12.31.2010

the last of 2010.


After flight cancellations, hours of delays, and being told multiple times there was no way I'd make it to California before January 1st...I did the impossible, and made it here. Gabriel and I met up with our best friends in Ghiradelli Square and are loving the Fairmont Hotel. The four of us had grandiose plans of living it up on New Years, but the ratio of sick friends to healthy ones is currently 3:1. Instead we're laying low....eating chocolate and watching the fireworks from our living room window.

But I don't mind, because tonight I'm lying here...


Lovely, right? The lumpy bedding is my bestie's and my fault. We couldn't resist flopping down before snapping a shot.



Our suite is enormous, and looks directly over San Francisco Bay. Oh, and it smells like chocolate all throughout this place. Can the end of 2010 get any sweeter?

I argue that it cannot. Happy New Year, wherever you are. :)

12.30.2010

up before the rooster.


Much love and many thanks for all your well wishes and prayers. My guy made it safely out of Iraq and into D.C, where he's exhaustively waiting for a connecting flight. Strangely enough, as I write from the tiny airport in my bitty town, I'm watching a soldier say goodbye to his pajama-clad little baby girl before heading off to Iraq. Sigh. My heart aches watching it.

Signing off at 4am from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Upcoming destinations in the next 24 hours: Too many to count. Too excited to list. Too early to think.

Happy Thursday. :)

P.S. In clarification: I'm not going to California for good. Just vacation. I'm not ready to leave the Midwest for good...yet. And as an update...I did not cry on my very last day of work. Hooray!

12.29.2010

one day.



Today is a day of 'one'.

One day left at my desk: My last day.
One day which Gabriel spends traveling out of Iraq: His long day.
One day until we're face to face for the first time in four months: Our loving day.

If you're the prayerful type, we wouldn't mind some. Rarely do I fret over travel plans, but any time an armored caravan must escort someone you love through something called "The Red Zone"...I feel it's not too silly to send up a few extra prayers for safety. And on a smaller scale, my heart feels delicate as I clean out my desk drawers; packing up cards and photos, silly little work mementos from the last five years. I'm trying my best to say a tear-free goodbye to my work family...or at least save my tears for the drive home.

Tomorrow I fly out of Wisconsin, and meet Gabriel on a layover in Denver. Then we'll be on our way to California! The next 24 hours will be a teaspoon of sadness, a half cup of nerves and a pint of hugs. But all told its a recipe for one exciting end to 2010.

...and a fantastic beginning to 2011.

12.28.2010

resolute girl.



The super sweet Gracie, who I met through an ornament exchange, sent me not only the most dazzling chandelier ornament imaginable...but also the Frankie Daily Journal I'd been craving for months. All the way from Australia! Flipping through each charmingly illustrated week and month, my brain grasped the fullness of the sweet, sweet year which lies ahead. Time in which I'll be focused on what I love: Education. Art. Passion. Life is new and exciting. Open for the changing. I began to ask myself that December 31st question:


What do I want to achieve in the next 365 days?


The resolution scheming began. Just as I do in a lover's quarrel, I knew I had to omit loaded words like "never" and "always" from my resolutions. Life is too unpredictable to "always" and "never"...using those words is unfair. Rather than setting numbers and boundaries, then feeling deflated when I fail to reach a quota, I chose three broad arenas in which I will make efforts. Some minuscule, some an undertaking, but efforts nonetheless. Here they are:

I will be a blessing to others. For the last year, while trying to balance work and school, life became a little self-centric. It was impossible to predict what each day would bring...housekeeping, 3am homework, work reports, events, family obligations. During that busy time, I found that it was not what someone did for me...but simply that someone thought of me which mattered and made life sunnier. Now that I'll be only a student, it's time to refocus outward. Each week, I will plan a small way to bless another. Making a meal for a busy family, volunteering at a local charity, buying lunch for a homeless guy, writing a heartfelt letter to someone dear, sending a care package to a friend in need of cheer...simple things that require a little time and a pinch of heart.



I will be more conscious of my health. After losing 50 pounds over the last two years, my body has found a little comfort zone, and my mind has joined it. My weight is now in a healthy place, but it's time to move beyond numbers and sizes. Health is more than that-it's mental and emotional, too. I'm guilty of rarely getting enough sleep, watching too much TV and not finding time to move my bod....all transgressions which directly, and significantly, effect depression. And I feel that frequently. Yuck. But thankfully: such easy solutions! Along with catching more sleep, turning off the TV and moving more frequently, committing a few core nutritious recipes to memory is also on my to-do list.

