NEVER HIT SKIP: The Albums That Are Too Good To Skip Through…Yes, Even That One Song.

It’s diary time! I wasn’t sure what to write about for a while; I have, however, recently made a playlist of some of my favorite albums: albums that I cannot bear to hit “skip” on. Do I not like singles? Or just one song? No, of course I do! But – liking a whole album in its entirety is a special thing, I think. I’m a big fan of albums that I can listen to from bottom to top, backwards & forwards, through & through & through. To me, it’s the ultimate sign that I will never stop listening to ___ album; that I’ll associate it with important events or people. These albums, in their entirety, provide a rush of emotion & color.

Some other contributing factors? Well, I have synesthesia, though it’s not crazy powerful. I can’t see colors in front of my eyes when I hear a single note, but I associate colors & textures with certain songs, pieces, or albums. If I hear a song, piece, or album & immediately start strongly associating it with various colors, moods, textures, color scales, etc., I know that I’ve found an album that speaks very strongly to me. Same goes with crying, believe it or not – oftentimes, I think one of the best signs that an album is a good one is that it prompts emotion. I’m all about music being an emotional outlet, & I listen to all types. They all provide me with relief, joy, happiness, melancholy…anything that I am feeling, I can find some music that helps me put a soundtrack to my life, no matter how happy or sad it is in that moment.

I listen to all types of music – a lot of classical, really. Makes sense, given my music background, but if I shared a top ten list of classical albums that I like & told you why, you’d be still reading, 12 hours later. It would take forever, & that’s what I use my musicology classes for. However – if you’re interested in getting some classical recs, don’t be afraid to hit me up on my socials! (Instagram, Twitter

Here I present: The Top Ten Albums I Can’t Hit Skip On (& Why) ***in no particular order. Also: here’s my Spotify. Feel free to follow me, check out my playlists, or do both! Or…do none. ALSO: I’ll be putting a few personal photos after each mini review of each album. Some will be photos of me listening to ____ album while doing something; some will be photos of things I associate with ___ album. Enjoy!!!!!!!

Some Nights – fun. 

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I was quite young when this album came out. I remember being at Interlochen Arts Academy Summer Music Camp as a violin student & going to “mixers” (you know the deal) & hearing the song “We Are Young (ft. Janelle Monae.” That’s when I first started associating it with positive events in my life. I continued on to hear the whole album. When I left Interlochen, heartbroken, (as one is after summer camp) the sadder songs served as emotional outlets. The fast-paced ones let me go on long bike rides. It was one of the first pop albums I listened to through & through – & I cried more than once. Okay, maybe I still do…but remember: tears while listening to or playing music are okay!

My favorites? Well…”We Are Young” of course. I adore the “Some Nights – Intro,” & how it seamlessly melds into Some Nights, the song itself. There’s an incredible amount of emotion bottled up in both those songs – both extraordinary opposites when it comes to style, but lyrically, almost identical. “Out On The Town – Bonus Track” is another favorite. One of those melancholy breakup songs you can cry to.

As a whole, this album incorporates a lot of different instruments & sounds, as well as featuring other artists. It works as an album, & all the songs work by themselves, too. It’s emotional, exposed, & I fondly think back to my 15 year old self when I turn it up loud once & a while.

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15-year-old Sofia was a strange bird.

808s & Heartbreak – Kanye West 

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Obsessed with everything surrounding 808s & Heartbreak – did you know that the cover art was designed by Virgil Abloh (designer, DJ, & founder of fashion label Off-White), Willo Perron (a disciplinary director & designer)  & drawn by pop artist Kaws? The album also heavily features the Roland-TR 808 drum machine – hence the inclusion of “808s.” What Kanye didn’t know until he’d already figured out the album’s name, however, was that Hawaii’s area code is 808 – & the Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii is where Kanye recorded the majority of this album.

Everyone fights me on this – but I truly do think that 808s is Kanye’s best album. Again – lots of raw, pent-up emotion. Kanye, for the first time, actually sang…but used auto-tune. This provides a somewhat distant, robotic effect while contrasting with the emotional lyrics & melancholy background music. It’s eerie in the best way possible. My favorites are…all of them, really. “Say You Will” & “Paranoid” are almost complete opposites, but I love the lyrics & drive behind both of them. My favorite, of course, is “RoboCop” – I don’t know what it is about this song, but it speaks to me. It’s very colorful – lots of neon lights, blue lights, disco balls…that kind of a mood. “Pinocchio Story (Freestyle Live)” is also a great one: it truly is a live performance; there are cracks & dips in Kanye’s voice, & screaming fans sometimes make the lyrics hard to hear. Some are annoyed by it. I, however, love it. It reminds me of the sensation of performing; what it’s like to perform at your most raw in front of huge crowds. It’s an adrenaline rush, & it’s bitter-sweet.

I hadn’t heard this album until around November of last year (2016). I was going through a rough emotional time & there were a lot of lonesome listening sessions with this album in my ears. It brings back a lot of bitter memories, with a tang of sweetness. It’s funny how sometimes, frightening & overwhelming things can happen to you…but they turn into an elaborate memory, reflecting feelings, smells, foods, & so many more things that you thought of or consumed or felt at that time. So: I’ll say it once, & I will say it twice – I’ll say it 100 times if I must. 808s & Heartbreak is Kanye West’s greatest album.

