Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday, I'm in Love

...with this wall of sewing machines I found in All Saints in Soho a few weeks ago:

...with the fact that I'm going to visit my family today and that I get to go rollerskating tomorrow night. They still play "Truly, Madly, Deeply" every time I go there, since fifth grade. Ha. Skate World, I love you.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Every time I have purchased my plane/train ticket to New York, I have belted out, "Start spreadin' the news, I'm leavin' today. I want to be a part of it..." Yeah yeah, you get the picture. When I bought my ticket in July, I did this in my office, except no one was on third floor when I started singing, thank goodness. I really do treat my life like a musical, though oddly enough, the music doesn't come on when I start singing.

After the tickets are purchased, the giddy anticipation sets in. For this trip in particular, my friend S. and I were setting out to make our mark on the Garment District. I'd say it's more appropriate to say that it left its mark on us. Obviously, I had Project Runway on my mind, as we wanted to go to the famous Mood. Since we're on the subject of the runway, while planning this trip, I listened to David Morales' song, "Here I Am," from The Devil Wears Prada several times. That song makes me want to cut a rug and strut down a runway somewhere; therefore, you can imagine how many clothes and shoes I packed (because you never know when you'll need those 4" heels in New York).

We took a train from Charlottesville to New York (Penn Station) via Amtrak on a Thursday morning. We had a great ride; I always feel...vintage (Is that weird?) when I take a train somewhere. When we got to New York, we hit up our hostess' apartment, aka S.'s wonderful friend, apartment to freshen up a bit before meeting her down in Soho for dinner at Boqueria Tapas Bar and Restaurant. One of our main objectives in going to the City was to pay homage to one of the crafterdinner crew's favorite online hot spots for knitting supplies. When we arrived in Soho, we had a little while to meander before dinner and before you know it, we ended up a mere two blocks away from, you guessed it, Purl Soho...20 minutes before they closed (Yikes!)! Obviously, this was the perfect time for individual photo opps:

We designated Friday as our Garment District Day, and after a cup of Earl Grey and a giant chocolate chip muffin from a little corner joint, we were ready to hit it up. I had printed a list of stores from this super helpful guide prior to the trip (because let's face it, my crackberry doesn't hold a light to the screen of an iPhone), but we decided to wander around on our own before consulting with the list.

First, we stumbled upon Paron Fabrics,which is two rooms (aka Paron West: regular price and Paron Annex: half price). This place had the best prices of all the places we went. Immediately, I fell in love with some black silk with cream polka dots, but I didn't buy it yet because we were scoping things out. I later returned to purchase the silk.

We went in NY Elegant Fabrics, which had some gorgeous textiles, and we wandered around to some other random notions stores, such as, a store that sold almost exclusively zippers! What?! When we decided to consult the aforementioned list, we went to B & J Fabrics, where both S. and I went weak in the knees. That place was organized with white walls and white floors, and it was filled with bolts from floor to ceiling. Just beautiful. I felt super touristy taking pictures inside fabric stores, so I put an end to that after my first trip to Paron's. Here is a sneak peak outside the door of B & J's.

Enter Mood. Mood had loads of wonderful fabrics, but I did not enjoy the experience as much as I did over at B & J's. I guess I had set some pretty high expectations for the place, it being a major character in Project Runway. It's not like I wanted to see Heidi, just Tim... We quickly glanced in B & J's, quickly glanced in Mood, walked back to B & J's and then finally ended up back at Mood. It was exhausting. Both S. and I had compiled a list of projects we were working on and how much materials we would need for each one. What I learned from the Garment District is that this approach is not enough. Here's the thing about Mood and most fabric stores in the garment district, if you go looking for some beautiful fabric, you are going to find it. I knew what I wanted in general for certain projects, but I wanted to glean inspiration from the selection. The next time I go to the garment district (and believe me, there will be a next time), I want to have something more specific picked out, such as a color or a texture along with my project. I did buy some gorgeous ribbons (very organized ribbon section) and a few yards of some shirting cottons from Mood and some luxurious green shirting from B & J's. 

When we walked out of Mood for the second and final visit, we probably looked like we'd gotten ruled by a few bolts of fabric, which is halfway true (you should have seen us trying to tote our bolts to the cutting table). Worn out, we both looked at each other and S. said, "Dude, I need to be honest. I'm fabric-stored-out." That was some serious music to my ears, people. That's when we decided to head back down to Purl Soho.

