Category Archives: Journal

About Town

Attended the show opening of Ferris Plock at the Shooting Gallery the other night. He is a friend of a lovely friend, and his paintings are exciting and cheeky. He uses a lot of bright colors, but the contrast of the black lines cut up the color. This combination makes the traditionally acidic colors calmly stimulating. Looking closely at Ferris’s paintings, you begin to fully appreciate the meticulous geometric detail he goes into. His ability to create punchy patterns makes me think he could make some incredible textiles.

Ferris also works in 3-D sculpture. This wooden boombox sculpture makes me wish I had the cahones to tote this around on my shoulder during the day. Boombox sculpture could be the next It Accessory. There were other boomboxes in different colors, but this red one was my favorite.

Shooting Gallery is also currently featuring new works by Casey Grey. As dabbling spray paint artist myself, I was completely mesmerized by the shapes and colorplay in his work. The bright colors and motifs clash with the medium, and the tension between the two draws me in. I am infatuated:

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Good Skirt

I daydream about clothes quite a bit, and when I find something that feels fresh to me, I think about outfits centered around that item or concept. I’ve been eyeing this skirt recently and decided that it would be a fresh breath of crisp, fall air within my wardrobe. However, I bought it without first determining how it would fit into my wardrobe. Shoes would be no problem, I knew this length would suit my favorite flats, but wearing anything resembling a classic blouse would definitely make it skew sexy school marm. To each their own but not my style.

Enter New Striped Tee. The proportions of this tee work so well with the skirt, and the shoes are icing on the my little fashion cake. This is my new favorite outfit.

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A Fix

If you must wear neon, it should be in the form of a good jacket. A neon pink blazer with side cutouts, more specifically. Edgy and cool and a perfect fit. In these pics I wore it with shades of gray, but I am planning an outfit where I wear it with more colors. I kind of feel like I’m in a classy science fiction novel when I wear it. Or at a Jil Sander runway show.

If you must know (and I know you do) I got this blazer from Stitchfix.

Stitchfix is an internet fashion retailer that I have grown to really like over the past few months because it’s an incredibly convenient and fun new way of shopping for me. What sets them apart from other fashion e-tailers is that instead of you shopping their online store, they automatically ship you items without you knowing what they are sending. When you sign up as a “subscriber” you fill out a fun questionnaire about your personal style, body type and size, and the amount of money you want to spend. You can also specify how often you want a box shipped to you. Based on the info you give them, they style you from afar and then mail their picks to you. What you like you keep, and what you don’t like you send back in a prepaid package. You are charged a styling fee of $20 with every shipment, but you can also use that 20 toward your purchases. What is also nice is that they listen to your feedback about the items that you didn’t want and respond in the next shipment with even better items.

So far I’ve had three shipments, and I have had so much fun with the whole process. Because I am not the one choosing, it takes me out of my shopping comfort zone and makes me try things I normally would not. The result is every couple of months my wardrobe gets a swift kick in the gluteus and I end up with an infatuation like this sweet blazer.

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Fall Flowers

The weather here is pretty much the same year-round, which means that flowers also grow year round. These, however, are unusual for a sidewalk lawn patch. They were as large as my face and in different patterns of red and white. I admire people who can grow plants like this. Their front yards are always lush and colorful, welcoming their passers-by with a flash of serene earth within this foggy, dark city.

I’ve had many houseplants in my life, but I have never been able to grow flowers or food. Truthfully, I’ve never given gardening a real go as I have never had my own yard with which to test the greenness of my thumbs. Presently, I have the space for a rooftop garden, but the constant wind can cultivate nothing but hardy succulents. Indoors, I have a wildly acrobatic climber of a pet cat who likes to eat leaves. I plan to have a garden eventually, and when I do I will grow heirloom tomatoes. I love tomatoes, especially when they are green, so I don’t think I would have the problem of tomato surplus, which I know can happen to people. I would also like to grow beets, another vegetable I can eat a lot of.

When I lived in Denver I tried growing a small herb garden outside of my kitchen window. It was the tiniest of herb gardens, one plant each of four different herbs. The basil and oregano did alright, but I overwatered the rosemary (Fact: Rosemary is actually in the tree family, so it does not need as much water as other herbs. A girl who owns her own restaurant told me this.) As for flowers, growing rosebushes intimidates me, they are so beautiful that they must require an arduous amount of devotion and care. A rose garden would be an endeavor worth trying though. To have a backyard sitting area filled with the soft scent of roses would be heaven.

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Kids on the Slope

My husband and I have many things in common, but our differences and what we learn from each other are what make our relationship bloom. Although we both love football, I am a Stanford alum and he is a Cal alum. So we have to take turns going to the other’s turf to cheer on their team. It was my turn this time, so we went to a Cal football game in Berkeley. I snapped this picture of the renovated Memorial Stadium. I wore neutral colors. My husband has no problem cheering for Stanford when they play, and together we both have developed a fandom of all the Pac-12 teams and will always cheer for them vs. non-Pac-12. The weather was lovely for an afternoon game of football, as the East Bay generally tends to be sunnier than SF.

