So Sick

Sorry no fun links or Twin Peaks weirdness: I have been so sick. The kind of sick where you want to curl up and die. The kind of sick where if you are lucky, your lovely mother will come and take your baby and shoo you into bed and bring you cautious sips of liquid.

I am finally keeping down a little soda and feeling slightly human, slightly surreal. This will hopefully help me write something interesting this week.

Tl;dr, I’m super sick and my mom is the best.

Real Lilly Pulitzer

Make Your Own Lilly Pulitzer Dress

By now, you’ve probably heard of the incredibly successful (or disastrous, depending on your point of view) Lilly Pulitzer line at Target. Whimsically patterned women’s dresses, girls’ clothing, and housewares sold out the very first day by 8 am in stores–and demand crashed the Target website. $40 dresses have been cropping up on eBay for $650–especially ridiculous when you can buy a non-Target Lilly Pulitzer dress from the designer’s website for about $200.

Target Lilly Pulitzer

Oh my god Veronica, I’m having so much fun hanging out in my Target Lilly Pulitzer dress!

Now, a lot of bloggers are not only annoyed at the aftermarket-fueled frenzy–and Target’s supply, which was apparently only a fraction of the demand–but they’ve been critical of the Lilly Pulitzer look itself, calling them “phenomenally boring and showily tasteless shift dresses” for vapid, wealthy, status-conscious women.

Real Lilly Pulitzer

Nice knockoff, Betty, but I’m having even more fun hanging out in my Paris original* Lilly Pulitzer!
*Not a real thing.

You know what else Lilly Pulitzer dresses are? They are colorful, classic shift dresses. You know what they’re good for? Everything. Especially in the summer. Throw on one great-fitting shift dress–just one piece of clothing–on a summer day, and you’re ready for everything from a day at the beach to a frickin’ wedding.

Even better: if you know how to sew, shift dresses are easy and (relatively) economical to make, which means you can avoid eBay and make your own Lilly Pulitzer dress yourself.

Now: I cannot teach you to sew via this blog. The very idea of the time and effort (and photos) involved makes my hair stand on end, and at the end of the day, they still probably wouldn’t help a novice sewer in the long run. I myself was taught by my lovely mother–her mother sewed all of my Mom’s and her sisters’ clothing in the ’50s and ’60s.

So if you don’t know how to sew and would like to learn, find a friend, family member, or class that can help you. It is a worthwhile skill to learn, and not terribly difficult. It’s just much more effectively learned in person, from a person. But! If you know how to sew, I’ve found some patterns and fabrics that are quite Lilly Pulitzer-esque, and I’ll share them with you!

Lilly Pulitzer Dress Pattern 1: New Look 6176

Lilly Pulitzer Dress Pattern

The sleeveless version of New Look 6176 looks very Lilly Pulitzer-like: a simple, classic shift dress that can be made with about two yards (or less) of material. The sleeve and pocket variations offer some flexibility, too.

Lilly Pulitzer Dress Pattern 1: New Look 6095

Lilly Pulitzer Dress Pattern
I like my second “Lilly Pulitzer” pattern, New Look 6095, even better for three reasons: one, it doesn’t have the banded neckline that 6176 has, so it looks even easier. Two, I like the different contrast band options at the waist and hem. And three, you can make a matching bag if you want!

Now as any sewer worth his or her salt can tell you, finding a pattern is one thing–finding the material is another. Luckily, Amy Butler is known for her gorgeous, colorful fabrics, and I found a few on her site that fit the bill nicely.

Henna Paisley Pink

Amy Butler Belle Fabric
Henna Paisley Pink is a gorgeous print in a classic Lilly Pulitzer green and pink color scheme.

Daisy Shine Confetti

Lilly Pulitzer Fabric
Daisy Shine Confetti is another colorful floral print that would be perfect for a Lilly Pulitzer-type shift dress.

Leaf Lines Jade

Lilly Pulitzer Fabric
Leaf Lines Jade might be my favorite choice–I love the cool green tones and the graphic simplicity of the shapes.

