Books I Read in April

Fight Like a Girl by Lisa Bevere
I didn't really read this entire book in April, but I did finish it this month!  This was the most recent book chosen by some dear friends who I Bible study with via Skype every week.  In it, Bevere outlines why we shouldn't feel diminished or limited or offended by our status as women; we should, instead, take the would-be insult "you fight like a girl" as a compliment!  God instilled characteristics, desires, and abilities into us as women that only we have and only we can reach.  Fulfilling those paths will empower us like never before.  We aren't equal to men; we aren't meant to be.  We are different from men, in amazing, wonderful, necessary, intentional ways.  While a few of the chapters didn't resonate with me (just because I didn't necessarily relate to the struggle that she was writing about), we all three enjoyed the book as a whole, and the message is one that needs to be heard by women everywhere.

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Lucky Linderman is one of the best characters I have yet to read in young adult fiction.  Just knowing the premise of this book, I didn't really think I would relate to it:  Lucky, who has just finished his freshman year of high school, is tormented by a bully constantly, though his parents aren't willing to help him stand up for himself.  But at night, in Lucky's dreams, he meets up with his grandfather, a POW/MIA, in the jungles of Vietnam, on what he believes is a mission to help Grandad escape.  I am glad to report I was completely wrong.  Lucky, as a narrator, is so truthful, so sympathetic, and so much stronger than he knows.  The journey he goes on in the month or so this book covers, both in reality and in his dreams, is incredibly moving and reassuringly realistic.  This is a fantastic read.


Stuff I Like: Hunger Games/Disney Songs/Pop Music ALL TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE

Some combination of the horrible quality of this video, its foreign subtitles, and the choppiness of these perfectly timed songs makes this mash-up extremely hilarious to me.  Woody Harrelson breaking into "Be a Man" from Mulan is pretty much perfection.  (Watch out for one bad word at 2:02!)

And then the girl went and made another one! It actually surpasses the first in its brilliance, because the one-liners are just so perfectly placed.  "Hey, I just met you..and this is crazy...but I changed your leaves twice." *first seen on busy bee lauren*

Bonus:  Will Ferrell as Katniss.


A Couple of Redos

This week I took a couple of dresses that weren't doing me any favors, and transformed them into much more wearable tops!

Up first, this really cute striped dress from Modcloth:
I wish more than anything I could keep this dress as is, but it's really just too darn tight.  Look how tight it is on Vanessa's rear!  And my own rear is 3 inches bigger than hers, so...yeah, this dress is just inappropriate on me.

I sliced it off about 2/3 of the way down, and used the bottom portion to make one of my latest obsessions:  a circle skirt!  I attached it to the top portion, and voila - a sweet little peplum!
I really love the effect of all the stripes going every which way!

The second dress is this floral polyester number from H&M:
When I saw it in the store, it screamed 80s Easter to me, and I loved it.  It was only $20, so I snatched it up.  What I didn't know at the time was this dress is a major conductor of static cling.  So much so that it's impossible to wear it in public because it creeps up and sticks so much!

All I did for this one was cut off the bottom 8 inches and give it a new hem.  A top with a little static cling is not nearly as impossible to wear as a whole dress with it!  I also felt like the sleeves were a weird, matronly length, so I cut those off as well.
Now it's just sort of loudly shouting 80s Easter rather than straight out screaming it.  Much more wearable!


I'm an Administrative Professional, and Today is My Day

someecards.com - Happy Administrative Professionals Day to a great secretary 

Today is a holiday for my current profession! I realize not very many careers get their very own day of recognition, so I am thankful mine is one of them. I am even more thankful that my workplace has decided to celebrate by letting us eat ice cream for the last hour of the workday.  I have been planning my toppings since the ice cream announcement came on Monday.  BRING IT ON.


What Scott Built: A Little Mood Lighting

We only have two windows in our apartment, so sometimes the interior rooms can feel pretty dark and gloomy.  So when Scott had his next brilliant idea and it was for a lighting fixture, I was all about it!

I'm not even sure where his inspiration came from, but it seems the end result is part Japanese chandelier, part old-timey laboratory lightingI love its simplicity, I love the light it adds to our space, and I love that Scott built it for our home.

Here is where it hangs above our couch (turned off):
Same view, switched on!
Each light hangs at a different depth from the wall, as well as a different length from its neighbor.
I just love the filaments in these vintage-style lightbulbs.  They remind me of capture fireflies!
The view as a couch dweller:
It only took us three years of living here before we finally got something up on the wall, but this was worth the wait!

Other things Scott has built: the workbench and the bar


Weekend: Nor'easter

Saturday we had a family member in town, and we walked all over the city being tourists.  We walked so much, it exhausted me to the point of falling asleep at 8 PM on a Saturday night, and I slept like a log until the next morning.

I was wide awake at 6 AM on Sunday, but the current storm caused it to be cold, rainy, and windy all day - so I never stepped foot outside!  By 9:30 AM, I had already showered, done a load of laundry, ordered fabric online, and baked cookies.  The rest of the day followed suit on the productivity front.  Thank you, Mother Nature, for making the decision to stay in a very easy one!


Dottie Adele: New in the Shop

I've been hoarding all sorts of scraps from previous projects, hoping to come up with something to do with them someday. And I finally did!
Now in the shop:  6 different colors and styles of turban headbands!  Easy to throw on to cover up 2nd day strands or misbehaving hair, these are a really fun accessory for summer.  Just $8-$10 and all of them are free to ship!  Click over to the shop if you're interested!


Our New York: Riverside Park

If you've never lived in New York City, you probably still have some idea of what the city is like, derived from a mish-mash of different scenes from movies and TV shows. (My personal vision of the city was taken almost exclusively from You've Got Mail). But those images that normally come to mind - Central Park, rows of brownstones, the lights of Times Square - are not what our New York is like. We live in a neighborhood on the upper, upper part of the island of Manhattan, and our experience is quite different than the scenes in those movies.  In our last year living here, I want to capture the city from the perspective from our neighborhood, which has its own kind of charm.
The stretch of Riverside Park nearest to our home has a big patch of green grass, tennis courts, and the Little Red Lighthouse.  Surrounded by the George Washington Bridge, New Jersey on the opposite shore, and the skyline of Lower Manhattan off in the distance, it's a pleasant little place to spend an afternoon.


Coming Up!

In 8 hours:  Dinner time - which excites me because I'm making homemade salsa!
(It's not even salsa, exactly - just chopped tomato and avocado with a dash of lime juice, salt, and pepper - and for some reason it is insanely delicious with rice and chicken)

In 3 days:  my dear friend Rachel will be running her first full marathon in Kansas City!  She hung with me through a half marathon 3 years ago, and I'm so proud of her dedication to running since then.  She's a running rock star, and I know she's going to dominate that 26.2.

In 15 days:  My parents come for a visit!  We love it when visitors come and we have the excuse to become tourists.  Plus, my mom and I can watch Dancing with the Stars together!!!

In 25 days:  The new season of the Bachelorette begins!  Can't wait to see all the sparkly things Emily wears!

In two months:  4th annual Girls' Trip with all these girls.  We've picked a Colorado outdoor adventure for this year!

In 9 months:  Downton Abbey Season 3  <----THIS CANNOT GET HERE SOON ENOUGH
In 1 year and 1 month:  We'll be bidding NYC good-bye.  Time is flying by.

In 1 year and 2 months:  My 10-year high school reunion?!?!!?!
Unfortunately, my hometown was struck with a tornado over the weekend, and it left a lot of destruction.  It was sad to see, but to my delight, when I messaged my best high school girlfriends to see how their families were doing (my parents don't live there anymore), it sparked a long exchange between the four of us!  I forget sometimes how well we know each other, even after all this time.  Next summer hopefully we'll be getting together, whether there is a official "reunion" or not!

In 1 year and 7 months:  Catching Fire will be in theaters!

In 40ish years:  retirement


Me-Made-May 2012

It's been almost a year since my last "Self-Stitched/Me-Made" challenge, but it's baaaaack!

Zoe of So, Zo... has decided to host only one challenge per year from now on, and May is the chosen month.  The gist of these months is to challenge ourselves to wear the garments that we've made, and to wear them proudly.  Here's the whole rundown if you're interested!

