Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My favorite Christmas song

I'm dreamin' tonight of a place I love, even more then I usually do

I'm not going to be home in my parents house for Christmas this year, but that's nothing abnormal. Christmas Eve's of my childhood were always spent tucked with eager anticipation into my grandma's basement bedroom spare bed. So my Christmas dreams are surrounded by the cold, snow covered mountains of the Wasatch range.

And although I know it's a long road back I promise you...

I'll be home for Christmas, you can count on me

But this year I'll be spending it with my new family. The ear doctor's family. The newest branches grafted into my personal tree.

Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents under the tree

There probably won't be much snow but his family really knows how to have a fun time. And presents? please. I've learned over the years that the ear doctor's limitless spending on gifts was an inherited trait from his two wonderful parents.

Christmas Eve will find me where the love light beams

I'm already basking in the surety that love light will be beaming all over me...

I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams

A dream come true is knowing that this new family I have loves me so totally. And I have the chance to be in love with my very best friend in the whole world. My Christmas wish is that everyone could be so lucky.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's beginning...

The ear doctor and I love going out for breakfast. And while we both love getting fancy eggs Benedict with perfectly balanced hollandaise and steel cut oats topped with organic strawberries and home made granola, we can also appreciate a greasy plate of hashbrowns, bacon and sunny side up eggs.

On Saturday we went to the diner in our neighborhood. It's been open for 30 years and only takes customers from 4 am to 3 pm. Breakfast is their thing.

We came in, found a seat and ordered our food. As I looked around I knew the place would be awesome because every other table held groups of 85 year old men sipping their coffee from those thick beige ceramic mugs. It made me miss my grandpa.

Just as our food was delivered I looked to my right and what to my wondering eyes did appear?

The fat man himself!

I couldn't believe our luck! Here it was less than a week before Christmas and Santa was eating breakfast in my neighborhood. And I knew for sure it was him because as he finished his meal he paid his bill and proceeded to go to every table in the place that had a kid and handed out tootsie rolls.

Only the REAL Santa would do that!

Friday, December 18, 2009

She whom bears the mark

Since moving to our new house the ear doctor and I have change the church congregation we attend. I was a little nervous about meeting 150+ new people. I hoped we'd find some new friends: cool couples we could have over for dinner, little kids we could play with before and after the meetings, older mentor figures we could learn from and look up to.

And guess what, this new group of folks have not let us down. We've felt so totally welcomed and embraced!

The first week we were there I noticed a young mother of 2 little girls. She seemed really nice and her kids were adorable...but do you know what really caught my eye? She was wearing an awesome headband with 3 big felt flowers on the side of her head.

After church I commented to the ear doctor about her and he said, "yeah, I saw her too. Did you see her headband? I bet she's a blogger."

And I bet he was right. Can I help it if after 5.5 years of doing this I'm drawn bloggers?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Definatley not Angela

Good news everyone...I've officially made it here at my new(ish) job. It's been a long hard 6 months, but today I've arrived. I've been invited into the inner sanctum of....wait for it...the party planning committee.
Yup, despite being in a male dominated industry, I was invited to help put up the decorations with a group 100% female members.
As part of the committee I spent an hour of my time covering conference room tables with cheap wrapping paper and draping the walls with green plastic garland.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Frosted window panes

According to legend, every year my grandma asks my grandpa to put lights up on this outside of the house and he "refuses." She'll ask and he'll use a valid reason why he won't do it. And she gets flustered. It's not that he doesn't want lights up, it's that he likes to tease her before he puts them up.

And now my parents do the same thing.

On Tree Day (the day after Thanksgiving) my mom wants my dad to brave the sub zero temperatures and he putzes around for a while not putting them up. A few days go by and there are still no lights. The thing is, I really think my dad LOVES having lights on the house, but getting them up there is sort of an ordeal...and it's more fun to tease my mom until her head explodes.

This year I was pretty sure that we wouldn't do lights on our little house. Was I sad about the lack of blinking festivity? A little. Was I perfectly aware of how deep our strings of lights were under Mt. Cardboard box in the garage? Abundantly. It just didn't seem worth the hassle.

Which is why a small tear left the corner of my right eye the other day when I pulled into our street after a long, cold day at work and saw this:

(He may or may not have forgotten that we actaully have 4 posts on our front porch...)

