Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 5 Thing to Leave in 2013

Well, ladies and a few gents, the new year is upon us. I never really make a new year's resolution, but I do feel the dawn of 2014 should be recognized in some manner.

As an avid fan of The Today Show, I am quite familiar with their 'year in review' sorts of stories. The fashion blogs I read (aka: whose pictures I view) always do a year-end wrap up of trends we should leave behind in the new year. So, today I'd like to call out a few things I'd like to see left in 2013, and a few ways I think we could all replace them in hopes we can become the best, most spinsterly versions of ourselves in 2014. Below, you'll find my top five things to leave in 2013 followed by the five things with which they should be replaced.

1. Leave Behind:  Political opinions on Facebook
          I thought everyone agreed that it was bad manners to discuss politics or religion. Unfortunately, most people I know who use Facebook seem to have forgotten this rule. With friends who are affiliated with all sides of every issue, I just wish everyone would think before they type: How will you feel when you read the opposing view in your newsfeed? Do you want someone to feel that way about you?

Replace with: More photos of your pets
          Whether you're a dog, cat, bunny, hamster, or donkey person, I would much rather see precious photos of your pets and also some laughing babies for good measure than any bile-spewing. Thank you.

2. Leave Behind: Body Con.
          Now, I know lots of people have fabulous bodies, and that's all fine and good. We've already reviewed that at least my uncle has weighed in on how un-fabulous my body is, but that is not the issue. From Miley to Kim, I am tired of seeing the tightness. Over it. Let's get some more creative silhouettes, shall we?

Replace with: A bathrobe and some sweatpants
          If you haven't already adopted this mode of dress in 2013, it would really do you well to hop on the band wagon in 2014. It's really the best way to spinster.
       
3. Leave Behind: Cable
          Ok, so yes. Breaking Bad was worth the high, high price of cable. DVR is amazing. However, it's just so expensive, and Breaking Bad has ended. Also, Downton Abbey is on PBS, and that's free.

Replace With: Netflix and/or Hulu Plus
          We all know I'm a huge fan of Netflix, and it's almost one tenth the price of what cable/internet was in New York. No one's saying you should give up internet. That's just laughable. However, cable is just too expensive, and there is plenty of TV and there are plenty of movies to be watched on both Netflix and Hulu Plus. If you had both, you could be paying less than $20 a month. Better, right?

4. Leave Behind: Hooker Heels
          Really, these should have been left behind years ago, but I still see them out and about. The ones that kill me the most are the ones with the fat platform on the bottom and the sky-high spindly heel. Those can't be comfortable. Also, they look a little out of date.

Replace With: Fun Sneakers
         Kate Spade had a really fun collaboration with Keds this past season which spawned a bunch of cute  printed and glittery sneakers, and I loved them all. Additionally, we've still got the wedge sneakers, though some might say these are on the way out. For my part, however, I still love them.

5. Leave Behind: Workout Boards on Pinterest
          Oh, man. The workout  boards are killing me on Pinterest. I have, in my time, pinned a workout idea or two, but the photos of those girls are the worst. I am no longer 25, and neither is my body. And the photos are making me sad.

Replace With: Private Boards and More Photos of Cute Baby Animals
          Those workout boards can be made private so I don't have to cry about them all the time. Instead, let's have more cute baby animals and laughing babies. Videos of laughing babies are really the best.

So, Think on these things. Perhaps there are other things we should add to the list, but mostly I'd just like to see more laughing babies.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Five Things Spinsters Don't Want To Hear This New Year's Eve

prismacolor-self-portrait, colored-pencil-spinster, spinster-drawing
As an uncoupled nondrinker, New Year's Eve has never really been my holiday of choice. Don't get me wrong. I like a fancy dress and a pretty party as much as the next girl, but just before the stroke of midnight, I am filled with dread because not only is pretty much everyone drunk, but since I am uncoupled, one of those drunk people might try to kiss me. And, let's be real, I might try to punch them.

One of the most magical things that happens when people find themselves in a couple or even married is that they often forget what it was like to be single. So, in case any of you out there are suffering from this mystical amnesia, have no fear! I'm here to help. Below is a list of topics you might want to skip while talking to your single friend this New Years Eve (and potentially all year round.)

1. "We're Trying."
          Ok, I know that people say having a baby is the greatest thing that ever happened to them. In fact, my sister's having my niece was pretty wonderful. I'm so glad she's around, and not just because she makes it so I'm not the only single lady at our holiday gatherings now. However, I just like to imagine that the stork brought my niece. No matter how attractive you and your partner are, no matter how much your single friend loves you both, no one on the outside of your relationship wants to imagine you "trying." We're not in your relationship, so…ok? Ok.

2. "Newlyweds"
          No, I am not talking about that horrifying Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey nightmare. I'm talking about when people refer to newlyweds and why they may need (or, more likely, want) to go home early. Again, I know newlyweds find each other immensely attractive, but no one else is in their relationship. Older people are actually the worst about bringing this up. It's like they somehow want us to imagine what the newlyweds are doing. We spinsters would rather not imagine. In fact, don't even mention their bed or even their bedroom for that matter. Just to be safe. Call me a prude if you want, ten out of ten other spinsters agree that they, too, hate accidentally imagining other people's…activities.

3. "You're single because…"
          I was actually privy to this comment on Christmas day 2013 as one of my uncles saw fit to intimate that I am single because I don't take pride in my appearance and have no friends. While neither of those comments are actually true and, in fact, many people find educated, hard-working, natural-haired size sixes attractive, it was still highly offensive. Avoid giving insights or advice on this subject at all costs. Just because you're in a relationship does not mean that you know everything about meeting people and being in relationships. Furthermore, no matter how much you may think you are, you are not, in fact, your single friend. Even if your friend asks for advice, know that all she wants to hear is that she is wonderful, and all the men (or women) who aren't dating her (especially Ryan Gosling) are really missing out. Anything else will be an insult. Trust me.

4. "Have you tried online dating?"
          No, this is not a sub-set of number three, though it easily could have been. Firstly, I have tried online dating, and as we've discussed before, it's a total farce. You'd think that a website would help you weed through all the guys who don't fit your criteria so that you can meet someone who's a perfect fit, but somehow it doesn't really work that way.
          Also, when your friend says they have tried online dating, don't go straight to "have you tried match," or "have you tried eHarmony," or "have you tried Christian Mingle?" I've tried OK Cupid, Match, Eharmony, and Christian Mingle, and they've all resulted in plenty of lukewarm-to-terrible meetings. Most of the time they're fairly pleasant, but I don't want to hold hands with them. So while this may work for some people, the sampling of my friends who have also tried online dating have found that it is statistically improbable that we will find our matches on online dating sites. That being said, I do know two couples who did meet and stay together from online dating sites (one from Eharmony and one from OK Cupid), but they seem to be the exception, not the rule.

