Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I lost my dad yesterday. It was a shock and doesn't feel real but we are dealing and we'll be ok. I wanted to share the obituary I wrote with my sister in the car this morning as we are driving to Watertown. It's not perfect, but we wanted to contribute something to his memory. I really wish I'd remembered to mention his affinity for mallow cups, Limburger cheese and peanut butter and baloney sandwiches, but i have a feeling I'll be posting about him more soon, so those tidbits won't be forgotten. No idea how this will format, it was typed on my iPhone and uploaded from the car. Anyway, please pray for my dad. I'm ok but he needs us now. xo

John C. Pike has died. He lived a too brief but adventurous and ambitious life, touching the lives and souls of many. John gave generously and compassionately, and all who felt his love were warm when he was near.  His personality was his art, much larger than his small stature, he could fill a room with his smile. He welcomed those who felt out of place, could create a poem or song on a whim, and inspired people to do great things. John was born in Watertown, NY in 1951and was blessed to have many lifelong childhood friends, from cub scouts, catholic school, football and just bombing around town, charming young and old alike. John was a member of the TKE fraternity at Eureka College, he liked to tell about sleeping in Ronald Reagan's old bed, and graduated from SUNY Brockport, not cum laude, but a gentleman and a scholar. He married Shelley Ryan in 1974 and their two daughters were born in Portland, OR, a place John loved and always called home. John was a true go-getter, no one worked harder for his family and his values. He had a long career in human resources and loved helping people in that role. He especially had a soft spot for servicemen and their families and strove to make their transitions easier. JCP's true passion was the St. Lawrence River, he spent his best days there and could always be found helping a neighbor, craftimg stories around the campfire and taking on his santa alter ego, ever the jokester. John also loved to fly, a proud event was crossing the country in a Cessna. jcpflyer was a coast guard petty officer and volunteered his time and talents protecting our borders and waterways. John was the most silly, sweet, devoted father and his daughters cherish memories of his creative games, dinner table questions and remember him as an example if character and integrity. John's bond with his daughters and sons-in-law was strong and they know he's in a better place and honor his memory. John was married to Patricia Donovan on a summer day at the River, and truly enjoyed step-grandfatherhood. John ended absolutely every phone call with God Bless; his family and friends wish the same for him.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

cool blog

I just found this fun blog for girls like me who like slightly nerdy, adorably charming guys. It's called nerdboyfriend.com


Monday, November 29, 2010

ever evolving wish list

Is this not the cutest thing ever?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

well rounded or one track mind...

Today was jam packed, as usual. Church at 7:30, after that a relaxing but quick breakfast at our favorite spot, then to storage to retrieve our bikes (we are up to a collective 5, soon to be 6), a Target stop and then home for some chores. Met up with friends at 1 for a bike ride, and it was super challenging for me, as usual. I have been wondering on and off for a while (truthfully, since I picked up this hobby) if it is worth it for me. I am just ok at this sport. I am a fairly coordinated person, fairly strong and athletic, but not really fearless. ie, I have a fear of smashing my face on a rock or ripping up my elbow, knee, or any other appendage. I think I took up this activity too late in life to ever be an accomplished mountain biker. So what has stopped me from quitting? Pride. The fact that I shelled out a lot of cash for my bike. Pride. Spending time with my husband and the fluttery feeling I get watching him do something at which he truly excels. The new friends I have made riding, whose company I enjoy. Did I mention pride? Every time I go, I get better. It takes me about half an hour on the trails to regain my confidence though, since I don't go ride too often. During that first half hour, I really doubt my abilities and repeatedly hear my inner devil voice shouting, You're crazy! Why are you doing this? And then I do something cool, like get a teeny bit of air off a "jump" or smoothly cross a narrow bridge or tackle a tricky switchback, and the angelic voice on my other shoulder smugly replies, Because she rocks.

Today I was really struggling with this. It was a hard ride. With very few fun rewards. I just thought the whole time, I am spreading myself too thin. What am I doing here? I should be home, designing something. Making something. Thinking.

