Books I Read in July

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
I don't even want to describe what this book is about, because when it's written out, it sounds, well, odd, but here goes:  This is the story of a hermaphrodite.  A grown man looking back on his childhood as a girl.  Okay, now that that's out of the way, let me go on and say:  this was the most moving book.  Incredibly moving.  Because it's not just his childhood that Cal reflects on, but it's also the lives of two generations of his Greek family before him.  It's an exploration of family and personal history, and how these are intertwined, and how the actions of our parents and grandparents continue to affect us in the present day, and what that means for us.  Oh, and it's beautifully, beautifully written.  Loved it.  Incredible.  Read it.
P.S. Y'all, it won the Pulitzer.

Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs
I've been working through this book for the last couple of months with my Skype Bible Study girls.  Although I found the way Higgs writes her commentary to be a little too "look how funny and irreverent I am!", I did enjoy the book on the whole.  Some of the stories of these "bad" women I either hadn't heard or just plain didn't remember hearing if I had (Michal? Guys, David burned her bad and she wasn't so nice in return), and some were a nice refresher and excuse to dig deeper into them (Delilah, you minx).  It's comforting to read the stories and be given the proof right there in black and white of God's promise that we are covered by grace, no matter how bad we think we've behaved.

...and thus hopefully ends my book-reading drought!  Guys, these are the first two books I've finished since April!  I'm hopping back on the reading wagon.


Weekend: Holding On & Letting Go

This weekend, I went out with these girls to say good-bye to one of our own, who is moving this week across the country to be with the love of her life (the only way we could possibly bear to let her leave).

At dinner, it hit me.  It just occurred to me all of a sudden.  That this is what I'm going to remember.  For the rest of my life, anytime I say, "When we lived in New York...," this is what those memories will be made of.

These people, these faces.  This group of girls that I found a place with.  This city that was home for the first years of our marriage.

I'm going to remember what New York streets look like in the rain, and how I never had an umbrella when I needed one.

I'm going to remember our subway stop, the place we always walked to on the platform to wait, our favorite seats to take on the train, the way I got sick if I wasn't facing sideways.  I think I'll be able to recite the 1 train stops for the rest of my life.

I'm going to remember that the cab fare to get home from downtown was $27.

I'm going to remember the way we loved the boats on the Hudson outside our window, all kinds of boats, but our favorites were the tugs.

I'm going to remember the Westside Highway late at night, the sailboats in Boat Basin eerily floating on the water, and the lights of the bridge getting closer and closer.

I'm going to remember the night we got crepes after Mandy's going away dinner and, if I'm lucky, I'm going to remember how they tasted.

These tiny little details, these images, these passing conversations, these nights in the city.  All these things are building up, being stored in my mind to create my memory of New York.  New York the way I'll remember it 20 or 40 or 60 years from now.  This is it.  It's happening now, but it's also already my past, and at the same time, it's also already my future.  It's all together somehow, and at the same time it's fleeting.  On the one hand, it's hard to grasp, but on the other...I hope it will be impossible to let go.


Bridesmaid Dress Collection: For Hannah!

I had the absolute honor of making the bridesmaid dresses for a wedding this summer (last summer, I made Heidi's!).  The new Mr. and Mrs. Lesley (you know Hannah from her blog heart to heart) got married in an outdoor ceremony on a beach last month, and it was g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s, to say the least.

Hannah chose deep purple for the dress color and sent me an inspiration picture for the style, so I can't take any credit for the design of these dresses, but I love the way they turned out.  It's amazing how the style seems to perfectly suit all 7 of the girls!  Here are the sewing stats:

Fabric:  Poly Matte Jersey in Amethyst from Fabric.com (still 8 yards left!)
Pattern for one-shoulder top and ruffle:  Burdastyle 7549
The rest of the dress:  I just figured it out :)

Hannah and all her girls were really a dream to work with.  Even through all the bumps and obstacles that come with living across the country from the person making your dresses (measurements, fittings - it gets tricky!), each one was so patient with me and immensely helpful in getting each dress just right for each girl.

