Friday, April 18, 2014

Spinster Dinner: Peanut Butter

When you're a spinster, sometimes you have a hard time shopping for groceries. Since you're not answering to anyone for what you buy, the likelihood that you'll wander through the grocery store buying only frozen pizza and fancy gelato is incredibly high. When you get home, it's no big deal because your'e not responsible for feeding anyone but yourself.

This past week I actually grocery shopped pretty well, but somehow when I looked in my fridge and freezer, nothing was appealing. So, last night, after completing a seven mile run (I know. Can you even believe that? I had to tell someone.), I came home and took a shower in hopes that I'd think of something I'd really like to eat while I was there in the think tank. However, nothing came to mind.

So, in my bathrobe, I started the remainder of my night with a glass of white grape juice and a few pieces of dove chocolate. Realizing I'd need more sustenance, though, I could think of nothing I'd like better than a few delicious spoonfuls of Jif Peanut Butter. I mean, sometimes that's really all that will hit the spot. And just like any spinster would, I indulged my craving on the sofa in front of a few episodes of Lost

This, my friends, is why it is good to be a spinster. Peanut butter for dinner is not even a problem. Also, this is what #myfriendsaremarried has to say about it.

So, get that jar of peanut butter out, girl. And if you're feeling especially inspired, make it some Nutella instead. You're single and  you do what you want.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spinster Love: White Grape Juice

glasses-of-juice, glass-of-juice, welch's-white-grape-juice
In a recent phone conversation with my dad, I was told that I come from a family of "people of extremes." I can't disagree that I'm a chip off the old block where obsessions are concerned. In fact, if it weren't for Netflix, I'm fairly sure I would be on TLC's My Strange Addiction for some weird behavior or other. Thankfully, though, Netflix, Buzzfeed, and the internet at large have me pretty much covered. That is, where entertaining myself is concerned.

While entertainment is where I manifest most of my obsessive and extreme behavior, I find that sometimes my consumption needs to take a more physical turn. By physical I mean eating. Chocolate  is, of course, always in the mix and will always be in my heart and belly, but drinking chocolate isn't as addictive as one might think. No, for my beverage of choice - one that can be had morning, noon or night without shame - I choose white grape juice.

Of course, red (or purple) grape juice is just fine, but functionally it's riskier than white grape juice. It stains. I also find it's quite a bit sweeter. Therefore, white grape juice is just far superior in most regards.

Without comparing white grape juice to other, lesser, grape juices, let's discuss its many virtues. Below you'll find the top five.

1. It doesn't stain, and when you eat the vast majority of your meals on furniture not traditionally categorized as "dining room furniture," this is really an important distinction.

2. It's sweet but not too sweet. I like to say it's both sweet and tart. This means you can still eat it with chocolate without wincing at the clashing tastes.

3. It has a nice viscosity. I know that wine drinkers like to talk about their drinks having "legs," and sometimes I think my white grape juice does have legs. Whether or not it does, however, is immaterial. White grape juice is the perfect texture for sipping without gulping, which means I'm likely to drink less at any given time.

4. It's a pretty color. I like how white grape juice is translucent and shows light well. It's kind of like drinking jewelry.

5. The jugs are reusable. Usually in South Carolina when you're charged with bringing the sweet tea to a party, you'll wash out a plastic gallon jug like the ones in which you would buy milk. However, when I was in New York, I found these particularly problematic as their tips aren't exactly airtight. The white grape juice jug is a perfect fix for this problem as it has a screw-on top, a much larger mouth than your standard milk jug, and it goes through the dishwasher well.

And that is why you should go have some white grape juice today. Personally, I prefer Welch's and think it's heads and tails above all others. But, if you find yourself questioning my judgment, I suggest you have your own white grape juice tasting at home.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Atlanta Spinstering: Binders

On the way home from work on Monday I heard a reporter on NPR talking about the Pulitzer Prize winners for 2014. Among the winners, of course, is Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch , which has been on my Audible wish list for some weeks. And, since I had a credit for a free audio book, I started listening to The Goldfinch on Tuesday morning. So far, I am thoroughly engrossed, though I admit that I feel torn about listening to it instead of reading it. But, as we’ve discussed before, reading without a subway commute is proving to be troublesome.

