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[Style Watch] Meet Cassidy Cooper

cassidyCassidy Bliss Vintage is the boho brain child of Cassidy Cooper, who has been polishing her craft and brand since the age of 18. She is less of a jack of all trades, and more of a Jacqueline of kicking ass—everything she picks up becomes a new conquest. She’s taken some no-so-pretty lemons and turned them into winsome, distinctive jewelry for those who love passion, girl power, and shiny things.

Cassidy’s brand initially stemmed from her love for fashion and vintage clothing. When she began delving into commissioned artwork and experimenting with costume design, she realized she needed to fine-tune her focus in order to strengthen CBV’s foundation. After creating a few rough necklaces for her mother’s annual event, a showcase of local artists affectionately dubbed Artsy Flea, Cassidy found a demand for a new kind of art. Cassidy began to take trips to the L.A. fashion district to upgrade her supplies and revamped her website to reflect her new concentration:

“I always loved being an entrepreneur. I wanted to paint or make clothes or do something, and have other people want it. So I started an Etsy. I sold vintage clothes and my paintings. It didn’t really work, so I went back to jewelry. It was a total hit, I don’t know how! Looking back now, I would make the pieces totally differently… I made tassels out of embroidery thread and hot glue. But people would also ask me to make custom pieces for them. They always wanted to incorporate the most interesting little charms. Eventually, my supplies upgraded. I started going to the L.A. Fashion District instead of Joanne’s.”

Cassidy’s persistence goes beyond putting her life into her work. What some people may perceive as signs to stop Cassidy has turned into forward momentum. For some time she had been experiencing a constant state of pain which eventually led to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

“Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder,” Cassidy explains, “Your kidney is supposed to filter out sodium phosphates. The excess is typically absorbed into your bones. My bones don’t feel like absorbing it, so it goes into my blood stream. My blood stream’s like ‘nah,’ so the sodium phosphates get pushed into my muscles. There are points in my body that hold the phosphates, causing a lot of fatigue, and pain. There’s nothing you can really do, but I’m getting on this gnarly medication. It works, but I can’t eat anything because the diet sometimes feels impossible.

“I ate my last banana today,” she laments, “No sushi, either.”

It’s okay though, she can still eat avocados. (more…)

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Progress over Etiquette: Talking Politics at the Table

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There is a longstanding tradition of social etiquette that dictates people not talk about politics or religion in the presence of unfamiliar company. A simple online search of  social etiquette regarding politics will return scores of articles, all explaining how to navigate office parties, family dinners, dates and other social scenarios without touching on the two ominous subjects.

The reasons to avoid political discussion are obvious: they can create conflict, tension and quite easily serve as the catalyst to social meltdowns of sorts. Is avoiding tension a valid enough reason to abstain from conversations on politics when in the company of those with whom you don’t have an established rapport?

Perhaps the  underlying problem is that most people are too timid to talk shop with those who don’t share their views and opinions. Indeed, most people will test the waters to be sure that they are in like-minded company before discussing their views on any number of deeply partisan policies, or they will simply choose not to discuss political matters at all.

Without open, bipartisan discussion, it is difficult to foster a spread of information that is critical for the development and improvement of political processes. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, believed that a necessary part of a functioning government is a well-informed electorate and that ignorance would lend to the destruction of a self-governing people.

Similarly, freedom of the press, a protection afforded by the First Amendment, is often recognized as one of the most critical clauses of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prevents the government from restricting or prohibiting the distribution of information by the press because of the role journalism plays in educating constituents about politics.

However, many of today’s largest sources of news are either deeply biased or chained to the profits of advertising. The onslaught of ad dollars that permanently affixed themselves to network newscasts in the 1970s, as well as the major corporate media mergers of the 90s and early 2000s, corroded journalism to the point that it has become an echo chamber for pundits and politicians who have little need or regard for a well-informed public. (more…)

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How to Raise Her

by Hannah Ford

How to Raise Her

When she eats her strawberry Pop-Tarts and scrambled eggs on her first day of high school, your daughter will look like you did at her age: untamable hair, nearly sweating out naïve excitement and nervousness. She’ll be prettier and more intelligent, though.

Do not cry when you drop her off at the brick building that will shape her for the next four years. Don’t envy the walls that will see more of her than you will. And don’t ask her to pose for a picture. Make a mental recording of her “You too, Mom” when you tell her you love her.

Take her side when her father questions her modified wardrobe choices. Her short shorts will remind you of Jersey Shore, too, but know that you have to pick your battles. Stay her friend for as long as possible. Explain to your husband that styles are changing.  Take her shopping at Kohl’s, where shorts are slightly longer. When she complains that Kohl’s is for old ladies, claim that you just have to use up your coupons.

