Outfit Post: 5/28/13

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Dress: Goodwill — Belt: Thrifted (Target) — Bracelet and necklace: Thrifted — Flats: Thrifted (Born) — Earrings: Vendor on campus

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Normally I don’t have much luck with dresses when hitting up my favorite Goodwill. They’re the wrong size, or not my style, or horrifically puffy prom monstrosities. But, as fate would have it, on my last visit I came away with three! THREE. Not to brag, but ~*~dresses forever~*~

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I’m definitely pleased with this one as a thrift-store find. It’s a bit loose on top, and I’ve considered taking it in–but honestly, I’ll probably just continue to belt it and call it a day. It’s so comfortable this way!

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If there’s one person this dress reminds me of, it’s Gracey; maybe it’s the polka dots, maybe it’s the navy, maybe it’s just the slightly-vintage-looking dress-ness of it. Whatever the reason, I tried to think of a way that Gracey might style it, remembered that we both have this belt, and went from there.

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I like how the whole outfit came out, so I’ll have to think of other Gracey-esque pairings in the future–I highly suspect leopard will be involved.

Outfit Post: 5/26/13

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Tee: MartyMay — Jeans: Nordstrom Rack — Oxfords: Payless — Socks: Sock Dreams (Bobby Socklings in Inky Violet) — Ring: Target — Earrings: Nervous System

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Yaaay, boring jeans-and-a-tee outfit! Honestly, you can see tons of super-chic and cool jeans-and-a-tee outfits all across the internet; I’m not sure why I have trouble with them. I feel uninteresting, even when other people look great. Is it all in my head, or do I need to step up my game?

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I feel like I kind of have trouble with casual weekend outfits in general, actually. I don’t tend to mix my weekend clothes with my work clothes too much, which is kind of a weird and arbitrary mental block. I can’t wear that skirt on Saturday, that’s a work skirt! 

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Which is obviously a little limiting. Add in the fact that I want to be comfortable and practical on the weekends–especially if I’m doing cleaning around the house–but I simultaneously don’t want to look boring or frumpy, and it gets complicated. I’m still working on it, but it’ll take time. (Well, at least until it hits the high 90s again; then I’ll just be back in a uniform of shorts and tank tops, and I’ll be sweaty/happy.)

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I do love this shirt for weekend wear, though. A year and a half after I picked it up at Alternative Press Expo 2011 and it’s still lovely and soft and comfortable. I hand-wash it gently so that the print won’t flake too much, and it seems to be doing fine. I kind of hope Marty May is back at APE ’13 so that I can go through her wares again and add more weekend shirts to my arsenal.

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Anyway, I’ve got a temporary tattoo courtesy of Miz Jaunty–what could be weekendier than that?

Outfit Post: 5/24/13

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Button-front: Leah’s free pile — Skirt: Blacklist Vintage — Suspenders: Thrifted — Oxfords: Payless — Earrings: Heatherly Designs — Ring: Gift

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You only get one full-outfit picture today because I got salad dressing all over the back of my skirt right before taking pictures last Friday.

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(In case you’re wondering, this is why I can’t have nice things.)

Outfit Post: 5/23/13

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Top: Vintage, from my mom — Pants: Goodwill — Flats: 6pm.com (Frye) — Ring: Gift — Earrings: Hand-me-down

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They were having a sale on sleeves, so I made sure to get extra.

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You know, stocking up. Just in case there’s a sleeve shortage later.

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The embroidery on this shirt is actually pretty on-trend, isn’t it? Geometric, plus the kicky pink/red combo. Slap it on some floaty rayon and it wouldn’t look out of place at a Forever 21.

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I think so, anyway. I haven’t been inside a Forever 21 in a while–the loud music and disorganized racks send me scampering like a timid baby deer. It’s overstimulating! I’ll take the very different loud music and disorganized racks at Goodwill, thanks.

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Or I could just be full of bull honky. Here, look at some pretty flowers blooming in our backyard and forget I said anything.

How To: Inauthentic Summer Rolls

Hey, kids! Want to learn how to make spring rolls? (Well, spring rolls-ish?) Of course you do! C’mon, let’s boogie.

The nice thing about spring rolls is that there are a billion different varieties of them. Fried? Sure! Fresh? Also sure! Pork, beef, shrimp, herbs, peanut powder? Yes, yes, and more yes! So technically, this how-to is more of a general guide than an exact recipe, with some tips thrown in for the inexperienced roll-maker; this was my first time making them and I noticed a few things along the way.

