Heavenly Bodies and Earthly Bodies

Two weekends ago, a friend and I went up to New York City to see the Met Museum exhibit, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The exhibit explores how Catholicism inspires designers, both religious designers and fashion designers. There were pieces from the Vatican collections (sorry, no photos allowed) that had embroidery so fine that it looked like photos and gems as large as your eyeball. Then there were chiffon pieces that appeared to float in the exhibits where they were found – everything was scattered throughout the museum.  Part of the exhibit was at the Cloisters, at the north end of Manhattan and in my former neighborhood, but we didn’t make it that far. We were at the Fifth Avenue location long enough, admiring everything.

The garments on display ran from the sumptuous… 

…to the “mundane.” There was traditional….

…and there was modern. I particularly enjoyed the Versace dresses on display far above our heads, but felt it was a bit weird to be staring up the models’ dresses and skirts. On the other hand, it did let me see some of the structure of the undergarments. I definitely recommend the exhibit. It runs through the beginning of October, so you have time to go see it.

My friend and I inadvertently ended up dressed alike in floral shirt dresses and Dansko sandals – dresses I made! It was a whirlwind trip but we did make it to Mood, where I discovered a huge collection of reflective trims. I got white, blue and black reflective piping – expensive, but in colors I don’t have and it means I don’t have to make it myself! I think I need to call and order more… (by the way, my friend bought her purse from a street vendor on our way to the museum. It was the only one and we both wanted it, but I let her have it – then realized *afterwards* that it is reflective! And we never saw another street vendor the entire rest of the weekend!) Apparently my earthly body was feeling neglected, because I ended up in the hospital again. Three months after my surgery, and three months of constant pain, I went to the surgeon to ask when the pain would stop. After a quick examination, they directed me to the operating room of the hospital for emergency surgery! Internal stitches had popped and bad things were happening. So there I was, checking into the ambulatory surgery center in my business clothes with a full face of makeup, madly emailing and texting everyone who needed to know so I could cancel and rearrange my schedule. Although it ended up being a long day at the hospital and ended with more pain than it started, I was happy to see the same nurses I’d had three months ago. They made me feel much better about everything. One even pointed out that my nail polished matched the hospital gown! Although the repair surgery was not as dramatic (no incisions) as the last surgery, it still means no biking for a while, again, and taking it easy. I’ve been resting, resting, resting – I don’t want another trip to the hospital, no matter how nice the nurses are!

Hospital style, haha!

Hopefully this will be a fast recovery and I can get back to some sort of activity level before this summer is over. At least sewing isn’t too strenuous, right? I’ll be taking care of my earthly body from behind my sewing machine. Take care of yours however makes you happy.

Oct Travel Recap: New York City

Oh my – between travel and everything else crazy that has gone on this month, I haven’t had time to blog! But there is so much to share, so here’s the first of two recaps of October travel.

I went to New York City for four days earlier in October to fabric shop and visit friends. It was a really good trip, successful in fabric shopping, friends, art, culture and some thought-provoking museum exhibits.

Fabric shopping was on the top of my list, so after arriving on the Vamoose Bus and dropping my luggage at Schwartz Luggage Storage, I ran to the Garment District. Some friends had posted articles about the Garment District fabric stores closing, and although the large ones like Mood and my favorite B&J Fabrics don’t seem to be effected, the small, family-run stores are in danger. I found one store that advertised it was it’s last day, and everything was on clearance. Although I don’t have an immediate need for two-colored sequin fabric or brocades, well, I couldn’t beat the prices, so I purchased 2 yards of each. And a pretty knit for the McCalls 6844 sweater I’ve wanted to make for a while now.

Last day here - the owner (manager?) was very friendly and upbeat, flirted a bit, so I didn't ask about what he does next. I didn't want to remind him...

Last day here – the owner (manager?) was very friendly and upbeat, flirted a bit, so I didn’t ask about what he does next. I didn’t want to remind him…

I did buy some luxury fabrics at B&J Fabrics, to make some nice basics – a blue tencel twill for another Dressy Talk basic blouse, and a stretch gray for a Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt. Those two pieces will be nice work basics, nothing flashy, but good “uniform” pieces.

The blue is darker than I was looking for but I love the fabric. It's hard to get the color right in these photos!

The blue is darker than I was looking for but I love the fabric. It’s hard to get the color right in these photos!

