Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What I'm Reading: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

I'm still in the process of getting caught up on the book club by A Beautiful Mess. This week I finished The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick (best known as the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into a movie that I enjoyed). 

I absolutely loved this book (in fact, I was kind of sad when I finished the book because I didn't want it to end)! I couldn't recommend this book more. This book follows Bartholomew Neil, a thirty-eight year old man who has never held a job and lives with his mother, who is dying of a brain tumor. The story is narrated through a series of fan letters that Bartholomew writes to his mother's favorite actor, Richard Gere, whom Bartholomew confides in as he cares for his dying mother, entertains new philosophies, meets new people and tries to learn how to live life on his own.   


I'm going to discuss some points about the book from the discussion guide by Emma from A Beautiful Mess. If you've read the book, you can follow along below. Warning: spoilers ahead!

1. What about you? Do you ever struggle with self-doubt (a.k.a. the little angry man in your stomach)?

I think that everyone experiences self-doubt sometimes (maybe some people more than others) and I am no exception. When I'm drawing or DIY-ing I always have some worry that what I'm making doesn't look right,  that it's not good enough, and that nobody is going to like it. It'd be nice if during those periods of self-doubt if I, like Bartholomew, also had a Richard Gere voice to coach me on how to be suave and push-through the self-doubt. I guess I need to keep working on that.

2. Did you find the characters in this story believable? We had a bipolar priest who loses his faith, a troubled man obsessed with cats who believes his sister was abducted by aliens, a young woman who had a terrible-sounding mother (feeding her daughter her own pet rabbits for a meal) and then experiences a lot of violence as an adult, and Bartholomew and his imaginary friend Richard Gere. Was it all too much for you? Or did you find the characters believable and charming?

I think that having worked in mental health I've come to accept that not everyone has a fairy tale life, so I was able to accept the stories characters as believable. I think the character's quirks made each character more interesting.
3. Father McNamee is one of those characters who can only be described as complicated, right? He's done so much good with his life, being a priest and seeking to help others as much as he can. But then we also find out he abandoned his family for this "selfless" life. What do you make of that?

To be a Roman Catholic priest, priests are expected to take a vow of clerical celibacy and remain unmarried. While Father McNamee could have chosen to become a priest in a less restrictive church environment, he chose to be a Roman Catholic priest and thus could not be married nor let it become public  knowledge that he indeed had not always been so celibate. That being said, I'm not sure if I would describe Father McNamee as someone who abandoned his family, because he maintained a relationship with Bartholomew and his mother throughout his life- only he did so as their priest instead of as a husband/father.
Although it's obvious that Father McNamee had a drinking problem (which seemed to have ultimately lead to his death), it is clear that Father McNamee had a good heart as he selflessly tried to help the members of his church when in need and he tried help Bartholomew after his mother's passing.

4. As the story unfolds, we discover the philosophy behind "the good luck of right now." When something terrible happens, then something wonderful is happening elsewhere, and vice versa. This seems to give hope when bad things are happening (as you can be assured good is happening elsewhere or will happen to you later on), but this is bad news if something good is happening, as you can only assume something bad is happening elsewhere or will happen to you. What did you make of the good luck of right now? Is it another version of karma?

Definition- Karma: the force created by a person's actions that is believed in Hinduism and Buddhism to determine what a person's next life will be like; the force created by a person's actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person.

I thought the philosophy behind "the good luck of right now" kind of sounded like another version of karma. The idea behind "the good luck of right now" is based on the idea that the universe is constantly seeking balance, so if something good is happening to you, then something bad must be happening elsewhere to someone else to balance it out- which I found kind of beautiful.

While reading about the philosophy behind "the good luck of right now" I found the idea to be very comforting, much like Bartholomew found it to be for him in the book, but I'm not sure if I'll apply the philosophy to my everyday life (because I'm cynical like that).

5. What did you think of Max's assessment of Cat Parliament—the idea that these cats don't contribute anything important to society anymore but people still take care of them? Of course it's hard not to recognize how Max might think he and his sister (and perhaps Bartholomew) are like those cats. But also, what do you think of this idea anyway; is it kind or just mindless charity?