There’s a store locator on the Amy Butler site, but any local fabric store should be bursting with colorful prints right now! I’d estimate that you could make one of these dresses for around $40 (the Target price)–figuring fabric at about $12 per yard.

However, your “Lilly Pulitzer” dress will have the advantage of fitting you just right (if you’re at a level where you can make basic pattern adjustments) and you can choose the patterns and colors you like best. It would also be pretty simple to add lace and other trim to get the look you want.

Okay, I’ve convinced myself: I may have to make myself one, if I can do it while Sarah takes her naps. I’ll post pics if so!

Did you run out and get a Lilly Pulitzer dress at Target? Do you think they’re the anti-fashion? Post your comments below!

10 Item Wardrobe Day 10

10 Days, 10-Item Wardrobe: The Last Five Days

And here is the conclusion of my epic 10-day, 2-state, 10-Item Wardrobe! Last month my family and I spent spring break flying from coast to coast to coast: from warm Oregon to snowy Massachusetts for a week, and then to wet Seattle for Emerald City Comicon. Since I was traveling with a husband, kid, and baby, I wanted to pack as lightly as possible, while still having all my bases covered.

Inspired by Jennifer L. Scott of The Daily Connoisseur, I put together a 10-Item Wardrobe, which consisted of 10 core items plus some extra T-shirts, and I was pretty pleased with the results! You can read my initial post here, and check out the first five days here.

Day 6

10 Item Wardrobe Day 6

Archie and me (and Sarah) checking out downtown Ipswich.

On the sixth day of our vacation, Scott, Sid, Sarah, and I walked around the quaint town of Ipswich, where Scott grew up. Because the walk was led by my crazy husband, it included a lengthy hike along a snowy riverbank while he encouraged our 10-year-old son Sid to kick large clumps of snow into the water. My black cardigan, favorite Archie T-Shirt, and blue jeans did the trick, topped off by my all-weather black trench coat. I was super happy my Ahnu sneakers withstood the snow and kept me upright.

Day 7

10 Item Wardrobe Day 7

Visiting with Bewitched‘s Samantha Stephens in Salem, Massachusetts.

On Day 7 we went to Salem, Massachusetts to visit more of Scott’s family, and I just couldn’t spend time at the site of America’s infamous witch trials without getting a pic with Samantha from Bewitched! Since we were going in and out of doors all day, I layered up: my grey sweater, chambray shirt, striped Gap T-shirt, and black jeans were comfy and warm (also, I swear I was wearing a coat, but took it off for the picture).


Day 8

Are we there yet? At the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Seattle.

Are we there yet? At the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Seattle.

On Day 8, we had a long flight from Boston to Seattle, finally getting to our hotel at 11:30 pm. And our hotel got our room wrong (this was quickly fixed by Dark Horse Comics MVP Kari Yadro). To survive the long flight (and many hours of Sarah sleeping on my lap and cutting off my circulation) I chose my grey sweater (again, it’s my favorite thing ever), black T-shirt, and black jeans.


Day 9

10 Item Wardrobe Day 9

Getting ready for Emerald City Comicon!

Day 9 was an historic day: it was my seventh ECCC, and it was my first not working at the Things From Another World booth. I celebrated (and mourned a little) by putting together a very daring outfit, layering my Spider-Man sweatshirt over my Archie T-shirt. Scandalous! I put on my black jeans, strapped Sarah to me, and hit the floor!


Day 10

10 Item Wardrobe Day 10

So . . . tired . . .

Had a great time on the floor at ECCC on Day 10, picking up the latest Love and Rockets graphic novel, a couple of books by Lucy Knisley, and a sweet sketch of Betty as Power Girl by Archie Comics’ Dan Parent! I dressed for comfort in my chambray shirt, orange-striped tee, and blue jeans.

Most importantly, that’s the day we finally drove home and got into our own beds! Yay!

