Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Favorites

  • Photography endeavor Eyes as Big as Plates visits Finland, and it is delightful.
  • This man does Chatroulette right. His recreation of "Wrecking Ball" is wonderful - the reactions make it even better - and I've also enjoyed his "Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen) and "Peacock" (Katy Perry).
  • Now that Christmas is less than a month away, I'm starting to plan presents in earnest. I don't have much money right now, but I do have a bunch of small burlap bags that I scored for free that I can use for cute gift wrapping. In keeping with the indie theme, I was thinking of doing a bunch of DIY gifts. Pinterest boards like Merrythought's will be my guide, I'm sure.
  • A couple of years ago, I had a hardcore crush on vintage style. The urge to wrangle myself into bullet bra'd shapewear and sleep in hair rags has abated somewhat, but I still love the whole aesthetic and once in a while I'll put in the extra effort toward it. These gorgeous retro hairstyle tutorials inspire me to try finger waves again. (Refinery 29)
  • In a similar vein, I love the holiday season because everyone around me seems to remember how wonderful are the old classics, from Nat King Cole's flawless rendition of "The Christmas Song" to Donna Reed's amazing outfits in a range of film favorites, such as "It's a Wonderful Life." (Shabby Apple blog)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Boycotting Black Friday

I'm staying in and ignoring Black Friday tomorrow, because 1) I hate crowds and traffic, 2) I don't feel like feeding the monster that is consumerism, and 3) because those deals are bullshit. Seriously, Black Friday is a total scam, if not totally evil. Sometimes people are even tragically, literally trampled to death during Black Friday.

(Here's a big surprise: Walmart still hasn't paid the $7,000 fine for completely failing to protect their employee from the deal-hungry mob outside their doors.)

If you must participate, here are the companies that did and did not allow their employees the day off to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families (hint: don't shop at the stores owned by assholes) and the top nine products not to buy (from the perspective of actually caring whether or not you're getting a deal). Also, shop local or secondhand - the first is better for your local economy, the second more sustainable.

Really, haven't you got better things to do than fight through slavering hordes of people to "score" crappy TVs and fleece leggings?

Edit: Everlane is doing something awesome.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gobble, gobble!

Thanksgiving is THIS Thursday! Feeling festive yet? No? Well, this should help.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Stitch Fix #6

See Stitch Fix #1#2#3#4, #5

It's been a while since I last got my fix. Stitch Fix must be in crazy demand now, because the wait for a box is at least a month or two! I used to be able to schedule a fix on a whim, and have it sent to me within a couple of weeks. Ah, the good old days.

Stitch Fix seems to have done away with the plastic style tags that used to hang from each item of clothing, and that's fine by me. Now the style guides are sent in one big sheet, with perforations so you can separate the little squares.

I also got a note from my stylist, Adelyn:
Hello from Stitch Fix! This fix is all about building your fall wardrobe with versatile and easy to layer pieces. Unfortunately, we did not have the herringbone vest in your size [I had requested this vest] but we will make note of this request for your next fix. :) For a chic casual look try pairing the super soft burgundy jeans with the plaid tab shirt and your favorite boots. I hope you have fun trying everything on! We are looking forward to your wonderful feedback. xo Addie
On to the clothes:

1. Fun2Fun Colibri Plaid Tab-Sleeve Cotton Shirt, $48

I liked this shirt. It's flannel, and I almost just bought two flannel shirts at Old Navy but put them back at the last moment. Good thing I did! This one is way cuter, and I like the color scheme very much (evergreen and navy). I also like the tab sleeves. The bottom of the shirt flares away from my hips a little strangely, and the front seems a bit long, but it's not long enough overall to be worn (in public) as a tunic with leggings. Still, it was my favorite thing in the box, so..
Verdict: Kept.

2. Jach's Girlfriend Ashmore Dot Print Cotton Henley Shirt, $74

Ehhhh.. this shirt was pretty cute. It's a good color, and has teeny yellow and navy dots. It also has the opportunity for tab sleeves, and it buttoned fairly easily over my chest. But it was a little tight there, and in the hips as well, and it just didn't look that great on me. Plus, the price - what!? I checked to see if it was made in America, but no, made in China, of very thin cotton.
Verdict: Returned.

3. Bay to Baubles Chelsea Jewel Statement Necklace, $32

I think this necklace was a very clever addition to my box. If I'd chosen to keep the Ashmore shirt, they would have been a natural pairing, and I would have had no choice but to get the necklace, too. The "gems" match the shirt and its dots nearly perfectly!

But even though I liked the look of this necklace, it felt cheaply made, and it didn't hang down far enough. I like my statement necklaces to hit just above my cleavage - it just looks better to me, and works better with my shirts and dresses.
Verdict: Returned.

