a sauvie island blueberry pie

as we move into the second half of 2015 and i continue to be freaked out by how time is passing exponentially faster as i get older (dear old dirty bastard i’m getting older), i have made some self improvement promises to myself.

1. to sew more. caftans, kimonos, muumuus, palazzo pants, ponchos, jumpsuits, rompers. a new wardrobe is severely overdue.

2. to form a rad momma & me co-op situation in our new neighborhood. i need reinforcement to travel smoothly through parenthood. and i need a few hours each week where sebe gets his playtime on with other kiddos and momma can do more of numbers 1, 3 and 4 on this list.

3. to play dress-up more like i did pre-kiddo and less like i have been post-kiddo, which is just a fugly travesty and i won’t stand for it any longer.

4. to cook more. for years, i have been an avid stalker of a few foodie podcasts and blogs. i click on them every couple days, drooling over the gorgeous photography, the recipes and the ability of the women behind the blogs to balance baby daddies, kiddos, housekeeping, a social life, a steady social media presence AND the seemingly luxurious hours necessary to peruse farmers markets for the freshest ingredients out of which they craft decadent meals. these women are either half robot or just simply better human beings than myself, a hard truth i’m willing to accept. for now. until now. so here we go.

my very, very favorite food blog is all vegetarian, which is how heidi swanson first won my heart. she has been cooking and writing about her cooking for a long time and she is damn good at it. her blog, 101 cookbooks, was inspired by all the cookbooks she uses to find her next meal idea, many of which she tweaks to make even better. all her recipes are taste-tested, which is huge when following someone else’s recipe. you know an actual person has made it, eaten it and not spit it out. a new journey starts with a single step, or something like that. i decided mine would begin with pie.

last weekend, sebe woke up from his nap and i thought it would make for a fantastic date if we drove out to sauvie island and picked blueberries. it was going to be his first time and i always get geeked up about first times. they include having dance parties while we pack our outing bag and scream-singing, “whoooooooooohooooooooooooooo” complete with raise-the-roof hand motions the entire drive to wherever we’re going. this summer’s fun caliber is symbiotically affixed to the number of whoohoos being made at any given time. we’re doing pretty okay so far. i’m proud of us. sauvie island, if you’ve never been (insert empathetic facial expression here), is a mega magical place where anything can happen. in my lifetime, these things have most often included but are not subject to; playing on the beach and swimming in the water, driving from farm to farm, picking fresh fruit, veggies and flowers, attending the best pumpkin patch in all the land every year in October (complete with a corn stalk maize/maze, barnyard full of cute animals and another barnyard full of farm fresh edibles and in my more adult years, fashion photo shoots with brianne wills, my photographer partner in crime, who has recently moved to nyc to become famous. the photo above was my attempt to show off the gorgeous sauvie island bridge without getting out of the car because, you know, fast highway cars and toddler in the back seat. anyway, i’m telling you guys, it is an actual island! you get to drive across a beautiful little bridge which (little known portland fact coming up) was constructed as a mini trial version of the golden gate bridge in san francisco. how. rad. is. that. super rad. it’s super rad.

every summer growing up, my parents would take my brother and i to the blueberry house to spend hours plucking the ripest and most delicious blueberries that we got to take home and eat ourselves silly off of. in my childhood memory, it was a gigantic white house with lots of dogs running around and blueberry fields as far as the eye could see. going back with seb last weekend, i had a good giggle about childhood memories and am thankful that at least while not entirely reality-representative, mine were at least overly optimistic. the blueberry fields are there and they still stretch as far as you can see. the house is big but not gigantic nor white and the dogs (i know they had some) were not there to run or roam. but everything else was as if time has stood still the last 30-something years. the same buckets you can borrow to pick, the same scale used to weigh your bounty and the same woman who started the farm way back when is still sitting, chatting with every wide-eyed picker who comes calling. we arrived around 4:30pm and the farm closes at 6pm but for that entire hour and a half, my little boopie, not yet two years old, sat in the hot afternoon sun and picked blueberries with me. okay, he more like pulled the branches and grabbed at the berries and they were less blue, more green but he was a goddamn trooper and i was bursting with momma adoration. every once in a while, he would bring his bucket over to my container and dump his goods in. “oh my gosh seb! look at all the blueberries you picked! you’re doing such an awesome job!” he seriously looked proud and would walk back to another bush and begin his pulling/grabbing again. then i would quickly try to toss all his green berries out of my bucket before he could see. at least i try to find every opportunity for a learning lesson. “see these? these are blue. see these? these are green. just try to pick the blue ones. they’re ripe and you can eat them. don’t eat the green ones. they will make your baby tummy hurt.”

and so it went, with me picking and seb pulling until all three of my containers were full. we had exceeded all my expectations for the amount of fruit we could haul home. we were hot, sweaty, dirt-covered and so, so happy. i can’t remember how much per pound it was but for $22, we walked away with 11 pounds of blueberries, a jar of farm fresh honey and two honey sticks (seb luh-huved his).

we both had blue tee shirts on while picking blueberries. sometimes cute shit like that happens accidentally and i’m totally okay with it. but back to the business of pie. i realized while picking with the utmost joy that blueberries are my dad’s most favorite fruit and father’s day just happened to be the very next day. perf-ect. i would drop off fresh picked blueberries and the card seb and i made for dad. noooooooooo! i will drop off fresh picked blueberries, a hand drawn card and a pie! a pie that i made! game. on.  so after putting seb to bed (after we had both eaten way too many blueberries) i hit heidi’s site and searched for berry pie. i found this, my inspiration/fear factor:

heidi pie

crust. riiight. a real pie includes a real crust. not one purchased in the freezer section of a grocery store, rolled out and baked, no fanfare whatsoever. no. i would make the crust from scratch. luckily, in addition to heidi’s fancier rye pie crust she included a link to a simpler crust, one that after reading the recipe over and over, i decided i could do it. i had some sebe-free hours on sunday so i grabbed the few ingredients i didn’t have on hand at new seasons and got to work. the crust would need at least one hour to sit in the fridge before rolling out so i did that first.

