Monthly Archives: February 2012

Stripes: Sometimes You’re Just a Hipster

If there is one thing that has changed about me since coming to college it is my hipster quotient. Note the skinny jeans, old converse, and scarf. Sure, there are the “me” (ok, old me) touches- the earrings, belt, and braided hair but all in all I look like a hipster. The days that my hipster status is most apparent are the ones, like today, where I am not trying to be a hipster but I end up leaving the house looking like I should sell my soul to this little, local thrift shop that’s a bit obscure and I’m sure you’ve never heard [not ironically (although in the land of hipsters we are vering into the land of double negatives and utter confusion, so my apologies if I’ve lost ya!) but I would be $10 that Sequins knows exactly which store I’m talking about…].

Sure, at first I tried to fight it (this is my fighting the hipster picture!) but it soon became a force so prevalent and easy to wear that I slowly transitioned into the realm of the hipster. I realized this process was complete when one day last year, while wearing my ear muff headphones (after breaking a pair of earbuds, without fail, every 4-6 months for the last 3 years I realized it was a much better investment if I could make them last even 1.5 times as long…I’ve had them for a year now and they still work as well as when I took them out of the package, I digress) and my thick frame glasses that I kind of look like a hipster. Then I said it, “But, I mean really, it would be ironic if *I* were a hipster”. And thats when reality set in that I am, indeed, one of them.

Scarf: Found (old), Shirt: Gap (old), Jeans: Gap Outlet (recent), Belt: American Eagle (old), Shoes: Converse (old, but I’m sure they still make gray), Earrings: Target (recent).

I blame my Liberal Arts University, Portland, my peers, the rain, and most importantly myself for being a hipster. I mean, it is at least a little ironic, right?

Anyone else out there have that moment when you realize you are a hipster? Anyone else like hipster glasses? Or have awesome headphones?!

-Stripes

Sequins: Thinking Out Loud

Dress, Necklace, Belt & Shoes: Thrifted; Jacket & Sweater: Target; Tights:

It totally snowed the other day. Monsieur and I were sitting on the couch and being lazy on Sunday when I looked out and saw beautiful flurries coming down full force. It didn’t stick, and stopped in about an hour, but man oh man was it pretty. I’m totally okay with it snowing all the time. None of my coworkers (except the one from Iowa) agrees with me, but that’s okay. They don’t have to.

This dress was almost deemed too short for work. I almost wore a pencil skirt underneath it. The belt almost didn’t make it onto the final cut for the outfit. I’m really glad all of those “almost”s didn’t pan out.

This month is a busy month at work. Our second most busy time of the year is gearing up to start, and I’m pretty excited about that.  It’s nice to be really active and busy at work. Not that I’m never not busy, of course, but working on new and exciting projects is way more fun that maintenance projects that never seem to finish, if you know what I”m sayin’.

Monsieur took these pictures before our lunch date, and this was his “blogger photo”. I’ve decided I need to do a lot more sewing projects. I thrifted the most amazing red polka dot dress, and it desperately needs hemmed to a new length. I want to get that done. I also added buttons to a skirt so I can wear it with suspenders (pictures soon), and I’ve decided that all my skirts and pants need hidden buttons for suspender options. I have a list of my top five articles that need prioritized for suspender optioning, though, and I should go from there. Now that there’s a sun re-emerging in the sky, it’s definitely time for sewing. I have no clue why those two things are related, but apparently they are.

Also, have you entered your guess for Stripes’ and I’s giveaway? You should totally check it out! It’s okay if someone’s already guessed what you would guess. We’re being pretty chill about the giveaway so it doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong–we just want to hear from you! And in return, one of the lucky commenters is going to get this handmade brooch:

Good luck!

