This Week in Toriland: Part 3

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all having a safe and relaxing Saturday, and that you get a chance to slow down a little bit and enjoy yourself today.

I was able to just relax for a little bit this morning and it was so good. My car was in the shop so I was practically force to stay at home and read and drink tea and take a nice warm bath, which was great because it’s officially Not Summer here in Texas and I’ve been a little chilly! Also, I didn’t include enough jackets in my capsule wardrobe, so I may have to cheat a little bit…

But on to the good stuff! Here’s what I’ve been loving this week…

14_poached egg 1

  1. Making a Poached Egg in the Microwave – I’ve always loved the idea of poached eggs, but never knew how to make them. I mean, I know I have Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking on my shelf, but it always seemed like such a sin to mess up with Julia at the helm so I never attempted it. But this pin made it look so easy. Less than one minute and minimal mess, I could at least give it a try. And it totally worked! That’s my egg up there! I am going to make poached eggs my thing. I already want to try this and this and this recipe
  2. Sweet with Heat Nuts  by Averie Cooks- Not gonna lie, I just took these out of the oven. I made them several times last winter and I love them. So when I saw that nuts were on sale I knew what I had to do. These nuts are super easy, and just enough spice to keep them from being too sweet. I could eat them all in one sitting, but I wont, because nuts are expensive.
  3. Three Essentials of a Great Travel Outfit by Unfancy – I’m travelling next week and I’m a little nervous about it. I hate flying alone, because my worst-case-scenario mentality just gets a little too intense. To cope, I’ve been researching how to fly comfortably. This outfit fits the bill. I just got sweatpants similar to this (which are considered lounge wear in the capsule wardrobe, and therefore totally don’t count against me) and I think I could pull this off to stay comfy while I travel but not look like a total slob when I arrive. 
  4. Seven Questions to Bring Happiness Closer – I’ll admit I was having a down-in-the-dumps week this week. I’ve been frustrated by always feeling busy, by losing two hours (or  more) every day in my commute, by spending too much time getting annoyed by people on Facebook and not enough time reading, writing letters, lesson plans or blog posts. I felt ineffective, impulse driven and guilty. I am the personal embodiment of the own-worst-critic phenomenon and it was hitting me hard this week. Like my boyfriend actually bought me flowers because he could tell I was discouraged (thank you, baby). This article is a good way to put things in perspective without falling into the cheap ways we make ourselves feel good. It helped me to feel just a little bit better about myself this week.   
  5. Emily Hearn – So I actually finally got another CD for my car, because for some reason, I can’t seem to justify CD purchases. Anyways, the CD is by Emily Hearn, who I found off Spotify and I really like her music. Her vocals are really fun to sing and her lyrics are always thoughtful and I appreciate that. I’ve actually listened to much fewer podcasts this week because I didn’t want to stop listing to Emily. Here’s one of my favorites off the album (who am I kidding? They’re all my favorites…)

In which I’m not cut out for capsule wardrobes…

So a few weeks ago I posted about being curious about the capsule wardrobe/minimalist movement. I liked the idea of having more time in the morning because you’re not taking so long to decide what to wear. I liked the idea to remixing pieces for several different looks. I also liked the idea of saving some money and curbing impulse buys when it comes to clothing (Old Navy, you are my kryptonite!). So I decided to try it for the month of November, Tori Style.

capsule collage

28 pieces of clothing, 6 pairs of shoes, 2 necklaces.  Because I am human, and because Texas is in that weird in between month when it doesn’t know what season it is, I’m not limiting myself on tights or scarves. Because I am human, I am not also not counting belts. Here is what this experience has taught me so far:

