Must be jelly, cause Ginger don’t shake

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Nothing is harder than keeping a secret, to me at least. I’m also not in the train of being one of those people that are all like “I’m creating something super top secret but I can’t tell you guys”, because A) Why say anything at all? and B) What that really means is you are either testing a pattern or creating one. I like the big reveal. Anyways, big reveal over at Closet Case Files with release of  the Ginger Jeans and I was a happy tester. I’ve never been one, so I took the time to look at the instructions, follow them to a T and construct the jeans and actually do some fitting to be able to report back with issues in my size.

I hate fitting. I honestly do. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’m lazy or that I really don’t know how to fit. But I’m lucky enough to have a somewhat standarish body (if is that even a thing to be happy about).. so my adjustments are really only about length.

Back to jeans.. these were sent out early Oct and I had plans to do them the first weekend they were sent out, except I looked at my bank account and I was poor but then it was ok because payday was next weekend and I went out and scored myself denim and notions. If you’ve ever been to PS Fabrics you know the lovely wackadoodles there have no idea what’s in the fabric, so I have denim with god knows how much percentage of stretch.. I’m going to say 2% but it could possibly be more. IDGAF.

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This lunge is to show that how comfortable the spandex in this shit is

So the weekend came rolling in and what was meant to be a staycation indoors to do the pattern turned into a disco diva frenzy of some sorts. I thought my 30s were for settling down but the streets are calling my name more than ever. God bless New York and the fact that we can close shit down at 4am.. and then if you’re a lucky bar with that special permit, you can go on til about 6am and some cases 8. And since no one likes to party more than this club kid (James St James, call me), I rolled home at about 7am saturday, spent the day sleeping and forced myself to say home saturday night. Except that some time around 2am my friend R texted me that he was at some gay bar in BK and I couldn’t pass another night of dancing with campy drag queens that gave Jynxx Monsoon a run for her money, not to mention being pushed aside by a little person trying to get to the dancer stage… don’t ask me what time I came home Sunday because we may have gone elsewhere where I had too many Whiskey Gingers and was literally graining on wood and trying to twerk to bounce music… I’m not gonna say that it may have well been 6.30 am again. Lola..when will you learn?

I forgot how much going out takes a toll on your body and with the super monster flu going around, you can bet your ass that some time between Monday and Tuesday my body was just not having it. Call it luck, although not really sure getting sick enough to have to be quarantined at home is luck.. but it gave me just the right leeway to meet my deadline. I seriously have to stop procrastinating things. 4 days at home were enough to get fitting issues down. I did View B of course because why pass up the opportunity to look like a Diana Ross Disco Extravaganza. The top stitching was done with Jeans thread, which is some purply metallic thing I picked up years ago when I didn’t know the difference of threads (or fabrics for that matter).

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Some testers obviously tested early and Heather was kind enough to report some crotch hip issues, which I actually took into consideration. I decided to sew a straight size 4, although I could’ve gone for a 2 and then graded a little on the calves. Afterwards I did end up taking in about 5/8ths all the way from the inner thigh and crotch and then about 1/8 from the outer thigh down. I think the demin has started to mold itself because at first my calves felt like casings but now they’re actually pretty sweet. I had no issues with the waistband, but I do know for myself that I have to stretch it a little more than what is called for to contour to my hour glass shape, otherwise I have a gaping hole in the back. They’re actually right below my belly button which led me to believe that taking in the crotch was a good idea. I have to keep on practicing getting my lapped zipper down.. i always feel like they never cover as they’re supposed to so part of the zipper is peeking through.

I know Heather took into consideration a lot of our suggestions, which I can see in the instructions booklet and I’m actually pretty excited to construct another pair with the final pattern. I’d like to get my hands on some wax jeans because my HM wax ones are pretty horribly constructed. Anyways here are some action shots to counteract this long ass post.

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PS – It seems I’m always tardy for the party and I recently discovered the GOMI forums.. Holy hell what the fuck. I’m running on empty given that I went to bed last night at 3.30am reading the threads. I’m on a downward spiral here… cant stop reading.. THEY DONE GONE CLOSED THE LIBRARY UP IN HERE.

