"Muse," by Laura Laine

Moving back to Southern California has its perks: Warm, sunny weather just about all the time, being able to drive places, having color to my skin pigment again, resources and proximity. However, I think I forgot why I really wanted to leave in the first place; the materialistic nature of so many women and dare I say it, men.

Staring me in the face are breast enhancements and frozen faces; I can't help but gawk because it is so abnormal. Zooming past me are fancy cars with windows so tinted you would think Diana Ross is inside. Smacking my arms are Coach Bags as heads are fixated in a 45 degree angle to browse the Internet on iPhones--no regard to oncoming traffic--iPhone users have the right-of-way.

What gets me most is how people are spending. An article in TeenVogue last month addressed the inner "recessionista," and how girls are beginning to spend less money on high end fashion labels; I blog to differ.

So there is a fashionista—someone who is Au naturale to fashion—and now there is a recessionista—an Au naturale fashionista who opts for less expensive jeans like Rock and Republic as opposed to Marc Jacobs. Practical.

The article should have addressed an incessant need to spend; a desire to fit in through fabric. Money is not timeless. It can be here today and gone tomorrow. So why on earth are people still shopping for $200 jeans when the exact same jeans can be purchased for $30 at a different store? Why are we so concerned with labels? Is there some fear that America will become a debauchery of a society if we do not have Juicy jump suits or Chanel glasses on? Who cares.

Granted, I love appearances. I am as narcissistic as the rest of you. I would prefer to have a disposable income any day so I can buy whatever threads I would like; however, reality belittles me.

I have no shame shopping at Forever 21. Yeah, I said it. I definitely browse Target once in a while as well. I just cringe at price tags in places like Urban Outfitters. I cower at people buying what look like Keds but have a price tag of $90; you know, they have those at Payless.

Even discount fashion web sites--designed to provide high end fashion for cheaper prices--are still way over priced in my opinion. I suppose if you have the money, then go for it. For the girls reading TeenVogue, they most likely do not.

It is so cool to be unique now. Why not take up this hipster generation by being yourself and not every other label whore out there.


"Fringe," by Ryan Kapp
It is July, I guess I should say something. I will warn that this may not be life changing, maybe depressing even, but at least I warned you.

Yesterday, as I soaked my skin in the California sun so common to ER scanners for melanoma, I watched as children around me enjoyed innocence, youth and no responsibility.

I enjoyed the sounds of shrill yet fervent screams, water splashing and the faint sound of the neighborhood gardener. Then I thought: Here I am--21 years old--and feel as though I am in a complete rut at the moment due to economical constraints that are out of my control.

Here they are, having the nerve to be drinking Capri Sun's and listening to Death Cab for Cutie on their mini iPod players. I mean, they are no older than 14. No smarter than a 10 year-old. Probably getting a weekly allowance of 50 bucks or so...what? This is the place where girls get breast enhancements as High School graduation gifts. Their parents will most likely support them until they become defiant and say they want to drop out of college to follow their dreams of being the next Kurt Cobain or Lady Gaga.

But for now, they get to relax. They get sleep at night. They have time to actually watch trashy American reality television and sneak in Entourage when their parents go to bed, scream profanities at each other because they think they are cool and get Slurpee's at 7Eleven.

I miss that. I miss being able to stay up late with no regard for the world or what happens the next day.

I remember driving around aimlessly when I first got my license because gas was never an issue for a new driver and between the ages of 16 and 18, let's be honest, there is nothing to do. Now I walk to the nearest grocery store, I cringe at having to drive more than ten miles to work and almost, almost, consider taking the bus.

Youth was so fun. So full of thrill-seeking, awkward phase's, crush on 4th period hottie you don't even talk to, sneak in the garage for a smoke and a Smirnoff Ice, kind of fun. It was fun to partake in immature ordeals because we would only get slapped on the wrist. Now you face jail time for the stuff my friends and I pulled or worse, Internet defamation.

I guess I lived my younger youth up to its max. I am still in my youth. But this youth has bills, insurance companies calling me, dentists telling me thing's I do not want to hear and doctors telling me it is time to start thinking about the future. If the future I saw was the one they were seeing, they would know it does not involve an SPF or a multi-vitamin. More so a rum and Coke and a striking man in plaid and tattoo's.

As much as big Whigs want to suck the life out of me, it has yet to happen. You are trying, but I am succeeding. So far. Check back in a month; it might be a bottle of rum, a shot of coke and a guy named Frank from the corner drugstore.

I plan on being like one of those "I'm never getting old," people. Minus the Joan River's face. I just don't want to forget what life is about. It is about what makes us organic and human. It is also about days for disregard of reality. Sometimes you can't take things too seriously. Because really, how much longer will we be here?



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