Tag Archives: travel

The Highland Park Trailer Project

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I moved to Highland Park in North East Los Angeles (NELA) early 2014. I was steps away from Figueroa Street, a melting pot of history, culture, and the kind of diverse community one only dreams of. Day and night I heard the buzzing of cars traveling via the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway.

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I’d stroll by the Highland Theater ,with its giant, glimmering marquee lights, and quickly became a deeply involved member of the Milagro Allegro Community Garden . Shortly after, I joined the Arroyo Seco Arts Collective, the longest standing active arts collective in East LA.

I lived with two brilliant physicists (my soon to be best friends) pursuing and ultimately receiving doctorates in particle and theoretical physics at CalTech University. I found them on Craigslist. Together we explored HP and its various and equally interesting surrounding neighborhoods. I adopted my dog, a xoloitzcuintli named Tesla, from my next door neighbors whom tended the Tierra de La Culebra Art Park, a long-time beacon of communal arts in the area.

One evening in summer I relocated living spaces just across the street almost as if from no where. All my belongings made the trek across the street in just two trips. On the preserved acre of land would be my landlord and close friend, a world-renowned artist (look her up here–), tediously working away in her studio and pouring her heart and soul into her land and art. It would not be a conventional living arrangement. I had to run across the yard to use the restroom, shower, use power, etc., but those were petty details. I was living the dream I didn’t even know I had.

The 19′ long 1969 Vintage Silverstreak “Jet” that I’d passed by wondering about everyday for well over a year had suddenly become the space and canvas for a most great art piece. Aside from the main frame, it was rebuilt from the ground up. There was undeniably work to be done, but she had my heart from the start. The renovation my full time job and obsession for at least the next two ensuing months.


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In the 60s the trailer was used as a mobile office for the LA Department of Water and Power . Task #1—it had to be gutted. Whatever critters might have been calling it home would have to relocate elsewhere.

I installed three roof vent systems when I realized they were going to be the top priority in the stagnant and pounding heat. Until these, I slept on the breezy outdoor porch of the main house, or slept in my car with the trunk open (it was cooler in those spots than inside the 100+ year old, 100% American Craftsman home). We caulked, and sealed what needed to be done and decided privacy curtains would have to come later. I don’t need as much privacy as I ever thought!


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This is what it looked like after the initial gutting. Luckily there was a pre-existing deck (this plays a major part soon).


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After acquiring some beautiful lumber from my friend/owner (and one of the most up-and-coming contemporary  artists to watch of this time, Kyle Austin Dunn) of BayAreaCustomFurniture  , I began my own custom woodworking and accents. I used solid red wood floor panels replacing sheets of old, damp, plywood. The result gave a true breath of life to the space. Stark white walls were established after three layers of primer, three layers of paint, and two days of scrubbing and cleaning away years of grime and dust.


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Living a minimalist lifestyle has always been my chosen path. Each item in the trailer was of personal value. My goal was to create product of form and function working in concert—Pictures, curated salon wall, artwork of friends, antique furniture and accent pieces, the works. The vintage barber chair show is a stellar find from a local man of the neighborhood with an unparalleled skill collecting metal odds and ends selling them to local antique and vintage stores. We’d done business before, and he came to me first, knowing I’d be ecstatic. Um, yes please.


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Hanging on the wall to the left in the photo below is the original hand drawn design plan for the the community garden. These sort of pieces are priceless. My bed shown above is small and an irregular shape. A special foam pad needed to be cut to accommodate the curved front of the trailer.

Those nights ended up being some of the best rests I’ve ever had. In the summer, when it was scorching, I’d sleep with the door wide open, facing palm trees, while Chopper, our sweetest property dog, staked out on the deck keeping me safe. In the winter, it was a different story. I had a small yet effective space heater. Yet my mother sensed the probability of changing weather conditions and mailed an electric blanket well in advance during the early fall…(thanks, Mom).


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Power ran straight from the main house under a shallow ditch using a couple long, orange extension cords. Something tells me this isn’t to code. I’ll apologize later. Moving on!  It was thrifty clearly a project in which we had to be resourceful—not to mention, it worked perfectly. The hanging lanterns shown here proved my primary light sources. When it came to using the internet or talking on the phone I took that business out to the deck any hint of a signal.

