Powerless

by Nadine on April 15, 2014

Just after 9 p.m. this evening, the power went out.

I had been researching tomorrow’s pitches in the living room.

Matthew had been working on table numbers for my brother’s wedding in the office.

And then…darkness.

It’s funny how the dark can bring people together.

When the power returned, we kept playing Scrabble by candlelight for a bit.

When the whiskey was gone and the deadlines started looming, we returned to our separate tasks.

I should unplug more often.

How do you spend your time when the power goes out?

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Face Off! The Beauty of Coconut Oil

by Nadine on April 7, 2014

Coconut. It’s not just for drinking anymore. 

Once upon a time, I outlined a long list of great blog ideas. One of them was a series on “beauty secrets,” because I don’t think women should keep these sorts of tricks to ourselves. Knowledge is power, friends! (As is time, so I like finding ways to keep life simple in that area.)

If you know how to create a perfect cat eye, I want in!

I often call the makeup application process “putting on my face.” So I guess it’s only appropriate that its removal be called “defacing”?

Anywho.

For the longest time I avoided wearing mascara. Partly because I have — *humble brag* — reallllly long eyelashes (which threaten to hit my glasses), and partly because….clumps.

I also avoided black eyeliner because I was under the impression it would make me look dead.

Bonus: I can look like this with too much paint on my face:

In the last few years, however, I’ve stepped up my face-game a little. (As I’m in sweatpants mode most days, on date nights I aim to transform from frumpy-work-from-home-non-mom to something a little more hot-wife-ish.) This has included venturing into black eyeliner and mascara territory. And — very important — I’ve gotten over the fear of dark makeup.

Until I try to take it off.

Eye-makeup remover is the worst. You have to rub at your eyes repeatedly, sometimes aggressively — and have extra cotton pads on hand — and still end up looking like a sexy raccoon in the morning. (There’s no such thing as a sexy raccoon.)

Enter my new favourite thing ever: coconut oil. (It’s not just for Pinterest, folks. It works in the real world!)

At night, I warm a teaspoon of organic virgin coconut oil between my fingers, rub it over my eyes and….voila! All gone. A quick wash with gentle cleanser and you’d have no clue I bothered to put makeup on at all that day.

Coconut oil removes makeup. It is natural. It’s easy. It softens the skin around your eyes — if you’re into that whole aging gracefully thing. It smells divine. And it’s fun!

Okay, that’s my beauty secret of the week. What’s yours?

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Never Say Never

by Nadine on March 20, 2014

I love it when life works like this.

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Good For Me

by Nadine on March 17, 2014

This is such a gem of a video. Because scuba gear.

“You get brave when I get shy / Just another reason why / I think you could be so good for me”

Once upon a time I went on a date with a boy — who did not end up as my husband, thank goodness — who essentially told me that he believed marriage required people to abandon their dreams and get more boring.

Now, I suppose this is true if one of your dreams is to sleep with a million different people. Or to play Russian roulette every night. Or to punch everyone you meet in the face.

But in my experience of marriage, it’s been quite the opposite.

I dream bigger when I’m part of a team. I aspire to more.

It’s fun investing in Matthew’s dreams, both big and little. And I love how he invests in mine. We’re both pursuing creative freelance careers — read: unstable and sometimes scary — and while we certainly don’t have everything figured out, we are both significantly farther along now than when we first met four years ago.

I’m a better writer — and, um, a PAID one — because Matthew believed in me. I credit the greater boldness and creativity in other areas of my life to having a safe place to fall if I royally screw up and land on my butt/face. (Not “butt face,” to clarify.)

And I like to think that Matthew’s made some bolder moves career-wise because he knows I’m rooting for him no matter the outcome.

Is this true? I just asked him. He says, “Yeah, I think it’s helped. For sure.”

For Christmas, Matthew gave me a recording session. We wrote a cute little pop song together last spring and he wanted me to “let loose my inner Amy Grant.”

Because he knows me.

Because he knows he can push me out of my comfort zone.

Because he wants to see my dreams, however small they may seem to some, come true.

And because I told him, once upon a time, that I wanted to be Amy Grant when I grow up.

Every girl deserves a Matthew.

Four years ago today we went on our first date. I still can’t get enough of him.

Gush-blog over.

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The Guitar in the Bathroom

by Nadine on March 17, 2014

Yes, this toilet seat exists. No, I don’t want one.

There’s a guitar in our bathroom.

Remember when you were a kid and you’d intentionally shuffle across the carpet in your sock feet so that you could shock your brothers with a little static electricity?

Well, in our apartment, we don’t need to shuffle. There’s no carpet. All I have to do is lean in to kiss my husband goodbye and ZAP! there’s a flash of light and everyone has a sore face.

Yeah, the dryness in here is a problem.

So when the acoustic guitar started showing signs of dry-weather warping, a producer friend of Matthew’s suggested he put the guitar in the bathroom while we shower.

Spring cannot come soon enough.

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Meet Anna

by Nadine on March 6, 2014

Heeeeerrrrre’s Anna!

Stats:

Pattern: Anna Dress by By Hand London
Fabric: Cheap cotton ($6.50 a yard!) from King Textiles
Size: Cut a straight 8/12. ‘Cause I don’t do alterations — yet.
Invisible Zipper Failure: Three times. I have no skills.

Isn’t she lovely?

I challenged* myself to make my bridesmaid dress for my brother’s upcoming wedding. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment and am motivated by fear, apparently.

So before I started playing around with fancier/trickier fabrics — or attempted anything ridiculous like lining a dress — I figured I should make a muslin.

