Ramblings · Uncategorized

I has a bike. What I do wif it?

In honor of my 100th post, I give you this:

My first time on a bike in yearrrrrssss. My first time on a bike since I said “I don’t do bikes” all through college. My first time on a bike in New York City. Granted, it was 6 am on a holiday weekend so the street were empty, but it was still the most awesome bike ride ever, especially with my ever-wonderful tour guide.

(Reference picture, courtesy of FiLife memories.)

Travel · Uncategorized

And we’re off!

Random last minute trip planning has C and I driving to Newport, Rhode Island, for a few days. Turns out that finding last minute airfare under $400 is tricky. Guess that was just wishful thinking. However, I’m excited to check out this non-Californian Newport (how strange all the cities, street names, parks, etc. that are named the same thing across the country). We’re even staying at a cute inn that sounds wonderful – and is walking distance from all the good stuff. Adventure time!

Oregon State · Ramblings · Uncategorized

Flanders Nachos and Union Square

It’s great to have a any kind of Nordstrom store in NYC. I know rents are high and blah blah blah. I’m currently a little angry with Union Square, although its easy access off the Q will make me forgive it eventually.

I get that people with agendas, volunteer work or donations needed do whatever they can in a public forum. On my way to Nordstrom Rack, however, I witnessed some insane behavior. There were 6 or more people within a half block, holding clip boards and going up to people trying to shake their hands and motioning others to take off their earphones, and then the next person would harass them if they made it through the first wave. Seriously? Seriously?

I’ve even been that person, to lesser degree. I solicited donations in front of grocery stores in Oregon for Circle K (not the convenience store, but still, strange things were afoot). One key lesson I learned is that the method in which you approach someone actually matters. I only regret not finding out who they were working for to let someone know what douches their workers are.

Anywaaayyyy anger management knocking… I made it into Nordstrom Rack and had a grand ol’ time. The store has only been open 4 days, so I feel like in some time they’ll figure out all the kinks. It already is incredibly efficient with dressing room attendants and digital display for check out. In my usual no-nonsense shopping style, I was out in an hour with two cute new dresses for summer. (And a new desire to clean out my closet. Again.)

After a clearly exhausting adventure, I had to refuel with egg + cheese + salsa and Flanders nachos. Thanks to Netflix I’ve been able to rekindle my love of The Simpsons in their glorious early seasons. (Side note: I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV until high school, but watched The Simpsons with the fam since I was probably 10. Silly parents)
One episode has Bart and Lisa stuck with the Flanders family. Ned offers up nachos, Flanders style, in the form of cucumber and cottage cheese. I like these two ingredient separately, so why not try the weird concoction? Result: I should have agreed with the cringing Simpson kids. While not terrible, I’d rather cook up some real nachos any day.

And now the warm weather has returned, just in time for some fun Brooklyn activities this weekend. A Franklin Street celebration for Saturday and a street and record fair on Sunday. I’ll just have to do my best to drag C away from that whole “school” and “finals” thing.

Sewing Misadventures · Uncategorized

Thanks, Mom

It’s Mother’s Day! All I could do was chat with mine on the phone earlier, so in addition to my most recent craft project, I present a mommy-dedicated post.

My mom has been a strong influence in my interests growing up, and it’s something for which I’m grateful. Of all the things my mom has shared with me (including learning French, musicals, tennis and Oregon), learning to sew is probably my most treasured skill. I started sometime in elementary school, and by fifth grade I was making basic jumper dresses.

Thanks to my mom, I discovered my love for fashion, clothes and creation. It’s why I decided to be an apparel design major (…which eventually became merchandising management) and to move to Oregon. It’s what took my life on the path I’ve been on for so long and brought on so many great experiences.

While the majority of my creations (hit and miss) are stored in boxes, there are a few I show off proudly. Funny enough, even though strapless dresses aren’t my favorite, two of my best creations are in that form.

First, my red satin princess seam dress I made in high school – lets be honest, it just barely still fits and I may never wear it again, but it looks nice. Second is a dress I made with boning in the bodice that I like best with a t-shirt underneath. The third is a dress pattern of my mom’s from the 70s that I messed with … er, altered.

