Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday, Monday

It was such a busy weekend!

We went to a Fall Fest and walked around for four freakin' hours.  There were so many vendors and I still don't think we hit everything.

I picked up this coal bucket and some hydrangea and filler...

I added the last of the eucalyptus I had to it.  I like the way it looks.  Then I began quoting Patrick Stewart's version of A Christmas Carol (the best in our opinion) and kept prattling on about buying another coal scuttle and to make up the fiy-ah before you dot another I...Bob Cratchit.


We just walked until my hip sockets threatened to go on strike.  The Mr was walking funny as well so it behooved us to throw in the towel.  We drove to a mall area and had lunch...

That would be buttermilk chicken strips, gouda mac and cheese and a little salad.  Twas quite good.  Then I got a birthday coupon for a local store so we grabbed a few shirts and then got on the road so we could be home in time for our friends to come over.

I wasn't cooking this time, we said it was a surprise so we took her out to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants since they kept putting it off.  That's the thing about restaurants, you can't put off going too long because the day you finally decide to go is the day you find out they closed.  Afterward we went to Black Out Mini Golf.

I think they had fun.

I kind of made it a double birthday gathering since we both turned 40 this year.  I introduced her to Biscoff spread earlier in the year and now she loves it.  One of the things I promised her for her birthday was a pint of my cookie butter ice cream.  Friday I had to make it so it would be fresh and then I got the bright idea to make her Biscoff cookies.  You know, for potential ice cream sandwiches.  So sadly the Mr was cleaning far later Friday night in the kitchen than he cared to.  Sorry Mr!  But they seemed to be appreciated so, there's that!  In addition to some money, they got me scratch and sniff stickers!

Sunday was just complete and utter chill day.  I mean from exercise too.  Since we burned so much walking the day before and we were so tired the next day, we decided to flip flop rest days.  I hope it doesn't screw me this week but honestly, I was grateful for the suggestion.  Unfortunately I had a headache for a good part of the day.  I need a vacation.

We have our last birthday gathering on Wednesday when a friend of mine's schedule allows.  I haven't seen her in a while and she's the sweetest so I'm glad to entertain even if it means an early workout during the day.  I'm making chili.  It's something we can still fit into the calories just fine and I need to think of a little dessert to throw in there.

I'm ready for the new week.  Last week sucked, I have people trying to steal my sunshine for their own oversights but I shant let them get to me...this week will rock.  Why?  Because it's SLEEPY HOLLOW NIGHT!!!  I've been waiting for this for 9 months!

What did you guys do this weekend?  Any premieres you're excited for?

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Exhausted entertainer and what I'm reading this week

This is two weeks in a row I have finished up this post a day ahead of schedule.  I shouldn't type that because the third time will either be the charm next week or the beginning of a broken streak.

While I try not to jinx myself, let's get to...

'Fat Shaming' May Actually Lead to Weight Gain  (I can totally see this being true and I think the weight gain is actually more than they report for many.  Back in the day nothing would make me visit Little Debbie and her cakes of Swiss quicker than someone commenting on my weight.  Makes sense, right?  "You're fat!"  "Eff you!"  *insert pastry*)

Bride's Heartbreaking Photos Show What Love Looks Like After Loss  (It's not just sad but there's also a sense of rebirth and moving forward too.  I feel for her.)

The Pros and Cons of the Paleo Diet  (This is the part where I don't comment)

Tour This Shabby Chic Victorian Home  (So pretty!)

Sesame Street's "Star Wars" Parody  (For the Mr)

New Anti-Obesity Drug Enters Market, But Roadblocks to Treatment Remain  (Side effects of ANY pills are so scary these days but weight loss pills never seem to end well.)

10 Hidden Images on Album Covers  (Ahh, #7 hurt my eyes!)

Why Multivitamins Might Do More Harm Than Good   (Interesting food for thought.  Mr, read this one)

Robert Downey Jr. on Films and Fitness  ("Five years ago what used to be my get in shape plan is moot and useless."  His list of what he wants to eat every day made me crack up)

8 Shabby Chic Kitchens That You’ll Fall in Love With  (#2, I will love you forever)

Bill Murray Reveals The Women He'd Choose For 'Ghostbusters 3'  (They might be funny women but honestly, I wouldn't see that movie.)

