Friday, May 27, 2016

On Being A Nanny:

a picture of the cake we made on my last day

Had you talked to me year and a half ago you would have noticed that I had no idea what I was doing with my life or in what direction I was heading, but I was trying to figure it all out so I could start anew. It was around the time I applied for Teen Vogue Fashion University (which is what led me to solidify my career goals). It was also when I was interviewing for several nanny positions - mostly because I knew they paid well and I figured I would enjoy it since as a preteen I had had fun babysitting for family friends. I knew there would be moments when things would get frustrating and that it wasn't going to be an easy job, per se, but the way I imagined it was entirely different than it actually was.

pre-first day selfie aka what I wore on my first day // on a walk with A in October 2015

I must have gone to 30 interviews before I interviewed with A's mom. I remember they used to live in this tiny little blue house about 20 minutes away, and the interview took place in her living room while A was playing right in front of us. I remember the outfit I wore - a pink blouse with lace on the sleeves and brown corduroys - and the details of our conversation. I had brought a folder with references and sample lesson plans that I had made for my Girl Scouts troop meetings. I also had a binder with CPR/First Aid info, several information worksheets I had made on photoshop, and ideas for fun activities we could do that would be age appropriate. (If you're thinking of applying for a nanny position, I highly recommend you do this. I would even be more than happy to send you the documents I put in the binder.) She told me she had never hired and nanny and I told her I had never been a nanny. I remember thinking it was fate and that I would get hired. A few days later, on a Wednesday she told me I was hired and that I would start the following week.

A playing on the swings circa Summer 2015

At first, being A's nanny was a bit of a chore. She was only 16 months old and the fact that a random stranger (me) was arriving at her house and spending several hours there terrified her. They also had a dog named Archie who was very protective and would growl at me all the time and eat my crayons so as to bug me to the point where I wouldn't come back, probably. I must have tried a dozen Pinterest tricks to try to get A to nap during my first few weeks, but she would just scream and scream until she fell asleep every time. It was frustrating and I felt awful and like I wasn't trying hard enough. As time wore on she got used to me and things started getting better. I would bring little pompoms and she would  enthusiastically stick them in a jar and sometimes I would fill the jar with water and bring construction paper and a brush so she could "paint" with water, so as not to create a mess. She always LOVED painting, even now. And for a while, we had these little dance parties in her bedroom every single day because she always wanted to listen to Shake It Off, probably because I played it so much at first that she took a liking to it. That summer, we took daily walks to the park every morning and it was always my favorite part of the day, even though she always cried when we left the park. Then in the Fall, they moved to Orem for a few months and the atmosphere was different.  It's funny how location changes everything, even when all the same people are there. Rather than taking long walks to the park, we ended up mostly just going to the backyard to play on the swings everyday and the job felt more relaxed and less structured than it had been at their old house. I'm not sure why.  It was a particularly fun time though because A had grown up a bit and we could have better conversations. She went through this phase where she wanted to talk about monkeys all day. So what we would do is look at pictures of monkeys making silly faces and then we would face each other and try to imitate them, the sillier the better, until we were in stitches, laughing. It was the cutest thing! And she would zealously show me what she did in her tumbling or dance classes every day.

the early days with A, sorting tiny pom poms and "painting" with water

I ended up taking a month off in December. When I came back a month and a half later, A was so grown up! She went from being a bald baby to a little girl with a short blonde bob. Shortly after, they moved to their new home in Vineyard and I continued being her nanny. These last months were the best of my entire experience. A was particularly chatty and at this point we were very close. She would talk about princesses every day, particularly Rapunzel or as she called her, 'Punzel. And she was always trying to convince me to give her fruit snacks or cookies, depending on whatever was visible to her on the snack shelf in the pantry that day. She was vibrant and always wanting to do something fun. We spent a lot of time playing tag in the living room and having picnics on the balcony, so as to make lunchtime more exciting. One thing I always tried to do was encourage her to learn. As a nanny, I feel like that's the most important thing you can do. When she was obsessed with a particular picture book - her Sophie book and another time, The Little Prince- and she begged me to read it over and over and over again, I did just that (because she was passionate about it and encouraging that is SO important). And when she wanted to paint every day, I made it a point to tell her that her paintings were beautiful or impressive or clever because of X, Y, or Z. She liked a painting by Van Gogh that she saw in one of my books, so the next day I brought more examples and I taught her some basic facts. And when she wanted to do yoga, I taught her more poses she didn't know yet. She was such a smart little girl, so very eager to learn. I'm sure one day she'll make an extraordinary student.