The Goldfinch, in conjunction with a large-scale drawing I recently started, made the need and urge to visit one of Atlanta’s best art stores, Binders, all but imperative yesterday during my lunch break. And so I went, and it was wonderful.

For a person who likes to draw, there’s not much better in this world than a freshly sharpened bouquet of pencils and an unblemished pad of drawing paper. My specific needs were more skin-colored Prismacolors as well as an Indigo Blue or two, but I didn’t let that stop me from making a tour of the store, replete with every medium one could imagine. There are pencils, papers, paints, books, portfolios, canvases, frames, pastels, and even makeup if you’re that kind of artist. 

To give Binders a little more local flair, the aisles are named after streets in Atlanta, like Ashford Dunwoody, Pharr, and 400. On a back wall near the elevator, you can find a cork board with business cards of local artists as well as posting for classes and services offered. On the other side of the store, you’ll find a gallery, usually outfitted with some pretty impressive student art. 

If you ever find yourself in the Atlanta area in need of Art supplies, I highly suggest the draftsman’s paradise known as Binders. However, be forewarned: they do not actually carry three ring binders.

(pictured here: Top: White Prismacolors, Top Mid: Pink Pearl Erasers, Lower Mid: Canvas Framing, Bottom: Kneaded Erasers.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crisis Averted

In the wake of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mystery, I have undertaken an epic Netflix binge in hopes that I will discover just what happened to the plane and its passengers. The show I am watching, of course, is Lost

Now, I'm only about halfway through the second season, so don't ruin it for me, but for the past week or so, there's been a bit of a crisis. My streaming device, the Netgear Neo TV, was not working because of some bug with Netflix itself. Let me assure you, Lost on my laptop screen is not as good as on my full sized TV. Either way, though, I can now officially say that I understand what all the fuss was about back in 2010. This show is good. Thankfully, though, my streaming device is now back up and running. Crisis averted.

Now, as far as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is concerned, I hope they're all still alive. I hope the story comes out and they all say, "We're fine! We've been hanging out with Hurley on an island since March, pressing a button!"

If I find out anything further through my research, I will let you know. But if you've seen all of Lost, please don't let me know. I'm watching it for the first time.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Obsession Confession: Pulling Weeds

Growing up, my house had had a circular driveway, and during a lengthy phone conversation or just a very nice day, I liked nothing better than to pull the little weeds that grew up between the little cracks in the pavement.

Now, before you start leaving comments telling me you have a garden full of treats for me to pull, I think I need to clarify. The weeds that grow out of the cracks in pavement feel so much different when pulled than do the weeds in the soil. There's a sort of buttery smoothness to the action of pulling that can only come from a root that hasn't been given enough soil to which it can cling. The root comes out nice and clean, ready of inspection. The weeds that grow between the cracks in the pavement are especially delightful when their roots are long and singular.

The pool at my apartment complex here in Atlanta is paved all around by little octagonal cement tiles. Spotted around the perimeter of the pool, and especially beneath the lounge chairs, is a wealth of weeds waiting for my thumb and index finger. Every time I have to pass the pool on the way home from a run, I must fight the urge to stop and have a little therapeutic pulling time. This past friday night, however, I could not resist. I knew that the people in the fitness center could see me, but I could not help myself. And while I pulled, I thought to myself, "perhaps this is one of the reasons I am a spinster."

But, I wills ay this to you all: Don't knock it till you've tried it. Pavement weeds are pretty much the best.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Saturday Spinstering: The Dogwood Festival

Yesterday was one of the first days I've had in Atlanta that could compare to a saturday I would have had in new York. That is, there was shopping, eating, and a park. Let's hit the highlights. 