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 10.14.25 PM

Final thoughts:Ahnu Noe Sneakers

  • The MVP of the trip was definitely my Ahnu Noe sneakers in Cocoa, which were amazingly comfortable and good in the snow and rain. I wore them 10 days straight without breaking them in (or even wearing them) beforehand, and they were stellar. No blisters! No leaks!
  • Even with my streamlined wardrobe, I could have brought less! The grey jeans were a last-minute addition–I was second-guessing only having two pairs of pants for the trip–but I think I only wore them once.
  • The extra Gap T-shirts were also unnecessary.
  • It’s been really cool going through the pictures day by day! Obviously I know what clothes I have and wear, but I really got a good look at what my “style” is (stripes).

Have you ever done a 10-Item Wardrobe? What would you include? Post your ideas below!

8 Tactics to Reduce Food Waste at Home

Excellent advice. I love going through my kitchen and making dinner on the fly–you can do it! Unless you have no food. 😉

Zero-Waste Chef

nofoodwasted_twitterpartyOn Monday, April 20th at 9pm ET, I’ll be a panelist for a #NoFoodWasted Twitter party hosted by Green is Universal. So I thought I better write up some of my best food-waste-busting ideas in preparation.

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Twin Peaks Party

Happy Monday! Links (and Videos) to Make Your Day Brighter

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope your weekends were lots of fun. Mine was jam packed: not only did we have two brunches (one at our house, one at Sid’s Mom’s), but we hosted our epic Twin Peaks Dinner on Saturday, and it was awesome!

I’ll post a pic here, but I’ll do a full Twin Peaks party post later this week. Cobbling together the decorations and the food was fun, but the best part is how my friends ran with it–the costuming was superb.

Twin Peaks Party

Shelly the waitress, Audrey Horne, and Nadine at our Twin Peaks Dinner. Photo by Jewel Mlnarik.

Now, without further ado: links!

Are you currently living under a rock? Do you (wrongly) feel you’re too cool for Star Wars? Just go watch the new teaser already.

I’m also loving this Star Wars comic strip by Dan Hipp–it shows exactly how I felt watching the video.

If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I love Jennifer L. Scott’s 10-Item Wardrobe videos. Here she does a talk through of her Spring/Summer wardrobe.

I’m currently putting together my own Spring/Summer wardrobe (because I’m a fancy lady, and I also like having clean drawers and being able to get dressed in five minutes), so I’m tempted to check out Boden.

Need a laugh (especially if you, like me, used to work in the service industry)? Kitchenette’s Behind Closed Ovens column this week is titled Misfires and Meltdowns of Terrible Restaurant Employees.

And, to end on a somber note, I was truly saddened to hear that Jonathan Crombie, Gilbert Blythe from the classic Anne of Green Gables television movies, passed away at the age of 48. The books and movies were a huge part of my childhood and adolescence, and my thoughts are with his family. Time to watch Anne again this week.

Gonna finally wrap up my 10-Item Wardrobe posts from my vacation, and I swear I’ll post some recipes, too. Now I gotta play with my baby!

10 Item Wardrobe Day 4

10 Days, 10-Item Wardrobe: The First Five Days

Yay, I finally got a 10-Item Wardrobe post off the ground! I’m sure you were waiting with bated breath. The reason for my delay was two-fold: one, a lot of the photos I took didn’t show the clothes terribly well, so I put together some extra images. Two, I had a little performance anxiety. After all, it’s not like I’m the most fashionable lady–who really cares what I’m wearing?

However, I reminded myself that the 10-Item Wardrobe isn’t about following the latest fashions, it’s about finding the things that suit you. Out of necessity, everything I chose had to be something I loved to wear–and each piece had to go together and be reliable, too. Because of this, I was able to get dressed in less than five minutes every day, which gave me extra time to enjoy my vacation (or . . . change a diaper).

Okay, to refresh: we went from warm and springy Oregon to cold and snowy Massachusetts for a week, after which we traveled to warmish and wet Seattle for Emerald City Comicon. That meant I had to pack flexible items that could be layered for warmth, and dressed up or down. The first five days were all in Massachusetts!

Day 1

10 Item Wardrobe Day 1

From the PDX airport to Massachusetts!