Goodbye to my idol, my star, my role model

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I want to wish that the flux of hormones is what really is making me sadder than what I should be, but the lost of Oscar de La Renta last night hit me as hard as if it were a relative of mine. Those who have known me throughout the years, especially adults that knew me when I was five, were often told by me about how I wanted to be a fashion designer. To me being a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer didn’t exist. I knew nothing outside of fashion and wanting to create beautiful illustrations that translated into three dimensional garments. Those adults who knew me also knew how stubborn I was and no amount of rebutting was going to change or detour my mind.

I don’t remember the day I discovered Oscar de la Renta.. geez I can’t remember birthdays of my most beloved people, but I remember like today how I felt. This sense of elation and proudness to know that someone from my tiny and insignificant island was out there being recognized as a great designer. Oscar was someone that made my island shine. Before him, I couldn’t imagine someone from the DR as being famous or recognized, especially in the fashion world. It would never occur to me that unless you were from the US or the EU you could study directly under Balenciaga himself ,go on to Lanvin, or dress many First Ladies.

Yesterday my legend died, but he made the world a beautiful place. Not only through his designs but through his wonderful personality and great heart.

Tech Talks – Understanding Google Analytics

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In my previous series we talked about Understanding SEO and how to successfully implement it on your blog. This month we’ll talk about Google Analytics and get to see our SEO and keywords in action. As a disclaimer I mention that some of the things are geared towards WordPress, since I don’t have a blogger account to screenshot from, but these things are fairly easy to integrate no matter what your blog is.

Let’s start with the basics.. what is Google Analytics? It’s a free tool (FREE!!!) to analyze your website/blog traffic, where the traffic is coming from (referrals), conversions (if you are selling) as well as other detailed statistics. Since my target audience is mostly in the non-selling category, I won’t go into much detail on that on this post. But feel free to email me if you’re curious on that). Setting up GA is easy, many of you already have installed it and have it up and running on your blog, but if you haven’t you can follow these steps.

1- Create an account if you have not already.
2.- Setup your google property (website address, user id)

3.- Get your tracking code. If you forgot where your code is, you can find it by logging in to www.google.com/analytics, select admin on the top menu bar. Under the second column (property) click on tracking info, then tracking code . It should look something like this.

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You will want to copy everything inside the editable box starting from < script > and ending at < / script >.

You’re next and final step on installing GA is to place this script in the header of your blog. Some blog themes come with a specific box that allows you to place the script in it so you don’t have to tinker around with any PHP files. If yours in particular doesn’t have that you can do the following.

1. – Log in to your wordpress dashboard

2.- Select Appearance, then Editor

3. – Under Templates (right hand side) select header and wait for the page to refresh.

4. – Paste your code before the closing head tag < / head >

Screenshot for reference

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You completed the install. Look at you all techified!

Now comes the good part. Looking up your stats.

Logging on to your dashboard you’ll come across the Audience Overview screen. It can be tailored to your specifics but in general it should look like this.

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This is a general idea of what your visits constitute on a monthly basis. Sessions, Users and Page/Views on this particular page do not count as an individual hit or ip. Meaning that if Becky landed on my site 3 times in the past month, these numbers are registering Becky 3 times instead of just once (unique). If I wanted to take a detailed look at my unique visitors and page views, head on over to Behavior – Overview and you’ll get something like this

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As you can see a total of 3,047 unique users took a look at 3,436 pages on my site, along with the top 10 pages.

There’s just so much you can go with GA that if I went on a detailed adventure this post would probably take ages to finish, so we’ll head on over to what bloggers are most interested at. Keywords and Referrals.

The easiest way to look at Referrals is by clicking on All Traffic or Referrals, but I like to get a little bit more detailed information like where (link) is my referral coming from and to where on my site is it pointed to. To get this, Under the Behavior tab, click on Site Content and then Landing page. In this instance, landing page means exactly that.. the page where the user is landing on. Now to get the referral link, under secondary dimension, select full referral.

