Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Just a couple of kittens out on the town

Happy Halloween!! This year I'm going as Angela Martin from The Office! I love putting together costumes from things I already have... the only thing I needed to buy was the wig. I already had the clothes and the ream of Dunder Mifflin paper (you can get it here) and the Dwight bobble head in the background ;)

oh, and Sprinkles!

Is anyone doing anything fun to celebrate today? Every year I throw a little costume party with my family. I'm making pumpkin bean soup (I guest-posted the recipe here!) and vegetarian mummy hot dogs (recipe here, I just substitute regular hot dogs for Morningstar ones.) And of course I have oodles of candy on hand! ;)

Cardigan and braided headband - h&m | Skirt - vintage | Shoes - modcloth*
Wig - ebay | Dunder Mifflin paper - NBC store

*Today is the last day (unless they extend it again) to get $20 off your first Modcloth order of $50 or more! Just use this link to get the discount :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

some scary movie suggestions

I hope everyone on the east coast is doing okay this week! I'm typing this up and scheduling it now (Monday night) since our power has been browning out and I'm sure we're going to lose it pretty soon. I'm actually surprised it's held up this long, since it's been rainy and SUPER windy for almost 24 hours now.

If you DO have power, this is kind of a good time to watch scary movies, yes? Me and my family have been watching our favorites for the last two days while the wind is howling outside. Here are some eerie flicks I highly recommend:

+ Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and Doctor X (1932) - Both of these movies were filmed in a two-strip technicolor that looks really, really creepy. The subject matter is spooky enough, but the murky greenish tint really adds so much scary oomph! Both star Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill and if you like classic horror (as opposed to blood-and-guts horror) they'll definitely scare your pants off!

+ The Vampire Bat (1933) - Another Lionel Atwill movie (he was in some really scary films!) that spooks me every time. I think this one is more unsettling than Dracula (even though I do love that one, too!)

+ Scream of Fear (1961) - I wrote a blog post about this one on my film blog last year, here. It's a Hammer film, so I was a little wary about watching it (I'm really not big on gore, and in my experience Hammer films usually come with buckets of it) but it's more of a psychological twisted sort of horror. Not gory but DEFINITELY scary!

+ The Innocents (1961) - Just the opening credits of this movie creeped me out so much that I had to make my brother keep me company for the rest. It's a gothic, atmospheric thriller based on The Turn of the Screw. It's one of those movies where what you *don't* see is scarier than what you do!

+ The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) - This is more of a murder mystery than a horror film, but it definitely has the feeling of a scary movie! And I have goosebumps just thinking about the painting they show in the film (you'll know it when you see it!) eek! Also, it has Barbara Stanwyck (my favorite actress) so that's always a plus!

+ The Body Snatcher (1945) - Halloween wouldn't be Halloween without at least one Val Lewton film, and my favorite is The Body Snatcher. This movie also proves that Boris Karloff could be pretty scary even without the Frankenstein makeup ;) Maybe even scarier.

ps. A little snapshot of me and Hypatia <3

Monday, October 29, 2012

pumpkin pie

I lost this sweater last winter and was SO excited when I found it again a couple weeks ago. It's seriously the coziest sweater on the planet! A soft, nutmeg-colored, over-sized blanket of warmth and comfort. I couldn't help but pair it with this pretty orange polka-dotted frock and my favorite platform loafers. The outfit just screams "pumpkin pie" to me... it looks a bit like it, plus when I was wearing it I wanted to eat an entire pie by myself.*Wanted to*... I didn't actually do it. Okay, I ate half. But that's not as bad as the whole thing, right? :)

Dress - c/o le bomb shop | Sweater - h&m | Tights - old navy | Shoes - francescas

Friday, October 26, 2012

Taking decent product photos with no fancy equipment whatsoever

As a shop owner, I often have to take photos of my products to list online. I like to do this without any fancy equipment whatsoever -- I don't even have a camera. Seriously. 

I thought I'd share how I do it, in case anyone else is interested, or intimidated by suggestions that say you need super expensive DSLR cameras and lightboxes and reflectors, etc. Now obviously my photos aren't quite as amazing as the ones taken by people who DO have all those things. But I think I manage pretty well with what I have, and I'm usually pleased with the results of my photo shoots.