(A muslin is essentially a mock-up or trial run of the garment, traditionally done in a natural cotton fabric, to ensure the pattern suits your body — and to let you make any huge adjustments pre-cutting the real thing. I just used cute cheap cotton.)

Fortunately, my muslin is very wearable in real life. Very.

Here’s how I’ll probably wear it in the real world:

Spring (please come):

In the cold:

Now I just have to decide if I’m going to bite the thimble-shaped bullet and actually make a more formal version for the wedding….

Not gonna lie, I am loving my new hobby. It’s just too bad it’s taken over the kitchen/living room/everywhere. Anyone wanna buy me a sewing room? This one will do.

*I wrote “stupidly challenged myself” and then Stephen King popped into my head: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” He won’t leave me alone long enough to craft a silly little blog post.

Related: Buy On Writing. Do it now. Read it all the time.

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Sew Fun: The Staple Dress

by Nadine on March 5, 2014

I finished my second dress!

But…first things first. Here’s the first one. Don’t judge.

Yep. It looks like a chambray hospital gown. With pockets! I’m totally okay with that.

April Rhodes’ Staple Dress is supposed to have elastic shirring at the waist, something I fully intended to add. But then I discovered I liked the option of styling it in different ways. So I kept things simple.

To convince myself that I’m actually going to wear the thing, I played dress up today:

I can’t wait for non-sub-zero temperatures. I miss wearing dresses. And shoes.

Stay tuned for Dress #2. I’m pretty proud of it….

Note to newbie sewists who are Googling “Staple Dress” for tips and tricks — I totally did that: I made this in size XS, as some people commented that the sizing runs large. I’d normally be a small. Just a heads up.

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“Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

I stayed up way too late last night watching All About Eve.

Conclusion: Eve Harrington was the original Tom Ripley. (Also, Bette Davis was a serious force to be reckoned with. And Marilyn Monroe was such a STAR.)

Edith Head’s gorgeous costumes — the film won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, along with five others — are reason enough to watch the classic film, although you should probably just watch it for the same reasons you might watch Casablanca, Citizen Kane or Singin’ in the Rain, too. It’s good.)

I say this every year: I really need to go to a ball.

Trends I hope to see tonight:

Every day, I’m [American] Hustlin’

The ’70s are back.

Wallpaper Chic

Up Your Sleeve

Sleeves are in. I call this the Kate effect.

Superfashion!

(Although after Lupita Nyong’o's Ralph Lauren gown at the Golden Globes, I’m not sure anyone will dare to done a cape.)

Killing Me Softly

Pretty is always in.

You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Grey

Grey is not boring.

Mr. Brightside

Saturated colour isn’t boring either.

Pantone-Approved

We’ll all be wearing a lot of this colour in 2014. Get ready.

What I’d Probably Wear

I am currently plotting a way to wear the middle outfit. I have a fall wedding to attend….

For Maleficent

Angelina, I dare you.

P.S. Here’s an infographic of all the “Best Actress” Oscar dresses.

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Oscar Predictions: Defying Gravity

by Nadine on March 2, 2014

The Oscars are coming (tonight)!

As per usual, I have thoughts.

No, I have nothing to say about Rob Ford attending the Academy Awards — except that sometimes I want to move to ANYWHERE WITH A REAL MAYOR.

I LOVED Gravity. It stuck with me in a way I wish 12 Years a Slave would have. Cate Blanchett was Daniel Day Genius-good in Blue Jasmine. Dallas Buyers Club, even with all the acting hype, is still, in my opinion, quite underrated. It’s an important little film. (Who would’ve thought Jared Leto would ever be a shoo-in for an Academy Award?!)

Tom Hanks should have been nominated for Captain Phillips.

I really wish The Great Gatsby had been better. Ditto for American Hustle. (Although the performances in American Hustle were quite phenomenal. The movie didn’t deserve them.)

I didn’t know if I liked Inside Llewyn Davis until the day after I watched it. Delayed thumbs up.

And some of my favourite films of 2013 weren’t even acknowledged by the Academy: The Way Way Back, Much Ado About Nothing, Sound City, Mud, Stories We Tell, In a World…

The 2014 Academy Awards: My Predictions

Best Picture: Gravity
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o

Best Animated Feature: Frozen
Best Animated Short: Mr. Hublot
Best Live Action Short: The Voorman Problem
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet From Stardom
Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Best Original Screenplay: Her

Best Cinematography: Gravity
Best Costume Design: American Hustle
Best Film Editing: Gravity
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club
Best Original Score: Gravity
Best Original Song: “Let It Go,” Frozen
Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby
Best Sound Editing: Gravity
Best Sound Mixing: Gravity
Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Up next: Dressin’ up for the Oscars.

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Math: It’s Not Just For Math Class

by Nadine on February 28, 2014

Yesterday, I was attempting to pin a finicky invisible zipper to a dress without strangling myself with the measuring tape that was loosely wrapped around my neck.

Matt was sitting at the kitchen counter, working on a production budget for a short film.

He was plugging too-huge numbers into a calculator app  — “What if I pay everyone [x number of dollars] per foot of animation instead?” — while I cursed the shifting seam allowance: “Arg! It wants to be 1/2″, not 5/8″!”

And in that moment, I wanted kids. Not babies. School-aged children. And I wanted them to see us fight with numbers.

“See? You do need math when you’re grown up. Even if all you want to do is make funny movies and wear pretty dresses.”

In related news, I’m declaring Velcro the new zipper. The “zip” is highly overrated. Ugh.

P.S. A 4-year-old boy asked NASA for help with his homework. He got it.

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