(All photos by Steve Willis photography

I also just had to include this shot from their ceremony.  Those storm clouds rolling in overhead make such a spectacular backdrop to an already gorgeous setting.  Amazing, isn't it?  I feel like it's God saying, "Look, I'm right here with you guys!"

Hannah has been writing the most amazing posts recapping their wedding, and it ain't over yet!  Make sure to take a visit - your heart will thank you.


Stuff I (Think I Will) Like (In The Future): Fall TV

Even though we cancelled our cable, my obsession with TV hasn't waned a bit.  I just love television.  I really, really do.  Which is why I've been avidly following the reports of all the new shows coming this fall, and here are three that I'm prettttttty excited about (along with all my old favorites, of course).

The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling is likeable.  I liked her as Kelly on The Office, of course, and when she would pop up in small roles in No Strings Attached, for instance, but it wasn't until I read her book that I really became a true-blue Mindy Kaling fan.  I would like to be her friend in real life.  I would like to go back in time and have her be a bridesmaid at my wedding.  She's smart, funny (duh), and so genuine - and her writing both in the book and on TV blows me away.  I think all of that is going to be evident in her new show, too.  Also, I like her sparkly dresses, and how she's a hot mess.

Tami Taylor as a Faith-Hill-like country singer?  Yes, please.  As an Oklahoman born and bred, I have a soft spot in my heart for country music, and when you add a heaping helping of backstage drama in with it, of course I'm on board.  Also, I spotted Jonathan Jackson (the old Lucky from General Hospital [!!!!]) in this trailer!  My 4th grade self had a gigantic crush on that guy.

666 Park Avenue
As I watched this trailer, I said to myself, "This seems like a combination of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, but for grown-ups."  Then, about 45 seconds in, I saw "From the producers of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars."  CALLED IT.  Anyway, this one looks pretty terrifying, so I don't know if I can really watch it since I am not a fan of scary things, but it also has Clay from One Tree Hill and Dave Annable, who Scott just met in a bar last weekend, and also Vanessa Williams, and also the bald guy from Lost, and also I love shows set in New York, so I'm putting my fear aside and watching.  But probably in broad daylight.


Now Starting My Tranformation into Katie Holmes

I've had a pretty consuming girl crush on Katie Holmes since 1998 and the first time she sarcastically put Dawson in his place on Dawson's Creek.  (Yes, my obsession with that show really knows no bounds.)  I think she is just so pretty, so classic.  Her personal life, of course, has had a few minor (cough*Tom-Cruise-shaped*cough) obstacles that we're all more than aware of, but sartorially?  Katie doesn't misstep.

I really don't dress anything like her.  But, I wish I dressed like her.  And I decided to start making that wish come true.

On July 10, she wore this perfectly plain and simple denim dress (in fact, I think it might be this one from Madewell), and I said to myself, "Self, this is where it starts.  I'm making that dress."

And I did!

I didn't have any chambray around, but I did have some regular old denim (first used in the Jolly Holiday Shorts).  I used the wrong side of the fabric because it was lighter colored, more like Katie's dress.  The bodice is a slight variation of the Coffee Date Dress by the Selfish Seamstress, and the skirt is just a regular old gathered skirt - with pockets, of course!
Since this denim is a little heavier, like jeans, I decided to leave off the sleeves and leave the fit nice and loose, so it would be a little bit cooler to wear in the summer.  That way, I could also skip the zipper!  I actually love the way that it fits - just so comfy and casual.  I can also see this being a major wardrobe worker in the fall and winter with heavy cardigans, tights, and boots.

Now...to pick out which Katie outfit I'll be copying next!


Weekend: New York Nights

This weekend included a cover band made up of middle-aged dudes at a pirate-themed dive bar and beer pong with Odette Annable.  Need I say...only in New York.


Sewing 101 on Shrimp Salad Circus!

I'm excited to announce that I've been collaborating with Lindsay from Shrimp Salad Circus (a blog full of DIY tutorials and internet knowledge - it's in your Reader, right?) on a Sewing 101 series!  I'm getting to use all this self-taught know-how that's been accumulating in my brain over the past three years to help out other beginning sewers.  Fun!