Going on my very last walk with her the day before my last day was a very melancholic experience. It reminded me last summer, three houses ago, when we would go on our daily walks to the park with the dog in tow. Except this time we were having a conversation about My Little Pony while we walked, something that never would have happened last year when nothing she ever said was comprehensible. Now,  I'm not naive enough to say that everyone should be a nanny. I firmly believe that not everyone has the right personality to take care of and nurture a child, but I will say that being a nanny is an extraordinary, life-changing, and perspective-changing experience. It feels odd to call it a job, but  in all honesty, it was the best job I've ever had thus far. I was blessed with the opportunity to get to know this little girl, to gain her trust and affection, to watch her grow up a little bit, and to get the opportunity to teach her and influence her. When I would walk in the door she would run up to me, shouting my name with the hugest grin on her little face, asking me if I wanted to play and I'll never forget that. And sometimes, her mom would always tell me that A was asking her if I was coming all day because she was so eager.  She was just a little child, but she genuinely appreciated my company and it felt so special to have that.

these selfies !!!!! They showcase what our relationship was like haha

On my last day, we made cake together, an idea that was prompted by a conversation we had had before when she was talking nonstop about birthdays and I asked her if she preferred cake or presents and she exclaimed, "CAKE!!!!!" so excitedly. I had written A's mom a letter about how lovely A had been the last year and a half. Leaving was definitely the hardest part, harder than dealing with those early days when she wouldn't stop crying before her nap time, harder than all those times she threw a tantrum over leaving the park, harder than the time she lost her shoes on a walk and we spent an hour looking for them, harder than the time she wet her pants and the time she fell playing outside. I have to admit, I cried when I drove away even though I know I'll see her again a couple times this summer when I do some evening babysitting for them. But babysitting is not like being a nanny, it's easier and the kids are usually asleep. It's not the same. A's mom is a school teacher so that's why she won't be needing me in the day over the Summer, and then in the Fall I'll have moved to NYC.

snapshots from my last two days being A's nanny

I'll miss that sweet girl. If I could've been her nanny forever, I would have done it in a heartbeat. x.

Have a beautiful Friday!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What I'm Making: Archer Blouse

Technically, the title should have been "What I Made," because I actually finished this blouse several months ago in January during a really productive 3 week period when I decisively worked on several of the half-finished projects I had set aside throughout the last year. This blouse was almost a year in the making, as embarrassing as it is to admit that. It's not even a shirt I would actually select if I had to pick just ten shirts out of my closet. I've only worn it twice, and I knew when I was working on finishing it that it wasn't really my style, but I guess I felt like I needed to finish it just because I didn't want it to lay around useless and unwearable. It was also really fun to make! Then, we took pictures of me wearing it circa February, but I couldn't bring myself to post them because I didn't feel confident. This past winter was very rough and particularly stressful, so I inevitably reached highest weight and since the pictures weren't exactly to my liking there was no real rush, I decided to wait and take better ones. I'll go into more detail about that in my next playlist post - which is coming up next week or the week after. Anyway, I did eventually want to show you guys and so last Thursday I put on my bell bottoms and we went to take pictures by a cute little hedge on the side of the road.

Blouse: self-made, pattern HERE // Bell-bottoms: Free People // necklace / chain belt: American Eagle Outfitters // Shoes: Target (from 2015)

Fashion Industry Studies: Retail Marketing

Guys !!!! I'm almost done with my Fashion Industry Studies course! This time, my assignment was to go to the mall and take note of different store layouts and item placement and then to take a picture of a particularly interesting display at a store. This was harder than I thought it would be because it's actually really awkward to be standing there taking pictures of a store while people walk around you lmao. Anyway, so I ended up taking this picture of Francesca's jewelry display on my way out of the mall:

Their store layout works really well because 1) the first thing you see is the eye-catching jewelry, which is usually more affordable (and in this case even more so because it was 50% off). It's a smart way to ensure that people will be more likely to buy things. Another thing that works about their store layout is that they tend to categorize clothing by color schemes, rather than types of clothing. It's visually appealing!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fashion Industry Studies: Production Standards

Alright friends, this is gonna be a short little tiny post. Basically, if you ever go shopping and whatever you're trying on fits a little snug or a little loose, before you try on the next size up or down, you should try on another of the same pair in the same size because manufacturers allow up to a 1/2" variation. It's just a nice little tip they mentioned in my Fashion Industry Studies course and it's also something my mom always told me growing up! To illustrate this, I tried on a few pairs of the same pants in the exact same size:

those two pants were literally the exact same size, but the one on top was about a 1/2" larger around the waist.