News flash (for the few readers who don't know): I quit my job! And then decided to stay, kind of. I will be working as a contractor for my current company as of January 1. No benefits, no insurance and at the mercy of the budget for hours and a paycheck. So, I will have two days a week to become someone, do something, think, create, work, design, make art. Exciting. Thrilling, in fact. But scary, too. Why scary? Because I literally have no clue what I want to do/make/be. I know I could find work, brochures & annual reports aren't going out of style. But I don't think that's what I want. And right now I am so so fortunate to have the luxury of discovering exactly what it is I do want to do. I guess I just feel like I am not discovering that on a bike, or on a kickball team, running marathons or even at the jewelry class I am signed up for this winter. This stuff is starting to feel like work.

As adults, especially childless ones, is it better to never stop learning? Or to stop and focus. Not sure...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dear Brett,

You are away this weekend and I am home alone. I cannot find the tool box, a hammer or a nail any sturdier than a thumbtack. Have you hidden these things from me on purpose? I promise to use the stud finder and only make one hole. It will not be like the time I sorta undid the lamp, and you had to turn off the power and balance precariously on a stool, carefully threading it and re-wiring. No way. And not like the time I hung those drapes and didn't really really like 'em after all the time you spent expertly installing the curtain rods... I like them now though, so we're good? And, not like the time we had to repaint the living room after a couple of months. I told you, the old color was for staging. So babe, for realz, where's the hammer?

You're not still sore about those other things, right? I think if anything, it shows that you actually are a handy husband, you've had to get me out of some real scrapes. Okay, well guess I'll just keep looking. You boys have fun out there in the woods, I'll just keep myself plenty busy. Although, if I don't find the hammer soon, I might have to go to Target and get another one and we both know what happens at Target... On second thought, maybe I'd better just go ahead and go. It's never good to waste time searching for something, total waste of time. And we could always use a back up hammer. Yeah... Target... See you tomorrow night, honey!

your T

tryin' a tri

Today was the official kick off of my Team in Training triathlon! I am so excited to be doing this, for a few reasons. I have always wanted to get into triathlons but it was just never the right time for me. Well, I've decided the time is right... now! It is going to be fabulous training the right way, with coaches and a team for motivation. Also, I have obviously done endurance events before, but never really with a big fund raising element and I figured if I'm going to do it anyway, might as well be for a great cause. I will more than likely be posting about fundraising sometime soon, and maybe a few more times til May. It is a hefty amount, feels daunting right now... So, perhaps you could think about that when you're thinking tax write offs later this year? Pretty please?

Cannot wait to get back into a pool that isn't surrounded by lounge chairs and sun worshippers; it has been twelve years since I swam a lap or did a flip turn. My god, can that even be right? I do have one swimsuit left over from those days, but I decided to start fresh and treated my self to a new one (not that they've changed much). And I needed goggles. Uh, goggles have come a long way since 1998! They didn't have any Swedish goggles like I used to use, but that is probably a good thing. I don't think the 31 year old skin of my delicate eye area needs to be subjected to hard plastic, I've done enough damage on my own and there's no night cream strong enough to smooth out the lines from those suckers. But, to seal in my feelings of middle age insecurity a little more, I found something amazing that I wish they'd had at MVP Sports circa 1994: prescription goggles! I was worried, this girl is in glasses all day and I don't tolerate contacts well. Presto, prescription goggles. Love. Totally worth the $20 price tag compared with the black foam variety at $7. And feeling like an old lady who needs her glasses at all times.

Woo hoo! Updates to come.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween!

Truly the only scary thing around here is the condition of my closet (a mess to rival the most haunted of houses). And maybe all the political ads for the two jerks running for Governor of Georgia. OK, and how many episodes of Guiliana and Bill I watched this morning. Other than that, we are having a pretty mild Halloween. I'm making this for dinner tonight, I actually have everything on hand and plan to throw in the shiitake mushrooms I've had in the fridge for a while (ok, that, too, could be scary).

No costumes for Brett and me this year, so I thought I would share some disguises donned at our family camping trip this summer. Cuz they're just fun. What? All families don't play cards wearing fake mustaches?

Donnie and Steve

Darryl and Lloyd

Merle and Adolf

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Tonight we headed out to relive our teenage years with an all-time fave. It was a fabulous show! So much fun; I knew all the words and so did everyone else. But there were a few instances of feeling, um, old.

