Posts tagged ‘adventures’

January 17, 2015

Blue maxi dress and further adventures in sewing


In anticipation of summer, I made myself a blue cowl neck maxi dress.  It looks (almost) as good as the one above, and fits much better than the one above would.    As a tall person (6 feet), I struggle to find maxi dresses that are long enough.  I ordered a few from Alloy last year, and they were just long enough, but not great quality.

The sewing process

For this one, I followed Meesha’s directions on YouTube, and just didn’t add on sleeves.  For the cowl neck, I traced the front of a cowl neck shirt I had.  The cowl neck actually was an advantage for me as a beginner – because it hangs down inside, you can’t see my uneven stitching at the neckline.

My first shot at making the dress was not successful – it was too big.  I ended up trying it on, pinning it as I did this shirt, and it ended up fitting perfectly along my torso. I may take in the bottom portion a little more later, but I like how it fits right now.

The result was a dress that was ten inches too long.  (As a tall person, this made me very happy.)  Before I hemmed it, though, I threw it in the washer/dryer.  While this didn’t affect the fit of the top, it ended up being five inches shorter than it had been before.  I was very glad I did this before hemming.

I decided to hem it so I could wear it with five inch heels, and I can always take it up more if I want.

Where to buy a blue maxi dress

If you’re not up for sewing or happen to be one of those lucky people who fit into clothes, here are a few options.

If you’re looking for something laid back, this dress from Revolve Clothing is affordable, and this Tommy Bahama dress looks very easy to wear.  Victoria’s Secret also has some good basic maxi dresses, but they have a pretty limited selection right now.  This black dress from Old Navy comes in tall and petite, which is nice.

If you’re going for a formal look, this one is divine for a formal occasion, as is this from the Outnet.

And finally, if you’re going for long-sleeved, this Rachel Zoe dress is fantastic.

March 6, 2013

Face the Facts – Episode 5: The Amazing Spandaman and Adventures with Waffles.

Face the Facts

Welcome to another edition of FTF, my scrumtrulescent  blog on the wonderful and irrelevant. I’m going on a trip so there won’t be another FTF for a few weeks. I’ll be sure to fill you in on the the goodies from our adventures overseas as soon as I get back State-side. In the rare case that I don’t make it back, I wanted to include my will in this FTF. So here goes:

To my brother Lam, I give you all of my videogame equipment and the board game Cranium (to get smarter). To my brother Binh, I give you my headphones and protein shaker (to get stronger). To my flat-mate Klar, I give you my Bowflex (to get swole-er). To Cthulhu, you can have any extra toilet cleaning supplies I have in my bathroom (because go screw yourself evil Cthulhu). To my wonderful wife, I give you everything else. Oh yeah, and to my buddy Lt. Dan, I give you my brain pod and the remaining balance of my graduate school debt.

Fact – There really is no such thing as a “Belgium Waffle.” It was simple a marketing tactic to sell the “Brussels Waffle”to Americans who were bad at geography. What many mistakenly call a Belgium Waffle is simply a Brussels waffle made with American waffle ingredients 

So Zanahoria told me the other day that we had some ground beef and potatoes that we needed to use up before our trip. We decided to make waffles out of them. This is what happened:

1. We busted out the Mouli, a vintage French grater we have courtesy of Mummo.




2. Then we went SHREDDER on those potatoes and seasoned it with a touch of salt and pepper.



3. After that, Zanahoria seasoned the meat with an assortment of delicious spices.




4. We mashed it all together an balled them up.



5. Next we heated the waffle maker and put the ingredients in.



6. Viola! I present to you your meat and potatoes… in waffle form.




So they were fairly easy to make and were quite tasty.We are  now thinking of hosting a “you bring it and we will waffle it” party. Think of the possibilities! Brownie waffles, Cookie Waffles, Cheese Waffles… we could even combine Chicken and Waffles and make Chicken Waffles! Mind Blown!

Fact – The resignation letter that Jarvis, Tony Stark’s butler, wrote in Iron Man No. 127 was actually artist Dave Cockrum’s real life resignation letter to Marvel. The only editing done  to the letter was changing “Marvel” to “Avengers.”

So Klar, Zanahoria, and I went out to sushi this past weekend. While we were waiting for our food I busted out some doodles. Zanahoria and Klar were both floored by the magnificence of my art work. Klar said he had never witnessed such grace in the form of a sketch. Zanahoria asked me if my hands had been blessed by the heavens. They wanted to know what inspired me to create such a wonderful work of art.