I will challenge myself creatively. The most difficult part of being an art student is this: You invest countless hours every week in teacher-directed projects. So much time is spent meeting assigned guidelines, that you burn out your creativity, and forget to pursue your own interests. Then, when you do feel the slightest bit of personal inspiration, you go crazy chasing that gleaming unicorn of inspiration...only to lose steam an hour later. Each month I'll select a few creative projects to tackle: discovering my sewing machine via some simple sewing patterns, learning a Photoshop trick or two, committing a little French to memory and writing more frequently.


Now that it's out there, someone is thinking it: Isn't making resolutions a little old-school, given the amount found by the wayside on January 15th? Yes, yes it is. But heck. I'm an old school romantic, and something about dreamily pledging to spend 2011, or even a few weeks, becoming more like the woman I want to be doesn't seem like a waste of my time.

Not at all.

12.27.2010

a christmas surprise.


There's a charming story to be told about how my pet-phobic mother orchestrated this whole sneaky whole thing: finding a kitten for our family, even recruiting our elderly neighbor to play Santa Claus while delivering the kitten, then convincing him to stick around for a while so he wouldn't spend the holiday alone at home. But, I know we're all a little ADD on post-Christmas Monday, so I'll keep this short:


We named him Rudolph, and have eaten up every second, watching him explore and welcoming his cuddles. At four months old he's the perfect age: Young and spunky (and litter trained!), but exhausted by simply existing...resulting in tons of heartwarming yawns and impromptu naps. Although I've lived on my own for years, tradition states that I must sleep at my parent's house on Christmas Eve...this was the best Eve sleep ever. Little Rudy snuggled up on my tummy at midnight and purred until 4am when I woke up.


He's complete and total perfection. Consider my heart stolen.


(Please note the restraint it took to avoid any "puuuurfection" jokes throughout this post.) 


12.24.2010

the dollhouse.


Truth be told, I only remember one gift I’ve received. If I pondered over it, I could trace back what I unwrapped each year, but only one gift pops out in my memory.

I was four, my sister five. I don’t remember being poor, I just remember being loved. But looking back it's clear. My mother saved up spare change found during the week so she could pick up milk and eggs on the weekend. We wore countless hand-me-downs and our home was quite sparse. That year in particular my mother had lovingly wrapped our few meager gifts in the largest boxes she could find, hoping my sis and I would be fooled into thinking there was more under the tree.

On Christmas Eve, my sister and I dressed in our traditional matching red and green holiday dresses, and we attended our church Christmas Eve service, reciting passages and singing Away in a Manger...but truly I excitedly thought only of what was underneath the tree. On our trip home, my father steered the car through our snowy street, and our house appeared through my frosty car window. The porch light shined softly on the front steps....its glow outlining something large and bulky on the top step. When the car pulled into the driveway, I burst from it, my tiny mary janes crunching through the snow. As I got closer I could make out the form: it was a dollhouse. An enormous dollhouse. My little mittened fingers brushed snowflakes from the dollhouse that was nearly as tall as I. It was a dollhouse out of my dreams.

My mother read the card aloud:


To Dana and Bethany,
Merry Christmas girls!
Love,
A Friend.


“But who is it from, Mom? Is it from you and daddy?” my sis and I asked.

“I…don’t know…I really don’t know,” my mother responded, stunned.

"No, girls...it's not from us," said my father, stumbling over his words. "I promise."

To this day, we’re not sure who left the sweet gift on our step. A family friend says it was a woman who knew us from a distance...and thought the dollhouse would brighten our tough Christmas. Twenty years later, I can still remember the exact emotions I felt as we hauled the glorious dollhouse into the kitchen. Excitement. Disbelief. Gratefulness. And now, each Christmas Eve, I turn this story over in my heart, encouraged to remember that the world is full of loving people, and that our God always provides in the most beautifully creative ways.

-----------------------------

This Christmas, I pray someone warms your heart so entirely that 20 years from today, you'll still cry thinking of their sweet gesture. May life bring you a metaphorical dollhouse.

Much love and Merry Christmas, dear readers. :)

12.23.2010

i love lamp.


One of the most frequent questions I get around here is, "Where did you get that lamp?!"

I know, right? It's perfection. It's been love since day one. This beaut stopped me dead in my tracks. But I died a little inside when I noticed the $40 pricetag. Rarely do I plunk down that much dough for something frivolous like a lamp, so I took a few deep breaths and walked away. But, two hours later, I was back...and I haven't regretted it since. Recently I moved it into my kitchen, so that while rushing about during my busy days, it would be the first thing I'd see upon returning home.

Here's the bad news: It came from TJMax. Tracking down the exact same lamp might prove difficult. Also, that price is pretty unbeatable.

Here's the good news: I did some research for you, and here's a few similarly-shaped options!




In other news, my sis and I are doing some Christmas Eve Eve dining + shopping tonight. The mall is open until midnight, and you can count this girl in! Meanwhile, I'm sending you a million and one holiday wishes...even if you're hustling and bustling, may your last few holiday days be so very merry. :)

12.22.2010

don we now our swell apparel.

