Southern Comfort::: The Past Four Years

I’m not sure where to start so I just will. It’s currently 9:50 pm and I’m sitting in my hotel room, without pants on, drinking the tequila my uncle got my sister and I for graduation, watching The Office. I move to California the day after tomorrow, and after saying bye to one of my closest friends my heart hurts. A lot.IMG_1122I moved around a lot as a kid, and I’ve gotten okay at saying goodbye. I know the people who are meant to be in my life will stick around. But this time, moving is different. For the first time it marks the end of a really huge chapter. It hurts. I came to Columbia, South Carolina as a fresh little 18-year-old. I was an upcoming freshman at The University of South Carolina and I didn’t know what to anticipate. What I got was a city that challenged me, thicker skin and friends who I can’t imagine life without. Columbia itself- as a city- is okay. There are some amazing spots that all the weirdos congregate to- hello Drip and NBT- and they’ve helped me when I’ve felt like my head’s going to explode. I always say Columbia isn’t a city and it’s not a town- it’s somewhere in between. The nightlife is okay, my favorite is a literal underground bar called The Whig, but what I like is the fact that it sort of just exists. You can drive 30 minutes to somewhere that feels like Mars, 2 hours to Charleston or 10 minutes to a beautiful cemetery- it has the charm of a little town and the perks of a (small) city. Columbia is it’s own kinda thing. It just does what it does and it’s kind of great.

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It takes time to recognize how a place has shaped you. I’m not sure I can even put into words the past four years but I’ll try. Columbia isn’t easy to live in if you’re not the status quo. It’s not. I’ve been getting the side eye from old Republicans for practically every day the past four years. I made a decision my freshman year to pretend that I was living in NYC and to wear whatever I want which is probably why I get all the side eyes. But here’s the thing!! Being true to who you are and shining your light means other people recognize that. In a city where weirdos are just that, you recognize the other weirdos. You gotta stick together. Going into a vintage//costume shop (Hip Wa Zee)  to apply for a job my sophomore year led to meeting one of my best friends and having one of the coolest jobs of my life. Sitting at my favorite coffee shop everyday and writing meant that I met some of my favorite people. Being the over the top, not chill human I am led me to some of the best memories of my life. College was cool but what Columbia taught me was that honoring who you are, no matter how hard it is, is worth every single side eye and judgmental look. IMG_0378

My room in Columbia was the first time that I found sanctuary. It was the first time I found my escape, the one place I could go to sit and reflect and listen to all the little things I’d been ignoring for too long. Columbia was the city where I grew up, where I had my heart broken, where I chased my dreams and explored and where I manifested my deepest desires. When my parents moved from Atlanta back to San Diego last July, Columbia became my home and safe haven. It became the city that understood what I felt and how I didn’t belong. Columbia has been MY first home- not my family’s- and I love it for that.

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It’s strange reflecting on my time here because it’s only been four years. But I’ve graduated and this marks the end of the biggest chapter of my life and that’s damn hard. I’ve never felt settled anywhere and it’s not something that I’ve always been able to deal with. This city has been comfortable but it’s stretched me and shaped me and it’s helped me accomplish some of my wildest dreams. I’ve met some of my best friends here, I’ve started my career here. I’ve found m sanctuary here. And for that- I say thank you.

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IMG_1285Pro- tip:: When you sell all your furniture, take photos with your baby succulent name Phyliss against your wall. AND never forget- bloom where you’re planted.

Here’s to the future.
XOXO,
Gabriela

Which Witch:: Gabriela Darko or Gabriela Ross?