5. "Do you feel weird being here alone?"
          Your friend may or may not feel weird being at a New Year's Eve party alone, but you're only going to make it weirder by  asking. So…steer clear of this one. If she's lucky, your single friend has great friends like you who treat her like she's a normal person with interesting things to talk about and excellent dance moves….oh, and great natural hair and cute glasses.

So, now that you're armed with all the topic not to discuss with your single friend, remember, she's just as cool as she was when you guys became friends before you were in your couple. Also, you'll find below a list of ten topics that are completely acceptable (unless they have some random ex-boyfriend affiliation for her.)

1. Unicorns
2. The Goldbergs (It's a TV Show, and I love it.)
3. Her (or your) latest music purchase, which I'm guessing is Beyonce's surprise album
4. The latest book (or other publication) you or she read.
5. The last movie you or she saw
6. The best christmas/holiday gift you or she ever got.
7. Shoes.
8. If either of you is working on a side project ("trying" and/or being a newlywed does not count)
9. Art or office supplies
10. The last thing they binge-watched on Netflix or Hulu Plus
Bonus round: Frozen Pizzas, Takeout, cookies, and ice cream.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Spinstergram: A Gluten Free Cupcake

chocolate-chip-cupcake, cupcake-with-sprinkles, gluten-free-cupcake, gluten-free
It rained all the way back to Atlanta yesterday, but before I got into the serious bit of the driving, I made a stop in Columbia, SC, where I went to college. After petting a very fat cat, I was told that Columbia is home to a bakery that has gluten free cupcakes. Of course I went there, and I liked it so much I took some pictures to show you.

The Gluten Free cupcake of the day was chocolate chip, and that sounded spectacular to me. I had one with cream cheese icing, and it had none of the graininess you sometimes find with gluten free baked goods. And of course the colored sugar sprinkles were a nice touch.

Behind the gluten free cupcake, you'll find a red velvet cupcake topped with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting and a little heart. so cute.

It may surprise you to know I've never really been a huge cupcake fan. You'd think that the single serving size would be perfect for a spinster, but I really prefer a real piece of cake. However, now that I'm (annoyingly) gluten free, any baked good I can eat is absolutely more than welcome. I crave the sweetness and the carbs…together.

The whole cupcake shop, complete with it's cupcake truck was super cute. I especially liked the look of the salted caramel and chocolate cupcakes, whose tops were both exquisite. Of course this was a perfect opportunity for spinstergramming. So, below you'll find a few more photos of the cupcakes, the menu, and a few more things. Enjoy!






Saturday, December 28, 2013

Driving Back to Atlanta

Today I'm driving back to Atlanta to slip into my clean sheets like a chunky piece of paper into a soft envelope. It's been a delightful Holiday season thus far, but I need to back to work on Monday. That being said, this is just a drawing post.

I started this drawing before I left ATlanta for Christmas, and I finished it the day after christmas. Sometimes the act of drawing an doctoring hair is just a meditative exercise. That was what this was about. I just wanted to draw some hair.

The supplies I used were Graphics 360 9"x12" paper, black prismacolor pencil, and chartpak markers. The background I did with a light lavender marker with a blender marker before and after.

I bought myself a new scanner hoping it'd fit my oddly sized paper, but it's about 1/8" too small bot vertically and horizontally, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to send it back. I scanned this on th enew scanner, though. Because it's too small, I got the shading you'll see around the edges and at the corners. Sadness. I hate having to deal with sending something back.

More tomorrow as we gear up for spinstering in the new year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Back to Work: Desk Doodles

So, now that it's been two days since Christmas, I know some of you are off to work again. Womp womp. I am thankful to say that I'm spending one more day sitting like a veal in my christmas pajamas, even though I know Christmas is over. In honor of those of you who are going back to work, though, I thought I'd share something fun, silly, and work related.

When I get back to Atlanta, I'll be working in a new office. Our team packed all of our office supplies the day before our company's Christmas Party, and by Monday the twenty-third, all of our things were moved into our new desks in our brand new office. But, before I packed everything, I looked through the notebook I use to take notes during meetings and phone calls. Using my handy-dandy iphone, I took some photos of these masterpieces of listening, thinking, and boredom.

First, you'll find the image drawn on notebook paper that
has a sunglasses, a lady in a dress, the bust of a lady wearing sunglasses, and one of the most terrifying faces ever to be drawn in a meeting I may not have been supposed to attend. You can see here that I thought sunglasses could be drawn using regular two-point perspective, but upon testing this theory, I discovered that the frame shape and moving appendages (re: arms or temples) make regular two point perspective more difficult than one might think.

Next, you'll find this image with my initials, some random numbers, a contour drawing of what I think I must look like, a couple of stars, a small backpack, and some swirls with shaded bits. The swirls are something I've been drawing since high school. They are doodles in the truest sense of the word. The contour drawing of myself came about in college at some point, I think potentially while I was at FIT taking life drawing for fashion. The intials...I mean, who hasn't done that before? The numbers may actually mean something, but I can't figure out
what. The heel is clearly an ugly shoe, and the little purse is something I used to draw when I was working in girls' accessories. Sigh. I miss those.

Next you'll see drawings of three little girls. I made these during a meeting about cold weather accessories safety restrictions. I had to blur out some of the notes I made there at the top, but otherwise there it is. I always have a hard time drawing children's fashion figures because they seem so vastly different from the way we were taught to draw in womenswear. They need to be cute and round instead of long, slim, and mean-looking. I'm still working on it. However, I think it's important to note that every piece of cold weather accessories the little girl on the far right is wearing goes against our testing and safety restrictions in some way, shape, or form.

Next, you can see here we've got your basic top-of-the-page drawing. I like to use this portion of the paper the most because it doesn't have any lines. However, it presents a little bit of a challenge since my hands like to draw vertically instead of horizontally. The profile, though, is one of my most common doodles. I think I had trouble with them when I was at FIT, so now I'm inclined to practice on them all the time.

Here, in a more vertical format that I'm sure makes you wonder if I ever really take notes at all if I'm taking up this much of the page doodling, you'll see a decidedly non-fashion figure. I haven't been to a real life drawing class in years, but I'd like to find one. That's really all I can say about this one. Well, except that I'm not sure why her feet look so big.

Lastly we have a little doodle of a girl leaning against a light pole. I took the idea from a post on The Sartorialist while I was having a long conversation on the phone.

Ok, well, enjoy the desk doodles and if you're back in the office, I'm sure you can enjoy making some of your own while you dream about what sparkly thing you'll wear for New Year's Eve. I, for one, am probably going to wear a bathrobe and fall asleep before midnight because that's how spinsters do. Don't be jealous.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Surprise Portrait: Katie the Christmas Elf

I hope you all had an excellent Christmas! My family is actually celebrating today, so this post is going to be a little light on the details, because it'll post before my mom opens her gifts. However, let's get thsi party started.

This year, my mother had an item on her Christmas list that had very specific details and came from a very specific place. It was not available online. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I went to pick up this item from the store, but I found that the only two they had left were damaged. I panicked.

