Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Snapshots: August

Almost September! Summer is truly winding down. I never used to like summer very much; I remember being bored a lot and feeling like I didn't get much done except maybe read a bunch of beach books. But this summer has been particularly busy, with August being the last hurrah. I will miss it this time. (My 4-year-old starts pre-kindergarten classes next week! Hard to believe he's going to a real school now.) Lots of birthdays, outings with family and friends, and sewing this past month. Good times!


Yummy macarons from Little Tokyo

My Models

Newborn E wearing his basic newborn pants

J says she loves her birthday reversible pinafore!

Birthday/Greeting Cards

Window Shopping




Love the shirt!

Awesome kids' playground at the Oxnard Beach Park

Cousins love the surrey.

Family pic

Getting X-rays for the first time at the dentist's office

These guys were at my son's dentist's office. Apparently the doctor loves the morbid side of Disneyland: Haunted Mansion, Nightmare before Christmas paraphernalia and prints all over the office.

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dark Gray Chambray

Top: Must Have via Amazon | Jeans: GAP | Flats: Mossimo via Target

I wore this outfit for a spa-day with some girlfriends, hence no makeup or styled hair. I totally need to trim my bangs again. Sorry it's a mess. Anyway, it's really the top that I wanted to show you. It's the only piece of clothing I have in chambray. I love the collar on the slight sweetheart neckline and the decorative buttons. (I probably could have done without the waist-tie, though.) I bought it sometime last year or very early this year in preparation for summertime, but I forgot about it after it went into my closet -- which happens more frequently than it should. I'm glad I finally remembered, although I need to figure out a better way to build an outfit around it. A white pencil skirt or even a white ruffled skirt would have worked. Also, neon-colored skinny jeans or skinny shorts would have been great for the season. Alas, I have none of the above! I have some gray wool shorts that I can try next time, but I'm leery of that particular monochromatic scheme (too boring). It might also be boring to wear the top with skinny black capris. Well, we'll see.

xo, Gladys

Friday, August 24, 2012

Recipe: Pistachio, Macadamia, and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe was adapted from another Pinterest find. Aren't they lovely? The original recipe from Joy the Baker called for smoked sea salt and did not include macadamia nuts. My family are not big fans of salty cookies, so I didn't add any of the salt. I also reduced the sugar by a third, and the cookies still ended up quite delicious! Next time, however, I might use salted butter instead of unsalted. This was a fun recipe to make with my 4-year-old.

Pistachio, Macadamia, and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Joy the Baker's Dark Chocolate, Pistachio & Smoked Sea Salt Cookies)
Makes 20-24 cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted or salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped by knife or by food processor
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped by knife or by food processor


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and beat in for about 1 minute. Add vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.

In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the mixture all at once to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Dollop or scoop cookie dough by the 2 tablespoonsful onto baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches of room between each cookie. (Mine came out to 6-8 cookies per sheet.)

Bake cookies for 18 minutes, or until just golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

(You can store the cookies in a lidded container. Here's a neat trick if you've never heard of it: to keep cookies soft, include a slice of flour-based bread in the container. The bread will get hard while the cookies stay soft!)

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vintage-y Leaves and Cutouts

Wow, another outfit post! With the two from last week, I'm on a roll (sort of). :-D

Top: Banana Republic | Jeans: GAP | Oxfords: Fluevog (Radio family: CBC)

I wore this outfit several days ago to see some old grad school friends in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. I thought it would be appropriate to put a vintage-looking filter on the pic since I feel the outfit could have worked in the 1970s -- I just needed a higher waist on the jeans. The filter makes it look like the sun was pretty mild that day, but nope, it was pretty bright. You might have noticed that I'm squinting a little in the pic...?

Here's the outfit in natural lighting, without the filter:

I love this top. Looking at these photos, I think I should get high-waisted jeans at some point. Just to complete the outfit.

Anyway, since I was bringing the kiddo with me, I wanted to wear something comfortable and easy just in case I had to do some chasing or running away on the streets. (Ha!) Hence these shoes, which are both gorgeous and "runnable" (is that a word?). Turns out that I had to drag the little guy around to get him to walk anywhere since he got a hold of my iPhone and wouldn't relinquish it. In between playing game after game on my phone, he decided all of a sudden that he loved taking photos of random things in the street. He also took quite a few candids of me and my friends. Which was pretty cool. Scroll down for examples from my 4-year-old's first photo shoot as the photographer!

He seemed to have a thing for shoes ... takes after his mother, I guess? :-)

This last one obviously wasn't taken by the kiddo, but it's one of my favorite photos of our outing. What a silly guy.

xo, Gladys

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fluevog Love on Melrose

Last week, before my dear friend M and I made our way to the Regina Spektor concert together, I had the great pleasure of introducing her to the Fluevog store on Melrose Avenue. (I hadn't been to the Melrose location for almost a year, and I found out that my favorite "dealer" Shawn had gotten himself a new gig as senior sales associate at the newest Fluevog store located all the way in Washington, D.C.! I was sad that I didn't get to say goodbye but am very happy for him. In any case, the equally-awesome Keith helped us out that afternoon.) M had been drooling over my Fluevog shoe collection for a long while now, and it was finally time for her to try on some shoes and see if she fell in love.

And no surprise, she did. :-)

It was a little surreal to watch M try on shoe after shoe. I kept having flashbacks to my own first experience with Fluevog. She was dancing and hopping around and positively giddy. It was so fun to watch her, and the best part was knowing that she'd be getting a pair of her own since her birthday was coming up. (I'd make sure of it, of course!)

She tried on what must have been 20 pairs and narrowed it down to the three that she could see herself wearing often in the Fall. Here are some that we both tried on. Scroll to the end to see which pair she finally chose, and for links to the shoes shown above.

(Click on the photos to see the shoes on the Fluevog website.)

M said these were really comfy. They were on her final list.

A particularly-beautiful pair on M's final list

Surprisingly, these were in a size 5 and they actually fit me! These, in the Melrose store, are the only pair of this style in this size (in the whole world?). However, they're a little too specialized for my wardrobe (I'm not ready for sparkly shoes, I guess) and I also couldn't justify buying them at full price when I still have another pair on layaway. Still, they are gorgeous.

M felt about these the way I felt about the Attention: Paris -- too specialized for her wardrobe. She wouldn't get enough wear out of them to justify the price, BUT they are truly beautiful shoes.

These looked AMAZING on M. But yeah, they're more fantasy shoes than everyday shoes.

[ETA 8/23/12: They're called Sharanpal and are now available online!] These new Miracles are seriously beautiful shoes. Like, drool-worthy. They're basically the Meera but in a black leather-on-black suede colorway and with the maryjane strap. Unfortunately for me, they run true to size ... which means that because the smallest size is a 6, they're a tad too big for me (I'm a true size 5.5). Even the strap wasn't enough to keep my feet in.

See? Gorgeous.

M definitely loved these Miracle maryjanes, but they didn't make the cut.

TA-DA! These were the third pair on M's final list, and these are the ones she finally chose. She couldn't stop dancing in them and did not want to take them off. I totally understand, because the first pair of Fluevogs that made me feel that way were also red ankle boots in the Operetta family ... which is probably the most comfortable family in all of Fluevog-dom! (And Cecilia Bartoli is actually one of my favorite mezzo-soprano singers!) Anyway, because they were full price, she had to put them on layaway ... but I and another of our friends are going to contribute to the layaway payments for M's upcoming birthday. :-) It was all in all a successful trip (and yay, I managed to refrain from getting MYSELF yet another pair. My wallet thanks me profusely)!

She also tried on and really liked:

Prepare: Guide in blue (which I have and love and have worn here and here and here and here ... you get the idea)
Prepare: Tailor in brown
Writes: Simone in wine (I actually wanted her to get these. They looked fantastic on her. Sorry no photo!)
Attention: Jolie in gray
Attention: Paris in black
Perfect: Splendid in black
World: Nzame in white and brown
Operetta: Malibran in red

xo, Gladys

Friday, August 17, 2012

Recipe: Chipotle Salsa

Here's one way to heat up your upcoming weekend. :-) Some days ago I peeled and seeded many pounds of garden tomatoes before they went bad on my counter. What to do with all those tomatoes? For starters, I made more delicious marinara sauce (recipe here) to top some chicken Parmesan. But there were a lot more tomatoes left. We love salsa and chips in this house, so I adapted The Pioneer Woman's recipe for restaurant style salsa. Since I didn't have the Ro-tel (tomatoes + chilies) that her recipe requires, I used some very spicy and delicious chipotle peppers in adobo sauce ... which then meant that I didn't dare use jalapeño seeds like her recipe says. Here is my version. Keep in mind that this comes out quite spicy, and a little bit sweet.

