Friday, October 30, 2009

Dress design for Shabby Apple dresses

I would never consider myself a fashion designer in any way, but when I heard about the Shabby Apple Dare to Design contest I thought I'd at least throw my hat in the ring.

I mean, I own 2 Shabby Apple Dresses, regularly go to their site, and recommend it to almost every girl I meet. And if I had enough dresses to wear one every day of the week I would.

There are lots of places and reasons to wear a dress. In that spirit I've decided to exhibit 4 different designs that I would happily wear in a given week.

Dress #1: She Works Hard for the Money

This dress would be perfect for me to wear to the office. Starting at the top, it is a white cotton top...double thick of course so it is totally opaque. Is there anything worse that having to wear a cami under a dress? It always rides up and bunches under the bust. I hate it so much I can't even explain. Around the neckline are a few very deliberate box pleats to provide some interest. The sleeves of this dress are so cool. I attempted to borrow the construction from a fall Kate Spade dress. They have a typical sleeve and then on top there is a piece that wraps from front to back, and just at the outside there is a little tube that the wrap around piece goes through. Trust me, I'll look cool.

Buttons go up the back of the bodice and at the waist is a 2" wide black belt-like feature that also buttons in the back with a slightly offset tab. If you can't tell yet, I love the little details.

The skirt is a tight pencil made of a pin striped stretch wool (or cotton if wool makes the dress too expensive), complete with a slit in the back to help you be able to walk. However, the slit will not be too high. Flashing my blindingly white inner thigh at work is NOT on the agenda.

Dress #2: What a day for a Day Dream

Did you see the awesome brown plaid skirt from Shade this fall? I love it so much. It inspired the designing of this plaid weekend dress. I just can't think of a better dress to get out and take that first warm spring day bike ride. Me, on an awesome cruiser bike with the front basket filled with bright yellow daffodils?Perfect!

The fabric for this dress is a loose slightly silky cotton plaid in gray, olive green (or alternately a warm brown and lilac purple...I can't choose) and crisp white that drapes perfectly, making it so easy to wear.

Sometimes sleeves seem like such and afterthought to a design, but I think they can really make or break a look. The ones I've shown here are have ruffled cut outs, but still go all the way around the inside of the arm. There is nothing I hate more than those ruffled flowy sleeves that don't go all the way around, thus necessitating a cami just to cover the exposed bit of skin under your armpit. As stated earlier, I HATE wearing a cami under a dress....

Another cool detail of this dress is the self-fabric built in belt. Whatever happened to the fabric covered belt that matches a dress? It's all over Mad Men, but I hardly ever see it done really well these days.

Oh, also, the ear doctor calls this one "The Haggis" because of the plaid. Do you think I should change it's name?

Dress #3: Easy like Sunday Morning

For me, this would be the perfect dress to wear to church. Inspired by this dress at Anthropologie it has a sailor feel, but what makes it special is the construction.

Basic royal blue striped fabric, cut on on angle and sewn together to make a herringbone bodice will be so slimming and flattering. The shear volume of the skirt will create a pretty hourglass figure and make it really easy to wear. If you haven't noticed yet, I like a dress with a very defined waist band.....

Dress #4: Eight Days a Week

This is the dress that I think will fit in best with Shabby Apple's overall design aesthetic. It's comfortable, cozy, easy to wear and has pretty easy construction, so could probably be sold for a pretty low price.

This dress is made from a sky blue light weight'd feel like you were slipping on your favorite broken in t-shirt. But have about a million times more style, especially if you paired it with a sunny yellow cropped cardigan!

The upper yoke of the dress is made from woven tubes of the jersey and backed by a solid of the same so it isn't see through. The sleeves are slightly puffed with a stretchy ribbing that hits just above the elbow. I have a shirt with this same sleeves and I LOVE it. Sooo flattering. It has a very wide, gathered waist band that sits at the natural waist and is the only part of the dress that's close to the body.

My usual complaint with a jersey dress is that it shows all my body's imperfections because they don't usually float away from my body past my waist. In an attempt to solve that issue, the skirt of this dress is a full circle, meaning that if you sat on the ground you could pull it out in every direction all around you. Having the weight and volume of all that fabric will really help create a pretty silhouette and be very flattering on almost every body type. I tried a banana republic dress that was very similar to this dress a year ago and loved everything about it....except how it didn't have sleeves and was annoyingly short!

So there you have it. Any comments?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The best Colorado Halloween costume is a ski bunny

Because of this, the view from my office window:

I'm really wishing for this:

and these:

Instead, I'm consoling myself with this:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Clash of the Titans

The ear doctor and I are stopped at an impasse. We were wondering what time the average person gets up in the morning. Please, help us settle this debate. What time do you wake up in the morning? Is it closer to 6am or closer to 7am?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two of a kind

There are so many crazy similarities between the ear doctor and myself. Things we experienced in college, places we've been on vacation, shows we watched as kids. Our parents even both made personalized melamine places for us as kids and then gave them to us when we moved out of the house.

