A Dress Named Jamie

Yesterday I went thrifting
And I met a dress named Jamie

She was rough around the edges
But I took her home and gave her a makeover

Now she feels refreshed and confident
Enough to step Into the Sun
Oh, Jamie! How I love thee
Let me count the ways:
One, one-thousand

Two, one-thousand

Three, one-thousand

Four, one-thousand

Five, one-thousand

Six, one-thousand.

And we have only just met.

Today's Useless Trivia:
Count von Count, often known as The Count, is one of the Muppet characters on Sesame Street, performed by Jerry Nelson. The Count is a vamire modeled after Béla Lugosi's interpretation of Count Dracula.


Classic Comfort

Today I need to get a ton of things done, most of which includes outdoor spring cleaning to prepare for a visit from the In-Laws. The weather is supposed to be just perfect tomorrow, so I'm really looking forward to it. Not too much to report, but here is my outfit from yesterday. It was the first day all week that wasn't saturated with rain. When I woke up to sun I literally jumped out of bed to open all the blinds and curtains.
Collared Shirt: Old Navy
Jeans: Hydraulic
Cowboy Boots and Belt: Courtesy of my Mom's Closet
Today's Useless Trivia:
The boots cowboys wear are just a result of practical design. The higher, often undercut heel is to hook the bar of the stirrup when riding, helping to keep the foot secure. The pointed toe makes it easier to get the foot into the stirrup. The high top is to protect the lower leg from hazards when out on the range. The fancy patterns were originally unique to each person, to distinguish your boots from mine.


An Apology to My Peeps

I haven't done a post on actual art in a while, and today afforded me the perfect opportunity.

On Easter Sunday I made a remark on this blog that got me into some hot water with my BFF, and now I am eating my words!! I casually noted in my Useless Trivia that there are only 60 million chocolate bunnies consumed each Easter compared to 600 million Peeps. I simply inquired to my audience how that could have been possible... I find myself to be in such a landslide situation when it comes to choosing chocolate over marshmellow that the opposite is inconceivable. It still floores me. In any case, my BFF showed me the light. She does not stand alone in her love of the marshmellow-y spring colored gelatanous confections. I am sad I didn't know about this beforehand... I might not like to eat Peeps, but I would certainly enjoy making a diorama out of them. Behold: Photos from the second annual Peeps Diorama Contest. This is the winner:
The Tomb of King Peepankhamun
Laura Sillers, 22, of Potomac Maryland
And my personal favorites:
Nightmare in Pink
Peter Byers of Arlington Virginia
Amy Winepeep
Karen Besser, 58, of Arlington and daughter Nina Besser, 23, of Fairfax Virginia
Peep Art
Jane Dokko of Washington DC
I think it's time for me to start drafting ideas for next year. I certainly won't miss out on this again!!! Please, please check the rest out, they are all so awesome... don't worry, there is 37 shown out of the 800 contestants.
Today's Useless Trivia:
Peeps are produced by Just Born, a candy manufacturer based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Peeps were introduced nationally in 1958 by Pravin Pant Sr., a Nepali immigrant. When Just Born acquired Rodda Candy Company in 1953, they automated the process (originally the chicks were formed by hand) and mass-produced them. The yellow chicks were the original form of the candy — hence their name — but then the company introduced other colors and, eventually, the myriad shapes in which they are now produced.


