.
I've decided to take an indefinite break from Scathingly Brilliant, twitter and instagram. If you're interested in keeping up with my art & projects, I'll still be blogging regularly on my portfolio blog here. Otherwise, thank you for a super fun almost-five years!

xo Kate


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hit or miss


dress - modcloth
coat - vintage (hemmed by me!)
shoes - target
faux fur collar - asos
tights - kmart

Sometimes I get dressed, take the photos, open them on my computer and think ... no. This is one of those times. In theory, I really loved this outfit. I had it in my head for a while and thought all the neutral colors would look nice together but I think it comes off a little too granny-ish. I think it's the shoes .. too Easy Spirit for this outfit. Maybe I'll give it another go when my new high-heeled loafers come in the mail this week! More on those later :D

Real quick, though... about my coat! I ordered it on etsy, as I was in dire need of a coat that wasn't black. It said 40" long on the listing and for some reason I thought that would work.. forgetting how abnormally short I am. When it arrived, I tried it on and it was literally skimming my ankles. WAY too long for me! So I got my mom to ask around at work to see if anyone knew of a good tailor... but as soon as she told them I wanted a coat hemmed, they acted like it would be much too expensive for us. So I decided to take on the task myself! I'm shocked (and pretty proud!) that it actually looks presentable, what with my horrible sewing skills! I did make it a little shorter than I originally intended (might be okay at sewing now but I'm still pitiful at math) but I like it!

ps. If you follow my blog & have a keen eye, you'll notice my tv in this photo doesn't have contact paper on it yet. The photo is from last week, and yes, I'm kind of a cheater when it comes to "daily" outfit posts ;-D

sunday punnies


I didn't get a chance to come up with a Sunday Funnies post last night because we had a family emergency (everything is okay now, thank goodness) so instead I just have a new super cute photo of Hypatia's face (times six), along with some puns I stole from Pun of the Day..

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

I used to be addicted to soap, but I'm clean now.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. Really it was just a play on words.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I'll show you A-flat minor.

When William joined the army he disliked the phrase 'fire at will'.

There was once a cross-eyed teacher who couldn't control his pupils.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

What is the difference between a nicely dressed man on a tricycle and a poorly dressed man on a bicycle? A tire.

Television prettification DIY


They sell skins for your ipod and covers for your cell phone. A utilitarian lamp can be beautified with a pretty lampshade. Windows, beds and floors can all be personalized with curtains, sheets and rugs. And yet televisions are universally sold in either black or gray (I lucked out finding a white one, albeit I had to resort to buying off-brand to do so.) They don't sell clip-on tv covers or special tv-paint to spruce up the giant ugly black THING sitting in your bedroom corner. Unless you have a cabinet in which to tuck away the hideousness, it sticks out like a sore thumb in your living room.

This problem has annoyed me for years - ever since I first got a television when I was about 14 years old. My parents gave me the old living room tv when they upgraded, and as thrilled as I was to finally have one of my own, I was super peeved that it didn't match the rest of my room. It was silver and black with wood-grain paneling on the sides. Being oblivious to things like fire hazards at the time, I covered the whole box in a faux-textured acrylic paint and made it look like a giant block of cement. It lasted me at least 6 years before I had to get a new one, believe it or not!

Now that my previous tv kicked the dust, I had to start from scratch yet again. Not wanting to paint this time, I sought advice on how to personalize my tv on twitter. The ever-ingenious Casey from Noir Girl suggested contact paper! I zipped over to etsy and found a roll of vintage 60's contact paper for only $6. Score!! My mom and I covered the tv today, and it only took about 40 minutes. Granted this particular pattern is not for everyone (once finished I asked my mom how she liked it and she said "well... it's definitely YOU." I took it as a compliment.) but the results are endless depending on what kind of design you choose!




