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Wellington Style Icon: Fandangle Fabulus

FandangleTo start April out right, I’ve returned to my “Making It Happen” series – and I’ve scored an interview with another of Wellington’s style icons. Someone global, yet local, who shows us all the power of creativity, self-determination, and being body positive!

I first met this charmer on Cuba Street, of course, at Fidel’s Cafe. A fedora at a rakish angle over crimson hair caught my eye, along with the glimmer of sequins. This was someone I had to meet. Turns out this unique individual, who I was repeatedly assured was from Paris, was from a tribe associated with New Zealand’s festival of festivals, our Kiwiburn. Not only is Fandangle’s style advice popular online, but Fandangle was a noted presence at the Kiwiburn free clothesline this year, even appearing in the Wanganui Chronicle. With festival style hotter than ever, I knew I had to bring you some style advice from the source. Fandangle came to my house for an intimate tête-à-tête, interview and styling session. Without further ado…Fandangle Fabulus.

Hi Fandangle!

HULLO SADEE! I MUS SAY YOO LOOK LUVLY. BUT YOO CAN LOOK BETTER AND I SHOW YOO HOW IN MAKOVER TOODAY. OF CORSE YOO CAN NEVVER LOOK AS GOOD AS MONSTER BUT WEE SEE WAT WEE CAN DOO.

Oh wow, thank you so much! I do feel very unglamorous compared to you. But to start …how does a young monster become a style icon?

WELL YOO NO IT NOT EESY. PEEPL SAY “WOW FANDANGLE YOO SUCH A NATRAL AT FASHUN” BUT DEY NOT NO HOW MUCH WORK IT IS TO BEE DIS GOOD. I PUT CLOTHS ON AND OFF A LOT. LIKE EVRY DAY I SPEND 8 OR 9 HOURS PUTTING CLOTHS ON AND OFF. JUS SO I CAN STAY FITT FOR FASHUN. MOST PEEPL NOT REELISE DAT WAT IT TAKE OR MAYBEE DEY JUS LAZY. DEY WONDER WY DEY NOT SO FASHNABUL BUT IT COS DEY NOT PREEPARED TO WORK HARD.

 Tell us about you and Paris.

OMG I LUV PAREE AND PAREE LUV MEE! WOW I SUCH A POET!!!!

I ONLEE RECENTLEE MOV TO LITTUL NEW ZEELAND FROM PAREE AND IT A BIT WEERD FINGS SO DIFFERENT HEER. LIKE IN PAREE PEEPL STAY STILL A LOT AND NOT WEER CLOTHS EXCEPT IN FASHUN WEEK. HEER AR PIKSHURS OF SOM PEEPL IN PAREE JUST BEEING STILL AND NOT WEERING CLOTHS:
NakedinparisPEEPL IN LITTUL NEW ZEELAND TRY TO DO DAT TOO BUT I FINK DEY NOT QWITE UNNERSTAND:
5 NZI MISS SO MANNY GRATE FINGS FROM PAREE. LIKE BEEING GEST OF ONUR AT PARIS FASHUN WEEK. DIS MEE SOOPERVISING IN 2013:
-AND I USED TO CLIME I-FELL TOWER EVRY DAY (IT CALLED DAT COS LOTS PEEPL FALL OFF AND IT FUN TO WATCH) AND I MISS TAJ MAHAL AND STONHENGE TOO.

 Have you got a favorite item of clothing?

OMG WAT?????? I LUV ALL CLOTHS!!!!!!!! WELL OK MAYBEE MY FAVRIT CLOTHS AT MOMENT IS DIS WUN:
7 HATT SCRAFIT SOO VERSATIL. IT LIK HATT AND SCRAF ALL IN ONE. AND YOO CAN USE IT FOR TALE WARMER IN WINTER TOO!!!

8 TAIL WARMERI QWITE LIK YOR CLOTHS SADEE. I CAN HELP YOO WIV MAKOVER BETTER IF I TRI DEM ON …

Fandanglestyle

We paused to view the many styles of Fandangle. 50 shades of Fandangle…steampunk Fandangle…burlesque Fandangle. Fandangle’s versatility was amazing!

What’s your most recent purchase?