I'm not sure if it's politically correct to say "gay" in that song anymore. Is it? Oh gosh, I don't know. Now I've pointed out my phrasing, and I'm all sorts of nervous that I'll offend someone. I love everyone. Promise.

Every December I buy a new dress to wear on Christmas. Couldn't you rewear one from the year prior?, you ask. Truly...no, dear reader. My weight yo-yos all over the darn place, so the chances of my body maintaining any one size over the course of a year...well, it's a pipe dream. A few weeks ago I fell in love with a twofer dress, which looked a little something like this. Unfortunately, the price tag was too rich for my blood given the fate that awaits my dresses: they're excitedly worn for three hours, and then cast into my armoire until spring, when they're given away. Dresses just aren't practical for me.


So, I sort of replicated the dress in separates...and for way less. I'm hoping these pieces will get a little more mileage than my usual X-mas dress, and am already mix + matching them into my wardrobe. If I could tolerate fussy clothing, I'd don this every day. It's fitted and super feminine without showing off much skin at all. I feel like Christina Hendricks...only without all the smoldering appeal. More like, I feel pretty wearing secretary clothes and am channeling the spirit of Christina Hendricks: curvy and okay with it.

Here's how it broke down:

Converse Samantha Cream Top (Target-$19)
Black Pencil Skirt (Target-$21)
Polka Dot Tights (Gap-$6, Sold out online)
Ebony Platform Pumps (Payless-$19, Sold out online)
Art Deco Ring (Charlotte Russe-$4, Sold out online)


How about you...are you donning your swell apparel?

Do you shop for new holiday clothes, or do you spend Christmas in your PJs?

And hey. Why didn't anyone invite me to the tights party months ago? These things are boss! :)

12.21.2010

holiday scents.


I'm a fan of Christmas being a multi-sensory holiday experience. The look of twinkly white lights, the feel of chilly air against my skin, the taste of peppermints and the sound of cheery carols. And the scent? This is the oldest trick in the book, I know. Every family passes down their own version of this recipe...my sister passed it to me a few years ago. But, just incase you haven't read the oldest page in the oldest book...here's an unbelievably simple potpourri recipe.

Spicy Orange Potpourri
                                     
In a small pot, mix together:

2 cups of water
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 handful of orange peels
1 teaspoon of whole cloves

Let mixture simmer on "low" as long as your heart desires. Set a timer for 1 hour, and be sure to replenish the water at that time. (I've accidentally left mine simmering for too long. Holy smokes. Literally.) If you'd like to avoid the pot + stove situation altogether, follow my mama's genius example: use a mini crockpot. Much safer, especially if curious little hands are in the kitchen.

P.S. Happy I'm not the only procrastinator among us. I finished my last final this morning...is it pompous to say I rocked its face off? :)

12.20.2010

twas the night before...


T'was the night before finals, and throughout my home
I'd kept my life quiet, so I could study alone.
My flashcards were printed and shuffled with care
And meant to assure I'd write essays with flair.

My pencils were sharpened, so snug in a row
All that was left, was to get in the know.
I settled myself down, right down in my seat
And did try my best to plant my two feet.

Just then from my mind, an idea came springing,
"I must bake some brownies, and I'll do so while singing!"
And, my, from the kitchen there arose such a clatter,
With whisking and humming while mixing that batter.

But all of this busyness didn't stop there,
I filed my nails, and brushed my long hair!
I cleaned out my fridge, and sorted my clothes
I folded the "yes's" and threw out the "no's".


My laptop turned on, and I did some Googling,
I caught up on blogs, and spent some time ogling.
Photos were edited, and emails were written
I spotted some shoes with which I was smitten.

My pile of studies were all but forgotten,
Who cares about Giotto, when there's virtual shoppin'?
But then, in that moment, the clock did strike ten
And waves of anxiety hit me again.

What had I been thinking, to cast studies aside?
And now I was tired, my brain was so fried.
I grabbed one more brownie, too exhausted to fight,
"Good evening to all, I'll be up at dawn's light!"

-----------------------------
Hmm...anyway.

Does anyone else suffer from procrastination like I do?

To the extent that you'd write a lengthy poem to avoid studying for a class that comes easily to you?


Just wondering if I have a serious problem...

expiration date.


You never know how much a desk means to you until you’re tearfully grasping for words, attempting to say goodbye.

I’ve had the same job for five years, working for an underfunded non-profit as an event coordinator. A job with benefits, business cards, priceless coworkers, a nice salary and a grown-up title. But for the last year I’ve just struggled. Struggled with fully grasping my adulthood, aware that while paychecks are paramount for existence, so is fulfillment…at least for me. I ached to throw myself into something creative. Wrangling spreadsheets and tracking grant reports had burnt out a part of my brain. My hands needed to be closer to change, to creation, to fulfillment. I felt it in every bone, but my brain told me it was nonsensical. To leave an excellent job with several semesters of college left was foolish. My co-workers had been woven into my heart...I was blessed with more than just a job, but a little family. To leave would be flaky and illogical.