The summer before 12th grade, a boy I was talking to told me to watch Donnie Darko three times in a row. I had never seen it and agreed blindly. I don’t think I’ve ever been the same. Almost every day for the rest of that summer, I would go to the guest room in the basement and put Donnie Darko on. I wish I could remember what I though the first time I saw it, or when I bought it on DVD, but I don’t. It feels like the movie has always been part of my life. I actually have to forget I own it, or I’ll watch it a million times in a row and neglect every other option on Netflix//DVD. I fell back into this pattern this past summer. 4ecdcac03de1fed257e9bb839114f67a

For those of you who haven’t seen Donnie Darko- shame. Who are you, what have you been doing? Anyway, I love this movie because it always leaves me in a weird mood. It leaves me fidgety, slightly uncomfortable, sad and happy at the same time. You know the feeling you get in your gut when things are about to change and everything feels slightly off but you can’t explain why? I call that “weird change-y feeling” and that, my friends, is Donnie Darko. A supernatural, 80’s teen love story featuring a giant bunny rabbit and time travel is exactly the kind of thing I’m into. Richard Kelly, who directed the movie, was fresh out of film school when he made this film. It was filmed Los Angeles in 2000 and was released the following year. I was living in Los Angeles while it was being filmed (which is something I just found out) and I’m moving back to LA in about three weeks. I’m planning on scouting some of the locations to relive some of my favorite scenes, but until then- here are two outfits inspired by my favorites…

Gretchen Ross

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Gretchen is elusive.. she’s mysterious, she’s tragic, she’s assertive. My personal interpretation of this movie is that tangent universe opened up so Donnie could fall in love- he wanted so badly to not die alone and even though he did, he died peacefully without regrets. Gretchen was this portal for him- “some people are just born with tragedy in their blood” after all. Gretchen’s relationship with Donnie happened because all he wanted was to love and be loved- aka not be alone- before he died. Gretchen and Donnie’s first kiss is one of my favorite on-screen snogs of all time. But, although I love Gretchen, she doesn’t really have the best style. I put my own spin on her look, switching out the hiking boots for oxfords and the track jacket for a fuzzy sweater. I think Gretchen would have been into cool, patched up mom jeans so I added that into the mix too.  1-66761-66781-66911-6664Gretchen-66691-66981-67061-6707Sweater:: H&M// Shirt:: Urban Outfitters// Jeans:: Zara1-6709

Donnie Darko

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Donnie looks as good in a slept-in tee as he does in his school uniform. It’s that brooding angst that really does it for me. Donnie is troubled, and he’s confused, but he’s also predictable when it comes to his wardrobe. I did his favorite look,tee shirt and jeans, in all black, with a simple leather backpack because Donnie makes his look ace and I wanted to channel my inner gothic school girl.  unspecified1-67271-67411-67391-67431-6749Shirt:: Basement band tee// Jeans:: Topshop// Sweatshirt:: Zara// Backpack:: Urban Outfitters1-6746

Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!
XOXO,
Gabriela

All photos by Alexandra Herstik

5 EASY WAYS TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEART WHEN IT’S HURTING

First off- my heart, my thoughts, my prayers- my everything- are with the Black community and people of color. I don’t know what it’s like but I am here. I am listening. I see you and hear you and feel you and love you. I pledge to be an advocate, an ally and a help in any way, shape or form I can. To all my witchy mama’s and papa’s- you can do this spell from Story By Tarot or this ritual from The Hoodwitch if you feel helpless and don’t know what to do.

It is important to stand up when you see injustice. See a call for action and take it- talk to your politicians, call out racism and don’t be afraid to use your voice (this especially goes for white people! We are the ones who need to be carving out a space for everyone. That is not the conquest of the oppressed.)

BUT- don’t forget to take care of your own needs in the process. You must tend to your own heart before you can tend to the world. Self care in times of political and economic crisis are of the upmost importance. When you are scared of blooming, when you are too frightened to find the sun, you cannot give your light to anyone else.

 

Here are 5 easy ways to take care of your own heart when it’s hurting.

