what it means to be a woman

Libby

A few days ago, while sipping some late night vino, “wine-ing” down from my day and clearing unwanted emails from my inbox, I happened across a subject line that caught my eye.

“101 Reasons It’s Damn Good To Be A Woman in 2017”

Prior to reading the thought-provoking Glamour article, the girl gang here at Velvet + Vinyl had given thought to what it means to be a woman in today’s world. Today we’re excited to formally launch the beginning of this series. Throughout the month of November, each boss babe on our team will share her thoughts on this opened ended issue.

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It’s damn good to be a woman in 2017. Despite the non-stop chaos that’s consuming our world right now, women are making a comeback unlike ever before. We’re leaning in, fiercely marching towards our victory, and we whole-heartedly refuse to take “no” for an answer.

When I think of what it means to be a woman in today’s world, the first thing that comes to mind is an army – I think of women by the masses, unified despite our differences while pursuing the things that align us as a force to be reckoned with. I think of relentless bravery, audacious grit, and a bold and unapologetic sense of valor.

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From the strides of senators, the voices of victims, fearless feminists in the film industry, full-circle inclusivity from Rihanna’s introduction of Fenty, a hail to hijabs for Muslim athletes, the meaningful nature of the #MeToo movement, increased recognition of real, untouched beauty, and the persistent and passionate madness that defined the Women’s March… these are just a few instances that demonstrate the magnitude of our womanly power fully exposed. I see it and I feel the women around me rebelling courageously in full force.

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I’ve been inspired to see how the women of our world have courageously refused to accept the “no’s” that have silenced our voices, confined our passions and have summoned us to mere, quiet, irrelevant corners we’ve become all too familiar with. For me, being a woman in today’s world resembles a shift where women are rising above who we once were — we’re redefining our potential and approaching our lives with the intent to meticulously invent an adventure that fuses passion and purpose. I see women defying odds, pushing borders, challenging the norm and pursuing dreams that once felt far-fetched. When I think of those women – boss babes like Reese Witherspoon, Malala Yousafzai, Rupi Kaur, Sheryl Sandberg, Sophia Bush, and Elizabeth Warren, just to name a few – these are the women I want to embody. I want to be an agent of this change. I want to stand next to women that represent all forms of conviction, grace, meaning and beauty; women who complement me and women who challenge me in my differences. I want to be surrounded by an army of bold, take-no-shit, visionary badasses who bring internal realizations forward, and translate groundbreaking, world-changing ideas to life. For me, my life and my personal goals, that is why there are 101 reasons and counting why it’s damn good to be a woman in 2017.

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– A million thank-you’s to Brooke Genn of Nomadic Newlyweds for making magic behind the camera and shooting the portrait photos you see here. Check out her beautiful work! Xo.

for those who are stuck

Rachele

I’m stuck. I have been for a while and if I’m being quite honest, I’m kind of over it. Everyone around me seems to have their life together you know? And I know I’m not the first person to feel like they’re the only one who doesn’t know what comes next, but when you’re the one sitting in the hot seat it sure feels like you are. I call my current state: Nick-from-New Girl-when-he-cant-finish-his-zombie-novel. So like I said I’m stuck, but I’m on a mission to find my way out.

Lately the ladies of v+v have been passing around what inspires us and what gets us in a creative state of mind in order to produce some pretty awesome content on here. This got me thinking about just a few short months ago I was spilling with ideas and new creative endeavors to pursue but time got the best of me and school, work, and other life responsibilities seem to have muffled it all.

Now here I am with what seems like no originality left. A creative rut if you will. And sure it would be easy to hop on any social media site and mildly twist a variety of content I find there and call it my own. It’s oh-so common to do so, we see it everyday. A slightly different take on something someone else has already said or written about.

I need something different. Authentic creativity. Something I thought of and something I feel confident calling my own. I am about to have a break, I feel it. I’m on the edge of a cliff and if I can find the inspiration to give me one last push, I will finally fall upon all the ideas I’ve been hiding beneath my own nose. So, an ode to my little room that is giving me the cozy space and inspiration I need to find that last push—

This one goes out to the ones who are also stuck. Don’t worry. Sit in your most creative space and just believe you will figure it out all in good time.

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books in progress

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current favorite pieces

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inspiration wall

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reflection  journal

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modern art history class books

chillwave mix

pinterest board favorites

a treat for you

Gabrielle

I don’t know about you but after a period of time, I get tired of looking at the same lock screen any time I check my phone, and the same home screen anytime I open my phone. I get sucked into the endless search of looking for the perfect background wallpaper. Taking my sweet time to scroll through Pinterest searches that sometimes lead no where, until suddenly, you hit the jackpot.

Close out of Pinterest and look no further. I present to you, your jackpot. Four crafted wallpapers for all the girlboss women we know.