But, no matter how I rationalized, my heart was unsettled. Unconvinced by logic, it softly whispered to my mind that it must think longer. After a few weeks of prayer and pondering, I felt at peace. I gave my bosses two months notice, started making to-do lists and set my last day for December 29th. At the time it was weeks in the future, but now it is just days away from today.

You might ask: What are you going to do now? And here’s where I get real honest…I don’t know. Until summer comes I will be only a student—life and savings have provided for that. For six months, I’ll be passionately throwing myself into both coursework and personal creativity, and although I’m teary eyed at the thought of leaving my job…I’m heart-thumpingly excited about what it means for my silly artistic soul.

Life feels open-ended, and I’m embracing this new uncharted path: life beyond the expiration dateWith anything that isn’t your passion, there’s an expiration date. No matter what your paycheck, or how compatible your co-workers, there comes a day when you have to move forward into something more fitting. Even if you don’t know what that will be. You have to take a blind step and with many prayers trust that you will be stepping where God intended…to a place that speaks to your heart.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. It might mean crying in front of eighteen people at a Christmas party while trying to say goodbye. Or buying a replacement stapler, because you just can’t part with the one you’ve used for five years.  Yet if the last two years of life have taught me anything, it is this: The best decisions aren’t always the ones most easily explained on paper…they’re often only felt in your heart,  completely inexplicable to those surrounding you.

And so, I hope that this is one of them. If you could feel my heart, I know you’d understand.

12.19.2010

...jegga-what?

My dear friend Mai and I have been debating the boots + leggings trend for months. We both wanted in, but it was completely outside our fashion realm. Thankfully, we share an office, so whittling away hours discussing our fitting room mishaps didn't costs either of us (or our employer) much personal time. After the massive Midwest blizzard last weekend, we both bought boots. Neither pair of boots was particularly fitting for a snowstorm, but hey.

And then...on Friday she totally one-upped me and bought jeggings. We'd both mocked jeggings for weeks, as the concept is quite scary. And we'd seen them done so wrong so many times. But ultimately, they were the only thing that could solve the bunchy boot dilemma. She looked uber foxy. Granted, she's slimmer and much prettier than I...but I just had to do it, too.

(Please forgive my puffy face and ultra lame smile. I'm sick.)

Overall, I kind of like them but still feel a smidge unsure. Wearing an ultra long top is most necessary, though, as my rump isn't at all flattered in jeggings. I purchased this sweater about a month ago from Old Navy, and it felt weekend-casual with boots and my new bottoms. My sis and I are going out for dinner tonight, and I've sworn her to honesty: If my new jeggalicious look isn't that luscious...it is her job to cautiously tell me.

In concluson: Size 10 women everywhere...jegs it up! (Just keep your booty covered.)

(Sidenote: Thanks for all your lipstick suggestions! I'm feeling much less scared about selecting a tube now that I have your guidance. Ilona had a stellar idea: Hit the department store for a consult before the airport... they can match my outfit! Genius. I'll let you all know what I choose.)

12.18.2010

lacking lipstick.

(Me, the last day I wore lipstick...it was September.)

I'm not a lipstick girl. It overwhelms me.

The few times I've decided to hit the tube, I find myself standing in the cosmetics aisle with not a clue where to begin. Do I want matte finish? Glossy? A wand, or a stick? And then the colors. Oh my, the colors. Every shade of peach, rose and razzy red stares me in the face, its $8.00 pricetag seeming an enormous commitment given no guarantee that I'll emerge from the experience any better than I came in.

But, I'm ready to tackle it again. In twelve days I reunite with my guy, who's flying all the way from Iraq to see me. If the boy can spend 24 hours in transit through the Red Zone in Baghdad, Kuwait, D.C. and a handful of other locations, I figure the least I can do is throw on a little lipstick to greet him. And, when you haven't seen your love in four months, you do naturally want to kick it up a notch. :)

I'm counting on you, girls. Hit me with your suggestions. (Please?)

12.17.2010

daddy's cupcake.


Last week, I pulled up to my office early in the morning to find my dad waiting for me, adorable mini cupcake in hand. He just wanted to wish me a happy day. Does it get any sweeter?

