EITHER / OR with Jess Astrella

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This past May, Paper Epiphanies collaborated with artist Jess Astrella to produce ten beautiful cards. #JROCROxPE These cards are united by the women contained within, each holding a sign encapsulating a moment. Some of these cards are vulnerable, others silly, but all offer the relatable, heartfelt content that we strive to produce. In order to introduce #JROCROxPE with you all, we wanted to share a bit about the genius behind this line. Thus, we asked the fabulous Jess some Either/Or questions with some amusing results!

But first a little about Jess…

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jess has lived in a variety of places from New York to Texas. Her business, J.RoCro stems from her maiden name Jessica Rose Crowell, which changed after she married her ‘darling’ husband. Today she is back in Portland with a new puppy, and a baby on the way, producing art and building her business. Jess’s work is a special brand of product. A mix between lettering and beautiful drawings using gouache, calligraphy ink, pencils and pens, her work captures the world in a way only she can achieve. Her work ranges from images of house pets, to maps, to houses, to Beyonce. We love Jess’s unique style and her accompanying vibrant personality, which come together to create the sincere cards which make up #JROCROxPE. Go to her website to learn more about Jess and her work!

East Coast or West Coast?

Lived on both, but West is best

Red Wine or White Wine?

Please, mix ‘em together. I don’t care if rosé is out  - it’s drinkable and I’m here for it. Throw some Lacroix in it while we’re at it.

Salty or Sweet? 

I’m eating a Frosty right now, so…. sweet. Very sweet.

Black + White or Color?

Black and white (except when it comes to thinking!)

Flats or heels?

I was strictly a heels-girl in my NY days but I’m 27 weeks pregnant right now and think I’ve fully converted to a flats lady. I don’t know how I feel about this.

Eating out or Eating in?

We just renovated our house and put in a new kitchen so not only do I like to use it, but, eating out is for rich people. So, in! With friends over of course.

Beach or Mountains?

Beach!

Reading or TV?

Reading will always be my deepest love, but TV is a cunning mistress.

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. Iced, unsweetened, with a splash of coconut milk.

Online Shopping or Real Life Shopping?

Real life! 

Rock-n-Roll or Country?
I never would have said country before, but, I’d do anything for Kacey Musgraves so… welcome to the yee-yee club, me.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Alice Walker


In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


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Alice Walker and Her 10 Fun Facts

Alice Walker (1944- ) is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Color Purple” and a self-proclaimed ‘womanist’, a term coined by Walker to help broaden the women’s movement to include women of color and appreciate their traditional, cultural and creative roles.

1. Walker was one of 8 children born to sharecropper parents in Georgia.

2. Walker is permanently blind in her right eye after being shot by one of her brother’s BB guns as a child and not receiving immediate medical treatment.

3. Walker graduated valedictorian in her high school and went on to attend first Spelman College, then Sarah Lawrence College, both with full scholarships.

4. Walker’s first collection of poetry, Once, which is filled with suicidal thoughts, emerged from the emotional trauma she suffered due to the abortion she went through her senior year of college.

5. Walker was the editor of Ms. Magazine and by publishing an article “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston” in 1975, revived interest in Hurston’s writings.

6. Walker published several novels, in addition to articles, poems, short stories and essays.

7. Walker was also an activist who participated in the 1963 March on Washington as well as going to jail due to crossing the police line during an anti-war rally at the White House in 2003.

8. Walker’s The Color Purple was just made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg

9. in 1994, Walker legally added “Tallulah Kate” to her name in 1994 in honor of her mother and paternal grandmother.

10. Walker’s spirituality has been characterized as ‘unoppressive womanist perspective’, and she is inspired spiritually by those such as Zora Neale Hurston.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Lucille Clifton

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


Lucille Clifton and Her 10 Fun Facts

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was an author, educator and Poet Laureate of Maryland. Clifton’s poem “Homage To My Hips” celebrated the African-American female body as a source of power, sexuality, pride, and freedom.

1. Girls in Clinton’s family were born with an extra finger on each hand— a genetic trait known as polydactyly. Clinton’s two extra fingers were amputated when she was young but her two “ghost fingers” remained a theme in her writing.

2. Clinton’s mother was also a poet, though worked as a launderer.

3. Clinton’s parents passed an appreciation of books and reading to their children, even though neither was formally educated.

4. Clinton first entered Howard University early, at only 16 years old, as a drama major. She then transferred to Fredonia State Teachers College three years later, where she began to develop her acting a poetry.

5. Clinton’s first poetry book Good Times (1969) won The New York Times’ Ten Best Books of the Year.

6. Clifton was the author of more than sixteen children’s book intended specifically for African-American children.

7. Clifton was the first author to have two books of poetry nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

8. Clinton touches on many intense subjects in her poems including oppression, death, molestation and racism, as well as pride in her ancestry and the black female body.

