Merci Beaucoup

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes! It was a really great day . . . until we all came down with the flu. I thought I was getting lucky and maybe going to escape this sickness that I keep hearing so much about. I was lucky in the fact that it didn't happen until we were almost finished with our trip to the Portland Art Museum and I went ahead and bought my chocolate and macarons from la p√Ętisserie anyway, we just got them to go instead. Hopefully the sugar overdose won't impede the healing process too much, but even if it does it was worth it. xo


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Today is the day, it's my birthday! As a wee lass I thought someday you grew up and "turned into an adult" and that was that - the person you were before you were an adult would cease to exist. Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80's but I figured somewhere around 30 you had no choice but to get a sad perm and wear really big betty boop shirts with pink sweatpants and your most fabulous moment was senior prom. But luckily I realized that's just not the case - thank goodness because I never made it to prom.

I had a conversation a few years back with my paternal grandmother, one of my most favorite conversations I have ever had. We were talking on the phone about aging and my grandma, who is in her 80's said "I wake up in the mornings and I look in the mirror and sometimes I swear I am still shocked to see an old woman staring back at me because in my heart I still feel like a girl. I just expect to see that girl every time." It was such a profound sliver of honesty to me and was one of those moments when my perception opened up and was forever changed. Now when I look at her I don't see an old woman at all. I see a girl that has been fortunate to live long enough to have the outer shell of an old woman and I think it's just beautiful.  That conversation made me realize no matter how old I get I will still always be young - if I so choose. My grandparents have always been "old" to me but they are so youthful in their spirits. They subscribe to the progressive, they change with the times, they even voted for Ralph Nader back when Bush was first elected (er, I mean stole the election), they love big bang theory and they have always shown a genuine interest in all of their children and grandchildren. When my cousin loved Batman as a little boy my grandpa loved batman again too. Youth is all about learning and growing and I am pretty sure that I can do those two things forever.

So, if you have been reading my blog this week you know I was dreading applying the 3 + 7 to myself, for whatever illogical reasons. And I think there will always be an age or two that is more difficult to comes to terms with, but you know anticipation is always the worst part and today I am totally cool with it. I am happy to have friends of all ages here, and not here, that continue keeping me feel young by constantly broadening my perspectives and interest in the world around me. If my inner girl wants to kick and scream all the way to 97, I am okay with that, because I'd just like to keep her around for as long as possible (and keep expecting to see her in the mirror when I wake up in the mornings well into my 80's too).

Anyhoo, thirty-seven is too big of a number to share "37 things about myself" or "37 things I want to accomplish this year." But I will share my favorite song. (it's true, this really is my favorite song. i even have a pillow in honor of it. what can i say, i was born in the 70's). Oh, those outfits though, not so much.

Hallway Inspiration

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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One of the things on my to-do list for the year is work on my stairway and upstairs hallway. Luckily it's not a space we live in (i.e. it's not not been claimed by clutter. don't get me wrong clutter accumulates on the stairs but it's all removable) and I have never given it too much attention, so it's still pretty much a blank slate.  The one thing that has kept from doing anything thus far is my ceilings are about 20 ft high in my stairway and no decorating will compensate for the fact that what it needs most is a fresh coat of paint. Before I had kids I never would have guessed that this would be the area that ends up getting the most grimy of all the walls in my house.

I really love this simple hallway with just a pop of color that I found over at Tretoen. I can't say that I will choose neon pink as an accent color in my own hallway but it's got me thinking. I do love just the little bit of interest that it adds to an otherwise clean uncluttered space. I would also love the excuse to buy a couple new pieces of artwork. I found these ones on Society6 which is a pretty interesting e-commerce site. I don't know how I feel about it exactly - okay, that's a lie, I do. But it's just my own diehard handcrafted bias so I won't go into it and there is a lot of great artwork on there and I like that you can get artwork in print form or printed onto stretched canvas.

In other news I was recently interviewed by a freelance journalist for the associated press in regards to my sharpie plate diy post. I really had no idea where it would end up or how it would turn out considering the author writes it and then it is "picked up" by "various media outlets." Well, Erin, it ended up in Philly. Fun times.

365 | Week 3 |

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.  My wheels were spinning all weekend and I have come down with a very pre-mature case of spring fever. I am sure it is in part because my birthday is coming up this week. It's one I started dreading the day I turned 36 last year. 37 sounds so much older than I feel. With that I haven't been as reflective as I normally am during the time that my birthday rolls around, I feel much more motivated to be present and get busy. I am eager for the spring to get here so I can methodically go through my house, a need of which is long over due. Maybe have a yard sale? Keep only the things I love or are useful (and by useful I mean things I actually use regularly) and mindfully bringing in new things (as reward of course!).

