How To Accessorize for the Holidays For Under $5.

old-poloroid-camera.jpg
Confession: Half of the things I own, I got off the fine streets of Brooklyn.
They know me by my first name at the local thrift/buy/sell/trade clothing place down the street.

As a performer for a living, some lucky days I can dine at the Ritz, and some days I’m rocking a PBJ on a paper towel for dinner.

You know what I’m talking about.

And holidays can be stressful as fuck because well…presents, parties, and you gotta look GOOD enough to keep em’ talking, girl.

The secret is how you hold yourself and how you adorn yourself.
You can make a $2 thrift dress look like it’s off the runway with a few simple things.
I did a $5 accessory challenge in the past and if you haven’t seen it…
well ain’t no time like the present:

Thrift-Store-Jewelry.jpg

My mission: to make a vintage accessorized look for less than $5.

This is what I found at my local thrift store’s jewelry ‘junk’ drawer:
♥  Broken Faux Pearl Necklace: 75 cents
♥  One clip-on earring (other one missing): free
♥  Bronze chain: $1.50
♥  Costume jewelry rings that don’t fit my fingers: $2.00
Total Damage: $4.25

Now let’s create a Vintage Bohemian Goddess Look – it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Take broken necklace, drape across your head and add bobby pins to secure- instant bohemian crown.  Serve up some 1920s REALNESS.

Picture 26

2.  Take the one clip-on earring and clip to front of dress for instant vintage high glamour.

Picture 223.   Take chain and string a bunch of costume jewelry rings on it.  I additionally added one costume jewelry ring of my Grandma Helen’s and one costume jewelry piece that Burke gave to me.

Picture 24

And voila – the completed look:
Veronica-Varlow.jpg

Oh and PS – beyond the accessories which cost me under $5 – I snagged the vintage peach slip for $8 – bringing the entire outfit AND accessories to $12.25.

Hell yes.  Mama’s got rent to pay and adventures to have.  I can’t be spending all my cash on clothes.

Did you like these ideas?  Wanna see more fashion features from me in the future?  Let me know.  I wanna spill secrets that are most helpful to you.

Got thrift store secrets of your own?  Hit me in the comments!

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2 Things You Need To Know To Change The Entire Course of Your Day.

street-art.jpg
7am.
Street art.
2 proudly broken toes hidden inside my kicks.
Watching the colors of the sky change.
I am bleary-eyed, but suddenly aware that I am walking the streets of the city I have had a long-standing passionate affair with.
These are the days.

I do it to myself.
Last night at 4am,
I chose to park in the 8am street spot that would make my car illegal in 4 hours.
Alarms won’t get me up,
but the thought of a $65 ticket will jolt my half conscious body awake in seconds.

I’m not a morning person.
Maybe you’re not either….
but if I don’t get up by a certain time in the morning,
I wake up feeling like I’m a total loser and have gotten zero accomplished in my entire existence.
Do you do that, too?

On one of the nights where I’m out until sunrise,
my brother/friend, Musician and Poet, Jaye Bartell… this guy:
Jaye-Bartell.jpg
was talking with me about ideas to make our days better,
and he had these 2 simple tips that made a lot of difference in my last week
that I wanted to share with you guys…

1. Ditch the Electronics for the First 20 Minutes You’re Awake.
I know. Trust me.
That alarm with the snooze button that gets tapped constantly on my broken iPhone?
It also has the Twitter button next to it, and the Facebook button next to it, and the Google Chrome internet next to it.
On the rare day I’m parked legally, my blurry self will instantly jump on Twitter or text in an attempt to wake up.
Since Jaye told me about this – I’ve challenged myself to completely ditch the cell phone and computer for the first 20 minutes of my day, and it’s helped me establish my world and my morning, rather than jumping into a million different people’s thoughts the moment I open my eyes.