The reason my mom is great can be summed up in my love for fashion and everything that came after: she always has pushed me to take chances and get out of my comfort zone. And that’s how I ended up unemployed in New York City after a stint at a personal finance website. Ba dum chh! Seriously, though, the support and love of a parent who lets you move across the country without complaining and wants you to succeed just reminds me how lucky I am.

On to the present: My most recent, non sewing machine project – boot alteration

I love comfortable boots, and while the boots I have are runner-ups to my favorites that died a few years ago, they’ve served their purpose well. However, I always cringed walking through my quiet office with the clanking of the belt buckles on the sides of the boots. They were lightly secured, but over time frayed at the zipper and felt like an unneeded weight on my legs.

What to do in this situation? Cut the suckers off, obviously. It’s not perfect, I’ll admit, but it’ll do.

Before and after:
I never realized how in love I was with my seam ripper before (fabric glue is #2 in my heart), but I miss it so much with little tasks such as this. I made due with scissors to take off the strap. The belt loop leaves to worst mark after removal – a seam ripper really would have been essential here.

I’ll probably play around with the minor residue left on the sides of the boots, but I don’t think it’s too offensive. After test driving them on a walk to the grocery store, I found the boots to be so much lighter and they felt fantastic. Success!

Ramblings · Uncategorized

Scrapbook Central

Near the end of high school, I became a scrapbooking fiend. My friend Megan showed me her elaborate, beautiful scrapbooks of high school events and I realized it was absolutely necessary to start putting together my own memories. Hooray for the internet and digital photos and all that, but dude – I cannot live without hard copy prints. I didn’t even buy a digital camera until my sophomore year of college. (More embarrassingly, I still used a CD Walkman until getting an iPod that same year.)

My high school scrapbook isn’t great, since it was started late and I had to do a lot of backtracking. When it came to college, I was intense. On the major holidays when I came home, I went full force into printing out pictures. I itemized, organized and bought thematic sheets for each page and scrapbooked the crap out of each term of college. Of course, it was important to have a separate scrapbook just for trips outside my years in Oregon. I make extra work for myself, it’s cool.

I’ve only just now begun putting together photos since I moved to NYC. However, there aren’t any really defining periods since I plan on living here for quite a while. That requires a new game plan. I managed to only get three scrapbooks/albums. One large album for my trip to Italy with C. One album with notations for my first year in NYC. The last one is a scrapbook (additional pages can be added) that is called “Events and Excursions.” That allows me to include any and every kind of event or small trip. Hopefully it’s enough to curb my insane desire to categorize everything.

Simplicity:
One day soon when I return to California it’s my mission to clean out a lot of my old belongings. Most stressful task ever, because I hoard. Essential keepsakes vs. stuff that might mean something one day if I find it but probably won’t care because I have too much stuff.

Unfortunately, I have a large amount of hap-hazard albums, albums with cross-over photos or photos in bags that I never did anything with, as well as random papers, diaries, journals, etc. *cue my brain exploding at the thought of organizing* I need about a week to go through everything and a large suitcase or two to fill up and take back what is most important to me.

Exhibit A (What I Randomly Brought to NYC):

Basically, I have store up a lot of mental strength before I can tackle this task in a small time frame. It stresses me out thinking about it, and several times recently I’ve had to hold back from just tossing everything. One day, though, one day it’ll all be blissfully organized.

Side Note:

Cinco De Mayo on Wednesday. I loved the cook out celebrations we had in Oregon. I’d never gone out to a bar/restaurant for the occasion. But it couldn’t be as bad at St. Patrick’s Day, right? Wrong! Even in Brooklyn, do not try to go to a Mexican restaurant at 9 p.m. The places are packed, with hours-long waits and they run out of chips and beans. Chaos!

Uncategorized

Mumble Jumble

A recap of the last few days…

Thursday night I reunited with Kim, where we reunited with our old 2007 selves. We decided to head back to the Time Out Lounge for karaoke night and to see our fave bartender and catch up and of course, drink. Unfortunately, three years have passed since we were in our prime at the lounge. We both felt fuzzy after our first sangria and headed upstairs to hang out in the courtyard after karaoke became crazy. Tamra joined us, and then we celebrated Kim’s birthday at midnight. And then… we went to bed. Old people, we are.

