Monday, September 30, 2013

Not a Morning Person

I may wake up early, but that doesn't mean I'm a morning person. I need about an hour to myself in the morning just to sit, eat, and be by myself before I can communicate with anyone. That's why, when I heard Proverbs 27:14, I was especially happy. As far back as when Proverbs was written (and, let's be honest, probably before that), there have been people who don't like to speak in the morning. to us, even blessings seem like curses.

Does this sound familiar? Are you a person who likes to be left alone in the morning? Then maybe you need the Proverbs Morning Mug. One side has the bible verse, and the other side has an illustration of my very own exhausted and sleep-dulled face. It's the perfect way to (semi-) subtly tell that person in your life who always insists on talking to you the moment they see you're awake, or the moment you get to the office.

Check out this mug and a bunch of other silly Spinsterhood Diaries-Related stuff at the Zazzle Spinster Store.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Flats and Specs

Since we've just finished talking about a fashion design project, I thought it was appropriate to make a bit of fashion geekery in the form of a ridiculous pun. That is why I've created the "Flats and Specs" mug. 

To review, in fashion, "flats" are the technical sketches designers make in Adobe Illustrator as sort of diagrams for what they're trying to get the factory to make. "Specs" are the measurements given as specifications for the dimensions of the garments.

Annnnd now, I'm going to ruin the funniness of the joke by explaining even further why it's funny. The sketches on on the mug are actually flat sketches of accessories. Get it? Flats of flats? Specs of Specs!? 

Yep. I love puns. I think most spinsters probably do. Check it out at the zazzle spinster store. And groan at how bad my joke is.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sample Fashion Project: Flat Sketches

While the rest of the project was fun and lovely, the flat sketches are the real meat of the portfolio. These tell the future employer what they really need to know: can you use Adobe Illustrator?  This is especially important at the assistant and associate level. As beautiful as your hand drawings may be, the flat sketches are really what you're going to be doing in the day to day of your job.

With flat sketches, more is actually more. The very minimum you should have would be five. However, ten wouldn't be overkill in any way. In fact, if you have enough time, you should draw flats for every garment in your five looks.

Some things that get you bonus points with flats:

1. Complexity:
          Don't go overboard adding extraneous details to the garment just to get some complexity in there. However, a piece of outerwear with topstitching, buttons, closures, back neck taping, and any other sort of functional details is totally acceptable.

2. Brushes:
          If you don't know how to make brushes in Illustrator, you should go ahead and learn. It's pretty fun and cool, and if you use (again, reasonable) brushes on your flats, that displays some good knowledge.

3. Fills:
          Now, to be safe, you probably want to present your flats in black and white form. However, you can add plenty of fun textures with the use of fills. Again, if you don't know how to make fills, go ahead and learn. There are plenty of tutorials online, and it's super fun.

4. Front and Back Sketches:
          This is fairly mandatory, but it never hurts to mention it.

Some things that will take points away:

1. Incorrect stitching or no stitching at all:
          When in doubt, look at a real garment. You need to know about construction.

2. Incorrect seams or no seams:
          Again, look at a real garment.

3. Lack of Closures:
          How is your customer going to get in and out of her garments? (note: this isn't a problem for sweaters and cut and sew knits)

When you've made all your flats, you can add them to your project in one of two ways:

1. On one side of a two page spread, have your fully rendered drawings. On the other side, add the flats for the garments in that drawing.

2.  Just add all your flats at the end of your project in their very own little section of flats. This is the way I usually arrange my projects so that the technical drawings don't detract from the drawings.

Now, you have all the parts of the fashion project, and you're ready to go! You should be proud. Scan it, and send a pdf to your mom, if it's not already in the computer. That's what I do. And then drink a coke and eat a whole bag of riesens without stopping. That's also what I do.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sample Fashion Project: Renderings

When you've finished your thumbnail sketches, the next step is the renderings! As discussed yesterday, you should go back through and find what you think are the strongest looks and pieces, things you want to show your interviewer as a representation of your ability as a designer and your understanding of their brand. The sweet spot as far as numbers are concerned is between five and seven (That means five, six, or seven...not just six). Any less, and you haven't got a fully fleshed-out project, and any more, and it becomes an issue of your not being able to edit.

The fully rendered drawings serve a few purposes:
1. To show your designs in greater detail:
          The thumbnails were more conceptual, but now you get the chance to draw them larger and with more detail and feeling.

2. To show your drawing ability:
         The truth is, you will rarely-to-never use your drawing skills as a fashion designer. It's more important that you know how to use a computer . However, design companies like to see that you can, in fact, draw. Not only this, but if you were interviewing someone, wouldn't you want to take some time to look at pretty pictures? I would.

3. To show your styling aesthetic:
          Your fully rendered drawings are your opportunity as a designer to show how you would style your pieces into fully realized looks. This doesn't just mean the clothing. This includes accessories, hair, makeup, and footwear. As any good fashion devotee knows, one skirt can look like ten different garments when styled different ways.

Once you've chosen your looks, you'll want to decide on rendering style and presentation. I chose a simple background here, but there is a whole world of options where presentation is concerned. I will, however, warn against getting too crazy. While you may want to do a more complex background, that's not entirely necessary. You may be excellent at photoshop, but the main point here is to show you design ability where the clothing is concerned. If your background in any way detracts from your designs or drawings, you should tone it down. It's not about the background.