Pure Heroine – Lorde 

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Okay. My obession with Lorde started when I heard her first song on the radio, late sophomore year of high school. That song, of course, was “Royals” – I looked up the music vidoe & was struck by this tiny, intense, curly-haired girl with a stare that could kill. The super minimalistic visuals of the video intrigued me, too. Lorde was mysterious, & so was her album – Pure Heroine is a teenager’s album, filled with an assurance, a sense of command, confidence, & times of freedom – & frustration. Her lyrics are rich. There is so much to dive in when looking at Pure Heroine. I dove in, alright. People started telling me I looked like Lorde: greeny-blue eyes, fair skiny, bushy, long hair…I embraced it & started putting on purple lipstick (the cheapest one I could find; a dark violet Revlon lipstick from my grocery shop’s cosmetic aisle), fluffing up my hair by letting it air-dry, wearing black, & developing a resting bitch face. I owe it to Lorde for people telling me I seem scary – I also owe her for helping me win my music school auditions. Songs like “Bravado,” “Tennis Court,” & “Swingin Party” helped me remember that I was worth something – they also allowed me to let my stress & emotions wash through me, rather than consume me. It was the soundtrack on airplanes, car rides – everywhere I went. I had finally found someone who was a “pop star” that I could identify with. She was human, she was odd, she danced weird. She didn’t care – & people loved her for that. Lorde was one of the best musical discoveries of my teenage years – no two ways about it.

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Yup – I dressed as Lorde for Halloween when I was 16. My proudest high school accomplishment? Winning “best celebrity lookalike” & being compared to Lorde. An exciting Moment In History.

Harry Styles – Harry Styles

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Need I say more? I am what they’d call “a Harrie” – meaning, Harry Styles was my favorite One Direction member. I followed 1D’s every move when they were touring & recording – when I got sick, I asked to meet them through Make A Wish…& when I (most luckily) got the chance to do so, I ran straight to Harry. I have a tattoo on me that he drew for me. His fashion is something that truly inspires & encourages me to develop my own style. His kindness & love for the LGBT community is something I hold close to my heart, too.

As you might be able to tell: I’m a big fan, yes. Yes – of course I went to see Dunkirk! (It was good just as a film, too. Don’t worry) Of course I bought his album. Of course I’ll be seeing him on tour next year! 

But, seriously. I was extraordinarily excited for Harry’s solo album. I wanted to hear more of his individual vocals & lyricism – & oh boy, did I get both! Some of the album sounds like classic British pop or rock. Others, like “Carolina” (which is about me, by the way…I’m Townes), are a bit of a tongue-in-cheek country song; “Woman” is an odd yet satisfying experience. Nothing can beat that quack noise in the background (but really, it’s a lovely song). I especially feel close to “From The Dining Table.” The lyrics are simple, but it feels like Harry is very up close to the mic – I almost get ASMR tingles when I listen to the song with the volume up. The subtle harmonies that actually do reach a climax contribute both to the delicacy & the power the song has. As for “Kiwi,” well…need I say it? HAVING YOUR BABY!!! NONE OF YOUR BUSINES-

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Taken while listening to “Two Ghosts.”
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Taken while playing “Woman” – look! I have hair!
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On my IG: taken while listening to “From The Dining Table”

Depression Cherry – Beach House 

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Now…who doesn’t love some Beach House? Yes, some of their songs kind of do sound the same after a while (with some excellent exceptions), but the focus on background music playing just as large (if not larger) a role as the vocalists is extremely striking. Definitely a great album to listen to when crying. The lyrics can be hard to hear at times; the music can really get that loud & sometimes words are slurred for effect. If you really want the real deal, look up the lyrics before bed, then turn off your lights & have some melancholy me time.

This sounds like I’m bashing the album – I swear I’m not! Each of these songs is special to me. Another great album I was listening to through my tough time in November. “Space Song” is on every aesthetic Instgram video ever, but that doesn’t make it not good – I’m still not annoyed! I would say that my two favorites are “Levitation” & “10:37.” In “Levitation,” strings give texture & urgency to the line, while the gentle vocals allow the listener to lay back. The lyrcis are beautiful, but can be hard to hear, like I said. In “10:37,” the gentle but steady drum beat(s) provide comfort & safety; the vocals contribute to it. It’s a warm, gentle song – a beautiful experience.

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Back at home for Christmas break was my prime time for Depression Cherry… 
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….& even before I left, the dark days & oddly glowing sunsets of winter, coupled with my blue mood…made Depression Cherry a soundtrack of my life at that moment in time.

Blonde – Frank Ocean

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The album that made me want to die my hair this color (I’m only kidding a tiny, tiny bit)

Well – of course! I was first sucked into the Frank Ocean hype when “Super Rich Kids” was everywhere – but it’s been years, & we’d all been clamoring for the next album. It even became a meme. The wait was worth it, though: all of these songs boast a variety of styles & effects. In “Nikes,” for example, Frank’s voice is sped up. It heavily contrasts with “Futura Free,” in which Frank sings in his natural voice about how lucky he has been – but also about how hard he has worked, & how he & his family deserve what he’s gotten thanks to the talent he possesses. “Be Yourself,” a track simply consisting of a recorded voicemail message from someone’s mother, calling her child at a university. The mother is telling her child not to “do that cocaine” or marijuana, & warns the child about “weedheads” & the danger of alcohol. Of course – substance abuse is always going to be a “thing” for parents talking to their children…& yes, you should be careful with what you put in your body. In this context, however, the 1:29 track is simply a humorous interlude to some more intense tracks.

Overall, Blonde was worth the wait – truly! It combines angst with humor; rapid sequences of lyrics along with one or two words repeated for a single track. There’s something for everyone in this album – & all of it is for me.

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September 2016 – last year, basically. I even played Blonde in my elevator.