Sequins & Stripes: Let’s Play A Game

We’re going to play a fun game– Four Truths & A Lie. This blog has been going on for a bit–almost six months–so it’s time to see how many readers we have, and how much they think they know about us. We’re each going to post a list of four things that are true and one lie, and you have to figure out which one thing we’re each lying about! We’ll even make it worth your while*…

*We’ll even give you something for it. A homemade owl pin, similar to this one (only blue). Make sure to include in your comment your guess for both Sequins’ and Stripes’ lies. We’ll select a random person from the comments (regardless of your responses. Let’s be real, we’re interesting people and if we didn’t write these together it would be a total shot in the dark for us, too!) to receive the pin. This giveaway is open until Saturday, March 3rd. We’ll announce the winner next Monday, as well as what we lied about, so check back then! (And no, nothing about this post is sponsored).

PS Also, our barista attacked Stripes while we took these. Look out!

Guess away!

-Stripes & Sequins

Edited: Did you want to see what it is we’re going to give you? We didn’t have a picture yesterday when we posted this, but now we do! You are entering for the chance to win your very own, handmade Owl Brooch!

**Giveaway is now closed! Stay tuned for others!**

Stripes: Awesome Stuff Sunday 2.26

Happy Friday All! Here are some of my highlights from my time on the internet this week:

Who can say no to a series of sloths? Check more out here!

This is one of the best blogs I’ve found in a long while…I have subconsciously been transitioning to these adulting ideas for the last couple of years so it is hilarious to read someone else’s take on them!

DIY tea towels…she had me sold with the Martha paint!

I’m itching to try out this recipe! Gluten, egg, yeast, dairy, and peanut free cookies; what more could a girl ask for!?

And as we all have probably figured out, I love dance music and this is one of the funniest spoofs of this video I have ever seen.

Have a happy week!

-Stripes

Sequins: February & March Reading List

Monsieur and I are hosting our first event in our apartment–February Whiskey Day! We’re excited to have people over, watch True Grit (the 2010 version, which he hasn’t seen yet), play some games, and of course, indulge in some amazingly tasty Bourbon Chocolate Shakes. In fact, I’m sipping on one right now as I type this out for you all, and let me tell ya–it’s amazing. In the meantime, though, here’s my reading list for this month (and March)

Only Revolutions, Mark Z. Danielewski

This is from the same author as House of Leaves, and if you’ve ever read either, you’ll know his books are interactive experiences rather than just a direct exchange of words on paper into your brain. Only Revolutions is pretty amazing so far, and I feel like every part of it has this lyrical, poetic rhythm. I want to read the entire thing out loud, and I often to do Monsieur. I started reading it when him and I were driving back from the big city late at night, and this book is hand’s down perfect for roadtrips.

The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1600 – 1783, A. T Mahan

This is my total nerd book, but it’s fascinating. It was written at the end of the 1800s and it’s still very relevant today. Mahan explores the naval battles in the time period specified to show, well, the influence that sea power has had upon history. It’s a recommended read for anyone interested in geopolitics, and it offers really great insight to how Stratfor examines word events. It’s a little dry, but I’m really enjoying it.

A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan (rereading)

I recommended this book to my old high school English professor and my high school best friend when we were getting coffee last month. They both want to read it, so I’m rereading it for our next coffee get together in March. Egan’s works are so amazing to me–I’m a really big fan. Her novels cover a variety of subjects and themes, but she writes with such intentional precision that it makes you think she’s spend her entire life thinking about the one topic mentioned in the book you’re currently engaged in. This one has a really fascinating and realistic look at the future–like how the generation of Monsieur and I’s kids are going to turn out, and what technology will look like, as well as how that influences culture and society. She pulls off the whole novel without delving into the science fiction realm, which is impressive (not that there’s anything wrong with science fiction. Rather, she maintains current relevancy the entire time).

Sequins: A Broken Stomach

Watching Stripes go through her very frustrating and difficult process of figuring out her allergies and a new diet reminds me of where I was three years ago. Stripes and I might be really different in the clothes we wear, the mugs we use, and the way we style our hair, but we have a surprising amount in common when it comes to food.