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1. Buy yourself flowers (or something beautiful)

You can spend under $5 (hello Trader Joes) and still get a beautiful bouquet. Or, you can go to your local farmers market and get yourself a bunch of weird flowers while still supporting your community, which is where I got the babes pictured above! Even if you’re not interested in the metaphysical properties of flowers, I swear- buying yourself some will make you feel better. There is something so soothing about the temporary beauty and soft spirit that comes with flowers. They look like magick, they’re effortless, they smell good and you can dry them. I always like to take self portraits when I buy flowers which leads us to…

2. Make art

Create something. Take a self portrait, write a poem. It doesn’t even matter if it sucks- just try. Enjoy the process. Get messy- finger paint , sculpt, make daisy chains. It doesn’t matter but I promise once you start to make something you’ll feel better. And, if your artwork turns into something beautiful, even better. Art is a physical manifestation of love, right?

3. Watch something funny

My pick is “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” There’s something so comforting about how horrible the gang is. Laughter heals- it’s medicine. Laugh until your stomach hurts, laugh until you cry, laugh until you fart, laugh until you snort- this is a no judgment zone. Just make sure you laugh.

4. Clean

I hate cleaning. Seriously. I think it’s the worst. My definition of success is  being able to afford to hire someone to cook and clean for me. When my heart is upset (hello, today) I do like to clean! When your thoughts feel disorganized and heavy and dirty- cleaning is spiritual, both physically and energetically. Physically clearing your space allows your energy to relax. It clears the muck, it allows your aura to flow. Physically seeing the results of cleaning your environment gives your subconscious permission to do the same. Having a fresh space just feels better. Added bonus points if you smudge or burn incense when you’re done. It feels so good and even if it doesn’t- at least it’s clean!

5. Tell someone how much you love them

Take the time to text or call someone and tell them how much they mean to you. Then go deeper- why. How have they helped you evolve and learn about yourself? Tell someone why you love them and then tell them again and again. Have no one you want to talk to? Write a love letter to yourself. Passing on love makes your heart stronger. If you cannot receive love, give it until it comes back. It will come back.13620373_10153550675866207_7913389384887855294_nA crow flew by and this appeared as I began to write- what a beautiful omen. There is always light.

What’s your favorite way to heal?
XXXX
Gabriela

AMERICA THE BOOTIFUL

CmfDkXmWcAAp3zA.jpg-largeHey folks. I hope you’re spending time celebrating and drinking safely with your loved ones. It’s a hot one in Columbia, South Carolina and I’m currently sitting on my porch listening to Citizen while a car alarm goes off in the distance. I just spent time outside in the pool, drinking mimosas and basking in the New Moon vibes. The New Moon is in Cancer, asking us to revisit patterns//relationships relating to our emotional well being. Feel your feeling aka super emotional time.Today’s the one day a year I wear the American flag and put my hair in victory rolls. It’s the first time I’ve done this look and I’m feeling it. Anyway- Happy American Day guys. Be thankful of your privilege, recognize what today actually celebrates and help make a better tomorrow.13557804_10153537242666207_1042984770385121713_n 13438887_10153537435806207_1839763534167574790_n Resized_20160704_153529(0)Bathing suit from Forgotten Feather Vintage.13592296_10153537435816207_4510175897760735494_nKeep America boo-tiful (and bootyfull) inside and out fam.

Sunday Style::: Ghost Outfit Forever

Happy Sunday to all of you humans out there. We made it. Another week has gone by and we’ve survived. Heck yeah, I’ll drink to that. I’ve been celebrating this past week because I landed an internship with one of my idols and I am very excited! unspecifiedSo of course I celebrated by wearing what I would want to be dressed in for eternity, a ghost outfit if you will. If I were to die in a moment- this what I would die in and wear for the rest of my ghost life. This dress is one of my favorites- I got in H&M in London for London Fashion Week, which I did end up wearing it to (see below)!10523319_10152577553026207_1669849353173043297_nThis dress was with me for my interview for Rick Owens, which I also landed (still in shock that happened!)and it was with me to interview for Vivienne Westwood.Ck3LqDqUgAAU4kRunspecified-2This dress is me in my element. It’s simple but interesting, it can be worn a ton of ways and it will always feel sexy. This outfit was important for me because it was a physical manifestation of what I feel like- this is it. This is exactly what I want to look like (there’s only so much you can change)- and that feels damn good. I got these shoes from Topshop for fashion week as well, and they were another good spiritual//physical investment. I love these things. I wore a leather bra that I got from Ivory and my all time best investment on these $10 hot pants- and this $1 clip. It’s weird recognizing hard work pay off- there isn’t anything wrong with it folks. Recognize! Pay it forward! Wear a good outfit!unspecified-3unspecified-4 unspecified-1                                                         Stay sharp, my friends. Happy Sunday.

