Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I've Been Featured!

Earlier this week I got a nice little e-mail from Beckie of Knock Off Decor informing me that my DIY West Elm/ Franz Kline Knock Off post has been featured on her blog. Visit her blog for details or click here to jump to the post. Thanks Beckie!

Friday, December 27, 2013

That Girl! Anytime I Want Jacket

Here's a project that took me nearly 3 years to complete. I started the That Girl! Summer Jacket! by Nikol Lohr back in 2010 after falling in love with the pattern on  Craft Magazine (online). Back in 2010 I was more concerned with learning new techniques and was less selective of my yarns and choosing the right amount and I decided to knit it up with a big cone of Lily n'Cream Solids and Denims in red. Little did I know that one cone would not be enough and not all red cotton yarns are the same. I had knit most of the jacket with my one cone of yarn, but I ran out halfway through the second sleeve and thought I'd just pick up another cone at Wal-mart, but Wal-mart had stopped carrying the cones. So I ended up buying a smaller skein of Lily n'Cream in red, but the color didn't quite match up and this project was set aside. A year later I picked up the project again and finished the sleeve with the mis-matched yarn but I still wasn't happy and set it aside again. Then I started seeing some online tutorials on how to dye fabric, so I tried dying the whole thing red to try to get a better color match. The color difference between the two skeins is not perfect, but it's less noticeable and wearable. I finally finished this jacket up (weaved in the tails and sewed on the buttons) in July 2013.

If I knit this again I would choose a better quality of yarn and would make sure to get the right amount. I might try to knit up one of the other variations of this pattern in blue sometime.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What I'm Listening To: CeeLo Green Feat. The Muppets- All I Need is Love

When I was a kid I remember my parents changing the radio station to the 24/7 Christmas Music station after Thanksgiving and popping in their Christmas music cassette tapes and CDs any chance they could. This year I decided that I needed some modern Christmas music to get in the holiday spirit and keep the tradition alive, so I picked up CeeLo Green's Christmas album, Magic Moment, and I've been jamming out to it all month long. CeeLo's single with the Muppets, "All I Need is Love," is definitely my favorite!

What Chrsitmas album are you rocking out to this year?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What's Making Me Laugh: Benedict Cumberbatch reads R. Kelly's "Genius"

I'm planning to catch The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug over my holiday break and the number one reason I'm watching it is because of the reunification of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (both are also in BBC's Sherlock TV series). So, in honor of that I'm sharing this hilarious clip of Benedict Cumberbatch reading R. Kelly's lyrics to the song "Genius". I'm not sure what the song actually has to do with the word genius or geniuses in general. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What I'm Listening To: Gogol Bordello and Man Man

I recently travelled to the University of East Anglia (UEA) to catch a concert by Gogol Bordello and Man Man. This was my husbands first time seeing the bands and my third time seeing Gogol Bordello and second time seeing Man Man- both are excellent live and this concert was no exception! I liked that the venue wasn't huge, so my husband and I were able to stand right next to the stage during Man Man's performance and for the first half of Gogol Bordello until the mosh pit got to be too much for us (what can I say, I'm getting old!). 

In honor of the concert, I'm sharing a Gogol Bordello son and a Man Man song with you. Enjoy!

Gogol Bordello- "Immigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)"

Man Man- "Head On (Hold on to Your Heart)"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Previously on Project Runway All Stars: Season 3, Episode 7

Previously on Project Runway, the designers hopped onto helicopters and were flown to the QVC headquarters in Westchester, PA where QVC program host, Lisa Roberson, introduced their next challenge. Lisa asked the designers to create a red-carpet look for Lisa to wear at QVC's pre-Oscar event. The winning look had to look good on video, in still camera shots and Lisa would need to be able to sit and stand comfortably for long periods of time while conducting interviews. In addition, QVC would replicate the winning look to be sold on QVC.

As an added twist, this week Viktor revealed to the designers and judges that he has been HIV positive for several years.

The guest judges were Mondo Guerra and Mad Men's Elizabeth Moss. Let's take a look at the designs:


Initially Seth Aaron had planned on making a floor length gown by adding a fish-tail to his dress. Thankfully Zana talked him out of it! On the runway, the judges nit-picked Seth Aaron's hem line and booty, but Elizabeth liked the shiny fabric. Seth Aaron was safe this week.
Seth Aaron

Am I the only one who groaned when Christopher said he wanted to use his over-used feathering technique to make another gown!? Elizabeth and Lisa enjoyed Christopher's use of technique with the leather (which you could barely see next to the navy fabric), but Mondo called the skirt "tortured". In my opinion, Christopher and Elena's places should have been switched this week, but in the end Christopher was safe.
Korto created a comfortable-looking gown with an orange skirt and POCKETS! Even though Alyssa wasn't a fan of the beige colored top, Korto's dress definitely appeared to be the easiest to reproduce and Korto was the winner this week.