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ANTI – Rihanna 

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Oooh. Yes.

I’ll admit – it took me a full year to really get into ANTI. I didn’t understand the flow of the tracks at first…still, I kept coming back to it. In the end, Rih did not disappoint – when does she ever? Famous features like SZA & Drake pique the interest of other fan bases – & yes, the songs with those two are great. In fact, it’s how I found out about SZA. Songs like “Desperado,” “Needed Me,” “Pose,” & “Sex With Me” are some real anthems of empowerment; of the beauty of independence; of the marvel of self love. Meanwhile, tracks like “Love On The Brain” are for the tenderest of moments; it feels much older than it actually is. Then – what better song to listen to than “Kiss It Better” with your crush, just to give you that extra boost of confidence….? Try it.

It’s a good album. I’m very sorry it took me that long to appreciate. But now, I appreciate it with all my heart. That counts, right?

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The real hours of ANTI – adequately expressed in this sign in a restaurant.

Yeezus – Kanye West 

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I only knew about Kanye West from the Katy Perry song more than a few years back: “E.T.” Oh – I knew about & liked “Mercy,” but he only had a few verses in it; it was more of a collaboration type of deal.

I heard about the Yeezus album on – believe it or not – NPR. Yup! Fresh Air (an NPR show) didn’t interview Kanye, but they did play one song: “Bound 2.” That was the first song that I truly ever heard Kanye as a solo artist, not a collaborator. I was intrigued by the mixing of retro tracks with new verses by Kanye himself. I loved the cover art. I was…taken aback by the music video Kanye made with Kim Kardashian (I was still young…okay?). But most of all, I was intrigued. That’s when I really started getting into listening to beats of songs. Yeezus flows exquisitely well, in my opinion. There are some intense – almost horrifically intense – songs like “On Sight,” or “Black Skinhead.” There are others like “Hold My Liquor” – this song combines some of the melancholy heard on 808s with a heavy, sometimes screeching beat, along with aggressive yet emotionally expressive lyrics. I was intrigued at how “Bound 2” seemed to be a goodbye to the world; a hello to his wife (wait, were they married then?) & the children they would soon be having. I like to think of it as a great depiction of how meeting someone you truly end up loving makes you feel – normal things are beautiful. “Red cups on the lawn,” not telling your mom, speaking about infidelity as well as loyalty. It depicts a faulty yet loving relationship, in my opinion – sure, told from the standpoint of a man, but nevertheless, Kanye’s right – sometimes you don’t remember the day you first met; that’s okay. It’s also okay to write a song about it being okay.

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The days of Yeezus – especially “Bound 2” were in the Adirondack mountains, summer of 2015.

Mind of Mine – Zayn Malik 

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Zayn Malik has not been…the most politically correct these past few years, let us say. He was the rogue – left One Direction, broke all our hearts, & went out & got cozy with Gigi Hadid, reinvented the importance of Twitter celebrity feuds – & released an album that knocked me speechless.

No, I’m not a fan of all Zayn has said & done. But his album is objectively good – “Pillowtalk” was a great single – both visually & musically appealing. His track organization was meticulous; each song flows into the next – literally. Each song ends with the beginning of the next song. Like I’ve already said – I have a weakness for that kind of album style. Each & every song from the album is pleasant to listen to, but all together they are a journey.

“Pillowtalk” will always be iconic for me…but “dRuNk” (thank you, quirky type style), “INTERMISSION: fLoWer,” “BLUE,” “BRIGHT,” & “SHE DON’T LOVE ME” all touch me in different ways. It’s a good album to listen to when you’re in your feelings. Zayn’s been flying quite low since he dropped his album & did a promo tour…who knows what he’s up to? I certainly don’t – but I do know that Mind of Mine is an excellent album with a great flow.

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At arcades, blasting Mind of Mine.

Melodrama – Lorde 

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Okayyyyy. Another album I waited for as eagerly as I did Frank Ocean’s. No…that’s a lie. I waited even more eagerly for this one. Like I said – Lorde is someone I really identified with – I still do. I wondered if she would be able to capture the sensation of late teens & early adulthood. That was the night before she released “Green Light” as her first single. The next morning, I woke up feeling like I should go dance on top of a car, or a roof…a strange bathroom. It was different, it was new, but it was undoubtedly Lorde. It speaks volumes when an artist’s sound changes subtly yet powerfully. There was no major “rebranding” here – no new lifestyle, no drastic changes. Lorde – or Ella – grew up. She cut her hair, she didn’t wear purple lipstick as much. She went through a big breakup. She vomited outside house parties. She was living & dying – every night. I could identify with that – big time. Melodrama was this year’s summer album, & it’s an album I’ll associate with this specific time for the rest of my life.

As for favorites? When people ask me, I have no idea what to say. They’re all uniquely appealing, & at the end, it depends on what I feel like that day. Sometimes, “Hard Feelings/Loveless” is all my soul needs. Other days, I need to cry to “Liability.” Some days, I want to dance on a rock in the middle of a creek to “Green Light” – & yes, I did that the other day…all by myself. It’s what she would do, isn’t it?

Lorde gave me some real material here – coming-of-age, romanticizing normalities, being more open & vulnurable with those around you. Making closer friends, not trying to increase the volume of friends. Realizing that loneliness can be beautiful, & sometimes a walk (or dance) down your beach/sidewalk/street/nearby mountains all by yourself is exactly what you need.