• The woman who sold us our beer telling us we look "really good for the year we were born."
• Rivers Cuomo made multiple references to 1994, which of course makes sense, but still :)
• The kid in front of us was young enough to be our son but incredibly well-versed in all things Weezer.
• As we got out of the truck, a teenager pulled up in a golf cart and asked if we wanted a ride to the theatre, a whopping .25 mile (tops) walk. Admiring his entrepreneurial spirit, we obliged and I slipped him a ten spot because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
• I cared absolutely not at all what I wore.
• They announced an upcoming show during which they will perform their first two albums in their entirety (awesome). The name of the tour? Memories. Ouch.
• The best? They threw tp rolls out into the crowd and when I snagged a piece the thought that immediately went through my head was, "I am so going to frame this and put it in my new bathroom..."

And now we're off to bed at a very reasonable, responsible hour. Say it ain't so!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

let's be friends...

In an effort to make nice with at least a few of our 200+ condo neighbors, Brett and I are planning a chili cook-off. Hopefully it will be more than me, him, brother-in-law and the lady with the really barky dog, because I'm pretty sure I don't want to be her friend. Here's to building community with theme events and cash incentives! I love adulthood.

Monday, October 25, 2010

splish splash : bathroom on the brain...

1-2-3-4, tell me which one you adore

We've decided to try and redo the bathroom before we have company at Thanksgiving. Our contractor said that means we need to start asap! He's coming over on Thursday to discuss the specifics and I am having trouble decided on exactly what to tell him... starting with the sink. I love all 4 of the above options. I know it is kind of a no-no to have a pedestal sink in your only bathroom, but I just love the look. We are planning on having some floating shelves for extra storage and we are not Costco shoppers so I don't forsee a need to house 47 rolls of tp.

I was sold on the simple look of white subway tile about half way up the walls and white penny tiles with black grout on the floor. (Or, depending on how hip I was feeling the day we place the order, black penny tiles. Take that, Parisian chic!) But today at lunch I snuck out to Restoration Hardware for inspiration and saw a display bathroom with grey subway tile, oooh... So pretty, kind of a game changer. So, I am now on a hunt for that.

Onto the fascinating yet vitally important subject of toilets. I either want something really cool, or don't really care. What constitutes really cool in my book? Industrial chic. Tankless (a.k.a. Sloan valve, I just learned), like what you see in every rest area, department store, and, actually, many boutique hotels! What do you think? Too much? Too truck stop? Or too cool? I just love the extra pop of chrome, not to mention how fun it is to flush with your foot. We were at Lowes tonight and I am astounded to see that while No, they don't carry classic penny tile, that is special order, ma'am, they do have an abundant selection of padded, embroidered toilet seat covers. You know the ones... Why?
which flush makes you blush?

Other than that, I'll paint or wallpaper above the tile, add some simple and inexpensive chrome fixtures and find a pretty vintage mirror to hang. Thinking about closing off the door to the bedroom closet to make more wall space for a proper towel bar (and more space inside the closet, too, desperately needed), but that might add a lot to the pricetag, so we'll see. We have a shower curtain similar to this one (in Kate Spade's guest bath), I think it will stay for now. Maybe someday I'll get it together and learn to do some of this myself...

image now appearing on blog number 2,567,453...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And they say Irish food is bad...

So not true! We had great food there. While not everything we ate was traditionally Irish, it was interesting to see how passionate about fresh, local food the Irish are. I've never had greens as diverse and delicious and all the menus listed sources for meats and fish, most coming from farms in the area. I miss the brown, dense soda bread with Irish creamery butter (one of my true food loves), creamed vegetable soups and the official vacation license to eat fried fish and mash, um, often.

Some Dublin restaurant highlights were the Tearoom at the Clarence Hotel (I had the lamb pie, amazing. I couldn't even come close to finishing it, and our cute waitress from Lithuania kept insisting that I eat more), Avoca Café (vg cappuccino, charcuterie plate and sparkling lemonade), Nude for breakfast and Davy Byrne's for drinks our last night there. In Galway, we had an super fresh lunch at the Galway Museum café, perfect curry at the House and a really memorable family meal at Ard Bia's. Irish coffee and biscuits welcomed us at our B&B in Doolin and then more fish and chip gorging at Gus O'Connor's. We ate there the next night, too, I opted for mussels and there were plenty for the family to share. One last indulgence at a cafe tucked away in the Clare countryside included a HUGE tuna melt, more bacon all over everything and homemade ice cream. Too too much. But so good. We realized after a few days that you will never be just handed the check, you almost have to get snippy to get it. But it made for some relaxed times. So fun.

sew cute!