I told them what they were seeing was a character I had created during my childhood. His name was Spandaman, the awesomely radioactive sponge. They asked “did he have a sidekick?” Well, it was probably whoever my best friend was as a kid… so no. Not even an imaginary one? Well my imagination kind of sucked (superhero sponge?!) so that’s a negatron. Nonetheless, they just couldn’t get over how cool Spandaman looked. Klar said that I should turn it into a web comic serial on FTF. Zanahoria said that if Klar said it was a good idea than at least one person thought it was a good idea. She probably had more to say but sushi had just arrived.

So exciting news time! From now on FTF will be bringing you the web comic series “The Awesome Adventures of Spandaman!” FTF is proud to present to you…

The Awesome Adventures of Spandaman – No. 1 – The Obligatory Origin Story

*best to play this while viewing the comic 

Millions of years ago, an astroid containing radioactive fragments crashed into Earth. The astroid plunged deep into the Pacific Ocean, exploding on the ocean floor and causing massive tsunamis and earthquakes all around the planet. All of the surrounding wildlife perished from the initial blast except for single sea sponge. The radioactive elements had animated the sea sponge, giving it both incredible intelligence and lithe limbs!


My Note, page 16


The sponge walked over to a wrangled mess of kelp and seaweed and fashioned a cloak. He then made a utility belt out of bits of coral and shell. Parts of the astroid had forged together upon impact and created the coolest pair of sunglasses, which the sponge appropriated to mask the fact that he did not, in fact, have eyes. From then on the world would know that unassuming sponge as SPANDAMAN!

Tune in to future installments of FTF for the next Awesome Adventures of Spandaman… now with actual adventures!

Fact – George St. Piere’s chest tattoo is Kanji for “jujutsu.”

So unfortunately I’ll still be out of the country when the welterweight extravaganza (aka UFC 158) occurs. The co-main event of this card is about as good as it gets with GSP going against rival Nick Diaz and my boy Jonhy Hendricks going against Carlos Condit. I won’t go into to much detail as I am sure Klar will have a write-up of some sort as the match rolls around, but I will leave you with this promo:

GSP said in an interview that the tattoo on his chest means that there are two sides of him, and that he can be very rude and very nice. He finished by saying “I like to be rude when I fight.” The term jujutsu translated means “the gentle art.” Does this imply that the non-tatted side of his chest is the rude ying to his tatted side’s yang? Something tells me he won’t be “inspired” by his tattoo on March 16.

Fact – People that read are above average.

Tune in to the next Face The Facts where FTF will finally look at the future of gaming. Be sure to check all the new fresh blogs up on Follow VivdKaret on twitter @VividKaret #quadrangleofpower and follow Face The Facts @facethefacts22 #thingsthatareawesome.


March 3, 2013

My first time to prison

It was my first time in a prison. I had left my phone at the hotel and my driver’s license at the front desk.  (This left me feeling very helpless.)  We were walking down the hall, unsure of what it would be like.

And then I heard yelling… As we got closer, it got louder and there were flashing lights, and we realized that the yelling was cheering.  When we arrived at the door, the prisoners had formed a tunnel with their arms and we all ran through.  On the other side, they gave us big smiles and handshakes, welcoming us.  It was not what I expected.

We were visiting the Cleveland Correctional Center near Houston, Texas, where an initiative called the Prison Entrepreneurship Program operates.


This holistic program boasts that its admissions process is more competitive than Harvard’s, in terms of number of applications and acceptances.  The goal of the program is to help people help themselves, so the prisoners have to demonstrate their willingness to work and take initiative even to apply by studying for and getting a decent grade on a standardized test.

Those selected will get out of prison in three years or less, and must have a GED.  Their crimes can range from drugs to theft to murder, but PEP does not accept those who have been sexual predators. They must not be a member of a gang, have strong work ethic, and be willing to change.

One prisoner described his arrival at Cleveland Correctional Center.  He was shocked by the difference in culture.  The other prisoners tried to give him hugs, they welcomed him, and he was a bit taken aback. PEP intentionally creates this culture of joy and fun that is different from the regular prison culture.  They even come up with “sweet names” for each person involved, which add humor and fun, and take away some of the “tough guy” mentality.