The stump pictured below is actually made of real California avocado wood, originating from a mature tree I knew during my time surfing for six months in Ventura, California  before making my post-graduation move to LA to pursue my burgeoning future as a writer and producer in Hollywood. The beautiful tree was tragically cut down, despite much protest from locals. Alas I collected the remnants I could. I created this stump and a live edge coffee table which I added hairpin legs to and use on a daily basis.


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This is the even more fun part.

Months later after the bulk of the work was in good standing, a close friend of mine, a Senior Producer at The Ellen Show, approached me about an upcoming segment of the Ellen Show show called Grand Design. A professional crew would come in, and renovate various spaces across the country in just two days per project for under $1,000.Within a month the job was done and exceeded any and all expectations. See for yourself!


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The revived shiny coat was achieved by using a finish that is used by airliners to maintain their appearance and upkeep. A turquoise stripe added just the right personal touch, matching the style of not only myself but also my eccentric property owner/artist whom generously allowed me to share her land.

The transformation was not only aesthetically transforming but also initiated a re-birth and revitalization in the mindsets and hearts of all that gave energy to this project.

Others seemed to agree!

Look at all the attention it received on social media!


Check out the articles here.

Want to see the episode? Click HERE!


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There were many of these lazy days I will always have a lifetime of gratitude, memories and pride in my work and the team of others that helped me with achieve my vision.


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Brasilian Artist Lise Forell: WWII Jewish refugee, renowned artist, woman of brilliance, innovation, and courage

by Andrea Jackson

**A re-post of an original piece written by me in October 2013. Lise Forell has been a mentor and mother-figure to my own mom for over 40 years. Her work has been admired by millions around the world, and has a message and story unique to the incredible life journey she has led. I thought it would be a nice taste of the multi-cultural make-up of Brasil during this exciting time while Brasil hosts the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. As always, thanks for the love and support, Whirling Girlishers!  **

The story of a remarkable woman’s journey through history and her love affair with art     

In a few weeks, artist Lise Forell will be ninety years old. People from around the world will flock to her home of Sao Paulo Brazil to celebrate her life and to attend her annual holiday bizarre. Audiences stand entranced in the presence of her enormous art collections. Regular attendees meticulously analyze each piece, partaking in a ritualistic decision making process to determine the next addition to their Lise Forell collections. Among the pieces are murals portraits, landscapes, abstracts and more. One room remains unvisited by eager collectors, however. Referred to by Lise as the “forbidden room”, this untouched space houses some of Lise’s most precious works, some displaying graphic and controversial images. Some of these works might not be revealed to the public in her lifetime, because the public might not be ready, says Lise. Her signature style incorporates bold colors, a vast range of cultural situations, and even images of her dreams. It is the display of a broad range of inspiration derived from a culmination of life experiences.

“Lovingly sheltered by Nature, I can, with neither hurtful nor revolting feelings, dive into reminiscence and care for my memories. As much as the bad, as good.” – Lise Forell

Lise Forell Painting

Lise’s epic journey begins in city of Brno, the capital of Moravia. Born to Kaiser Army decorated Jewish Lieutenant Otto Forell and her mother Grete, Lise began her infant life in war torn Europe. A strict and unusual upbringing only cultivated Lise’s rebellion from the ideals of the masses, and her preferences towards humanism, pacific idealism, and awakening.

Her school years also found themselves tangled in conflict. Lise would inevitably find herself soaked in a mix of diverse cultures for the duration of her academic career. It began when the German schools converted to the Check language, and by that time, it had become too difficult for young Jewish children to be accepted into the system. It was typical for the Jewish youth to flee to countries such as Palestine to continue their educations and attempt to live in peace. Unwilling to send Lise away alone, her parents sent her to live in Belgium with her paternal grandparents. Her vast array of language would include German, Yiddish (a combination of Hebrew, Medieval German and Russian) and some Latin, among others.

Despite her young age, of about 15 or 16, Lise attended classes at the Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp. Her family displayed some sporadic hesitancy because of the liberal associations of the art world, however Lise pressed forward.

