Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sheer clothing and etiquette

Now that sheer tops are all the rage (again) I feel that I need to send out a PSA. I know this is not in the vein of most of my posts, but fashion is actually really important to me. And since this is my blog I can do whatever I want.

I was at the bank last week and I saw an adorable teller wearing an equally adorable top. I had to restrain myself from calling it 80s for fear of offending her, but that's totally what it was. It was a sheer white top with a collar that turned into a tie. Just like every dress shirt in my mother's closet. Her mantra: If you hang on to anything for 30+ years it will eventually be popular again.

The problem was, she was at work. She couldn't very well show any skin, so she opted for a white spaghetti strap tank underneath. All you could focus on was the tank, which may as well have been outlined in red chalk. It totally stole the focus.

When wearing sheer tops, modesty is still important. We don't want to end up the talk of the town because we skipped the undergarments. Ahem celebrities.

But we also don't want those undergarments to take center stage, unless done purposely like a teal bra with a black top. So how do we keep the shirt the main attraction?

Nude. I don't mean streaking. Wear something underneath that is skin tone. I swear it makes all the difference. You still get covered up, and actually LOOK covered, but you leave the eye drawn to the details of your top, not to the lines of your straps.

The proof is in the pudding: here we have a great turtleneck that I love. I also have one in black. But they are very thin cotton and stuff shows through.  So, what color bra do you wear with a white shirt?  White!

Hello.  Everyone now KNOWS that I chose a white bra.  How lovely.

But the correct answer is, choose a NUDE bra.

MUCH better!  You see, the nude bra is closer in shade to your skin tone, so it blends beautifully.  The white one just emphasizes the contrast between the fabric and your skin, leaving an unsightly outline.  And I am REALLY white, so don't use that as an argument.  This bra isn't even close to my skin color, but its a heck of a lot closer than stark white.  The same principle is true with a black top.  Which may leave you wondering, why do I have so many black and white bras if they can both be replaced by one, nude colored bra?  Goooooood question... ;-)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Local Ethnic Groceries

I have been really uninspired lately hence the lack of blog posts and boring posts that I do post.  Then today I did a crap ton-o-running around and it hit me - I have GOT to share my little secret with you!

I went to my favorite little secret spot.  My local Indian grocery.  The people there are very nice, its family owned, and it has amazing GEMS for sale.  I get "weird" (read: Indian or Thai) food there every once in a while, but I mostly hit them up for spices.  They have GREAT deals on good quality spices.  Granted they come in a plastic baggie that I have to store somehow to keep them from getting all cakey, but that is why I obsessively hoard empty spice bottles.  That is another issue for another day, however.

Anyway, I bought a whole ounce of bay leaves, a giant bag of mustard powder, mustard seeds, pink Himalayan salt, and a bag of cinnamon sticks.  All for like $12.  Whoa.  And it's not just the Indian groceries that rule.  Back in California I used to hit up the Korean groceries and the Japanese ones.  So much yummy stuff.  The coolest part is they carry unusual items that for foodies is just too interesting to pass up.  And its always affordable.

But wait, there's more!  I also used to go to the Indian section of town to check out all the other cool stuff, like saris, other clothing, bangle bracelets, Indian music CDs and movies, and all the other AMAZING stuff that you just can't find anywhere else.  I admit that I didn't brave the clothing shops and henna salons without my Indian friends as guides, but everyone was really nice once they got over me being interested in their culture.  Usually, they were a little like... why?  Oh, ok, cool.  Here's some neat stuff! Just remember that in many cultures bartering is the way to go.  Some times its okay and sometimes not.  When in doubt, ask a native!

So, go.  Explore.  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I like great companies. I love small businesses. I feel good about buying US made. I like crafting supplies. I seek out good prices. I demand good customer service. I am impressed by sincerity.

Dear reader, this may not interest you in the least, but I felt obligated to tell you about the new and improved wazoodle. It's a website that sells cloth diapering and other supplies to the general public. Let me take a moment to disclaim: I don't work for them I get no money from them and I get no stuff from them unless I pay for it. Which I do. And will continue to.

Anyway, if you are into making your own cloth diapers or accessories, you may have heard of them. They used to be a Canadian based company, but after scathing reviews because of poor customer service and slower than slow shipping, they went up for sale. It is now run out if New Jersey and the new owners seem so awesome! They have scads of new products, all made by the same factories to keep the product quality high (that was the one good thing about the old wazoodle), but such a better attitude. The prices are great, shipping is much more affordable, and I don't have to feel guilty buying from a foreign company (business? In NJ. Products? Manufactured in the states. Yay!)

I get my PUL there, barrel stoppers, drawstring cord, and various other items. They have a great selection of organic fabric, including tons of bamboo.  It is a great resource for natural diapering options, especially.  Looks like they are carrying KAM plastic snaps and presses, too. I used for that, but who knows?! I may switch! Anyway, this may not affect you at all, but I felt moved to shout to the world that a crappy supplier of great products is now a customer friendly, US company. They deserve a second chance. My newest order is placed. Hooray!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tee Shirt Nightie

In honor of St. Valentines day, I am posting a totally frivolous project!  On the plus side, it is super simple.  On the down side, it is fussy, which is something I hate in projects.  I like quick and clean and neat and exact... But making over something into something else usually comes with some fudging that you have to clean up later, so deal. Haha.  But seriously.