I would love to have window treatments like this in my bedroom... We have really oddly proportioned windows in there, so maybe I should try my hand at sewing? Although, making Roman shades from scratch sounds like an engraved invitation to disaster town for a beginner seamstress... Mom? You busy? My mom made us beautiful things as kids. I remember my Halloween bunny costume from 1983, it had wired ears with pink satin lining and I can still picture the hook and eye closure under the chin. Time to apply that craftsmanship to a new fall project! Pretty please?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Moments in time...

This time yesterday, we were getting dressed up for a wedding in Michigan. This time tomorrow, we will be having a pint and celebrating the first anniversary of our own wedding in Ireland. At this moment, we are enjoying a post work out tuna sandwich, watching football and getting ready to walk to the train. Suffice it to say, leisure time is my dear, dear friend...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Snozzberry? No, Wheatberry

I have always wanted to try cooking wheat berries, those chewy little grainy bits in the Kashi meals and other healthy, organicy, trendy delights. We were at the farmer's market a few weeks ago looking for bulk quinoa and found hard winter wheat, which looked like the same thing, even though a quick google search right there in the aisle did nothing to confirm my guess. Anyway, yes, they are the same thing
and I made this delicious recipe this week, found on wholegraingourmet.com. Enjoy!

Wheat Berry Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight
1/2 cup raw wild rice
2/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries (I tried to find some without added sugar with no luck)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
small amount of red onion, minced, to taste
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs honey
1 tbs Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Cook wheat berries for about and hour and then check them and stop or continue cooking based on how hard or soft you like them. I stopped at an hour, I like texture. Cook wild rice according to package directions, usually about 45 minutes. Combine the two grains in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey and mustard, add salt and pepper. Pour over the grain mixture and toss to coat. Then add the cranberries, pecans, onion and parsley and give it a final toss.

I have made a similar salad/stuffing at Thanksgiving using dried apricots instead of cranberries and I bet that would be good in this recipe, too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Guess what?

My alphabet monogram paintings will soon be available in the coolest baby boutique in Atlanta! I stopped in there today to get a gift for a shower and just blurted out to the owner what I do and she loved the images I had on my phone. I wasn't planning to talk about it today, but the opportunity sort of presented itself so I took it. Yes, I was in running clothes, no I didn't have an actual sample, just a tiny screen and some snapshots... Something I've learned that I think is very valuable is that conditions don't have to be absolutely perfect for progress to be made. I used to just skip a workout if I didn't have a full hour and a hardcore workout planned. Now, I just squeeze in a walk where I can. At the office I wouldn't bother starting a project until I had a totally free afternoon, and we all know how often that happens. So I started working bit by bit and am amazed at what gets done. I had myself convinced that I couldn't even talk to stores until I had an iPad and several samples, press kit, business cards, etc and I am sure all of that won't happen for months. What a great testament to the powers of just going for it and confidence (yes, even if you're sort of faking it).

I am so excited about this, the store carries all kinds of cool brands (Dwell Studio, BlaBla, little nest...) and I am so honored and flattered to be associated with them. I'll post on that project soon!

This weekend is kicking off with a Korean BBQ dinner party, baby shower tomorrow followed by dinner with friends and then church and date night Sunday. Hopefully there will also be healthy doses of downtime. Have a great weekend! Life is good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

to summarize:

This text exchange from this morning pretty much sums up everything that is going on in our lives right now.

T : I am buying a pillow, it is $57. (decorating)

B : A camping pillow? (camping)

T : No, for the house. (It's all about the house)

B : Is the ceiling jealous because the floor gets pillows? (Brett's passive aggressive way of poo pooing a $60 pillow purchase)

T : No, but the porch is sad because it only has one pillow and feels lopsided. (Me justifying spending. If our budget had a house psychotherapy bucket, this would go in it)

B : We have a pillow on the porch? (clueless as usual)

T : Yes - pay attention, husband! (actually I am glad he doesn't notice, makes it easier to sneak in new stuff)

B : I guess this means we need to use the porch more. (Agreed)

T : We will now that is is cooler. (thank god)

B : True, maybe we could grill some kale and beans. (haha, we are trying to eat less meat)

T : I hear grilled quinoa is lovely, too. (hmm, maybe a quinoa log or something?)