i decided to go the cuisinart route for blending up the cold chunks of butter with the flour rather than hand chopping it. 1) it had been sitting in its original box, taunting me, gathering dust, since it was given to us as a wedding present almost two years ago 2) enough was enough (self improvement promises and whatnot) and i would attack this cuisinart business with the same blind gusto that i used teaching myself to sew that first garment – fearlessly and with the clarity that it could all be a huge disaster. that’s where i like to live, right on the edge. and btw, i wore the hell out of that flamenco tube top. i rolled the dough into a ball on a floured surface, wrapped it in plastic and stuck it in the fridge. then i followed heidi’s recipe for the berry filling and it was way less panicky than i thought.

i even got to bust out this vintage lemon juicer i found years ago at a garage sale and realized how fun it is to juice lemons.

dough out of the fridge, it rolled flat so smoothly. i might have done a little private kitchen dance.

put it all together, baked for exactly 45 mins. and holy crap of craps, there was pie. in the last few minutes, the fruit started bubbling over the edge and spilled out onto the oven floor. it’s still sitting there. i have no idea how to clean it. but it was awesome to look at. there were hot, sticky blueberries all over the oven and i didn’t even care because there was pie. the whole apartment smelled like pie. it was glorious.

aside from needing some (a lot of) assistance in the crust presentation department, i was thrilled. that night, my parents and i shared good company, good laughs and some damn good pie. i can’t wait to make another one.

the happiest father and grandfather’s day to you pops! we love you so, so much.

 

a portland house : fixer upper edition, part 1

a bit back, i posted about turning all my wallpaper fantasies into all my wallpaper realities. the thing about fantasies is, well, they’re just that. they don’t come with a price tag or a budgeting plan or a baby daddy who lives in the real world and has the shitty job of (gently, kindly) shooting down all my whimsical dreams. it’s okay, i still love him. because of his stereotypical jew-like accounting radar (something my jew ass simply doesn’t have), we’re debt-free and can afford to buy all the organic fruit i can stomach. so there’s that. but back to wallpaper business and a house update!

after much deliberation and late night internet worm-holing, i managed to narrow down my billion wallpaper choices to just a few. okay, several. whatever. decisions are not my strong suit. especially when many are needed to be made in a short amount of time and oh yeah, no big deal or anything, but these decisions would be stared at by us, family, friends, strangers, neighbors and pizza delivery kids for the next 10-20 years. ugh. pressure. fun pressure, sure, but pressure. so i sent off for many wallpaper samples, at $1 a piece from wallpaperdirect.com – a site i came across that i’ve been really pleased with, not just for their massive worldwide paper selection but also for their awesome customer service. a rarity these days, it seems. rating customer service is also my own personal indicator that and i’m getting old and cranky. fun. anyway, here’s what came in the mail:Screen shot 2015-06-20 at 2.16.56 PMi’m really glad i decided to throw down a wad of dollar bills to get physical samples. i could 1) see the actual colors up close 2) see the pattern and how large or small it was and 3) walk around the house’s big, empty rooms, holding up the samples on the big, empty walls and visualize the best i could what that room would feel like when covered in wallpaper. on the wall paper direct website, they also have a nice room gallery that can help you see what whole walls plastered in any of their papers will look like.

the husband and i hemmed and hawed and hemmed some more and then started narrowing down room and number of wall choices. wallpapering is not cheap. the paper itself is not cheap (on average, all the samples i loved were over $100 per roll – it will take us two rolls to do a smallish standard sized wall in the bathroom. and the installation is not cheap. unless you a talented mo fo and can do it yourself. i thought about this, i really did. and then i talked to some folks who were like, umm, if you’ve never done it before, this probably isn’t a great first timer situation. no offense. and i was like, none taken. the last thing i want is mismatched seams, mismatched patterns or bubbly walls. but i did figure out a nice compromise, both for my own need to learn new skills and to help soften the installation price which is to help the woman who is doing the installing. she is terrific and talented and told me that she would love to help show me how to properly lay wallpaper if i helped out with the process. done and done.

all that being said, picking out choice walls that i reaaaally wanted to wallpaper was tough but here’s where that left us:

the kitchen nook. a tiny space that makes me so happy. wanted something that would complement the potential beverly hills palm paper that will likely go on the back den wall so i’m leaning towards this fun toucan paper. only drawback, lots of pretty white space which i imagine in a few short years (weeks), will be spotted (smeared) with an array of colorful food stains:

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the other top contenders for this space are these two cow print versions from marimekko. the samples are teentsy so i included larger pictures found online, so you can really see the cow action:

large marimekko cows 2

large marimekko cows 1

ahhh! they’re both so on fleek (that works for things other than eye brows, right?)! can’t you just see yourself, saturday morning light coming in through the windows, kiddos scampering around still in their pjs, first round of french toast sticks in the heavily buttered pan  – you’ve just poured yourself a lovely mason jar of french press (stumptown, barista, coava, water ave., take your local pick, they’re all outstanding and deliciously nerdy) and then you curl into a kitchen nook surrounded by these big-eyed, gentle giants. you can’t see it? well damn, i can.

the den. baby daddy pulled white, arabesque tile to surround the fancy wood-burning stove that we inherited when we bought the house. we would have neeeeever purchased something this extravagant on our own, it wouldn’t have even crossed our wishiest of wish lists but the previous owners spent good money on one and had it installed, chimney and all. everyone who has come through the house has drooled over it and told us we will luh-huve having one in the winter so we are going to be burning some wood and making some fires y’all! bring a mug for hot chocolate and come on over.

og fireplace 1

as stated above, still obsessed with this iconic beverly hills hotel palm paper to cover the back wall of the den. i think the white arabesque tile will look good with the palms. like cookie dough and ice cream. sandals with socks. rice with soy sauce. you get the drift.

palm leaf 1

the upstairs bathroom. this room was gutted so were we happily forced to design (within budget, always within budget) from scratch. we decided to go full force with white subway tile, a nod to our love of nyc. did the tub walls, the floor (no one told us that tiling a floor in wall tile wasn’t the smartest thing to do. oh well.) and every other wall except one, which will be gloriously plastered in this:

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it’s from cole & son, called palm jungle. they carry it in about four different colorways. and here’s current before and afters of where we’re at with the bathroom. due to a just glorious skylight, the room is actually flooded with light but i think because of the size of the room (it’s small) and my mediocre camera skills, these came out lighted terribly.

og bathroom 1

og bathroom 2

and after the white-on-white subway tile and tub went in:

