4 Things That Happen When You Lose a Parent Young (and How Art Can Help!)

I lost my mom when I was 11. It was August, and she had a seizure as a result of her back pain and depression medication. She was brought to the emergency room. Her death was sudden. It wasn’t expected, or part of a terminal illness like most people originally assume when they hear of how young I was. I’ve written about my mother’s death a lot – including this three part series (1, 2, 3) on Janice Beetle’s blog, and my memoir about losing my mom.

But I haven’t written about her in quite some time, and lately, I’ve been inspired to talk about this a little. Recently, I met up with one of my professors, a hilarious woman who, like me, lost a parent at a young age. And something she said about how it “shakes up your worldview” got me thinking about 4 Things That Happen When You Lose a Parent Young. I’m going to sprinkle this list with ways that art and writing projects have helped me to remember my mom and heal after losing her, because it is those projects that give me the strength and happiness that allow me to talk about it without breaking into tears.

Mothers Day

Continue reading

Wigs: Pros and Cons and a Discussion of “Natural Beauty”

I wore wigs pretty much every day for 2 years. I started in May of 2012 and stopped in September of 2014. Now, I wear extensions sometimes, but a vast majority of my hair is naturally mine. In that time frame, I learned a lot about wigs, extensions, and society’s definitions of acceptable beauty.

It all started with why I chose to wear wigs. This was the most common topic/question in conversations revolving around my wigs, more likely with people who know me somewhat than with strangers. When I started wearing them, I wasn’t suffering from any type of hair loss. The only thing I was “suffering” from was a bad haircut decision – I had gotten a pixie cut that I now wanted to grow out. Research told me I couldn’t do much–clip-in extensions would never work, and the kind they attach at the salon are often up to $700 or more. Wigs were my solution.

Alaina braceletsCatears2

(Two photos of me: on the left, I’m wearing a 50% human hair and 50% synthetic wig; on the right, I’m wearing my natural hair with human hair extensions)

It was during these two years that I learned all about the pros and cons of wigs, what questions people would ask, and the way people would either be impressed or judgmental.

Continue reading

Planner Project: Erin Condren Life Planner Decorating

This year, I wanted to come up with some new positive life projects. In 2014, I made a Good Things Jar and every day, I wrote down at least one good thing that happened that day (usually more) on scrapbooking paper. There was some decorating, and the jar itself was decorated. It was a wonderful project – one I continued in 2015. But I wanted something else.

As an avid scrapbooking fan and someone who is constantly making her own new art projects, I was looking for something daily, that was also artsy and decorating related, and would bring positivity into my life. I decided to make my goal to find a planner that was cute and customizable, and that I would write everything good in it each day (along with my jar) and I would decorate it.

I met the Erin Condren Life Planner via my Instagram obsession. Erin Condren’s website is here, and you can use this link to get $10 off your purchase!

Alaina Planner

Continue reading

Preparing for a Photo Shoot

Preparing for a photo shoot can be tricky business, especially if you’re really into fashion and expressing your own style. I remember the first photo shoot I did – with my cousin, Nicole, when I was 13. I had no idea how to dress for a photo shoot, how to do my hair or makeup, or how to pose and look natural and still well put together. I’ve had a lot of practice since then, but I also don’t follow a lot of the “usual rules.”

In this post, I’ll mainly be talking about my two most recent shoots where I was not the photographer (since I also do DSLR photography myself) : the one on Jan. 16 for my 6 years with my girlfriend, and the one she and I did in the summer just for fun.

In the air

Continue reading