Yes, I Like Coloring Books for Adults


Coloring Books for Adults | Road DarlingEarlier this year, The New York Times officially proclaimed that coloring books for adults were a thing.  Usually I roll my eyes at trends that seem to be aimed directly at hipsters, but this time I fell for it. I bought my first coloring book ever–The Time Garden by Daria Song. At first I was super into it, but I have to say that my enthusiasm has since worn down. I maybe color once or twice a week.

For me coloring is similar to doing puzzles. It’s a time to turn off my brain and focus solely on the seemingly meaningless task at hand. Though I mentioned before that I took an art class in college, I don’t really keep up with my artistic pursuits outside the infrequent collages and snaps of the camera. OK, yet, photography is, of course, art. However, there’s something to be said for having an artistic outlet right in front of you. It feels kind of silly to say that about a coloring book, but that’s basically what it amounts to at the end of the day. Maybe that’s why paint by number painting parties for adults were so popular a few years ago.

In our increasingly digital world, I guess a lot of us still have a need to have something in front of us.

You can find coloring books for adults (or kids, whatever!) at Barnes & Noble and Michael’s. Probably other places, too, but this is just where I’ve seen them lately. Most are priced between $9 – $15.

Austin Loves Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy | Road DarlingI’ll be entirely honest in saying that I very little interest currently in home decorating. That’s probably the worst way to start out a post about a party for Apartment Therapy, but it’s the truth! Sure, I’m interested in hanging things on the wall or tinkering with what’s on my nightstand. I care if stuff looks good where it is, but as a whole, I don’t really care about rooms a whole. This is probably due to lack of space or too much stuff or budget.

However, whenever Melissa invites me somewhere cool, I almost always go! That girl knows what’s what. That’s how I found myself at a party for Apartment Therapy earlier this week.

In case you’ve never googled anything home-related, Apartment Therapy is pretty much the be all, end all site for home improvement. Their team is currently road tripping in a van as they make over America. They’ve selected one person in cities across the US and are making over one room in their home with the help of Wayfair.

Melissa put together a party to celebrate Apartment Therapy’s trip and their second book. She did an amazing job and it was one of coolest blogger events I’ve ever been to. It was held at Mockingbird Domestics, which has the nicest ever. One day when I’m making the big bucks, I’m going to go back and buy something cool there. For now I’ll just enjoy the party.

(The cupcakes from Skull and Cakebones were so damn photogenic! Their team was so nice!)

Me and Sarah Florence

Save Sarah Lawrence Florence | Road Darling

A photo from a class trip to Venice, Italy

Today I spent a good chunk of time rallying support around saving Sarah Lawrence’s study abroad program in Florence. I did something I’ve never done, I started a petition on, and over the course of nine hours over 400 signatures poured in from around the country. There were names I hadn’t seen in a decade from former professors to classmates. My heart felt so full that so many people felt the way I did about my beloved study abroad program.

I recognize the perils of modern activism, which is why I’m working to figure out what to do next with the support we have for saving the program.

I have so many feelings in this moment. I’m energized and feeling valiant yet I’m also sad. For me, my study abroad experience changed my life. Though it was almost a decade ago now, I still find myself reflecting on my time there and the lessons I learned. It was all just so invaluable. It ignited my love for travel, which set me down a lifelong path of self discovery through travel.

Having come from a middle class background, growing up travel was always something limited to to the East coast. We always had nice vacations, but European vacations were unachievable pipe dreams. My study abroad experience opened up a world to me that was out of reach. I would have never been able to travel to Europe without the support of my college. I recognized that at the time and took in every experience.

I was so grateful. Just so immensely grateful for everything I learned during my time in Florence. To say it changed my life is an understatement. It totally changed who I was and set the course for who I would become.

Sarah Lawrence’s program is so unique. I had a lot of friends who studied abroad, but none of their experiences were like mine. While they were living in dorms and avoiding the language of their host country, I was living with a family and speaking Italian, albeit on the level of a second grader.

I pushed myself to try new things in Florence. I took an art class under the world renowned artist Swietlan Nicholas Kraczyna. I got to know him and we all ate lunch at his house. We worked in his studio. I made handmade prints of my own art on his printing press.