I NOT NO WAT YOO MEEN. PURR-CHASE … DAT SOM KIND OF CAT???

Okay then, moving on…who are YOUR style icons?

WELL I FINK EVERYWUN NEED DERE OWN STILE SO I NOTT ENCURAGE PEEPL TO COPPY. BUT DESE AR SOME PEEPL WIV GRATE FASHUN IDEERS:

theclassics

Of course – the French classics of black and white, classically deployed. Tres chic!

How do you stay so fit and oval? I believe you come from a very athletic family.

LIKE I SAY BEFOR I WORK VERRY HARD PUTTING CLOTHS ON AND OFF FOR HOURS EVRY DAY. DAT HELP MEE KEP MY FIGERR. AS WELL AS DAT I CARFUL TO EET ENUF. SOMTIMES MONSTER CAN DIET TO MUCH:
12 TOO MUCH DIETSo true! It’s all about a healthy balance. You’re very well known as an avatar of “festival style.” What are some great outfits you’ve seen at New Zealand festivals?

OMG! WELL DIS GRATE HATT I FIND AT KIWEEBURN DIS YEER:
13 stockings hattWAT I FINK WEERD THO IS HOW HOOMINS WEER HATTS AS NAPPYS. IT LOOK SO STOOPID! DIS MEE PRETENDING TO BEE HOOMIN WEERING HATT AS NAPPY. HAHAHAHA!!!!!

14 stockingsDo you have any style advice to inspire our readers?

15 BillyI ALWAYS SAY YOO HAV TO KEEP IT REEL. LIKE DIS MY FREND BILLY. HEE WEERING SHIRT WIV COOL LEPPARDS ON IT BUT IT BE MUCH BETTER IF DEY WERE REEL LEPPARDS.

SO YEA. YOO SHOOD ALL REMEMBER:

MOOR REEL = MOOR FASHNABUL!

DON’T WEER HATTS AS NAPPYS!

VoilaThank you so much, Fandangle! We’ll always have Paris!

After we wrapped up our interview Fandangle took the time to style me. Fandangle recommends a palette of black, white, silver, stripes, and crimson, and a bold hand with lipstick. I even had my hair done, and the whole ensemble was capped off by Fandangle giving me my very own monster-made hat. “HATTS ESSENSHUL!” I couldn’t agree more, especially as we enter the cooler weather.

Here I am after my “fabulus” makeover. I think we all agree: it’s a definite improvement.

For your own style tips, you can keep up with Fandangle Fabulus on Facebook. You can also see the rest of Fandangle’s family, Kiwi monsters at large Tangle, Dangle, and little cutie Mangle on YouTube and on Tumblr.

Moabook
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A Week in Whanganui: Moa Bones, Museums, and Art

Last week, I did something unusual – I spent six days in Whanganui, New Zealand. Whanganui is a pretty place, a large town/very small city traced along a shimmering river, a bit off the beaten tourist track on the west coast of New Zealand. WanganuiRiverAnd I was there to spend time volunteering at the Whanganui Regional Museum…
WHM-MuseumOutside…in their moa bone exhibit. This is not just the largest dedicated moa exhibit in the world, it is also “living storage” for the museum’s  significant moa bone collection. I was there to help process moa bones for physical and online curation, and to document the process for other volunteers. You can read more about the technical and communication aspects of this at my professional blog here.WhMu-MoaRoom   I was able to get up close and personal with the moa collection – a fascinating experience.Moalab-skull

ECwithDNAspecimenDo I look stylish? Enh, probably not. I went up to “Wangers” with a thoughtful fall capsule wardrobe in my luggage, and then the weather there decided it was going to be summer again. So I could only wear about half the clothing I had with me without broiling, and I was too wrapped up in the museum to care much. I wonder if other capsule wardrobe travelers get caught out like this.

