Twentysomething Goals: Firefly Music Festival 2013

firefly festival fashion 2013 flowers

One of my major goals before I turned thirty (which is, admittedly, quite far off) was to go to a major, three day music festival. Then, last February, I learned about this fairly young festival (it started last year) located in nearby Delaware, Firefly Music Festival! I was already 75% sold on it just based on the distance from my house (it’s a little over a two hour drive), but when I saw the lineup, I was completely smitten. Even so, I didn’t actually decide to go and buy tickets until about a week before the festival. I wanted to find someone to go with, and while Lucas was the obvious choice to bring since the festival seemed a perfect blend of our music tastes, he had just gone to Ultra over spring break and unsure about splurging on another festival. Also, the three day passes were sold out by the time we resolved to go. Luckily, I later checked StubHub for three day passes and found two for even cheaper than the festival sold them at originally. We didn’t end up going camping, since the camping passes being resold on StubHub were exorbitantly expensive. Instead, we stayed at a small, cheap motel in South Jersey right on the Delaware border that was about an hour away from the festival.

firefly festival fashion 2013

We got there pretty late on the first day since the traffic was unbelievably horrible, but it was still a lot of fun. Highlights included Ellie Goulding, the Avett Brothers (hearing their “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” live was amazing), Calvin Harris, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Lucas is huge fan). I wore a crop top that I had made a couple years ago and sewn a bunch of fabric flowers on to along with a floral crown. Lucas wore a tribal print tank from target along with the Toyota-sponsored official Firefly bandana. We spent a little time exploring the grounds, which were really cool. They had a “hammock hangout”/”forest cinema” grove filled with many hammocks and televisions playing old movies (that’s where the floral popcorn I’m posing with was situated). There was also a hot air balloon you could ride (we were too busy at the concerts to do that, but you can see it on the left of Calvin Harris’ performance).

firefly festival fashion 2013

The second day was even better. We started off with a late breakfast at Waffle House. Lucas had never been there before, and we treated ourselves to an unimaginably large feast of eggs, bacon, toast, waffles, and their famous hash browns – we needed to fuel up for the long day ahead of us. In honor of one of the best Tom Petty songs, Lucas and I decided to theme our outfits “America,” which seemed to be a pretty popular clothing choice at Firefly. I wore one of my favorite crop tops – a red, white, and blue plaid pseudo-bustier that I got off Ebay awhile ago, as well as these short overalls (shorteralls? jorteralls?) I picked up for cheapsies at Walmart. Lucas rocked a Pepsi shirt from Target and Nantucket-red shorts I made for him from a pair of pants that were too big on him. Highlights from the second day included Lord Huron, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (although it was not as amazing as at Lawnparties, because I didn’t feel like fighting to be at the front of the huge crowd), Youngblood Hawke, Azealia Banks (who was absolutely amazing – we skipped out on MGMT so that we could be at the front of her concert even though we only knew “212,” and it was totally worth it. She was so fun.), and, of course, Tom Petty, who rocked hard despite his advancing age. We also found the silent disco hidden in the backwoods. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a silent disco is when (usually) two DJs spin records at the same time and the partygoers wear headphones that can tune into either frequency. They’re ideal for unusual locations (like the middle of the forest) and can look pretty crazy from the outside (it’s just a bunch of people wildly dancing to music you can’t hear).

firefly festival fashion 2013

The third day was possibly the best of all three. We made sure to get there early so that I could see HAIM close up, an amazing and hilarious sister act from California. We also saw Matt and Kim from pretty close up, which was a party. We caught a bit of Passion Pit, but their lead singer was losing his voice so Lucas and I decided to split to wait for our respective next bands (he went to see Zedd, while I headed for Vampire Weekend) and get a good spot. Vampire Weekend was an amazing concert, reminding me how much of their music I really love. Lucas and I then met up again to watch the end of Foster the People, who put on a great show, but were kind of a strange choice for headliner. For the third day, we went with a sort-of pastel theme. I wore an old pastel and floral skirt from my mom and peach and lavender bras from Urban Outfitters. Lucas wore an old shirt that I gradient tie-dyed pink, purple, and blue and wore one of my old necklaces as a headband. I bought some hair chalk for the occasion and colored my hair basically every color of the rainbow. It actually worked really well, but also stressed me out when it started pouring, which it did off and on all of Sunday (all I could imagine was a stream of purplish-brown running down the back of my clothes).

All in all, Firefly was a great festival, and a perfect fit for what I wanted. Everyone there was pretty relaxed, the music was generally really good, and it had a lot of cool other features (the silent disco, the hammock hideaway, the pathway with umbrellas and lights suspended over it, the arcade, the water stations, the samples). It was also definitely the right time to go – it provided a break from this lull between college and work, the bands mostly catered to an early-twenties crowd, and I don’t know if I could do all the walking, standing, waiting, running, staying up late and waking up early later on in my life, but for now, it was perfect.

Cheers,

Ginny

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Earl Grey Sea Salt Macarons

sea salt earl grey macarons

In preparation for my annual birthday tea party, my friend Will and I have been practicing making macarons. After two questionable attempts, we finally got a winning batch after borrowing my neighbor’s stand mixer.

sea salt earl grey macarons

For the cookies themselves we used a traditional Italian meringue recipe, and for the filling we made an earl grey sea salt we got from Food, J’Taime. When William first suggested the caramel filling, I was mildly skeptical (although I love earl grey flavoring, especially in sorbet). Earl grey and salted caramel? Seemed a little strange. Needless to say, I was wrong. The caramel was amazing. I want to make more so I can have a pot on hand to drizzle on everything that I eat.

sea salt earl grey macarons

We dusted the top of the macarons with edible pearl glitter dust. I’ve had a couple bottles of the edible glitter hidden away in my baking cabinet for awhile now, but I haven’t really figured out how to use them until now. I looked up several methods of applying it, and settled on vodka (?!?). Several sources called for mixing the glitter with a little bit of vodka and then brushing it on the surface (the vodka should evaporate with time). I was again a little skeptical, especially since we were about to bring over a couple sample cookies to my neighbors to thank them for the use of their mixer. I did not want to serve them delicate French cookies with a faint aftertaste of Svedka. Luckily, the vodka was tasteless and we got a lovely gold sheen on the cookies.

sea salt earl grey macarons

After all our crazed efforts, the cookies turned out deliciously, and I’m so excited to make more for my birthday.

Cheers,

Ginny


French Onion Soup

french onion soup julia child

I absolutely love french onion soup. It’s my go-to on rainy, sub-par days. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve slumped into Panera under a mountain of work or after a bad week and speed-ordered french onion soup in a bread bowl. It’s the ultimate comfort food.

french onion soup julia child

When looking for recipes to make myself and Lucas last summer, I found Smitten Kitchen’s delicious streamlined adaptation of Julia Child’s french onion soup recipe. I’ve made it 5 or 6 times since then, and (at least according to Lucas), it’s only gotten better. I’ve learned the importance of caramelizing the onions for a long time, adding a considerable amount of salt, and adding the optional tablespoons of cognac it calls for. I also nearly doubled the amount of onions called for in the recipe, because, let’s be real, who doesn’t want more caramelized onions? No one.

french onion soup julia child

Most recently I made it for my family for dinner. We complemented it with escargot (a family favorite – if you haven’t tried it soaked in wells of butter, trust me, you need to), cheese, and salad for a decidedly French experience.

french onion soup julia child

Cheers,

Ginny


Stylish Scraps: Glitter and tulle mask

gold glitter masquerade mask

I was browsing random blogs one day and I came across this really simple but chic DIY from Sprinkles in Springs. She’s made a bunch of paint and tulle masquerade-style masks that are so cute. When I looked at the supplies list, I realized that I had all of them around my house, so I undertook it as a quick afternoon project!

gold glitter masquerade mask

I’ve been planning my upcoming birthday party, which I want to set mostly in pink and gold. I thought I’d make the mask gold in case I want to wear it for part of my party (what can I say, I have a flair for the dramatic). The best part about the mask is how easy it is to make and how simple the supplies are. I included it under “Stylish Scraps” because it’s the perfect complement to the extra material from my DIY Tulle Skirt. I just used a little triangle of tulle leftover from the skirt, as well as some acrylic paint and glitter I had lying around my house.

gold glitter masquerade mask
{photo credit to the lovely William Wild}

I absolutely love my new mask!

Cheers,

Ginny


Graduation

princeton graduation

When I first started this blog, I tried to do a 365 photo challenge. I dropped that somewhere along the way between writing my thesis and completing my senior year, but the motivation for writing remains the same. 2013 has been (and will continue to be) a huge year for me, my friends, my family, and my peers. I love using this blog as a way to reflect on these experiences and document the ways that my life is changing.

princeton graduation

This past week was graduation, and now that I’ve gotten a couple days of rest and relaxation (seriously, between Beach Week, Reunions, and graduation, its been a non-stop party for over two weeks – and I am exhausted), I want to really reflect on what my education and experiences have meant to me.

princeton graduation

I’ve met great people and made wonderful friends – and I’ll miss you all (even if I suck at keeping in touch). I’ll miss our dance parties, casual nights, manic energy, and utter exhaustion (and the hysteria that often accompanies it).

princeton graduation

I don’t know if I’m in a place where I can really look back at everything accurately. I’m trusting that I’ll have many opportunities in the future to reflect (Princeton is nothing if not nostalgic).

princeton graduation

In a few weeks I’ll move to Wisconsin to start my new job, and I’ll leave behind almost everything that’s familiar to me (including semi-temperate climates). It will be sad, but I’m also excited. I’ve lived in Princeton my entire life, and I think that this change represents an opportunity to really grow.

princeton graduation

I hope that, as I change and grow, this blog will also change and grow. On a superficial level, I’ll have more access to things like kitchens and interior decorating, but I’ll also have to really think about the role that this plays in my life.

princeton graduation

I’m treasuring these last few weeks I have before I join the “real world,” but I’m also (almost) ready to get going. For so long, I’ve avoided change and growth with paralyzing indecision. I want to change that – live with more purpose.

princeton graduation

So, I guess what I’m saying is…let’s do this!

Ginny


DIY Chevron Hamptons Inspired Dress

DIY Chevron Dress Nautical

When summer comes around, I can’t help but be drawn towards preppy staples like nautical stripes, navy blue, and kelly green – all I can dream about is lounging on the beach or on the back porch in classic-looking clothing. When I saw the “High Hamptons” collection in Joann Fabrics, I knew that I had to make something with it. I’ve also seen a lot of chevron patterns and textiles all over Pinterest recently, which inspired me to take the stripe fabric I found and play around with it a little.

Chevron pattern inspiration

The most important part about making your own chevron clothing is making sure that the stripes line up. That’s really the key to making your dress (or skirt) look expensive. Overall, it’s it’s pretty simple, you just need to be extra careful when cutting and sewing your pieces.

DIY Chevron Dress Nautical

Here are the materials you’ll need:

  • 1-2 yds striped, knit fabric – I ended up doing chevrons only on the front panels, so I needed a bit less. The amount you need will depend on the size you’re making and the difficulty of matching the stripes. It’s usually better to err on the cautious side. My fabric is a lurex blue and green stripe poly blend from the High Hamptons line at Joann Fabrics.
  • 1 yd matching knit fabric (Optional) – I chose a kelly green knit fabric to complement the front of the dress. If you instead want to do chevrons on the side panels as well, add this amount of fabric to the striped fabric requirement.
  • Matching thread – I chose to use navy thread to match the darker of the stripes
  • An old tank top – Grab an old tank top, skirt or knit dress that you like the fit of. This will provide a loose template for a pattern.
  • Large sheets of paper – This can be any type of paper – we need it to create a paper pattern to help us cut out the pieces. I ended up using a couple sheets of newspaper.

DIY Chevron Dress Pattern Illustration

How to make it:

  1. Step one: Create a pattern
    Spread your tank top or dress down on your paper. Sketch out a loose outline of the clothing. Each half of your body (top/bottom) will be covered by eight pieces. After tracing out a loose copy of your tank top, cut it in half down the middle (where the two “1” pieces separate). Draw and cut a line where you want the front panels to separate from the side panels (i.e. cut your pattern into “1” and “2” pieces). Cut the pieces apart. Decide where you want the waistline to fall, and cut the bottom of the pieces off there. Now, sketch out a pattern from the skirt. Again, cut the piece in half and then into front and side panels (cut 3 from 4). Made sure that the top and bottom panels meet each other at the right place and are the same width there.
  2. Step two: Cut out the fabric
    This is one of the most important steps – cutting out the fabric and matching stripes. For each pattern piece you’ve made, you’re going to cut out four copies. I started with the “1” pattern piece. Position your pattern on the fabric so that the stripes are going at the angle you want them to – I did a pretty steep ~45 degree angle, but it’s up to you. Cut out that pattern piece. Now, here’s the trick. Place that piece of fabric back on top of your striped fabric, and line it up so that it intersects with the stripes next to it when they are also at the same (but reversed) angle. A good way to check this is to look at how wide the stripes are at a given point, and make sure their widths match up. They should form a perfect chevron together. When you’ve finished matching up the stripes, place the paper pattern down on that section of fabric, so that cut fabric and the paper form a mock-up of the whole front “1” panels. Pin that pattern down, and cut it out. You should now have matched, cut “1” panels. Continue this for the two back “1” panels. For the “3” panels, using the same method, match the waist stripes from the “1” panels into chevrons, and then match the center chevrons again. Do it again for the back “3” panels. The end result of all the matching and cutting should look like the right image in the above illustration. For my version, cut “2” and “4” panels out of your complementary fabric. If you also want to make chevrons there, follow the above method to match stripes.
  3. Step three: Sew, sew, sew!
    Now’s the time to sew all the pieces together! It’s really important to match up the stripes, so carefully pin each piece together, matching stripes as you go. Sew all the pieces together following the diagram above. You should probably use a “stretch” needle to sew the knitted fabric. I also used a zigzag stitch, because I find that straight stitches tend to be less forgiving on stretch fabric. Hem the bottom, neckline, and armholes of the dress, making sure the seams hit the same place on the dress (the stripes will make it painfully obvious if the neckline isn’t hemmed evenly).

DIY Chevron Dress Nautical

There, you’re done! Wear it with classic wayfarer sunglasses and cute sandals on a sunny summer outing or with a cardigan for casual summer work attire. What I really love about this dress is that it’s so easy to wear but still so cute (also, let’s be real, the chevron stripes are visually slimming and create a pseudo hourglass shape). Enjoy!

DIY Chevron Dress Nautical

Cheers,
Ginny