Monday, September 13, 2010


All-that-excess at Forever 21...

will minimalism be back? I like layering and jeweling and overdoing just as much as the next girl, but really, what happened to less being more? Looking back through personal photos from the past few years, I witness the overdressing trend evolve. A photo of me from 5 years ago wearing a then-very-chunky necklace and bracelet looks oh-so-demure and understated now, when at the time I thought I was pushing it. I think we have gradually given ourselves permission to be more and more self indulgent, owning not one or two nice bags but twelve - and well, let's not talk about shoes. Accessories and clothing are so low cost now that they almost seem disposable. I think sometimes about the boxes of my grandmother's costume jewelry I used to play with as a little girl (and would KILL to have now, alas) and how it took her a lifetime to amass such a collection. Then I think that my granddaughter's dress-up drawer is almost fully funded now and I am scarcely out of my twenties. Something is a little off...

The same really is true with product design in general. Walk Target. Everything is "designed." Kitchen sponges are purply patterned, air fresheners are meant to be smelled and seen. And then there's the bevy of dishwashing liquid in overdone scents like ylang ylang and persimmon pomegranate. All of this is meant to give the shopper more choice, and more opportunity to showcase their individuality, but through utilitarian objects? Good industrial design is one thing, I have a huge appreciation for a well designed fork or a chair with some character, but when it comes to products that should be tucked away anyway? Not so sure. Is this a reaction to the economy being tough and therefore bringing small affordable treats to the marketplace, making every day objects feel luxurious? Same with the influx of cheap-o but cool accessories? I suppose I get that, sometimes a little boost is what you need, I guess it's about balance. It's a catch 22: I like that there are affordable, fashionable options out there, but I hate that it seems to encourage excess consumption. It is mind boggling to think about how much stuff is designed, manufactured, ordered, shipped to a distribution center, shipped to retailers, shipped to consumers, re-shipped as gifts, returned, re-gifted and eventually thrown out.

I cleaned out my closet this weekend and realized how much crap clothing I have bought in the last couple years... How many wrap cardigans from Target and H&M can one girl have? Seven, the correct answer is seven. So, this fall I am going to try to focus on fewer, better pieces and really think before I spend or bring something home. Not just because I want to look sleeker, simpler or more modern, but frankly we are running out of space chez moi. Maybe I'll even end up with a few real heirlooms in the process for my sure-to-be adorable granddaughters.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

another shoe giveaway...

A couple weeks ago I went to a painting class with some girlfriends. I admit it pained me to pay someone to teach me how to make "art", but I had not seen some of these girls in a while, and, there were frou frou drinks and lots of laughs involved. So now I have this cute, pink, girly painting that really doesn't fit into my home's decor. At all. Anyone want it? Perhaps for a daughter's room? A fabulous walk-in closet? A fun powder room? To re-gift? Please let me know, I will be happy to send it to you.

When I got home from the class late Friday night, Brett was like,"Um, that's really nice, T. Yeah, Good job..." It wasn't until the next day when it came up in conversation that he realized in these classes, everyone paints the exact same thing :) In order for me to really be inspired to paint a single pink shoe on a fluffy cloud background, there would need to be something extra frou in the drinks...

Thursday, September 9, 2010


And who doesn't love free? Kate Spade has a free playlist waiting for you to promote their new perfume, Twirl. It is a cute mix, go get it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This weekend we...

Did what any super cool 30 something couple does on a Friday night and went to see Jonathan Franzen give a reading from his new book, Freedom, remarking that we were thankfully still among the youngest people in the audience at a geeky, bookish event. People asked questions just to ask questions and at times it was awkward. He said something interesting about taking comfort in things that are managed by adults/experts, like real newspapers vs wikipedia. I appreciated that insight.

Got up early and drove to Tennessee to go white water rafting and mountain biking. Our friends said their cabin was the first right past the paved driveway on Calvender Road. Paved. Not. We probably should've taken the truck instead of the Jetta since a steeply inclined, deeply rutted, gravel covered hill was a fair match for German engineering. But we made it. Sunday morning we left them and went to Ellijay, GA for our first Patagonia training hike. I didn't have all 45 pounds in my bag for this hike, but it still gave an idea of what the extra bulk might be like. Not too bad. I felt like we were so badass, hiking through the wilderness on a trail called Bear Creek (ooh, scary) until we met a couple of three year olds and their grandpa skipping along the trail, and a lady with a baby in a weird ropy sling wearing flip flops.