I loved the idea behind Cat Parliament- that although the cats don't contribute anything important to society  people still take care of them. Although the cats aren't contributing to society, they continue to bring joy to the cat's caretakers and admirers.

In a way, the cats appear to be a metaphor for Max, Bartholomew and The Girlbrarian, Elizabeth, whom are also not contributing members of society at the time they visit Cat Parliament. I think the journey that Bartholomew takes can contribute as testimony to the importance for society to continue to care for non-contributing members who may be physically or mentally disabled or just currently "down on their luck". Although the trio are non-contributing members of society, Bartholomew's existence brought joy and a sense of purpose to both his mother and Father McNamee, helped show Wendy that she was in a bad relationship, literally saved Elizabeth's life and made for a great story.

----------

Next, I've already started reading A Beautiful Mess's July book selection #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, founder of the clothing website NastyGal. I've heard lots of good things about this book on the web and I'm already finding so much of this book to be inspiring. It seems like it's going to be a quick read.

What are you reading? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Previously on Project Runway: Season 13, Episode 3

A.k.a. Retro Futurism

Previously on Project Runway the designers celebrated Marie Claire magazine's 20th birthday with a new challenge. The designers were asked to create a look inspired by their lives 20 years ago, in 1994, that could be featured in Marie Claire 20 years from now, in 2034.

Admittedly, the concept for this challenge is kind of hard to grasp and it showed in the outfits this week. Many of the outfits were either too conceptual, too 90s, or too futuristic and there weren't many wow moments this week.

Oh well! Let's take a look at the designs anyway:

Safe

I was not a fan of Hernan's convertible, bra exposing dress. Perhaps in Hernan's future boob exposure will be the new midriff. I thought this look should have been on the bottom.
Hernan
I thought Amanda's look was a little too 90s. Heidi commented that the judges really didn't like her look and she was lucky to have had immunity.
Amanda
Apparently in Mitchell's world the future will be like Waterworld and we'll all be wearing scuba suits.
Mitchell
Char's outfit is nice, but it doesn't wow. It's a good middle-of-the-road outfit.

Char
Most of the designers were not not fans of Fade's look this week and I must agree with them. I thought his outfit looked like middle-aged/senior citizen beach wear.
Fade
I'd love to see Korina's look on the runway NOW, but I'm not sure it's 90s enough or futuristic enough to meet the judges criteria.
Korina
Boring!
Kini
This look feels too top heavy to me.
Samantha
Top

Kristine's outfit was my favorite. I felt like it had a nod to the late 90s Clueless era, but was also futuristic. I'm happy to report that Kristine was safe this week.
Kristine
The back of Emily's jumpsuit was the best part of her outfit and it totally reminds me of the back of the latest Patterns by Gertie dress (Butterick 6094). Someone should design a pattern hack.
Emily
It's commendable that Sandhya was the only designer to send some color down the runway, but her outfit just looked like a simple pink dress with some weird, alien like detailing on top. Commendable-yes; winner- I thought it was NOT. However the judges awarded Sandhya with her second win.
Sandhya
Bottom

Originally Alexander had made a mostly leather dress which was quite interesting but didn't fit quite right on the model, so he scrapped it and essentially created a blanket dress. Since what counts is what you send down the runway, I thought Alexander had the worst look this week (as the dress appeared to be unraveling), but the judges decided to keep Alexander around.
Alexander
Sean should have abandoned that crinkly navy fabric after Tim's critique. His outfit didn't need the had, but I liked the fact that he whipped it up using his Mood bag. His hemline needed to be taken up an inch or two and the judges called the look "Prada meets Mary Poppins". I'm glad Sean was kept safe.
Sean
Angela's look was supposed to be an updated version of the classic women's suit inspired by her previous career in finance, but the judges felt her outfit looked more like an airplane stewardess uniform. It's clear that the outfit has some issues (the skirt is too tight, the hemline is too short, and the overall look lacks some polish), but I definitely don't think it was the worst outfit to go down the runway. However, the judges AUFed Angela this week and I won't miss her tears or anxiety.
Angela
How crazy was your style in 1994? In 1994 I finished up my last year of elementary school and entered my first year of pre-middle school (my town had one of those). I was a HUGE fan of the tv show, My So Called Life, starring Claire Danes, and my style was made up of  a  mix of Looney Tunes t-shirts and bike shorts (Taz and Tweety Bird were my faves), flannel baby doll dresses and lots of plaid. 