The posts will be up every other Thursday.  So far, we've talked about Essential Supplies and Sewing Machine Basics, and in two weeks, I'll be doing a tutorial for the simplest (and cutest) skirt in the whole world.  If you've been wanting to pick up sewing as a hobby or just want to learn more, I would love it you followed along!  And if you have any questions - please feel free to e-mail me!


Our New York: Riverside Drive

One of the nicest little walks near us is along Riverside Drive. There are trees (a few anyway), a really beautiful cemetery, and (as always) the bridge can be seen peeking out from somewhere along the way.  It has the feel of a much older New York, and I love it.
If you're interested, other parts of our neighborhood:  In the Heights, George Washington Bridge, Riverside Park


Happy Birthday to Scott!

It's Scott's birthday today! 
Hopefully we will do some celebrating with friends this weekend, but for tonight, I asked him what he wanted to eat for his birthday dinner.  We could go anywhere or I would make him anything. 

His response was the greatest thing I have ever heard.  He told me he wanted to do a food tour of the neighborhood:  chicken and rice from the food cart, a sandwich from Tasty Deli, a slice of pizza from Famous Familigia, and some fried chicken from King Palace.  Amazingly, this list is, in fact, the best food you can find within 5 blocks of us in any direction. 

What a feast it shall be.

Happy birthday, my love.


Real People Wearing Dottie Adele

Sometimes I find it a tad bit embarrassing that all the pictures for my shop are just of me modeling the clothes (and I use the term "modeling" pretty loosely).  So I love it when customers send me pics of themselves wearing their Dottie Adele stuff, so I can show you the clothes on people other than myself!

First, here's my friend/co-worker/long-lost twin Brittany rocking a Seersucker Summer Skirt while sipping on some Starby's.  And yes, this is in our office!

And here's Whitney, who has one of the cutest style Tumblrs around, What Whitney Wears, sporting the Paper Bag Waist Shorts.  Spot on styling, wouldn't you say?

Thanks, girls, for being my real-life models!


Tiny Pocket Tank 3

Third time's a charm...

This is my third version of Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tank (the first is striped, the second is gray). I liked the first two immensely, but this third version is my absolute favorite!
It's made from a rayon challis I got from Fabric.com (now sold out).  I made it a size bigger than my first tank to make it a little roomier, and I thickened the straps by about 1/2".  The Tiny Pocket Tank is such an easy, quick (took me less than 2 hours total), satisfying project, and I'll probably still be making a few more in the future.  Three is not enough.

And as a bonus, here's my first real-life wearing of it, over the weekend:
Date night:  Dinner & a movie at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn.


Shakin' It Out

I've come to one of those times that happen every once in awhile when I feel like I'm getting dragged down and it's time to start over and get my crap back together.  Do you know that feeling?  Summers are always a weird combination of traveling/feeling incredibly busy and long lulls of doing nothing/feeling incredibly lazy.  It's time to snap out of it!

There are some little devils on my back trying to bring me down.  Their names are Laziness, Self-Consciousness, and Wishy-Washy.  Boo, you little devils!  I'm going to shake them off and get back to dancing (figuratively, not literally, because my back can't handle that anymore).

I'm going to stop excusing myself from exercising just because I can't run (my former love and preferred method of movement).  There are a million other ways to work out, and I need to find one that doesn't hurt my back and just start doing it.  I'll feel better if I would just start moving.

I'm going to stop watching TV so much that I don't have time to read books.  I love to read books!  But I'm not.  And the TV I'm watching?  Old seasons of 90210 and One Tree Hill on Netflix.  They're allllways going to be there, and I've seen them before.  I'm going to switch them off and read books instead.

I'm going to stop staying up way past my bedtime every night and then regretting it all day the next day.  What is that about?  Go to bed at a decent hour, and you'll be able to get up at a decent hour too, and start your day with the sun.  When I was a really little kid, my mom said I used to wake up so happy that she would come in my room to find me sitting up in bed smiling, just waiting for her.  I'm going to make myself a morning person again.  I love mornings!