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we also had to tile the kitchen sink backsplash so we laid white subway tile there too. because really, you can never have too much subway tile. the before:

og kitchen 1

the after:

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that’s probably all for the wallpaper. i’m super stoked though – it’s a good start and even though i think plainly painted walls are bo-ring, i had to pick some colors for all the other rooms (that is correct, we are painting the entire interior of the house. that’s how much of a hot mess it is) so i spent an achingly long time at sherwin-williams and came up with these swatches:

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i saw this image online and was like, fuck yes, so we’ll see if that comes of anything but for now we’re going with a bright, light cream for much of the main floor, stairway and upstairs.

diagonal wall stripes

attic playroom – black chalkboard paint on bottom and light sky blue for angled walls. here’s our before, i’ll add in an after later:

og attic

chalkboard paint, b-t-dubs, is o-mazing and it now comes in a bunch more colors besides black! you can go old school (literally) chalkboard green and relive third grade! i’ve never painted with it before but i’m so excited! seb is going to have to fight me for doodle room. just remember to cure whatever you’re chalkboard painting before you start drawing. and also! people! there is an outstanding local paint company that slangs chalkboard paint in so many colors! all their paints, chalkboard or otherwise are totally non-toxic / voc free / can be inhaled by small humans and pets without fear! they’re called colorhouse paint! we are definitely buying our chalkboard paint from them. woop!

chalkboard paint

sebe’s room – one cherry red wall and same sky blue on rest of walls as in playroom. his room before:

Sebe's room 1

the after, with the red wall…it occurred to me last night however, as i was putting little muffin to bed, that this is the current crib set-up and i still totally love these dark pieces by our favorite portland graffiti artist rasco:

current wallpaper 2

there’s also no red in those pieces so maybe i should nix the red and pick a color (purple? orange?) from the rasco art if we’re going to transplant the pieces to the new bedroom…

not feeling 100 about this room because initially i drooled over these wallpapers which got axed off the budget so i half heartedly picked primary colors. inspiration will hit at some point. it’s a kiddo room! it has to be rad!

Burgerdoodles-wallpaper5

 

kiddo wallpaper

sewing room (did i mention?!?! i wil have a designated sewing and patterning room!!!! oh a girl can dream and those dreams can come true!!! i have massive plans for this space. private classes, group workshops, whatever anyone wants to pay me to do, we can do it in this room. stop. that sounded dirty. sewing-wise. you know what i mean.) – verdict still out but leaning towards a bubblegum pink? eh. i don’t know. i plan to hold mad classes in this space so i want it to read clean, fun, encouraging, inspirational. the kind of space where anything is possible. i love my friend and very accomplished portland pattern maker and designer john blasioli’s gorgeous studio shots that he posts on his instagram. his space is well loved, simple, open and functional. something to aspire to for sure. this first shot was taken by the unfuckwitable mikola accuardi, photographer and portland supply co. blog owner.

Screen shot 2015-06-21 at 2.06.51 PM

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plus he does achingly fun things like this and isn’t afraid of making a giant mess while doing so:

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exterior of the house needed to be painted like whoah so after not so much deliberation, we said black. black is it. i was fully aware that black usually (most of the time. all of the time.) looks best on multi-million dollar mid-century modern houses but hey, our 1922 bungalow is so totally close to that. right? ha. no, no it is not. surprisingly, sherwin-williams has three exterior blacks to choose from so we did three swatches and chose the one that had the most matte appearance; cavier black. the first time i had time to go check out the progress on the house, much of the first coat had been put on the big side wall. i freaked out. i woke up in the middle of the night continuing to freak out. i thought maybe we had made a huge mistake. turns out, a 1922 bungalow is nothing like a multi-million dollar modern house. one of the painters said, “it’s cool. it’s like the adams family lives here.” i wanted to cry. i said maybe we should stop and change it. to like, a brilliant blue or something. baby daddy got out his calculator, pushed up his glasses and gently reminded me that all the paint had been purchased, the work was started and that we weren’t making a huge mistake. that it would look amazing and that with the other pops of color we were planning; huge front window garden box filled with bright green ferny plants and a front door and fence in light-colored wood – that it would be fantastic. i knew he was right. i still loved black over any other color for our house. everyone asked what contrasting trim we would be doing. umm, none, juuust black. the whole, entire, thing black. we like making statements, what can i say.

before:

og side house

 

after:

black house

the backyard is the other gigantic improvement, which i would have been able to post an after for except that i just went through my phone’s gallery and those photos are mia, which means my very savvy not quite two year-old deleted during one of his recent playing-with-momma’s-phone sessions. even on airplane mode that kid manages to make his mark. i’ll update the after soon. just know there is grass. lush, green, roll your face in it grass.

og backyard

complete with a janky (chicken? dog? we weren’t entirely sure. but it was falling apart and literally covered in shit) coop at the far end near the garage:

og back yard chicken coop

so, let’s see – front windows still need to be installed, whole house will be painted with a second coat soon, i plan on making window seat cushions and fashioning the kitchen of my dreams…but that might be it for now! holy shit. a house. it feels really, really unreal.

if you’re remodeling a space and/or have any helpful tips, suggestions or grumblings of lessons learned the hard way, please holler! especially all you kitchen and craft people!

xoxo!

diyds (do it your damn self) : toddler pant pattern drafting

heyoooooo!!! i hope it was the most delicious baby momma day for anyone who has ever changed a poopy diaper! my brother just became a baby daddy! they gave birth to their mini me three days ago and it’s been bittersweet talking with him and seeing photos pop up in my inbox because it ursher hurts to be so far from him (new york) but amazing that our sibling relationship is solid enough that he shares his life with me. it was a great ma day in our flock. woke up to a single rose (picked from our garden by babby daddy but it was a good one) and a 3×5 index card with a beautiful scribble by seb and a lovey, sappy note from baby daddy. cuties. then we fam biked to pambiche for a cuban brunch of eggs, black beans & rice and sugary cafe con leche oh my. and then. then i put boopie down for a nap and got to hit the pattern table for the rest of the afternoon. uugghh. it felt so good.

