May 15, 2015

1 Year

One year ago today I threw up at home and then got into the car. My mom drove me at 4:30 in the morning and we battled LA traffic and arrived at LAX as the sun was rising. I checked in and went to the bathroom to throw up again. I cried and hugged my mom and Grace, and walked off into a dark shadowy future of adventure and uncertainty.

Oh man this trip threw me for a biiiig loop.

Saga Museum hanging with a Viking Dude.

Riding a horse for the first time

Westfjords majesty.

But it was also one of the most amazing, wonderful, terrible, fantastic, crazy, miserable, blissful, absolutely perfect experiences in my life. I could say so much about what I learned, the person I was before, the person I am now, but instead I'll just say that I am so thankful for EVERYTHING that happened on that trip.

Glacier hiking

double fisting wine at a book festival

gigantic Norwegian Raspberries

Overlooking a Fjord Village and breaking my heart with beauty.
Iceland was hard, rugged, rough, and painfully beautiful. Norway was just absolutely joyful, breathtaking, and filled me with song. Scotland was not what I expected and that saddened me a lot, but it was also magical, wild.  I got to go places and see things I've dreamed of my whole life. And here I am a year on wanting to go back to all those places, to bring loved ones and show them all the cool things I got to see. And I'm plotting new adventures. A summer traipsing through Italy and Greece. An Autumn exploring France. A crazy jaunt to Antarctica. Road trips through the US. Exploring South America... I could go on. I love my home and my people, and I will always long for them when I am away. But oh! how I want to go out and see more and more now.

Callanish Standing Stones and me attempting to go back in time to meet Jamie Fraser.
Photo credit to the kindly bolder that held my camera.

William Wallace's mother effing sword and me bawling and giving some poor Australian tourists an empowered speech on freedom.

Autumn on Stirling Bridge

St Andrews Castle and little doorways

Here's to the next round of adventures. Here's to going out and doing something crazy. Here's to the Ad in Adventure. Here's to never losing my sense of wonder and exploration. Here's to this crazy thing called life.

March 18, 2015


(excuse the wrinkles! This was day three of wearing it because I lurve it so very much!)

I made a dress! A day dress! A day dress than can transition into a slightly fancier or-at-least-as-fancy-as-quilting-cotton-can-get dress! And I like it.

So some of you may remember that back in the early days of this blog I had the above dress that I wore a lot. Like. A. Lot. It was one of the first "vintage"-y items I ever found that fit me, and it was cute and had probably been a maternity dress at some point. I actually always told myself I would keep it until I had kids, but that didn't happen, because I literally wore the thing to shreds. I was a pretty and somewhat rare shade of blue and had a gradient of sizes of white polka dots on it. I loved that dress. It was one of those items of clothing that you put on and just feel happier in. It was a very happy dress, and in it I felt like I could take on any problem the world threw at me. So a recentish trip to Joann found me in the quilting cotton section and I spied a fabric in the same shade of blue with a nice sized white polka dot and I immediately knew I should re-create my long lost favourite dress. I even found a sort of similar bodice pattern that I planned to alter to make like my dear departed beloved dress ( I cannot drive home enough how much I loved that dress).

I ended up using a different pattern than I had originally planned and I'm really glad because I absolutely adore the way this came out! The bodice is a modified Simplicity 1692. I used view C, but gave he back a super deep scoop and made the front scoop a bit wider(when I first tried it on after I finished it, my youngest sister asked me if it was on backwards and I said no and she said "well if you turned it around then maybe you could get a husband." I don't know where she gets this from. And then when I scoffed at her statement she said "I'm kidding. Women don't need husbands, just dignity." 9 going on Sassy. We've decided that Grace was a British Drag Queen in a past life.). The skirt is Simplicity 3688 minus the waistband, and with funky cool patch pockets I added. There's a side zip hiding in there and well I basically think this is the Greatest Dress Ever (and totally not maternity friendly, so this one will probably last me all eternity). I'm actually really tempted to go and buy a ton more of this fabric to save in case of the inevitable unfortunate coffee incident that will stain this dress at some point.

In other news, I got glasses! They're actually only for driving and TV watching, but sometimes I forget they're on. These aren't anything fancy, just some basic frames from the optometrist, but I quite like them. Plus they're grey so the go with everything!

