Friday, July 30, 2010

Week in Review: 7/30

The tomatoes are getting bigger!

I am open to all suggestions on how to kill bugs.

These invitations make the one I made look like poo.

Canning is on the list of things I want to do. Eventually.

Your bookcases fill me with joy. 

If this doesn't make you want to have, you're probably cold and heartless. Sorry, but it's true.

Speaking of babies, my weekend plans including visiting a very tiny baby and seeing my friend's boyfriend's 90s cover band. I don't know how this weekend can't be awesome. Hope yours is lovely too!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It Appears We're Having a Party

cookout invite
And the party planning crazy kicks into high gear!

Also, have you or someone you loved been to Hilton Head? If I were going to Hilton Head, what should I see, do and eat?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh, Don (with a ridiculously large number of parenthetical references)

One of the things that makes my dad so awesome is his willingness to read my book suggestions, even against his better judgement. (Now that I think about it, I don't think I've made him read anything lately. Dad -- Pride and Prejudice. It's time. I'll loan you a copy next visit.)

Dad did not always enjoy my recommendations (maybe why he hasn't read P&P yet...) -- namely The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations and some Faulkner novel that I hadn't even read myself -- often on the basis that there was no hero, just morally ambivalent wanderers. (For more information on moral ambivalence in literature, catch the final of the scene, after the credits, of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. For real.)

(I just realized Sue Sylvester plays Ricky Bobby's mommy. Awesome.)

Dad needed someone to cheer for, and apparently Nick, Gatsby, Pip, and whoever in the Faulkner novel didn't cut it for him. I personally love Nick, Gatsby and especially Pip, but I can see that they're not your traditional hero, like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. (Yeah, I don't think Dad would use that analogy. Hmm...they're no Harry Potter. Actually, Dad, after P&P you should read the Harry Potter series. Don't listen to Laura on this. Once again, she's wrong.) 

So fast forward 8-ish years, where after hearing many good things and joining the advertising profession myself, I decide to watch "Mad Men". This was at the start of the third season. I had caught the tail-end of season two, enough to see Don promise to start over with Betty and stop fooling around. But about 30 minutes in to season three, Don's all over a stewardess and they have a conversation about how this is her last chance to hook up before she gets married and Don assures her that she will have plenty of opportunities for infidelity after "I do." (Love this line from NYT article by Ginia Bellafante: If you drew a map of Don’s moral core it would look like a gerrymandered Congressional district with lines drawn in odd and incongruous places.)

This just didn't settle with me. I grew up watching soap operas. I enjoy Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. While I have much higher standards for myself, I can still enjoy plots where looser morals are displayed. But sometimes "Mad Men" is too much. Just check out the Secrets and Vices section of the "Mad Men" periodic table. Every character is screwing over another character. I grew weary of this and jumped ship mid-season. I finally understood Dad's need for stories to have a hero. Or at least one good guy. Somewhere. Eventually. 

Or at least I thought I understood. I couldn't help but wonder what was going on back at America's favorite ad agency. And I do have a soft spot for Peggy. And those dresses. And I often dream of a simpler time when you can drink bourbon mid-day and be totally classy and normal. See how I fit right in:
So Sunday night I rushed to get ready and curl up with Zoey for the start of the new season. And it was delightful. Don might hire a prostitute on Thanksgiving, but he is still a. total hottie and b. really good at telling clients off. And the Peggy and Pete storyline was funny. Did I mention my soft spot for Peggy?

In fictional worlds maybe I can get by without a hero after all. Afterall, I'll always have Mr. Darcy. And Richard Gere. And Harry Potter.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sack Lunch Ideas

Since I pack my lunch to work daily, I've been working on spicing up my choices lately. I adapted my favorite Jason' Deli wrap a few weeks ago.

july 8
Then there was this delicious toasted wheat, mayo, fresh mozzarella and basil sandwich.

And last week was toasted wheat, mayo, turkey, tomato and avocado. Yummy!

Any out-of-the-ordinary sandwich ideas? I'm hungry. Do share.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Floral Update

Last week I mentioned that despite minimal attempts to help out our flowers, one stem on one rose bush has grown to twice the size of the bush. Or anything else nearby. The beautiful bloom on top minimizes the freakish nature of the stem.

Now there are two blooms. Well, one new bloom and one dying bloom.

And they're still ridiculously tall.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Week in Review: 7/23

pesto with tomatoes
I've been pretty lazy lately, but last night I made pesto. Go me! Of course it's the easiest sauce ever, but at least I didn't eat Moe's queso for dinner. Again. 

