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This week’s challenge was pretty straightforward, but one of the things I love about challenges like this one is that the designers really have no one but themselves to blame if they blow it. It’s their own inspiration, they make all the choices. They have to execute their own design. In theory, you should get a better sense of the designers from challenges like this.

  • Blayne- this dude has some serious taste issues. I still can’t figure out how this hideous rainbow monstrosity wasn’t in the bottom 3.
  • Daniel – I liked this dress, but it didn’t wow me. I’m still not wild about assymetrical designs, and this one didn’t really sway me. I liked the fabric better when I saw it on the runway than I do looking at photos – it looks a little too shiny and verging on cheap in the photos.
  • Emily – I don’t care how much you liked your dress, Emily, it was hideous. No woman in her right mind would go out of the house in that. Ugly and unflattering.
  • Jennifer – maybe I have pregnancy on the brain right now, but something about the proportions of Jennifer’s dress made me think maternity. And the hemming was awful.
  • Jerell – here’s a more successful Carmen Miranda interpretation – tone down the color and it doesn’t look so costumey. However, this is really more of a red carpet dress than a night on the town dress. Who wears a train to a club? Disaster.
  • Joe – yawn. A little too literal in the interpretation of his photo, and the dress is just boring – not even dramatic enough to draw a big negative.
  • Keith – I think this dress was too shapeless, and I don’t think the colors did him any favors. I would have put Blayne in the bottom 3 over Keith, though.
  • Kelli – definitely not my taste. This outfit struck me as the type of thing Stella should be trying to do, but I think Kelli can do better. Just too much happening in that top.
  • Kenley – I wouldn’t have picked this for the win. I think she executed her design really well, although I don’t think it had anything to do with the photo she chose. I didn’t care for the print at all and the colors were too Miami for my taste.
  • Korto – I liked this outfit and I think it’s really wearable, but it doesn’t show much in the way of imagination.
  • Leanne – I really, really liked this. The skirt was gorgeous, and I thought she balanced it nicely with the top, although it might have been more interesting to see the top in a different color. Huge improvement over last week.
  • Stella – I think her design perspective is just SOOOOO narrow – I really don’t care if I ever see another garment by Stella. Prove you can do something else or get off the show.
  • Suede – Eh. It’s a shirtdress. Looked like it had some fit issues, too.
  • Terri – I loved the style of this garment. I didn’t love the fabric she chose, and the cuffs are a little weird. If she had chosen a different print, it would have worked a lot better (at least for my taste). Still, Terri is definitely on my list of designers to watch.

Last night my friend Julie and I went to see Yaz at the Pacific Amphitheater – part of the Orange County Fair lineup. What a great show!  Allison Moyet and Vince Clarke put on a really fantastic performance. Allison’s voice is still amazing after all these years. She seemed like she was having a great time, and the audience definitely was – we were all dancing our asses off. That’s the most exercise I’ve gotten since I’ve been pregnant! I’ve been dragging my butt all week because I’ve been so tired, and it about killed me to get up this morning and get to work by 8, but it was totally worth it. It was the last show on their reunion tour, and who knows if they will ever tour together again? I’m so glad I didn’t pass it up. It ended up being one giant party – most fun I’ve had in months.

I was surprised how much I liked this challenge. I mean, cocktail dress – yawn. Green fabrics – big deal. There’s nothing inherently difficult about either of those. Letting the models do the shopping, though – awesome! Seriously, no matter how much you know about clothes, unless you sew yourself you don’t know jack about how much yardage it takes to construct a garment. When they showed the models shopping and I kept hearing them ask for 2 yards, I was cringing. Even for skinny models, 2 yards is barely enough fabric to cover them decently, and that’s with a REALLY basic design. Natalie Portman was a fun guest judge – I don’t know how knowledgeable she is, but I’ve always liked her style.