I'm sure by now you've heard that my corner of the planet is going through a ridiculous heat wave right now and apparently I left all my sundresses in Europe. I'll say this, I really don't mind the fact that all the flowers are blooming and everywhere you go the air in my city is perfumed by the magnolias and orange blossoms, but I could do without the 95+ degree weather. So I expect that I'll be making many more of these little dresses as the summer lingers on. I'm actually really, really not looking forward to the real heat setting in. In February we had days that were hotter than any I had last July or August. Now I'm remembering why I always leave here...

January 13, 2015

End of December

On the last Sunday of 2014 my family- including my visiting grandparents- headed down to one of my favourite places in all the world: La Jolla Cove.  La Jolla is one of the most spectacularly beautiful pieces of coast on the planet. It's a funny little town where stores encourage parents to either keep their eyes on their children or leave them with the chauffeur. Multi-Million Dollar apartments in a spectacularly 80's shade of salmon pink line the shore. Palm Trees sway down traffic packed single lane roads that twist and curve to the shape of the coastline. It's the place postcards dream of. When I was a kid part of the beach was reserved for Children (Appropriately called the Children's Beach), but was taken over by Seals and Sea Lions. They cover the whole beach and now it's blocked off as a reserve. They also take refuge on the rocks along the cliff line and while you aren't supposed to go near them, unfortunately most touristy types still try and get up close and personal. 

We spent the afternoon swimming and relaxing and enjoying the sunshine and cool breezes.
As much as I love the cold, this little slice of heaven I live near will always be dear to my heart.

January 9, 2015

8 Feet Of Heaven On The Ground

Snow Mazes of Norway by Jenny Dalton on Grooveshark

Maybe because I didn't grow up with it, but Snow has always filled me with this absolute wonder and magic. The first time I ever saw it snow was when I was six and we were up at my Great-Grandparent's old Cabin for Thanksgiving. I was wearing a brown jumper dress and a white turtleneck shirt and my sister and I stared out over the ground below us, noses to the window glass, so excited for the promise of snowmen, angels, and ball fight (and my uncle's ill attempt at an igloo...) in the following day.

The new year brought with it a storm of epic proportions for this part of the country and thank God because we need all the storms we can get to make up for last year's horrific drought. It got so cold it even snowed around these parts and the hills a few minutes drive from me had a few inches of snow on them for over 24 hours. We, along with everyone else we know, made pilgrimages to the local snow spots for a little Winter glory.

We ended up going after dark so no one else was around which was pretty swell to have our own private little snowy oasis. We left rosy cheeked, with smiles on our faces, and ready for piping hot cups of coffee and cocoa. We headed home for a soup dinner by the fireplace and reveled in the small sampling of Winter we were blessed with.

My family has been seriously considering a big life change that might bring us to a part of the world where getting snow isn't a once in a decade experience. It's mostly talk at this point, but serious talk. Who knows if anything will come of it, but we're all quite taken with the idea of getting to live in a wonderland of snow. None of us like the heat and unending sunshine of our current home, and we'd all like to utilize the wool in our wardrobes a little more frequently. We'll see. Until then I'll take whatever bit of Snow I can get.

January 6, 2015

Plaided Again*

*I am so sorry for that terrible pun.

While I was in Scotland I stayed with a host for 12 days and they were IN. SANE. Like, I can't even begin to describe how crazy they were. I was miserable. It was abnormally cold and windy and I spent a lot of time outside digging up stubborn weeds and one day while I was pretty stinkin' cranky about it all, I put some yard clippings in the compost and snagged my favourite work shirt on a nail. It tore and I was really annoyed. At exactly that moment I got an email from eShakti offering to send me a customized garment of my choice. Uh, hello! Considering I lost a little over 80 lbs while I was gone I don't have a whole lot of clothing options right now. The week after I got home I did hit up a few thrift stores and Old Navy to try and find something to wear and weirdly now I am stuck with a lot of pants, but very few tops... My skirts all need resizing, my dresses have to be cut down, and I am currently moving from one room to another and all my sewing supplies are inaccessible so I'm a little sartorially stuck. So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to getting this new item of clothing!

I went through the website debating what to get, (skirt, top, dress?) and spent far too much time hemming and hawing over my decision. At one point I had 15 tabs open and I just couldn't decide. I finally narrowed it down to four and then consulted my mom who let me talk it out until I finally decided on the one I had continually returned to over and over again. eShakti has a huge range of styles and items and I absolutely love that. I've been a longtime lurker of the site and have almost made purchases on many occasions, so here was an opportunity to finally get to try out one of their garments.

