Thursday, March 04, 2010

Before You Kiss Me You Should Know

Last night I had my first wedding-related stress dream.

I know I haven't been talking about the big nuptials much on here, but planning's going well. We have outfits, we have rings, we have a venue and a date, we have a band and a plan for homemade invitations that just might work. But now we're starting to get into the stuff that really freaks me out: Catering, and party vendors.

I should love the catering part of the planning - what do we love more than food? But the markup just makes me insane. As soon as I hear the word "caterer," I think of bland, reheated food that probably came from a restaurant supply store, yet somehow still costs more than my car. On the flipside, the only other thing I can imagine is super-fancy, super local food that only special people get to eat, and again, definitely costs more than my car (I'm picking on him, but he's a good, new-in-2006 ride). I'm suspicious of caterers, and I'm in complete doubt that we can feed our guests anything they'd actually want to eat.

And then there are the purveyors of tables, chairs, plates, glasses and the like. We've already all-but decided to BUY the sliverware from Ikea, because it's less expensive than renting. Seriously. Less expensive to buy 150 place settings than to rent them for a couple hours. It's baffling. And I'm scared.

I should share, Cam's totally taking the lead in both those areas because he knows how irrational I am about it. And he feels about jewelers like I feel about caterers, and I found us a place to get our wedding bands that he loved, so I believe it could happen with caterers (though not with party rentals. Come on.).

Still, I'm clearly agitated. Last night I dreamed that two hours before the wedding, I realized I'd completely forgotten to get a hair appointment. I freaked out, frantically called one place that couldn't fit me in, then spent what felt like eons trying to wrestle the number for Fantastic Sam's (what? I have NEVER been to a Fantastic Sam's. And do they do updos, really?) out of my phone. I kept trying to Google it, and hitting the wrong keys, then trying the voice recognition and it wouldn't work at all. It was silly, but you know how it goes - in the dream, incredibly stressful.

Let's hope the catering experience goes a bit more smoothly.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy 101

Lately I've been really warming to a blog called Rubies Place. It's the online home of a woman, Tina, who lives in Australia with her husband and three girls. She's got skills I can only ever hope to have in the realm of embroidery, knitting and sewing, and she's got a great eye for secondhand treasures that can be made new. And shortly, she's promised to post a tutorial for the fire-fearing (moi) on how to make over an inexpensive lampshade. She also gets a bit of the credit for the fact that my ancient Bernina is in the shop, getting a tune-up. I used to be really good at sewing... In home ec in middle school... We'll see how much I remember.

At any rate, she recently blogged the Happy 101 meme, and instead of tagging specific friends to follow her, she challenged all her readers to do it. It's simple - 10 things that make you grateful or happy. I've been in such a relatively rotten place for so long, I could certainly use an excuse to focus on the positive. So I'll give it a shot. I think this is my first meme!

1. My future husband, Cam. We're having such a ball planning our wedding together, and as the pieces fall into place, it really is emerging as a celebration that will look like us. And I cannot stress enough how amazing he's been through these 2+ (and ongoing) months with the mono. No matter how grouchy I get, no matter how much I complain, he meets my short temper with kindness and grace. Sometimes it makes me madder when he diffuses a situation - we both know I'm being ugly to provoke a fight and make everyone miserable, instead of just me - but he's right, of course, and he sets such a good example for me. And have I mentioned what an incredible cook he is? I am indeed a lucky girl.

2. and 3. Our monsters, Winston and Sweeney. I can hardly imagine two more entertaining pets. He's the most demanding creature I've ever met, and he'll do anything for a fix - a mash&bash session on someone's belly, preferably mine. He taught me to play fetch, and he can jump at least six feet in the air. She's the quieter soul, and she's a bit more discerning with her affection. But once you win Sweeney over, she's yours, winding around your legs and bringing her fishing pole to you for playtime. My favorite time with Sweeney is first thing in the morning, when she props her front paws up on our bed frame and stretches up to peek her head over the top of the mattress to say good morning.

