Coffee Date with Myself and Enjoying My Last Week of Being 32

Howdy doooo! 💜

Today I took myself to The Axis Coffee Bar ☕️, a beautiful café in Madera, CA! I’ve been here many times and absolutely love it. It’s right outside of Fresno and is surrounded by foothills and vineyards.

I parked outside the entrance long enough to snap a photo with my mini-tripod placed on the hood of my car, haha. I want to make it a point to use my little tripod more often when I’m out and about! 😄

THIS PLACE HAS THE BEST VIEWS. I love their patio furniture and there is even a water fountain where you can hear the water gently splashing during your stay. And how about the food… 😍

AMAZING! This is the blended mocha and an autumn sprinkled sugar cookie. ❤️

My birthday is approaching on Friday and I’m happy about that!! My plans are to eat some cake, get Indian food takeout, get my free Starbucks drink and open a couple of gifts from my mom and sister. I’ll be turning my favorite age (33), and I have no idea why that is my favorite age but I’ve always looked forward to turning 33. 💜

A few nights ago I went for an evening walk, but I went too late and missed the sun. Booooo. However, the bonus was that I took some great shots of street lights! (I love street lights).

See ya Friday for the birthday blog post!!

Butterfly Migration Onto My Head

Hi folksssssssssss! 💕

I realized this past month I have been wearing mainly neutral tones, WHICH IS GREAT, TOO. But I feel like I really needed a color splash into my outfits. And thus you have THIS LOOK with an array of colors! Yeah!

I also feel like I haven’t been utilizing all the hair clips I own, which is a lot. So I doubled it up with butterflies! I actually am really happy I did this, because I didn’t realize how awesome it would turn out. 😄

I’m not sure how I slipped out of wearing brighter colors, but I’m happy I’m back at it. It just felt GOOD to be wearing brighter colors again! Sometimes I slip into habits and look back and realize, wait, when did I stop wearing bright colors? Then I lasso myself back into it again.

Once again, Mikhail Gorbachev, the host with the most glasnost, graces my blog post! I finished reading Perestroika and then discovered he wrote a new book this year! (Did you know he’s 89 years old!?) This one is really cool because it deals with current international affairs. So I’m learning a lot about the “state of the world”.

I love Gorbachev’s writing style. He provides that informative guidance; he’s like a father figure, but rather than guiding me through life choices, he’s guiding me on why nuclear weapons are bad.

Know the social/political commentary comic, Doonesbury? That was mainly all I read during my childhood years! My earliest memory of Doonesbury was reading commentary on the Gulf War. Kinda dark stuff for a kid. Imagine me reading that in Beauty and the Beast pajamas as I downed a pouch of Capri Sun. The visual is accurate.

But, looping it back to my outfit in this post, regardless of my heavy reading choices, I’m still all about the rainbows and butterflies when it comes right down to it! 💖 And on an ending note, here’s a cool photo I took of my car with lots of pretty colors:

Bye-bye for now!!! 📚

Letterman Style

Hello folks!! ❤️ I’ve always liked the whole old-school letterman style cardigans from way back in the day. I decided to pick up my sewing needle while I was watching NASCAR last Sunday (I was so happy Joey Logano won!!!) and attempt to make my own kind of letterman-style cardigan equipped with the letter of my first name (Samantha) and elbow patches (made from scraps of fabric I had lying around!).

Overall I totally love it and it’s definitely a garment I’ll be wearing frequently during the chillier fall months ahead! It’s fun and can easily go with anything.

The scarf is vintage from the 1980’s, made in the USSR. I bought it from an Etsy seller who lives in Ukraine, and her shop specializes in vintage items from the former Soviet Union. I have one more garment I’m waiting so badly to blog about, which also came from her shop, but it hasn’t arrived in the mail just yet. 😓

BUT IN THE MEANTIME ENJOY SOME MORE PHOTOS AND CHECK OUT MY NEW KITTY SHOES…

MEOW MEOW MEOWWWWWW

I have finally broke into these shoes. It took many a blister and pain to do so, but I did it. I was like, SHOES, YOU ARE GOING TO FIT COMFORTABLY AND BECOME GOOD WALKING SHOES. Eventually, they listened to me and now I can walk a long ways in them with no pain! 🐱

See ya next time!!

Cake Pop Magic, a Prairie Blouse and a Glimpse of Graphic Design from the DPRK

Have you seen the new Starbucks commercial where the lady touches a hologram-like screen in the air and takes out a pink cake pop from it to go along with her drink, and then smiles before carrying on with her day??? I feel that commercial in my soul. I got this cake pop for free with my Starbucks Rewards, to go with my iced mocha. 😉 I actually had forgotten how yummy these are, and when I took that first bite, I thought: I FEEL LIKE THAT LADY. (Starbucks, your marketing is working like magic!) ✨💜

Recently, I modified another blouse I own, and with the added lace it has a prairie look to it now. I’m really happy with the final outcome! I love the mix of really feminine pieces (the blouse) with a darker accessory (the choker).

