Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Daphne Blake: Cartoon Style

I think it's fun to take fashion tips from all over the place, not just from stores and magazines. I like to find inspiration in unexpected places, and translate them into every-day wearable things!  So here are some outfits I've compiled inspired by one of my childhood favorites, Daphne Blake from the original Scooby Doo cartoon. Scooby Doo was one of the few cartoons my sister, Leslie, and I had to watch when we moved to Switzerland (aside from Tom and Jerry) and we would watch it endlessly, absolutely enthralled by it. Around that time I was also obsessed with 60's fashion (still am) and Daphne was just the perfect representation of what I wanted to wear everyday. With Halloween around the corner, I've been wanting to re-watch old episodes!
Now, as you can probably tell, these outfits are a bit pricey. Sad face. BUT with these in mind, I think I can find some budget worthy alternatives. Maybe even alter some thrifty finds? We shall see!

Daphne Blake

Daphne Blake by Rachel

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Heritage Rose Garden


This past Sunday was a really good day, and one that I had been looking forward to for a while. Not for any one big reason in particular, but it was just one of those days where so many little good things come together to make one great day. It was the first day of Fall, we had plans to visit Keith's family (which is always one of the most relaxing places to be in my opinion). It was Frodo and Bilbo's birthday which marks the time to begin my yearly read of Lord of the Rings, and there was a new episode of Breaking Bad on that night. Aside from all those great things, the weather was stellar, so I put on one of my favorite dresses and took on the day! On the way home from our visit with Keith's family, we made an impromptu stop at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden. It was just too lovely of an afternoon to spend inside. 
Roses are one of my favorite flowers because of their range of colors and their smell just makes me melt. Keith, being the film maker that he is, took the opportunity to take some pictures while we were there, and these are some of my favorites.

I'm sneaking up on that little bud!

What a cutie!

I love this shade of pink next to the white, its like Marie Antoinette!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stepping Out Your Door

Today, September 23rd, is the day after Frodo and Bilbo's birthday, and also marks the day that Frodo began his journey to destroy the One Ring. This also marks the day each year that I begin that journey again myself, and read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 
My dad read The Hobbit to me multiple times when I was young, I think the first time when I was around 7 years old, and then about 2-3 more times throughout the years. I first read the LOTR trilogy when I was 11. I did not read it every year at first, but somewhere along the line it became a sort of way to mark when my favorite time of year began, then it steadily became a yearly thing. This will be... I think my 8th consecutive year starting the trilogy on September 23rd. 

I started collecting editions of the books shortly after I started making it a yearly read, above (and on the left of the first picture) is my favorite edition. It is a giant tome, which includes all three books of the trilogy! It has fold-out maps on each end, golden edges, and runes written in red. I've read through this one a couple times, so this year I am going to change things up!

This year I will be reading this edition of the trilogy. (I only have The Fellowship pictured here, the other books look nearly identical.) I found this set in a used book store, and it is from 1965, is the US second edition, and the 6th printing. You can kind of see some of my Halloween decorations in these pictures, which is a future post I am very excited about!

So that marks the beginning of another journey! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a long expected party to attend.

Buh Bye!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Horror Movie Style Icons

Casey - Scream (1996)
90's heaven. Case and point.

Cherry Darling - Planet Terror (2007)
Who else can look this good in a hospital bed with their leg cut off? "It's Go-Go, not Cry-Cry."

Wendy - The Shining (1980)
Kinda quirky, but I can get into it.

Mia - The Evil Dead (2013)

Pam - Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Samantha - The House of the Devil (2009)

Lynda and Laurie - Halloween (1978)
Particularly Lynda. I think I have those nude wedges, and her hair is beyond adorable.

Are there any Horror Movie victims that have great style that stands out to you? Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mini Blueberry Pies

With Fall right around the corner, I think it's time to break out this recipe again. 
I go crazy for anything miniature. Whether it's a mini-bar bottle of whiskey or Barbie shoes, I have some sort of fascination with taking something and making it tiny. I've become so used to baking mini-cupcakes that the novelty of how small they are has worn off a bit, but these mini pies are really hard to get over. They are so much fun to make and to eat. For a good chuckle, I like to serve one of these on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For the Crust (Påte Brisée): 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cold milk
Begin by making a pile of the flour on a clean surface.
Make a well in the center, and put the butter, egg, sugar, and salt in the center.
With your finger tips, slowing begin working the ingredients together until combined and the dough is crumbly.
Pour the milk onto the dough and work together. Push the dough away from you 5-6 times until it becomes smooth.
Form into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.

For the Filling:
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
Stir all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, and keep refrigerated until ready for use. (if you have left overs, this can be frozen and used later.)

