Trying New Things: Holding a Parrot

I've been feeling a pull recently to try to do more new things.  Things that make me a little uncomfortable.  Things that I can do one time and then never have to do again because I can say that I did them.

This week, I did one of those things:  held a parrot.

I'm not afraid of birds, and I wasn't afraid of Claude (great parrot name, huh?), I just find animals in general to be a little bit dirty and a little bit germy and just not really something that I want to be touching.  (Can you tell I never had a pet as a kid?)

But this weekend on a little trip with my bestie Rachel (a trip I will be writing about in excruciatingly epic detail very soon), we encountered Claude on the street, and his owner encouraged us to let him perch on our hands.

Rachel was a pro.  Look how he even cocks his head toward her in affection!
And then this is pretty much how I felt about it.
Parrot-holding:  check.


NYC List: Sleep No More

How does this sound for a great birthday date?

Let's go to an old creepy hotel, grab a drink at a swanky bar that looks an awful lot like the Black Lodge on Twin Peaks, throw on some masks as we're whisked away from the bar into a cramped elevator, become separated from each other somewhere in the sea of a hundred other people wearing identical masks, wander alone up and down five stories, chasing actors we stumble upon to watch them play out a variety of violent, sensual, and passionate scenes, and then meet up outside two hours later to discuss what we saw.

Yep, that is what we did for my birthday at Sleep No More.
To describe it as concisely as I can figure out how to, Sleep No More is an interactive theatre experience that immerses the audience in an alternate universe in which you explore (or really just run around) a 5-story building (through hotel lobbies, asylums, a cemetery, an orphanage, a banquet hall, an apartment, a street lined with shops) in search of a dozen or so actors whom you occasionally stumble upon in various encounters with one another.  To say any more would give too much away, though I will say this is now high on my recommendations list for NYC visitors.  It isn't for the faint of heart (both in content and the fact that I went up and down so many staircases I was actually sore the next day), but if you can brave it, you won't be sorry.

Plus you get to leave with these sweet masks.
Sleep No More has been on my "Things We Must Do Before We Leave the City" List, so here's to another activity checked off!  Our clock is ticking....


Button-Down to Swingy Tank

From my non-achievement in top-making last week, we have learned that I don't like it when clothes are too tight.  (I think this comes from when I was in junior high and everyone was wearing tight clothes and my mom told me that if I tried something on and I thought it fit, I should buy one size larger.  Good advice for the time.)

Below is another shirt that is not disastrously tight, but the buttons still pull a little at the chest, the armholes are all up in my armpits' business, and the gapping at the bottom indicates that the shirt doesn't fit properly around my hips.  Therefore:  too small.
In one of the quickest top makeovers of all time, I was able to solve all three of the above problems.  I simply cut off the sleeves and used the as triangular inserts in the side seams to make a fun little swing top!
I love this silhouette as a fun, casual, springtime top, but if I'm feeling a little too swingy, it also belts really nicely to create a peplum shape instead!

In case anyone is interested, here's the easiest tutorial ever:
1.  Cut up side seams and cut off sleeves.
2.  Cut sleeves into long triangles (make sure the sides are as long as your side seams).
3.  Pin and sew triangles into open side seams.
4.  Double fold and sew armholes.
5.  Hem triangle insert.

And that's all, folks!


28 + Changes

Hey, so I turned 28 on Monday!  And I'd like to get introspective about it, if you don't mind.

My 27 was a year of strengthening:
building my business (there are many things going on behind the scenes, and it's grown more than I could have imagined),
learning evermore about my husband and my marriage and who I want to be as a wife,
investing more deeply in my most meaningful friendships,
finding physical healing from the back problems that had been causing me a great deal of pain (when I had reached a point that I wasn't sure I would ever feel good again),
becoming a scholar of the Word rather than just an occasional browser.

27 very much felt like a gearing up year, a year of getting ready and getting prepared.  And I feel like I am.

28 is going to be a year of change:
new city,
new home,
new job,
new time zone,
new endeavors,
owning a car again for the first time in four years,
starting our life as a military family,
transitioning from being a dental student's wife to a dentist's wife (I still can't believe we're almost at the end of this road).