One More Boring Winter Office Outfit

Now that I am officially a licensed Realtor in Maryland now I have to affiliate with a broker in order to practice. So, the inevitable boring office wardrobe has returned. It's difficult to balance your need to look creative with the need the be professional with the need to try and look as 'adult-like' as possible. Unfortunately, when I have tried my hand at home sales in the past I am greeted with a distaste for my youthful appearance. The last time I sold a home was about four years ago and I have learned SO much about the world of Real Estate since then, so I feel very competent and capable this time around, and I'm sure that will reflect in my demeanor, but it's nice to have a very professional look to finish it all off. No one trusts a schlep.
So, this is what I wore to my office today. Everything in the outfit is ages old, but I have never actually tried this combination before.
Collared T-shirt: Old Navy
Short Sleeved Blazer: Rampage
Pin-striped pencil skirt: GAP
Red Belt: Nine West
On a quick side note, as you know I am a huge dog-lover. Not just my dog... all dogs. I have a belief that dogs are the most noble and honorable creatures on the planet. Don't forget our pooches are suffering in these times too. If you have a couple of bones to spare, send them on over to Donate 4 Dachshunds and help out little paws everywhere.
Today's Useless Trivia:
A hobble skirt is a skirt with a narrow enough hem to significantly impede the wearer's stride, thus earning its name. A knee-long corset is also used to achieve this effect. Although restrictive skirts first appeared in Western fashion in 1880s, the term was first used in reference to a short-lived trend of narrow skirts in around 1910-1913. The Parisian fashion designer Paul Poiret is sometimes credited with the design, inspired by the widespread Oriental influence on Western culture, but in fact the extreme hobble skirt is an evolution of the narrowing skirt seen in fashion since the turn of the century.


Sew ReNew

Remember this?

Well, I'm happy to say I turned it into this:

Here's how:

So Easy. I am going to devote an entire corner of this blog to repurposing old items of clothing. I think it is important for a couple of reasons. First of all it saves money. When you look beyond what is in front of you it always opens up a new floodgate of ideas. When you start looking at your wardrobe that way you'll find you don't really need to do any shopping. Looking through thrift stores with the same sew-thrift glasses certainly opens up a new plethora of opportunities there as well. Most importantly, by using and re-using what you already have and what you can buy and re-use locally you really help the environment. No oil or machines or junk harmed the environment in it's creation or shipment to you (this time around anyway). Let's not forget the succulent satisfaction in all of this that you know there is only one of what you are wearing.



Happy Easter one and all. I hope you are enjoying your Sunday. I don't really celebrate Easter really, just any day that requires family to get together and eat copious amounts of food. Today's Easter celebration is small, just the immediate family. That isn't stopping me from trying to roast a five and a half pound leg of lamb. I have never eaten it before which may make cooking it a little difficult because I don't really know what it should be like when cooked perfectly. I am certainly a meat-lover though, so I think I'll be okay. I'll let you know how it goes.
This Easter Mom and I decided to decorate eggs, a Craftastic project I haven't done in years. Instead of doing the traditional hard-boiled eggs we decided to use wooden eggs that we picked up at the craft store. It was a little more expensive, but worth it since now we will be able to take them out again next year. The technique was ridiculously easy and was featured in the latest issue of Martha Stewart magazine. All you need is paint, scissors, napkins, brushes and Mod Podge. They ended up looking nothing like what I had in mind, but they are beautiful in a completely unexpected way. Initially I wanted very graphic and dynamic eggs in a simple two tone pallate. When I couldn't find the napkins that fit the project, I had to work with what I had. The result: Water Color Easter Eggs. I love them.
The pre-decorated eggs. I decided to use all warm tones.
My favorite egg is back row in the very center. It is yellow with only orange-red flowers. It looks like it is covered in Poppies.
Today's Useless Trivia:
Approximately 60 million chocolate bunnies are purchased and consumed by Americans during the Easter holiday compared to about 600 million marshmellow peeps. Really people? Neon marshmellows over chocolate? I will never understand this.


STOP. Hammer Time!

Remember the awesome stirrup MC Hammer style pants from the 80's? Still have them? Pass a pair at the thrift store? Well, pick them up because you can easily turn them into one of Spring 09's best looks. Harrem pants...

As sighted on the runway by Refinery 29 in the following Spring '09 shows from left to right: Yigal Azrouë, Proenza Schouler, Phi, Ralph Lauren

And of course a pair from Topshop that I modeled my own after. How could you NOT want a pair of these. They just look perfect for summer. Loose yet sexy when worn correctly. Comfort and style all in one. I made mine short, but if I get an opportunity to make a second pair I am definitely going full length. The harem pants, much like the skinny jeans for me, were a bit of an acquired taste. At the first sight I must admit I was horrified for a second, but in an instant they grew on me. Now, I can't imagine my wardrobe without them.

So, pick up a pair of delicious 80's stirrup pants and bust out the sewing machine. It's time to breath new life into those old things!