Assembling the pies:

In a buttered, or baking oiled mini cupcake pan, place a small ball of dough in each mini muffin cup. With floured fingers, flatten and shape the dough to the shape of the muffin cup, pushing the edges up the sides. Try to keep the dough thickness even throughout.

Depending on the size of your blueberries, place 4-6 berries in each cup. My berries were on the small side, so I put 6 in each pie. (Don't put too many other wise they will bubble up and overflow while baking.)

Roll out the remaining pie dough on a floured surface, and use a 1" cutter to cut out the round tops. I like to use a shot-measure. Place each round on top of a pie.

Using your fingers, push down the edges of the pie crust so the bottom and tops come together. Then, with a fork, crimp the edges. With a sharp knife, stab little slits into the top so the pies can breathe.
Bake at 350˚F for 15-18 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and the berries are bubbling.
These are best served right out of the oven, or heated up!

Wedding Guest Tips

Just as much as etiquette tips are important for the happy couple, there are many tips that guests should be aware of as well. There are some fairly obvious ones, but after having the experience of being the Bride, there are some less obvious tips that can go a long way.
Thanks to my MOH's mom and professor, I have a great picture to illustrate a tip that goes without saying "Don't start any fights". Who knows what's actually going on, but its hilarious and I love this picture!

1. Don't talk about someone's divorce to the newly married couple. This is a subject that should be steered clear of, the day is all about fairy tale happy endings.

2. Don't bombard to new couple with cliche sayings like "Soon that will drive you crazy!" or "As long as he takes out the trash it will be ok!" Again, fairy tale optimism. This is a happy day, not one for tame cynicism.

3. DO NOT make a wedding proposal of your own to your significant other you brought along as your date. This one pretty much goes without saying.

4. If you have a card or gift that didn't make it to the designated table, leave it with the Maid of Honor or the Best Man. Usually they will have been appointed the responsibility of keeping track of things like this, and the Bride and Groom will be too busy to keep track of it.

5. Do not approach the wedding couple during the meal. Too often do Brides and Grooms go hungry at the event that took them a very long time to plan and it is a very exhausting day. They will talk to you, let them eat.

6. Take pictures, but do remember that the event is being professionally photographed, so don't get too lost behind your camera or phone.

7. Have a blast. Weddings create a very strong vibe of giddiness, so live it up! No one will remember your bad dance moves, but they will remember if you sit out on all of the festivities.

8. Do what the coordinator says and/or follow previously given instructions. This event has been well thought out for a very long time, don't bombard the couple after the ceremony when you are supposed to be finding your seat at the reception.

9. If you have questions about what you are supposed to be doing or where you need to go, ask the coordinator, Maid of Honor, Best Man, Parents, anyone else- do not ask the Bride or Groom.

10. Ladies- Bring an extra pair of shoes (like flats) heels will hurt after a while! Unless you posses some ability of the Gods.

11. Follow the registry. I can't emphasize this enough. Generally couples put things they really need on the registry. Towels may not seem like the most "fun" gift to get for the couple, but trust me. They really want those towels.

12. Before the ceremony, don't repeatedly tell the couple that this is the "biggest day of their life". It freaks them out.

13. Respect the Bride's choices for the wedding. Don't compare it to your old friend's niece's wedding that you went to 5 years ago.

14. If you are asked to be in a photograph taken by the photographer, SMILE. Don't be a grump in someone's pictures that they will be looking at for the rest of their lives.

15. If you took video of any part of the wedding, be sure to send it to the happy couple! In our case, we couldn't afford a videographer, so this was super helpful and turned out to be a much more personal experience of the wedding.

16. Be sensitive to the Maid of Honor and Best Man, they play a big part and can be nervous too. Especially with the speeches.

17. Don't ask the couple when they are going to have children. They just made a huge step in their lives, let them at least finish this big step before asking about the next one. (Also asking "when" implies they have to. It puts pressure on them and some couples may not want kids.)

18. NEVER EVER SAY "Now what you should have done-". This gives the Bride a license for murder.

19. Dress up! Take this opportunity to wear some of your nicer pieces of clothing, even if it is a more casual wedding, break out the heels you don't get to wear too often. (just make sure you're not fancier than the bride)

20. Arrive early. You'll get better seats and it will be much less stressful!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Top Five Comic Book Artists

Cory Walker
What I love most about Cory Walker's style is his bold outer lines. This is something I love doing, but have been repeatedly told not to do by teachers over many years of schooling. Seeing a professional do this inspires me to keep doing this despite all of the nay-saying. I think Walker is also one of the clearest illustrators I've seen in the comic world, you can see every detail without getting overwhelmed, or the drawing looking too simple.

