Katie and Me

The best thing about making shifts for ladies is that sometimes I get to meet said ladies, and sometimes we get to be friends! That is what happened with Katie and me, anyway.

This woman wears a shift like no one's business. She also made perhaps the most amazing ice cream I've ever had. And scones! And clotted cream! Seriously, home made clotted cream. Can you even imagine?

Thanks to Katie and her wife Christa for being so damn lovely and hilarious. Let's have brunch every day!

(These pics turned out slightly wonky -- hope you can deal!)

Reading, Wine, and Real Talk

Last Thursday night, I read a few chapters from my book to a couple dozen dazzling people at Gypsy Tattoo Parlor. Of course I had to make a new dress and wear my favorite shoes and then dance around weirdly after it was all over.

When you start talking about body image, there is always the potential for things to quickly devolve into fat talk or diet plan discussion or exercise tips, and I was a little afraid that might happen, but it totally didn't! Instead, we had a really honest and hilarious conversation that I enjoyed so much.

Seriously. If I could find a way to assemble such a lovely group of people and talk with them about deep shit every single night of my life, I would totally do it.

Yay! Thank you to everyone who came! And for those who weren't there, we did record the talk and will be putting it up on the interwebz soon.

And big thanks to Michelle and Mere for hosting, to Jolene and Matty for taking pics, and to Rich for recording! Let's take this show on the road!


Pork Among Friends

Sunday was Ramen Day at Salt of the Earth! The third Sunday of every month, Salt's chefs brew a potent broth and serve it with delicious stuff like barely-cooked eggs, pork belly, fish cakes, scallions, and noodles. My beloved's pre-occupation with ramen has rubbed off on me -- we've tried at least a dozen ramen places in New York -- and it is lovely to be able to get some in the Burgh!

I met up with three of my favorite fellas -- Skyler, Matt, and Brian -- and we chowed down.

One of the best things about moving back to Pittsburgh a few years ago is that two of my best and oldest friends moved back here around the same time! So we get to see each other lots, and it is rad. Matt and I have been making these faces at each other non-stop since college. So much fun.

What a happy surprise to end up in the same town with 3 of my 4 besties! Nora, you're next!

There's a New Gypsy In Town! And a Reading Next Week!

So, my dear friend and WTS cover girl Michelle and her partner Mere have opened up a tattoo shop! Welcome to the world, Gypsy Tattoo Parlor!

Unlike every other tattoo shop I've seen, it's so clean and fresh inside! Like a spa!

I'm so excited for them, and also for me, because it's really fun to be able to go hang out with my pals. It kind of reminds me of when Michelle and I first met almost 20 years ago. We worked at a little hippie store and basically talked non-stop for 40 hours a week. Just like we are doing here when we're supposed to be posing for the camera. Good times.

(That's a new dress I made for the 4th of July, by the way. Love!)

I gotta admit, I'm not much of a tattoo person, but if I was, Michelle and Mere would definitely be the ones inking me up. Here's where my imaginary tattoo would go:

I love how the shop is full of pictures of historical painted ladies, too. You REALLY had to be a badass to get tattooed back then!

And hey, did you see the little pink poster in the window up above!? That's me! I'm doing a reading at Gypsy Tattoo Parlor next Thursday at 7 pm (July 19th). We'll read the intro to my book and drink some wine and talk about stuff. Doesn't that sound fun?

I hope you can come!! Maybe get a tattoo?


Forecast: Kitten Showers

Yesterday was so much fun! I got to go to a Kitten Shower at Animal Friends, Pittsburgh's only no-kill animal shelter, with Jolene, who runs the joint! You know what that means: kitten pictures!

I got to hold Macie, and I reeeeally wanted to take her home! THAT PINK NOSE.

So many cute kittens! Ungh!!

Jolene and all the staff and volunteers at Animal Friends work really hard to find homes for pets -- and they save thousands every single year! Amazing!

Good job, you guys! And thanks for inviting me to my new favorite kind of shower!!