4. Honey Punch Ester Striped Knit Sweater Jacket, $64

No article of clothing that makes my mouth do that is destined for my closet. This "jacket" was more of a flimsy, hideous hoodie with a zipper that barely worked. It was thin, it was ugly, and it was way too cheap to warrant more than sixty dollars, even if it didn't make me look like a dumpy pygmy. 
Verdict: Returned.

5. Mavi Gold Nigel Skinny Jean, $138

These pants were a pretty autumnal burgundy, and they were insanely, buttery soft. They fit me pretty well, even if they maybe weren't the most flattering. I thought these looked okay in person but in pictures they make me look like a Thanksgiving turkey. 

Word to the wise: don't ever take a picture of your butt over your shoulder. It will just make you sad.

The pants also had a 32" inseam, which puzzled me after my feedback on those jeans from last time. Stitch Fix, you know how tall I am! You ask specifically for that information! I am not going to pay to have $138 jeans hemmed!

My toes are curly but my feet are clean, and that's all you can really ask, right?

The last thing in my box was a special Stitch Fix Holiday Kit, which included a $50 off coupon for, a couple of recipes, and a gift card in case you decide to buy someone else something from Stitch Fix.

But my next fix won't arrive until January at least. :(

Would you like to try Stitch Fix? Sure you would!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Favorites

  • Tired of Iceland yet? Of course not! How could you be? Go see Stephie's blog for more Icelandic adventures. (Secretly Stephie)
  • This amazing letter from DESC, a Seattle organization that works for the homeless and impoverished, to KIRO, which recently featured a segment titled "The Most Dangerous Block In Seattle." The entire letter is beautifully written and so compelling. Here's just a snippet (Seattlish):
The “Most Dangerous Block in Seattle” is the result of a culture-wide practice of socially isolating economically disadvantaged people who struggle with various combinations of mental illness, physical and developmental disabilities, terminal disease, and chemical dependency; then ghettoizing them through incarceration or institutionalization into an environment of desperation, and subsequently failing to provide adequate resources for treatment, education, health care and emotional counseling. And finally with reports like this, stigmatizing them through sensationalist reporting and misrepresentation making reintegration into the larger society even more difficult if not impossible. ... Offer them your hope, not your contempt.

  • Still not sure what to serve for Thanksgiving? You could take a look at my Pinterest board, "Horn of Plenty," for inspiration - or you could let a Thanksgiving slot machine choose for you. (Saveur) 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

I've been mostly vegetarian for about three years now. I've always loved meat, but I decided at some point that there are things more important to me than satisfying my sweet pork tooth on a regular basis, such as humane animal husbandry practices and environmental sustainability. Instrumental in the switch was my dear friend, Inbal, who is vegan. She's not at all ostentatious about her veganism, but instead leads by quiet, and delicious, example. The girl can cook!

The majority of the time, I don't miss meat. There are so many things that I can eat as a vegetarian (and most of them don't even involve tofu - even though it is so very tasty), especially in Seattle. But I'm not strict with myself; if I'm craving a cheeseburger, I let myself have it. Then I devote myself again to the path of greens and grains. (And eggs. So many things in life are improved by eggs. Obviously I haven't quite made it to Vegan Level.)

The other week, I must have been deficient in some kind of vitamin, because I went on a meaty rampage. My boyfriend bought his first home; we celebrated with filet mignon at a fancy steak place. A restaurant coupon was about to expire, so we gorged on fresh, fantastic sushi. My grandmother invited us over for an aebleskiver breakfast feast - naturally, there was bacon.

So I'm especially looking forward to Thanksgiving, which is a great opportunity for me to practice abstinence from meat...while being surrounded by tons of it. Luckily, it's incredibly easy to be vegetarian at Thanksgiving! All those sides, drinks, and desserts can be really satisfying, even without turkey (or Tofurky..I shudder to think of it). Here are a few recipes that have caught my eye this year:

Citrus & Pomegranate Brussels Sprouts

Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole 
(sub veggie stock for chicken)

Cranberry Sauce with Persimmons

Apple Herb Stuffing

Rosemary & Ginger Mulled Cider

Mushroom Gravy

Sweet Potato Gratin

Happily, I rarely have to judge whether or not a pie is vegetarian, and I can dive right in!

What are your favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kshama Sawant!

As of this evening, Seattle has a - possibly its first ever - Socialist on the city council. I was at Kshama Sawant's election day "victory party."

There I am, beneath the arrow!

At the time, I was nervous about the premature "victory" label. And things didn't look too good for Socialism, with Sawant's opponent in the lead. But she refused to concede, and today she won the vote!