seb is growing – we really need to stop feeding and watering that kid – and he’s in semi desperate need of pants and shirts for summer that fit him. i usually love sewing kid clothes out of 100% cottons but they are mad hot so i was thinking something in the linen family. i had the chance to hit fabric depot over the weekend. the buttonholer on my janome broke eons ago so i put her in the car wishful thinking that i would find time to make the drive out to 122nd & stark at some point. saturday we decided to hit the annual st. johns parade. god do i love me some lombard street and downtown st. johns. my brother and i were born and raised just off lombard street before st. johns and it feels like you’ve traveled back in time when portland was just a sweet, small town full of hard working blue class families who smiled at you for no reason. it was amazing. this parade is a big ol’ deal every year. folks already had their fold-up chairs ready and guarding front row seats hours before the main event.

st. johns 4

st johns 2

there were corn dogs and cotton candy and strawberry lemonade and a cowboy riding a unicycle and we just had a damn blast. seb rocked out at the st. johns swap n’ play table and leigh and i found hound and the hare, a sweet vintage shop where seb started typing out his memoir. i also finally had the chance to case out the menu at proper eats, a vegan diner and grocery i’ve heard about for years. it looks bomb. i’ll have to go back.

st johns 1

st johns 3

the parade crowd grew, it got hot and seb fell asleep in the car on the way home so we decided to keep driving alllllll the way to montavilla sewing so i could drop the janome off. bang. getting shit done. seb still asleep we kept on down the road to fabric depot. bang. getting more shit done. it’s been some time since i got to fall down the rabbit hole that is the depot and their buyer is doing big things. there’s a couple racks of delicious japanese linens that are luxurious and definitely out of my normal price range but it’s been so long since i made anything and the kid needs pants – what’s a concerned ma to do? so sunday after brunch, i kissed seb’s little baby forehead, closed the door for his nap, and hit the pattern table. i grabbed one of the pants he has that i like the fit of to copy. they’re knit and the linens i bought are wovens but that won’t make a huge difference.

to start, i grabbed some graphed pattern paper – i bought a roll of this here years ago and it’s lasted well beyond its price tag. i drew a grain line in red down the center of the paper. if i was copying a piece that had a consistent center front (CF) or center back (CB), then this red grain line would indicate the CF or CB. but in this case, i’ll place the front pant piece more or less over the center of this grain line, making sure it runs perpendicular to the hem, as this is a good indicator of straight grain hang when worn on the body.

pant 1

then i tacked down the front pant as flat as possible and used the tracing wheel to trace around the front pattern piece, making note of the knit cuff and the waistband situation.

pant 2

next, i lifted up the pant and penciled in the trace lines, smoothing and trueing out lines as i go. trueing just means to smooth out any jagged or jogged lines (lines are aren’t consistently straight or curved as you want them to be).

pant 3

pant 5

then i flipped the pants over and did the same thing for the back pant piece, starting with a fresh piece of graphing paper and a red grain line.

pant 6

pant 7

you want crisp 90 degree angles at crucial places, like where the outseam and inseam meet the top hemline/waistband, where the end of the crotch/stride line meets the top of the inseam and in this case, at the hem.

you can check if lines are making a smooth transition between where pieces will be sewn together by placing either the front onto the back or vice versa and look at your lines. the best way to do this is to trace your pattern piece lines on the opposite side of the paper so that you have ultimate accuracy. now you can easily look at your lines like the stride and waistband if shaped, as in this case.

pant 8

the back waistband is about an inch higher than the front (to account for bulky baby diaper booty) so i wanted to copy that shaping. i dropped the front waistband by 1/2″ and then using the side-by-side method, i could look at the shaping at the side seams and make any adjustments. to true up a line when you have your pieces layered on top of each other is to take your tracing wheel and create a new line that is smooth. the tracing wheel dots will show up on both pieces! keep fussing until you’re happy.

pant 9

pant 10

i also try to notate pattern pieces as soon as i make them. helps in the sanity department down the road when you want to make another of whatever you’ve just spent hours patterning. for notation, here’s what’s what:

– date
– name of garment (either a made-up name or if using a commercial pattern, the company name and style number of the pattern)
– size
– name of pattern piece (top front, bottom front, pant front, pant back, waistband front, waistband back, top front side, top back side, etc…)
– how many to cut (x2, cut 2, x4, cut 4 – however you want to notate that)

so a complete notation would look like this:

5/10/15
Sebe summer pull-on pant (if i wanted to indicate that it had an elastic waistband)
18 months
front pant
cut 2

then, before you go any further, do what i hastily in all my rusty, over-excitedness forgot to do: double-check the flat paper pattern measurements against the garment you copied to make sure you’re on the right track. had i done this, i would have realized i forgot to double the waistband amount (since it gets folded over to form the elastic casing) and i wouldn’t have cut and sewn pants whose stride was too damn short. whoops. no worries. it was nice practice and i’m sure my boo-boo pair will fit a kiddo somewhere. and i love/hate making mistakes like this because they’re always a good reminder of the process. i’ll show that alteration in a bit when i make the second pair of (better fitting! gah!) pants. but back to where we were.

now that you have everything measured and trued and pretty, it’s seam allowance time. i chose to go the industry standard 3/8″ most everywhere except places like the waistband and the cuffs, which get their own special situation. when drawing in seam allowance, remember to make crisp 90 degree angles at those crucial places where one piece will be sewn to another piece. there are exceptions to this rule but generally, this will do you right.

pant 11

after putting in all your seam allowances, throw in a couple notches where you need them. for this garment, i wanted a notch at the outseam and the inseam. you want notches wherever you’re matching up curved pieces – will make your life waaay easier when you go to construct the garment. i chose to put the outseam notch 6″ up from the hem on both front and back pieces.

pant 12

and a notch at the inseam 3 1/2″ down from the end of the stride. for measuring curved lines, i use my indespensible clear flex graphing rulers. they are the absolute bomb. i always cope mine at columbia art and drafting at se 15th & burnside. they always have them in stock and they’re cheap, as they should be.

pant 13

a single line works just fine for indicating a notch. you can go back after you cut out your pattern and actually notch those with a notcher.

pant 14

the last piece i drafted was the cuff. i just measured the cuff on the sample pant, did some fold-over measuring and voila, the easy rectangle cuff.

pant 15

i cut out all the pieces.

pant 16

i started with the knit cuff – just happened to have some light grey medium weight sweatshirt jersey in the closet stash and thought that’d suffice.

