Outfit Post: 6/27/12

Shirt: Gap Outlet — Camisole: Target — Shorts: Goodwill (Express) — Sandals: Target — Earrings: Tiklari via Fab.com — Bangle: World Market

Recently I’ve been giving in to the temptation to dress more on the “casual” end of “business casual” for work. Part of it is that it’s been stinkin’ hot and I’d rather go basic, even if that means skewing a little casual; the other part is that I’ve just been feeling chronically tired, and my brain has been having trouble with creative dressing, so I am relying more heavily than usual on matchy-matchiness, and even then shorts and a simple top are about all I can come up with. (For the record, I tried going to bed earlier than usual last night, and woke up at 5:50am thanks to a dream that there was an electrical fire and our house burned down. Restful!)

So anyway, that’s what we’ve got going on here. But a coworker said I looked cute and summery, and I haven’t gotten the official Finger Wag of Inappropriate Workwear yet, so I guess I’m fine.

Maybe once I get back from vacation my brain will be a bit recharged and I can get back in the game a bit more. Only four more days! Plus, Michael’s birthday is this weekend, so that’ll be a nice chance to get out of the house and go do something. (The “something” has not yet been 100% decided, but it’s looking like we might go to the Sacramento Zoo. If we do, I’ll be sure to report back on the state of their giraffes.)

In the meantime, I can be pleased that I finally managed to wear these sandals again–basically the entire reason I painted my toenails green was because I thought it would look cute with the pink sandals, and then it took me a week and a half to get around to it. What the heck, self? Get it together. Shikari.

Oh yeah, and I got some new earrings–they were so beautiful on Fab.com that I couldn’t help myself. Also, they are heavy as shit. Possibly only rivaled by these monsters, which were gifted to me by Tito last year. Which means I won’t be able to wear them very often, but still, I do love them so. What’s the biggest pair of earrings you’ve ever worn, if you do in fact wear earrings? (What, is that too niche a question? C’mon, folks, it’s Friday, that’s the best I can do.)

Outfit Post: 6/25/12

Dress: Gift — Leggings: Target — Flats: Goodwill (Target) — Earrings: Target — Necklace: Thrifted — Bracelet: Found

I don’t think I’ve talked about it yet, but since getting my head buzzed, I’ve been going the no-commercial-shampoo route and it’s been working quite well for me. (I’m sorry, I just can’t get behind the term “no-poo.” I still do that!) I haven’t gone the fancy way of making my own shampoo or using honey for conditioner like Erin has been. Rather, I’ve been keeping it simple: scrub with baking soda in place of shampoo, and then rinse with a capful of apple cider vinegar in place of conditioner. (Protip: be careful with that vinegar, people. I got some in my eye in the first week and it stung like a mother.)

Honestly, with hair this length I could probably do nothing at all and see no difference. But! Since they (“they”) say that it takes your scalp about two weeks to adapt and produce less oils, I figured that getting into it while I have too little hair to show any excess oils would work well, and then I’d be all adapted for if/when I decide to grow my hair back out again.

Or, at least, I’ll be adapted until I decide to dye my hair again. Although if and when that happens, maybe I’ll keep on with the soda/vinegar routine to see what havoc it wreaks upon dyed hair. You know, for the good of humanity and stuff.

If I can’t use my ill-conceived plans to help better inform others, what good am I, anyway?

So, do you guys have a special hair-care routine? No-(sham)poo? Lots of product? Are you big into natural materials? Do you prefer pricey salon/cosmetic products? (Do you think my weird hairline is as hilarious as I do? Hair, why do you grow that way?)

Outfit Post: 6/23/12

Shirt: Thrifted (Self Esteem) — Jeans: Thrifted — Camisole: Old Navy — Socks: Gift — Oxfords: Payless — Amethyst necklace: Thrifted — Sea Life Necklace: Self-assembled — Bangle: World Market — Earrings: Gift from Katie! — Ring: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Heyyy, weekend outfit! Despite the cooler temperatures on Saturday, I ended up a bit warm, but whatever. The fact that I could merely LOOK at black jeans without immediately breaking out into a sweat was a nice change of pace.

Besides, it gave me a chance to work in my manatee socks.

Sock interlude:

~*~***MANATEE SOOOOOOOCKS***~*~

Sock interlude over.

Continuing the theme of aquatic life, check out the newest incarnation of my jellyfish necklace! Remember how last time I wore it I mentioned that I’d lost the previous keychain I’d been planning to necklace-ify? (Of course you do.) Well, I found it! It was from the Maui Ocean Center, which I visited roughly a million billion years ago, and somehow it ended up in a box full of memorabilia from Germany. You know, na klar. So anyway, I liberated these two rays from their trappings and now they’re allllll friends!

Despite the hours and hours I spent playing Odell Down Under as a child, I can’t quite identify our new friends. The brown one looks like a regular old stingray, but the blue guy? Heck if I know. Some sort of inverted bluespotted stingray? A manta ray with the pox? Perhaps the Maui Ocean Center took some artistic liberties. (How dare they.)

I…also wore some other stuff. And things. You may have noticed that I’m not entirely at my most articulate today, but what else is new? I think it’s about time I had a vacation. Thank goodness I have one coming up! I’m leaving next Tuesday after work to go visit my mumsey over the 4th of July, and I can’t even tell you guys how much I’m looking forward to it. Mom! Hanging around the house! A possible visit to the King Tut Exhibit in Seattle! Plus lots of immodest ice cream cones and barbecue and snuggling with tiny doggies. This trip is long overdue, I tells ya.

Have you taken a vacation lately? Do you have one coming up? In clothes-related talk, do you like this purple plaid as much as I do?

Giveaway Winners

Drumroll, please!

Close enough.

Okay, y’all, thanks to the Random Number Generator, the winner of the signed copy of Lucy Knisley’s comic travelogue French Milk is:

Amy Shelley! Congratulations, Amy! That hippo story is the cutest. There’s no Turkish delight in French Milk but I hope you like it anyhow.

And again, thanks to the Random Number Generator, the winner of the blue sarong with green and yellow sea life is:

Chelsea S! Felicidades, Chelsea! I may have to steal that outfit idea to try with one of the remaining sarongs in my wardrobe. Summery!

I think I already have your address from the Month of Letters project, Amy, but Chelsea, if you could email me over at figwiggin-at-gmail-dot-com with an address to which I can send your prize, I’ll get it all out by the end of the week.

And hoorays and huzzahs all around! Thanks for the well-wishes, everybody. You’re all the greatest, and you’re all winners in my heart! (Well, except for you losers. You know who you are. No, not you, those other loser people.)

Outfit Post: 6/26/12

Today was one of those days that I was so glad to have a flexible work schedule. I actually woke up feeling a bit sick, and was too sore to ride into work, so I just worked from home. I felt a bit better by the time I got around to taking pictures, but I’m still not 100%.

That’s one of the unfortunate things about dance weekends: everyone spreads all the disease around. Ick. Still, another full night’s rest will have wiped out the post-dance weekend icks, but it won’t erase all of the good times had.

One of my fears is that when I reach the real world, it will be too difficult to maintain my silly lifestyle, but then, there are so many dancers who are post-degree and gainfully employed that I realize this is a bit silly. If anything, it makes travelling a bit more difficult, but you just make it happen. That’s what it’s all about.

That and my landlord’s new mission, which seems to be PLANT ALL THE THINGS. I keep forgetting to ask for the tour of what’s in the pots, or permission to paint the pots with the names of the plants in them. Must. Remember. To. Ask. Plants! They’re neat!

Outfit Post: 6/23/12

So Braden and I got a huge surprise on the first night of BluesSHOUT! We both made it into the Novice Jack and Jill finals…and got lucky enough to dance together! Braden’s camera was set up on a tripod and got video, so after that renders to something reasonable and gets uploaded to the youTubes, I’ll probably let y’all know about it. It was my first time EVER making it to finals in a Blues Jack & Jill competition, and we GOT SECOND PLACE!

This one is actually when we realized we were partnered together, not when they announced the placings, but this pretty much is also how I felt about getting 2nd. It was so. exciting. And I had so much damn fun! It was a super wonderful way to kick off what turned out to be one of the best dance weekends I’ve had in ages.

Also, I felt very pretty on the first night of Shout! in my custom-made dress and purpleness from head-to-toe. And my pettipants, albeit a bit too long to be covered by this dress while I was in motion, certainly helped me stay cool and uh…covered all night long. There was so MUCH fashion-judging and slut-shaming in any number of conversations  I heard or was invited to participate in. It made me uncomfortable, and I don’t right now have the chops to talk about it in a balanced way…so for now, I’ll just be happy to have gotten to participate, and since no one has posted pictures from the 2nd or 3rd night of Shout!, I’ll go back to regular outfit pictures tomorrow.