9. Clinton was influenced spiritually by many religions and religious figures, including Jesus, the black God Kali and many other African goddesses and Native American beliefs.

10. Clinton was a mother of 6 and often was inspired by her family and children in her work.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Maya Angelou

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was an author, actress, dancer, poet, civil rights activist— and Oprah’s friend. Angelou made literary history when her memoir “I know why the caged bird sings” became the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman.

1. Angelou was originally born Marguerite, which became Maya when her older brother started calling her ‘My’ or ‘Mya sister’.

2. At the age of 16, Angelou became the first black, female cable car conductor in San Fransisco. This lead to a lifetime award she received much later in 2014 from the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials at a session titled “Women Who Move the Nation”.

3. Angelou toured around Europe with a troop performing the opera Porgy and Bess and in each of the countries she visited, she made an effort to learn its language, soon becoming proficient in several languages.

4. Angelou met and became good friends with Malcolm X during the years she spent in Ghana, where she was active in the African-American expatriate community.

5. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Angelou’s 40th birthday, and while she was devastated, it was also in this year that Angelou’s creative genius really began to emerge.

6. Angelou’s Georgia, Georgia (1972) was the first screenplay written by a black woman.

7. Angelou participated in a lecture circuit starting in the 1990s and continuing almost until her death in 2014 in her own customized tour bus.

8. Angelou read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton, making her the first person, since Robert Frost in 1961 to read a poem recitation at a presidential inauguration.

9. Angelou self-proclaimed her image as “the people’s poet”.

10. When Angelou died, she was in the process of writing another autobiography: what would have been her eighth.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Zora Neale Hurston

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


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Zora Neale Hurston and Her 10 Fun Facts

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), best known for her acclaimed novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, was an author, an anthropologist and a fixture in the thriving art scene during the Harlem Renaissance.

1. Hurston was raised in Eatonville, Florida, one of the first all-black towns in the US.

2. In a career that spanned 30+ years, Hurston authored and published seven books—including an autobiography, several short stories, plays and essays.

3. In 1917, Hurston pretended she was ten years younger than she actually was so she could enter public high school, and never added those years back— always saying she was ten years younger than her actual age for the rest of her life.

4. Hurston went to Howard college for her undergraduate education, making a mark on the university by, for example, co-founding the university’s newspaper.

5. She won a scholarship to finish her undergraduate education at Barnard College of Columbia University, making her the sole black student to attend at that time.

6. Hurston was married three times, two of them lasting less than a year.

7. Hurston made several trips around the Caribbean and the American South, conducting Anthropological studies, which she would then use later to inspire and inform her writing.

8. Hurston never made much money from her work and, following her death, remained in an unmarked grave from lack of funds for a headstone until 1973 when Alice Walker found her grave and gave her a simple headstone herself.

9. In 1927, Hurston was captivated by a the story of Kossola, the last surviver of the last trans-Atlantic slave trip. At the time, she couldn’t find someone to publish her nonfiction account of his story, but this past year, the book has finally been released: Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”.

10. To all that met her, Hurston was a vibrant, bright personality, who would captivate most anyone she met.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Harriet Tubman

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


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Harriet Tubman and Her 10 Fun Facts

Our next Wonder Woman is Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), an activist and a true freedom fighter. ‘Conductor’ for the Underground Railroad, Civil War spy and the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. Harriet was a badass.

1. Tubman was born Araminta “Minty” Ross, changing her name after her marriage to John Tubman.

2. Tubman was one of nine children and spent her entire life fighting to keep her family together.

3. Tubman was sometimes referred to as Moses by those she guided in the Underground Railroad and, as a result, the song ‘Go Down Moses’ became a symbol of freedom and the fight against slavery throughout the Civil War.

4. Suffering multiple serious head wounds during her youth, Tubman was struck by visions, seizures and fainting episodes for the rest of her life, which she described as visions from God.

5. Tubman rescued around 70 slaves in thirteen separate expeditions.

6. Tubman’s second husband was 22 years younger than her and they married in 1869, adopting their child, Gertie, in 1874.

7. Despite Tubman’s outstanding service toward her country and others, she remained in poverty for most of her life, due to irregular and unfair pension following the Civil War.

8. Tubman treated Civil War soldiers as a nurse using her knowledge of herbal medicines.

9. Towards the end of her life, Tubman spent her remaining days in the home for the elderly that she had herself created several years earlier.

10. The US government is in the process of considering moving Andrew Jackson’s face from the front of the twenty dollar bill to the rear in 2020 and instead replacing it with Tubman’s face to honor her efforts posthumously. This process is being fought against by some, who claim that this is not an important enough issue to be debated at the moment.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Sojourner Truth

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


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Sojourner Truth and Her 10 Fun Facts

First up is the inspiring Sojourner Truth (1797-1883). Born into slavery, Truth escaped to freedom with her infant daughter in 1826 then became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Considered a radical, she sought political equality for all women.