All the awesome projects that we've read about on their blog Purl Bee were in the store for lots of petting and oogling. One project in particular that we swooned over on the blog was the Pixie Dust Lap Blanket. I'll just tell you, friends, it's even better in person; S. wanted to snuggle up with it in the store and go to sleep:

After our last visit to Purl Soho, we needed a place to sit down and chill for a while. S. and I were reflecting on our successful yet tiring day in the garment district when we decided to shoot a little video about our experience. I will have to post again about the remainder of the trip, but for now enjoy the video and know that I did not need those 4" heels after all.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blue Jean Blues

I have a project to share involving a jean revamp...

At the beginning of my third year of college, I bought a pair of dressy, dark-wash trouser jeans by iT! Jeans, and they were awesome. The fit was perfect, and they looked great with a pair of heels or a pair flats (with the wide hem cuffed).

I still have this pair of jeans, and they're in great condition. However, I noticed that I wasn't wearing them that much because they had faded significantly since I first bought them, thus demoting their status from dressy trouser jeans to casual trouser jeans (insert sad face here). "Casual" and "trouser" should not be used to describe an article of clothing, in my opinion. 

So instead of buying a new pair of dark-wash jeans, I decided to dye them! I used Rit powder dye in navy blue and a 5 gallon bucket to carry out the procedure according to the package directions (they were in the dye bath for about half an hour). The best part about this project: the total cost was $3! I am so impressed with how the jeans turned out. I had never dyed anything except for a swatch of dotted Swiss in cranberry juice, and I was a bit skeptical that the wash would be transformed. I was willing to try it out for $3, and I am quite happy with the results! It's like I have a new pair of jeans!

One of my favorite local shops in Charlottesville called jean theory: has new and "inherited" jeans. I scored a great pair of Lucky Jeans there a few months ago for $20, and I'm thinking about dyeing them, too. Anyway, below are the before and after photos; needless to say, my blue jean blues have disappeared! 



Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday, I'm in Love

...with my new camera battery charger that is in the mail! This is the reason why my blog has been merely text. I have a project I want to share that requires before and after photos...

...with Chipotle. Say Chipotle and I will come at you like one of Pavlov's dogs. Just kidding, that actually sounds kind of scary. Seriously, though, if someone mentions the word, I start craving it and can't stop until I eat there. I order the burrito, and if I'm getting it to go, I order the burrito bowl (Something about the way the sour cream warms up and gets pasty in the car ride between burrito conception and home gives me the heebie-jeebies). Tonight, my roomie A. and I are getting takeout for dinner. She's getting hers from Ming Dynasty, a local Chinese joint, and I'm getting my beloved Chipotle. Here's what I'm getting in my burrito bowl tonight: rice, black beans, chicken, fresh tomato salsa, extra sour cream, cheese and lettuce. And the coolest thing about Chipotle is that if you don't feel like standing in line, you can order online and just go straight to the register and pick it up at the time you specify. Score. I've been wanting an iPhone for a long time now, and if I ever get one, the first order of business is getting the Chipotle ordering app. Please don't make fun of me.

...with Effie's Homemade Oat Cakes. My roommate A. brought them to our house a couple weeks ago (from Feast!), and I need to buy her a replacement bag. I tried to sneak a couple for tea about every morning, and er, I think she may have noticed when the bag starting losing weight. For the most part, I think store bought desserts are super lame, but these are my favorite tea cookies right now. Eat some!

...with the OTBT Park City Flats! Years ago, Palladium made these shoes, and then after the fact (seasons later), I tried to find them without success. I guess I had fallen off the turnip truck when they came out.  I walked into a local shoe store and heard the little darlings screeching, "We're over here!" at me from the shelf. What a wonderful surprise! Apparently, OTBT and Palladium are sister companies. These days, Palladium is the more casual face of the operation (boots, kicks, etc.), and OTBT is the dressier face (flats, hills, etc.).I have them in black and adore them. I love that they are leather, they have elastic straps (for comfort) and a rubber sole, and they can be dressed up or down. These are some practical shoes! I'm sold, folks.

This time next week, I'll be schlepping around the garment district in New York, but I don't want to wish the time away. I'm planning to have a nice, rejuvenating weekend; I hope you do the same.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Forever in Blue Jeans

I got an LL Bean catalog in the mail today and while flipping through it, I was reminded of one of my favorite SNL commercial parodies:  Mom Jeans (sorry, LL Bean, but the jean department is lacking in my opinion). If you haven't seen it, you need to drop everything you're doing right now and remedy this issue. While we're on the subject of jeans, you can go ahead and watch another commercial parody favorite of mine, Bad Idea Jeans. I am sure I've posted at least one of these video links on rintherealworld. If not, I have done you a disservice and I apologize. 