We measured how tall my tv was, and how much of a lip we wanted on the sides. Then we cut that out using the grid on the back. Then we measured how far in we had to go on the top & sides, and cut that out as well, creating an open box in the middle for my tv screen. The rest was done using an exact-o knife, running along the plastic ridges on my tv box. Only pressing lightly I was able to cut the paper without even really touching my tv.

Since the paper is really old, I reinforced the edges with a little bit of clear tape to make sure it wouldn't unstick. I finished by cutting out designs from the remaining scraps to cover my cable box and dvd player, too! Now I have a whole matching entertainment console that blends in with the rest of my room, instead of sticking out like a sore thumb! :)


Posh Frock Friday!


dress - Modcloth
shrug - f21
belt - modcloth
shoes - marshalls
crinoline - amazon

This is my absolute favorite dress in the whole wide world! I dressed it up with crinoline and heels here, but with flats, less poofy-ness and sweater tights it looks pretty casual, too! I just adore the gradient print, the colors and the shape! It's a little too big for me, but I'm always afraid that if I try to exchange for another size, by the time they receive my return they'll have sold out of the other size and I'll be totally out of luck. I also have the same dress with the colors reversed - blue on cream - in the next size down, and that one fits like a glove. I like this one better though.. lol.. so it goes!

If you joined in on the Posh Frock Friday fun, you can leave your link below! :D



Garbo Talks!! (Well, not Garbo.. just me..)

(I apparently do a corny "thumbs up" whenever I'm feeling awkward)

I've been putting off posting anything with my voice on the internet for a looong time, but when I saw this Regional Dialect meme on Kaelah's blog, I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to finally speak up. I felt like a total buffoon doing this, but at least now you can put a voice to the face. Not sure that's a good thing though, lol ;-D

Anyway, here's the meme... if you decide to post one too, leave a link in the comments, and share in my embarrassment!

Say these words:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

Now answer these questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?


soft and sweet, wise and wonderful


60's cape - raleigh vintage
tights - k-mart
boots - alloy

This cape is officially my #1 favorite vintage purchase ever. While wearing it I feel part Carnaby Street celebrity, part SUPER HERO!! My cats really liked it too .. Chloe came out of hiding (she hasn't gotten used to my brother's girlfriend yet and has been camping out under my bed 24/7) to get a peek, and Hypatia.. well.. with her it probably wasn't the cape. She follows me around so much anyway my family nicknamed her "shadow" :)

Anyway, back to that cape! (Gah! Once I get talking about cats it's hard to stop) I've wanted one ever since I saw Juliet Mills wearing one in The Nanny and the Professor (you can see it at the beginning of this video), but I could never find one that seemed right for me. That is, until I found this one on etsy! I love that it comes with a belt and separate section in the front so it can be worn more fitted than capes usually are. And I have to say, this etsy seller is just the sweetest person, and I swear the cape arrived on my doorstep like two days after I ordered it, beautifully packaged like a present .. I'll definitely be shopping there again!

ps. in case you were thinking I'm super egotistical, I should point out that my blog post title doesn't refer to me.. it's from the N&P theme song lol :)

something fishy


It's been almost 7 years now since the last time I ate meat, and in that time I've found lots of pre-packaged foods that mimic the taste and texture of my old carnivorous favorites. Gardein chicken is so much like the real thing it's kind of scary, and I swear the 1/4 pound flame grilled Gardenburger is 200 times better than beef ever was. But the one thing that I've had trouble finding is fake fish. For a while there was a brand called Worthington's which made 'fish fillets' that were totally out of this world, but they were discontinued about three years ago.

Enter Vegan Comfort Food -- the best cookbook I've purchased in my entire life. Not only does it contain scrumptious veggie and faux-chicken dishes, but ... drum roll please ... there are recipes for fake fish. The faux tuna is out of this world! Using just tempeh, kelp powder and vegan mayo (I use the real thing since I'm just vegetarian, not vegan*) you can easily replicate the taste and texture of real tuna. I like to eat mine on ritz crackers with bread and butter pickles on top.

