Nina Meets the Internet

Adventure + Fashion Blog = ???

DIY: Spare Button Hair Clip

Hi, blog. Long time, no see. This morning I woke up and made a hair clip out of spare buttons.

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For this project, I used spare buttons, a barrette, glue, and a lighter.

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I used the lighter to burn excessive plastic off of the white buttons (my parents are becoming increasingly unfazed about me burning various objects at the breakfast table). Then I put some glue on the darker button and and smushed the two together.

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And I did it a few more times…

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Then, I glued all of my button monstrosities onto the barrette.

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And voila, something totally useless that I’ll only wear once!

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In other news, I did get to see Dan, Gil, Mike, and Tobias today. While the plan was originally to go to karaoke at Mike’s work tonight, I haven’t even started any of my three (THREE!) labs due after break, so I’ll probably just curl up on the couch with my lab manual and some good old fashioned enzyme kinetics.

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Gil can get pretty seductive with his utensils.

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Here is a shot of Gil and Tobias’s reaction upon seeing Dan’s bus pass. While I did get a photo of the pass itself, I’m going to be merciful and not post it.

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Honestly, having such an apolitical blog is boring me. I originally started writing this so I could do something outside of my greater ambitions of becoming a veterinarian, but the more my parents convince me that this blog is a means, not an end, the less I want to write it. I just describe my days in a very complacent manner, without criticism and more importantly, without thought. Maybe I will just start a secondary blog where I can be anonymous and intelligent.

Reckless Abandoned

I’ve been putting off posting this because I’ve been pretty lazy recently, but on Sunday my dad and I went to the Greenwood/ Knights of Pythias Cemetery in Philadelphia. He actually picked this one out, as he had seen it on The Unquiet Tomb, a similar urban exploring blog he found. Although it was significantly more run-down at the time of the post, it was very nice when we saw it.

The first thing we saw was this nice building in front. A woman walked out of it as we were walking into the cemetery and confirmed we were allowed to be there. It was labeled as an office. My dad suggested towards the end of our visit that we sneak in there, to which I replied it seemed like a bad idea and that he significantly over-estimated my reckless abandon. If my fashion alter ego is named Tailor Thrift, my adventuring alter ego is almost certainly named Reckless Abandoned.

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Anyway, the cemetery was mostly fixed up and had some beautiful statues that we observed.

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I don’t really know what this was.

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The inside.

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And around the back.

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There were a couple of openings in large thickets that lead to different areas. This particular one just lead to the edge of the cemetery.

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Some of the stone were overgrown, but most that were overgrown were almost impossible to find. It looks like they’re doing a pretty thorough job of restoring the cemetery.

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A hidden stone.

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And another.

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One of the eerier things we found were two rows of stones that were clearly misplaced from their bodies. It was strange seeing them so close together and disorganized.

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This one looks like they might have found a home for it, hence the label.

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Anyway, not too much to say about this place. The cemetery was nice, but it wasn’t quite as interesting as many of my recent explorations. I like that my dad put in the effort to find this place, and hopefully I’ll get to go exploring again with him this summer.

I Got Dressed Today and This is What Happened

I basically did nothing today, which almost starts to even how busy of a month I’ve had. I got into Philly at about 2 am, and surprisingly my entire family was still awake. I fell asleep while talking to Sonya online and for the first time in a while, I woke up when my alarm went off as opposed to before it. I was pretty tired.

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Necklace — don’t remember
Shirt — Tommy Hillfinger, my brother’s
Skirt — thrifted ($1!)
Shoes — Lulu’s

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I’m really glad to be home, but I am also very appreciative of having the ability to travel around the East coast and see all the people I care about. In the past month, I’ve seen Shane, Gil, Kevin, Alyssa, Laura, Vicky, Liza, Maura, Becca, Morgan (twice!), Marlise, Steve, Amelia, and Alex while traveling. That doesn’t even include Dan, Andrew, Mike, and Andy, who all live around here.

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Back to the fashion though: I managed to actually get dressed (well, you know, sometimes I forget to do that), and my mom salvaged one of my brother’s shirts that he was going to give away. I scooped it right up, because that’s how I roll. In drag, basically.

