Completed: 21-day Cold Shower Challenge

Saturday was my first cold shower in almost a month — 27 days, to be precise. Thus, it is with great satisfaction that I can report my success in completing my personal [perhaps totally unnecessary] Cold Shower challenge. Here are my thoughts:

Early on in the challenge, I really didn’t enjoy taking a cold shower every morning, and I did everything to make it not the absolute worst.

My strategy involved turning on the cold water, hopping into the back of the tub, and flipping my head upside down under the stream of water, keeping most of my body out of the stream of frigid water. Once I’d thoroughly soaked my hair, I’d do that fancy model thing where the flip their head back with an arc of hair and water, except it looked totally stupid when I did it, I’m sure. Then I’d immediately turn off the water and shampoo my hair. Once I was ready to rinse, I’d finally submerge myself under the cold water, which was less horrible at that point. I’d then turn the water off while conditioning my hair.

Because this whole challenge was maybe about mental toughness (and I read this online somewhere), when I was standing under the cold water, I’d remind myself to breathe slowly and tell myself, “This isn’t so bad. It’s just cold water.” And that sometimes worked; I sometimes felt like a bad ass.

The days that I ran, I’d immediately jump into the shower and take advantage of my sweat and elevated body temperature. These were the times that I could turn the setting to COLDEST.

The days that I didn’t run were the worst because I was hopping into cold water with a cold-ish body. I’d usually turn the dial a little past the midway point so it was cold but didn’t feel totally icy.

However, by the second week or so, I was pretty adjusted to cold showers. It did wake me up–not that I wasn’t already awake from running–and felt like a great jump start to my day. It was really refreshing after my runs, and I liked that I wasn’t still sweating when I got out of the shower.

Overall, I think there were two main benefits:

  • I used a lot less water because I was 1) taking markedly shorter showers and 2) turning off the water while shampooing and conditioning.
  • My hair has become softer and glossier. Someone even commented on it at work, asking if I had to do anything to make my hair look so nice all the time.

I guess the third benefit was that now I don’t fear cold showers and actually kind of prefer them after running. In the event that our hot water gets used up, I’ll be totally fine. (If I haven’t run or if I’ve let enough time elapse and my body has cooled back down though, it totally sucks.)

[Some people said this makes you lose weight. I didn’t lose any weight.]

The main issue I encountered was that my expedited showers did not leave any time for shaving. However, that’s not a huge deal because I wear pants almost exclusively and also because I’m Asian and am not very hirsute.

On the 22nd day of the shower, I actually turned the water to warm (but not scalding, like my previous showers), and it felt really gross. I immediately turned the faucet to cold and kept the now-finished challenge going. Cooling down in the car on the way back from a long run, however, meant that I was going to relish every minute of my warm (but not scalding!) shower.In conclusion, cold showers are actually pretty nice, a good jumpstart to my morning and a time- and water-saver, so I’ll keep them going for now. Except on non-exercise days. There’s no need to suffer that much.

Our favorite Texans visit SF

I can’t believe two years have passed since we stayed with Kayla and Darby during Wedding Victory Tour. We were way overdue for a visit with the two of them, especially since in the past two years, our lives have diverged considerably. While we’ve been living the DINK lifestyle in SF, Kayla and Darby not only bought a house, but they also made a cute, little human and have done what I consider to be a bang-up job raising him! Jonas didn’t join them on this trip, so we have yet to meet him, but we really enjoyed our 48 hours with his parents while they were here!

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We took Kayla and Darby to some of our favorite SF places and sights: walking around the Mission and eating burritos (And we saw Mission Dolores for the first time!), Alamo Square & the Painted Ladies, Blue bottle coffee in Hayes Valley, the Land’s End Trail, Nob Hill, etc.  Their visit coincided with a small “heat wave” in San Francisco, with a record-breaking high on Sunday (in the 80’s), but they were troopers and trekked all around the city with us. I guess it helped that we had multiple ice cream stops over the weekend, including a delicious It’s It treat while looking at the Pacific ocean. (We also introduced them to the local oddity that is Dance Party on KOFY TV.)