We’ll be talking about fresh spring rolls, also sometimes called summer rolls, because the rice-paper skin and the lighter filling is super refreshing when the weather starts to heat up. Basically, if you have the patience to chop things up for a salad, you have the patience to make a bunch of summer rolls and then chow them all down while sitting on the porch getting bug-bit.

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So first off, you’re gonna prep your fillings. I chose shrimp (cooked in boiling water that was seasoned with some soy sauce and lime juice), cilantro, mango, avocado, and cucumber. TIP #1: prep a lot of filling! No, a lot! More than that! It’s especially good if you can include something relatively cheap and voluminous, like rice stick noodles or cabbage, to balance out the other stuff.

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Next, pull out your spring roll wrappers. They come in containers like this–you can find them at well-stocked grocery stores or Asian markets, and they come stiff and dried. Fill a large dish/pot/pan/what have you with hot water–make sure it’s large enough that you can submerge an entire wrapper. Soak the wrapper for 20-30 seconds until it’s pliable. TIP #2: it’s okay to pull it out if it still feels a little stiff; it’ll continue to soften, and if you leave it in the water too long it’ll start to weaken and shred.

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Then you’re gonna lay out the softened wrapper and fill it! TIP #3: add more filling than you think you need. This is where noodles or cabbage come in handy–the wrapper will be good and stretchy now that it’s been rehydrated, and if you don’t add enough filling to the roll, it’ll be kind of flaccid and the filling will fall out. As you can see here, I laid the filling out sort of burrito-style, almost all the way to the ends of the wrapper, and I rolled them and then cut them in half. Next time, I’m going to make a more concentrated bolus (isn’t that a delicious word, bolus?) in the center of the wrapper and pull the top and bottom down further so that the whole thing is more snugly wrapped for structural integrity. Also, it’s a good idea to put down a paper towel or something to absorb the excess moisture so that things don’t get all soggy.

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And you just continue rolling and wrapping until you’ve run out of filling! They’re good appetizer fare, but if you make enough you can also just horf them down in place of lunch or dinner. No regrets. They’re best eaten right after they’re made–I ate some of mine and saved the rest for lunch the next day, and the wrappers had weakened and torn in spots, which made them messier and harder to eat. Still mega-delicious, though.

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I can’t see myself getting tired of them anytime soon. It’s super easy to mix up the filling: I found recipes with enoki, broccoli, and kimchi, sesame-crusted avocado and cabbage, jicama, smoked salmon, quinoa, and even fresh edible flowers. My mix was pretty dang good; the creaminess of the avocado and the mango was balanced by the crunchy cucumber, the firm shrimp, and the slightly chewy wrapper, and I like cilantro in everything so it was a nice herbal bonus. You can sub in pretty much whatever you like, though, which is good because many spring roll recipes call for mint and I hate fresh mint. With a fiery passion. So, you know, you do you! There are probably some limits to appropriate fillings–breakfast cereal and ice cream come to mind–but other than that, the sky’s the limit. Shoot for the stars with your little spring rolls, friends, and you’ll go far.

Outfit Post: 5/22/13

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Blazer and ring: Target — Tee: Goodwill — Skirt: Anthropologie — Sandals: Dansko — Bangles: Thrifted — Earrings: Solano Stroll

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Skirt-and-tee was how I originally envisioned this outfit, but I failed to take into account a slight dip in the weather–thus, the blazer you see above. It (mostly) kept me from freezing, although I probably should have also rethought the sandals while I was at it.

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Fortunately, things warmed up enough by the afternoon that I felt fine and dandy going blazer-free. Swoosh!

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Somehow it’s harder to crawl back to the closet and put a sweater or cardigan on when it’s nearly summer; it seems like a weird concession when it’s May already, dammit, and I was just sweltering in shorts and a tank top last weekend! Them’s the breaks with climate change, I guess.

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Don’t be like me, though, kids–dress for the real weather, not the imaginary weather that lives inside your head.

Outfit Post: 5/21/13

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Top: Target — Skirt: One Mango Tree — Flats: American Rag — Ring and earrings: Nervous System

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It’s kind of funny how I have an easier time styling this top than I do with some of the more conventionally-silhouetted items in my closet.

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I just pull it out whenever I want to play with shape or pattern, or when I want to feel dramatic. It’s a very good top for feeling dramatic, especially when the wind catches the sleeves and they get all billowy, like a romance novel hero’s.

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The two patterns don’t have a lot in common with each other–the barest little hints of yellow and navy–but maybe that’s why they work.

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Also, y’all have seen my Nervous System ring before, but allow me to debut…

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My new Nervous System earrings! Worn together, they make me feel way cooler than I really have any right to be.