On a similar note, I also attempted to wear suspenders with this outfit. I belted it, and it looked awkward, so I thought to myself, “What’s less awkward than a belt? Suspenders, of course!” I feel bad for people who have to look at me sometimes.

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So what’s on the agenda for this week? Working Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, potentially a piano concert at the Mann on Thursday with Dan, Andrew, and others, the Franklin Institute with a few interns on Friday, and looking at the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House with my dad on Sunday (from the outside, unfortunately). My parents were pretty unhappy about the psychiatric hospital adventure in hindsight due to safety issues, but most of the other places I intend to visit are not inside buildings, so I suppose their concerns about building collapses are moot now.

Well, I’m going to continue to be hustled by Liza and decide what to be for Halloween now. There are rumors (that I started) about a group Buffy costume, so I would be Willow. As for the other night (or nights, depending on your lifestyle choices), I am considering Robin Sparkles from How I Met Your Mother or Alice in Wonderland at the moment.

Hi NDAD Readers!

Hi NDAD readers! If you’re wondering why my blog looks like a lot of pictures of old, rusty objects and not a lot of glamorous fashion shots, it’s because I have started blogging about my urban exploration adventures in addition to my fashion and crafting pursuits. If you are looking for fashion-specific posts, check out the tabs up top or click on the following links for outfits, polyvore sets, fashion inspiration, and of course, DIYs. If you like creepy, abandoned places, check out the adventuring tab or my urban exploration summer bucket list.

Also, OMG I WAS FEATURED ON NEWDRESSADAY. Best day ever.

(P.S. If you want to follow me on BlogLovin, click here.)

Asbestos Friends

Holy. Bananas. This morning, I met my friend Jay at 6:30 am to explore the Terrence Building, #10 on my urban exploration bucket list. The Terrence Building, also known as Terrence Tower, was a psychiatric hospital in Rochester, NY until it was abandoned in 1995. What’s even more interesting to me is that my dad worked there when it was still in operation. Since I was already coming up to Rochester for the weekend for Marlise’s birthday, I figured it was as good of a time as any to potentially get arrested check out the hospital.

As I walked from a nearby residential street approaching the hospital, I had a bad feeling. I figured at best, we wouldn’t be able to get in and we would walk away disappointed. At worst, we would end up arrested, as I had read at least a few people who had attempted this before were caught. I researched extensively on the building, but I couldn’t find a definitive entry point.

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Jay and I wandered the perimeter of the building for maybe 15 or 20 minutes searching for an entry point. We tried the front door, which didn’t work, because that would be too easy. I did get this picture of the steps overgrown with grass, though. I don’t know why, but I love seeing plants breaking through and overtaking concrete.

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We continued searching around, while catching up and admiring the interesting graffiti.

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Eventually we did find an entry point. I won’t be too obvious about where it was (because as another explorer wrote, it’s more fun if you find it yourself), but I will post a picture of the view from the entry point:

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The first thing we saw when we got into the building was this lovely toilet. It seemed as though we had landed in a bathroom. We continued on.

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One of the places I liked the most in the building was the first actual room we came across. It had file holders for patient information and light boxes for x-rays. Of course, I could not be bothered to actually take a decent photo of the room because I am a terrible photographer. Whatever.

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A bathtub perhaps?

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Here is one of my favorite pictures of a hallway. After exploring two different floors, Jay and I soon realized we would be seeing a lot of the same types of dilapidated hallways.

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The paintings were kind of eerie and there were many generic images of nature all over the hospital walls. I imagine they were painted intended to be calming, but I also have an active imagination and know very little about the inner workings of psychiatric facilities.

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I have no idea what that was, but I imagine that I was not supposed to be breathing that in.

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Here’s me, just to prove I was there. My eyes look scary and I really don’t care enough about fixing them, so I’m just going to continue having scary eyes if that’s okay with everyone.