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Her time as an art student was interrupted around her final year when she was stricken ill with the Scarlet Fever. During this time, Scarlet Fever claimed the lives of thousands across Europe. Fearing for their daughter’s life, her parents were able to ruse their way into Belgium to tend to their ailing daughter. Little did they know, once they left their homeland, they would never return again.

Lise recovered from her fever, only to enter the time of the initial Nazi Invasion of 1939. This was no time for a Jew, let alone a Jewish woman. Her family vowed to stick together, and they packed what little belongings they had into a single car, and headed from the border of Spain and France. During this trek Lise and her family endured air raids, malnourishment and the piercing cold. Upon reaching their destination, they were redirected to Marseilles, finding that Jews were not permitted to cross the border.

Relentlessly, her father ,Otto, sought a way to flee Europe. The cheapest visa for purchase was to Brazil. So, Brazil it was. Although time was of the essence, it would take months for the visa to arrive. Meanwhile, Lise was able to acquire a job through an acquaintance, hand-painting cinema signs. She was a skilled worker, and in charge of painting the faces of the actors and actresses advertised in the movies. Here she endured the ridicule and harshness of her French co-workers. Alas, in the December of 1940, her family’s visa arrived. They boarded the small crowded liner named Alsina only to be held prisoner on the ship for the next seven months. Ship workers claimed the delay was a result of mechanical malfunctions on the ship, but the passengers knew otherwise.

A pit stop on Casablanca, and a brief relationship with an officer, introduced Lise to her acquiring a new method of escape. In time, her father was able to work up enough money to purchase new tickets to Brazil, despite having paid full price for the same tickets months before. This was finally their chance. By September 25 of the following year, her family touched foot in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Rapt in her new culture, Lise quickly learned the native tongue of Portuguese and observed the many layers of society in which she now called “home”. In time, her father gained a position as an accountant at a magazine, and her mother was able to earn work as a caterer. Though their living conditions were far less affluent than in their homeland, they worked hard to achieve success and networking in their new surroundings.

Lise’s passion still remained in art. Her paintings often were sold using the barter system rather than money. It was around this time she used her skills as an artist to give lessons. This would be her profession for the rest of her life.

By the time the Nazi Empire collapsed, and the end of the Second World War left the world in disarray, Lise’s family learned that many of their family had not survived concentration camps and the terror that came with them. Her life after this time would include her husbands and children, unaware of the personal struggles and experiences that have constituted Lise’s life until their existence. Her independent nature caused much of her support to reside in her lifelong friendships and community.

A short-lived marriage with her first husband, Herbert, gifted Lise her son, Gregori. A longer marriage to Leonardo Bevilcqua produced her children, Gessica, Yorick, Diego, Debora, Raffael, and an adopted son, Roberto. After separating from her second husband, Leonardo, Lise and her grown children decided to start fresh, without the presence of their distracted father. This new chapter of life would take them to the bustling city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. A fresh mindset left Lise ready to conquer anything that cam her way, and with the confidence to move forward without a man. It was here that Lise’s art classes boomed, and her artwork began to sell. Often against her will, Lise sold paintings in various exhibitions, quickly attracting attention from collectors and critics from all around.

Eventually, she was given the opportunity to venture to Israel for a show. Unaware of the affect this trip would have on her paintings, Lise agreed. This was just the beginning of several trips she would take to Israel in her lifetime. The impact of her travels to Israel in a post Holocaust world would influence not only her artwork, but even some of her children. Her daughter, Debora, would eventually immigrate to Israel permanently to be closer to her religious roots.

To this day, Lise is recognized globally by renowned organizations, publications, critics and esteemed artists. She still maintains her ever rebellious attitude on life and paints what she pleases, categorizing her works to avoid being labeled any kind of “ist”— A trait perhaps resembling that of an actual first Avant Garde.

Her artwork evokes a sense of youthful play while engaging the audience in a quest for answers. This historical effect of her paintings leaves viewers asking questions about each piece and its origins. Elaborate floral murals capture the essence of each season, while portraits of families just as equally capture struggle, devotion, and love. Such an extensive and inclusive body of work provides aesthetically and emotionally appealing works for almost any human, despite background or beliefs. It is this that makes not only Lise’s work, but her actual self unique. Her open-mindedness and liberal ideals encompass respect and love for all, opening doors not only for her art, but soul.