Fashion Industry Studies: My Audience

Hey guys! For my Teen Vogue / Parsons class I'm supposed to research  statistics for all my social media channels, including this here blog. The truth is I've always made it a point to be at least a little aware of how well my accounts were doing. It's hard not to care in this day and age. I remember in 2013, when one of my friends told me she had 8k followers on tumblr and I immediately decided that needed to be my next goal because at the time, I only had 2k. Or when I started this blog and I made it my everything. I used to spend 4+ every morning working on content just so that I could have at the very least one post up every day because I had a clear goal in mind and it was fantastic. Of course, I eventually had to stop because of other obligations, i.e. working two jobs to save up for NYC + when I got my kitten and I needed to constantly be watching over her. Still, it was actually very interesting. and I still love learning about the statistics of my social media. I'm hopefully going to be spending more time focusing on better curating my social media + blog in the next few months!

Here are a few of my stats with explanations:

let's start with Twitter, right now I have 850. Last week I had 856, the week before 859 and I know this because 1) I keep track of it, and 2) I'm well aware I started losing followers when I stopped talking about Taylor Swift so much and when I started talking about other, more relevant topics in my life currently. But along with that, I'm also aware that the only reason I gained so many followers so quickly was because Taylor Swift noticed me on tumblr and the whole thing with meeting her in Denver happened. That night was when I gained 200+ followers.

As for tumblr, I currently have two blogs (one for aesthetic + art + personal posts and my older blog, an ex-person blog, for Taylor Swift posts) We'll start with the older blog:

With this tumblr blog, I actually accumulated the followers over time. I've had the blog for a little over 5 years, in 2013 I had 2k followers, but by mid 2014 I had around 4k, then after Taylor Swift joined tumblr and an influx of new fans joined the blogging platform, I gained an additional 8k. In 2015, I stopped using this blog for personal posts and I lost around 2k followers, but I've been steadily regaining them probably since my blog is strictly a fan blog now and not a personal blog. Some people prefer that. I'm simply catering to a different audience.

My second tumblr blog is my personal account, which I only created around 7 months ago. I only have 81 followers so far, but I've found that I gain more followers by posting original content, i.e. personal artwork and scans from my sketchbook and when I message other bloggers and start a conversation. It's a lot like how I started out when I created my first tumblr blog.This one more closely reflects who I am as a person and what my personal aesthetic is like. It's more similar to what my old tumblr blog was before I decided to turn it into a fan blog.

As for this Simply Ceci blog, I always get more views immediately after posting. That's why it's better to actually post just one or two posts a day, several days in a row rather than posting several posts at once on one day. That was the views are more spread out and people can keep coming back to check if there is a new post.  I've also found that advertising posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram helps get more views because then my readers are aware that there's new content up. As you can tell, my most recent posts have been getting between 20-30 views, which is actually more than older posts were getting, but also less than my posts were getting last Spring, when I was consistently posting every day. This is something I really need to work on.

Now, for Instagram I have the most information thanks to iconosquare (Teen Vogue/Parsons actually suggested I use Hootsuite, but it was too confusing for me, so I decided to find what worked for me)

With Instagram, I've been steadily increasing followers over the last few years. One thing I've noticed is that I tend to gain more followers as I increase my use of hashtags. This is something my friends with large followings have told me worked for them as well.

It's also a good idea to post only one picture a day, every day. As you can see from the graphs above, my pictures tend to keep getting likes/comments up until 16 hours after I post the picture, for this reason is better to just post one picture a day. That way people are more likely to like/comment on both, rather than just picking one. For even more notes it's better if I post at night, especially on Mondays around 9pm.

As for content, above I'm showing you my most liked and most commented posts ever. It seems that big events tend to get more likes than regular every day scenes. For example, the time I met Taylor Swift, the time I cut 12" off my hair, the time I got accepted to FIT, and my birthday are all in my most commented. As for my more recent posts,

Since Instagram's update where pictures are no longer in chronological order I've been getting significantly less likes, my average is now around 60-70 as opposed to the 100+ used to get. However, my picture from Coachella (another big event) has more likes than the rest of my pictures.