Sometimes I forget. I forget that having a father who brings you hot chocolate while pulling an all-nighter, who cheerfully drives 40 minutes to bring you spare keys, who offers to help fix your sewing machine and hang your new chandelier...it isn't a normal thing. My father's love has been so constant, even from my earliest memory of getting a giggly horsey ride on his back, that I'd never considered how life would be without it. This I know: I don't want to imagine it. Not all little girls are lucky enough to grow up with a macho man who set aside masculine interests to make her a poodle skirt for Halloween, and not every young woman has a teddy-bear father who gets teary just thinking about her wedding day. Statistically, I'm sure it's far from normal. Emotionally, it's an exceptionally blessed thing.

Boys have come and gone. But through it all there has been, and always will be Daddy. The ultimate man in my life. :)

(A little note: Infinite thanks for the oodles of sweet thoughts + wishes on my last post. Seriously, girls, my goodness did you cheer me! Other things that have kept me smiling: A photo of Shannon's little guy in a hat I sent him...and a sweet blogger who thought of me by snapping a photo of the most fetching aqua radio. Oh Blogosphere, you are so wonderful.)

12.14.2010

..and then life happens.

*Behold. One piece of a final project.

Remember how I promised a real post with harrowing tales of my blizzard survival? That would have been fun, yes?

Well, my friends. My washing machine broke this morning…with all my favorite clothes in it. My toilet clogged. (I swear to you…I did nothing!) My modem is fried. And my phone will not allow me to send Gabriel pictures of every silly little thing I usually do. Driving has become more frightening than ever, leading me to believe it's time to drop several hundred dollars on new tires. It’s finals week, and I’m finishing up a paper + *project, working twenty some hours between Monday and Friday, packing in a little Christmas shopping and attempting to juggle some amount of personal creativity on the side...while knowing that I have hours and hours of studying to do this weekend.

Recipe…for disaster.

This all culminated in a small crying jag at the coffee shop when my computer continued to refuse to connect to the internet for the four millionth time. Then, a strange man began shooting me awkward glances through the coffee shop window. Hello, sir. Fancy lending me a hand at fixing my toilet? Or perhaps my washing machine?

I’m having one of those days. A day in which I don’t want to be witty. I don’t want to be cute. I don’t want to be creative. If only all my usual energetic friendliness went into some sort of bank of life, allowing me to scowl and become a holy terror for one day. Unfortunately, life does not grant us such indulgences and lest I frighten those around me, I will wear a smile, I will chat excitedly about the coming holiday, I will do my best to remain patient and kind.

But I offer to you, this post, lest I ever be accused of not showing you who and what I really am. Here it is. A real glimpse into my life. Unfussed over photos. Unedited text. This is me. This is my life, which I usually love. But, today I’m just not feelin’ it.

12.13.2010

late entry.

I know, I know. I said I don't like to write about things I'd like to buy...but might I submit one late entry for my Wish Lust? Because it's inexplicably perfect?

Yes? Okay. These.


In two weeks, a luscious one month Christmas break awaits me. I'll be traveling to and fro, and I'm dying to find a few things to fill my travel time. Check out Jessica's blog to take a crack at winning some of these for yourself!

In other news: I lived through a blizzard this weekend. By myself. With spotty internet. And limited food supply. I'll be back tomorrow with tales of horror, and a real blog post that doesn't revolve around things I'd like to purchase. Be excited.

12.10.2010

christmas wish lust.


I try really hard not to write about things I want to buy. I blame this on my father.

When I first started blogging two years ago, my father oh-so-lovingly referred to my blog as "the blatant commericalism blog". Cut me deep, Daddio...cut me deep. But it's true--I did a lot of trolling the internet and then posting things I'd seen 'round the web, that I'd never be able to buy ($300 Anthro dress? $120 J. Crew sweater? PLEASE.), but not a whole lot of sharing of myself.

Not that I dislike that type of blogging! I'm not being a blog snob or anything of the sort. (Because have you seen this place? It's nothing that would allow for snobbery on my part.) I enjoy when those with a good eye dedicate themselves to sharing gorg bits and baubles from around the web. I suppose I felt the need to push myself into a different type of creativity which forced me to write about and photograph life. It felt much more therapeutic...and let's face it: I need as much therapy as possible.

However, this I cannot help. It's Christmas time, and I'm feeling awful lustful. Welcome to my 2010 Wish Lust.


One: Cover Story Postcards
Two: Keep You Posted Wallet
Three: Too Cute For Words Heel In Navy
Four: Diana + Dreamer Camera

Apparently this year I'm diggin' on all things vintagey and in any tint, tone or shade of blue or green. But what's new there...

What's on your wish list (or unattainable wish lust) this year?

12.09.2010

sweet, sweet world.

This isn't even hyperbole. With several Christmas parties requiring me to bake in my home, plus return home with more treats, this girl has been left in a dangerously cookie-laden world. While making this pie chart, I realized that in one 24-hour period, I had eaten only cookies, chocolates and treats. And yesterday after finally eating a hearty sandwich, I couldn't figure out why I was stuffed until midnight.

