Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva’s Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening

If you’re interested in learning about organic gardening, this is the book for you.  Annie Spiegelman speaks in a modern, humorous tone as she explains everything from starting a compost pile to native plants to vegetable gardens to English roses.  This is a fantastic guide for both experienced gardeners and novices.  The book is neatly divided up into sections on sustainable gardening basics, garden maintenance, flower gardens, edible gardens, and a seasonal guide to help you know when to do what.  This book was such a fun an enjoyable read that I finished it in about two days, and I’m planning on re-reading it as I get ready to plant a butterfly garden and vegetable garden in my backyard.  Annie gives fantastic suggestions for easy, low-maintenance plants to grow as well as what seed catalogs are good, and what other gardening books you should be reading.  She can inspire even the most un-green thumb to try their hand at planting.  And really, even if you have no plans to ever plant a garden, this book would still be a fun read.

I mentioned last week that I was planning on trying a new cut for my hair and here it is.  Honestly, I’m not sure what the verdict on it is yet for me.  My boyfriend absolutely loves it, and sometimes I do too, but other times, I feel “meh” about it.  I wanted a cut that would transition well for growing my hair out long again, and I wanted to experiment with short bangs.  They can be a lot of fun, but they make me feel kind of like I have to wear eye makeup and showy earrings, otherwise I look a little boyish.  They’re also making me really want to go back to contacts, because I don’t think they suit my glasses frames well.  But anyhow, hair is hair.  Once I get the hang of how to style it, I’m sure I’ll like it better.  And I’m planning on growing it out anyway, so I planned for this to be temporary.

Have you ever had a hair cut that you weren’t sure about at first, but ended up liking later on?

Top: Ann Taylor LOFT (thrifted)
Cardigan: Isabella Rodriguez (Anthro) (via eBay)
Capris: Express (altered by me)
Sandals: Dansko Neve (courtesy of Solestruck)
Purse: Liz Claiborne
Headband: Target
Earrings: The Peach Tree
Necklace: Kira Ferrer

Quote: The OK Book, by amy Krouse Rosenthal

A little over a year ago, I posted an Etsy Love post on items on Etsy that were over $100.  I decided to revisit this again today.  I’ve repeating what I said a year ago here, because I still strongly believe in it today.  These are my reasons for why I feel that spending $100 on an item for Etsy is more worthwhile than spending that amount from a larger store:

“One, if you spend $100 on something from Etsy, that $100 is going directly to support an artist, rather than some department store or corporation.  Two, if someone on Etsy is charing $100+ for their wares and people are buying regularly for them, the chances are quite good that the items are of very good quality and will last you a long time.  Three, many items in this price range are extremely unique, so you never have to worry about someone else wearing the same thing as you.”

Check out this selection of amazing handmade luxury from Etsy:

Leif Lace Belt, $195

Moxie and Oliver

Light Breeze Necklace, $200

Nested Yellow

Sea Fan Earrings, $118

Sara Swanson Design

Champagne Diamond Cuff in Sterling Silver, $588

Sara Westermark

The Petal Bag in Aqua, $155

Que Jimenez

Since I sew a lot, I end up with lots of fabric scraps.  I especially end up with lots of t-shirt and jersey scraps and sometimes I’m not sure what to do with them.  This week, I found the perfect solution.  I wanted some reusable washcloths for cleaning my kitchen so I can kick the paper towel habit, but I didn’t want to spend money.  I took my jersey scraps and my terry-cloth scraps and combined them to make some awesome, patchwork kitchen cloths.

I sewed all my scraps together into two giant “blankets”, one of jersey and one of terry cloth, cut out 10 by 10 squares, and serged them together.  Then I took scraps of ribbon and bias tape, and stitched them to a corner so that I can hang the clothes on hooks.

Now I’ve got them hanging up near my paper towels, and I’m actually finding myself cleaning my kitchen more, because I love using these!  I keep my kitchen clean with a homemade mixture of white vinegar, water, dish soap and essential oils.  Being green is fun!

After having a few weeks of not really feeling “me”, this outfit was absolutely perfect.  The drapey top, the slim jeans, the simple, casual vibe.  I loved it.  It was also perfect for riding – so I wore this while trekking out to pick up a few things from the grocery store.

Since this top has a super deep v, I wore a black bandeau underneath it.  Some may see this as sloppy, but I think that it adds to the casual vibe and keeps things modest.

Top: Coda? (via Revolve)
Capris: Express (altered by me)
Sandals: Clarks Rime (via 6pm)
Purse: Timbuk2
Necklace: Pixisette

Quote: Good Boy, Fergus! By David Shannon

*Week 25 of My Great Shopping Plan of 2010, where I attempt to stay on a budget and fill out my wardrobe*

Bz Yellow Quartz Earrings from The Peach Tree $15

After last week, I had $32 left in my budget for July.  I received my Boden items in the mail this past week, but unfortunately they didn’t fit.  I’m going to sell them on eBay (because Boden charges a fee to return items and I won’t get my shipping back, selling them on eBay actually gets me more money).  Since I’m not keeping them, I can add back $52 to my July budget.  So, I have $84 available.

The only thing I bought this last week was the above earrings.  I’ve bought from The Peach Tree before, and I really like her use of color and interesting gemstones.  She had a sale going on last week, so I decided to get these.  I’ve been wanting earrings with color lately, and since yellow is starting to become my signature, I chose these.  They’re cute and simple – the perfect little accent of yellow.  And, I got an awesome I *heart* Handmade bumper sticker with my earrings too!

So, I spent $15, so I have $69 left.  I’m doing really well with my budget this month, but I think that has largely to do with the fact that money is tight.  I’ve been doing very little clothing shopping.  School (work) starts back in a few weeks, so I’ll need to start thinking about some professional clothes soon.