Fri-DIY-day: The 1-Hour Summertime Schmatta

The other morning when I got up, it was a bajillion degrees. In weather that feels like a hundred blow dryers aimed at my skin, I don't want waistbands or zippers or anything fussy -- just something simple and thin and not-clingy. So I whipped up this little maxi dress before heading out the door into the Venusian-ish weather.

It is perhaps the most basic dress ever, and absolutely perfect for standing inside a clothes dryer. Here's how I made it.

1. Choose your fabric. I used a thin, drapey jersey with a bit of stretch to it. I like how this floats along the contour of my body without clinging to it. You could use a drapey bamboo or rayon as well. I would probably stick to a lightweight knit for this dress unless you want a dramatic daishiki-ish tent shape around your body. Which might be nice in terms of it never touching your skin? Play around and see what you like. Pro-tip: stripes make it easy to line things up!

2. Next, sew your fabric into a tube that has holes for your head and arms. Use a serger if you have one; if not, just use a ball-point needle and zigzag stitch. The tube should be a few inches bigger than your biggest measurement.

  • My fabric was 54" wide, so I just folded it up the center fold and sewed it into a tube along the selvage, leaving 9" at the top unsewed for an armhole. Then I sewed along the top edge to create shoulder seams. Finally I cut an armhole into the folded side.
  • You could also cut out 2 rectangles of your fabric and sew them up along the sides and top edge, leaving room for your neck and armholes.
  • Or, if you have a super long piece of fabric, you can fold it along the shoulder seam edge, cut out a neckhole, and sew up the sides.

Here is what you want to end up with:

Now go put this giant tube of fabric on over your head inside out. Grab some pins and go to a mirror. Pinch and pin under the arms and along the sides where you want to remove excess and make the dress fit closer. I left quite a bit of ease because of the hot weather, but make it as body con as you want!

Also, mark where you want the dress to end. I am pretty tall, and my dress came out to be about 62" long. For me, being able to make the maxi dress actually maxi length is reason enough to make one!

Now take the dress off. Fold it up the center and check out your pinned seams along both sides. Even them out so they are approximately symmetrical. Mine ended up looking something like this:

Go and sew along your pinned seams.

With a sharp pair of scissors, trim the bottom of the dress where you marked. You can finish this properly if you want, by cutting it a little long, then double-folding the hem and sewing it with a double needle. I didn't finish mine and am OK with that.

Trim and/or finish the ends of the sleeves.

Finally, put on some big earrings and go be all comfy and goddess-y in public.

I am digging this one so much that I may make a mini-version too! Hot pink and black stripes, I'm lookin' at you ...


On a Quest!

Ever since Áine sent me her pretty outfit picture featuring a castle print shift with a denim jacket and an orange scarf, I have been on a quest for a denim jacket of my own. Because this outfit is pretty cute, but wouldn't it be even cuter with denim instead of a cardigan?

So I had some coffee in the garden with Rich admiring his handiwork -- isn't it looking so great this year!? And then I headed out to Highland Park for their massive community yard sale day.

I'd hoped to take some more pics later in the day featuring my new jacket, but I didn't have much luck. Ah well, a pretty day spent walking around a pretty neighborhood in a new dress is enough of a good time for me. The quest continues.

What's shakin' with you?

Last Day At Gypsy Café

Eight years ago on an April afternoon, my brother Jim and his soon-to-be wife Melanie opened up a restaurant on the South Side. Gypsy Café has been a beloved part of the neighborhood ever since, serving up delicious food, warm hospitality, and the-owner-totally-remembers-your-name realness. Sunday was Gypsy's last day and we went down for one last, awesome Geek Brunch. Each Sunday, Jim would sit down and, considering the most pressing geek issues of the day, compose a hilarious and fact-filled menu that was almost as fun to read as the food was to eat!

I had my favorite dish -- Eggs Thor-entine -- while Skyler, Rich, and Brian all had the Breakfast Bowl. (Rich is making a Failure Pile in a Sadness Bowl face. We thought Jim would appreciate that.)

Here's Matt with a spicy, delicious bloody mary with more than 2 olives!

How lucky am I to get to eat brunch with so many handsome men! In a new shift to boot!

With an awesome back!

And polka dotted sunglasses!

Mostly I was just glad to send Gypsy off in a happy way on a lovely day. Jim and Mel, you guys created such a great thing with Gypsy, and I know that all of us who loved the place wish you nothing but the best times as you get started on the next chapter! It's going to be great!

Food Glorious Food

Ahh! Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day here in the Burgh, and I went to brunch with my bestie Jolene. And played with her fancy Kate Spade purse!

You know, outfit posts in hot weather are kind of tricky, cause I generally just throw on a shift and some sandals and go. I'm trying to play a bit more with accessories to liven things up -- this pearl collar belonged to my wonderful fiance's glamorous grandma.

Of course, after taking these pics, I had "Food Glorious Food" stuck in my head all day. Three banquets a DAY! Our favorite DIET!

Now I'm off to draft a bunch of patterns and drink a bunch of tea. What are you up to today?

Up On The High Line

Last week, Rich and I went to New York! We got to eat delicious foods, see Pulp at Radio City, and visit one of my absolute favorite places, The High Line.

Old elevated rail tracks have been converted into a simply stunning pedestrian space filled with native plants, cozy places to sit, and perhaps the happiest collection of New Yorkers I have ever seen.

Something about The High Line is magical -- maybe it's the feeling of being so far above the fray of the city. But, seriously, every person you see up there is grinning like a fool, especially me!

What a gorgeous day in an amazing place!

Here's Rich, Victoria, and me demonstrating what a little Vitamin D can do for human spirits! Happy Monday!



Bursting Into Bloom

On a lovely day last week, I decided to wear my favorite warm weather shift and stand by a very pretty tree. My toes are out for the first time in months!

So far this spring, I have spent my time sewing, sketching, thinking complicated thoughts, and making diagrams about them ... mixed with a bit of sunshine, nail polish, and coffee. Tremendous! I am filled with the desire to make shit happen!

What's your springtime been like so far, my pets?

In Springtime, The Only Pretty Ring Time

Wow, you guys. Pittsburgh has gone from cold as hell to full on spring in the space of about a week. Check out what I was wearing 2 Mondays ago compared to now! Craziness.

The other night, my beloved and I went out to Teppanyaki Kyoto with a couple of our friends, and WOW! It's absolutely delicious. They just opened, and right now it's reservation-only, so call ahead and definitely try the Hiroshima Yaki!

Anyhow, this is what I wore to eat all that yummy food: an Atomic Argyle shift (got enough left for a skirt if you like it!), some black jeggings, a satin blazer, and my red Camper boots. And I have a tiny bit of turquoise sock peeking out there, too, and a way-too-big ring, both of which make me irrationally pleased. :)

I'm getting out my springtime shifts this week! And we started planting lettuces! And there are daffodils! And trees are starting to explode into all kinds of crazy colors!! Ahhhhh so happy!!

Donuts + Doggies = :D

Saturday I had the best breakfast with my honey Jolene! We went to E2 in Highland Park and noshed and dished and laughed and I tweaked out a tiny bit on too much coffee. And we had these beauties ... chocolate coconut donuts that were still warm inside! Ungngngnh!

Then, after we licked all the ganache off the plate, we went outside and met the nicest dog! Jolene could tell you what breed he is but to me he's just fluffy and sweet. Here's a pic of us both making the same face.

This is my favorite kind of Saturday -- wear a cute outfit (that's an Aloha shift!), eat some chocolate, squee about a dog you don't know ...

What did you get up to this weekend? Anything fun? Wear anything adorable?

My Best Thrift Score

... is this orange coat. It's clearly from the 60s, high quality wool lined with satin, and incredibly warm. Almost too warm, sometimes, but as you can see I needed it today as winter blew back through the Burgh.

