Who’s That Girl? Anna of Branch and Birdie

At 18 I ran as quickly as I could from my two stoplight town, to New York City where I dabbled in the fashion and modeling industry.

At 19 I tried out Los Angeles and motherhood all at once. Three years later my daughter and I headed back to the Big Apple in search of something more. What I did find was my soul mate, and we moved out West together to bask in a few of San Diego’s rays. Sunny yes! Creativity and culture? Not so much!

So a Medical Assistant Certification, a marriage and one more baby later my little family of four and I trudged to the rainy town of Portland, OR. Now at 25 years old here I am.

My life has already started, it’s in process and I knew I would not ever be content without creating and decorating.

I had always dreamed of having a little boutique full of local artist’s goods, but I never would have imagined that I would be able to become that local artist. I had sold some of my handmade jewelry in stores before, but did I have the motivation to start up my own empire? Then I discovered Etsy! Fantastic! Phenomenal! A mecca of beauty and vision! With a few click clicks on my computer keyboard, and some design help from my genius filmmaker husband (owner of Two Penguins Productions) I plunged forward and started up Branch and Birdie.

I find my inspiration in nature, scavenging through thrift stores and watching my daughters draw and play! As women we are being profiled from birth, directed to become the celestial being of beauty- but don’t you think that it’s time we take charge? Diaper in one hand, courage and confidence in the other? So good bye NYC glamour and hello PDX basement! I’ve traded my Louboutins in for a sewing machine, and couldn’t be happier.

On Being Miseducated for Life

Sure, why not. So the word LIFE is a little loaded, or scary, or both. A lifestyle and way of living… that’s really a bizarre thing for women to grasp sometimes. When you wake up a little hungover and your mascara has smeared across your pillow, is that a lifestyle? We’re not all mothers, homemakers, students, wives, career-driven, party girls, crafty mavens, so why accept Miseducated so freely into our life and mantras? Well don’t unless you feel you’re a little conventionally different, your lifestyle is a little odd but that’s what makes it rad.

There is no necessary reason to sprinkle the table as well as your cocoa. There is no need for a tiny, pink lamp that releases such a faint fairy glow so that you can hardly see your hand in front of your face at night. These are the lovely pieces that nestle within your life, they add a sense of nostalgia, whimsy and they make you smile.

Now, some tips for making your life and your home a little bit more Miseducated whilst in the lifestyle battle of deciding what you’ll do once you actually have clean laundry…

Miseducating your Life Tips

When you finish making your cocoa, whether pink or not, top with a few sprinkles. Add more happy hues into your world where they are sparse. Colors affect your mood but it doesn’t mean a little more here and there isn’t perfectly acceptable. I’m telling you it is.

Before bed and after a bubble bath or shower, grab some of your favorite scented lotion and rub it all over your body excluding your face! Keep a bottle in your night stand for just this purpose. While you sleep your body sweats and leaves the scent behind, your bedsheets however will smell like your favorite delicious lotion when you jump in next!

When choosing home decor don’t stick with safe, muted colors. Choose your favorite colors, choose bases you feel comfortable with, such as black and white or chocolate brown, and add accents of your favorites everywhere. Each and every table, shelf and desk are stylized scenes you have created, feel free to nestle glass bottles of your colors and candles, knick knacks. Hit the antique shops or your local thrift store for some unique, inexpensive finds.

Hide tiny positive fortunes (from fortune cookies, of course!), pictures and notes in numerous, unexpected places around your home. You’ll find these and smile later.

Remember, your creativity can only be expressed by you. Stay tuned for more nonsensical tips in the future.

The Flower Child and Rainbow Candy Rave Culture

The mod youth culture of the early 1960s used the word rave to describe any wild party in general. People who were quite commonly seen in attendance to the parties were sometimes called ravers. However specifically speaking of the rave culture and how it started, the terms rave and rave party have been used since the late 1980s worldwide to describe dance parties. This subculture was inspired by the acid house movement. DJs and other performers play electronic music of a wide range including happy hardcore, trance and jungle at these parties.

candy rave

The rave attendees go to dance, socialize, use drugs and have fun in an uninhibited way with like minded people. Attendees also commonly partake in the use, distribution or sale of club drugs such as MDMA, LSD, cocaine, amphetamines and, most recently, ketamine.

Candy ravers can primarily trace their style of fashion to the late 1980s culture and the “Summer of Love” in the United Kingdom. Fashion in clubs at the time were primarily day-glo colored attire, smiley face clothing, beads and whistles.

In the US this loud, colorful and inviting style was used to locate the drug dealer at rave parties. This cute attire however caught on and the candy ravers formed a community of Peace Love Unity and Respect. The lifestyle and mantra lives on throughout old skool and new ravers alike. The candy rave scene has died out a bit since it’s abundance in the mid 90s and early 00s but raves can still be found if you look around and the fashion has evolved and lives on. It has been said that the style is similar to the decora style of Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan. Each style has a completely different community and mantra; it’s kind of like saying hippies and beatniks are the same. Candy ravers continue to adore the color, fun and happiness and unity of an adoration for the cuter, more colorful things in life.