I looked around for someone to help me, but I was standing in one of the tightest spots in the store. I kept having to step back and forth to let people by, but finally I found a store employee to help me. We checked all the shelves, and we looked online, but there were no more of the gift to be found. Thanking him, I put my thinking cap on. How could I get this done?

Well, now enters a veritable wonder woman: Katie Chandler. I called Katie, but she was on a date. I texted her an image of the item, and she called me from the store a day or so later, having purchased the perfect, undamaged item. I breathed a sigh of relief.

So, for my friend and fellow cat-enthusiast/spinster, I decided there should be a very special Christmas/thank-you gift. Since it was coming from me, of course it would be a portrait.

Katie and I have been talking about trading artwork for our apartments for years, as Katie is an art teacher and is technically more qualified to be making art than I am. She does, after all, have both a BFA and a Master's degree in this stuff. but this time, I made good on my threat.

To the left you'll see the process photos and then the final product. I have to say this was a bit of a challenge for me and didn't quite turn out exactly as I had hoped or envisioned, but I think it's ok nonetheless. The
challenge came when I decided that this should be drawn on 24"x36" BFK Rives instead of my regular 9"x12" Graphics 360 marker paper. Graphics 360 is both much smoother and, in the format I usually use, much smaller.  However, I think we can all agree that a larger drawing has more of an impact.

I used Black Prismacolor pencil to do all the drawing and shading which I think I may do differently next time. I think graphite makes a lot more sense when you're doing something of this scale. I needed to be able to erase more often. Also, I couldn't find my kneaded eraser, so I had to use a magic rub.

In any case, for a first effort on this scale since college, I think it turned out ok. As you can see if you're following the progress of the process photos, I had a little trouble with the chin, nose, and the side of the face. Somehow I had drawn Katie with a slight underbite that she certainly does not have. In the end, I had to cover this up by adding a little dark shading around the edges, which I hope solved the problem.

Below you'll see the final product. I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are looking forward to a happy new year! More Drawings coming tomorrow, though, there is less process talk.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

On the twelfth day of Christmas...

"On the twelfth day of Christmas, the spinster gave to me twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords-a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, fiiiive golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me!"

Merry Christmas to you all!

Aren't you glad gifs are silent? I tried to make my drummers so that they were making some sort of interesting beat instead of something that just looked like the visual version of "bam, bam, bam, bam." Whether or not that is evident when you watch this gif, I still can't decide.

In any case, I sincerely hope that no one actually received twelve drummers drumming this Christmas. The sheer cacophony of that gift seems like it would make the recipient's brain and eardrums explode.

So, here's wishing you a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate Christmas, and a Happy Holiday if you don't! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas….

"On the eleventh day of christmas, the spinster gave to me eleven pipers piping, ten lords-a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, fiiiiive golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me"

So, I had to do a little research on what instrument a pipe actually is. Google wasn't really helping me out, so I consulted my favorite musicologist, Leah Harrison, to get to the bottom of what this instrument actually was. Among her suggestions was a recorder. Now, I'm sure you've all played a recorder at some time or other, probably when you were in elementary school. I want you to imagine today, though, that this recorder is being skillfully played by the lovely man in the gif. It is, after all, Christmas eve!

Merry (early) Christmas to you all!

Monday, December 23, 2013

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

"On the Tenth Day of Christmas, the spinster gave to me…Ten Lord(e)s a leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, fiiiive golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me."

You may need to click on today's gif to fully appreciate its magnificence. The Lord(e)s I've included are as follows:

1. Lorde, the popular singer.

2. Lord Grantham from Downton Abbey

3. Lord Alfred Douglas (top row, left)

4. Lord Edward Zouche (Top Row, second from left)

5. Lord Mountbatten (In the Navy double breasted coat)

6. Lord Thomas Innes of Learney (Far Right in the Red and Gold)

7. Lord Hill of Oareford (Left side, in the red and white)

8. Lord Tubbington (The Cat from Glee)

9. Little Lord Fauntleroy (Sepia, jumping up and down on Lord Tubbington)

10. Kenneth Lord Sutherland (In the Fancy Plaid Socks)

Enjoy these Lords-a-Leaping, and come back tomorrow for…Pipers Piping!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

On the Ninth Day of Christmas...

"On the ninth day of christmas, the spinster gave to me nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, fiiiiive golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me."

Ok, so today's gif is a little something different. I hope it doesn't throw you into a seizure. I find the best way to look at it is one character at a time, so that's what we'll do.

The barbie isn't necessarily a really skilled dancer, but at least she counts as a lady. She's throwing down some pretty sweet moves in front of a Target pillow case, and she's looking' good.

The dancing kitty is a little gift from my mom from blabla dolls. So, technically, she's not a lady, but I thought she was fairly appropriate since she is a pretty good dancer. And also, I like cats.

The dancing paper cutout lady is an image from style.com circa 2010. She is a lady, and though her legs don't really move, I think she sort of looks like she's dancing.

The Golden Giraffe is not, in the strictest sense, a lady, but I do like her, and I think she looks like she's dancing. Also, she was a DIY project. I spray painted a plastic giraffe from Wal Mart, and ta da! I had a golden giraffe for my home.

Dancing Mary is one of the characters from a Nativity Scene my mom's good friend Ann gave me, and I think she actually fits all the criteria. She looks like she's dancing, and she is a lady. it was very helpful that her feet and legs actually do bend and move.

This T-Rex is called a lady on the sole fact that she's fuchsia. Also, I like that she's 3-dimensional, so it's easier to make her look like she's dancing.

The Yellow Bust is a lady, although I admit she's not a whole lady. I like her, though, and I think she looks like she's sort of half twirling.

The lady in the bandage dress is yet another runway image from style.com circa 2010. She sort of looks like she's dancing, but really, she looks more like she's warbling down the runway.

Lastly, we have the Jonathan Adler candle holder. She's a clumsy dancer. Also, on the other side of her is the face of a man, but pretend I didn't tell you that. For our purposes here today, she is a lady.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another Christmas Gif!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On the Eighth Day of Christmas...

"On the eighth day of Christmas, the spinster gave to me, eight maids a milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, fiiiiiive golden rings, four calling birds, three french  hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me!

Ok, so admittedly today's gif is a little less than imaginative. That's why I added the somersaulting dairy maid at the end. But there is something more worrisome about this verse than my lack of Christmas gif creativity. This woman's true love gave her eight maids-a-milking. That's eight humans he gifted to her. Slaves? And does she even have enough cows for this? Or goats? Don't tell me she has enough babies to warrant eight wet nurses.

I am concerned. So, again, if you're hoping to woo this spinster this Christmas, please, don't send me milkmaids. I have nowhere to put them. I certainly don't wan them to live with me. Also, I'm lactose intolerant, so…yeah.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more gifs and commentary on what must be the craziest song of the season.


Friday, December 20, 2013

On the Seventh Day of Christmas...

"On the Seventh day of Christmas, the spinster gave to me, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, fiiiiiive golden rings. Four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me."