2. And Instead…Fill That Time Doing One Thing You’re Passionate About.
What is that thing that you’re passionate about?
Writing? Working out? Building a project? Playing guitar? Going for a quiet walk and taking the world in?
I just started writing in a physical journal for the first time in a long time.
For so long, I figured, well – I write a blog 3 times a week – what more writing do I need to do?
But writing in the morning when I’m first getting up – just for 15 minutes – instead of scrolling through twitter feeds for that same amount of time, has helped me start writing a new song, and capturing important pieces of my dreams that I would have lost otherwise.
Even if you only work on that one thing for 20 minutes….even 15 minutes in the morning….you will be able to rock out the rest of your day knowing that you started your day off doing something you love.

Wanna do a 7 day challenge with me on this?

Jump in on the comments and pledge what YOU want to do in the first 20 minutes of your day.
Are you addicted to the world of social media the second you wake up, too?
Do you have other suggestions on how to start your day off right?
Tell us all.

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

3 Unconventional Ways to Rock Out the Last Days Of 2014

confetti
As I type this – we’ve got 20 days left of 2014.
20 Days.
It’s snowing and we are moving towards the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
It’s so easy to hibernate.
It seems all but natural that the Universe is saying – “It’s cold and it’s dark….stay in bed.”
But fuck that…
We are going to rock out the last 20 of 2014.
Here are my tips to get unstuck and make it count:

1. Let Your Resolutions Be Zombies.
You know….bring them back from the dead.
Come on. Admit it. You made them moments after midnight. You were on a dance floor somewhere, you were wild, and it seemed like everything would be easy just by you saying the words out loud of what you wanted.
Yeah. Me, too.
It’s time to dredge up those resolutions and pick one to dance with.
Assign your last 20 days to hacking away at one -
it will make your New Year seem so much sweeter.

2. Hop in A Time Machine and Let “Current You” Give “Future You” an Awesome Story To Tell.
Imagine Yourself as a Pink Haired Bicycle Riding 90 Year Old.
Okay. Maybe that’s just going to be me. But imagine 90 year old you.
You’re about to pull on your sparkly dress and hop onto a hover craft to get to the festivities and someone says…”What was in like back in 2014? Do you remember?” And your answer is, “Do I remember? Damn. Those last 20 days of 2014…? I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”
Do one thing in these last 20 days of the year that will give you a good future story.

3. Turn Your Core Inside Out.
We all have that thing….that dream that’s in our core -
it lives right behind where our ribcage meets…
and it knows exactly what we want.
What we dream of.
Who we want to be.
Who we want to grow to be.
In these last 20 days, whisper it out loud.
See how it feels.
Try it on.
Imagine yourself doing that thing and set appointments for January 2015 to set it into motion.
For example: Say you want to be a writer. You want other people to refer to you as a writer in 2015 when they talk about you.
Make one of your last instagrams/tweets/fb posts of 2014 with you sitting in front of an old typewriter, or you doodling in a cafe like this:
veronica-varlow-writing.jpg
Images convince more than words do.
Not only are you convincing others, you’re convincing yourself.
You’re trying it on and it looks GOOD.
Then make 2 appointments for 2015:

  • Call that friend that you want to have a weekly writing/coffee session with and make a solid first week of January appointment to start that first session.
  • Look at what writing conferences might be happening, or what readings in your local coffeehouse might be going down in January.  Commit to going to them and participating.

What wild things are you going to pull off in the next 20 days?
Do you have a photo that declares who you want to be in 2015?
Share in the comments and if you loved this post, please share to your friends.
Let’s have a wild gang for 2015 ready for TAKEOVER.

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Make Your Own Zine in 7 Easy Steps (PICTURE POST)

anais-nin.jpg
THIS.
The number one reason you should be creating a zine is because of the above quote. Making something with your hands, using your creativity and your brain, plus speaking your mind and putting it out there in physical form helps create your own world.
UK_and_US_zines
I grew up on punk rock zines, which then led to Riot Grrrl zines.
I would pour over the Riot Grrrl ones – political, confidence building, badass, and sometimes angry – I identified and still identify with their messages.
The Riot Grrrl Revolution saved teenage me.
riotgrrl.jpg
Kim Boekbinder and I got together:
broke out the Poloroid camera,
glue sticks,
tape,
scissors
and magazines
and started a revolution on her floor this week.

veronica-varlow-zine.jpg
Today is the last day you can snag our homemade zine – it won’t be available after today – so go check it out. And even if it’s not your thing, we made a song/spell to go with it for you to download free.  Happy Holidays!
And while I’m excited we got our zine out to the world, I KNOW there’s a zine in you, too. So let’s dig that up, shall we?
Here’s how!

