working on…

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… a tan! You see, I’ve taken myself a proper vacation, so John and I have been visiting his family for a couple of weeks. The weather has been great, so we’ve gone swimming in lakes and oceans, relaxed, eaten (always so much eating!), and worked up a tan. I’m totally a darker shade of pale now.

And I’ve had a few projects to work on as well – the knitting in the picture, which will stay secret until it is living with its recipient, but also that mustard-colored dress I mentioned in a previous post. All of a sudden I realized how little time I have to make that dress (a week and a half! Not enough time to troubleshoot the drafting and make a muslin), so I’ve spent part of my vacation making a wearable muslin. That’ll come soon, but first I have one last day of vacation and family to enjoy!

the death of a trench-coat

trench_doneOne of the first projects I ever shared here on this blog, was a trenchcoat refashion back in 2008. It was shapeless and missing some buttons, but after fixing it right up, I continued to use it for years.

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I’ve worn it drinking coffee in Berlin….

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… going to concerts in Chicago….

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…. theater performances….

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 ….. and to boat christenings. (Yep, that’s my mom. I even think she’s wearing the same yellow scarf from one of those pictures up there! And yep, we look a lot alike!)

yellow_cowl_second1It’s been a perfect not-too-heavy, not-too-light jacket that has travelled with me and seen me through summers, falls, winters, and spring-seasons alike.

Except now I don’t have it anymore!

I left it on an airplane visiting my parents a couple of weekends ago, and despite all my efforts, I cannot make it resurface again. One the one hand I’m desperately noticing the gap in my wardrobe from such a versatile and classic piece, and sad that I so absent-mindedly left it on a plane. On the other hand, I had most definitely noticed the increasing fading around all the edges, the buttons that have been falling off – even one of the epaulettes on the shoulders fell off, and when I was ready to sew it back on I couldn’t for the life of me find it again! So it’s definitely seen better days, and needed to be replaced at some point after 5 years of near constant use.

In some ways the timing is perfect. I seem to have seen a certain Canadian independent pattern designer come out with a certain trench coat pattern recently – does this look familiar?

Yep, I do think a Robson coat is in my future. Hopefully I get at least 5 years out of it before stupidly leaving it somewhere or it falls apart from constant use!

my running shoes

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runningshoes_frontLeft to right: Inov-8 Roclite 275 GTX Trail, New Balance WR00 Minimus Running shoe, and New Balance WT10 Minimus Trail Running Shoe. P.S. Thanks to John for setting up a mini-studio and taking pictures of my shoes for me.

I started running in earnest about a year ago. To begin with I ran in my old and tattered hiking shoes, and the first run was on a cold and rainy January night. I was exhausted by the end, I didn’t run very fast, and I was sort of wet despite my rain gear and hiking shoes. However, it set the bar so any run after that couldn’t be as bad as the first!

After a couple of months I decided I was staying with this running things, and sprung for a pair of real running shoes. Heavily influenced by Elise’s posts on running and her experiences with different brands, I decided on New Balance. Unlike her road running shoes, I really felt the trail running style would suit me best. These are forefoot running shoes, which is the style of running I had started with in the first place as well.

my new running shoes

I love my trail running shoes (NB Minimus WT10). They’re black and pink (which matches my rain pants and their crazy pink zippers), and they are incredibly flexible. The day they arrived I just wore them around the house, and I remember being blown away that I could *feel the details of the threshold through my shoes*! Even walking with them for a few days before running was an interesting experience. I was noticing so much more of the surface I was walking on, and was way more aware of how I was moving my foot, and in turn – how I was moving my body. Following that up with running was more of the same – much more of an awareness of the ground, and especially when running I was experiencing a bigger capacity of adjusting my balance in reaction to the surface. For example, I was running in the woods one day and hit a largeish rock towards the side instead of straight at the top, but it was ok! I just adjusted my foot and my ankle and the rest of my body, and that off-balance step didn’t throw me off balance.

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Right after I bought my next pair of shoes, my chiropractor told me my body wouldn’t handle running long-term very well, since a childhood hip-thing led to a knee-pain, and so my running career was over as I was getting into it. I’m replacing it with biking, which means much less impact on the knees and hips, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sorry about not being able to be a runner. In the big picture it’s pretty insignificant, so I’m not remorseful though.

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The second pair I bought was another New Balance minimus pair, this time a road style (NB Minimus WR00). We went to the New Balance store in Boston, and I was expecting a Target-sized store with millions of pairs of shoes lining the walls (well, maybe not Target-sized, but pretty big. Everything in the US is big, right?). That store in Boston is not big. It does not have a million pairs of shoes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too into the trail styles they had there. I tried a super-minimal style, where the amount of material between the foot and the surface was almost nothing, and definitely on the extreme end of minimal style running shoes), but that was too minimal for me. I was quite set on buying shoes that day though, so I left with the road style pair. The biggest difference I notice from the trail to the road style is that the negative space at your arch is filled in on the road style. To me that means that the flexibility in the middle of the shoe is somewhat limited, as in I don’t rotate or roll as easily from side to side while running since the direction is definitely guided forward from heel to front. It makes sense for the surface its intended for: With running on trails there will be a lot of variety in where you step, but the smooth surface of roads and pavements doesn’t encourage the foot touching down in a myriad of ways. With the repetition, some more stability and support is probably needed. Of course, I’m saying this as a complete novice, based only on my own experiences using these shoes.