Kayla & Mica in front of the GG Bridge

It was fun to show off the best parts (and some of the not-so-best parts along the way) of our “new” home, but my favorite thing about the weekend was the opportunity to spend time together. I miss my weekly coffee/tea dates at Espresso Royale with Kayla; she is such a thoughtful conversationalist and has such good insights into seemingly any subject. It was interesting (and exciting/scary) to hear about how they are finding parenthood as well as their move back to Texas to their alma mater, ACU. It’s easy to get comfortable in the DINK-y SF tech bubble of 20-somethings, so I’m infinitely pleased to be reminded of how special our friendships are with people who are not just like us.

That being said, I discovered that Kayla is my ESTJ soulmate (who loves ice cream too!). No wonder we get along so well.

Thanks for making the trip out to see us, you two! We’ll have to get to Texas soon so we can meet Jonas before he’s, like, a grown-up!

K-Pop & Beyond!

We don’t have cable, so one of the few channels we get over the antenna is the Bay Area’s 24hr KPOP-TV. It’s a fairly low-budget local television station with VJs who introduce K-pop videos. It also plays entertainment shows which are, I think, produced in Korea for an international audience. With the exception of the music video lyrics, it’s almost entirely in English, though with varying degrees of fluency among the native Korean-speaking hosts.

The local VJs started advertising the inaugural KPOP Summer Festival in Golden Gate Park, to be held on July 11th. This was a competition put on by the Korean consulate in the US for non-Koreans to perform their favorite K-pop songs. (Earlier in the year, there was a preliminary competition, but on Saturday, we saw just the ten best groups.) There were also some Korean activities, like a photobooth in hanboks and a chance to play yut-nori, a traditional game that involves throwing sticks in the air.

We had a free Saturday afternoon, so, of course, we went to Golden Gate park to check it out.

Admittedly, this was a weird thing for two almost-thirty-year-olds to go to. K-pop is, like, kind of not my thing. It’s bubblegum pop, and the stars supposedly have all had plastic surgery, which bothers me.

On the other hand, I enjoy Korea’s efforts to promote the Korean wave, hallyu, throughout the world. The amount of resources they have funneled into hallyu is impressive, and the enthusiasm with which they want to “share Korean culture” always strikes me as sweet and endearing.

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We were kind of afraid that it would be an utter failure of an event, with people just milling about, not paying attention to the performers. It was surprisingly better-attended than I thought, with many of the seats in the music concourse filled with rapt audience members. It was a strange assortment of people: families, kids, Koreans and non-Koreans, college students, performers and their fans, and the occasional passerby who stumbled on the festival. There was also a wedding party that apparently wanted to take romantic photos in the Music Concourse. (One groomsman danced a lot to the music, which was amusing.)

We were also lucky to have beautiful weather on Saturday. Sun in Golden Gate park? What?!?

There were ten performers, some of whom sang and some of whom danced. A few were college clubs, while others were soloists. I guess they all just…love K-pop a lot. We sat through the performances and recognized about 20% of the songs, based on sometimes watching 24hr KPOP TV in the evenings. Other people were losing their shit though–the intro to the song would start and cheers would erupt from the crowd.

We stayed for the announcement of the winners, and we were pretty much in agreement with the judges (Korean consulate employees in very official suits). The first- and second-place groups will be entered into the pool of performers from each Korean consulate around the world. Then the best of the best will fly to Korea and compete in a huge K-pop international festival in Changwon in the fall. We’re not going to go that one, but I looked up some videos and it’s quite the spectacle with thousands of people (Koreans!) in attendance.

I’m not going to lie. I have no idea who these boy groups are. I love the bad-ass persona juxtaposed with feminine hair and synchronized dance moves.

K-pop posters

It sounds like such a weird afternoon, and it was! Still, I thought it was a rather enjoyable way to spend time in the city. It was free event and a beautiful, sunny day. Not to mention, even though I think K-pop is strange, it was fun to see people who love it so unabashedly and wholeheartedly. You do you, K-pop lovers!

(We also walked back via Tank Hill, which had gorgeous views of the city. And then we walked through the Castro so I could pick up some yarn for my next project. All in all, I ended the day with 43,000 steps. My feet hurt.)view from Tank Hill

I told the Hus-friend that I didn’t really imagine married life would involve going to K-pop festivals, but I’m glad we’re both up for silly adventures in the city together.IMG_4934

Stonewall Sweater – It’s very warm.

