this is partially why i haven't been blogging as much lately.

I designed this, in case you were wondering. (ha!)
I stole the image from a magazine called "The Japan Architect." It is a structure filled with helium, floating in the room.


the rite of spring.

(growing grass, accompanied by Stravinsky's famous piece:)Of all seasons, spring is the most romanticized. My personal iconography of spring recalls simple die-cuts of bright yellow daffodils and red kites stapled to an elementary school bulletin board.

It's not that I don't love the green evidence of newness and promises of milder weather, It's just that I think all of that growth comes with a painful price that is typically overlooked.

New beginnings mean old endings. Springtime is difficult in terms of school. Not only do you find yourself battling preparations for final exams, but you likewise discover which scholarships you were not awarded; to which programs you were not accepted. Spring requires juggling a demanding present, simultaneously forcing some deep stabs of reality directed at your future.

Springtime is difficult in terms of relationships. The possibility of new relationships indicates the reality of older ones fading. And a slightly scary vulnerability inevitably accompanies the exciting freshness of any relationship.

I recognize that I may sound pessimistic, and it's not my intention. I just believe that there are huge blows of pain we must swallow to truly taste the fruits of constructive growth. There's no season that I feel this more strongly. Even childbirth involves carnage; spears of new grass penetrating upward through soil can appear violent.

I think Stravinksy's "Rite of Spring" illustrates my feelings about springtime perfectly.
Quoting Wikipedia in regard to the piece's May 29, 1913 premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris :
At the start with the opening bassoon solo, the audience began to boo loudly due to the slight discord in the background notes behind the bassoon's opening melody. There were loud arguments in the audience between supporters and opponents of the work. These were soon followed by shouts and fistfights in the aisles. The unrest in the audience eventually degenerated into a riot.
A masterpiece marked by initial dissatisfaction.


which film would you prefer to see?

2.Something I've been working on. typography = everything.


love knows no bounds.

Meet my new friend Normandie:I met her in my typography class this semester. She is 19 (and always says,"But I'm almost 20...") She loves to talk as much as I do, likes M.I.A., the smell of lavender, wearing bright colors, and is torn between the worlds of graphic design and illustration.
But the bottom line, the real issue is this: Sometimes you just meet someone that you know is good and sweet and kind and sincere to the core. This is Normandie, and I just wanted to let everyone know.



My mother is absolutely straight-faced convinced that thrift store shopping runs in our genes. My great aunts, Tommie and Golden were thrift shoppers before her, and she's done her best to pass the tradition down.
Of course, as a kid, I hated it. Kindergarten was brutal enough with the portable IV and uncontrollable bladder, let alone the second-hand clothes.

But growing up in a home where the established mindset was to appreciate the design, quality, color, or texture of something that was discarded by others may have made all the difference in my life.

When I wanted to paint at 8, my mother found me a painting set at the DI with a well used wooden easel and lots of brushes (I still have this.) When I wanted to play the flute at 11, she bought me a $70 one from a pawn shop (I still have this too.) When I wanted to sew, she bought me a$15 Bernina sewing machine (the one I still use.) To this day, my mom still finds and buys second-hand items I might find useful. (The latest purchase was a pack of two paintbrushes for $.50 waiting for me in my bedroom when I returned from school.)

Jr High was embarrassing because there's no time in life when name brand products feel so important; but by the time I became a junior in high school, I had it down. My favorite shirt was a lovely, swamp green 100% cotton weave shirt with yellow beading around the neckline
(as pictured above.)
With thrift shopping as my only real clothing resource, I taught myself about innovation and style. I learned to evaluate "good" design outside the realms of cultural popularity.

I'm not sure I would've learned this any other way.

My friend Jared's art, composed of second-hand objects:


product review.

I've avoided doing this because I haven't wanted to cement the notion about females that tampon commercials portray: That women have nothing better to do than sit around and talk about what products they use.
That being said, there are some products that are helpful and inexpensive enough that I'm happy I don't have to live without them. And, weirdly enough, people always seem to ask what products I use. I was finally motivated by Cambrie's most recent post.

