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26 By 2: A Year in Pictures

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A is for Angel. January 2017.

This year, I am participating in the 52 week photo challenge. Basically, you track your weeks for an entire year by picking one picture a week, following the alphabet. Week one was an Angel statue (A is for Angel). Week two was Balloons on the ceiling (B is for Balloons). This week – which I am still working on – will be C is for Candles. And so on and so forth.

While there are a lot of other kinds of photo challenges – dad is doing a picture-a-day challenge with a cluster of items theme – I love this particular challenge because while it’s not as rigorous or time consuming as a picture a day,  the fact that you have to match weeks to letters (the end of the alphabet is going to be interesting) is a fun way to stretch yourself.

Whether you sketch, write, or do any other kind of art, this is a challenge you can work into any art form. So this year, stretch yourself and grow your art.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Fashion, Uncategorized

All about the Slanket.

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H&M Scarf

I have only recently have fallen in love with this accessory.

If you don’t know what a slanket is, it’s basically a really large piece of material the size of a half blanket that is worn as a over-sized scarf – Personally, I call this a giant scarf or shawl, but one of my students corrected me this week.

Right now, H&M has an amazing sale: each scarf is only $7 and if you buy 2, you get the third free (at least this is the deal in store).

I bought a green plaid one that was so warm for my last SCA event – a scarf during set up and a shawl over my roman during coronation – and was so excited that it worked. On sale, these are cheaper than getting material to create a shawl and a whole lot less work.

I wear mine all the time especially now that it is colder.

I stayed at my sister’s place this week – which is across the street from where we work – but didn’t have a hooded jacket, and, of course, it was raining. This scarf worked perfectly as a head covering that was large enough to cover my head and my overflowing purse on the walk and light enough that, after being laid out, it was dry enough to wear as a shawl on yard duty.

In fact, I love this slanket so much and have found so many uses that I bought my sister – a fellow SCAer – a matching scarf, and two others for us to share.

Even if you are just using a slanket as an everyday scarf, at these prices it is worth it to buy a few since they will keep you warm and can add some texture and color variety to any out fit you end up wearing.

So, yes, I am all about the slanket and you should get on this quick before they are gone!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Miss Fisher and the Wide Leg Trouser.

As I’ve been running about throughout my winter break – prepping for trips, dealing with holidays, and photography trips – life has mainly been a topsy-turvy mess.

Throughout this mess, I’ve had one real constant: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. If you haven’t seen this gem (now available at least on US Netflix), I’ll give you a quick run down: set in the 1920s in Australia, an heiress with a sharp mind and a ‘better to ask forgiveness’ attitude, Miss Phryne Fisher, starts working as a private detective. Armed with a quick witted script, a pistol, the most beautiful wardrobe, a detective, constable, and riveting staff, Miss Fisher has completely stolen my heart.

Whether you love action, fashion, mysteries, romance, 1920s feminism, or just a group of great, beautiful people with pretty accents, this show has a lot to offer.

What really sealed it for me, of course, is the fashion.

I do not have the 1920s figure by any stretch of an imagination – they love sheath dresses and minimal curves while I am somewhere between an hourglass and a pear.

Still, what I love most about dear Phryne’s wardrobe is not the sparkled flapper gear, but her affinity for camisoles and wide leg trousers. This isn’t the first time I’ve fallen in love with this style; watching the cast of Anything Goes put on by the local theatre began my love affair.

These pants are all high waists and wide circumferences, so my only worry falls on unflattering pleats – not all pleats are created equal. My biggest issue right now is figuring out what will work when few walk-in stores  have these on hand. if you don’t mind online shopping, retailers such as Modcloth have quite a few options, I especially love their Haute Historian Pants.

So that’s up next on my new fashion obsessions and (hopefully) purchases, but until then, watch, love, and live stylishly.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Thing I’d like to do better in 2017

Basically, I’m ready for 2016 to be over and since I’m on a roadtrip and today was long, here’s a few thing I got better at this year and here’s a few to work on.

Okay, this year was hard but I think I’ve gotten better at communicating with those (physically!) around me and going out and doing stuff even when things, like the weather make me want to close all the doors and stay in bed.

This is also the first year I have managed to create and manage my budget and I’ve actually kept it up from month to month! As a plus, this made it possible to spend a little money getting family presents (or supplies for presents), which has been lacking in the past.

I was also a lot better at keeping up with working out this year, however, the end on 2016 saw a bit of a drop off – we’ll get back to it in 2017.

But onto a few things I’d like to do better:

1. Communicate better overall – As I said, expressing myself in person is up ten fold but otherwise I kind of suck. I always forget to call in and check up on people both near and far, especially those who have been in my life the longest. This is problematic both job wise and with friends, so I need to work on stepping up my game here.

2. Full time employment – While I did knuckle down and work through CVs and getting my resume out there throughout 2016, I need to step this up next year. I’ve met a few people through this trip and have gotten advice on where to go from here so as the new comes around, so will my next rounds of work applications.