pant 17

next up, the pant pieces, out of the fancy yummy japanese linen (since we don’t have a washer/dryer, to get rid of shrinkage, i always dunk new fabric in hot water with a pinch of soap and set it out to air dry before making anything with it)

pant 18

first, i tore a small strip across the top cross grain so that i could match up both the grainlines and the cross grainlines when folding the fabric in right sides together. place pieces on top, making sure both pieces were going in the same direction as the cute little animals on the fabric. (one of the pieces is flipped onto the other side so that it fits but this is totally fine! as long as the main grain line is going in the direction of the animals on the fabric, as it is. boom.

pant 19

to know that the paper pieces are placed exactly on grain with the fabric grain, i place the ruler three times down the red grain line (top, middle, bottom) and measure from the red grain line to the edge of the fabric. like this.

pant 20

pant 21

pant 22

now i can and cut them out and clip the little notches i made. and start putting them together. i did these the traditional pant way, sew front to back outseams first and press.

pant 23

pant 24

sew inseams and press.

pant 25

place one pant leg inside the other pant leg so that whole stride can be sewn and pressed.

pant 26

pant 27

sew in cuffs to hems.

pant 28

fold over waistband and sew closed, leaving one small space open. thread elastic through. sew ends of elastic together. for a final sporty touch, i sewed another line down the middle of the elastic.

pant 29

try on boopie! realize that they’re cute but that something went awry in the fit because crotch is too small and tight. curse quietly to self. regard pattern and sample pant. see what went wrong. vow to remedy that for next pair. still make boopie wear too-tight crotch pants to new seasons. just for my hard-on of having accomplished something at the sewing table.

pant 30

i’ll put up the tight crotch alteration soon! go make some pants! love you mean it!

pookie play date : mother’s day edition

i saw this listed in the merc this week and was like wow, that’s mega adorable, let’s totally go do that with grandma and we can have a double decker mom day date with seb doing all the heavy lifting (emotionally, not physically although the kid is strong, if his recent baby tantrums are any indicator). how fun though, right?! an event held at adx, portland’s tool-sharing, diy, custom fabrication space?! yes please! i’ve been badly wanting an excuse to go check out their digs. perfect! build a planter box where free refreshments and snacks are in arms reach? yes please! i was already drifting off on a three generation daydream of fertilized soil and succulents when i clicked on the website to snag tickets and gosh dammit it’s for kiddos aged 6-12. sigh. oh well. hopefully it’s a smashing success and they’ll still be doing it 5 years from now. shiet. that’s really far away.

adx

but the idea is so stinking cute that i’m going to propose it to my ma anyway. i think she’d love if her grandchile and i picked up the ingredients to bake something yummy together and then the three of us could tend to her backyard garden, which is in full bloom right now. you should see her honeysuckle – the hummingbirds are ev-er-y-where and it’s gorgeous. i guess i don’t have any flicks of seb in ma’s yard but here he is during and after kissing planter boxes on our neighborhood walks.

seb kissing plants

seb after kissing plants

happiest early momma day to everyone who has pushed a human head and body out of their vagina, had one taken out via cesarean, adopted one, is fostering one or has taken on the role of a lifetime and is caring for one they did not birth, adopt or foster. you are all brave, magical unicorns.

i love you so much mom!!!

mom and seb

make shit : super duper easy thrift store dress alteration & the story of my life

i am a community college proud whore. attending a cc allowed my not so ivy league ass to attend a very ivy league university for the last two years of school and graduate amongst a throng of folks much nerdier than myself. and then, years later, while experiencing a mild quarter life crises, a cc allowed me to take affordable classes that fit my work schedule to discover a brand new life passion / part-time career. if it weren’t for portland community college’s (pcc) continuing education department (which is one of the largest in the country – booyah), i know for a fact that i wouldn’t have had banging classes taught by teachers who gave a shit. more than a shit. so much more that, one of my teachers, eileen celentrano, was thoughtful enough to bring me a threads magazine that profiled nicolas caito, the talent behind new york city’s most prestigious pattern making atelier. and oy vey, what a seriously handsome frenchie.

nicolas caito 2

in a heady, naive move, i contacted the atelier via their website asking about internships and after a short interview over the phone the following week, i was asked to come into the studio for an in-person chat and a draping trial. i have never been more motivated in all my days. i draped and re-draped every garment i could in the weeks leading up to the interview and then with money i didn’t have, i flew across the country to compete with students from fit and parsons and central saint martins for one of three internship slots. and then the email came. whatever amount of desperation i exhibited in that studio must’ve been palpable. for the next four glorious months,  i worked 40 hours a week (no pay, not a dime) learning my dream trade while at night i slept on an air mattress deep in brooklyn and ate beans and rice for dinner. but holy fuck was it worth it. it was the most exhilarating, nerve wracking and marvelous experience of my life. i still sit sometimes and daydream about climbing those five flights of stairs up to the studio, hanging up my faux fur coat, hat and gloves (dead of winter in nyc is NO. JOKE.) and being handed a design sketch by proenza schouler or creatures of the wind or one of a handful of esteemed nyfw designers and being told in that perfectly curt, i’ll-cut-a-bitch tone by one of the head pattern makers to make it happen (a muslin prototype of the garment). which i would spend the next 8, sweaty, nerve and adrenaline-filled hours doing. i had the esteemed privilege to create a skirt from scratch for proenza schouler and work on the finale runway dress for creatures of the wind. here’s some of the other entrees to come out of nicolas’ studio, most which end up somewhere fancy, like the new york times fashion magazine. and here’s a proenza schouler jacket i spied in the times mag many months after being back home from new york.

nicolas caito in ny times

nicolascaito.com

i’m telling y’all – internship of a LIFETIME (and last time, i told myself, that i would likely ever work again for free). nicolas is such hot stuff that a fashiony blog interviewed him at the studio while i was knee deep in a muslin draping and this photo ended up being published. i love it because when i feel like the whole experience was something i dreamt up, this reminds me that it did in fact go down.

me at nicolas caito

oh, the things you can do before chillrun!!! dammit. just kidding. sort of. aaanyway, four months later and having had the easy opportunity to stay in new york and get work with my newfound pattern making chops (my mentor at the studio, the incomparable dylan abrams, is now the senior studio manager for alexander wang, NBD), i made the decision to come back to portlandia where my folks and my fuck buddy were patiently waiting. my folks were happy to see me and my fuck buddy proposed two days after my return so you know, all things for a reason.

