Hawaii: the dress my mom wore

It feels a bit strange to be writing about flowers when all I can see outside of my window is snow, the kind of snow that turns your ears pink and makes even the strongest person feel fragile. I am not complaining though because I spent 16 days in Maui, Hawaii and if I had stayed any longer I would have missed the Evergreen trees at Christmastime.

While I was packing my suitcase, I felt that I only needed three things: a hairbrush, my swim suit, and a very special dress my mom gave to me. The hairbrush was necessary to prevent my hair from growing upwards, a swimsuit because I was ocean bound, and the dress because my entire life was waiting for this moment to wear it.

The dress used to sit below our old home's staircase in a box that smelled like Christmas decorations. I can remember opening it just to have a peek when I was still too young to be careful. The flowers always stood out to me as flowers often do, as if each petal had the power to make time stop. It didn't look like something you could wear on the prairies, not even on the sunniest of days, so how did it arrive in a box underneath our staircase?

 When I was finally big enough to slip the dress on without it falling to the floor like a puddle, my mom gave it to me. It was then that I learned the dress came all the way from Hawaii. My mom found it in a shop called Hilo Hattie when she was just twenty one. It was her very first time traveling and she had never seen palm trees before. The dress was a way for her to not only blend into island life, but to take home as a memory of the flowers that grow there.

I rose my arms, pulled the dress over my head, and looked towards the palm trees and purple flowers. It was a similar view to the one my mom saw at twenty one, before she ever knew she would have a belly that could grow a daughter. Now that daughter wears her dress.
Wearing:
Dress   Hilo Hattie || Flower Crown • Longs Grocery Store

Photos taken at Maui Sunset in Maui, Hawaii.


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Interview With An Artist: Lexy Ho Tai

Meet Lexy, the girl who lives on a balloon string. She is the artist behind my blog's layout and one of the most colorful humans you'll ever meet. If other artists are tree frogs, Lexy is a symphony of songbirds. Her illustrations are akin to sunshine and bird chatter, not only is it a beautiful sight, it makes you feel glad to be alive to see it.

  Do you watch cartoons? Which ones are your favorite?  
Sadly, I donʼt really. (But! But! But! I draw them! Does that count? Kind of?). Arthur will forever have a soft spot in my heart. I watched that aardvark way past the age of normalcy.

Do you think that visual drawings and written word are distant cousins? What do you think a poet and a painter have in common? What do you think makes them different?  
I think all art forms are interwoven in some sort of way. Poets and painters are both explorers; they delve into the crevices of their mind and their surroundings to create something tangible from it. (Self expression, woohoo!!!) They just express these creations differently: poets string words, while painters throw paint on a page.
Your home is currently New York City. What does a typical ʻLexy in New Yorkʼ day look like? 
NEW YORK CITY! I still have to pinch myself! Itʼs amazing! Typical days always consist of the following three things: bikes, cereal and making things (very exciting, I know!). When time allows, I love, love, LOVE to explore. 

What are you taking in school? 
Iʼm taking general fashion core courses (concepts, pattern making, drawing, fashion history, etc) and an elective in childrenʼs book illustration. I LOVE IT. I feel ridiculously privileged and eternally grateful because Iʼm literally living the life Iʼve always dreamed of living.

What do you think about ʻgrowing upʼ? Do you think we really have to? 
Growing up used to really terrify me, mainly because Iʼve seen a lot of adults settle or succumb to what society tells them they should be (secure job, steady income, responsibility, etc). “Growing up,” in that sense, is awful and sad and terrifying. But it can also be a wonderful thing! As Iʼve gotten older, Iʼve grown much more into myself. Iʼve acquired more perspective, stories, and lessons. Growing up can be really, really great! Of course, I still get excited about things like falling leaves and little bugs and old couples. I think growing up is magical – as long as you never, ever, ever lose your inner child! Age is just a number. My friend has the most wonderful saying... GROW YOUNG. 
   When did you start drawing and making art? Have you been doing it your whole life? 
I think that all kids are innately creative and imaginative creators... For me, itʼs not about when I started making art, so much as Iʼve never stopped! I think many kids grow out of the “arts and crafts” stage (especially because the school system is structured so math/ science/ logic > humanities/ art), but I kinda just kept staying an art-loving kid forever!

Where do you find your inspiration? Is it something living in that brain of yours or do you have to it feed it by the outside world? 
Iʼm a very easily inspired person, and – as cliché as it sounds – I think inspiration comes from everywhere! Sometimes, I spend hours consciously seeking inspiration – aka trolling the internet or perusing books for things that tickle my fancy (usually for a specific project). Often, however, itʼs a subconscious act. Weʼre all collectors, picking up stories, ideas, lessons, etc, throughout the day. It gets stored in our brains. For me, it often shows up in the things I make. Itʼs how I process the world.
Your journals are brilliant. I wish my diary entries were half as colourful as yours. Do you consistently write and draw in a diary? Or do you skip months like I sometimes do? 
Iʼm a huge sketchbook/ journal/ diary nerd. I have a handful going on at a time, and I always carry at least two with me. I try to fill pages weekly, but I definitely go weeks without putting things on paper (which always makes me sad!). But then I have spurts when I just want to fill pages every moment! Ups and downs (usually based on workload!) I have a Moleskin for drawings/paintings/collages and a journal for words/ thoughts (though the two worlds – written and visual – often overlap). Itʼs kind of an extension of myself. I like taking thoughts and ideas in my head (often subconscious!) and putting them on paper, making them tangible for future Lexy to look back on. 

 What advice do you have for keeping up with a journal? 
Journal-keeping is fun! Itʼs a unique record of your brain during all these fleeting moments that make up life. Like keeping up with anything, itʼs often simply about making time to fill pages. Get off the computer, switch your cellphone to airplane mode, unplug, cut, paste, splatter, doodle, write... Just start filling pages. Even if itʼs just for ten minutes each day. Even if it looks like a mess. Making marks are reminders that you are ALIVE!

You are in the Humans of New York Book! What was it like to be photographed for it? 
It was very nonchalant and not a big deal at all.... Pfft... Just kidding! It happened quite a few months ago, but it definitely involved a lot of squealing. A lot. Brandon, the photographer, is one of the nicest and most refreshingly normal human beings Iʼve met in New York. It was very, “Oh, okay. I totally see how you get all of these stories out of humans...”
  Do you work on one project at a time or multiple projects? Do you leave any projects unfinished? I find that when I write I rarely finish anything. I am always writing sentences on scads of paper that never become anything. Do you have pieces of paper lying around with art on them? 
Yes! Yes! Yes! My ideal world consists of a plethora of projects. It keeps my brain creatively unstuck when Iʼm balancing drawing projects, sewing projects, school projects, personal projects, and sketchbook projects. (Note: this isnʼt always the reality: sometimes Iʼm working on something really demanding and that becomes my life for a while). But I definitely have a whole pile of unfinished projects – half-sewn scraps of fabric, doodles intended to become something more, ideas waiting to be realized... One day...

  What are three words you want your drawings to always say?  
AH THIS IS SO HARD. I donʼt think Iʼm ever consciously thinking, “Okay, Drawing, please convey this message about ______.” I think a lot of my drawings have to do with approaching the world with wonder and joy. So maybe “live with wonder.” Then again, I draw a lot of grumpy old men, so Iʼm not sure what thatʼs supposed to say...
 You are a very optimistic person. How do you keep your glow and stay positive? 
My biggest trick is so simple: KEEP PERSPECTIVE. Some affirmations that run through my brain: Youʼre just one person out of billions of people. Billions people have been here before you. Billions of people will come after. Your moment on earth is nothing. You are so insignificant. Whenever I remember all of this (which is often), I think, “Wow. I just really have to live.” Let things go. Be grateful. Find beauty. Approach life from the eyes of a child. Why would you want to waste your short time on earth spreading negative energy and being unhappy?

To follow Lexy's creative adventures visit her Facebook page Lexy Makes Things :)

 
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Home from Hawaii


 This was my second time visiting Hawaii, my first was when I was a newborn so everything felt very new to me as I imagine it did then. I tried to take as many photographs as possible but not even the prettiest of pictures could compare to the ones Hawaii imprinted on my brain. There were geckos, turtles, frogs, wild chickens, bright birds and hard-working sea life all around me. Even now when I close my eyes, I can feel the sea's feathery weight on my shoulders.

I have many more Hawaii posts planned for December. 
How nice to spend the snowy month looking at bright blooms and happy moments!


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