Meeting up with a friend in Hoboken resulted in a stash of vintage sewing patterns. She has been cleaning out her mother’s and grandmother’s sewing stashes, and has offered me whatever I want. I made two blouses out of Liberty of London fabric she gave me a while ago. The vintage patterns were fun, especially after having attended the National Arts Club FashionSpeak Fridays talk about the collaboration between Jackie Kennedy and designer Oleg Cassini. I’m not a 1960s styles fan but seeing all the photos of Jackie’s outfits was wonderful. So I ended up with a few patterns that I might end up making.

I also went to two Broadway shows, “School of Rock” and “Something Rotten,” and loved both of them. I have friends working on both shows (wardrobe friends, so backstage, not on stage), so it was fun to see what they are up do. school-of-rock something-rottenMy visit to the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum was one of the best things I did all weekend (and I did alot of great things). I went for the Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse exhibit, but found so much more. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a museum that so thoroughly engaged my intellect as well as my creativity. cooper-hewitt_scrapsThe exhibits focused on the design element in the world around us, such as the history of design of the American police system, but also how design can improve the future, how it tackles social injustice, the affordable housing crisis, and even allowed the public to design solutions for modern social problems.

I found these statistics to be depressing as well as educational and inspiring.

I found these statistics to be depressing as well as educational and inspiring.

But the Cooper Hewitt had a really cool feature that I wish all museums would do – a digital “pen” that allowed each individual guest to “collect” the display items that they like. You match the + on the end of the pen with the + on each item display, and it downloads or links or something. With each payment you are given a unique code, and then you can log onto their website and see the things you liked. So cool! Also, then I didn’t have to take photos of everything and fill up my already overtaxed iPhone storage…

I am always pleased to have such a stimulating trip, full of ideas and concepts and thoughts as well as just simple visuals of where I have been. Between the city itself, Central Park, the new Oculus at Ground Zero, and a stroll down Fifth Avenue, I feel inspired and yearning to create and design. Now, if only I had the time! After returning from this long weekend, The Mechanic and I went away for a bike weekend in the country. Still no time to create! But that was also a lovely weekend – stay tuned for that recap coming up soon.

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Thanksgiving Weekend in NYC: No Shopping, No Biking

The Mechanic and I spent the Thanksgiving weekend in New York – and New Jersey and upstate a bit in the Hudson Valley. And we didn’t do any biking, and I didn’t do ANY shopping! And we had a blast.

We took the Tripper Bus up to NYC on Thanksgiving morning, then spent the rest of the day with one of my best friends and her neighbor friends for an Orphans’ Thanksgiving (a “family” of friends is sometimes the best) in West New York, NJ. The Mechanic had never been to this part of the New York metro area before, so he got to experience jitney buses through the Lincoln Tunnel twice a day on top of getting to see a bit of a New York “suburb” (I lived in Washington Heights for ten years, the almost very top of Manhattan, and my friend in NJ arguably lives closer to Times Square than I did – so I consider her ‘hood a suburb of NYC).

Manhattan as seen from a jitney bus on the New Jersey side

Manhattan as seen from a jitney bus on the New Jersey side

The day after Thanksgiving was amazingly warm and gorgeous, so it was the perfect day to drag The Mechanic around Manhattan to see the holiday decorations. The balmy 66*F weather made the wintery decor seem a bit out of touch, but I love it all regardless. As do the holiday tourists.

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We wandered through Central Park a bit, admiring the fall colors and marveling at the masses of people enjoying a perfect day. Central ParkWe’d had coffee in the morning with a former German professor of mine, and she recommended the MoMA’s Picasso Sculpture exhibit, so we decided to go. Somehow we managed to arrive as the Uniqlo-sponsored free tickets were being handed out, woot! While we waited for our Picasso timed entry time, we wandered through some other floors, admiring the masters.

The Picasso exhibit was mind-blowing – somehow, Picasso’s work seemed to take life better than his paintings. We marveled at how wonderful his sculptures were, and it gave us both a new appreciation for his art. If you ever get a chance to see this exhibit, I encourage it! MoMA Picasso face MoMA Picasso SculpturesWe ended our day with another art form to challenge our thinking – we went to the Broadway show “Allegiance,” starring George Takei and Lea Salonga. Inspired by George Takei’s own experience as a child in WWII Japanese internment camps, the story makes you sympathize with each side of the struggle one family goes to after they are imprisoned for the crime of being Japanese-American. Although Takei offered some light comic relief in the show, the topic is serious and timely, and The Mechanic and I are glad we saw it, and hope it does well.