1. The shu uemura eyelash curler. Seriously. I can't say it enough. This is more effective than mascara.Only $20 and you can use it forever.

2.Burt's Bees chapstick. For boys and girls alike. Maybe slightly more than other chapstick, but so worth it. $3

3. Johnson & Johnson lavender scented baby oil. Smells so good that people ask what perfume I'm wearing and makes my skin softer than any expensive lotion. Apply to wet skin post-showering and pre-toweling. $5

4. Noxema disposable razors. Seriously, for someone obsessed with having smooth legs, (I shave everyday) this is the closest shave I have found. Way better than the Venus. Discovered when I showered at Whitney's house and borrowed Andie's.
$5 for 4.

5. Cover Girl lip gloss. I use this instead of lip stick. I have way fancier lip gloss (Burt's Bees, Smashbox) but this is my favorite. Lasts super long and not so sparkly. $3

6. Mary Kay lengthening mascara. The only Mary Kay product I've ever tried because Miriam gave it to me because her skin was sensitive to it. Super black, super waterproof, not clumpy. $10

7. Smashbox Fusion: "On in 5" works as an eyeshadow, bronzer, and blush in one. Amazing, compact, practical. Normally $30, but I got a deal at Ulta. Maybe still worth it for $30 because it's so versatile.

8. Good blush brush for application. I recommend retractable and real bristles (not plastic.)$20, but you can use it forever.

9. Almay Eyeliner. Hypoallergenic enough that even I can use it. (I'm even allergic to my tears.) Lasts all day. I use brown.$7


who does she think she is?

I will never forget when I announced to my former mother-in-law that I was going to start working at the temple.
"I think it's great, but can you really do it all? I think you've got to give something else up."
She was almost right. My schedule was fully loaded. I was working full-time in the garment manufacturing plant, volunteering teaching NAMI classes once a week, teaching in Relief Society, taking a class at BYU, and struggling for survival in a demanding and unhealthy marriage.
I'm not sure if I ever said it out loud to anyone, but this repeated silently in my head all of the time:
I am absolutely convinced that I can do everything.

And I was right. I accomplished and balanced that whole list with great success. Taking care of myself catalyzed the courage to leave and insist on divorce. It was like catching a glimpse of my true identity made me see how necessary is was to get myself back.

I've been a little weird lately, just the past couple of weeks. Lonely, self-conscious; lacking energy to accomplish my many obligations.

Tonight in the seminar class that I TA for, we watched a documentary called "Who Does She Think She Is?" It's about women artists who attempt to do it all: marriage, mothering, art. Somehow it struck such a chord with me that I had to hold back tears. I was reminded of my propensity to give myself up in order to please others and how I must fight it.

It's inspired me to make this public manifesto: I am not holding back. I am going to be the type of women I think I should and can be. And I am still absolutely convinced that I can do everything.

It's vague enough that nobody will know what that really means excepting for myself, but that doesn't matter. It's got to be public lest I forget.

The documentary also reminded me of how elusive my dreams of romance can be. There is a Mormon woman highlighted in the film who maintains her marriage, but the majority of the others are/get divorced.

My brother read this poem aloud to my family the first time we gathered to see his new child. He wrote it for his wife while she was in labor. I can't think of a better way to describe what am looking for in a marriage other than to just post it:


When, I, as a child, to earth did come

The number to which I belonged, was One

--One King of The Mountain, alone I would be

--One winner of all things I wanted for me

--One boy to be cared for—my needs to sustain

--One boy to be heard—all my joy and my pain

And what’er the problems of others might be

The real ones counting—they added to me

For when weighing the listings of tasks to be done

Important ones seemingly upheld my ONE

And all was quite perfect, for shouldn’t it be

That that which was worthwhile supported my Me?

