Happy Leap Day!

The best (and only) way to celebrate special days of the year that don't really count as holidays:  someecards!

I wish this was less true than it actually is:
someecards.com - Leap Year gives me extra time to reflect on how unproductive I am with extra time 
And just because I kind of agree (24 days!):
someecards.com - I wish the cast of Twilight had to fight in the Hunger Games

(And if you're a fan of 30 Rock, I hope you're wearing your yellow and blue today, and don't forget to trade in your tears for candy.)


Books I Read in February

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
This one I read on recommendation from my mother, who has been bitten by the reading bug (I think my sister and I's endless obsessive conversations about HP and HG have contributed to that)!  Also recently a movie starring Katherine Heigl, this is the story of a down-and-out 20-something woman named Stephanie Plum who becomes a bounty hunter (how's that for a career choice?!), basically because she needs extra money fast so she can stop selling her own furniture in order to eat and buy gas.  She finds herself hunting down someone she, ahem, had relations with in high school, and hijinks ensue.  I did like Evanovich's dry writing style and sense of humor, but I didn't end up loving this book.  The humorous and lighthearted tone felt wrong to me when the subject matter (murder, prostitution, rape, female mutilation) was often so serious.  Nonetheless, it did make a good don't-have-to-think-about-it-too-hard read.  And, for those who have never heard of these books like I hadn't, this was actually first published in 1994 (which sometimes leaves you wanting to scream, "Just use your cell phone!!!!!" before you remember they weren't commonplace), and the series is now up to 18!

Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad
Despite my borderline disgust with the first book in this series, I went ahead and read the second.  I have good news and bad news about this one.  The bad news is:  This one is also written on a 5th grade reading level.  Actual dialogue from the book includes, "OMG!  Awesome!" ...  The good news is:  there was some actual character development!  There were plot points I did not find completely predictable!  There is someone named Liam!  Again, this is one of the easiest breeziest reads in the world, and I powered right through it in just a few hours, and I still (hate to admit that I) enjoyed it (and laughed not with it, but at it) quite a bit (sort of).

Crossed by Ally Condie
I didn't even know what the cover of this book looked like because it is the first book I have ever read on my KINDLE!!!!  I got my Kindle for Christmas, but have had a stack of "real" books I've needed to make my way through first, but finally, I got to read on a technologically advanced tiny computer!  Anyway, this is the sequel to a young adult book I read last month - Matched.  It continues the story of Cassia, alternating chapters from her point of view and from Ky's, as they search for each other, for answers, for words, and for the rebellion.  I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoyed the first (this time we get to meet some new characters, discover some heartbreaking back story, and do some rock climbing!), I think in part because I love the way that Condie writes.  Poetry plays a huge part in the story of these characters, and the way that she uses phrasing throughout the rest of the book reflects that in a really beautiful way.  The third installment of this YA series will be released at the end of the year - yet another dystopian trilogy I can add to my list of loves!

Books I read:  January, Over the Holidays, October, August, July, June, May, April, last winter


Dottie Adele: New Colors

Recently I've had some orders for items in the shop in some fun new colors that I wanted to share!  It seems like everyone was bitten by the Valentine's bug, with all these shades of red!

First up, the Heart-Shaped Waistband Skirt:
Don't forget - this one is available in any color you can possibly imagine (seriously - try me!).

Secondly, the Dolman Sleeve Dress.  Sadly, the deep green color that this dress originally came in is no longer available.  But there are lots of other colors in the same type of fabric to choose from - like dark brown, black, white, pink, navy, and the two colors below, wine and scarlet!


I Write Like...

Yesterday I stumbled upon this clever little website - I Write Like.  All you have to do is input a few paragraphs of your writing (a blog post, an e-mail, a term paper, whatever), and it analyzes it for syntax and word choice, and then tells you what famous author your writing style is most similar too!  Pretty cool, right?  Especially for an English major like me.

The first text I entered was my post "On Women Being Friends with Women," and it popped out Gloria Steinem, famed feminist.  I quickly realized that was probably because that post used the word "woman" about 40 times...ha!  I decided to try again, and entered a few more blog posts and a couple of long e-mails.  I got a few different authors, but definitely saw a pattern emerging with two names that popped up over and over:  Cory Doctorow and David Foster Wallace.

I write like
Cory Doctorow
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
David Foster Wallace
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Both are contemporary authors, but I've never read anything by either one!  Now I've got a couple things to add to my "to-read" list, and who knows - maybe as I read, it will sound so familiar, it will be like I wrote it myself!

Go to I Write Like to analyze yourself, and let me know your results!


Boys Weekend: Mountains

Over the weekend, we took a trip out west to Colorado.  I spent four days with my best and favorite girlfriends (doing things like this), and Scott spent the weekend with his lifelong buddies (and my camera) in the mountains.  Until a bout of altitude sickness cut it short, they looked to have a pretty great (and freezing cold) trip!



Tiny Dress = Me-Sized Skirt

A few weeks ago, I made one last visit to Heidi in Philly before she and Mr. Heidi moved to AZ. While there, she gifted me some throw-out clothes from her closet.  I already remade one of the blouses I got from her a few weeks ago (I had to make it bigger!), and this week I got to work on one of the dresses she passed along too.  She had my name on this dress for a while, and had sent me a picture of the fabric (which once made me question my fear of prints, but not my preference of Noel). 