Lorde cut her hair – so did I. We both experienced crushing life events over the past few years. So did all of you. Lorde’s writing is now infinitely approachable – who doesn’t feel like a liability at least once in a while? What college student can’t relate to “Perfect Places” even in a small way? Why wouldn’t you want to feel dangerous & beautiful by turning up “Sober?” Don’t forget about Supercut – it’s raw, it’s real, it is infinitely emotional.

I was lucky enough to have the money to buy tickets to see Lorde – or should I say…one ticket? That’s right! I’m going by myself, I’m sitting in the nosebleeds, & I wil dance my heart out. It has long been a dream to attend a Lorde concert; I was sad I didn’t have my shit together to do it last time she came around. This time, however, will be better. More songs…more to talk about. I can’t wait. & I love Melodrama. Did I say I love Melodrama?

That’s it for the diary – for now! Let me know via social – or the comments! – what kinds of personal entries you’d enjoy seeing. I love being inspired by you, & I love feedback! Also: tell me your top 10 “never hit skip” albums – or just one album. I’m always looking for new ones.

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5:30 a.m…..
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…9:30 p.m.
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A “Supercut”

Love,

Sof ❤

The Sexual Wellness Company That Keeps You Stylish, Satisfied, & Socially Aware

@unboundbox on Instagram – like so many Instagrams these days – is a mood board for sexual confidence, body positivity, political activism, & personal style.

Unbound’s site, which has been featured in Allure, Vice, Cosmo, & Teen Vogue (!!), isn’t much different. Click “shop” & you’re given a page that features “all the things!” The things are anything from cleaning supplies, to lingerie, to…cock rings???

Unbound is truly a unique company. They carry many retailers…so yes, you can purchase a vibrator for $25(or $119)bath salts for $24, & a mug that proclaims “The Future is Female” for $13 all on the same website. Not many companies can boast the same.

I started pretty tame. I went for the Twiggy Venus Earrings in Gold, & perhaps a more risqué Cleo Whip Chokerwhich, interestingly enough, is described as a “glam choker delicately encircles your neck to meet in an elegant golden pendant that draws the eye. When unhooked, this piece serves as a functional whip suited to light BDSM play.”

Both of the options I selected are simple & understated (which is what I look for in my jewelry) – but if you want something a bit more out there, you can always go for the super lux (& out there) Cleo Restraint Set – or even earrings that double as nipple clampsHey…there’s something for everyone! & let’s admit it: there’s something more than a little cool about having jewelry that is, let’s say…multi-purpose.

But if you wanna stay in your lane, that’s fine, too. Those “Nevertheless, She Persisted” mugs are there for you all, too.

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Each piece of jewelry comes in a little bag with a unique doodle or drawing

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The…multipurpose…Cleo Whip Choker 

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The Venus Earrings – only meant for ears

(The choker worn two ways…& a close-up on the lovely earrings!)

If you’d like to check out Unbound Box, use the code SOF15 for 15% off any of their products! (Not an affiliate!!!! I am not getting compensation for this code!!! I always want to be perfectly clear with all of you <3)

Stay stylish, empowered, or satisfied…or all three! That’s cool too!

Love,

Sof ❤

 

OOTD: Outfit(s) On My Birthday 

Hello hello! It’s me, your favorite! I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what I did with my hair/makeup/l & what clothes/accessories  I was wearing in this Instagram & this Instagram – both outfits for my 20th birthday! Here’s some information about the things I was wearing, on my face, head, body, & ears!

Outfit #1 (before I changed my mind)

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Face

Hair

Accessories

Outfit #2

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  • Dress: Free People (bday gift from my friend!) – I searched for it high & low on the website but could not find it, I’m sorry!
  • Bodysuit (underneath the dress): Urban Outfitters from last year
  • Shoes: ???? (my mother’s shoes)
  • Scrunchie: Free People (bday gift from my friend!)
  • All accessories otherwise stayed the same (jewelry, etc.)

That’s all!!! Stay tuned for a video tutorial on how I keep my hair slick! & enjoy this video, wearing Urban Outfitters, Sunglass Museum, & Cosabella. Just a little (slippery) fun. 🍷📸

Love,

Sof ❤

Why’d I Shave My Head? Diary

Why did I shave my head? It’s becoming more common these days to see a girl on the street or the runway rocking an almost-bald head. Baldies are trending! That makes me super happy, because shaving my head was one of the best experiences I had – an experience that, looking back on it, had a lot of meaning behind it.

So: why did I shave my head? I mentioned it on the offhand a few times to friends, family, & even my S/O. All I got (for the most part) was a confused, a little head shake, or just a blank stare. But that didn’t bother me. I knew why I wanted to do this. It was because I was sick!

Okay, but what does a shaved head have to do with a chronic illness – one that doesn’t make your hair fall out on its own? Why get rid of “all that beautiful hair?”

Simple. Control. I wanted control, &, at the time, couldn’t get what I truly wanted: a tattoo (a special tattoo, by the way). My immune system was quite low at that point in time, thanks to my chemo pills, & after countless fights with my doctor & pleading with my mother, I gave up for the time being. Everyone told me I’d be pushing it to irritate my skin – it was an easy way to get an infection.

Maybe they were right, maybe they were wrong! Maybe I’d have been hospitalized for ink poisoning or gone on with life without so much as a blink. It’s impossible to know, because I respected my mama’s request, my doctor’s advice, & my own gut. I really, really didn’t want to end up in a hospital bed for two weeks becuase I got a tattoo at the wrong time.

I was flicking through Twitter one night & saw a periscope of someone shaving their long bob down to a buzzcut. I was immediately intrigued. This, I thought, was what I needed. To have control, to be able to tell someone “just take it all off!” without worrying about an infection. It was a way for me to own my body, when it so often felt like someone else’s, it helped me blur my own gender identity, & it was super, super, super cute.

I gave this about 5-7 days of thought. Then, one day, I drove up to Supercuts, slapped down $15 & left with a 3″ shaved head.

The woman buzzing me looked scared – probably because she thought I wouldn’t like it. She was wrong. I got into my car unable to stop smiling as I drove home.

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Ecstasy!!!!
I took a walk that night. I felt super free, super powerful, super me. Even though it’s just hair, it gave me this heady sense of control, reminded me who’s the real boss here – no matter what meds I’m on or what illnesses I have.

Also, if we’re being completely honest…it was around the time I became quite sad & depressed that I shaved my head. I joke & say I “did a Britney” but it’s only half a joke. Mental illness, frustration with certain situations, & body dysmorphia are just a few reasons why many women choose to shave their heads. Some do it for the fun & the power. Others do it for control. Some do it for a little bit of both. I was the latter!

I started playing around with makeup more. I felt more assertive – again, I felt freer. I was rid of something. It was a great concept to know that I was starting fresh, in a way.

What did other people think of it? Some were not huge fans. Even some people very close to me were not huge fans. Some were even upset. I was never angry about that. People have their reasons & sometimes it really is more than “just a haircut” to some. But I didn’t really…care. This was something I did for me, for me only – & I was loving it.

 

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“Touch my head!”
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Feeling dangerous, feeling myself
So…yes, I was starting to spiral down a path of depression & increased anxiety. That haircut didn’t make that better. But it was a way for me to express myself during a time when I couldn’t do much like that. Tattoos? Piercings? Not over my parents’ dead bodies (at the time).

Yeah! It made me angry that I couldn’t do these things. But I experienced so many amazing things with my bald head. Showering? Two minutes. Haircare? Who? Taking a walk & feeling the wind run through my bristles? Amazing. Rubbing the top of my own head? Velvety-soft, calming, relaxing. Best of all, it gave me a sense of confidence that I previously hadn’t had. It showed me that I could be beautiful no matter what – that I could always find some form of self-expression. I became the “cool girl.” No matter what I wore, it was edgy. That was amazing. It gave me the realization that androgyny…felt super cool. I found out I could wear no makeup, a baseball cap, & jeans, or, I could put on a full face, a body suit, & heels, & feel feminine – but with another force behind that. Feminine, yes – but powerful. I think I’ll always call myself a woman. But this gave me an idea of what androgny ws

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The day I felt like Halsey
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Even though I was sad a lot last summer, again – something about my hair made me feel carefree & fearless.
You might ask, do I regret how I looked when I was bald, or when my hair was growing in “awkwardly?” Do I look at pictures of myself from last summer & cringe?

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What I call my “fluffy duckling phase”
Absolutely not. I regret no part of this experience. I loved the way I looked every single step of the way. Awkward length? Yes, sometimes! But that just gave me more encouragement to be myself, gave me the realization that yes, I can dress up nicely & put on a full face when I want to – but that I can also go bare-faced & bald. Both feel really, really good.

Do I plan on shaving again? Maybe! Right now, I love my hair. It’s been almost a year since I shaved it all off & I am almost at a bob now. I want to keep it this way for a bit.

So: why did I shave my head?

For control, for confidence, for a life lesson in being myself no matter how weird it may be, for self-expression through whichever mediums suited me best – & yes, so I could be that Cool Girl. But, you know – also experiencing a heady rush of “you can do whatever you want.” That feeling was amazing; it was liberating. I hope to experience it again one day.

So – to all the girls/femme people out there who’re considering shaving your head – go for it! It was one of the best “beauty” experiences I’ve ever had. It was low-maintenance, it was cool, & it made me love some part of myself during a time that I didn’t love most of myself.

Will you regret it? Maybe. But I don’t think you will. I think you’ll have an amazing journey, no matter what your reasons for taking all your hair off are.

Life sucks a lot of the time. Do some spontaneous things. Shave your head. See how you like it.

I’ve found that some of the worst times I’ve had have also, in retrospect, been the best. A tattoo, a drastic haircut, a concert – those are memories you’ll have with you for the rest of your life. They’ll help you look at past negative situations in a more positive manner.

& remember…hair always grows back.

Love,

Sof ❤

Day In The Life

A lot of you ask what my days are like, & this was a highly requested thing for me to write about! Honestly, since I’ve been chronically ill, & especially when I’m at home during the summer, I don’t do much. It’s me going for walks, sitting outside, laying on my bed with windows open (no pants) & I love watering my succulents & burning my candles. But that’s during the summer, & for the most part, my summer days go in & out without much happening. I thought I’d be a little more entertaining & write about what my days are like at university! This year, I’m returning as a Bachelor of Musical Arts, rather than a Violin Performance Major, so my classes will be a bit different. Still, I’ll try to put out a pretty good schedule of what my week is like as a chronically ill arts student at university (who still tries to get a bit of fun in when able to).

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A peek out the window of my dorm room. Yup – I was still in a dorm this past year! Apartment time this September.
  • Monday, Wednesday Friday: Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays are early mornings – by early mornings, I mean classes that start at 8:30 a.m. I know, for those of you still in high school, it doesn’t sound that early – but unfortunately, I can’t just roll out of bed & run to class. I have to get up at least an hour & a half prior, so that I can take my meds, wait for them to kick in, & (gross, I know) if I’m going to be sick (aka, throw up) it’s better for me to do it at my place rather than run out of my lecture hall…been there, done that. Throwing up sucks, but I’d rather do it at my own place. Plus – I can’t just walk to class; I have to take a bus! That adds another 15 minutes at least to my morning. After my morning classes, (depending on the day, I’m done with “mornings” by either 9:30 or 11:30) I’ll start heading back, maybe stop at Starbucks before I go home, & I’ll read, write, do homework, & eat something small.
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    My favorite way to kick back after morning class: face mask, Starbucks refresher, & a bagel.