But by far the best recipe I've tried so far is the faux fish fillet. This was my first attempt to cook tofu (yup, 7 years as a vegetarian and I only tried the skin colored gelatin-like brick for the first time this week. I think my description pretty much explains why I waited this long.) and I'm surprised at how great it came out! The recipe called for cutting the giant cube into four big pieces, but I thought it would get crispier if I cut it into thin strips, and that definitely helped. Even if you do eat meat, this is a fantastic recipe and I highly recommend it! If you're game, here you go:

approx. 1/4 lb extra firm tofu
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup panko flakes
2 tbsp kelp powder
1 cup water
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp paprika

First press some of the liquid out of the tofu, and then cut into thin slices. Mine were about 1/4" - 1/2" thick. Marinate in 1 cup of water mixed with 1 tbsp of kelp powder for 10 minutes. While that's marinating, mix the cornmeal, panko, 1 tbsp kelp, garlic, salt and paprika. Right before the tofu is ready, add a shallow layer of olive oil to the frying pan and put it on low heat. Then coat the tofu in the cornmeal mixture and fry. Mine were done when they looked golden brown. I ate mine with ketchup, which is how I always used to eat fish, but I'm sure it would be great with tartar sauce or whatever you eat your fish with! :)

*My mom nearly killed me when I stopped eating meat, so I'm waiting until I'm living on my own before I cut out all meat products entirely. The fact that I'll still eat her dishes with eggs and milk has kept her from going insane, for now.

Style Idol - Clarissa Darling


New series! I've had this in my head for a while, and although I know the basic idea is nothing new I'm really excited about it! Each week I'm going to do a feature on one of my style idols, starting with my #1 style idol of ALL TIME. If I had any taste at all, I'd probably pick Audrey Hepburn or Coco Chanel, but no.. my ultimate fashion icon is Clarissa Darling.

I don't think any celebrity or character has had a greater impact on me - both internally and externally. My fashion sense has always been dictated by the words "Clarissa would definitely wear this!" and her personality definitely rubbed off on me too. (Unfortunately Ferguson also rubbed off on my brother, but that's another story for another day.)

I worshipped her as a child. My mom decorated my bedroom so it would look like hers, and even wrote to Nickelodeon Studios to see if they could send her the plans to make Clarissa's headboard .. I collected hubcaps and license plates (and a real stop sign! best birthday present EVER), and prided myself on my stylishly mismatched room when all my friends were stuck with frilly floral bed sets that their moms picked out. (ps. have I mentioned that my mom is beyond awesome?!) I emulated her in every possible way, and I'd be lying if I said I don't now. It's funny that a fictional tv teen can still have such a huge impact on my life, but she does! The show seems even better now than it did when I was a kid. It's just bubbling over with wit and wisdom, and exceptionally unique and amazing fashion.

I remember reading an interview with Melissa Joan Hart from when the show was still on the air where she was asked if she ever got to keep the clothing. She said she didn't even want to because it was too weird :-O I was shocked!! My nine year old self would have done anything to have her wardrobe, and quite frankly, at 24 I still would!


sunday funnies


I saw this comic on tumblr this week but by the time it got to my dashboard, there was no link back to the original artist (I'm just assuming there was one originally and it got deleted along the way, but I could be wrong) and the image that was circulating was small & kind of blurry, so I couldn't make out the credit in the corner... So I searched for Edgar Allen Pooh on google & found the original. It's from Bizarro Blog, and it's probably now one of my favorite puns EVER. I'm a big fan of both Pooh and Poe, so I find it absolutely hilarious!