The next day was a bit colder and more overcast, and the two of us plus my friend escaped the city with an hour long train ride north, up the Hudson River, to the picturesque town of Cold Spring, NY. Cold Spring was an occasional out of town destination when I lived in NYC, easily accessible by Metro North train, and just what we all needed – some nature, a small village Main Street, and a tasty lunch. Although it was Shop Small Saturday, we looked but didn’t buy in the many antique stores that line Main Street.

Our peaceful afternoon gave way to revelry in the Meatpacking District, as a large group of us descended upon Sugar Factory to celebrate my friend’s <significant age> birthday. We picked this place purely for the ginormous goblet drinks, and they did not disappoint. Actually, I’d say the 60-ounce drinks over-delivered! We didn’t realize that they all came with dry ice, and all eight of us madly tried to video the fun as the waitress poured our drinks over ice- and candy-filled goblets. !!!!!  The menu was insane, but we were all too full to try the extreme sundaes after our meal. Note to self: don’t go for the food, only go for the drinks and the desserts! Sugar Goblet Ocean Blue Sugar Factorty Goblet DrinksBut there I was, in the middle of shopping mecca, on Black Friday, doing everything BUT shopping! I did run into M&J Trimming to buy buttons, and grabbed four yards of some reflective trim, but that’s all I bought! Oh, and sewing machine needs. What was wrong with me?!?!

Nor did The Mechanic and I ride Citibikes while we were there, which we had planned on doing. We did spot the new designs of the bikes, however, and really admired the double kickstand and sleek, integrated, and robust fenders. New Citibike DesignWe did, however, walk over 26,000 steps on Friday and 22,000 on Saturday, so I can’t say that we felt lazy and didn’t get any exercise!

So even though I didn’t do two of my most favorite things in the world (shopping and riding bikes, obviously), The Mechanic and I did one of our other favorite things in the world – explore. Where would we be without travel?! Challenging ourselves, learning and experiencing new things – I am thankful that we are able to do this as often as we can. It was a wonderful weekend.

Walking on the Highline after our sugar bomb cocktail goblets

Walking on the Highline after our sugar bomb cocktail goblets

But I am going to need to plan a fabric shopping trip next spring. I can’t always go to New York and not shop!

Reflecting in my McCalls 7160 dress, navy blue moto jacket from Stitch Fix, and my new monogrammed blanket plaid scarf

Reflecting in my McCalls 7160 dress, navy blue moto jacket from Stitch Fix, and my new monogrammed blanket plaid scarf, on the street in the Meatpacking District


Barely Biking in NYC

i am on my way home from a successful and tiring yet relaxing long weekend in New York City. Trips to NYC are tiring just because I want to run around (almost literally- it’s so much walking!) and see everything and everyone I miss since I left the city. I accomplished a lot of my goals but managed to relax as well.  


My first goal was to head straight to the fabric stores but I only made it to one. I had a hard time finding the perfect fabric to coordinate with the teal reflective fabric I have, and had just decided on something when I found a gorgeous cotton lawn in lavender with real hummingbirds and snatched it up. Perfect!  

  A friend gave me some remnants of vintage Liberty of London fabric she found cleaning out her mother’s things, which is of course a wonderful treat. I had been caressing them in B&J Fabrics earlier and now at last I have some!  

The entire purpose of my trip was to see my talented friend Kimberley Faye Greenberg perform in three different shows in rep at the Beautiful Soup Theater. It’s been ages since I saw her perform and even though she has a powerhouse of a voice, these were plays, not musicals, so something different. That was Saturday. Friday night I went to see ” Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” which I have wanted to see since it performed in last year’s Tony Awards. It’s not The Mechnic’s sense of humor so I took the opportunity of being in NYC without him to go. Despite my $35 second-to-last row Today Tix app seat, I loved it.  