My preferred rendering method is outlining in black prismacolor on Graphics 360 paper and then coloring from the back with Chartpak Ad Markers. However, you may be more fond of watercolor or just straight up colored pencils. If you're really, really good at photoshop or illustrator, you can even do it that way.

It's not always necessary to have different poses, either. I think that one person who looked at this particular project actually commented that they almost liked the thumbnail drawings more than the actual renderings. It's really a matter of taste and what you feel most comfortable doing. I, for one, absolutely love the look of a watercolor drawing or painting. However, I don't feel as comfortable rendering in that medium for a job interview, so I stick with what I know best. Experimentation is for fun time. The drawing comfort zone is for getting things done.

Once you've got all your girls lined, I suggest coloring them all at once. By this, I mean you should do all the skin first, then all the hair, then all the pink, and so on. This way, all the colors will look cohesive throughout your project instead of, like the coat drawing in this one, having one that ends up streakier than the rest. I also find that if I don't do all the hair at the same time, there will be some variance in how shiny each girl's hair looks. That can be a distraction if it's too different or obvious.

When you're satisfied with your renderings, take a little time to arrange them in an order you would like them to be in a runway show. One of my professors always told me to put the your best two drawings on either end of the grouping: a really good one to start, and a really good one to finish. Sandwich the weakest one in the middle. That way, they'll hopefully forget it was a little off by the time they get to the end.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the illustrator flats. I know, I know. That's not as exciting. But, it's a big part of my life as a designer. And it's a big part of anyone's portfolio.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sample Fashion Project: Thumbnail Sketches

Now we get to the actual drawing! I know, you thought it would never come. However, it is indeed here.

Though thumbnails aren't absolutely necessary for a successful and finished-looking fashion project, they are helpful in showing your potential employer your thought process when it comes to design. In fact, the word "process" is the buzzword you'll want to use when discussing this segment of your portfolio.

You can present your thumbnail sketches in a few ways. Some interviewers like to see them in a separate sketch book done side by side with your inspiration images and tear sheets. This shows how your'e able to interpret a trend from runway or street style into numerous marketable options. The downfall to this, though, is that it doesn't show your drawings as a "collection" but rather a bunch of ideas that will later be put together into a collection.

Your second option, and the option I've demonstrated in this project, is to have page after page of complete looks on girls all in a row. I feel like this is sometimes better as it shows a progressive design movement in much the same way as a runway show would. The best way to execute this method is to have one figure that you use over and over as a template over which to draw your girl and your designs.

As you'll see in this post, I really did overkill on the thumbnails of this project. Three to four pages is plenty. The idea here is to develop your ideas into some looks you like, and color them up to show the options to your interviewer. After you've made your three to four pages of thumbnails (maximum of five pages, I think), go back in and make notes about what they are and what they're made of. After that, go through and choose five to seven looks you really like and mark stars beside them. Any looks you really don't particularly like, just put an x by those. That will show that you can edit yourself.

I chose to add the thumbnail sketches into my actual portfolio in the pages between the trims and the actual fully rendered drawings. However, as I stated before, having them in a separate sketchbook is also acceptable. It just depends on whether or not you want to have to deal with two books.

A note regarding the execution of the thumbnails: As you can see here, I've colored the skin, hair, and all the clothing on these girls. This isn't really necessary. Some people don't even color the clothing and opt instead to just hit the shadows with a light grey marker from the back or even just shading a little with their pencil. It all just depends on what you like.

And now for the rest of the Thumbnails:

Stay tuned tomorrow for the fully-rendered looks!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sample Fashion Project: Trims and Hardware.

For this particular project, the request was that I bring any specific hardware I would use on outerwear. As such, the trims here are mostly closures. However, there are a host of different kinds of trims to consider:

1. Closures:
          Closures are just what they sound like: things you use to close a garment. Included in this category can be buttons, snaps, zippers, buckles, velcro (or hook and loop as it's called if it isn't actually velcro brand), d-rings, hooks, and any other way of closing a garment you can think of.

2. "Inner Beauty" Trims:
          These are especially important in menswear and outerwear. These could include things like twill tape (to use as a seam binding), Interior piping (you'll sometimes see this at the place where a jacket's lining meets the front facing), any kind of seam tape or binding, and sometimes grosgrain ribbon. These trims will be things that can add a little extra something to the interior of a garment while still keeping its outside understated, if that's what you wish.

3. Embellishments:
          Embellishments are things like studs, sequins, beads, ribbon, fringe, tassels, and anything else you might use on your designs to fancy them up. This category is really open to whatever you like.

When I did this project, I just went to pacific trimming and picked out the items i thought were most fitting for the brand with which I was interviewing. They are simple and often understated, so I made sure I stayed classic. This scan doesn't really show them well, but the first column holds some flat top frosted gold shank buttons, some leather covered shank buttons, and an oversized interior snap. The second column has leather covered d-rings, a dainty gold oval buckle, and a rectangular sliding buckle. At the bottom is my favorite piece, the spring-loaded bit closure for outerwear. It's kind of heavy in hand, but I think it's really nice.