All photos by Alexandra Herstik.

WHAT TO WEAR WHEN YOU’RE OBNOXIOUSLY HUNGOVER

Sometimes it happens. You don’t eat enough, you go too hard, and you wake up feeling like death incarnate the next morning. We’ve all been there- hangovers are a part of life, for the most of us, after all. And even when you puke in the bathroom of your favorite brunch place (aka me last Saturday) it always helps to at least look decent. I never thought I would be the sort of girl who bought a baseball cap but I had a moment of weakness at Urban Outfitters and had to buy it. I think sober me was looking out for hungover me because let me tell you- it’s an easy way to look put together when you don’t feel it.

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I paired this cap with a vintage slip dress from Ivory at Forgotten Feather, a cut out bra from Urban Outfitters, my favorite bucket bag from Zara and loafers from Target.

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If you want to steal my look- go for it. Click below to shop! And don’t forget- if you drink, be smart, don’t drive and know your limits! it’s okay to be hungover. Just drink water, look cute and let your body rest.

 

What to wear when you're hungover AF

When Anxiety Gets Ahold of You

IMG_8732When things get hard, buy yourself flowers. Make yourself some tea. Read poetry. Write bad poetry and then write poetry that’s even worse than that- you have to start somewhere so just start. Write beautiful poetry about love. Write a poem on a napkin about someone who hurt you and then tear it up and throw it out. Wear something that makes you feel like stardust. Wear nothing but your skin. Sleep in late or wake up early and spend some time under the rising or setting sun. Tell someone you’re hurting. Ask them for their help. Breathe deeply- five in and five out. Take a photo that reminds you how beautiful you are. Take a bath. Go to therapy. Park your car at the top of your parking garage, open all the windows, blast your favorite album and dance until you can’t feel your legs. Go out. Spend some time in a coffee shop with a good book. Go over to a friends house and watch a bad movie- make funny comments the whole time. Buy a journal and cover every page with your worries- go over them and paint them into something else. Let them live there.

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Feel your feelings and don’t say sorry.

Saturdazae::: Bloody Maria’s and Metallics

I’M BACK IN THE SOUTH! I spent ten days in California and it was chill! I got back on Thursday at 4am. We flew into Charlotte-  where we found my sister’s car battery dead, thanks to me leaving a light on. That’s the second car battery I’ve killed in the past month. What even…The rest of Thursday was spent in a haze. It feels like today’s the first day that I am starting to feel like I’m back to a good internal clock.IMG_8506

Anyway, I’m glad it’s finally my favorite day of the week! Saturday is my absolute, guilt free lazy day. It’s my day to not do anything I don’t want to do and I absolutely love it. I love staying up really late and sleeping in on Saturday’s, or going to Soda City, Columbia’s farmers weekly market, if I actually wake up. Yesterday was spent staying up until 6am watching Bob’s Burgers and sleeping until 1pm today. Scorpio Moon, ya’ll. But I don’t have any plans and I don’t feel guilty about it!  I got lunch and drank a Bloody Maria and I’m currently sitting on my porch with no pants so I am content. IMG_8514I watched “Addams Family Values” for the first tim all the way through “as an adult” last night and oh my god. I get it. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be an Israeli, Mexican witch living in Columbia, South Carolina- it’s like that. Also, as someone who had to go to outdoor summer camp for over a decade and hated it- I feel for Wednesday and Pugsly. Going into 7th grade, my parents sent me to a Jewish sleepaway camp for a month. I had never been to sleepaway camp and I already considered myself a witch- I did not want to go. I cried every day for a week straight.

Camp was the worst and suburban normies are (usually) the worst too! There’s nothing fun or important about failing to use your voice and be your own person, and judging people for this, and for not falling into your realm of comfort, is lame. Anyway, I loved the movie and am once again, reminded how Morticia Addams is probably the best fictional character ever and that she is severely underrated. Goals, am I right. IMG_8518 IMG_8519 Bodysuit:: American Apparel// Shoes:: Vagabond// Bag: Zara// Bolo, skirt, jacket:: VintageIMG_8520I hope you all have Saturday’s spent with people you love, dancing or relaxing!
XOXO,
Gabriela

On Being Enough

I have always felt the touch of envy. The kind of cold that burns. I have been consumed by it, believe me, it’s in my temperament. My Scorpio Moon burys its embers past my gaze and all of the sudden I’m enveloped… or maybe that’s just how it was.

For a really, really long time I considered myself to be a jealous person. It’s only until recently that I realized I wasn’t jealous- I was just insecure. And it wasn’t even a really obvious kind of insecurity. For a really long time I wasn’t expressing myself the way I wanted to be. I always felt too young, a little bit off and I wasn’t quiet happy with how I looked (I was also a very late bloomer so you know there’s that.) The thing is, that’s normal. It’s okay to not be 100% content with yourself-  but it is also important to love yourself in the process of becoming whoever it is you want to be. But- it’s important to realize the only person you can ever be is yourself. 

I was comparing myself to other people-  the way I acted, the way I dressed and the way I looked. I was expecting other people’s expectations- and not my own. I will never look like anyone else. I will never have anyone else’s interests. I will never have anyone else’s story- and for a long time, part of me wanted that because you know, the grass is always greener.

It’s not that the envy or the jealousy has gone away. I just view it differently. I will never be another girl- and wishing to be someone else, or to be in someone else’s situation isn’t going to solve anything. The world doesn’t need a million of the same person. Seriously. Having the privilege to be who you are is just that-  a privilege. And if you’re able to walk this Earth in your most authentic skin and soul… that is damn special.

I will never have blue eyes, I will never (naturally) have bigger boobs, or smaller thighs or a “chiller” attitude. If I feel threatened by something or someone, I ask why. I learn. I dig- and I’m still trying to do this. To not let my envy consume me. I am not perfect, by any means. And there is always better to do- but that’s not the point.

I will always be the brown eyed, no chill, goat loving, witchcraft weaving, granddaughter of holocaust survivors that I am. I will only ever be Gabriela Lorraine Herstik. And now, instead of seeing someone else and feeling jealous, or like I am less than, I encourage. I sympathize. I see what I like about that person, and that situation, and remind myself that the things that make me me are just as good. We are all important. We are all special. But until we give permission to ourselves to be who we are meant to be- on our own terms- then we will not know peace because peace has to start with ourselves.

MAY IN REVIEW

May was a whirlwind-  I can’t even believe it’s almost over. I graduated college, bummed around and balanced my time between being productive and being lazy, eating ice cream and taking it easy.May in Columbia is the best because it’s not sticky and overwhelmingly hot- it’s bearable and for the most part actually enjoyable, and once school’s out, the city slows down. Southern summers aren’t so bad.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time on rooftops with my twin  Alexandra, who captured me in the photo above. But that’s not all I’ve been up to!

Here’s what I’ve been doing/ listening to/ watching this past month. Enjoy.

The Accessory:: Root Vegetable Head Scarf

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I got this scarf at Hip Wa Zee for $2 and almost puked! It has the sweetest root veggies on it- aka BEETS- aka the greatest vegetable there is. They’re the prettiest color, stain everything and taste like dirt- I get it. I paired the scarf with the heels I got for graduation, my favorite Topshop jeans, and a tank top and sunnies from Urban Outfitters. I wanted to keep the silhouettes of this look sleek to make sure the scarf popped. Red lipstick seemed like a natural choice.