Chipotle Salsa

  • 45 oz peeled and seeded tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (7 oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (use whole lime if small)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (more or less, to taste)


Combine all ingredients in a large blender (at least 9-cup size; blend in batches if your blender is smaller). Pulse 10-15 times to get the consistency you like.

Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with salted tortilla chips, or use as a condiment for tacos, burritos, fajitas, etc., and even scrambled eggs. Enjoy!

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Teal and Peacock: Dressing for Regina Spektor

What does one wear to a Regina Spektor concert? Something sweet and whimsical, of course!

Dress: Sugarhill Boutique via ModCloth | Socks (inside boots): ASOS | Boots: Fluevog Dawson City (GetUp family) | Purse: gifted, souvenir from India

(Sorry the pics are a little blurry ... taking indoor photos is difficult, but the sun was far too strong at the time for more outdoor pics.)

This lovely little dress is by Sugarhill Boutique, a fair trade company that seems to specialize in fine needlework designs -- as you see in the beautiful peacock feather/heart/ribbon embroidery, eyelet, and scalloped edges. It's also in one of my favorite colors, teal. All of the details plus the flattering shape made the dress a must-have for me when it went on sale sometime last year. I was saving the first wear for something truly special, and Regina Spektor's AMAZING concert was IT!

You can probably tell from the drape of the dress, but it's a thin fabric, which was great for the current summer heat in southern California. The concert was at night at the fantastic outdoor Greek Theater in Griffith Park, yet I felt perfectly comfortable throughout the evening.

The teal boots also turned out to be a spot-on choice for the night. Not only are they a gorgeous color, but these ankle boots are also super comfy, and I liked toughening up the look with a little cowboy / cowgirl sensibility. All in all, it was a sweet, magical night that followed a super-fun visit to the Los Angeles Fluevog store earlier in the afternoon. -- But more on that in another post!

xo, Gladys

P.S. I also thought this outfit was a (serendipitously) perfect fit for this month's Everybody, Everywear challenge of putting together a monochromatic outfit. :-)

Monochromatic | Everybody, Everywear

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Floral

I just realized that I sewed 8 garments in the last two weeks alone -- 6 pieces of clothing + 1 hat + 1 apron, and all but the last were reversible so almost double the work. Wow, I'm pooped. But I actually do have another couple of sewing projects planned out, besides the projects I'm going to make for 3 nephews and 2 nieces whose birthdays will all be in September (2 pairs of twins in there, that's why so many).

For this week, however, I'm going back to outfit posts! And maybe a recipe or two.

Dress: Miss Real via Amazon | Sandals: Worishofer via Amazon

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite dresses in my closet. It has such a fun, vibrant print that I totally enjoy looking at. It's made of 100% cotton, unlined, with a slightly-tailored / structured shape, and it's perfect for this ridiculously-HOT HOT HOT weather. It doesn't cling to my body in any way, which is a major plus when one is majorly perspiring. :-) I bought it last year and, sadly, have only worn it once. Besides the print, I love the pleats, the gentle hourglass shape, and the cap sleeves that sort of float around my shoulders ... but the dress itself is just a tad bit short for my comfort; I wear running shorts underneath just in case there's wind or, you know, an accidental tumble (you'd be surprised at how often this happens to me, even at my age!). Because of the flowers, I think it makes for a great shower outfit. Last year it was a wedding shower; this year it was a baby shower.

You can't really tell without a side photo (sorry I couldn't get a good one), but the waist falls straight from the bust so it's possible I look a bit pregnant from a certain angle (I assure you I'm not). I wore it with a skinny belt last time to emphasize my waist / dispel any rumors of pregnancy, which worked fine, but I really wanted a very free drape this time around.

Finally, if you'll notice, I found a pretty nice backdrop for the photos. I finally got tired of the indoor photos in my dining room. No more kids' toys in the background! Instead, those are Anaheim chilies and jalapeños, with a partial of a rose bush on the left. :-)

xo, Gladys

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sewing: Reversible Pinafores GALORE

My love affair with this pinafore pattern by Laurie Case continues (see post #1 and post #2). I made these for a 2-year-old's birthday and a baby shower. It will be the same party since the girls are going to be sisters and the family decided to couple the celebrations together.

