Thursday, January 31, 2013

Half a Herd of Elephants

This top came with a coordinating skirt, but the herd of elephants when the two pieces are combined can be a little overwhelming.  I like the tiered look of the top when paired with a long dress.

Elephant shirt, thrifted; dress, thrifted; shoes, Payless Shoes; earrings, etsy; bracelet, purchased in India; middle-finger ring, handmade by me; ring-finger ring, gifted (Thanks Mom!).

Since the top was made in India (though purchased at Goodwill) I added a bracelet from my trip to Pune.

I interpreted it as a sign that this semi-permanent hair color was on clearance for $3.  I think the darker hair makes the blue of my eyes stand out.  Red shoes provide a splash of color to an otherwise fairly staid color palette.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Zombies, Run! Review

Image Credit:
I am always looking for ways to motivate myself to continue exercising, and I have a strong interest in science fiction.  That's why I was immediately interested when I heard about the Android app Zombies, Run!  (It's also available for iPhone and Windows Phone.)

Zombies, Run! is an interactive game in which you gather supplies and outrun hordes of zombies to help your fellow humans survive.  The game uses either GPS or accelerometer data to track your speed and distance.

 It requires no input from the user during the workout, and mixes your music playlist with an interesting story line and mission status updates for a fun experience.  I like most anything that distracts me from my workouts.  After your workout is over you can play the game and use the supplies you gathered on your run to improve the human compound.

I tried it for the first time, and it was great.  Today I used it for a walk, not a run.  I like that you can use it for walking as well as running.  It kind of reminds me of the old computer adventure games like Zork because it uses the world's most powerful graphics processor... the human imagination.  (Ok, I stole the graphics processor line from the Big Bang Theory, but it's so true.)  Comparing it to Zork is a huge compliment in my book.

The one big downside of this app is the price.  The regular price is $7.99 which is why I didn't buy it when I first saw it a few months ago.  I'm not much for spending money on apps when there are so many good free ones.  I finally purchased it yesterday because for a limited time the game is just $3.99 on the Google Play store.  The 5k Training version of the app is only $1.99 right now.  (I didn't check iTunes or the Windows Phone store.)

I highly recommend Zombies, Run! if you have a smart phone and would like a fun, interactive fitness game.  It might even be worth its normal $7.99 price...  Maybe...

* I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.

You Can Dance

Any excuse to link to the Safety Dance is a good excuse.

I'm in a dancing mood today.  The tie-front sweater reminds me of ones worn by ballerinas, and the ruffled dress makes me want to salsa or cha cha or something.  Add wrist warmers (leg warmers would have been even better), and I think it's a dancing outfit.

Sweater, thrifted; dress, Younkers; tights, Target; black suede wedges, Target; fingerless mittens, handmade by me; turquoise earrings, purchased in Cozumel; larimar pendant, purchased in the Dominican Republic.

Yesterday I took my first ever pole fitness class, so I suppose the dancing theme was appropriate.  It was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be, and I am sore from it today.  I saw the classes through a Groupon deal, so I figured I'd mix up my fitness routine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Purls of Wisdom

The silver lining of these last few weeks was spending time with family, especially Mary Ann, my mother-in-law.  In addition to being an all-around lovely human being, she is the patron saint of knitting.  I've mentioned before that knitting is my craft nemesis.  I have crocheting down, but knitting only beguiled and frustrated me.  No more.  I think I have finally started on the road to successful knitting.

I chose First Fingerless Mittens for my first project.  I picked this pattern because it is worked flat and then simply sewn up with a hole for the thumb.  I liked that it is all knitted (no purling), though knitting on both sides created a garter stitch pattern.  I knitted the first mitten twice because I wasn't satisfied with the quality when I finished it the first time.  I added a scalloped crochet trim along the top edge to disguise some unevenness on the first mitten.  Once I had worked the bugs out, the second mitten was completed almost instantly.  I used Bamboo Ewe Yarn from Debbie Stoller from my yarn stash.  It is 45% wool and 55% viscose from bamboo, so it has the workability of wool with the softness of bamboo.  The mittens are warm and not itchy.
My first ever knitting project!
 Key to my success this time around was the fact that I chose a very, very simple first pattern.    Other times I've tried knitting I either didn't have a pattern in mind or I chose a beginning pattern that still used a variety of techniques and stitches.  For this pattern I only had to cast on 38 stitches, so the rows didn't take long to complete, and there were only knit stitches, so I only had to remember how to do the same thing over and over.

For my second project I chose the InstaCowl to practice purling and working in the round.  My final product didn't turn out looking much like the sample photos, but I was mostly just working on technique.  It was another quick, frustration-free project, and I finished it in just a few hours.  I used Homespun Yarn from Lion Brand Yarn from my yarn stash because it is bulky to work up quickly and its texture hides a multitude of new-knitter mistakes.  I'm going to give this cowl to Chenille.  It is warm and soft and wonderfully cuddly.

The length of my finished cowl is more like an infinity scarf, so it is quite versatile.