Sometimes when the food supplies are running low, you get creative with your choices for lunch.  I had no lunch meat or leftovers this day, but plenty of eggs, so I made a tasty omelette with veggies and cheese.

In my bento I packed:

  • Omelette with red bell pepper, mushrooms and cheddar
  • Cucumber slices and hummus
  • Rainier Cherries
  • Rice Cakes
  • Home made trail mix

I suppose this is kind of a self-centered post, but I thought that it would be fun to go back through some of my old photos and look at how my hair style has changed through the years.  I’m feeling ready to change things up again, and I think that looking through these photos will help me decide what to do with my hair next.


My photos only go back as far as 2006, because that was when I got my first digital camera.  I wore variations of this style (mid-back length, with or without bangs) for several years anyhow, so it was more or less similar in 2005.

Pros: I enjoyed having my hair at this length.  There were a lot of ways that I would style it (braid, bun, hair clip, etc).  It required very little to no product.  Blow drying and using a flat iron were optional.

Cons:  It took forever to air dry.  I had to wear it up to keep it out of my face whenever I was reading, crafting, typing, etc.  My hair is really thick, so during the summer it was really warm, and I had to wear it up constantly.


Just a little shorter, with quasi bangs.  I’m really not crazy about my hair at this length.  It feels too “in-between”.  All the previous pros and cons still apply.


In 2008, I chopped my hair off into a basic, boring bob.  I didn’t really understand how to style it, and it didn’t really look that great.  It was easier to dry, but it still got in my face a ton.


Highlights. Blerg. While this cut was okay, it also helped me realize that I love my natural hair color.  I don’t think I’ll ever dye my hair again.  At least not until it starts going gray.

June 2009

I liked this cut a lot.  It’s actually pretty similar to what I have now.  It was easy to style, more or less stayed out of my face, dried easily, etc.

August 2009

I love the thickness of my bangs here.  This cut was great.  It required more maintenance than many of my previous cuts, but it was a lot of fun to wear.

December 2009

I loved this bob.  It looked fresh, modern and stylish.  But oh, it took a lot of work!  20 minutes of blow drying my hair with a round brush, plus a lot of product.  If I didn’t take that much time on it, it only looked so-so.  While I enjoyed this cut a lot, I really don’t like to have that much maintenance.

May 2010

Annndd, the pixie.  I have really been loving this style.  It is super easy to maintain, I can use a lot of product or none at all, I can air dry or blow-dry.  It’s cool in the summer.  I think that I might like it even more with thicker bangs.  Cons: Not a lot of variety in how I style it.  Other than using product or not using product, it pretty much looks the same all the time.

So, after all that recap, I’m now trying to decide what to do next.  I’m thinking about thick, short bangs somewhere in between Amelie and Bettie Page.  I’m also debating growing my hair out to the length that it was back in 2006. That will take a few years, but I think I might like having it long again.  We’ll see if I can commit to that.  If I get tired of growing it out, I can always chop it back into a pixie again.

This outfit has me believing that tunics and leggings may be my favorite look ever.  Comfortable, effortlessly stylish, practical: this combination has all my favorite elements.  In fact, wearing this outfit inspired me to re-con my tunic that I posted on Tuesday.  I’m definitely on the lookout for more fantastic and stylish tunics, and I’m also taking a look at my closet for ways that I can re-construct some of my garments to make them work with leggings.

The only thing that I don’t like about the leggings/tunic combo is that it can be a bit limiting.  Sure, you can wear different colored leggings.  You can layer cardigans and scarves (when it’s not 90 degrees outside).  You can change some accessories, add belts, necklaces, boots, etc.  Well, maybe it’s not that limiting after all.  I guess I just find it harder to accessorize when it’s so hot out.  I’ll have to challenge myself to find lots of ways to remix my tunics.

What about you?  Do you love leggings/tunic combos in the summer?

Tunic: Forever 21 (via Revolve)
Leggings: Target
Sandals: Dansko Sela (via eBay)
Purse: Morelle Truffle
Cuff: via Classy Consignment
Necklace: Kira Ferrer

Quote: Sylvia Jean, Drama Queen, by Lisa Campbell Ernst


You may be familiar with my matching blue and purple Target tunics that I thrifted awhile ago.  You can see the purple one here and the blue one here.  While I love how they fit, I’ve never really liked the length. They were too short to wear with leggings, but an awkward length for jeans.  I tried shortening the purple one a few months ago, but ended up not liking it.  Yesterday, I took inspiration from some amazing re-cons I’ve been looking at lately, and created a completely new tunic.

I measured my tunic against another tunic that I like the length of, and figured out that I needed to add about six inches.  I cut six inches off the bottom of the purple tunic (including the part I had cut off and re-attached).  I then sewed that onto the hem of the blue tunic.  This gave me the length that I wanted, but the color blocking looked odd.  I decided to add some purple details at the collar to give the tunic more continutity.

Inspired by Tatertots and Jello’s recent t-shirt refashion, I decided to create some flower details.  I cut circles from the purple fabric, using my lens cap as a pattern for the larger circle and a paper holder (not shown) to make the smaller circles.  The larger one has three layers and the smaller ones have two.  Following the tutorial, I folded the layers in half, and stitched in the middle, then folded the other way and stitched again.

After this, I sewed them onto the tunic, and stitched buttons in the middle. I chose blue buttons that were a similar tone to the blue part of the tunic, to help further continuity.

I absolutely love how the finished tunic turned out!  I can see myself wearing this a lot more than the old tunic.  It looks amazing with leggings and skinny jeans, and I could even wear it as a swimsuit cover up at the beach.  Next, I plan on fashioning the leftovers of the purple tunic into a new dress or tunic.  Hopefully, I’ll post that next week.

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