For Day 1, I needed ultimate flexibility, an outfit that would work for a five-hour plane ride and be suitable for snowy Massachusetts, so I chose lots of layers! Here I have my black T-shirt, topped by my chambray shirt and my trusty, favorite grey sweater. I paired these with blue jeans and my Ahnu sneakers (which I put on for the first time on Day 1, and wore every day for the rest of the trip–no blisters, no nothing)!

10 Item Wardrobe Day 1

Day 2

10 Item Wardrobe Day 2

Hanging out with family.

Day 2 was primarily spent at my husband’s parents’ house (after our morning trip to Dunkin’ Donuts, of course). My J Crew striped shirt and black jeans were comfy and still made me look presentable in front of Scott’s many stepsisters.

10 Item Wardrobe Day 2

Day 3

10 Item Wardrobe Day 3

Off to Martha’s Vineyard to visit friends (and my cat)!

Day 3 was another long day of travel, as we got up early (so early) to drive down to Woods Hole to grab a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, where I used to live. Again, I needed something that looked sharp (I was seeing at least one ex-boyfriend, for heaven’s sake!) but felt comfy. And was striped, apparently.

Anyway, I went with my orange striped T-shirt and my black jeans (because I could easily find them in the dark–again, oh it was early).

10 Item Wardrobe Day 3

Day 4

10 Item Wardrobe Day 4

Playing at the LEGO store with Sid!

After all our travels, Day 4 was a day for relaxing . . . and shopping! Scott’s mother took us to the mall to spoil the grandkids, which of course included a trip to the LEGO store for Sid. I dressed for the weather and my own interests with a black T-shirt, my awesome Spider-Man sweatshirt (so cozy!), and my grey jeans.

10 Item Wardrobe Day 4

Day 5

10 Item Wardrobe Day 5

On our morning trek to Dunkin’ Donuts. Sid, me, Sarah (in a new outfit from Nana Debbie) and Gunny!

Day 5 was a momentous day. A day I’d been looking forward to all year: lobster roll day! Scott’s mom makes incredible lobster rolls, and as a special treat, she made as many as we could eat. What else was there for me to wear but my lobster sweater and blue jeans?

10 Item Wardrobe Day 5So there’s the first five days! I’ll have the next five days up tomorrow. Oh, the suspense! What striped and/or comic-book related clothes will I possibly wear?!?

In all seriousness, looking over the first five days, I can see my style can be described in three words: classic, comfortable, and . . . striped! I’ll take it.

So what’s your style? Have you ever tried to put together a capsule wardrobe? Post your comments below!

Happy Monday! Links (and Videos) to Make Your Day Brighter

Audrey Horne

I will be attempting this look this weekend. Good luck, Elisabeth.

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Did you hit the Farmer’s Market? Mainline every episode of Daredevil? Plan your spring/summer wardrobe?

I’ve been obsessed about our upcoming Twin Peaks Dinner, so I’ve been going through the series on Netflix, poring over the food, clothing, and decor–oh, the decor! Just a portion of my notes:

  • Horns
  • Ducks
  • Copper/bronze
  • So much plaid
  • Animal heads
  • Double scotch on the rocks

We’ve invited some friends over for this Saturday, I’ll try to take some pictures of the event! But without further ado, I present this week’s links! With videos!

While researching Twin Peaks fashion and makeup, I found this awesome Audrey Horne Makeup Tutorial. I tested it out, and I liked it so much I think I’ll do it whenever I get dressed up:

As I mentioned above, Daredevil has been released on Netflix, and everyone is talking about how good it is. We’ve watched a few episodes, and guess what: it’s really, really, good. All eight episodes are live now, so go watch it! This gives me a good feeling for the Marvel Netflix show I’m really looking forward to: Alias Jessica Jones!

In other comic book news, our friend, Alise Gluškova, is staying with us this week. She’s working on a top-secret project we can’t talk about just yet, but if you’d like to see her art, check her out on Tumblr! Also, she drew a five-page story about Abe Sapien early this year, with dialogue by my husband.