A total shake-up of all that we've known for the past four years is coming for us as we leave this era of our life and dive head first into a whole new one.  

Thank you, 27, for helping me get strong.  28, I can't wait to see where you take me.  I hope you exceed my wildest expectations.


A Beautiful Day for a Bike Race

Saturday brought sunny skies, the highest temps since last fall, and a really great day for a cycling race!  Scott's been part of Columbia's cycling team this season, and while most of his races this spring will be at other universities, this one was at Columbia here in the city, so I went to watch as the loudest-cheering wife there was.  It was a criterium race, which is a short course that's ridden several times in a given time period, so I got to see him pass by lots of times (lots of opportunities for cheers).

Not a bad place for a starting line, eh?
Possibly the main thing we learned from this race was that I am completely incapable of taking pictures at the precise time when Scott is riding by.

See Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:
Exhibit C:

And then there is this one, which I snapped on the lap right before there was a GIGANTIC BIKE CRASH RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES INVOLVING SCOTT.
Scott isn't quite sure what happened, but the two guys right in front of him went down, and he was too close to avoid them and got caught up in their crash.  All in all, there ended up being 10 or 12 guys involved!  UGH.  I don't like crashes, and I especially don't like witnessing crashes involving my husband!  (A broken collarbone would be about the worst thing right now for somebody trying to finish up clinic work to graduate from dental school in 2 months!)  In the end, Scott got away with just some crooked handlebars, but he didn't get to finish the race, which was disappointing.  However, he also has these awesome battle scars!  (I am sparing you what the actual wounds look like under that sleeve...not pretty).
But this story has a happy ending:  Though Saturday's bike race didn't go the way he had hoped, Scott totally redeemed Saturday's crash-out during Sunday's race, where he placed 9th out of 43 in his division!  So proud!


The "Sometimes You Fail" Top

I generally have a pretty good track record with the clothing that I make for myself, and I wanted this one to work so badly.  I was making plans for it months ago!  However...

If you're making a European-sized pattern and don't bother to look at the American conversion chart....
If you don't add 5/8" seam allowances, even though you are specifically instructed to...
And if you don't make a muslin...
You will end up with a top that could have been so cute, but instead is too tight, the shoulder seams will be off, and the keyhole in the back will be stretched to its breaking point.

Oh well!


Fabric:  Gorgeous Fabrics' Fabulous Smooth-Faced Jersey in Heavy Cream + some black crepe back satin remnants
Pattern:  Burdastyle - Contrast Shoulders Jersey Top


Book I Read in February

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother when she was 11 and taken in to a boarding school.  In her final year at school, she becomes the leader of her school's six houses in the territory wars that take place every year with the kids from town (the Townies) and the military school kids (the Cadets), but she also must deal with the mysterious disappearance of someone else very close to her, and how that might be connected with her mother.  Also, this book is set in Australia, so I'll give it extra points for that!

All that being said, there are two other stories woven in and out of our modern day one that quite frankly confused me to no end.  By the time I was three-quarters of the way through the book, I figured out the gist of it, but it still wasn't clear to me.  It also took me a big chunk of the book to figure out what exactly the "territory wars" entail.  At first I got the feeling that they were really serious, and kids might actually die, but as it turned out, that was not the case - kids from opposing sides date and occasionally someone gets beat up or kidnapped for a few hours.  I just couldn't put my finger on what the intention was.

I have heard many, many, many wonderful things about this book, and I did find it compelling and rather heartbreaking, but I spent too much time being mildly confused about who was who and what was what to really enjoy it to its full extent.  Also, maybe I would be less confused if I didn't read books while sitting on the street all night in 36 degree rain waiting for SNL tickets.

It's been awhile since I read a book that really grabbed me from the get-go so I couldn't put it down.  Looking forward to having that reading experience again!  Any suggestions?  Here are all the books I've read the past couple of years.


