Month: February 2014

Review & comparison: Everlane U-neck in white. A long post.

This is not a sponsored post, but I have used affiliate links.

Warning, like I said, long post ahead. As in my internet/wordpress freezes once every three letters I type until my browser finally crashed… seems to be doing a bit better. Post is heavy in content and especially pictures. FYI- All my photos are taken with my iPhone 4S camera; I just forgot to properly caption them all in PS.

I know many people on the internet have covered Everlane and their business model/idea. But I really wanted to do my own post about the company and the shirt I bought a few months ago that I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I do.

For those who don’t know/haven’t heard about Everlane, they are a company all about “radical transparency.” They’re all about finding factories to produce designer-quality goods and sell them at non-designer prices (not as marked up as designer goods). On their About page, they state, “We believe customers have the right to know what their products cost to make. At Everlane we reveal our true costs, and then we show you our markup.” However, I can’t actually find a page where they explicitly state how much it costs to make items and how much they mark it up. I think they recently changed their website because I remember seeing these costs listed months ago. They sell clothes (mainly tops) for both women and men.

If you’re curious, check out their tumblr where they make awesome graphics detailing the cost/pricing process for some of their items. They also have a cool page about their various factories that produce different products. And here’s their page (pictures galore!) that walks you through how their tees are made. I’m assuming they try to find ethically sourced labor.

Now onto the review-ish part of this post…

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Garlic chili oil

I got this recipe from a friend at school, who got it from her grandma in China. Since she doesn’t know about this blog I probably shouldn’t post the recipe – but it essentially involves deep-frying chopped garlic, shallots, and chilis in a high-smoke-point oil, and then seasoning the mixture at the end.

The thing to remember is that garlic browns quickly, so don’t cook it for that long. However, make sure it IS cooked because storing uncooked garlic in oil can potentially breed anaerobic bacteria that cause botulism (according to said friend, and Emma of A Beautiful Mess).

I ended up making a lot more of this than anticipated, even though I only used one head of garlic, one shallot, and a few chilis. And even though the concentration of chilis is relatively low in the reaction mixture (only 1/3 of the insoluble fraction), the oil is pretty spicy!

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Mushroom risotto: Another foray into the world of cooking

This evening I tried my hand at risotto, partly on a whim but mainly because I had most of the ingredients on hand. I followed this recipe from A Cup of Jo, using sliced parmesan instead of grated and rice wine instead of white. I also used 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (adorable and tender when cooked) + 1 sliced portobello mushroom (weird and square and firmer). I hadn’t planned on it, but the two textures ended up complementing each other quite well.

The risotto filled up my whole saucepan, which I believe is 2 quarts. The dish is supposed to take 20-30min to cook, but mine took forever (~1h), probably because I didn’t know at what temperature to cook the rice. I think it was usually set on medium.

Finished product:

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It was smelling kind of burnt near the end, so I didn’t let it the liquid evaporate all the way. Didn’t taste burnt though!

-Tammy

Alopecia Adventures continued

So in my last hair post, I mentioned I had been diagnosed with alopecia areata. I have a few bald patches scattered around my head but for the most part, they could be hidden. I was applying a topical steroid for two weeks before stopping because my hair suddenly started shedding in high amounts. Like I’m talking 400-500 hairs, maybe more, a day just falling off. I also had a lot of inflammation that wasn’t there before and something had changed on my scalp. The original doctor that gave me the steroid cream insisted that it was still a vitamin deficiency and that I needed to find ways to relieve me stress. While that may be true, I was in so much discomfort (so much itching and bleeding and it was spreading across my head within a week) and panic that I decided to see another doctor for a second opinion. Especially since I’m in the middle of my interview month and I really don’t want to be bald by the end of the month… although wearing wigs sounds kind of fun. But I don’t want to worry about that just yet.

I’m pretty sure my scratching caused whatever this second wave of hair loss to spread. The doctor thinks I might have two separate hair loss conditions (the areata and the mysterious itchy one). I’m hoping it’s something that can easily be cured with drugs (like a fungal or bacterial infection or something curable) because if it’s autoimmune, there are treatments but no cures. Anyway, I went and decided to do two scalp (“punch”) biopsies this morning for testing. For anyone not familiar with what biopsies are, it’s a procedure where the doctor basically takes a small skin sample from the affected area. This is my second time getting a skin biopsy but the first time from my scalp. The scalp apparently bleeds a lot so I got two numbing injections that also served to constrict my blood vessels to minimize the bleeding. The anesthetic didn’t really hurt. Just very minor sharpness for a second and discomfort for another few seconds. My doctor talked to me throughout the procedure to distract me since I had mentioned I hate needles and blood. The biopsy was painless… Just very minor pressure (the “punch” part) but I had to get stitches. My first time too! I could feel some poking around but nothing hurt. The anesthetic is wearing off a little so one of my biopsied areas is feeling a little sore but not enough to warrant medication. If you’ve ever gotten your earlobes pierced, it’s a bit of similar (and less) throbbing and nothing major.

Results are coming back in 7-10 days and hopefully I’ll finally get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, I’ve successfully survived my first interview weekend at University of Chicago (wonderful city and school and kind of loved it) and am preparing for Michigan this weekend. Fun times.

-amy