As a side note, oe thing I personally love doing is keeping with a color scheme or theme every season. For example, last Winter my posts included lots of washed out shades of blue as well as burgundy and white. Last Spring, my colors were pastel tones with lots of grey and white. the Summer after that my posts were very focused around the color green (mint, olive, jade, etc.) as well as bright, neon pink. Lately, my posts have been centered around darker colors and I'm hoping to lighten up my aesthetic for summer.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Fashion Industry Studies: Bag Mockup

For my Fashion Industry Studies course, one of my assignments was to create a mockup of a bag that I previously designed in another lesson. I'm then supposed to make a finished version of the bag in striped fabric. Along with the mockup, I had to select which fabrics I'll use for the finished product as well as determine how much fabric I will need. I decided I'll need about 1.5 yds. of this lightweight vegan leather, which I will paint stripes on with gold fabric paint. For the lining, I will need 3/4 yd. and I will use this silk lining fabric. Below is a picture of the mockup I made using tissue paper, and below that is a chart describing how much it would cost to make the bag + the estimated retail price!

Monday, May 9, 2016

May Playlist: My Little Ribs Around You

The title is an interesting one. I've been listening to a lot of witch house lately, which is something I never thought I'd say lmao. I actually got the title for this mix from a lyric in the song Fineshrine by Purity Ring. You see, I've liked their music for quite some but now I have a special place in my heart for them. I don't know if it was the fact that I hadn't had anything to eat besides a couple popsicles and coffee for over 24 hours, or if it was their net of lights and the entire sensory experience, but I only remember fragments of seeing them live as if it was some sort of weird dream. I remember the hair style of the girl in front of me, I remember thinking I didn't have the energy to dance but dancing anyway, I remember stumbling over somebody on my way out. But enough about that, my favorite thing lately is listening to/reading random interviews from artists whose music I'm really into because I feel like I can appreciate their work even more if I can appreciate them as a person. So anyway, the other day I was reading an interview from Purity Ring and they were explaining this song, how it's a love song but it's not overtly so. It's literally about inviting someone into your heart, into your life without ever saying it. So, I put together this little mixtape of some of the songs I've been listening to most lately, particularly when I'm drawing.


  1. Fineshrine - Purity Ring
  2. I Think I Love You - Waxahatchee
  3. First Love Never Die - Soko
  4. A Summer Song - Conner Youngblood
  5. Dives - Alvvays
  6. Genesis - Grimes
  7. Patience - The Lumineers
  8. Please Be Naked - The 1975
  9. Such Words - Ghostly Kisses
  10. First Love / Late Spring - Mitski
  11. Korean Food - Frankie Cosmos
  12. Intro / Flowers - Grimes
  13. bodyache - Purity Ring
and you can listen to the playlist right over HERE.

the exciting news

Alright friends, so at this I'm pretty much positive you all already know but if you didn't already know, I got accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology for Fashion Design!!!! I've been super excited about it, planning away, thinking of things I need to see in New York City and friends I will definitely meet up with. I've also started forming a mental list of all the concerts I want to attend there, which is probably not the smartest idea because if I could, I would spend every last penny on music. Anyway, so I'm moving August 26th! It was originally supposed to be the 20th, but then the Twilight Concert Series was announced and my girl Grimes is playing on the 25th... I wasn't about to miss that lmao. But irl friends, we should definitely meet up before I leave!

I'm thinking I'll make a long post about my portfolio and the application process pretty soon because when I was starting the process I honestly could not find a lot of resources from current students and it was definitely stressful to feel like I didn't know what I was doing. I might also make a video because I actually found the few videos I did find on youtube were the most informative. Maybe I'll just start a series on FIT when the school year comes around.

Fashion Industry Studies: Cactus Twig Necklace

So as you guys might know, I've been working on and off on my Fashion Industry Studies course from Teen Vogue and Parsons School of Design. I don't actually have that much time left to finish it, so I've been working on it more than usual lately. Anyway, the other day my assignment was to create an accessory using things I had on hand and inspired by a collage of pictures I took off inspiring things directly around me, which I'll show you below.

For this project, I was particularly inspired by the cactus pictures, the lace, and the color of that lovely mint candle. For my found materials I used kitchen twine, a plastic grocery bag, acrylic paint, lollipop sticks, staples, and glue. The flower was definitely my favorite part because I just got to sit there and figure out how to make something beautiful out of something so terribly ordinary and I loved painting it.

For the second part of this project, my assignment was to figure out how much it essentially cost to make by hand vs. bulk production. I definitely expected bulk to be much cheaper, and I was right about that. The first graph below is the cost of it made by hand and using materials I had:

This other graph shows the cost of production if I were to buy materials in bulk and have it mass produced: