Monday, June 29, 2009

The Name Game

I've always been fascinated with names and how they translate into other languages. I loved the name Kasia after I learned it was interchangeable for my first name in Polish (although I originally found this translation in a dusty, old Swedish book from our attic, so perhaps it is applicable in more than one country). I even love made up languages. Visit this site and learn how to write your name in Elvish in ten minutes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Fashion: Kitchen Decor Galore!

Please understand that I don’t enjoy being around people who intentionally brag about what they own. Having said that, I beg you to allow me to be completely hypocritical and show you what I received for an (early) second anniversary gift.

Isn’t she beautiful? I named her Sheila. She’s a svelte 5-quart KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. I have coveted her for a long time now, and she is finally here, gracing me with her onyx black presence.

I’m sure you must be thinking, “What a sexist gift! A husband giving his wife a stand mixer, a mere kitchen utensil, for a wedding anniversary? Why didn’t he just buy her a vacuum cleaner and an ironing board?”

Well, because that’s what I got for my first anniversary.

(Just kidding. I didn’t get anything for my first anniversary.*)

People, I have no shame. I don’t care if I’m setting women’s suffrage back 100 years. I’ll gladly don my apron and pearl necklace and high heels, waiting by the front door with a cocktail when my husband gets home from work, just to have Sheila in my kitchen. I love her. She is a piece of elegant machinery, to be used and buffed and passed down from one generation to the next.

In honor of my newest love, today’s Friday Fashion will be a little kitchen-centric.

Speaking of that apron...

Please. Please don't judge me. This is frickin' frackin' adorable. And the pockets make it totally utilitarian, right? I would prance around the kitchen in this Bib Audrey Pink Poppy Fields Apron from Jessie Steele for $32.95. PRANCE, I TELL YOU.

Uhm. And there's even matching Pink Poppy Fields Oven-Mitts for $11.95. STOP JUDGING ME.

What kitchen is complete without salt and pepper shakers? These Whale Salt And Pepper Shakers from Jonathan Adler at $48.00 are cuter than two kittens in a boot. If whale's aren't cute enough for you, he also has penguins, fish and cats, among others.

And every kitchen needs two essential safety features: a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher. I can't imagine a beautifully designed smoke alarm, but I wish the extinguisher we purchased was as cute as these by French Fire Design.

I'm not a hot tea girl (iced is my tea of preference), but I definitely think I could stomach drinking hot tea from such a sweet little pot like these Anne Kraitz LUST Tea Pots from Huset for $170.00. Just gimme a lemon wedge.

Finally, every kitchen needs a few tea towels! These Atelier LZC towels for $19-$20 are so colorful, at least one of them is sure to match your kitchen! I'm partial to the one of the far left. I've always had a soft spot for butterflies. Which one do you like?

*I didn’t get anything for my first anniversary because Husband and I made the mutual decision to put our money toward a house…that we would not end up buying for another six months. So don’t go yelling at Husband on my behalf…he’s an excellent, doting man. And what an ass!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Those Summer Nights

I don't mind the summer nights so much. It's the days that have me sweating me face off. And for those of you who know me, you know that I despise sweating. And, of course, summer also brings a profusion of bugs, an affront that I have bemoaned previously. I encountered both of these annoyances last night while push mowing (most of) our front lawn. It was my first-ever foray into push mowing, and we did not get along well. I'm used to helping mow my parents' yard (which consists of a front yard, orchard, and barn lot) that requires a minimum of two riding lawnmowers and takes about five hours. I always appreciated the adorable little townies with their push mowers and tiny, manicured plots of grass, and Husband and I toyed with the idea of purchasing an eco-friendly Reel Mower (no gas or electricity...just powered by pure human endurance and self-hatred). But now I'm having second thoughts. I will confess, we are not good homeowners. We have too much going on inside the house to worry about the outside right now. So, our yard gets neglected. Luckily, my in-laws own a fleet of lawnmowers and love putting them to use, usually tackling our long grass before we get the chance. I think they assume we're just not going to do it. And they're probably right. At least until I abandon the idea of a push mower and purchase some kind of tractor that can mow down my lawn in a single pass (trees included...because they're stupid). They make those, right?

In spite of the sweat and the humidity and the bugs and the grass, you still can't beat the Summer Lovin'.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wedding season is in full swing...

This past Saturday, Husband and I attended a beautiful wedding for a sweet and lovely couple. The ceremony was what I would like to call abbreviated Catholic, which, as every good Protestant knows, is the best kind of Catholic and was most appreciated.

The newlywed couple left the church in a horse-drawn carriage and everyone ventured just a few miles away, to the bride's parents' house, for the outdoor reception.

The weather was humid and everyone ended up sticky, for one reason or another, but the huge tent shaded us from the sun and the down-home appeal was undeniable.

Plus, we got to play with our favorite kid in the world (thanks, face-obscuring orange sippy cup for keeping the Internet creepies at bay!).

Husband donned aviators (but the tux and the boat were missing) and was reunited with some of his favorite boyfriends (keep up the good work, orange sippy cup).

And then there was dancing.

And although this is wedding three of five, I don't think I'll ever get tired of wearing this dress or being the plus one for this man.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Fashion: More home decor!

I hate to make this statement, because I'm pretty sure I'm going to jinx myself, but our home renovations are really starting to come together. I've been busy spackling and sanding all of the trim that has been re-nailed throughout the downstairs, my F-I-L and B-I-L have been putting up our beautiful blinds and only have three windows left to complete, and this weekend I think we've conned some extra help into coming over. Perhaps we will have the tile in the master bath/closet complete and our cabinets attached to the wall! Of course, as usual, we homeowners will be suspiciously absent, at least on Saturday, due to a wedding.

In the spirit of actually possibly maybe just maybe moving into our damn house, I bring you assorted, interesting wonderfulness from This site has some seriously cool home accessories! (Note: This is a UK company, so I will include the pricing in U.S. dollars as advertised).

This Nest Shoe Rack (wall-mounted for $115 and freestanding for $147) looks so sleek and still utilitarian! I would probably have to get fifteen of these puppies to hold all of my shoes, but turning my footwear into an architectural piece of artwork? Priceless.This simple Magazine Rack retails for $39.00 and would look absolutely adorable in our half bath! Let's ignore the fact that I don't subscribe to any magazines...but don't worry...Husband has that covered, but I won't tell you with what publication *winks at better half*.

These Candle Holders (thumb up and thumb down for $15.50 each) positively scream my husband's name. Should I ditch the elegant crystal candle holders I received at my bridal shower and our authentic wooden African candle holders that we purchased at a charity auction and go with these instead?
These are called "Frame Hooks," and I am assuming they are to hang coats on, but I suppose you could hang about anything here. How about a set for bathrobes or towels? For $8.00 each, they're not a bad buy and you can customize them with any picture you desire!

Finally, I am totally in love with this Wave Coat Rack for $77.50. There's even a small space at the bottom for one to store keys or sunglasses! This. Is. Cool. Me. Want. Now.

As a reminder, this Sunday is Father's Day, so go get a card for your father and grandfather right now or I will paddle your hiney! One of the many reasons I love my dad is his cinematic taste. My gifts to him this Father's Day? Clint Eastwood's Gran Tourino (I think he invented new racial slurs just for this movie!) and The Tale of Despereaux (uhm...adorable). My dad loves hard-ass characters and animated mice equally. My biggest concern? That he has already bought The Tale of Despereaux for you, Daddy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Better than breakfast...

To start your day out right, check out this list from YesButNoButYes entitled Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels. It's hi-larious. Here's my favorite:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


As of today I have been in my current position for one year. The year has slipped by quickly, and such anniversaries offer an opportunity for inner reflection. I am much more confident in my position today than I was nine, six, or even three months ago. But I am still plagued often by self-doubt. I know that I was hired because I am young and inexpensive and that there are many other people out there, perhaps also young and inexpensive, that would do a much better job. Still, I haven't run the place into the ground. I worked my way through months of backlogged projects and am now even ahead of schedule. I gained invaluable experience in my field. I clarified my plan for the future and am beginning to realize what avenue I want to drive my professional career. But I still doubt my ability.

Fittingly, today I came across an article from The Wall Street Journal entitled "Silencing the Voice That Says You're a Fraud." It is a medium-sized read that everyone could probably benefit from. It also includes a short test to determine "How Self-Critical Are You?" A score of 24 or less represents a low level, 39 is average, and a total score of 54 or more indicates a high-level of self-criticism and perfectionism. I scored 74.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I've got hoes in different area codes.

I'm not going to lie. I've been waiting to use that headline for months. And today is the day.

Since my dad has been ill and mostly bedridden throughout the late winter and early spring months, I offered to put in my parents' garden for them this year. Luckily, our pastor generously dropped by with his new tiller, so I didn't have to wrestle with my dad's contraption. The soil was all ready to go on the very dreary but warm Memorial Day when I came to stay with Dad, relieving Mom to take a shopping excursion with her sister visiting from New York. As you can see, I was not without help.

Thanks Irwin, for all of the impromptu fertilizer. I picked up some pea, bean, and corn seeds as well as some tomato and watermelon plants from a local store. This year it was agreed that a small garden would be best since my mom would mostly be the one to water and tend the plants.

Does this tool have a specific name? If it does, I don't know what it is. I've always just called it "the row hoe-er." Perhaps I should re-name it to "the back breaker."

I kept imagining the delicious, crisp crunch as I crawled down each row, sowing my seeds.

Or the juicy tartness of one of these "Big Beef" tomatoes.

My rows weren't too straight, my planting wasn't too precise, but I could have done a worse job.

Husband and I also tried our hands at cultivating our own garden in our backyard. The original owner had a lovely little garden all plotted out and tilled up, but it had slowly been overtaken by lawn. We got out Husband's parents' tiny tiller, hoed, scraped, and tilled for an hour or two one evening, and never returned. We realized that we just have too much going on inside the house to worry about the outside right now. As you can see, our efforts are already also being overtaken by lawn. We hope later this summer (once we're moved into the house) to really till up the plot and mix in some fertilizer from one of Husband's friends (err...from the friend's cows...not the friend himself...). Then, the garden will be all ready to go for next spring.

Yesterday, while visiting my parents, I helped hoe some of the weeds from their garden. The plants are coming up quickly and seem to be flourishing. Our own garden will see no such life this summer. Maybe I can con a few ears of corn out of them...


This past week we celebrated both my mother-in-law and father-in law's birthdays (Tuesday and Friday, respectively). Lately, with so many bowling pins being juggled, I easily lose track of important events like these, because I am a terrible, terrible friend/family member/human being. Husband and I put our intensely creative minds together and gave each of them the most inspired birthday presents ever: gift cards. Yeah. I promise to put much more thought into the next round of gifts once I reclaim my brain from the house renovations, which are currently holding it hostage. At least I got my pah-tootie in gear and made each of them a special birthday dessert.

M-I-L requested Red Velvet Cake, and I found a wonderful recipe here. Before:

Note the innocent white buttercream frosting that hides the intense gore that only two full ounes of red food coloring can provide. After:

When asked what birthday dessert he would like best, F-I-L simply said "surprise me...just no pumpkin pie," which made me adore him even more (because pumpkin pie=ick). So, I did what any clueless D-I-L would do; I consulted M-I-L. She told me that he loves banana pudding/banana/Nilla wafer combo desserts (no recipe...that's pretty much it...). So that's what he got.