My husband recently introduced me to an anime series that I am a big fan of. In fact, I am completely infatuated with it. I did not like anime one bit before I met my husband. Although I still wouldn’t call myself an avid anime fan, there are a few series that I think are good. My favorites are all written or directed by Shinichirō Watanabe. The most recent one I fell in love with is called “Kids on the Slope” and it takes place in Japan in 1966. It is about a nerdy shy kid that moves to a new town freshman year and becomes friends with the school bully over their shared love of jazz music. Watanabe directs it, but it is written by Yuki Kodama. It so totally is not a stereotypical anime, or at least what comes to mind when I think of the concept. The story is unique and gives you a glimpse of Japanese culture during the 60s. The characters feel true-to-life and fully developed. The music is utterly powerful. If you are a music lover, you will appreciate this series and others by Watanabe. I can’t go into detail without giving away spoilers, so here is the link to Hulu so you can watch it and fall in love with it as well: http://www.hulu.com/kids-on-the-slope

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Vintage Revamp

This is a blouse that I found at the vintage fashion faire I recently went to. I was drawn to its elegant neckline and color (I love white woven shirts.) When I tried it on, however, I was nonplussed to see that the overall look of it skewed matron. I almost, almost did not buy it, but as soon as I put it back on the rack I felt compelled to grab it again. The neckline was so lovely that I decided to buy it as a fixer-upper.

The first thing I did was replace the plain two-hole plastic button with some pearl ones. The pictures above already has the new pearl buttons attached, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that the first buttons were not cute.

Next, I shortened the sleeves. The current length of the sleeves look matronly and unflattering on me. While wearing the blouse, I marked the length I wanted the sleeves with a small gold safety pin, and then measured a cut line that gives me a 1 inch edge to work with. I finished the hem using a blind stitch for a clean, modern finish.

After I shortened the sleeves I decided to update the hemline. Instead of a straight hem, I wanted something more shirtail in style, shorter at the sideseams curving down to the front and back. This way, I could wear the front tucked in and the back untucked (my most favorite way to wear shirts.) If you have a curved ruler this is easy to do, even if you don’t it’s not hard to draw the curve you want.

When I took out the stitches on the hemline and sleeves, the thread left behind holes in the fabric. So I couldn’t radically change the garment without first cutting off the stitched part (which wouldn’t have worked because I would have nothing leftover to wear.) Another thing I almost forgot about – I had my iron on the highest heat setting from my last project. I went to press a sleeve hem and the poly fabric started to melt! Fortunately, it was part of the sleeve that is by the underarm and thus unnoticeable, and I caught the melting before it ruined the fabric.

Here is the refinished product! As you can see, I didn’t make any drastic changes to the overall garment, but some little tweaks here and there really keep it from screaming vintage. I am wearing this blouse with my Current/Elliott blue plaid cropped skinnies. And since I am apparently too tall to fit into an Instagram at full length, here are my shoes:

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Good Vintage

An opportunity to shop a vintage clothing faire cannot be missed, and it is even more fun with vintage-loving friends. The Alameda Vintage Clothing Faire was on a beautiful sunny day on the small island, in a community hall in the old naval base area. It wasn’t nearly as large as the Alameda Flea Market, but it was the perfect size to be able to look at everything in about two hours. Everyone there was very friendly and familiar in our shared love for vintage.

I enjoy shopping for vintage clothing, the hunt for a hidden treasure is exhilarating. While in design school I worked as a vintage buyer for Buffalo Exchange, and it taught me everything I needed to know about choosing good vintage.  Generally when vintage shopping I personally try to look for classic pieces, that will work with my current wardrobe. Mostly neutral in color, I like to mix these pieces with statement jewelry that I also look for. Rhiannon, my friend with whom I attended, likes to find dresses in rich colors and timeless prints. The fabric of the clothing should be in good condition, no holes, ripped seams, or anything else I cannot repair myself. The fabric quality is what I especially look for. When shopping, I always scan the racks to see if anything catches my eye before I go over and start going through the racks. I run my hands over pieces I like to feel the quality of fabric. A good wool will feel soft whereas a bad polyester will feel like fluffed plastic. I check zippers, buttonholes, and hems to observe the technique used.

One of the pieces I found was a classic navy blazer by Pendleton. It fits me perfectly and has 3/4 length sleeves which are my favorite on a jacket. It is in impeccable condition and cost $40. This is a quality jacket that will last me many years and will polish off many an outfit.

The quality is in the details of this blazer. Handfinished buttonholes, perfect welt pockets, and beautiful buttons. Buttons are a big thing for me, as they can add a lot of personality to a garment. I especially love dapper crest buttons.

This was one the first things I saw when I arrived at the Faire, and I was immediately drawn to its shape and classic nautical motif. The fit of vintage clothing is paramount to finding a good value. The sizing is extremely inconsistent, so I always try them on before buying. The fit of this sweater is Katharine Hepburn, sitting just at the hips with a slightly slim cut. It is also 100% cotton, which means I can machine wash it.

At only $15, the subtle anchor and laurel have me completely charmed. Also, I love white tops- white tees, white oxfords, and now white sweaters. I know it is after Labor Day, but I have no qualms about wearing white when it is done like this.

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