Refueled at the restaurant that is the real reason anyone goes to North Georgia, Colonel Pooles BBQ. I think it's where Republicans go to die. We stuck out a little as we were not A. dressed in church clothes and B. obese. But it is some dang good food and they have a pig mobile.

Spent the remainder of Sunday packing away the camping gear til next time, making a pizza with all the left over veggies in the fridge, getting the mountain washed off the car, and watching Sherlock Holmes. That is a crazy movie made by some talented people. Except for Rachael McAdams' hair and makeup.

Made a huge brunch on Monday, I painted and made good use of the remote's Previous Channel button toggling between the US Open and a Hoarders marathon. Then Brett tried to coach me on not looking like I was "chasing seagulls" when trying to catch a ball. We have joined an adult kickball league and I don't know what the HELL I was thinking. I am horrible at team sports and I know this about myself! I guess I thought it wouldn't be too competitive. People in their 30s should not care who wins a kickball game played in a park on a Tuesday night in cheap, scratchy t-shirts, followed by cheap, scratchy beer, but they do. I am giving it a few games before I quit, thus spending lovely weekend afternoons, that are meant to be devoted to sitting quietly by the pool, trying to avoid ridicule. Feeling a David Sedaris moment coming on. Oh, and we also decided it is ridiculous when you ask someone what they did yesterday and they start with, "Got up..."

Capped off the holiday weekend with Mad Men (yes I know we had sworn it off, but we caved and have been watching on iTunes). I have been disappointed with Mad Men this season, I think if I had started watching it now I would never understand why people love this show. But the season is SLOWLY gaining speed and DD is as hunky as ever. Now I need a few more days off...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I didn't consult the archives, but I think July was my most prolific blog month ever. August? Not so much. I do have lots to say, report, post, etc. but no time to do it properly slash thoughtfully. So, until then, I leave you with a wine review.

Thumbs Up for Santa Ema Chilean Merlot 2007. Mmmmmm...

Friday, August 20, 2010

beauty everywhere

On a recent family trip I was moping around, feeling a little out of my element, and generally sulking and being a b-r-a-t. Then we walked down to the beach and I thought about some of the things and objects around us. They were all so simple, not especially cool or well designed, but as a whole, there was beauty.

new blogger!

new blogger on the block!

My hubs has a new blog. He is a funny sort. Might be worth checking out. He gets paid to blog for ESPN, but it's about icky boy stuff like motorcycles, motorcycle riders and dirt. So I don't shout out those blogs. But this one is fun :) The link is to the left, WILT (what I learned today) Go comment at him!


I did a painting recently for an eagerly awaited baby named Davis. My friends who were giving it as a gift sent me this snapshot from the shower. They held it at a cupcake bakery in Atlanta. What a cute idea for a shower! Anyway, the Davis looks great on the exposed brick.

The painting was made to match the adorable Owl Sky pattern by Dwell Studio.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

group hug!

Pardon my absence, I've been far too busy making memories to record them. Hopefully soon, but for now, a photo. I cherish these peeps!

the Pike-Smith-Norton crew plus Finnegan.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

customer service test...

I just went to change into workout clothes, and the buckle fell off my favorite sandals. Like, completely off, sort of disintegrated. Boo! I live in these shoes. I bought them with my mom this spring, they have brought life to many tired dresses, spirit to ho-hum shorts. In short, I need them. I have had good luck with Coach customer service in the past, but I hate the idea of giving up my favorite pair of sandals smack dab in the middle of summer, possibly for weeks. I am secretly thinking it would be nice if they had to give me a new pair, and it had to be the nude ones. Sigh, guess we'll have to wait and see.

*post edit: Yes, I do realize this is quite shallow and there are many more important things in life. Noted. Gaining perspective now.


We have become 1960philes. Ever since Mad Men, we can't get enough. I am dying to get the book Take Ivy that is being rereleased in August; makes me think of nice things like Ali MacGraw's clothes in Love Story, J.D. Salinger, Harper Lee and an awesome documentary we saw recently about a 1968 football game between Harvard and Yale. I admit I am not too into modern preppy boys, but 50 years ago? Yes please.

So that's why we had to buy this last weekend while out enjoying the AC at Kudzu Antiques:

Cool, huh? I love the color, the type, 1962, and the reference to BH&G, which was probably the 1960s equivalent to Domino, Blueprint, Lonny, etc.

I was about to check out and this older lady says, "Does that say BH&G? If I had seen that I would have bought it for my friend, she works at BH&G, she's a stylist. My friend works at BH&G, I would have definitely bought that for her if I had seen it. Ida, did you see this sign? Wouldn't it be perfect for Gladys? It says BH&G! Our friend works at BH&G." Brett and I looked at each other, thinking should we give up the sign? Then Brett says in true Brett form, "I'll let you buy it from me for $1000," and the woman backs off. She is not amused.

Oh well, we got the sign. We are good at getting our own way. We also scored a huge, amazing map of the world that is giving me inspiration to makeover the bedroom in sort of a library theme. Stay tuned for details on that. I love having projects!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I have been trying to use one of the standard fonts at work in more interesting ways. It does not come with an italic version, which is a bummer. I like the very thin hairline weight and have been playing with doubling it to give it some movement. But tell me, does it make you dizzy? I would hate for people perusing the web for hair notions to suddenly feel nauseous... Unless of course they were on the Conair site, tee hee. Just a little hair accessory humor early in the morning.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ask, and you shall receive...

Our new/old tin.

I have just the perfect follow up to a post from June... I did not get one Amaretti cookie tin like the one my grandparents had, but two! Ali found the grandmother of all tins at a flea market right in our home town. This thing is seriously a monster. I joked in my thank you note to her that we would not only store our loose change in there, but our life savings. Seriously, large and in charge. This could even act as a cool little end table. Right now it is enjoying life atop an orange chair and they seem to be getting along.

thank you thank you, Ali!

cool label on the tin

When I heard that the tin was on its way, I of course told my husband, beaming. His face actually dropped a bit, and he admitted that he, too, had found a tin, on its way to Atlanta via eBay. Lucky me! Brett's came a few days ago and he surprised me with it, fully loaded with coins. How sweet.

Toasted Almond, yes please!

We celebrated with an Amaretto cocktail, the Toasted Almond. 1 part Amaretto, 1 part Kahlua, and 1 part cream. Delizioso.

It's pretty cool to think that one day I might play game with my own grandchildren and tell them the story of how I got the tins. Ask, and you shall receive.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mad Men Returns

...but we won't be watching! While this is hand's down our favorite show, Brett and I have decided to wait until season 4 comes out on Blu Ray and then we will watch them all at once some cold winter weekend. Doesn't that sound cozy? Although I'm not sure any episode will ever compare to the lawnmower debacle of 1963. Sort of goes down in my tv history books with the restaurant episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Please tell me you've seen that. Anyway, I am hoping I can get through the fall spoiler free!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

what's a girl to wear in...


We are going on a trip to the Emerald Isle this fall and I am already putting some thoughts into what to pack. All that came to mind initially were the J Crew fisherman sweaters that were all the rage in high school, and well, I just don't rock a chunky sweater. The good news is that the weather is cool then (around 45-55°) so jeans, boots and scarves will definitely make it in my bag... Fall is the best time for clothes! Here are some other ideas:

plaid - It's not Scotland, I know, but the whole Catholic school uniform thing comes to mind.

my Wellie boots - Any chance I have to wear these I take!

leather jacket - I envision Brett renting a motorcycle with a side car for me and us zipping through the lush countryside like James Bond and his flavor of the movie.

trench coat - Just because Ireland feels proper, and I want an excuse to buy one.

left trench capelet is Burberry and a little ridiculous, but so cool.
right is J Crew, and slightly more reasonable...

something cozy and flannel for nighttime - OK, but not too cozy or too flannel.

smocking, pleats, gathers, buttons, hooks, grosgrain ribbon and other haberdashery details - All old school touches that remind me of the matching dresses we wore as little girls, since I'll be there with my little sister. Katie taught me this Gaelic phrase recently that she said I should teach my husband, and I think it is fitting for this post:
PHRASE:  Iocfaidh mise don gach rud! 
PRONOUNCED: uck-igg misha dun gock rud
MEANING: I will pay for everything!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh dear!

meet my alter ego, Darla Jane Smith!

Not sure if this means I really get into following a theme and savoring details, or that I am a redneck at heart (please oh please be the former) but I have won quite the contest. Or contests.