8 Great Places to Visit in Oklahoma City {Brought to You by Marek}

I've called two states "home" in my life:  currently, New York and, previously, Oklahoma.  Guys, Oklahoma is a-w-e-s-o-m-e.  Since I'm far from my first home state, I love to read Marek's blog, Marek's Musings.  She's a smart and fun Oklahoman newlywed with an inspiring 30 Before 30 list and is one of the best tweeters I know.  She's simply the kind of girl you would want to hang out with. 

Marek and her husband are coming to New York in the next few weeks, so we decided to swap our blogs today and tell each other's readers about our favorite spots in our respective cities!  If you don't believe me that Marek is an OKC expert, try this one on for size:  she's also the daughter-in-law of the mayor!  If there's anyone qualified to give you all the best info on Oklahoma City, it's this girl.  Read on...and I hope if you've never been to Oklahoma, you'll be convinced to come visit!
Hello, all! I've decided to take you all on a little journey through my little city (or the largest city if you’re judging it by land area). We’re in transition, and everything is getting better and better by the day! Here’s what you’ll find if you ever come for a visit. And, if you do, I expect you to tweet me so I can take you around!
The Plaza District – The Plaza is one of my favorite districts in Oklahoma City. It’s full of unique shops (including the most wonderful shop full of homemade goods – Collected Thread), artistic people and the best brunch in town at Urban Wineworks. Wine with eggs benedict? Yes, please. Every 2nd Friday, they have LIVE on the Plaza when all of the shops stay open, there is live music in most of the venues, and there are fun activities happening everywhere!
Uptown 23rd Street - This is an area that is currently under a HUGE revitalization. Once rife with wig shops (not kidding) and decrepit buildings, this area is starting to shape right up! There are bungalow houses with cupcake shops – Hello, Cuppies and Joe! – and BBQ joints, but there’s also a nice little bar called Grandad’s. Filled with photos of local folks’ grandpas and old school furniture, this delightful bar has become one of my favorite spots.
The Paseo Arts District – We recently moved to this neighborhood, and we’re finally starting to explore it a little more. This space was developed back in the 1920's. In the 70’s, however, this is when people started getting a little crazy and brought on the arts culture (bright pain included)! Today, it houses art galleries and great restaurants. In the ‘hood? Check out Picasso’s for some great live music.
Myriad Botanical Gardens/Devon Tower – Want to stroll through the gardens while you’re downtown? Great. Now, want to look up at OKC’s largest/newest skyscraper. Then I have the place for you. Want a fancy pants dinner? Head to Vast at the top of Devon Tower, but make sure you get a reservation. We’re still not used to having such a unique restaurant, so it stays pretty booked. Also, make sure you go into the Crystal Bridge. It’s incredible.
Downtown – Oh lovely downtown. While this is predominantly a business district, there are several great spots for you to explore. Try Kitchen No. 324 if you want your socks knocked off. And believe me, you do. Also, if you’re a big basketball fan, downtown houses Chesapeake Arena where you can see the Oklahoma City Thunder kick the crap out of the rest of the NBA. Thunder Rules, everyone else drools.
Bricktown – This is probably our most tourist-y spot of all. San Antonio isn’t the only one with a canal! We have some great restaurants and bars, but it’s not really where you’ll find the locals except for bars like Skinny Slims or Tapwerks.
Oklahoma River Boathouse District – This IS where you’ll find the locals. The Boathouse District is new to our city, and it’s developing quite a bit to become THE premier adventure spot in OKC. Canoes, kayaks, zip lines, and a white water rafting park are all things that are already available or are soon to be. It’s also the Olympic Training Site for rowers and kayakers. No big deal.
Oklahoma City Film Exchange District – We’re wrapping up this journey of Oklahoma City with a district that is quickly winning me over. Because Oklahoma is smack-dab in the middle of the country, this street was home to all of the major Hollywood studios as they stored and moved their films across the country. Now, it’s an ever-growing arts district that is home to galleries, restaurants and, you guessed it, a theatre. But The Paramount ain’t your grandma’s theatre. First, you pay an annual membership to watch the films they show. How much is an annual membership, you ask? Whatever you damn well please. It’s choose your own price! Paired with a cafĂ©, it’s a fantastic space to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Hop over to Marek's Musings to show Marek some love, and see the non-touristy spots
 I recommend visiting in NYC!