I also think I am ready to lose the 10 lbs I put on about 18 months ago. At first I kind of liked it. I liked not worrying about and I loved my indifference to it. Personally I think women of all body shapes and sizes are equally as beautiful as someone who can fit into a sample size and it felt good to finally accept that in myself just as I always have in others. But, seriously snacking on an entire bag of chips at night does not do me any favors when I wake up in the morning all puffy. And I am tired of skipping over all the clothes in my closet that are just too tight these days. Of course I also think spring will be the perfect time to address this as well.

Which brings me to the biggest thing I need to address, procrastination. It's the perfectionist in me, or so I like to say, makes it sound better, don't you think? I am pretty good with not procrastinating the necessaries like work, blogging, basic cleaning, my kids (thank goodness) but everything else . . . I procrastinate it into this perfect vision in my mind that is totally unrealistic and often way into the future (like spring). Though to get started on turning a new leaf I did do a little work on my 365 projet this weekend of which I have been severely procrastinating. I am not all caught up but at least I am back to only being a few days behind. Baby steps.

Gift Guide: I Heart . . .

Friday, January 25, 2013

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I think I may be coming down with a cold? I can't quite tell yet, or maybe I need to have my thyroid checked because I am feeling a relapse in my case of brain fog that I acquired after the holidays. My 365 project is teetering on the brink of failure. I have been taking photos daily but for some reason posting the photos is feeling a lot like folding my laundry (which I famously avoid at all costs). But one thing I can do no matter how tired I am is look for things to buy. And with a holiday around the corner it's a good time to do some virtual shopping, always a cure-all, is it not?

I can't say that I am a lover of Valentines Day. I think maybe it brings back too many memories of my youth and cheap single roses wrapped in plastic procured from convenience stores bestowed upon me  by guys I really should not have liked but did so because, well, it was valentines day of course. I am pretty sure these relationships lasted all of about 48 hours. And while I adore and love so many people in my life, the cynic in me has an episode of involuntary eye-rolling at the commercialization of something so intimate as love. But maybe I am projecting for that sometimes lonely freckle-faced girl of my youth who sometimes didn't even get a cheap convenience store rose. But I am not begrudging anyone else who loves it and I quite like hearts (and love too) so I can at least get on board there.

Pins Of The Week | Nostalgia |

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My pin boards have been filling up with images such as these this week. I love all the textiles and plants, the mid-century furniture and the unpretentious feeling this style evokes. I was born in the 70's so I also imagine there is a little sentimentality and nostalgia that arrises in me as well. I can't say I remember the 70's very well at all but little bits trigger my toddler memory, like the macrame hanging plants and wall hangings, the kilim rugs and mexican falsa throw blankets. My grandparents (who raised me more or less) were also of the generation of which you never threw things out or replaced something that functioned (no matter how outdated it was), so many items they acquired in the 60's and 70's were in their house up until they left this world. It used to drive me crazy growing up because they would have a plaid pull-out from the 60's next to a new high-back floral number from the 90's paired up with a coupla lazy boys loungers from the 80's. Agh! But now I appreciate the fact I am able to have items that I remember from when I was just a wee tot. But, oh, now I am wishing I would have grabbed one of the throws from our trips to Mexico! Luckily I have a long, long memory (not to be confused with short term memory of which I have none).

House Tour | Rented In Melbourne |

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


                          via photos: Sean Fennessy

Spring has been on my mind the last week or so and after some time spent reading other blogs I see I am not alone. Looking at the photos of this rental in Melbourne I can almost feel the spring breeze floating in through the windows and smell fresh herbs recently pulled from the garden. It has such a comfortable and easy style I can't help but love it. I love the curated look but must admit I think in my own home I would feel more cluttered than curated. This has just the right amount for me. The home is occupied by photographic designer, Jessica Tramp, who, from what I read, has a thing for taxidermy (which reminded me of, you, Yelle). While I am quite fond of the owl and in general I am a admirer of beautiful oddities, I am not sure how I feel about that little deer baby on the wall. At first glance I love it, it's so cute and makes for such a striking image with the fireplace and white walls. But then after a second or two I find myself wanting to shout "run little deer, run." 