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Now you’re page should look like this

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As you can see a lot of my referral for the past month was thanks to Heather. (Hay gurl thanks)

Another detailed overview of your referral activities can be found under Social (again under acquisition).

Network referrals lists all the social networks where links to your website have been broadcasted. By adding shared URL on the secondary dimension you can see in detail the link shared and the Social Network.

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Trackbacks are also a good thing to look at, but this one is a little bit self explanatory and probably the cleanest (less amount of data) way to look at where certain landing pages (unique urls of your blogposts) are being linked from.

For keywords, you can go about it two different ways. Under Acquisitions, you can choose keywords and organic (unless you are paying for adwords) and view all of the keywords that people are searching to land on your site. But of course, I like to get a little bit more analytical and I prefer to use the new SEO option under Acquisition. Under Search Engine Optimization (which is an integration of webmasters tools) I can get information like impression, clicks, and average position for keyword.

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In less geek talk what this means that for the first keyword (Love Lola).. it appeared in the search results 200 times and out of these 200 times 5 people clicked on it to get to my website.

One of the most important things to look at on GA is Technology & Mobile (both under Acquisitions). It’s important to see what platform users are using to view your blog and what browser as well. Sometimes themes aren’t tested throughout all browsers and you could potentially lose a lot of users because the browser they happen to use gives them an error or the styling is off. If a lot of users are coming to your site via mobile and tablet, it’s a good idea to have a mobile version of your website activated. These days, almost all blog themes have a responsive design integrated, but there are also a few good plugins that allow you to design a simple mobile/tablet design if your blog theme doesn’t have one.

Again, there is so much more that you can do with Google Analytics, like reporting and setting up goals (my fav) but this is just the basics and hopefully an insightful way to view traffic and keywords and understand where people that land on your blog are coming from.

Hammer Time

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If last weekend was about being active, this one was mostly staying indoors. After having my IUD put in, there was nothing I wanted to do except be in my wool socks, PJs, and in front of the TV with my cozy blanket binging on James Spader. I won’t go into details about the procedure because I don’t want to scare off any ladies looking to get it implanted. When I mean spending the weekend indoors, I really meant it. But being inside your house from friday to sunday has it’s advantages. Sewing sewing sewing!! I still can’t believe I managed to make 2 outfits, yes two. I might as well have been channeling Lauren. Lately my sewing mission has been to carefully construct garments, so it was a surprised that not only was I was able to finish 4 different pieces but that the insides looked exactly as I wanted them to. No mistakes here.

 

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The minute I saw the Hudson Pants, I knew that before I made them in to sweats, I absolutely needed to make these in woven. My first attempt was a no-go and this time around I realized exactly what went wrong. I NEVER READ INSTRUCTIONS. Had I paid attention and read the seam allowance was 3/8 instead of 5/8, there would’ve been a perfect pair of blush crepe de chine hudson pants on my body. My first pair I went up to a size 6 but felt like I really wanted to channel an 80′s feel so I went up about a gazillion sizes. Which I have to say scared me a bit before I put on the waistband because they looked clownish. Waistband later, I did end up taking in another 3/8ths and still debating if I should take in a smidgen more. The ankles aren’t as tapered as I’d like them to be. Given that I went up so many sizes I didn’t need to adjust the ankle as Kelly explains in her woven tutorial.

I think I’ve discussed more than once how much I needed a breton shirt in my wardrobe, especially since I’m starting to shape it into a more basics and lasting items. In the Gertie Sews Vintage Modern book, there’s a boatneck variation top that screamed make me now gurl! With no choice but to listen, I used up my striped fabric from Girl Charlee that I bought with the gift certificate from winning Heather’s Nettie Challenge.

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I really love the black and white ensemble with the gold wedge sneakers. I feel like an urban Audrey Hepburn back in the beatnik days. The cotton sateen had me a little worried since it wasn’t drapey enough, but it actually looks really good. The pocket details are pleather (even though you can’t totally notice). For the first time in history I finished off my hem on the t-shirt.