The seven swans a swimming is, of course, especially close to my heart since I'm from Sumter, SC, home of a pair of every kind of swan in the world. There are, in fact, more than seven kinds.

Now, we've talked about all the animal hoarding that's been going on in this song, and the seventh day of Christmas only serves to exasperate the problem. My guess is that the woman who receives all these swans (a-swimming, no less) would have to live on some property that had a pond. So, either she lives in a rural area, or she's very, very wealthy.

In case anyone reading this is planning on wooing me on this seventh day of Christmas, please let me be absolutely clear: I would not like seven swans a-swimming. I don't think the pool at my apartment complex could accommodate them.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On the Sixth Day of Christmas...

"On the sixth day of Christmas, the Spinster gave to me…Six Geese a laying, fiiiive Golden Rings! four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me."

Again with the animal hoarding! These birds and the french hens, though, are the most useful. At least they're laying eggs! I thought about making this gif of geese laying down, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to find a reference photo of that. Apparently geese sleep sitting down.

A side note about this gif: I know my sister is going to think it is disgusting because of the eggs. But since I couldn't find an image of geese laying down, I'm afraid this was my only option.

Stay tuned for the swans tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On the Fifth Day of Christmas...

"On the fifth day of christmas, the Spinster Gave to me, Fiiiiiiive golden riiiiings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me."

Since golden rings aren't necessarily animate objects, I decided they needed to do a little dance for today's Christmas Gif. As far as the song goes, this is clearly the best day. Five golden rings. Perfect. Maybe they're stackable rings, or maybe they're just five fabulously fancy golden rings. Either way, who's going to turn that down? No one.

Now that i'm looking at this gif, though, maybe I shouldn't have consolidated all the rings into just the one at the end. That's kind of the opposite of what this line of the song is saying.

But…stay tuned tomorrow for your next Christmas Gif!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

"On the Fourth Day of Christmas, the Spinster gave to me four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me."


So, in the original text of this song, apparently it's actually "four Colly Birds," instead of "four calling birds." However, upon further research, I discovered that a Colly Bird is just a common blackbird. So, I married the two, making it a common blackbird, calling out "Hey!"

At this point, I'm starting to wonder where the recipient of all these gifts was putting all these birds. I mean, sure, the hens you can eat, but I wouldn't think blackbirds would be very tasty. And if they're calling out, you wouldn't really want them in the house. I'm just sayin'. Is this person really a true love, or are they an animal hoarding enabler?

Monday, December 16, 2013

On the Third Day of Christmas….

three-french-hens, 3-french-hens, french-hens-gif
"On the third day of Christmas, the Spinster gave to me, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a portrait of a pear and me."


If you click on today's gif, you can see it a little larger.

Admittedly, I took the cheesy, cliche route for today's 12 days of christmas gif, but with as many times as this song has been illustrated, there is probably no new way to interpret this part of the song. I thought about doing three french men instead of hens, but I figured I'd just keep with the original lyrics.

So, let's talk a moment about what makes them french. The first hen is a little plump and is holding a baguette. That's french, right? The second one is skinnier and is smoking. Definitely french. The third one is wearing a beret. I mean…clearly all french people wear berets all day every day. Stay tuned for tomorrow's Christmas Gif!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

On the Second Day of Christmas...

"On the Second Day of Christmas, the Spinster gave to me, two turtle doves and a  portrait of a pear and me." 

If you've watched Home Alone as many times as I have, I don't need to explain this gif to you. However, if you're less familiar with the misadventures of Kevin McCallister, I'll afford you a little history lesson. 

In Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Kevin goes to a fictitious toy store in Manhattan called Duncan's Toy Chest. While he's in the store, he meets Mr. Duncan himself, and Duncan gives Kevin two turtle dove christmas ornaments. It's a sweet moment in the movie, but the reason I always remember it is the way Duncan actually says "turtle dove." I don't know why, but after he says it, I just need to say it just like he does.

Now, say it with me. "Turtle dove." Not quite sure how he says it? Don't' worry, I'll link you to the video. Check out Mr. Duncan and his Turtle Doves here.

I think you know what's coming tomorrow…Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

On the First Day of Christmas

"On the first day of Christmas, the Spinster gave to me…a portrait of a pear and me!"

Ok, so that's not really how the song goes, but in honor of the holiday season, I figured I'd do the 12 gifs of christmas, and todays is a special sort of punish version of "a partridge in a pear tree." 

I thought the portrait of the pear and me should be in a  gilt frame, so you could have the feeling you were looking at one of the paintings in the halls of Hogwarts in Harry Potter. At least in this one, though, you can't hear me murmuring. That would be over the edge. 

Stay tuned for the next twelve days for more Christmas gifs from me to you!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Three Things...

Ok, so today we have three things to discuss, three very important things.

Firstly, earlier this week, I had a dream that I was in New York, and Jason Schwartzman was texting me. I was really sad when I woke up to discover that I have actually never met Jason Schwartzman and therefore, he has no reason to text me. 

Upon further research, I discovered the Mr. Schwartzman has actually been married for almost five years, and much to my horror, he actually has a daughter. I'd say this is a pretty fair sign we will never be together. Let's take a moment to mourn my imaginary relationship with Jason Schwartzman.

Now that that's out of the way, on to our second order of business. My new office periodically has volunteer opportunities for its employees, and today I am participating in one of those. This morning, I'm going to get to read to children and help them make bookmarks. Here's hoping it turns out like an AT&T commercial. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijeg-jeTUBs). 

Thirdly, I need to announce something that will be happening for the next twelve days. No, it's not a new novel (not just yet, at least). Rather, in celebration of the holiday season, tomorrow will kick off the twelve days of Christmas. As such, I will be giving you twelve Christmas gifs. No, not gifts. Just animated gifs. So, check them out every day until Christmas! 

Hooray!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Top 5 Ways Atlanta is Making Me More of an Adult

When I decided to move to Atlanta from New York, I knew my life was going to change. I knew I'd start driving regularly for the first time in many years, and I knew I'd have a bigger apartment. However, one of the things I didn't expect was that living in Atlanta would turn me in to just a little bit more of a real adult. How do I mean, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

1. I actually shop at a grocery store now.
          Yes, it's true. When I lived in New York, it made a lot more sense to me to do my grocery shopping at the corner drug store than at a grocery store. For one thing, Rite Aid was just much closer to my apartment and my stop on the subway than any of the grocery stores in my part of town. For another, it was open 24 hours. Now that I live in Atlanta, however, I shop at real grocery stores, like Publix and Whole Foods. With a car, it's actually more convenient to shop at a grocery store, and when I do shop, I can take more things home since I'm not carrying them fifteen blocks with my own two hands. And, oh! The variety! There is so much to choose from in a real grocery store! And gluten free options! Which brings me to my second point:

2. I eat salads
         It's not that I particularly like or dislike salads. I have to say I am fairly neutral on the subject of salads. However, since moving to Atlanta, I've had to go gluten free, and salad is often the best option. In fact, I ate a salad for lunch yesterday.