They key to this is either having those little baggies you can get at a jewelry-making store, or using magna tack (if you have heavier paper and a little time) to stick all the trims down. Label each of your trims with names that display your knowledge of hardware and trims, and separate them by category and size if possible. For example, if you're using ribbons, buttons, buckles, and fringe, I suggest you group the soft trims together by category (that means ribbon with ribbon and fringe with fringe, but potentially ribbon and fringe together on the same page, and likewise for the buttons and buckles).

In the absence of a good trim store, there's always google images. You just want to make sure your images are high-res and set up nicely on your page.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the actual drawing part!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sample Fashion Project: Materials

When I did this project, I was interviewing for a job in women's tops, specifically knits and sweaters. As such, you'll see that I have a heavy emphasis on knits and yarns. However, to round out the presentation, I also included some "bottom weight" fabrics, in order to have something to discuss with regards to skirts, pants, and more substantial dresses.

You'll note that in the "yarns" image that the writing is a big hard to read, and the scan is sort of shadowy. When I was preparing this project, I knew I would be presenting it in an in-person interview. As such, I did not send a scanned copy ahead of time. However, in times when it is necessary to send a project ahead of time, I would recommend scanning the yarns separately, and adding them to a photoshop file later, so that your image is not quite so lumpy.

Next to each yarn swatch, I wrote a few things: Yarn name, yarn content, and yarn gauge. These are the important things to know about yarns. If you don't know content (although it's fairly easy to find out when you're buying it in the first place), just make something up that you think it is. Do note, however, that whoever is interviewing you may have extensive knowledge of yarns and yarn content, so it's best to actually know all this information instead of guessing.

The woven fabrics page, I will admit, could be neater. In the best of times, with the most prep time, a swatch page should be comprised of square swatches of the same size, all created with pinking shears. In my opinion, this page looks a little sloppy. However, I did end up getting the take that for what you will.

When preparing this page, you'll want to attach the fabrics in such a way that the bottom is free. This way, if your interviewer wants to touch and feel the fabrics in order to get a sense of your quality taste level, they'll be able to do so with ease. A good page will include some lighter "top weight" fabrics  that could be used for tops or light dresses and skirts as well as some heavier, sturdier "bottom weight" fabrics that could be used for pants and heavier skirts. It's also nice to include some variety in terms of texture, opacity, and sheen.

As in your yarn page, on your fabrics page, you'll want to include the name and content of these fabrics. By name, I do not mean "Ellen" or "Miranda," but rather "silk chiffon" or "wool felt." This demonstrates your knowledge of different fabrics, textures, and weaves, and when you're interviewing, the more information you can subtly convey without actually saying it aloud, the better.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more of this sample fashion project!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sample Fashion Project: Color

Once you've got your mood board all set up, the next page will be your colors. There are a number of ways you can do color, but I choose to make "poms" out of embroidery floss you can find at any craft or sewing store. Though they don't offer every single color, there is a wider range of colors available at most stores than, say, any specific fabrication.

On this particular project, I just hand drew a border using a ruler, a black prismacolor, and a marker. However, in more recent projects, I like to have a more cohesive background theme made from my computer. Either way is definitely fine, just as long as your project maintains some semblance of unity.

If you have made your mood board in such a way that it has some color theme, this might be a good place to start when choosing your overall color palette. However, it is also good to consider the colors that you consider to be "trending" at the moment, which you may have discovered via a trend forecasting subscription, a visit to color collective, or from a survey of several floors of bloomingdales.

When choosing a color palette, you want include a few important things:

1. Neutrals:
          While neutrals may or may not be exciting to you as a designer, in order for a line to be saleable, there must be neutrals. Neutrals are sort of the bead and butter of any fashion business. Well, at least the ones in which I've worked. I usually like to have a separate section for my neutrals, as you'll see here at the bottom.

2. Color Levels:
          You'll see in the right hand column of this page that there are three levels of a sort of blue/green/teal color. This really should be demonstrated in more places in this color palette, but it's not necessarily mandatory to have for all colors. The thinking behind having levels of color (say, darker and lighter or more and less saturated versions of any given color) is that if you are to have a print, you'll need more than just one level of color. Additionally, you'll want to use varying strengths of color throughout your stripes, plaids, and solids as well. This keeps the collection from looking flat.

3. Pop Colors:
          One of the most-used "buzzwords" in a fashion office, in my experience, is "pop of color." Sometimes I think if I hear about color pops one more time, I'm going to ask someone to find a thesaurus. However, it's important to note that this, at least right now, is an integral part of any line. In this particular color page, the pops of color are on the left hang side. You'll see in the "thumbnails" portion that these are used in conjunction with the darker blues as well as the neutrals in order to add a little life to the looks.

When you've finished choosing your colors, make your poms or color swatches, and attache them to your page. Add names that you think fit with the overall theme of your collection, and add them underneath. Names aren't necessary, but they're a nice touch.

Stay tuned for more of this project tomorrow!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sample Fashion Project: Mood Board

Whenever I check my referring search terms, one of the ones that's always there is "sample fashion porftolio." In moving, I have rediscovered a bunch of my old interview projects, and I figured if everyone was searching for them, I'd post one here. The one I'll be showing you this week is one I did back in 2010 for an interview at a classic American name brand.