Congratulations, Kshama Sawant!

Friday Favorites

  • I love these DIY leather feather place cards! Though I would probably choose a different material. (Say Yes to Hoboken)
  • Now that we're nearing the closing date for Tyler's new house, I've been thinking (and dreaming) almost constantly about how to decorate. What about awesome large scale, printable patent wall art that I can download for free? (ManMade DIY)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Live in Seattle? Come to this great event!

Do you live in or near Seattle? Do you love music and tacos? (Uh, yeah, of course you do.) What if I told you those two things would be combined this November 21st? You'd be really ridiculously excited, right? 


Three great reasons you should attend this awesome event:

1) Pecado makes amazingly delicious tacos (and cheap, great margaritas) - and with the entry fee, those tacos are UNLIMITED. Make some bets with your friends and see who can eat the most. Win your $15 back, handily, because you are the taco champion.

2) While you are eating those scrumptious tacos, we will serenade you with a variety of luscious lady-tunes. And you can feel really good about yourself for supporting a lovely local choir.

3) If you attend and you tell everyone that I sent you, I could win a boudoir photography session. If I do, and you contributed to my success, you will get to see my boobs. Alternately, if you would prefer NOT to see my boobs (hurtful, but I'll try to understand), you should still come and tell everyone that I sent you. If you don't, and I find out, well.. face the wrath of my boobs.

So come, eat lots of tacos, win some cool prizes, and TELL THEM INNESS SENT YOU.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Iceland Days 7 & 8: Golden Circle, Reykjavik, and Blue Lagoon

Day 1: Reykjavik
Day 2: Reykjavik
Day 2 Continued: Reykjadalur
Day 3: Snaefellsness
Day 4: Akureyri & Myvatn
Day 4 Continued: Myvatn & Dettifoss
Day 5: Northeast and East Iceland
Day 6: Vik to Reykjavik

Our last two days in Iceland were the least busy. We got up early on the 24th for a thirteen hour day trip with Sterna Travel, to Kerlingarfjoll and the Golden Circle. We were excited to see rhyolite mountains and walk on a glacier.

We piled in a van with a bunch of strangers, who were from all over the place. There was a family from Iceland, which struck me as a little odd - couldn't they see this stuff on their own? But they were super nice. One guy was from the United States and he was definitely not my favorite - he bragged that Iceland was country #45 on his list of places visited. It felt like the number mattered more to him than the actual experiences. Also, I was jealous.

First on our trip was a waterfall, tiny by Icelandic standards but pretty nonetheless.

We moved on to the splendor of Gulfoss, which was certainly beautiful; but lined as it was with ropes and concrete walkways, I longed for rough, wild Dettifoss.

Gorgeous Gullfoss, the "Golden Falls" of Iceland.

The we piled back in the bus and drove for what seemed like AGES. We only had a couple of stops, including this pile of rocks. Apparently you're supposed to throw a rock onto the pile, and if it sticks, you get a wish. If it doesn't, you get several years' bad luck.

Mine stuck, thank goodness.

We eventually made it to little Kerlingarfjoll Highlands resort, where we had lunch.

Lunch was a watery, tasteless cauliflower soup. There was no other option. Tyler and I were starving so we submitted to soup with piles and piles of buttered bread. That wasn't enough so we had to share a piece of apple cake, too. (Also I may have stolen half an uneaten waffle off a place on the busing table. It was going to go to waste! And it was delicious.)

Then we did a "hike" around one part of the mountain and glacier area. Essentially that meant walking up a little hill, posing for some pictures, walking back down the hill, walking up another little hill, et cetera. And the photo opportunities were fantastic...

I'd actually been worried that we were going to do some pretty strenuous hiking, and I ended up disappointed that we hadn't. There was also one part of the walk where we visited a little thermal stream, but only for a few minutes. I wanted so badly to strip off all my clothes and soak in it! But I wasn't given time.

Soon we were all packed back into the bus and headed back to the Golden Circle, a.k.a. Iceland's biggest tourist trap. Our first stop was the Haukadalur geothermal area.

We saw some nice hot pots and geysers and such, and Strokkur was indeed a lot of fun. So cool to see that big blue bubble and then GUSSSHHHHH.

Afterward, we had dinner in the convenience store across the street, and I bought a very sheepy wool blanket.

Then we went to Thingvellir National Park, the center of Icelandic viking culture, where you can walk in the valley between two tectonic plates.

It felt very Game of Thrones next to the huge wall of the North American Plate.
I bet a seasoned rock climber would've been itching to get to the top. So many great handholds!

We needed to touch the North American Plate. It made us feel fancy.

