Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Official Blog Congratulations Make the Event Official

Congratulations to two dear people in our lives, Philboy and Liz. They just became engaged. I have to wait impatiently until I see them tomorrow to hear all of the proposal details, but let it be known that these are two of the best people in the whole entire world, and they deserve all the happiness that marriage can bring!

Daily Eye Candy: Christmas Card

I did remember to put together Christmas cards this year (I might share later...I think they are better than my attempt last year), and we have received some lovely cards from friends and family. One of my favorite parts of the season is to collect the mail and find a card with our name on it! This is actually more of an accomplishment than you might think; our mail carrier is just plain awful!

The standout card of this year was created by a dear friend of ours. She's artsy. Cantcha tell?
It's a handmade pop-out card! Also known as "incredible"!Look at the bricks on that chimney!There is a tree with little ornaments, and even gifts beneath!There is even a little fire in the fireplace, which is decorated with tiny stockings. Seriously, my head exploded because this is so adorable.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Daily Eye Candy

In honor of Christmas, today's Daily Eye Ear Candy features Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun." I posted this last year, but I think it will become my personal holiday tradition. The lyrics are beautiful and haunting and remind me that the simple act of family togetherness is the most important part of the season.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Fashion: Giving Back

BlindIrishPirate had a great post about Sseko Designs recently, and when I ran across this similar CNN article, I couldn't help but share via Friday Fashion.

Gift-giving is synonymous with the holidays. Husband and I have really worked to set reasonable limits for ourselves in regards to Christmas consumerism, but I will be the first to admit that I love to watch others open gifts that I have carefully selected and wrapped with love. Wouldn't those gifts be so much better if, in addition to the recipient's enjoyment, they created opportunities for those less fortunate?

Below are just a tiny sampling of the beautiful goods available...Global Goods Partners, Handmade Flower Placemats, $30. From Swaziland.Nest, Naema Necklace, $38. From Morocco.Ten Thousand Villages, Handmade Bamboo Motif Teacup, $10. From Nepal.

Go forth and spend conscientiously.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Ending

I have trouble with firsts and lasts. Something in me always recognizes the beginning and ending, however inconsequential, and stirs my sentimentality.

...This is the first time I have stepped foot onto my college campus as a student...My sweater is irreversibly stained; I will never wear this sweater again...This is the first (and last) time I will ever eat green bean casserole...My parents are selling my childhood home; I will never again step foot in my old bedroom...

That last one is fresh. My parents sold the house today. It is cause for much celebration. They won't have to heat the house during the long winter months ahead. My dad won't have to drive there through snow and ice every few days to make sure no one has stripped the place of copper or vandalized the interior. They can finally close a chapter in their lives that climaxed with my dad's illness. They don't have to sleep in the first-floor living room anymore. My mom doesn't have to help my dad carefully pad down the rickety staircase to the basement shower ever again. They don't have to worry about something happening without neighbors near enough to run to for help.

And as much happiness as I feel for them, as much relief for their safety that the move brings to my mind, my heart cannot help but ache for the loss of our family home, filled with memories, both good and bad, but mostly good.

Husband and I went back to take pictures of the inside of the house one final time Saturday. I really didn't want him to go, so I could have an embarrassing, ugly cry alone, but he insisted, and I am glad that he did. My mom had taken the hidden key with her a few days prior, and he is the only person that could have entered the correct combination into the realtor's lock, gaining us entry. I took some final pictures inside, and we walked through one last time, without a camera. I savored the sound of the creaky stairs. While laying in my bed, I could always tell which parent was ascending, just by the rhythm of their footsteps. I breathed deeply the basement, which still smells vaguely of the pet beds where our long-gone dogs, Nellie and Sallie, spent the nights. I touched the textured, floral wallpaper in my parents' bedroom. And I stood in my room and remembered playing with Barbie dolls on the floor, dressing up for dances, talking on the phone with best friends, crying over heartbreaks, and singing myself to sleep.