Step 1: THEME: Decide on a Theme or a Specific Message for your Zine.
Kim and I decided that we’d do a New Year 2015 takeover for our zine theme. We included stories, art, tips and tricks to help our readers rock out 2015.
What would your theme be?
What causes are important to you to talk about and share with others?

how-to-make-a-zine.jpg

Step 2: COLLECT: Start Collecting Pictures to Collage and Create Art.
You can do this by cutting out photos from magazines, and also by putting whatever you’re looking for into google search images and printing, then cutting them out.

Step 3: TYPE IT OUT.
What do you want to say?
Here’s the part where you get to unleash on the keyboard. Write uncensored. Print it out. Got an old-school typewriter to bang this out on? Even better.

unnamed-3

Step 4: MAKE YOUR MARK.
Have a friend take Poloroids of you in your environment – making your zine. Your readers will be able to connect to you and your words if they can also see you. It makes it more personal and captures that moment in time.

Step 5: ASSEMBLE.
Once you cut out all your images and words – grab a blank page and lay it all out to try different design styles. Once you’ve arranged it all to look how you want it….glue stick those guys down!

making-a-zine.jpg

Step 6: ADD YOUR OWN TOUCHES.
On our zine, I doodled in the margins of pictures, drew hearts and stars, wrote additional things in my own handwriting. Your zine is a part of you. This is a fun time to additionally make your mark and make it personal.

Step 7: PRINT FOR THE MASSES!
No matter where you live – there is some dusty print shop with and old copy machine somewhere. Copy, staple and send out to all.

Step 8: ROCK YOUR OWN REVOLUTION.
Promote your zine, hit up local record stores to carry it, put it all over social media and make a few extra copies to slip in your local indie bookstore or library.

Your words, writing and art are power.
Do you have a your own zine or thinking of starting one?
Share in the comments!

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Ways to Punch Seasonal Depression in the Face

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 11.02.52 AM
Winter sometimes makes me feel like this.
Luckily, Gizmo understands.
You might understand, too.
So I figured that if you haven’t seen this before – it was time to put this beating seasonal depression post up!

I was born in the Springtime.  I feel the most myself when Nature is blossoming around me, when the birds are singing, when the sun is shining.  You know, just like this chick…

Snow White thinks seasonal depression sucks, too.

Whenever I hear that turn-your-clocks-back-”Fall Back” thing – I think of getting pushed down a flight of stairs backwards.

Keep in mind, I am also the girl who spent the entire summer barely wearing clothes and now I’m bundled up in forty billion layers and feel like the kid from Christmas Story.  You know what I’m talking about…

Seriously. Don’t push me over when I get bundled up in a billion pounds of winter clothes. I might not be able to get up.

But here’s the deal. I love New York City.  Love it.  It’s my drug. So I gotta figure out this winter thing.  Only recently have I realized that there is way more people out there that are affected by this whole not getting enough sunshine thing than I thought.

Case in point:  My neighbors put this in front of their building yesterday.

On the walk to my favorite coffee hangout this morning, I looked up and realized that someone tied this bunch of flowers to a bare tree.  I really appreciated it.  Thank you, Stranger, who did this.  You made me smile.

My dear friend and Radical Self Love Queen, Gala Darling wrote about how she copes with beating the winter blues.  I’m taking note! Everything she writes is a must read.

Me and one of my fav people on the face of the planet, Miss Gala Darling. Raven haired girls UNITE!

So, over coffee moments ago, me and one of my best friends in the world, Kim Boekbinder, were talking about different ways to beat the dumb days, and here are mine.  They might seem weird, they might help you, you might get a good laugh out of them. Here they are:

Image by Serge Bloch/New York Times

1.   I dab a little bit of sunscreen under my nose.

Yeah. I’m crazy.  But I’m crazy with a purpose.  It’s double duty because – one it’s a good moisturizer, but more importantly, two, when I smell sunscreen, it triggers Summertime in my memory, and it makes me feel better. It has been proven time and time again that certain smells can improve your mood – don’t believe me? Read this interesting New York Times Article The Nose, An Emotional Time Machine by Natalie Angier.

2.  I indulge in a twice a day coffee hangout with my friends. 
Kim and I started our day off  this morning in the sunny alcove of our favorite coffee place.  In the wintertime, I bump my coffee intake to two cups a day.  I really dig lattes and cappuccinos with lots of nutmeg and cinnamon.  And….check this out….research from the Harvard Medical School team shows that women who drink two or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to be depressed.  This article in the BBC News said that caffeine has “a physical effect on brain function and transmission by altering chemical pathways” and that caffeine is “known to enhance feelings of well-being and energy”.

Hell, yes.  Another cup of that, please!

3.  I trust animal instinct.   

This is my little dog, Niney, in the sunrise this morning. She follows the sun all over our apartment.  She’s been getting up earlier than normal to catch the sunlight longer, and I’ve been following her.  Getting sunlight helps boost our serotonin levels.  Serotonin is that hormone associated with energy and elevated mood and I kind of want to fill my whole freezing cold body with it.  In the past week, I’ve been waking up early and taking extra walks with Niney.  I seek out the sunny streets of Brooklyn.

4.  Happy Colors.  Give them to me.  Now. 
It may sound silly, but it’s backed by science, People!  And science is cool.  Check out this awesome Huffington Post Article for interesting color mood meanings.  Or perhaps I should show you my favorite winter coat of all time:

Me and my favorite pink faux fur coat.   This was lost in the fire of 2011.  But then miraculously returned to me in 2014 -found in a second hand store.  Yeah. Weird.  I know.  This picture was the original coat back in the day.

And just looking at Kim’s pink hair and that kick-ass turquoise color from Sugarpill on Kim’s eyes makes me want to sing a song of happiness.

5. I get a Gel Manicure.
There is nothing scientific to back this. It’s just that I look down at my nails a billion times a day – to write, to pick stuff up, to grab my coffee, to shake hands with someone, etc. When my nails are all bitten down to the quick and gross, I register that. I register it subliminally probably 20 times a day. I noticed that when I get a gel manicure – it lasts for 3 weeks and my nails look perfect. I just got one the other day and several times unexpectedly, I’ve looked down and then I see this pretty glamour deep red and feel uplifted. Like, damn, I’m presentable! I’m taking care of myself! Red nails! In winter! Yes!

Kim would like to add, “Get ridiculous mittens.” She’s got these cool ones with lamb faces on it and she said it makes her smile every time she looks down. They make me smile, too. I want a puppet show.

And if you can’t beat Winter, join it. 

In the darkness of winter, most times, I’m cuddling in my little secret nook in my apartment, decorated with happy Christmas lights and a window looking out to the twinkling lights of the city.  I’m using this dark time to plant some gorgeous seeds for the future (and to bundle up and go on wild unpredictable adventures- those are good).

So if you get the winter blues, too, know you’re not alone.  And if you’re anywhere near Brooklyn, let’s get a cup of coffee together.

And if you’re not, well…pretend we’re rocking this together….Cheers!

Now you tell me the inventive ways you deal with the dark days of winter!  Dish!

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Own BADASS Handbook Zine and Theme Song for 2015!

kim-boekbinder-veronica-varlow.jpg
I have wanted to do this since I was 13 years old.
At 2am this morning, partner-in-crime – Kim Boekbinder and I pose with our ZINE!
We wrote it for the New Year…a bit of a wild workbook, kickass guide and punk rock cheerleader for all of your world domination plans in 2015.

You can take us with you on all your adventures!
Yes.
boek-book-zine.jpg
We sang a courage spell song for you.
Our voices entwined in the quiet of a late East Village night…
and we recorded this beautiful song that Kim wrote.