I love this dress just the way it is, but sadly it's slightly too tight and a lot too short, so it had to be transformed!
There wasn't too much I could do except make a skirt, so I picked out some wide black elastic, cut the dress off at the waist, and attached the bottom portion to my new elastic waistband. Turned out just the way I planned:
I thought it needed just a little something more though.  I went back to the remains of the bodice and those tabs on the sleeves really caught my eye.  Then I realized that those little cap sleeves could be the perfect size and shape for pockets...so off they came!
I pinned them to the front of the skirt, topstitched them right on, and I loooooved the final result:
Thanks again, Heidi, for your hand-me-downs! I'm on such a refashioning kick lately, and also a prints kick! My closet is transforming!



We're not too big on celebrating Valentine's Day, but I've been loved so well all year long.
- He rode the lamest ride of all at Six Flags with me, because I couldn't ride anything else
- He gave me his sweaters to make into my own
- He let me pretend I can play music even a fraction as well as he can
- He brought home cupcakes for two when I was sick in bed
- He walked with me
- He decorated our home for Halloween like this
- He danced with me.  And we looked like that
- He helped me eat enormous amounts of fried medieval food
- He drove, and I held on tight

Whoever it is you have in your life that you love, tell them today, 
and don't forget to show them all year round!


Weekend: The 90s {Friends, Glowsticks, Cover Band}, Hobbies

*This was truly one of the most epic nights we've had in NYC so far.  This band is called the Bayside Tigers and they are not joking around about knowing every song ever recorded in the 90s.  By the end of the night, none of us had a voice, our ears were ringing, and we realized we still knew all the words to "My Own Worst Enemy."  Amazing.


Conundrum: Quitting Cable?

It's really no secret that at our house, we love television.  And I mean really love it.  I think TV shows are one of the greatest forms of entertainment on this planet.  It's like reading a book that has a really good story, except you only get to read one chapter a week so you're always looking forward to the next one, and also the characters have all come to life and also you don't actually have to read any words.  We all know that I love books too, but there's just something about television...I adore it.

That being said, I've recently been having the recurring thought that I want to cancel our cable.  I know, I know, for people who love TV as much as we do, this seems really silly.  But allow me to present a list of pros and cons for my reasoning.

  • Cable costs us $89/month.  In a year, we could save $1,068.  That's basically the cost of a weekend trip we could take to an semi-exotic location.  Sounds pretty tempting.
  • Almost every show I would want to watch on TV can be found on the internet (Hulu, the network's website, or by otherwise shady means).  The real kicker?  We get the internet for free.  So watching TV online literally would cost us nothing.
  • I like to multitask as often as possible.  Unfortunately, I can't see the TV from my sewing machine.  If I watched all my shows online, I could easily set up my laptop next to my machine and multitask my little heart out while watching as many shows as I like.
  • Logically, it seems like not having cable would really free up more of my time to be productive.  Once you get started watching TV on a Saturday morning, for instance, it is extremely hard not to fall down that rabbit hole of Lifetime movies and ABC Family marathons.  (Harry Potter weekend, I am looking at you)
  • We have Netflix on Scott's Playstation, so any TV series or movie we might want to watch that's on there, we would still have full access to.
  • We have a gigantic and really nice TV, and it sure seems like a shame to not have it constantly in use.  Doesn't it?
  • Even though TV can be a wasteland of time sucking, it's also nice to just have it on for background noise.  Scott loves to keep History or Discovery on while he's working on other projects, just to have something on that he can tune his attention to or not depending on what he's doing.
  • Do I really want to do all my TV watching on my laptop?  Why watch on the tiny little screen when I could watch on a big one?  I know there is a cable you can use to connect your laptop to the TV so you can view whatever is on your laptop on your big screen, but we don't have that cable.  On the other hand, shouldn't we just buy it?  Whatever it might cost, I'm pretty sure it isn't $1,068.
So there are my arguments.  My pros outweigh my cons, 5 to 3.  And as I read back over my cons, doesn't it just seem like they are all weak excuses and justifications convincing myself we still need cable?  The truth is, I'm afraid to take the leap.  We've always had cable and I've always loved TV, so I'm afraid to even think about making the change.  Would it be worth it?  Or would I just go into television withdrawal and never find my way back out?

Do you have cable?  Have you always had it?  Does anybody out there not have cable and completely love it?  I'm just. so. confused.


Moon Morning

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to get myself up before the dawn, to make breakfast and lunch for Scott, and to get started on chores for the day so they don't have to be done when I get home from work (it feels really good to come home, eat dinner, and know I have the rest of the evening to do what I want!).  I haven't quite been able to make it up before the sun every day, but I've been snoozing my alarm less and less. 

Today it looks like I finally succeeded:  I was up with the moon.  A really beautiful morning moon.


Every Tuesday at 5:30

Once a week, I get to "see" these two women (and that adorable baby - I've watched her grow up on a computer screen).  We all met when we were young 20-something-year-old teachers at a middle school, where the students constantly confused us for one another (I guess because we all have various stages of curly hair?  Kids are weird).  Seeking support from other like-minded, like-believing women, we started to meet weekly outside of the school walls (at Panera!) to lift each other up in Bible study.  Even though I moved away from Oklahoma two and a half years ago, we've carried on our tradition every Tuesday evening since on Skype (and now on Skype on Facebook - did anyone else not even realize this existed?!).

As our call ended last night, I was struck by how thankful and grateful I am for these two.  I almost can't believe I've already known them for five years, that we've watched each other get married and become mothers and make big decisions, and that half of those things we've done together over the internet.  Distance and time zones and life changes have somehow only added to our friendship, and I feel like I would be lost without their advice and wisdom and laughter we share.

Also, getting to virtually pinch that little girl's chubby cheeks every week is pretty great too!