PEP’s core program involves a “mini-MBA,” where prisoners gain business skills, create their own business plan for a business they can start after leaving prison, and get mentored by volunteers who are top executives.  It’s a lot of work, and it starts with a tough analysis of one’s past life and character.  PEP involves a spiritual change, where these men realize that they can do better and that they are worth it. They learn the ten core principles behind PEP, which include integrity, accountability, and fun.

On the day we visited, they had just finished putting a philanthropic aspect into their business plans.  One prisoner told me that he wanted to start a tire company in Dallas, and then become involved with an organization that helps poor kids get toys.  He also wanted to give to the cancer society because his family had been affected by cancer.

The program has given these men hope.  One man who spoke to the group had been in foster homes and was sexually molested as a child.  He had been involved with drugs, but had finally made a life for himself with honest work, a wife, and child.  But when his wife left him, he was devastated, and had a downward spiral back into the drug world.  Through PEP, he was given hope, and realized that his life was worth something.  He looks forward to getting back on his feet.

We also heard from a graduate of the previous PEP class, who plans to open a shoe shining business when he is released.  He pitched his business plan to us as if we were potential investors.  Each person who spoke, whether it was a prisoner, a staff member, or a PEP volunteer, received a standing ovation and cheering from all the men.

Several PEP graduates already have thriving businesses.  We heard from one graduate, James Cornish, who started a successful business hauling waste away from construction sites – Cornish Trucking.  His family had been involved in the trucking business, and he was excited to follow in their footsteps. People like him who are successful give hope to those who are currently in the program, and make them realize that this is really something possible for them.

When a prisoner completes the 6-month mini-MBA, they have a graduation ceremony, where they receive a certificate of completion, as well as a certificate from Baylor University.  Baylor was impressed with the rigor of the PEP curriculum, which includes college level material and projects, as well as Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.  Many of the prisoners have never appeared in a cap and gown before.  PEP highly encourages family members to attend this ceremony.  For some, it is the first time they see their child.


Photo from PEP’s facebook

Upon release from prison, PEP encourages its graduates to live in its transitional housing to help him avoid falling back into his old ways. PEP also offers a business incubator with access to Quickbooks and the Internet, as well as access to continued mentorship.  In the future, the organization plans to broaden its support for its graduates and their businesses.

Having read their website and annual report, some aspects of what I saw did not surprise me. But one thing that impressed me was the sheer enthusiasm of the participants – it was contagious, and soon they had us all clapping, cheering, and even dancing.

I was also impressed with their eagerness to share their experiences.  It was almost as if they had been paid off by the PEP’s development guy. But no, they were genuinely sharing how the program had changed their lives, and how they were excited not only to have the skills to start their business, but to have achieved a character transformation with the support of their brothers and PEP team, and to contribute to the community in a positive way.

Finally, I was impressed by the central focus on character and spiritual transformation.  They call it “Cleveland Cardiac Center” instead of “Cleveland Correctional Center,” because the prisoners focus on changing from the inside out.

Prison Entrepreneurship Program 022713

With a PEP grad who now works for the program

February 15, 2013

Face The Facts – Episode Beta: FTF is back!

So I know it has been a long time since I have written a FTF. During that time I have been traveling the world in search of new facts to face. I ended up down in the Gulf of Naples where I decided to do some mountain climbing. So I’m rappelling down Mt. Vesuvius when suddenly I slip, and I start to fall. Just falling, ahh ahh… I’ll never forget the terror. When suddenly I realize, ” Choi Loi, haven’t you been smoking Peyote for like a year straight, and maybe you are just chillin’ out, maxing, relaxing all cool, and shootin’ some b-ball out side of school.” Bellaired Mother Frackers. So after a very long sabbatical, I’m back (and on twitter @facethefacts22) and that means FTF is coming back as well. They will contain twice the facts and three times the awesome. Speaking of AWESOME:


Check out the NBA All-Stars in Houston this weekend!


You’ll get to watch this bromance:


You’ll get to fear this Beard:


Plus, these legends will judge the Dunk contest:



There might also be some other people there that are not related to the Houston Rockets. Here are the Face The Facts predictions for the All Star events:

Rising Stars- Team Shaq

3 point shoot out- Matt Bonner

Skills Challenge- Jeremy Lin

Shooting Stars- Team Houston (Harden, Cassell, and Thompson)

Dunk Contest- James “Flight” White

All Stars- West

There is also the first female headlined UFC (157) coming up. FTF is back guys… so while I’ll have to leave for now, I just want you guys to know:






September 28, 2012

Friday Epicness

This song has been out for a while (and can be found on itunes), but in honor of the tonight’s inaugural MANCAVE (Microbrews And Non-stop Cinema And Videogame Entertainment) I decided that it was a fitting video to kick of the weekend.  Enjoy.