Here's what you're going to need: Pins, 1" wide elastic (or wider), seam ripper (in case), scissors and fabric dye if necessary. I chose a black expecting to get a charcoal. If you choose a dark color and want it to be very saturated you will need to buy two packs of dye.

The toolbox. I happened to have most of these things lying around, including the dye which I happened to buy recently to buy a sweater I bought years ago. I couldn't stand to look at that ugly pastel magenta for another minute. I don't know what possessed me to buy a color like that in the first place, but that's besides the point. It's grey now.

Here are your instructions, let me know if you have any issues reading them.

More than half way there!!!

(Actually this is incorrect... the stirrup pants were $1... I had a momentary lapse... it was the jumper I bought with them that was $2.50)

And the finished product... (drumroll please!)

Today's Useless Trivia:
Harem comes from the Arabic Harim which literally means forbidden and sanctuary. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines harem as:
1 a: a usually secluded house or part of a house allotted to women in a Muslim household b: the wives, concubines, female relatives, and servants occupying a harem
2: a group of women associated with one man
3: a group of females associated with one male —used of polygamous animals



Today I spontaneously went to the salon to achieve the ever-awaited platinum blonde, the color of my soul. I finally snapped, like I usually do, and called to get an immediate appointment and an hour later I'm in the chair. Now all I need to complete the look is sticky summer days and sultry beach nights. Nothing is sexier than those summer days when the air is the perfect temperature to just be naked.

Tenpachi Salon
Stylist: Justin
1722 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21231
Speaking of a visit to Baltimore... I have a sister blog that will be maintained with my sister in crime: Glove. The blog is called GlakerNation and we intend to do our own style sightings in Baltimore along with any other local cute-ness we wish to feature. We kicked it off this past week, but we didn't do any style sightings, just plain old best friend shopping, which was way over due. Glove also started her own blog today, so happy birthday Graceful Glove! I hope everyone takes a minute to stop on by!
Today's Useless Trivia:
This year's summer solstice begins June 21.


Black and White and Red all over

Today I attended a sales meeting at a Real Estate agency with which I may potentially become affiliated. The topic of discussion today was farming your own business. It was very interesting and I think it will be helpful in starting to generate my own book of business here in my home state. It also gave me a chance to see a Maryland contract of sale as well as several different types of listing papers. It is so fascinating to me to be able to compare real estate markets. I am most familiar with New Jersey Real Estate, which is divided into the North and South, each with their own practices. Then I dabbled with the Philly market and now I get to know it all about Maryland... and each of them is so different from the next it just amazes me. For the first time in my real estate career I am excited to start selling. In the past I have been a real estate photographer and a processor, but I haven't sold a home in over three years. I can't wait to get my feet wet.

At the meeting the new girl forgot to turn off the ring on her cell phone... hence the red all over. It was such a rookie mistake... I so know better than that.

Last night after making dinner I carried out my days old desire to make a carrot cake. The recipe, courtesy of my girl Martha Stewart, calls for unsweetened apple sauce. I didn't have applesauce, but I what I did have was an excess of apples. So I also made the applesauce which went into said carrot cake. I ended up baking until after nine, which wouldn't have been bad if I hadn't started working in the kitchen a little before 4. I'm not complaining, I enjoyed it, but after 5 hours on my feet I was in no shape to make cream cheese frosting from scratch. So I went to sleep lacking the satisfaction of tasting my homemade morsel, only able to dream of the spiced orange sweetness on my tastebuds. Today I happily intended to rectify this.

Cream Cheese Frosting
The finished product

Most Delicious Carrot Cake

Makes 2 eight-inch layers.
Butter, for pans
4 medium carrots
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 eight-by-two-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment; butter, and dust with flour. Grate carrots in food processor; measure 2 cups, and transfer to medium bowl. Add raisins, walnuts, applesauce, and lemon juice and zest to carrots.
2. Wipe food processor bowl; fit with blade. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice; pulse to mix. With motor running, pour in oil and eggs; process until smooth, scraping sides. Add carrot mixture; pulse. Pour into pans; bake about 40 minutes, until tester inserted in middle comes out clean.
3. Cool in pans on rack for 20 minutes. Remove; cool completely, right side up.
Super Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 3 cups
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add butter, beating until incorporated.
2. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add sugar, beating until incorporated. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