While my own 10-Item Wardrobe posts are now laughably overdue, Jennifer L. Scott over at The Daily Connoisseur has posted her Spring/Summer 10-Item Wardrobe video, and it makes me imagine a life where I wear nothing but pretty dresses.

Finally, in case you didn’t catch it last week, I wrote about The Myth of the Desperate Woman last week. What, I can’t promote myself?

Have anything to share? Post it below!

I Get Mad Sometimes

Is this really productive?

Is this really productive?

For someone who says they have a near-perfect life, I get mad a lot. At my husband. At myself. At my friends. At my kids. Why aren’t they giving me what I want and need? Don’t they love me? Have I, after all, gone down the wrong path, and now I’m surrounded by people who don’t really care about me, and now I’m destined to be taken for granted, an afterthought, mindlessly serving food for an eternity? Who really cares about what I have to say? Geez, do I even have anything to say anymore?

So let’s talk about what we give to others, and what we ask for ourselves. Because when I really think about it, after my brave words yesterday, I realize that I still don’t really ask for what I need, on a day to day basis–instead, I expect that others should “just know” what I need, and instinctively give it to me because I’ve worked hard enough to deserve it, dammit!

And if they’re not magic mind readers? Well, clearly they never loved me anyway and this was all a tragic mistake and fuck those jerks!

Let me say this: I love, love, love staying home with Sarah and Sid. This is a treasured time that is once in a lifetime. But my grownup time is severely limited, and I’m spending the bulk of my time giving to children who are not equipped–and cannot be expected–to take care of my emotional needs.

And that is hard. Not earning money is hard. Having a husband who works a lot is hard. Asking him to take time away from work to tend to me (when my own sense of self-worth is steadily diminishing), when he’s the only wage earner, is extremely hard. Also, I made a pie yesterday that kind of sucked. Pie is hard!

But I’ve come to the realization that my anger and frustration aren’t really helping the issue–letting things build up leads to venting, which leads to guilt, which causes me to shove my needs aside, which then resets the cycle anew.

So. On top of meal planning, and breastfeeding, and diaper changing, and listening to 2.5 hours of talk about Minecraft every day, I’m going to think about one concrete, sustainable thing I need every day. And I’m going to ask for it in a calm, reasonable manner. Hopefully.

What do you need today?

The Myth of the Desperate Woman: Go Get What You Want, Ladies

So I meant to write a post about my 10-Item Wardrobe experiment, but a funny thing happened last week: my ex-boyfriend got married. On April Fools’ Day.

After our breakup, we stayed friends. In fact, I had just seen him the previous week during our Massachusetts vacation, during which he drove me and my husband and kids around, introduced me to his amazing girlfriend (well, fiancee–now wife!), and gave me time with “our” cat.

But it was a little hard for me, because we didn’t break up because we didn’t love each other. We broke up because I wanted to get married and have kids, and he didn’t.

Geez, that lady really wants a baby, huh?

Geez, that lady really wants a baby, huh?

Now, he still does not want kids (and frankly, if he changed his mind and did, more power to him–we broke up seven years ago, he owes me nothing). And I ended up re-meeting and marrying the love of my life, getting the best “bonus” gift in the world, his son, Sid (and Sid’s mom), and we now have an adorable six-month old daughter, Sarah. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

So I got everything I wanted, and just in the nick of time! I turned 40 three and a half months after giving birth to Sarah; picture me as Indiana Jones, just rolling under the stone wall that was slowly, yet inexorably, coming down to separate me from my fertility, forever.

But! I almost didn’t get it. I almost didn’t even try. And it’s partly because of The Myth of the Desperate Woman. You see, I didn’t want to be that woman: that poor, pitiable, desperate woman in her thirties who is “husband hungry,” “baby-crazy,” with a “ticking biological clock” and nothing to show for it. That’s what you get for not marrying your high school boyfriends, ladies!

I wasn’t a relationship novice: I was in a long-term relationship with my now ex-boyfriend, and I had even been married–briefly, long story–in my twenties. And yet I pussyfooted around having an honest conversation about what I wanted from my life–really important stuff–because I was stuck on some antiquated idea that the “right” way to get married and have a child was to be quiet and sweet, until some dude decided I was, what–good enough to be wife material? Ready for my promotion to Mommy? Looking back, it seems insane, and dangerously passive, on my part.