And from the inside of the house, admiring the lights:

I guess I'm like mother, and like grandmother...I just LOVE Christmas lights on my house!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Utter shame

So, after sending my wish for a home cooked meal out into the ether of the Internet, the ear doctor and I were promptly invited over for a perfectly cooked Sunday dinner.

One of my newest friends texted me and practically demanded that she save us from another night of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Gratefully, I immediately took her up on her offer. In addition to providing awesome food, sparkling conversation and a little competitive scrabble action, these friends LOVE our dog making them the perfect people to spend an entire afternoon/evening with. You see, they used to have a dog but had to find another home for him when they moved from Arizona to Colorado. They miss their dog terribly so anytime Roscoe is around they are thrilled!

Excitedly we all piled into the car, Roscoe included, and drove over to their house.

Dinner was awesome.

Roscoe played so gently and lovingly with their little 18 month old darling.

After dinner we all went down to the basement to kick off our shoes and play some games. Things were going so well until we all looked over and saw that Roscoe was BENT OVER TAKING A DUMP ON THEIR FLOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never been so embarrassed in my life. We quickly cleaned the place and disinfected with bleach, but the image of his brown lump of goo on their white sealed cement floor will haunt me for eternity.

But you know what? They were totally cool with it. They'd had a dog. They understood.

But seriously, Roscoe is NEVER going to someone's house again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gift Guide: My little sister

My little sister is an awesome mommy of 2. As a result she doesn't think of getting herself special things very often. This list is a whole group of things JUST for the Magster.

1.Brown boots $180

2.New spatula $7 and scrubbie $5

3.Cashmere turtleneck $158

4.Ten-finger mittens $28

5.Honey roasted peanuts and cold cereal

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gift Guide: My mom

Shopping for my mom is really easy for me. She has such great taste and is happy with anything!

1.Colorway watch from Sundance $88

2.Beautiful farmer’s basket $99

3.Nesting bowls $60

4.Jan Brett’s Christmas Treasury $27

5.Turkish towels $28


One time the ear doctor and I went to the Denver zoo. We were way in the back in a pretty secluded little area. There was a cute squirrel just sitting there staring at us. I thought he was just adorable so I walked up to him. I figured that FOR SURE he would run away, but he didn't. The ear doctor just stood and watched as I reached down and put my finger out. I still thought he'd run away.

But he didn't.

He reached up and GRABBED me.

I was so shocked I jumped about 1o feet in the air and squealed.

Which is why this necklace would be PERFECT for me. I hope I win it from my cousin's ETSY shop. She's hosting a give away over on her blog so go check it out!

She's officially christened!

We'll, we've finally cooked our first thing in the kitchen of our new house:

The ear doctor woke up early, threw on his snow stuff and braved the 4 degree weather one morning this week. It had snowed and I was running late so he gallantly picked up the snow shovel, broom and window scraper. His mission? to clear a way to my car, brush off the foot of powdery flakes and scrape the windows free of ice so that I wouldn't have to do it in my work clothes.

Unfortunately it was bitterly cold and he didn't have the time to clear off his own car before he was a human Popsicle.

When he came back in I took one look at his perfectly rosy cheeks and I realized what he'd done. I was so thrilled by the thoughtfulness of the gesture that I HAD to do something to show my appreciation.

I dug to the bottom of one of our many MANY kitchen boxes, pulled out a pan and boiled him up steaming hot mug of hot cocoa. I really wanted one too, but we only had enough cocoa mix for one cup...so I went without.

Kind of our own little Gift of the Magi moment, eh?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gift Guide: Snow Bunny

Living in Colorado means having the right gear. Do you know someone who loves the snow?

1.Helen of Tundra Sorel boots $150

2.Cable knit gloves $26

3.Candygrind beanie $27

4.Merino basket-weave scarf $50

5.HH Baselayer $55 (top) $ 40 (bottom)

Ugh! Enough complaining!

Want to see something about our new house that has totally, completely and utterly changed my life for the better?

Yup...that's our totally ugly, not-in-keeping-with-the-historic-nature of our old house DOGGIE DOOR! The days of me walking our little Roscoe down 2 flights of stairs 10:30 at night when its 6 degrees out are behind me. Having the ability to just let him go do his biz whenever he feels like it is HEAVEN!

I assume this is about 1/10th the elation that parents feel when their kids are fully and totally potty trained.

However, now that I look at that photo that door may need a serious stripping and re-painting job...

....and that hardware could get stripped and restored as well...