I'm sure some of you saw my distasteful facebook post about how to create a fake baby bump in a jiff? Tried a basketball, tried blankets, tried different mixing bowls, but nothing was as maternally authentic as my bike helmet. Strapped to my torso with duct tape. Add a retro-capped-sleeve-3-sizes-too-big-bought-on-a-whim-housedress, bright pink lipstick, blue eyeliner, big hair, faux bling, some fake moles and you have an instant, John Waters inspired pregnant lady. Now just add a husband in a mullet wig and some PBR and you have the winner of a White Trash Luau costume contest.

Then, add Road Kill Dip (aka Buffalo chicken dip), served in an aluminum throw away dish and a box of Chicken in a Biskit crackers and you also have the winner of the White Trash Luau Rare Delicacy competition.

Like I said, oh dear! Wish I had more pics but this is it. That's probably a good thing. You can hire me for your next party. People were convinced I was actually a pregnant alcoholic.

Dear Readers,

Dear Readers,

If I ever complain about my life, do please kindly tell me to stuff it. I am so lucky/blessed/grateful in so many ways, and good things continue to happen. That's all, updates to come! And no, I am not pregnant.


Liz + Scott : save the date

I am meeting with bride Liz this week to review her save the date design. Here is a shot of the materials I gathered to give her for inspiration at our last chat and a shot of the in-progess save the date. Hope she's pleased! And yes, I think I would plan to cut out the notches on the side of the "tickets" with a hole punch. Should make a fun project for a Saturday night with the girls :) But no drinks! These need to be straight. I'd love any and all feedback on this! xo

I have saved that postcard of the Ferris Wheel in the foreground since I was applying to colleges in 1996! I think it is an ad for Dartmouth. Sometimes is pays to be a packrat, er, I mean future-predicting amateur archivist.

Friday, July 16, 2010

all kinds of awesome

This has been a good week. (But of course I am glad it's over and I am home drinking margs) I completed a painting to give to baby Kinsley that I think is the cutest one yet, and got three new orders! So now I am working on a P, a D and a yet to be named baby :) The P is for Presley and the D is for Davis, such adorable names. I love thinking about baby names. Mommies, was that a fun experience for you? Too much cuteness. I also have a new idea for some custom paintings that will be adorable and meaningful, but not nearly as time consuming as the alphabet monograms. I hope. I want to work on a prototype this weekend and I might ask ya'll for some feedback!

Tuesday I sat down to plan some travel and ohmygod we have seven sets of plane tickets to buy between now and Christmas : Brett's gramma turns 80, camping with my dad, girls weekend, wedding, trip to Ireland with K and K, Christmas in Philly, and we really want to go somewhere warm alone right after Christmas... Atlanta, I love you but this is getting crazy. I sort of hope no one gets married in 2011. Sorry, guys.

And what do you think of me as a blonde? I was waiting to get my hair done today and tried on this random wig, which I sort of love. I went through a phase where I wanted really platinum blonde hair, but never did it. Hmmm...

Happy Friday! xoxo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

food fight

okay, not that kind... but I couldn't resist.

I read a sort of cute, semi-entertaining, better-than-working article today. It was about families competing over who orders the best, etc.

Sort of appropriate for my family, we always have order envy and then of course, there is the Shelley Bite. My brother-in-law aptly named this phenomenon after my mom because if she asks for a bite, she will do everything but stick her fingers in it to ensure that she gets a little bit of everything, and generally bites right in the middle, unless of course there is a delicious crust involved, then she'll nibble the edges :) We also like the phrase, "First one done helps the others!" and "You're saving some for later" if there is a crumb or a smear on someone's face. I could probably write a book on my food life with my family. Entire chapters could be devoted to topics like Katie's Thumb Must Taste Like Chocolate or Tera and Gramma Duke It Out Over the End Piece (of Italian bread) or Uncle Tom Ate All The Crinkles. Dad's Flip Flop Flap Jacks would also be a clutch chapter and I could have him guest author the chapter about Creamed Doody on Toast and other Depression Era foods. Don't ask.

So the article was a fun quick read, but then I made the mistake of casting my eyes downward and seeing the ENORMOUS COMMENTS SECTION. People were fighting back and forth about what a ridiculous waste of time this was, or that families who do this must be so cold and competitive that they had nothing else to talk about. Crazy. What is it with this era of zinger commenting? Talk about waste of time...