On Sunday evening, I found myself flipping through a photo book called Made in North Korea: Graphics From Everyday Life in the DPRK by Nicholas Bonner. This is definitely one of the most interesting books I own, I can honestly say! It’s not every day one gets to see what graphic design/product design is like in this mysterious country, or get a look at North Korean propaganda.

Me being in the graphic design field, I was highly fascinated by this book, and there’s also the side of me that is fascinated by countries shrouded in mystery. Another example are the countries that were previously part of the Eastern bloc (my next blog post will be dedicated to this very topic, as I’m patiently waiting for a vintage garment to arrive in the mail that…*hint*…has to do with the Eastern bloc!)

The massive history nerd that I am, I found myself wondering as I flipped through the pages, whether there will ever be a chance that North and South Korea will someday reunite, like when East and West Germany reunited in 1990?

Here’s a look at just a few photos featured in the book – some are postcards, posters, product labels and stationary. I thought it’d make for a great blog post, since this is not something most of us will ever get to see…

See ya next time!!

A Walk Through the Smoke

The foothills and mountains outside the city of Fresno have been ablaze over the past week, and I decided to get out and go for a (brief) walk to see what it looked like out there on the horizon. The wildfires are about 30 miles away and it looks really bad here, so I can’t imagine what it must look like in the actual hot zone.

On a light-hearted note, my sister and I went to check out Spirit Halloween earlier in the day, which was fun! We always walk through this place when it opens each year in September. For me, it’s that first sign of the approaching fall season. Afterwards, we went for some Starbucks and sat on the patio. ☕️

I brought my mini-tripod with me and took some outfit photos while I was out here. This is my favorite spot at the park to hang out, as it overlooks the valley. The dress belonged to my mom and it’s from the 1980’s! It used to be floor-length, but I cut and hemmed it myself. ❤️❤️ The cameo necklace I’m wearing incidentally went perfectly with the dress!

It was nice walking around, even amidst the eerie quietness and smoky landscape.

See ya next time!!!

Pumpkin Dress

Hi yaaaaaaa’ll!

September is the month that makes me begin to think about pumpkins, whether actual pumpkins or pumpkin-flavored things. I modified this lovely dress a few weeks ago, but wanted to wait for the right time to wear it. Why not the first day of September? Perfect!

I’ve become a champ at sewing lace trim sleeves now. A champ, I tell you!!! I love how this dress now has a 1960’s-nod-to-the-Victorian-era look, especially with the cameo brooch. 💜✨

So yes, I looooooooooooooooooove how this dress turned out. Very, very happy with it! Fittingly, I went to have my first Pumpkin Spice Frappucino and Pumpkin Scone while wearing this dress:

As you can see, Gene was salivating blood over my food and drink. But too bad bud, these are for me!!! I wish my bag was musical and you could press a button, in which he serenades me with a little Christine Sixteen or Goin’ Blind.

As you can also see from the sun rays in the above photo, the smoky skies have returned. Everything looks orange! 😜

See ya next time!! Wishing you a happy start of the new month. 💜✨

Setting Sail on the Sea of Fashion Design: I Sewed My Own Pockets

Hey!! ❤️

I guess I am more of a go-getter than I thought? In my last post, I threw around the idea of learning how to sew. I circled around the idea with uncertainty, as I have for a long time now. That was, until, I decided to just dive right into it!

My mom owns a sewing machine and I was a very attentive student, learning how it all worked, and decided to sew pockets onto a dress I already owned as my first project. The result: AN AWESOME DRESS RE-DESIGN!

I chose the checkered fabric because I had a shirt that matched it. And guess what? I didn’t have as much trouble with sewing as I thought I would. Who would’ve thought?!!!

When I went for an evening walk the next day after sewing these bad boys onto my dress, I walked through the park like John Travolta walking down the streets of New York City in the beginning of Saturday Night FeverStayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees playing in my head. It gave me that little boost of confidence: “…why yes, I made and sewed these pockets myself! Check out these seams…”

I really liked this dress before, but now I’m in love with it!!! ❤️

Once I realized I could sew pockets, the dormant sewing beast within broke out of its cage. I decided to take the leap and order a fabric for my first skirt! I should be getting the fabric in the mail in a few weeks.

And that’s my sewing progress so far!! See ya next time!

If Only I Could Be Sew Cool

Hi! 😄

I’ve recently started going back to my old stomping grounds once a week now, enjoying a Saturday chill session on the patio of my favorite Starbucks. It’s pretty empty these days with the pandemic, so I feel safe to do so. Along with my laptop, I brought my mom’s sewing book from 1969, which was such a gem to flip through.

Now, I always have this GRAND IDEA that I will make my own A-line skirts. The way I visualize it in my head looks fantastic. However, when I read/watch actual instructions, I’m left totally confused at everything I was just told.

Then I got online to look for retro fabrics and nearly spit out my iced mocha across my laptop screen seeing how expensive the fabric alone was. What the heck!!!!

This has happened countless times. I get the idea that I’ll try sewing a skirt, I get frustrated, and then that’s where Etsy conveniently walks through the door to save the day. Which leads me to this lovely handmade skirt I purchased recently on Etsy!