How to Travel Happy and Care Free

Traveling is Doable- Even On a Budget!

Miseducated girls know that one of the best parts of life is getting out of your every day cycle and exploring what the world has to offer. Unfortunately, leaving your abode and venturing out into the unknown can be a little pricey. Never fear, though, there are plenty of ways you can cut down on the cost of traveling, whether your plans involve a simple (but awesome) road trip or venturing across national territories.

Pack your own food

Airplane food is mega expensive so it’s advised that you avoid it at all costs. Pack yourself enough for 1-2 meals and carry it onto the plane with you. You’ll use up food in your refrigerator (it will go bad anyway!) and save quite a bit of money. Also pack snacks (I promise you’ll get hungry later) for the plane ride and if you have room, enough for the duration of your vacation.

Eat breakfast at your hostel/hotel

Many hotels and hostels offer a free, continental breakfast. Take advantage of this! Don’t feel guilty taking a few rolls or fruits for the road – often times food is thrown out because hotels/hostels make more than what they need.

Don’t eat out for every meal

Don’t get me wrong – going out to eat is one of my all time favorite ways to spend money, but it can get very expensive. Buy your meals like a local would by going to the grocery store. This is especially great if you’re abroad. Many markets and grocery stores are set up different to your own and you’re sure to find some peculiar items!

travel now!

Book at the right time

This goes for plane tickets and hotels. When booking, try your very best to avoid booking during peak season. That would be holidays, the summer and other random events (like the Super bowl, for instance). Not only will you save money, but you’re more likely to find yourself in overwhelmingly crowded tourist destinations. Also, many airlines offer drastically reduced ticket prices for last-minute bookings. This is because the airplane wants to fill their plane to full capacity.

Stay at a hostel (or with a friend!)

Don’t let the movie, “Hostel,” scare you. Hostels used to be more of a European thing, but they are quite popular all over the world, including the United States. Hostels are great because they are drastically cheaper (any where from $10-30 a night), you meet people from all over the world and they come in a variety of shapes and forms. There are upgraded hostels that are very similar to hotels, so if sleeping with 4-10 other people in the same room bothers you, keep that option in mind. Also, hostels provide lots of excursion activities. Check out hostels.com for hostel reviews and locations.

Avoid booking on weekends

If it’s possible for your schedule, book on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The most popular days to fly are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The most popular days to stay at a hotel are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You will notice quite a difference in the prices if you do this.

Go to free events

You can often find discounted days and times for various events you have in mind. For example, some museums offer free (or cheaper) admission on certain days that are normally slow. Also, visit parks and other landmarks that don’t require an entry fee. Ask your hotel/hostel attendant and locals for advice. Also do research online before you leave.

Shop around and spend wisely

Depending on where you vacation, you can find a lot of great deals. Avoid malls, where items are often mass produced and over priced. You can find some really unique keep sakes and trinkets (often hand made by artisans themselves) by going to street markets and vendors. If you’re vacationing in a big city that does not have markets like these, save money by window shopping just like you would at home!

If you’re driving…

The biggest way for you to save money is to cut the cost of gas prices. How do you do that? Make sure that your tires are in great shape. Have the rotated and fill them with air if necessary. Also, change your oil. The $30 you spend doing this could save you much much more in the end. Also, don’t forget to pack a lot of your own food. This is especially easy for you!

Exchange Rates

Use your debit card to get money out of ATM’s/pay for items if you are traveling abroad. Since the payment is electronic, you will get the best exchange rate. Also, it’s much safer to travel with a debit or credit card because if it’s stolen you can report it’s missing right away. When cash is gone, it’s gone. Also, I have found that travelers checks are often not accepted and are more of a hassle than anything.

Lastly, exchange money before you go abroad and never at the airport. It’s much more expensive at the airport and you’ll save money if you exchange elsewhere.

Good luck and happy adventures!

Cake is Love: A Japanese Chef

I graduated from Le Cordon Blue in Tokyo. My major was French cake making and my teachers were french chefs whom taught me a lot of details. My teacher’s actions, skills, techniques, designs, chocolates, all kinds of sweets, everything really impressed me very much. They inspired me a lot and are still living in the bottom of my heart. Those experiences made me improve myself.

Since then I have been working at a french cake shop (a shop of long standing), the head office is in France. I wanted to study more and more so I decided to study many subjects in a correspondence course while working at the same time. I finally got a license. I wanted to get it, really. My wish was to broaden my horizon.

I think sweets are art. A chocolate is a jewel, cake is love. I love seeing people think about cakes a lot, which cake they will get (maybe for oneself? or for parents? or for a special person?). I have seen a lot of wonderful things in my life. A thousand broad smiles spread over everyone’s face. It’s like a magic.

Story: Erika Yoshida
Photos: Erika Yoshida