We have already done a Woman of the Week post on this blog about this amazing lady, so for a more detailed account of her life, check the post out.

1. Truth was originally born Isabella Baumfree but changed her name in 1843 when she also became a devout Methodist.

2. Truth was one of the first black women to win against a white man in a court of law.

3. The original documentation of Truth’s most famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman”, contained no mention of these words, but instead a recording by Frances Gage twelve years after her speech was the first to quote the actual words, “Ain’t I a woman?”, which it did four times. In fact, the whole recording by Gage contained speech patterns characteristic of Southern slaves, when Truth was actually enslaved in New York and likely did not speak as such. There were many more inconsistencies in Gage’s report as well. Regardless, Gage’s version of Truth’s speech is the most famous version.

4. Truth was a mother of 5 children.

5. Truth met Abraham Lincoln in 1864, just a year before his assassination.

6. Truth’s first language was Dutch.

7. Truth’s son, Peter, for whose freedom she had fought for and won in court, disappeared several years later after taking a job on a whaling ship.

8. Truth helped recruit soldiers for the Union Army during the Civil War.

9. Truth could not write but managed to publish her memoir, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave, all the same by dictating to her friend Olive Gilbert.

10. Truth was not only an advocate for women and fought against slavery, but she was one of the first to do this in one fell swoop: equality and freedom for all slaves, including women.

EITHER / OR with Gia Graham

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This February, Paper Epiphanies is releasing six cards very close to our hearts in a collab with the lovely Gia Graham. Together we chose to highlight 6 powerful African American women in history who fought for both their rights and the rights of others in our new GIA GRAHAM x Paper Epiphanies line (GGxPE). With a combination of Gia’s stunning designs on our letterpress cards, we have produced a product that we feel truly encapsulates the history and impact of these wonder women. We thought the best way to introduce this new collab was to share our appreciation of the fabulous Gia with you in another installment of Either/ Or.

To start, however, a little bit about Gia…

Born and raised in Barbados, Gia moved to the United States to attend school in Georgia. After getting her bachelors in 1999 in Graphic Design, Gia moved first to Chicago, then back to Atlanta, working with various companies as a designer. In 2005, Gia left the corporate world to co-found a custom invitation design company, where she had the opportunity to infuse her creativity to its full extent into her work. After leaving this company and starting a new brand focusing specifically on custom wedding invitations, Gia shifted her focus towards the larger stationery world, launching greeting cards and gift products that were sold at over 250 stores around the world. Today, following the birth of her second son, Gia has left wholesale and moved on to freelance design in stationery, textile, gift and homeware products. Which is where we found her! Gia aims to combine the “opposing cultural aesthetics” of the island world where she grew up and the urban world in which she lives now, resulting “in modern design enlivened with lush florals, foliage and a keen eye for color”. In our collab, Gia’s unique background and experience come together to make a truly special line of cards where you can see her style shine. Check out GGxPE and check out Gia!

Kids or Dogs?


Kids... although some days I would legit trade my kids for a Labradoodle.

Ice cream or French fries?


FRIES. Carbohydrates are my love language. 

Flats or heels?


Flats

Beach or Mountains?


Beach!

Reading or TV?

 
Reading

Coffee or Tea?


Coffee

Flowers or Foliage?


ACK! Don't make me choose! 

Night in or night out?


Night in

EITHER | OR with Chelsea Leifken

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In May, Paper Epiphanies released a collaboration with one of the most badass females around. Chelsea and Victoria worked together to create a line that embodied all of Chelsea's vibes. The result? 8 authentic, heartfelt and, best of all, hilarious cards in the CHELSEA LEIFKEN x Paper Epiphanies line. #CLxPE This week, Chelsea kicks off our new EITHER | OR series -- to the amusement of all involved.

First, a bit about Chelsea:

Queen of the font, Chelsea is best known for her inspiring and relatable expressions, which make anyone who sees them smile. After graduating from FIDM LA, Chelsea faced several of life's inevitable but heart-wrenching waves, struggling to find herself and her message. Despite all of life's curveballs, or perhaps because of them, Chelsea is now the guru of mastering that which mastered her before. In addition to owning her own namesake collection based in LA, as well as working with several non-profit organizations and collaborators, this bosslady is on a self-titled, global movement of self love in which she shares her art around the world. Chelsea embarks on this mission with the biggest smile and infectious positive attitude a person can have, only one of the reasons we love her, in addition to her creativity and badass, yet hilarious personality. Check out her Either/Or questions below, along with her website and our CHELSEA LEIFKEN x Paper Epiphanies collab to see this amazing woman in action!

 

Meditation or Sex?

Sex

Crystals or Incense?

Crystals

Tattoos or Piercings?

Piercings

East Coast or West Coast?

West 

Blue or Pink?

Pink

Coffee or Tea?

Tea

Writing or Drawing?

Writing, duh