    Then, it’s time for afternoon classes – but for Mon/Wed/Friday, I’ll usually only have one – sometimes none, & just an evening class instead. Since I’m a night owl, I definitely prefer the evening classes, though they can mess up my Fridays if I have weekend plans. Still, if a class gets out at 8:30 pm, no night life truly starts before 10 pm! I try to go to bed early during the week, but like I said, I’m a night owlIt’s pretty hard for me to get to sleep, so when I can’t (which is often), I’ll just do some writing, reading, play the only game on my phone that I have (Tap Tap Fish…) or just listen to podcasts or playlists. At some point, hopefully before 3 am, I drift off!

  • Tuesdays & Thursdays: Much better. Classes don’t start for me before 10:30 am on Tuesdays & Thursdays – but I have more work to do in the afternoon. Still, it’s a lot easier for me, since I can sleep in, take my time if I’m feeling ill, & go to class in a more leisurely manner. Afternoon classes on Tuesdays & Thursdays, like I said, require more effort & concentration – usually it’ll be something like art history or an English/writing class, which means a lot of note-taking & preparation (if you don’t do the readings before? Busted). Still, I really am a writing & literature junkie, so I don’t mind all that much when I have a few articles or some textbook chapters to read. The beauty of university is that (for the most part) you can pick what you enjoy! I try to pick writing classes that I truly will enjoy, so that I can have fun & write about things for which I have passion. I try to go to bed earlier on Tuesdays & Thursdays, since my “early days” are Mon/Wed/Fri. That’s not entirely successful, but I do my best.
  • Saturdays & Sundays: If I “go out” which was rare my past semester as I was pretty sick, it’ll be on a Friday night.
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    A rare weekend escapade

    That way, I have Saturday & Sunday to recharge! If I go out on a Friday, I’ll get back pretty late, & I’ll sleep quite late too. Then, I might go for brunch with people, just lay in bed more (depending on my condition!) or get ahead on a little homework if I’m feeling like it. On Sundays, I again try to sleep late, but still try to fit in a good breakfast! For me, Sundays are about getting nice & clean, finishing up work I have left over, doing a fresh detoxing face mask, & washing my hair. All those things make me feel more ready for the upcoming week.

What do you do for hair/makeup/fashion at university?

As most of you probably know, I’m super low-maintenaince with my hair, particularly after I shaved my head last summer & let it grow back! I wash it a few times a week & use this Biossance 100% Squalane Oil right after I get out of the shower & towel out excess moisture. Then I let it air dry. I like to wash my hair before bed because I’ll wake up with different hair every time…which I actually really like. I used to be super self conscious of my wavy hair & how sometimes there’s just one curl that refuses to lay flat but now I just chill out about it. I like my hair how it is, & really can’t be bothered much with it! No dyeing & I try to keep it as heat-free as possible. I have thick healthy hair & like to keep it that way!

As for makeup, when I have early classes, I usually wear little to nothing (usually nothing, especially if I only have one class before I can go back to my place). I’ll wash my face, of course, & moisturize, etc., but as for actual makeup, I might put on some Glossier boy brow & maybe concealer if I’m having a bad skin day/week & feeling super self-conscious about it (that happens less & less. more on that soon!). For later classes, I’ll put on some highlight, maybe a lipstick. But I’ve been wearing makeup to classes less & less. I don’t really feel the need to – that’s just personal! I’ll always compliment someone on their makeup if I like it, whether it’s a full face at 8:30 am or 11:30 pm! I appreciate the time & effort, trust me.

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Probably the most makeup I would wear to a class – here, I was wearing Glossier Boy Brow, Glossier perfecting skin tint, Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze, & a YSL Rouge Tint Volupte in No. 40. Get my Glossier at glossier.com/reps/sof!

I do like to wear a light fragrance if I have the time to put it on (or if I remember). Last year, I had a little rollerball of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, but this year I think I’ll be getting a full-size Margiela fragrance for myself for my birthday (!!) & will probably use that as a nice day fragrance. A fragrance brings some glamor into whatever you’re wearing on your body or face!

For fashion: black jeans are my go-to. I’m practically the Harry Styles of my campus. You’ll never see me in anything but black jeans – even if it’s 80 degrees outside (but I live in the Midwest, so that’s usually only the first two weeks of the school year). It may sound stupid, but I think black jeans & a T-shirt really do make an outfit. I have two pairs of the Topshop Leigh Moto jeans (in black) & those are the only jeans I have! I like to wear a chain or some other kind of necklace, & earrings if I have the time! But for daily wear, it’s usually black jeans, some kind of T-shirt (I like band tees, plain white/gray/black ones, especially if they’re layered with a pretty bralette!) & I put a little more effort into my shoes. I have some pretty floral Dr. Marten boots; they’re super worn down by now as I’ve had them since age 15, but Dr. Martens last forever, & I think the grungier they look, the cooler they get. I also have a few pairs of chelsea boots, a pair of Stan Smiths…& the most extra pair of heeled black boots you will ever see. Needless to say…I don’t wear those to my 8:30 a.m. classes – I’m usually half-asleep anyway, & I don’t need to fall when getting on or off the bus because my heels are too high. It’s university, & comfort is key! Especially when you’re chasing your bus, or trying to sneak in unnoticed to a lecture five minutes late. Quiet, comfy shoes & all-black is your perfect camo. On weekends, if I’m going out, I’m a bodysuit fan – a big one. I like how easy they are, how they fit in all the right places (as long as you choose the right one for you) & how easy it is for me to throw on black jeans & high heeled boots & make it a look. Only problem? Hard to pee when you have a bodysuit. But fashion over comfort on the weekends.

