Monthly Archives: March 2014

DIY Phone Cover

Do you ever have those moments when, maybe out of boredom or a hare-brained idea, you try something new and kooky?  That’s pretty much what I did recently (I blame the neverending winter), and made my very own (custom!) smartphone cover.  But let’s back up a bit to see how we got here.

A while ago, Nick and I decided to get some good smartphones.  With how much we’re running around the city, it made sense.  Coincidentally, our provider Mobilicity (we ❤ you guys!) was having a sale on some of their phones, including the HTC Amaze.  We were pretty impressed reading the specs, and decided to go for it.  I can’t remember the exact price we paid, maybe about $300 for each phone?  Anyways, we went in and got our swanky new phones.

I figured since we’d be hoping to get a lot of use out of them, getting the rubbery case and screen protector would probably be a good idea.  I really wanted a pink case for mine.  Are you surprised?  Didn’t think so.  Well, they only had black and white cases available.  Womp womp.  So I got a white case, and Nick got a black case.  Our phones are otherwise identical, so we wanted to be able to tell them apart.

Well, over time, my white case started to get kind of dingy.  So, a little while back I said “hmm…. I’ve used nail polish for other stuff, wonder if it would work here”, and I went to work.  I used Personal Accents Bubblegum Nail Lacquer, because I loved the adorable candy pink shade.  I just basically painted on an opaque layer without even taking off the case, and left it to dry and cure on a table overnight.  By morning, it was fully cured, and had the feel of a candy coated shell, so I was very happy about that.  To be extra sure and seal the colour in well, I also topped it, predictably, Personal Accents Quick Dry Top Coat the next day.  This is a prime example of use what’s on hand, I guess.  So now I have an adorable pink phone that makes me smile every time I use it.  What do you think?

 

I might do a design or stencil down the road, but for now I’m loving the solid colour.  Have you guys done any little crafts lately?  Or used nail polish for non-nail painting fun?  Let me know 🙂

 

 

Let’s Go Crazy (The Biker Jacket)

This post came about as part of the Daily Prompt tagline.  I don’t do all of them, but the ones I do, I like to post.  Here is the challenge:

Daily Prompt: Let’s Go Crazy by Krista on March 7, 2014

Sometimes, we act on impulse: it could be something as small as ordering that special dessert on the menu, maybe asking out that cute boy or girl, or as large quitting your job and selling everything you own to become a shepherd in New Zealand. What’s the most crazy, outrageously impulsive thing you’ve ever done? If you’ve never succumbed to temptation, dream a little. If you gave yourself permission to go a little crazy, what would you do?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMPULSE.

I can honestly say that I’m not very impulsive.  Sure, I may give in to occasional, harmless impulses (read: chocolate, buying a new lipstick, etc.), but nothing overly scary – in fact my first reaction to this challenge was that the craziest thing I would likely do is dye my hair blonde!  Nevertheless, there was one instance that was impulsive, and maybe even a little unwise on my part, but I don’t regret it.

It was the fall of 2010, and I had just been through a pretty stressful summer of moving, co-op jobs, and a few other upheavals.  Now all of a sudden I was back in Waterloo for the fall semester of third year.  It was also super difficult being apart from Nick, for pretty much the first time since we had started dating.  Seeing him every weekend helped so much, but being in Waterloo, I felt so alone.  Needless to say, I was tired, drained, lonely, and generally feeling a bit beaten down.  I’ve never really been big on retail therapy, but this was one time I definitely gave in, and it did help.

My email inbox is always full of Groupon deals, fun subscriptions and mailings from my favourite stores.  Well, one evening I got an email from Sirens promoting their fall line of biker jackets and jeggings.  I remember seeing the model wearing them, with the caption that it would be “all you need for fall”.  It’s not the same picture (the model in the email was sitting casually, and not quite so sultry), but the outfit looked a bit like this:

Something about that spoke to me, and sure enough, within 15 minutes I was out the door, on my way to the mall.  I picked up the cute cropped jacket and 2 pairs of jeggings (really just skinny jeans).  Luckily for me, they weren’t very expensive, I think I spent about $60 max on all the items.

Now of course, this probably wasn’t the brightest idea of mine, seeing as I was broke and barely scrimping by (let’s just say there was a lot of no-name Kraft Dinner that semester).  But looking back, I think it was just what I needed.  It was a small splurge that made me feel a bit better about my situation, and I held my head up a bit higher as a result.  And that jacket and jeans became my uniform.  Of course, I wore tops that were long enough to cover any midriff, but in my biker jacket and tight jeans, I felt ready for whatever the world would throw at me.  I felt tougher, stronger, and more confident.  I’ve always been the type to dress up a bit and spend a bit of extra time on my makeup when I feel down, but this was something different.  When I zipped up that jacket, I was saying “Come at me, world, give me your best shot.”  I was weary, but I had been a bit toughened up (emotionally of course, physically I’m about as strong as a three month old kitten).

It was an impulsive purchase to be sure, but it was within reason, and there were wounds that were bandaged up in denim and faux leather.  I still have those items, over three years later, and I still wear them.  That biker jacket is one of my favourites for fall weather to this day, but now it’s an old friend, well worn into wrapping itself around me so perfectly, a reminder that I did come through okay.

What about you guys, what’s the most impulsive thing you’ve done, or would do?  Anyone else feeling like a bit of retail therapy sometimes?  Or a big fan of biker jackets?

(Photo of Sirens clothing from the Sirens Facebook Page.)

Closet Spring Cleaning with Tim

I figure we’re midway through March, so I’m starting to call it spring.  In spite of the fact that Toronto got yet another dump of snow, I’ve pulled out my spring makeup colours, gotten my tax files together, and I’m not looking back – even if I am still bundled up in layers and scarves and boots!  One of my larger seasonal tasks is spring cleaning, and I’m hoping to get a head start this year.

Spring cleaning is a beautifully cathartic ritual for me, but it wasn’t always that way.  I remember being a young girl, and my mother would ask me once school was out to make sure to go through all my belongings, get rid of what was no longer in good shape or useful, and note down what needed repair or replacement.  This was in addition to the fashion show that accompanied the seasonal clothing migration in late March, where I would try on almost everything to see what no longer fit or needed to be replaced or mended, while making sure my winter clothes were in mint condition before being packed away.  And honestly, at first I dreaded the spring (or I guess summer) cleaning, and usually got it done in the last week of August, begrudgingly.  Once I was in my later teens, and had become the neat freak I am today, I would happily do my spring cleaning in the very first week of summer, or even earlier if I had time!  Now I loved the freeing feeling of ridding myself of clutter, and also of winter, not to mention the newly pristine state of my desk, closet, and dressers.

And that glorious time of year has struck again.  I’ll be slowly working my way through the apartment, with bookshelves and boxes and the pantry all getting a good clean.  For my closet, though, I’ll be using a different approach this year.  And this is where Tim gets involved.  I’m referring to Tim Gunn, the fashion guru behind Project Runway.  I’ve been reading his book, Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible, which is amazingly and fascinatingly thorough in discussing just about every aspect of clothing.  

Working through the chapters, many have a box to see if that garment fits right.  At the back, there is also a closet worksheet.  I plan to work through these to help me get rid of items that aren’t fitting me quite the best.  Of course, everything fits, but I’m sure not everything is ideal in its fit, and there are some clothes I have that I’d like to replace. Although they serve their purpose, I’m not very fond of them anymore, and I have too many clothes as it is – a fact that becomes a downright burden when we do laundry and have to fold, iron, and put away too many clothes.  We all have those clothes, don’t we?  Those blouses that sit at the back of your closet, and you sigh and put it on when you’re getting ready and notice you’re out of clean blouses you like way more.

Of course, this will be quite the project, spanning several weeks (hopefully not months).  I’ll update as we have progress, and who knows?  I might even try my hand at selling some used clothes that are still in great condition, but don’t really fit my style anymore 🙂

Are you guys doing spring cleaning this year?  Have you read Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible?  I’d highly recommend it!  I got it out of the library, but if I like it enough, I just might buy it so I always have a copy on hand.

(Photo of Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible from Amazon)

Takeout Chicken Fried Quinoa/Rice

Hello, sweet Friday, and sunshine!  And I’m really hoping spring is coming soon!  Today, as promised, I’ll be giving you the recipe for my takeout chicken fried quinoa.  It’s actually adapted from a chicken fried rice recipe that is super easy and delicious, but the quinoa kicks up the healthy factor with no extra effort, so I like that.  It’s a super tasty recipe, and it really kicks takeout cravings, plus it can be thrown together quickly, which is why it’s so perfect for having guests over – you won’t spend all night in the kitchen, and you won’t be stressed either!

Takeout Chicken Fried Quinoa (adapted from Top & Exclusive Foods), Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa (or rice if you want fried rice)
  • ½ pound precooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 ½ cups peas & carrots, frozen
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce

Directions.

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan or skillet on medium.
  2. Add onion, garlic, peas & carrots.  Stir until nice and tender, and the frozen vegetables are warm.
  3. Crack eggs into the pan, and scramble lightly.  Mix well with vegetables.
  4. Add rice, chicken, and soy sauce to the pan.  Mix well, until the soy sauce is evenly spread.  Remove from heat.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

A few notes about this recipe:

  1. I’ve used both grilled and slow cooker shredded chicken, and both work great!
  2. I like to use a bit more vegetables for extra flavour.
  3. For the onion, I sometimes sub in a good amount of dried minced onion, a simple trick if you don’t want to deal with the chopping onions & crying conundrum.
  4. The original recipe calls for sesame oil instead of vegetable oil, but I had vegetable on hand.  I find canola is a nice neutral flavour to work with.
  5. Don’t be afraid to add some more seasonings!  I find that pepper, garlic powder, and extra onion can be a nice kick of spice.