Did you catch this week's episode of Project Runway? Did you think Sandhya deserved to win? Did you think it was Angela's time to go? Let me know in the comments below.

Also, have you taken my Reader Survey? If not, I'd really appreciate it if you'd click the link and complete my 10-questions survey to help me build a better blog.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

What's Making Me Laugh: The Best Robin Williams' Moments

Earlier this week the world lost one of the greatest comedian, actors, and philanthropists of our time, Robin Williams, and it was hard for us to wrap our heads around it, because I think we always thought he'd always be around to make us laugh on film and TV. He will be missed.


So this week I am re-watching and remembering some of Robin Williams' best moments. I think my favorite Robin Williams film was Mrs. Doubtfire. I was obsessed with that film! Although part of my obsession stemmed from my girl crush on Matthew Lawrence, the reason I saw the film in the first place was because Robin Williams was in it- so I knew it'd be good.

What's your favorite Robin Williams performance? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What I'm Listening To: "Sissy That Walk" by RuPaul

I'm convinced that RuPaul's Drag Race is probably the best thing happening on Netflix UK right now. It totally combines all of my favorite guilty pleasure shows in one- it's one part Project Runway, one part America's Next Top Model, with all of the drama and sass you could ever ask for in a reality show. Plus, the guest stars on season 6 were fabulous- Khloe Kardashion, Neil Patrick Harris, and Paula Abdul just to name a few. 

Anyways, I totally binge watched Season 6 this week (don't worry, I won't spoil it for your) and now I can't get RuPaul's song "Sissy That Walk" from her new album Born Naked out of my head- and I don't even know what "Sissy That Walk" even means! I just know that RuPaul is as gorgeous as ever and this tune is way catchy. Check out Ru and the season 6 cast in the video below.


Also, if you haven't yet taken my blog survey, please do. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SVYM7GY

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Previously on Project Runway: Season 13, Episode 2

A.k.a Let's Go Out to the Movies

Previously on Project Runway the designers faced their first unconventional AND team challenge. This week the designers visited Manhattan's Village East Cinema to attend a special "screening", but were actually introduced to their challenge. The designers were paired off into teams of three based on their movie theater seating arrangements. The designers each had to create a look (as part of a mini-collection with their team mates) made out of movie theater themed elements such as film reels, concessions items, lighting supplies, props, and costume and wardrobe supplies.

As with all team challenges, there's bound to be some drama in the workroom and this episode was no exception. While some teams seemed to get along right away (in this case, the green team, purple team, and  silver team), on the blue team Sean and Fade were able to come up with a concept and design idea, but Angela seemed determined to do her own thing and wouldn't listen to her teammates suggestions. And following Sandhya's win in episode 1, several designers made it known that they did not think that Sandya should have been the winner and her teammates questioned her design concept and aesthetic throughout the challenge. Sandhya ended up consulting with Tim Gunn for some designer therapy, and following her return she and Carrie decided to let Hernan take the reigns for their team as both Carrie and Sandhya scrapped their original ideas and basically made slap-dash copies of Hernan's outfit in an effort to make their collection more cohesive. Big Mistake!

Let's take a look at the designs:

Safe

Blue Team:
On the runway, Heidi made it clear that this team could have been on top, but Angela's cut paper and muslin dress brought the teams scores down. Too bad! I totally though Sean and Fade's dresses were the best of the bunch.

Sean
Fade
Angela

Purple Team: 
Char's dress was my favorite from Team Purple because it kept a fun vibe. I could totally see Katy Perry wearing this at the MTV Movie Awards or something. However, I was not a fan of the silhouette on Kini's dress, and although I liked the presence Mitchell's dress had on the runway, I felt like I'd already seen a CD dress before.