Viktor should have given more thought to his fabric choice this week. Although his silhouette was decent, Zanna pointed out that you never see green gowns on magazine covers because they don't sell and his shiny material showed every flaw in the photographs. Viktor's silhouette and tailoring kept him safe this week.
Elena decided to work with fabrics other than neoprene this week, using brocades to create a reptilian scale effect. I thought Elena deserved an A for effort, and although the judges didn't really have anything negative to say about Elena's dress, she still ended up in the bottom. Thankfully, she was safe.
Irina's dress seemed more suited for a wedding rather than the red carpet. Although her gown photographed well and she put a lot of work it (multiple panels, boning, applique), the model could barely walk down the runway and the dress ended up getting torn as the model tried to climb the stairs. Irina was out this week.
There's only one season winner left! What did you think of this challenge? Did you agree with the judges decisions? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Previously on Project Runway All Stars: Season 3, Episode 6

A.K.A. Simpsonized

Previously on Project Runway, Marge Simpson informed the designers that they would be designing a cocktail dress that Marge could wear on a special dinner date for Homer. The only rule was that the designers could not use the color green. The looks were judged by guest judges Abigail Breslin and alice + olivia founder and designer Stacey Bendet and the winning look was to be illustrated and worn by Marge Simpson in a future episode. Lets take a look at the designs: 


While Viktor created a very edgy, Viktor-y dress, it was hard to imagine Marge Simpson wearing his look out to dinner with Homer. His look was rightfully safe this week.

Korto knew how to dress a mom on a night out with her husband because she is a mom herself. The judges liked her black sequins cocktail dress with sheer back panels and I thought it would surely score the win. But the judges didn't think this dress was exciting enough and Korto was just safe.
The judges really love Elena this season and this was no exception. The judges loved the construction of the jacket and they loved the gown, but they didn't necessarily love them together (I thought it looked like everything else that Elena has done this season and in the past). Surprisingly, Elena was just safe this week.
In the workroom, Jeffrey called Irina's dress a "giant purple nighty", but it did move beautify on the runway. On the runway, Stacy thought Irina's dress was the most creative and Alyssa complimented the color. Although this wasn't my favorite look, Irina scored her first win of the season.


I wanted to applaud Christopher for being the only designer who chose to put Marge Simpson in a print. While I liked his fabric choice, the designers were underwhelmed by the simple, strapless silhouette and he ended up on the bottom. But, in the end Christopher was safe.
Seth Aaron ended up draping five potential dresses in the workroom, but none of them were great. Zanna even had a talk with him in the workroom to discourage him from using a polka-dot fabric and remind him that he was designing a dress for a middle-ages woman with blue hair and yellow skin, but Seth Aaron continued to struggle and he ran out of time and threw down a drapey dress to make it work. The judges could tell that he hadn't put a lot of time into this look and knew that he could do better. Seth Aaron was safe this week.
Seth Aaron
Jeffrey's dress was just not on the same level as the other designers this week. The shimmery purple fabric looked cheap and although Stacy thought the wide-lapeled gown looked very "Boardwalk Empire," it was not very "Marge Simpson". After spending several weeks on the bottom, Jeffrey was finally out.
Did you catch this week's Project Runway All Stars? What did you think of the Marge Simpson Challenge? Did you agree with the judges decisions? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What I'm Listening To: London Grammar- Strong

When you think of 2013 you might think of it as the year of Miley Cyrus's Wrecking Ball, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, or Kanye's Bound 2, but in the UK it's all about London Grammar. This Nottingham University threesome has been topping the charts all over the UK, so if you haven't heard of them, check them out.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Previously on Project Runway All Stars: Season 3, Episode 5

A.K.A. Just Like Bonnie and Clyde

Previously on Project Runway All Stars the designers were introduced to Holliday Grainger, star of the upcoming two-part, four-hour Bonnie & Clyde mini-series to air on Lifetime, A&E and The History Channel on December 8 and  9. To correspond with the series, the designers were asked to pair off into teams of two and create a male and female look inspired by the 1930's aesthetic.

The teams were:

Christopher & Viktor
Elena & Korto
Irina & Mychael
Seth Aaron & Jeffrey

On the judging panel we had Austin Scarlett substituting for Georgina Chapman, and Elie Tahari and Bar Rafaeli as guest judges. I was surprised to see that the judges judged the pieces individually rather than as a team. Let's take a look at the designs: 


Elena and Korto tried to give their Bonnie & Clyde outfits a modern harder edge with leather and lots of black. I could have imagined this couple riding away from a crime scene on Harley's rather than 1930's cars. Both looks were very wearable here and now and I was glad they were safe. 


Irina's outfit had the judges split. Austin thought that Irina's look capture the spirit of the 1930s the most, while Isaac thought the proportions were all wrong. Some of the judges thought the jacket was too much for the look, but Elie Tahari defended it. I think that I would have liked Irina's look more if it were just the bustier and that fabulous skirt, but in the end Irina was safe.
Christopher created a gorgeous red burgundy gown with a tan leather harness belt that to me screamed classic Bonnie and the judges agreed. But, Alyssa expressed some concern that the horizontal lines created in the skirt might make a shorter woman look even shorter. Christopher was just safe.
Jeffrey struggled in the workroom when he discovered that his male model had given measurements that were over a year old and the model had packed on some arm muscles since then. After having a breakdown and then apologizing to the model for yelling, Jeffrey was able to get on track and loosen of the seams. Christopher called the look a James Bond villain look which was totally spot on. The judges love this look- particularly his wide legged peg pants and Jeffrey gets the win.

Alyssa totally loved Seth Aaron's look (in fact she said she loved it so much she could kiss him), but the other judges thought the silhouette looked too old. Bar Rafaeli thought that it wasn't feminine or dangerous enough and just didn't look like Bonnie. I thought the outfit had a steam-punk feel to it and could be worn by a naughty librarian turned dominatrix or something. Luckily Seth Aaron was safe.
Seth Aaron
Viktor's outfit just screams Viktor. He created a one button suit with a bow tie and fringe on the back. I wasn't a fan of the wide jacket opening and Alyssa and Austin both felt that the fringe was just too much. Viktor barely scraped by this week.
The judges were not happy about Mychael's outfit. The judges were not fan's of his gold and black color pallet or the high waisted man pants and didn't feel like it met the description. I myself was a little unsure about the moto-jacket and bow tie combination. I'm sad to say that Mychael was out.
What did you think of this week's "team challenge". Did you agree with the judges decisions? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Few of my Favorite Things- Christmas 2013

A Few of my Favorite Things- Christmas 2013

Since Thanksgiving is over, that means that Christmas is on its way and if you're shopping for me this Christmas I've made your shopping a little bit easier. If you recall, on Saturday I posted some weekend sales and today I've decided to share some of my Christmas wishlist items from ASOS, Modcloth, Madewell, Target, Forever 21, Dorothy Perkins and Nordstroms. 
I'd also like to add that I do have access to most American stores online so gift cards are okay and I'm also a fan of supporting local and handmade businesses (Etsy.com). A good rule of thumb is that if it has a cat, fox, owl, narwhal, Domo kun, unicorn, sloth on it or is made of chocolate, I'm going to love it. I also like beauty products that smell like roses or vanilla peppermint. And I could use some more leggings, tights and boots to keep me warm.

What's on your Christmas wishlist?

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Life on Instagram: Thanksgiving

This year was the first year that my husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving Day without our extended family since we're in England and they're still in the States. We decided to keep it pretty minimal so we wouldn't have a bunch of left-overs so we got a Holiday sandwich (bacon, turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce) from a local sandwich shop and I made green bean casserole (the recipe was on the Campbell's Mushroom Soup label) to eat for lunch and dinner. No Thanksgiving would be complete without pumpkin pie and we also had some pre-made pumpkin pie cheesecake for desert. 

Thanksgiving feast

My homemade green bean casserole 
My husband (and it seems everyone we know) was feeling a bit under-the-weather on Thanksgiving with a really nasty cold, so for entertainment I busted out some Thanksgiving and food related movies. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a MUST WATCH on Thanksgiving as well as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We also watched the movie, House of Yes.

Earlier in the week I experimented by making beer bread using some German weiss beer that my husband had in the fridge. It was a big hit and my husband and I consumed it in less than 2 days. 

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving (and/or Happy Hanukkah, Happy Birthday or regular old Thursday)!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What's Making Me Laugh: Jimmy Fallon, Rashida Jones and Carrie Underwood sing Thanksgiving songs

This week there were a whole lot of funny Thanksgiving clips on TV, so I thought I would share two of my favorites. The clip above has Jimmy Fallon, Rashida Jones and Carrie Underwood re-mixing some popular songs into a Thanksgiving medley and the clip below celebrates the first Thanksgiving and Hanukkah combined in a ridiculous play by elementary school students on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Enjoy!


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