...and currently that original door knob isn't functional...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Gift Guide: Book Lover

I always thought I was a serious book reader. That is, until I met my college roommate. That girl rips through books like you wouldn't believe. The tricky thing about gifting for a voracious book reader is that you never know if they've already read a book or not. My solution is to get them book accessories...

1.Read sign $32

2.Eat sleep read necklace $24

3.Personal library kit $20

4.This book belongs to label kit $11

5.Conceal bookshelf $15

A pick me up

So I think we've decided that this year we won't be putting out our Christmas decorations. Our house is a zoo with boxes half unpacked and piles of odds and ends everywhere. Next week our new appliances, cabinets and flooring will all arrive and fill our house to the brim. An electrician will be coming in and our moving old outlets and replacing them with new. We hired someone to come replace the existing window with a new one twice it's size, so he'll be cutting a hole in the side of our house...in the middle of December.

In consideration of all these factors it just doesn't make a lot of sense to go out and buy a tree that will eat up precious space. And putting out the breakable beautiful decorations just doesn't make a lot of sense.

And I know it's logical and practical to leave my snowglobes in storage, but the lack of festive cheer around our little house has really been getting me down. I mean, it hardly even feels like Christmas to me!

So, last night I took matters into my own hands. I decided that if I couldn't decorate my house, at least I could decorate my body. If you'd come by our house last night at about 8 pm this is the get-up you would have seen:

A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Gift Guide: Cook

A person who likes to cook is sometimes different from a person who likes to bake. Although, I like to do both, so anything for either list would make me feel like a million bucks.

1. Ceramic Pizza Stone $11

2. Le Creuset baker (isn’t that blue gorgeous!) $80

3. Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2010 (I LOVE these books) $25

4. 2 Calphalon pans $99

5. New 8” chef’s knife $60

Saturday's happenins

What to know what's fun?

Ripping out old hardwood floors.

I didn't get to do any of the demo of the kitchen, so this was my first experience with intentional destruction of our house. Taking out stress and frustration with a pry bar is wonderfully rewarding. It's especially nice when the 87 year old plank subfloor is still in working condition.

Not a termite bite or water damaged spot to be found! I love Colorado!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Gift Guide: Proud Puppy Parent

So I never thought I'd be the person that loves their dog so much they get excited over dog products...but I totally am. And I'm sure the doggie lover on your list would love getting any of these lovelies.

1.Snuggie for Dogs (hilarious!) $10
2.Classic Kong chew toy (You can never have too many!) $10
3.Personalized Dog Bed cover $44
4.Classy new leash $19
5.Bio-degradable poop bags $20

Still no kitchen

I knew it would happen, but I didn't think it would come so soon.

I am officially SICK of eating take out. Tired of sitting in restaurants. Annoyed by just the thought of another drive-thru window. Bored by having to spout the requisite small talk to the endless line of delivery people knocking on my door.

I yearn for a simple meal cooked in 30 minutes. I pine after the calm ambiance created by dinner eaten at a proper dining table instead of hurriedly inhaled from in front of the TV.

Don't even get me started on how depressed I am that I won't be doing any Christmas baking this year....

Can anyone think of a polite way to invite myself to a friends house for a home cooked meal?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gift Guide: Creator

We all have a friend who is awesomely brilliant and always makes the coolest things. Well, here are a couple of things that I'm sure they would love to find under the tree. I know I sure would!

1. Masking tape $25

2. Gingher scissors $20

3. Yudu screenprinting Machine $200

4. Dry Erase Paint $99/25 sq ft

5. Crayon Rocks $7

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Gift Guide: Baker

Aside from the nesting prep bowls (which I already have and LOVE) any of these would rock my world, so I'm sure any other baker would probably love them too.

1. Fleur de sel $12.50

2. Escali Primo Digital Scale $25

3.Emile Henry pie plate $44

4.Bench Scraper $7

5.Glass nesting prep bowls $30

Denial: A photo essay

Looking around our living/dining room last night I started to feel pretty good about the house. There were so few boxes and things were really starting to look like we've moved in.

I mean, aside from having a bed in the dining room (it won't fit down the stairs into the basement) and a stack of boxes holding kitchen stuff that can't be put away until the renovation is done, it's basically livable!