I feel like my heart is so full reflecting on my time in Florence. My study abroad experience has never ever been something I’ve taken for granted, and the thought that other students would not get to experience this is so incredibly heartbreaking. The program has existed for 30 years and now is under duress due to budget cuts. It’s so short sighted, and frankly, foolish to cut this program. I am so disappointed and will do all I can to work to save it.

I know most of you reading this probably didn’t go to school with me, but if you value travel and education, I hope you consider signing the petition as well.

Why Clothing Size Tags Are Pointless (Tales from the Shop)

Today I’m starting a series called Tales from the Shop, where I’ll share lessons I’ve learned from running my own online shop. In this inaugural post, I’ll tell you why you should never care about the size tag on an piece of clothing.

Through my thrifting adventures, I’ve learned one important lesson about brands, eras and the number on your size tag–it’s basically all bullshit.

I came to this realization long before opening my shop. My mom used to take me and my sisters shopping. During our adventures she taught me to focus on styles and fits that looked good with little regard about the number on the tag. If something looked good, she would tell me. If something looked bad, she would tell me. I always knew it wasn’t me that was the problem, it was the clothing.

Yet there are so many people out there who obsess about being a certain size. All this is further exacerbated by the mind fuck that is vanity sizing. I spend a fair amount of time explaining vanity sizing to customers, as I often get questions about measurements. Here’s a short description:

. . .Clothing manufacturers [often use] “vanity sizing,” the labeling of clothes with sizes smaller than the actual cut of the items . . . Why do clothing brands do this? It makes shopping for clothes more difficult when manufacturers don’t use the same standards for labeling, and no doubt increases return rates when products don’t fit as expected. The simple answer is that the downsized labels make customers feel good.

While vanity sizing is a relatively new term, in my travels I’ve come up with the theory that it’s been going on since the early 1990s when women’s clothing switched over to the 0-2-4 (and so on) sizing we know today. Prior to that brands frequently started their sizes at size 10. Why? Well, it’s kind of confusing, but this Time article attempts to explain the confusing evolution of women’s clothing sizing:

In 1958, for example, a size 8 corresponded with a bust of 31 inches, a waist of 23.5 inches and a hip girth of 32.5 inches. In ASTM’s 2008 standards, a size 8 had increased by five to six inches in each of those three measurements, becoming the rough equivalent of a size 14 or 16 in 1958. We can see size inflation happening over shorter time spans as well; a size 2 in the 2011 ASTM standard falls between a 1995 standard size 4 and 6.

Even 15 years after the adoption of the sizes we know today, a pair of pants labeled size 3/4 in 2015 would most closely correspond with a 7/8 from 1995. Add in psychological marketing and brand competition and you have what can only be described as a clusterfuck.

The best advice I can give anyone is to not care about the size on the tag of an item of clothing. There’s so many factors beyond your control that go into selecting what number goes on that tag, and the last thing you should do is let marketers affect your self esteem.

You Don’t Have to Travel for Adventure

Find Adventure | Road Darling

This afternoon I was perusing the web when I happened upon a video from Refinery 29 on the benefits of travel. The video featured a young woman taking on the world, plane ticket and fancy suitcase in hand! While it was a well done video, it immediately made me feel like crap.

My pessimistic mind set off running–I don’t have the money to travel and if I can’t travel, how am I going to learn things? If I’m not learning things, then what am I doing? And how will I ever encounter important life lessons if I’m not spending money on travel?!

Friends, this is absolute bullshit.

I shoved down that negative voice and looked on a different tab on my browser that I left open from the night before. It was for a local trail about 20 minutes away. So I packed up my bag with enough water, applied my sunscreen and headed out the door. Who needed Refinery 29’s fancy video anyway? I didn’t need a plane or money to have fun.

I arrived at the trail and did a quick little hike before I realized I should’ve considered that it was 100 degrees outside. A learning lesson! Check that weather app. I still had fun being one with nature and getting some exercise while I was at it.

Was it traveling to Europe? No. Was it fun? Yes.