3. I do my laundry more than twice a month
          Now, when I was in New York, I did like to make a day of going to the laundromat and hanging out. This is true. However, now that I have my own washer and dryer in my apartment, I'm able to do all sorts of things while my laundry is being cleaned. For instance, I can knock out a good two or three episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent (I finished Law and Order Regular, as you may recall), or I can even go to Target! This is a vast improvement over my former laundry life.

4. I change my sheets more often
          One of life's greatest luxuries to me is clean sheets. Now that I have a washer and dryer and a bunch of new sheets, I can change my sheets whenever I want to, and just snuggle up for a little nap, some blogging, or some netflix. the possibilities are clearly endless.

5. I've stopped using paper plates
          Now, before you start wondering if you're reading the same blog you were a year ago, please don't be alarmed. I'm still a huge fan of the ol' pop tart on a paper towel. However, I can't really eat pop tarts any more (silently sheds a tear). In any case, pop tarts or no, now that I have a fully functioning dishwasher, there's no need to skimp on the dishes. I can use as many as I want, and I don't have to stay awake while the dishwasher is running to make sure it doesn't flood my apartment. Ah, the small things.

So, though I'm still living the female version of a bachelor's life (as I write this on wednesday night, I'm waiting for a gluten-free pizza to cook in the oven), I am making baby steps toward becoming a real adult. So, be proud of me, dear readers. The south is agreeing with me and my journey toward full adulthood. Who knows? Perhaps by the time I'm forty, I'll be ready for a pet that isn't taxidermy.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Erin's Chemo Jams

erin-mccamant, portrait, digital-portrait, surprise-portrait, chemotherapy
Firstly, I need to say that today's portrait is not actually of a spinster. My friend and coworker, Erin, actually got married about three weeks ago, but I'm making a special exception for her.

Erin sits behind me at work, and she is a cancer survivor. Aside from having survived from cancer, however, she's a huge fan of all the boy bands. Since we're the same age, that means masterful musicians like Hanson, N*Sync, and the Backstreet Boys. Erin actually once met Hanson, and she cried because she was so excited. She's pretty sure their album, "Underneath," helped cure her cancer.

So that brings us today to our playlist. Erin was traveling back and forth to her Chemotherapy in the years 2004 and 2005, and while she was in the car with her mom, they would always listen to the radio and sing along. So, today, I've made a list of songs (mostly released in 2004) that would have been on the radio for her on the way to and from Chemo. So, Erin, here's your playlist. I hope I get to hear you singing along all day at work today.

Click here to listen blindly.

The Playlist:

1. "With You" - Jessica Simpson

2. "Hey Ya!" - Outkast

3. "100 Years" - Five for Fighting

4. "Breakaway" - Kelly Clarkson

5. "Lose My Breath" - Destiny's Child

6. "Toxic" - Britney Spears

7. "Milkshake" - Kelis

8. "Leave (Get Out)" - JoJo

9. "Pieces of Me" - Ashlee Simpson

10. "Roses" - Outkast

11. "She Will Be Loved" - Maroon 5

12. "My Boo" - Usher

13. "Sweetest Sin" - Jessica Simpson

14. "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" - Jay-Z

15. "Slow Jamz" - Kanye West

16. "Naughty Girl" - Beyonce

17. "The Way You Move" - Outkast

18. "Burn" - Usher

19. "We Belong Together" - Mariah Carey

20. "Gold Digger" - Kanye West

21. "Since U Been Gone" - Kelly Clarkson

22. "Penny & Me" - Hanson

23. "Strong Enough to Break" - Hanson

Enjoy!




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Illustration Friday: Pattern

ballet-flats-print, shoe-print, shoe-repeat, printed-shoes, printed-flats
It's been a few weeks since I added anything to the conversation at Illustration Friday, so I think it's high time I participated. This week's theme is "Pattern."

The theme this week is easy for me because I already had a library on my computer. Today I'm showing a few of the prints and patterns I put together for my annual calendar that I make for my grandmother. (shhh! don't tell!) You may recognize some of the components from other items I've added to the Zazzle Spinster Store before.

The first print/pattern here is of ballet flats. I originally made the graphics of the flats for a mug I did about a month or so ago, but then I thought it would be fun to have them as an all over print.

Next, you'll see this bikini print, which I made for the "July" image for the calendar. I based the bikini CADs on some of the bikinis I liked that came out this summer, and then I added some of my own prints into

the bodies to make them extra special.

Lastly, there's this glasses "print," which isn't actually a print at all. I have to admit that I was too lazy to worry about making it symmetrical and making it a true repeat, so for the purposes of the calendar, I just clipping masked it to be the size of the page.

Well, this is all! Hooray for Illustration Friday! And here's hoping the calendar turns out ok!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Top five ways to deal with Spinsomnia

spinsomnia, insomnia, reading, girl-reading, read-a-book
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved to sleep. Sleep is not only one of my favorite hobbies, but it's also the way I like to deal with pretty much any strong emotion. As such, you can imagine my horror at my total lack of solid sleep for the past few days. But, like anything else, I feel I should help the other spinsters out there with my experience and misfortune. As such, today I present you with my top five ways to deal with what I like to call "spinsomnia."

1. Play words with friends
          With all this extra time, you can try as many letter combinations as you'd like, all while your opponent is asleep. I'm happy to say that because of this week's insomnia, I finally beat my friend Kristen at Words with Friends. It was a proud moment, even if it was 3:04 AM.

2. Take to the Twitter Sphere. 
          If you search the hashtags #cantsleep and #insomnia, you'll find a world of other people who are also completely without sleep and just as frustrated as - if not more than - you are. Don't try to communicate with them. Just read about how they're also having trouble sleeping. Most of them are worse off than you are. Also, I generally find that those who 

3. Have a Snack:
          Perhaps this isn't what you should do, but it's what I did do. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, I ate half a box of gluten free mini chocolate chip cookies, and they were magnificent. I don't think it was all that bad of a decision.

4. Get Cold:
          I don't know why, but I feel more like sleeping when I'm cold. And, as you may know, half the time I'm waking up because my feet are hot anyway.

5. Read a book:
          Since my move to Atlanta, I've had a very hard time figuring out when I'm supposed to read. In New York, I used my commute to use, but now that I drive to work, I can't be reading behind the wheel. With all this loss of sleep, though, I'm getting quite a bit more reading done than I was just a week ago. Brilliant! The downside, though, is that I'm reading quite a good book, and it doesn't make me sleepy at all.

I know, you were thinking this was going to be a funny post. Unfortunately, with my lack of sleep, I'm running on funny fumes. 

More tomorrow!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gift Guide: Teenage Girl

Much like now, I had very particular tastes as a teenage girl. I have to admit that I am no longer a teenager, and potentially am no-longer plugged into what the girls are into these days. I know they like One Direction, but does every teenage girl like them? Who can say, really? All I know is that I'm dating all of the band members, so back off.