Oh my.

So, on a return trip from the gym, I stopped at the grocery store and dropped fifteen dollars on a fruit tray. Extravagant, I know. But finals week draws nigh, and I simply must keep something around that is healthy + quick...and as alluring as the frosted sugar cookies that pervade my world.

Fresh pineapple and strawberries might give a mint brownie a run for its money...right? :)

12.08.2010

a lesson in letting go.


Once upon a time there was a boy. There was a girl. And there was a Nintendo.

The boy was the girl's best friend, but unfortunately, the girl knew they were not meant to be. When the boy moved away, with his broken heart, he left behind his Nintendo, which had been lost in the shuffle of time. Months passed, and the boy and girl no longer spoke. One day, the girl happened upon the old Nintendo. Unsure of what to do, she did nothing. It was all she had left from years of friendship that had completely vanished. So, she put it in a safe place until she could decide what should be done.

In time, the Nintendo became a silly glimmer of hope. Hope that if she returned it, friendship would follow. Or, if not friendship, perhaps forgiveness from the boy who now despised her for breaking his heart. More time passed, and the box stayed in the same place, gathering dust. The girl always had good intentions--she'd send it with a note...she just needed time to write the perfect note. The note would be very funny and a little charming...the boy would have to laugh, and forgive her for breaking his heart. Then they would giggle about the horrible sandwiches they once ate in northern Minnesota, or that time they chased a beaver down by the river. Life would feel right again, and they'd exchange the occasional friendly email, perhaps send cheery birthday cards and have the most uncomplicated friendship exes could ever have.

But for now, she just couldn't touch the box. Because, no matter how silly that girl was, she knew this: Touching the box meant it was really, truly all over. She knew that in sending that dusty old box, nothing would happen. The boy would likely receive it, rejoice over his long lost Nintendo, and yet continue in silence, leaving their friendship on the cutting room floor of time, only to be remembered in passing comments to others about days gone by, or romance gone awry. Nothing would be mended. She could not control the forgiveness of others. There was no green tunnel in which she could discover a shortcut to the friendship she so misses, after battling a fiery monster or two. Relationships cannot be miraculously repaired with the ol' Nintendo blow. When the game is over...the game is over.

And the game is really, truly over. She is packing up the old Nintendo. She is taping the box shut, and not including the charming note she's written in her mind for the past few months. Although, she will address it in her friendliest handwriting, in hopes that will convey some meaning.

Time marches on, and so must we, whether we're forgiven or not. Even if it means we must foolishly cry in the post office over a dusty Nintendo, and all its metaphorical meaning.

12.07.2010

first snow.


I sit up in bed, sure that it’s too early to be awake, but unsure of the exact placement of the hands of the clock ticking next to my pillow. My eyes are tired and burning, my mind numb from restless sleep. Attempting to grasp some concept of time, I lean to my right and peer out my bedroom window, it’s dotted in precipitation, so my eyes go funny while I try to focus beyond the glassy polka dots and down into the dark night.

And then I see it. Across the roof of the building below, and on the big oak tree, a sparkly white blanket. It twinkles and winks at me, as if it knew just how much I’d anticipated its arrival and waited until this moment to truly shimmer for an audience of one. Underneath the creamy yellow street light, snowflakes dance and flirt with each other, swirling, bumping into one another before falling to the ground.


I watch, mesmerized, longer than any adult should. The thin layer of snow will probably melt before I wake up, the first snow always does, I think to myself. So, I tiptoe to the kitchen, my path lit by twinkly Christmas lights, and push my white teapot onto the stove. Clinking my way through the highest cupboard, I stretch tall to reach my favorite teacup, small, gold and light pink. Soon, it’s filled with spicy tea and together we retire to the living room, wrapping up in a chunky knit throw to watch winter’s coat clothe my street.

This year, this first cold, shiny white blanket tells me I’m close to finishing another semester in college; it signals that Christmas is nearer than yesterday, bringing with it a new year with new beginnings.

I’m so ready for new beginnings, I think to myself minutes later as I, still in a sleepy fog, snuggle back up in my bed. Reaching to turn out the light, I say it aloud.

So very ready. 

12.06.2010

quick craft: literary snow storm.


The world has been telling me to make this. Holiday garlands are all around the web, so crafting one has been on my to-do list. But, on Friday I treated myself to DIY magazine, in which I found instructions for making a wintery curtain garland of sorts. Bam. I had to make my own. This, my ladies, is a project you cannot screw up because it is all about sweet, sweet imperfection. I changed the project a smidge, as I didn't have the attention span to follow the semi-time-consuming directions set forth for me. So, with my abreviated version, an ADHD crafter's adaptation, I only needed 25 minutes to cover two windows...not too bad, even if you're a super busy gal!