I'm going to stop feeling overwhelmed by the task of making my shop successful, and just do what I need to do.  I've got a million ideas and plenty of passion, I just feel daunted by all that it takes, especially when I also have a normal day job.  I'm going to take a cue from Nike, and just do it.

I'm going to stop not following through on what I say I'm going to do.
I'm going to get back to being in the Word (my Bible study girls have been on vacation, and that's been my excuse.  No more!)
I'm going to make a to-do list that I know I can complete.
I'm going to make scrumptious meals and bake cookies for us.
I'm going to let myself relax on Sunday instead of trying to make it into another work day.
I'm going to get my crap back together!

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!

This is my weekend.  I'm getting my life back in order.  Thanks, Florence + the Machine, for providing the soundtrack.


Countdown: Things are Getting Bittersweet

In negative 2 days (otherwise known as Monday): My new glasses arrived!
I have been putting off getting my new prescription for years, and finally went down to the Warby Parker HQ and picked me out a new pair.

In one week:  Scott's birthday!  And we'll be the same age once again...for 8 more months.
I hope he dresses like this for the occasion.

In 12 days:  The Bachelorette finale
I'm on Team Puppets, but I'll be happy (just not AS happy) if it goes the other way as well!

In 20 days: Home for a visit!  My sister and I are going on a roadtrip that will involve 18 hours in the car together and a visit to all our grandparents and our parents.  She is this excited.
This will forever be my favorite Kelsey picture.
In 27 days:  It will be 3 years since this day.
 It has flown by in the absolute greatest way.

In 4 months and 5 days:  Breaking Dawn Part 2
I can't add an exclamation point behind that in good conscience, because while I used to looooove Twilight, now I mostly just can't wait for this movie to come out so I can go see it at midnight, and then wash my hands of the whole thing.
I find this so disturbing.
In 5 and a half months:  Christmas!
I already started looking up plane tickets :)

In 10 and a half months:  Scott Bryant, DDS
 I can't believe this is now less than a year away.  It's simultaneously so sweet and so bitter.

In one year:  We'll be moved away from this incredible place that has treated us so well...
and settled somewhere brand new!  
The scary part:  we have no idea (yet) where that somewhere new will be.

In 38ish years:  retirement


Dottie Adele: New in the Shop!

 This week in my Etsy shop, two brand new items!
First up, the most comfortable shirt I've ever owned, the new Neon Striped Cuff T-shirt.  I honestly can't believe how soft this jersey is!  I made this 8 days ago, and have already worn it 3 times.

The other new item is a update on one of my original designs (this dress!).  This time, I lengthened it and used this really pretty pink knit - thus this Maxi Dress in Blush was born!  I think it would be so perfect for a bridal shower (bride or guest!) or as a day to night dress when you don't have time to go home and change.

Dottie Adele is also on Facebook now, so become a fan, if you'd like!  While you're there, check out my new cover photo, which I am really digging, if I do say so myself.


What Scott Built: Electric Guitar

One day, Scott said, "I want to build a guitar."

So he went online and ordered a guitar kit.

It arrived as a body, a neck (both in unfinished wood), and a whole bunch of tiny silver parts and wires.

He stained it, put all the pieces together, and wired up all the electric stuff.

And now I've been listening to the strains of electric guitar in the late night/early morning.  Music sounds pretty sweet coming from an instrument you built with your own two hands.
I don't mean to brag, but he amazes me.  He just says "I want to build a guitar" and then he does it.  Incredible.

P.S.  In case you're interested, he's also built a bar, a workbench, and a lighting fixture.



I hope everyone's 4th looked just like mine: friends, food, fireworks, and a fabulous display of red, white, and blue clothing. Although I have to say, could it get more American than a rooftop BBQ with a view of Freedom Tower rising over the skyline?
This is our last 4th of July living in New York City, so we had to go down to the water to watch the fireworks display.  We, and the 3 million other New Yorkers parked out in Riverside Park, all agreed it was pretty spectacular.

God Bless the USA!