We returned to the house for the last time yesterday evening so I could take my final exterior shots. I traipsed through the snow covered ground in inappropriate shoes trying to capture all that I feared my memory would lose. I was so glad that my dad's shed was unlocked so that I could walk in one last time and breath the scent that I have never experienced anywhere else, a combination of oil and dirt, the smell of a family that makes their living from the earth. As Husband and I drove away, in spite of my tears, I felt a warm, small sense of peace. A new family will grow to love the house, filling it up appropriately with three children. Both adults are teachers, just like my Grandma and Grandpa were. And even though it is an ending, it is a beginning, too, for that family, and for mine.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Daily Eye Candy

I'm busy, busy, busy, but I wanted to share some warm, wonderful Daily Eye Candy with you from realize that I act approximately 80 years old, but I can imagine no better pleasure than to wake up on Christmas morning to sip hot chocolate and open gifts with Husband, both of us wearing these red "His and Hers Long Johns," 34.95. That scene probably belongs in some kind of corny Christmas movie with lots of hugging and loving overtures. Of course, this would never happy in reality because Husband runs about 20 degrees hotter than I do.

Ah, dreams.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daily Eye Candy

Just popping in for a quickie:Jonathan Adler can do no wrong. This is manly enough for an XY cave, but I would really like it in my kitchen so I can start fires with the greatest of ease...$42.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Among other things...

As an amendment to last week's Glee post, I do have to give them props for breaking out "Conjunction Junction." I forgot about this hilarious addition in the midst of all of all the heady horror.
Last week, two separate couples that we love produced two beautiful, bouncing boys in two successive days. All mamas and all babies are doing well, and we wish them the best. We were able to visit the hometown couple and their little Owen in the hospital the day after he was born!And I didn't drop him or anything! It's unbelievable how tiny and perfect babies are, and that one day they will grow up to be whole entire people that will go to work and drive cars and eat steak. How ridiculous is that?

Is it getting hot in here, or is that just baby fever?
And finally, my parents (unofficially) sold their house. They close sometime in the next thirty days, and I'm feeling a galling mix of both sadness and relief. I am happy that they won't have to worry about the home's maintenance anymore, but how can I say good-bye to my childhood home? I find it impossible to get rid of old birthday and thank you cards, but a whole house? It's going to be hard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Fashion: Someone's in the kitchen with Dina

Certain people in my life who shall go unnamed have been clamoring for a Christmas list of late, which I've found quite difficult to compose this year. I just can't think of anything I need. Really! Until I saw these:I KNOW, RIGHT? INDIVIDUAL CUPCAKE PEDESTALS. No, if you were wondering, nothing in life is more adorable than these. Set of 6, $42. I read somewhere that they are on sale for $35.

So the adorableness started me thinking about warm holiday baking, and then I started contemplating aprons again. I know I've covered aprons before, like in this post, but they are just so darn cute, especially the aprons from Anthropologie! I want to wear one as I gently place a freshly baked apple pie to cool on an open windowsill while leaning out and hollering to the well-muscled farmhands that, "Suppa's redday!"
Three-Star Apron, $32.Trousseau Apron, $38.Winter Iris Apron, $32.

The only problem with these aprons is that they are far too pretty to actually wear while I bake! No matter how hard I try to be neat, I inevitably end up with food coloring stained fingers, flour dusting my front, and icing smeared on my pants. How could I subject these beauties to that horror?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The most recent Glee-tastrophe

So, here's the thing. When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up and marry Gene Kelly.

I would sit down on the couch with my dad and lose myself in classics like Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, and Brigadoon. If I couldn't marry him, then at least I wanted to be Cyd Charisse so I could taste his sweet, sweet, entirely heterosexual kisses. Later, when I watched an aged Gene Kelly in Xanadu, I knew he still had the magic, even if the movie was awful (awfully, unintentionally hilarious, that is).

I remember listening to the news in 1996 and learning that he had died, and it was tragic.

He is a legend. And I will unabashedly pronounce that Glee shat upon his work in their most recent episode by mashing up "Singin' in the Rain" with Rihanna's "Umbrella." And Gwyneth Paltrow, for God's sake.

And so I ask you, Glee producers, plaintively, beseechingly:

What. The. Fuck.

Daily Eye Ear Candy

Enjoy this Daily Eye Ear Candy. I just learned about The Mountain Goats from an article on


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Of late, not a week goes by that Husband and I do not receive numerous mail solicitations from charitable organizations. This in and of itself is not troublesome. What gives me pause is that several months ago, after the Gulf oil spill, we donated to a few respectable organizations that do good, important work in the world. And then we were sold.

I realize that selling donor information is a viable source of income for some organizations. The buyers are likely from causes in a similar vein of interest, so it makes sense to buy the names and cold contact the people. What bothers me is the volume that we receive; I would estimate at least five pieces of solicitous mail per week, if not more, often intermittently from the same organizations over and over again. And it is the "over and over again" that really has started to get under my skin.

The amount of our original donation has surely been doubled, tripled, possibly even quadrupled by the cost of all of these organizations' mailing pieces. I am certain that our money has done no good but to buy reams and reams of paper and many gallons of fuel in order to solicit more donations (so that more mail may be sent?).

Donating to charitable organizations is important. Everyone should give what they can. But it is also good to have a plan in place, laying out the organizations that you support. For me, all the cold solicitations create is more recycling.

So, Smile Train (for example), I absolutely admire the work that you do. You make disfigured children whole again, most certainly bettering their future social and professional lives. But I fear that if I send you my pennies, you will only use them to print more leaflets with weeping children.

Daily Eye Candy

Today's Daily Eye Candy will take a few more of your moments, but will be so worth your time. Enjoy E. B. White's short story "Death of a Pig" from The Atlantic. It is both macabre and delightful, so skillfully written as to make me weep with envy.Pig image from here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daily Eye Candy: King's Daughters Inn

I journeyed to Durham, North Carolina for a week-in-residence recently, and I was put up in the King's Daughters Inn, a completely renovated home built in 1911 that originally provided subsidized housing for single, elderly women. I am neither single nor elderly (just ignore my previous posts about "Murder, She Wrote"...), but I adored this gorgeous inn. The renovations joined several single rooms into suites, and the interior is both contemporary (with vintage touches) and unique. No two suites are alike, and when you make your reservation you can go online and pick exactly which room to stay in!

I chose the Tyree Suite, which was feminine and very, very pink:The bed was actually ridiculously comfortable. I've never experienced such a comfortable bed away from home. When I arrived, the proprietor carried my luggage to my room, and the proprietress herself served me a complimentary breakfast every morning in a stunning dining room (eggs, toast, bacon, and sausage, made to order). The bathroom was small but just enough for one girl with too many beauty products.There was a nice writing desk and mounted television (I had forgotten how much I hate commercials!). Plus, each room is equipped with a Mac mini. Srsly. (However, I will confess that I have no idea what to actually do with a Mac mini and never touched the thing. But still. Very cool.)A sweet little bottle of wine was left for the guest's enjoyment (though at $13 per bottle, this guest did not partake).But who needs wine when you get this for free? Each night I returned to my room and was greeted by the warm lights turned on, my bed turned down, and an evening glass of port and dark chocolates. Such a wonderful touch!The building is exceedingly lovely and beats a Radisson or Marriott any day. I highly recommend this inn if you are traveling in the Durham area. I would love to return for a pleasure trip with Husband sometime! The city and Duke campus are beautiful, and to have a place to return to each night that was such high caliber was a pure treat.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Daily Eye Candy

I've been away, and now I am back. Pictures are pending. In the meantime...oooo...Pantone!Pantone 4 Pack, $44.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Fashion: Brrrrrrr

As suddenly as fall arrived, it seems to have bowed to winter just as quickly. It is cold out there.

In honor of my fingers that have turned into icicles, here are my five favorite outerwear pieces from Anthropologie. How I love their online shop, which marries contemporary and vintage-styled pieces so deliciously!Handbasket Sweatercoat, $168. First of all, I just have to say one thing: Sweatercoat. I didn't even know sweatercoats existed. It's a coat, but it's also a sweater. That means that you can get away with wearing it all day long, and no one will look at you cross-eyed because you're still wearing the coat you waddled in with. Because it's also a sweater. This is pure genius. I love the soft grey color also. I could buy seven and wear them all day long, every single day of the week.Dusk Ruffles Coat, $228. I adore the exaggerated ruffles down the front as well as the understated black-on-black pattern. It almost looks like a dress. I bet I could get away with wearing this all day long, too.Cassonade Coat, $198. I dig the pockets and the fact that this almost looks like a 2-piece ensemble. I want to wear this on a misty train station platform while clutching an embroidered handkerchief to my breast, anticipating the arrival of my handsome soldier as he returns home.Curtsey Coat, $298. I get the feeling this style might not go over so well on my unfortunately wide, child-birthin'-rough-and-ready hips, but the gathers at the waist are just so lovely, and the ivory color is to die for (though I would surely get it dirty in a New York minute. By the way, just how long is a New York minute? I'm from the Midwest, where a minute takes approximately three hours...).Cream Confection Jacket, $178. And hey, guess what, more ruffles. At least I'm consistent, right? Right? *crickets* The description of this jacket on the site includes the word "undulating." This might be my favorite, only for that reason.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


If I could have any superpower in the world, I would choose the power of invisibility. Not so I could sneak into private areas and listen in on personal conversations, or engage in illicit activities like stealing and subsequently destroying every single leaf blower in the world. No, I would be invisible so I would only have to make awkward conversation with people on my terms, when I want them to see my presence. If I was invisible, I wouldn't have to struggle with whether to make eye contact and smile at the person traipsing along the opposite side of the hallway. I wouldn't have to shake the hand of a new acquaintance and search the empty depths of my mind for topics of conversation. I could just be alone, unobserved. I could just be.

I have always been a shy person. As a toddler, when adults leaned down and asked me questions, I shut my eyes tightly until they went away. Apparently, I thought that if I couldn't see them, they weren't really there. It would probably still be a pretty effective tactic, but it might not go over so well during editorial board meetings or performance evaluations.

In general, I don't like to talk. I would prefer to write my thoughts down on paper with time and contemplation on my side, rather than come up with a response to a verbal question off the cuff, stuttering over my words and frantically pleading with the floor to reveal the phrase I would like to convey. I have always felt that there are a limited amount of words one can use in a lifetime. A ration, like a sack of beans periodically given out to refugees. I would much rather conserve mine while, for example, I am quite sure that my mother has used approximately three lifetimes worth of beans. So to speak (ha).

I don't want to appear unfriendly, because I don't believe I am an inherently unfriendly person, but I am aware that that is how I often appear. I have to take some time, oh, perhaps a year or three, before I feel truly comfortable talking for hours on end with another person, sharing anything beyond the basic "the weather's gotten quite cold lately, hasn't it?" Even then, even with those closest to me, I usually speed up the endings of my stories to cut them short, because it always appears to me that the person has lost interest about halfway through.

So I would be invisible. Able to turn the power off and on at will, encased in a protective barrier when necessary, and receiving conversational ventures from other people when I am able to reciprocate. If anyone knows how I can achieve this within the next few days, it would be most appreciated. I am leaving on Sunday to spend an entire week with strangers in a strange city.

Daily Eye Candy

The ultimate fashion accessory, or cruel and embarrassing for the aloof felines? Personally, I just can't believe they got a cat to sit still that long to have its body painted.You be the judge. More here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daily Eye Candy

I am loving this Gray Wool Felt and Brown Leather iPhone Case by Etsy seller byrdandbelle, $26.Signed,
Primitive Neanderthal who doesn't actually own an iPhone

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fashion: Thomas Paul

There's surely no way I haven't featured Thomas Paul in a Friday Fashion before, but I don't care, because the pieces are bright and clean and contemporary, with a dash of whimsy! Love them! These are three of my favorites...I love that this rug looks like its inspiration could come from a flower garden in one's backyard or a coral reef at the bottom of the ocean. And the chocolate color will get me every time! Blossom Wool Pile Rug, $270-$1,464.I am a sucker for tree prints in any form (have you seen my guest bathroom shower curtain?). For me, trees represent strength, nature, bonds. I love their likeness, especially in this Arboretum Chestnut Pillow, $110.And finally, I totally dig the color in this lighting fixture. The abstract bird and floral print is a knock-out, too. Pierce Wall Sconce, $298.

LOC in da house

In my day job I work with the Library of Congress quite often. Mostly from a distance. Mostly through forms filed in triplicate.

But the LOC provides wonderful services, and they are even cool enough to rate a YouTube channel. Check out their helpful and informative video below about archiving your digital photographs.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blow me.

Fall has arrived. It's crisp. It's colorful. Leaves float gently to the sun-dappled ground, piling gaily around tree trunks and along sidewalks. They crunch merrily (yes, merrily, dammit) underfoot as one prances along (What? I prance. Everyday. What kind of person doesn't prance?).

And then some jerk wanders by with a leaf blower that sounds like a jet engine, kicking up dirt and dust and temporarily shuffling the leaves, which the wind will blow back just moments later if left unscooped. And if one scoops? What then? Our trash collector won't even accept bags filled with leaves and lawn clippings. (Good man.)

Leaf blowing must be the ultimate act in futility. And wasteful energy, both human and machine. And really freaking annoying, you guys.

Husband and I usually take walks around campus during our lunch break, and it seems not a day has gone by recently that we haven't been accosted by the roar and dust of leaf blowers. Beautifying.

Well, I charge each of you to ignore the leaves that fall upon your lawn. Even, enjoy them. Left intact, the leaves will naturally break down and nourish the ground upon which they fall. And you will have expended no more energy than making a hot cup of cocoa and gazing out your window, looking at the colors that paint your lawn and smirking at your neighbors wasting their time.