I'm now working on my third knitting project.  I chose this Ribbed Lace Bolero because it uses knit two, purl two ribbing.  I'm currently working on the ribbing, and I haven't yet decided whether I will knit the body of the shrug in lace or stockinette stitch.  I am using more Bamboo Ewe Yarn from Debbie Stoller from my yarn stash for the bolero.

I also had time to complete an adorable crocheted cowl.  I purchased this beautiful Lace Sequin Yarn from Patons a while ago, and I brought it along while I was spending time waiting the past few weeks.  I chose this mesh cowl pattern because it used just one skein of the yarn and it was an incredibly simple pattern to make.  I could work on it without frustration even when I was stressed and tired.

This yarn is an acrylic/mohair/wool blend with sequins, and it's wonderful.  Most sparkly yarns feel like sandpaper to wear, and this one is still soft and lovely.  Until next time, happy crafting!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Comfy Cozy

Today was cold I just wanted to be cozy.  I started with my Closet Excavation Challenge piece, this black sweater dress, then added thermal tights, fleece-lined boots, and a fuzzy cowl.

Dress, Younkers; tights, I don't remember; boots, Younkers; cowl, handmade by me; earrings, purchased in Cozumel; ring, Shelia's Consignments.

Blue topaz is commonly considered December's birthstone, so I have quite a bit of it.  I found these earrrings on a trip to Cozumel, and they have lovely blue opals with the topaz.  I've started telling people that the new December birthstone is blue diamonds, but pretty much no one believes me.  (Possibly because it's not true.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Back and a Break from Black

We had someone we love pass away last week.  That's why posts have been sporadic and this dress is patterned.  I've worn enough black dresses this week.

Dress, Ross Dress for Less; tights, Walmart; shoes, Younkers; earrings, thrifted; bracelet, handmade by me.

I rationalize that the background of this dress is still black, and it hangs in the black dress section of my closet...  But ultimately I don't need to rationalize because this is my blog.  I'm back, and tomorrow I'll be back to black.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cat Boots

I get so much amusement from this commercial.  It combines my love of furry animals with my love of boots.

Me: Awww.  I think we should get cats, so I can wear them like boots.
Stephen: The would have to be some pretty big cats.
Me: (Laser death eyes)


I found these leopard print boots in a Delia's catalog that was spammed to our house.  Stephen, let's consider these boots a compromise.  I get to wear cats on my feet, and you don't have to live in misery due to your cat dander allergy.  Well, you don't have to live in any more misery than usual.

Dress, thrifted; belt, Walmart; tights, Walmart; boots, Delias; earrings, Christmas bazaar; necklace, etsy.
I wore this outfit to the World Beer Festival in Columbia, SC over the weekend.  Stephen secretly imported our friends Joe and Angie from Iowa, and the wonderful Chenille joined us as well.  It was great to have my Iowa and Georgia worlds collide for an evening.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Not Quite Morticia

I bet frequent readers of this blog have figured out that I've been traveling for the past few days.  I'm relieved to be headed home now.  I bet you can also tell that I took these photos in the morning instead of close to midnight.  I don't look quite as worn out.

Sweater, gifted (Thank you, Mary Ann!); dress, thrifted; belt, borrowed (Thank you, Dainie!); earrings, handmade by me; necklace, gifted.

I should know by now that I really like long dresses, but I am still surprised every time I wear one and love it.  I feel graceful in long dresses.  So far I've enjoyed my first few days of black dresses, and I think I've added enough color to keep from being too somber.

I forgot to bring belts for a couple outfits on this trip, but Stephen's aunt lent me hers.  I love the bold, braided strands of this one.  It keeps the outfit from venturing too far into the realm of Morticia Adams.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Sweater Dress Secret

I'll try to get back to my normal photography soon.  This business of taking photos late at night is for the birds.  My favorite part of today's outfit is the jacket.  I wish I had managed better photos of it.  It seems to be from the 80s, and I like the vibrant colors and different sized buttons.

Jaacket, thrifted; sweater dress, Victoria's Secret; tights, Walmart; earrings, Arts in the Heart; necklace, gifted (Thank you, Jason!).

My favorite things to buy from Victoria's Secret are sweater dresses and boots.  I have found great buys on both of those categories over the years in the clearance section of their website.  The sweater dresses I've found there fit wonderfully, and the boots are often fun and different from ones in the average shoe store.

I've been crocheting and (gasp) knitting up a storm with my mother-in-law the past few days.  I'm so pleased with the projects and yarns I've been using that I'll devote a full post to them in the coming days.  She is the goddess of knitting, and just being around her seemed to make knitting a less frustrating experience.  Thank you, Mary Ann!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Less Haze

Once again I managed to take photos in poor lighting at the end of a long day, but I don't look quite as exhausted as I did in yesterday's post.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Black dress, thrifted; printed dress, Walmart; belt, borrowed (Thank You, Dainie!); tights, Walmart; earrings, handmade and gifted (Thank You, Kate!); necklace, gifted (Thank You, Mom!).

I like how the tribal-ish print of the second dress just slightly shows through the sheer black dress.  As I work through my black dresses, my challenge is to avoid looking like I'm going to a funeral every day.  I think the tribal dress and the borrowed belt liven up the black vintage dress perfectly.