  1. Minimalists are consistent- I see article after article and plenty of blog posts about how the most productive people are the ones who have an unofficial uniform. Steve Jobs! Mark Zuckerberg!  It leaves them time and energy to focus on other stuff. But I don’t work that way. As I’ve been attempting this who capsule wardrobe thing, one quote keeps swimming to the surface of my mind. “When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There is nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.” – Caitlin Moran. Minimalists are comfortable being the same person every day. I’m not there yet.nothing to wear2
  2. I actually have to iron stuff – Again, one of the virtues commonly extolled about the capsule wardrobe is less laundry. While technically true, it does mean that I actually have to iron things because I can’t cycle through as many pieces of clothing in my attempts to avoid ironing. Perhaps this is what being an adult looks like.shoes1
  3. It teaches the value of well made pieces – About two days into this whole project my favorite brown boots cracked across the bottom….while it was raining. I was about ready to give up the whole endeavor right there. Clearly the stars were aligned against it. But I soldiered on and found new boots, but I was much more conscious about their quality. Having fewer pieces makes you more reliant on the ones you do have, and helps you to make smarter investments on pieces in the future.
  4. No one will notice – Seriously. No one will ask you, “hey, why are you wearing the same things over and over?” This is because they are probably the same pieces you wear over and over anyways. These are the pieces that make you feel good and that are easy to wear several different ways. People are used to seeing these items, and so they won’t bat their eyes if they see them showing up again..and again..  Even the people close to you. They really won’t notice.capsule pose 1
  5. You’ll have more than you realize – Sometimes I worry that I won’t have enough to get me through the month, then I look at my list of clothing and I realize that I really do have a lot to work with. While I don’t know that I’ll be keeping my wardrobe limits next month, I do think I will continue to limit wardrobe additions. I really do have a lot that I am not utilizing, and I don’t need to add anything else (Unless something breaks, or it’s a really good deal at Old Navy.).

This Week in Toriland: Part 2

Hello again.

Even though Halloween is over, things only seem to speed up from here to the end of the year. I feel like I’ve been rushing a lot this week, trying to fit everything in. I’m lucky that I have a lot of good things to fit in, but this next week I’m going to focus on slowing down a little bit. I hope you can slow down a bit too, grab a nice warm cup of tea (or coffee) and have a quiet moment doing something you love.

Here’s what I’ve been loving this week:

Out of Sorts1. Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey – I’ve been so excited for Sarah Bessey’s latest book. I had preordered it several months ago and I assumed I would just blaze through it. Now that I actually have it, I’ve been taking my time reading it. I find that I only want to read it when I know I won’t be distracted (this isn’t very often). I’ve been stealing quiet moments here and there to read it and I think it’s going to be very timely book for me. There’s also a playlist and some free art prints to accompany the book! I’m always a sucker for free printables.


  1. Loft by Brooklyn Tweed – This week my parents went on a little trip down to Austin, and while they were there they stopped by Hill Country Weavers and bought me yarn! I finally have my own Brooklyn Tweed yarn! I’ve been drooling over this yarn for probably about two years, but never actually took the leap and bought it. It’s only of those luxuries that I have trouble allowing myself, even though it’s not actually that expensive. But now it’s mine! It’s so much softer than I expected for as rustic as it looks. I can’t wait to pick a pattern and knit it up.

3. The 20/20 Rule– I’ve been cleaning out a ton on stuff in my room this week, selling some books, going through the yarn stash and cleaning out my closet. This rule deals with all of those “just in case” items that we keep around but never use. Basically, if you can replace it with less than $20, in less than 20 minutes, and it hasn’t been used recently, it’s time to let it go. Those half cut sheets of craft foam? Gone. The busted water colors that keep spilling colored powder everywhere? Goodbye. It’s been a really good way to gauge what to keep and what to let go.

Olive Utility Bag

4. Barnes and Noble Olive Utility Tote– So between the knitting and the reading and the inability to carry a small amount of stuff, I pretty much wreck every purse I own. With my last bag, the purse straps were threatening to tear in two at any second. So I went back to what I know and love and bought another Barnes and Noble Bag. These are the only bags that can stand up to my abuse. I had owned one in the past and love it, but it was white so it started to look really gross after a while. I think I’ll get a lot of use out of this one.