The last couple of times I participated, I challenged myself to wearing only clothing that I had either made or altered myself.   While that was definitely a tough goal to live up to, I found that some days I just wore things to wear them and follow the rules, and it felt forced.  So instead, for this year, I decided to scale back to just one Me-Made garment per day (or more, if I want!).  I love to wear my Me-Made clothes (and do almost every day anyway!), but I also don't want to sacrifice my personal style just to achieve something unrealistic.

So, with that said, here is my oath!

'I, Valerie of Threads & Thoughts & Things I Love, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day (while still maintaining my regular personal style) for the duration of May 2012'

Consider this your forewarning of outfit post overload in May!

And, if you're interested, here are my the round-ups of my previous challenges:


Weekend: Dental School Formal

It was that time of year again: Dental School Formal!  We got all dressed up and ate and drank and danced, and it was a grand ol' time.  (If you're feeling deja vu, it's because we've been to events at this venue twice before!)
P.S. I will give you exactly one guess as to what song is playing in the picture above.

P.P.S.  My dress is a Dottie Adele original...click here if you're interested!


Bleeding on Probing Part Trois

Back for their third and, thus far, rowdiest show at the medical student housing lounge...Bleeding on Probing!  (Here's their first performance and their second...the evolution of my husband's costuming is particularly interesting.)  In true rock'n'roll fashion, security even tried to shut them down, but the massive crowd of hyped up, 20-something medical students who love nothing more than a break from endless studying just wasn't going to allow it.  Between the set list (Journey, Guns'N'Roses, Queen, Def Leppard) and the glowsticks, nobody was going to shut this party down.

We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions:

Here's Paradise City.  You must watch it because this is when the security guard literally walked through the stage area, told Steve to stop playing, and then attempted to unplug their power strip.  NOT HAPPENING.

But by the end, he came around - look at him clap somewhat enthusiastically!

And just in case that wasn't enough face melting, here's Anyway You Want It and Pour Some Sugar On Me.

Yep.  He's mine.


Stuff I Like: Series Finales

Guys, I love the last episodes of TV shows.  Not because I'm glad they're ending, but because I am a gigantic sucker for nostalgia, and series finales bring the nostalgia in spades.  Here are 5 of my favorites of all time.

1.  Last week, One Tree Hill ended its inexplicably long run on the CW (in fact, when it started, I'm pretty sure it was still called the WB).  OTH isn't my favorite show of all time, but it is one that I've watched the longest.  It started in 2003 and ran for NINE SEASONS (of which I watched approximately 7.5).  Watching the series finale last week, I was a gigantic puddle of hysterical tears.  It was just about the greatest ending imaginable for that show and encompassed everything it was about.  I mean, the whole cast is belting out the theme song, and Haley is at Karen's Cafe, reading a book she gave to Lucas in the very first episode of the whole series.  PERFECTION.  (Kendra, only very minor spoilers are ahead, don't worry!).

2.  My favorite show of all time, Dawson's Creek, had simultaneously the saddest and happiest series finale I've ever seen.  This clip is mostly just the final montage they showed, but it features Dawson's ugly cry at 1:28, which is one of the best things that has ever happened, on TV or in life.

3.  The final curtain call of Full House marked the end of my childhood.  There hasn't been a family sitcom that can compete with that show's greatness since.

4.  As a child of the 90s, I would be remiss not to include the final scene of Boy Meets World, which is pretty phenoms.  Although how bad do you want to punch Topanga in the face when she attempts to correct Feeny's grammar?

5.  Lastly, an actual grown-up person's show:  Friends.  At the time, I bawled at this final scene, so perfectly, poignantly funny.  Thankfully, we haven't had time to miss the show, since there are approximately 7 reruns a day on various channels.

I even like series finales for shows I've never even seen (for example, this ending to Six Feet Under made me cry, and I've never watched a single episode!  I literally don't even know who the characters are!).

What's your favorite series finale of all time?  I want to watch!


Three Years Ago Today

(As long as this blog exists, you can expect to see this video on this day every year :)  Because I love it.)

We got engaged three years ago today.  So much has changed since then (now we share the same last name, we live in New York instead of Oklahoma, Scott is 3/4 of a dentist, I have bangs) but so much has also stayed the same (my reaction to my dress form was pretty much the exact same, Scott still wears that shirt, and we're still really, really good huggers).


