Books I Read in March

I finally got around to reading this book after Scott's aunt lent it to me at Christmas!  If for some strange reason you haven't ever heard of this book or the movie version (could that be anyone in the whole world?), it follows two black house maids and a white woman, who is an aspiring writer, living in Mississippi in 1962.  Perhaps my favorite thing about this novel was Stockett's incredible telling of the story through all three of their voices - each one distinct and unique, humorous and heartbreaking.  Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter are all fighting to break the boundaries that unjustly surround them in their daily lives, and the story is quite moving (again, which I'm sure you know by now due to both this book and the movie!).  I very much enjoyed this book, but did anyone else feel like the ending wasn't quite the walking-across-the-football-field-fist-pumping moment you wanted it to be?  I'm sure in reality, the triumphs made by the people in this movement were gradual and small at first, but I felt so invested in these women, I wanted their victories to be even bigger!

 Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
I loved this book as a 27-year-old woman, but if you know of any teenager who is struggling with being true to him/herself, or finding real friends who love them the way that they are, or standing up for things they know are right, recommend this book to them.  Our two main characters, Jennifer and Cameron, have a shared (and traumatic) past from their early childhood, and are forced to deal with these mutual memories years later in their late teens.  At its heart, this is a story about what it's like to be a genuine friend to someone, no matter what either of you have gone through separately or together, and how to love yourself as who you were born to be, not who you think you should be.  I read it all in one day, and I laughed and cried in mostly equal measure.  Fabulous.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
If you are a female between the ages of 22 and 34, and you feel any connection whatsoever to any of the following chapter titles:
I Forget Nothing:  A Sensitive Kid Looks Back
I Love New York and It Likes Me Okay
The Exact Level of Fame That I Want
Someone Explain One-Night Stands to Me
Non-Traumatic Things That Have Made Me Cry
These Are the Narcissistic Photos in My Blackberry

...just go read this book this weekend.


Pleated Pink Top

(Aside from my recently-made flannel vest) It has been a very long time since I've sewn something from an actual pattern.  I've been doing much more designing and figuring out patterns on my own (especially for my shop!).  I started to miss sewing from a pattern--the sizing already figured out for you, laying everything out to be cut, following precise instructions--but I also realized it had been so long because I hadn't found any patterns that really seemed like my style.  Until now!

Salme Patterns is an independent pattern company on Etsy.  Her patterns are modern and simple, and I snatched up five of them!  The first one I whipped up is the Loose Fitted Pleated T-shirt.
My version turned out with a little bit of a retro/old lady vibe.  It's boxy and bright and I really love it!  The pleats take it to an extra-ordinary level beyond just a normal T-shirt.
I used an Anna Marie Horner cotton voile from Fabric.com.  It isn't available anymore, but here is another that is very similar.

Close-up of the print and pleats:


Lots of Meaning in One Tiny Necklace

I wear very little jewelry on a day-to-day basis, but when I saw the necklace my friend Kendra had given another of our friends for Christmas, I knew I wanted one just like it.  She told me it was from the Etsy shop Burnish, which is filled with beautifully simple handmade jewelry (and for some reason, the fact that the shop owner lives in Alaska just makes it seem exotic, doesn't it?).

I chose a personalized monogram necklace.  When I placed the order, the shop owner asked me which initial I wanted in silver and which I wanted in gold.  I immediately answered "V" in silver, "S" in gold, though at the time I put no thought into it.  It wasn't until after the necklace arrived and I put it on for the first time that I realized the significance of it!

I wear these two (three, if you count the wedding band and engagement ring!) everyday:
This silver diamond ring was an 18th birthday present from my Dad, the most special birthday present I've ever received.  It's silver, like the "V" - in a way, they both represent myself, my upbringing, my family, everything that was special to me in my childhood.  Then Scott came along, and that's when I added some gold into my life:  his initial stamped in gold, to be forever linked with mine, and the gold of my wedding ring, a part of his history, that's now a part of mine.
It's almost as if my entire life is contained in these two metals, these two rings, and these tiny monogrammed discs.  What a precious thing to have around my neck to carry with me each and every day.


Out of Season Vest That Is Now Back In Season

I got this pattern for a zip-up, outdoorsy style vest for Christmas, and had been hoarding the flannel fabric I wanted to use for it for about 8 months before that. I finally got around to sewing this guy up last week...when we had this crazy surge of warm weather and it was nearing 80 degrees. In March. In New York. 80 degrees in March in New York!  Thankfully, for this vest's sake (but not for all other New Yorkers), as I type this, it is 30 degrees, windy and chilly, and again the perfect weather for a flannel vest!
The pattern is Simplicity 2480, and came together pretty easily, though there were a lot of steps.  It's been so long since I sewed from a pattern!  I have no recollection of where I got the flannel, but it's fairly heavyweight, and I'm sure it will be toasty!
The one not-so-good thing about it (and my mother is cringing over this right now), is that the plaids don't match.  But!  But!  I didn't try to make them match!  I just cut the pieces out haphazardly and assumed they would be off enough that it would be obviously that I didn't try to match them.  INSTEAD, they are just like an inch off, so it totally looks like I attempted to match them and just failed!
Ha!  Oh well.  I'm not going for construction points on this one, just for warmth.  And that I got - just in time for round 2 of winter.  Arggggghhhh....