Read on for instructions!



Step 1: Rip out about twenty pages from your book. Stack the pages as thick as your scissors will allow, and begin to cut various sizes of squares or rectangles. Please, please, please don't sweat perfection! But, just for reference: My squares stuck within the 1 1/2 to 2" range, with lots of imperfect, tattered edges.

Step 2: Switch on your sewing machine, and make sure it's loaded with light or invisible thread. Run about 3 inches of just thread, and then begin feeding through your paper, one square at a time. You can leave as much or as little space between each square as you'd like. I varied mine, and even ran some of my squares through diagonally...because I'm edgy like that.

Step 3: Once you reach the length needed (mine ran five feet per garland), simply snip and hang from the top of your window using clear tape. Or, if you have an extra tension rod lying around, just tie the top of each strand around the rod and secure that in your window.

Step 4: Repeat as many times as needed to crank up the cute in your space! I made six individual garlands for each window.


Absolutely easy as can be, I promise. And it's just as charming from the street below my window, as it is from my coziest living room chair.

12.03.2010

(kind of) all around the web.


Although I had never guest-posted before and was a smidge nervous, this week I was a lucky lady who wrote two posts for bloggers who are at the top of my fav list:

Wander over to Jessica's blog for a simple felt flower tutorial

and

Click over to Johanna's blog for some words on holiday balance

Thanks to the ladies who welcomed my words and photos...it was such a Christmasy delight! Speaking of Christmas, they say my beloved Wisconsin town is about to be absolutely blanketed in snow this weekend. Finally, finally, finally! I'm so ready to snuggle up in my tiny apartment and watch the flakes fly this weekend. Tonight it's laundry and dishes, tomorrow some holiday baking. And Sunday? So excited to head to Jessica's Crafternoon in Minneapolis!

Is it snowing where you are? Are you prepping for the holidays? :)

12.02.2010

impulse buy.

I cannot stop playing with the holiday textures over at Picnik. New obsession.

Last week I had a terrible day. It was an Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day day. There were tears, exhaustion and it all got worse when, while fueling my car, the auto stop on the pump failed and seven gallons of gas spilled out onto the ground...and my cute shoes. And they made me pay for it.

That was it. I needed retail therapy, and it needed to be big.

A sewing machine had been on my mind for a few years, but I could never justify the $100 price tag. But last Saturday? Totally justified. So, this came home with me. Meet Eleanor, who has already cranked out a few Thanksgiving table runners and has lent a hand in a few other projects.

Why didn't I do this sooner? Best. Purchase. EVER.

11.30.2010

how sweet.

This came on my breakfast tray one day in Ireland.

The super-sweet and gorgeous Alivia from Alivia Thinks This recently gave me a thoughtful blogger award! I'm so terrible at playing along with awards...I'm always so thankful to get one, and mean to play along, but until recently I haven't really been on the blogger-ball. So, this one's for all the times I never played along. Sorry about that. :)

The rules state that I'm to list seven random things about me and select seven fav blogs. As for my blog picks, I simply cannot trim it down. I've decided it's time to start a link list on my sidebar, so look for that soon. I'll be sure to let you know when it's ready!

My Seven Randoms

One. I am left handed. Picking up a pen can be the equivalent of a circus trick in the right group, as this quirk continues to amaze people I've known for ages, but who have forgotten that I write with "that other hand."


Two. I subconsciously count stairs as I climb them. There are 22 stairs to my apartment, 52 to my art history classroom, 64 to my journalism class. On Tuesdays, I climb 356 stairs...and today I climbed in heels. :)


Three. Were you to look in my armoire, you'd probably think I was goth. Black. Grey. Navy. (Remember goths? They were taken over by emo kids, and goths are a rare sight these days.) I simply don't know how to mix colors in my wardrobe...I'm so insecure about color mixing. Don't get me started on trying patterns. Hives will erupt, I tell you!


Four. I haven't the slightest clue what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know how I want to feel when I grow up. The latter is more important in my mind, and someday, in the right time, I'll bump into what I'm supposed to do from now until forever.


Five. York Peppermint Patties are my weakness. I can eat an entire bag in one sitting. That is also like a circus act.


Six. My alter-ego is a woman named Marlene. Marlene is a 30-something single art historian who spews historical facts at the most inopportune moments, much to the annoyance of everyone around her. Even I am annoyed by Marlene...but I cannot help it. Sometimes she just takes over, and I feel the need to teach my family about Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns so they can correctly identify them in the future.


Seven. Someday, I want to publish a book. I have no clue what it will be about, but I feel that there are a lot of words, stories and emotions in me that will only ever be able to be shared in written form. Even if only my mother and best friend buy it or it pervades discount shelves everywhere...I will be the happiest woman in the world.

Your turn. Give me a random about you!