I was really feelin great...until I looked in our kitchen:

And then I peered into our basement bedrooms:

Do you think if I just close the doors I won't have to unpack all that stuff?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gift Guide: New Home Owner

Well, it's that time of year again. I get to my computer and start scouring the Internet high and low for the perfect gift for my loved ones. Along the way I find tons of great stuff that's not quite right for my people...but they might be perfect for yours! Today the recipient is a new home owner.

Not that anyone around here is one of those....

1. Stamp with their address ~$40:
2. Stat Key $11:
3. Welcome/Goodbye doormat $30: http://www.cb2.com/family.aspx?c=170&f=5547
4. Home Depot gift card
5. New House numbers $40/ea:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Design over pretzels

Yesterday the ear doctor and I went to a hole in the wall for lunch and had the most outstanding cheese steak I've ever had in my life. While we were sitting enjoying our free pretzel and first taste of birch beer the Food Network was playing on the TV in the corner. I thought it was an odd choice because most of the other patrons were big mechanic type guys. For some reason it made me smile to see these guys eating their lunch and watching Tyler Florence stuff a turkey with fresh sage sprigs.

Anyway, we were both watching the show as well and at the same exact moment we turned to each other and said, "we love that tile"

If you haven't seen the show, he has this gorgeous green subway tile lining the entire wall of his kitchen set. Since then we've updated our kitchen design plan to feature this beautiful idea. Here's where we're at as of today:

Outside wall: Dark cork snap-in-place cork floor, shaker style cream colored cabinets, chocolate brown laminate counter top, butcher block shelves floating out under the cabinets (my dad offered to MAKE these), LG stainless french door fridge and dishwasher, stainless steel sink with cool faucet, and beautiful green subway tile.

Inside wall: Same dark floor, same shaker cabinets, same chocolate counter top, same butcher block floating shelves, same tile, LG microwave and stove (there's a great sale right now if we buy all the same brand of appliances...basically the dishwasher will be free) the remainder of the walls will painted a soft gray color.

Here is my question for you...any great sources for green subway tile?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Obligatory New Moon Post

Friday morning I woke up at 5 am and got to work.

And I worked at a frenzied pace so I could leave by 2 and meet up at the new house to unpack the first of 2 fully loaded moving vans. Being my mother's daughter I was DROWNED in sweat in 10 minutes flat. We ladies do not do physical exercise daintily.

At 5:30, back aching and knees bruised from moving around heavy boxes we took a trip to a discount flooring store where we basically ran from row to row trying to make a very important choice in less than 5 minutes.

At 5:45 we gave up and I drove back up to our apartment to change into something not covered with the 15 layers of dust we haven't removed from our furniture since the last move 2.5 years ago.

No time for a shower, I thank the heavens that I'd remembered to wash my new jeans the day before because at least THEY will show up to the party clean.

At 6:45 I rushed myself to the living room of a dear friend. She had convinced me that the best possible thing for me to do this Friday night, in the middle of moving, in the middle of a full-on kitchen renovation was to co-host a New Moon release party with her. By 7 we had about 20 of people crowded around a dessert table giggling like 13 year olds.

So is it any wonder that at the 10:10 pm showing of the movie I was a bit tired? I was not in the mood to be sitting in the 4th row of a giant movie theater, craning my neck and watching teenagers go on and on coldly reciting dialog straight from Ms Meyers tome. And then they flash this beauty up on the screen:

And pull up your pants.

I wish I'd stayed home and slept instead.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Burglar beware

My dad has been here in Colorado all week helping us destroy our kitchen and get all our stuff moved into the new house. As a result my mom has been home alone up in Washington.

Before they left to drop my dad off at the airport he went out into the garage and rifled around through all the miscellaneous kid paraphernalia that still litters my parent's house. He came back in carrying my little pint sized aluminum bat from little league.

Confused, my mom looked him and asked, "what's that for?"

To which he replied, "well, we don't have a gun in the house..."

She shook her head and chuckled as he stuck it in the front foyer closet. I guess he's just worried about my mom fending off intruders while he's not there to defend her honor.

When she returned home from dropping him off at the airport she went into her bedroom to lay down for a minute and bumped her heel on something hard. The bat had been relocated to the side of her bed.

Is that not the cutest story you've heard in a while?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A new direction?

Well, after 2 straight days trying to reveal our precious hardwood flooring we found out that a previous owner had adhered vinyl floor with an asphalt based adhesive. Yup, I tried to get my dad to rip up the FREEWAY that someone laid in my kitchen.

Mission original hardwood is officially over.

My second idea for flooring was dark cork, suggested by one of my beloved readers. The more I read about it the more I thought it an idea material. Soft, easy to install, eco-friendly...all things I love. Want to know what I don't love? No one has it in stock. Annoying.

And for some reason having a dark floor has been permanently wedged in my mind...that is until I saw this picture (via Apartment Therapy from Domino):

Now, I thought I was dead set against tile in the kitchen. I thought it would be cold and hard and not fit with the historic character of the house. But, how beautiful is that light blue penny tile (I assume) floor? With all the white and that pretty gray color as an accent? I just think it's really stunning. To me it looks both modern and very traditional at the same time. What do you think?


I had grand ideas of showing you the step by step process of our little house renovation here on this blog. I thought it would be so fun to document the whole thing and get your ideas and encouragement. I thought I'd post how-tos and our selection process...the whole she-bang.

Those ideas were grand indeed.

Because here's the thing. When I'm not furiously working my job to try to get everything done there I'm feverishly heaving and schlepping and painting at the house. I don't find myself with a spare 30 minutes to take pictures, arrange text, tell funny stories and then try to make it all looks effortless, as most bloggers are apt to do. Turns out that something has to get cut from the day.

And it can't be sleep.

Sweet Jezebel, every minute I can spend in my warm soft bed has become precious indeed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Great news

After being in our new house for 7 minutes my dad took a hammer and pry bar to the tiles on the kitchen floor and got to work. What we found:

Top Layer: Gross tile with REALLY wide grout lines
Next Layer: .5" thick cement board...why they thought they needed that thick is beyond me
Next Layer: Old vinyl or linoleum...hard to tell which yet...is it strange that I'm excited to see what ugly pattern it is?
Final Layer: HARDWOOD!


Now we'll just have to see the condition. Here's hoping that they (1) didn't use too much glue to lay down the vinyl and (2) did not staple it to the hardwood every 2 inches like some previous owners in my sister's home.

Right now the ear doctor and my dad are at Home Depot buying new sledgehammers and renting that tile scraping thing. Is there anything as exciting for a man than purchasing a new sledgehammer with a job in mind?

I think not.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Tooth

I know I'm completely ungrateful and probably pretty rude for posting this, but I just don't care. It got under my skin and now it's all that comes to mind when I want to write.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a salt fanatic. I crave potato chips and french onion soup. I love it so much that when I get fries I douse them liberally with additional salt then smash them into the piles of salt left on my tray just so that my sodium tooth is sated. When I was little my mom would serve dinner and before I even tasted it I'd pick up the shaker and make a little white Christmas on my plate. I never understood why this hurt her feelings...until last night.

I was invited over to the home of a very awesome new couple. We'd had a few previous chats where I mentioned my love of baking. Being a guest, I asked the wife what I could bring to dinner. Being the gracious hostess she suggested I bring dessert.

Love that.

All week I thought about what I would make. Right now we are dead smack in the middle of packing and moving, so something elaborate was out. Knowing that pears are still pretty great this time of year, I settled on this harvest pear crisp from the current BA. I knew it probably wasn't going to blow anyone's mind, but it would be good, fast and easy. Just what the doctor ordered.

I prepped it ahead of time and just when we walked in the door I popped it in the oven. 50 minutes later I pulled it out of the oven and admired how bubbly and delicious it looked.


The wife took one look, turned to me with a truly pained look and said, "I don't like fruit"


Are you kidding me? It was about 12 degrees and snowy outside last night and you're turning down warm, bubbly fruit crisp topped with vanilla ice cream? Are you nuts? But then I thought, oh well, I should have asked. Some people don't like fruit desserts...that's alright.

I scooped us up 3 bowls, one for me, one for the ear doctor and one for the husband. As I set the warm delicious goodness down in front of the husband he looked at it, got up, went to the fridge to get HERSEY'S SYRUP and proceeded to drown my dessert in the stuff. He didn't even TRY it without the cheap topping.

After this experience I have 2 thoughts: 1) only make these people chocolate cake from a box and 2) apologize to my mom for salting before tasting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The before

I thought I'd give you a post that was filled with the before photos of our kitchen. As a reminder here is a birds eye view of the layout of our house. The kitchen is off the dining room and bathroom and has a mudroom attached:

Here is a picture of the actual room as it was on the day of our walk through. These pics were taken standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the mudroom. The rolling island I talked about on the last post would probably usually be tucked against the far wall above that awesome black heat vent.