A fashion interview project consists of a few parts. The image you see today is of a "mood board." The mood board is a collection of images that will "inspire" the rest of your project. These images can be of anything you find trend-right, inspiring, or cool. This parciular mood board is for a back to school collection, so I made it school-themed. 

When building a mood board, I use a host of different sources for imagery. In this particular one, I used google image searches heavily, searching for vintage photos involving books, cheerleaders, and uniforms. I also borrowed a couple of photos from The Sartorialist, and some images of pencils, which I layered on top for effect. Other sources you could consider may include Pinterest, design blogs, rookiemag, and magazine editorials.

My style of mood board has changed over the years, and now I actually prefer more straight lines and organized looks, but at the time this one was made, I favored more of a freeform collaged look. I use photoshop to make my mood boards, but there are plenty of people who actually just cut out photos and stick them to paper. My thinking, though, is that it's important to display, by means of the mood board, that you can use photoshop fairly well. 

Some things to avoid on a mood board (in my opinion): 
1. Images from other brands' ad campaigns or runway shows.
2. Images that are identifiable as being from previous seasons (ie: are no longer considered brand new trends)
3. Text that is difficult to read (when it comes to text, simple is most often the best)

Some things that are good to have:
1. "Lifestyle" photos:
          These are photos that convey the kind of girl you think wears the brand for which you are interviewing. These are most often images of a girl doing running on a beach or riding in a car or out with friends. But be careful...this can get dicey and cheesey really fast.

2. Current/recent street style photos:
          This shows you're paying attention to what's going on in fashion aside from just shopping online and looking at the runway shows. Runway is one thing, but what people are actually wearing is just as important.

3. A Color theme:
          It's sometimes hard to find a bunch of photos that offer a cohesive look and color story for your mood board. This can be solved in a few ways. Firstly, you can search for images by color on Pinterest or some other outlet. This can offer you some interesting imagery you perhaps wouldn't have thought to look for in the first place. Secondly, you can always choose a background that is not white but sort of pulls a similar color out of all of your images, giving a more unified look. Thirdly - and this it the one I'd been doing most recently - you can actually alter the color of your images in photoshop via the color replacement tool or just plain hue/saturation adjustments. 

4. Visual Texture:
          I sort of have it in this mood board, but it can be done in a number of ways. The idea is that it's nice to have some variance in the texture of your imagery. It cant' all be the same size photos of girls in button down shirts. Add something like a ball of yarn or, like in this mood board, some 3D-looking pencils. Pictures of other raw materials such as wood, metal, stone, etc can also help to add this element to your overall finished product.

Once you're happy with your project and its layout, print it out on paper that's larger than the actual image, then crop it down. This way, you'll get a bleed print, and you wont' have those pesky uneven white borders you get when you try to print to actual paper size. 

Stay tuned! Tomorrow we shall discuss the next part: Color!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

5 Things That Happened Yesterday

Sometimes when you're a spinster, you have days that are just full of happenings. They may be small happenings, but they are happenings nonetheless. This morning, we'll review five of the ones I had yesterday.

1. I had one of my new recurring dreams.
          For the past couple of years, I've had a few permutations of the same dream: There's a natural disaster of some sort in New York that involves a flood, and because of that, I need to move all of my stuff out of every apartment I've ever lived in there. Somehow the culmination of the dream is always at the apartment I had with a roommate above Da Silvano on 6th Avenue. It's always completely dark and bare, and I'm always there without permission. This time, there were parking issues and some sort of force field.

2. I turned the wrong way down a one way street.
          So, earlier this week, I finally got my parking pass. As such, the next morning, I went into the "monthly" lane in the garage. I waved my pass in front of the sensor, but nothing happened. Cars were piling up behind me, and I didn't know what to do. As it turns out, my monthly pass is for another garage. The new garage is on 15th street. Somehow, yesterday morning, I ended up on 16th street, and when I tried to make a right onto a street that would connect the two, I was absolutely shocked to find out it was a one way street. Thankfully, they had a red light.

3. I went to Sam Flax
          According to my coworker, Erin, Binders used to be the biggest and best art supply in Atlanta. That is, until Sam Flax bought out a space that used to be a Kroger. Now, they're the biggest. Of course I had to see it for myself. Even If I wasn't a spinster, art supply stores would be one of the greatest joys in my life. They are somehow exciting, calming, and overwhelming all at once. There's almost too much possibility. However, I keep telling myself I've got at least two years to take it all in.

4. I lost my car.
          After I went to Sam Flax, I decided I should take a little trip to Lenox Mall. I didn't actually buy anything, but I had a spinster date with my friend Megan at 8pm, so I had a little time to kill. I parked my car on the side of the parking garage, near the entrance to Macy's so I could remember where I left it. To further ensure I could find it, I parked by one of the columns.
          When I came out of the mall, though, my car was gone. I looked all around, and it wasn't there. There was just a puddle where my air conditioning had leaked on the pavement. I stood there for a minute wondering why they would have chosen my car out of all the others in the whole garage. But then I realized, maybe I'd parked on the level above. I had.

5. I went to Fork and Screen
          Megan and I planned a spinster date on wednesday, and she suggested Fork and Spoon, an AMC dine-in movie theater. I ate too much, and I had a cherry vanilla coke from the coke freestyle machine. Megan was hilarious as usual, and Marky Mark was pretty funny, too.

I hope you've enjoyed this recap of a day in the life of the spinster.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sweater Weather Songs

So, this week at the new job, I've been working on outerwear. Not only that, but it's pleasantly freezing at my desk and, I hear, also in New York. So, in honor of autumn's approach, today's post is a Sweater Weather, or "Outerwear" playlist. I've included songs that are about about or mention coats, jackets, and sweaters.

To the left you'll find a flat sketch of a jacket I used for a project earlier this year. Stay tuned for a full fashion project this coming week!

And now for the playlist!

To listen blindly, click here.

"Outerwear" Playlist:

1. "The Way I Am" - Ingrid Michaelson
2. "Undone" (The Sweater Song) - Weezer
3. "Short Skirt Long Jacket" - Cake
4. "The Sweater" - Meryn Cadell
5. "Like I Love You" - Justin Timberlake
6. "Sweater Weather" The Neighbourhood
7. "Be True To Your School" - The Beach Boys
8. "Ring the Alarm" - Beyonce
9. "Outrageous" - Britney Spears
10. "Blue Jeans" - Lana Del Rey

Get out those headphones and have a listen!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Serious Problem for the Spinster

So, the presence of my mom this week has been magnificent. Because she has been here, my apartment is 100% more set up and put together than it would have been had she not come. She even helped me hang some pictures and Hastings last night. I don't know when I would have gotten around to putting Hastings on the wall if she hadn't helped. He likes to get ornery sometimes, and I can't deal with him alone.

Yesterday, while I was at work, my mom bought me a chest to hold my TV. We brought it upstairs with the help of a kindly neighbor, and we put it in place. It's so nice because the wii doesn't have to be right next to the TV anymore, with all its wires overtaking the the chest like kudzu. 

We tucked into a delicious dinner Mom had made, ready to watch some vintage Law and Order on Netflix. The only problem was that now the wii wasn't outputting images to the screen. We could hear the wii menu, but we couldn't see it. You can imagine how horrifying this is for a spinster. I need the Netflix. 

For the two hours that followed, I became obsessed. I googled the problem. I called the person who gave me the wii. I tried plugging the wii into my tiny bedroom tv. The weird thing was, it worked find in my bedroom. But should I be hoarding all the Netflix to myself by using it in my bedroom? Clearly not. I mean, the fact that I'm usually the only one watching it is entirely beside the point. 

Now, if you're looking at the photo here, I'm sure you're thinking that this TV is clearly an artifact from early 2008. Your thinking would be correct. However, just the night before we were able to watch a nice episode of Law and Order with no problem. 

I suppose it's a good thing that I'm like your grandmother and have an antenna (visible to the left of the TV in the photo above). This way, at least we can watch the Today show without fear of the ominous blue screen. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spinstering with my Mom

Last night, my mom was an honorary spinster. She deserved it. We went to Ikea, and then afterward we spinstered by getting chinese takeout and watching Law and Order on Netflix. And I had a coke. She'd already had a diet coke that day.

After a full day of work in the office for me and a serious day of work for my mom, we needed some Netflix. My mom may be the only other person I know who, without fail, always wants to watch Law and Order. 

Also, If you would like to see something magnificent, check out Giancarlo Esposito's hair in Law and Order Season 7, Episode 3. It's really something special. I think my mom's going to have her hair done like that tomorrow.

The illustrations shall return this weekend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Moms are The Best...Especially My Mom

No, it's not Mother's Day. You're safe. However my mom is here in Atlanta helping me move in - nay, actually moving me in - and I feel like I'm getting the biggest gift ever. Yesterday I came home, and she had unpacked the lion's share of the boxes already. The movers had only been there a couple of hours earlier. If she wasn't here to help me, and I had to come home from work and unpack some 50 boxes, I don't think I'd ever unpack. It's overwhelming.

Now, before you think that my mom's just being a mom, let me tell you this: She even helps people who aren't her children move into their new places. My friend Katherine said that when she moved into her first adult apartment, she had to go to a two hour class, and when she got back, my mom and her mom had completely unpacked and decorated her new home. The woman is a machine.

My new mattress isn't here yet, but the one for the guest room is. And, after a day of hard physical labor, my mom actually felt bad that I was going to sleep on the sofa. I think that of the two of us, she deserved a bed a lot more than I did.

There is a woman here in Atlanta that my mom hooked me up with when I came down to look for apartments. She really took care of me. she cooked me dinner, gave me a guest room, and then she made me breakfast! That woman, Michele, said that she wanted to be my mom when she grew up. I suppose after this entry, that shouldn't surprise you. I'd don't know if I'll be exactly her when I grow up (that would be weird since we look so much alike), but if I'm half as helpful, I think I'll have done ok.

And, in a side note, Hastings is so tired from the move, he can't even get up off the floor. (see photo)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Top 5 Thing Guys on Ok Cupid Say

As a spinster and a busy professional (and, ok, yes, a hermit), I've spent plenty of time trying to make online dating work. Let's be honest, though, it's a total farce. Because of my recent move, I changed my zip code to see what kinds of guys are on the hunt in my new vicinity. The only thing this has shown me so far, though, is that the guys of OK Cupid and the like are the same wherever you go.

1. LOL
          In case you're ancient, "LOL" is internet textspeak (re: shorthand) for "laugh[ing] out loud." I am pretty careful with this abbreviation and try to use it as sparingly as possible because, most of the time, I am not, in fact, laughing out loud. The guys of online dating, however, are not so careful. Some fellows write it after decidedly unfunny comments in their profiles such as "I'm a pretty laid back kind of guy," or "I love football." Others just see this as a sort of divider between sentences in a message they send you. Examples might include "I just read your profile. LOL. You seem pretty cool. LOL," or "Your pics are great. LOL. I thought I'd send you a message. LOL." When I read a message like this, all I can think is "are you really laughing out loud?" and "that sentence was neither funny nor was it a joke...unless you actually don't want me to reply to your message..."

2. Laid Back
          I'd say that at least 75% of guys describe themselves as "laid back" in their profiles. While 75% of guys may, in fact, be laid back, this really doesn't tell me much about what they're really like. It just makes me imagine them in a recliner watching sports.

3. Jack of all trades, master of none
          I'd say this exact phrase can be found in at least 50% of men's profiles. I'd just like to say here and now, men, that this is not necessarily a positive statement to make about yourself. If you add an "LOL," after it, you're doomed. If you have a job at all, I hope you're at least a master of that trade.

4. Emoticons (insert here)
          I know that there are lots of people who will disagree with me on this, but I find emoticons to be the indication of a lack of proper descriptive and expressive vocabulary. While I don't expect or desire formal dissertations when we communicate, I'd also prefer not to spend 15 minutes trying to figure out whether "XD" has something to do with hi-def TV or if your eyes actually form the shape of an 'x.'

5. I could never live without water.
          In your OK Cupid profile, there's a section that says "Six things you could never live with out." You'd be surprised how many guys write "food," and "water." Seriously? That tells me absolutely NOTHING about you. At least write that you couldn't live without your ferret or Borat or Woody Allen movies or Beer or women's mud wrestling. At least that way I'd know we aren't a match.

Though I've tried very hard to make my profile reflective of my actual personality, I'm sure plenty of guys have read it and been like "uh...yeah...this really doesn't tell me anything." Annnnd...that's why I love Netflix. It's always the perfect date.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Return of the Illustration

cringing-gif, illustrated-gif
So, as it happens, I'll be getting internet tomorrow morning, and of course I'm very excited. Also, I am extremely excited that my mom is in town to help me get my place in order. After over a week without furniture, tv, internet, a real bed, or any more clothes that I didn't pack in my suitcase, Monday is going to be brilliant.

With all my non-internet, non-tv time, I decided to do a little gif exploration. Today I wanted to show you one of my first attempts. It's that face you make when you see something really painful happen and there's nothing you can do about it. In fact, it's the face I imagine some early riser made that morning I fell down while running at 5 AM. It's also the face I made when I saw a girl fall down while dancing last night.

Stay tuned for more gifs. Best caption wins.

Friday, September 13, 2013


 I ate a skinny cow mint ice cream sandwich for dinner tonight. It had been that kind of day. And when you're a spinster, you get to make decisions like that. Even if they are low in calories. 

Teresa was a magnificent angel throughout the entire key ordeal. In the end, because of the wonderful works of Twitter, I was able to contact Mac the Cheese Food Truck, who put me in contact with Happy Belly food truck, who had my keys. Teresa, bless her pea pickin' heart, drove me all the way to Cumming, Ga, to pick up the keys from one of the Happy Belly employees. He refused to be compensated. If you ever see a happy belly truck when you're in Georgia, please at least buy a drink. These are really excellent t people. 

Annnd. I shall have real Internet on Monday of next week! Hopefully blog posts will be more interesting and spinsterly once I can think and type properly again. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Well, that didn't turn out like I'd hoped...

Yesterday was my first day of work here in Atlanta, and everything went pretty well. It went well, that is, until I was time to leave. I looked everywhere, but my car and apartment keys were nowhere to be found. That's right. I haven't even been in Atlanta for a whole week, and I've already achieved a feat I never accomplished in all my time in New York. 

I retraced my steps once, twice, and three times (a lady), and every person I asked asked me if I had retraced my steps. And now I'm sitting in my friend Teresa's apartment making this post on my iPhone. 

On the bright side: I had my first chick fil a since I moved here. Yes, of course I had a chocolate milkshake. With whipped cream and cherry on top. And while we were in the car in the drive through, I told Teresa how I had, just the day before, cooked a frozen pizza and in the absence if proper cutlery, torn it in half and eaten it out of a plastic bowl. Welcome to Atlanta where the playas play...and where the spinsters lose their keys and sleep on someone else's couch. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm Back...well, sort of.

As promised, it is Thursday, and I have returned. There has, however, been a slight kink in my plans. Yesterday was supposed to be the day Comcast came to hook up my Internet , but because if a clerical error, I will now be without Internet until Monday. Sigh. That means I'm going to be writing from this amazing iPhone which has ensured my safe passage throughout Atlanta for the past six days. Really, how did we ever get anywhere without smart phones?