Favorite Finds | 17 | Typeface Memory Cards

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I recently came across this typeface memory game designed by PS.2, and since then I have been really wanting an occasion to buy them. I think someone will be sure to find them in their stocking next Christmas. I could also use a set myself and my upcoming birthday may just be that occasion I am looking for (I am an advocate for buying yourself birthday gifts). Not to mention I have a terrible memory in general and anytime that I am working in illustrator I have to go through the enormous list of fonts (the one where it shows you the example of the front and not just the name) to get what I am looking for, no matter how many times I have used it before or how recently. It would be nice to have a few committed to memory and plus I just love type and crisp black and white graphic designs, so looking at these would just make me happy.

Photo Diary: Portland Nursery

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hope everyone had a good weekend and I hope most of you (in the US at least) got the day off of work  today too. It's been bitterly cold here and very sunny. We do not often get that combination here in Portland, so it completely muddles my mind when I look out my window to see what appears to be a bright and sunny spring day. I know I should be grateful for the sun but in reality it just makes me anxious for spring to arrive. I miss the colors and the breeze through my windows. While we did brave the freezing cold to go for one walk we mostly stayed inside where it was warm. This weekend I read The Walking Dead compendium, Fisher and I both breezed through it. Lucky for him I didn't read it first because I don't know if I would have wanted him to. The books are a lot more HBO than AMC. I don't know if that giant (comic) book entirely counts in my "read more" goal for the new year, but hopefully it was a good jump start. 

We also went to one of my favorite places to visit and wander around for a quick fix of winter burnout - my local nursery. In the spring and summer they have a huge outdoor area full of trees and every annual and perennial you can imagine. In the fall they have an apple festival with hundreds of varieties to taste and nibble on (obviously one of the best times to go). And recently I discovered that the winter is also a good time to go and linger in the humid tropical section taking in all the exotic plants and succulents. 

Awhile ago you may remember I was inspired to get a couple house plants, which I did, but as usual they didn't make it. So I am back to the drawing board trying to find some plant life for my house. M+L did pick out a couple cacti to add to our family this trip and I found so many succulents I am eager to bring home with me on another trip (I love those big ones in the first photo!). I seem to do okay with cacti and succulents so I think I am going to not venture too far from there again anytime soon. Though, I do want to try out an air plant one of these days, I must be able to keep one of those alive.

Bedroom Inspiration | 2 | Modern Eclectic

Thursday, January 17, 2013

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While my favorite design style these days is still a monochromatic look with lots of black and white accents and wood tones, like my first bedroom inspiration post; for bedrooms I just like so many different styles. This fact is probably why it's the one room in my house that has absolutely no style whatsoever.  If I had to give it a style label it would probably be something like "apathetic teenager." It looks like my mom has gone in there a few times trying out a couple different ideas in attempt to make it look better but I just cover it up with piles of clothes and discarded contents from my purse change-outs. Oh, and it also looks l like I babysit in there on the weekends and neglect to clean up after the kids leave (in my defense the kids never leave at my house).

I am pretty smitten on this look by interior stylist, Jenny Wolf. It's warm and not too serious but still grown-up enough. It gives me a feeling that a pile of unfolded clothes over in the corner wouldn't look too out of place, and lets get real, I am in my middle 30's and I obviously still have trouble keeping my room clean - I need a little wiggle room. The other thing I like about this room is that it looks like a pretty simple make-over. While I didn't go inexpensive on my picks for the room I think it could be done on a small budget with some nice textiles, a bit of thrift store shopping and some elbow grease. The biggest investment by far would be that birch wallpaper but I just can't find a less expensive version that is nearly as lovely.

2013 Reading List

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One of my goals for this year is to read more, a lot more though even a little more would be a vast improvement from the 2012 screen induced coma I have had myself in. Last year I think I read four books: The Sisters Brothers / Look at Me / Savages / Jane Eyre. The year before that it was much closer to twenty-four books. It's true I have been busier and tv feels like about all I can muster at times, but I can make more time for more reading and I should do so because I love it. I feel happier when I am reading more often. I feel more like me. I think whatever happens between your brain and your soul while reading is a bit magical and I do not want to go through this year without indulging. On Rooth's recommendation I started the Night Circus the first of this month - at halfway through I am not up to my normal reading speed and consumption but I think I might be able to at least get through these six books this year if I continue trying to make it a priority. Also on my list is the The Walking Dead comic series. Fisher got a large 8 volume compendium book for Christmas and says it's even better than the show and that I have to read it. A couple of these books have been moved from last years reading list to this one, like 1Q84 (Murakami is one of my favorites) and Sherman Alexie's book which sounds fantastic; I took a year of Native American History in college and I can't believe I haven't cracked this one open yet, but it's next on my list.

Are you reading anything I should know about? Any must reads on your list?

Make: Painted Cork Trivets

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

If you haven't caught on yet, I like really simple craft projects, the ones that can be completed within, say, one nap time. This one takes only about as much time as a catnap and it is as easy as a craft project can get. I picked up some cork trivets this winter in the garden section of my local market. They were on super clearance, I paid less than a dollar each and they have hard plastic backing you if you wanted to use them for actual trivets you could do that too. I decided to use them as mini cork boards in Fishers room so I could post annoying mom notes like "clean your room" and "don't forget your gym clothes." I think the photos are pretty self-explanatory for "how-to" but I will say the rust-oluem spray paint (copper color) worked a million times better than the store brand (white color). I ended up having to go back over the white one with latex paint which I found works really well on cork as well. To spray paint them I just placed them in a cardboard box (which was pretty genius if I do say so myself) in order to keep down the potential disaster that is always present when using spray paint. Now I want to find cork coasters and make a set of those too.

The Golden Globes and Chicken Enchiladas Take Two

Monday, January 14, 2013

Some how between Saturday and Sunday I got a very busy Monday planned for myself. So today will be a little recap of the two highlights of my weekend. First up are the chicken enchiladas that I made. Every year Fisher and I make chicken enchiladas to feast on while watching the Golden Globes (he is a movie buff like his mama). Last year I used a yummy recipe that I found on pinterest. This year I used a recipe from Lauren over at Still Plus Life and, sorry pinterest Enchiladas while those were some tasty enchiladas, Laurens are better, like way better! So fresh and light, yet rich and tasty, yum. M+L helped me shuck the tomatillos and don't worry about the dirty nails, we washed them and boiled them before they became sauce ; ) Luca especially loves to cook and he absolutely loves his veggies. I never thought I would be saying "take a couple bites of your macaoni and cheese before you can have anymore brocoli" but I say some variation of that everyday. In fact last night he cried and cried because he didn't have any carrots on his dinner plate. If he could he would only eat fruits and veggies for every meal. It's weird but the good kind of weird, I think. Though he is gluten intolerant (so that's rice macaroni and cheese I try to get him to eat) with that sometimes I worry he has other food issues and why he likes to stick to only the fruits and veggies.

Did anyone else watch the Golden Globes? I couldn't believe I had actually seen a lot of the movies this year. I was excited Quinten Tarantino won for best original screenplay because Django was by far the most orignal and one of my favorite movies this year. Claire Danes was my favorite best dressed but I think it also has something to do with her personality. She just exudes this fantastic mix of normalcy and classiness. My runners up would be Jessica Alba and Jennifer Lawrence (how tiny is her waist, sheesh!). And when did Ben Affleck get so dapper? Any favorites for the best dressed (or worst dressed)?

PS Laurens blog seems to be on the fritz as I write this so I will link to that yummy recipe as soon as it's back up. I highly recommend taking a look and maybe even making a batch of your own.

Pins Of The Week: Kids & Weddings

Friday, January 11, 2013

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Blogging about weddings is a first for me. I don't even have a wedding pin board! But recently, or not so recently, I got a save the date card for my brother-in-laws upcoming wedding. My boys' dad got an Ipad when he was asked to be apart of the wedding and stand up with his brother. Excitement abounded (especially for him) but I was among the excited too, because I quite like his little brother whom I have known since he was 12 (!) and I was getting the feeling this would be an extra lovely event (his fiance works in the wedding industry to boot). I was also just honored to be invited. I even had a vision or two of where I might go dress shopping (I don't get many reasons to get dressed up these days). But my excitement was snuffed when I was told on Christmas that no kids were allowed. Honestly I didn't even know not inviting kids was a thing. But in my mama-bear state I googled "children+weddings+UNinvited" looking to validate my shock and awe, but to my surprise it wasn't full of doting mothers complaining about bridezillas, but how-to's and supportive threads for implementing adult-only weddings and receptions. So, I was wrong, this isn't only a thing but it seems to be normal(?). I am so out of the 21st century wedding loop. However, I have been a mother for 15 years, I have been to, apart of and invited to many, many weddings. I have never been told not to bring to my kid(s). In fact when Fisher was 6 years old he was my best friends husbands best man (how adorable is that?!). I am used to that sort of thing. Of course different people call for different occasions and I can use discretion;  if I were to be invited to a wedding of a co-worker I'd probably not assume my kids were invited and not bring them along. But for a family or close friend? If they had trouble listening or were unruly, I'd probably still want to go with them but not attend the service itself. Like I said, I got discretion and this is just a first for me.

