Friday, April 26, 2013

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I just realized I haven't posted in almost a month. The weather in Chicago has been dreary. It's been cold, grey and even snowed last week. It has me wondering where spring is and if I'll ever get to put my tights away for the season.

Part of my spring fever every year is a desire to do something drastic to my hair. Usually I think about it and then dye it a different color. This year I decide I wanted long, blonde locks. I didn't trust myself to do it, so I went to a professional who has been doing some of my friends' hair for a really long time. And, she fried it, like coming out of my scalp in clumps fried it. So, it looks like I'll be rocking a pixie cut for a while.

Here are a few before and after pictures


     Dress: Thrifted. Bracelets: Express (I think)


    Dress (worn with another thrifted skirt under it) & Belt - Thrifted

If you have any styling tips, I'd love to hear them.

- Shelly

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shelly's Wish List: I have the Fashion Tastes of a 16-year-old!

Confession time: I love trashy TV. One of the shows I've been loving lately is The Carrie Diaries. No, it's not as good as Sex in the City. Yes, there are lots of inconsistencies with the original show. Still, I love how Carrie dresses. This week she had a few outfits I really loved:

This skirt is so cute. I would totally style it similarly, minus the blazer:

I also loved this, the Up in the Tee Tops from ModCloth:

You can watch the full episode here.

Do you watch The Carrie Diaries? What's your favorite outfit from it?


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. I've been super busy getting everything ready for vacation. I'm leaving today for SXSW. Hopefully, I come back with great stories, new music and a few vintage treasures. Pari and I are also making a stop in Little Rock to visit the Bill Clinton Presidential Museum. If he's there and I don't come back, don't judge.

Have fun for the next week!
- Shelly

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shelly's Wish List: Ice Cream Dreams

Last weekend a friend surprised me with a peanut butter cookie dough milk shake from the Chicago Diner. If you haven't had one. Get. There. Now. Seriously, you will thank me. I think the only thing I love more than junk food is junk food prints on clothes. Here are a few things I'd like to add to my closet:

Bernie Dexter Dress from ModCloth:

Sugarhill Boutique Sweater

Do you like novelty prints? What's your favorite?

- Shelly

Monday, March 4, 2013

Po' Boy, Oh Boy!

I think I've mentioned this before, but my dad grew up in New Orleans. One of my strongest memories of my grandparents is going to the gas station (seriously), getting po' boy sandwiches and spending the day at the beach. There is a wonderful thing happening in Chicago right now. It seems like vegan po' boys are taking over. This couldn't make me happier. Here are my thoughts on the ones I've had recently:

Portabella Mushroom Po' Boy @ Ground Control:

Like everything else at this newly opened spot, the po boy is out of this world. It has a great vegan sauce and the mushrooms are fried to perfection. It comes with your choice of sides. I've had collard greens both times I've ordered this.

GRADE: Solid A

Eggplant Po' Boy @ Scofflaw

I don't know what to say. Maybe it was the two gin cocktails I had before eating this, but it was seriously one of the best things I've ever had. It had the advantage of house made vegan remoulade and pickled onions. OK, maybe it was the pickled onions and the gin that made me fall in love. It didn't come with a side, but I shared some brussel sprouts with my sister that were also to die for.


Tofu Po' Boy @ Chicago Diner

I think this was a special and am not sure if it's still available. It was good, but it came on a hamburger bun and the tofu tasted like veggie chicken nuggets. It came with your choice of sides. I think I had soup. It was good, but I think I'll stick to the Dagwood at The Chicago Diner.


Have you seen a veggie po' boy on the menu anywhere? If so, let me know. It's my mission to eat all the po' boys in the world.

- Shelly

Saturday, March 2, 2013

200 Cookies

My friends River Rising are playing at Quenchers Saloon tonight. For the show, the bands that are playing wanted a Texas theme, since the show is meant to be a SXSW send-off show for the headlining band. I was asked to help make the show more "Austin-y" and since it falls, coincidentally, on Texas Independence Day, I couldn't say no. One of the things I was asked to do for the show was to make cookies. 100 Pecan Sandies (pecans are the state nut) and 100 Texas shaped sugar cookies. For the sugar cookies, I purchased these cookie cutters on Amazon. They are too adorable for words!

Because this week was super busy at work, I only had about 24 hours to make all 200 cookies. (Good one, Pari!) Much of the battle was won before a single cookie was baked. I figured it was all about planning ahead. I mean, how long could baking ~17 dozen cookies take?