Lee Bermejo
Bermejo's pencils look like the characters were crafted out of tin foil. His rendition of the Joker is very reminiscent of Heath Ledger's portrayal, and I love it. Bermejo really sucks the reader into the gritty reality of comic book worlds, and makes you feel the dirt and grime of what's going on. I love the amount of detail work paired right next to graphic elements, like the white silhouette of the Joker's hair against Batman's cape in the above image.

Frank Miller
Frank Miller feels so classic to me, he reminds me of Will Eisner, and his use of bold black and whites are breath taking. I feel like Frank Miller is a good example of taking all of the rules we learn in fundamental drawing/painting classes, and breaking them.

Bruce Timm
Anyone who grew up with the 1992 Batman Animated Series will have a soft spot in their hearts for Bruce Timm. His style is so appealing, graphic, and is beautifully pared down into the most essential shape language. His gestures are some of the most animated (big surprise) and the amount of emotion he can put into such a simple face design always blows me away. His pinup work is one of my favorite series in the world.

Paul Pope
I found out about Paul Pope from an issue of Hi Fructose, and only later found out that he did comics. Pope's line work inspires me so much, he has a way of making things lumpy or wrinkly in a way that doesn't feel old or unappealing, but feels beautiful and real. His characters look like they have been through some things, their bodies have been used up a bit, and it shows. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Plaid Printed Leopard

Mixing patterns has never been something I've been able to do well or easily, I know certain things that are tried and true, like mixing florals with stripes, but other than that I really have no idea what I'm doing and tend to just wear one pattern at a time. I am currently really digging the mix of leopard print with plaid. Especially when the plaid is a main piece of clothing, and the leopard a smaller detail like shoes, a purse, or a scarf. I'm going to be on the lookout for some kind of leopard detail, which by the way, has until now always been a print on my "automatic no" list. I have never been a fan until recently, and am still a bit hesitant about it. Which is why I think getting a small detail piece will be a good way to go!
Are there any pattern pairs that you really like? What's your favorite?

All images found via Pinterest

Monday, September 16, 2013

Editing Pants: Part Two

So as promised, here is part two of the pants editing adventure! I am pleased as punch with the outcomes of these two pairs in particular. Especially the red jeans, I love the color so much but always opted out of wearing them because I didn't like the baggy fit around my calves. So here are two result pictures, and a picture of me in a pair of inside out pants!
Also pictured are my favorite pair of wedges, I found them at my favorite vintage store and they are the comfiest pair of wedges I've ever put on my feet, which is really awesome because any heel in general is difficult for me since my foot surgery last year.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Never Apologize for Having a Naked Face

I've been working a lot of extra hours at the office lately, and on slow days I tend to watch/read old posts of beauty bloggers, or fashion bloggers. Its wonderful, my boss really doesn't care what I do as long as I answer the phone straight away when it rings! 
Something I've noticed lately, is that whenever a beauty blogger does a make-up tutorial, or happens to post a picture of themselves sans-makeup, usually they apologize. Apologize? Yes, they'll say something just innocently off hand like "Sorry for the lack of makeup" or "Please excuse my naked face", etc etc. I know its not a serious statement, and it is often said just as a passing thought without a whole lot of meaning put into it, but it started to bother me after a while. 
No one should ever have to apologize for being their natural selves. Like I said, I know this isn't a huge deal and are just passing comments, but I think it taps into an underlying issue.
Women seem to develop a belief that make-up is as essential as clothing their bodies. That, without makeup, they may actually offend someone with their face.
Your face is your face! It is you! You should never apologize for what is naturally yours and, in this case, the key thing that people recognize you by, IT'S YOUR FACE. Sorry for the caps lock! 
Why do we feel the need to apologize for something that men are expected to have every single day? You never see a man apologizing for his face, and if you did you'd probably think something like "You're apologizing for your face?! How ridiculous!" but it is something that we do all the time without even thinking. 
Your face is your face. Make-up should be a fun, beauty-enhancer, not a mask for what is your very natural state of being. 
Any ladies reading this, I encourage you to go out without make-up sometime soon, maybe just the grocery store, or a casual outing with girlfriends, and wear your face proudly! 
I'll go first- this is me sans make-up and happy as a clam!