She continues to draw inspiration from friends, family, students (which often refer to herself as family), and her country retreat. Like a true artist, Lise finds refuge in her country home which she calls SCHALOM, to escape the masses recharge her senses, and re-establish her relationship with nature. She returns from her sporadic retreats, with ample motivations to lay down her paintbrush to canvas and create her next masterpiece. Lise Forell shows no signs of slowing down, with scheduled classes every day, and multiple projects posted on easels around her studio at once. Her plants are always maintained and lively, while her many cats purr by her ankles.

It is powerhouse women such as Lise Forell which exemplify the notion that following your passion in life can defeat almost any obstacle despite the ideas of others. She is an example for young women and all artists alike to work hard and diligently towards a cause, despite outlying factors and naysayers. Not only does each piece of art Lise Forell creates embrace the past, but it also charges forward fearlessly into the future.

More information on Lise Forell can be found in her published book “Contrasts”.

An award winning film has been created by European filmmakers, following the incredible story of Lise. Trailer Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdJzizXxBz8 

Women Around the World: Weekly Article Feed

Your weekly dose of stuff you want to read about! 

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(Photos via Skateistan)

If you don’t know about Skateistan, you are MISSING OUT. Alerting skateboarders! : http://www.skateistan.org/content/our-story (via Skateistan)

Students speaking out against rape culture on college campuses : http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/us/fight-against-sex-crimes-holds-colleges-to-account.html?_r=1 (via New York Times)

Photo Essay on lives of gray service members: http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2014/05/02/vincent_cianni_gays_in_the_military_is_a_series_about_gay_men_and_women.html (via Slate)

Queer video bloggers making it big on the small screen: http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/2014/05/05/behind-smallest-screen-lives-and-loading-times-gay-youtube-stars (via Advocate)

Carolyn Maloney leads charge for Women’s History Museum: http://msmagazine.com/blog/2014/05/03/carolyn-maloney-leads-charge-for-national-womens-history-museum/ (via MS.)

Some celebrities who just still don’t understand feminism: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/shailene-woodley-feminism-confused_n_5269620.html (via Huffington Post)

May the Fey be with you!: Finally getting to Bossypants by Tina Fey

by Andrea Jackson

January 20, 2014

Tina Fey Bossypants 2011 Book Cover Image via NPR for The Whirling Girlish

Since this past December, I have been trying my best to navigate the unpredictable waters of my post-graduate delirium. I spent my final semester prepping myself for success. You know, building my portfolio, refining my skills using Adobe programs, networking, and reaching out to anyone and everyone that might get me a job in the direction that I want to go.

Around November, I realized things were not panning out quite how I had pictured. In my head, I would have a job before I graduated, would be on an airplane by December 13th (the afternoon following my graduation), and in the office the next day. Yeah, I know. To my surprise, I am not the only one who spent the last few years busting my butt, making connections, and being a rock star. Nope! There’s a few (a crap ton) of us…a crap!

Has not Saturday Night Live caught wind of the incredibly witty and multi-cultural girl chilling in Daytona Beach, Florida, living at mom’s house, and making sure the dog doesn’t reach up on the kitchen counter to eat an entire pack of Gouda cheese again? Did the Upright Citizen’s Brigade somehow not hear about how I made the lady at the cash counter at the drug store CRACK UP?

Granted, I have been pretty lucky. I’m pretty positive about what I’m passionate about and what I want to do. I’ve been interviewing (hallelujah), so I haven’t gone quite off my rocker…yet. But I have been finding myself turning a lot more towards the people in the business that I look up to and admire. It has me thinking, “ What the %@&# did people like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Kristen Wiig do when they were feeling about as successful as a car with no wheels and they couldn’t just Google ‘ People who weren’t successful until their thirties”? My heart goes out to them.

So on a recent trip to Washington D.C. for, yes, an interview, I wanted to keep my head in the game, so I went to a really awesome bookstore called Kramerbooks & Afterwords located in Dupont Circle, and bought Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants. But didn’t this come out in 2011? Yep! Isn’t it probably lame to write about it since it was so successful three years ago, and thousands of people have written about it since? Probably! Is that going to stop me? Maybe! But we’ll see how far I get.

