Category Archives: Geek Girl Goes Glam

“Many men complain that women have an appalling tendency to relax after marriage…they leave their gadgets out in the open…” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

Lately I’ve been doing a TON of craft projects–cross-stitch, art cards, all of my letters (so many letters!) wrist cuffs, pajamas!  But nobody likes a mess, Ian especially.  He hates clutter, and he’s taught me to hate it too.  I’ve gotten to the point where I actually make my bed.  I know, like a real grown-up, right?

But let’s face it–craft projects are clutter just waiting to happen!  There’s thread and fabric scraps and Mod Podge stacked all over, not to mention the books (I bought The DIY Bride the morning after my engagement, as a little present to myself).  I wanted to keep things neat and tidy, so I decided that the best way was to, you guessed it, craft!

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I am glam geek girl, so I took a page from my favorite video game, Chrono Trigger, and made a Lucca-esq box for all my needles and thread.  I stained a basic wooden box with cherry stain and then hot-glued on metal corners from Idea-ology, then added decorative steampunk-esq gears. I cut felt flags like you might find at the Millennial Fair and also added a decorative clock face, of course.

IMG_4654Inside, I covered two pieces of cork board with green fabric and hot-glued them to the top and bottom.  The top holds all my skeins with pushpins, and the bottom holds all my tools: tiny scissors, an “antique” felt needlebook and a pincushion in the shape of a Nu, complete with googly eyes.  It keeps everything neat and contained, plus it looks AWESOME.

 

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All Crafts Begin and End With Nu….

REDHEAD UPDATE: It washed out.  It’s barely noticeable, so I’m going to try it again!  Fingers crossed, glam geeks.

Finally, autumn!  Fall is my favorite season; once you get a job and have to wear office clothes instead of short shorts and micro-sundresses, summer doesn’t seem that much fun…but fall, that’s when I can REALLY show off the good stuff! Leggings, boots, jackets and hats, HURRAH!  And layering, layering, LAYERING!  It’s much more fun to experiment when there are multiple pieces involved and not just one sundress and some sandals.

Plus, it’s what Ian likes me best in–soft sweaters, cozy tights, all looking sweet and comfortable.  In the summer, I like to feel like a seductress with my long legs and high heels, but in the fall, I turn into Manic Pixie Dream Hipster.  I bought a dress printed with cat faces.  I wore flats ON PURPOSE.  And he LOVED it.  I might , just might, be getting the hang of this “impress your man” thing.

But it’s a look I can rock, and it’s a look that men seem to like.  It gives the appearance of low maintenance, charm and quirk.  Men all say they like high heels, until they want a girl to be able to walk more than ten feet.  The only man who ever hated my Doc Martens, well, let’s just say he’s not around anymore.

Second Thoughts on Chivalry

I think I might have figured out part of the reason Chivalry is dead–because some men, (you can spot them because they’re usually wearing a fedora or a bow tie; the more romantic among them might sport a ruffled shirt or floor-length leather trench coat) use it as an excuse to lash out at women when they don’t bend over on the spot.  These guys (often referring to themselves as “gentlemen” or “nice guys”) believe that if they hold a door for a woman or pay for dinner, she “owes” them sex at the end of the night.  This is bunk, and women are sick of it. No wonder we get weirded out when people don’t hold doors!   There are men out there I wouldn’t let hold a door for me if it was leading into a room filled with bunnies where Walton Goggins and Clive Owen and Ewan McGregor were all there holding plates of tiny finger food to feed to me while I lounged on a soft couch watching 30 Rock.

So how about this, everyone.  How about we ALL hold the door for other people?  How about we pay for dinner if we know a friend is a little short on cash, and we help carry a pal’s luggage if it looks heavy or if the person is clearly burdened with packages.  If we get to the table first, we pull out the chair.

And everyone else, let’s try to say “hey, thanks” when other people perform nice tasks for us, hmm?  It’s 2013–let’s remove the gender politics from politeness.  And quit expecting things from other people.  Do good deeds from the heart, not because you think you might get something out of it.

 

To Make a Cake

“To bake a cake . . . bake the cake like the mix on the package said to do” Margie Blake, Fun to Cook Book (1955)

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I Can Haz Kake?

My Gay-Gay tells this great story about her roommates at Lindenwood coming back to the sorority house from their Home Economics class with a bewildered sort of look.  “We tried this new thing called ‘cake mix’,” they said.  “You just add an egg and some butter, stir it up and put it in the oven to make a cake.”

So I guess I wasn’t too surprised when the Carnation Fun to Cook Book my friend Kelly got me “To counteract (my) progressive childhood” taught our young Margie Blake (Daughter of Carnation Cooking Goddess Mary Blake) how to make a cake by simply following the directions on the box.  Any box will do, I guess.  I was going to use her peppermint frosting recipe, so I got plain old Duncan Hines vanilla cake.

Look, I’ve tried to bake cakes from scratch, I really have.   And occasionally they turn out not-terrible, like the Moxie cake I made Matthew for his birthday, but for the most part, they turn out so mediocre that it’s not worth the effort.

A cup of oil, three eggs and a little water later, I had cake mix, only some of which was on my knees.  And 30 minutes after that, I had a cake, most of which will be going directly into my gaping maw.  In a way, I suppose, this was progressive–not having to bake from scratch left a woman more time to attend social functions like bridge club or the Association of University Women, allowing her to get out of the kitchen and expand her horizons.

Next, of course, came the frosting.  I used the “Candy Cane Frosting” recipe, because it has Carnation Evaporated Milk, natch.

And it did not end well.

The cookbook is geared towards seven year olds whose mom still has to use the can opener for them (recipe for soup: 1 can soup, add Carnation Evaporated Milk, heat, serve) and yet I, with my MFA hanging on the wall above where I write this, ruined the recipe.

Cake is So Damn Unpretty . . .

Cake is So Damn Unpretty . . .

I don’t know whether it’s the humidity or that I’m a kitchen idiot, but the frosting turned out very watery and I now have a cake that looks like the Most Disgusting Sandwich in the World.  It tastes okay, sure, but it’s not pretty.

Wolf Whistle

For the first time since I started this project, I got wolf-whistled today by two shirtless construction workers (oh WHAT a cliche) from about 700 feet away.  But it wasn’t like I was even wearing a cute dress or high heels–I had on black slacks, a polo shirt and Laura Ingalls boots.  From the 500 feet away that they were, I’m surprised they could tell I was a girl.

I suppose I was a little flattered even though I disagree with wolf-whistling on principle.  I’ve been feeling a little less-than-beautiful lately; on Saturday I was visiting Pete, Eeon, Bridget and Jim, and Eeon put on some old Triangulon Home Movies from college.  He had this footage of me and Jim just talking in the dining hall of the student union, and all I could do was stare at myself on screen like a big idiot.  I was so beautiful!  My hair, waist-long and tied back with a funky headband I made out of a pillowcase, perfectly framed my pale, sweet face, my unlined eyes, my unworried mouth.  I looked like Geena Davis, and better still, I had this aching vulnerability to my movements, this strange tenderness, a shyness clearly barricaded behind the glass facade of a brash conversation about the long-closed adult video store on Amsterdam Ave in NYC.

People tell me I’m pretty now and I believe them.  But for the first time in my life, I became very aware that I am growing old, and that my face, my body, are changing and will continue to change.  All the cosmetics and the new hairdos can’t hide that forever; even if I could find that sweater and that hairband, I wouldn’t be able to recreate the Me that I was.

And you know what?  That’s okay.  I can live with that.  I was just glad I had the chance to peek back at myself with all the same friends (and new ones) present, groan at my terrible Ninja Fighting skills, and once again enjoy Fighting Fish:

All that, my friends, is infinitely more important than beauty.

Eeon’s finding me a screenshot; I’ll add it as soon as he does.

Romper Room

Friends, I was once like you.  I used to look at the romper and think “ugh, I had one of those when I was six*, what, is that like the summer Snuggie for people who’ve given up on life?”

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But friends, I am here to tell you that I have changed my ways.  A romper came into my life and showed me all the promised glory of cute, chic, comfort and style.

You see friends, I toss and turn a lot in the night.  Nightgowns get tangled, and I have yet to find my dream pair of Liz Lemon-esq pajamas in which to work on my night cheese.

But one day, at TJ Maxx, I spotted a pink tag on a garment that would change my life forever (One of my superpowers is the ability to spot a Betsey Johnson tag from a mile away).  This deep purple,  pink rose-print cotton romper with a ruffled black satin trim and little rosettes was calling my name.  I bought it and took it home and promised him that if it looked stupid or was uncomfortable, I would take it back.

That night, I discovered that sleep did not have to be marred by twisted shirts and baggy boxers.  I could lounge comfortably with coffee in the morning.  And it looked fetching with my pink satin kitten-heel slippers.

Ian called it a “gateway garment” that would eventually lead to a Snuggie and, possibly a Hoodie Footie.  But friends, I am here to tell you that those are THE DEVIL’S LIES.  Go out and buy one in every shade and you will NOT be sorry you did!

(This does not mean, however, that the romper can be worn outside.  Then it just looks stupid and frumpy.)

*It had Rainbow Brite on it.  Top THAT!

Hat Trick #3

“Hats are like vitamins–they make you feel good and look even better!” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

Hat3Wednesday is my day off in that I don’t have to go into the office and can dress a little more casually, but even when I’m “slumming it,” I still want to LOOK GOOD!  The flower pin is from my trip to London, and this grey cap is probably the hat I wear most often–it hides bad hair days (so many bad hair days) it keeps the sun out of my eyes and, best of all, is just cute!

A hat really can make an outfit.  Without the hat (and the scarf, which belonged to my grandmother) this would just be a boring tank top and jeans.  Add some accessories, and TA-DA! it’s a chic ensemble!