I'm often too lazy (see above) to attempt many smitten kitchen recipes, but normally just the recipe title is enough to make my jaw drop and drool to pour fourth over my desk. Example: raspberry brown sugar gratin

I now must visit the Hudson Valley.

Inspired Bride is starting a typography series!

Gift bags from newspaper? Brilliant!

Toward the end of the first paragraph where she says, "I like Jcrew and 20 dollar soaps and Bravo TV and also really alot of Britney Spears.", I found my new favorite blog.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Yesterday was free queso day at Moe's. Ahh...sweet cheesy joy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Garden Growth

I haven't really figured out the gardening yet. Of course I haven't tried that hard. That's on the list for next year. But one of our rose bushes has a very ambitious branch. 
What is up with that? It kind of weirds me out, but I've enjoyed watching it bloom.
This was one day.
And this was the next. 
In other good plant news, I have a couple tomato plants in a container and they're blooming! Fingers crossed they'll be real tomatoes soon. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Buying Cycle

I'm a budget-er. The only debt Lee and I have is our house. We have few credit cards and they are paid off when we purchase anything on them. I clip coupons. We have an emergency fund with 3 months income.

These characters are crucial to my survival, because just as meticulously as I record every $1 McDonald's sweet tea, I lovelovelove to spend money. I love the feeling of walking though the mall with recent purchases in hand. It scares me sometimes how much joy I get from spending money. (Of course that joy is increased by knowing I have the money to spend and am getting a great deal.)

This love of spending is something that often needs to be tempered. My mind jumps to spending conclusions quickly and irrationally.

Example: Behind the kitchen wallpaper there was this weird 70s back splash. Concern was expressed about if paint would adhere to it.

"Well we could tile it," I say. "I would like a tile back splash. You know, if we tile, we might as well update the counter tops. And, if we get new counter tops we should probably replace the cabinets too."

It's like the Paris Hilton version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Fortunately, the paint stuck to the back splash.

But the spending-thought-loop is cycling again. For a new bike. (Ha! Pun!)
my bike
I bought my current bike in 1998-ish for $100 from Walmart. After a decade abandoned in the garage, I've pulled it back out to start cycling for health, transportation and because I want to bike across England eventually. Our house is only 1.5 miles from work and it's really silly to drive when I could bike.

But if I bike to work I'll need a basket. And maybe one of those rear rack things. And a bell. And a mirror. And lights.

However, the bike isn't in the best condition. After having my uncle-in-law look at it (He knows about bike things.), the gear shift is still a little wonky. I pretty much just stay in second because adjustments require shift-wiggling and painful sounds. Why get pretty accessories for a bike that's near death?! (Uncle said it would be fine to use but clearly with all the creaking it's not.)

And look at how pretty this is! And this is in my dream bike colors! Hmm...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week in Review: 7/16

june 24

This picture  makes me smile.

Avocado fries? Yes please!

I haven't bought a wall calendar in years but oh do I want this.

This office makes me drool.

I did not know there was a summer Hitchcock series. Must go to one or some.

There might be some Shakespeare in the Park this weekend along with some biking, reading, movie(s)-watching and unpacking (still!).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And the Kitchen

We are anti-wallpaper. 


Taking down the wallpaper didn't make us love it anymore.
july 5
Check out the crack I patched all by myself! Father-in-law said I did an excellent job! I'm the Spackle Queen. (In addition to other various regal titles.)
july 3
Under the wallpaper we found some special retro backsplash madness that was falling apart in one area (the dark brown). Lee's re-mudding that.

009 copy

It's amazing what some Olympic Premium Turquoise Mist can do!
010edt copy

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Lighter Office

BeforeThe office was a nice color, but in an 8' by 9' office with three desks, one of which is very large (I contend that Lee's desk is too large for the room. Lee contends that he has the most wonderful desk in all of mankind. I need to make him watch that episode of The Office with the superdesk. Except that might just give him ideas. ;) ), the color is too dark.

Thank you Olympic Premium Kiwi Splash for making our office feel light and fluffy happy. :)
See how huge Lee's desk is?!?!
At least I still have room for my precious little sewing table.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Bummer Day (which will be stretched out into a very long story)

The summer before I started high school my family and I moved from our small house in the city to a larger home, with a larger yard, in the county. The stipulations for this move was that dad would be able to have a John Deere riding lawn mower, and mom could finally have her chocolate lab.

We got Annie that November. I remember reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time on our way to pick her up. I remember pouting because I wanted a small dog. I remember my sketchy high school boyfriend performing his greatest act as my boyfriend by telling me to suck it up and enjoy the new puppy.