first image via

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Editing Pants: Part One

So, I have to apologize for only having half of this post done. HOWEVER I felt that this could work fairly well as a sort of two parter pants-series-type-thing. For those of you that are living on strict budgets, something as simple as needing a new pair of jeans can be an immensely stressful thing. (even if your favorite brand is on the lower end side of prices) They are a simple staple, and in my opinion, a necessity. Jeans are just expensive no matter how you slice it, even the lower-end brands of jeans can be $40-$50. Another thing- I personally love thrift shopping, most of my wardrobe is thrifted, but I can not stand thrifted jeans. They are never long enough, the butts have already been worn in, and there's a certain level of worn-in-ness they seem to have that no amount of detergent can get out. 
I have been faced with this problem very recently, its a cycle. I can't get super nice jeans, so I buy cheap jeans, which wear out quick and warp, so then I need new jeans again. I should just bite the bullet and buy good jeans, but alas I never learn.
The main problem I was having was that lots of my old jeans/pants have warped, no longer fit very tightly, or I simply bought them one size too big (or I lost weight? Unlikely.) but are otherwise still in wearable conditions. 
I'm a big supporter of not caring too much about what you look like, but you should, bottom line, feel good in the clothes you're in. If the jeans don't fit nice, you are not going to feel like you look good, which is something I find very important. Doesn't matter what other people think you look like, it matters how you feel in your clothes. As far as pants are concerned, I feel most comfortable in a nice stretchy tight pair of jeans, and most of my pants had lost this quality. 
So this is my solution!

It's actually a pretty simple task, even people with little experience can do this if they have access to a sewing machine. (A serger would be best, but its not that big of a deal if you aren't a perfectionist) 
I simply put my jeans on inside out, which was hilarious and I apologize for not having a picture of that, maybe in Part Two, and pinned the pants in to where I wanted them to fit. 

Then I set my machine to a nice wide and reinforced stitch, and sewed them up! I created a very nice straight steady incline up the leg, so the butt kept the nice fit it already had, but the legs are now brought to a slimmer more flattering fit. I did this on my red pants first because they are one of my least favorite pairs. I do like them don't get me wrong, but if I messed these up I wouldn't care as much as if I had messed up my plaid corduroys, which I will be saving for last. 
After I sewed up both legs I turned them right-side-out and tried them on to make sure everything was working nicely before I cut off the excess fabric.
Success! In Part Two I will show before and after pics, as well as an amusing picture of myself in a pair of inside out jeans. I swear it will be all the rage this fall!

Happy budget saving and sewing to any of you brave ones out there!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Neapolitan Cake

This is a cake perfect for someone who loves to get the best of all flavors, or an indecisive individual like myself. This is one of my favorite cakes I've ever made, it takes a lot of energy but is totally worth it after its finished and you are eating it. I'm looking forward to cooler weather so that baking can be a more regular thing again, currently it is just too hot to turn that oven on too often! So if you've got the time, take the afternoon and make this delicious cake, sit down, watch a movie, and enjoy a slice.

For the Strawberry Cake:
  • 2/3 cup seedless strawberry preserves
  • 2/3 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
Begin by preheating your oven to 350˚ F.
Butter and flour a 9" cake pan and set aside.
Whisk Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat Butter and Superfine Sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add VanillaEgg and Egg Whites and mix well.
Reduce mixer speed to low, and mix in the Strawberry Preserves.
With mixer still on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the Heavy Cream, beginning and ending with the flour.
Once combined, fold in the diced Strawberries.
Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Once baked, let stand in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then let it cool fully on a wire wrack.

For the Vanilla Butter Cake:
Makes one 9" round
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Begin by preheating your oven to 350˚ F.
Butter and flour a 9" cake pan and set aside.
Whisk Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat Butter and Sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add Vanilla, and Eggs (one at a time) and beat until just combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low, and mix in half of the flour mixture.
Pour in the Milk and Buttermilk, and then the rest of the flour mixture.
Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Once baked, let stand in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then let it cool fully on a wire wrack.

For the Devil's Food Cake:
Makes one 9" round
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dutched cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Begin by preheating your oven to 350˚ F.
Butter and flour a 9" cake pan and set aside.
Whisk Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
Whisk Boiling Water and Cocoa Powder together in another bowl and let cool. Once cooled, whisk in Sour Cream. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat Butter and Sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add Eggs, one at a time and beat until just combined. Add Vanilla.
Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the flour mixture.
Pour in the cooled chocolate and sour cream mixture and mix on low speed, then add the remaining flour mixture.
Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Once baked, let stand in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then let it cool fully on a wire wrack.

For the Vanilla Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups unflavored vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Begin by beating the shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, and as the shortening and the sugar gradually blend together, increase the speed of the mixer.
When you get to about med-high speed with your mixer, slowly add the whipping cream and vanilla and almond extract.
Beat on high speed for about 1-2 minutes, until the frosting has a nice "whipped" quality.

For the Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups unflavored vegetable shortening
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup dutched cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • scant 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Begin by beating the shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer.
Mix cocoa powder and boiling water together and set aside, let cool.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, and as the shortening and the sugar gradually blend together, increase the speed of the mixer.
When you get to about med-high speed with your mixer, slowly add the cooled chocolate and vanilla extract.
Add heavy whipping cream.
Beat on high speed for about 1-2 minutes, until the frosting has a nice "whipped" quality, if the frosting isn't looking thick enough, simply add more powdered sugar until it has the texture you desire.