The museum also hosts rotating art exhibits from their deep collection. This month they were opening an exhibit about retro New Zealand woodcraft by a company named Sovereign. Here are some sleek 50s and 60s pieces from the exhibit.
WhMu-retrowoodart2

WhMu-retrowoodartI timed my volunteering week to be in Whanganui for the Open Studio art festival. That meant I was in Whanganui for their first Pecha Kucha on Friday night. On Saturday, a friend and I zipped around to multiple glassblowing studios and artist exhibits. There’s lots of wonderful artwork and I will be back for the next Open Studio next year. Here’s a hasty shot of the treasures in progress at Chronicle Glass Studio:
ChronicleStudiosTo complete my “geekcation” I even found a great new pair of eyeglasses at Eyes on Victoria – turns out they have exotic French and Italian frames, along with Karen Walker’s world-famous-in-the-world NZ designed eyeglasses and sunglasses. I am really lucky to be able to take a week off of work to volunteer in a natural history collection at a museum. It was a fantastic six days, thanks to everyone who hosted me and who I visited along the way!

ECwithmoabone

After a week of volunteering (and handling other bones with care) I was allowed to hold a giant moa leg bone. SCIENCE!!!

 

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Public Service Coat-nouncement

This past week’s storms lashing the Pacific are a reminder that Winter is Coming. If you want a winter coat, time to get it.

A word about coats. Coats look best when they fit or are a bit oversized, and are recently cleaned/steamed. Here are tips on choosing a coat fit from Angie at You Look Fabulous. Coats are also not cheap – it’s nigh impossible to find quality coats secondhand in NZ – and we often don’t pull them out of our wardrobes until we really need to wear them. So, do yourself a favor and check your coats out now. If there are fit problems, you’ll have time to resell them or even arrange a swap with a friend. If there are condition problems, you’ll have a choice of replacements.

On web sites, black coats are often shown on blonde models. Why? Because…a contrast between your coat color and your hair color looks good. Personally, I love it when people wear colored or textured coats to break up the great grim blocks of commuters.

I don’t often update my main winter coat – it’s an investment I make about every 5 years. It’s a Coat Year for me. Not only are coats from overseas buying into mediocre design trends – weird, blocky or puffy, beige/grey/black things – but they are heavy to ship. Fortunately, New Zealand retailers are bringing the coat joy this year.

Kathmandu’s waterproof coats have lots of color options this year. And Max has the best coat range I’ve seen in New Zealand in years. They’ve got several assymetric zip coats, which are great for full busts, some fantastic contoured hemlines, and some Not-Black options. To help pay for an investment item like a coat, the Max stores have a layby/layaway option.

A selection of the coats from Max.

A selection of the coats from Max.

Ezibuy is having a two-day sale – March 17th and 18th- that can get you a lot of coatage for under $100, including plus options. The tweed mix one isn’t that cheap, but they’ve styled it well to work with black. And again, they have lots of Non-Black options. Even the pattern in the Sara jacquard zip coat to the right below is lighter on the eye than an all-black coat. Watch out for all-polyester coats at Ezibuy – the more polyester there is in a non-waterproof coat, the shorter its life.

coatage2

Some of the coats at Ezibuy.

I’m starting with Pinterest – it’s taken me a while to figure out the best way to use it for me – and a Winter Coat board is the perfect start. Check it out here!

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Friday Follies: All Over the Place

Busy here! Along with more house renovations, there have been online projects. In late January, I was a guest writer, with On the Restless Taniwha, for the Public Streets series at Public Books, “created by and for a transnational community of writers, artists, and activists.”

In February, I helped Wellington favorite Made on Marion Craft update their web site with a new, responsive look and feel. They are growing to provide New Zealand with hard-to-find craft and sewing supplies – if you want to sew historic or vintage garments, or to a couture level, they have the supplies you need.

The custom dress maker eShakti is expanding their less-retro clothing range into custom trousers, bohemian looks, and contemporary styles. I like the woven eShakti dresses I own, but I LOVE the cotton knit ones.

My autumn/winter wardrobe is close to complete, I just need the dull bits (socks! microcamis! a fresh rain/winter coat!) and a pair of tan or brown ankle boots. Why tan/brown boots? To go with my auburn hair – here is a great piece on “bookending” hair and shoes in style.

And, finally, a great piece on the queer Femme Renaissance and what it means to be a queer femme today.

Proud femme Madeline of the band Unstraight. Photo by Eric Hutchison, courtesy of Madeline Blum and Slate.

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Friday Follies: Clothes Outside the Square

I spent last weekend sanding window frames so my main recommendation of the week is “Don’t use 60-grit sandpaper without your gloves on.” My hands will never be the same. Here’s a glimpse into the weird world of hand models: “I say to people, don’t play with kittens, don’t smoke roll-ups, don’t change bicycle chains.”

DisneyPrints

Prints from the Mary Blair collection – Commuter and Train.

Stripping off my grit-covered work clothes, I escaped into the Fall 2015 fashion overviews online. Wow, mainstream styles for the next year are really sticking with the blocky silhouettes and gray/black/white/blue colors. The Cut’s review of Fall 2015 fashion shows helpfully includes color palettes. I’ll link here to their J. Crew overview and you can use their navigation to review other shows. At least if you get a rectangular coat in a sale from overseas, you’ll get two years of wear out of it.

At the opposite end of the clothing spectrum, Pinup Girl Clothing has a fascinating new collection based on the work of mid-century Disney animator and artist Mary Blair. I adore the jolie-laide Commuter skirt. PUG, as they are affectionately known, is also pointing us towards their work wear. Which I recommend if you don’t want to dress like a woolen rectangle.

If you want a sartorial middle ground, I just had some pretty sweet customer service from Boden. Praise them with great praise! NZers, order from the UK for the greatest variety, be patient when waiting for the mail, and check out their winter sale.

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Friday Follies: Fresh Summer Fixes

Amaranth, embodying the redheaded henna ideal (via Creative Commons).

Amaranth, embodying the redheaded henna ideal (via Creative Commons).

High summer is fading into late summer, and something about a really good summer is inspiring many of us to a style refresh. Last year in Wellington, spring-cool-and-rainy segued into autumn-cool-and-rainy, leaving us trapped in the same clothes for months – I for one was in a rut. This year, I was digging out the summer frocks and the sunhats, and me and my friends were playing around with thrift store visits, private swaps, and you’d-look-great-in-this link exchanges.

Amidst the play, the most common style refrain I heard was: “This year, I have to dress more professionally.” The Cut had a series recently, “Uniforms that Work“, which is great for a professional refresh.

This was soon followed by, “And I have to get a grip on makeup.” Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen has done a superb post on her beauty routine: her result is subtly polished.  If you want to dive in the deep end, check out the New Zealand based blog Makeup Obsessives. Fantastic tutorials and reviews, focusing on products available here in NZ, and the team there really has fun – I laughed through these posts.

For those of us who have loved our makeup for a long time, not only can you melt lipstick ends down to get more bang for your beauty buck (and extend the life of beloved colors), but you can find little empty makeup jars at Japan City in Wellington and Lower Hutt, and in the chain Storage Box. Japan City is also my source for spoolie brushes and Japanese body scrub cloths.

Has your hennaed hair become too dark over time? You can lighten it a touch, back to coppery shades, if you’re willing to be slow and careful with Sun-In or Schwarzkopf Nordic Blonde lightening spray. These contain hydrogen peroxide solutions. Detailed instructions (and WARNINGS) are here. I did one round of this process and was delighted with the color results, though I did have to condition my way through a week of odd hair texture.

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On Hardly Ever Drinking Alcohol

Has anyone else noticed that Drynuary is now followed by the FebFast, giving us two potential months of abstaining from alcohol? The Guardian had a stab at Drynuary here. Myself, I’m going to discuss what it’s like to not drink alcohol all year ’round.

Women's temperance: pretty badass in 1874.

Women’s temperance: pretty badass in 1874.

For all practical purposes, I’m a nondrinker. I have an alcoholic drink an average of every 3 – 4 years, so rarely that I can remember each individual occasion – a wedding toast, or a friend asking me to try something incredibly special. I don’t mind, because I don’t have a medical or addiction-history reason to not drink alcohol – I just don’t like it much, so I choose not to, as a rule. My choice puts me in the curious company of other liquor abstainers and minimalists: temperance-movement suffragettes, evangelical teetotalers, Mormons, Muslims, “health nuts”, and straight-edge punks. (New Zealand, it turns out, narrowly dodged alcohol Prohibition in 1911!)

Like most nondrinkers, I don’t tend to bring it up, because not drinking leads to social weirdness in most Western societies. In one memorable conversation at my first job, I was told that I wouldn’t get far in publishing because I didn’t drink (sure enough, I work in tech today). I was brought up in the USA and lived there until I was 28, and not drinking is relatively common there, 1 in 3 – 4 people, whereas in New Zealand, only 2 out of  10 are nondrinkers. Dating as a non-drinker in New Zealand has been particularly fraught. “If I can’t get you drunk,” said one swain, “how am I ever going to get you into bed?” A statement to make everyone go teetotal right there.

Seeing my friends enjoy wine and cocktails and whiskey, I know I am outside their shared connisseurship of bitter and subtle flavors. Once, I asked a dear friend who is also a globetrotting gourmet, “Do I seem naive, childish, because I don’t drink?” After a tense moment, the confession came: “Yes.” Well, then, so be it.

Courtesy of Lombro Bulmbha via Creative Commons.

Somebody’s got to light that absinthe.

There are a lot of pluses to being a nondrinker. I’m welcome at wild parties – someone has to drive home. Recently, I was the one torching absinthe sugar cubes for other guests with my steady hands. I am also a reliable caberet emcee. One of the joys of burlesque and cabaret for me is that it can be a wicked evening activity without boring alcohol as a focus.

I may seem naive and childish, but so does my complexion. My partner, a light and occasional drinker, has also been touched lightly by time – someone accused me of cradle-snatching him, when he’s 8 years older than I am. The Drinking Mirror App shows what drinking alcohol does to your skin.

ShoesorboozeAlso? The financial benefits of being a non-drinker are insane. Forget the Latte Factor: others have also noted that not drinking alcohol suddenly boosts their budget. I remember being shocked into silence the first time I heard that someone had racked up a $150 bar tab. My house, which I own, I saved up for between the ages of 30 and 35 – it’s the house that No Bar Tabs built. Now that I’m there, nothing ever stops me from driving home to its slightly distant location.

Then there are the aspects that aren’t pros or cons, they just are. Yes, I have fun, but…my standards are different. Some parties in New Zealand are hosted in raw spaces to avoid damage to houses due to enthused drinkers. But I am swiftly bored hanging out in somebody’s garage with a bag of potato chips and drunk people.  Food has to be good – company has to be interesting – I admit, I’ll get off the dance floor sooner – I’m going to admire every detail of your outfit. I remember what I did and said, and what everyone else did, too.

And life has rolled on. Nondrinking hasn’t barred me from experiences or misfortunes. As a nondrinker, I have ridden pillion on a motorcycle at 5 AM through the last of lurid old Times Square, modeled, partied in the Meatpacking District in New York, visited ten countries, been mugged, been divorced, gone urban spelunking, enjoyed world-class cuisine, danced at big band Motown and radical feminist punk concerts, flirted badly, flirted with shocking success, and celebrated getting engaged again.

This month, I support fellow Wellington redheads raising money for the FebFast – please consider donating to help young New Zealanders learn how to enjoy alcohol responsibly.

For a nondrinker’s night out in Wellington with some beverage variety, I happily recommend the delicious virgin drinks at The Library. And at the world-famous Matterhorn, just ask the bartender and they will make virgin versions of their amazing cocktails.

My life as a nondrinker.

In conclusion: this is my life as a nondrinker. From the irresistible Tumblr Babies Covered In Money.

ChicagoInterior
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For My Snowed In Friends

In the Northeast of the US, millions of people are about to be snowed in. Trapped at home under travel bans. Trawling the Internet. Hi, snowed in people, have some reading recommendations!

Share With Your Family

  • Help Us, Great Warrior – The bravest, cutest, cheekiest girl-power warrior in all the land.
  • A Redtail’s Dream – Lushly illustrated webcomic based on Finnish mythology about a boy and his shapeshifting dog. Appropriately snowy! It’s complete, too, so you can read it from beginning to ending.
  • Sauerkraut Station – A science fiction novella about a girl who lives on a space station, the boy traveler who comes through, and the events that they endure. Along with sauerkraut recipes and what it means to make a difference.

Longer Reads

  • Drowning Kiribati - The other side of climate change – temperature increases and sea level rise – in the small island nation of Kiribati. More articles here.
  • The Conversation – “The Conversation is a collaboration between editors and academics to provide informed news analysis and commentary that’s free to read and republish.” An intellectual friend sent this to me and I promptly started screaming, “Where has this been all my life?”
  • The Blue Castle – Escape into this adult novel from L.M. Montgomery (you may know her better as the author of Anne of Green Gables). Bobbed hair! Disreputable fellas in jalopies! Unwed mothers! Heavens to Murgatroyd!
  • Books, Free or Worth It - I recommend more free online long reads here. Victorian scenery-chewing and Edwardian South Seas adventures await.

Blog Posts of Mine

  • Vintage Precious Jewelry – “Vintage jewelry seems to baffle people as much as, if not more than, vintage furs. And it has an even higher cargo of expectations about its value and emotional significance. Plus, who doesn’t like looking at shiny sparkly things? So: a post about vintage precious jewelry.”
  • Five Things to Read Instead of 50 Shades of Gray – Gnh. The 50 Shades movie is coming soon. Here are some other options that might make you glad you don’t have anywhere to go…

Illustration above is “Chicago Interior” by Theodore Johnson; below is “Two Women Reading” by Katsushika Hokusai.

Two Women Reading by a kotatsu

For many of us, this is friendship…when you can read together.

Oh my God don't make coats from these cuties.
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Furs You Can’t Sell: what to do with vintage endangered animal fur clothing

What do you do with a vintage fur item when it turns out that it is from an endangered or protected animal?

I’ve provided this as a reference to try and help people brought here by my two previous vintage fur posts, Grandma’s Vintage Fur: Is It Valuable? (general overview) and Selling Grandma’s Vintage Fur (sale focused advice) There are no comments available on this post. If I had any information, it’s in here. If you decide you want to contact a local museum or wildlife refuge about your fur item, you are in a better position to do that than I am, because I am in New Zealand. The links further in this article may help you.[Read more]

BuildThatHacienda
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Renovating My Hacienda

Site update day! I’ve launched a new look for Ever So Scrumptious, including updated Links – the About Style links now show my absolute, most helpful favorites.

Are blogs obsolete, now that the web is moving towards visual media? No – they’re our online salons, where readers stop by for a coallation of intellectual hospitality. These online spaces give us endless possible “haciendas” as described in Formulary for a New Urbanism. With our smartphones, they’re the friends who always have a note for us, wherever we are. This new site theme is more mobile media friendly than my previous one.

The new year for me has started out with lots of foundation work. I’ve updated this site; a colleague’s site. I spent a day doing what used to be called “housework” but what I often describe as “infrastructure maintenance” because it is the physical plant for my life as a human being. And I bit the bullet and upgraded some wardrobe essentials. The black leather booties I live in. Black pants. Gray pants. Is anything less exciting than gray pants? Actuarial tables, perhaps – but the gray pants open up 15+ work and play outfits for me. They’re the fairy godmother for my wardrobe orphans.

Palette for a redhead.

Here’s what else I’m planning this year:

  • Burlesque and Cabaret – Still emceeing, but I am taking a step back, partly because there’s some marvelous new emceeing talent in Wellington with Victor Victorious and Constance Craving. And this means I can go to more shows! In the audience!
  • Work – My buns off. I’m looking at e-commerce and I’m looking at some intriguing Day Job projects.
  • Style – Polish, polish, polish. Quality, maintenance, grooming. Right now, I have three workwear silhouettes: slim/wrap dress and boots, slim/straight trousers with knit top and Professionalish Jacket or Cardigan, slim/straight trousers with button-down top. I have a palette, which is shown to the right here. I have some nice Going Out dresses and a costume closet and a sewing machine. And for this year, that’s fine. I don’t feel I need to reinvent the wheel, especially because mainstream boxy silhouettes and restricted colors aren’t lighting my auburn-hourglass fire, and because…
  • Travel – My partner and I are going to visit my family and friends in the USA. I’m very excited, even as the budget requirements for this make it a good year to be content with my wardrobe. I also have a super secret project coming up in late March that will involve a bit of travel – more on that closer to the time.
  • Sewing and Writing – I’ve resolved to do more of each. Of both. Of all of them.
  • Life Infrastructure – Big changes under way as my partner and I combine our forces into one residence. We are going to create our hacienda, together.  Most excited!