5. 6 Questions to Discover Your Most Meaningful Pursuits – As I’ve been low-key tracking the minimalist movement from the sidelines it has become clear that it’s less about getting rid of stuff and more about living intentionally. Intentionally is millennial speak for “on purpose.” It’s about living with less so you can afford to do what you love and give where you’re passionate. I liked this blog post because it does a good job of cutting through the clutter and half-dreams to find the things that really make us dream. Question number 3 was especially insightful for me; “What would I spend my day doing if I knew I couldn’t fail?”  I immediately thought about writing. I miss my research and I getting to share what I’ve learned. So don’t be surprised if you see a little bit more of that pop up on here. I’m just trying things out and seeing what fits.

A Very Jurassic Halloween

Happy November, Ya’ll! Can you believe it?

I thought I’d show you how I celebrated my Halloween, especially since I’m really happy with how this costume turned out. Not only was this year the first year that I did a trunk or treat, it was also my first couples costume! Allow me to introduce: Claire and Owen from Jurassic World!

Jurassic World

If you haven’t seen the movie, here’s how they look:

This costume was much less stressful than last year’s costume, and I got to work on it with my boyfriend, which was really cool. I was afraid he wasn’t going to be on board, but he ended up doing more research than me! I also liked that I will be able to incorporate pieces from the costume into my regular wardrobe, because if we’re being honest(and at this point, why not?), I really just wanted to justify buying nude heels. This costume was more about compiling pieces than making them, which was nice for once. I still had to take in the waist of the skirt and trim the wig, but overall, it was a very easy costume.

Halloween 2

Here’s the breakdown for Claire:

Shirt: Charming Charlie

Tank: Amazon

Skirt: Banana Republic via Ebay

Shoes: Payless

Necklace: Charming Charlie


Halloween 1

And for Owen:

Shirt: Amazon, Colombia Men’s Tamiami II Long-Sleeve Shirt in Blue Heron [A note on the shirt: These shirts run BIG! We ended up needing to get a size small for my 6’2″, not-a-size-small man.]

Pants: H&M

Vest: Ebay

Watch: Casio G-Shock via Ebay


I ended up having a ton of fun putting together and wearing this costume. A lot of adult didn’t recognize the costumes, but a fair amount of kids (and an even larger amount of teens) did. Of course, now that Halloween is over I’m already making plans for next year; but then the planning is my favorite part.

What about you? Any costumes you were especially proud of this year? I’d love to hear about them!

This Week in Toriland: Part 1

Happy Halloween week! It’s finally starting to feel like Fall around here. Things are getting colder and I’m feeling the need for change with the season. Here are some things that I’ve been loving this week. :

Missed in history

  1. Stuff You Missed In History Class : My commute has been getting more and more frustrating, so I’ve been listening to this podcast to distract myself and it’s worked! It makes me so happy to insert a little bit of history learning back into my life and they’re always interesting and easy to listen to, even while driving on the freeway in the rain. Lately they’ve been covering a lot of spooky topics including unsolved murders and some history of werewolves, but there’s plenty of past episodes for whatever you’re into. Also, I wish I had their jobs..

tj-spicy-chai2. Trader Joe’s Chai Tea Mix : I have been addicted to this stuff recently. I keep a canister at work and sip it in the mornings when the office is cold.

3. Two Minute Rule: The idea is simple. If you can do it in two minute or less, do it now! I’ve been trying to mature when it comes to my tidyness, so this has been helpful for me. It doesn’t work in every situation, but it’s a good reality check, especially when you have the tendency to accumulate clutter. Speaking of clutter…

4. Capsule Wardrobes: I’ve been really taken with the idea of a capsule wardrobe lately. It’s the idea of chosing only a few pieces of your wardrobe, and only wearing those for a set amount of time. I have a lot of clothes. Like a lot, a lot. But the same few outfits keep going through the wash. I’ve been seriously considering trying out a capsule wardrobe for the month of November and choosing maybe 30 items and only wearing those all month. I may need cheat days. I’ll keep you posted.