(another fun piece to the whole nicolas caito story is that after my interview while waiting to hear if i landed the internship or not, i was googling the hell out of caito and stumbled upon a blog portlander hannah flor used to write where she essentially had the exact parallel experience as i, just a few years before me. i became enamored with her after reading her blog posts and after my stint with caito, i ended up contacting hannah and got to meet her lovely self for coffee and pattern making gossip. it was wonderful. i believe she is still in new york, working as a freelance pattern maker out of a studio in brooklyn!)

a recent and welcome addition to my mom life lately was the offer from pcc to teach a beginning sewing class, the very same beginning sewing class that i had taken several years ago. i actually took over the class after my dear friend and sewing mentor of sorts passed away suddenly. it was a bittersweet moment accepting the position but i do it for jean and i think about her each week in that classroom. i’ve enjoyed the teaching so immensely that i started offering new classes so here we are – a shout-out to my side gig! in a totally undeserved move, after teaching just two semesters, pcc interviewed me and put it in their fall 2014 catalog. i also owe this press to jean, as it was the story of how i became a teacher that interested the school. thank you miss jean. here’s that ink and the info for the three summer courses coming down the pipe, if you or anyone you know is interested.

 

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pcc learn to sew description

pcc pattern manipulation description

pcc alter your wardrobe description

aaanyways, i say all that to say this; i miss sewing. hella hella. i miss cranking up a podcast of the splendid table or fresh air or starting the entire suede-bound box set of sex and the city series over and blacking out for hours on end at my patterning table tweaking a garment. pushing sebe out was definitely a game changer on many levels and not that i’d want to change anything, i just wish for double the amount of hours in the day so that i can be super momtastic and get my seamstress on. i fo sho cherish the sweet sebe-free hours i get every here and there. one of those here and theres was this past weekend, which started with a bike ride to delish vegan eatery vita cafe on alberta street to suck down multiple cups of coffee and indulge with girlfriends. after brunch, we walked across the street to bristlecone, a most adorable vintage shop run by my girl audie.

bristlecone 1 look how cute she is! such a patootie pie.bristlecone 2i rummaged through her candy-colored racks of clothing and her $3 bins and pulled out this diddy. oh haiii sebe happy at his train table.

bristlecone 3

i’m having the most bubblegum pink moment of my life and the gingham was so springtime-picnic that i snagged it. after trying it on at home, i realized i wasn’t in love with the elastic waistband nor where it was placed (these dresses are never built for the short torso’d among us, are they?) and i wasn’t sure i was into the marmy length. again people, just because you have the chillrun, doesn’t mean you can’t dress like your inner ‘yonce is asking you to. since it’s been fo-ever since i did anything with a needle and thread and i’m hoping this blog will put a stop to that, let’s do a little garment altering shall we? word.

first to go was the waistband. when i turned the dress inside out, i realized that i had in my presence a lovingly handmade piece.

bristlecone 4

none of the seam allowances were finished, which is a fail and one i’ll have to go back and remedy by zig-zagging all the seam allowance edges so that the fraying doesn’t get so bad that it compromises the sewn seams but other than that, the dress was put together adorably. oh haiii sebe happy playing with his hamburger stickers.

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trusty seam ripper in hand, i first undid the elastic casing holding the elastic in place and then took out that casing and elastic. like this.

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than the dress looked like this.

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getting better! i could have left it like this if i wanted – tented oversize thangs are so on trend right now, right? but i was like, ah to hell with it, i’m already spending time on this, let’s keep going. so next i took out the collar and collar facing. so now the neckline looks like this.

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at this point, taking apart the collar and using some of that fabric to make a cute little neckline and then hemming the skirt length to whatever (from ankle-grazing to cho-cha grazing) would finish this off but i really want to turn the long skirt into palazzo’ish pants, throw in a center front zipper and rename this cutie a jumpsuit…i will try and take the appropriate time/photos/explanatory verbiage and do this in a separate post! love you mean it!

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* experiment with what your diddy will look like if you decide to a) shorten the hem or b) go for the jumpsuit! *

 

the shit shit : fancy!

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fancy 4i don’t love shouting out stuff that isn’t born and bred in this too white, too pretentious, too hipster rad city of ours but this design blog out of new zealand is fresh. anyone who can combine a gorgeous layout with great posts shouting out great makers and is capable of using phrases like, “all my bag hoes” to discuss backpacks is a friend of mine. plus, they high five p-town peeps like Nell and Mary from time to time so game recognize game.nell 2

nell 1

 

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so booyah Fancy!, you are one hot piece of ass blog. plus i’m super jelly you get to live a place that no one ever has anything remotely sassy to say about. plus you get to use terms like mate and probably have a family of gentle kangaroos living in your backyard. fancy 6let’s do a house swap for a few months – we’ll sip each other’s boutique coffees, window shop at each other’s curated clothing, jewelry and perfume spots, smash on each other’s food carts and juice bars and return to our side of the pond a little bit wiser. holler at your girl. one.fancy 8

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* every single photo in this post swiped rudely without permission from Fancy! they may or may not have been taken by Fancy’s photogs and could have come from other sources / the businesses themselves*

 

pookie play date : mo phillips!

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mo phillips. holy warm crap i adore this man. seb and i have booped and bopped all over town to check out the big assortment of kid musicians p-town is currently offering. they are all good. mo is the best. mo is effervescent. mo is energetic. mo is entertaining. mo performs mad original music that he writes and composes (shout-out to “occasional yogurt”, a personal fav), a lot of which is done with his two sons and elementary school students. if mo were a sandwich shop, he’d be Brass Tacks (his favorite nbd). plus the man has a kiss ass sense of humor and that “it” thing. he loves what he does and the chillrun, that’s right, chillrun can tell. i look forward to every friday morning at 10am so that seb and i can bike (when it’s nice) or drive (when it’s nasty) to the Treehouse kid shop/play room and spend the next hour with mo. mo phillips 2

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i have memorized my favorite tunes of his and sing them back to seb ad nauseam all the damn time. mo treats the chillrun like the mini half-cooked cartoon-like characters they are and all us grown folk appreciate the levity he brings to what might be a bonkers stressed out parenting day. example; there’s a song where he asks the chillrun to shout out different animals for his, “go to sleep” song and one week, a little one offered up something decidedly non-animal, like toaster oven or crackers or something to that effect. and mo loved it. ate it up. was like, “that’s amazing, yes, toaster oven, ‘let’s go with it” and put it in the song where an animal usually goes. i was already drinking the kool-aid and in that instance, i was like, yeah, this dude is the truth. he is endearingly silly and young at heart and i hope he stays that way forever.

go see him whenever, wherever you can. some weeks, the Treehouse is packed and other weeks a smaller crowd shows up. either way is a solid time. plus the room he performs in is perfect – chillrun can be present in the magical mo bubble or wander around the room and play with tons of toys; a train table, a kitchen set-up, buckets filled with puzzles, building blocks and interactive toys plus there’s a separate little room where the chillrun can hide away and play or in the case of my son, retreat to poop.

