Monday, January 27, 2014

fo: magic switch-y dance-y dress

forgive me for the messy room

As a sidenote: do you ever see that girl in the cafe or the library who's got headphones in and a serious shoulder dance going as she mouths the lyrics to some song? Yeah, that would be me. The music in question might be show tunes or Shakira or indie stuff (often the show tunes--oh, to be on Broadway! All the world's a stage though, right, so it's totally fine, right?). But keeping it to the shoulder wiggle and the silent singing at least keeps it from full-out taking over the whole place and belting. Which is a good thing, right?

Anyways...the dress. which you might actually care about, as opposed to my true confessions about singing in public. I used these two tutorials by Sew Like My Mom to make this dress during Thanksgiving break as a dance costume for a couple of shows. It's a great basic dance costume because A. you can change it every show if you want to be indecisive (I sure as heck did) and B. it's so easy to move in! I loved my costume. Bonus points for following what a professor told me about good dance costumes for a piece: it looks expensive.

apparently my new game is don't look at the camera

I stayed at school over break and therefore was still over a 1000 miles away from my sewing machine. So this entire dress was hand-sewn. I searched a little bit for instructions for how to do a stretch stitch by hand. A couple (more like half a season) of Breaking Pointe later, I had a dress. It's only three seams (the way I did it at least), so it didn't feel like that much work to hand sew it. Actually, it was a lot of fun! I really like handsewing. It's relaxing.

I basically took pictures of all the ways I know how to tie it. I'm not super creative about it, especially because I have relatively high standards for modesty when it comes to how I dress.

wait! I do know where the camera is!

Yep, we've come to the end of my four different stylings. I'm not very exciting. Do you have any suggestions for tying this thing in more creative ways that are still fairly covering? I'm too shy to do strapless, but I'm trying to experiment with how to look like a cool person in this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

top three tuesday

As I write this, it's actually last Tuesday (to the future Tuesday people). But honestly, having had Internet for a matter of a two days as I settled back into the world of textbooks (don't get me started) and dorm life and class schedules, I didn't really have the time to write up a blog post.

Here's my top three

...bloggy fountains of inspiration (sidenote: nice mental picture, right?)

Emma's old food blog, Food Coma, which has been my new obsessive read. Recently, I read a lot of A Beautiful Mess, too, which is really just food for all my DIY daydreams, which led me to Emma's blog, which is simply gorgeous and also delicious. I love that all the recipes are A. meatless and B. actually things I might make, as a broke college student. Sure, I love reading about the truffle-and-lobster-and-ridiculous-amounts-of-expensive-cheese concoctions of deliciosity that awesome food bloggers make. But I can't afford to make them. Emma's recipes are just so much more...obtainable. Which makes me happy.

Pati's Mexican Table 'cos I already miss Mexican food. And Pati just makes me happy with her joy of cooking and Mexican accent.

Flashback Summer--Emileigh is an amazingly sweet blogger and a wonderful vintage gal (to quote her) and I love her words of wisdom about living a vintage college life, especially here.

...things I'd like to try to do or make

turning this now shrunken sweater into a dance warm up

making an apron a la Marie's tutorial

Velvet Morning (the yarn should be in the mail soon--yay for yarny Christmas presents!) which I desperately want to call either Winter Night or Velvet Night and then I realize that I'm reeeally off.

...on my reading list (not the one just assigned to me, but the stuff I actually want to read)

The Story of a Soul by St. Thérèse of Lisieux--my current read. Oddly enough, the introduction called the book poorly written from a literary point of view, but I (a former English major) am finding it warm and personable, like sitting down for a cup of tea with her.

Divergent by Veronica Roth--I've been informed that I HAVE to read this, especially before the movie.

Citrus County by John Brandon--I started this one before break and it's too weird not to finish. Seriously. There's a kidnapped toddler and I don't know what exactly to do with it (the book, not the toddler).

So what's inspiring you? What are your creating fingers itching to make? What are you reading (or rather, in a self-serving way, are you reading anything that you think I should be reading)? I'm off to try to make the first grocery list of the year. Have a great week!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

princess for a day: ariel

Not to be confused with Arial, the font, which is what I first typed. Ah, font nerd jokes.


