Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Monsters Inside Me Top

This week, my mum pointed out to me that when I'm stressed, I'm an absolute bear to be around. And she's right. When I get stressed out, I get really whiny. I complain about everything, get mad when people agree how horrible the situation is, and get mad when people try to be comforting. I stomp and slam things and my voice goes up three octaves. And I can't be alone. I follow people from room to room so I can let them share in my misery.

And this is why you should all be very thankful that you only know me through my blog.

Anyway, I should probably go back to the beginning and tell you why I was so stressed. In the 4-H world, it's Fashion Revue time! The yearly sewing event is genuinely a great time to learn skills and create something fun for your wardrobe, and it's always looked forward to. BUT. Seeing that in 4-H we 'make the best better', and that usually translates into doing something more challenging every year, the actual execution can be frazzling.

And now, we come to the top.

I was about to fall over, btw, I'm not just randomly clutching the wall...
Originally, I was going to make a dress. A cute, cotton wiggle dress that was light and polished and perfect for summer. Given my nit-picky idealism, however, I simply couldn't find an acceptable shift dress pattern. So, I happily bought a full skirted dress pattern, that also came with a peplum top version, and decided to use the bodice and then draft a pencil skirt to go with it. Simple!

Well, on Tuesday (because, let's face it: I didn't start seriously sewing this until Monday), I connected bodice to skirt and inserted the zipper and had Mum zip it up. Then, I trotted off to the mirror to admire my work. Mom quietly sat there, allowing me to live in delusion for a few more seconds.

It was horrible.

It didn't fit. At all. The back was too big, and the front darts were the most unflattering things ever. The zipper was sort-of-ish okay, but not great, and it bunched across my middle back all weird. Obviously, something had to change.

After crying, eating chocolate, bemoaning my existence, and then video chatting with Dia, I decided to scrap the dress and switch to the peplum top. After a while two minutes, I convinced myself that the top would be more versatile anyway, that it would go together in a snap, and I would look incredible. Everything was right with the world.

Basically, this brings me back to the thinking that I like the idea of sewing a lot more than I like actual sewing. Beyond that, though, is this weird combination of traits I seem to posess: I'm idealistic when making plans (as in I don't consider silly things like skill level), and while I won't be happy with something unless it's perfect, I very seldom stick with something until it's perfect. Not everything's like that, but sewing is, and therefore I dig my own grave every single year.

So next time I go on a pattern-pinning spree, or post a list of sewing ideas, stop me. Scream at me. Lock me up. Or at the very least, remind me of last year. Heaven knows that that was a nightmare and a half.

Through all of that, though. I still really love my top. It's cute and peppy and bright, all things I've considered lacking in my wardrobe (anyone else notice that I usually dress like a mourning accountant?!). I love the lining and the peplum, and can't wait to layer it with cardigans and blazers and pair it with pencil skirts and shorts. The only thing I need to change is the strap length (bit too loose...), but that's an easy fix and then I would DARE to call this top perfect. Or, at least perfectly wearable. Which is all I need.

Plus, sewing with Dia and then going through judging together was amazing. It felt like we were back in those crazy two years where we did everything together and our lives consisted of nothing but 4-H. :) Love you, sister dearest! Heaven knows this wouldn't have happened without you!

PS-while I named this top the 'monsters inside me top' because of the inner villainous Gillian that leaps out during times of stressful sewing, it also reminds of Monsters Inc. Because it's blue. That's pretty much the only similarity, but still.

The top: Burda Young 7054, mix of views B and C. 100% Cotton. Just as a quick note, I added my own lining, and HIGHLY recommend it. Also, the side bust darts needed some major re-working to fit me, as did the back. Just something to think about. :)

Also wearing: cardiagn / / jc penny's, belt / / jc penny's (came with another dress), pencil skirt / / thrifted, heels / / thrifted, headband / / fair, necklace / / heirloom.

Previously worn: skirt: #1, #2.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What's In My Skating Bag?