As for Atlanta, I must report that despite my little tiff with Comcast, I am quite enjoying myself. The moment I walked into my new apartment for the first time I did, literally, squeal. There's so much space. At the top of this post you'll see a photo of how far away my oven is, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know that one of the happiest things I've discovered is that I now take my showers in a bathroom where, unlike my apartment(s) in New York, it is impossible for me to stand in the bathtub while also brushing my teeth at the sink. 

Additionally there's the matter of the pool in my apartment complex. I actually went for a swim in a swimming pool yesterday for the first time in recent memory. Needless to say, I feel like I'm getting away with something somehow, even though this is clearly all on the up and up. How can people live this way and get away with it? Well, I intend to find out. By becoming one of them. 

I had hoped to share some new gifs I've been working on, but until I can use my computer in tandem with the Internet, I'm afraid they'll have to wait. 

One last note: I did a very spinsterly thing yesterday and bought my very first washer and dryer at the sears outle in Tucker. I felt like a real adult. And then I felt like a real spinster for bring so excited. 

Until tomorrow, my spinsters. Please forgive all typos and weird formatting. I'm working in an app. It doesn't give me as many editing options. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Back in the South (See you on Thursday!)

Yesterday was a day of travel. I started in New York, transferred in Charlotte, landed in Columbia, and finished in Sumter, SC. My mom and I took a detour to this crazy furniture place out on Plowden Mill Road in Sumter, SC (pictured here below), and there was furniture all the way to the ceiling. I was too overwhelmed to buy anything, though. How could I not be? But they did have incredible prices.

This post today, though, is to say that I will be driving to Atlanta today to move into my new apartment, but I won't have internet until Thursday, so the ol' Spinsterhood Diaries will have to take a little break until I'm wired back in. How will I survive? No PLL? No Hulu? No Netflix? NO SPINSTERHOOD DIARIES!? It's going to be tough, but I will have plenty of things to do, like visiting the Target that's, like, a block from my new apartment. Yes, that is your cue to be jealous.

While I am, indeed, out of New York for at least the next two years, I'm sure I'll be back there soon, at least to visit. This is just the start of a brand new adventure. And this adventure involves a pool, a car, and a Super Target. What more, really, could a girl ask for?

Friday, September 6, 2013

This is happening.

I have a very early flight this morning, so this will be short. Mostly, it will be short because I'm writing it very late the night before I fly out. I can't believe this is happening.

The first video is one I took this morning at the Park Cafe while I was preparing my tea and waiting for Hannah to arrive. The cup was so tiny, but the tea was good, and so was the company.

The Last video is of my walk back to the hotel tonight. It is so surreal that Im leaving. This is a walk up Sixth Avenue from around 47th street to around 55th.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Im writing this post in a very sleepy state on Wednesday night. It's been a long day, and I'm concerned about how much sleep I'll be able to get without my trusty foot fan.

The movers came today, and tonight I'm staying in a little room at the Wellington Hotel in Manhattan. 

My New York sketch book got another amazing addition tonight from the lovely Angela Chicone. We had an awesome dinner at Ma Peche (thanks, google and iPhone), and she drew me a ham and a unicorn, both of whom seem to have recently eaten some beans. I loved it. 

I'm just going to I ahead and be honest here and say I'm not entirely sure I'm still awake anymore. Hopefully there will be more interesting posts after the big move.

Going Away Party

Perhaps it was a little self-absorbed, but for my going away party last night, I had my friends all draw or write a little something in a spiral-bound hard cover sketch book I'd bought for that very occasion. The results made me really appreciate how awesome my friends are. They're funny, smart, sweet, and creative, and I thought I'd share a couple of the entries with you this morning.

The first image you'll see here is from my friend Randy. It'd been at least a couple of years since I'd seen Randy, so when he turned up at the going away party, I was really excited. Randy and I sat next to each other in Steven Stipelman's fashion art class our last semester at FIT, and so on the front of the card Randy brought, he included an illustration of Stipelman. The likeness is really uncanny, and the note on the back is so nice. I love that Randy's card has a drawing on it since that's how we know each other.

The other entry I wanted to share today is from my friend Jono, and I actually laughed out loud when I got home and looked at the book. Jono is yet another friend I met through Kelly, the thrower of excellent picnics. I'm not really sure when I met Jono, but every girl I've known since then has been in love with him. Maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much. He's a total mensch.

The entry Jono made is entitled "Movies that would be better if they were about farts." I meannn....clearly, it is amazing. In case you have a hard time reading the titles, he's named them White Men Can't Fart, Fart Club, The Fartist, and Fartest Gump. I meannnn...I'm laughing out loud right now even as I'm typing this. Because...well, because it's just so silly. And the illustrations are really funny, too.

All of the entries were amazing, but I thought these two might have the most mass appeal visually. I don't care what any of you say. My friends are the best, coolest, smartest, funniest, and the best looking. Don't try to dispute it.

Also: there was a photobooth at The Standard Biergarten, where the party was, and we definitely tried to fit six people in it. You can just see a little bit of my forehead in those four photos, and it was so much fun. However, when we split up, the photos did turn out much better.