And life, I had figured, was fantastic and fun

As long as it nurtured the concept of One

And then came the day that I flew into you

My One bursting into a beautiful Two

For two on life’s lakes far outshines the one

Bearing twice the joy with a bigger sun

And ideas of One: so soon surpassed

By the wholeness of us two, at last

And blessed with your love I’ve grown stone sure

That I’ll return to One no more

For like a weak broth has One become

Next the banquet of Two—its joy and its sun

--The best part of me I’ve now offered to you

As I’ve happily rambled this world of Two

For even in moments when wand’ring apart

I now beat for Two, within my heart

And my anthem become something much richer and true

By embracing the treasure of living for Two

And to this moment we’ve come at last

When our love of two has been surpassed

Like a conqu’ring sea against the shore

Our family’s love now beats for more

So to us, my love, no wonder it be

That the marvel of Two now blossoms to Three

And like the castle on bulwarks stands

The pow’r of three it takes command

O’er an accounting of life’s most important of parts

And affixes them, soundly, within our hearts

No longer partakers alone will we be

But Creators and Stewards to care for our Three

And I wonder—though trav’ling lands mystic and tall

If this won’t be our greatest adventure of all?

--One to out-do the luster of life’s former shines?

--One to forge a foundation outlasting mere time?

Yes, a symphony much more complete will life be

In tending our priceless garden of Three

And so now, with hands held, and hearts free to soar

We shall nurture our Three, God’s entrustment of More

And to you—my love—all respect do I give

The purpose and reason I now choose to live

For life’s greatest treasures I attribute to you

My perfect, miraculous treasure of Two

For what’er life’s torrents might possibly be

With you at my side, we’ll now revel in Three.


I just bought 20 empty, blank dvd cases for $70. Being a graphic design student is weird. And a little frustrating.


school is my sole companion.

My friend, Mark, told me over a virgin mojito Saturday night that he video chats while studying. He explained that it's like digitally sitting at opposite ends of a library table, clicking at a keyboard or silently reading; enjoying another's presence, but remaining detached enough to complete individual homework assignments.

Today I had to a lot of Spanish studying to do. I scouted and claimed the most comfortable table with the most aesthetic lighting and the most scenic view. After two hours I realized that the frequency of glancing at my cell phone was increasing. I kept hoping for a blinking red light indicating a text message. I couldn't stop checking the time.

A boy approached and silently motioned for permission to sit at the opposite end of my table. He was red and sweaty. I could smell him from where I was sitting.
He pulled out a Russian textbook and scribbled sloppy words with a ballpoint pen on some wide rule paper. He never removed his earbuds.
Somehow his smelly and wordless presence calmed me. I stopped checking my phone and focused more clearly.

I felt some regret when he got up to leave.


spring fever.


to the sisters.

I picked up this 24k gold shu uemura eyelash curler in Las Vegas on the way to California.
I joked that I bought it "because I like hip hop" and my friends on the trip were saying things like, "You deserve it, girl!"
I actually felt pretty silly about it and kept over-explaining that I really bought it because I hope to be less allergic to it than the regular eyelash curler. But I'll confess that I do feel pretty fancy when I whip it out.
Jenny, Mom, Marie, and Miriam: You're welcome to use it anytime.


more about facebook.

So this English major in my Spanish class asked me for my full name so he could add me as a friend on facebook. He said he would give me recommendations for creative writing teachers (because I want to take a creative writing class in the fall.)

After our next Spanish class, he started walking with me and asked me if I wanted to get some lunch.

"Sorry, I've got plans. I'm gonna meet up with a friend to sew some t-shirts."

"Sew t-shirts? That seems kinda hippie-ish."

"Yeah, I guess I'm kinda a hippie."

"Wow, that seems so random...I guess not many people sew."

I cannot the remember the small talk that occurred in the time lapse before we stopped at the crosswalk. As we're waiting for the light to change, there's a conversational pause, and then he says in sarcastic tone,"Uh, so I didn't know that you had an ex-husband with bi-polar disorder and that you loved hip hop."

"mmmmm...yeah, I did... and I do."

When he can see the sincerity of the statement on my face, he panics.

"Oh my gosh, you're not joking?"


"Oh man, I just read a little bit of that essay on your link from your facebook page and assumed it was a joke; but it's all real?"

"Yeah... it is."

After all that, he still had the guts to ask me for my number.


I am so happy that people can't track their page stats on facebook.I got this awesome pic of Mary Wollenzein off Whitney's facebook page and am now posting it to my blog.



In the class where we took trips to NYC and California, we also did a collaborative painting project.

The rule was this: We could paint anything we wanted, but my teacher, Joe Ostraff (who is so wonderful) could paint over it, scrape or sand it off, and ultimately have full creative control.

All of them are to be shown in galleries and Joe will split the profits between all of us after taking out the cost of the materials.

I started out trepidaciously and played it safe. Nothing bold; every stroke could be painted over very easily.

A couple of weeks ago, Joe told us each to choose a painting and finish it. He was still going to have ultimate control, but he wanted us to get one as close as possible to what we thought "finished" was.

Story crux, mine made the cut, and here it is. It looks better now that it's sealed with beeswax; maybe I'll put a new image up sometime.

My graphic design teacher said I should include it in my design portfolio.

Explanation: I was thinking about how soldiers spend an enormous portion of their lives training how to not get killed. There must be a huge sense of invincibility associated with that.


all the way from china.

I smiled when I received this email yesterday:

From: Mike Alger
Date: Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 6:50 PM
Subject: wordle.net
To: Laura Barlow

when I saw this site, your blog was the first thing I wanted to use it on.

Another reason I love Mike Alger. I'm already excited for him to back.
Check out his adventures here.


hint hint.

I would die to have one of these, in case you were wondering.
The designer's website.

i miss the beach.

Sketching in California:
Thanks to JJ for the pic (which is way better than my sketch.)


sister love.

Can you believe these two are sisters and not spouses? I got it off someone else's facebook account...


norwegian wood.

Someone told me that I reminded them of darkly stained wood grain.
I've decided to take it as a major compliment.


bad day.

My brother, Tom, fell in love with this small, striped, jacket when he was in high school. He found it at the D.I. and bought it with hopes that a future son would wear it. Only one out of his 4 children is male, and the moment the picture above was shot is the longest Tom ever got him to wear it.
For some reason, I love this story. I love that Tom was the kind of person who bought an item of childrens' clothing while he was still in high school and that Sam (his son) doesn't get how great that is (yet.)

And, on a smaller, and somewhat cheesier level, it also demonstrates how life never goes as planned.

Yes, I'm admitting that today was a bad one. I never admit this. I announced to the kid that I gave a ride to tonight at 8:57 pm that "this is as grumpy as I get."

I have a whole list of reasons to be grumpy: They're all tangled in one mess of having offish hormones, being in the same building staring at a computer screen for 14 hours, having developed a new rash around my eyes, money, deadlines, being a Spanish moron, relationship issues, strange advice...

But in all honesty, this is the first bad day I've had since one other bad day I can remember from the summertime. That's still pretty lucky.

I'm also headed to California tomorrow for another vacation where I'll be until Monday. That's pretty lucky too.


tennis = skirt.

I made a deal with my little brother that I would learn to play tennis while he was on his mission. He is amazing at tennis and needs someone around to at least hold a game.
I agreed and haven't thought much about it until I registered for my spring term classes today. I considered the possible cost of equipment and felt a little hesitant until I remembered the overall aesthetic of the game. In what other sport do the women get to wear skirts? Good thing I have an excuse to adopt the style.
Let's just say, with the Adidas Stella McCartney line out, I wish I had thousands of dollars to spend on tennis equipment.
I hope I get good enough to justify an attractive tennis get-up someday. Maybe I'll have to make one for myself.
Can you tell I'm not a natural athlete?