What's In My Bag posts are, in my opinion, absolutely amazing (kind of envious of Caryly's polished posts!). Recently, though, I would just feel embarrassed to show you any of my bags...I've a chaotic, disorganized mess lately.

That being said, when I had my skating show last week I cleaned out my bag and got everything back in order! I'm completely ernergized to start organizing all my bags, now. :) So, have you ever wondered what this skater brings to the rink?

The Bag: I use a Transpack bag, and love the separate pockets for each skate (I get a little obsessive about right skate in right pocket, left skate in left pocket...). It's also fairly room on the inside, with one zippered pocket.

Skate pockets: I skate in Jackson's (with Excel blades) and absolutely love them. Right now, they live in boring black soakers.

Zippered pocket: In this little pouch, I keep my stack of CD's, my bunga pad, and some tissues (I go through so many boxes of tissues, it's not even funny...).

Main pouch: This is really the catch-all! I keep: my jump rope for off-ice warm up, skating guards, my skating journal, gloves, a towel, dryer sheets (best way to keep a bag fresh!), a water bottle, my wallet, and my cosmetic bag.

Cosmetic bag: I LOVE having an extra spot to store the littles. My cosmetic bag houses extra hair ties and bendi clips, a mirror, spare laces, skate-shaped sticky notes, a Pentel RSVP pen in hot pink, and my MP3 player.

That's about it! I love that everything fits so well with room to spare; usually I end up throwing an extra coat, a book, a change of clothes, and other stuff in, so it's nice to be able to grab and go without packing another bag!

Thanks for reading, everyone! Have a happy Easter tomorrow!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

TYG: Coming Alive

Must I?

Should I?

Dare I?

Dare I say that it is...finally...spring?

There. Said it. No going back now! Spring has (hopefully) finally arrived in New England. We have to keep it quiet, though, because if it finds out we know, it will just send another snow storm. So, shh!

Springtime outfit blue and maroon headscarf ll Young Yankee Lady

Silliness aside, I've already decided it's spring and I'm absolutely loving it. Just this week I went from heating the car and wearing my big jacket to the rink, to driving with the windows open in only a tank-top and light jacket. Whoop! Guys, I love driving with the windows down. You can hear your own tires...and the person next to you who has their radio on loud...and the joggers you pass...and birds...and snippets of conversation as you drive through's lovely. 

When I was first taking driver's ed this time last year, having a license was pretty scary. I mean, I new it was necessary because of all the skating busy-ness, but I really didn't like the thought of driving alone. Now? That's my FAVORITE part. I love my early morning drives to the rink, and late night rides home. I love being able to listen to the radio if I want, or just think if I want. Lately, driving has taken the place of showers for me: it's where I do my best thinking. Having a license is amazing. While driving still sometimes scares me, I absolutely love just going off and doing my own thing. I love getting coffee. And running my own errands. And making plans with friends without having to convince someone to drive me! :)

In a weird sort of way, driving is sort of synonymous with the whole 'coming alive' feeling of spring, lately. It's not that I didn't have a life before my license, of course, but the freedoms and independence of having a license are amazing. Just in my group of friends, I think there's been a major 'growing up' feeling, and spring has only made it stronger. We're just all at pretty good places, and even though we're confused and trying to figure things out, I still feel like we're all moving in the right direction.

When people ask what my favorite season is, I always say winter, buuuttt.....well, I think I'm more in love with the changing of the seasons than the seasons themselves. But right now, I'm very happy to be in spring. I'm happy to be alive. And young. And have the opportunity to know what I love and do what I love.

Navy blue pencil skirt and polka dot blouse spring outfit with headscarf ll Young Yankee Lady.

Outfit Details: headscarf / / hand-me-down, scarf / / gift, jacket / / thrifted, blouse / / gift, skirt / / discount store, flats / / gift.

Previously Worn: Scarf: #1, #2,  Flats: #1, #2,  Headscarf: #1, 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

On Finding My American Dream And Minding Your Own Business

We're on the home stretch with my lit class now! Being American lit, one of the main themes we've focused on throughout the year is the American Dream. While every book and every character's definition is different, that's what makes them good. The Puritans in The Scarlet Letter want religious freedom; Ishmael from Moby Dick wants adventure and a break from monotony; and Huck from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn wants to make his own decisions, and be independent.

While the definition of each dream is different, they still have some major things in common: freedom of choice, independence, happiness, and, most of all, a break from the status quo. 

Due to lit class and a bit of 'coming of age' thoughts, I've been wondering what the American Dream is for me. While there is (obviously) lots I don't know and haven't figured out yet, I've come to a comfortable place of knowing who I am, how I work, and what I need. I know that skating's my life, blogging's my outlet, and taking walks is my medicine for everything. I know that I'm happier when I've worked hard and accomplished something, that driving alone isn't scary but quite awesome, and that my best friends and I don't need to be in each others lives every second to be close--give us a skype video chat, and we're all caught up again. :) 

Another thing I've discovered about my American Dream, though, is that it absolutely does NOT involve listening to other people's 'advice'. Now, I'm all for advice. Seriously, just the other day I called my mom to help me decide if I should get regular coffee or cappuccino. But what I don't like, is people who have no connection to me, who don't really care about me, and who are not affected by my life, giving unasked for 'advice' about areas that are none of their business. Yeah. My American Dream is to live a life that's right for me. I don't need others to sanction it or accept it. 

I've grown up getting lots of flak for lots of different things. People don't like that I'm Christian. They don't like that I'm conservative, and they certainly don't like that I'm homeschooled. They don't like that I've dedicated my life to an 'uncommon' sport, or that I'm not planning to go to college directly after high school. I've gotten flak for wearing pencil skirts instead of jeans, not having a boyfriend, and not following pop culture. I've gotten weird looks when I talk about talk radio, or vintage fashion, morals, hard work, and goals. Apparently, I'm not right. Something about me is simply not socially acceptable.

But, I'm sort of past caring. And Lizzy Bennet agrees with me:

Lizzy Bennet Pride and Prejudice quote make your own happiness live your own life ll Young Yankee Lady
"I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness,
without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me." -Lizzy Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

And that is exactly what I think. If what I am doing is right with God, then all I have left is to decide what is best for me, and those family and friends who I care about and whom my life actually affects. If you're only an acquaintance who is seeking to bulldoze with your own opinion, rather than actually help me, then I have nothing mroe to say to you. My decisions are my decisions, and are absolutely none of your business.

The other week, a certain person challenged me about my family's decision to homeschool. It caught me off guard, mainly because it had nothing to do with what we had been discussing. I'm at the point where I don't even feel the need to be defensive anymore. I mean, why would you, someone I hardly know, have any say over a personal decision that is between my parents and I? In the past, I've let things like that bother me, but not anymore. If what you're saying isn't going to change my mind, them I'm not going to let it bog me down, either.

My American Dream is going above the status quo, to do what is right, and what makes me happy. I want to live a life that is busy, loving, and chock full of skating, reading, traveling, friends, to-do lists, and sweat. There's more than one way to do something, and everyone must find what works for them. But I'm done with being told what to do, and done with doing things simply because that's 'what you're supposed to do.'

The truth is, I love being homeschooled. 

I know there is a God that we are all responsible to. 

Skating's my passion, and I have a chance of doing it professionally.

Being creative, hard working, and unique is more important to me than a college degree. I'm not saying I'll never go to college, I'm just saying that I'm not going to believe I'm only worthwhile if I have gone to college.

Being single isn't something I worry about anymore. After all, alone doesn't always equal lonely. 

And I always, always have the chance to change my mind. Switch things up. And try again.

I'm not saying people should do things my way, but I am saying they should mind their own business. Isn't 'worry about yourself' the number one thing we were told as kids? I don't know about you, but I'm ready to start putting that into action again. 

Thanks for reading! What is your American Dream?