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A pretty good idea of what I look like on a daily basis while at school! Black jeans from Topshop, watermelon shirt from Urban, chelsea boots from Jeffrey Campbell. (I love the watermelon shirt, & it’s a great transition into summer weather. 10/10)

 

I’m currently trying to make pajama shirts a “thing.” Isn’t there something glamorous about wearing a striped long-sleeve pajama shirt with a pair of jeans & boots, maybe a few gold necklaces? Maybe it’s just me. But I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect striped pajama set. Feel free to let me know if you have a holy grail set!

At university, it’s all about me staying as comfortable & rested as possible, so that I can do my work & go to class without feeling too ill. I didn’t mention this, but depending on my various blood test results (I usually get bloodwork done every 3-4 weeks) I will have iron infusions once a week for a while. That’s super inconvienient. & painful. &, since I’m allergic to liquid iron, I have to be injected with Benadryl. Also painful, & it makes me sleepy…so I always schedule those on Friday afternoons, so I don’t have to worry about running to class afterwards. While that’s good for my grades, it messes up any fun I might try to have for the weekend. Iron infusions are painful – they burn your veins, make your bones ache, & the added boost of Benadryl just makes me grumpy & sleepy.

That sucks!! But I always try to turn those infusions into something positive. I have a favorite nurse, who’s great at doing my IVs! We’ll always laugh & joke while she pokes me. The hospital is one place that I actually will do a full face of makeup for! It makes me feel powerful & glamorous to be in a hospital bed with a red lip & a blinding highlight. Even thoug I’m asleep half the time, at least I get a couple good photos out of it – just to prove how much of a badass I really am.

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Even in pre-op…I refuse to go without accessories. I insisted they let me keep on my hot-pink beanie during surgery. It took some work, but they agreed.
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One of my favorite outfits ever…EVER! On an exam table at the University of Chicago’s Hospital. That was a bit of a field trip.
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Repping Tommy Hilfiger (& my Glossier tote) at an iron infusion, before I got tired & grumpy.
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Probably my favorite photograph of all time. Intestines can be aesthetic, too, as long as your lip color matches them.

University has been a challenge for me, because I’m ill! Chronically ill. It’s hard to explain to those who aren’t sick, but think of it as going to class even when you have the flu. Except you have the flu every single day. It’s not been easy – but I’m very committed to school , & in general a pretty determined person. I don’t give up, even when I’m held back in some manner. Take my change of degree, for example! I didn’t want to do that…I wanted to be a violinist! But it physically was no longer possible for me to do that. I could’ve taken a year off, or just given up, but I decided to keep at it. I did a lot of thinking, & writing, & I know the next two years will be difficult, too – but I still am creatively inspired, I still enjoy going to class, & I’m still standing! Like I tell my family: “If I can get out of bed, I’m staying in school.” & I mean it. I might have to take some sick days, but you can catch me at school this September. I promise.

More to come! Let me know what other “personal” posts you’d like to see – if any! Comment below! I love you all.

  • My holy grail Topshop jeans! Two years of wear & no ripped knees, & hardly any fading. Worth it!
  • A lot of the products I mentioned wearing are Glossier – especially Boy Brow, which goes on my face pretty much every day, even if I’m wearing nothing else. I love clear for the summer, but brown is “my” shade if you need some perspective! You can see all my favorite Glossier picks (including Boy Brow) & mini reviews of them here!

Love,

Sof ❤

P.S. I realized looking through this that it became a look book of sorts! If you all like seeing what I normally wear let me know if you’d like exclusively “outfit posts” in the future! 

The Indie Jewelry Sisters Who Are Taking Over the World (& My Heart)

She has the most famous collarbones, ears, & neck on the Internet, & her name is Sophia Ventrone.

Sophia & her sister, Daniella, created their online jewelry (& soon, clothing) shop “one September morning of 2014 in Manhattan, sitting in our suite in the Waldorf Astoria during Fashion Week” (x)

Their goal? Affordable, beautiful,  jewelry – velvet & chain chokers, earrings, anklets & a few fine jewelry pieces – associated with an Instagram that alternates between featuring photographs of its jewelry, photographs of the founders or customers wearing their jewelry, & “mood board” photos that complete Ventrone Chronicles’ aesthetic (they even have a “mood board” page on their actual site).

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@ventronechronicles on Instagram – a pleasing combination of runway photos, VC jewelry, & other “inspiration” images.
Their popularity skyrocketed – Refinery29 wrote a piece featuring some of their jewelry, calling them “barely there necklaces everyone is wearing” celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski & even the tiny North West (yes, Kim’s baby) started stepping out in their #ventronechronicles.

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The most famous neck on & collarbones on the Internet: Sophia Ventrone, wearing her own Roman Gold Link Choker.
But…what’s so special about Ventrone Chronicles? Because it seems like everyone & their mother is stepping out to create an indie jewelry line these days. I’ll see at least 10 new ones a day on my Instagram discover page.

Well, for me, it was several things. Firstly, I loved the concept of two sisters creating something together, something they had passion & love for. These two girls think the world of each other, & it’s easy to see.