Annie was a lovely dog. Loyal. Kind. Always happy to see you. Always ready to bark when asked (like when the convicts would cut the grass along the highway) and when not asked (like at the plastic bag blowing through the yard). She was patient as, over the past few years, we brought several small annoyances into her life. Like the addition of another dog and cat, and my tendency to bring my dog and cat home for visits. (Annie and Zoey have particularly had issues, but eventually learned to respectfully avoid each other.)

I'm sure you can tell where the rest of this story is going. Awhile ago the vet found some cancer in Annie's mouth, which he easily removed, but it came back and was no longer easy to remove. At 12 years old, we pledged to keep her comfortable for as long as we could, but we can now no longer keep her comfortable. Today mom and dad...well... you know.

I'm glad she's not hurting any more, but she'll be missed.

For the sake of ending things on a brighter note, I'm taking more pictures of the painting results right now and will immediately load and start posting tomorrow!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Week in Review: 7/9

march 21
Do you know what this weekend is? Other than my sister Laura and dear friend Jenny's birthdays? It's Jane Austen Festival time at Locust Grove (pictured)!

So let's start with righteous literary anger at people who think Jane is only about bonnets and finger sandwiches and people who use Twilight to sell Wuthering Heights.

My sewing nook is mostly organized! Let's celebrate with a list of sewing necessities.

Instead of sending out "We Moved" cards, I thought I would just send out housewarming cookout invites to kill two birds with one stone. But if I change my mind (always a possibility) and go with a "We Moved" card, it will be this one. (Probably. I could change my mind.)

This week I will resume learning to ride my bike (inspired by this) so I can start bike commuting and I will start working out again...for the 392th time (inspired by part 1 and part 2).

And if you're reading this in a reader I've been fanagling with the actual blog appearance and finally figured out how to add my own fancy tabs (and not just the standard Blogger ones) so let me know if you like or it's too...something not great. Is the peach link type too difficult to read? Does it look too serious? Am I over analyzing this? (Yes.)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Starting the Art-ing

Okay, so that promise of post-painting pictures might be put off until next week. Sorry Jenn! But now that things are starting to come together around the house, I'm starting to think more about decorating and art. Here are a few of my ideas.

I saw this vol 25 print when we were still house hunting and I almost burst into tears because it was one of those horribly stressful "We'll never find the right house!" days and this was the perfect reminder of where my priorities needed to be. Now that we have found the perfect house, this print needs a place in it.
Picture 7

I think this Elloh print has been on my Etsy favorites for over a year. I love Audrey, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and this scene.
Picture 6

I was looking around 20x200 this morning and was instantly struck by this picture. Perfect for the food collage in the kitchen.
Picture 8

Also, can one have too many Keep Calm and Carry On posters? I'd like the classic red in the office, but also want the Keep Calm and Bake On variation for the kitchen. Both seem like total necessities.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Painting Round 1 Is Complete!

I spent the majority of my waking hours over the 3-day weekend with a paint brush in hand, and last night at 10 p.m., it was finished. The house is wallpaper free and the kitchen and office are two lovely shades of blue.

Pictures will follow later this week, but as for the home color scheme, I decided to go with a Grandeur-inspired one. After trying to go the Martha route and select the just-right shade of coral for the dining room resulted in the indecision below, I decided to stick with wall colors I could easily feel confident with.
june 19
The kitchen is now Turquoise Mist and the office is Kiwi Splash, which isn't pictured but is one step below Kiwi Splash.
Picture 1
I love it. And Lee says that as long as I don't want to paint again for another five years he loves it too.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Week in Review: 7/2

I wish this is what my weekend plans looked like, but we'll be painting. The whole time. Wish us luck!

John and Sherry recently shared how to pick paint finish, just in time for painting weekend. Yay!

I love this menu planner! (the top one)

I read lots of cooking blogs, or skim them for recipes, but with Joy, even the directions are fun to read.

Lord Voldemort tweets.
And it is awesome. (Especially if you're not easily offended.)

Happy July 4th everyone! Have wonderful weekends!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

More to File Under "Neuroses"

I stayed up past my bedtime last night doing...nothing. Except worrying. I'm a worrier. The things I worried about last night varied in importance and immediacy, but they shared one thing in common: I didn't need to worry about them.

This morning I came across a quote, reminding me of how worthless all this worrying really is.
Emmerson quote
The thing is though, it's good to be prepared. So I worry about how to be prepared, because that's the responsible thing to do, right? I think I confuse "responsible preparedness" with "incessant worry". I have yet to see the latter actually solve anything.

Once again, I'm sure Jane has the answer.
preparation quote