Thursday, December 22, 2011

13 of 30: Purple and Plaid

Happy First Day of Winter!

I've finally gotten around to wearing another 30 for 30 outfit AND taking photos. I actually did wear my retro 70s romper several weeks ago but didn't catch it on digital "film." So this outfit is lucky number 13 on this here blog. (Another jeans outfit, sorry. I keep thinking I'll put on a dress but then the cold wind outside changes my mind.)

Tank: Old Navy | Cardi and jeans: GAP | Coat: Tulle via Modcloth | Socks: Sockdreams | Booties: Blowfish "Hichi" via Amazon

Loving the plaid coat; it's not one of my 30 for 30 items but as an overcoat it's allowed. Two of the oversize buttons fell off soon after I got the coat in the mail and I still haven't sewed them back on. Anyway, I'm not sure why I'm so into purple AND plaid this season. This coat makes me feel like I'm dressed up even when I'm just in jeans and a tank top. I think I'm going to have to wear it with a tunic-and-tights ensemble at least once this winter. Maybe I'll even match it up with the purple plaid skirt that's on my 30 for 30 item list. :-)

Don't mind the mess behind me. I have a hard time cleaning up after my preschooler. We're trying to get him to clean up after himself. If you've got any suggestions on good incentives to help him learn, I'd appreciate them! Also, bonus photo below: This is what our skies looked like five days ago. So so so gorgeous. It reminds me a bit of the ocean on an overcast day.

xo, Gladys

Holiday Challenge Update

I can't believe it's only one more day until the holiday weekend. I need more time! The house needs another top-to-bottom cleaning before Sunday when we will hold luncheon for both sides of the family. Granted, it's only nine guests, but it's still a big deal.

Also, I'm not done with my Holiday Challenge to make handmade presents for loved ones, challenge being the operative word. I've only finished two people's presents -- TWO! -- and I can't believe how long that took. The circle scarf (using this tutorial) is done, but some hair-pulling was involved due to the fact that the knit cloth I bought for it shrank in the wash. I honestly thought I was measuring wrong, and I turned the unwieldy cloth every which way over my ruled cutting mat. Eventually I just bit the bullet and sewed it, and thankfully it doesn't choke you when you double it around your neck; otherwise my brother would kill me if his new wife suffocated from wearing my present! And: it's quite cozy and warm!

The second thing I managed to finish was a lounge-shirt-and-pants set for my nephew, and really, that should count as two because each piece took forever to make. Or maybe they should count as a hundred because I was working with stretchy knit fabric that was pretty dang difficult to manage. There was crying involved, my friends. No joke: I actually broke down and cried. My lack of experience led to a lot of frustration particularly when making the pants. I couldn't figure out how to sew the inseam because the edges simply didn't match up. I thought there was something wrong with the pattern in the book I used, Sewing for Boys. Since my experience has mostly been with sewing skirts, I wasn't used to sewing the asymmetrical pieces together. Same thing with the shirt pattern that I made; how in the world was I supposed to sew together those curvy edges that didn't match??? Especially when it was supposed to be sewed with the same continuous seam allowance??? Let's just say that the seams on the inside are not pretty. So folks, when it says "Beginner" on various patterns in the book, don't believe it. The instructions aren't very thorough because most of the book is really not aimed at "beginners." So the things that stumped me -- all of the asymmetrical edges being sewed together -- weren't explained and no tips or tricks were offered. Honestly, you'd be better off with the various DIY tutorials online, usually on people's I found out too late.

(If you're interested, here are three tutorials on making children's pants that I found. Lots of explanations and lots of photos to help you figure things out if the words aren't clear. One. Two. Three -- this last comes with a free pattern if you need it.)

Instead of sewing on a tag or doing nothing, I sewed these rosettes (rather, my machine sewed them) to indicate the backside of each piece. I think they're subtle but pretty.

I've got three more items to sew in the next couple of days, and at the rate I'm going, I'll probably still be sewing on Xmas day, when my family comes to visit. Obviously, there is no way I can finish all of the gifts I planned to make by then, so my friends' kids will simply have to wait until after Xmas to get their presents. That's actually the way it usually happens; I believe I'll stick to that particular tradition this year.

xo, Gladys

P.S. 30 for 30 outfit post coming up. Yes, I'm still doing that.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Shoes

So...something exciting happened to me this past week. :-)

I found out I won a giveaway over at the Tick Tock Vintage blog! For Blowfish Shoes! I've been entering blog giveaways sporadically over the past few months. I never won any...until now. Woo-hoo!

I put the Blyth wedges in gray on my wishlist from the very beginning of the season, but they're now gone in my size. HOWEVER, there were many more pairs that I wanted, and the pair I finally chose came very quickly. They arrived Saturday morning via FedEx. Behold, the Wycliff booties in gray:

I almost got the red but I have been waiting to find the perfect pair of gray boots. These were it. And they fit very comfortably. I can't wait to wear them out!