Char
Kini
Mitchell

Green Team:
I understood that Angela brought the Blue Team down from being in the top, so how was the Green Team not on top!? Each of the pieces used a wide range of materials (many are hidden underneath to give their garments lift and body) and I thought they were very cohesive. My favorite from this group was Samantha's.

Alexander
Emily
Samantha
Top

Silver Team:
I have to admit that these ladies made a pretty good team as they seemed to immediately click with their concept of 1960s meets the future. They also used a wide range of materials from curtain rope to duct tape, but they maintained a similar color pallet and managed to make a cohesive collection. Would I want to wear any of it? No. But anyways, Amanda ended up scoring the win from her team- and rightfully so as she did appear to be the captain of her group.

Side Note: Did Amanda's dress remind anyone else of Emilo Sosa's washer bikini disaster (reminder link)? 

Amanda
Korina
Kristine
Bottom

Red Team (on the bottom):
As I mentioned before, Sandhya and Carrie originally had other ideas, but after Tim Gunn's critique the team decided to follow Hernan's lead and make 3 dresses out of film strips and it bit them in the ass. The judges main concern was that they felt the dresses were too uniform. Of the three, the judges agreed that Sandhya's was the worst, but Sandhya had immunity so the judges were stuck with having to choose between Hernan and Carrie for elimination. Personally, I thought Hernan should have been the one to go because this and his previous look weren't very interesting and he was the one to steer the team wrong. However, the judges did not agree with me and Carrie was eliminated this week.

Hernan
Sandhya
Carrie
Did you watch this week's episode of Project Runway? Did you agree with the judges decision to crown Team Silver/ Amanda the winner? Did you agree with the judges decision to send Carrie home? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. Don't forget to take my Reader Survey on my previous post.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Reader Survey

print available on Etsy
I started this blog in 2010 as an outlet to share my life, crafty creations, and love of fashion with the world. But this week I'm turning the tables.

I want to know all about YOU, my readers, so I've created a short 10 question survey with Survey Monkey (it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to complete) to learn a little bit more about you and what I can do to make this a better blog.

I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to fill out my survey and I want to thank all of you in advance!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's Making Me Laugh: “Orange Is The New Black’ Stars Promote ‘Pruno Creek’ A Gourmet Prison Wine on Conan


We're all fans of the hit Netflix tv series Orange is the New Black (OITNB), right? I even recently got my Mom addicted to the show, so if you're not a fan, quickly get on Netflix or stop by your local video store and check out the series.

This week Conan O'Brien was lucky enough to have the cast of OITNB on his late night talk show, so not only were there funny interviews, but there were tons of funny OITNB themed skits and sketches. Check out the clip above of the OITNB cast promoting 'Pruno Creek" gourmet prison wine. It's awesome!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What I'm Listening To: Frank and the Soronprfbs "I Love You All"

I am so pleased that the movie Frank is going to be released in The States in August! I was able to catch the film this spring when it was released in the UK and I loved it!

The movie follows an aspiring musician (Domhnall Gleeson) who becomes with an avant garde pop band, called the Soronprfbs, lead by the mysterious, paper mache head wearing, Frank (Michael Fassbender), and quickly learns that he is in over his head. It's a black comedy and, as it's an indie film, it's like nothing you've ever seen before. I've had the band's songs in my head for months!


This week Michael Fassbender was on the Colbert Report promoting the film and he brought along the band from the movie to play one of the songs from the film. Check out the clip above and mark your calenders to catch this film in a theater near you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Previously on Project Runway: Season 13, Episode 1

Aka. From Casting to Contestant 

Previously on Project Runway we were welcome to see that Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen (who will never live up to the snarky Michael Kors legacy, but we still love him) were back for another season. This year the show combined the casting/ designer introduction episode with the first episode/ challenge episode. Initially we were introduced to 18 designers as they made their way to NYC for their final audition and watched as Heidi bid auf wiedersehen to 3 designers, leaving us with 15 designers appearing on the show. Later we're told that a previous cast member will also be returning this season. It's none other than Amanda Valentine from Season 11 (and sister to one of the members of Maroon 5).

image source
One interesting segment that's been added is that we get to see which designs the designers think will be on top and on bottom each week. I thought it was fun to see how off some of the designers opinions were from the judges.