It took me all of one afternoon, and one morning to get through the thing. I spent an equal amount of time laughing out loud, and also reflecting on similar experiences to Fey’s in which I had tried to suppress. That’s right. I, too, took a job at the YMCA. I spent my final semester of college every morning at the YMCA at 5:30 am to open the pool. Throughout my college career, while, sure, I had some internships and pretty sweet gigs, I had not one, but TWO jobs that required me to wear a fanny pack. One of them required I also wear “aqua sandals” which are really just an even worse name for Chacos or Tevas, and if you don’t know what those are, they are the strappy sandals worn by ‘trustafarians’ in the airport and are usually secured by Velcro straps. I felt pretty cool.

But if Bossypants taught me anything, it’s that there aren’t exceptions in this game. It’s a matter of starting on the bottom, and working my way up. And, also it helps if I can make fun of myself along the way (it eases the pain a little bit).

Since it’ll be a while before this is my typical Tuesday night:

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I’ll just take all the advice I can get, and then see where it takes me.

The book only solidified my mentee (without actually contact with the mentor) mentality to empowering women like Fey and Poehler. It’s no secret that Fey appreciates Poehler not only as a friend, but as a white buffalo in comedy—someone doing something special.

She describes a particular situation that best captures what it is that make them so [insert adjective that describes people whom are admired, motivating, and cause the desire to physically attach oneself to the said person(s) of such magnitude and never let go]:

“Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you liked it.”

Enough said.

There are some great pieces about being successful as a producer, and ever cooler tidbits about feminist issues. I’ve excerpted some of my favorite quotes from the book. So if you’re like me and always late to the party, fear not, here are some quotes to make you feel better.

“People are going to try to trick you. To try to make you feel like you are in competition with one another. ‘You’re up for a promotion. If they go with a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.’ Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.”

Ah, excellent. Shattering the idea of women as perpetual victims. When you talk to the ladies at the top of their game in business, it seems they’ll be quick to tell you that it’s not about who you are, it’s about what you do. (Ahem, this sounding similar to previous Whirling Girlish interviews with Grammy nominated record producers Cheryl Pawelski and Cookie Marenco…? Anyone?) Moving on. This next one got me also.

“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.”

A solid tidbit of information that I think could and might have saved many a persons’ career. Especially in workplaces chalk full of creative individuals, producing a big piece can’t be done alone. It’s a crucial thing to remember. You might have the right ideas, but without the crew and your team to achieve it, you’ll never see your ideas come to fruitation. Or so “they” say, but what do I know? Don’t answer that. Let’s continue.

“You would think that as a producer, your job would be to churn up creativity, but mostly your job is to police enthusiasm.”

Another gem. Yadda, yadda, creativity rules, but success means being a good manager. If you can’t stand the animals, you can’t run the zoo. Yeah. I’m hoping that as I grow older, I will be able to develop analogies that actually make sense, you know, on a whim and whatnot. Humor me ‘til then?

Here’s one for all my fellow post-graduate lost souls:

“…don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions. Go “Over! Under! Through!” and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

You said it, sister! I just have to stop waking up in the morning confused as to why there isn’t a voicemail for me from Lorne Michaels asking why I wasn’t at the meeting this morning. It’ll take a while before I become (if ever), the boss. Until then, I’m going to just try to learn from people who are best at what they do, no matter what they do. The rest will fall into place. Totally. No worries. Right?…Right?!?! Moving forth.

If you are like me, and interested in a lot of things, and find yourself trapped under a blanket of lead in the morning (or maybe that’s just crippling anxiety), because you are worried you aren’t going to make the right choice, Mother Fey advises this:

“When people say, “You really, really must” do something, it means you don’t really have to. No one ever says, “You really, really must deliver the baby during labor.” When it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said.”

Well that’s a relief. So when the car guy told me that I really must fix my transmission, he was just trying to pull a fast one on me. Phew! (I don’t have a car anymore by the way). But that’s beside the point! We’ve got to go with our guts, lost souls! My parents still tell me that, generally, if I have to ask, the answer is probably no.

*Flashback to 16-year-old me*

“So mom, are you sure I can’t go spend the night with all of my friends in that open space in the woods where I’m sure to be arrested and miss taking the SATs and fall into a pit of fire tamed only by the hands of my misfit peers…?”