Dottie Adele: Two New Dresses!

Shop update time!

A few months ago, many of you completed a 6-question survey (thank you again!).  I took all the most popular answers, and used them as inspiration for the new spring/summer pieces for Dottie Adele.  First off, 76% of you said you needed more dresses in your closet - so I knew that's what I wanted my next designs to be!

First up, this pretty-in-pink sundress, with tiny ivory polka dots (which 68% of you said that you loved)!  This frock is a cousin of one of the first dresses I had in my shop, but this time made in a soft cotton jersey, and with a hi-lo ruffle around the neckline.  I slept in it the night after I made it - that's how comfy this thing is!

Next, a fun floral dress (a trend 55% of you said you loved)!  The bodice is a fairly simple tank with a scoop neckline, made special with pale yellow binding at the neck and arms.  The skirt is a full circle skirt - beautiful movement, perfect for twirling and/or having an amazing silhouette while standing in wind.  Seriously.

As always, don't forget to check the Look Book for everything you can currently find in my shop, and if you see something you would love to have in a different color, different fabric, different print, etc., please don't hesitate to contact me - I love doing custom orders!


To make a wretch His treasure

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

- How Deep the Father's Love For Us


You Jump, I Jump, Right? Okay, Just Making Sure.

I have been waiting for 14 years to do what I did last night:  I saw Titanic on a big screen.

A rule in our house growing up was that my sister and I weren't allowed to see PG-13 movies until we were 13.  The only time I really felt that this rule should have been lifted was when Titanic came out in December 1997, when I was 12.  Everyone in the whole 7th grade saw it (or at least it felt like they did), and I was left having no idea why everyone kept shouting "I'm the King of the World!"  As you can probably recall from your own childhood, when you're 12 everything is A Big Deal, and I found this to be one of the greatest tragedies of my life thus far.  I needed to see this movie.

Hope springs eternal, and as the weeks crept on, Titanic stayed in our tiny 3-screen theater.  Week after week, it was still playing.  Past Christmas, through January, through February.  My 13th birthday was March 11th, and I was starting to believe it was going to last until then!  My life would be complete!  I would be able to join in Titanic-centric conversations!  I would find out why this Leonardo DiCaprio was on the cover of Tiger Beat all the time!  I would be able to blast "My Heart Will Go On" without the shame of not even knowing whose heart was going and where they were going to and why!

You can probably tell where this is going.  THE WEEK BEFORE MY 13th BIRTHDAY, Titanic ended its run at our theater.  My disappointment was intense, and I thought that My Life Was Over.  Sure, that Christmas, my sister got the movie on VHS (two tapes!  It's so long!), and I watched it to my heart's desire, and I was finally caught up on the phenomenon, but I knew deep down, it wasn't the same.

Sometimes miracles happen, and when I went to see Breaking Dawn (why why why), imagine my surprise when there was a preview for a RE-RELEASE of TITANIC into theaters IN 3D.  It was as if a dream was coming true that I didn't even know I had.  I would never have imagined that after 14 years, Titanic would come back to theaters.  BUT IT DID. 

And I saw it.  And it was...amazingly astounding and wonderful.  Just as I always suspected it would be.

Has ethereal Irish Celtic flute music ever been used to such great effect as in Titanic?  Answer:  no, and they never will be again.  You know you love this movie.


11 Random Facts

I have been tagged to do 11 Random Facts by Jess of Wanderlusted!  I found her and her blog when she offered herself up on Yes and Yes's Network of Nice and gave me some incredible advice on maintaining an Etsy shop.  Her shop Ragamuffin Design is chock full of cute and quirky hats and accessories!

