Thursday, April 30, 2015

52 mornings // 17

My generic iPhone alarm goes off at 9:00AM. My arm shoots out from under the covers to shut it off, but my body continues to lay heavy in bed. I groan silently in my head to express my exasperation without waking my roommate up. Despite every inch of my body telling me to stay in the comfort of my bed, I drag myself out from under and stumble to the bathroom, somehow without running into anyone. It seems nobody is up yet. On a Sunday morning I probably wouldn't be either, but this time I have somewhere to get to. Not a sound stirs in the bathroom or the hall. I flip the switch for the lights and go through my morning routine in a daze--night contacts popped out, teeth brushed, faced washed, hair brusquely patted down with a wet hand. I slide into a light outfit and throw on a jacket to ward off the surreptitious wind chill. All packed and ready to go, I gently pull my door open, slide out of the room, and shut it behind me with my roommate still inside, peacefully snoozing away.

Walking across campus, I get distracted by a row of pink trees strung together by hammocks. In the morning, before the sun burns brightly overhead, the leaves and blossoms catch a few beams and radiate a soft glow. I've never seen campus like this, because I'm hardly ever up this early, or if I am, there are usually a bunch of students hustling around, breaking the morning calm. But not today.

Last night I invited my friends to come with me to Starbucks today to redeem my free drink. I also asked them if they'd like to stay with me in the coffee shop for an afternoon of productivity, thinking that a delicious beverage and a coffee shop ambiance would be a great motivator.

When we're about a minute away from Starbucks, we begin to pick up on a jumble of chatter that joins in the sounds of nature. I strain my neck and squint my eyes in an attempt to see deeper into the distance. The roundabout a block down from Starbucks is lined with vendors. Approaching the roundabout, we see a white sign stuck into the grass that reads "Clover Market." From where we're standing, we see a few items displayed at the stalls nearest the entrance of the outdoor market. Despite having work to do, we decide to take a quick peek before heading into Starbucks.

The market is bigger than it looks from the outside. Inside the market, whenever we think we've reached the end of the market, we're greeted by another string of vendors. So much to see and so little time! We strategically maneuver ourselves through the market, jumping from vendor to vendor, ooh-ing and ahh-ing. Items range from antiques and collectibles to vintage jewelry and clothing to finely crafted handmade items to original art. The entire market is like Etsy brought to life.

Somehow, a whole hour manages to pass as we navigate our way through the vendors. The threat of deadlines finally compels us to leave and go do what we originally set out intending to do: redeem my free drink and have a productive afternoon at Starbucks.

All the single tables at Starbucks are full, so we sit at the only seats available, which are at a bar table running along the front of the shop, facing a wall of glass. After getting our drinks, settling down, and setting up our workspace, we finally pull out our laptops and start working. Or I try to. But really all I'm doing is staring out the window, hoping that inspiration will strike me. From my chair, I can see the top of the vendors' white tents at Clover Market. I glance around Starbucks and wonder, how can anyone stay inside on a beautiful day like today? Sitting at the window overlooking the market, it feels like the market is taunting me. I spend a good fifteen minutes attempting to bury my head in work, but I can't keep the market out of my mind. So what do we do? Change of plans! To the market we go.

I try to keep myself from running when I see these bright, punny poster prints hanging around. I feel like college students are always looking for things to decorate their dorm room with, and I am no exception. Posters are popular, because they add a lot to the aesthetic of a room but don't take up too much space and are relatively cheaper than other interior design products. If it weren't for the fact that it was the end of the school year and I needed to keep summer storage in mind, I probably would have bought something here. Check out more of Bryan Sculthorpe's work at Yard Sale Press.

I know I'm supposed to be thinking about moving out of the dorms, but I'm already thinking about moving into the dorms at the beginning of next semester. A display of repurposed frames inspire me, and if it weren't for that darned summer storage, I'm sure I would have bought something here too.

I ask for a business card, which the vendor happily hands over. She is especially friendly and continues the conversation, asking me where I'm from, informing me about and inviting me to other markets and fairs happening around Philadelphia in the next few months. I learn that she runs her business on Etsy, does not own a physical shop, and so takes as many opportunities as she can to pop up at creative markets and fairs to gain exposure. Check out more of Lisa Jacob's work at Me and Phoebe.

I really appreciate the conversation she strikes up with me. Most vendors would see a young college student like me, draw the conclusion that I'm not a potential customer, and so look past me. What a nice lady she was for not treating me like that, despite the fact that I didn't end up buying anything.

A calligraphy display catches my eye, especially the one that uses Bryn Mawr College traditions related words to construct the shape of a Bryn Mawr College lantern. I linger around the shop, my finger itching for the shutter button. Usually when I'm at markets like this that exhibit handcrafted items, the creative who made it usually doesn't like having their work photographed, I assume for fear of having their work duplicated, although I personally see photography as a free mode of advertisement. Thus, I usually just come to accept that I can't take any photographs. But this time I figured I'd ask the vendor for permission, and even if it weren't granted, it's not like I'd have anything to lose. I ask her and she says it's alright, so I go for it. Check out more of Kimberly Shrack's work at Manayunk Calligraphy. (Photographed is Vintage Junk in My Trunk by Gina Viggiano)

Little white cards are dispersed around a stall, informing customers about the Mother's Day sale. Once again I ask the vendor if she'd mind me photographing her stall, and she says that she doesn't mind. I point my lens at a display of charms just as two women begin sifting through the display together, commenting on what they think is nice. When a particular charm catches their eyes, their fingers quickly flip it over for inspection and then retreat. I realize that this is because they don't want to obstruct my camera's view, so I quickly apologize for disrupting them and move onto photographing a different display. Check out more of Jennifer Wilfong's work at Yummy & Company.