Since my baking gears were grinding and I had some buttermilk left over from the Red Velvet Cake (seriously, who just has buttermilk laying around these days?), I visited one of my new favorite Web sites The Pioneer Woman, which has a special cooking section, and found a recipe that I've been dying to try that includes buttermilk. I know, I know. You clicked on the link and realized that the cake I'm recommending is Prune Cake. Honestly, people, trust me on this one. Your life depends on making and consuming this cake in its entirety today. I didn't take a picture because I snarfed it up too quickly. I also took a few pieces to my parents, and there's still a bit left, but I think I'll finish the rest off tonight. It's tough acting like an Emeril wannabe.

Decisions, decisions

I am in love with this Strapless Swiss-Dot Maya Dress from J. Crew. So simple, sweet, and elegant. I would totally pair this with a contrasting shrug and wear it to one of our many summer weddings! (Note: I would NOT wear the heavy gold necklace sported by the model. Ew.)

The dress was originally $135, but select colors are only $99.99. Did you hear that? ONLY $99.99! My only question now is, white, pink, or navy? Commence voting.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fashion: Light me up

I have a thing for chandeliers. Perhaps it's because I've never had one. Utilitarianism is much more important than crystal decadence in an Indiana farmhouse. The closest we come to a chandelier in our new house is the light that will (hopefully) be installed in our dining room this weekend. It's contemporary, silver, and definitely lacking in bling, but still elegant in its simplicity (and, yes, utilitarian...) To satiate my need for overhead drama and cut crystal suspended in mid-air, here are some gorgeous chandeliers from Chandeliera. On the Web site, the lighting is broken into five pricing categories, so I will pick my favorite from each category to display here. Excuse me if I swoon...

$50-$200: Dover Scroll Chandelier

$200-$500: Clarita Black Chandelier
$500-$1,000: Samoa Chandelier

$1,000-$2,000: Charteux Chandelier

$2,000+: Marcalina Chandelier

God Bless this Mess!

For those of you who don't follow Bob and Tom, you're missing out. Comedian Greg Morton appears on the radio show (also taped for television) and presents his hilarious "Obama Man" song.

A big thanks to BlindIrishPirate for the video embedding tutorial!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Three R's...

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! I found this very interesting Web site called Global Footprint Network. Visit this link to take a short, 14 question quiz about your daily personal habits, and the conclusion will tell you what your carbon footprint looks like in acres and how many planets it would take "if everybody lived like you." I am ashamed to say that it would take just over three planets to sustain my lifestyle. I think this is mostly due to the amount of driving that my life requires, living in a rural setting. That's not something I can easily change, but we do carpool a few days every week, which is helpful. However, I know I can do more to reduce my footprint by adopting habits such as actively searching out products with less packaging and purchasing locally grown foods. How about you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm filled with...GLEE

I have approximately the same number of blog readers as the average American couple has children...about 1.86. I know that about .93 of you are incapable of appreciating the following television show that I am going to recommend (.93 is exactly half of 1.86. I know because I had to use the computer calculator to come up with that number. Because I'm an undiscovered genius.)

I have been meaning to write a post expounding on the fact that the upcoming fall show entitled "Glee" looks amazing. Then I visited BlindIrishPirate's blog and realized she beat me to the punch. Because she is incredible. Oh, and Philboy beat me to the punch, too. Because he and I have the same sensibilities. I also realized that I am seriously not as cool as they are because I have absolutely no idea how to embed the "Glee" trailer into my blog post, so you're just going to have to settle for visiting this link to the pilot on Hulu. The first episode aired after the recent conclusion of American Idol, tittilating my senses and then cruelly forcing me to wait until the season resumes in the fall. *Rends clothing; Beats breast*

I beg you to at least listen to the very last song in the "Glee" pilot, an astounding, artful, fresh arrangement of "Don't Stop Believin'." It starts at about 39:50.

So, if you were a band geek and purchased reeds weekly; if you wore a cumberbund and sang in the choir; if you participated in every single drama production and tried to convince everyone else what you already knew, that you were a true star, then "Glee" is for you. If not, well, we may not be able to be friends/acquaintances/married anymore. Your bad.


I just wanted to thank everyone who has been thinking and praying about Dad and is interested in his status. He had surgery yesterday, did very well, and is in very good condition. He will probably be able to return home later today or tomorrow. He is wearing his clamshell brace daily to help decrease his pain significantly by supporting his spine and the cracked and destroyed discs, and he is more mobile than he has been in weeks. He can get around the house on his own with a rolling walker or a cane and sturdy helper nearby. We are all so relieved that his surgery is out of the way, and he can finally begin to start making strides toward true recovery. We'll be eating at the Beef House together in no time! Plus, the pain medication they gave him yesterday didn't hurt. In his words, "Excuse me while I kiss the sky..."

Artsy Fartsy

Here is an interesting article from the Times Online entitled "The Top 200 Artists of the 20th Century to Now." I am not a terribly cultured person, feeling far more at home surrounded by corn and soybean fields than towering skyscrapers and busy streets, but I have been exposed to most mainstream and some satellite artwork, mostly due to the devotion of my high school art teacher (owner of the "Artsy Fartsy" phrase) who led the art academic team that I participated in for a few years. In spite of my down home, middle American upbringing, I've had a lot of wonderful opportunities to see pieces of art and places of creation like Rodin's "Le Penseur" ("The Thinker") and Monet's Giverny.

In honor of the "Top 200," below is one of my favorite paintings and my least-favorite artist.

"Old Guitarist" by Pablo Picasso.

Favorite Painting. I don't know why I love this painting so dearly. Picasso is a cliche artist to appreciate, but I love his work in spite of its mainstream appeal (he is number one on the "Top 200" list). The mood of the painting is so evocative, it breaks my heart anew each time I look at the man's face and cast my eyes upon his body language. What is he thinking? Why is his despair so great? What has brought him to this lowly place? Was it circumstance or fate or choice? I have a small copy of the painting hanging in my office, and though I can view it everyday, I am still able to see it through fresh eyes each time.

"Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV" by Georgia O'Keefe. Yes, it's also a vagina.

Least-Favorite Artist. Georgia O'Keefe. I'm going to make one definitive verdict about her work: Overrated. I suppose, to be honest, I never really had a problem with her work until I learned more about the artist herself. O'Keefe was one of the subjects for study during a year on the art academic team. We looked at her paintings, read stacks of printed information about her life, and viewed a documentary with her at the center. The documentary, filmed around 1976 at Ghost Ranch, served as the foundation on which I began to build my temple of dislike. I remember specifically her haughty attitude, saying something to the effect of "I could have been a much better artist, but then I probably wouldn't have been so famous." Or something. I probably also didn't like her because, in her mid-eighties, she took up with a very young "companion," which seemed so distasteful to the sixteen- or seventeen-year-old me. She was eccentric, as many artist seem to be, but not genuinely so, I thought.

Disagree? That's okay. That's the wonderful thing about art. I can love a piece by Jackson Pollack, and you can think it looks like something a kindergartner would turn out. You can love a floral depiction by Georgia O'Keefe, and I can think it looks like a blue vagina. That's the beauty of the world.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Fashion

So, dudes, I'm kind of digging these "Friday Fashion" posts, although the last few have turned exclusively into "Friday Foot Fashion." I'll try and give you a little more variety, you know, the spice of life. I will not, however, give you garlic, which we all know is the spice of burps.

Uhm...I don't know where I'm going with this. Moving on...

As we draw nearer and nearer to completing our renovations and actually living in our house (six months after purchase, ahem), I am beginning to think about the actual items we will need to make our daily lives comfortable. Because I consider home decor to be fashion, today let's focus this fashion post on our master bedroom, the Locus of Love, the Point of Passion, the Sector of Sex...

...too much?

If you will remember, we painted the walls a very dark, rich, lusty blue, with stark white baseboards, dark bamboo hardwood, and a ceiling fan that emulates the dark floor coloring. Our window blinds, which are not pictured, because they are still sitting in their unopened boxes next door, let in minimal light.