While you’re at the bank, you may see a flyer from Patty’s Pottery Place advertising classes for middle-aged women. You have a high schooler. You’re middle-aged. You might take a phone number tag without really knowing why.

Watch her interact with her friends when you drop snickerdoodles off at her Homecoming pep rally. Don’t be alarmed if you cannot keep up with the dialogue speed that rivals infomercial health disclaimers.  Remind yourself that teens have to find who they are for themselves when you note that her sentences lack substance. As long as she continues to stay up late with a flashlight and a worn Charlotte Bronte paperback, know that she is still the bright girl you taught to read, curled up on her bedspread, sounding out Dr. Seuss and Franklin the Turtle.

Call Patty’s Pottery Place.  Your daughter is a young adult and needs less of your taxi service now that she has friends with cars.  And she’s long outgrown your sandwich lunches with the notes scrawled on the napkins. Try this new thing.  You liked art before becoming a parent and having your world suddenly orbit around a tiny genetic combination of you and your husband.

Her grades may slip more than you would like.  It is your job to monitor this.

Your older sister’s unsolicited advice will be practical, as usual: “You have to teach her responsibility now, before it’s too late and her GPA hurts her college applications.  If I hadn’t pushed Jack, who knows if he would have made it into Princeton?” Jack barely tolerates you, you think but don’t say.

Try to strike a balance between insisting on schoolwork and on being her friend.  You will suspect that her straight A’s set her apart in middle school and that she’s not eager to hold on to this distinction.

While at Target, you might find yourself filling your cart with a whole slew of movies in which the guy falls in love with the girl for what’s in her head, not just her face.  Beauty and the Beast, Juno, and You’ve Got Mail are a good place to start.

On second thought, drop Juno. (more…)

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Life is Strange: The Choices We Make in Coming of Age

Sometime during the fourth grade, my best friend got a computer game that really made an impact on me. I played “Oregon Trail”, the somewhat lesser-known “Amazon Trail”, and “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” on a regular basis already, but this game was different. It was about a girl who had just started junior high at a new school and was navigating the difficult waters of preteen social life. Junior high seemed so far away and exciting at the time to me, and I couldn’t wait to get my own copy to play on my family’s bright blue iMac computer.

The game was “Rockett’s New School”, the first installment of the Rockett series for Purple Moon, a now-defunct software manager that made games exclusively for girls. I quickly had my parents buy the next installment, “Rockett’s Tricky Decision”. The Rockett series of games were done in a visual novel style – it would take you through the day of Rockett Movado at her new school, and at various times during the story you could decide how she would react to different situations. Usually you were given three choices: being optimistic, being angry, or being a bit of a sad-sack. At different points during the story you could pause the game and walk the halls of the school, searching through your classmates’ lockers to learn more about them. The aforementioned “tricky decision” in the game of that title involves choosing between attending two different Halloween parties thrown by members of two different cliques.

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I played this game so many times, making every choice possible to see what would happen. I had my parents get me more of the Rockett series, as well as other Purple Moon games like the “Starfire Soccer Challenge”, which included puzzles and soccer-themed mini games. I ate these games up. There was even an offshoot of books written about the characters from the Rockett series, and I read all of those too. I recorded myself reading the books aloud, doing my best impressions of all the beloved characters. I made up my own characters, a girl who was Rockett’s cousin at another school, and in art class I would draw her and her friends, coming up with stories for them too and writing my own choose-your-own adventures. I was a girl obsessed with the world of Purple Moon.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world was not so taken with Purple Moon as I was, and they were bought out by Mattel in 1999. I replayed the games that I had as often as I could, but eventually I outgrew them, and started attending actual junior high school – which was way more disappointing that those computer games led me to believe.

Fast-forward to 2010. A boy is showing me a TED talk given by the woman who created Purple Moon. I put on my poker face. I know he has shown me this video for a reason, but when he turns it off, he looks at me expectedly and I don’t know what to say.

“Don’t you think it’s offensive?” he asks. “Your choice is what party to go to…”

I realize I am supposed to be offended that they made a game for girls that deals with such trivial matters. But when you’re a young girl, deciding what friendships to foster is a big deal. My words stick in my throat. I want to say how important these games were to me, but I feel ashamed and embarrassed.

It is a feeling I am all too familiar with when discussing games with men. (more…)

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[Style Watch] Meet Cassidy Cooper
[Style Watch] Meet Cassidy Cooper

Cassidy Bliss Vintage is the boho brain child of Cassidy Cooper, who has been polishing her craft an

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Life is Strange
Life is Strange: The Choices We Make in Coming of Age

Sometime during the fourth grade, my best friend got a computer game that really made an impact on m

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How to Raise Her
How to Raise Her

by Hannah Ford How to Raise Her When she eats her strawberry Pop-Tarts and scrambled eggs on her fir

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