Thanks so much to Veronika, and also to Amy M. of Blowfish Shoes for taking my info and sending me the shoes. :-)

(Btw, Veronika of Tick Tock Vintage has an enviable closet of vintage clothes, and the equally-enviable ability to wear them well!)

xo, Gladys

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Decorations

One more week until Xmas Eve! Enjoy some photos!

ON ME: Dress: Kind Like Love via Amazon | Belt: Kohl's | Tights: GAP | Shoes (not pictured): Fluevog Malibran (Operetta family) via Amazon

My hubby is the holiday decoration guru in this family, so (almost) all of the following is due to his hard work and craftiness.

Tree skirt was handmade and gifted to us by my mother-in-law :-)

xo, Gladys

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finally, a Working Dishwasher!

Sorry for the mundanity of the post title, but I can't tell you how relieved I am. It's been about a month since we started living in the new house, and the whole time we had to wash our dishes by hand (it was mostly I doing the washing, although a couple of my friends -- such angels! -- would take on the duty whenever they visited). I know, I am SO SPOILED. But my dears! My hands were getting CUT UP from all of the dish-washing. The high-desert winter is much too rough on tender human skin.

In addition, we had a new sink and new faucet installed at the same time, and wow I'm so glad we did that even though it was not cheap. I had no idea that a faucet could cost more than the sink itself! We saved on the installation, however, since our plumber agreed to do it all for a flat fee. (If we had done the installation through Lowe's, for example, we would have had to pay for the installation of EACH appliance/accessory. No bueno.) So not only do I now have a working spray-hose faucet with a neat soap dispenser (things of beauty), but we also replaced the ugly black plastic/acrylic sink with a durable cast-iron one (ivory-tinted enamel), and now I can actually see how dirty my kitchen sink is!

(WARNING: Skip this paragraph if you want to avoid ranting!) We have this theory that the previous owners decorated the house and chose appliances based on what would show dirt the very least, because they didn't care to clean up after themselves. No, really. This house was really dark and cave-like before we came in. And yes, all of their kitchen appliances were black and, like many parts of the house, were left sticky and dirty, which we didn't find out until we set to cleaning the place because little of the dirtiness showed.... Can you tell that I am a little resentful of the previous owners? :-( This house wasn't a foreclosure, but it was a short sale, so it's true that they didn't need to clean up or fix anything for the next owners. At least, we didn't expect them to have to fix anything. However, it would have been common human decency to at least clean up the place for the next person, right? Right? I mean, they certainly had enough time; the house was basically empty for three months while it went through the short-sale process. We had to wait over a month before the bank agreed to short-sell to us, and then another month of escrow. Instead, they had the wife's parents clean up for them, since the wife's mom was the selling agent/realtor. (The parents didn't do such a great job, apparently.) They could also have hired a cleaning service for a day; from what we've learned, they had enough money -- two solid middle-class incomes = a VERY nice family income. They only had to move (and thus short-sell) because of a job relocation to L.A., making the commute a little too long. But! BUT! I strongly believe the commute was not long enough to prevent a quick trip on a Saturday or Sunday to their old house to undertake some much-needed scrubbing. They had at least 12 of those weekends to do it. I used to make that commute three days a week over a summer when I taught a university class in L.A. While I was pregnant and nauseated all the time. So no, I don't have any sympathy for them. And I'm just grossed out by them and never want to meet them in person again. (/end rant)

But back to the important thing: the before-and-after photos!



Before and After of the view inside the sink (the old sink strainer and disposer were pretty nasty as well as rusty)

Before and After of the faucet, closeup detail (while the old faucet wasn't bad, the new faucet is a Delta pull-down with magnet docking and spray-or-stream -- SUPER nifty!)

As you can imagine, it is now a pleasure for me to wash dishes! So pretty and shiny! In fact, I immediately did two loads in the dishwasher, and all the non-dishwasher-safe dishes and recycle-ables are all clean. *sigh of relief*

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

#3: Three Holiday Parties in Four Days

So this was the last party of last week, the one we held at our new house. However, it is our FIRST house party at the new house. Special thanks to my mom and my friend M for helping us de-clutter, sweep, and scrub scrub scrub! You should have seen the place BEFORE all the work they did. Here I am looking like I am hard at work! Not really. These photos are deceiving. I was having a ton of fun, perhaps a little discombobulated by the number of people at the house (9 adults, and 10 kids running around so it felt like the adults were outnumbered TWICE OVER!), but for the most part everyone else was pitching in and I was just trying to make sure that folks knew where the utensils, dishes, and bowls were.

The menu for the night was homemade individual pizzas and yummy cake to belatedly celebrate our friend E's late-November birthday. M made her dangerously-addicting chocolate cake, A.K.A. crack cake, and I made a yellow rum cake using the recipe that E's mom gave me. We only ended up cutting the chocolate cake, but I sent E home with at least half of the rum cake which was actually delicious, if I do say so myself (what can I say, it was a good recipe!). For the pizza, M and I made the ridiculously-easy-to-make pizza dough two days ahead, using almost a full 10-pound bag of flour. (Yikes! It turned out that we only needed half that much for all 19 people, especially considering the salad and dessert and the fact that excited little kids are usually too busy to sit and eat much.) M was the one who turned the dough into flat pizza rounds during the party. After cooking a few simple cheese pizzas for the kids, it was the adults' turn. I believe mine was the last pizza to be made as I was too nervous to be really hungry, but wow it was yummy! Sun-dried tomatoes, green bell peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, onion, and both pepperoni and Canadian bacon...mmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! The only downside was the fact that my oven was not really up to the task of cooking more than one pizza at a time. We were cooking the pizza in batches of two each time, and one would turn out kind of burned on top while the other would be slightly underdone if it wasn't left in the oven longer. Sadly, my oven is old (vintage but not in a good way!). Maybe in a few years we'll be able to save up to replace it.

ON ME: Dress: Peppermint via Modcloth (I bought this when it went on sale a few weeks ago) | Cardi: Banana Republic (from years ago) | Tights: unknown | Slippers: Acorn "Tex Moc Black Bear" via Amazon

Anyway, everyone seemed to have a great time, including my guy behind the camera. :-) And I really enjoyed seeing all the ladies' outfits (of course)! Both E and M looked really great in their Christmas-y colors. I especially loved M's super fun and creative outfit, her usual M.O.: cozy bolero, heart tights, soft red bootie slippers with dangling yarn balls, and even candy-striped apron!

Top and jeans: GAP | Cashmere cardi: via Amazon | Thigh-high socks: Sockdreams | Booties (not pictured): Blowfish "Hichi" via Amazon

Here are some bonus photos of another party we went to two weekends ago. (Yes, we are party animals over here, haha.) It was for the kids at the company my husband works for. One of the employees volunteers every year to dress up as Santa! Above is what I wore, and below is my son's Santa photo. I love his green pants, which were bought at a consignment store, and his soft red sweater with elbow patches (GAP Kids sure are stylin'), a gift from his maternal grandmother.

Finally, below are a couple of photos of the hilarious way my son started on the decorations when we got the tree a couple of Sundays ago, the day after the kids' company holiday party. He simply couldn't wait! And of course he decided to keep his decorating at eye-level or below. HAHAHAHA!

Hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season so far! Stay warm and stay safe!

xo, Gladys

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#2: Three Holiday Parties in Four Days

ON ME: Dress: Kohl's | Jacket: Tulle via Modcloth | Tights: Sockdreams | Shoes: Fluevog "Corey" (Blind Faith Mid family) via Amazon

This wasn't quite a holiday party, but it felt like it! It was the 5th Annual Salsalegre, a charity fundraiser supporting a very poor rural area in Baja California, Mexico. My good friend M was part of organizing the event in previous years and wanted to attend it as a guest this time. But she didn't want to go without me as it was too far to go by herself. When she said salsa and charity, I couldn't resist, even if it was the middle of the week. Wait, was the opportunity to have a fun night out without kids that was the true attraction! Haha! It was a really great event. The performances were AMAZING. And, incredibly, so many of the paying attendees -- the amateurs -- were fantastic dancers. I loved watching them. The hubby and I didn't do much dancing because it was quite intimidating, actually. We're planning to take some salsa lessons before attending again next year!

A note about the shoes. You can't really see them in the horrible iPhone photos above; sorry about that. That's why I included the stock photo to the left. As you can see, they are just gorgeous. I love the Art Deco feel to them. I couldn't resist getting them especially at the sale price Amazon had offered (ridiculously low for Vogs). But sadly, these were not comfortable to wear for dancing that night. The Blind Faith family is a little too large for my feet, so I used insoles AND toe pads. But as the night wore on, the pointed toe box scrunched my poor toes too much. It was hard to walk to the car at the end of the night. (The hubby offered me a piggy-back ride part of the way, and yes indeed I took him up on his offer!) Oh well. Next time, I'm hoping that better insoles will do the trick. The ones I used were not super high quality.