This picture doesn't do the dark little room justice. Also, the main operative word here is dark. The room is very cave-like, which is actually what we were going for (a soft, dark hole in which to nestle. Uhm...okay, so that came off as rather sexual, too. What's my deal today? It must be all that reproduction talk from earlier.) Although everything currently is very dark, I know that I want to lighten the room up a bit with a rug and bedding and accessories. We inherited bedroom furniture from Husband's grandfather, and it is a light, honey-colored wood. Not my personal decor choice, but I ain't gonna be arguing with free. I think it will be a good contrast with the floor and bring in a little softness in color. So, first, a potential rug:

I like the organic leaf pattern in this Dynamic Allure rug in ivory. Although the largest size is *cough* $999.00, it's quite soft and lovely. The pattern isn't too feminine, nor too masculine, and it would probably blend in with just about anything. Next: bedding.
This Fieldcrest Luxury Coverlet Set in silver is priced between $99.99 (queen) and $109.99 (king). This is probably the only piece in this post that might actually be purchased and make it into our new home. I saw something almost exactly the same at Macy's, which I fell in love with, until I noticed that just the coverlet alone was $300. Then I fell out of love and divorced the coverlet. And then I found and married his cheap cousin from Target, pictured. With crisp, white sheets, I would totally bed this bedding.This is just effing cool. Guess what it it is. Guess, guess, guess. Give up? It's a lamp. An Arc Touch Lamp from Chia'sso, to be exact. It's also $98, which I will try not to think about because it is so magnificent. Can you imagine us in bed reading beneath the light of twin lamps? Me with my Gabriel García Márquez novel and Husband with his Star Wars romantic.What would a bedroom be without an alarm clock? This OPTI Retro Alarm Clock from TOKYObay, at $38, is totally adorable. I usually don't like clocks that don't have numbers of some sort, because I'm an idiot, but I'll make an exception for this sweet clock. At least it would beat my unreliable cell phone alarm that I currently use!
I am putting some serious thought into making my own headboard for our master bed out of sturdy MDF, soft, thick batting, a contemporary fabric, and a lot of staples. I love this fabric sample in the Inger line for $5.99 per yard from Ikea. It's 100% cotton (a renewable material, score!) and would look so great with our bedding! Maybe not so much with that rug I picked...but that rug would never come to live with us anyways.
Finally, this Wave Ambient Fireplace, also from Chia'sso, isn't really something we will ever have, but it's fun to think about! We're planning to intentionally not have a television in our bedroom so we won't get discracted at bedtime. How neat would it be to wind down to a cracking fire intead of gearing up to "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" (sorry, Conan). The price is $1,398, a definite contributing factor to the We Will Never Own This feature, but it is still sleek and beautiful and lookin' is free!

I'm so ready to make this house our home...

Dr. Who?

It seems either I am rapidly moving toward my imminent death, or I am taking exceptionally good care of myself and pissing off my insurance provider. This week, I visited three separate doctors.

First, at Husband's demand, I went to the urgent care for some antibiotics to finally kick my now four-week old cold. Apparently, my congestion causes me to snore quite loudly, and apparently, Husband has infinite patience and the restraint not to suffocate me with his body pillow. Next, I visited the dentist to clean and polish my pearly whites. And finally, I ended the week of appointments with a worn out health insurance card and a visit to the lady doctor for my annual violation. (Side note: My doctor has both a mustache and beard. Guess if the doctor is a man or a woman...the answer may surprise you.)

In the spirit of the reproductive system, check out this link that Husband found this morning. Below is the graphic, but you really need to visit the link and zoom in to truly enjoy the full experience. My particular favorites are: Bundling Baby, Washing Baby, and Choosing a Babysitter. I'm also pretty sure our kids are going to endure the "Bad" Calming Baby, knowing their father. I weep for our offspring.