The Cemetery:: Elmwood

IMG_6850I know a lot of people have a very hard time hanging out or visiting cemeteries, but for me they’re a place of peace, of reflection, of love and remembrance and honor. I’ve been spending sunny afternoons in Elmwood  Cemetery, with some tarot cards, my Book of Shadows, the song of the crows and sometimes some friends. Elmwood is huge- it’s 169 acres and was established in 1854. I’ve been to Elmwood alone plenty of times and have never been bothered- it’s peaceful, safe and a sanctuary that I never anticipated finding in Columbia. IMG_6628My beautitful, long lost triplet Amanda came to visit me from Charleston and we spent our afternoon basking under the sun. We read tarot and talked and laughed with Amelia of The Midheaven and Ivory of Forgotten Feather in what we realized is our newly formed coven- each of our astrological signs represent a different element, and our names even spell GAIA. Goddess Squad!

The Soundtrack:: True Widow

True Widow popped up on my Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist a couple weeks ago, and it’s probably the best thing to happen to me in a long, long time. True Widow is the dark, stoner rock I never knew I needed. I love having new music to dive into, especially if there are three albums worth of tunes to learn.

You know how sometimes you find music that sounds like the feelings you’re having?True Widow’s self-titled album does that for me- especially Flat Black. It makes me feel like I’m in some weird movie, and I love it. It’s a an auditory manifestation of all the feelings I’m feeling, and that’s pretty magical. 

 

The View:: The Quarry

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“The Quarry” is a magical place, somewhere deep in the woods of Columbia, South Caroline, where a (clay?) mine once was. And as horrible as this place is for Mama Earth, I can’t hep but admire the otherworldly beauty that it holds. I’ve only been here a couple of times, but each one has been special and magical, peaceful and relaxing- and slightly familiar. The vivid reds, lavenders and cerulean blues are overwhelming., as are the cliffs and acres of trees that surround the two biggest pools of water. It is truly incredible.

One of  my most unfounded childhood fears was my fear of quicksand- as if after a California rain, the sand at the playground would consume me whole. Thankfully I’ve never had to deal with this fear- until I was at the quarry and sunk hip deep into quicksand. Thankfully I knew that I wouldn’t go much farther, and that if you keep still it doesn’t keep pulling you down. After freaking out for a second, I regained my composure and pulled myself out- shoes and all.  Godspeed! IMG_6505IMG_6576You have to park and then wander to get to the quarry, and thankfully this is right where I parked my car. I’ve been watching Donnie Darko repeatedly over the past few weeks (see below) and this clearing with this couch and sick television is as close as I will get to having the field Donnie hangs out in.

The Movie:: Donnie DarkoIMG_6802

When I was 17 I was told to watch Donnie Darko– three times in a row if I could- and I did and I’ve been watching it obsessively since. The movie follows Donnie Darko, a suburban teenage boy, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who has to save the world from its end when a parallel universe occurs.IMG_6822

I always forget I have this movie on DVD, probably on purpose subconsciously, because once I remember I won’t watch anything else. I’ve watched Donnie Darko every day this past week with no regrets. I recently realized it’s my favorite movie- the only one I can watch over and over without getting sick of it. It always manages to put me in a weird mood. So if you haven’t watched it, don’t tell me that and watch it. And if you have watched it- watch it again. You’re welcome.

The Twilight Zone Episode:: Eye of the BeholderIMG_6629

Donnie Darko may be my favorite movie, but The Twilight Zone is easily my favorite show. One of the most amazing things about this show is the values and lessons it teaches- over 50 years later and the episodes are still relevant. Case in point- “Eye of the Beholder”, an episode that examines what it means to be beautiful- and why it’s all objective anyway. If you haven’t seen this famous episode, watch it! It rings especially true during a time when all politics seem to focus on is what separates us from one another.

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