I’m picking up what you’re putting down, Mother Fey and Mother Mom. Nicely put. But while we’re at it, I’d like to add that while a lot of the information in the book reflects Fey’s past experiences in show business, a lot of what she says can apply to all realms of life.

For example, Fey reminds us of something that is pretty important. She reminds us to continually try our best but…

“You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go.”

Dammit, Fey! This is an emotional time. But, fine! Have it your way! I’ll let it go. Feelin’ like a winner.

And the life lessons do not end there! As a job seeking 23-year-old (who is really competent and hirable, by the way!), the last thing I need to worry about is my body image. My body is healthy aka my body is fine.

That last thing any young woman human being needs when trying to better themselves, and work hard to get a job they want a deserve, is to worry about that soft spot under their shirts. Trial and error has shown me that a lot of the time, nope! That’s not fat…it’s my SKIN. And that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I hope.

She even hits the nail on the head with this:

“I wouldn’t even trade the acne scar on my right cheek, because that reoccurring zit spent more time with me in the college than any boy ever did.”

Okay, so I didn’t really want to spend a lot of time with boys (cat’s outta the bag!), but I got you, Mama Fey. In the last few years if there is anything I have realized, it’s that I’ve got to take more time to be my own best friend. Sure, I might have some imperfections, but at the end of the day, they are part of who I am. If I don’t learn to embrace it, I’m in for a sad, sad journey, my friends. Because there is no one, and I do mean no one, that I am going to spend more time with in my life than whom? You got it. Myself. That’s right acne scars! Take that! I should also probably add that if an effective acne scar reducing cream emerges, I will buy it, apply it, and not feel bad about it. Sue me. No, don’t. Wait until I get a job and can afford a lawyer first. Why’s it got to be like that? Alrighty! Let us continue.

In effort to lead her daughter, Alice, away from subscribing to certain stereotypes of what is “beautiful” and what is not, Fey has devised a most brilliant plan. Behold:

“When I read fairy tales to my daughter I always change the word “blond” to “yellow”, because I don’t want her to think that blond hair is somehow better.”

Hell yes. I can now reassess and release myself of the residual angst from my childhood when I was shafted to the role of “Teresa” and my blond neighborhood pal got to be “Barbie”. Take that, Barbie! Teresa was hotter anyways. Yellow, shmellow.

When it comes to self-image, it’s a simple message, but an important one:

“We should leave people alone about their weight.”

Period.

And when it comes down to it, the most important Rule of Beauty (as so eloquently defined in the holy scripture that is Bossypants ) is as follows:

12) The Most Important Rule of Beauty- If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important Rule of Beauty. ‘Who cares?’”

My motto when I question myself about how to feel about my looks. Also my motto when I seem to have a wedgie in public, and I’m not in the position to correct it immediately, so I have to tell myself that I, as well as others, don’t care (as to preserve some of my dignity). Wedgie, smedgie.

Ah, yes. Then we move on to discuss the ever so relevant and present topic of Photoshop editing to celebrities and models in the media. On this, I have some opinions. Since you really care about my background (hah!), as a media and communications student, I paid top dollar in college to master the artistry of Adobe Creative Suite. Photoshop is a friend. A dear friend. And if used correctly, she is a wonderful tool used to lift the spirits of people such as myself who do not photograph well. I am not fishing for compliments. I am one of those people that just looks better in person than in pictures. It’s fine! I mean, whatever…moving on. This isn’t about me!

Anyway, there is always a mess of scrutiny and controversy about objectifying women and altering their bodies to fit the mold of what the media assumes the public wants to see. It’s easy to paint of a picture of the media and publishers’ use of Photoshop as a ploy to convince young girls that they should strive to become the people on the covers of the magazines they see when they are checking out at the grocery store. Uhh, something tells me it’s not actually the case. Per usual, I’ll just let you see what the master has to say about it herself:

“Unlike breast implants, which can mess up your health, digital retouching is relatively harmless. As long as we all know it’s fake, it’s no more dangerous to society than a radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. Photoshop is just like makeup. When it’s done well it looks great, and when it’s overdone you look like a crazy asshole. Unfortunately most people don’t do it well. I find the fancier the magazine, the worse the Photoshop.”