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Sweater Twopiecesetascular + Other Updates

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Over the weekend I was asked to be a fitness model for Nike’s Designed to move campaign. I have not slept all weekend and my body hurts. I don’t know why I decided to stay up so late friday and watch TV but then had to make it to Battery Park, where we were photographed doing running poses and stretches and casually pretending to chit-chat with our fitness buddies. I was asked to come back sunday at 6am to the Highline to do a few running shots, which took 3 hours. By the time I got home my Jawbone had informed me that I was well over my 10,000 daily steps and somewhere around 5miles. 5 MILES IN RUNNING OUTTAKES. Anyways, the photographer was amazing and apparently really good since he does stuff for Deadliest Catch and Nat Geo. I’ll get to see the pictures sometime soon, but apparently in a Nike agreement, he can only give us outtakes

When I got home, instead of sleeping, I decided to fuel up on coffee and sew myself a two piece setascular item in the spirit of Sophie. I’ve been seeing everyone’s amazing two sets and instead of opting for the trend of crop top and bottom, I decided to invert it and create a sweater skirt set. After all, it’s supposed to be winter. But someone please let New York know because the weather says we’ll be experiencing some low 80s.

I was contacted by Cat Morely, owner of http://www.cutoutandkeep.net, to be featured on their DIY Fashionista section, to which the sweater set would be a perfect item to display. Did you know that Google Adsense made a case study video of her and her partner. Pretty freaking amazeballs.

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For the sweater I chose the Lane Raglan by Hey June. I chose a size S and no alterations were done other than 3/4 sleeves. I probably should have taken about an inch in length so that it hit directly at my hip bone, but it’s really no big deal. I could’ve opted for the XS, but I like the loosey goosey feel of it. Having sewn the SJ tee and other raglans I didn’t bother to read instructions. However I was a little curious as to why there was no different sizing options for the neckband. Obviously my tired photoshoot self didn’t question this and then realized too late that the neck binding was a guestimation and I ended up one of those collars that bug the fuck out you because they decide they do what they want except lie flat. But then I was like well why didn’t I didn’t read the instructions. There’s a note on there about the binding. However, I wouldn’t mind it if instead of the neck binding there were calculations in the instruction that said if you’re a size S cut 34 inches, etc.  I’m just too lazy to have to figure this out on my own, although I get that every knit is different and their stretch capacity changes.  After furiously unpicking (about half an episode of The Black List), I measured the opening of my neck and cut a binding that was 10% less the circumference. Much happier now! Other than the neck binding rant, I really love the pattern and I have a royal blue sweatshirt material that is being made into another one of these.. perhaps in hip hugging form? Who knows.. I’m feeling risky. But I have to say that between the SJ and the Lane.. I’m rooting for the Lane

The knit skirt in the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book was a perfect compliment for my sweater. It’s high waisted and supposed to be below the knee, but I couldn’t picture myself in all this flower power realness. Plus I felt that a shorter length would balance out the high waistness of the skirt and obviously the top, whenever I chose to wear them both.. like today. I serged the waistband to the top, folded down and then top stitched it with my new top stitch needle. Not sure how I like it but whatever. I can always go back to an unpicking frenzy and then slip stitch it like I did the hem.

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Now let’s talk about reading depth of field when you’re trying to set your camera on timer. It’s awful. It’s the worst. My boyfriend suggested I use my dress form as I stand in while I setup, but now that I’m past feeling anxious about street takes, the last thing I need is to lug around a dress form and add to the circus act. I’ve tried extending my long-ass arms and then standing in, but my arms aren’t as long as I think they are. I’ve been looking at remotes for my T2i, but in the meantime you know how they say

Fake it til you make it?

Well guess what.. I’m faking my depth of field in Photoshop. I mean Beyonce fakes her thigh gap and Kim Kardashian makes her but bigger, so why not? If you have steady hands, which I don’t but 10 plus years of using the pen tool on PS and IL, have given me the gift of having steady hands only for that… you can use the lasso to cut the scenery around yourself up to at about 3/4 of where you end and then use the lens blur to create a soft background blur. It’s magic. You’re welcome.

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