Anyway, today is my crack at what to give a teen girl without completely insulting her sensibilities and individuality. Let's be real, though, there's great potential that'll happen anyway. Here goes…

1. The Iron Fey Boxed Set: Amazon, $31.78
          For this choice, I consulted one Miss Alexandra Lubensky, the girl I know who reads the most and most-varied books. For Young Adult reads, she suggests The Iron Fey series. I'd say Alex's recommendation is about as good as you can get.

2. Champion Tile Keds: Keds, $50
          If Tavi Gevinson is to be believed, teen girls these days like Keds. If you ask me, these are a pretty cute pair.

3. Aeire Fair Isle Cold Weather Gift Set: Aerie, $44.95
          This gift set comes with a soft faux-sherpa-lined snood and gluttons (fingerless gloves that turn into mittens). It even comes in its own gift box!

4. Holiday Bobby Pin Set: Anthropologie, $15
          These also remind me of Tavi Gevinson and her sweet, sleek bob. Imagine how cute these could be to pin your bangs back while you take the SAT.

5. Hugo Guinness "Bla Bla Bla" Tee: J.Crew, $49.50
          It's just a cute tee that she can wear with anything. I think "bla bla bla" about sums it up.

6. Twinkle Pink Nail Polish: Walgreens, $4.99
          I love some glitter nail polish. This is a fun multi pink and silver polish, but I think it's hard to go wrong with any glitter polish at all. Especially when it's pink and multi.

7. The Selfie: Urban Outfitters, $20
          This is ingenious if you ask me. Everyone knows teenagers like to take selfless. This just makes it easier. Imagine all the fabulous Frida Kahlo type things your teenage girl could create aided by this magnificent invention.

8. bh cosmetics 120-Shade Eye Shadow Palette: Urban Outfitters, $30
          When I was a teenage girl, my friends and I loved to do makeovers. I can only imagine what kind of craziness we could have created with all these different colors of eyeshadow!

9. Bombay Brown Leather Journal with Tie: Barnes and Noble, $16.95
          I started keeping a journal when I was in fourth grade, but by the time I was in high school, I was filling up pages upon pages a day. The gift of a journal encourages self-reflection and self-expression, not to mention a skill that'll serve your teenager well in college. Plus, this one is so nice and smooth and earthy. She'll feel like Indiana Jones, making notes in the field.

10. Kisspat Hair Chalk: Free People, $24
          If I didn't work in an office, I would be all over this trend in beauty products. When I was in high school, Gwen Stefani had just started dying her hair neon pink, and I wanted pink hair so bad. I didn't get it because it was so permanent back then, but imagine how many different colors I could shave tried if hair chalk had been around!

Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

gift guide: for your gluten free friend

A sad thing has happened in my life lately. I've had to stop eating Gluten. Now, I know everyone thinks this is a fake thing, but all I know is that I feel much better since I stopped eating it. When I told one of my friends about this new development, her comment was that at least it's trendy right now. So, whether you believe in people being gluten free or not, you have to admit a lot of people are cutting out gluten products nowadays. So, today's gift guide is for your friends who don't eat the wheat. Let's get this party started!

1. The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten and Lactose: Amazon, $20.79
          I dont' cook that much, so I haven't really researched Gluten-Free cookbooks, but this one was recommended by the Today Show, and I feel  like the usually know their stuff.

2. Mariposa E-Gift Card: Mariposa, Prices Vary.
          So your Gluten-challenged friend can have a little treat even after christmas.

3. Gluten Free Blondies: Tate's Bake Shop, $27
          I love Tate's cookies, so I'm guessing these are also delicious. Plus, they come in that lovely little box.

4. Endangered Species Milk Chocolate with Cherries, Amazon, $33.48 for a pack of 12.
          This chocolate is delicious. I especially like how it's got the chewy cherries in it. If you don't' need to order a whole dozen, you can also find this chocolate at Whole Foods.

5. Enjoy Life Soft Bake Cookies Double Chocolate Brownie: Vitacost, $3.79
          I picked up a box of these the other day at Publix, and I had finished the box before the next day. Admittedly, they're not as delicious as glutenous brownies, but they will certainly do in a pinch.

6. The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide: Amazon, $11.78
          Whether you love Elizabeth Hasselbeck or hate her, she does have Celiac Disease, and the girl in my office who is helping me along my Gluten-Free way said this book taught her everything she knows. Get it, Elizabeth!

7. Gluten Free Labels: glutenfreelabels.com, $4.99
          This is a great gift for anyone who goes to a lot of pot lucks or shares a kitchen with someone else.

8. Kyotofu Gluten-Free Pound Cakes Gift Box: Williams-Sonoma, $29.95
          I just like cake. That's why this is on the list.

9. Bigfoot Eats Gluten Free Tee: Society 6, $22
          I tried to look for normal-looking gluten-free tee shirts, but none of them seemed to capture my personal shame and apologetic feelings for being on such a weird, annoying diet. So instead of opting for a "proud to be gluten free" tee, I thought I'd go for something that at least had cute artwork. And here it is!

10. Baked Lentil Chips: Abes Market, $2.79
          I used to eat these chips even before I went gluten free. They're just plain good. And, if you're not into ordering your chips online, you can always pick up a bag at whole foods. They're delicious. However, be forewarned: They are full of fiber.

Happy gluten-free shopping!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gift Guide: For the Cat Lady

These days, it seems like there are more and more cat ladies declaring themselves to the whole world. At least for now, no one has to be embarrassed to be a feline fanatic. It's almost, dare i say, trendy to be a cat lady.

So, in today's gift guide, you'll find a collection of items you might consider purchasing for that special cat lady on your list.

1. Kitty Keys: Mod Cloth, $9.99
          These are the purrfect gift (yes, I did just type that) for the cat lady who travel's a lot. This way, when she leave a key to her house for the cat sitter, the sitter will know exactly which one it is!

2. Black Cat iPhone Case: Society 6, $35
          This one is for the more subtle, minimalistic cat lady. It's just the suggestion of a cat.

3. Blue Q Mister Cat Shopper: Asos, $18.15
          Great for the cat lady who likes to buy her cat food at Aldi and bring her own grocery bag.

4. Harriet Gray Cat Temporary Tattoos: Urban Outfitters, $12
          I once dated a guy who, on about the third dates said (in all seriousness), "you know, if you wanted to get matching tattoos, I would totally do that with you." That should have tipped me off right away. Oddly, he was the one who broke up with me. In any case, these little cat temporary tattoos are a bit more my speed, and they're much cuter.

5. Claws for Celebration Headband: Mod Cloth, $11.99
          These may not be the every day item for most cat ladies, but they're pretty fun for party attire. Perhaps if your particular cat lady is fourteen or fifteen, they could be a fun hair accessory for school.

6. Animal Clothes Hanger: Urban Outfitters, $12
          Maybe your cat lady doesn't want an entire closet full of kitty hangers, but do not fear! They have other animals, too! However, the cat ones make it pretty easy to imagine what it would be like if your cat lady and her cat had matching outfits. And how amazing would that be?