Happy Halloween! It's time to dress up like whatever you want! For me, this will probably mean a sleep-deprived college stude..wait, that's what I am everyday. *sigh* If only I could dress up like a princess!

Ariel's not the easiest princess to dress up as in her "normal" state. It might be because she has a mermaid tail, and we have people legs. Well, most of us have people legs; I don't want to offend any mermaids out there. But can we say that it's the challenge that makes her interesting? But for those who have an affinity for not wearing mermaid skirts, she fortunately gets to wear that pink 80s monstrosity lovely 1980s-inspired ball gown. I'm not a big fan of the 1980s, especially the formals (except, of course, for my mommy's wedding dress; that was beautiful).

Ariel doesn't wear too much in the clothes department as a mermaid, just a little purple shell bra. Of course, for we humans, something greenish is also necessary to camouflage our lower appendages. 

When I first approached this, I thought instantly of 1940s playsuits. The tops on those are absolutely darling!

for the some day ariel costume
If you mentally add a long mermaid skirt, with ruffles and maybe a train to act something like a tail with fins. Something like this, perhaps. 

lovely full mermaid skirt

But of course, with the right coloring (which is essentially the major component in redoing a princess constume), a different silhouette could be used and still be Ariel! What about a crop top and a maxi skirt in a purple and green (respectively)? I could imagine a modern Ariel wearing just that. Or even a high-low hem skirt with a green chiffon overlay--it'd be kinda floaty like a mermaid tail, dontcha think? 

For Ariel's ball gown, there are a multitude of eras to pull from. Of course, you could embrace your inner vintage Molly Ringwald and go eighties.


You can even sew it yourself from all the ruffled, puffed sleeve patterns on Etsy!

Vintage Belleville Sassoon Vogue Designer Original Sewing Pattern Ball Gown Formal Wedding Bridesmaid Rose Sleeves Bow V Neck 80s 34 Bust

I'm going to have nightmares about that one. 

You could also bring out your inner Cosette and rock it 1830s romantic style. They were all about the giant puffed gigot sleeve with the narrow long sleeve underneath.

Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum c.1830-33
as close to the source as I can link you

Or you could be really, really, really ambitious and break out the 1660s. They also loved the puffed sleeves, full skirts, and tight bodices.  (Which is about four more layers of ambition than I have, frankly, but I'd love to see someone else do this--maybe for Costume College?)

Dress, 1660s, Museum of Fashion Bath

Honestly, I'm pretty sure the make or break element is having that bright red hair. Fire engine red, anyone?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

dorm room diy: des oeufs gastronomes

*title in French to be all fancy pants*

There are many ways to do microwave scrambled eggs. But I've come to realize, there's a barely acceptable, get-food-in-my-tummy-now way (which I, on my dorm room gourmet pedestal, will call the wrong way) and there's a delicious, deluxe, I-feel-like-a-fancy-pants-chef-person way (a.k.a. the right way).

Wrong way:

Right way:

(We might also note that, while still nothing special, my food photography skills have increased minimally.)

Assignment: The Incredible, Edible Microwave Egg Project

Every college student with a microwave, a coffee cup, and a Pinterest knows about the basic egg-in-a-cup. It's fast, easy, and actually tastes like what it's supposed to. But. This is the boring, unreliable method. We want to step this up a little because we're fancy. In making a couple dozen microwave eggs, I've figured out how to finesse the basics into something a little shnazzier.

Hint 1: use a bowl, not a mug.

Yeah, I know all the recipes say you can make it in a mug. But the thicker something is, the longer it takes to cook in the microwave, just based on how microwaves work. I use a fairly flat bottomed bowl and my eggs cook a lot faster than they ever did in the coffee mug. Plus, you can get fancy like I did and call it a frittata.

Hint 2: spice up your ingredient list.

Basic recipes (if you can call them those) call for an egg, some milk or water, and some salt. If you keep some simple spices on hand, like oregano and basil or cayenne or cumin, you can turn your egg from basic to awesome in about two dashes. Plus, you'll have spices on hand for all kinds of awesome cooking activities. And you know you want that.