When I was making this for our dinner with friends, I realized that I do a fair bit of faux Asian cooking (like my version of pad thai) – faux because I know well enough that takeout is nothing like the original dishes served overseas.  I really like it, though, because once you’re done the prep work, like precooking chicken and rice, the actual cooking part is very easy and quick.  This is great because I can prep in larger quantities, and then whip up the dishes right before serving!  That makes these dishes great for both entertaining and busy weeknights.  The only caveat I have is make sure your cooking dish is big enough, and if not, work in batches – I’ve have to deal with overfilled frying pans on an occasion or two, and it’s harder to do all that mixing!

Anyone else making takeout food at home?  Or foraying into another nationality of food?

Shall We Dance?

I’m trying to improve in my writing, and in my storytelling, and fortunately for me, this blog is the perfect place.  I can stretch, and dream, and grow in my skills, and share the journey with you, sweet friends.  As a result, I’ve subscribed to The Daily Post at WordPress, which sends out writing prompts and challenges.  I find these do inspire me to write, and also to reminisce and relive some treasured memories that I don’t always visit on a day to day basis.  Here’s one such entry:

Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance (by Krista)

In my earliest memories of dancing, I’m under my auntie Nancy’s dining room table, (which had been pushed off to the side of the room), watching my mom, dad, aunties, and uncles all dancing on the hardwood floor to a never-ending stack of 45 records, dropping one after the other. I remember foot-high stacks of 45s all around the record player. The song that I remember playing most? Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke. Every time I hear that song, I remember auntie’s spontaneous dance parties. What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MOVEMENT.

I have many memories of dance.  Some are simply twirling around the living room, or a grocery store.  Many come from my dance class years, lovely moments in ballet class or jazz class, the whirlwind of the year-end show filled with dazzling lights, costumes, and my first forays into makeup.  Dancing with friends on tropical vacations, either on the beach or at the onsite discotheque.  But my very favourite is a bit more recent, and is composed of two memories that intertwine.

It was our wedding day.  We had carefully chosen a song that we felt was sweet, had good lyrics that matched a wedding, as well as a nice melody and tempo – it felt right, it had magic, and it fit us.  The song was “Faithfully” by Journey, and we chose the Glee cover since it had turned the 80’s ballad into a romantic duet with a stunning backing choir.  

For the dance, we wanted more than simply swaying alone on the dance floor for 4 minutes, but didn’t quite want to go with an all-out choreographed routine.  So we decided to practice and incorporate a few sweet dips and spins… and a lift.  This could go either very well, or very badly (and hilariously).  Of course, we needed to practice.  So one evening, we decided to try.  In the apartment that was to be our home, we put on the music one warm summer evening.  I wore my bridal crinoline slip so we could get used to the fluffy trumpet shape of the skirt, and a white tank top.  We were both in head-to-toe white, and the breeze gently sifted through the open windows as the view began to turn pink in the sunset.  We danced, we practiced dipping and spinning, the air was filled with the beautiful strains of the music.  The lift took a few attempts – the idea was for Nick to spin me out, and then reel me back in and smoothly pick me up as if he was about to carry me over a threshold, but instead to spin around in a circle or two, before gently putting me back on the ground.  It took a little while to understand the physics of it, and we had to practice it a bit.  If it turned out, during the moving crescendo of the song, it would be beautiful.  We were ready.  The music played, the crescendo began, and we went for it.  I spun out, gracefully extending my arm out.  Then in a swift movement, I spun in, and he swept me off my feet into his arms, spun magically, and then a delicate descent.

The practice run was perfect, but now it was the moment we were waiting for.  Our wedding day.  I remember the opening strains to the music began, and Nick leading me onto the dance floor.  It was a warm summer evening again.  The city was turning pink with dusk.  But this time, instead of white cotton, there was beaded white satin and a dashing black suit.  There were structure curls and a tiara, pre-planned makeup and hair products.  There were candles all throughout the room, and bright fuschia rose petals strewn about.  We were surrounded by dear friends and family.  I remember thinking “This is it.  Our first dance as husband and wife, right after our first meal as husband and wife.”  For a moment, everything else faded away, and I felt as if we were dancing on a cloud.  And then, the crescendo began.  I spun out.  He pulled me back in, and swept me off my feet in every sense, and I remembered.  The sweet practice run, the lovely result on our wedding day, how safe I felt in his arms, floating, flying.  It was perfect.

We’ve danced to that song many times since that day, and we don’t usually do flying lifts in our living room, but I still remember that breathtaking moment, and the layers of memories, each time that crescendo plays, and really, each time we dance together.

What are your memories of dance?  Did you do this writing challenge?