I started off the weekend watching The Hunger Games around the time that Thursday night met Friday morning (with my midnight movie companions Brittany and Brian), and then spent the next 72 hours doing one of the following things:  thinking about which tribute was my favorite, dreaming about Effie's outfits, wondering if Jennifer Lawrence would ever want to be my friend, or talking about the movie, to everyone from my parents and sister, to friends, to one of Scott's classmates (who had just finished reading it, and so I lent him my Catching Fire and Mockingjay).  It's the kind of completely obsessive fanatic behavior that I should probably be embarrassed of, but I'm not (let's be honest, I get like this a lot)!!!

So, here's to a weekend completely consumed by The Hunger Games and all things related to it!

P.S.  This blurry picture right below is Cameron Mathison interviewing people in line around 11:00 PM.  Seeing things like that really make me love living in New York.


Stuff I Like: When Bob Dylan Sings Gospel

In the time of my confession,
in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet
flood every newborn seed
There's a dyin' voice within me
reaching out somewhere,
Toiling in the danger and in
the morals of despair.

In the fury of the moment
I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles,
in every grain of sand.


Civic Duties

I just spent two weeks of my life serving on jury duty.

When I got my summons, I was incredibly excited.  Jumping-up-and-down-and-squealing-excited.  I've never been called for jury duty, and I've always wondered what it would be like, so I just couldn't wait.  There are all sorts of reasons to not want to serve on a jury (it's time-consuming, you have to miss work, it's disruptive to your daily life, etc., etc.), and it seems like the majority of people try to get out of it, but I was the opposite:  I wanted to make sure I got ON it!  So, I let my bosses know when my report date was and counted down the days until it got here.

When it finally arrived, I got to head downtown to one of NYC's courthouses!  (This is why I got to do so much downtown exploring the past couple of weeks)  It was a strange combination of exciting and boring, at first:  there was lots of waiting and sitting around and standing in lines, but also we got called into real courtrooms!  With a real judge and real lawyers and a defendant sitting right there!  It sounds a little lame, but it was all so new to me, I was just soaking it all up.

The interview process to choose the jurors was extensive, but it was just such a novelty, I really didn't mind.  And sure enough, dreams do come true:  I got picked to serve on a criminal case!

Thus began a two-week process that was fascinating, confusing, frustrating, and enlightening.  (The entire trial process was fascinating; the testimonies and evidence were confusing; deliberations were frustrating; and what I learned about human nature was quite enlightening).

I may have been taking the whole thing too seriously (but then again, when the decision you make is going to affect the rest of someone else's life, can you ever take that too seriously?), but I felt really invested in the case, and making sure that I was being fair and just and as open-minded as I could be.  It felt good to discuss things with my fellow jurors, to explore evidence, to hear their opinions, to really exercise my brain.  I haven't gotten to argue this much since my sister and I shared a bathroom and neither one of us wanted to clean it.

Unfortunately,  the whole experience ended with the judge declaring a mistrial, due to circumstances beyond the jury's control.  We never got to finish our deliberations and come to a consensus.  Two weeks of everyone's time (judge, lawyers, jury members, people who came to the trial every single day) was wasted, not to mention lots of taxpayers' dollars.  I felt disappointed.

It's taken a while for me to debrief myself about the whole thing, and be able to get it out of my head.  It really consumed my time and my thoughts and my prayers for those two weeks, just hoping for the wisdom to see all the evidence clearly and make the right decision.  The fact that we didn't get to conclude the whole thing has really weighed on me in the few days since.

But, I'm still proud that I did my civic duty and served on that jury.  I imagined if it was me on trial for a crime.  Would I want myself on my jury?  I decided to make sure the answer was "yes" - and to be as fair, unbiased, logical, and reasonable as I could possibly be.  Jury duty is just like the right to vote and free speech - it's another part of what makes our government, despite some definite flaws, truly great.


Welcome, Spring!

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
- e.e. cummings


Around the City: Lower Manhattan

Here are some more pics I've snapped during my time on the opposite side of the island.  I've been so busy and consumed for the past few days, but at least I've spent it surrounded by these beautiful, historic city sights!


Stuff I Like: Sports in Slow Motion

Pretty much nothing makes me hysterically craugh (cry/laugh) like watching sports in slow motion. I have no explanation for it, I just know that it happens. Every time. 

This clip from Mighty Ducks 2 (the best of all the Mighty Ducks), only has about 4 seconds of slow-motion celebration, but that's really all it takes.  (Also, you gotta love when Gunnar tells his coach, "You lost it for yourself."  BURN.)

