Project Runway “We’re sleeping where?”

Apologies for getting this out a week late on account of travel, but here we go.

The episode opens with the hilarious surprise they get to sleep on the top of the Empire State Building, and while that’s probably fun for a boy scout troop, if you’ve ever been up there, you know it’s windy as fuck and couldn’t have been relaxing or comfortable for the designers.

I still love this season’s cast for their diverse talent, but the editors of the show are the same editors using the same tricks to try and coax storylines out of everything. This episode seemed to focus on Kenya and her difficulty with the challenge, which was surprising since she’d knocked all the previous ones out of the park.

But here’s the thing, you go on a show, and they don’t film once a week, they’re much more intense, where they’re filming an entire season in the span of a few weeks, so you just go go go. Kenya is a kickass designer, but through the whole season, they’ll be asked to make a dozen or more looks in a very short time and no one on earth is going to be perfect every time. Even the greatest genius is going to punt on a challenge once in a while as their creative energy ebbs and flows.

The Runway


Shawn’s look was terrific. As much as I hate the way the editors put so much of the hijinks from the twins into episodes this season, I’m starting to realize I really like Shawn’s work and it’s on a higher level than her sister Claire. This looks fantastic, sophisticated, and sexy without being revealing. Plus a great print on top. It’s one of my favorites.


Samantha’s look was ok. Great colors and blocking, but overall a boring sillouhette.


I liked the Chrysler Building reference in Michael’s look, as well as the color and the interesting straps on top. Nice work.

pr16-ep4-ma-finalMargarita’s look is pretty boring. A nice ombré dyed fabric, but the rest of it looks downright ordinary, like anything you’d buy in a lingere section of JC Penny.


Kentaro’s look was probably my absolute favorite. Beautiful colors and print, fits here well and looked great.


Kenya’s look was a mess, and she knew it, but the editors made sure it looked like she barely squeaked by.


Deyonté’s look is a trainwreck. The top is cut terribly and doesn’t show off any of the model’s figure. The waistband looks weird and bulky and cuts her in a weird way, and when untucked, the outfit kind of screams that someone is wearing a baggy shirt and dress and doesn’t give af about anything.


Ugh, Claire’s look feels unfinished and unrefined. I’d put this in the bottom three.


Brandon’s look was ok, kind of in his wheelhouse in terms of style, fit, and color, but not really any sort of custom print going on either. It’s less provocative sleepwear and more like street wear.


I really liked Batani’s look. It moved really well on the runway and the top looked fresh and sexy. I hoped this would be a top three look, even though the print was a tad sloppy.


Ayana’s look was ok, but nothing really stood out. Impressive to get three pieces out in the short amount of time, but otherwise kind of blah.


Amy’s print here is interesting but the silhouette is kind of abysmal. Her model looks wrapped in a bedsheet.


Aaron’s look was boring, from the color to the cut, to the way it looked on the runway. About the only cool thing was the print, but it made the fabric heavy and unwieldy.


Not much to disagree with this week. I would have given the win to Kentaro, but I liked Micahel’s winning look as well. Deyonté was definitely one of the bottom looks and he’s faltered in earlier challenges so overall, I was happy with the results.

Project Runway: A Leap of Innovation

A surprisingly great runway this week. Some looks appeared to be a bit hasty and pinned together, but otherwise a good show.



Kenya continues to absolutely kill it. She does unbelievably good work in a single day challenge. Even through TV, you can tell things are impeccably constructed. Hope she’s in the running for the win this week.


Brandon loved his look, and I liked the back and how it looked when still. The sleeves had an almost Hamilton the Musical quality, but that weird open front while his model walked left the overall look feeling kind of meh for me.


Michael’s look was a tad shiny but looked well done considering satin can amplify sloppy sewing.


Margarita’s dress was a great concept, to update a classic Latin dance dress, but the top didn’t look flattering on her model and overall it might be a bit too simple for the judges.


Deyonté’s look was a boring dress done poorly. I know he’ll be on the bottom and I wonder if he’s going home for it.


Amy continues to put out incredible work that approaches actual engineering. So much structure and clever ideas, it’ll be a ripoff if she’s not in the top three.


Kudzanai’s dress is an awesome concept. I love the colors and feathers remind me of New Orleans parade dresses but he needed more time to do it right. He’ll be on the bottom three for it.


I hated Claire’s work this week. It looks like a mess, terrible silhouette, hope she’s on the bottom.


Ayana’s dress is pretty forgettable. Not much to write home about. Maybe “reach for the stars” by painting stars on fabric was taking things way too literally?


As much as I hate the show’s producers love of The Twins, I actually loved Shawn’s outfit this week. It looks “dancey” but also stylish as hell and I could see the look being worn on stage.


Aaron’s piece was just plain weird. I like his concept to exaggerate aspects of the look where movement occurs, but his model didn’t strike a pose to show that aspect off. So it’s just weird.


Batani’s cape dress had some incredible color, but I really wished I could see the wings in motion as the model walked, instead of just as a static pose.