While I was blog-surfing today (is that a term? it should be!) I came across a post on My Moving Finger Writes featuring a video of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" with the lyrics re-written to tell the history of the French Revolution. It's by The History Teachers .. I ended up getting sucked into their youtube channel and found this absolutely wonderful take on Marianne Faithfull's As Tears Go By, with the lyrics re-written to tell the story of the Hundred Years War:



Totally amazing, right?!? I know it's not technically "funny" but, well, neither is Nancy, and she gets included on the comics page every day, so I rest my case ;-D

Posh Frock Friday!


dress - le bomb shop on ebay
belt - old navy
shoes - Marshalls
crinoline - amazon

I was actually planning to wear my black version of this dress today (I have it in green, striped and black) but first I decided to sew the straps. I adore the tie-straps, but it really poses a problem when you want to wear a cardigan over the dress.. creating a weird bumpy shoulder pad. So I decided to just close up the straps and make them normal, non-tie straps. I was so proud of myself, I measured it .. changed the thread in my sewing machine to match the color (yes, I'm that lazy.. I often just use whatever thread is in there) and whipped up two marvelous new straps.

When all was said and done, and I'd cut off my excess fabric (why, oh, why didn't I wait to do this step?!) I realized I'd connected left strap to right strap, and vice versa. I sewed the dress sideways. And it's my favorite dress, too!! When my mom comes home (aka. superwoman) I'm going to plead with her to help me fix it!

At least if it ends up being permanently ruined, I can always dye my green one black. I never wear the green one much anyway! But gee whiz .. me and sewing machines are just a recipe for disaster!!

If you participated in Posh Frock Friday, you can add your link here! :)



new plans for posh frock friday



First, how amazing are these ASOS dresses?? I'm very obsessed with this style -- short a-line black mini dresses with sheer, billowy long sleeves. I still haven't found one that's simultaneously cheap enough to please my wallet and wide enough to encase my hips, but the search goes on..

Anyway -- posh frock friday news! If you want to participate, I'm going to have a post up with the link widget every single Friday now, not just the last Friday of the month. You can get dressed up every Friday, one Friday, two Fridays, whatever floats your boat! What's especially neat is that if you just discover PFF for the first time, you don't need to wait a whole month to participate.. you can join in the very next week! :D

I might not get dressed every Friday myself - I have a feeling that pretty soon I'll have my fair share of colds and viruses that will keep me out of my fancy duds and in flannel pj's for a good portion of the month (February is never very kind to my immune system) - but I'll always have some sort of PFF themed post, and I'll always have the link widget there if you want to add your post!

Of course, this means now that Posh Frock Friday is tomorrow! So if you feel like getting all dolled up, please join in! :D

ps. Not familiar with Posh Frock Friday? Here's my original post to clue you in :)

the walls of his heart were as thin as paper


hat - vintage
coat - f21
faux fur muff - urban outfitters
shoes - target

Whenever I wear this hat, I feel straight out of Doctor Zhivago. Granted, I'm no Julie Christie and bare legs would never suffice in a Moscow winter, but still...

I find Russian history so exciting and romantic. I'm half Russian, so that might have something to do with it, but I just can't get enough of the Revolution, the Czars, Anastasia, Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, and of course Doctor Zhivago. The movie captures everything about Russia that fascinates me, presenting it as a flawed but majestic land where you can find endless fields of flowers and gorgeous ice castles. The movie's score is the cherry on top. Close your eyes and it conjures up images of an enchanted universe with horse drawn carriages gliding through the glistening snow. It's absolutely breathtaking!

My favorite hobbies are cheerleading, liking people, and living in America.


Topshop's new "Preppy classics with a 70's twist" line reminds me so much of The Mary Tyler Moore show. (It's a 70's sitcom, big stretch of the imagination, right?) Mary's cool, but me and Rhoda are kindred spirits. Heck, just give me a thick Brooklyn accent and I basically AM Rhoda!

But I digress...