Thanks to all my New York friends for being the best!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thicker Than a Snickers

I had a box of Raisinets and a coke for dinner last night. And for brunch I had a french toast sandwich with peanut butter and nutella filling. This, my friends, is what I like to call stress eating. It doesn't actually make me feel better, but it sure does taste good. This type of eating has introduced me to to the phrase "thicker than a snickers" in the past week. While one of the men in the mail room at work assured me that this was, in fact, a compliment and not an insult, I'm not so sure how much I like being called "thick" by the men who pass me on the street. I'd rather hear insults like "girl, you too skinny," and "eat something," but alas, I suppose I am the only one to blame for my status as a "thick" lady.

Of course it doesn't help that a fellow I was, in my mind, briefly "seeing" a while back stopped by my apartment yesterday to say goodbye and was looking less than a good way. Doesn't that always make you want to send them a punch in the box? Why guys gotta be havin' different shaped fat cells than women? And why does food have to taste so good?

Here's hoping the fitness center at the new apartment results in a total loss of the chunk sitch, and the new kitchen inspires consumption of real food that contains actual nutrients. But here's also hoping I never become one of those people who lies to themselves by quoting Kate Moss's, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Because let's be real here. A lot of things taste that good. A lot.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hastings Is Ready

In my efforts not to think about the move, I spinstered all out yesterday. First, Hastings and I had a photo shoot wherein he modeled his readiness for his new adventure. He decided he would go with an American Eagle embroidered square scarf and his Vera Bradley crossbody bag. Both solid choices, in my opinion.

Next I saw Closed Circuit, and I felt like I should have read up on the English judicial system beforehand, because I'm not entirely sure what happened there. However, Eric Bana was looking lovely as usual.

Next, I ate a random lunch of half a can of black beans. It was what I wanted, and I'm really good at adding salt, pepper, garlic, and Tapatio to things to make them delicious.

My friend Shira met me for manicures on Steinway in Astoria in a salon where they are always watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The episode we saw today involved Kris Jenner and her brand new wig.

Next Shira helped me go through some drawers in my dresser, a task I would not have performed had I not had company. I managed to get rid of quite a few pairs of holey socks and awful underwear. It always amazes me how inefficient the underwear-buying process can be. You never know what you've got until you get home and wear them, and then it's too late. 

One of the things I've been meaning to do for years is get rid of some of my pulverized flats. I think that in the time I've lived in New York, I've absolutely destroyed no less than ten pair of ballet flats. Here are the four I found and disposed of today. The two pair on the left were the absolute most expensive, and they were the least durable. However, the top right hand side (Tory Burch) were the most comfortable, for what it's worth. I wish I still had all the shoes I've murdered over the years, but I suppose there's no need for a spinster to keep that many shoes whose soles have been re-glued more than twice. 

Lastly, I went to yet another one of Kelly's magnificent gatherings. As usual, the attendees were wonderfully fascinating, and the food was scrumptious. On the way, though, I had to wait an eternity for the subway, and I felt sweat trickling down my back and temples. On the bright side, though, there was a man playing a mean sax in the Union Square Subway station. (see below)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Try Not To think About It

Ben Folds has a song called "Alice Childress," in which the chorus says "try not to think about it, Alice Childress." While I love the song, anyone who knows me could tell you that I have a hard time not thinking about "it." In this case, my "it" is the magnitude of this move. I'm really trying very hard not to think how big a deal this is for me. I keep reminding myself of all the things I'm excited to see, do, and experience on my new adventure, but if I stop for even a moment to really think about what I'm doing, everything that's happening, I'm all of a sudden awash in an overwhelming sea of emotions so complex, I'm not sure I want to dissect them.

Yesterday, in efforts to keep my mind busy, I cleaned out my drain (disgusting as always), had a shower, washed dishes, photographed my dishwasher, posted the dishwasher for sale on Craigslist, did three weeks' worth of laundry (and somehow managed to forget a few things), ate a bagel, and met my friends Kelly and Rafael for tea at Ciao for Now (how appropriate) in the East Village. Then, I came home and undertook a bit more of a drawing than I usually do for a next-day post (see above).

Kelly was my first real friend in New York. We interned together our first summer in the city, and Kelly was that delightful coworker who was always bringing baked goods into the office. Needless to say, she won my heart. In the years since then, Kelly has contributed to my happiness in ways I wouldnt' have imagined. She's the consummate party hostess, a magnificent and exerimental baker and cook, she throws a mean picnic, and she really knows how to mix people together so that we're always meeting someone new and incredibly interesting. I'm hoping to lure her to the south for a visit.

From the last paragraph, you should not be surprised at all that Kelly introduced me to Rafael. Though I have grafted many of Kelly's friends since, Rafael was the first one I knew I had to have for myself. He's brilliant, hilarious, fashionable, and I just feel like he gets it. I don't know how else to explain it, except to say that Rafael is one of those people who, when you talk to him, you always get the feeling he can totally see where you're coming from and could understand how you'd feel that way. In other words, he's a total keeper.

I feel so blessed and honored to have met both Kelly and Rafael, and as a means of keeping my mind of all that's afoot, I decided to Law and Order Binge last night while I spend longer than I should have on the drawing. In reality, though, it was only about three episodes. That's not so bad.

Stay tuned for more ways I try not to think about the move. It's going to be a good thing.