7. Kittens on the Brain Tee: Zazzle, $28.10
          Ok, so full disclosure: this is a design from the Zazzle Spinster Store, which is mine. However, I think it's still a fun gift for a kitty lover. But then, pretty much any cat or kitten tee would be.

8. Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: Mod Cloth, $16.99
          First they had Pride and Prejudice, then there was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Now there's Pride and Prejudice and Kitties. Though the original was clearly amazing, I think the addition of cats and kittens will only serve to improve one of the most romantic stories evvaaa.

9. Wiskers Heels: Irregular Choice, $150
          Black shoes with a golden kitten playing with a pearl? class-ay! I think these are a must for your little kitten lover.

10. Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too: A Guidebook for Men and their Cats: Urban Outfitters, $14.95
          This is just in case that "cat lady" is actually a cat man instead. Since there isn't much information out there about being a cat man, this may help him to understand the life he's living.

Happy shopping to all!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gift Guide: Spot On!

Everyone I know has someone on their gift list who loves the animal prints. Even when they aren't in style, these ladies (or maybe men), are always on the prowl for some leopard, zebra, or cheeta. This year, though, I've been seeing the resurgence of Leopard in all the fashion blogs. Lucky for your wild friend or loved one!

Today's gift guide is a collection of some delicious leopard finds, from $6 to $315. With this range, there's sure to be something in your budget!

1. Myth and Kiss Leopard Lace Infinite Scarf: Nordstrom, $52
          I find that the best way to spice up my normally monochromatic outfits is to add a fun scarf. For your Leopard lover, this is just the one!

2. Merona Leopard Print Skinny Belt: Target, $14.99
          I think this is the perfect way to finish off a little black dress or even a brightly-colored one. Also, perfect with some jeans and a sweater. And at $14.99, the price is right.

3. Betsey Johnson Leopard Pattern Hinged Bangle: Nordstrom, $40
          It's neutral, it's got a little shine, and it's got that leopard print. Excellent!

4. Animal Print Calf Hair Tote: Gap, 169.99
          C'est chic! It's a leopard tote to carry all your little leopard-printed things!

5. Martina Leopard Pumps: Nine West, $49.99
          These would be a great neutral non-neutral for your leopard lady's closet. Worn with Jeans, they dress up an outfit. worn with a dress, they make it more fun!

6. Emi-Jay Leopard Hair Ties: Nordstrom, $6.50
          Loved by yogis all around, these leopard hair ties are adjustable, so when they stretch out, they can be retied and made tighter.

7. Leopard Toothbrush: Almanders Alley, $6.50
          A Leopard Printed Toothbrush! The best way to express your leopard love while you're getting ready for bed or getting dressed for work!

8. Stokton Smoking Flats: Bloomingdale's, $315
          Ok, so these aren't quite in most people's gifting price range, but how cool are they!? Studded leopard smoking slippers. Very cool, if you ask me.

9. Leopard iPhone case: Society6, $35
          My iPhone is the accessory I carry most often. As such, if I wanted to really display my leopard love, I would make sure it was all up in my iPhone. Change your background, and change your case. Leopard everywhere.

10. K. Bell Metallic Leopard Socks: Karma Loop, $6
          After all my other gift guides, I don't suppose I need to explain why I have socks on this list. I just like socks. These are metallic and leopard.

11. Timex Leopard Watch: Timex, $50
          This is just a little hit of leopard, but I think it's fun. It's sort of a more subtle way to sport the leopard loving.

Happy Shopping! We're getting closer!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gift Guide: For the Night Runner

I must admit that today's gift guide is inspired almost entirely by my searching for a way to run at night or early in the morning without fear of being hit by a car. However, if I'm looking for stuff like this, I'm sure some other people are, too. Some of these items are for women, and some are for men, and some are unisex. However, most of the items that aren't unisex are also offered for the other gender in the store's website. So, here we go!

1. Teal Reflective Laces: Laced Up, $5
          I don't know about you, but I think shoelaces are a nice stocking stuffer. These have some reflective pic stitching, which makes them perfect for night running!

2. Nathan Shoe Pocket: Dick's Sporting Goods, $7.99
          This has a double function. It's a perfect place to keep your keys, credit card, or a little bit of cash. The second function? You guessed it. It's reflective!

3. Nightlife Reflectives Vest II: Brooks Running, $20
          This is a great item for year-round night or early-morning running. You can just slip it over whatever else you're wearing. It's a classic.

4. Supernova Racer Bra: Adidas, $40
          It's not really reflective, but it is neon, and it's pretty cool with the criss-cross in the back. Probably not a good gift for the men on your list.

5. Nike Allover Flash: Nike, $500
          Ok, so maybe this is a little expensive for anyone on your gift list. But how cool is it? This jacket is made of completely reflective fabric. There's no way you're getting hit by a car in this thing. Here's hoping it goes on sale.

6. Petzl Tikka 2 LED Headlamp: REI, $29.95
         This is excellent because  it helps you see and be seen.

7. Brite Buds - Reflective Cord Stereo Earbuds: Amazon, $23.29
          You're listening to music anyway. Why not have an extra element of safety while you're cruising down the street?

8. Reflective Nylon Fastwrap Watch: Target, $19.99
          If you're one of those runners like I am who sometimes can't wait for it to end, this might be a good gift for you. Stay safe and track your time with this reflective-band watch.

9. Nathan 3m Reflective Tape: REI, $10.00
          The day I bought my running shoes, I had just gotten caught in the freezing rain. As such, I bought the only shoes Paragon  Sports had that had a little gore tex in them. But they're black. I'm considering adding a bit of this tape so I don't feel quite so stealthy in the dark.

10. Women's Lite-Show Tight: Asics, $65.00
          I think tights are the warmest for running, and I alwas buy black. However, these are really nice ones because they have a lot of reflective detailing. They also come in a men's version.

Happy Shopping (and running)!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gift Guide: For the Domestic Goddess

Today's gift guide is for that friend you have who likes to cook and let everyone else eat it. If you don't have a friend like that, you need to get one. They're the best. Ok, now let's get down to it. See below for explanations and links!

1. Chipper and Sprite Serving Set: Anthropologie, $36
          These are perfect for salad or a giant bowl of family-style pasta. Plus they're cute. They come in White and Tiffany Blue.

2. Hobnail Pitcher: Anthropologie, $78
          I love this. Every time I go to Anthropologie, I think about buying it. The truth is, though, with what little I actually let other people into my apartment, I'd end up being the only one who ever saw it. That's what makes this gift great for your friend who likes to entertain!

3. Dotted Dinnerware Set: West Elm, $24-$40
         If your domestic queen is anything like I was when I got out of college (and admittedly still am), she's got a bunch of mis-matched plates. Wouldn't it be nice to have a matching set? These are cute.

4. Oven-to-table Soneware Bakers with lids: Sur la Table, $39.96
          This is a great gift for your friend who loves pot lucks and office parties. It's an all-in-one deal. She can make a casserole or pie or whatever she likes, and then, when it's cooled, she can pop that lid right on, and bring it with her. Genius!