Along with the introduction of September, this week has presented a plethora of autumnal qualities. It's been rainy for the past three days, the temperature has been in the mid-sixties and the lingering side effects of Labor Day weekend, also referred as the peak of fall allergies, are about to end. Once I get over the sneezing and sniffles from the last couple of weeks (I can't tell you how many times my co-workers have gracefully said, "God bless you!" since last week), I am ready for fall. 

I have always had a terrible time with allergies for, well, my entire life. I'm allergic to most everything outside, all kinds of grass, trees, cats, mold, dust mites, pollen, down, etc. Growing up, I always hated spring because all the new life blooming sent me into wheezing fits, especially in the evenings. Much to my entire family's dismay, all my camping memories are associated with the Benadryl haze...2011 has been a miracle for me in the allergy department, though. I always dreamed of a day when my allergies weren't so out of control, but they were so terrible that I thought they would last forever. But let me tell you people, I haven't taken a Claritin in over a year, and I have only taken Benadryl twice since January 2011 (even though I keep a ready supply of the stuff at all times)! I've read accounts about how increasing vitamin C intake can help reduce the body's histamines, and I've read that decreasing one's consumption of processed foods can also help, but I know that's not all that did it for me. All I can say is thank you, Jesus! It's been such a blessing not having to fool with the mess of allergies.

Back to fall. I am so stoked about the new season! Fall is my favorite for many reasons (I'll list just a few): sweaters, soup, boots, casseroles, knitting, apple picking, the smell of smoke in the air, blazers, change, tailgating, baking, traveling, cake, fireplaces, layers, Hemingway, flannel and last (for now), but certainly not least: blue jeans. I wish I could wear them way more than I already do, but if that's my only problem, then I'd say I'm not doing too shabby.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday, I'm in Love

...with my new white J. Crew warehouse-sale button-up shirt that I bought for a mere $20! I consider this a great deal, as they normally cost about $70. If you live in the Charlottesville area, the J. Crew warehouse sale is located at the old Whole Foods (across from Fashion Square mall) and is open through Labor Day. Honestly, I'm not crazy about sample sales; I am not a good sale-shopper because I find them to be very laborious, but I'm trying to change that for the sake of saving Mr. Green. Imagine endless rows of tables with hundreds of heaping cardboard boxes of J. Crew garb--sounds like a dream right?  Well also envision the contents of one box:  a couple of sheer cardigans, a bathing suit top, a broken necklace strand, a beautiful cashmere sweater (obviously not in your size), a ratty tee shirt and a pair of bright orange capri pants.  This is what every box is like; it's sheer madness.  However, last year I got a cream-colored wool coat for $50.00; the original price in the store was $298. 

Hands down, my favorite button-up shirt in the whole world is from J. Crew. If they ever discontinue this style, I will boycott J. Crew until my last breath. I love the fit and durability of the shirt and I have it in multiple colors, but the white shirt is what sold it. My litmus test for picking out a classic button-up shirt (aside from fit) is one question:  Can you see through the white shirt? In the case of the classic J. Crew shirt, the answer is no; therefore, it's a keeper. Including the one I bought yesterday, I now own three in white: one long sleeve, and two three-quarter sleeve (in two different sizes). Why do I own the same shirt in two different sizes, you ask? I sized down in one because sometimes I want a super fitted shirt, especially if I'm wearing it under a sweater. 

Just this morning, I read an article from Matchbook Magazine called The Oxford Shirt by Natalie Grasso, and my favorite thing she writes in the article is this:
If you don't own a white button-up shirt, buy one immediately: it's the most valuable thing you can have hanging in your closet! Here's a laundry tip: wash a white shirt after every wear; it will stay nice and bright. While we're on the subject, one of the leading causes of white shirts turning yellowy under the arms is antiperspirant deodorant. A few months ago, my mom turned me on to a mineral salt deodorant called Crystal (you can get it at Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, etc.), and it rocks. Here's why:  it is odorless, it doesn't have aluminum in it, and it doesn't leave the yellowy residue on the inside of your clothes (aka, it's wonderful for white shirts...). Oh, oh, and ladies and gents can use it!  Okay, enough about deodorant.

Everyone have a great and safe Labor Day weekend!  I'm going home for the weekend and will also be making the annual pilgrimage to the Hillsville, VA antiques/gun/flea market.  You can read about the last two years of Hillsville finds posts here and here.