Photo by Shannon Hibberd
3. My sister and brother in law. I'm beyond grateful for all my amazing friends and family, but I'll let these two represent the group. My sister, Enna, is one of the most sweet, considerate people I know, and she can talk to anyone anywhere, and they come away completely taken with her. She's thoughtful and determined, and wont to surprising her nearest and dearest with unexpected gifts. Her husband is one of the few people I know who can go toe-to-toe with her in terms of thoughtfulness, and I can hardly remember what my family was like before he joined it. He's essential, and I'm so grateful for them both.

4. The Atlantic ocean. Proximity to the ocean, and the fact it's always nearby. I know the Pacific's more beautiful, with its brilliant greens and blues, but I'll take the Atlantic any day. I'm grateful I grew up so near to it, I'm grateful my parents bought a beach house by it so we could visit again and again, and I'm grateful I now live just a few hours from it. I can't imagine ever living more than a half-day's drive from the Atlantic coast. In the game of "where would you rather live, the mountains or the beach?" I come up beach, every single time.

5. My job. My job, first and foremost, is the job I dreamed about when I left my university town after undergrad, 10 years ago. I came to DC with one goal in mind, and it hasn't disappointed. Sure, some days are terrible, and plenty of them are just OK, but some are absolutely unforgettable, like the one in the above picture. I took that picture, while I was working. Plus, my job makes so much possible, from the delicious food we love to cook to the incredible meals out, from the quick trips to the beach to our longer trips to California and Europe. Money can't buy you happiness, true, but it can make life a lot more fun.

...And for the last 5, some smaller-picture stuff.

6. The Internet. Sounds corny, but it's true! Keeping in touch with my friends, a billion recipes at a moment's notice, music and movies and news and entertainment galore. C'mon... You know you love it!

7. The 2010 Winter Olympics. The men's figure skating smackdown! Hockey! Shani Davis! Shaun White! I haven't paid such close attention to the Olympics in a while, and boy, was this a good one. Thanks, athletes!

8. New clothes. I don't shop a ton, but there are few things I enjoy quite so much as a small treasure trove of new clothes.

9. Dishwasher soap with phosphates. We use mostly Mrs. Meyers products in our home, and Trader Joe's laundry detergent, and try to tread fairly lightly. We tried some green dishwasher detergent, though, and boy does it suck! We're going back on the bad stuff as soon as we're through with it. Now I understand the cross-border smuggling out West.

10. Spring. Please, please get here soon!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Super Good Looking

This is in no way an official announcement of any sort... But I'm darn near ready for my swagger wagon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pure Style Challenge: Reinvent The Not-Quite Right

I've mentioned before how much I love interior designer Lauren Liess's blog, Pure Style Home. This year, she's taken on a great project: Each week, she challenges her readers to follow her in undertaking a home improvement project. One of the first she did was a coat closet makeover, and as soon as I saw her made-over closet, I was hooked. Mine now features the same look - basket on the top shelf, warmies corralled in an an over-the-door shoe organizer, and coordinated wood hangers. I haven't painted the inside yet... But it's not out of the question.

This week, the challenge is "Reinvent or freshen up something in your home that isn't quite right. {even if it's already beautiful}"

One of the few problem areas left in our home was the living room. We had a carpet in there that, while nice, just wasn't working. It's the Crate and Barrel Palmer rug, and we got it as a stopgap measure at an outlet store, knowing the size probably wasn't right.

It wasn't. The gap between the couch and the coffee table drove us nuts, and the navy blue showed absolutely every piece of lint and garbage. It needed vacuuming near-daily (OK, daily). Plus, it was constantly shedding threads, as if the cats were pulling them out, and left navy blue lint everywhere. Altogether a bad call.

When I read Lauren's challenge for the week, my mind went immediately to that wrong rug, and then, I found this guy on sale.

We've got a West Elm rug in another room, so we knew we liked their natural fibers and construction. I couldn't find it nearby, so I held my breath and ordered it online. It was delivered in 2 days, and we are so, so happy with it!