It took me about six weeks to get this sweater from yarn hanks to blocked and wear-ready. I think a lot of people knit much faster, but this felt like six weeks of aggressive sweater knitting, for sure!

Stonewall sweater

The pattern, Stonewall by Alicia Plummer, had been sitting in my Ravelry queue for a long time as an ambitious dream. However, it wasn’t until my emboldening delicate lady sweater (featherweight cardigan) experience that I felt confident enough to tackle a large, worsted-weight pullover.

I was unsure about starting a pattern with so few finished examples (~55 projects on Ravelry), but the promise of a V-neck and waist-shaping was tempting enough. I didn’t want to spend a long time on a sweater that would make me look like a meatball. (After all, I’ve already done that look. Right, Jessica?)

Quince & Co Lark

I used Quince & Co’s Lark worsted-weight wool, which I like for its nice texture and environmentally-friendly production. It’s 100% wool, which is not exactly silky, but I’m able to wear it next to my skin without issue. I had a tough time achieving the stated gauge: 18 st/24 rows per 4″ on US 9 needles. I knit and blocked several swatches before ending with US 7 needles and US 6 for the ribbing.

gauge swatch

I wouldn’t recommend this pattern for beginners (HA!) because I had sa-hooo many issues with the stitch math. (Note: This was for the 34.75″ bust size. The other sizes might be better.). To get the number of stitches to come out evenly, I basically had to do every calculation on paper to ensure that I was decreasing correctly. Some instructions were vague and omitted things like how to work the wrong side of the pattern, while other instructions seemed actually incorrect to me. For example, after joining the sleeves to the body, the instructions said to work three decrease rounds with six stitches decreased per round. However, to get to the stated 68 front/back stitches, you’d need to decrease eight stitches per decrease round; it seems like a egregious mistake to leave decreases out of the decrease round instructions, but maybe that’s an exercise left to the reader/knitter. I don’t know.

knitting Stonewall sweater

(If you’re interested in the actual math, check out my project on Ravelry. I wrote out what I did as clearly as possible.)

This all being said, I’m pretty happy with the finished sweater. My knitting is not perfect: I may have messed up the kitchener stitch when grafting the underarm holes together, and I found a few purls that should have been knits in the raglan shaping, but really, no one is going to notice that.

Stonewall sweater
(Unblocked and wrinkly)

The waist shaping seems pretty dramatic and unnatural when you’re just looking at the plain sweater, but I think it’s better for my body shape to reduce the amount of bulk around my waist (no meatball!).

As soon as I finished it, I wanted to wear my new sweater, so I took this super-flattering bathroom mirror selfie to send to Kim.  I’m basically the best at modeling my handmade garments, yes? IMG_4916

It was a little tight off the needles, but I blocked it with wool wash and let it dry for 36 hours. It’s now a bit looser and feels like the wool chilled out. Plus, the stitch pattern popped out nicely.

Stonewall sweaterAnd, of course, it’s July and totally the wrong time to have a wool sweater. Granted, it is cool enough here to sit with a giant pile of yarn on my lap in the summer, which wouldn’t have been the case nearly anywhere else in the country, but it’s basically never going to be cold enough to wear this extremely warm sweater in SF! I’m going to have to take a trip somewhere cold in January to get some use out of it.

completed Stonewall

And because I know you enjoy my super-good modeling, here are some more photos!

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IMG_4956And my personal favorite:IMG_4951

XOXO,

-Mica, the best sweater model

A big-ass, chunky knit bag

A little while ago, I was contacted by Wool and the Gang with an apology for my unpleasant experience making their Coco Sailor Sweater, which you may remember as the “Disasterbox sweater.” They said the pattern has since been re-worked so that it matches the model photos (-_-), and it now comes in multiple sizes.

Also, they offered to send me a kit (for free, not in exchange for any review). Now, obviously a bag is not the same as a sweater, but I figured I’d give the WATG another try. I want to like them because they seem genuinely interested in making…makers. (I hate the term “makers,” but that’s another story.)

I received a kit for the “Zigazig” shopper. WATG’s model is to sell products that you can buy pre-made or a kit to make it yourself (the cheaper option).  The kit itself had fun packaging:WAG Zigazig shopper kit

It was also really heavy because it had two gigantic cones of jersey yarn inside. In addition, there was a pattern booklet (with illustrations, no photos), needles, and a pin to advertise your allegiance to WATG products.

WATG Zigazig shopper kit

Oh, also I got a pair of size 19 straight needles, which are basically tiny trees. The Hus-friend kept asking if I was going to knit with my “drumsticks.”

WATG size 19 needles

Because you’re knitting with thick yarn and large needles, the bag knits up really quickly. You basically make a long rectangle with two holes on either end, then fold it up, and sew the sides together. Here I am looking really excited about knitting with drumsticks.

spastic knitting

WATG’s jersey yarn (“Jersey be good” — why everything has to have a cute name, I don’t know) is made from the offcuts from tee-shirt fabric in Turkey. I’m glad it’s recycled, but I don’t really prefer the unevenness and texture. I mean, you’re basically knitting with fabric selvedges, let’s be honest.

Also, I wasn’t a fan of knitting with huge straight needles. It takes a lot of work, and it was hard to get a good rhythm going. One thing I like about knitting is the repetitive movement and “meditative” action, but with these big-ass needles clunking around, it just felt awkward to me. I much prefer working on smaller needles for projects like socks. The yarn is smoother and more consistent.knitting with WATG Jersey Be Good

So, are you ready for the finished bag? (Seaming sucks, that’s just that.)

WATG Zigazig shopper

I mean, it’s fine, right? Unlike my Coco Sailor Sweater, I ended up with basically the advertised product: a big, chunky knit tote bag. (Actually, I just noticed that the one of the bags on the website has a bottom seam that mine definitely doesn’t have because you don’t sew up anything on the bottom. Strange!)

Because the yarn is made of jersey, it is exceptionally stretchy, so I could probably fit two laptops, several library books, and a personal watermelon in it. However, also because it is jersey, it’s really heavy. This is not a super comfortable bag to carry around, especially when it’s stretched and full of stuff.

WATG says:

“When what you want is a bag that can go from the market to your office to an evening out the ZigaZig Shopper is perfect.”

I might take this shopping because it holds a lot. I most likely will take it to work and leave it in my desk for toting my laptop home if necessary. However, taking it on “an evening out” seems like a fairly big stretch here. Obviously, this tote isn’t going to the theater with me, and it’s probably not even going to a restaurant because I’d have to get a table for three just to accommodate it.

So, I’m 0/2 on Wool and the Gang, unfortunately. I will say that it was very nice of them to reach out to me and send me this kit for free. And I do think that their #madeunique idea is cool. Most of their stuff isn’t for me though. I don’t think I’m fashionable enough to pull off aggressively chunky knits. I wish them the best of luck, but for now, I think I’ve got other knitting projects that I want to pursue.

4th of July Weekend

Ooh, I just love a long holiday weekend! While it seemed like a lot of the city left town for fun July 4th adventures, the Hus-friend and I enjoyed a relaxing few days in town.

Actually, on Friday (my “arrival day”–yeah!), we took the ferry over to Sausalito for a day of exploring. Neither of us had been, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. After lunch on the bay at Le Garage, we wandered over to the Bay Model museum, which a couple people had told me to check out.

Not sure what the Bay Model is? Well, it’s a giant model…of the bay. As in, the size of two football fields. It was used by engineers in the 1950’s, prior to computer modeling for planning around the bay. (The neighborhood where we live, for example, is all on filled-in parts of the Bay. It will probably liquefy in a large earthquake. Hurrah!)

Bay Model, Sausalito

It’s a really neat free exhibit, with lots of science about the bay and its surrounding ecosystem. The Hus-friend enjoyed reading about the mathematical modeling behind it. (Though he said this particular calculation’s explanation was questionable.)

Bay Model science

My favorite part was seeing all of the miniature SF landmarks, like the tiny Golden Gate bridge:

Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Model

After seeing the Bay Model, we turned back south and wandered into the thick of Sausalito’s tourism. Not wanting to be run over by errant bike riders, we ascended some hillside stairs into the ritzy neighborhoods of Sausalito. The crowds thinned almost immediately, and it felt like we had the place to ourselves!

Bay view from Sausalito

Oh, also, I found this super reassuring sign:Earthquake warning sign

Back in SF for the 4th, we celebrated Independence Day at Tina and Ben’s by watching Independence Day and eating a lot of food (hot dogs, chicken fingers, fries, mac & cheese, salad, chips, corn, and whoopie pies). I do not regret it. 4th of July feast

We headed out to see fireworks, but just like last year, Karl the Fog rolled in and obscured most of the show. You could see the bottom half of the large fireworks peeking out under the marine layer, and you could hear the explosions echoing around the bay. That’s about it though. Oh well, a true SF experience, for sure.

Fireworks, SF 2015

After the pyrotechnics were over, we sat in a food coma, watching the second half of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. This was semi-significant because the Hus-friend and I were on a mission over the holiday weekend to catch up on the the Terminator franchise. We watched the first and second movies on Friday and Saturday, respectively, before going to see Terminator: Genisys with Tina and Ben and Siena and Andy on Sunday afternoon. You know me and my love of blockbusters/escapist fantasies! (It did not disappoint.)(I had major issues with the obnoxious child version of John Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Ugh, 90’s tropes.)terminator2_tweetHope you also had a similarly entertaining holiday weekend!

COFFEE WITH ME: 21-day cold shower challenge!

I can imagine having coffee with Kayla (at Espresso Royale) and telling her about my newest random pursuit:

Somewhere [online] I read that taking cold showers in the morning is good for you. There was some justification in the form of pseudo-science and motivational speech, but it did get me thinking that I take very long, hot, wasteful showers.

Thus, I’ve decided to subject myself to a 21-day cold shower challenge, which is basically what it sounds like. Every day for three weeks, I will take a cold shower in the morning. 21 days is supposedly the “magic” number of times it takes to develop a habit, so maybe in three weeks, the cold water will be so normal that I won’t want to die every time I bathe.

I tried it this morning. It was pretty bad for the first 30 seconds/until I turned off the water to shampoo my hair (water-saving measures!). I kept telling myself, “You are stronger than this!” and pretending that I was in some kind of intense POW exercise, determined to prove my mental toughness (to whom? Myself? Bodger?). Eventually, it wasn’t so bad. I lied. It was still bad.

That being said, it was the fastest shower I’ve taken in awhile! And when I got out, I felt super energized and ready to start my day. Plus, I was so cold that the added heat of blow-drying my hair didn’t make me sweaty, which is one of my biggest rages in life.

Speaking of my hair, I also read that washing your hair in cold water “seals” the hair follicle and makes it look shiny and lustrous. I’m not sure if that’s actually true, but I whipped my hair around a lot at the office today, being all like, “Oh heyyyy, you like these lustrous locks? I’m in a damn shampoo commercial!”

Wish me luck. Brrrrr.

Two things you should bake

First of all, check out the header image on this post. Isn’t that weird and sinister? We like to watch the Korean TV channels at home, and this bizarre masked singing competition came on last Sunday night. Can you guess what song they were singing? Oh, right, the theme from Phantom of the Opera. I don’t even know.

ANYWAY!

I had amassed a bunch of mouldering bananas, so I decided to make banana bread to take over to Jordan and Maria, who are in their first few weeks as parents of TWINS! (Because nothing say, “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD, YOU’RE ADULTS!!!” like fruit-based quick breads.) The two recipes I had in my recipe binder produced pretty meh results–kind of dry and not that banana-y–and I wanted something truly spectacular.

I found this “ultimate” banana bread from Cook’s Illustrated and was intrigued by the process of extracting and reducing the banana juice for extra banana flavor. (Side note: I always forget about Cook’s Illustrated as a recipe source. I love how they have tested each recipe so thoroughly and give you justification for choosing various ingredients/techniques. I might subscribe to the magazine.) Microwaving the bananas was kind of a mess, but it did make for a very banana-smelling loaf.

The other advantage of microwaving the bananas means that you can just freeze bananas at peak over-ripeness and have them on hand to make bread. I never have the right number of over-ripe bananas, so I like that I can stockpile them until I have enough for a good loaf.

CI Ultimate Banana bread

I even used did the optional banana slice-layering for decoration. This was some serious banana bread.

I can’t actually recommend this recipe personally, but Jordan and Maria (and Jordan’s parents) said it was awesome: moist and banana-y. So I’ll try making it again soon!

Also over the weekend, I made these fabulous chocolate chip cookies. And, like, okay, I know it’s hard to get excited about chocolate chip cookies, but these are so good. I think it’s (1) the combination of bread and cake flour and (2) letting the dough rest for 24+ hours. They end up with this chewy texture and slightly crisp edges and deep toffee flavor. They’re sa-hoooo good. I think they might be my new favorite! chocolate chip cookies

The recipe recommends making them with 1/3-cup scoops, which makes awesomely huge cookies. I ended up making these to take the work, so I just used my regular scoop/portioning device, and they still turned out great, with just the right texture. The recipe makes a ton: I brought 52 cookies to work, and I made about 10 of the “giant” size ones.

cookies at work

We ate too much Korean food.

On Saturday, I was very, very hungry.

The Hus-friend and I decided we wanted to walk to get Korean food for dinner. Unfortunately, we live in a not-very-convenient location, so most of the Korean food is far away in the Richmond. No big deal, I thought–I typically amass a lot of steps on Saturdays.

Our walk to dinner was five miles, about an hour and a half. Since we walked across the city, we had to fight our way up some hills, and once we crossed the mid-line ridge of the peninsula, the sun was replaced by dense fog and wind. At about the halfway point, I started flagging, and the Hus-friend started saying things like, “I didn’t eat enough today. I’m really excited to eat a lot of Korean food when we get there. I’m so hungry.”

After walking for seemingly an eternity, I said, “Oh, we’re at 4th street. What’s the cross street of Han Il Kwan again?” The Hus-friend hesitated before mumbling, “19th.”

“AJKFLDSJKLF:DS I’m not going to make it. Leave me here to DIE!!!!!!” I said, completely without drama.

Right as the sign of restaurant, Han Il Kwan, came into view, I noticed a giant Korean tour bus had pulled up in front. “Oh, that’s a thing,” said the Husfriend, “Yelp said that giant tour buses of Koreans come here while visiting the city. We have to run so they don’t get ahead of us.”

…so we ungracefully speedwalked to the door to beat a [I shit you not!] gigantic bus of Koreans. It didn’t end up mattering because they apparently had reserved a huge room.

Han Il Kwan is apparently a popular choice for dinner (We tried to go there unsuccessfully with Mitzi last year.), so we had to put our name on the list and wait a few minutes. While we were waiting, I kept seeing servers busing the tables with food still left in the dishes: bits of uneaten banchan, half-bowls of rice, bulgogi left on the now-lukewarm iron plate. “These people are fools,” I thought, “How could you leave any food on your plate??? Om nom nom, I’m going to eat it all!”

When we sat down, I couldn’t decided what I wanted. The server came to take our order, and the Hus-friend matter-of-factly ordered bulgogi. When she turned to me, I panicked and screamed, “Um CAN I HAVE A HAEMUL PAJEON AND DUK MANDOO GUK?” (Seafood and scallion pancake and dumpling-ricecake soup). Giving no indication that we had ordered too much food, she nodded and left.

Two minutes later, a huge array of banchan came out.

banchan at Han Il Kwan

“Um, I think I ordered too much food,” I said, as we started shoving banchan in our mouths.

“I’m so hungry! I’m going to eat all of this,” said the Husfriend, between mouthfuls.

“No! Don’t,” I cried, “You’ll fill up, and I ordered so much food!”

Just then, a server came out with a sizable plate of bulgogi and a bowl cauldron of duk mandoo guk.

“I did a bad thing. Maybe we can ask her not to bring out the scallion pancake,” I said…just as she brought out an enormous plate of scallion pancake. Oops.

Sometimes, I try to slow down and savor my food, but because I was 1) the hungriest I could remember being ever in my entire life and 2) worried about not finishing all the delicious food we had ordered, I decided that the best course of action was pure and shameless gluttony: eating it ALLLLLL.