If you are unfamiliar with eShakti, they are a fantastic online clothing site offering clothing in sizes 0-36! And beyond that you can customize each garment to fit your style and size needs. and if that weren't wonderful enough they actually carry cute clothes! There are basics and party dresses, fun prints and quality fabric. The dress I chose is unfortunately no longer available, but if it is any thing like the rest of the selection, you really can't go wrong! I adore this dress and have worn it several times since receiving it (which was right before Thanksgiving so this post is so incredibly late!!). I opted for the custom fit, and next to the dresses I've made myself this is the best fitting dress I own. Plus look at that plaid matching. *swoon* The fact that it is a beautiful cotton sateen is great for the California heat but also works well in the cooler months here. It's easy to dress up or down, super comfortable, and incredibly versatile. I am in love!

So is there anything I don't like? Not really, but there are some things I'd do differently when ordering next time. For instance this dress is long sleeved, and I just never wear long sleeves. I get too hot in them so it was kind of silly for me to not just get the dress cut in the 3/4/elbow length I prefer (and which is offered in the customizing section). I'm also not crazy about the fact that the lining is polyester, but in a store bought dress that's a given, and honestly it doesn't really bother me. The only thing I can say I don't like about the dress was the matching belt. The best itself is cute, but it's a slide closure belt and tends to slip so I am constantly having to pull it tight again. A snap stitched in will solve this, but I personally prefer leather belts to break up a bold print like this.  This has literally nothing to do with the quality of the garment, just my personal preference.

In short I am super satisfied with my pretty new dress and am super excited to order again from eShakti!

You can check them out on their website, aswell as follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Best of all eShakti is offering a 10% discount to readers on all purchases until February 2nd using the discount code "yammeringmuse."

This is a sponsored post. I received goods in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed herein are my own. 

December 1, 2014

Blurred Plaids

Hello! Greetings from sunny So. Cal! It has been great to be home and play catch-up with life and people and all that. There's a whole lot I could talk about about being back home, but for now let's talk clothes.

I've been in a sartorial funk for a few months now and on top of that I lost nearly 80lbs while travelling. There's a lot of odd psychological things that happen when you lose that much weight unintentionally in such a small time. Maybe one of these days I'll go into it, but right now the point is this: I have very little that fits me. Almost nothing from my pre trip closet fit, and while some of those old items can be altered that takes time and it's been frustrating. I did manage to go out and do a bit of shopping after I got home but other than a few pairs of pants and I think three tops, two dresses, and a skirt, my wardrobe does not exist. I desperately need tops right now, but to begin with I made myself a dress that isn't even remotely a day dress. Hey, I've been travelling from farm to farm falling in various animal feces for 6 months, I DESERVE A PRETTY DRESS!

Cardigan- Thrifted, Dress- Me Made, Petticoat- Vintage (and on it's last life), Ferragamos- Thrifted.

The total cost of this dress comes out to about $2 or $3. The bodice pattern is Simplicity 1375 that my mom picked up for me over the summer for a dollar, and the fabric I bought at a festival a few weekends ago. I bought a large roll of this fabric for $3 and after making this dress that involves a full circle skirt, I still have about five yards left so like, I will have all the clothes from this fabric.

There isn't a whole lot more to say about this dress other than it was super simple to put together. It has pockets and is insanely comfortable and as soon as this little cold snap we've got going on is over it will be perfect for Californian "Winter." I'm pretty sure the fabric is a poly/cotton blend, but it's a nice fabric so the poly part doesn't bother me too much. This is the first time I've ever worked with plaid and took the time to match up the print and for a first time effort I am satisfied. There are a few minor mis-matches, but they aren't terrifically noticeable.  The only thing about this dress I'm not 100%  satisfied with is the bodice fit. I'm having to relearn how to fit my body and there is some weird new proportions on my body. I mean, it's so weird. But I'm making due!

I'll definitely be making another of these dresses and I'm thinking next time I might add in a built in petticoat since this vintage one I have is falling to shreds. Sad petticoat.  

My camera started having some weird focus issues towards the end of my trip making it super hard to get a decent photo so I apologize for any weird blurring. Someday I'll fix that until then, unintentionally blurred images for all!

Of course the best part of this dress is the perfect twirl ability of the skirt.