So it shouldn't really surprise me when we both think of the same things sometimes. But it still does.

On Friday we closed on our house! To celebrate I went out and bought him a brand new fancy pen. You he could sign all that paperwork in style. It was the perfect gift...simultaneously functional and sentimental.

After signing our lives away we both went to work and met up at the house that evening. He unlocked the door, scooped me up in his arms and carried me over the threshold into our empty, echoing, cavernous house. We at take out Thai food on the floor of our barren dining room and had to ask the neighbor if we could borrow a couple of forks.

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to start working on our little home. Our first project was to pick paint colors for the front room and mark out the wainscoting we're planning to build. I ran around asking him if he brought a tape measure and all I got was his iconic sneaky I've-got-a-secret face.

He led me out to the garage, told me to close my eyes, hold out my hands and brace myself for some weight. Then, he filled my eager expectant palms with the coolest housewarming present ever. My very own TOOL BELT FILLED WITH BRAND NEW TOOLS!

How cool is that!

It was the perfect gift....both functional and sentimental.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


It’s only 8:54 this morning and already I’ve heard two heart rending stories told by co-workers that I just barely met.

The first I was getting to know and I asked what his wife did for a profession. He told me that she started out in the early 80’s as a nurse. A nurse, who contracted a staph infection, was in a hospital bed for 40 days where she flat lined twice. A nurse who 5 years after healing from the infection was then poked by a needle improperly stored in a sharps container. A needle infected with Hep C. Which she contracted. A nurse who 5 years after that found out she had liver cancer. After waiting a few years on the transplant list she eventually was saved by her own son’s donation.

Which triggered the second co-worker to tell me of his recent experience. One May morning he took his 18 month old daughter in for her check up. Upon examining her abdomen the pediatrician cancelled his family trip and told him they’d be taking her to get a CT scan. They found a tumor in her liver the size of a softball. For the next 6 months their lives revolved around the hospital. He showed me a picture of his adorable little girl taken on the official day of remission. One week before Christmas. The holidays for them last year were euphoric. Her middle name is Noel.

Sometimes I’m blown away by the experiences that people go through. You look at someone on the surface and see them plugging away. You see them just living their lives and figure you know who they are and what they’re about.

But you don’t.

Almost everyone has an amazing story like this. Everyone has deep, real issues that they rise above on a daily basis. Amazing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Are you watching the Next Iron Chef on Food Network? Because the ear doctor and I totally are. I can’t decide which show I like better, this or Top Chef. I like that the potential Iron Chefs are typically older and more experienced. They’ve each paid their dues and there aren’t too many total dish failures.

Plus Next Iron Chef has my food crush Alton Brown as the host.

Love that guy.

Anyway, I ask because I was thinking about a past challenge they gave the contestants. They gave them each a surprise ingredient that reflected their culinary pasts. The Jewish guy got Matzah, the German gal got some beer, ect. As I was suddsing up my hair this morning I wondered to myself, “If I were vying to impress the commissioner enough to become his next Iron Chef, what ingredient would they throw at me? What could possibly symbolize my background?”

Since I grew up in the Seattle area I hoped that they’d give me a nice fresh wild salmon fillet (which I’d probably make en papillote). Or maybe they’d give me a firm juicy Fuji apple (then I’d try to make a quick version of this cake…I made it last week and it blew my mind).

But then I realize that since I’m LDS (Mormon) I’d probably whisk off that gleaming silver dome and find a box of lime jell-o or a red and white can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup.

What do you think they'd surprise you with?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

No need to rage against

The only thing that bugs me about living in Colorado is condemning look I get from people when I bring a McDonald’s cup into a room.

I know it’s not good for me to eat at McDonald's. I get it. I’m slowly killing myself with saturated fat and aspartame. And I know some people would NEVER succumb the lure of the golden arches, but does that mean that I deserve a dirty look if I do?

I mean, it’s not like I’m lighting up and filling your air with toxic second-hand smoke or anything?

It’s just a soda.

If someone doesn’t eat fast food because they don’t like it or it makes them feel gross then I totally understand not partaking. I wouldn’t either. If someone was worried about teaching their kids healthy eating habits so they try to avoid it, props to them. If they don’t think they’ll have any kind of self control because the nostalgia associated with the flavor of some crispy salty fries, by all means, stay away.

But just keep this in mind: not eating it does not make a person cooler than someone who does.

Similarly, not having cable does not make you more hip/righteous/awesome than someone who likes to watch a little mindless reality TV every now and then. It just means you’ll probably be left out of a lot of water cooler conversations at work.

Mainstream is not always horrible.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paint chip round #1

Well, we close on our house in 1 WEEK!!!!!!!! I'm so excited that I can barely contain myself. In honor of this exciting occasion the ear doctor and I took a little trip to a couple local hardware stores to pick guessed it...PAINT CHIPS!