5. Sarah Jarosz: I found a CD of hers at Half Price Books just as my car listening was needing a shake-up and I’ve been loving the slow, soulful bluegrass, especially as the weather is getting colder. Here are two of my favorites. They’re just so spooky and cool and I love that she tells stories in her songs.

Learn all the things



I’m finally getting settled into the rhythm of the semester. It’s a lot of work, but I kind of like it. I do well with a little extra bit of stimulus and while I wish it were a class or two less, I still get a bit of a thrill from doing well in my classes. (Not that I’d know. Darn you, college and your small number of tests!) There’s just that bit of Hermione in me that gets way too excited about reading all the books and learning all the things.



While there isn’t a problem with a passion for learning, sometimes I worry that I get a little too Hermione-ish and become that one student. You know the one. The one where everyone rolls their eye because they’ve got their hand up again. There’s a large possibility that I am actually that student. I can’t help it. It’s the Hermione in me.

Theses are also the times that I wonder why Hermione didn’t use the time turner for sleep. Because that’s totally what I would be doing with it.


I also worry that sometimes I push too hard. I have a bad habit of putting too much pressure on myself. It can be good in a minor sense because it motivates me, but it can also become an issue. Sometimes there are days when my body goes, “you know your limit? It was back there.” and I feel all of that pressure at once. Like this morning. You know it’s gonna be a good day when the barf bucket gets to ride in the car with you.  (8:00 am classes at a school an hour away can sometimes disagree with me.) 



I think that for me, one of the biggest things I am learning this semester(year) is how to gauge my abilities. While everything feels so immediate right now, sometimes I have to take a step back and remember that finishing that book or giving that presentation is not worth a full blown anxiety attack. (Don’t get me wrong, all of my work gets done. Sometimes I just have to walk away from trying to perfect an assignment too much.) I’ve been really trying this semester to maintain a sense of peace during the semester and trust that I am in the right place and therefore won’t be able to screw things up that easily.



Do you ever struggle with placing too much pressure on yourself? Did you find a solution that worked for you? I’d love to hear about it.

On Strangers and the Purchasing of Yarn

For reasons of unknown origins, I have been having some random intermittent health problems. These health problems, while not debilitating, can be particularly frustrating at times, and in general, fall into the “ain’t nobody got time for that” category of life. To add to the “ain’t nobody got time for that” issue, I’ve been needing to go to the doctor a lot more than usual. As such, this brings me to Plano, and within 5 minutes of the Woolie Ewe.

Normally, I don’t find myself in that part of town, but now I can’t help stopping by when I pass it. Ya’ll know how hard it is for a knitter to pass a yarn store, like a real yarn store. Then you know how I feel. Plus it gives me something pleasant to look forward to after an unpleasant experience (blood work. bah! [Though actually not that bad. The lady was good.]).

When I go to the Woolie Ewe, or any yarn shop really, I usually go as a window shopper, because I’m a college student and not rolling in the dough. This was the case in my most recent visit (much sighing and wistful fingering of yarn was involved). After leaving the Woolie Ewe, I hopped over to Tuesday Morning, which is like the weird but slightly more respectable cousin of Big Lots, because they often have yarn there. While at Tuesday Morning (who strategically located the yarn prominently near the interest. Do they know their target audience or what?), I ran into another knitter.

Did I know this lady? No. But she was a knitter, there’s like a secret bond or something.

We poked around in the yarn section together for a bit and chatted. I confessed that I probably shouldn’t be buying anything, as I had just ordered some yarn online but hadn’t received it. She admitted that she probably shouldn’t be buying yarn either. Its another one of those secret knitter bonds. After sighing and deciding that despite not needing more yarn, I really shouldn’t buy more yarn, the lady kindly suggested, “Hey, maybe the yarn you ordered will be there when you get home.” And you know what?

She was so right!

Tosh DK in Saffron
Quandary in A Thing for String DK: Heart of Darkness. Click picture for pattern link!

The school year has started, so of course I feel like doing nothing else but the mountains of assigned reading before me. Well, actually, some of them aren’t that bad. Some of them I get too into, and totally nerd out about them in class.