The way Han Il Kwan is set up, the people waiting for a table are just huddled at the entrance, watching you eat your food. I’d hear groups murmuring, “Ooh, that’s good, what she’s got” as our food came. Initially, I worried about their looks of interest turning to looks of disgust as I chewed and swallowed mouthful after mouthful of food, but eventually, I just decided to give zero fucks about it. Korean food is delicious and made to be eaten with full cheeks, and I wasn’t going to slow down enough to fill up.

Fortunately, I am super-good at using chopsticks now, so utensils did not get in my way. I shudder to think how this looked to an outside observer: two people at a table for four, covered with dishes, shoving soup, dumplings, pancake, and sidedishes into their mouths with reckless abandon. When I think about it, the word that comes to mind is “bestial.”

[I didn’t get a photo of the three main dishes because I jumped on them and begin inhaling their contents. SorryNotSorry.]

Long story short, we managed to take down almost the entire table of food between the two of us. We did not eat all the sidedishes (potatoes, bean sprouts, regular kimchi, rice.), and we took about half of the pancake home. Still, by the time the server came with some shikye-as-digestive, the table looked destroyed.

IMG_4871

Yes, we took down an amount of food fit for five people. I’m not even sorry.

[Hilarious/embarrassing epilogue: I decided I was going to buy a donut for dessert while we were in the Richmond, so we stopped at a nearby donut shop. Unfortunately, there was a $5 minimum for credit cards, so we had to order, like, three donuts and a ginger ale. Whoops.]

We may not be the most exciting married almost-thirty-somethings, but we can eat. Om nom nom nom.

(We took a car home and passed out on the couch, watching movies on HBO. Saturday win.)

Finished: Deer & Doe Plantain t-shirt

I probably won’t become an expert garment-maker any time soon, but I still find the idea of sewing my own wardrobe staples appealing. Paying for cheaply made t-shirts always bothers me, so I wanted to try sewing my own long-sleeved tee. I love 3/4 t-shirts because 1) they don’t make your upper arms look like hams and 2) they’re usually the right temperature for San Francisco!

Deer & Doe Plantain
Look at Bodger being aloof.

Last week, I made the Deer & Doe Plantain t-shirt, having had good luck with the robe Sureau earlier this year. Plus, it’s a free pattern! I actually tried this shirt last year with a very lightweight, stretchy knit, and it was a true disasterbox. The ends curled horrifically, and the neckline ended up all misshapen and stretched out.shoulder seam, Deer & Doe Plantain

For this version, I made sure to use a thicker jersey. The pattern calls for jersey with 40-50% stretch. The Fabric Outlet doesn’t mark their stretch percentage, so I just manhandled all the knits until I found this stable green one. Those thin, super-soft  jerseys look cute, but I find them unbearable to sew because the edges curl so badly. (Plus, they pill like no one’s business, and pills make me so stabby.)

Deer & Doe plantain

Another upgrade for this version, I made the good decision to sew with some direction. I actually found a “sewing teacher” online. Yes, I searched for someone offering sewing lessons on Craig’s List, and fortunately, my new sewing mentor Barbara turned out not to be a murderer. I didn’t get a picture of her, but trust me, she’s a very nice person and experienced sewer. She gave me some tips about how to keep the neckline straight and smooth and how to pin efficiently. It was helpful to have some hand-holding when working with knits. We didn’t do the whole shirt together, but she got me to a good point so that I could finish up the sides on my own.

overcast seams

Even though knits don’t fray, I took the time overcast the seams with my machine. I prefer the more professional look, and I know that the raw edges would have made me think, “Meh, this looks so homemade!” and would detract from my overall enjoyment of the shirt. Who knows why I want my clothes to look factory-made. Maybe because I like the exactness of batch-processed clothing….

Deer & Doe plantain tee

I’m really pleased with the final product! It has waist-shaping, and I appreciate the scoop neck, especially since the neckline isn’t all wonked out. It takes a surprising amount of time to sew something as simple as a 3/4-sleeve t-shirt, which gives me some appreciation for my clothes. I’ll probably make some more and add them as wardrobe staples, at least for weekend lounging.

Thanks, Bodger, for being part of my photo shoot.

Bodger attack

Details:

Pattern: Plaintain t-shirt by Deer & Doe

Size: 38

Materials: Emerald green jersey from the Fabric Outlet

Alterations: None