Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wiksten Tank Review and Whale Print Chambray

Many months ago, I spotted this whale print chambray while at JoAnn with the kids one afternoon:

Wiksten Tank Review and Whale Print Chambray | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

I didn't initially buy it, though I was tempted. Greg was at work that particular Saturday and I was already infringing on Parker's naptime. So I hurried home with all my other fabric (that I, of course, needed - NEEDED - for other projects), but that whale print lingered in my mind. And so later that night, since Greg didn't get home very late, I made him go back to JoAnn with me, kids in tow, to get the whale print chambray.

It took me several months to even start my project using the fabric - the Wiksten tank - and then I was in the midst of being very busy at work, which meant that it also took me several more months to finish.

But finally, I finished! And I'm patting myself on the back for (a) finishing and (b) an overall pretty good job.

Wiksten Tank Review and Whale Print Chambray | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Wiksten Tank Review and Whale Print Chambray | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
Wiksten Tank Review and Whale Print Chambray | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

I've worn, washed, and dried the tank a few times since I've finished. It's held up well. The only (minor) drawback: it has to be ironed before wearing (and I loathe having to iron clothes - but the whales!).

Following the sizing guide, I went with the XS size. I didn't like the pocket, so I skipped that step. I was also a little apprehensive given some of the other reviews I read online, but I decided to make the tank from the pattern with no alterations. One of the recurring things I saw were people talking about the gaping neckline in the back. I didn't personally have this problem as much despite not adjusting the pattern for it, but I could see how it would annoy people if it were worse.

If I were to make this tank again, I'd consider the following alterations:
  • Raising the neckline by an inch or so
  • Minimizing the neck gap following this how-to: Striped Wiksten Tank by Made by Rae
  • Using a more drape-y fabric, such as rayon (and hopefully doesn't wrinkle as easily)

If I were making the dress version, I'd probably also lengthen the dress. It appears to hit a little on the short side based on the pictures of the dress I have seen other people make:

I've actually already started on the dress version after picking out some suiting fabric (that I know doesn't wrinkle since I pre-washed and dried it). It's slow going between all the crafty things I'd like to do with what little time I have after the kids go to bed, but hopefully I'll finish in time for it to be part of this Summer of Basics Make-along!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sky Harbor Museum - Drawn to Pattern Exhibit

I went to a training in Dallas at the end of last month and while walking through Terminal 4, I saw the Drawn to Pattern exhibit currently on display. I was intrigued and so I quickly stopped in for a look (it's small).

There were a couple of artists' whose pieces caught my eye, and so those were the ones I snapped pictures of.

Patrick Dean Hubbell

These pieces remind me of scrapbook paper! I liked the other pieces in his That Which Makes Up Space series too.

Sky Harbor Museum - Drawn to Pattern Exhibit | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
20170628_191812_Phx-Airport-Museum-Drawn-to-Pattern-Exhibit

Carrie Marill

Get Up Get Down series - so colorful!

20170628_191812_Phx-Airport-Museum-Drawn-to-Pattern-Exhibit
20170628_191812_Phx-Airport-Museum-Drawn-to-Pattern-Exhibit

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cupshe One-piece Swimsuit Review

Summer is more than half over based on when K-12 schools start up again here in Phoenix. Whaaaaaaaa.

That aside, it seems that sponsored posts on Instagram are doing their job, because I came across Cupshe in my feed, and after checking out their swimsuit options and affordable prices, I ended up getting a couple of new one-piece swimsuits for the summer.

I was a little nervous buying from them, because I read some reviews online that were not stellar from a customer service perspective. I didn't personally end up having issues, though. I also thought the quality was decent, so overall, I thought the purchases were a good value.

It can be hard to tell what really is the right size for you looking at size charts online, so I also read the reviews for each suit to get a feel for whether the sizing ran small, true, or large.

Here are the two I got:

Cupshe One-piece Swimsuit Review | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

(left) Deep Feelings Cross One-piece Swimsuit
Pros: My favorite of the two I got. Potentially nursing friendly (I'm done with that myself, but remember what it was like trying to nurse with a swimsuit that did not facilitate nursing).
Cons: The cups are not sewn-in, so they can shift (usually up) when actually swimming. But, they are removable too.
Price: $27.99
Size: S
Reviews: 5 stars on 120+ reviews

(right) Somewhere Out There Crochet Swimsuit
Pros: The crochet detail and adjustable straps
Cons: Shows a little more skin than I personally would like.
Price: $21.99
Size: S
Reviews: 5 stars on 29 reviews

Here are some other one-piece swimsuits that caught my eye. I considered buying a few of them before I ultimately went with the two above, and others just simply caught my eye, though I don't feel like I could personally pull them off:

Cupshe One-piece Swimsuit Review | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

  1. Happiness is Truth Plunging One-piece
    Price: $21.99
    Reviews: 4.5 stars on 18 reviews
  2. First Love Textured One-piece
    Price: $16.99
    Reviews: 5 stars on 2 reviews
  3. Call of Wildness One-piece
    Price: $29.99
    Reviews: 4.5 stars on 4 reviews
  4. Years Of Flowers One-piece
    Price: $23.99
    Reviews: 4.5 stars on 28 reviews
  5. Sweet Coconut Milk One-piece
    Price: $23.99
    Reviews: 5 stars on 20 reviews
  6. Black Crystal One-piece
    Price: $26.99
    Reviews: 5 stars on 9 reviews
  7. Keep Secrets Halter One-piece
    Price: $23.99
    Reviews: 5 stars on 18 reviews
    (I saw a comparable style swimsuit on the Victoria's Secret site for twice as much! It's no longer on the site though.)
  8. Broken Ocean One-piece
    Price: $21.80
    Reviews: 5 stars on 7 reviews

Friday, July 14, 2017

2014 Instagram Mini Album

It's now solidly 2017 and guess what I just finished? My 2014 Instagram album!