I got it at Red, White, & Blue about 5 years ago, and it was $3 because it had a giant gross stain on the front. One trip to the cleaners later, it was good as new.

I love it because most winter coats are black or navy or gray or something. This tangerine stands out. Oh yeah, and isn't it the color of the year or something? Go me!

Underneath this treasure, I have on my Eddie Vedder flannel shift, some turquoise sweater tights, a sweater from Uniqlo, and my trusty Merrell boots which are the best winter boots I have ever had.

What's your best thrift score?

Up, Up and Away

Did you get up to anything fun this weekend? I sure did! Friday night, my fella and I went to try Union Pig and Chicken where the fried chicken was so good it made my eyes roll backwards in my head.

Then we went to see Daptone recording artist Charles Bradley, who basically burned down the Rex with pure love. AMAZING. Plus he did Robyn's call-your-girlfriend/hump-the-stage move!

Saturday, we finally picked a date for our wedding and began scouring the web for honeymoon hideaways. We found a great place in Costa Rica and I can't wait to hug a bunch of monkeys!!

So, yes, a great weekend. Plus the sun is shining in Pittsburgh today! Normally such an overflowing of joy would result in my wearing a crazy ass outfit ... but our car is busted and I'm on the bus, so I'm containing my enthusiasm to a hot air balloon necklace and a big cheesy grin.

Whatcha up to this week?

Diamonds and Cashmere

The title of this post might be slightly misleading -- my diamonds are the argyle kind. For some reason, this Atomic Argyle shift reminds me of the very vintage game show Card Sharks -- maybe it's the red and blue.

The cashmere part is no lie, though. I got this pullover from Uniqlo for very few dollars compared to the number of times I've worn it. So warm!

The oxfords came from Flirt, my favorite boutique in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn. I stalked them from over $100 to under $50, and they are perfect: blue, olive, and charcoal with wingtip details. They make me feel light-footed and zippy, especially compared to the boots I'm usually sporting this time of year.

What's shakin with you this week? Got any fun plans for V-day? Any fun OUTFITS?



Kar Hing And I

Saturday night, we went out to dinner to celebrate my friend Rene's birthday. She chose the place -- Kar Hing in Chalfont, which I had never heard of -- and it was dee-licious. And adorable.

Our dinner was absolutely stellar, some of the best American-style Chinese food I've ever had. My favorite was the Special Wonton Soup for 2, full of crisp tender veggies, fresh chewy wontons, and chunks of chicken and pork in a rich tasty broth.

I forgot to take pictures of our food -- bad blogger! -- but I did remember to get a pic of my outfit. Priorities!

Yes, I'm wearing the Blowfish shoes again. I am obsessed. That's also a Sweet Tooth skirt, some purple tights, and a black tunic I got at Costco (!!) years ago. And giant sparkly clip-on earrings which you can kind of see here.

How's life? Wear anything fun lately?

It Has Sleeves!

I made a dress with sleeves! And it was fun!

I followed a tutorial written by our pal Julie from Handmade Mess, which I'm going to augment with some more pictures and explanations and post on Friday, so you can put sleeves on your own DIY custom shift!

Grass The Cat seems pretty excited, too, right?

I was tempted to wear these shoes in the snow today ... but I did not. Having already broken my foot once wearing silly shoes in slippy weather, and I am now more dedicated to remaining upright than I am to fashion. So I wore the snow boots for life, but the fun shoes for you. Because I care. :)

Stay warm, dry, and vertical, loves!

Winter Uniform

When there's snow on the ground and temperatures go from Brrrr to OUCH, this is all I want to wear: wooly shift, sweater, leggings, and warm boots.

Oh yeah and a big toasty hat! And bright lipstick!

I'm really trying not to fall entirely in a fashion rut this winter, but it's good to be able to rely on the uniform when needed!

Do you wear the same thing over and over when it's super cold? What's your uniform?