Making this zine with Kim and singing together was something I’ve wanted to do for so long and I was so excited about it – I was jumping up and down on two broken toes and didn’t even care.
THAT’S how happy I am.
We want this to get in the hands of everyone because we poured so much love into it….so we are making available 2 different limited editions:
one is an awesome regular New Year’s version
and
one is a deluxe double New Year’s version with a Poloroid picture for YOU
and EVERYBODY gets the song whether you get the zine or not.
We love you guys.
Send these things to your friends! Your enemies! Your Mom (she loves us!), Your Uncle Al (he hates us, but he seriously doesn’t need another tie this holiday), People who need a boost! People who love zines! People who love best friends! People who love adventure and intrigue!
WE HAVE GOT YOUR BACK.
They will only be sold until December 10th
and then they are gone forever.
The magic starts here -
click here to see it ALL.
kim-boekbinder-veronica-varlow.jpg
Making it HAPPEN!

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confessions of an Analog Girl in a Digital World. #letsgetphysical

kim-boekbinder-veronica-varlow.jpg
Weird Confession: I once was so overcome by reading a particular novel, that when my eyes took in the last line on the last page…
tears fell from my eyes and splotted the paper
and some weird thing came over me.
I pressed my face to the book and licked the author’s name,
so I could hold the story inside me for a little bit longer.
It was instinctual.
Physical and real.

I’m an analog girl in a digital world.
I want to touch it.
I want to hold it in my hands.
Fuck your Kindles, I want hard bound books
I want to feel the pages with my fingers.
I want the sound of a Poloroid whirl and a picture I shake to watch it all develop before my eyes.
I want to pin that picture on my wall with a thumbtack.
A fucking real thing. Not a .jpg to be lost in some vastness of iPhoto.
And here…..
on Danger Diary….
I use the power of the internet
to try and touch your soul…
but you can’t hold me in your hands,
and you know I want you to.

KIM BOEKBINDER AND I ARE MAKING A ZINE, PEOPLE!
kim-boekbinder-veronica-varlow.jpg
This is the 3rd edition of Kim’s brilliant Boek Book zine, and she asked me to collaborate with her on this one.
We are cutting things up and pasting them down.
We are taking Poloroids and scrawling messages on them in our own hands.
We are click clacking our fingers on typewriters with ink and hum and lust.
We are cutting those things up and photocoping it all.
So you can hold us.
Wherever in the world you are….
A thing we made every inch of.

I feel alive making this right now.
It feels good to be on a floor littered with scraps of paper
as orange handled scissors fit into the curve of my hands.

As I write things in my shaky cursive script on a page
it feels more intimate than writing on a keyboard that produces my thoughts neatly in Times New Roman font.

I exist in the world.
YOU exist in the world.
We are not just fucking icons and emoticons and filtered down selfies.
I want more of you than that.
And in those moments when we can physically march outside in the streets in peaceful protest of fucked up things,
the moments when I can press a hand-written letter you wrote to my heart,
the moments when I tack a Poloroid of us by my front door that I can kiss when I walk by and smile.
How can we gain more of those moments?
How can we push ourselves out there in the wilds of the physical world
and “do” with our actions
and “create” with our hands
and speak out to make an impact with our voices in the physical world?
I love the internet and I love being able to connect with you here….
but it needs to be more than that.
We can marry the analog and the digital for a powerful world.
We cannot leave one or the other behind.

Tonight, my 2 broken toes and 8 good ones
will wander to the East Village
by a certain magical fire escape
in a place where wolves howl in a dead fireplace…
and Kim and I will make a song to go with the zine.
You will be able to hold us in your hands
and hear our voices sing to you in your ears
and we
can be
together.

Tomorrow – December 3rd.
Come back here and we will tell you all.
A limited secret treasure
in a little span of human time
that disappears.
But we will be here always
smiling into the bright light of the Poloroid flash
alive
real
on a hardwood floor in an East Village apartment
cutting up a dream and pasting it into the physical world.
veronica-varlow-kim-boekbinder.jpg

Love it? Share it.

Posted in Danger Diary | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment