Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Toast, To Getting Older

On a muddy riverbank south of the Thames there is a pub called The Ship. I am thinking about this pub today because it is my birthday, and because last year this time I was living in London, toasting white wine and sharing a plate of chips with good friends there. My 7th grade crush, now a US air force pilot, came to celebrate with two of his buddies from the force. They were stationed in Germany and up for an adventure to London. Then there were my Aussie friends, who always represent on a night out. Friends who I've worked with, studied with, danced with were there. My friends whose shoulders I cried on re: relationships that weren't working out, they were there too. When I think of all the friends I've had over the years I am overwhelmed. The more I move around, the more my friends begin to represent all that I've done in my life.   

So a year on, my life looks completely different. The setting, my hairstyle (long hair, bangs), not to mention the age (29 gasp!) have all changed. In the past year I have 1) resigned from a career, 2) moved from Europe back to the U.S., 3) become a full-time student, 4)gone from being single to being in a relationship, and 5) felt serene about all of these changes.  Like a river rock, never surrounded by the same water but still a rock (with bangs) - that is how I feel right now. It's as if I have reached a new plane of emotional wholeness I didn't know I was capable of reaching. Getting. Older. Is. Awesome.

Marcie and I often find ourselves taking moments to appreciate what is going on in our lives. When one of us begins to say, "can I just take a moment..." our partners inevitably roll their eyes at our sentimentality. But talking about stuff we appreciate is a way of life for us, and no degree of mocking will stop us. So now I'd just like to take a moment... to appreciate all of my friends old and new, and wherever you are in the world. May you drink deeply from the Starbucks cup of life and never want for adventure. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to Remove an Ink Stain

There are always millions of tons of dust in the air, just as there are millions of cubes of air in the earth…And sometimes there is a ballpoint pen in your washing machine, which explodes and does this to your bathrobe:

The culprit

Eight of us went for a very muddy hike at Lake Nockamixon, so afterwards we did a load of laundry. A couple of loads later when I pulled the exploded ballpoint pen out of the machine, I knew immediately it was Ben's. He had already claimed a handful of loose change and a set of keys from a previous wash that day. He must have been distracted when he put his pants in the wash...

Anyway, men are like this right? Always forgetting to empty their pockets.

But why did it have to be the load of whites? Some quick googling turned up an effective solution: rubbing alcohol. When it comes to stain removal always remember the chemists' adage, like dissolves like. Soap and water will work on water based stains. This is also why your nail polish dissolves in nail polish remover (acetone), but not in water.

We did everything we could to save Papa Smurf, but the bleeding was unstoppable.

First I  panicked and started to liberally douse the bathrobe in rubbing alcohol.This produced two results. One, the ink stain immediately dissolved in the rubbing alcohol like magic (yay!). Two, the excess ink began to spread out all over the fabric (crap!). To remedy the situation I had to get organized. I folded paper towels into blotters and laid the fabric down on top - this part was tricky because the robe had two layers, and so I had to tackle each layer separately while being careful not to let stained portions of fabric touch unstained portions of fabric.

Then I used more paper towels to section off the stain from above. Now when I poured alcohol on the robe, the excess ink was trapped on the paper towel blotter.  

 Paper towel blotters and rubbing alcohol.

After the excess ink was blotted away there were still some faint blue marks. Using toothbrushes, hydrogen peroxide, and some soap, Marcie and I got to work removing as much of the remaining ink from the fibers of the fabric. 

Then we used a bleach pen to treat whatever discoloration was left. Finally we sent the robe through the wash cycle on cold, twice. 

Using a bleach pen to get the last of the ink out. Success!

The final result was great. You could barely tell the robes had been stained at all. There were points along the way where we thought we were going to have to buy replacements. Fortunately, instead of shelling out hard-earned cash, we were able to salvage them with chemistry and a little elbow grease!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When he reached for his ticket, his hand grazed mine....