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The windows had mesh on them so it was hard to get a clear view of the outside. Jay and I desperately wanted to check out the front entrance shown below, but more on that later. At this point Jay suggested we try our luck at getting on the roof, so we headed up many, many, many flights of stairs…

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We took a break on the way, though, because I am a wimp. Anyway! Here is a medicine cabinet. I was careful not to touch anything I didn’t absolutely need to touch, so those doors were all open when we came in, and they were all open when we left.

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We couldn’t decide whether or not this was a kitchen or an operating room. Jay pointed out there were no sinks, so it was probably an OR, but I thought there were sinks in operating rooms as well. I should just watch more Grey’s Anatomy to be sure. Just kidding, that show is not good anymore. At all.

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I commented to Jay upon seeing this, “How cliche. Yellow wallpaper.” He pointed out a room right next door covered in solid yellow wallpaper as well.

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Nice try, creepy message wall. You don’t scare me.

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Finally we climbed out a window onto the roof. The roof was covered in this odd fungus/moss/something.

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It seemed strange to me that there were cute Levittown houses adjacent to a creepy, looming, abandoned mental hospital. I guess it isn’t strange to anyone who lives near it, though.

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Jay looking super pensive.

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After an attempt up a ladder with a locked hatch at the top, we made our way all the way down to check out the entrance I mentioned earlier. The problem with the ground floor was that it was nearly pitch dark, and Jay had decided to leave his flashlight on the ground when we entered because it seemed like more trouble to carry it in, and at the time there was no guarantee we’d even make it in at all. We used the lights on our phones (well, I used the cover of a Vampire Weekend album on my phone) to light the way, We found some really interesting and well-drawn graffiti down there. 585 is the Rochester area code. The second drawing says, “ASBESTOS FRIENDS.”

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But we did not find the front entrance, unfortunately. It was a bit past 7:30 at this point, and we figured since the area is surprisingly heavily trafficked by civilians and also relatively well patrolled by security, it would be wise for us to head out. I somewhat wish we had been able to find the morgue, but honestly finding anything in the dark on the ground floor was nearly impossible.

Also can we talk about how supportive and cute my dad is about this whole adventuring thing? (He is in the grey, I’m in the green.)

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Well, now I’m just sprawled out on Marlise’s couch, blogging and deciding whether or not it is worth it to take a shower. Later today we’re going to see Legally Blonde: The Musical, just to prove to the world that I am actually a girl. Anyway, it’s been a really great weekend and and I still have a bit of it left. Man, I love having a three-day-a-week internship.

Subjective Interpretation

Continuing my two-part posts on the most exhausting and exhilarating weekend ever is #6 on my urban exploration bucket list, Holy Land, USA. Holy Land, USA was a theme park closed in 1984 for renovations that never re-opened when the creator died in the midst of the changes. While I had it in my head that there would be rides — not necessarily roller coasters, but smaller rides — it was actually just an entire hill composed of miniature replicas of biblical-era towns and houses. More on that later.

I arrived on Slocum Road, where the entrance was, at about 10:50 am on Sunday after what was about a three-and-a-half hour drive. Since I had about fifteen minutes to spare, I sat on a boulder right next to this lovely message, “LOVE GOD,” and ate my lunch.

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The entrance was an ominous gate just beyond a Star of David pole with the word “SHALOM” etched on the base. Shalom means either peace, hello, or goodbye in Hebrew.

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Just inside the gate was the famous (well, famous to certain Redditors) headless and handless Jesus statue. Beneath it, it read: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Seemed strange for a theme park, but then again most theme parks don’t have headless statues of religious figures just beyond their gate, so what do I know?

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Next came the replica. We walked along a paved path that bordered a hill covered in replicas. They were in variable states of disrepair. Herod’s (king of the Jews) Palace was one of the ones in better condition. Further down there were more and more unnamed structures.

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Julian, his friend Rachel, and I climbed through the grass, between the replicas, and up the rocks towards the top of the hill.

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This may have been a catacomb replica. It was not labeled.

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Also, there were tons of biblical verses just left “lying around.” Sometimes they were attached to houses or statues but other times they were just left near other exhibits. This one read, “It is… a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins.” Again, this is not the peppiest theme park I’ve ever been to.

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The concrete structures held their shape better than the regular houses.

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I don’t know what “You have made it” is supposed to mean, but I liked it a lot.

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I didn’t know what this was. Rachel or Julian suggested it might be a light. That sounds pretty plausible.

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This was the view from the top of the hill over Waterbury.

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There were also three giant crosses at the top of the hill. I said they looked like actual-sized crosses, although Julian said they were likely too big for people. Neither of us are experts of crucifixion, and I really don’t want to Google that, so I’m just going to leave that mystery unsolved.

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Here is the larger cross that Rachel said used to light up but was replaced recently.

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There was graffiti on the cross dedicated to Chloe Ottman, the sixteen-year-old girl murdered there in 2010. She is only two years younger than me, which was strange. I don’t usually care for graffiti because I think it detracts from the beauty of decaying places, but in this case, I thought it was quite nice.

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Perhaps more catacombs? It turned out that we had completely skipped this on the way up and only found it on the way back down from the hill. It was no more than a few feet from Herod’s Palace.

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Inside the cage-like area, Julian pointed out an electrical outlet.

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Here is Rachel and me. Yes, I Instagrammed. Trust me, if you saw the original, you would think I needed a filter, too.

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I suggested to Julian that my parents should make one of these (“This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”) for my brother. Whatever, I thought it was funny.

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Somehow I don’t think this station was about acceptance of homosexuality…

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Ancient ruins recreated for modern use that become ancient ruins again…

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This was probably an old parking lot of sorts. It reminded me of Centralia a bit.

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Julian passed by this building and said, “This was the chapel.” It didn’t look very chapel-like, so I asked him how he knew. Turns out it was written in large print on the front. Go figure.

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On the side of the chapel.

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A relative of creator John Greco, I’m assuming…

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And one more shot of the entrance as we were leaving.

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And here was perhaps my favorite quote. What is actually says is, “He reawakened the enthusiasm of love when love was at a low ebb,” but I choose to read, “Here awakened the enthusiasm of love when love was at low ebb.” That’s what you get from a non-religious person visiting a religious theme park: Subjective interpretation.

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And finally Julian’s very manly bruise and Rachel just looking cool. I miss that kid already.

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We had some time to spare before Julian had to go to his volunteering so we stopped a nearby diner for various types of pudding. It was actually rather jarring how, as we drove to the diner from what could be described as a “not so nice part of town” to a very cute suburban area, the scenery changed in less than a few minutes. That’s Connecticut for you: One of the richest states but one of the worst income gaps.

So after what added up to an almost five-hour drive home (including stops), I was happy to be back, and I happily fell asleep at 9:30 pm because that was one hell of a weekend. Next weekend is up to Rochester for Marlise’s birthday and hopefully checking out the abandoned psychiatric hospital. I think I’ll save the abandoned subway for the school year.

The Big Apple and The Little Sushi Place

Wow! So I had a ridiculously busy weekend. So busy it’s going to be detailed in two posts. Anyway, it all started Friday, when I got on a bus at 10 am to meet Becca in NYC at 12:30. We (sweated and) grabbed some pizza, and then we head off on the (sweaty) NYC subway (where we saw a sweaty Rachael Dratch) to go to the (sweaty?) Metropolitan Museum of Art.

To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of art museums, so while I did enjoy the Cyprot art, the rest of it didn’t really hit the spot for me. What I did love, though, was the exhibit on punk fashion. There was no photography allowed in the exhibit, so Becca, being the amazing friend she is, covered me while I snapped a few pictures. Below are a few of the Vivienne Westwood designs on display there.

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I believe this one below was Versace but I actually don’t quite remember. There were a ton of big name designers featured: Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Versace, even Prada (although Prada’s looks weren’t very punk).

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After eating some ice cream on the steps of the Met Blair Waldorf-style, we lazed around in Central Park for a few hours. Then we decided to meet Morgan a bit early in Brooklyn, so we went to Brooklyn, but decided we wanted to check out the Brooklyn Bridge, so we went back to Manhattan, but then we decided we wanted to ride the Staten Island Ferry, but then we just decided to hang out in Battery Park and watch the sunset. I think one of the best things about how Becca and I work together is how decisive we are.

Below is me with the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

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Necklace — Anthropologie
Top — my mom’s
Shorts — thrifted as pant, altered into shorts
Shoes — Anthropologie

Here is Becca doing her thang. This is my blog and I can say what I want. I think Becca is the first of my female friends to be featured on an adventure with me on here. Cool.

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And here is the ferry we never took. Really though, I wasn’t too disappointed that we didn’t get to take the ferry after that one episode of Grey’s Anatomy with the ferry accident. Yikes.

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We eventually did end up in Brooklyn to see Morgan. We grabbed sushi at a cute little place near her house (with an awesome photobombing guy) and then headed to a nearby pub called Beast.

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Source: Morgan

Also in Brooklyn we found a tiny bookstore and I saw a book that said FASHION in giant letters on the front in the window and knew I had to have it. It was $15, but every page has something interesting on it. I picked out a few random pages to feature here, but honestly it didn’t matter which one I picked because they were all awesome.

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The night ended when we headed back to Becca’s house in the suburbs late at night, running from the subway to the train, and we slept for a few hours before waking up at 6 am to head back into the city and take the bus home. I arrived back in Philadelphia around 10:45 am where I had just enough time for a much-needed shower and a quick nap before I headed to work at the zoo.

Lost Souls and Nearby Telephone Wires

I just got back from perhaps the most amazing weekend ever. This is going to be a long post. Put on your diaper now because it’s going to be a while and you might have to poop.

I hopped off the bus at Boston South with my dream and my cardigan… to be greeted by my two favorite girls (women?!), Laura and Vicky! They took me for a marvelous walk through Boston for cannolis, where we passed by this particularly spectacular wall of I-have-no-idea-what.

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We went to a secret underground saloon (okay, I may be over-selling it) and were joined by Kevin, Gil, Maura, and our ever-victorious, iron-willed Alyssa. Then we stopped back at Kevin’s on our way to Gil’s, where the two boys and I had a very cute old-school sleepover.

The next day, we grabbed breakfast with the increasingly lovely Liza on our way to Myles Standish State Park for a day and night of camping. After we set up our tent, we walked down to the water for a swim in the rain.

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Once we finished our swim, we changed clothes, but it was too rainy to do much. Eventually we just hopped in the car and explored the surrounding area, which including the disgustingly cute Red Oak Farm. Like, ugh. I’m repulsed.

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After some more time at the camp site and a failed attempt at starting a fire (Looking at you, Kev.), we decided to drive to a nearby diner to collect our thoughts and plan the rest of the night. On the way we passed by a picturesque field and stopped to eat our PB&J’s.

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As we were eating our sandwiches and enjoying the scenery, we noticed a helicopter descend on the field. We thought that was odd. Then it started flying back and forth in very regular patterns. That was strange, too. Then it began spraying a liquid out of the back of the helicopter. We realized we were being crop dusted. Oops. At almost exactly that moment of realization, a loud woman in a pick-up truck pulled up and yelled at us to move our sandwiches and our car to prevent being further sprayed with delicious pesticides, which we did.

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We continued onto the diner, where Kevin read about a woman who was murdered in Myles Standish in 1977 and an abandoned psychiatric hospital supposedly deep within its forrest. We asked the waitress about this, and instead she suggested a ghost tour in nearby Plymouth (as in Plymouth Rock).

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The tour taught us about the historic town and how to avoid eye contact with an old man wearing a ponytail. We were ultimately lead to Burial Hill (passive voice, suck it, interwebs!), where people have been buried since at least the 1600′s.

The guide gave us magnetometers, and we used them to detect lost souls and nearby telephone wires. The headstone below gave off a reading of three LED lights on the meter, and you know what they say about ghosts that set off three LED lights? They say they don’t exist. Because ghosts don’t exist. Duh.

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After camping (and an indescribably painful headache), we headed into Davis with Gil’s roommate Katie to shop at a local flea market.

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One of the stations I loved the most was a shop run by a woman who collected antique buttons and broaches and refashioned them into beautiful jewelry. I ended up getting a headband which promptly broke. I was more than a little disappointed.

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Also, I found the holy grail of vintage shoes.

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This was followed by some falafel and a trip to the Buffalo Exchange. I ended up getting an very classy $8 necklace that is reminiscent of the one I wore to my junior prom (which was and forever will be the best night of my young life, so it makes sense that I would want to recreate it in any way possible). Vick and I also found two identical dresses so we had to try them on together. Neither of us ended up purchasing them, although Vick did snag a really badass muscle tee.

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We then headed back to Gil’s car which actually meant stopping for cupcakes, tampons, and coffee at three different stores. Well, I hope they would be at three different stores, jeez! The girls and I headed to their house from Gil’s, and the three of us and Greg ate pasta and (supposedly) watched Daria. The following morning, the twins and I went on a picnic on the very modestly named President’s Lawn at Tufts.

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Sadly, I did have to return home and work today. However, Sam is arriving back home tonight, which I’m really psyched for. I am also visiting NYC on Friday to see Becca and Morgan and Waterbury to see Julian and check out Holy Land, USA with him and Andrew. Four cities in three weekends (not even including Frackville & Centralia) will be exhausting but well worth it.

Fashion Inspired by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer:” Faith Lehane

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Source: Buffy World

Faith Lehane is one of my favorite characters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As a main character, often I thought Buffy was too boring. Too pretty, too preppy, too likely to do the right thing. Most of the time, Willow, Buffy’s trusty sidekick, filled the void for me, as she was dependable but strange. She had more visible flaws and more relatable problems. (Click here for my post on Willow’s style.)

Faith, however, was a new breed of slayer. She was strong but conflicted. She didn’t always do the right thing, and she never said sorry. Also, she had awesome style.

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Source: Buffy World

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Source: Buffy World

Faith wore rocker-girl tees and pants. She managed to show a little skin but in a tomboyish way. She was stylish and cool in all the ways that Buffy wasn’t, which is part of what made her a fantastic foil.

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Source: Buffy World

Faith stuck to dark colors — black, navy, and brown — but she often also wore dark shades of red. I know Joss Whedon, the creator of the show, often uses subtitles in his direction to imply or represent certain themes, so perhaps it represented her bottled up rage.

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Source: Buffy World

For Faith, I designed two Polyvore sets. The first features all of her favorite colors with of course a deep red biker jacket with a feminine flare at the bottom. Her muscle shirt is masculine yet shows off her arms, as Faith is often seen doing on Buffy. I picked a cross shirt because, well, she’s a vampire slayer. Duh. The leggings are slashed because I thought that would be a more modern twist on the 90′s badass chick.

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The second outfit is a fuchsia dress rather than a deep red. It has a deep neckline because I was trying to recreate the 90′s cowl-neck look. Her clutch is similar to the one from the outfit above because I couldn’t imagine Faith with anything but a studded, dark clutch. Her shoes are dramatic, tall, and badass.

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Well, that’s it for now. I just really like Faith, okay?!

Short and Sweet, Baby

Today was a non-working, non-adventuring day. As I was sitting inside goofing around on my computer, I realized if I didn’t do something, I was going to waste away the entire day, so I put on my shoes and walked down to the Philly Aids Thrift Store. I got several really nice $1 items of clothing — a red high-waisted skirt, a cowl-neck short-sleeved sweater, a blue cardigan — and a $7 Silence & Noise dress. I am currently working on turning the cardigan into a vintage-y letter jacket with my school’s letters and mascot on it.

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The top featured here is something I got from Amvets in Rochester for $1.50. I’ve always worn it with more boring bottoms because I figure it’s nice but also casual, so I can wear it with jeans or shorts. I randomly pulled out these shorts that I got (also from Amvets) last summer and turned into shorts. I put these on together on a whim, but I like how the outfit turned out.

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Necklace — gift from Morgan
Top — thrifted (Delia*s)
Shorts — thrifted as pants, altered into shorts
Shoes — Anthropologie

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Also, here is Dan with a particularly fantastic outfit. I am just jealous of his style. Like really madly jealous.

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And there you have it. Short and sweet, baby. Short and sweet.

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