Enjoy!

VV wallpapers

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VV wallpapers 12

VV wallpapers 1

…about those two words

Baili

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I was 11 years old the first time I felt “that”.

I still hadn’t quite grown into my front teeth, weighed a scant 65 lbs, and wore my mom’s oversized cable-knit turtleneck fisherman sweaters that I pulled from a shelf I could hardly reach.

He was in his late 20’s or early 30’s, tall, attractive, and my substitute teacher.

New in town and stuck in a book more often than not, I welcomed his warm demeanor and friendly approach. I thought he paid so much attention to me because we were friends. When he insisted I hug him before I could leave class, I thought it was because he valued me and believed me to be smarter, or somehow better than my classmates.

My best friend’s mom was singing at at a pub the night things went too far. It was early in the evening, and minors were still allowed in. My best friend and I laughed to one another when we told the greeter that we were “with the band.” As we mingled in the packed venue, we spotted him and a friend at a table. He lit up when we walked over, and knocked a glass of water over as he got off his stool to give me one of his classic long hugs that I’d now learned to expect.

“Sorry he smells like Rainier” his friend, another tall, young man joked.

It was then that the bass guitar went to work, followed by light drums, then the singer. Before I knew what was happening, I was pulled out onto the floor in front of the band that was soon filled with drunken adults dancing in their Birkenstocks and Patagonia zip-off pants. He grinned lazily as he spun me around in circles, not so much dancing as he swinging around a girl one-third his size. The music slowed into a sultry blues ballad, and he pulled me toward him. His hand slid from my waist to my lower back, then over what would [much] later develop into an actual ass. I smelled the beer his friend had joked about, and couldn’t even make out the words his gravelly voice purred into my ear.

I was glad when the song ended. I pulled away hurriedly, said goodbye, and found my friend at a table across the room. I never saw him again.

“That.” I can’t even label it correctly. I don’t think there is a word or term that really encompasses the varied emotions and sensations that occur when someone is sexually assaulted. Humiliation, confusion, guilt, and shock are just a few that surface at the moment.

It takes a lot of courage to talk about these things. We hear that 1 in 4 women report being sexually assaulted, but know that the actual rate is significantly higher. What about all the other instances that don’t get reported? We don’t report cat-calls, which many people sadly believe are earnest compliments; we don’t report our teachers or parents’ friends or coaches or friends’ dads when they are just a little too nice; we don’t report the pathetic dudes who brush their hands across your ass in crowded streetcars…

Which is why you’re seeing those two words splashed across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram this week.

“Me too.”

The two syllables, seemingly innocuous in any other context, represent a lifetime of struggles for men, women, and everyone in between.

Activist Tarana Burke spoke about the weight of the phrase when she recounted a story in which a young girl reached out to her for help, but ultimately left her speechless and flustered. The young girl, visibly shattered from being denied support so blatantly, silently urged Burke to consider the ways in which we interact with survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. The two words she did not speak are the very instruments she now uses to inspire others to support one another, including actress Alyssa Milano who resurrected the term via Twitter:

“Suggested by a friend: ‘If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

People have reacted in many different ways to this movement. I’m not here to say which response is right: to vocalize one’s experiences and support the movement is honorable and welcomed; to remain silent or unsure is also completely respectable.

You see, when a person is made to feel like they no longer have control in their life (which is, typically, what the end result of a sexual assault looks like) it is so important to restore that control to the survivor. Telling a survivor what they should or shouldn’t do is actually quite damaging, intentional or not. They are likely already feeling so much guilt over the incident. It is wrong to inspire more guilt in them by saying that their silence is detrimental to the cause.

If you truly want to help a survivor, allow them to make their own choices, free of judgment. Having been subjected to a crime or traumatic experience does not in any way make them less able to make their own decisions. Let them have power over their life.

On the other hand, there have been so many wonderful humans who have come forward and shared the phrase. I want everyone who hasn’t knowingly experienced sexual assault to know this one thing, if anything: this is huge. It’s “coming out.” It’s difficult, terrifying, and oftentimes dangerous to do so. When you “out” yourself as a survivor, you are opening up an incredibly private facet of your life that the inherently curious human population wants to dissect. You are putting yourself in a position to be mocked, blamed, accused, and judged.

So when you see a Facebook status with the words, “me too,” PLEASE oh please do not comment these things:

  • “OMG what happened?!”
  • “wtf who assaulted you??”
  • “when did that happen?”

You get the idea.

Nobody wants to have an open forum and relive that traumatic experience, so please don’t make them. A simple “like” will do.

Finally, there are the ones who simply aren’t sure if they can/should post it. You, my dears, are the ones at which the whole campaign is aimed.

Sexual assault, harassment, and abuse are manifested in so many ways that it is impossible to effectively “diagnose” someone as having experienced it. You yourself may have absolutely experienced sexual harassment and not even realized it.