Hint 3: shop the salad bar. 

Does your dining hall have a salad bar? Good. Go there and fill up a box with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese whatever you like in your omelettes. Throw them on top of your eggs to really jazz up your eggs, while upping the healthiness too! Look at all those fresh veggies just sitting there smiling at you.

With all my acquired knowledge, I made some eggs today. And you know what? Instead of merely "interesting", they were delicious.

a suspiciously similar picture...wonder why?

Eggs Florentine Frittata*

1 egg
1-1/2 tbs cream cheese (I got mine at the dining hall convenience store)
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried basil
4-5 leaves baby spinach
4-5 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs sliced mushroom (very much estimated)

Whisk the egg and cream cheese together until fluffy and uniformly colored. Stir in the oregano and basil. On top, place the spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Microzap for 1 minute and 15 seconds, then let cool before eating. Enjoy!

Grade: C for the regular way. A for the jazzed up way! 

Have you tried microwave eggs? Do you like/hate/eat them? Do you have any tricks to turn the ordinary into the fantastically yummy?

*Florentine just means with spinach. But it sounds super fancy, right?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

top three tuesday: halloween edition

Two days to Halloween! Do you have your costume? Sadly, I don't, but I'm sure I will! Here are some of my favorite Halloweeny things.

...costume idea posts

Marie's little black dress procrastinator costumes. These are so simple, but a great twist on something that almost everyone has in their closet--a little black dress! It actually started giving me an idea for my own costume. Hmmm...


this owl costume from A Beautiful Mess. Oh, for the time to actually make a costume, even one as simple as that...

New Dress A Day - DIY - Halloween Costume - Breakfast Club - Molly Ringwald

doing a thrifted Breakfast Club costume like this woman did for New Dress a Day (though I'd totally be Ally Sheedy's character--I want to just run around and act crazy!)

...Halloween foods

Campbell's Harvest Orange Tomato soup with pepper. It's orange and black! (plus, it's a great college student, I-don't-want-to-leave-my-room-'cos-it's-Saturday-but-I-need-foods lunch)

pumpkin bread--specifically, this pumpkin bread from Humblebee and Me, because I love chai and I love chocolate. Mmmm...

any and all candy recipes, but especially the Twix and Butterfinger ones. I'm also hoping to make some Butterfinger cookies next weekend, if I get the candy on sale at the after Halloween candy sales I'm counting on the grocery store having!

...Halloween candy (definitively ranked)

Reese's (hands down, those were the one thing I never traded)

Hershey's bars--the ones with four separatable little pieces, not the miniatures. Receiving miniature Hershey's was a bit of a sad event, except for dark chocolate which was the best. 

Dum Dums. Those things are delicious, especially Mango! 

no honorable mention given to: 

candy corn--the stuff is ucky in my book. 

anything that tried to be healthy--I'm looking at you Halloween pretzels and boxes of raisins. Sure, I love pretzels and raisins. But the point of Halloween is to receive enough sugary goodness to cause a fleet of kids cavities.

all the soft candies that went hard on me because I was only allowed three or four pieces of candy a week and I always went for the chocolate first (the real chocolate, not the Tootsie Rolls). 

What were your favorite Halloween memories? Favorite candies? Favorite costumes? (I dressed up as Jane Eyre one year. I thought it was so clever. Everyone else thought I was a sad Victorian lady.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

top three tuesday

Today, I decided to take a slightly different tact and pin down some of the more abstract things unpinnable things in my life, instead of just gathering up the best of the Internet in the past week (or two, 'cos mid-semester insanity hit during last week).