I have been seeing all these tutorials all over Pinterest on how to make over a tee shirt into something else: a cowl neck tee, a slouchy shirt, a ruffled something, a multi layered maxi skirt, a portable jungle shanty... okay maybe not that last one.  So instead of hating, I joined in the fun.  I wanted to make something SEXY.  A sultry nightie comfy enough to sleep in, but hot enough to make Gisele and Heidi beg to slip it on.  And because I used lace I already had and an old tee shirts that belonged to hubby it was COMPLETELY FREE.  I am totally using this as his V-day present.  How nice to me to give him something that already belonged to him.

Oh Yeah!
Tee Shirt to Nightie Makeover
One Tee Shirt
Sewing machine and thread
Edge lace in a fun color (optional)

Step 1: Make sure your tee shirt is large enough.  I know this sounds stupid, but I am a small or x-small and I used a large and it was only just barely long enough.  I would have rather cut off the bottom hem of the shirt, but I had to leave it on to leave a little something to the imagination. That is the point of lingerie after all...

Step 2: Remove the sleeves and the neck hole binding.

Step 3: Slip on the tee and stand in front of a mirror.  Pin the sides of the shirt to match the sides of your body.  Pin under your arms first, and make sure the armholes are small/large enough, as well just fitting your bustline. Next, pin the bottom and the natural waist.  If you are unlike me and actually have hips, you may want to put in a pin at the widest point of your hips as well to make sure the curve of the tee hugs yours.  Repeat on both sides.  Make sure that you keep the sides perfectly centered and that you are not tugging the center of the shirt to one side or the other.

All pinned in place.
Step 4: Pin the shoulders where you want to cut the straps to.  You may want to put in more than one to get the right shape.  I used a v neck tee so it gave me an awesome neckline automatically, but this is when you would want to pin the neckline, too.  Just as a warning, if you do choose to use a v, the point of the v is a weak point and may tear... not that mine did... yeah.  That is what that pin in the middle is doing...

Step 5: CAREFULLY take off the shirt without unpinning it.  Lay it out flat and cut away the excess to the outside of the pins leaving about 1/2" as a seam allowance.

Step 6: Fold the tee shirt in half long ways so the left and right sides are matching up.  Line up the bottom edges of the tee and fold it so the front and back are overlapping.  Round off the corners.

Step 7:  Unfold the tee shirt and line up the side seams, right sides together (it should be inside out).  Pin them together, easing them together and trimming them as needed to even them out... this is the fussy part I hate.  But stick with it.  Perfection isn't imperative. That's what I kept telling myself and it turned out fine... :-)

Step 8: Stitch the side seams.  Try on your creation.  If you like, you can end here.

Step 9: Pin the lace to the bottom edge and the neckline and stitch.  You will have to miter the edge at the v in the neck (if you have one) and at the point where the side seams meet.

Mitred edge on the side seam
Step 10: Now you have a truly hot little number.  Wow your man.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

slimming down my life

I just finished reading a book that changed the way I look at the world and at life.  7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker, is just that, an experiment.  Written journal style, she goes through 7 months of reduction in 7 areas, one for each month.  Things like stuff, stress, media, food, and more... things we all probably have too much of.  It made me look at life in a completely new way.  And I really mean that.  I look around my home and see all the stuff on all my shelves, the food in my pantry and my fridge, the leftovers in the garbage, and I cannot bear to have it there any longer.  I feel like such a hypocrite.  I see all the need around me in my immediate community and in the global community, and I say that I love these people, that I care, that I wish I could help, and yet I hoard my things, comforting myself with the material, and feeling empty and hollow inside.  I don't know if this will fill the emptiness and discontent in my heart, but I do think it is a first step in the right direction.

I have decided to get rid of some stuff.  Things I like but don't need.  THIS MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE.  I am taking baby steps.  Please don't judge me too harshly. I am just learning to let go. The first thing on the chopping block is surprising to me.  Its something I LOVE.  It is what made me feel part of a group in high school when I was too terribly awkward to fit in anywhere.  It is my manga collection.  I know, I know, I am a closet nerd.  Manga, for those who are unfamiliar, is the term for Japanese comic books.  Its the print companion to anime, Japanese cartoons.  It is all in english, but it doesn't come cheap.  Each volume ranges from about $10-$20 a piece, and there are often 10, 20 or sometimes more volumes per series.  And I have like 8 different titles.  THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY.  I rationalize saying I got good deals from going to conventions and buying them from half price books, which is true, but even half of that is a crazy huge amount of money.  And I do think that most of them I bought brand new at full pop...

So, here is the thing.  I don't want to just give all my stuff away.  After all, I paid really good money for it.  And I feel that that money could go to a good cause.  I picked Kiva as the organization I would like to give my Manga money to.  That being said, I am going to sell them all at a STEAL (yes that means I haven't figured out how much to charge yet).  But I want them to go to the right person if possible... Someone who will love them, someone who will enjoy them.  Someone who maybe loves Japanese culture because it is the only thing that makes them feel a part of a group during an impossibly awkward point in their lives?  So much to ask for, I know...  So I am appealing to you, dear reader.  Help me find the perfect recipient.  I'm also posting them on Craigslist as a fail safe, but hey, I'd rather have a face and a story to go with it all...  Post comments on this post if you know of someone.  Thanks!

Oh and stay tuned.  I may need your help.  I think DVDs are next.  Seriously, God help me...