Today's Useless Trivia:
"In the Middle Ages in Europe, when sweeteners were scarce and expensive, carrots were used in sweet cakes and desserts. In Britain...carrot puddings...often appeared in recipe books in the 18th and 19th centuries. Such uses were revived in Britain during the second World War, when the Ministry of Food disseminated recipes for carrot Christmas pudding, carrot cake, and so on and survive in a small way to the present day. Indeed, carrot cakes have enjoyed a revival in Britain in the last quarter of the 20th century. They are perceived as 'healthy' cakes, a perception fortified by the use of brown sugar and wholemeal flour and the inclusion of chopped nuts, and only slightly compromised by the cream cheese and sugar icing whcih appears on some versions."---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 141)



No blogger likes to begin a post with an apology for absence. I have been up to my eyebrows in tasks and obligations. First, I would like to announce that the Hubs and I are officially licensed Realtors in Maryland! Yee-ha! Second, the promised update on the handbag I made for my trip to Florida. I would have liked to take more pics throughout the process, but I was in a pinch for time so pics weren't at the forefront of my mind.

This is the pattern and original fabric I had chosen for the lining.

This is the gaudy cord used at the center of the shoulder straps. It's not ugly when it is cloaked in faux leather.

My whole reasoning for making a bag in the first place was that I wanted a bag large enough to hold my camera and with a strap long enough to go across my chest, making it a hands-free victory in the airport. When I couldn't find what I wanted, I hit the sewing machine. I ingeniously decided half-way through that I could use spring clips and d-rings on the bag in order to have interchangeable straps, rendering the bag perfect for any situation. I also decided on a zebra lining and key charm for the zipper to make it super easy to open and close and find what I need in that handbag abyss.

Here is today's handbag affection. It is rainy and nasty, so I chose a grey, dreary and somewhat comfy outfit. First is the accross-the-chest strap.

Then the shoulder strap... excuse the ornery expression.
And lastly, each clip hooked to both d-rings. This is good when you want to tighten your grip without carrying the weight on your shoulder. I know this pose looks a little fruity, but I think it was the best to showcase the bag.
Blazer: H&M
T-shirt: The hub's side of the closet
Belt: Ganked from another dress, it's just a skinny cotton sash.
Jeans: Old Navy, believe it or not. This is the only pair of jeans I have ever found from ON that fit... I couldn't resist trying them on for $10, and they fit perfectly.
Socks: Target
Boots: Banana Republic stolen/borrowed from my Mom's closet. I love having access to her shoe wardrobe.
I also love having access to all of my old stand-by thrift stores. So far, I have only been able to visit one, in addition to a new one my bestie and I visited in Baltimore, but I have some great finds.
Ye 'ole Stirrup pants. Wait till you see how I transform these little beaut's that were a whopping one dollar.
A gloriously metallic 80's tank. It goes perfectly with the vintage belt I found years ago that is sitting in my closet waiting for the perfect outfit. With a pair of black skinny's... yikes that might be too 80's fab. Not. Gold tank: $2.50
Now if only I could find that gold metallic slap bracelet that used to be the center of my world.

Just in case you want a close-up of the clam-shell design.
My favorite fun find: a metallic tank dress. A little dumpy now, but it will be so-hot when it's done. The fabric is spectacular... it is metallic but light and sheer as cotton... not sheer enough to see detail, but sheer enough to see a sexy silhouette.

Look at this great 70's tag... just wanted to point out that it hangs a little, only a little, loose on me and it is sized a 14. SO not my modern-day size. So, don't be fooled when they say Marilyn Monroe was a size 6. I digress... the dress was $2.

A lovely dress from Lmited... the v-neck is in the front and the back. At $6 this was my priciest find.

I can't wait to pair this Banana Republic dress ($2) with a wide white belt and wedges.
Today's Useless Trivia:
Forsythia bushes (the beautiful bush I am standing in front of for today's outfit shot) are an ideal plant for borders or screens. The forsythia bush should be planted in full sun or light shade. The forsythia bush was named in honor of the royal British gardener William Forsyth who lived from 1737 to 1804.