Ask Alexandra: Summer fashions

Dear Abigail,

I have some great trends for you to try out this summer. First, be sure to try the two 70s trends- 70s glamour and 70s bohemian. I mentioned this trend briefly in my prom beauty column featuring Grassroots Aveda Salon, and it not only is great as a hair/makeup look, but translated into pants and dresses it really pops as well. Try some high-waisted flared pants, or a peasant dress. Think floral maxi-dress with wedges/ heels. When wearing a maxi-dress, make sure you wear elevated shoes! Your dress shouldn’t drag on the ground, and it makes you appear taller and leaner, instead of short at stumpy. Orange, which is also a color reminiscent of the 70s, is the “color” of the season, so stock up on a lot of great neon shades of that as well. Another trend that is making waves this summer is the motorcycle, or punk trend. Buy embellished items with studs, or try out a pair of combat boots. Mixing combat boots with a flirty pair of shorts, or even a dress, will add personality and presence to your look. Another huge fad is crop tops. They first appeared in the 80s, but now they’ve come back more polished and totally wearable. A crop top can look great on its own with a pair of shorts, or you can try wearing it with a maxi skirt. Its square shape will look fabulous contrasted against the longevity of the maxi-skirt. Smaller purses and satchels are also trending now. Try one in a bold neon contrasted a minimalist color pallet for great shock value.
I would also encourage you to try stripes, and white dresses.

Yours fashionably,

Learn to embrace embarrassing times

By Paige Thompson

It was a normal day a few years back, and my sister Lora, my mom, and I were in Target. While my mom went off and did her thing, Lora and I decided to go look at the movies. I wandered off my myself to another aisle, looking at something else. I walked down the rows of movies, wishing my mom would hurry up, minding my own business.

Suddenly, I heard a loud ‘hayah!’ echo through the building from a few aisles over. A million thoughts ran through my head, including, “Who is this freak, and why are they doing karate in the middle of Target?” But I went about my business anyway ,not really thinking about it too much.

Then it dawned on me that my sister was around the spot where the noise came from. “Please…do not let that be my sister…” I thought, knowing deep down in the pit of my stomach that it probably was. Not two seconds after hearing the noise, my thoughts were interrupted when Lora ran around the corner. The look on her face told the whole story. It was red, and it had a look of sheer terror.

“Oh no…” I thought, and sure enough, she began to tell me the entire story. She was standing where I had left her, looking at movies. She had seen me walk off and decided to come up and scare me. This is when she lifted her leg, lifted her arms, and “karate chopped” me. Alas, it was not me that she had karate chopped. The small, innocent woman that she had just busted out her karate moves on turned around, giving her a look that said, “Who the heck are you and why did you just karate chop me?” At this point, my poor sister, utterly mortified at the fact that she just pretended to karate chop a total stranger, decided to make a run for it. This is when she came upon me, minding my own business in a completely different aisle, and proceeded to tell this story to me while I was dying of laughter. Needless to say, I karate chopped her a few times throughout that day, while she said “Shut up Paige” with a red face and a smile appearing.

Everyone has these embarrassing or awkward moments in life. I know I have them pretty much on a daily basis, and while I wish I could have written about one of my them, like the time a chicken tried to roost in my hair, I felt that it was my obligation to talk about a few belonging to my sister Lora, since her embarrassing moments are better than mine and she seems to be able to embrace them more than me. I look up to her for this reason.
These embarrassing moments become our stories. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times while trying to describe my sister to a person, I have used the Target karate chop story. I know that these moments can be utterly humiliating at the time, but with people to laugh it off with, they become great memories and stories to tell later that people can relate to because everyone has them.

My sister’s embarrassment has turned into well-told and well-loved stories in my family. In fact, just the other day in my history class I was re-telling some of these stories, and even from across the room my cousin Jackson knew exactly what I was talking about and began laughing with me.
Don’t sweat those awkward moments. Instead, embrace them with a laugh and a sense of humor, keeping them in your memory for later like my sister, who can simply laugh at herself and embrace her embarrassment as another funny story.

‘Helplessness Blues’ pleases ear

by Avery Walts

The second album from folk band Fleet Foxes is laced with 70s-tinged riffs, distinct vocals from Robin Pecknold, and harmonies that will take you away. Helplessness Blues is a smooth, 12 track album that includes songs to soon become a staple of indie/folk lovers.

“Montezuma” opens the album with a steady guitar line and background crescendos that mask the troubled lyrics. “I wonder if I’ll see/Any faces above me/Or just cracks in the ceiling.” Pecknold seems to be questioning his views of mortality, but the ease of the mix of all the elements in the song grab your attention first.

“The Plains/Bitter Dancer” starts with an ominesce acoustic guitar, slowly building with haunting “oohhs” and “ahhs.” Just when the harmony reaches its peak, it stops for a solo session of guitar- the perfect juxtapose. The lyrics are then introduced with a hint of early 70s rock, circa Cat Stevens mixed with Band of Horses.

“Lorelai” sets the upbeat tone for the rest of the album. A short drum solo leads into the safety net of Fleet Foxes: “oohhs” and “ahhs.” Then the chorus, “I was old news to you then. Old news old news to you then,” is presented in such a melodic way the brevity of its greatness seems longer.

“The Shrine/An Argument”  is a storyline trilogy of sorts. The first part has a fast paced guitar accompanied by the angsty lyrics “I’m not one to ever pray for mercy/ or to wish on pennies in the fountain or the shrine/but that day you know I left my money/and I thought of you only.” The second part of the series brings a sudden key change, with a flashback of memories: “When you talk you hardly even look in my eyes/ in the morning, in the morning/In the doorway holding every letter that I wrote.” The final segment ends the song with a sense of closure in the lyrics “I will lay down in the sand and let the ocean lead/carry me to Innisfree like pollen on the breeze.” However, a rampant trumpet bellows over the content drums to produce a cacophany of sounds that led me to quickly turn the song off.

“Grown Ocean” is the closing track and my favorite off the album. It is almost always certain if a song opens with a drumstick clash, it is bound to be great. At first I though I was listening to an Andrew Bird song because of the rushed guitar and eclectic sense of style. The chorus, “In that dream I could hardly contain it/All my life I will wait to attain it/There, there, there,” outlines the  optimistic view of the whole song, along with a bird-like flute fluttering in the background.

The ease of transition from song-to-song is normally a good thing, but this time I found it to be a bit monotonous. I would have liked to hear a more prominent theme other than acoustic guitar with soft-spoken words. I guess what I am trying to say is I am not a huge folk fan, so the more upbeat songs caught my attention more from my own personal preference. For now, “White Winter Hymnal” from their 2008 debut album still holds my heart, but “Grown Ocean” is a close contender.

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