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@sophiaventrone_ : this is me looking at my fucking everything…@daniellaventrone, you are my everything. my heart, my role model, my inspiration, & best friend. I know not one person kinder than you. I know not one person who could possibly love more than you do. I am overwhelmed right now with you as a human being and how lucky I am to have you in my life. We are partners in something bigger than ourselves…I don’t know what I would do without you and who has ever given me more than you have. You are my whole god damn life. I love you so much…words cannot ever describe how special you are. I am happy everyday I am alive to know I am never alone with you here…I love you. So much. I owe it all to you. Always.
Family love, family support, two wonderful girls always lifting one another up.

Secondly, after buying one of their pieces (the Cleo Gold Link Choker) I quickly noticed that it wasn’t turning my neck green…even though it was affordable! I recieved a lot of compliments, & while happy about them, I still waited in trepidation for my chain’s finish to fade – or for my neck to turn green.

Neither happend. The Cleo lives happily in my jewelry box, & even more happily on my neck. I soon purchased the Deux Gold Hoop Earrings, the Baby Rivoli Medallion Choker, & recieved the Baby Cable Gold Chain for Christmas last year. My neck & ears remain free of any green color, & I continue to get compliments on the simple sophistication of my accessories.

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Me! In the Baby Cable Gold Chain, the Cleo Gold Link Choker, & the Deux Gold Hoop Earrings. (They were kind enough to feature me! On @ventronechronicles! 🌟)
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I went for a bit of an alternative look this spring, bleaching my eyebrows. It lasted all of three weeks before my eyelids had a bad reaction to the bleach (boooo) but I loved the golden look it gave me, & accessorized with a lot of gold jewelry – mostly Ventrone Chronicles. I wish my golden brows were still here.
Each piece of jewelry you order from Ventrone Chronicles comes in a little leather bag (stamped with the shop’s name) truly making it feel like fine jewelry – even better, an included letter signed by the founders. It makes each purchase special, individual, & personal.

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My own Cleo Gold Link Choker – next to its card that says “Thank you, angel!”
Here’s a peek at my slowly growing collection of Ventrone Chronicles:

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The Cleo Gold Link Choker & the Baby Cable Gold Chain – my two favorites to wear together!
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The Deux Gold Hoop Earrings & the Baby Rivolli Medallion Choker
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A lovely plush rose velvet Ventrone Chronicles choker, (gives Venetian vibes!) & the beautiful mess of my own jewelry box
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A whole spread of my collection, shining in the sun
So, you might ask if I’m being sponsored to write this. Absolutely not! I first came across Ventrone Chronicles via Tumblr, when I saw Sophia’s famous neck, ears, & collarbones. I immediately loved the look of everything I saw, so I quickly did my research & found the website.

First of all – it’s lovely jewelry that looks extremely high end, but it’s affordable! It doesn’t wear down, doesn’t turn green (just make sure you take your babies off in the shower!) & gives a simple yet oh-so-sophisticated look.

I wasn’t a huge jewelry fan before this, I have to admit! I had a Tiffany necklace & earrings from my parents as a graduation gift, & a pair of diamond earrings that I was given when I was born (don’t worry, I waited to pierce my ears until I was 15). I didn’t wear them much; I’m not sure why. But now, I’ve been wearing my Ventrone pieces as well as my older jewelry gifts so much more. The simple, elegant vibe that Ventrone Chronicles gives off is interesting, a little bit…mysterious…& aesthetically pleasing without being overdone.

One of the reasons I love Ventrone Chronicles the most? The girls behind it. Both girls preach self love, body positivity, & provide words of wisdom both on their personal accounts & on their @ventronechronicles page. Sophia is a great inspiration for me! Her style, the way she marches to the beat of her own drum, the way she spreads love, appreciation, & happiness to all her followers – while still admitting that she’s a human, & has bad days, like everyone else – makes the “company” feel a lot more personal. It feels like every customer is loved & appreciated. That’s a beautiful thing! & not something you see very often with bigger companies, especially ones backed up by corporations.

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Sophia’s unapologetic, unfiltered body positivity & self-love & appreciation have inspired me to accept my body as it changes with time, with medications – with whatever!
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Sophia’s love of sunlight & beautiful dresses – clearly evident on her page!
So – how did I go from seeing a pretty necklace on an anonymous neck to loving Ventrone Chronicles & everything the brand speaks for?

Familial love. Body positivity. Vulnurability. The concept that simple is beautiful. Being unapologetically yourself – even when you’re not the person the Internet believes you to be.

Best of all, even though Ventrone Chronicles has grown exponentially in the past year, every package still remains personal. They regularly hold sales just in appreciation of their customers! They have free national shipping, & – so unusual for indie brands started in the U.S. – worldwide shipping! They include a signed card with every piece of jewelry you recieve. Though Ventrone Chronicles is big, the girls behind it are still the same. & that is something that I will always appreciate & support.

So, the next time you need to accessorize last minute, don’t worry – Ventrone has your back, & so do the girls behind it. I’ll keep collecting their pieces – & if it is the last thing I do, I will get their Solid Gold Custom Name Plate – & their Genuine Diamond Hoop Earrings (or even better, ask my dad to get them for me).

& stay tuned! Ventrone Chronicles is just getting started. Clothing is coming, as their website says, “veerrrryyyyy soon.”

Keep doing it, sisters! You’re doing it right, & so many people appreciate your art.

Love,

Sof ❤

Follow Sophia here, & sister Daniella here! (for major style inspo, body positivity, & sisterly love) &, of course, follow @ventronechronicles.