Through all this I did get a chance to at last ride Citibike. I needed to get from SoHo to 21st and 1st where the Beautiful Soup Theater is, so naturally, in nearly perfect weather, I opted for bike share. It woks just like Capital Bikeshare (but the kiosk was nicer and the screen was easier to read), so not much to report there, but I was impressed with the infrastructure. Bike lane right away from the station, then the entire way up 1st Ave. I saw two signs that read “Construction in the Bike Lane” and one sign that said “Bike Lane – Bikes only.” What?! Helpful signs?! So impressed.  



I also saw dozens and dozens of people on Citibikes. And people on their own bikes. And delivery bikes. Even a Whole Foods cargo bike delivering groceries! Wouldn’t that be nice? New York certainly had the feel of a bike city, where business is conducted by bike. It will be nice when DC and Arlington get to that point.  


Sunday morning when I took the New Jersey Transit Light Rail to Hoboken, I saw several people loading bikes on the train, including two preteen girls. Yay for girls with bikes on light rail!  


Although I barely biked in NYC, I am happy that I finally got to. There is something about using local public transportation options that make you feel part of a city you no longer belong to (or have never visited), something about bike share that makes you feel more connected to it. It isn’t enough to just walk the streets – you have to get into it, use it like a local, to really experience it. And maybe, after over five years, I finally miss the city.  


Touristing Through NYC Without Bikes

The Mechanic and I took advantage of a long weekend to spend some time in New York City. I really wanted to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, Death Becomes Her, and it had been almost a year since I last went up. The Mechanic had technically been once before but he and his buddies didn’t do much sight seeing in the two days they were there. I had a good time planning some sightseeing for him. On the Town The Last ShipWe crammed many activities into a very short period of time. We took the Bolt Bus up on Friday afternoon, and dropped off bags at my best friend’s theater before picking up our Today Tix to see “The Last Ship,” the Broadway musical Sting wrote and was starring in (it closes January 24th, alas; it was really good). A different theater friend was working it, so we stopped backstage after the show to say hi. I’m sure she arranged to have Sting walk past us while we were standing there. Using the fabulous new Today Tix app, we decided to buy tickets to a Sunday night performance of “On the Town,” as well, which we totally enjoyed.

Saturday was a true whirlwind – according to the health tracker app on my phone, we walked over 22,000 steps. The temperature never made it to freezing, either, it was miserably cold. We started off on the Brooklyn Heights promenade, where I pointed out my former Wall Street office, then jumped on a subway to Wall Street itself. I hadn’t been to the 9/11 Memorial before; the pools are so peaceful and reflective. Then we walked past City Hall to Little Italy, where we had pastries, then through SoHo, where I popped into All Saints. I can’t afford the clothing there, but I love the old sewing machine decorations! Then on to the West Village, Murray’s Cheese Shop, Sockerbit, a Swedish candy store, the Meatpacking District, the High Line, the across 23rd Street to Fish’s Eddy, ABC Home, and finally to Rolf’s German Restaurant for dinner with friends. Rolf’s was still decorated for Christmas – my goodness was that overwhelming! This place is famous for it’s over-the-top decorations, and I’m glad I finally experienced it. Photos do not do it credit. After dinner, we went back to ABC Kitchen, and had a lovely glass of wine after saying hi to my friend’s niece, who is a pastry chef there. The desserts we got were lovely! Yum.

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It rained all day Sunday. We tried to be inside as much as possible. We started at Grand Central Station, then quickly toured the Main Library. I dragged The Mechanic up 5th Avenue so I could window shop (I did buy this cool blush colored moto jacket and floral tee shirt at Joe Fresh, huzzah!). Once we got past Rockefeller Center, however, I gave up and we took a bus the rest of the way to the Met Museum. I took The Mechanic to the Temple of Dendur, then we split up to see what we wanted.

The Death Becomes Her exhibit was not large, but well presented. I’ve been interested in mourning clothing for a long time, and it was wonderful to see the clothing in person. Even a mourning gown worn by Queen Victoria was on display! I can tell you truthfully that she was tiny and stout. The photos and caricatures don’t lie.

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Monday we just hung out with my best friend, who is soon getting married and moving to Dallas, TX. Much more low key, and less stressful on the feet!

The view from Brooklyn Heights

The view from Brooklyn Heights

As The Mechanic and I were headed back to the Bolt Bus to return home, we realized that not only had we not ridden CitiBikes (too cold! too wet!), we hadn’t taken photos of anything bike related! How very unlike us! We saw plenty of bicycles worthy of our admiration, including several Linuses and Gazelles in Brooklyn Heights. Bike lanes, bike racks, people on bike – we were too cold or wet to take our hands out of our pockets to take photos. Oh well – next time we’ll try the Big Apple when the weather is at least warmer. Then we’ll do the bikey thing! MTA card

New York Moments

My quick trip to New York last weekend was full of the kind of New York moments I haven’t really had in the other times I’ve been back since I moved to the DC region, and they made me miss the city for the first time.

The first moment was when my friend Kim and I found ourselves madly clothes shopping for an event that night. We had known we were going to the Ukrainian fashion event at the National Arts Club that night, but hadn’t realized there would be a dress code! After looking it up to make sure, we ran through several stores, including two different H&Ms, then changed in a Starbucks bathroom. A total New York moment – it’s not the first time I’ve done that!

Watching the fashion shows from the front was a treat for both of us, having dressed models during countless Fashion Weeks. Admiring the designs as they came down the runway was just as much fun as observing the audience. The first collection was by Ukrainian Oksana Karavanska, considered the “go to designer,” according to the program. Every look had a nod or two of native Ukrainian design, but all in quite modern ways. I was too enchanted to take better photos.

Another New York moment was the kind you see on TV shows – I had lunch with some friends, one of whom brought her baby. So there we were, martini glasses in front of us, when the baby woke up and needed to be played with. I promise, we did not let the baby get near our martinis!

In my Cleverhood at a New Jersey Transit light rail station

In my Cleverhood at a New Jersey Transit light rail station

Naturally I ran to B&J Fabrics, where I buy the reflective fabric. They didn’t have much left, just a Peep-yellow and an orange that is somewhat of a Creamsicle orange. I bought a yard of that, although I have no idea what I’ll do with it. Probably bias tape, to put in some future project, since I can’t see me wearing something made out of orange. I did find out that a lovely blue reflective material exists but is not in the shop, so I need to find out if they would be willing and able to order a bolt. Since I can only afford to buy two yards max, I’m not sure it would be worth it to B&J to do so. But I’ll find out! I also bought some trim from a few trim shops, for the wedding. That’s such a New York thing, digging through fabric stores. IMG_8781

I ran up one side of Fifth Avenue and then down the other, stopping in Joe Fresh, shopping in Uniqlo, treating Kim and The Mechanic and I to Teuscher Chocolates champagne truffles, and buying custom print American Girl Doll t-shirts for my niece-to-be. Even though I suppose I am now a tourist, I felt like a native, scorning the tourists who patiently waited for the crosswalk signs to change. New York moment – crossing on a red light in front of a cab. “I’m walkin’ here!”

I was surprised to notice that although Citibike is a new thing for NYC, it felt so much like a part of the landscape that I hardly blinked whenever I ran across a station. Maybe because I’m so used to seeing the red bikes everywhere around here? Their stations are much larger than ours, and of course the blue bikes blend into the scenery a bit more, but they didn’t seem odd or unusual. Although I didn’t get to ride one, many people were, and I hope that they soon become New York moments for everyone else.

When I lived in New  York, the New York moments were too many, too close together, and I couldn’t wait to get away and find some peace and quiet. I love my tree-lined street and my two-story garden style apartment, and being able to bike through Arlington with relatively few obstacles. So now that I’m settled, I’m ready to return for more New York moments – I think I need more of that grittiness than I realized.

Missing New York Fashion Week

Although I lived in Manhattan for ten years, there are few things I really miss about New York – nail places and delis on every corner, and all the fabric stores top the list. But one thing that I miss, every February and September, is New York Fashion Week.

I moved to New York in 1999 to be a dresser on Broadway, which I did for many years. But my one dream had been to dress fashion shows, so how excited was I when a friend put me in touch with someone who staffed the dressers for individual designer’s shows twice a year! I did as many shows as I could fit into my schedule, which was much easier on a Broadway show schedule than when I finished grad school and started an office job.

Me (on the right) with my model, in 2006

Me (on the right) with my model, in 2006

Working fashion shows is crazy, frustrating, sometimes boring if you are waiting for the collection to arrive, exhilarating, and always full of star-spotting. I can name drop, too – I dressed Harry Belafonte when he starred in a Kenneth Cole show one season, Giselle Bundchen at a Victoria’s Secrets show, Karolina Kurkova, Naomi Campbell (I carried her shoes around so there was no risk of having them thrown at me!), and so on. But it was more fun to dress the “non-name” models who wanted to chat, than being run down by the paparazzi trying to get at Paris Hilton.