I started by narrowing down my cookie recipes. Baking on such a large scale, I decided simple, tried and true recipes were the way to go. For the Pecan Sandies, I went with this Martha Stewart recipe, and for the sugar cookies I used a recipe that my friend gave me. For the Sandies, I substituted Earth Balance for butter to make them vegan.

Once I had my recipes it was time to calculate how much of each ingredient I would need to make 4x the recipe. From there it was off to the trusty Trader Joe's! What a great place to shop on the cheap!

My strategy was this: Since the Sandies could be baked after the dough was mixed, I decided to make the Sugar Cookie dough first, which had to be refrigerated before rolling. I've been told that you should never more than double a recipe. If you need more than twice the dough, make it in several batches. That's what I did. I estimated I would need 4x the dough, so I did two batches of double. Each batch was wrapped in Saran wrap and put in the fridge to chill.

Next it was Sandies time. I doubled the recipe and made a batch of dough. Then into the oven with the cookies. While those were baking, I made two more batches of dough and wrapped them in Saran wrap - into the fridge with those, too! The idea was to have plenty of dough that was made to bake, so that my oven did not have any empty time. 12 dozen cookies takes a long time to bake, as you can imagine. Can't waste any time! When reusing cookie sheets, it's important to use parchment paper to line them and to have an extra set to rotate in when one batch is done. Lucky for me, Shelly loaned me some cookie sheets!
Once all the Pecan Sandies dough was made, it was about time to start rolling sugar cookies. I really wanted to get these baked the night before, because it was important to me that they were cool to be Iced Saturday. I rolled out about two dozen cookies and prepared them to go into the oven when the Sandies were done.

The Icing was done by eye, mixing powdered sugar with almond milk until the right consistency was reached. For the coloring, I again did it by eye, but you could use this handy frosting guide. For the Burnt Orange color, I just made a plain old orange color and then added one drop of blue and one drop of green. If your resulting Burnt Orange is too brown, add more yellow and red to get it more vibrant.
So there you have it, 200 cookies. Hopefully everyone enjoys them at the show tonight!

w/ <3

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Book a Month: Gone Girl

Those of you who spend time reading blogs are probably pretty familiar with the idea of making lists of things to accomplish before your next birthday. This year, I made a "29 before 30" list. One of the things on the list was to read one book per month. The first book that I read was Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn. It was recommended to me by my boss, who said it just reminded her of me. After reading the book, I'm not sure if it's a compliment or not, being that it's about a relationship that has fallen apart and the diverging tales of where things went wrong.

One of my favorite characteristics of any novel is multiple narrators. Gone Girl is told from both the husband and the wife's perspective, each chapter alternating between voices. The husband's voice comes at the present, in the middle of a murder investigation that, throughout the novel, seems to be closing in on him. The wife's voice mainly comes from the past - journal entries detailing her marriage.

In many ways, the novel is brilliant and unexpected. You start to realize that all of the characters are not the kind of people you first thought and that good and evil might not be mutually exclusive. No one in this novel can be defined as good OR evil, but are rather different gray shades of each. The two main characters are both hateable, which makes them loveable in a way.

I have to say, the one disappointment for me was the ending. While I think Flynn wanted to create a "and they lived happily ever after... fucked up entirely, but happily" kind of ending, the last part of the novel kind of petered out. The rhythm was gone and the ending seemed rushed and not quite as well-thought-out as the rest of the book.

Out of 5 stars, this would fall somewhere between 3 and 4. I definitely liked it and possibly really liked it, but I didn't love it and it didn't fall into the favorite book of the moment category for me. Regardless, it's definitely worth a read!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shelly's Makeover

A few weeks ago I went on a tax-return fueled shopping spree. Part of it was revamping my makeup bag. I went into Benefit and had them suggest what I needed. About a month later, here's what I think of what I bought:

Fake-Up Under Eye Moisturizer/Concealer: LOVE. I wear this every. single. day. And will continue to for as long as they make it.

That Gal Face Primer/Brightener: I also like how this makes my skin look, but it caused me to break out a little. I think I will save it for special occasions and probably won't buy again.

Stay Don't Stray Eye Primer: Also love and will continue to buy.

They're Real Mascara: On the fence on this one. I like it about 40% of the time. The rest my lashed look a little clumpy. I doubt I will buy it again.

Flirt Alert Lipstick: Like the color and it lasts a decent amount of time. I'll probably buy it again.