Ladies, we need to destroy The Myth of the Desperate Woman. Because at the end of that day, it comes down to this: what is desperate about knowing what you want from your life, and asking people for it? Can you imagine shaking your head and “tsk tsking” a 33-year-old man who proclaims that he’d like to be married with a child in five years?

It doesn’t have to be marriage and children: women are often accused of being strident, pushy, selfish, desperate, for wanting that promotion, or deciding they don’t want kids, or buying that house–alone, for themselves. Don’t you want to wait until you have a husband, honey?

But of course, the special sting of The Myth of the Desperate Woman is that women are actually defined, judged, and evaluated for just those two things: whether they are married and have kids!

So, just to recap: are you upfront about wanting to get married and have kids? Pathetic! Oh wait, are you unmarried and childless? Well, what’s wrong with you?

Fuck. That. Shit. Was that unladylike?

In my case, life circumstances finally nudged me to have that open, honest talk with the ex. It did not go well (in terms of our long-term compatibility). We stayed together for another year or so, in limbo. I was conflicted. Would I ever find someone I loved, and who would love me, and want the same things from life? Would I have time? Should I sacrifice a good thing for something that may never happen?

What I realized was, if I decided to look for what I wanted, there was no guarantee I would get it. But if I stayed where I was, there was a guarantee: that I wouldn’t get it. Unless I decided to act like a soap opera character and have an “oops” baby and trap my boyfriend into a life he never wanted. That would have been . . . awesome.

So I leapt (at the “ancient” age of 33), and it worked, and I’m grateful. But I still feel like I’m surrounded by women who are afraid to speak up for what they want, whether it’s because they don’t feel worthy, or they’re afraid of what will happen if the answer is no, or whatever. But I’m telling you. Life is short. Silence the naysayers–especially the ones in your own head. Kill that phantom, the Desperate Woman. And go get the life you want.

Happy Monday! Links to Make Your Day Brighter

Archie Betty Power Girl Dan Parent

Part of my Emerald City Comicon haul from last week: a gorgeous Betty as Power Girl by Archie Comics’ Dan Parent!

It’s a new week! A well-rested week! I’ve got a lot of blog posts bubbling in my brain, so look forward to some 10-Item Wardrobe postings, some Zero Waste recipes (and more–guest post coming!), and some musings on life, being a woman, and religion. You know, the light stuff.

In the meantime, please enjoy the following bits and pieces from around the Interwebs:

Did you hear that? Like millions of cherry pies suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced? David Lynch has reportedly left Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival, but is this the end?

In honor of Twin Peaks, by the way, we’re gonna plan a Twin Peaks Dinner Party. There will be sweater sets! And cherry pie! What other recipes seem particularly Twin Peaks-y to you? Meatloaf? This requires research.

The best rolls. Dudes, these Parker House Rolls from the Pioneer Woman are soooo good. I don’t even shape them into Parker House Rolls–I shape them into hotdog and standard rolls and they are sooooooo good. Psst: this is also the basis for her Cinnamon Rolls, which are also superb.

Wondering if you should cut out gluten? Food Spin says Dear America: Quit Flipping Out About Gluten (it’s from last October, but still timely).

We have a Latvian house guest this week and next, so I feel it’s my responsibility to take her through a tour of American food. Last night: Fried Chicken. I should definitely make some sort of homemade macaroni and cheese, right? My beloved Aunt Judy made this one for my family baby shower, and it is delicious!

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Not only is Guardians of the Galaxy 2 going to start filming in 2016, but Karen Gillan’s Nebula will be returning. Nebula was a great, albeit small, part of the first movie, and Gillan really gave it her all. Hopefully she has a bigger part in the second film! While you’re waiting, check out How Guardians of the Galaxy Should Have Ended.

Have a great week! And seriously: have any Twin Peaks dinner ideas? Post them below!