I stop to admire my beautiful new skirt and realize, hey…the seller was able to sew it herself! I can too…right? A question which feels like I’m standing near a canyon shouting it, only hearing a rolling echo which fades with no response.

I still won’t write off the idea of trying to make a skirt. Anytime someone asks me if I make my own clothes (which is a lot), I smile and inwardly recoil into a shame spiral, while painfully forming the words, “I don’t, actually.” I’ve only done minor, sew-free modifications. And then I daydream of a kitschy 70’s fabric being sewn together into the perfect A-line skirt, looking fashionably out-of-date and fabulous, like a Brady Bunch set relic, specially made by moi.

The girl on the cover of Simplicity smiles, taunting me while speaking with her eyes, “Sewing is so easy and fun!” Anyone can do it, right?! Right? Right!

I gaze into the horizon, my eyes squinting and staring at nothing in particular. Truth is, it’s a match. Me vs. a sewing machine. Could I manage such a match? Will I get knocked down by the sewing machine, slump into the ropes, wipe the sweat from my brow and then determinedly get back on my feet, already swinging?

Who knows. Maybe eventually I’ll give it a try. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed how dramatic I made this post intentionally for laughs! 😃

See ya!!

A Dress with a Tie / I Finally Bought a Local H Album, Too!

Heeey!!! 💖

The tie has RETURNED. I just love the dichotomy between a tie and a dress, two things coming from seemingly separate worlds, brought together into an unexpected co-existence. Yet, it WORKS! 😃 (What can I say, I am fashionably optimistic!)

Add hot pink daisies to the mix, and you have an eye-catching blend of masculine and feminine pieces. 🌸 I love to incorporate patterns, styles and accessories into my outfits that are slightly confusing and even odd. ❤️

Recently, I was very pleased to have finally bought a copy of Local H’s 1996 album, As Good As Dead. Now, this album and I go waaaaay back, long before I listened to it (I’d only heard the hit “Bound for the Floor”, a.k.a “the copacetic song”). How did the album and I go so far back, you ask??

I was nine years old when the album hit the store shelves, and I distinctly remember seeing it when I took trips to The Wherehouse with my sister and brother as a kid. The cover gave me the creeps, yet I was intrigued. Why did the boy have quarters for eyes, I wondered?!? It always made me give it a second or third glance when perusing the aisles as a kid. The album cover always stuck with me.

After listening to it in its entirety, I was really surprised by this album in a good way! I didn’t have any expectations of it since I’d never listened to their music before, aside from one song. I just took it as it was, in a “finally, twenty-four years later, let’s see what this album’s all about” kind of way.

I loved the gritty grunge sound, and also that the album kept me on my toes. The songs vary from mellow to hard-rocking, so I never felt like I could get comfortable, which is a good thing in my opinion (it challenged me as a listener). It captured the true feel of 90’s grunge: some songs were bitterly anger-driven and loud, while others were more quietly introspective and withdrawn.

My favorites were: “Bound For the Floor”, “Eddie Vedder”, “O.K.”, and “Manifest Destiny Pt. 2” ✨💜 Special shoutout to the killer guitar riff in “I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are”. Overall, I really love this album! Definitely a 90’s gem I’m happy to own. I’m so thankful that I can revisit these albums from my childhood and experience them as an adult.

How about you? Do you have an album you’ve been playing lately? I’ve been listening to this and also, some Smashing Pumpkins. 💖

See ya next time!! 💕

Barbie Love

I know I know, Hello Kitty (Halloween edition) is on my shoulder, but I’m actually going to bring up Barbie later in this post! 💕 So stay TUNED!

I just couldn’t pass up the photo op, since the stuffed toy and I match.

It’s only July, but once I came upon this stuffed toy, it gave me a little itch for Halloween and thinking of what I’ll wear this year for the holiday! Halloween Hello Kitty has been in my life since many years ago when I used to work at a law firm, and during Halloween month, I’d place her next to the candy bowl I used to put on my receptionist’s desk.

I’m loving my new, ruffly scarf (well, it’s new to me, but it actually belonged to my mom and she gave me a lot of stuff she used to wear. Bring mE ALL THE OLD STUFF PLEEEEEASE). I figure, it’s never too soon to bring out the scarves, no? So long as it’s a thin scarf, since it’s summer and all. It certainly jazzed up my outfit in a visually intriguing way!

Now, onto Barbie!!! 💖

Not sure who remembers, but Barbie had her own comic book back in the day. They ran from (I believe) 1990 – 1996, give or take. I have around 8 comic books from when I was a kid, and now I added a few more to my collection, thanks to eBay! Being in my thirties, I’ve noticed I’ve become more appreciative of the things I enjoyed during my childhood years. In fact, it’s my own little secret to happiness: what did I love doing as a kid? What did I love to wear? No reason I can’t still enjoy it! Reading Barbie comics was one of those things I loved to do.

These are from 1990 and 1991. I can’t get over how cute these comic books are! The colors, the innocent dialogue, the FASHION, and even better, the BIG HAIR. Aaaahhh! 😍 Barbie will forever be one of my favorite fashion icons. 💕

Cheers to childhood treasures! See ya next time!! 💜 ✨