I catch the end of a conversation between a mother and her child. She probably saw the Mother's Day sale signs and asked her child what he thinks makes a good Mother's Day present. After he mulls it over, the mother reassures her child that anything he makes for her will be a good present simply because he made it. My heart gets all warm and fuzzy from witnessing this mother's unconditional love.

An assortment of jars and flowers lures me over. We contemplate buying something for Mother's Day, but as much as I enjoy creative markets like this, I am always wary of making purchases, because handmade items and creative products are often quite expensive. However, we have nothing to lose by asking for the price of the jar, so we do, and are informed that it only costs two dollars. In no time at all, we fork over the two dollars. Check out more of Sean Downey's work at 13 Beater Street.

A teepee constructed of cloth and wood and filled with woven pillow grabs my attention. How awesome would it be to have that in my dorm room next year? I ask the vendor if I can photograph her stall and she gladly welcomes me to. She in turn asks me a question: "Are you a blogger?" Technically I have my own personal lifestyle blog and these pictures are going on there, but I simply blog in my own free time and don't have any plans of pursuing it seriously or making a business out of it, so I wouldn't call myself a blogger, but to spare the long-winded explanation, I just give a nervous chuckle and say, "Ya." Check out more of Carly Marly's work at Fringe and Feathers.

Today was a good day. it was a pleasant surprise stumbling upon Clover Market, and it was so great to be in an environment with other creatives. Even though this probably isn't true, it felt like the sun shone brighter, the flowers blossomed pinker, the grass grew greener, the sky bluer. Everything feels... better.

PS: 1615141312111009. 08070605040302. 01.
Thursday, April 23, 2015

#tbt the seasons

Spring has finally sprung, and here I am throwing it back to winter. I considered pulling photos of campus from my archive spanning all the way from autumn, but while I was sifting through my photos, I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures during autumn, which is extra weird because I love autumn, or at least my idealization of it: ugly sweaters, scarves, pumpkin spice lattes, cuddling because it's cold, autumn leaves, hiking in the brisk air, and after that snow, hot cocoa, and malls decorated for holidays.

I remember waiting. Waiting for the leaves to turn from green to red, on the verge of brown but not quite. Waiting for komorebi, but greeted by drizzle. Waiting for leaves to fall into aesthetic piles, but still having a few dangling from the branches. Waiting for the perfect moment to whip out my camera.

These last few days I've been on the look out for the perfect spring day. For when the sun shines bright but not too harsh. For when the grass finally grows in a lush field of green. For when the cherry blossoms bloom a vibrant pink but with a soft aura. For when the sky is clear without a cloud in sight.

A few trees have started blossoming, but I want to catch the campus in full bloom. It'll be absolutely magical! I mean, more so than it already is. Can you even imagine? An absolute paradise.

The trees that first bloomed are darkening into a deep red. Others have already sprung and fallen. What else have I missed while I've been waiting? What else will I miss if I keep waiting? Autumn passed without a single picture taken. This time around, I'm determined to not let spring do the same.

The perfectionist in me is always waiting for the perfect moment, but rarely does anyone ever get it. We perfectionists are the greatest procrastinators, because we're always waiting for everything to fall perfectly in place, but nothing ever does, and the thought of starting from anywhere less is terrifying.

We wait and wait and wait, but the truth of the matter is that the only thing we need to be afraid of is of standing still (x). Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle (x).

What have you been waiting for? Isn't it about time for you to go out and get it?

PS: BMC in summer, in winter, in winter (again), in spring.
Sunday, April 19, 2015

52 mornings // 16

I'm kinda freaked out that I'm not freaked out right now. It's Sunday morning, and instead of cramming in all the work I neglected to do earlier this weekend due to the fact that I was living life (Worship Night and visiting the Lego exhibit at the Franklin Institute, which I've taken many pictures of and you will be hearing about eventually, and which you can get a sneak peek of via my Snapchat story @auderoylin), I'm writing this blog post. But how can anyone freak out when the world is as beautiful as this? And how can anyone think of anything else but this when this is all you see?

Okay just kidding, it's now Sunday evening and I'm officially freaking out. But I wanted to keep that little paragraph I wrote this morning, because words are immortal, and if there's something I want to live on, it's that morning peace. And actually, now that I reread those words I wrote, I'm feeling a lot more calm.

I read those words and I remember that the world is beautiful. Here I am in the library freaking out in my little head about my linguistics and anthropology assignments while the world is there outside, just being. It's quite comical actually. Me, a little dot in the world, frantically scurrying around with my hands dragging down my face, nothing compelling me to do so but my mind eating itself up. A tragic comedy.

In the grand scheme of things... I'm not all that much. I'm another face in a sea of faces. My concerns are but a few drops in an ocean of chatter. When the time comes, I will be forgotten, and it will be okay.

Instead of thinking about what you will and won't accomplish in your life, think about the problems that you have helped solve and you will help solve and the things that you're gonna help make and that you've already helped make... The things that we help make and the problems that we help solve, those are the things that really matter, the things that actually affect the world and that actually make us happy. And maybe every person is unremarkable in that we all make things every day. We make happiness and we make families and we make sandwiches and most fantastically of all we make ourselves.

So when you're freaking out about this and that, ask yourself if it's really worth freaking out over. And in any case, it'd probably be much more efficient to get past that phase of freaking out and start working towards whatever it is you need to get done. Take a step back and put things in perspective. Something might seem like it's the whole world, but know that it's not. The world is so much more.

Just take a look around.

PS: 15141312111009. 08070605040302. 01.
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