Kentaro’s top is cool but the bottom is a mess. How can someone mess up booty shorts on a beautiful model? The contrast between the top and bottom looks like he ran out of time and this could be going home material.


Samantha’s dress was incredible. Sure, she kind of made something she’d wear herself and it looks similar to her earlier work, but it definitely works for this challenge. It’s a great tough dress that can move and I can’t believe she did it in one day. Could be my absolute favorite.


Damn. My top-3 would be Kenya, Amy, and Samantha, and they were all just safe. That said, the judges’ choices were understandable and I mostly agreed with their top and bottom three picks.

I can see why Brandon won, though I hope he can find something to love every week of the competition. He hit this one out of the park because he connected with his model and the challenge and could do something in his wheelhouse. In the past, he’s struggled with other challenges.

Kentaro was lucky to not be in the bottom two. WOW, I can’t believe they cut Kudzanai over Deyonté, I guess Deyonté got to stay because of his early success. I wanted to see Kudzanai stick around to flex his muscles on other challenges, oh well.



Project Runway “Unconventional Recycling”


The second episode of the season had a lot going on. An unconventional materials challenge. A team challenge. A 5-piece collection in one day. I suppose the show runners wanted chaos because it seems like a good recipe for it in this episode.

Overall, the thing that set apart any designer was being able to craft literal recycling garbage into what appeared to be good materials. For less successful designs, those designers struggled to get a good silhouette. It was certainly difficult material to work with, but it made their models look boxy or clunky, or that they were wearing garbage.

Sidenote: I’m getting tired of designers saying that making clothes for curvy models is a challenge. If you design clothes for sale, you should be able to design for regular people. The standard NYC model isn’t a regular woman, so I don’t know how these new designers are expecting to make a living after the show is over if they can only sell clothes for six foot tall women that weigh 100lbs.


The Wabi-Sabi team collection overall had a lot of cohesion, and some of the looks were outstanding, as a couple dresses really did look as if they were transformed into leather, but a couple of the pieces still looked boxy and like plastic garbage being worn. Their looks also generally had too much embellishment, just to make them look more similar but it negated from the outfits themselves.

The Tsunami collection had less cohesion but the story was much the same. A couple good looks while the rest seemed boring or uninspired. A couple looks still appeared to be garbage bags on models.

Ballin’ on a Budget had a crazy good collection that stood out. Great colors, good fit on everyone, and cohesive, shared elements in all. I loved something about every piece, but especially Kenya’s newspaper dress, Brandon’s checker print outfit, and Ayana’s dress that looked great in motion.



Yay! They picked the right winning team.

It was a toss-up for the losing team, but I can’t disagree much with Tsunami being there, given most of their looks still looked like garbage bags.

Ayana won, and her look was amazing in motion since it had so much movement with the fringe, but at rest, the front of the garment was boring and hodge-podge looking. I loved the bottle cap back though, it was super clever. Honestly, I would have picked Batani’s outfit for the win because it looked good in motion as well as when standing. The neck piece alone was terrific, but every other aspect of it stood out as well. It was remarkable she threw away her original design and still pulled out that gem.

I disliked several of Tsunami’s looks, and I thought they had the right people at the bottom. Sentell’s look was the least transformed of any other looks, so I fully agreed on this call. It looked sloppy, and it looked like plastic. It had no structure and no silhouette. Shawn’s look was bad, but at least it was shaped to her model’s body.

That said, I’m not looking forward to more Shawn drama because she was in the bottom twice and she’ll need to overcome another crisis of confidence on the next episode.


How to save $1,000-3,000 on any new car purchase

The Google Maps mobile app on iOS/Android has really improved in the last year or two, especially since Google acquired Waze, the crowd-sourced accident/traffic data company. Several times I’ve been using Google Maps to navigate to a spot an hour away only to have my route changed due to traffic and in at least one instance, I saw a small detour for a recent car accident save me easily 30 minutes of traffic time.

The level of detail in ever-improving maps plus the networked information about real-time accidents and traffic is something no car-based GPS navigation can come close to. If you’re car shopping, skip the navigation options entirely since the phone you already have in your pocket is more capable than anything being sold in a car today.

Barley is the bomb

I haven’t been blogging here nearly as much as I wish, but a few months ago one of the developers of Barley sent me a copy of their plugin, and I’ve been using it since then and I have to say it’s pretty incredible. It greatly reduces the friction of having to go to your WP admin area, find the link to make a new post, then fill out the forms (which totally sounds like work and not play) to make a post. Instead, you just hit a button to make a new post, then start typing in your blog, in your browser. It’s like Medium’s editor in that way, but on your own blog and it’s kind of amazing.

I’m finding I rarely blog on my own site here, but I’m writing more than ever, it’s just that short thoughts end up on Twitter, longer things end up on Medium, photos I take end up on Exposure or Instagram. Thanks to all these wonderful easy-to-use tools, I have a harder time coming up with an idea and having “oh, I should put that up on my blog” be the result of the thought, so I blog very rarely these days here. But do give Barley a shot, it’s pretty impressive stuff, worth the cost, and will make your blogging life much easier.