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he also plays happy hour every week across the street on Williams Ave. at Poa Cafe, the fam-friendly spot i yammered on about here. sip on an adult bevvy with actual alcohol in it or suck down a yummy chillrun-friendly smoothie with a side of nutritional yeast-dusted popcorn. either way, you’re golden.

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mo’ mo! mo’ mo! mo’ mo! but for reals, go see and support this dude. he’s the goat of chillrun musicians.

mophillips.com

*eight. the number of times the word chillrun was used in this post kay thanks*

we eat dirt. hella dirt.

dog park 1while working on what’s turning into a massive do it your damn self teepee post, i felt the need to showcase my bebe slopping around in the mud at a dog park we frequent often, happy as his little kissable piggy ass could possibly be.

we recently swapped my 13-year old chichi for a 1-year old shepherd/fox hound mutt (don’t worry and no judgement on re-homing a senior dog because 1) that heifer was so loved and spoiled her whole damn life it’s sick. i brought her home at 8 weeks and we had hella good years together. she saw me through the college years, one night stands and a grip of burritos. in exchange, she had more picturesque canyon walks and pig ears than her tiny chichi tummy could handle and 2) because of this, i suppose i expected her to accept a new baby, one that came out of me and was part of our crew and curb her neurotic and jelly behavior around him. all he ever wanted to do was talk her for walks as soon as figured out being mobile, share all his baby snacks with her and bury his face in her fur.

but she didn’t care. she growled and snapped and gave him his first life wound, the tiniest scar on his left eyelid. it wasn’t on purpose but after that incident followed by several more months of waiting to see if she’d get her shit together, holding her little face in my hands and telling her to please be nice to the baby and to not make me choose because that wouldn’t end well for her. she made things so stressful it was hard to hang on some let’s just play music and have a dance party with my child and my dog in my own house. i knew she had to go. it was heart breaking and i was super emo but one night after she growled in his face right before bedtime and made him cry for the umpteenth time, i snapped her picture while she was curled up on her favorite animal print pillow and put her ass online. it was really real. i was really upset over the whole f’ing situation.

nina rescue me pic

and then i went to bed and slept because i thought surely no one would want to take on an old, cantankerous chihuahua. a week went by and nothing. and i felt like i would just have to find a way for all of us to co-exist without someone hacking up a fur ball and it would suck but this was girl, my only child for so long. and i loved her. but then, a few afternoons later, i got an email from Jewel Starz, her real name y’all i swear. the day we showed up to bring her Nina, she was dressed in a printed muumuu and a huge arty necklace. i found out she used to live on Haight & Ashbury in the 70’s selling hand sewn denim skirts. street cred yo. she was, incredulously, everything i could have ever wanted for my Nini and i will forever be thankful that she came into our lives and saved my cranky chichi from a life of baby misery. Nina now lives on an idyllic farm in Sherwood with Jewel, Jewel’s bff, some llamas, goats and a South American styled adobe filled with women’s liberal reading material and purple paintings.

llama farm picnot only have i received multiple email updates complete with attached photos and videos but Jewel invited me to come out to the farm one afternoon this summer to squeeze Nina’s face. i am there. i am bringing the iced tea, cookies and a copy of something manifesto-y and feminine.

nina with jewel

and a video, compliments of Miss Jewel. click and watch if you like llamas. or chihuahuas wearing raincoats near llamas. or anything in life that is cute : Nina and the llamas

and then, faced with the choice to live a dog-free life, i chose the road in life i usually choose, the harder, more exhausting and questioningly sane one. i searched the Humane Society website and craigslist like a crazy and found another animal to bring into our world. what’s a life lived that doesn’t resemble a menagerie? is my motto.

so i now cater to not one but two 18-month olds. because that’s a brilliant idea. also a short road to a white, padded room where meds are administered. but Mateo is at the same time magical and maniacal. he is extra sweet with Sebe, everyone’s bff at any dog park we take him to (which has to happen every. single. day. so much for the incremental me-minutes i had. who needs time in a day to take a shit anyway? so overrated) and even shields us from other canines that he deems unsafe to be in our bubble. for that, i luuuuve him. he’s just a puppy still. with crazy puppy energy and drive and the intense need to be outside as much as possible, even if that means jumping the baby gate and bolting out the door when no one’s looking. oh well. we all make choices.

so here we are. another day hanging at Fernhill park, which has the ultimate dog park. like, the king of all dog parks. like, if Fernhill was an ice cream, it would be Salt & Straw. and holy shit this post got long-winded by i have a point and that point is that as a new mom, i am taking full pride and joy in allowing my child to get as dirty as possible as often as possible. when else in life can you plop yourself down in a dusty, dirty mud hole in the middle of a dusty, dirty dog park and go to town like you were cooking up and taste-tasting the world’s best chocolate cake? so go forth and get dirty my love. get head to toe all up in your mouth and hair and ears and eyes and in between your toes and bellybutton filthy. i. love. it.