The seamstresses were madly sewing the feathers on this Zac Posen gown as the show was starting! (I dressed this look)

The seamstresses were madly sewing the feathers on this Zac Posen gown as the show was starting! (I dressed this look)

I can name drop on fashion labels too, but that’s a bit less exciting. My schedule rarely seemed to work out so that I could dress really big names. But I dressed John Varvatos, Kenneth Cole, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Vivienne Tam, Cynthia Steffe (one of my favorites because she was always organized and calm), Carmen Marc Valvo, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Monique Lhuillier, and even some specialty shows like one for H&M in Central Park. Others were names less common, like Venexiana, Terexov, Angel Sanchez, Atil Kutoglu, Everett Hall, and Ron Chereskin.

Credentials from most of the shows I've dressed over the years.

Credentials from most of the shows I’ve dressed over the years.

Now I’m forced to watch the shows from afar, clicking through slideshows on websites in lieu of being backstage in the swarm of design assistants, models, dressers, jewelers, seamstresses, production crew, stage managers yelling for models in their next looks before they come off the runway, and after the show, the celebrities and paparazzi, and of course, Anna Wintour. She never wore the same outfit through the entire day.

Now of course I’m studying all the clothes to things that are bike-friendly: “Could I wear that on my bike?” “How can I make that and incorporate some reflective trim?” Fashion Week isn’t over yet, but I’ve found some ideas already.

Costello Tagliapietra RTW Fall 2013 - obi sash in reflective fabric?

Costello Tagliapietra RTW Fall 2013 – obi sash in reflective fabric?

Prabal Gurung RTW Fall 2013 - Peplums are great for covering one's backside on a bike!

Prabal Gurung RTW Fall 2013 – Peplums are great for covering one’s backside on a bike!

Ruffian RTW Fall 2013 - cropped pants to stay out of the chain...

Ruffian RTW Fall 2013 – cropped pants to stay out of the chain…

Thakoon RTW Fall 2013 - narrow legged pants remain popular, which means no pants strap, yay!

Thakoon RTW Fall 2013 – narrow legged pants remain popular, which means no pants strap, yay!

These are just a few ideas from this week’s Fall 2013 Ready to Wear Collections. Yes, we are not even into spring 2013 but designers are rolling out the fall collections. It’s giving me some ideas of what to work on for fall. I’m considering making a few pieces to sell, maybe in time for Christmas. I’ll let you know how that goes, and I hope you’ll have some feedback for me later this summer, when I preview some ideas.

In the meantime, I am getting started on a new project! Some of you may remember this fabric from last summer, when I decided against it for my reflective dress. This pattern should be easy, and it will be great for warm weather. So, Punxsutawney Phil, I hope you are right, and we have an early spring!

Coming soon on a bike near you!

Coming soon on a bike near you!




50th Anniversary

Okay, this is really Post #52, but I am impressed that I’ve written 50 blog posts since February, and feel this is worth celebrating. And I want to thank those of you who read my blog, comment, and like. It’s greatly appreciated! This whole blogging thing is a whole new world, one I greatly enjoy.

I had originally thought that I would use this blog to discuss my love for all things transit related, mainly bikes, street cars, trains, and okay, even vintage cars. I had no idea I’d end up making reflective bicycle clothing! So I wonder where the next 50 blog posts will take me.

Some ideas and goals:

  • More biking – I am going to attempt to master winter cycling. I want to try biking in the snow. And I need to master clipless pedals. Plus there is a mountain bike in the works! And I’m itching to get out and do some last long rides before it is too cold. I’m sad that I’ve neglected my Sunday morning 30-mile rides.
  • More fashion – I need to finish the reflective skirt I’m working on now, then think about ideas for spring. It’s all about how to translate fashion trends into bike-friendly, reflective!, yet office-appropriate clothing. I don’t want to look like I’m wearing “bike clothes” even if I am.
  • More transit-related posts –  The more I get into the topic of walkable/bikable/”complete street” cities, the more I want to explore it on my own. I think the health aspect is just as important as the environmental ones, and might be the way to get more people on board with the idea of creating living areas that are safer for cyclists and pedestrians of all types (elderly, young, poor, disabled).