What do you think? Improvement? Functionally, absolutely - the 8x10 is the perfect size. And I think the color's a much better fit, and the weave is much more sophisticated than the old one. Thanks for the kick in the pants, Lauren - we love our new look!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Unexpected

Last night, I turned to my iPhone during itch-induced insomnia, and pulled up my blog to see if anyone had fresh updates for me to distract myself with. One of my favorites that hadn't been updated in a while, Decorated Life, had one, and I eagerly clicked over to see what was going on with Robin, a young interior decorator who I first heard about from her work at Domino.

To all those who follow Robin's blog,
I am Holly Sillau, Robin's mom. It pains me to write that my beautiful daughter passed away 3 weeks ago. Thank you to all of you for your support of Robin. She was a wonderful person and will live in my heart forever.

I was stunned, of course. I mean, I never knew her, never even commented on her blog. But I was taken with her style and her sense of humor. I Googled her a bit and it looked like she just got engaged, and had so much going for her, professionally. I wish her family and friends peace and comfort as they mourn this dynamic lady.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


I have a somewhat... misleading habit of proclaiming this or that will "change your life." I try not to say it unless I truly believe it, but I've come to realize that my definition of life-changing doesn't necessarily match what might be recognized as the standard definition. Take this shelf:

About a year ago, I told Cam that we needed it for the cabinet above the stove, and assured him it'd change our lives. Of course, it doubled our storage (coffee mugs and tea, in our home, as opposed to canned goods), but the life-changing quality to which I was referring is that we don't have to take five things out to get what we need anymore - it has indeed simplified our lives. Change, right? Cam STILL makes fun of me for that one.

Tonight we're trying a dessert from a blog post titled "This Post Will Change Your Life" (and no, I didn't write it). This recipe made the rounds over the summer, and it couldn't be simpler. Chuck 2 or 3 frozen bananas in your food processor. Process for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides every so often. What you get is this:

Banana soft serve. I swear, it's absolutely amazing! As long as you like the taste of bananas, and I do, you'll love this. There's NOTHING IN IT BUT BANANAS. But it tastes like ice cream. We topped ours with a little hot fudge. Life-changing? Sure. In that in 5 minutes we went from having nothing for dessert to having something delicious for dessert. And that's good enough for me.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Let's Go Away For A While

We're going back! Back to our beautiful cottage on the ocean, in the tiny town on the barrier island where we don't know anyone, barely get cell service, and don't do much of anything.

It's paradise, pretty much. We eat, we drink, we cook, we fish, we walk, we read, we sleep. This year may be a little different, though, because I'm still off the sauce, thanks to my unwelcome companion, the mono. The mono is a tenacious virus, and I'm darn sick of it throwing its weight around. Since nothing's ever simple, the mono's wreaking havoc somewhere between my spleen and my liver, polluting my blood with all kinds of grody chemicals at crazy levels that furrow my doctor's brow and make me conjure doomsday scenarios when I try to fall asleep.

Oh, and sleeping? It's supposed to be a cinch with the mono, right? Not so here. For more than a week now, I've had the most oppressive full-body rash I've ever had. I itch all day long, every day, and am woken up every night (seriously, every night) by it. Some nights Cam and I can't even sleep in the same room, so agonizing is the scratching. My feet are the worst at night, and I've tried everything -- cortisone, Benadryl, oatmeal baths, Aveeno with and without menthol, scratching the sh** out of them, not scratching at all. The only thing that actually works is plunging my feet into ice-cold water and soaking them till they're numb. Then I can usually fall back asleep, but if my feet warm up before I pass out, forget it, we're back to square one.

Woo! That was ranty! Sorry, but it's really one of those things that's simple on its face, but boy does it wreck you. Face, yeah, that's another place I'm rashy, by the way. Anyway, I'm really hoping the mono's gone by the time we head East. I'm sure the sound of the ocean will make me feel better no matter what the mono's doing... But I'd also like to be able to share wine with my sweetie. Hoping that's not too much to ask.