Poetry. And it gets better! Fey mentions her favorite experience shooting for a magazine (as of 2011, remember, ‘late to the party’, blah, blah, blah) was with the rad feminist magazine, and favorite at The Whirling Girlish, Bust magazine.

Tina Fey Bust Magazine Cover Photoshoot Photoshop Feminist Women 2004 via Bust for The Whirling Girlish

“Some people say it’s a feminist issue. I agree, because the best Photoshop job I ever got was for a feminist magazine called Bust in 2004. It was a low budget shoot in the back of their downtown office. There was no free coffee bar or wind machine, just a bunch of intelligent women with a sense of humor.”

Can I get a high five? Nope! But I’ll compensate by feeding you a few more lines.

She speaks the truth, and here you have it:

“Feminists do the best Photoshop because they leave the meat on your bones.”

Why, thank you! I did have some schooling. Okay, moment of self-importance fading fast, so let’s keep going.

By the end of the book, I had successfully learned new jokes and phrases to steal and use as my own, burned calories, and regained the motivation to write a piece for something that I really love, and that is The Whirling Girlish. Since Tina Fey rules, she knew we’d be bummed when we got to the end, so she added some reading club questions to give us something to mull over.

Here’s an example:

“3) In Chapter 4, Tina realizes that she has been guilty of holding her gay friends to a double standard—enjoying their company but still expecting them to stay in the “half-closet.” Have you ever had a moment like this? In a related question, do you think young pop stars today experience too much pressure to pretend to be lesbian with Madonna?”

This is one that I really would be interested to get some response on. I won’t address it in detail, because it is a question that deserves a thoughtful answer. How refreshing to read about someone coming to terms with truly accepting one’s sexuality? Not to mention, how refreshing it is to see more and more people less shy to talk about a part of life no more natural than Tina Fey’s stress-induced jawline acne, or the odd birthmark on my leg. Being gay doesn’t have to be a big, bad, dark thing! You don’t have to stay in the half-closet for anyone. But if it’s what you dig, then hey, you’ve got to do you. That’s what Bossypants means to me.

This is the most accurate review of Bossypants I came across. Sure, it wasn’t hard to find because it was printed in the first few pages of the book. But if you will read further, you will learn that the “Who cares?” mantra applies in situations like such.

“It offers a valuable insight into navigating gender politics. Fey’s strategy for dealing with everything from entrenched discrimination to garden-variety chauvinism is to write a joke, a better joke than the other people in the room….Fey has a complex, spirited, intelligent kind of funniness, which has the effect of laying bare some of the more insidious, unspoken, ridiculous assumptions behind out standard pieties and official narratives….If the feminist movement has work left to do, surely it could use a little more Tina Fey.” – Katie Roiphe, Slate “Double X”

There you have it, readers! Move forth and may the Fey be with you!

Women Around the World: Daily Article Feed

Your daily dose of stuff you want to read about. Brought to you by The Whirling Girlish.

Mindy Kaling Elle Cover Image

(via Zap 2 It)

Mindy Kaling’s Elle Cover Shot: http://popstyle.ew.com/2014/01/07/mindy-kaling-elle-cover/ (via Pop Style)

Afghan Police search for brother of 10-year-old “suicide bomb” girl: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/region/08-Jan-2014/afghan-police-hunt-brother-of-suicide-attack-girl-aged-10 (via Daily Times)

Why “Freedom Feminism” is right: http://www.worldmag.com/2014/01/why_freedom_feminism_is_right (via World Magazine)

Sasheer Zamata joins Saturday Night Live Crew: http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/06/showbiz/nbc-snl-sasheer-zamata/ (via CNN)

Carrie Brownstein on Writing her Memoirs: http://www.stereogum.com/1619841/qa-carrie-brownstein-on-writing-her-memoirs-portlandias-fourth-season-and-the-future-of-sleater-kinney/franchises/interview/ (via Stereogum)

Conde Nast gets new Chief Revenue Officer: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/conde-nast-entertainment-names-espn-668585 (via Hollywood Reporter)

Palm Springs International Film Festival: http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1284049/dazzling-canadian-presence-at-the-25th-palm-springs-international-film-festival (via Newswire Canada)

Why are women still wearing makeup?: http://www.salon.com/2014/01/04/cancer_animal_cruelty_feminism_so_why_cant_i_quit_using_makeup/ (via Salon)

