fake it 'til you make it

abbey crain

I'm a model.
I'm a writer.
I'm an artist.
I'm happy.
I'm good. 

I honestly have no clue what I'm doing. Five years ago this month I started this blog with a closet full of Forever21 clothes waiting to be styled and a few friends who wanted to practice their photography. I didn't think I was pretty enough to be a fashion blogger. And I don't think my life is exciting enough to be a lifestyle blogger. But somewhere along the way I kept going; and kept posing; and kept writing. 


This fake it 'til you make it attitude has pushed me in promising directions over the last half decade. When i started blogging I told my self I was pretty enough to be seen, to be put on display, vulnerable. I still have a hard time feeling confident enough to post that Instagram, that blog post, but I do so I am. I am a model.

My job is to write and I write in my free time, for fun even. But I still have a hard time calling myself a writer. I don't know if that's the stifled southern woman in me, never wanting to give myself credit where the credit is truly do, or if I just don't feel like what I imagine the great Beat writers feel like. We aren't that different after all. Here I am sipping black coffee in a small shop typing away. The only difference is the manner in which our fingers move, pen to paper and fingers to computer keys. I am a writer. 

I was an art minor in college and continue to practice the arts in plethora of ways. I've designed my apartment decor just so. I paint. I garden. Yet I feel almost queasy calling myself an artist. But I am one, you know. I am an artist.

I've become more myself over the last few years, owning the fact that my moods are not moods and something that I often can't control. I get stuck and I get down. And when I'm down the only way I can get up is to pretend. To say I am worthy, worth happiness, worthwhile. I say I am happy and good and I am. I am happy and good. 

I say that I am and I am. I am a strong, artist, model, writer, a good person. I am happy. I am. 

Side story: My friend Sarah was taking photos for my blog in Nashville and a handsome man confronted us with his big official-looking camera. He was photographing a model for a local magazine. He asked us what we were doing. "Blogging," I replied confidently. He patronizingly asked what kind of blog I ran and questioned what I was wearing. Sarah continued to photograph me while he asked more about me. Without skipping a beat I told him I was a lifestyle blogger in Brooklyn and worked for the Wall Street Journal. I know I didn't look like the conventional bubbly blogger in my shapeless overalls and medium frame. But I told him WHO I was and he eventually backed off.



One of my good friends would always clean her room, purging it of excess, after a breakup or a particularly tough time in her life. I would walk in her room and she would be carefully putting everything into its place while sweeping the leftover into plastic bags. Beloved, but unworn sweaters became thrift fodder and bits of crafts yet to be finished finally trashed. She spring cleaned year round.

After this especially brutal winter, I’ve decided to do a purge as well, narrowing down my closet and throwing out the overflowing apartment accoutrements. Minimal is in after all. After two years of being in my well-loved apartment, I am already itching to start over in a new clean space, redecorate, and start over. But in the meantime I’m just going to be paring everything down. It is in fact possible to have too many vases, leftover candle holders, scratched-up skillets, moth-eaten sheet sets to be saved for guests, and free by way of street trash cookbooks.

So here’s to dressing simpler, an edited apartment, and clearer headspace. Hopefully my big clean will inspire my creativity more and I can get back to painting.

If you're interested, here's a link to clothes I am selling on Poshmark.


[shirt-madewell (old) pants-urbanoutfitters, shoes-steve madden, earrings-jcrew]

how to dress for a woman

“Well you dressed up,” my friends would chide as I strolled up to meet them after school.

I never told them, but it was for them.

In high school I wore a uniform to class, but would tear off my plaid skirt and collared shirt as soon as I got home, trading it for something bolder. This was usually some combination of flouncy dress and tights or boutique top and coordinating earrings. While my friends showed up at our after school events in sweatshirts and jeans, I proudly sported my ensembles to peacock for the other girls. I knew most guys wouldn’t appreciate the styles I’d concocted, but I lived for the compliments of other girls. Even if it was just a “well you dressed up” from my closest pals. Since then I’ve continued to collect the courtesies of my lady counterparts.

The difference between dressing for a woman and dressing for a man I suppose depends on the person. When I’m dressing for a man, my man, I pair down my look to the barest of essential elements. A simple v-neck sweater and curve-hugging jeans usually do the trick. But when dressing for women, my closet’s contents begs to be experimented with, sweaters over dresses over pants, scarves over crop tops over collars. To dress for a woman is to dress for yourself, almost. Because if I truly dressed for myself I’d never leave my pjs.

Women appreciate a bold lip, a sparkly lid. Women appreciate the clothing recipes other women lose sleep over the night before brunch. Women appreciate the balancing act of putting together a work appropriate outfit that transitions to night with the slip of a bra strap and the nudge of a sweater vest.

And that is why I dress for them.

Completely inspired by this piece from The Man Repeller, my first discovery of like minded, fashion-forward women.

reckoning with my roots

I’ve been thinking a lot about my southern identity since listening to the This American Life spin-off podcast, S-town. Being a southerner is complicated today. It’s hard to embrace my roots when so much of it is gnarled and bent up in a divided political climate. But I can’t help but to love those roots that fed me and gave me a safe space to lay my head, the roots that ground me.

Growing up I never identified as a southern girl. Even as an elementary schooler, writing “Alabama” on a sweepstakes entry to win Limited Too clothes, I feared I’d be judged by store owners for my divisive home state. At 10 and 11 I knew being from Alabama meant something.

I remember being called out for my accent on a trip to Pennsylvania. I remember my cheeks turning red hot, eyes welling with tears. I repeated my words carefully without rounding my vowels, cutting off each syllable so as to hide the small drawl my family taught me. I get asked today where my accent is, as if I’m hiding it, as if locating the accent would have lessened my worth in my new home state.

But the South is not just accents and overalls, dated beliefs and big families. It is all of those things, but if you take the time to look closer, the hard lines formed in tradition have cracks. The cracks are filled with history so deep we truly believe the adopted traditions swiped from others are our own. Our pride swells so big that fact sometimes falls to the wayside. And our beliefs are so strong we forget the value of another’s upbringing. Sometimes our “well-meaning” is really just our stubborn roots. We were taught that way you know.

Today I find myself somewhere in between. I’ve grown up and out in many ways. I have a hard time identifying with southern stereotypes, the characteristics my friends and family posses. But I cherish them. These identifiers help me navigate my place in this world by grounding me in a culture of hard working, nurturing, welcoming people. I may have lost most of my drawl, but I still possess the fruit of my upbringing, my roots.

S-town reminded me of the complicated characters that inhabit rural Alabama and seep into the politics and PTAs of the bigger cities. But I am one too, a southerner. I don’t fit the stereotype of conservative, judgmental, Bible-thumper, but even if I did I’m sure there’d be more to me than those adjectives. There would be a reason I was that way. And it would be everyone else’s job to dig just a little bit deeper just as the other side requires of the former.

I don’t really know where I was going with this, just that I feel all sorts of protective about my home characters after everyone got to see the dirty parts of southern culture in S-town. In these tumultuous divided times, may we remember to give the same second thought to misunderstood strangers as we hope others give us.

apartment nooks

New York can sometimes be overstimulating. So I take my apartment decorating pretty seriously. I am a homebody after all.

It’s taken me a while, but I finally feel like my apartment is where I want it to be. Complete with cozy corners and curated nooks, I finally feel at home in my home. My decorating style is a bit all over the place, as I assume most people’s first big girl apartments are. I’ve found the best deals at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond, and swiped art and furniture from the side of the road.

I can’t wait to start registering for big girl homewares for our wedding. I suppose I’ll have to do an updated apartment tour then. But until then here’s a look at some of my favorite apartment “moments.”

five little things

To Listen. Stown. I’m sure you’ve heard of it and I’m just singing into the podcast recommendation echo chamber, but if you haven’t… This beautiful, complicated, tragic look into rural Alabama has me itching to hear more southern voices. Southern identity is multi-faceted, and I think the makers of This American Life and Serial knocked this story out of the park.

To Taste. My childhood friends still raves about these coconut cupcakes I made for her birthday when we were in high school. I’m thinking about making them for myself this weekend. (p.s. Happy birthday, Em!)

To Do. Check out your town’s First Friday or First Saturday events. I think I’m going to check out First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

To Buy. I’ve been a bit more adventurous with my makeup on the weekends. This glitter lip topper has been my favorite Saturday addition. You just can’t help but feel like a fairy glitter witch, if that’s what you’re going for. Use this link for $5 off.

To Watch. If you’re not watching Big Little Lies what are you doing? Binge the miniseries to catch the finally this Sunday.