Design + Science = Descience!

Last week I went to MIT and met with Yuly Fuentes-Medel, founder of the Descience Project.  (She saw me give my TEDxCambridge talk and wanted to meet me!) Yuly gave me a tour of MIT’s world famous Media Lab, where I got to see 3-D printers and brushes that after touching any material would paint their patterns on computer screens.  My favorite was a dress that someone had created straight our of a formula.

But, I was there to see Fashion Descience, a project which combines fashion and research to inspire innovation among designers.  The Descience process is made out of four steps: Inspiration, connection, collaboration, and a runway show. Through these steps a scientist will create a profile and then the designers will “shop” for inspiration, collaborating along the way, and finally creating something beautiful from the scientist’s research.

The looks will be modeled on the runway on September 19th.  Make sure you visit their site and vote for your favorite team.  The team with the most votes will be named “Peoples Choice” and win $500.  I also encourage you to donate and get involved and even attend so that we can make it a fantastic night.

The Preppiest Store on the World

murrays3_grandeRight as you walk into Murray’s, you know it is the preppiest store in the world. It is one of the first stores that I’ve seen that has a lot of fancy kids clothing, which is great because at most stores all the kids clothing is just tee shirts and sweatpants and possibly some collared shirts, and they are usually too precious, with lots of babyish designs. But not at Murray’s. Their whole second floor is devoted to preppy kids clothing, including child sized versions of their famous Nantucket Reds. I couldn’t leave without some Nantucket Red Shorts!

A Scoop of Glamour

Sneak Peek!
Sneak Peek!

While on a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts with Pamela Parmal and Michelle Finamore (who work in the department of fashion and textile arts) and Claudia Iannuccilli (of the conservation lab) I learned that a new exhibit called Hollywood Glamour would open on September 10. I got to see some of the outfits being conserved and the floor plans and exhibit space under construction. I can’t wait for this exhibit to open.

Here’s why: when you first step into the room, you will be momentarily blinded by the gold and silver paint and silks and sparkles! But when your vision returns, you will see all glitz and glamour Hollywood had in the 1920s and 1930s. With a grand sweeping staircase on which mannequins display the dresses, all of which have met the bar, being either beaded, shimmery, sparkly, or all of the above. On the other side of the room, there will be jewelry cases and descriptions of the fashions. All of this is filling the glass to the brim.

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But then, adding the screen playing clips of old Hollywood movies, and big prints of film icons puts the glass over the top (in a good way)!

Here’s a fun fact: These dresses that will be displayed were created custom for the actress who would wear them, and these actresses were short. So, in the lab where they are conserving the dresses, you see pieces of traditional sized mannequins scattered on the floor in an effort to make them shorter. For some of them, like Mae West — I learned the word curvaceous — they had to add pads!

I’m CRAVING Korean Chicken!

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Last night I went to Crave-Mad for Chicken and we ordered some mad (soy garlic) and angry (spicy garlic) chicken. We stayed away from the furious (extra spicy garlic) because the angry was spicy enough. Our waitress was Sasha, who knew all the good things on the menu, so while thinking about what to order, we asked ourselves “WWSO?” (What Would Sasha Order? because “SKO!” Sasha Knows Best!)

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Mad for Chicken is Korean chicken, double-fried and extra seasoned. They also have a wide variety of sushi, all named after characters on TV shows that I am too young to watch, like House of Cards (the Underwood), Scandal (B-6-13), Game of Thrones (Kingslayer), and Breaking Bad (S’All Goodman). My favorite roll, and Sasha’s too, was Crave is the New Black, which had salmon, cucumber, tempura flakes, topped with orange and black tobiko. It was served with a nest of radish and flowers wrapped around a glowing cube, for a fun effect.

The restaurant only opens a weeks ago — I like to be on the cutting edge — and I’m told that they will debut their fuller, newer, yummier menu next week which looks from their website to promise tuna candy pops, spicy octopus noodles, and seafood pancakes. Mmmm, it’s going to be so good.

TOBYxCambridge!