11.29.2010

understated holiday.


My dear friends, has Thanksgiving passed already? I feel as though I'm in a stuffing-based haze. Is it possible? Truthfully, I'm exhausted and have not yet been able to name a reason why, as I've not gone much beyond eating, lounging and simple homework. Although, that's nothing new. I had grandiose plans for this Thanksgiving's table, but quickly scrapped them when Wednesday night arrived and I'd not lifted a finger. So, I fell back on a base of polka-dot lace tablecloths, a burlap runner and a light green seersucker overlay runner.
 

 My grandmother recently passed down a twelve-person china setting from the 1930's with all the trimmings, salad, dinner and dessert plates, cups, bowls, saucers...and it made for the perfect eye candy. I picked up adorable seersucker cloth napkins at...The Dollar Store. Yes, indeed. Six dollars for twelve napkins, and they couldn't have been more perfect.
 

I opted out of napkin rings, as the things are so expensive I can't bear to purchase them. So, some simple baker's twine was a nice stand-in and pumped up the texture. Is it silly that I think it's charming when silverwear is mismatched?


All in all, it was my easiest table yet, and cost all told: Sixteen dollars. Thankfully, both burlap and pears were on sale which saved me a fortune. My sister and mom tackled the meal, and did a deliciously excellent job. I'm a lucky girl in that my mother and sister respect my inability and disinterest in cooking...perhaps that will change someday when I'm cooking for more than one. But, for now I delight in more visual pursuits. :)

Do tell: Are you the cook or the decorator during the holidays? Are you one of the lucky girls who excels at both?

11.26.2010

gratefulness.

My Thanksgiving table, a few hours after the feast. I like when the candles burn low.

I recognize that I'm tardy to the bloggers' Thanksgiving, to which some have faithfully contributed for weeks. It's not that I haven't been thankful, but moreso that I haven't been diligent. And, although the turkey has been roasted, the dishes washed and the pie raved over, as long as there are leftovers in the fridge, I figure it's not too late to join those who have verbalized their thankfulness. This year, I'm thankful...

...for a family who accepts that my calling is not to the kitchen, but rather the dining room display.

...for a boyfriend who sweetly sent flowers to my mother who was hosting our twelve-person dinner.

...for a mother who cooks the stuffing outside the turkey, honoring my squeamish vegetarian ways.

...for two days reprieve from work + school. Tomorrow I dig into a paper on baroque furnishings in film. (Secretly excited!)

...for a few extra dollars to spend on frivolous Black Friday purchases, like this sweater in grey.

...for my size 10 jeans. Hello, old friends, and thank you for accommodating this weekend's carboloading ways.

Truly, I'm thankful for pretty darn-well near everything in my life. Family, dear friends, romance, transportation, inspiration...everything. It may be far from perfect, and a little rough around the edges, but I know I'm a lucky girl. Here's hoping that the remainder of your Thanksgiving weekend is simply sensational. :)

P.S. Pass the stuffing. Again.

11.23.2010

little moments.

Another sweet item from Kari's barn.

In the midst of...

...backing ever-so-slightly into someone's bumper.
...pulling a near-all-nighter to finish a project.
...dealing with the least pleasant campus employee I've ever faced.
...malfunctioning computer programs, leading to three hours of lost work.
...complete, and total frustration.

...a boy I love in Iraq received his care package and is, as I write this, decorating his tree. And that, if anything, makes life worth smiling about.

Fa-la-la-la-fabulous. :)

11.21.2010

a vintage gem.


My co-worker Kari recently entered the antiquing business, and several times a year transforms her gorgeous 1800's barn into a welcome shop-space for eager antiquers...lucky for me, I found out about this just a few days before her big Christmas sale. And, although it may have been below freezing outside on Saturday, inside this big ol' Wisconsin barn there was nothing but warm hearts and toasty spirits.


Between the piping hot apple cider Kari was dishing up, and the cheery laughs with which she greeted each guest, it was clear that this entire undertaking is a work of heart. The milky morning light filtered through the slats of the barn, illuminating each gorgeously placed glassy bauble and vintage good. The whole barn was decked out in Christmas beauty, and staged to perfection--white, twinkly lights, Christmas trees, ornaments and antique cards...enough to make a Christmas-freak like me cheery for weeks!

Now, I can't show you any of my scores, because they're all about to be wrapped up as gifts...but I will say this: I walked away with a bulging bag of vintage finds for a little over twenty bucks! The photos below should give you a little taste of the beauty within that magnificent barn.



 
It was beautiful...the most excellent way to start a weekend, and an incredible kick-off to the true holiday season. If you're in the area, be sure to hop over to Kari's blog to keep up to date with her spring barn sale dates. Even if the Augusta barn is a little out of your way, I can promise you it's worth every mile you drive! :)

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