Yeah. I’m that kid.

I have actually noticed, though, that knitting helps me keep my focus while doing my reading. Having just that little something to keep my hands and mind busy keeps me on task. Now you’re thinking, shouldn’t your reading keep your mind busy? Technically, yes. But you know that part of your mind? That part that gets disctracted? That part that says, “I’ll just open that file I need to–ooh pinterest!” That’s the part of my brain that knitting keeps busy.

Side Note: Pinterest, man. It’s becoming a problem. It’s like I can’t get off of Pinterest. I even have it on my phone. It’s everywhere. But hey, I have a knitting board so it’s all good.

But back to the point, I find that when I pair knitting with reading or studying, it can make it easier for me to motivate myself to do the task. (This may or may not be because I cannot scroll down Pinterest and knit at the same time.) Adding knitting to the mix can make assigned reading downright enjoyable.

Do any of you experience the focusing effect of knitting? How do you use knitting to motivate you?

P.S. In case you’re wondering, this is the pattern I’m current;y working on:

Campus Jacket by Amy Christoffers

You know, because I’m going back to campus and such. Also because it looks like the coziest thing since flannel. I’ll take some progress pictures for you soon!

Model Knitter


Is anyone still there?

I apologize for my absence. It seems that the end of the semester only brought a little relief to my crazy schedule. Since then, I’ve gotten a minor promotion, taken on a second job, had a birthday, and am currently taking a summer chemistry course. Unfortunately, my knitting has fallen to the wayside a little bit, and I have had nothing new to show you.

Don’t worry. I’m working on it.

Even though I haven’t been knitting, I’ve been involved with someone who has been doing an awful lot of knitting. Like, it awes me the amount of knitting she gets done.

Meet Wooly Wonka, a yarn dyer, designer and knitter extraordinaire.

Now meet her new model.

Image credit to

That’s right, ya’ll. I’m a model now.

*cue excited shrieking*

Wooly Wonka/Bunnyspinner(RavID)/Anne is coming out with an 8 piece collection for fall all inspired by legendary tales of epic and fantastical proportions. This shall is the first available pattern, the Rappaccini’s Garden Shawl. The rest of the collection will be out in September and I’m super excited to see how the whole collection turns out in print.

The collection will consist of two sweater patterns, two shawls, a cowl and two pairs of socks, and let me tell you…they’re all gorgeous (not to mention very toasty on a Texas Summer day in June). I’m sure I’ll keep you updated on the release of the rest of the patterns, but until then, go check out Anne’s website!

T-Shirt DIY

I have a confession to make. I think I am addicted to Pinterest. I think Pinterest may be my new Tumblr. This may only slightly by due to the fact that tumblr makes my computer lag like nothing else (it’s getting elderly, my computer). Or perhaps I enjoy that aspect of Pinterest that says ” I made this, and so can you!” While I don’t yet feel compelled to make my own laundry detergent or decorate my entire house with wine bottle corks, I have been inspired to try a few non-knitting craft projects.So here is one of my very own Pinterest diy’s.

The Pin: T-Shirt to Draped Vest

The Original Site

My Version:


The tutorial is fairly easy. All you need is a big men’s t-shirt and some scissors. I used an extra large (If it had been large my dad would have adopted it.)green shirt that I got for a dollar at Salvation Army. It had a pocket on the front, but I ripped it off.

The steps are simple.

Lay out shirt.

May 2013 173

Remove cat from shirt. (I swear it took approximately 3 seconds after laying the shirt down before the cat was on it. Always has to be the center of attention, geez…)


Snip the sleeves off..


And now the collar…You might want to start small with this and increase it later. Essentially this is going to be the hole where your arms go, but it will stretch out a bit with time, so don’t cut it too loose.


This is how it will look opened up.


Last step: Trim and wear!





The camera whoring is optional, but really at this point, why not? This vest is super easy to make and easy to wear. Plus is get to look super accomplished when I said that I made it.

Now excuse me, I think I have some more projects I need to pin on Pinterest.