Today my TEDxCambridge talk went live online! Image Many people helped me in the preparation for this talk, most importantly Tamsen Snyder Webster, the executive producer of TEDxCambridge.  She took me (and the other speakers) through a series of phases of preparation, including forming my pyramid, developing my transition chart, and then, finally, finding a beginning and ending. ImageThe dress rehearsal was the day before.  It felt really weird having a mouth microphone attached to my face.  It made my ear itchy.  All of the speakers practiced their full talks, and Tamsen gave us tips on how to do it better.  I was able to incorporate these tips into my last practice presentation the next day, just before the big show. Image Lastly, I’d also like to thank my mom for helping me and coaching me through all of this, and helping me remember all my lines, and helping me with my slides, and especially when I was discouraged.  And, I’d like to thank the other speakers, too.  One of them, Max Tegmark, saw that I was very nervous before I was supposed to go on stage.  But, Max took me, and the other speakers, through a 20-second meditation that did the trick.  I am also grateful to Hamid Ghanadan, who made sure I remembered to hit the men’s room before being up in lights, and Tom Asacker, who was keeping the mood light by doing magic tricks backstage.  You should really check out their talks, plus Sebastien Christian, Christopher Ahlberg, and Maggie Campbell, who also gave compelling and inspiring talks. This was an incredible opportunity to be able to talk to the other speakers and listen to their ideas.  I hope you’ll check them out!

Double Secret Delicious

Last night I went to Alden & Harlow, in Harvard Square. The type of food they serve varies from secret burgers to poached quails eggs on grilled asparagus to squid salad to bone marrow. The vibe is hipster chic with gorgeous woodwork which looks to be reclaimed materials. One of the coolest things to see in the restaurant are the shelves that hold their pickling jars; the amuse bouche for the table was a plate of pickled green beans. Yum!

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A note on bone marrow: this is a new discovery for me. Let me try to pull the flavor back into my mind to write this. It is a little of everything. It is sweet and savory and lip smackingly rich. It was a new revolution for Tobykind.

The menu always has a secret burger but tonight there was a secret burger and a double secret burger. We got the double secret burger which had, drum roll please, chips and three onion dip and a gruyere crisp actually on the burger. Mind blown! We got one as a communal dish for the table and feasted on the homemade potato chips until the New York strip arrived.

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I also appreciate that the chef sent me a special dish to try: his corn pancakes with popcorn and syrup. My brother loved these and thought they were scrumptious. And so I. Those pancakes were better than most diner pancakes, and I like diner pancakes.

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All in all, this meal is not one I will forget soon. I recommend you go and always share the love, aka food!

My First Collection

All year, I have been working on different fashions and recently, at the Upper Elementary Showcase of art, woodworking, and just regular classwork, I showed my four dresses.

The first one I called “Into the Air.”  It is a model holding a human-sized balloon, which is bigger than the doll’s body, wearing a red tasseled skirt with a blue and white halter top with red accents and a rather long peplum cut in the back.

The second one I called “Spring Masquerade,” which is a flowered pink gown with a scoop neck and a large pink tissue paper bow hat and a small lace veil.  The skirt was a cascade of layers.

The third one I called “Princess of the Isles,” not princess of the supermarket aisles, or I’d have to make her a grocery cart!  The top and the pencil skirt are made out of blue stretching fabric.  I put a pink star in the middle of the cut-out top, and made a golden wire tiara that had a matching star on it (before it fell off).

The fourth one I called “A Winter’s Day.”  It was a fleece sleeveless gown with a attaching crimped hat and muff, and a peekaboo salmon skirt underneath.  You can’t see it in this picture, because it’s peekalicious.  This one was by far my favorite.

collectionWhile making these all year in art class, I discovered the ups and owns of making doll dresses.  Sometimes it’s easy and you just play with whatever shape of fabric you have, like Princess of the Isles, and sometimes you have to change things.  For example, you won’t believe this, but what is not the top of Into the Air used to be the skirt, and the skirt used to be a little shawl!

What I’m really interested in learning, though, is how designers go from this stage of the process, to getting their actually real size person dresses purchased from stores.  When I grow up and after I go to fashion design school, that’s what I want to do.