The challenge: The designers had to create one look from their hypothetical spring collection using assorted fabrics provided at the beginning of this challenge (many of the designers bartered and traded fabric to get what they wanted). The designers had one day to complete this challenge.

Let's take a look at the designs:

Safe

I would wear Alexander's look.
Alexander
Carrie
Emily
Fade
I was not a fan of Hernan's look this week. To me, that shoulder made it look like a tattered "walk of shame" dress.
Hernan
Kini's dress looked home sewn- like it belongs on the cover of a sewing pattern.
Kini
Korina
Kristine
Samantha
I love Sean's New Zealand accent, and his geometric pattern dress.
Sean

Top

Amanda's look proves that she's back to win. Nina really loved this look, while the other judges weren't quite as taken with it. Those pants though!
Amanda
I think the designers and blog-o-sphere agree that Char's look seemed like the clear winner this week with her design's fresh new silhouette for spring.
Char
The judges really liked the fantasy and "runway ready" elements of Sandhya's dress and how different it was from the other designer's pieces. Although most of the other designers didn't understand Sandhya's look and thought she'd be on the bottom, the judges gave Sandhya the win this week and she has immunity for the next challenge.
Sandhya
Bottom

While Angela was sewing her pants, Tim Gunn told her she might need to give her model special grooming instructions because her slits were getting a little close to parts of her anatomy. Angela stuck to her design and on the runway Nina said she was going to refer to the pant slits as "sluts"- Nina clearly wasn't a fan. I appreciated Angela's attempt to push the envelope and was glad to see that Angela was safe.
Angela
The judges also were not a fan of Mitchell's outfit and accused his shorts of being biker shorts. When the judges had a closer look, they appeared to be appalled by the construction and I thought surely he would be out on account of his boring design and poor construction, but I was wrong and Mitchell was safe.
Mitchell
The problem the judges had with Jefferson's look was the proportions- they did not like the cropped top paired with those super high-waisted shorts, and on that point I agreed. Nina even went so far as to call the top a "bib" and the shorts a "diaper" which I thought was a bit much. When making the final decision the judges were trying to decide between Mitchell and Jefferson. I thought Jefferson's was slightly more interesting and better constructed, but the judges decided that Jefferson would be the first to go home.
Jefferson
Side note: Does anyone else find it weird that restaurant chain, Red Robin, is a sponsor and that one of the prizes is a change to design an accessory for Red Robin's uniforms? Let's discuss.

After watching the first episode, I'm starting to pick out some favorite designers. Right now I like Amanda, Korina and Sean (mostly because of the accent), but I've got my eye on Carrie (love that purple hair), Alexander and Kristine too. I feel like Mitchell and Hernan's days might be numbers and I wonder how long the judges love affair with Sandhya will last.

Did you catch the premiere of Project Runway season 13? Who are your favorite/least favorite designers? Is there anything you're looking forward to seeing this season? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sewing Inspiration Roundup- Simplicity 1803


Gertie's dress
Lladybird's disaster dress (looks okay to me)
Image from http://i-heart-fabric.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/copy-cat-challenge-pinterest-loves.html
dress by bernie and i
When Lladybird and Untangling Knots announced that they would be doing a summer outfit along (sewing Simplicity 1803 and knitting Untangling Knots' Myrna cardigan), I thought it was the perfect excuse to create a cute cotton day-dress that I could maybe even wear to work. Initially I was really enamored with the Zooey Deschanel dress, but eventually I decided that the neckline might be a little too much for my beginning sewing skills to mess with. 

Fabrics I'm considering: 




If you already follow me on Instagram or Kollabora, you already know which fabric I used, but for those who don't, which fabric should I pick? Stay tuned to see what I made.

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