3. Proactive – While this could generally mean being proactive in my life, I am actually talking about the skin care line. I ended up giving in and restarting this ache fighting brand right before Christmas. I’ve been really good about keeping up with my normal routines so I figure that I shouldn’t be intimidated by a three step cleaning process anymore.

As I said, keeping it simple, short, and trying to stay positive.

  • Taylor Gallagher
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Hot Chocolate Pour over.

My early winter/holiday snack of choice.

If you know what a classic pour over is, you can more or less understand what I am going for here. A pour over is ice cream with hot coffee poured over it – you don’t need any cream of sugar because the ice-cream does it all for you and, for an added bit of fun, I know many who spike this with alcohol of their choice (my family leans toward the cinnamon infused Fireball Whisky).

Recently, my mom bought a lite ice-cream brand (Arctic Zero) – lite in flavor and calories – to see what we all thought. While the flavors were hit or miss, I liked the vanilla-maple – it was light but well melded. And with a wonderful,  rich hot chocolate involved in the pour over – perfect.

I can be pretty sensitive to hot drinks – my mouth always needs a break after soup! – so this pour over is amazing because you can drink your hot rich hot chocolate at it cools and the ice cream melts, adding to the creaminess especially if your hot chocolate is water-based. If your proportions are right, the drink should still warm you up plenty.

I like the liter ice cream in this mix because the dessert isn’t overly rich – where you think you’ll go into a sugar crash.

Oh, and for you adult-drinkers, you can add that extra shot of alcohol to make your drink game even stronger. So drink well, drink safe, and happy holidays, all!

  • Taylor Gallagher

 

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Is it break yet?

This is all you will here from two groups in the next days/weeks: students and teachers. This get super compounded as our class sizes drop because of early vacationers and the oddly strong illnesses floating around.  It’s knocked out teacher after teacher, half our eighth grade class, and has now followed me home through my father.

While I’m all about washing hands, exercising, and green tea all day long to keep you immune system working at full capacity, I’m adding one more thing to my list of feel better/get better list: take a bath.

Always watch the temperature (the true hardest part of bath time – it may start off too hot but then it can go temped long before you are ready!), but getting a good steam in the room will help pull up all the phlegminess out as well as relax any tenderness in your muscles.

Throw in a bath bomb, some natural oil, ginger, salt, teabags, or whatever bit of happiness to suit your needs, help you feel good, and just soak for as long as you can manage it. Catch up on reading, turn on your favorite music, close your eyes for an hour, you really are without many limits – just beware those electronics!

Plus, as a added bonus, If it’s cold a warm bath is a beautiful thing. Personally, I seem to have a natural issue heating myself through regularly generated body heat – my hands are always Ice cubes. However, after a hot bath or shower, my body seems to hold onto the heat for a really long time, especially if I head straight for my warm blankets!

So as the cold season – both illness and weather – comes rolling in, indulge and bring on the bath time and the many ways to enjoy it!

  • Taylor Gallagher
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New Skill: Embroidery

After my most recent SCA event, one of my friends explained that there is a specific pattern of picking up skills that generally happen when you are a member of this group: your first year you develop three skills; every year after the first, you add another new skill to your arsenal.

Well, next month marks the end of my first year as part of the SCA (not as an official, card-holding member, but a member non-the-less) and thus far, my skills are minimal.

While I do photography in and out of the SCA, as I begin to post more pictures, we agreed that that can be my first skill. Basically, there are members who have been awarded honors for photographing and videotaping events in the past, so even though these are not period accurate skills, they count as part of our anachronisms.

But now that we are heading into Yule – and therefore, the ‘nicer’ events – I’ve begun something brand new: embroidery.

15401452_10154775029042630_114734399_nFor my first attempts, I kept  things pretty simple despite the Gallagher need to jump in with both feet. I wanted to go straight into knots and color changes, and, while I think I cold have done this passably well, I decided to keep things festive but simple. For my under tunic, I built a color design using two knot styles (two chain stitches surrounding running stitches a looped contrasting color) that gave enough contrast, depth, and visual interest that they could pull the outfit together while letting it stand out from every other outfit I’ve worn this year.

I was a bit more creative and daring with my sister’s collar. I had gotten very good (and fast) at a basic chain stitch so I felt confident that I could do more than simply follow the collar-line in a contrasting color.

15416897_10154775029012630_1655197169_nAdding the basic points and loops was a lot of fun and by measuring out where changes in shape would occur, I was able to have my stitches shape follow the pattern so that each side stayed symmetrical. The collar stitches move in the opposite direction of the ‘leaves’ and the intersecting circles at the bottom of the pattern are threaded so that each side is sown lower than the middle despite moving from left to right. Each of these tricks are easy enough. It’s all about moving and redirecting your strings to create a better flow, while layering circles is all about where you choose to land a stitch – over your previous stitches or under them.

So yep, that is two skills with a month left to go. However, seeing as I’m working on social skills, maybe I can chalk it up to a third! If you are interested in embroidery, or really SCA in general, I have a few pins up for you to look at and can answer any questions below!

  • Taylor Gallagher

 

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