Thursday, February 24, 2011

Musings on Being an Atheist

                                              I'm sorry, I just can't resist Jimmy Carr!

Forewarning, this is a long post so you may need to get comfortable before settling in to read it. 

Just to note, I do not speak for all atheists when I give my reasoning and beliefs on this subject; there are a lot of opinions in this area.
So far on my blog I've relatively "fluffy" articles, but now I'm going to touch on a subject that's a little more controversial. Atheism. 

So, my name is Rachel, I'm 16 years old and I love green tea, Art and English, Alfred Hitchcock films, and trolling twitter and pinterest. I have extremely questionable taste in music and I'm an atheist. 
I've been an atheist since I was about 13 years old, I believe, and for those of you who don't know an atheist is a lack of a belief in God, not a belief in an anti-God or something along those lines. Not to be confused with be Agnostic which is, very simply, an uncertainty in whether or not god exists. 

As a little background, I wasn't raised to "be an atheist". My parents are not regular church goers, and so, that lifestyle was not a part of my own life. However, I think I had vague idea of believing in God when I was younger, like 7 or 8, but as I grew older I began to question this. My father is a philosopher, and philosophy defined by the ever handy Google is "
the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language". So, conversations involving faith, literature, evolution and other such "heavy" topics were common subjects at our dinner table. 
But, there wasn't a singular incident in my life that led to a revelation in my becoming an atheist, it was something that I formulated over time after long philosophical discussions with my family, as well as my own observations and personal thinking. The reasoning that I have for not believing in God is rather vague even to myself but basically here's what I believe.
To begin with I think there is a misconception surrounding the definition of atheists being selfish, immoral people, because they lack a religious moral code. Because, actually, there are selfish and immoral atheists just as there are selfish and immoral practicing  Jews, Muslims, and Hindus's. There are people such as this in any given group of individuals, any group of humans. For myself, I believe in what humanity is capable of in it's greatest moments. Great compassion, generosity, sacrifice, the ability to create beautiful art and music and literature and the ability those creations have to bring people together in understanding. Traits such as these, in my opinion make the world a better place; no religion can claim these goals solely as their own.

On another note, I don't think I ever really understood how or why people used praying/faith to help them get through tough spots in their lives, and how it helped them to make choices. I guess maybe it could be that through this way of self reflecting, you could find a sort of inner peace and therefore help you make the choices you need to, but when I hear or see people commenting that "it was my faith in God that ultimately got me through", well, I just could never get behind that. To some, I guess this is a comfort but I find that faith does not apply to my life. I realize that faith is not about about having a divine answer or hearing a direct answer from God, but all I know is that I take life at face value, by what I hear, see, know and feel. And God is something that I just cannot relate to my life. Like I said before, I realize that faith is not about getting "the straight answer" to life's problem's, but, what other's may get from their faith I get from the people in my life. I turn to the people I know, my family, friends, teachers when I have an issue in life. It may be as minor as not getting a method of algebra in Math 1204, or something as serious as a death in the family, but either way, I will rely on what I know. 

I've also often heard of people turning to their faith when they felt they were completely alone in the world as well, and though I do not have this comfort, I know I have myself. That may seem vague, but what I mean is that I'm more than sure I can again, rely on what I know about myself, my own personal belief in who I am to pull myself over the obstacles that are are thrown in front of me. Because that's all I can do.


Another question that gets brought up a lot surround atheism, is "how do you know to do the right thing?". Well, I believe that being a human being should be reason enough to be kind and compassionate and empathetic.  Out of the billions of people that exist on this Earth, 100% deserve my kindness and general "rightness". Any one of those people could be me, so why I shouldn't I live by the golden rule of "treat others how you would like to be treated"? I don't need a God or the Bible to tell me that. As an individual, and what I know about my very own self, about who I am tells me that. Most everybody deserves your respect. 
To sort of go out on a tangent, there are also plenty of people who believe in God, who do so much wrong in his name. I don't think that religion should simply just be about your beliefs, I think there should be a healthy dose of human empathy mixed in there.

Finally, I have a couple things to mention on religious debate. One, I have absolutely NO problem with any other religions. In fact, I have great respect for them. Any personal choice, especially one such as faith or lack thereof, is something that deserves respect. I have absolutely no problem with having a well-rounded, open discussion on faith. But, just as I do not have the right to shove my believes down anyone else's throats nor do they have the right to do so to me.  If you can give me the respect I deserve as a person, you will receive it back. You will not if your aim is simply to tear someone down to the dirt because the first thought that pops into you head is that my opinion is "wrong". And believe me, I've had that happen.
Obviously, the above principal doesn't just apply to discussions about faith; treat all discussions that way. Keep em' two sided people, listen and keep stuff clean. Many an discussion or argument if you will, end with personal jabs and nobody walks away feeling good after that.


Also, if you find yourself questioning your own faith, the only advice I can give you is: think. Think about your believes in life and what faith or again, lack thereof will bring you. Talk to other's who are not biased, and whom you trust. And, try to observe your thinkings, and the thinkings of others from both sides. You need to find what works for you. And remember, religion is just facet of a person's whole. Being an atheist doesn't define me, just as if you decide that your questioning your faith it's not going to change your entire life in one single moment. Or maybe it might, I have no idea! Because, again (yes, again), you need to find what you believe.

ALSO, a post I believe you should read is: True Story: I'm an Atheist over on .Yes and Yes The person Sarah Von interviews, Millie, touches on a lot of the points I do, and also a few others.

So, opinions on this post; questions or queries on atheism?  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Musical Monday: Tom Waits

YAAAAAAAAAAY! Finally, I've got around to writing the Musical Monday for one of my favorite artist of all time. Tom.Freaking.Waits. If you know me, you know that I love Tom Waits. I've been listening to him since I was about 13. I think. But that's besides the point. Here's a run-down on the deliciously vaudeville, unique singer-songwriter I enjoy whole-heartedly.

First off, Tom Waits is 61 and has a discography of 23 albums. That should impress anybody no matter if he's your style or not. But that brings me to my second point. Tom Waits is one of the most versatile artists I've heard. He's ranged from style of blues, jazz, as I mentioned above vaudeville, pre-rock, and industrial. There's something here for everyone. One thing he keeps fundamental throughout these varying style however is his extremely unique singing voice. I once a read a music critic Daniel Durchholz,  description of Tom Waits' voice saying it was "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car." Pretty accurate if you ask me. But when he sings his more "mainstream" songs, for lack of a better term, especially in a jazz style his voice is rolling and gravelly and deep. Very nice, Mr.Waits, very nice.

Below is a list of my favorite songs in some of his genres, though keep in mind, my taste in music is very,very questionable so I understand if he isn't to your tastes!


Alice (Beautiful, beautiful song)
I'm Still Here
~ Romeo is Bleeding
~  Diamonds on My Windshield
Heart of Saturday Night version)
  Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night
Burma Shave
Depot, Depot
Fumblin' With the Blues
~ Ice Cream Man
~ Brother Can You Spare a Dime

You may recognize that Bing Crosby did this)
Tango Till They're Sore
Another example of his great imagery)

~Table Top Joe
I think this one is the one that you guys *might* like the most
I Never Talk to Strangers
Duet with Bette Midler, they were a cute couple!)

~ The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)
~ Little Drop of Poison
This was on Shrek, just sayin')
Blue Valentines
(This is one of the most heart-broken, beautiful songs I've ever heard, very poignant)

~ A Good Man is Hard to Find
Dirt in The Ground
~ Whistlin' Past the Graveyard
 (Great beat here)
Mr. Henry 
Muriel~Medley: Jack & Neal/California, Here I Come 
                              ~A Sight for Sore Eyes  

~Rain Dogs
~Clap Hands
~Jockey full of Bourbon

~Watch her disappear
poken like a poem)
This one is probably has got the best imagery, so if you don't like the actual song, simply read the lyrics and soak up his awesomeness)

What's he Building in There?
This one is the creepiest so forewarned, but it's a great critique on society's view on the famous)
Road To Peace 
(Critique on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)

Chocolate Jesus
Another critique on how religion is being used and abused in the 21st century
9th and Hennepin
~Missing My Son (
Funny short story)
~ Mockin' Bird (Tom owns on the piano here)

And these are just a few of my favorite Tom Waits songs. I have exactly 473 on my RythmBox. Yeah. But, merely listing out some of my favorite songs isn't really going to convince you to go an listen to him, is it?
WELL. Besides having a novelty voice (I swear he gargles with kerosene and nails every morning) Tom Waits is foremost a writer. He has this knack for using words which when paired together don't seem to make sense on there own, but when you just listen to the song it evokes such raw, undiluted emotion. Really, they all have this open ambiance, this out-of-placeness, which ironically still fits. And his words aren't even what one would call "flowery", but its like he knows exactly what words to use before he even puts the pen to paper.  The imagery he's capable of evoking is amazing, such as in the song "Singapore". 

We sail tonight for Singapore, we're all as mad as hatters here/

I've fallen for a tawny Moor, took off to the land of Nod/
Drank with all the Chinamen, walked the sewers of Paris/
I danced along a colored wind, dangled from a rope of sand/
You must say goodbye to me/

Colored wind, sewers of Paris, mad hatters? This whole story/song evokes this alternate realm of mad-cap Victorian-esque, surrealist, oil painting style of crazy. Tom waits is simply the man, for me anyway, when it comes to song writing, along with a few others in my questionable brain. 

Anyway, Tom Waits is also known for doing some acting such as "The Outsiders", "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", "Coffee and Cigarettes", "The Book of Eliand "Dracula".  As he himself once put it, "there's a difference between being an actor and doing some acting" but he is actually quite good. If you ever watch these films, watch for his cameos.

so many different style and instruments like the accordion and even using completely random objects such as a garbage disposal machine to produce his industrial sounds. I know that when bloggers post musical articles, not everyone listens to the songs they post but, for real check this guy out. Or at least read his lyrics. He's not for everyone but he's got to be one of my most inspiring artists so I think he deserved a mention here on my blog.

Opinions on this week's artist, Mr. Waits? Heard or seen him before?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reasoning For Rocking A Pixie Cut AND Extra Stuff For Those Who Have All Ready Taken the Plunge

Hi my name is Rachel and I've had a pixie cut for approximately 4 months. 

And it is freakin' awesome. Personally I think that doing this is singularly the most empowering thing ever. And plus, I just look good with it, I've gotten tons of jaw-drop reactions when I first cut it off (which is fun) and it suits the shape of my face. Something else is that I no longer have the option to do is hide behind my hair which was becoming a bad habit. Just swishing it forwards and hiding my face. 

No more, ladies, no more. 

But here's the thing. Either you have the, ahem, s'cuse my french, balls to cut it all off or you don't. Personally, I never understood the attachment many girls at my school have to their hair. They're like "Ooooooooh! I don't think I could ever cut my hair off, I cry when I trim my bangs." No seriously, someone said that to me. Here's a little known fact about hair: IT GROWS BACK. Oh my god, what?!?! GASP. No way. Seriously though, cut it off! It's fun! If you're still not convinced here are some handy, easy-to-read points that just might do the trick, and some styling ideas for those who've all ready muscled up and chopped off their locks. 

It's so much easier to care for! Just give it a wash, blow-dry, brush it forward, add a little gel or mousse and your good to go! It's hard to have a bad day with a pixie cut, because  you don't have to go through the steps of straightening or curling!

 Long, dangling earrings will look all the more fantastic now, because you can actually see them. :D

 Same goes for kickass, blinged up headbands. 

 Faux-hawks. Nuff' said on that one.

 And hats, every hat, seriously, you'll look good in them. Fedoras, berets, newsboy hats. HATS FOR ALL!

 Depending on the length, 1920's fingerwaves. Learn how to do em' or at least  a faux version cause' they look cool. Thank god for Youtube.

 Androgyny, woohoo for this one! Go all dapper dandy and give your hair a slick part, then dress in blazers, skinny trousers, flat oxfords, bow-ties and pocket watches! Or, tapered black pants, white shirt and a black leather tie and throw in some massive finger rings for fun.

 Or, go for a 1920's flapper look. Louise Brooks is a good place to start for inspiration but rock the beaded shift dress, kitten heels, long strands of pearls, a plum cardigan and super long lashes. Add a cloche too, for effect!

 This one is optional, but you know those headphones that cover your whole ear? You'll look cool and hipster with those. Just sayin'.

 Statement eye makeup stands out well, more. So swipe on some brighter colors like purple, green and maroon. Or do a bold lippie.

 Shave a pattern into it. Stars, a little heart, a pentagon or just have a your normal length blend into the shaved part in a gradient style. This one is one you may want to think carefully over before committing to but, hell, I think it'd be cool!

 There are plenty of fabulous, ahem "celebs" with who have or have had pixie cuts: Emma Watson, Winona Ryder, Halle Berry, Agyness Deyn, Mia Farrow, Kirsten Dunst,  and Natalie Portman. Inspiration, yes?

♥ If you're starting to get bored with your cut, color it! I think it depends on what you wear. If you wear a lot of black, like me, in my opinion, a true green, royal blue or scarlett red will look amazing. If you tend have a bit more of color variety in your wardrobe, or aren't willing to bleach your hair for a deep color, try dark brown, bright plum, gingery red, or caramel, maybe even a blondish-pink. But one exception that goes for both sides is white. Lean toward a golden white if you have warmer undertones to your skin, bluish or sea-foam white if you're more cool toned. 

 Get a pair of signature sunglasses, ones that you customize your self, or buy vintage. Just make sure they're unique and obviously stand out. I don't think this has much to do with a pixie cut but, but do this anyway!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As for those of you with curly hair, I've actually seen a lot of pictures of curly-haired girlies with pixie cuts. Try browsing through the archives of fuckyeahgirls for curly haired inspiration and just general short-haired awesomeness.

So, hopefully this might convince to drink the kool-aid and join the cult. It's fun to experiment with your hair, and props to those of you have silky, super long mermaid hair too. It's all cool! :) 

Maybe this made you think you want to cut it all off? And, do any of you have any other tips for styling a pixie cut?

All images credited to

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Establishing A Morning Routine

Ahh mornings, the bane of many people's existence and the joy of many others. The essential thing is too just have a good morning routine.
I've read so many bloggers who seem so peppy and cheerful about their mornings when the reality for myself is that my bed is just too comfortable for my own good and my alarm clock is basically my worst enemy. SO I needed a good routine, as I believe everyone does!

First off, reflect on what you need to get done in the morning. For me, I need to tidy my room a bit and a couple other chores, make my lunch, get dressed and apply a little makeup. This is just the bare essential for me. Some of you may like to throw in a little yoga, or you may have a longer beauty regime. Your going to need to find exactly how much time you need. The ridiculous thing is that again, I've read many a blogger who seems to stress that waking up at 6:00 AM will do you a world of good. No. It won't, not for everyone anyway.
Many of you, and including myself as you've seen, don't really need to get up that early. So hey hey! More sleep for you!


 For the procrastinators out there, set your alarm to 5 minutes earlier than your preferred time. Now, when the alarm goes off, just flick on your lamp (which you should keep in arm's reach anyway), and ease your self into the day.

 Tea, or some other 
caffeinated beverage of your choice. I find coffee too bitter, but whatever floats your boat.  I simply prefer green tea because coffee is too dehydrating for me though I love the invigorating smell. 

 Play some of your favorite music. And do not, I repeat do NOT just resort to the radio because the hipster music snob in me dies every time Akon yells "Damn girl!".  Anyway, houses are too quiet in the mornings, just get some happy music flowing like The Beatles, The Kaiser Chiefs (Especially 'Good Days Bad Days')and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (ideally 'Gone Gone Gone').

 Avoid the screens people! I'm horrible for this one, but I actually do believe that you shouldn't go to check blogs or e-mail first thing in the morning. To me it seems like a distraction from an otherwise calm morning. Do you *need* to check the latest blogs at 7:15? 

 Eat. Your. Freakin'. Breakfast. Or I will hunt you down and shove an angry weasel down your pants. I for one do 
 like eating in the mornings but I know that if I skip breakfast I will be hungry in first period Math, so eat something. And it need not be "breakfast" food, do not fall into that hype. Leftovers from the night before or "salty" food is just as good as cereal, if not better.

 Water!!! Seriously, you sweat away so much water during the night and you more than likely are not going to get very hydrated between breakfast and lunch, so drink a cold glass of water when you get up. Preferably with ice-cubes. And a straw. I don't really like the "taste" that water has, but for some reason adding those two things makes it taste better. Who knew?
 In terms of makeup, not a lot. I've never been a fan of heavy eyes or faces. A light dusting of mineral foundation, maybe a light blush. First thing in the morning a lot of makeup never feels good. Open your eyes with some mascara and highlight the inner corner of your eye and your brow bone with a light shimmery champagne color. 

 Get up when the alarm goes off. Just do it. This is probably the most painful on here. I cannot help you with this one. You will have to find the will power in your own self to just GET UP! 

 Lastly, pick out a fabulous outfit while listening to your awesome music and drinking the caffeinated beverage of your choice. Seriously, wear something that makes you happy. Make a point to wear it because you like it. Not because you're afraid of nasty comments. 

So, hopefully these tips will help you love mornings to begin with, or adore them even more than you do right now.

Darlings, what helps make your mornings more manageable?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekly Musings: Filofax Love and Surrealist Weather

Filofax Love: Oh my god, I've become obsessed and the thing hasn't even arrived yet! Seeing the wonderful Luinae's post on her own filofax and the numerous others raving about them, I muscled down and decided to buy my own. Personal Domino in Red, and once I get used to having it around and work out my own system, I'll be doing a post on it, that you can be sure of! I've bought so many nifty little paper accessories and sticky notes and I cannot WAIT to use it!

Surreal Weather: This one may not make much sense but where I live, the skies are so open and just vast, so we have the most beautiful view for clouds and weather imaginable. So the other day I happened to look out my window as the sun was setting and the light was reflecting so that the clouds were dark and grey, while the sky was a beautiful pumpkin-y orange. But it was odd because it looked like nature had inverted it's colors, so it was strange and striking at the same time. And also, when it snows here, where I live so close to the ocean, as the snow falls harder the horizon blurs and you kind of lose your sense of where the water actually is because the fog and snow make the break water look like the edge of cliff. Surreal indeed.

Doing Better In School: This one's mundane but really, when I got my report card back I saw that I had either stayed the same in all my subject or brought them up by like, 3 marks. Made.My.Day. I've also been trying to be more social and less worried about what people think, and so far I've been doing good. Still can't wait to graduate and find the "real" cool people out there but, but for, I think I've got the have the patience to wait. 

Honorable Mentions: Going from a 78 to 81 in math in two months. Oh my god. ♥ More skirts and dresses. ♥ Compliments on my outfits "You look like that lady from 101 Dalmatians! OH! Oh! Cruella Devil! THAT's who you look like!" WIN.  3-4 cups of Green Tea a day.  This Dress. AND this Bag. Want. ♥ $50.00 for Perfect Attendance. Easiest award ever. ♥ Re-constructing my vintage jewelery ♥ Greyhounds, the ONLY dog I will ever like. ♥ Rambling about Alfred Hitchcock in Biology with my awesome teacher, and watching the stunned look on my classmates faces as they missed yet another one of my "real" cultural references. ♥ Karen Elson's music; but she is the wife of Jack White so this is to be expected! :D ♥ Art class and sketchbook, ahhh lovely. ♥ Burt's Bee's Mint Chapstick. ♥ Waffles with strawberry yogurt.  My family, they're freakin' awesome. ♥ Al Pacino + Robert De Niro <3 ♥ Twitter, and all it's cool people!  Victorian Esque heels and stripey socks. ♥  The trailer for "Sucker Punch", makes me want to dye my hair platinum blond, glue on some false eyelashes and dress like a 50's children's doll. ♥ Planning for my concert in May! :D ♥ Sketches of Tim Burton esque characters. ♥ Tom Waits. ♥ And, drama practice, the play is intense but hey, I'm a dramatic person. ;)

So, what's your week been like? 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Style Tips: Living in a Fairytale

I love fairy tales; I own a set a beautifully illustrated Folio edition copies which inspire me to no end with their intricate paintings and thick pages. So, I decided to write up a whimsical list of ways to live like a fairytale everyday.