And here is a picture of the room from standing in the door between the dining room and kitchen:

Notice how there are no lower cabinets along the inside wall, but a stainless table which the previous owners left behind. I kind of like the industrial vibe, but it's pretty horribly stained and scratched. Right now it is our inside work bench and is full of paint cans and drill bits.

What you can't see is that the tile in the kitchen is more than a full inch higher that the original hardwood floor in the dining room. I really hope that the hardwood is under all those little drab dingy tiles. It would be my absolute dream to rip those up and just refinish the hardwood.

If I can't do that, what kind of flooring should I put in?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What do you think?

The ear doctor and I have decided to push full steam ahead with a kitchen remodel!!!!!!!! Exciting, right? My dad is even coming to Colorado next week to help us get the demo started off right.

Our kitchen is like a wide galley kitchen...the sink, dishwasher, fridge and window run along one wall and the stove/oven combo is on the other. After playing around a bit with the layout here is what I have in mind.

Sink wall:

Working from left to right the upper wall cabinets will extend all the way to the counter top so I can hide away my toaster and other breakfast/baking stuff. Before she stopped writing it, this awesome kitchen designer used to write a blog and she said that having a breakfast/baking nook tucked away was her favorite feature in any kitchen. I'm pretty excited to incorporate it on this little project. The dishwasher will be right under it. Next will come the sink which looks out my pretty kitchen window...that also needs to be fixed. Then the fridge will but up on the opposite wall. The very top cabinets will go all the way to the ceiling, have glass fronts, and be lit inside.

Stove wall:

Perfectly symmetric with a shiny stainless steel hood right over the brand new stove. Again, the tippy top cabinets will have glass fronts and lights. The lower set of wall cabinets will only be 30" high to make sure there is plenty of under cabinet space. I foresee most of my prep/cooking happening on these two pieces of counter space so I want to have plenty of vertical area to work it. Such are the drawbacks to being on the taller end of the height spectrum.

Since the room is about 9.5 feet wide it is a little bigger than a standard galley kitchen, but too narrow for a proper island. Solution? We are also planning on making a rolling butcher block top island that we can tuck away in a corner when we aren't cooking, but we can pull out and use when we're both in the kitchen.

So that's what I've got so far. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Monday, November 09, 2009

A thing I had not supposed

Saturday night the ear doctor and I went on an honest to goodness date. And it was awesome.

I always thought that since it is just the two of us at this point (our puppy Roscoe doesn't count) that all our time together was "couple time." I figured that grabbing dinner or watching a movie at the house all counted as fun date time because, well, we were there together.

Plus we've been trying to be SO frugal since April so we could buy our house that we cut out going on formal dates.

Turns out that was a bad idea.

Because it was AMAZINGLY fun to be out on a date with my man. Aside from the near catastrophic case of dehydration I almost gave myself (FYI, working on home improvement all day in Colorado without drinking a DROP of water = a bad idea), it was the best time I've had in months.

We went to dinner at our favorite diner downtown, Sam's. Then we walked over to the performing arts complex to watch an awesome improv comedy show.

All in all, a perfect night. And a great lesson learned on my part...going on official dates is uber important for our relationship.

Friday, November 06, 2009

recreational hazard

This morning my forearms are so sore I can barley type. My hands ache and are so weak that double clicking is a challenge. And all because of the frenzied house work I did last night. I performed a killer-shoulder combo that should not, under any circumstance, be duplicated by anyone.


In the span of an hour and a half I:

planted 200 flower bulbs in the hopes that this spring I will have some cherry yellow blossoms to great me when I enter the house.

I also:

stood on a home depot bucket and taped/painted the ceiling of my living/dining room. The previous owners had chosen a high gloss dingy white color and that just wasn't going to work for us. Now it is a crisp, clean fresh flat white. When I stand in the room I feel just a million times better.

The same can not be said for my shoulder.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Great debate

Help me make up my mind. Remember how we're doing family pictures after thanksgiving this year? I put together this little collage last month. I bought that pretty navy wrap dress and when I tried it on it was too short!

(raises fist in air while howling)

DANG YOU FORTUNE! Why did I have to be given such a short torso and long legs!

Well, now I'm trying to come up with an alternative look that will blend well with everyone else. So far I'm a bit torn between two ideas:

On the left we have option #1: Ann Taylor Loft's shirred v-neck cardigan in medium brown melange and the Ruched Front Scoopneck under for some texture. This is the combo I usually go for...colored sweater with white underneath...pretty standard for me.

And on the right is option #2: Again, the AT shirred v-neck cardigan on top in white, but then this pretty silk ruffle blouse in caramel chew from gap under. But I'm pretty sure with this option I'd wear a skinny belt over the outside of the sweater to keep my waist defined. And I like how there are a few different colors of brown in this one...a bit more interesting?

I think the warmer color of brown will look better with my coloring, but do you think those caramel ruffles will look strange with the cardigan? Which do you like better? And what kind of accessories should I wear? Necklace? Long or short?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Design our house round 2

Here's kind of the idea I've got brewing for the dining room:

It's actually the same space as the living room, so the paint, paneling and window treatments will all be the same, making the room feel unified and continuous.

The dining room table is the Basque honey from Crate and Barrel. I really wanted to get a table that wasn't very fancy. I wanted it to be heavy, slightly rustic and a really warm wood color. This one will fit the bill. The rug under it is the chunky wool jute from Pottery Barn. Neutral color and bumpy...to hide crumbs. Over the table will be an awesome drum shade hanging light from Room and Board. I love the subtle stripes...but I'm worried that the bottom one will end up being slightly blue? That's not allowed the the room. If it even hints at being blue it'll go back and we'll continue our search.

The curtains are from west elm and I just LOVE the pattern the introduce!

Under the window where a sideboard would be will be a cabinet that the ear doctor made. We're going to paint it an awesome color of green to tie in with our swirl rug in the other room. Inside the cabinet I'll put these woven baskets from IKEA to contain our dining linens and other dining room stuff. On top of the cabinet I'll probably put some pictures and a cool lamp...still looking for just the right one. I'd love to have something silver and shiny.

Any thoughts? or better ideas? I'm all ears!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

White Knuckles

I left work a little early yesterday to pick up my dog from day camp and get to a deli to pick up dinner. We were planning on working at the new house all evening so we needed to get some food. The internet said the deli closed at 5 pm on Monday nights so I had to get over there quick.

Nervously, I screeched into their parking lot at 4:55 and noticed that the door actually said they'd be open until 8. What a relief.

I got to the house alright and started drilling out some holes. The ear doctor was supposed to meet me at 5:45 and around 6:30 he called and told me that his car refused to start and he was stranded all the way across town.

I'd have to leave immediately and make my way home to get him.

But we'd scheduled an apt with a Home Depot kitchen designer to get a quote for renovating our new kitchen.

I tried to call and cancel the apt, but they put me on hold so long that my phone battery died.

AH! I had no way to call the ear doctor and make sure he was OK!

I raced back to our apartment to charge my phone and call to check on him. He'd called a tow truck and asked me to meet him at the dealership to asses the damage. At about 8 I found myself wandering around the dealership looking for my husband getting hassled by a salesman that suggested instead of fixing his truck we just buy a brand new one.

Memo to salesman: do not suggest incurring MORE debt to a red head who has just signed a commitment for 30 YEARS of indebtedness.

I then found my husband and drove him home. We sadly left his truck behind with the hope that said salesman doesn't attempt to sell it to someone else, or that the bill for fixing the truck will not totally wipe out our little house renovation budget.

When we got home we found an express mail envelope on our door mat. The ear doctor opened it and found out that he has been awarded a $4k scholarship because he is the smartest little audiologist this side of the Mississippi!

Happy dance of joy ensues.

I then collapse into bed totally overwhelmed by the life roller coaster I'd just been on.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Something you don't want to see

Well, since Halloween is over, I can officially start celebrating the holiday season without being deemed a total weirdo. And after reading this post over on Emily's blog I knew I just had to get my bake on.

I woke up early Sunday morning, mixed up my dough and excitedly waited all day for the dough to cool in the fridge. At about 6 I started rolling and stamping the dough with the awesome cookie molds the the ear doctor got me last year.

After pulling the first sheet of cookies out of the oven I was a bit concerned. They didn't look right. They hadn't puffed up the way that I expected them to. Then I glanced over at the counter and noticed one perfectly intact, now room temperature egg innocently sitting on the counter.

Here's hoping that this is NOT an omen of the upcoming season...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dress design for Shabby Apple dresses

I would never consider myself a fashion designer in any way, but when I heard about the Shabby Apple Dare to Design contest I thought I'd at least throw my hat in the ring.

I mean, I own 2 Shabby Apple Dresses, regularly go to their site, and recommend it to almost every girl I meet. And if I had enough dresses to wear one every day of the week I would.

There are lots of places and reasons to wear a dress. In that spirit I've decided to exhibit 4 different designs that I would happily wear in a given week.

Dress #1: She Works Hard for the Money

This dress would be perfect for me to wear to the office. Starting at the top, it is a white cotton top...double thick of course so it is totally opaque. Is there anything worse that having to wear a cami under a dress? It always rides up and bunches under the bust. I hate it so much I can't even explain. Around the neckline are a few very deliberate box pleats to provide some interest. The sleeves of this dress are so cool. I attempted to borrow the construction from a fall Kate Spade dress. They have a typical sleeve and then on top there is a piece that wraps from front to back, and just at the outside there is a little tube that the wrap around piece goes through. Trust me, I'll look cool.

Buttons go up the back of the bodice and at the waist is a 2" wide black belt-like feature that also buttons in the back with a slightly offset tab. If you can't tell yet, I love the little details.

The skirt is a tight pencil made of a pin striped stretch wool (or cotton if wool makes the dress too expensive), complete with a slit in the back to help you be able to walk. However, the slit will not be too high. Flashing my blindingly white inner thigh at work is NOT on the agenda.

Dress #2: What a day for a Day Dream

Did you see the awesome brown plaid skirt from Shade this fall? I love it so much. It inspired the designing of this plaid weekend dress. I just can't think of a better dress to get out and take that first warm spring day bike ride. Me, on an awesome cruiser bike with the front basket filled with bright yellow daffodils?Perfect!

The fabric for this dress is a loose slightly silky cotton plaid in gray, olive green (or alternately a warm brown and lilac purple...I can't choose) and crisp white that drapes perfectly, making it so easy to wear.

Sometimes sleeves seem like such and afterthought to a design, but I think they can really make or break a look. The ones I've shown here are have ruffled cut outs, but still go all the way around the inside of the arm. There is nothing I hate more than those ruffled flowy sleeves that don't go all the way around, thus necessitating a cami just to cover the exposed bit of skin under your armpit. As stated earlier, I HATE wearing a cami under a dress....

Another cool detail of this dress is the self-fabric built in belt. Whatever happened to the fabric covered belt that matches a dress? It's all over Mad Men, but I hardly ever see it done really well these days.

Oh, also, the ear doctor calls this one "The Haggis" because of the plaid. Do you think I should change it's name?

Dress #3: Easy like Sunday Morning

For me, this would be the perfect dress to wear to church. Inspired by this dress at Anthropologie it has a sailor feel, but what makes it special is the construction.

Basic royal blue striped fabric, cut on on angle and sewn together to make a herringbone bodice will be so slimming and flattering. The shear volume of the skirt will create a pretty hourglass figure and make it really easy to wear. If you haven't noticed yet, I like a dress with a very defined waist band.....

Dress #4: Eight Days a Week

This is the dress that I think will fit in best with Shabby Apple's overall design aesthetic. It's comfortable, cozy, easy to wear and has pretty easy construction, so could probably be sold for a pretty low price.

This dress is made from a sky blue light weight jersey...it'd feel like you were slipping on your favorite broken in t-shirt. But have about a million times more style, especially if you paired it with a sunny yellow cropped cardigan!

The upper yoke of the dress is made from woven tubes of the jersey and backed by a solid of the same so it isn't see through. The sleeves are slightly puffed with a stretchy ribbing that hits just above the elbow. I have a shirt with this same sleeves and I LOVE it. Sooo flattering. It has a very wide, gathered waist band that sits at the natural waist and is the only part of the dress that's close to the body.

My usual complaint with a jersey dress is that it shows all my body's imperfections because they don't usually float away from my body past my waist. In an attempt to solve that issue, the skirt of this dress is a full circle, meaning that if you sat on the ground you could pull it out in every direction all around you. Having the weight and volume of all that fabric will really help create a pretty silhouette and be very flattering on almost every body type. I tried a banana republic dress that was very similar to this dress a year ago and loved everything about it....except how it didn't have sleeves and was annoyingly short!

So there you have it. Any comments?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The best Colorado Halloween costume is a ski bunny

Because of this, the view from my office window:

I'm really wishing for this:

and these:

Instead, I'm consoling myself with this: