Dangerous Thoughts | What’s Your Side Hustle?

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I’ve done a million things for money in my short time on this planet. In chronological order I have worked as; a baby sitter, a pet/house sitter, a hostess, an art salesperson, a barista, a retail clerk, an interior designer, a waitress and a bartender (my present employment). I’ve made money buying clothes from second-hand shops and re-selling them to places like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange. I’ve participated in focus groups and once got paid to appear in a Dove commercial. One of my first jobs was as a roadie for a harpist. You read that right. That is the least cool music gig on the planet, but it payed $15 an hour and I only had to do, like, 20 minutes of real work at the beginning and end of every gig. While I was living in Southern California I worked as a freelance designer and as a cleaning lady at an Air B’n’B property. I’m presently employed as a bartender again, and while the money is great and the hours flexible, I find myself restless.

I recently stumbled across this article on Quartz about Millenial’s Obsession with the “side hustle.” These strange side-gigs everyone my age seems to be running while simultaneously working at a 9-5 or busting our ass at a service job. Most of the people I know are spinning a couple of plates at any given moment. A dude I grew up with whose perfecting his photo-game when he’s not helping his dad run his auto shop. Another whose grinding hard to make his music, his passion, his primary hustle. An artist who spends her days and evenings clearing other people’s food and taking orders, but stays up all night creating art that she sells on Etsy. My homegirl whose spending 50+ hours a week running a kitchen in somebody else’s restaurant and trying to get her own food truck off the ground in her off hours.

I think a big part of this phenomenon is the fact that most of us need to make more money than our day jobs allow, in order to pay our bills, our exorbitant rent and our interest-gaining student loans. Sure, desperate times call for desperate measures, but I think a majority of the reason so many of us have something else on the stove is that we’re hungry for something more than our day job’s provide. For a lot of us, our side hustle is usually what we wish we were doing when we’re at your job. Your side hustle, from my limited perspective, seems to be how you figure out the true answer to that question we’ve been asked since we were old enough to talk; “what do you want to do with your life?” A lot of us picked our answers right out of the gate. Doctor. Lawyer. Fireman. Others hm’d and haw’d over it for weeks, months, years. Some of us are still trying to work that answer out.

I’ve wanted to be a million things since I first heard that question and I’ve tried my hand at a fair number of the options on my list, but I realized a while ago that the thing I’ve wanted the longest and the most consistently was to write. I still haven’t quite decided what I’m writing about, but I suppose the best way is to just begin. To write as much and as frequently as possible, to hear feedback, to not be afraid of expressing my thoughts.

I stepped away from this blog for a long time, almost a year to the day, actually. There were a lot of reasons for this, and many of them remain unresolved, but I have decided that this is what I want to do. That writing and communicating through this medium has always felt like It…that thing that I’m supposed to be doing. Maybe I’ll never earn a dime for it, maybe it will always be a side hustle that never evolves much beyond a personal art project of sorts. So be it. Making art isn’t about making money. Sometimes, you get lucky and you make money from your art. Most of the time, you just make art. Because it’s beautiful, because it’s what you feel compelled to do. Sometimes you do something, not because it’s going to make you rich or famous, but because the act of doing it brings you joy, because it quells some desperate need in you to make something of your own, whether it’s an album or an image or a taco truck or a fucking blog. Chase your dream, even if it’s only on the side.

Threads + Thoughts | On Why I Choose Vintage

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Recently, while creeping on Elizabeth’s blog, I came across a post she did on ethically made clothing. In this post she discusses our cultures obsession with fast fashion and instant gratification. She expresses concern over our societies consumption of items we neither value nor hold on to for any real length of time. It is disposable fashion, cheaply made by underpaid and poorly cared for workers in a sweatshop half the world away.

I had already hastily banged out the first draft of this post when I then encountered a post by Ellie of Thrift Eye, which introduced me to this video…which got me to thinking more about why and where I shop the places I do.

I choose vintage and thrifted items for a lot of reasons. When I was a teenager, just discovering thrifting, I was in it for the price tag. Bang for your buck? You ain’t seen nothin’ till you’ve scoured a thrift store with me. I could go in with my measly tips from my hostessing shifts at a local restaurant and walk out with a whole new wardrobe. And cute shit for my room to boot. But I also loved turning other peoples garbage into gold. I guess it’s a tendency I’ve had since I was a kid, dumpster diving with my brother in the apartment complex my dad lived in to pass the time (gross, I know. I spent a lot of time unsupervised as a child). I found an odd sort of beauty in these discarded items. Birthday cards and thumbed-through magazines, old clothes and children’s toys. They were still, fundamentally, what they had been designed to be. People had just gotten tired of them, and so they were abandoned to a garbage bin, a dumpster, a landfill.

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Fortunately, I grew out of the whole garbage picking thing (sort of*) and fell in love with thrift and vintage stores. I think for me it’s the history. There is a certain mystery to a thing that has known a whole lifetime before you. It’s the same sort of feeling I get when I walk through a museum or an old building. There are stories here, imbued in these objects, encapsulated in these things that most people treat so callously.

Perhaps that is sentimental of me. Perhaps a bit materialistic. But in a world where an island of garbage exists in the Pacific Ocean which is believed to be twice the size of Texas…perhaps we should reconsider our policy of “out with the old, in with the new” and have a little more concern and care for the objects we populate our lives with.

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I’ll admit, I’ve spent my fair share of change at places like Forever21 and H&M. Urban Outfitters still makes the best fitting jeans I’ve ever worn. But lately, my conscience has been nagging me. It’s not just the environmental impact of our gross over consumption which disturbs me, but also the social implications of an industry which capitalizes off the poorest and most desperate populations in order to produce it’s goods.

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And this is true for much more than just our clothing. This sort of shady business exists in everything from the products we use in our home to the food we put in our bodies. I don’t want to be a part of it any more. I don’t want to give my hard earned cash to companies that do terrible things, mistreat their employees, lie to and manipulate their customers and generally contribute more to the worlds ills. I’ve made it a general policy of this blog to only feature independent artists, designers, and craftspeople. All of my wish lists are pretty much exclusively curated from Etsy, and that has been a very intentional choice on my part. I wanted to use whatever limited influence I have to direct people towards spending their money on indie business, to send their hard-earned cash to someone who was working equally as hard as them…not to some wealthy CEO kicking it on a yacht in the South of France while Indonesian children sew together cheap tube tops for their company. That’s not what I believe in, those aren’t the business’s I want to support or condone. I also believe that there is a way to dress fashionably and affordably without having to go through the likes of F21 and H&M, and that investment pieces should be investments because their really effing cool and well made, not just because they have a fancy designer name.

So, I suppose the point of all this pontification is that I want y’all to take a long hard look at your closets, at the places you spend your money and where those dollars go. Do they support local, independent business? Do they go towards pieces you really love and will wear for years to come? Or are you throwing your cash at conglomerates who design and manufacture pieces that are intended to fall apart/fall out of style within six months of purchase. And I want you to ask yourself why? Why buy something that every fifth girl you run into is going to be wearing? Why buy something that is so transient, they didn’t even bother to make it well? Because it’s cheap? Because it’s trendy? Swing by your local thrift store and you’ll realize all that cheaply made 90’s throwback shit they’ve got at F21 is available there for $3.00 and it’s actually from the 90’s.

Allright. Rant over. Here’s a gratuitous booty shot to lighten things up.

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:: outfit details ::
white cami :: vintage :: thrifted | denim skirt :: vintage guess usa :: thrifted | shoes :: reef :: thrifted | leather back pack :: vintage :: thrifted | braided leather belt :: vintage :: thrifted

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