Women Around the World: Daily Article Feed

Your daily dose of stuff you want to read about. Brought to you by The Whirling Girlish.

heroic women of 2013

(photo via Boing Boing)

Feminism and the Art World: http://torontoist.com/2014/01/21st-century-art-still-really-needs-feminism/ (via Torontoist)

Hilarious Feminists—we see you: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10548692/Student-feminist-societies-surge-Meet-the-new-generation-of-bold-hilarious-feminists.html (via Telegraph)

First female editor of Time Inc. dies: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/pat-ryan-first-woman-time-668020#! (via Hollywood Reporter)

E-books and the reading experience: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/books/review/how-do-e-books-change-the-reading-experience.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0#! (via NY Times)

Texas Political History: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/01/wendy-davis-texas-governor-ticket/4281631/#! (via USA Today)

The Real Reason There Aren’t More Women in Tech: http://www.geekwire.com/2014/codeorg-founder-real-reason-women-tech/#! (via Geekwire)

Executive Women in Japan on the Rise: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/01/02/3111731/japan-women-boards-goal/#! (via Think Progress)

Game Culture vs. Women: http://boingboing.net/2014/01/02/game-of-the-year-2013-not-for.html#! (via Boing Boing)

The Heroic Women of 2013: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/microsoft-celebrates-heroic-women-2013-inspirational-bing-ad-154717#! (via Ad Week)

First Female Law Firm Opens in Saudi Arabia: http://rt.com/news/saudi-women-lawyer-firm-107/#! (via RT)

Sexism in Hollywood doesn’t sell: http://www.policymic.com/articles/78009/why-sexism-doesn-t-sell-in-hollywood-in-one-graph#! (via Policy Mic)

Women Around the World: Daily Article Feed

Your daily dose of stuff you want to read about. Brought to you by The Whirling Girlish.

Malala-Yousafzai speech to united nations un sixteenth birthday photo stan honda getty images the whirling girlish

Malala Yousafzai delivered a speech to the UN on her sixteenth birthday. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images (photo via The Guardian)

Where are the black women in Hollywood?: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/12/17/hollywood-turns-a-blind-eye-to-black-women-in-film-tv/3443751/#! (via USA Today)

The Great American Gender Debates: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/12/the-great-american-gender-debates-of-2013/282419/#! (via The Atlantic)

Visionary (women) leaders: http://www.fastcompany.com/3023488/dialed/6-management-lessons-from-visionary-women-leaders#! (via Fast Company)

Business Success lies in gender equality: http://shriverreport.org/heres-why-the-future-of-business-is-gender-equal-cindy-gallop/#! (via Shriver Report)

Women in Sports: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/business/media/abc-viewers-tilt-female-for-a-network-light-on-sports.html?_r=0 (via NY Times)

The best feminist action super hero?: http://theweek.com/article/index/254159/sorry-katniss-princess-fiona-is-still-the-best-feminist-action-hero-around#! (via The Week)

Jobs: Cultural fit, versus functional fit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2013/12/09/cultural-fit-versus-functional-fit-job-interviews-what-you-need-to-know/?utm_content=buffer963d0&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=linkedin&utm_campaign=Buffer (via Forbes)

Duck Dynasty Stars’ anti-gay slur: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/phil-robertson-black-people-mistreated-south-article-1.1553071 (via NY Daily News)

Science: HIV and AIDS updates: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/19/us-aids-science-idUSBRE9BI14H20131219 (via Reuters)

NBC’s Jay Leno Problem: http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/nbcs-jay-leno-problem-casting-a-shadow-over-jimmy-fallons-launch-1200973278/ (via Variety)

Googling “feminism”: http://www.elleuk.com/star-style/news/so-we-googled-feminism-feminists-debate-rebranding (via Elle UK)

The alienation of minorities in feminism: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/16/feminism-minority-voices-2013-inclusion (via The Guardian)

“Narcassistic” or “selfie”?: http://www.npr.org/2013/12/19/255294091/narcissistic-or-not-selfie-is-nunbergs-word-of-the-year (via NPR)

How Johnny Cash spoke to America: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/july-dec13/johnnycash_12-16.html (via PBS)