The ways in which this particular type of hatred thrives are typically, like most of the “-isms”, disguised cleverly as compliments, traditions, cultural norms, beliefs, values, etc.

If you’re unsure whether or not you “qualify,” I challenge you to look at your interactions with other people and think critically about your place in the world. But also, don’t feel like you need to have experienced something as damaging as getting felt up by a teacher in a bar. It’s all about how the experience made you feel.

Were you ever made to feel like you were worth less because of your status as a woman? Have you ever walked past a group of men who shouted inappropriate things at you? Did you ever feel like you had to sleep with your boyfriend because it was your anniversary and you “owed it to him”? Did you ever feel like you were being stared at by a strange man on the subway? These count.

Perhaps you’re one of the [very] few lucky ones who really, truly haven’t felt like you’ve been there too. If you’re seeing your friends posting this status, then clearly someone you know/care about has. Be there for them. Thank them for sharing.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. If you choose not to share, thank you for empowering yourself to make that decision on your own. If you do choose to share, thank you for educating yourself and the ones around you.

I know you want sexual violence to stop. Me too.

 

 

3 ways to style a baker boy hat

Maddie

If there is one fall trend I am excited for, it’s the Baker Boy hat. This retro style hat can be found on magazine covers, all over Instagram, and on campus! After my sister got one of her own we grabbed a camera and came up with three ways to style this staple fall accessory. From a 70s vibes outfit, a fuzzy sweater, to edgier street style, the possibilities are endless! We hope you feel inspired, xoxo.

 

h&m baker boy hat, forever 21 sweater, h&m jean dress, doc martens

thrifted sweater, h&m jeans, doc martens (how cute is this cat??)

brandy melville band tea, levis jean jacket, h&m black jeans, doc martens

coffee shops you’ll like a latte

Matti

National Coffee Day has arrived! I’ve been so eager to share this post with you all because, let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good coffee shop recommendation? Finally, I get the chance to share some of the photos that have been stock piling in my camera roll of all my favorite places for some good coffee. For all you Oregonians in Portland, Eugene, or Corvallis I guarantee one of these spots will be a new go-to for your next coffee run.

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Tried and True (Southtown)Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

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Good Coffee (Buckman)IMG_2434IMG_2447

Heart Roasters (Westside Cafe)IMG_2427IMG_2436

Glass House CoffeeIMG_2431IMG_2432

The Washburne CafeIMG_2426IMG_2425 2

Never CoffeeIMG_2422IMG_2438

Kainos CoffeeIMG_2424IMG_7349

Happy national coffee day from the ladies of V+V! Get out there and espresso yourself.

Emmy style

Baili

It’s that time of year. Fall has… fallen. Summer’s heat is excusing itself and making way for chunky knits, hot beverages, and comfort. A cold-blooded Washingtonian, I spend all summer looking forward to rainy days like this.

After weeks of wildfire smoke, merciless heat waves, and back-of-the-knee sweat (we all have it, shut up), today was also the kickoff of awards show season. Obviously, I brewed an alarmingly strong pot of coffee, slipped into some fuzzy socks, and got right to sketching my favorite looks from this year’s Emmy Awards. Without further ado, here they are:

 

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Natalia Dyer in Vera Wang

I had no idea who Natalia Dyer was when I saw her photo from the red carpet. A quick Google search told me she was an actress in the Netflix original, Stranger Things. I have yet to watch it. I KNOW I KNOW. Anyway, this generation’s Rory Gilmore (who is only 20 by the way) rolls up in this bright green taffeta ballgown and shuts the place DOWN. Read that again: bright green taffeta ballgown. The girl that my first boyfriend cheated on me with wore a bright green taffeta ballgown to prom. She looked like a piece of shit, as most of us likely would. Natalia, however, wins this round of Emmys fashion.

 

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Rashida Jones in J. Mendel

I studied fashion design in college and spent my whole life trying to perfect the art that is couture dressmaking. I’m not sure everyone out there understands how much effort it takes to make the little pleats that covered Rashida Jones’ dress… but let me just say it takes more patience than I have ever possessed in my entire life, combined. J. Mendel– this is exquisite. Keep doin’ you.

 

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Thandie Newton in Jason Wu

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a slight girl-crush on Thandie Newton, despite the fact that it took me years to figure out that it was pronounced “Tan-dee.” She is so elegant always, even as a robot-prostitute-murderer like her character on HBO’s Westworld. This classic Jason Wu ballgown hits all my favorite notes– a little bit of sparkle, beautiful fit, and my all-time favorite color.

Stay tuned for more fall fashion blurbs and be sure to catch my sketches on November 8th when I decide to go hard on the hard cider [again] and sketch my way through the Country Music Association Awards! Cheers!