After the news I got an email from the bride-to-be (whom I have never even met, awkward) which addressed that she knew I had gotten the news and explained the reasons, re-inviting me; my reply was offering my best wishes, I understand her reasons but stating that as a parent I am simply plus three. That's just how I roll. If my "family" is invited that means the whole gang and if some are left out, I stay with the that bunch (I always root for the under dog.). And I just like my kids, I like having shared experiences with them, especially momentous ones. In a later email I was asked to reconsider attending and reassured that my older son, Fisher, is invited and wanted, so it's just my super precious little M+L that aren't invited from my family. There are a couple other reasons it grates on me but my tangent is already getting pretty long-winded but as a mama that generally makes me feel weird. I am their mom and they are my children but they are my equals as humans. I can't look at them differently than that and this makes me feel like I am being forced to. Even though I know that's not the message they are sending, it by default, would be one I would be sending them. I totally respect that it is her day and it should be just exactly as she wants it but being a parent is everyday. Sometimes I have to make choices one day because they might affect days down the road.

Am I am being cray-cray? Are weddings these days excluding children? I mean when I think of weddings I think of: bride, groom, flower-girl, ring bearer (half of the image of a wedding that I conjure in my head is children! and flowers, lots of flowers). In the end I don't harbor any bad feelings for her choices at all, I am not broken up about not going, I just don't want to feel like an ass for not going - which I do for now having been invited for a third time and having to say I am not going for a third time, oh wait, make that a second time. I am now wondering if my choice to (presumably) keep declining is right or wrong, or like I said just a personal call I have to make (i think it's the latter).

In the end I can understand the fear of having children around during such a special occasion. So for all those brides to-be that (rightfully so) feel a little nervous about the kids ruining, er, I mean attending their big day but still plan on having them there, I have rounded up some activities for kids to keep them quiet, er, I mean happy during the ceremony and reception.

Happy weekend and feel free to tell me I am being a total zealot.

Flying Houses and Unexpected Letters

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Surrealist art is one of those things I usually have an immediate strong reaction to - as in I either love it or I don't. I have to say I am head over heels for this surreal photo series: Flying Houses, by French photographer Laurent Chehere. I feel like they instantly carry me away to a happy place of french whimsy, and in the heart of January, that is an especially good direction to be guided to. January is one of those months for me I feel takes forever to get through. My birthday is at the end of the month so that could have something to do with it, or just the sudden wind-down that happens after the holidays, or the feeling that I should feel super invigorated for the new year (though I never do. I tend to be more motivated with a bit more sunlight than this time of the year provides.). On the other hand time seems to go faster and faster all the time, with most months feeling like they last a week. So I am trying to enjoy the slowness of the month, knowing it's going to speed up as soon as spring gets here. Because of course when I am busy I am always wishing for these longer days!

Another thing that brightened one of my January days this week is yesterday I got a surprise envelope in the mail. It had the return address of the person whom I buy my labels from for my pillows. I was confused because, well, I hadn't ordered any labels. So I thought, maybe she was sending me a few samples for the new year and how nice is that is of her. But I opened the envelope to find a card with a handwritten note inside. Now Cassie and I have always had a chatty repport with each other and it makes ordering my labels fun because I get to check in with her. But getting that card with two pages of pink handwriting and reading all the hilarious and sweet things she had written was way better than a million labels. Thanks Cassie, you have no idea how much that warmed my heart and made my day xo. I feel like I really want to pay it forward and start sending people surprise notes in the mail because it felt pretty awesome being the recipient of one such little act of kindness. 

For more beautiful photos by L. Chehere visit here.

Favorite Finds | 16 | Nick Fraser

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I am off to a bit of a late start this morning. It's 8 am right now and it is still so dark outside. It just did not feel like it was time to get out of bed this morning this morning at all. In fact when I looked at the clock in my pitch black room and it said 7 am, I was convinced it was a mistake and decided to go back to sleep for a bit. Too dark! Too rainy! I am ready for spring.

I recently came across the work of Nick Fraser and when I did I knew I had to share. I absolutely love his industrial inspired designs with the modern lines and a playful spirit that comes across in each of his pieces. Personally I could easily go for one of the faceted pendant lights and planters. I also quite like the coat racks and candelabras made out of pipes and brass fittings. While I probably don't have the environment (or budget) to showcase any of these works in my home, I can definitely imagine some of these pieces looking really spectacular in an urban loft.
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