Check back tomorrow for the last holiday party post! Stay warm and happy, dear readers!

xo, Gladys

Monday, December 12, 2011

#1: Three Holiday Parties in Four Days

Last week was super busy, not even taking into account the fact that we're still settling in and cleaning up at the new house. We went to three parties, the last of which WE hosted. Crazy times! But good times, too. :-)

I wore this outfit for my husband's company holiday party. Because the party was held in a large drafty building on the fairgrounds, the wrap was on me for most of the night; the only time I took it off was when we got on the dance floor. I was a little worried because I wasn't sure if I would be sitting with anyone I knew. It turns out we arrived a little too late to sit with some acquaintances, but you know what? That was a lucky thing. I met a really wonderful lady named Veronica, whose husband works in the same building as my husband does (though the two men aren't close friends or anything). V and I talked almost the whole night, and we made plans to have our kids meet at the beginning of the new year. She's a bit older, with her oldest child being fourteen, but I really enjoyed her laid-back vibe and sweetness. For example, she had her husband get me two sodas at different times of the evening, just because she thought I might be thirsty. So sweet! (Where was my husband, you ask? I had sent him away to go drink and take a load off with his coworkers. I was the designated driver for the night!)

By the way, do you like the Xmas tree and gorgeous decorative pillow in the background? I'll take better pictures next time. :-)

Dress: Esley via Shopkempt | Wrap: unknown, borrowed from my mom | Hose: unknown | Kitten heels: J.Renée "Drema" via Amazon

This was a very flattering dress. I loved the shape and the intricate bling detail at the bodice (no accessories needed!). The only drawback was the fuchsia belt which not only was too large for my waist but also unbuttoned easily (as in, whenever I bent over at the waist!). Thankfully I had fashion tape to position it properly and secure it at the same time. I felt that this outfit was a success overall. My shoes, which were new, held up really well, too, even during the dancing! There was some pinching at the toes at the end of the night, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I would recommend this shoe brand for sure.

Check back tomorrow for the next post on my holiday party "extravaganza"! ;-)

xo, Gladys

P.S. It just started snowing! First snow in the Southern California high desert.

Disclosure: I'm a member of Amazon Associates, so if you click through the link above and purchase anything on Amazon, it may result in my earning a small referral fee.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Odds and Ends

Before I sign off for the day, here are a few iPhone shots of what I've been up to since my blogging hiatus. Have a fabulous weekend!

Closeup of my newly-done eyebrows a couple of weeks ago

Just a fraction of the beautiful cloth I recently purchased for my Holiday Challenge

Measuring and cutting contact paper for the kitchen cabinets and drawers in the new house

A little slice-view of the new dining room from the kitchen -- we brought the chandelier with us from the old house

More cloth

A toy Singer sewing machine (that actually does stitches) I saw at Jo-Ann's -- I didn't buy it, but I thought it was adorable

xo, Gladys

Thanksgiving Outfit

It's been so long since I last posted! I've missed you! We started living/sleeping/eating in the new house last week, but our internet won't be connected until early next week. I am putting this post together in the old house, where there are still lots of little things to throw into boxes and bags. Most of my clothes and shoes are still here! So while I have the chance, I'm putting up outfit photos of our Thanksgiving. We visited family in Long Beach that night. The photos were taken in indoor lighting with my iPhone, hence the poor quality. Sorry about that! But I really loved my outfit.

ON ME: Dress: via ModCloth | Cardi: GAP (gifted) | Royal tights and fishnet tights: Foot Traffic and unknown, both via Sockdreams | Mary janes: Fluevog Guides (Prepare family)

The pleats on the dress are very flattering and elongating, and the pattern is just gorgeous. My mom said it was her favorite dress in my closet. Also, this was my first time layering tights like this, and I have to say that the effect of fishnet over opaque is really beautiful. Something I DEFINITELY have to try again. Got several compliments on the whole outfit from my fun aunties. :-)

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday last week (if you celebrate it in the U.S., at least)! I'd love to be back to regular posting by the end of next week.

xo, Gladys

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holiday Challenge

As if I didn't already have enough on my plate, I decided that this holiday season, I would make rather than buy presents for family and some friends' children. So I'll be sewing clothing and accessories -- new patterns that I've never tried before.

All while in the midst of moving. O_o

I'm not sure why I do this to myself. But you know what? After I asked what they would like, several family members got really excited about it, and one even sent me a link to this simple tutorial on making a circle scarf. Basically, all I'll be doing is buying the material and sewing the ends together. It's really that easy, but she is still really excited about getting such a simple hand-made item from me. It's worth it already, is my feeling. :-)

But most of the other items won't be so simple. I'm particularly looking forward to making clothes for the children, but apprehensive, too. I'll be using patterns and instructions from these two books:

I'll mostly be sticking to the beginner patterns, at least. Wish me luck. :-)

xo, Gladys

Disclosure: I'm a member of Amazon Associates, so if you click through the book images above and purchase anything on Amazon, it may result in my earning a small referral fee.
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