Thanks to all the nice ladies at the Benefit store in Bucktown for helping me out. I will definitely be back.

What's in  your makeup bag that you can't live without?


Friday, February 22, 2013

Road-Trip: St. Louis Fun

A few weeks ago, I met some friends for a quick stay in St. Louis. We went to a Burlesque Bingo that was tons of fun. It's a monthly event at the Fountain on Locust. I highly recommend going if you have the chance. I even won! My prize was a cute grow your own strawberry kit that I'm totally going to try to grow. I've never had much luck growing plants from seeds, but hopefully the bingo mojo will make this the exception.

We also did a lot of thrifting. I stopped on my way up there to check out this awesome space ship:

I also went in and saw a record cabinet that fits my decor perfectly, so I picked it up on my way home. I also got a bunch of new records, some dresses (including one for Pari) and some vintage fabric that turned out to be an almost finished dress.

I'm bad at taking pictures, but you can see more from the trip on Rebecca's blog, MidnightManiac.

This summer, I really hope to take some more weekend road trips and explore the midwest. Have you visited anywhere that I should go?

- Shelly 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shelly's Wish List: Spring Dreamin'

I am so sick of winter. I've been dreaming of spring and Pari and my annual trip to Austin for SXSW. Here are a few things I'd love to buy for the trip if I had infinite funds:

Glow in the Dark Dress:

What are you doing to cope with the February chill?

- Shelly

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Paczki Day

Chicago has a unique tradition for Fat Tuesday - everyone goes crazy for Paczkis.

Paczkis (pronounced pewnch-KEYZ) are essentially jelly donuts. This isn't a tradition I grew up with. Even though I'm from the Chicago area, my Dad was born in New Orleans, so we celebrated Fat Tuesday with King Cake and Jambalaya. Once I was older, I became hooked on these delicious fried treats. It's one of the only things I haven't found a good vegan substitute for (Hey Chicago bakeries, vegans want Paczkis too). Until Now.

Yesterday, I made homemade vegan paczkis using this recipe and they were uh-mazing. I did make two small changes: I added 1/4 tsp of nutmeg to the apple mixture and 1/4 tsp of almond extract to the custard. I find both of those ingredients add a little extra punch to recipes.

Here are pictures of my Paczkis frying, cooling off and then the final product:

Do you have any Fat Tuesday traditions?

Monday, February 11, 2013

A is for Awesome Art Projects

I enjoy doing art projects. I'm not great at them, but I really have fun with them. I've participated in several projects with The Art House in Brooklyn.

Last year, I did their self-portrait project. Hundreds of artists from all over the world sent in 4x4 self portraits. In August, all of them were displayed at the Brooklyn Art Library.

Last week, they sent out an email asking people to send in pictures of everyday objects that look like the letter A. It's amazing how much you can find when you start paying attention to your surroundings. I found both of these within a few blocks of my apartment.

In the end, I submitted this photo. This is in the lobby of the hotel I stayed at during a mini-vacation I took this week with friends, including Rebecca of midnightmaniac. I'll post more on that trip in a few days.

Do you do art projects? Where do you get inspiration from?

- Shelly

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mushroom Madness

One of my part-time jobs is selling mushrooms at farmers markets in the chicago area. Normally, this means I get up really, really early and talk with really interesting people about how to cook and store mushrooms. Today, was something different. I had to deliver mushrooms to several restaurants. This meant getting up really early, boxing up mushrooms at the storage facility and driving a big van around to the different restaurants.

I also thought this would be a good time to share with y'all how to store mushrooms: in a paper bag, with the bag open, on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. You should never put them in plastic or in the crisper bin. The plastic traps moisture and causes them to go bad more quickly. That means most grocery stores are storing them incorrectly. If you buy mushrooms from a grocery store you should take the plastic off of them as soon as you get home from the store. 

Happy 'Shrooming

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shelly's Wishlist: Valentine's Day

I've never really celebrated Valentine's Day. I've always sort of preferred getting flowers and candy when it's unexpected and not because someone feels obligated to get it for me. That said, I'm a sucker for a theme and totally wouldn't mind if any of these things showed up anytime soon:

Awesome Sunglasses from

Square Dance Dress HouseOfRenata on Etsy:

Vintage Bar Cart from GregBuzby on Etsy:

Sparkly Butterfly Hair Clips from Jeanine Basil

Hello Kitty iPhone Case from ModCloth:

Vegan Candy Bars from GoMaxGo Foods:

What are your valentine's day traditions?

- Shelly