-shirt; Love Culture cardigan.

Can I lay some praise on my girl for a second?  I’ve known Hallie online for an embarrassingly long time. She sent me a couple of her Käärme t-shirts a while back and I’ve been living in them. The graphics are like nothing else out there right now, they’re soft and cut well, and above all I’m stoked to see someone whose blog I and aesthetic I truly love doing something really awesome.  The Kaarme shop is up online and I’m kind of in love with everything.  (How sick is this studded bag?)

on fashion blogging

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while and the words just haven’t been coming.  But in light of several emails and tweets I’ve gotten from my readers recently (thank you so much, and I apologize for not responding to each one personally!) I figure it’s time to try to hammer it out.

As regular readers can’t have failed to notice, I’ve been MIA from Cartoon Heart for about a month.  It’s not because I got a job or otherwise fell off the face of the blogosphere — honestly, it’s more related to the blogosphere itself.

When I started WAITIN ROUND 2 BE A MILLIONAIRE in 2007, fashion blogging was hardly new, but it was far less developed than it is today.  Over the past five years it’s evolved from a quaint real-world concept into an unstoppable industry juggernaut.  While this is excellent news for the thousands of people out there who’ve managed to make names for themselves and transition from Internet hobbyists to career bloggers, it’s been giving me an increasing amount of blogging ennui.  The commercialization of fashion blogging is awesome in a lot of ways, but in my opinion it’s also dulling the point of why people started doing this in the first place.

There’s a TJ Maxx commercial airing right now featuring a blogger named Lindsey Calla, who runs a site called Saucy Glossie.  Before these commercials started running I’d never heard of Lindsey or her blog (and based on this discussion it appears I’m not the only one), but of course I was impressed by — and not a little jealous of! — the recognition she’d received.  However, something about the commercial rubbed me the wrong way.

What made me give this commercial — and by proxy, the entire blogging industry — the side-eye is Lindsey’s proclamation that she likes to think of herself as “the voice of real girls.”

This alone doesn’t bug me.  As a fashion blogger I’ve been using the exact same “voice of real girls” line myself since I was 22 years old (hell, I’m even quoted in Genlux magazine as saying that fashion bloggers represent “real” people).  The thing is, I think the majority of fashion bloggers start out intending to be some kind of voice for “real girls,” so much so that the sentiment is a bit of an eye-roll-inducing blogger cliche at this point.  But at what point do these “real girl” bloggers stop representing “real girls” and just start representing…bloggers?

In the TJ Maxx commercial, Lindsey follows up her line about being the voice of real girls with this oxymoronic statement: “Because I post new looks almost every day, I have to shop almost as often.”  And right there is where she loses me as far as being “the voice of real girls.”  What real girl can afford to shop almost every day?  Even if you are shopping exclusively at discount retailers, that shit adds up quick. Real girls don’t shop every day.  Real girls can’t shop every day.  Real girls aren’t heading to TJ Maxx and making it rain in the shoe department on their advertiser-assisted salary.  Therefore, I resent that this Lindsey Calla person (or, really, whichever TJ Maxx drone wrote the commercial’s script) thinks that she represents me.

But it’s not Lindsey’s fault or TJ Maxx’s fault or even the fault of the new agency dedicated exclusively to representing bloggers (one of whom, interestingly enough, is Lindsey Calla herself).  It’s simply that over the past couple of years the fashion blogosphere has evolved — or maybe the word is devolved — into a creepy, insular, self-obsessed, self-aggrandizing, self-congratulatory world.  Where fashion bloggers were once on the fringes of the industry, looking in and offering their unique outsiders’ perspectives, people like Rumi and Tavi and the like are now the insiders, the tastemakers.  Fashion bloggers have their own defined look — there’s a polish involved now that replaced the rough-around-the-edges quality I used to like about blogging.  The idea that established fashion bloggers represent real people is at this point fucking laughable.

Sure, I’ve always felt isolated from wealthy, upper-echelon bloggers like Jane from Sea Of Shoes, because I couldn’t possibly imagine having their capital or closets.  But now I feel equally isolated from the bloggers who claim that they represent real women with real budgets.  And I believe that the reason is because where fashion blogging in its infancy had no rules, it’s now an Industry in and of itself, and in order to be successful you have to hit a certain amount of checkpoints.  Everything is starting to feel eerily similar.

Having been blogging for years, and having remained essentially at about the same level of “success” (read: pretty much none, but with a small passel of much-appreciated and much-loved loyal readers) for most of it, this whole commodification has been starting to stunt my ability to write for Cartoon Heart.  When I made the moved from WR2BAM to this site it was with the intention of writing about more than just fashion, but it’s been difficult to shake my perception of my site as a fashion blog.  And as far as generating content, fashion is easy to write about — at least, it should be, right?

But lately I’ve been feeling like the title “Fashion Blogger” doesn’t represent me.  I feel like I need to fit into a certain niche in order to be taken seriously, to gain more readers, to keep people coming back to my site.  And that in turn makes me feel bad about myself as a blogger, because I never started blogging with the intention of making money at it (and the fact that I’m still here five years later, still with no ads and still with no TJ Maxx commercial, is proof of that!).  What has always appealed to me about fashion blogging is that there was a sense of the organic.  Now it feels manufactured, and I feel like I’ve been trying to fit into this manufactured role of Fashion Blogger and that has stunted my ability to write.

I really did start blogging with the intention of being “a voice for real girls.”  (Insert eye-roll here.)  And I think what has kept me going for as long as I have — and what’s brought me back here after my monthlong hiatus — is that maybe I really can represent what some people are looking for in a fashion blog.  Not all people, and not Digital Brand Architects or the Times, but certain people.  People who are discouraged by the continued commercialization of what used to be outsider territory and “real girls” who can’t, as it turns out, afford to shop almost every day.

I still want to write about what I’m wearing and what trends interest me and what I want to spend my (small amount of) money on as far as clothes are concerned.  But I think I need to stop considering myself a fashion blogger, and stop considering Cartoon Heart a fashion blog.  I’m just not sure what direction to go in, and I really appreciate the continued feedback and input of my readers.  I apologize for disappearing for so long and I’m going to try my hardest to get back into this swinging hard with both fists.

appetite for deconstruction

So here’s the finished product:

I hand-thrashed a bunch of local athletics tees I picked up at area thrift stores — they’re all shredded, studded, burned out and some even have hand embroidery.  I’m pretty obsessed with how they’re turning out.  This one was my first try, and I love it so much I’m keeping it.  What I love about these hand-thrashed t-shirts is how easy they are: you throw them on with jeans and you’re done, but because the shirts are so meticulously detailed it looks like you actually put thought into your outfit. I’m calling this vibe “lazy edgy” and it’s what I’m about right now.

I have a few other ones for sale in my Etsy shop, HiPPiE SPEEDBALL:

I’m working on more that are totally sick too!