To take my pictures I use: an iphone, two 20x30 pieces of foam board from the dollar store, masking tape, 1/4 yard of fabric from JoAnn's, and mid-morning sunlight. Optional: tin foil.

1. Score the back of the foam board so that you can bend it in half. You don't want to go all the way through and cut it, just score it so that it folds evenly. 2. Prop the foam board on a table that's facing a window. Don't use any artificial lighting. I usually take pictures somewhere between 10am-12pm. In the summer the good light lasts a little longer but at this time of year the shadows start getting very harsh not long after noon. 3. Tape your fabric to the top of the board, and pull it to the end so that it creates a seamless background. You don't want it to fall into the crease in the foam board. 4. Prop up another piece of white foam board next to the backdrop, facing your light source. This will help bounce the light back and reflect any shadows on the other side of your product.

In my home we have a giant window on the other side of the house, so light comes into my room from both sides. But if you don't have any light source on the other side, you might want to try covering the foam board with tin foil to better reflect the light. When it's positioned at the perfect angle (adjusting it will help you figure out what angle is best) it really works wonders at softening up harsh shadows!

Here's an example of a photo I took with this backdrop, lightened a tad in Photoshop. Like I said, the results obviously aren't as good as they'd be if you *do* have lots of fancy equipment, but I think they're not too shabby either :)

ps. The dinosaur brooch is available in my shop!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

pastel bows

It's so nice to finally be able to wear sweet and lovely items in outfit posts now that my store is open :) I've been wearing these particular sweater clips a lot.. I think they're such a simple way to add just the right touch of sweetness to an outfit. And since they have pin-backs you can actually clip them to your collar (like I did here) instead of just being limited to wearing them on a sweater.

I've been having a sort of crummy week again (I think it's safe to say this October was pretty wretched overall) but I looked at my countdown to Disney calendar and noticed I only have 19 days to go! That put a little skip in my step this morning :) I think as soon as I get back I'll have to book another trip immediately because quite frankly, having vacations to look forward to seems to be a necessary part of my mental well being these days.

Dress - modcloth | Cardigan - old navy | Shoes - c/o bait | Bow clips - sweet and lovely

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

out of the ordinary

Thank you so much for all of the sweet comments yesterday, and to anyone who placed an order from my new shop! I appreciate it so much!! :D

I've been doing the shorts-and-tights thing a lot lately. It's just so easy and comfy but still sort of pulled together. My absolute favorite shorts are the navy blue version of these. They're Dear Creatures, and I got them from Emerging Thoughts earlier this year. I absolutely ADORE them. I needed a few more pairs of shorts for my trip so I thought, just for the heck of it, I'd try searching to see if these scalloped beauties were still available anywhere online and I managed to find ONE site that still had them, in olive green, in my size, and on clearance. SCORE! :D

Shorts - summerland | Sweater - h&m kids | Shoes - payless

Monday, October 22, 2012

my super exciting no-longer secret news!!

I've been working on this for almost a year and hinting about it for months and now I am FINALLY ready to spill the beans! You guys, I am so excited and nervous about this I could burst. I hope you're as smitten with it as I am :D

Today I am launching my new shop, Sweet and Lovely!

My goal for this shop is to share my love of all things pastel, rainbow, frilly, dainty, sweet, and lovely. The store is stocked to the brim with accessories, jewelry, and a new line of mini paintings I created exclusively for Sweet and Lovely based on vintage photobooth pictures. I've also merged this store with The Book Fair, which you'll now find in the Nostalgia category!

I'll be doing several posts over the next couple days to share everything that went into the shop, but to begin with I want to highlight a few of my absolute favorite products! :D

Hands down, this is my favorite. I've had the idea in my sketchpad forever and I was so excited to finally make it a reality! I make the clouds from lightweight clay, and then connect them with five strands of pastel plastic chain to create a quirky sweater clip set! I made one for myself that I've been wearing constantly... it was so hard to not wear it in every single outfit post lately but I wanted to wait until the shop was ready! :D

This product is the most important to me. I took a pencil portrait that I drew of Hypatia and had it silk screened on cotton tote bags. The bags themselves are pretty awesome (I may be biased since she's my cat, but I'm pretty sure her face --basically any cat's face to be honest-- is objectively adorable) but even more awesome is the fact that $10 from each bag is going to be donated to the animal rescue group that saved Hypatia (and Chloe and Hubble!) Animals in Distress.

My constant attempts to get Hypatia to pose with the bag have been futile so this was the best I could do at getting a shot of her with the tote bag lol ;p

Last but not least, here is one of my new mini paintings! They all measure 3" x 3" and feature classic vintage ladies with fun colored hair. I have 14 available to start with, and I'll be adding more soon!

This has been such a labor of love, and I really hope you're as excited as I am! :) I feel like this shop reflects my own interests & personality more than anything else I've ever done before, and I have had so much fun working on it! I want so badly for it to be something I can work on and improve upon for years to come :)

PS. A huge thank you to Dana at Wonder Forest for coding my shop design and making it everything I hoped for and more!! :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

disney wishlist

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

I'm leaving for Disney World in less than one month (eep!) so I think it's about time I start sorting out what I'll be wearing! It's probably no surprise that my first inclination was to pack one dress for each day. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really want to wear shorts instead. Dresses are my go-to for pretty much everything from lounging around the house to family outings. I think they're the most comfortable thing on the planet, but for some reason I'm just not feeling them for this trip. It's partially because I'm planning on wearing sneakers and my legs look really stumpy when I wear sneakers with knee-length dresses. But mainly I want to be very carefree -- no windy day worries and no caution about bending over or getting onto rides.

Anyway, to make a long story shorts (get it? shorts?) this is what I have in mind for my trip! Lots of pastels with pops of black and white :) I already own the pink sneakers (they're so comfy and cute!) so I've been building most of my travel wardrobe around them.

Also, side note... that polka dotted cardigan is from the forever 21 kids section -- I was out shopping with my mom recently and made the life-changing discovery that some XL kids tops actually fit (button-up blouses are a definite no, but sweaters and regular tops fit perfectly!) I'm usually a size medium/large in adult tops so I was pretty surprised, and super duper thrilled! The prices are so much cheaper and the style is (somewhat embarrassingly?) a lot closer to my own than adult stuff. And since I'm only 5' tall, the length fits me better too! Just thought I'd throw this out there in case anyone else wants to try it out :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

back to normal

I'm finally feeling at least somewhat back to normal now :) yay! Man, what a rough two weeks though. I swear nothing makes you appreciate little things like breathing, sleeping and eating like being super sick. Last night I slept SO good, I almost cried when I woke up, I was so happy!

Anyway, that's enough of the sick talk now. I'm feeling a lot better so it's time for this blog to move into cheerful territory again! :) I've spent most of the morning tying up loose ends on my super exciting secret project so I think I'll be sharing all the details either this weekend or Monday.. not sure yet but it's coming soon :D Then tonight I'll finally tackle all the work/emails/laundry, etc. that's been building up while I've been offline. YIKES!!

Dress - c/o modcloth | Necklace - forever 21 | Belt - from another dress | Shoes - uo

Monday, October 15, 2012


Still sick.

Last Monday I went to a walk-in health center since my doctor was booked, and they gave me some medicine, did some tests and sent me home. I've just been getting worse ever since. Now I have this dry cough and tight chest that's so bad I gave up talking yesterday morning, partially because it made me start coughing uncontrollably and partially because nobody could understand what I was trying to say anyway. I think I bruised a rib or pulled a muscle from coughing so much. The only time I feel ok is when I'm sleeping so I've been trying to do that as much as possible.

Normally when I'm sick I still try to stay on top of things but this time I honestly don't care. I obviously have an obligation to answer my etsy messages and send out orders, and I'm doing that (with help from my fantastic brother & mom) but I'm just letting everything else go this time. Ironically, my etsy shop is actually having the worst month in over a year so there isn't actually that much work to do (of course the downside to this is that it's making it harder to pay for the medical bills I'm slowly racking up. this week I am really wishing I had a regular job where I could call in sick and still have a reliable income to pay for prescriptions and tests and doctor co-pays.)

Sorry I'm being so mopey... I'm just so sick of being sick. And I had so many fun projects to work on and exciting things to share here that have to be put on the back burner for now. And my Disney trip is coming up in less than a month... I'm so worried I won't be back to normal by then. I have a history of things that seem like colds turning into huge medical ordeals that last for months, so I'm just nervous this is going in that direction...