Krisy Plourde, center left, and Tom Golden, center right, kiss after they were married on the “Love Train,” a SEPTA elevated train festively-decorated for Valentine's Day, on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011 in Philadelphia. The train toured the Mural Arts Program’s “Love Letter” project by artist Stephen Powers. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Daily News, David Maialetti) from Washington Tmes article, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/13/the-science-of-valentines-day/?page=all
 I was flipping through the Metro today and my eyes rested on page four, where an add in the bottom right of the page caught me eye, and got me get all sappy. It asked, “Did you meet your sweetheart on SEPTA”? For the record, no I didn’t. Ben and I actually met while bustin' a move at The 700 Club, BUT I loooooove the idea of SEPTA romances! (For you non-Philly folks, SEPTA stands for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). Instead of our eyes meeting on the dance floor, I’m starting to wish I could begin our love story with the phrase, “As he reached for his ticket, his hand grazed mine….”
     I hope some of you reading this met your Mister or Miss Right on the rails (or the bus, or the trolley, or the subway)! Please tell me about it and more importantly submit your story to  SEPTA Love Stories! 
                 The fourteen winning couples will get a free ride on a decorated Market Frankford line train, with a great view of the Mural Arts Program’s “Love Letter.” Then you’ll get to go to a champagne reception in downtown Philly. Submissions and votes are open until February 6th! Good luck you crazy kids!!!!!!!!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Thank You and Best Wishes to Kia!

Nine months ago my friend Kia and I decided to create a blog about our friendship and mutual love of Philly and fashion, and it's been fun! Making plans and going on “Fashion Fieldtrips” around town we had allot of good times and laughs. Kia’s toddler Maya added to the fun with her smiles and giggles. A few weeks ago Kia let me know she has decided to move on to other projects in her life, and I want to wish Kia and her family the best! I suspect Kia and Maya will still show up in some posts (actually, as I have yet to published all of our “Fashion Fieldtrips” I know for a fact these gals will appear again ;) So thank you again to my friend and former partner for your ideas and your work! I look forward to having coffee with you soon!
     With Kia’s retirement I will be taking on a new partner, my long-time friend, Melissa! We look forward to expanding the mission of CareWearShare so you can plan on reading more ever so witty posts meant to promote a sound, stylish, and sustainable life! Thank you!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tips From the Working Gal Who Forgot to Wear Pants!

Boyfriend's pants: good for work, obviously great for going out afterward  ;)  
Now, I am fully aware in neither of these pictures am I looking my best. Actually, quite the opposite! But I’m trying to make a point here, another public service announcement if you will: Looking your professional best at work whilst maintaining a carefree and fun-loving persona during your free time is tough. If you’re a “live life to the fullest” working gal or guy employed in a “professional” environment you may have some mishaps. You may perhaps forget to wear pants….
    Well, it’s not so much that I forgot to wear pants, as pack pants. Earlier this week I was excited to see my friend Malorie upon her return from Uganda, where she was employed by Invisible Children (a fantastic organization working to end the use of child soldiers in armed conflict and ultimately to help end civilian targeted warfare). My sister, boyfriend, and I met up with Malorie and our college friends Tory and Jeremy at the Victory Brew Pub. Now, this pub (with a great beer selection but sadly very wanting in its Gluten Free selection) is located about an hour from Philly, and this girl has to be up at six for work the next morning. This being the case, I packed a bag so I could stay downtown, and get more sleep.
      After a great time with Mal I dropped my sister off and retreated to Ben’s. I opened my backpack so as to hang my clothes for work the next day, and guess what I saw! Or to my absolute horror, guess what I didn’t see! Look at the photo above! It was PANTS! I neglected to bring pants.  A shirt I had, even tights were there. But pants? Nope. At one o’clock Tuesday morning I was faced with the grim visualization of me at work attired in nothing more than a maroon cowl-neck, black tights, and sensible shoes.This was not an option. My mind raced and I looked over at my slim and trim boyfriend. Idea time! Borrow Ben’s pants!

A nice little back shot. You too could look this good, but if this isn't your style read on for help!
I think given the circumstances I looked pretty darn OK. However, this situation is obviously not ideal. In order to help others avoid the fate of wearing men’s chino’s pulled up past their belly button, I have compiled a list of preventative measures for the young professional who just might forget to wear pants to work….

1.   (Suggested my mother, Patti) Leave a work appropriate outfit at work! Specifically, keep tights, a basic skirt that that works with most tops, a basic shirt, and a pair of pants! Do leave your favorite stuff at work because you’ll miss those if they’re out of rotation. Just leave something that fits and matches allot in your wardrobe! While you’re at it, leave a tooth brush and paste, too! This really is the ultimate solution, but I’d like to offer some additional backup options.
2.   Make friends with reliable and generous people at work who are of your same relative size. Even better, make friends with others who are your size and share your sense of style. Get their phone number. When sans pants, make use of this number.
3.   Find a significant other who is your same general size/build. Obviously same sex couples have the clothing sharing advantage here, but heteros can make it work, too. Just understand that the clothes probably won’t fit perfectly, but employ belts and a good sense of humor. Be thankful you’re not wearing tights.