  • Blayne: definitely a step up from last week’s debacle, but I didn’t care for this dress. The black panel made it look like he was going for a sporty look, but it just felt off balance to me.
  • Daniel: I liked the silhouette, but it didn’t look very well constructed and in the end it was just a cute black dress. Nothing to write home about.
  • Emily: Wow, that dress was short! The whole proportion of this dress was wrong for the model – it looked to me like she was wearing a dress made for a much shorter woman.
  • Jerell: I thought this dress looked pretty trashy. Definitely lacking something in the taste department.
  • Jennifer: I actually liked this dress a lot, but not for this challenge. It’s not a cocktail dress. It has a more casual, daytime feel.
  • Joe: boring silhouette, and not enough detail to make it more interesting. I thought it looked a little cheap.
  • Keith: another really short dress (in front, anyway). I didn’t care for the thickness of the skirt – it wasn’t flattering. But I think the overall look was a little more interesting than several of the other dresses.
  • Kelli: I didn’t care for this one. The two fabrics didn’t work together at all – it looked like something made out of a scrap bag.
  • Kenley: very simple design, but the collar was a nice touch and it was well-executed. A commercial, wearable design.
  • Korto: big mis-step here. I think the external darts were an interesting idea taken way too far, and the proportions of the dress were really unflattering to the model. And it was too tight.
  • Leanne: she definitely needed to edit this – too many things going on, and the top and bottom of the dress didn’t work together. It could have been cute, but she overdid it.
  • Stella: I have to disagree with the judges on this one. I don’t care for the asymmetrical look, and the fabric really washed out the model. It wasn’t the worst out there, but I didn’t think it deserved top 3 by any stretch.
  • Suede: God help me, I really liked Suede’s dress. When they showed it in the workroom, I thought it was going to be more punk, with rough edges. But it turned out to be more refined, while still being fun and interesting and youthful. As much as I hate to say it, I agree with the win on this one.
  • Terri: This was another dress I liked a lot, although with the darker fabric it was harder to see some of the detail. It wasn’t terribly exciting, but a very wearable dress.
  • Wesley: he blew it. Granted, he had very little to work with. But the design was poor and the construction was really poor. After seeing his work last week I know he’s capable of much better. As much as I hated to see him go, I can’t disagree with this decision.

This was a tough week, because I thought all three of the bottom three have some potential and I’d like to see more of them. I didn’t really want any of them to go home. But that’s the nature of the beast – no matter how talented you are, one flub at the wrong time will do you in. C’est la Runway!

Frustrated by a product or service? Want to get results? A few tips:

  • Be courteous. You may be angry, and you may have very good reason to be angry. But venting your spleen by name-calling or other varieties of rudeness will not help you. It may give temporary relief to your feelings, but it does nothing to resolve the problem, and will probably make the person you are contacting less willing to help you.
  • Be specific. “This site sucks” is not useful feedback. “It was better the old way” is not useful feedback. If you can address a specific issue, you may find that it is resolvable and *gasp* you may actually get results. I’ve responded to a lot of customer service calls and emails, and I can tell you that the customers who provide specific information about their complaints are a lot happier at the end of the transaction than those who don’t. And guess what? The more time I have to spend trying to get specific information from you, the less time I am working on solving your problem.
  • Don’t get caught up in conspiracy theories. Whatever the issue you’re having, the company/site designer/store/etc. did not create the problem specifically to torment you. Really. I promise. Believe it or not, I have a vested interest in making our customers’ experience as successful and as trouble-free as possible. I take the majority of customer complaints very seriously. But if you accuse me of intentionally making your life more difficult for my own nefarious purposes, you will be written off as a crack-pot and will get exactly nowhere.

I’ve had my share of frustrating tech support experiences. I know that there are incompetent, unhelpful people out there. But the bulk of us are really trying to do a good job and solve problems as quickly as possible. Do us a favor, and don’t make it any harder than it already is.

This is too awesome; a must-see. Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day. And it’s a musical. Beyond that, I’m not even going to describe it. Just go. Watch. Now.

Woohoo! Runway is back! I feel like the Runway gods changed the time slot to 9:00 just for me. Staying up to 11:00 these days just isn’t happening.

