Personal, Photography, Travel

Photo Story: Hiking Mount Tamalpais

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Prints and more available on my Society6 shop! Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @adrienneblaine for photo captions.

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Personal, Photography

The Sunset

 

“Even bros like sunsets” observed comedian TJ Miller. That must have been what San Francisco city developers were thinking when they renamed the “Outside Lands” the Sunset District.

Bounded by Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach, this suburban development within San Francisco is the city’s largest district. But before there were ticky-tacky houses, sand dunes and shrubs were the first to greet the Pacific Ocean.

As a resident of the Sunset District, I have been struck by the way the sun passes over my house and sinks into Ocean Beach every night. It feels like the days are slipping away. In an attempt to capture this unique beach town, I have been venturing out of the house with my camera during the “Golden Hour,” when the sun is low on the horizon and casts everything in a golden glow.

I will be posting some of these photos on Instagram @adrienneblaine under the hashtag #sunsetdistrict. But to see all of my photos in this series, follow this blog on adrienneblaine.com!

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Fashion, Personal

My Favorite Jean Jackets

A jean jacket is an American wardrobe staple. Levi’s were born here in California during the Gold Rush and I could wax academic for pages about denim’s evolving cultural significance.

Some of us may remember the skillful “Go Forth” ad campaign for Levi’s, which wove the brand and patriotism together using the audio from newly discovered wax cylinder recordings holding what is believed to be Walt Whitman reading his own poetry.

A crackling voice reads an excerpt from the poem “America” by Whitman. I bet Whitman would shudder to think of himself as a pants salesman.

That being said, don’t you wish you had a cool pair of jeans now? What I would argue is even cooler than a pair of denim pants is a denim jacket. After years of searching for the perfect jean jacket, I now have, not one, but three!

I bought all of these jackets second hand. Two of them I bought on the same day from the same store, which I thought I would regret, but I have yet to!

The first is the quintessential American denim jacket. And while it is not Levi’s brand it is Ralph Lauren, which is just as American as apple pie.

What drew me to the jacket was it’s dainty proportions and embroidered pockets. In the past I have tried on children’s denim jackets but still struggled to find one with arms that were slim. I appreciate the feminine details on this jacket like the pleats and the pulls that can cinch around the waist.

I like to pair this jacket with formal tweed slacks because oddly enough I am trying to phase denim pants out of my wardrobe. After wearing this on a windy day, I am happy to report that this denim jacket can also act as pretty decent windbreaker.

The second jacket is one that I bought on the same day as the first. I couldn’t walk away from it because I knew I would never find another like it. It’s a vintage Wrangler blazer with 70s styling.

The oversized lapels almost scared me off, but when I tried it on the fit was too good to be true!

Because the stitching is orange I like to wear this with a rusty orange checked shirt I own. I usually pair the jacket with black pants. I also like to pump up the 70s vibe with some platform shoes.

The last jacket is one that I have owned for a few years. It’s the most masculine of the three, but I like it for beach days that turn into bonfires. Since it’s a bit oversized on me, it’s like cozying into a jacket a man friend lent you.

 

The denim is soft and perfectly worn in and faded. The inside is lined with a quilted silky fabric. There are also four spacious pockets which is rare in women’s wear.

 

This is a jacket that I throw on more than anything. If I were to wear it intentionally, I would probably wear a dress underneath to counteract the masculine feel of the jacket.

While I never thought I would need three denim jackets, I am happy that I own all of these. Do you have a favorite jean jacket, or multiple favorites like me? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

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Arts & Culture, Personal

Revisiting Nickelodeon’s “As Told by Ginger”

I was raised by the glow of the television, and cartoons on Nickelodeon were my favorite. Recently the theme song for “As Told by Ginger” (as sung by Macy Gray) came to mind:

“Someone once told me
The grass is much greener
On the other side
And I paid a visit
(Well, it’s possible I missed it)
It seemed different,
Yet exactly the same
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
‘Til further notice,
I’m in-between
From where I’m standing,
My grass is green
Someone once told me
The grass is much greener
On the other side.”

In my mind Macy Gray has never conformed to gender expectations for women singer-songwriters. And I always appreciated how her voice set the tone for a cartoon show about preteen girls in middle school. The show premiered in 2000 just as I was entering middle school and ended in 2009, the year I graduated from high school.

While I remembered liking As Told by Ginger because the protagonist Ginger is a writer, I did not remember how well the show itself was written. I am not surprised that creator Emily Kapnek went on to create Suburgatory, a short-lived but cutting satire of suburbia seen from the perspective of a teenage girl. Kapnek also contributed to episodes of Parks and Recreation as a consulting producer.

After re-watching, I am impressed by the complexity of each episode’s plot. While the story always centers around Ginger, her friends, her brother and her mother also play significant roles.

In the second episode, Ginger invites her school’s popular girl over for dinner while her younger brother invites the fantastically grotesque older woman he met at a nursing home. “Carl and Maude” was the cartoon’s homage to the movie Harold and Maude. If you’ve been watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt you may recognize Carol Kane‘s voice in this episode.

Characters on As Told by Ginger are well-developed and believable as real people while conforming to established archetypes: the mean girl: Miranda, the popular girl: Courtney, the gross younger brother: Carl.

Miranda’s insecurity drives her malice, while Courtney is a popular girl looking for true connection. And Carl articulates his passion for the bizarre with Poe-like eloquence.

With lessons about self-confidence, family dynamics and friendship, I would recommend this cartoon to any preteen girl. I know it helped me get through middle school!

 

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Personal

Childhood Reflections

As a child, my room was furnished with my great grandmother’s furniture: specifically a diminutive vanity and chest of drawers. This set is now in my parents’ guest room.

During my last visit to my parents’ house, I was folding laundry in the guest room and noticed my reflection. How many hours had I spent observing myself in this same mirror? How many hours had my great grandmother?

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Selfies make me uncomfortable. It was hard to lower the camera to attempt a self-portrait, but I wanted to capture this moment of reflection.

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In so many ways I still feel like a child, like the baby girl in the picture hanging behind me.

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This chest of drawers has lived more life than I have.

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Collecting objects, scars and memories.

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I just make believe I’m older by posing in the mirror.

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