I really can't even hear the name Derek Redmond without completely breaking down.

 They make a "One Shining Moment" montage at the end of the NCAA tournament every year.  This one is especially close to my heart as it is the one from 2004, my freshman year in college, when Oklahoma State made it to the Final Four.  Sometimes I still can't believe I was lucky enough to experience the electricity and togetherness on that campus throughout March Madness that year.   Daniel Bobik's wife galloping in the stands!  The legendary Eddie Sutton looking grumpy as all get-out!  John Lucas hugging his father after his epic 3-pointer!  I can't even handle this video!

Queen Whitney, the Olympics, people fencing and long-jumping and swimming and diving and gymnasticing, all in slow motion.  It's "One Moment In Time," and in that one moment of time, I feel free to cry as much as I please.


Birthday Weekend: 90s Band Redux, Self-Haircut, Tea Party, Cake

 Surprise!  Special guest:  Sophie B. Hawkins.  If that name doesn't sound familiar to you, don't worry, it didn't to us either.  Until she started singing..."As I Lay Me Down" and "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover"  Also, she was crazy!


Dottie Adele: Winner! Survey Results! Sale!

So many exciting announcements!  Read all the way to the bottom for details on the sale going on in my shop over the weekend!

First off, thank you so very much to everyone who took the survey to enter the giveaway!  It means so much to have people support you in your passions.  I truly appreciate your encouraging comments, and the fact that you took the time to enter.

So, without further adieu, the winner of any item in my shop ($50 value or less) is.....
In case anyone is wondering, that is 27 people who commented on the giveaway, 1 who commented on another post, and 1 person who sent me an Etsy convo saying they had completed the survey.
Lindsey!  An e-mail has already been sent to you, lucky winner!

Second, I absolutely loved seeing all the results of the survey!  I know what trends I'm looking forward to for spring, but it was so fun to see what everyone else was interested in too! Want to see what everyone said?  Here are the top two answers to every question!
(not all of these percentages add up to 100% since you could choose more than one answer on some questions)

1.  What color are you most excited to wear this spring?
53.3%  Poppy Red
44.7%  Mint Green

2.  What print is your current favorite?
68.4%  Classic prints like stripes and polka dots
52.6%  Floral 

3. Do you typically buy clothes for:
76.3%  I look for items that I can wear for multiple occasions  

4. Which spring trend are you most looking forward to this year?
55.3%  Floral dresses
44.7%  Loose tops  

5. How do you typically shop for clothing?
47.4%  I prefer shopping in a store
23.7%  I thrift  

6. What items are missing from your closet that you would like to fulfill this year?
76.3%  More dresses
68.4%  More tops

Lastly, as a thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, I want to offer all readers a discount to Dottie Adele!  For this weekend only (now until Monday, 3/12, at noon), use the code HAPPYBDAY to receive 15% off on any and all items in the shop!  (And yes, it's me you'll be telling HAPPYBDAY to - I turn 27 on Sunday!).


Conundrum Solved: We Quit Cable!!!

A few weeks ago, I posted about how we had been considering cancelling our cable.  After reading everyone's super helpful comments, I decided to look more into Hulu Plus and a digital antenna.  I had two main concerns:  One, that I wouldn't be able to see all the shows that I currently watch.  Well, I checked on Hulu Plus, and everything I watch is available on there (the day after it airs).  Perfect!  Second, I was very concerned about missing the upcoming Olympics this summer.  Well, with a digital antenna, we can apparently get all the major channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox), and therefore won't have to miss any of the Olympic coverage at all.  Both of my worries taken care of!

So that meant that the day had come...

This picture is 4 years old and has nothing to do with cable, but I just hope it portrays the joy we will feel in our freedom from TV!!!
I made the call yesterday afternoon, and since we are too lazy to take our DVR all the way downtown to return it, our scheduled pick-up is March 20th.  We have 13 days left to enjoy our cable and our DVR, and then...a whole new world for us!

I feel extremely good about this decision.  As I mentioned before, our cable is $89 a month.  We have had our Netflix subscription for a couple of years already, but when we get Hulu Plus, that will be $8 a month, and a digital antenna appears to be around $20 for a one-time purchase.  So in total, we're basically going to be saving $80 per month, and $960 per year!  It's hard not to feel good about a decision that saves you that much money.

I'm imagining more freedom from the television in general, making more time to do the things we enjoy.  I'm imagining more music being played in our home without the noise of the television to overrule it.  I'm imagining less commercials!

I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who commented on my previous post with your experiences with cable and your great advice!  We took it all to heart, and are really excited to be cable free!

Reminder: Giveaway Closes in 24 Hours!

Don't forget:  if you haven't done so already, click here to be entered in my current giveaway!  All you need to do is answer a 6 question survey and comment that you did so, and you'll be entered to win a garment of your choosing ($50 value or less) for FREE from my Etsy shop, Dottie Adele!  Giveaway closes at midnight Thursday, so don't hesitate - you have 24 hours!