Bartender love = to-go cups for drinking outside:
This weekend C and I traveled to PA to hang out with his parents and explore. The weather was hot, but we managed to do a lot of wandering. The last time I was out there was for Thanksgiving, and it was too cold to do any real exploring. This time around we walked along the water at Valley Forge, took a picturesque and sweltering walk through downtown Philly, drove around (I do miss driving sometimes) and helped out for a big dinner party.

I found a great dress at TJ Maxx of all places, but it wasn’t in my size. It’s a new mission for me, even though I don’t normally love strapless types:We watched the Kentucky Derby, which reminds me of Fashion Week in the a sense. Everyone kept saying how incredible that all that preparation went into a 2 minute race – the first time I went to a show, I thought I’d be off work for the day, and my boss was like, “You’ll be done in half an hour.” You spend more time waiting for the show to start. Craziness. We even got two movies in, The Fantastic Mr. Fox (awesome and weird) and The Art of the Steal (intriguing and sad-ish).

I have some new cat loves. One is a mini-Mini in the form of C’s mom’s cat. I may steal her next time we’re there.And how can you not love a pissy looking cat named Winston? Who has his own following online? It’s hopeless.

Uncategorized

The Story of the Susie Cake

2004, Cake Eating on the Bleachers
 

 

Five 15-year-old girls. One AP European history class. A shared obsession with baking. This is how the Susie cake was created. If you’re going to study for hours on end and act like maniacs with amazing people, why not fuel that with some cake? But it has to be special, so we saved it for birthdays. I’m a little fuzzy on the debut of this cake, but I do remember thinking I had a genius idea: yellow cake + chocolate frosting + cookie layer = foodgasm.

The basic premise: Two layers of yellow cake, one layer of cookies in between with cookies crumbled on top. Of course, my master chef and bestie, Miss Anthony, has perfected and re-perfected the recipe over the years. However, she still gives me credit and even created a Facebook group for me. That’s the big times, y’all:

My arsenal of photography sadly still resides in California, so we’ll make do with the cake photos I can find. One weekend Miss Anthony came to beautiful Corvallis and helped make a another cake with princess-sprinkle cookies. YUM. And princess-y.

The cake has no only served it’s purpose in showing my friends that I want them to be in a sugar coma on their birthday/celebration/whatever, it’s also helped me win over people. It was a two-for in December 2008 when I made the cake for my office holiday potluck and my roommates started drooling. I kept them at bay with delicious mint chocolate chip cookies, but I had to make good on the deal eventually. Here the result came with sprinkles on top:

Come on and grab a piece!

PS: I’ve been told by many and can only assume this cake is not really mine, and probably has a real name in a real place and someone else owns it. But la-la-la-la-la I can’t hear you! I’m just enjoying this moist piece of cookie-and-cake…

Uncategorized

Running the Course

Unemployment probably unfolds differently for everyone, given your age, financial situation, etc. I have a vague idea about how everything will pan out for me. But just for fun, let’s look at the potential, generic course of reactions.

Disorientation

Oh, hey, I know this! I’m still in the confused state of being home every day and not being totally sure of what that means. Do I check for jobs and scrounge around like a crazy person? Do I read blogs all day? Play with the cat? Read 800 books a week? It’s all still so new. The plus side is having free time and not being too tired from work to hang out with friends. Then I remember that I don’t have work to make me tired or have fun stories to share. Sometimes I feel boring. What else should I be doing with my day? I’ve already cut my hair once, if I continue to find myself without anything to do, I may end up bald. Or worse, blond.

Elation

The perk of being jobless at the end of spring is, of course, the impending great weather that will lead me to be outside all the time and to travel. I assume that’s when my excitement will kick in, when I can sit in the park and work, wander aimlessly or just absorb any of the general happiness I feel when the sun is shining brightly. Just don’t talk to me about the humidity, okay?

Insanity(ation)

I like continuity, so there. This is usually the stage you hear the most from formerly unemployed people. Unemployment sounds fantastic to many in a crappy work situation or who just feel tied down. Then you receive your freedom and run around like a crazy person wishing you had a schedule to… tie you down. I think this stage may be inevitable, but it could turn out to be not as dire for me depending on where my time goes. If I continue to write consistently and make clothes/crafty projects, then I’ll be busy enough to assuage the crazy, as well as have something to show for my time away from an office. Who knows, maybe my projects will lead me right into a new career path.