Side notes: the Minimus Trail is somewhat water-resistant, but the mesh at the top will eventually get wet. The Road is not waterproof or water-resistant what so ever – even wet streets are too much for them. They are very breezy, so I’d think they’d be excellent in warmer weather, just not so good in cold weather. Finally, I’ve used both pairs sockless without issues. I don’t think I would try several hours in them without socks, since there are spots that do rub, but generally, sockless is fairly painless.

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Fast forward to the near past, and I was finally ready to upgrade my hiking shoes. I’m pretty sure they were well over 10 years old, and they’ve been great, but are no longer any kind of waterproof. Which is something I now desperately needed since there was a gap between my running shoes that were great for hiking when nothing was wet, and my rainproof Wellies that were not so good for hiking. I went in to the store and declared my needs (waterproof hiking shoes I can hike the surrounding mountains with, that are flexible like my forefoot running shoes), and this is what I landed with (Inov-8 Roclite 275 GTX Trail). They look like funky 80s neon space silver sami shoes to me, but they are all goretexed and pretty light and flexible as far as hiking shoes goes – and that really was what I was looking for. Annnnnd… that was the tale of my shoes. Riveting, I know!

mmm27aFrom Me-made-may last year, taking the trail running shoes for their first real hike. The me-made part were the bright lime-green yoga-ish pants.

around here

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Wow, what a couple of weeks it’s been. Very random, all over the place, and filled with moments. I worked a lot on the costumes I shared in my last post, and John has been (and still is) working on big projects at his job. Between the two of us, we’ve been exhausted, sick, and both. It feels like we haven’t had much “normal” time together, of doing household chores and making and eating dinner together like we normally do (um, to be fair – the eating is what we do together. John deserves all the credit for his default-chef status). In place of that, there has been work-night concerts (my awesome bassist friend was in town performing!), lego-playing, costume-modelling, and screw-this-I’ll-meet-you-for-sushi-or-popcorn-for-dinner-in-town. We’ve had the options of letting the apartment and the laundry and the dishes be left un-done, and just do something together instead, and I’m really glad that’s what we choose.

taking an easter break

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Just a quick note to let you know I’m off on easter vacation! First we went to Brussels, which was lovely (the picture is from our B&B which had the best pastries for breakfast, as well as beeing appropriately stylish for being on vacation). Now we’ve landed in Italy, where my goals are few and good: eat, drink, and relax.

I’ll be back in a week or so with a finished sweater, some costumes, and a rested mind. Have a lovely easter everyone!

through the window

It is most definitely not summer here in Bergen anymore; howling winds, daily downpours, rainboots everyday, and you break out the *big* umbrella (not the little one that lives in your handbag). Right on schedule!

I just had a picture I wanted to share! John took it earlier in the summer, as I was plugging away at a wedding dress while at work. This is actually what most of my summer looked like (except the part where I’m being photographed sneakily through windows, which is only creepy if it isn’t your boyfriend doing it).

I’ll soon be back with a wardrobe post, as soon as I take the time to photograph the last sweater!

I’ve started running

So, I ‘ve started running, and I have a new phone.

my new running shoes
Yes, those two things are totally connected, and if you’ll indulge me a bit, I shall tell the story of the phone and the shoes.

Just after New Years, I decided to start running. During that first run it was pouring outside, I ran in my hiking shoes, and I was completely drenched despite rainclothes when I came back after half an hour. But I kept at it for two months, following the couch – to 5K program. After having not quit, I decided I should get myself some better running shoes, and ordered the New Balance Minimus Trail shoe (WT20). Then, oh… then, we had a theft, and lost important documents, a computer, sentimental stuff, and little useful things such as the mp3 player I’d been using to time my runs. In the aftermath, replacing the mp3 player and to keep running felt pretty low on the list of important things to do and sort out.

So, fast forward a month and a half – I’d gotten my shoes, and I’ve been walking in them lots, including a hike that ended up a little off the path, and the shoes have been pretty great. They belong to the barefoot-style of running shoes, and it is… different. And good! I can’t explain it other than it feels like you’re walking barefoot, except you have a very lightweight shoe on. I use the muscles in my feet a lot more while walking, and I walk up steep hills differently – like I’m barefoot (hmmm, surprise!).

Fast forward about another month and a half or so, and I’ve finally treated myself to the smartphone I’ve been wanting to get for years. Which also means, I now have a device to play music on, which is how I time my runs (run to a 1-minute song, walk to a 1,5 minute song – which isn’t much, but I’ve decided to start from the beginning again of the program). And that, my friends, is how I started running.

And this is how I take pictures with my fancy new phone. Let’s ignore the thumb-over-lens-action, and look at lush trees and mountains and a gorgeous summers day instead. Yes, let’s!

Anybody else taken up running lately? Or has barefoot-style shoes? Or has completed a 10K and wanting to brag about it? (I’m hoping that’s me by the end of the year!)

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