So, on to the show. Challenge – eh. I’d prefer something new, but I’d rather revisit interesting challenges from the past than have a crappy new challenge. Still, I don’t care too much for the challenges with wacky materials because I don’t think they show the designers’ abilities in real-world situations. I know the list of challenges for the whole season has been posted online, but I am avoiding the spoilers because I like the surprise each episode.

I know that Tim made a big deal about so many people using tablecloths, but that didn’t really backfire on anyone. Still, it was disappointing to see so many people take a safe and easy route.

  • Kenley: not a bad dress – hard to tell how well it moved. Looked like the top could have been fitted better.
  • Terri: boring skirt, which detracted from the creative use of material on the top. The design didn’t bowl me over, but I thought she did a nice job of using an unconventional material to make something wearable.
  • Suede: terrible name AND refers to himself in the 3rd person – 2 strikes. Strike 3 is that ugly, tacky, cheap-ass dress. Hope you go home early, Suede.
  • Emily: I thought the embellishment looked like an Easter basket, but the overall look wasn’t too bad.
  • Leanne: for a tablecloth dress, it was pretty stiff and seemed bulky – adding all that candy made it harder to wear and move in.
  • Jennifer: I just thought this was boring. It looked like it was well-executed, but it needed some color or something to make it stand out.
  • Jerell: this dress just looked like a costume to me – not as over-the-top as some of the things from seasons past, but really something you’d see in a dance recital.
  • Keith: nothing innovative here. He took the easy route. He can certainly construct a garment, but I hope to see more creativity.
  • Wesley: I think some of the detail in this dress gets lost because it’s all one color. Nothing really exciting here, but some nice use of materials in the detailing.
  • Joe: I really didn’t like this – he stretched a little in his use of materials, but it reminded me of a cheap and tacky theme restaurant.
  • Korto: my favorite of all the tablecloths. She constructed and styled the garment really nicely. Clothes made out of real food gross me out, but I liked her use of color a lot.
  • Daniel: great use of materials, boring style. He has potential, though.
  • Blayne: oh, lord, the hideousness! Yes, it was more creative than a lot of the other garments, but he didn’t pull it off. I hope we don’t have another Vincent on our hands. Being kooky isn’t enough.
  • Jerry: I hated this outfit, although I suspect he would have had better luck if he had used more colorful materials. As it was, it looked like a hazmat suit gone wrong, and he didn’t help himself styling it with rubber gloves.
  • Kelli: although I didn’t love the coffee filter bust, I really liked this garment overall. Very nice use of materials – loved the way she made the skirt fabric. Reminded me of Jeffrey’s trompe l’oeil newspaper dress from Season 3.
  • Stella: I probably would have sent her home over Jerry – I thought his design was more innovative, even though it was a failure. She lacked creativity in both her design and her choice of materials, and the dress looked like she threw it together in 5 minutes. Totally amateur.

All in all I think there are a few interesting people to watch, but I really hope they get some good challenges that allow them to show their own perspective and not just the ability to MacGyver garments out of paper clips and chewing gum.

Just come home from the grocery store with several boxes of Cocoa Puffs. What could be simpler? Once again, my husband is my hero.

We launched our new software today at work. This is the project that has been consuming almost all my time and energy at work (and a lot of it outside of work) for the past several months. Today went pretty well. We had to put out some fires and there’s still a lot of tweaking to do, but thankfully the whole operation didn’t come crashing down around our heads, so I’m grateful. Hope to be up to posting more regularly very soon.

In the meantime, this is a note that was tacked on to an email from my sister:

this part is from Ione–she typed it herself:

i love you
i hope you have a grate time taking out your baby
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxy and z
love ione im 5

It’s been cheering me up for days.

Yeah, I know I’ve been slacking. Too bad. I’m pregnant and tired and I’ll write when I have energy. In the meantime, here are my latest ultrasound pics. The bottom two are face shots – you can see the baby’s little skull. Kind-of macabre, but very cool, eh? That’s my little baby Skeletor.Behold, baby Skeletor.