Just never touch the lower back.

April 28, 2012

A new activity for Friday nights

So when the girls go out for champagne and literature club, and come home with extra energy…

…we usually find a new activity.  Here’s what we did this time:

October 7, 2011

Czech Embassy

It has been said that, however jaded Washingtonians may be, they always love going to an embassy event.  And some of us are even willing to traipse around to multiple embassies during the spring for Shortcut to Europe and the Around the World Embassy tour.  🙂 I did both of these this past spring and danced, watched Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, learned a fantastic drink recipe, and met an awesome Australian family.  Best of all, the British embassy gave me a free soccer ball and inspired me to start playing soccer again this fall.

While Massachusetts Ave. is known as Embassy Row, there are random embassies sprinkled around the city, often in unexpected places.  Most recently, I visited the Embassy of the Czech Republic, which is here:

Very convenient for driving and plenty of parking – the Czechs really lucked out.  And it’s tucked away right near Rock Creek Parkway, and is surrounded by tons of beautiful foliage.  The embassy itself is modern and light, but the Ambassador’s residence is pretty awesome with a beautiful pool.

Tags: , ,
September 4, 2011


Zanahoria3’s cousin came to visit the other day (he recently moved to Florida), and he explained that he was in town to save the bonsai trees. There is no lock on their enclosure at the DC arboretum, so there is a massive security system in place to keep them safe. He was working on the coding for the security system.

He noted that some of the pottery in the exhibit is actually more expensive than the bonsai trees. Another piece of intel from him – the bonsai trees need to have their roots trimmed periodically so they stay small, just as the branches are trimmed.

They have to take all the dirt out of the roots, and then they trim them carefully. Some of the bonsai trees are almost 400 years old. This process has occurred regularly for almost 400 years. That means that in the 1600s, some guy was emptying out the dirt from these bonsai trees and trimming them carefully.

I had been to the bonsai exhibit a long time ago with my family… And we went again today!

And if you want a bonsai of your very own, and you need one immediately, they sell them at the social Safeway in Georgetown for $99.99. Otherwise, they’re cheaper online.

While at the arboretum, we also visited the herb garden… where they had at least four rosemary bushes. We used to have a gargantuan rosemary bush right outside our door in Texas. It was amazing, and we would put whole branches of rosemary in the pot when we cooked pasta.

So if you want the ultimate Rosemary/Bonsai experience, here you go –

Rosemary Bonsai, ProFlowers, $47.99 (plus shipping)

July 16, 2011

Road tripping

The Vivid Karet team is on a road trip, and the adventures have only just begun. During the car ride, Harold the hermit crab has agreed to become a guest contributor to the blog…….

I knew something big was coming. I could no longer hear the noises that came from what my person called Juju – these were frightening noises, but I wondered where Juju had gone. My person had also made piles of bags near my cage. This was something that usually happens, but not in such massive quantities.

As I was reflecting on these matters this morning, I suddenly found myself in midair, and when I looked out of my shell, I found myself in my travel cage. My brothers Thornton and Ronald followed shortly thereafter. I didn’t know if my normal cage was just being cleaned for today (it was a Saturday and my person was at home) or whether something else was going on.

I soon discovered that this was no routine cleaning day, as the travel cage was lifted off the ground – we were going on a road trip!!

It’s not August yet, so I am puzzled. Usually we go to the beach in August to celebrate our cousin’s birthday – this year cousin Ike will turn 14. I’m only 4 or 5. My person can’t remember my birthday. But according to my calendar, this isn’t August.

I’m now in the front of the car, which probably means that there’s someone else or a lot of luggage in the back seat.

Ronald is nervous – he has dug a hole. Thornton is excited – he was climbing around and now he is sitting on Ronald.

I am pensive. We’ve been in the car for several hours now, and my hermit crab sense tells me that we’re somewhere in North Carolina. I wonder where we’re going? Maybe there will be other hermit crabs there. Maybe I’ll make friends with another chinchilla – or even a turtle!!