1. Buying Running Shoes:
          So, after a new record run on Friday night, my feet were not pleased. The treats were wearing off the bottoms, and my spinsterly bunion had actually poked a hole in the exterior of my running shoes. It was time. So, I googled the best place to buy running shoes in Atlanta, and the closest one was Big Peach Running Co.
          I took my old running shoes in for comparison, and I have to say I was quite pleased with the amount of care and attention I received at Big Peach. It was like a real life ASMR video. I ran on a treadmill, and the guy looked at a computer readout of my feet, and I even ran around on a little track inside the store. Overall, I am impressed. Two Thumbs up. Also, two neon orange shoes up because that's what I got.

2. Lunch at Smash Kitchen and Bar:
          I had shoestring fries, and they were excellent.

3. The Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park:
          I love a good festival. Even though I can't eat approximately 99% of that delicious-smelling festival food, I still like to be there. The Dogwood Festival was excellent with its never ending expanse of booths and this great reproduction of Edward Munch's "The Scream," but the very best part was this: There was a frisbee competition. Now, before you get skeptical and think I'm talking about people throwing frisbees back and forth, let me just tell you this: there were dogs.The frisbee competition was an excellent exhibition of humans and their canine buddies doing frisbee tricks. And it was great. They only way it could have been better is if there were kittens.

...and I hope you enjoy this screen face I made. My face is not the same shape as the original. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fashion Portfolio: Print Repeats

So, What we're going to talk about today isn't necessarily spinsterly, but it does have something to do with my spinster life in that it has to do with my life as a fashion designer. That, and I've noticed that a lot of my referring search terms have been fashion-related. So...give the people what they want, right?

We've talked before about sample fashion portfolios, including the creative parts. However, my personal portfolio also includes a technical section. Having prints and patterns in a fashion portfolio isn't totally necessary, but it's a definite benefit. So, if you want to create your own prints and/or patterns for your portfolio and you don't know how yet, just google it and watch a youtube video. Take some notes, and after a few tries, you'll probably have it down.

Now, in the creative portion of  your portfolio, include the prints and patterns you've created to go with your collection and your color story. If you're creating prints you should consider including a stripe, a plaid, a geometric print of some sort, an abstract and maybe a floral and/or conversational. Of course, it all sort of depends on the look of the collection your'e going for. For today's examples, I did two conversationals and a stripe because I wanted the prints to be spinster themed and stripes are just...stripes.

The first print you'll see here is a chocolate bar print, and it's fairly rudimentary and not perfectly spaced. however, if you click on the image, you'll see all the information you should add when you have this print in your "technical" portfolio. So, let's break it down.

1. Print Title:
          Just...whatever you would call the print. When you're actually working in real life, each company has a way they like to title their prints. There's usually some sort of coding or numeration so that there's a way to reference the print exactly when discussing with factories and vendors.

2. Color Chips:
          These are one of the very most important pieces of information on this paperwork. The color chips should call out every single color in the print and should not exceed 8 colors. I don't know if I've ever worked anywhere that could have more than 8 colors, but I have definitely worked places where certain vendors could not execute more than five colors. Just stick to 8 or under just to be safe.
          Once you've chipped out the colors (they should be colors from the palette you designated in your project), add the names of the colors under each chip. In your real job, you'll also put the color code (most often Pantone numbers) beneath the color chip and color name.

3. Hash Marks:
          Hopefully you know how to find a print repeat, but if you don't, check this out and see if it makes sense. Otherwise, youtube videos are always your friend.
          However, the hash marks are important to show where the print does, in fact repeat. The most important thing here is to make sure they don't blend in with the rest of the print. Common colors for hash marks are black, white, red, and cyan.
4. Print Repeat Measurements:
          Exact Measurements of length and width of the print repeat are important. This is easily measured in Illustrator, photoshop or with a ruler.

5. With a stripe:
          Firstly, I am not sure why the background of my stripe repeat is so grey. That is strange. Now, you could just show a stripe like the print with hash marks, but the thing is that stripes are really only a one way repeat. So, I usually just mark the repeat off to the side, and then I show the measurements of each stripe on the other side. Then, of course at the top you have all the other information.

And Voila! You've got some pretty cool stuff to put in your portfolio! You may work in a company that has a CAD or "art" department eventually, but if you're like me, you'll also have a job (or two) somewhere where you do your own prints. Graphics we shall save for another time!