* Dye your hair powder white or get a white wig.
* Collect gold filigree necklaces

* If you have long hair, tease it thick, then wrap with a strand of
pearls or rhinestones and up into a bun.
* Learn how to stoke a fire. 
* Own a turban; pin feathers to the front with a rhinestone
* Sew splashes of florid beading to your plain shirts.

Stick to colours in either extreme pastels like powder blue, silky lilac, cream, sea-foam green, peach and satiny white OR deep, rich colours like blood orange, royal blue, emerald green, mauve, maroon, magenta, and teal.
* Thread your heels with satin ribbons
* Put a single rose under a plant Bell.
*Pin feathers to your hair
*Leave a lone shoe on the steps of your public library.
*Pick up the perfume "Hasta la Muerte", from "The Morbid the Merrier". 

Many Fairytales have Arabian influences so:

 Buy a pair of curly-toed Indian Slippers. 

* Own a pair of harem pants 
* Display a antique hookah in your room
* Layer a brocade vest with lace-y camisoles
* Line your eyes with smokey kohl and a bindi at the corner of one eye.
Cook curry and Naan bread.  
* Spread your room with piles and piles of Moroccan 
sitting cushions.
* Make intricate henna tattoos on your arms, legs and neck.
Watch sunsets while drinking tea or coffee from tiny coloured glasses.
*Learn to belly-dance.
* Learn how to do finger-waves.
*Collect Victorian bric-a-brac like tea cups, baroque clocks,
walking canes, hat stands, and empty perfume bottles.
* If you do wear trousers, pair them with billowy poet tops, 
knee high boots and and a velvet blazer.
*Visit a farm and talk to the animals.

For the Seasons:

Winter/Fall = Thick wool coats in plum, navy, and black, silver buttons. Learn to love the rain; Nordic sweaters. Outfits themed around winter sunsets: white, pale pink, peach. Smudge your eyes with dusty grey eyeshadow and have long, dewy eyelashes.
Raggedy, thread-bare, tea stained scarves, take baths by candle-light. Red leather gloves, faux fur muffs, plaid capes, pleated wool skirts, copious amounts of tea (as well as apple cider) and good books. Grey tights, filled with holes, worn with a faux-fur coat, beret and Victorian-esque heels.

Wrap your Christmas presents with brown paper and tie them off with string. Holly pinned to you hat or coat, write letters in front a roaring fire using a quill and ink. Cocktail rings on *every* finger, ivory corsets with over sized storm-coloured cardigans.

    Spring/Summer = Floral trench coats and white dresses. Long, feather earrings. Clear umbrellas, white knee socks in Summer, messy ballerina buns. Pewter gladiator sandals with mauve skirts and creamy blouses. Learn to paint with water colours. Wear a mini top hat, make flower crowns.
Pin up your skirts and catch sticklebacks in a nearby stream. Snack on macaroons; nude nails, pockets watches. Fantasy hair in lilac, white and blue. White eyelashes, learn to make sun tea, read the "Wind in the Willows". Make a picnic and go cloud watching. Wear vintage slips as shirts, along with blue linen skirts and stacks of bangles.
Climb a tree and read Poetry between the branches; string your room with Christmas lights and stay up late playing the harpsichord. Crocheted tights and wellies, collect raw gems and make them into jewelry, porcelain-pale skin with rosy blush. Blue ribbons in your hair, and water lilies in china cups.

Well, darlings, what do you think? Have any tips of your own for making life like a Fairytale?

Images credited to Edmund Dulac.