The Rules:
  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves on their blog.
  2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you plus eleven questions for the people you have tagged to answer.
  3. Choose eleven people and link them in your tag.
  4. Email the person to let them know that they’ve been tagged.
  5. No tag backs.
  6. You legitimately have to tag.
Here I am, displaying an "11" - get it?!
  11 Facts:
  1. Fact:  I am going to break the rules of this game.
  2. Fact:  My toes are naturally spread apart really far and I can't make them go together.
  3. Fact:  I absolutely loved high school.  Granted, hindsight is 20/20, and in the moment, I had plenty of complaints and heartbreaks, but looking back, the good far outweighs the bad.  Homecoming, prom, football games, academics, arts - loved it all, and I had great, loyal friends who I adored.
  4. Fact:  My parents' anniversary is August 5th.  My sister and bro-in-law's anniversary is August 5th.  Our anniversary is August 7th (and had August 5th been on a weekend instead of a Wednesday that year, you better believe ours would have been the 5th too!)
  5. Fact:  The word "thermos" completely freaks me out and I will avoid saying it out loud at all costs.
  6. Fact:  In middle school, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say "accountant" and I was completely serious about it.
  7. Fact:  Then I saw Janet Jackson's video for "Together Again" and I decided I wanted to be a professional dancer.
  8. Fact:  My favorite chore is vacuuming.  I think it makes the most satisfying sound when it sucks stuff up.
  9. Fact:  My least favorite chore is cleaning the bathroom.  I don't like stray hairs.
  10. Fact:  I never take showers on Fridays.
  11. Fact:  I went to the student dental clinic, and Scott was my dentist.  He did such a good job, and now I can't wait for him to be my dentist FOR LIFE.
11 Questions:
  1. Take a Myers-Brigg type assessment here. What type are you? (This takes a few minutes, but it is really helpful. There are lots of tests out there, this one is free and pretty straight-forward.) Do you think it's accurate?  This says I am Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging.  For better or worse, that sounds about right!
  2. ISFJ - "Conservator". Desires to be of service and to minister to individual needs - very loyal. 13.8% of total population.
    Take Free Jung Personality Test
    Personality Test by SimilarMinds.com
  3. If you could live in any time period, ever, what would it be?  I would choose being born the same time as my parents - mid 1950s.  They got to be young in a time period of so much change - the 60s and 70s!  Looking at their old yearbooks and family pictures, I could never get over how cool they looked, with my mom's extremely long, straight, middle parted hair and mini dresses, and my dad's shaggy mane, mustache, and sweet car.
  4. Who's your hero/greatest inspiration?   My parents.  See above.  They're the greatest.
  5. Who's your favorite character from either literature or cinema?  I'm picking a character from TV instead, and I'm going with JOEY POTTER.
  6.  If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?  Africa.  Safari.
  7. If money was not an issue, what is the luxury makeup/skincare/beauty/fashion item you would like to try most?  I would buy myself a Marchesa gown, and wear it around the house everyday. 
  8. Bath or shower?  Shower, for sure!  Night shower, in fact.
  9. You can only have one meal for the rest of your life (appetizer, entree, and dessert.) What is it?  Spinach artichoke dip with chips.  Baked mac & cheese with bacon bits.  Chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven.
  10. What's one secret confession no one really knows?  Whenever we were watching Downton Abbey, Scott wanted to watch only one episode a day to spread it out more.  I agreed, but then I secretly watched all the episodes of season 2 in our bedroom with the door closed and told him I was reading!  Then I acted shocked during all the episodes...even though I knew what was coming.
  11. What's one skill you wish you had?  I always wished I had a great singing voice.  I call what I have a "choir voice" - I can sing the right notes, and sometimes harmonize, but you wouldn't want to listen to me sing a solo.  Which is why I generally rap at karaoke.
  12. What's the biggest goal you've accomplished this year?  In the past year, it is opening my Etsy shop last August.  There are about 60 women out in the world wearing clothes with my name on the tag, and that feels amazing.

Instead of thinking up 11 new questions and tagging people, I just want to ask one question to anyone who wants to answer in the comments!

Question:  If you could live the rest of your life within a movie, which movie would you choose?  (inspired by my favorite posts on design*sponge, living in...)


The Could-Have-Been-Perfect Dress

This dress could have been perfect.  But it's not.  I had the idea for it weeks ago, and had the means to perfectly execute it, but alas, it didn't work out that way.  However!  Instead of listing all its imperfections for you (which I am tempted to do for some reason), I'm going to bask in the bold color and fun silhouette and the twirly-ness of this dress and forget all those little (and some big) mistakes I made!

Fabric:  Interlock knit from Fabric.com (sold out)
Bodice:  Simplicity 2648 View A (minus sleeve cuffs)
Skirt:  Circle skirt, made using this equation