I wasn't joking about the "GALORE" part of the post title. (Alternate title: "I'm Sorry I Don't Have Outfit or Shoe Posts. I'm Busy Sewing.") This was my first attempt at "mass" production, 4 reversible pinafores at the same time ... which really means I made 8 pinafores, right? Behold:

Amazingly, I was able to make all the pinafores in one day (it was a long day). Amazing because not only were they all different sizes (6M, 12M, 2T, and 3T), but they were also different fabrics and colors. Luckily, I was able to use the same color thread for all of them most the time since the thread wouldn't be seen. (No topstitches until the very end.) I did each step with the 8 pieces of fabric, from first cutting out the patterns to topstitching the pinafores closed at the end.

(I know I'm patting myself on the back here, but I am impressed -- and surprised -- that I managed to do it. :-D )

All pattern pieces cut and ready for sewing to begin

All 4 pinafores pinned and ready for machining

Process notes:
Now that I've made 5 out of the 7 available sizes (I haven't yet made an 18M or 5/6 size), I want to be more detailed in my review of this pattern in case you wanted to give it a try. I should note that the patterns are pretty affordable: you can get each size pattern (as a PDF) for $2, or you can get all 7 for $10. I did mine kind of piecemeal since I purchased 6 kits on sale (each of which includes pre-washed fabrics and the pattern size of your choice -- a great deal especially if you like the available fabrics) and just spent 2 bucks on the last pattern size.

Anyway, on to my notes on the pattern. First, be careful when taping together the printouts from the PDF files. Each pattern size is hand-drawn. The instructions say not to overlap your sheets of paper and just attach them edge-to-edge. Don't follow those instructions. You'll see why when you match the sheets together and the lines don't match up most of the time. What's most important is that when you put together the front piece and then the back piece, the pinafore's side edges have to match in length. The 2T size was particularly problematic, but if you know what the end product is supposed to look like, you can edit the pattern as needed.

Second, it's helpful to use a binder clip (or multiple clips) to keep all the layers of fabric together once you start cutting. I don't remember where I found this tip, but now I'm passing it on to you. It works beautifully. Other helpful tools: tailor's/dressmaker's chalk to trace out the pattern onto the fabric, rotary cutter (used with a self-healing cutting mat), and pattern weights.

Third, when sewing the shoulders together, remember to match up the fabric where the stitch line is supposed to be (in most of the cases it's at 5/8" since that's the seam allowance). It's OK if the actual edges of the shoulders don't match each other.

If you're going to make multiple pinafores like I did, or if you just want to speed up the process a little when making one, use the chain piecing method for the shoulders.

The hardest part about this pinafore pattern is at the end, when you're supposed to connect the sides of the pinafore by invisible-sewing one layer closed, then close up the whole thing by turning it over and topstitching through all the layers. These steps require extra care and that's when you want to watch Laurie Case's brief video explanation (link provided upon purchase of the pattern). The problem with connecting the sides is very similar to my problem with trying to hem too-narrow leg- or armholes. There really is no help for it in this case, however; just be careful and go slowly as needed. You don't want to accidentally sew puckers into the seams. And in my case pins kept popping out as I sewed so I needed to make sure that the edges were aligned at all times. Yes this can definitely be frustrating.

In the topstitching step, it's a good idea to match the right color thread with the fabrics. When you decide which side to close invisibly and which side to topstitch, you should have an idea of which side would require very neat topstitching and so then invisibly close the other side first. In the case below, with the ocean fabric and black fabric with white polka dots, I chose the black/polka dot fabric to invisibly close first so that the ocean fabric would have the neat topstitching. Then I turned it over and pressed carefully, made sure that my top thread was white and my bobbin/bottom thread was black, and edgestitched as neatly as I could (I used the slowest setting on my machine). This particular seam turned out to be the best one in the bunch:

This one is an example of a topstitch seam that didn't turn out that great on the other side (it doesn't look edgestitched), but overall it was fine, and if I didn't think so I would have ripped those seams out, trust me:

Well, those are my thoughts on this pattern. I hope any of this was helpful to you. Happy sewing!

xo, Gladys
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...