I late-adopted Instagram in December 2013. Partially because I'm an Android person and partially because I'm generally not an early adopter of technology. So, 2014 was the first full year of Instagram posts.

I chose to use a 2-up format since I wanted to use a (now old) monthly calendar set as dividers. I also used the scrapbooking pack and 6x6 paper pad from Allison Kreft's Everyday Eclectic collection, with the addition of a few other embellishments here and there.

I also used a Stampin' Up tab punch with some small alphabet stamps (that I think I got at Michael's or Joann) to create the month tabs.

2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog< 2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog
2014 Instagram Mini Album | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

I first started this album while I was on maternity leave with Parker over two years ago, and this work-in-process sat on my shelf until this summer, when I finally buckled down and finished it. I only had a couple or few white spaces left to decorate (on the pages where there wasn't a second picture to put at the bottom of the 2-up format), so it wasn't much more work. I'm happy with (a) completing a project and (b) how this album turned out!

Now I can finish tackling my 2015 Instagram album!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Las Vegas Weekend Eats

Last month, Greg had a work training in Las Vegas, and so we made a trip of it, sans kids. We went out the Friday before and spent the weekend there.

BLT Steak

On the occasions when Greg and I are in Vegas by ourselves, we like to treat ourselves to a nice dinner. The past couple of visits, this has meant a visit to BLT Steak. (We usually get a 30% off voucher from Tix4tonight - they have kiosks along the strip).

Both times we have been to BLT Steak, the food and service have been great. I ordered the filet mignon while Greg ordered the bone-in ribeye. We also ordered a few appetizers - onion rings, stuffed mushroom caps, and truffle mashed potatoes. The truffle mashed potatoes are our favorite. We also got a couple of sauces to go with our steak - peppercorn and chimichurri. I've ordered the peppercorn before, but it was the first time I tried the chimichurri. The chimichurri might become my new go-to sauce there - garlicky and with a little bit of kick!

The meal at BLT Steak usually comes with some "extras." They serve an amuse-bouche of pate at the beginning of the meal, followed by Gruyère popovers (they give you the recipe too), and then the entrees and sides. We were a little ambitious with our sides and didn't leave room for dessert, but at the end of the meal, just before the check, they brought us bites of chocolate chip cookie (it's like the amuse-bouche equivalent of dessert!).

Las Vegas Weekend Eats | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

While in Vegas, we also ate at . . .

Grand Lux Cafe

Owned by the Cheesecake Factory, this perhaps isn't the most exciting restaurant in Vegas, but it is reasonably priced with good portions. Greg loves the chicken and waffles. It's our go-to place in Vegas when we want an inexpensive meal (by Vegas standards).

Hash House A Go Go

Greg and I went here on our own for breakfast over the weekend. We tried to go on the early side (early for Vegas, that is - 9:30 am or so) to beat the brunch crowd. On a past trip, Greg ordered chicken and waffles. This time, he ordered blueberry pancakes. I've tried both a hash and a scramble. All tasty and good-sized portions.

Giordano's

We had a group dinner here the first night that Greg's co-workers were in town. Hard to go wrong with the pizza here!

Carmine's

This Italian restaurant has big portions meant to be eaten family-style and is in the Forum Shops of Caesar's. We went with a co-worker of Greg's and ordered Roasted Peppers with Mozzarella, no anchovies (pictured), Rigatoni with Sausage & Broccoli, and their chicken special that night.

Las Vegas Weekend Eats | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

Shang Artisan Noodle

Greg's co-worker found this 4.5-star noodle place on Yelp and it was legit. We ordered several appetizers to share as a group: Cucumber Salad,
Spicy Wonton, Sliced Beef Shank, and Pork and Cabbage Pot Sticker. I ordered the Shang Beef Noodle Soup and Greg ordered the Pork Belly Noodle Soup. We saved this to our Yelp bookmarks so we could go back another time.

The Chicken Shack (Boulder City)

We found this place on Yelp, highly rated, on our way out of Vegas. It's in Boulder City and doesn't look like much, but the chicken fingers were tasty and there's a variety of dipping sauces to choose from. We were happy with our lunch here.

Aside from all the eating we did, we also walked around the Strip, and went to the Chinatown area of Vegas:

Fountains of Bellagio

When in Vegas! It made me want to watch Ocean's Eleven too.

Las Vegas Weekend Eats | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

"Another Sky" Art Installation at The Venetian

As a crafter, I thought this ribbon installation was neat. And in my favorite color!

Las Vegas Weekend Eats | shirley shirley bo birley Blog

Fashion Show Mall

Shopped. Without kids. It was delicious.

Great Wall Bookstore

This is a Chinese bookstore in a strip mall in Chinatown. I remember coming here when I was younger on a family trip to Vegas. I love going to this bookstore for the stationery and other Asian tchotchkes. I'm sad if I don't get to go or I don't get to spend enough time in this store. I also stock up on origami star paper here. When I'm on roadtrips without the kids, I've started to take origami star paper with me to keep busy in the car, since it's easy take along and mindlessly do in the car.

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