The first picture today was taken by Sara Van Vreede, who does -not- have a photography website, while the last two are by Josh Wisely.

How To: Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I love ice cream. I mean it: I LOVE ice cream. I like desserts in general, but there’s something special about the cold+sweet thing that ice cream has going on, especially when it’s nearing 100 degrees around here and I barely have the will to go on. Ambient temperature’s only part of, it, though; I even like ice cream when I’m visiting my mom in the chilly vistas of Washington state, where the geese are plentiful and a lovely produce stand down the road famously advertises their “IMMODEST ICE CREAM CONES” for all and sundry to enjoy. (They truly are, too. A single scoop is roughly the size of a baby’s head.)

Really, the one thing I like more than ice cream is homemade ice cream. I don’t make it nearly as often as I’d really like, mainly because the only ice cream maker we have in the house is this little fella, which is a cute novelty but which is kind of a pain in the ass for practical use. No, you don’t necessarily need a fancy-shmancy ice-cream maker to make ice cream, but the last time I tried making matcha frozen yogurt with just a bowl, the freezer, and a spatula for scraping? It took nearly four hours and my roommate and I watched the entire first series of Prime Suspect. I enjoyed watching Helen Mirren kick ass and take names, but I’d rather not repeat the experience if I can help it.

Despite my incessant whining, making ice cream really isn’t that hard, just (sometimes) time-consuming, and you can make it whether you’ve got a bowl and two hands, a silly ice-cream ball with a cracked side so that freezing salty ice-water gushes out every time you roll it, or a really top-of-the-line machine. I promise! Don’t let me scare you off. Plus, the results are almost invariably delicious and will wipe your mind of what an intense ice-cream making ordeal you’ve just been through.

All this to say: I made strawberry ice cream on Sunday. Following a David Lebovitz recipe, of course, because he’s only the frozen desserts master or whatever. Y’know. Perfect Scoop is a lovely cookbook that makes me want to make ice cream once a week for the rest of eternity and never look back.

I did break a cardinal Lebovitz rule by not following the directions to the letter, but what can I say? I’m a rebel. So instead of using a pound of fresh strawberries, I used roughly a pound (I couldn’t find my kitchen scale) of frozen ones, thawed overnight and then macerated with sugar so that they turned into the sweet, sweet strawberry soup you see here. Not viscera, I swear! We’ll cover viscera ice cream next time.

The strawberries and their liquid got thrown in the blender with some heavy cream, low-fat yogurt, and a squirt of lemon juice. The yogurt was supposed to be sour cream, but I opened up my ancient container of sour cream and bad, scary things happened, so I made the last-minute substitute with my fingers crossed.

That all got pulsed a few times until it was a nice pink Pepto-Bismol color. Pretty, ain’t it? I probably could have stood to pulse it fewer times; you’re supposed to end up with a mostly-smooth but still-somewhat-chunky liquid, and my liquid had no chunks at all, more’s the pity.

Man, what an appetizing word: chunk. Second only to loaf in its sheer delicious-sounding-ness.

Anyhow, the goop got poured into my prepped ice cream ball, and I sat through a couple of episodes of Eureka rocking the ice cream ball in pretty much the exact way you don’t want to rock a baby. But I kept spills of both icy water and ice-cream liquid to a minimum, and after about 30-45 minutes I scraped the semi-firm ice cream into a plastic tub and put it in the freezer to finish.

Et voila! Later that night we had our ice cream, sweet and creamy and strawberry-y and basically everything I wanted. The recipe did turn out slightly on the icy side, which I attribute to the low-fat yogurt; with ice cream, you really want to go full-fat as much as possible for a smoother final result. But still, it was good! Better than good, it was ice cream on a hot June night.

I’ve made a couple of recipes so far from Perfect Scoop, like peach, and Mexican chocolate, and raspberry sorbet (and a papaya sorbet that didn’t really turn out, although I think the fault of that lies with the original papaya); one of these days I’ll be a little more adventurous and try something like Roquefort and honey or coconut and saffron, but when the stone fruits finally hit our farmer’s market, you know where I’ll be.

No, the answer’s not on Jupiter, you ignoramuses. I mean, I’ll be in the kitchen, makin’ me some ice cream.

– – –

Strawberry Ice Cream (adapted from David Lebovitz’ recipe)
About 1.25 quarts

1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled (or ~1 pound frozen strawberries, thawed overnight, if you’re a scrub like me)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the cream, yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth, but slightly chunky (there’s that word again).

Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Eat, and be happy.