Anyway. I have an appointment with my regular doctor tomorrow afternoon so hopefully she'll give me some good news and I'll be on the road to recovery lickety split. I'm not going to post here until I'm feeling ship-shape again, but hopefully that will be very soon. xo

ps. I'm going to extend all the current sponsor spots by one week, since I don't really think it's fair to pay for ad space while I'm either absent or just moaning about being sick..

Friday, October 12, 2012

Meet Miss Subways

To pass the time while I'm stuck on the couch sick, I've been reading, watching a lot of movies, and having staring contests with Hypatia. I've also been mindlessly looking at things on the internet ... I may or may not have gone through all 80 pictures in a slideshow about Jennifer Aniston's hair.

But sometimes meandering about the web leads to some pretty awesome finds. This morning I stumbled upon this article about Miss Subways, a NYC beauty contest that lasted from the early forties through the mid seventies. The article is fascinating (a photographer tracked down about 40 former Miss Subways for a photo exhibition at the NY Transit Museum) but my favorite part are the posters themselves, and what each girl had to say about herself and her hopes for the future. I think my favorite is "plugging for B.A. but would settle for M.R.S."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

un deux trois // wardrobe remix

remixed item: peter pan collar dress from asos
outfit 1: cardigan & belt - forever 21 // shoes - from my grandmom
outfit 2: cardigan - h&m // shoes - modcloth // tights - marshalls
outfit 3: cardigan - f21 // lady tie - flapper girl // belt - asos // shoes - dorothy perkins

I didn't really intend on doing another wardrobe remix post again so soon but I'm pretty sick right now and this seemed like a good alternative to any kind of post that would require a) getting dressed and taking photos of myself or b) basically any thought or effort.

I got super sick Sunday night and I've been hanging out on the living room couch ever since. I really haven't felt this wiped out since I had the flu four years ago. Fun stuff. On the bright side, my mom volunteered to watch Jurassic Park with me and Kyle offered to keep me company for an Office marathon so that makes feeling like death a little more palatable.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A giveaway for a good cause! [closed]

Today I have a very special giveaway! Kelsea from Pink Wonderland is offering a $40 gift card to her etsy shop, to help raise awareness for a good cause. I'll let Kelsea take it from here:

"Hi! I'm Kelsea, the blogger over at Pink Wonderland, and I'm excited to be doing this giveaway on Kate's blog today. I'm currently running an event called Help a Heart over on my blog, which means a lot to me. See, my little brother, Corbin, had open heart surgery to fix a hole in his heart when he was just 13 months old and he currently suffers from heart disease. In order to help people like Corbin, I'm donating 100% of the revenue from my Etsy shops to the American Heart Association from now until October 19, the day before I participate in the annual Heart Walk. As a little added incentive for you, I'm offering a rare 25% discount to my Etsy shop! I'll be adding new things over the next few weeks so add my facebook page to keep up! 

 I really hope you can participate! Even if you don't have any money to donate or make purchases, you can help by spreading the word. Check out my Help a Heart page for more details. And in the meantime, enjoy this opportunity to win a gift card to my shop! Thanks for hosting and sharing my event with your readers, Kate."

What you'll win: $40 credit to Kelsea's etsy shop!

How to enter: To enter leave a comment with some way to contact you (twitter, e-mail, your blog.. whatever floats your boat!) Also, you must be a follower of this blog to enter! This is mandatory, too! (And, please, none of this follow-and-leave as soon as the giveaway is over jazz.. that's super rude!)

For additional entries: (leave a separate comment for each entry)
1. Tweet this* "I just entered a giveaway for a good cause on @kategabrielle's blog" (Only counts if you use that exact tweet.)
2. Tweet this* "Let's help a fellow blogger raise money for a good cause!"
3. Pin the giveaway on pinterest
4. Buy something from Kelsea's shop or make a donation, and then leave a comment letting us know that you did it.
5. Share the giveaway on facebook
6. Share Kelsea's donation page on facbeook

This giveaway ends on October 17th at 12:01AM EST. Giveaway is over.

*Your entry will only count if you have an active twitter account. If your account is used solely for entering giveaways, all of your entries in this giveaway will be disqualified. The goal here is to help Kelsea spread the word, so please do not take advantage.

Winner: Comment #31