Tag Archives: travel

The Trailer Project is here.

Walking to the Milagro Allegro Community Garden, behind the Historic Highland Theatre, I saw an opportunity I couldn’t help but pursue.

I ran into a native Highland Parker and professional artist who has been an active part of Los Angeles art culture for the past 30 years. She crafts one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry from the studio built on her one-of-a-kind property amid the rapidly changing neighborhood. To see her art click here.

I had passed by a vintage trailer parked in her yard for the better part of two years. My roommates were physicists (yeah…I know) in their final year of their doctoral programs at CalTech in Pasadena, and I knew it would be crunch time during their home stretch. I figured it was time to give them the space they needed to get the job done.

I asked my friend if the trailer was vacant, and if so, I was interested in renting it. I had nothing to lose. She was caught off guard, of course, but the transaction ensued at the very moment. I started moving my things into the 1969 19 foot Silver Streak “Jet” I’d been eyeballing for so long.

Interesting fact: Silver Streaks are made by the same people who make ‘Airstreams’, but the Silver Streak is entirely insulated (and maybe a little cooler?)—I’m biased.

Being a self proclaimed minimalist, the move was really just across the street, my belongings were inside the trailer (whose insides hadn’t really seen the light of day in years) in about an hour and a half.

The trailer needed a little bit of work.

Nothing I couldn’t handle! There were cabinets and wooden fixtures outline the interior walls. It was used as a mobile office for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power during the 60s and 70s.

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I already had the equipment, which was convenient, now I just had to will the (wo)man power.

There were some original components of the trailer that I wanted to keep, so I set them aside, treated and replaced them later.

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I knew some pieces were going to be essential and had to be addressed first; a bed, a desk, closet space, and some air circulation—in the winter? Well, some heat!

After clearing the insides and scrubbing down years of grime from the walls and repainting them with a few coats of stark white paint, I visualized exactly how I wanted her to be.

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Sure, it might not look like much…but this soon became the most important art project of mine. Most of my free time went into the trailer. I realized these sorts of projects were probably never really “finished”, and that’s okay. Slowly but surely, the trailer became home.

After using some of the lumber I got from a carpenter/artist pal of mine up in the San Francisco area (he also owns BayAreaCustomFurniture and is one of my favorite painters), it was time to move things in.

At this phase, the trailer really started to reflect my personality more. Because of the tiny-home living situation aka, little to no space, it caused me to really shed possessions that I didn’t use or didn’t need anymore. A fresh start!

I got some cool vintage pieces, and started collecting pictures and art that I organized to hang on my salon style wall. I painted the inside of the door yellow, got some awesome indoor plants, hung up some lanterns for light, and kicked back back to revel in what it had become. The sounds of angry drivers peeling around corners, crying babies,  and helicopters flying overhead during the night, shining their lights into my little trailer, became my tropical breeze. Home, sweet home. It really is where you park it!

Feeling like a proud parent, and loving my neighborhood  and community more than ever, I posted a couple blog pieces on The Whirling Girlish, showcasing how far we’d come as well as the beautiful and unique surrounding neighborhood that the trailer and myself call “home”!

You can go back and check out the articles here.

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*I should note that the bed situation is WAY more comfortable than it looks.

Even though I was pleased with the interior transformation, and of course loved her for what she was already (I accepted her!), I couldn’t help but wish I had a more clear idea of what I wanted to do on the outside. There was the beautiful deck that I was using all the time, which really is a social space. Having people over at the trailer gets sort of crammed inside.

Like many things that are overthought, nothing really progressed after a while. I added some plants or pieces that were “works in progress”, but there’s no doubt there were alterations I wanted to make. It really just came down to a matter of “when and how?”.

And just like so many things that are overthought, so many things are also rushed. I decided to let the exterior of the trailer happen organically to give myself time to really get things done completely.

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She had just pitched and successfully sold a show concept for EllenTube called Grand Design.

Here’s how it would go down;

A pair of contractors/TV personalities, originally from HGTV referred to as The Cousins, would come in with a team and re-design the outside deck—all within 24 hours, and all for under $1,000.

Was this real? Did I say “yes”?! Of course! They didn’t have to ask me twice. I was on board, they were excited about the project, and they would be at the gate, hammer in hand, at the end of the month.

Woah, man. What had I done right recently?

True to their word, it all happened, and it was an amazing experience in time. I met the cousins, saw that they were in love with the property, neighborhood, and most importantly, the trailer. They were excited about the project and it relieved any apprehension I had experienced leading up to the moment.

The anticipation about killed me…but it was worth it. The experience and end result are beyond what I had fathomed.

See for yourself. 

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For lack of a better word—I was stoked.

And I wasn’t the only one! Thousands of other people thought the transformation was amazing too! What a cool show. Something I had wanted to do for so long, completed in a day. Amazing. Not to mention it was EXACTLY what I wanted. I wouldn’t (and haven’t) changed a thing.

 

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She’s pretty dreamy looking at night time too.