Thingvellir was beautiful and peaceful, and it felt very special to be there.

Unfortunately, after the freedom and wonder of the previous days, this tour turned out to be a disappointment. It probably would be great for someone who didn't have the time or energy to rent a car and find their own way, but we wished we'd just kept our car an extra day and done the drive by ourselves! We would have had more flexibility and we wouldn't have been held hostage to a tour bus for a whole day.

When we got back to Reykjavik, I was feeling homesick for the place already so I insisted that we walk around, with a pylsur to each hand.

Back at the apartment, we decided to take advantage of the nearest pool. Iceland has tons of public pools and they're incredibly inexpensive (compared to the pools at home) and amazing. The pool we visited had several different amenities - four different hot pots/tubs of varying temperatures; one huge swimming pool; and a sauna. I loved it all, especially the hottest hot pot. I also loved the locker room.

In Iceland, you are expected to strip totally naked and take a thorough shower before going in the pool; they consider anything less to be disgustingly unhygienic. As a mild germaphobe (and exhibitionist), I found this to be really appealing. Also, as an American, I'm used to girls being really body-phobic and self-conscious in locker rooms, so I was delighted when I saw a couple of young women completely starkers, treating it like it was no big deal - which it wasn't.

The same thing happened when we went to the Blue Lagoon the next day, our last in Iceland. You could tell who was from what country basically by what level of modesty they tried to exhibit. I doubt anyone could have guessed that I was an American, though, since I basically behaved like the proverbial Emperor in his new clothing, strutting unabashedly through the locker room. I love being naked!

Anyway, Blue Lagoon. It's the thing people tend to think about when they think about visiting Iceland and they have a pretty limited idea of what else you can do there. Which is to say it's a nice place and it does a very good job of marketing itself. I enjoyed my few hours there, but I might have preferred to be back in a thermal spring somewhere.

But in thermal springs you don't usually get to drink fruity wine coolers or slather white clay on your face, or see a bunch of French soccer players surreptitiously take their shorts off under the water, so I'd have to say it was worth the time to visit the Lagoon.

And then we got on a bus and got on a plane and left Iceland. But not without several of these:

Best candy in Iceland. Not a bit of licorice to be found.

Friday Favorites

  • Ahhhhh look at this amazing tap dance routine! It's clear that these people have spent at least as much time watching Fred Astaire movies as I have.
  • Julie Kesti wrote about Seaforts Seaforts to finish up our blog niceness swap! (She missed the extra "s" in my name, but I assure you that "Innes" and I are one and the same. (Or perhaps "Innes" is my doppelganger and she is plagiarizing all my blog posts.)) Here's what Julie had to say:
Innes writes about far-away travels and everyday adventures as she lives the 20-something life. She is involved in her community, funny and joyful, and I couldn't help but think she’d fit right in in Minneapolis. Here are a few posts you'll enjoy:
Pearl of Happiness
Iceland Day 6: Vik to Reykjavik
 101 in 1001!
  • My favorite online one-shot cartoon, Bee and Puppycat, is getting a series! YES! You can give them more money through their Kickstarter campaign.
  • I don't care for Thomas Kinkade paintings and I gently detest Star Wars. But I love them together. (A Pair of Pears)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Favorites

Hey, it's November! How'd that happen?

  • When I was a little girl, my mom and my grandma taught me lovely mealtime etiquette, and now I get to feel fancy at dinner parties. The sparkly holidays are coming up, and they're heavy on parties and dining - want to learn how you, too, can impress your friends and elders? Take a look at this adorable illustrated guide to eating dinner. (A Cup of Jo)
  • Susan Faludi does an astounding job of analyzing and tearing down the false feminism of the Lean In culture: "The movement originally forged to move the great mass of women has been hijacked to serve the individual (and privileged) girl...Why mount a collective protest against the exploitations of the workplace when it was so much more gratifying—not to mention easier—to advance yourself (and only yourself)..?" (The Baffler)
  • I have a special kind of position at my job which means that I can only work 1,040 hours a year. I'm nearing the limit so I have to cut down to only fourteen hours a week until the contract resets! This leaves me with quite a bit of free time, and so far I haven't been as productive with that time as I would like. Yes and Yes has some great advice on that front.
  • Speaking of productivity, I popped the seal on my grad school applications today! Sure, that might only mean that I sent out requests for letters of recommendation and created a profile for just one online application, but it's a start. 
  • Some people take their frustration at stupid horrible things and turn it into funny stuff. Case in point: a very useful guide that teaches tech professionals how to find women to employ or speak at conferences.
  • Bonus! Pictures from Halloween on Capitol Hill. It was a fun night.

Pin It button on image hover