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dog park 2

“we can go play in the mud some more”. let’s go my love of loves. let’s go.

wallpapering all my dreams come true.

so, we have this house. still shell-shocked that we managed to pull off buying something in a city where i swear i can hear the up-ticking of the real estate market every passing minute. it’s incredible and we’re probably in over our heads but hey, grabbing and life and balls. plus it’s a mere 10 blocks from my parents so when Sebe is super bugging me stir-crazy, i can just put him on his mini radio flyer and say, “go trike your ass up the street to grandpa’s. just remember to look both ways when you get to the busy street”.

it’s a super duper fixer upper. many, many things need to be done to make it habitable. if it was just baby daddy and i, we could hang – throw some blankets on the floor and the french press, some dry cereal and candles on the counter and work from there. but with the toddler in tow, we should probably finish some stuff. like the second bathroom that was listed in the house description but in reality, looks like this:

bathroom 1

not too bad, right? ha. so of course instead of spending time making important decisions like finding a bathtub, i trolled online for way too many hours drooling over wallpaper. because that’s another thing we are happily forced to wont to do because thismaster bedroom

and this Sebe's room 1 are what we’re working with. the top photo is the master bedroom, or you know, the room where the magic happens. when i’m not too tired. when he’s not too tired. when the baby’s asleep. when we’re able to see each other like the loving fuck buddies we are and not just worn out parents with applesauce stains on our shirts. i digress. the second photo is Sebe/future children’s room. i’m thinking bunk beds if they’re close enough in age. i’m also thinking obsessing about wallpaper. so. much. wallpaper. baby daddy kept bugging me about picking paint colors but every time i envisioned painting, i just wasn’t feeling it. we’ve been living in a castle of an apartment whose last tenant was a sweet little old lady who kept the place decorated as it (originally?) was many moons ago. floral wallpaper and all. seriously.

current wallpaper 1

current wallpaper 2

current wallpaper 3

current wallpaper 4here’s our current bathroom, Seb’s room and kitchen. and while the yellowing floral isn’t my dream scene, i have loved living with wallpaper, so much. now that we have the mind boggling opportunity to break the whole damn piggy bank go a little ham, here’s what i’ve discovered in the world of wallpaper, circa now:

1st choice, always local. there are three folks doing wallpaper right, right here in the city of roses.

the make house

(hunky) make house owner Nathan Reimer has had dinner with Martha Cooper. that should sum up his street cred / bad assery.

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makehouse wallpaper

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aside from that, he runs a super fun creative studio in town where he allows himself to be hit up by strangers asking him how he’d feel about screen printing a gigantic blown up scene of b/boys in new york city in the 80’s on their living room wall. he will be so about it.

juju papers

this cutie couple hand draw their designs and then punch them into the ole’ computer.  small batch runs, water-based dyes and their finish their papers with a natural clay coating for smudge wipeability and to inhibit mildew growth. because mildew, like, gross.

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makelike

another cutie couple who are obsessed with each other (assuming) and making wall coverings. hand screen printed, water-based inks on recyclable paper. boom. portlandia. gotta love it.

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so, clearly, these are all rad choices and any of them would look o-mazing in anyone’s abode, on any viewable surface. however, my baby daddy and i are freaks and as much as i wanted to patronize a local company, i was really looking for something just a tad more 1980’s south bronx x south beach florida in the Bird Cage. nahmean? no? well, shit like this:little greene

cole & son 1

palm leaf 1

so that i can have ridiculous and fabulous dinner parties, like all the time and take photos of my fly girlfriends in the hallway that just happens to look like this, thanks to my tropical life wallpaper.palm leaf 2because let’s face it. i really just want the entire innards of our house to look and feel like i’ve just met up with Nathan Lane in Miami on a sunny Sunday afternoon and we’re going to have sweet teas and pink macaroons in the parlor.tropical life 1tropical life 2

 

okay guys, i spent hella hours digging the depths of computer land for this stuff but here it is, handed to you on a palm leaf platter. you’re welcome. Little Greene is the most delish, out of the UK. Cole & Son also has o-mazing tropi choices. but holy hell of all jackpots, here is where I found the quintessential wallpaper of my fantasies. giving me every ounce of 1980’s miami vice i could ever ask for. now can we please paste this stuff UP and go make fried appetizers to snack on while we finish our shibori teepees?! (this is in the works. promise. i will talk all about it.)

so there’s wallpaper dreams part one. because this post got just disgustingly long and i need to decompress before i let the Marimekko prints out the bag…

love you mean it!!!

i want to be a broad city bitch.

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because, in the words of the girls, doiiii. because they are the best thing i’ve ever seen on the boob tube box. because you can’t fake a friendship like theirs. because, aside from all the pot that they do and i don’t, in my own twisted version of reality, i should basically be the third bestie breezy to ilana glazer and abbi jacobson. because i desperately want to roam the streets of manhattan and specific parts of brooklyn like i was a boss bitch. because it’s not enough to adore these two and their show – abbi, love you boo, but because ilana’s style is just. the. best. as another short brunette with tits and hips, i am eating ilana’s steelo UP. crop tops, yes. high waisted shorts, yes. matching two-pieces with just a sliver of skin in the middle on blast, yes yes yes yes. bold lipstick, door knocker earrings, tube skirts, criss cross mega femme sport bras, lots of denim and cheap tank tops and boys undies a la marky mark paired with saggy, baggy boyfriend jeans. OHMYGAWDYESSSSSSSSSSSSSS. plus she’s latina and has the curly dark hair of an angel. i. mean. what else could you possibly want from a bass ass superwoman?

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so in my effort to channel more ilana in my everyday life, i went searching for her bralette thingys because 1. i hate regular bras 2. i hate bra shopping 3. i’m not a huge fan of boobs in the first place 4. i love squishing my not-loved boobs into one uncomfortable uni-boob which is what happens when you wear sports bras 5. finding and buying and wearing strappy bralette thingys would undoubtedly make me closer to ilana and ergo, being in their clique. or at least in a clique that they run into randomly sometimes whilst dog-sitting in central park or going to abbi’s art shows or getting a pretzel from a corner cart. you know. aaaaaaaaanyways, here’s where i found them for $12 sheesh you’re a pushy crowd. get ’em while they last bishes. i can’t wait to inappropriately play peek-a-boo with those straps in my oversized skin-bearing summer tank tops. who says you have to dress like a librarian from the 1950’s once you pop out a kid? because you don’t. and that was probably racist. i love librarians.
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strappy bralette, check. now just troll thrift stores for baggy 90’s jeans and sweatshirts that can be cut into scandalous crop tops, anything high-waisted and too short/too tight sweaters, tank tops and tees. throw on sporty tennis shoes, high tops, biker babe boots or sexpot heels, your favorite pair of door knockers and a bold shade of lipstick. fro out hair as huge as possible and hit the streets. stop at bodega for blow pops and chocolate milk. get enough for you and bff. go find her, sit on street corners sipping cocoa milk and talk shit. have the best day of your life. fin.
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