Being one of the few people on this planet who doesn't loathe 1970's clothing, I'm pretty smitten with a lot of the things on the site. Granted, I really only like women's fashions from that decade. Platform loafers, brown tweed, corduroy, wide brimmed felt hats, thigh-high suede boots, daisies, ascots and a-line skirts with buttons up the front (not sure if there's a real name for this style, but I adore it!) are all among my favorites. But the mere sight of a man in a pastel leisure suit, floral dress shirt unbuttoned to display a forest of chest hair intertwined with heavy gold chains, and I'd be the first to admit that 70's trends were not at all kind to the guys! I tend to get virtually pummeled whenever I say I like seventies fashions, but admit it.. the stuff in that photo is kind of cute, no? :-)

sugar, spice and everything nice


dress - f21
coat - f21
collar - bb dakota
shoes - target

I go back and forth between thinking my hair looks like Baby Spice or Mickey Mouse lol. Since it was my favorite way to do my hair in like 1999, I'm going to go with the Spice Girls ;-)

By the way, remember this coat? As much as I wanted to love it, it's really just way too long for me. I'm 5' tall so anything more than 36" long tends to make me look like I'm playing dress up, especially when I'm wearing flats, which is basically every day. Luckily the collar is what really drew me to the coat, and it's detachable! So, I just wear it with my favorite F21 trench! Voila! Crisis solved!

That's one of the things I really love about Forever 21 .. since it's geared towards younger girls, the dresses are often made to be pretty short on normal-heighted-people, therefore they hit about mid-to-lower thigh on me! It doesn't hurt that the stuff is usually dirt cheap too. Obviously F21 is no Gucci, but I'm honestly not a "quality over quantity" person when it comes to clothing because my tastes change so often. It doesn't make sense really to invest in something that I'll get tired of in two years anyway.

ps. If you want that coat without the collar, I have it on my things-for-sale blog here. It's a Medium.

sunday funnies



Here are some clips from my favorite episode of Fawlty Towers, "Communication Problems," about a difficult guest who's very hard of hearing. If you haven't seen Fawlty Towers yet, I highly recommend it! It is sheer brilliance!! If you like this clip, the whole episode is available on youtube here.

My grandmom brought me over the Sunday comic page today, so I got an early sneak peek of Monty, and it's hilarious this week! When I checked just now, it's wasn't posted on comics.com yet, but here's the link to the page. It involves Monty's hairless cat, Fleshy (who really resembles Hypatia when she was sans-fur) who is probably my favorite character in the series. I think for next week I might scan some of the old Fleshy-themed favorites I have cut out & saved! I have a whole box full of them labeled "Box of Laughter."

ps. I was thinking .. would it be a good idea to make Posh Frock Friday a weekly thing, and that way anyone can participate on any Friday that works for them, instead of being confined to the last Friday of each month? I probably wouldn't get dressed up myself each week, but maybe whenever I opt out of an outfit photo I could do a window-shopping post of dresses I'd love to own, with the mister linky box underneath for anyone who wants to add their PFF post?

a canopy of frocks


This week I finally converted my dressing room back into a functioning bathroom. Unfortunately, I was a little ahead of myself and forgot to find a new place to house all of my clothes! My parents are going to clean out their walk-in closet and give me a rung in there, but until they do, my dresses are all hanging around my canopy bed! If I wasn't afraid of having too much weight on my bed frame, I'd totally consider this as a permanent storage solution. It actually looks really lovely, especially when I wake up and the sun is shining through the dresses, giving them a beautiful halo.

don't get around much anymore


It's not very glamourous, but this is my ideal night. Cozy on my couch with my cat, watching one of my favorite tv shows (or movies) with grapefruit juice. Hypatia's actually been under the weather again ("when is she not?", you're probably thinking .. I know, she's a hot mess!) and a trip to the vet today confirmed that she has a bladder infection :( At least now she has medicine in her system and should be back to normal soon! I'm just a little down because she was finally starting to look fluffy again after I had her shaved last year, and now all the fur on her back legs is patchy and thinning from her licking too much.