We've decided that we're going to put up a light colored wall paneling about 4' high and paint the upper portion of the wall a brownish gray. We got roughly 60 different options and started narrowing them down by holding up the chips to our couch and rug. At this point we've narrowed it down to our top 10 that we'll get samples of an paint square on the wall a la Jeff Lewis.

The green chip is our rug color, and the gold is what we're thinking of making our sparsely distributed accent color. Any chips that you would throw out? Any that are particularly intriguing?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nick names

In my line of work there is a particular nick name that I've just grown to love. I've heard it at least twice a week for the last 7 years. It's funny, endearing and just so perfect.

What is the nick name?


A graybeard is an wizened old engineer who has an astounding amount of experience and knowledge crammed into his brain. He's seen everything and he can give advise that no one else can. These people are honored. Their opinion is gold.

The entire aerospace industry is pretty awesome, but one of the really cool things is that these graybeards are still working. They birthed the industry and are still around.

For a society and culture that considers youth the pinnacle of living and tends to see little value in the elderly I feel proud to belong to a group who honors the knowledge gained by age. Who values the experience and insight garnered during a long life. Who realizes that the previous generation has a critically important voice.

That's all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Misjudging book covers

Yesterday I had a meeting at a remote office at noon. Usually these meetings take a while and I hadn't eaten lunch yet, so I thought that I would have to skip lunch.

The ear doctor HATES it when I skip lunch because I come home to him a grouchy, tired, frazzled mess.

So when my meeting ended early and I knew I was going to drive right by a Panera it seems the stars had aligned. There was nothing more in the world I wanted than a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

After I ate my $9 lunch (which would have cost me $.73 at home) I threw my purse over my shoulder and practically started sprinting across the parking lot to my car.

However, as I got about half way to my vehicle I passed a group of high school kids who looked a little rough around the edges. And since it was about 1:30 at this point I was pretty sure they were cutting class. I myself, never cut class in high school. My friends never skipped, so I never saw the point of missing out on the social interaction. How would I know what hilarious thing my crush said in English class?

The kids who stood around in the school sanctioned smoking area (yes, Spokane is ghetto and supports under aged smoking) and always ditched classes made me nervous.

And, despite being out of high school for over a decade, passing by this group of kids in the parking lot made me nervous. That old feeling of uncertainty bubbled up. I tried my best to seem confident and self assured so no one would know how I felt inside, but it was still there.

Until the last kid, the scraggliest one looked up at me, made eye contact and called out in a friendly voice, "good morning!"

On autopilot I responded, "you too!"

We passed.

I realized it was way passed noon and turned around and said, "actually, good afternoon, right?"

He turned around, gave me a big goofy nice smile and said, "yeah, I guess so."

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'll take one of everything please

I was really bummed to learn that Pushing Daisies got the axe. Not that I totally loved the plot lines or some of the crazy characters. My affection for that show was won by the costuming department. The clothes on that show blew my mind and served as a reminder that I should (1) wear more color and (2) invest in some great hats.

But with the end of the show where would I turn for outer vestment inspiration?

Enter Glee.

My oh my! Is anyone else just loving the clothes they're putting on our clean freak, overly neurotic guidance councilor Emma Pillsbury. I mean, it's probably a stretch that high school guidance councilor could afford this wardrobe...but let's suspend reality, ok?
Just take a gander:

Would I wear any of these looks? You bet your bottom dollar I would! Plus it doesn't hurt that her hair is pretty much exactly my color...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friendships with strangers

Did you watch Nie Nie on Oprah this week?

Because I totally did.

I sat on the floor of my living room with my cute little doggie on my lap and cried my little eyes out. (he's not allowed on our couch). It was so awesome to get to see her actually moving and talking and breathing.

She was exactly what I'd imagined...someone who is so loving and warm that you just want to be around them all the time. Like a big steaming mug of hot chocolate in person form.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Family photo

My mom told me last night that our family will be taking family photos the day after Thanksgiving this year. So, I threw this little pic together as an inspiration for our outfits.

So far I think it's a pretty good jumping off place. The only thing I'm not thrilled with is the color of little Charlotte's skirt. I think/hope that it's just the coloring from the screen grab and in person it will probably be a bit more of a khaki color?

What do you think? Any wardrobe change suggestions?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Out of the woods

Good news! I survived.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't really sure I'd make it. The first couple days of the flu aren't really that bad for me. I usually have a pretty positive outlook and only expect it to last the requisite 48 hours. I figure that being sick is a part of life...part of the human experience, you know?

But when hour 49 rolls around and the incessant throbbing of cranial pressure hasn't yet subsided I start to slip into the a realm of the unreal where the world spins around me and time has lost meaning. I sit on the couch in my pajamas where day equals night equals day.

Until, glory of glories, the end is granted. The haze of influenza is lifted up from my sorry carnal body on the blessed wings of divine goodness and I am freed.

I look around, reborn and realize that A WEEK AND A HALF has passed without my notice.

The only indicated that time has passed inside my home is the 3 foot tall tower of used Kleenex on the floor by the couch and the different striated layers of mystery goo on the cuffs of my pajama sleeves.