 

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Want to see the episode? Click HERE! Enjoy! 

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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)

Women Around the World: Daily Article Feed

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

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(photo via CNN)

Equal Jobs for Women: http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/20/opinion/harris-women-jobs-shriver-report/index.html#! (via CNN)

New Speech Found by Martin Luther Kind Jr.: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2014/01/new-speech-by-martin-luther-king-jr-surfaces.html  (via PBS)

“The Women That Make America”: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2014/01/21/pbs-women-honors-sarah-silverman-dunham  (via Breitbart)

Katy Perry and Women’s Issues: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/katy-perry-talks-big-breasts-losing-virginity-16-article-1.1586509 (NY Daily News)

New Knowledge on the X-Chromosome: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/science/seeing-x-chromosomes-in-a-new-light.html?_r=0#! (via NY Times)

10 Years after the The L-Word Premier: http://www.afterellen.com/10-years-after-the-l-word-premiered-lesbians-on-television/01/2014/ (via After Ellen)

Most Important LGBT Shows on TV Now: http://www.afterellen.com/the-14-most-important-lgbt-shows-on-tv-right-now/01/2014/ (via After Ellen)

What Happened to GENDA?: http://www.autostraddle.com/new-york-can-pass-same-sex-marriage-but-not-trans-protections-how-genda-died-218550/ (via Autostraddle)

Let’s Talk Feminism: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-talk-huppke-feminism-20140121,0,78194.story (via Chicago Tribune)

Ugliness in the Name of Feminism: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/01/ugliness-in-the-name-of-feminism/ (via Spectator)

Lena Dunham and the Photoshop Wars: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/lena-dunham-photoshopped-does-feminism-preclude-women-from-wanting-to-look-good-9070248.html (via Independent UK)

Jennifer Simpkins and Fourth Wave Feminism: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jennifer-simpkins/feminism-fourth-wave-became-mean-girls_b_4616597.html (via Huffington Post)

What is ‘White Feminism’?: http://groupthink.jezebel.com/this-is-what-i-mean-when-i-say-white-feminism-1498799007 (via Jezebel)

Gillian Anderson’s new NBC Series: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/01/20/crisis-gillian-andersons-new-high-concept-series-for-nbc (via IGN)

Amy Poehler’s New Pilot with Natasha Lyonne: http://www.deadline.com/2014/01/amy-poehler-gets-overall-deal-pilot-order-at-nbc-for-comedy-starring-natasha-lyonne/ (via Deadline)

On 15% of DAVOS Attendees Women: http://qz.com/167695/only-15-of-davos-attendees-are-women-even-less-than-last-year/#! (via QZ)

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.

setting up and runnins a successful feminist campaign via the guardian for the whirling girlish

history, 

Setting up and Running a Successful Feminist Campaign: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/06/how-to-run-a-successful-feminist-campaign (via The Guardian)

Valuing our nation’s caregivers: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/the-us-economy-does-not-value-caregivers/282887/#! (via The Atlantic)

Tech Women Building Networks: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/tech-women-are-busy-building-their-own-networks/2014/01/08/60e356f2-7874-11e3-af7f-13bf0e9965f6_story.html#! (via Washington Post)

Women’s Ski Jumping at the Olympics: http://www.seattlepi.com/technology/businessinsider/article/The-Outrageous-Reason-Why-Women-s-Ski-Jumping-Was-5127901.php#src%3Dfb (via Seattle Pi)

Sierra Leone’s Fight for Gender Equality: http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/282894/sierra-leones-fight-for-gender-equality/#! (via The Atlantic)

History Re-written—women with laptops: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/08/heres-what-history-would-have-looked-like-if-all-the-women-had-laptops/#! (via Washington Post)

The Female Face of Poverty: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/the-female-face-of-poverty/282892/#! (via The Atlantic)

The Year of Female Entrepreneurs: http://www.forbes.com/sites/geristengel/2014/01/08/11-reasons-2014-will-be-a-break-out-year-for-women-entrepreneurs/#! (via Forbes)

The Power of Enthusiasm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYX3w_2B9f0#! (via YouTube)

SNL Making History: http://jezebel.com/amazing-snl-adds-two-black-women-writers-to-staff-1497427114/@madeleine#! (via Jezebel)

Afghans to Free Prisoners: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304347904579310763589351476 (via Wall Street Journal)

Former Child Soldier Imagines “tomorrow” in Sierra Leone: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/09/260761045/a-former-child-soldier-imagines-tomorrow-in-sierra-leone (via NPR)

Beyonce and Michelle Obama—yes, please: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/michelle-obama-and-beyonce-friends-and-feminists/2014/01/07/3d31b9aa-77ad-11e3-af7f-13bf0e9965f6_story.html?tid=hpModule_d39b60e8-8691-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394 (via Washington Post)

State Feminists vs. 343 Bas*****: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/opinion/state-feminists-vs-343-bastards.html?_r=0 (via NY Times)

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)