...ways to challenge myself creatively

('cos we at still a chispita here are all about being creative)

fashion sketches (I've shared a little here, but it's a big part of my attempt to be more creative. I'm trying to teach myself the basics of fashion illustration so that I make my vague ideas something of a concrete reality.)

pick a random object or ingredient in my room and make something with it, whether cooking or sewing or crafting or what have you--tonight it's cream cheese and eggs :)

I use my wall to save pictures, playbills, quotes and drawings that inspire me

surrounding myself with cool things and people who do awesome things, creative or otherwise (my university is great for this--there's so much out there to involve yourself in and so many amazing people who do things  I never even considered, which is all super inspiring)

...favorite comfort foods

beans and tortillas (I used to say I could live off them. I just might do that when I become a real person with a job and student loans to pay off)

microwave chocolate mug cake (it might be kind of a now thing, but I eat this more than I should...)

spaghetti, the way my mommy makes it ('cos there's something special about the way mommies make everything)

...ways to use a three-day weekend

(This was actually my weekend last weekend. As my ballet teacher likes to say, hidden agenda. :)

look at the pretty little muffins posing on a bowl!

muffin-baking (Friday's adventure, with strawberry-oatmeal-dark chocolate muffins)

a little bit of service (Saturday's adventure)

hitting the books (all weekend/Sunday's adventure, 'cos I'm still a full-time college student!) It may not be my favorite use of a day, but it sure beats the mid-week late nights because none of the studies got done on the weekend.

That said, I'm off to go read more French--this time a love-sick couple with strength of character issues (she has all the spine, he has none of it). Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

dorm room diy: chocolate-pb-oatmeal-microwave goodness

I do this thing where I get a slight obsession with a blog and then I read all their posts. This summer it was the Dreamstress (which honestly made me sad about my life and its lack of gorgeous dresses). Since coming to school it's been Chocolate-Covered Katie. Oh my gosh, that girl is a vegetarian/vegan inspiration. Quite literally for this.

I read about her Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Baked Oatmeal and kinda fell in love. Except. There is not an oven in my dorm room. And I don't know if my stoneware bowl is oven safe. So I can't just make it all the time, if at all. Enter the mighty microwave!

Assignment: The Oven to Microwave Transformation Project

unfortunately, everything made with dark cocoa turns out looking like mud

This requires some heavy math. Bring out your Pythagorean theorems and rhombuses and fancy math terms. 

Actually, all it takes is some basic oatmeal know how. I'm going to call my recipe a little more inspired by than actually copying her recipe (because for one thing, I'm not going to go the processed fake sugar route), but she definitely gave me the idea! I made this for supper for the first time the other day and I kinda fell in love with the idea that something as nummy as all that could also stay fairly healthy for me. Under 300 calories, protein, fiber, it's pretty good for you. 

Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal with instant oatmeal (adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie's)

1-2 tbs peanut butter
1/2 cup instant oats*
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs dark cocoa ('cos why would you ever do normal?)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
dash of salt

Put the peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and zap on full power for 40 seconds, or until soft and gooey. This makes the peanut butter a lot easier to mix in. 

Add in (quickly now, 'cos that peanut butter will solidify back up!) the rest of the ingredients. Microzap on full power for 45 seconds, stir, then microzap for 45 seconds. Let cool or risk burning your tongue. Or don't wait and dive right in to all that piping hot ooey-gooey chocolate peanut butter goodness. But don't say I didn't tell you so.

*For old-fashioned oats: add an extra half cup of liquid (milk, water, almond milk, what have you) and microzap for 3 minutes, or until cooked to desired consistency. Let sit a minute and then dig into that chocolatey peanut buttery goodness. 

Grade: A+ all around! Amazing original recipe! Amazing yumminess! Amazing microwave!

Except...probably a regular A, because of my original transformation and its dried out edges. 

Extra credit ideas: Hmm, how do you make a chocolate-peanut butter oatmeal better? Katie frosted hers with a glorious-looking fudge frosting, but I'm of the opinion that though breakfast is allowed to get pretty darn sweet, there is a line that it crosses that takes it into the dessert camp and you can no longer justify it as a healthy meal. The ideas that come instantly to my mind are pieces of chocolate and/ or Reese's peanut butter cups. Or maybe melted Reese's on top (someone in the comments of Katie's post suggested that). Once again, dessert camp oatmeal. But! I also thought of sliced fresh strawberries. Wouldn't that be nummy? Or maybe skip a step and use chocolate peanut butter spread. Or Nutella for chocolate hazelnut oatmeal.

Or just be a cool kid and bake the thing. :)

What do you think? Do you have any blogger obsessions (food or otherwise) at the moment? Do you cringe at the idea of that much chocolate for breakfast?
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