Actually, two of my three upcoming trips are transit-related.  Next week I will attend the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change conference in Sacramento, CA. I am presenting on the work that Arlington Transportation Partners does, and I will be on a travel behavior change panel as well. I’m very much interested in behavior change, and can’t wait to see the other presenters and panel discussions while I’m there.

And conveniently, Sacramento is where I grew up and did my undergrad work, so I can see my parents, cruise the neighborhoods where I lived in college, check out the theater where I got my theatrical start, and reconnect with high school and theater friends I haven’t seen in way too long. It should be a really great week. It’s a shame The Mechanic can’t come with me, but at least we’ll have our trip to Copenhagen!

Superstorm Sandy and all the destruction in New York led to a boom in biking-as-transportation, HOV-only restrictions into Manhattan, and many conversations about transit infrastructure. I know I am not the only one who hopes this encourages serious conversation about making cities more bike friendly.

Destroyed NYC Subway station post-Sandy needs to lead to….

…more of this, more often.

I think we all agree that biking is important for many different reasons, even if we don’t all agree on how or why. My goal is to find a way to be part of the conversation. If that means I need to visit every bicycle friendly community to determine what works best for them, so be it! Wearing something reflective of course.

Starry Starry Night skirt in progress

It’s funny to look back at all the twists and turns my life has taken, but I believe I’m now on the path I was meant to be on. Thanks for coming with me this far. Let’s see what happens next!

Christmas Day in the early 80s (I think?) – testing out my new bike AND my new legwarmers. I think I’m using the same style handlebars…






Shopping for Sparkles

Living in New York for ten years spoiled me for many things – delis on every corner, a $10 manicure, unlimited subway passes, subways that run 24-7, and of course, the shopping. I really didn’t fully understand the lament of my best friend, on how conservative DC is when it comes to shopping, but now that I’ve been in the area for two plus years, I get it. I really don’t want to look like every other shops at J.Crew-Gap-Banana Republic woman in the area! I like those stores too, but there is sartorially more to life than those places!

My $10 manicure, in dusty teal – I saw blue nails everywhere, so naturally I had to do it too!

Naturally, my recent trip to the Big Apple focused on shopping.  Uniqlo‘s Orla Kiely collection made me very happy, although I was disappointed in the fit of almost everything I tried on in Joe Fresh. Almost everything – I did get two tops.

But what I miss the most about shopping in New York is the Garment District, that lovely area full of fabric stores and trim shops. I dragged a friend to a few, hunting specifically for reflective fabric and trim.

We started in B & J Fabrics. I love this place, mostly for it’s huge collection of Liberty of London fabrics. If I could wear nothing but Liberty of London, I would – but I can’t afford it! Yikes, $37 a yard! Nope, not yet. I did find some reflective fabric, though, but only three options. I ended up getting a half-yard of the gold. It is $42 a yard, or I would have bought more. I have an idea of what to do with it, but it will be top secret for a while. It’s something for fall anyway, so I’m not in a huge rush to get that made.

Then we visited a few trim shops to find some more reflective grosgrain trim. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any reflective piping, but I did find the grosgrain.

In the first store, the color selection wasn’t exciting, and they were all $3.50 a yard.

They did carry a few different widths, which was a plus. But I couldn’t think of anything to do with orange or neon green reflective trim. Nothing I’d wear, anyway.

Then we went into a different store, and I hit the jackpot! A huge selection of really pretty colors, and only $1 a yard! Such a bargain! I got 3 yards each of my four favorite colors. J’adore!

In love with these colors!

So now I’m searching through the Vogue patterns website, trying to find something to do with these trims. The Cynthia Rowley dress pattern I loved isn’t available anymore, not online, but I will probably check in my local JoAnn Fabrics, anyway.

Cynthia Rowley dress pattern

There is always this super simple skirt pattern, which I can decorate with trim, like I did the first:

I do love making (and wearing) skirts in the summer.

I also found a great Donna Karan dress that would be good with reflective piping or trim, plus a few other patterns that are just cute and summery, although they don’t necessarily lend themselves to bike-friendly garments.

So I have something thinking to do! Thinking and designing. And now I wish I was back in New York to find some great fabrics.  Hm – next free weekend…?