5. Molded Braid Cookie Pan: Target, $14.99
          My mom gave me one of these a few years ago. I love to use it to make little versions of Ginger Jones's Chocolate Chip Cake and hand them out as little holiday gifts at the office.

6. Green Glass Butter Dish: Fishs Eddy, $12.95
          You know how I said I liked to leave the butter out? Well, this is the exact butter dish I have. However, I think any kind of cute or designed butter dish is a good gift idea. My mom recently acquired a sterling butter dish, and it is very fancy. It's just a good idea for anyone who doesn't like to tear holes in their bread.

7. Glass Cupcake Stand: Pottery Barn, $14
          This is actually great for your super domestic spinster. It's a nice way to store your sweets, and it holds just one cupcake. Perfect for a single lady!

8. La Piana Ravioli with Squash: World Market, $5.99
          Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a fancy eater, and I'll eat just about anything that isn't made up of celery and/or olives. So, before I go into how much I love this ravioli, please note that perhaps you should take my opinion with a grain of salt. Especially if you are a food snob. That being said, I like this ravioli. I think it's tasty, and it has the recipe for the recommended sauce on the back.

9. Trunks full of Taste Shaker Set: Mod Cloth, $12.99
          This may not be the best gift for your rabidly liberal friend. However, I think the elephants are cute. Having just purchased a set of cat salt and pepper shakers a few months ago, I think the old S&P are the perfect place to display a little kitsch in your kitchen.

10. Polka Dotted Pot Holders: Anthropologie, $14
          There are two things that need to constantly be replaced in the kitchen: dish cloths and pot holders. I think this set from Anthropologie is particularly fun with its quilted dots and red lining.

Well, I hope I've alleviated some of your holiday shopping stress! Enjoy, and check back soon for more  holiday gift guides!

Monday, December 2, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Dance Break

Well, my friends, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is complete. I'm proud that I managed to finish all 50,000 words (and then some!), and now I need a little dance break and some reflection.

Firstly, I'd like to say that writing 50,000 words in a month while still working a full time job was not as easy as I had thought perhaps it would be. Secondly, I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to illustrate every post. That was just silliness. However, I did think it would make the sheer volume of the text seem a little more manageable.

Now, I must explain something for those of my readers who've never participated in NaNoWriMo. It's not actually a contest. It's more like…when people run the New York Marathon and they get a medal. It's more about the fact that you reached your goal than it is a competition. That being said, I need to share my little stats module from the NaNoWriMo website. Check it out below.

Also, while I was writing and Illustrating A Fashion Story, I finished watching all of Law and Order. I'm kind of sad, but now I've moved on to Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

In conclusion, thank you so much for reading A Fashion Story while I tried to meet this crazy goal. It was super fun to know you were reading, and I hope you'll stick around! I'll be switching gears for a little while and having a few more gift guides. If you want to see the ones I made before NaNoWriMo started, click the "gift guides" tab at the top of The Spinsterhood Diaries website.

Oh, and stay tuned in the New Year! You never know what kinds of spinsterly adventures I may be getting myself into.

See you soon!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gift Guide: Oh, Brother!

Like dads, brothers are another tough group for whom to shop. Since I'm a spinster, it's even harder since I spend very little time thinking about the same things men do. The thing you do have on your side, though, is that you're probably closer in age to your brother than you are to your dad. This means you'll have a common history on which to draw.

So, here goes! Some gift ideas for your brother!

1. Topman Plaid Tie: Nordstrom, $20
          If your family's one that opens gift on Christmas Eve, this is a great one for your brother. He can wear it to the Christmas Eve service!

2. Original Bacon Spread: Skillet Street Food, $14.99
          Ok, so this isn't the ideal gift if your brother's a vegetarian. However, if he isn't, I think it's a great idea. My friend Monica made some for a board game party we attended last year, and I couldn't stop eating it. However, since you're probably not friends with Monica, I think this is probably your best option.

3. Home Alone: Amazon, $14.64
          If your brother doesn't already own this, he needs it. This is as much of a classic as A Christmas Story, if you ask me, with classic quotes like "trout sniffer," and "keep the change, ya filthy animal," you'll find yourself asking him to open this one early, too.

4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: Amazon, $14.98
          Ever now and then, I think about Duncan's Toy Chest and the turtle doves. If you know this movie as well as most kids from my generation, you know how to say "turtle doves" just like Mr. Duncan. If you're getting Home Alone, you must also get Home Alone 2. That is, of course, unless your brother already owns this one.

5. Hidden Camera Sunglasses: Amazon, $28.99
          There are so many different kinds of brothers who would enjoy these. There are those who enjoy a good hidden camera show, and there are those who like to make videos from their own point of view while they're, say, doing some crazy movies on their skateboard. Then, of course, there are those who have coworkers so crazy no one would believe it unless they saw it on video. Of course, I think this last one may not quite be legal. I'm not sure. Whatever the use, though, these things are pretty darn cool.

6. Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal Tee: Etsy, LoyalRoyalTees, $13.50
          If your brother loves Home Alone, he'll love this tee. Even if he doesn't, it's still pretty funny. And if he doesn't love it, you can give him to the count of ten to get his lousy, lyin', lowdown, four-flushin' carcass out your door.

7. Itunes Gift Card: Apple, prices vary depending on card amount.
          When in doubt, give the ol' iTunes gift card. This allows your brother to load up his collection with movies, music, and apps he loves. When my brother was traveling a lot, he used iTunes gift cards to rent movies and watch them on the road. Voila! It's a gift for the guy who travels light!

8. Anonymous Ism Navajo socks: J.Crew, $25
          You may be noticing that more often than not, I like to include a fun pair of socks in my gift guides. Mostly, this is because I design socks and therefore think about socks pretty much all the time. However, I did once have a boyfriend (shocker, I know), whose socks always seemed to spring a leak. As such, I think socks are always a useful gift. Who doesn't need a little refreshing in the sock drawer?

9. Cable Stripe Knitted Beanie: Scotch and Soda, $49
          I like how this hat manages to be both textural and colorful while still being manly. It allows you to give your brother a little something fashionable without making him into a fancy man.

10. Woodpile Boxers: Gap, $12.95
          Just like socks, everyone needs some fresh underoos. And, it's way more fun to have crazy printed underwear than boring solid ones, right? Companies like Gap, American Eagle, and J.Crew offer lots of spunky options that are great for folding up and wrapping or just rolling and sticking them in his stocking!

11. Topman Tartan Scarf: Nordstrom, $28
          Accessories your brother with a little holiday cheer. This will brighten up any boring old ensemble with a little…yep, I'm going to say it…pop of color. Forgive me. It seemed like the only right way to say it. I, too, am sick of hearing about color pops. But anyway, it's a cute scarf. The ladies will love it on your brother.

Happy Shopping. Look for the next installment of A Fashion Story here tomorrow morning!