Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On the Market for a Sewing Machine

Been tweaking around with the blog to allow for larger pictures, links, etc. I think it's an improvement.

I have managed to not splurge on a sewing machine yet, but I have narrowed it down. According to, the Brother CS6000i is the highest rated electronic sewing machine with the best bang for the buck. I was initially leaning towards the Brother XL-2600i, but I need something that can handle denim. So, I've got my eye on this one and the only thing stopping me from actually buying it is the knowledge that I should start my sewing class and get a feel for a sewing machine before actually buying one. Of course, I've always been a fast learner...But no! I'm resolved in this. Hopefully.


I purchased a Janome Jem Gold 3 on Thursday in Alameda. So far I have completed 3 alteration projects in rudimentary fashion. Will post more later!!! Eeeeeeee!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aspirin Mask and Electric Toothbrush

After scouring through Michelle Phan's website for neat tips on skincare and makeup, I decided to try using an aspirin mask and electric toothbrush on my face for improved skin condition. I'm reprinting it here with some notes from my own experience.

The aspirin mask calls for:
2-3 uncoated aspirin tablets (I purchased the Target generic brand.)
drops of water

Put the aspirin tablet into a little dish and sprinkle water onto the drops to disintegrate the tablets. When they've essentially broken down into a fine white gritty mess, squirt some honey over it and mix with your fingers. Apply the mask to your face, taking care not to get any in your eyes, and leave on for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, wet your hands with water and use the grit to exfoliate your skin. At this point, I recommend rinsing everything off before using the electric toothbrush. I didn't and ended up getting a piece of aspirin in my eye. The electric toothbrush I purchased new at Target ($7 a pop). Note that even the soft bristles are pretty hard so find a way to soften them up. Michelle Phan recommends rubbing them over a pumice stone - I didn't have one so I took it raw. I used the toothbrush on the areas where I typically get less than desired exfoliation, that would be the sides of my nose, my chin, and between my eyebrows. I also did this after washing my face so that the water has time to soften the skin. I didn't use the brush for very long - maybe a minute or less and then rinsed my face and applied moisturizer (Sonia Kashuk's Replenish).

Afterwards, the areas I used the brush on were bright red - what did I expect? However, I think the aspirin mask prior helped to reduce redness in a few minutes. Once the redness was gone, I noticed that my skin was smoother than before. It's been two days later and I haven't noticed any buildup in my pores - thanks to the toothbrush. I don't know if I will always use the toothbrush right after the mask, but I will probably incorporate these into my regular skincare routine maybe twice a week. I'll report if I see any other improvements over time!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Retail Therapy

Bad news: I am not going to Cancun for Cindy's bachelorette event due to a cancelled flight out of Oakland, which then has the domino effect of effectively cancelling my continuation flights. Damn, you thunderstorm! But good news: I am to receive a full refund from this fiasco. And while I am sad that I was half-packed for Cancun with bikinis, sun hat, and 20 count of Immodium in tow, this means I can spend the money on something else. And with a letdown like that, who wouldn't want some retail therapy? So what did I spend it on? A sewing class in February from Stone Mountain in Berkeley!!!

At this point, I imagine interspersed, unenthused clapping so let me explain in numbered list format.

1. I need a new hobby because I have too much time on my hands and I don't want to waste away playing video games on my DS and surfing the web all the damn time.
2. My current textile hobby, knitting and crocheting, does not provide enough instant gratification. I can only knit for an hour maximum and I have no patience for long-term projects like sweaters. This leaves me with only pot holders, scarves, or hats and you can have too many of those items.
3. My mouth is already watering at the thought of what I can accomplish with sewing skills. Tiered skirts! Wrap dresses! Stripped cotton shirts! Belted tunics! Tweed jackets! The perfect white button down shirt without breast pockets or darting!

I'm so excited, I actually need to inhibit the strong desire to run out and buy a sewing machine at Target to fiddle around with.


Here's some stuff I purchased from Stone Mountain: fabric, bias tape, thread, and fabric scissors. FABRIC SCISSORS!

I will have made a cotton drawstring (or elastic) waistband skirt by completion of the class. Here's a better view of the fabric I purchased.

The skirt is supposed to be cut on the bias so I hope it turns out ok. I had quite a time in the store picking out fabric that was different from the other skirts I already own, heavy or dark enough where I wouldn't need a petticoat, and something that would work well with other items in my wardrobe. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Belated New Year!

I was recently asked at work to name something that is unique, enjoyable, or interesting to me. My response was something vague about concentrating on the things that I truly enjoy and to not want for more. I didn't explain it very well obviously, but the idea I had in mind is something that is commonly conveyed at I guess to be zen is to be efficient at counting your blessings. In particular I love this post on 75 simple pleasures also from So, instead of posting about typical new year's resolutions, I am going to list some things that make my day.

1. Watching heavy rainfall into the pool adjacent to my apartment at night.
2. Making someone laugh.
3. Old Looney Tunes cartoons.
4. A tall glass of fruit or carrot juice.
5. Dancing silly.
6. Looking at knitwear and immediately recognizing stitch patterns.
7. Driving with dance music playing loudly.
8. Road trips home with my guy.
9. Having Coco curl up in my lap.
10. Scarves
11. Benedictine and Brandy (B&B) with bourbon.
12. Kicking a soccer ball around.
13. Playing handball.
14. Making silly faces.
15. Climbing tanks.
16. Getting shots (They make me feel efficient cos I'm taking care of myself!)
17. Lunch accessories - bento boxes, thermoses, colorful napkins, etc.
18. Using colored markers.
19. Warm shower with the works.
20. Having someone else shampoo your hair.
21. Mushroom slippers
22. Learning a new dance.
23. Reading in bed.
24. Mangosteen.
25. Coffee date.
26. Salmon tartare.
27. Decluttering.
28. Improving my Thai.
29. Golden Girls.
30. Eating nam with cashes, lettuce, chilis, and washing it down with a beer.
31. Riding a bicycle.
32. Hula hoops.
33. Watching my debt shrink.
34. Saving money for the future.
35. Musically freestyling with friends.
36. Ginger ale root beer floats.
37. A good movie that compels you to immediately buy the DVD and book.
38. Crossing something off the to-do list.
39. Pulling my toes so they crack.
40. Oatmeal soap.
41. Broccoli.
42. Wrassling (and winning).
43. Confiding in someone.
44. Hikes.
45. Laying out at the beach.
46. My family's recipe called Yum Spam.
47. Vietnamese coffee.
48. A good hat.
49. Bright colored accents.
50. Holding hands.
51. Kisses on the cheek.
52. Grapefruit.
53. Dressing warm in winter.
54. Playing games.
55. Hot chocolate.
56. Men's Pocky.
57. Sashimi
58. Milk tea.
59. Successfully cooking a new recipe.
60. A long conversation with a friend.
61. Advancing in my career.
62. Listening to stories.
63. Cuddling in bed.
64. Lazy Sunday mornings.
65. Naps.
66. Garlic.
67. Ben & Jerry's Triple Caramel Chunk.
68. Crepes.
69. Homemade items.
70. French macaroons.
71. Noticing large storage tanks and guessing their capacity.
72. Delicious vegetables.
73. Back scratches.
74. Sharing stories of common experiences.
75. Laughing.