I’m not burdened down by Stripes with a ton of allergies (that I know of–I’m so not brave enough to get tested!), I have my own bag of issues with my digestion. Not a lot of people know about gastroparesis, but oddly enough,  one of my coworkers has the exact same condition so it can’t be that uncommon. And just like Stripes forewarned–I’m not an expert. Neither of us are. I’m just sharing my own experiences, which in no way replaces the importance of someone talking to their own doctor.

It started a few years ago when some (digestion-related) issues I had became worse, to the point of me not being able to ignore them. The list is pretty gross, so I won’t give too many details, but it includes blood, constant nauseous, and the desire to vomit. All the time. It was getting to the point where I’d make myself throw up once a week or so, just because I felt so awful and my body would refuse to vomit on its own (I know that sounds a lot like bulimia, which is a serious and real condition, but you should read the whole story. I don’t have an eating disorder). I saw my normal doctor, was referred to a specialist, and bounced around for a few months before settling on the right practitioner.

For anyone dealing with health issues, I give you this advice above all others: work with someone who works with you. Half the medical professionals I sought out told me straight off the bat that I had cancer, and the other half told me I was imagining things. Not fun at all. I finally found an excellent gastroenterologist who worked with me. It was his patience and willingness to listen that actually ended up solving the problem.

Before I got to that point, though, there was a large suspicion that I had Celiac’s Disease (which is basically like being lactose intolerant, except with gluten [which is in wheat, along with almost everything else]). They did the tests and encouraged me to cut gluten out of my diet. I was a vegetarian at the time (and am currently), but I opted back to meat when they cut so many things out of my diet. It was really, really hard (as Stripes can attest to!)

I was on my gluten-free diet, and I was sitting in the doctor’s office. He shared the results; I showed no signs of Celiac’s disease. However, I did show that I was still full of… food… when they did the scope. Which, considering I had done a two-day fast, as well as the cleansing, was unusual. He sat me down and asked me about my diet, which at the time (and still currently does, shame on me) consist of raw vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. He counted up the calories I was getting from my daily diet and told me it was less than 1,000. Which is no good. I am a pretty active person, so 1200 is a really healthy amount for me to consume.

Then, while he was doing some paperwork, my mom and I started talking. She was in town to support me, and we were planning our post-doctor visit day. She mentioned lunch, which we hadn’t had yet. I told her fries sounded amazing. She asked if I wanted a milkshake, and I made a face. The doctor caught the expression, and asked me if I don’t normally like milkshakes. I told him I do, but that I felt way too full to even consider it. He asked me what I had eaten for breakfast (rice-flour toast and egg with some raw veggies to munch on). He paused, and (as my mom remembers it) a lightbulb clicked on above his head.

He introduced the concept of gastroparesis to me, which essentially means your stomach works, but very very slowly, and harder-to-digest food move through you at a glacial pace. You can read Mayo Clinic’s definition here. It would explain a lot of my symptoms, so he scheduled me for a study and my mom and I left to go grab some french fries.

A couple weeks later, I had the study done. It consists of eating radio-active dry bread with a radio-active butter-free dry egg and washing it down with radio-active sugar free apple juice. Talk about the most boring and terrifying meal ever! I sat around the hospital for three hours and they took pictures of my radioactive stomach periodically to watch the food move through my system. In the course of three hours, the food (in a healthy, working digestive system) would be completely out of the stomach and well into the intestines. At the end of the three hours, my stomach was still over halfway full of food, which put my solidly in the running for a gastroparesis diagnosis. Finally, an answer!

What this means is that I’m always full. It’s hard for my body to digest food, and if I eat a normal amount, I’m in a lot of pain. I balance this out by drinking a lot of smoothies (Columbia Gorge VitaSea smoothies are my absolute favorite!) and eating small amounts of food throughout the day. Cooked food, food low in fiber, and highly processed food (pop tarts and skittles, anyone?) are the easiest. Unfortunately, I actually really love whole grain, nut-filled bread and raw vegetables, so I hate sticking to my recommended diet (I love the skittles, though, so eating candy continues to be not a problem!). I’ve gone back to my vegetarian ways, since my body doesn’t handle meat well, and I avoid dairy since my body hates it (imagine milk just sitting in stomach acid for three, four hours–gross, right?), but I do occasionally indulge in a wine and cheese night with Monsieur. Some great foods that Stripes mentioned, like quinoa, is amazing and perfect for my body–it is especially accommodating for my vegetarian requirements.

The trick has been small portions, eating the light in the morning, the heaviest (like a bagel with peanut butter and jelly) in the middle of the day, and pretty much nothing after five. I still struggle with eating enough calories, and I find that I can get all kind of grumpy and sleepy when I’ve gone too many days eating too little (and what better way to balance it out than by gulping down a chocolate milkshake, am I right?), but it’s manageable. Frustrating, mildly hopeless, and very bloaty, but definitely manageable.

An Average Workday Menu:
7:30 Breakfast: Coffee, two bites of Monsieur’s cinnamon roll (We “share” a lot of meals, which usually consist of me telling him he should eat something so I can take a bite. It’s way less wasteful than me ordering/cooking a huge thing of something I’ll take a bite of and be done with)
9:30 Work Snack: Handful of blueberries, half a Columbia Gorge SuperBerry Smoothie
12:00 Lunch: more coffee and a plain, toasted bagel with organic peanut butter and jelly (my barista makes them perfectly, with peanut butter and jelly on both sides, so I can eat it open-faced)
4:00 Work Snack: Handful of carrots, a couple of radishes and broccoli (I’m telling you, I don’t know how to say no to raw veggies! I love them so…)
6:30 Dinner: Small serving of rice with some stir fry veggies (it’s about a quarter of what Monsieur ate, and he doesn’t eat a ton of food) and a couple bites of the chocolate ice cream we “share”.

Sequins: I Am A Walking Taxi Cab

When I was a little obnoxious teenager, excited to move away for my college experience, I had this idea of living with my first college roommate, and having fun girly adventures. One of those adventures included playing the “What Should I Wear?” game, and having someone to play dress up with.

I went to college, was roomed with an (adorable, wonderful, creative, fun) senior who was also a die-hard tomboy and could care less about fashion. Needless to say, I gave up on The Dream.

Until…

The morning of this outfit, I was hemming and hawwing and finally called Monsieur over. I asked him what I should wear, and he said a dress, because I wore a skirt the previous day. Intrigued, I poked further, to see if how far I could go before he rolled his eyes and said the classic, guy-answer “I don’t care” (or, my favorite from him, “clothes”)…

I asked him what color tights I should wear.

He said yellow. Then he paused, and asked if I actually had yellow tights (I do).

I asked if I should throw a new yellow-tight-outfit combo, or go with a classic. He said new, so it would be new for the blog (because he remembers what days Stripes and I do photos). I told him I had never worn yellow tights on the blog. He said to go with a classic.

I pulled two dresses out and asked with one. He went with the taxi-cab dress*.

And thus, it was (again) solidified that he is clearly the love of my life. He does the dishes, he lets me turn a light on in the car so I can read on long trips, and he plays the What Should I Wear Game with me. Clearly he is the roommate I always wanted.

Living together full time has been going great, in case you were wondering. My life has somehow, though, become a little heavier than usual in the amount of video games I play, and somewhat lighter in how much crafting I usually do, but I imagine that will get sorted once the appeal of having a PS3 and my favorite games constantly at the tip of my fingertips wears down.

*It’s silly, because I really like this outfit, but I avoid putting it together because I feel like I’m screaming “New York taxi” at the top of my lungs. And now that I’ve given you that mental image, just try to see anything else when looking at this outfit.

Am I right, or am I right? Well, sorry about that.

PPS: I promise I’ll stop with the grossly couple-y romantic posts. Soon. Thank you for indulging in it this long.

Stripes: What Do I Eat?

With all my crazy food allergies (seriously; coconut, peanuts, eggplant, pears, honey, swordfish…the list goes on) the biggest question I get is “What do you eat?!” I have to admit it is not easy and requires a ton of planning ahead but I am able to adapt just about anything into something I can eat it just sometimes takes a little effort and often times, when I don’t feel especially creative, I eat boring meals. (But really, that’s hugely affected by the fact that I am a busy college student, I usually have less than a half hour a day to dedicate to food preparation. If I had more time-ok, if it were a bigger priority to me, I would be able to make much more complicated and flavorful meals.) Since this is really one of the biggest questions I get asked, aside from what happens if you eat _____?!, I thought one “what I ate that day” food post might give the best insight into my eating habits.

Just a reminder that I am in no way qualified to tell anyone else what to eat or hand out medical advice…this is just what I eat on a somewhat daily basis.

Breakfast: Quinoa with Cinnamon & Brown Sugar and a cup of coffee.

I make my Quinoa in my rice maker while I get ready in the mornings. I do 1 part quinoa, 2 1/4 parts water, and a dash of cinnamon then set it and forget it (yes, I do say that EVERY TIME I turn on my rice cooker. I’m a creature of habit, what can I say?). This is one of three of my breakfast options (the other two being Rice Chex and Gluten Free, Egg Free french toast sticks made by Vans found in the Frozen foods section of my local Fred Meyers).

Lunch: Spinach Salad w/Raspberry Vinaigrette, an Apple, and a Banana.

I am usually in a rush for lunch so I grab easy to eat stuff. This lunch was a little light for me so I got this awesome chocolate bar! SUPER good and a surprise find on campus.

Dinner: I had round two of quinoa, admittedly I eat a lot of the same couple foods all the time. This time around I microwaved some of the leftovers from this morning. Its microwavability is one of the best parts of quinoa!

But I also had a variety of snacks throughout the day which are so varied because I happened to be traveling today so I just had to eat what I could find; potato chips, fruit leather, dried mango, a cup of coffee (not pictured), and some tortilla chips (also, not pictured). I also drink a ton of water throughout the day. 

Pretty much this is how I make my restrictions work on a college budget. I do make quinoa and corn pasta with meat sauce, dirty rice & red beans, and lots of homemade soup. I mainly go for easy to microwave, several serving meals with some sort of nutritional quality (even if it isn’t that great. but I figure I can get away with this for a good year or two longer :P).

If anyone has questions about what I eat , why I eat it, how I prepared it, or needs any suggestions about what to make for someone with a food allergy please do not hesitate to ask! I am a pretty open book when it comes to the food in my life.

-Stripes

Sequins: My Clothes Are The Same As The Chinese Population

“You can never count them all because of the rate of reproduction”*

For the most part, Monsieur manages to say nothing about the (obscene) amount of clothes. The other day, though, that joke slipped out. It’s pretty true, though, because I do have a lot of clothes. And I acquire them at a steady trickle rate. Every week, it seems, an article or two finds its way into my closet. I try pruning them out on a regular basis, but they just always seem to find a way in.

The sewing doesn’t help. I haven’t actually sewn an outfit in a while (which makes me really sad), but I had a total pencil-skirt-sewing kick for a while, there. This one is one of my favorites. I promise I didn’t intentionally sew it that short–it may have been sewn ten pounds ago (what? these things happen. especially when you have an obnoxious, impossible-to-cope-with stomach condition. oh, you thought Stripes was the only one with weird food issues? just wait till my post 😉 ).

I think the best part of sewing your own clothes is that you can make whatever you want (my mom always has to remind me, so I’ll remember to tell you: in my world, sewing=drafting your own pattern). And you can make it in any fabric. It’s so exciting to just say “Hey, I want a pencil skirt”, and then five hours later, there it is!

The worst part of sewing? Definitely a toss up between seam allowances and breaking your needle. I have this paralyzing fear that a needle is going to snap off and fly right into my eye. Never mind I wear very thick, large glasses–it could happen! (I think)

The best compromise? Having someone else sew your clothes. The flower in my hair from the same local artist that made the sweatshirts Stripes & I are modeling in our All About Moose page!

*Seriously, though, is that an urban legend? Or true? I feel like it’s been a fact my whole life but I have no idea of it’s actually a fact. Sad. I should Wikipedia that…

Stripes & Sequins: Favorite Laptop

Every week thus far we have presented something that we own that is both similar (usually in function) but distinctly different (usually in style). This week, we thought we’d shake things up a little bit because we both actually have the exact same computer! Don’t you fear about us suddenly seeming *so* similar, we each have our own motives for why we chose MacBooks over PCs. (Also, we were not, in any which, way or form, paid to write this- though, it would be seriously awesome if Apple [ok, anyone] wanted to pay us to talk about why something is cool!)

Sequins My story isn’t nearly as long as Stripes, so I’ll go first. I have a Mac because I’ve always had a Mac. My family has always been a Mac family, and I’ve never seen any reason to change my ways. My dad has this really long drawn out story about printing something when him and my mother were newlyweds, some very important document, and the PC he had at the time would not work with the printer. Frustrated, he went out, bought a mac and mac printer, and then he came home, plugged it in, turned it on, and hit the very simple Print button (he tells it in a much longer format, but I’ve given you the shorthand). I love the design, I’m used to the structure, and it will always be the superior quality computer for doing one of my favorite hobbies: design! There are occasional moments where I feel the pang of no computer games, especially since Apple did away with backward compatibility, but honestly, I’m too much of a Mac fan to really change my ways now.

Stripes I would like to preface this with a slightly sad story. This summer I got a MacBook Pro and I was ecstatic! I loved it and I think it may have even loved me back a little. But, one night I came home from work and my Mac and backpack were MIA. After calling the police, it turned out that in my neighborhood (read: the areas surrounding my college campus) dozens of Macs, including iMacs, iPods, and MacBooks had been stolen in the last couple of months. I was so mad that no one had talked about it and, after doing a bunch of research on the internet because that’s what I do when anything new and remotely upsetting happens to me, I found out that Macs are stolen all the time!

So why did I buy another one? I love the design of my computer. The developers clearly put a ton of thought into the small details when making my computer. For example, the computer remembers what volume level you last had your headphone jack turned to so if the regular volume is all the way up and then you plug in your headphones, unlike my old PC, the computer self-adjusts the volume down so you don’t kill your ears/headphones. But beyond the small thrills, I love how easy the computer is to use. The trackpad lets me move between screens and control the page I am on in a way that my old PC just never let me do. I love the metal body of my MacBook Pro because it won’t chip like my old plastic PC which lost a chunk of plastic less than 2 years into it’s life. I think this is a really well thought out and beautifully designed computer that will proudly take me into my impending professional career.

Now to turn my sad, little story into a learning experience. I didn’t post that to bum people out but rather so I can share what I learned from the police and internet about how to keep your Mac safe because it sounds like stolen Mac products are fairly commonplace in the modern world. When the robbery happened to me, the robber was able to pop out the board we kept in our window (yes, the board everyone keeps in their windows and sliding glass doors to keep bad people out). So please screw the board into any easily accessed windows! Our landlord was more than happy to do that for us. Also, professional robbers are tracking how many Macs are in a building from outside using a handheld device (in all honesty, probably an iPhone) by reading the wireless and/or bluetooth signals from inside a building. So, If you have to leave your computer at home, make sure you turn off the wireless and bluetooth signals before you leave so someone walking down the street can’t figure out if you have a Mac, PC inside, or absolutely nothing inside. I also try to keep my Mac with me at all times and away from open windows as much as possible, I know it can be a pain, but it is much less likely to be stolen when it’s with you than when it is left unattended. I hope no one else has to go through the distress of having a computer stolen.

What about all of you, our lovely readers, are you Mac or PC lovers?

-Sequins & Stripes