Hooray for babies and adorableness!

On Saturday Husband and I hosted a baby shower for a set of friends expecting their second little boy in November. We wanted the opportunity to gather friends and family to celebrate the impending introduction that will complete their family. So we did!

It was a co-ed shower, so I shied away from diapers filled with melted candy bars and baby-diapering races, hoping instead for everyone to simply mingle and talk and enjoy the time together.

And I made these:

I thought they were really darn cute. From the genius that is Bakerella: Cupcake bites. I had actually intended to make Cupcake pops, but my balls got too fat and heavy for the skewers, so bites it was!Our friends' son seemed to improvise his own baby shower game: Diaper Jenga.Hopefully these will help to get them started with their newest bundle of joy!Our sincerest congratulations, dear friends. We simply cannot wait to meet Owen!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fashion: Whimsy

Today I happened across Stray Dog Designs, which marries handy pieces with a whole lot of whimsy and sweetness and light. In addition, like many of my favorite sites that I feature, each purchase leads to a charitable donation: "Every time you buy a Stray Dog Designs product, a portion of the purchase price is donated to organizations that do things like feed hungry children, shelter homeless families, or create loving homes for stray dogs and cats. "

Here are a few of my favorites from just three of their categories:Clay Crouch Ceiling Fixture, $415.Little Mitchell Wastebasket, $145.White Flower Magnet, $30.

Go forth and be fashionable,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's inevitable

I absolutely believe this is what the children that Husband and I produce will look like someday:
I love Awkward Family Photos. Don't you?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Fam

On Friday my cousin and his fiancee came into town from New York. They bunked at our house and were able to visit The Entire Family over the long weekend. (But never long enough, right?)We share the most adorable grandma in the whole entire world. I would challenge anyone on that fact!

My local sistercousin and I met his fiancee several years ago at his brother's wedding, and we loved her instantly. Now, with her own wedding looming just over half a year away, she is giving me the opportunity to create their wedding invitations, and I am so excited for both of them!
We loved getting to know her better, catching up with him, and making new memories (okay, and forgetting some of those memories) together!Family resemblance? Oui? Non?It is going to be a friggin' sweet wedding, y'alls. Congratulations, you two!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Losing my religion

So, Glee. They just had to go and tackle the God question, eh? I totally get it. High school is when awkward, pimply-faced teens usually start to wrestle with the religion issue...wondering why a loving God would make them so awkward and pimply-faced to begin with. Everyone wrestles with that issue. It's everyone's personal internal debate with no correct answers and no bell to let you know when the debate is over (um...except I guess when you keel over and find out for sure).

In spite of how contrived I felt the episode was (if only Burt had eaten Kurt's grapefruit offering!), and how annoyed I was by the ending (isn't the "waking up from a coma right at the emotional climax" just a tad overdone by now?), Kurt's performance was emotional and heartfelt. He didn't mince words, and it felt honest. And the Jesus freaks were pretty annoying, which is generally true to life. (When my dad was in the hospital, I really appreciated an amazing friend of mine who visited him out of the blue. She, however, brought him snacks and treats rather than lighting a candle [how does that not violate some kind of hospital fire code] and creepily putting her hands all up in his business. So, I digress, WTF Rachel?)

The main feeling that I took away from this episode was unique in my experiences watching Glee: I don't want to see it again. Usually I will watch and re-watch the episodes during my lunch hour, on the laptop while I'm cooking, or on our tv downloads while Husband plays a video game on his computer. But this episode? It was uncomfortable (yes, yes, I know, that was probably the point). It didn't leave me giggling like a Glee groupie. It left me to my own thoughts, thoughts that I don't want to have to confront just because of some television show.

Did this episode seriously follow the one about Britney Spears...?

Husband sent me a really great Skepchick article that says some things I wish I could articulate. It's worth a read.

Daily Eye Candy (Your Friday Fashion)

This is all you're getting for Friday Fashion this week. I'm stingy, I know. Also, swamped.

I am in lurve with this Time Fades wall decal from Threadless, $38. Threadless by itself is awesome. But Threadless wall decals? Twice the awesome. If you don't know what Threadless is, go find out immediately.

I am seriously thinking of purchasing this decal to put above our bed. But what do you think? Is it too sad? To me, it speaks such a true message. Enjoy every moment with those that are most important in your life, because soon it fades. Melancholy, but in a really sweet, wistful way.
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