I know it's TMI.. sorry! A family friend stopped over our house today with her baby boy, and I had to try REALLY hard to suppress the urge to respond to all of her baby stories with similar stories about my cats. Sometimes "crazy cat lady" isn't having too many cats, it's taking the few you do have wayyyy too seriously lol! ;-D

ps. If you saw me tweeting about my new tv, this isn't it. I took the photo a few days ago before the new one got here :) Pictures will be up after I cover it in contact paper! Oh yes.

ye olde juicebox


dress - modcloth
tights - we love colors
shoes - target

I roped my brother into taking photos for me again today. It's actually not fun at all having him do this because he makes me feel so guilty for even asking, and rushes me like crazy! I think I want to stick to taking my own photos on my webcam in my bedroom, but every now and then it's nice to have a different backdrop, even if I have to deal with a super annoying brother! ;-D

The house behind me is The John Abbott II House .. it was built in 1730 and used to store (ie: hide from the British) the state treasury during the Revolutionary War. It's funny, I went on the town website to get some information about the house for this post, and saw that apparently our town slogan is "America's Favorite Hometown." If I had liquid in my mouth it would have come shooting out my nose when I read that. What a laugh! (.. I obviously hate where I live. Moving on...) Anyway, the house is pretty cool! We went there on a school trip in elementary school and the people who work there act like it's still 1730, which is awesome until you ask them for a straw to go in your juice box and they act like straws haven't been invented yet.

Oh, Canada!


That's me during our trip to Canada in 2005, in a Toronto H&M pretending I was Stacy from What Not to Wear... I don't know why, but I never seem to take real vacation photos that prove where I was, they always look like I could have taken them in New Jersey :-p

Anyway, I do have a reason for posting a photo from Toronto... we have news on the moving front! As much as I had my heart set on moving to Cardiff, it's looking to be just too complicated. The super difficult visa process, the fact that our cats would have to be microchipped & wait 6 months before being able to go, as well as the idea of getting rid of all of our furniture & most of our belongings, were just too overwhelming. So, we've re-focused our house hunt to Toronto. We've been there and we LOVE it! It also doesn't hurt that the exchange rate is MUCH better than the pound/dollar.

I still plan on moving to Europe when I'm a bit older, preferably when I'm married or committed to a guy who would be willing to make the move with me. I'm terribly dependent, and don't think I could live without someone around to kill my bugs, zip my zippers and watch scary movies with me! ;-D

So, that's my little bit of news! Since it's a lot closer (and easier) than moving to Cardiff, we'll hopefully be moving sooner than we planned, provided our house sells in this so-so market. I'm really looking forward to making Toronto my home!

ps. TOTALLY off subject, but this was bothering me so much I made a gif about it .. anyone else have this pet peeve or is it just me?

petticoat fever


After years of thinking my skirts could use some extra volume, I *finally* ordered a crinoline petticoat last week, and it came in the mail yesterday! It makes every single dress I own look 200x better. Honestly, if you like the old fashioned silhouette of 50's dresses, with fitted tops and voluminous bottoms, you need crinoline. I got mine on amazon, pretty cheap considering how many of my dresses are going to look like they cost twice as much when I wear this slip underneath. I'm going to wear mine all the time, but it does add a ritzy factor that will make plenty of my casual dresses spiffy enough to wear on Posh Frock Friday!

By the way, if you're viewing this in a reader you can't tell, but I overhauled my layout again! After changing my header I figured I might as well change everything else as well. I made the colors of my buttons and images match the header, changed my profile photo (and added a bio-ish thing underneath) and moved my left sidebar over to the right. I really adore the new layout.. Of course, I'll probably end up changing it again in a few months, but right now I'm in love with it! ;-D

i can only do two things at once


dress - f21
belt - old navy
tights - kmart
hat - f21
vest - vintage, from my mom

My mom bought this vest on her honeymoon in London, in 1976. Despite the fact that I can't really button it without holding my breath (I'd blame it on holiday cookies, but it hasn't buttoned on me for years.. lol) I love wearing it, just because of the family history behind it. When I came downstairs wearing it this morning, my mom smiled and started recalling bits of her honeymoon. I love that clothes can do that .. just one look at something you wore on a special day, or bought on a special vacation, and it immediately triggers a trip down memory lane.
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