The Best Snack Bars  (Might have to try a few of these depending on the calorie count)

8 Ways to Get a Handle on the Junk Drawer  (Do they have a tutorial on an entire room?)

The 10 Coziest Cabins to Stay in This Fall  (I'm packin' my bags)

First Things First: How to Prioritize Home Projects  (Good list if you have no idea where to start in your new to you home)

22 Kick-Ass Kettlebell Exercises  (Kettlebell anything always kicks mine!)

Lip Synching with Gwen, Blake and Jimmy  (I seriously almost pee'd myself watching Blake do Taco's Puttin' on the Ritz!)

We're coming to the last of our birthday entertaining Saturday and Wednesday.  While I love getting together with everyone, I'll be glad when it's over.  If people in my family could've just sucked it up for 2 hours, I could have had a party like a normal person and been done with it in one night.  I'm actually looking forward to the following weekend when we have not a damn thing on tap.  I think I will make the celebratory remake of Slabtown's Pungi burger and we'll drink our last North Woods Orange soda we've been hoarding for 10 months.   We said we were going to do that when the remodel was finished and we've never had a chance to officially toast it's completion.  Until then, cleaning up a little tonight, early rise and quick road trip in the morning/afternoon all in time to be back for dinner with friends. alarm clock!  WOOT!

What are you guys up to this weekend?

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to create a Fall vignette

If you follow any home and decor blog, you know how effortless they make styling every inch of their home look.  I have long admired how they can mix and match items to make it look like it all belongs somehow.  When I remodeled the downstairs (reveal pics are coming soon, I promise), I realized that basically my decor before were all pictures and/or candles.  Heck, for the first 4 years we lived here, we didn't even have any art on the walls.  We had two large photography pieces from a Hawaiian artist, one on the wall behind the Mr's seat at the dining table and one over the fireplace.  It looked fine for a while but not very grown up but the rest of the walls, totally stark and white.  

Then in 2003 when we did our first big remodel, we purchased a lot of Hawaiian watercolor prints, many which still hang today as we're still in transition.  When I finally finished the current remodel, I was basically a week out from starting to decorate for Fall and realized any Fall decor I had (not much) was far out of date for what I wanted to represent my new, sassy updated look.  I decided to pick up a few pieces that I knew I would have for a long time and try my hand at some Fall vignettes.

I must apologize for the heinous lighting in these pics.  One side of the fireplace is drowning in light and the other side dwells in a cave.  A light balance in that area has .003% chance of success.

So without further adieu, here's my stab at...

That mantel has been with us from the beginning.  I would love to update it at some point but it gets the job done.  I made the "Happy Fall" banner with burlap, fabric paint and twine and hung it with some Command Strips so no holes would be necessary in the walls.  I tied dried leaves and acorns to the end for a little pop of color.  I bought the window at an antique store and was was in much more dingy shape when I got it.  I did a white wash of pure white chalk paint over it to fill in some of the cracks and places with wonky paint peel.  I utilized one molly screw that was already hanging and the Mr measured and installed another one that would allow me to hang it to the left since I knew I wanted something with height to counter balance it.

I initially bought three pumpkins from a local store that sell Hot Skwash velvet pumpkins.  I loved them so much I went back to buy two more.  I'm not gonna lie, they're pricey but they're the best looking ones I've seen anywhere including scouring the internet so I had to get them.  I'll have them forever as long as I store them properly.  I started out with them on the left side since they were low and would tuck under the window nicely.

I had my heart set on a birch bark vase look.  Good luck trying to find that stuff.  I must've looked all night online for it and the few places I found it either took a ridiculous amount of time to deliver or were more than I wanted to spend with shipping.  I remember the local upcycle shop where I bought the pumpkins had some so after comparing prices and seeing they were on point price wise, I bought two tubes of them.  One was long and skinny and the other was about twice as wide and would be perfect for the long glass cylinder vase I had at home.  I filled the glass with a bag of white rice I was never going to use so it would be weighted and I could tuck the filler inside and it would stay in place.

I slid the wider birch bark over the vase.  The arrow points to a nice, big molly screw that is highly visible.  That'll get taken care of in a minute.

I got some dark multi-colored eucalyptus and some colorful dried leaves to tuck inside the birch bark.

Then it was time to move on to the middle of the mantel.  I picked up this super cute little tureen at Midland Antiques in Indianapolis over the summer in cream and brown.  I knew it would look perfect with some flowers or acorns peeking out of it.  I got acorns at Crate and Barrel because for the price they gave me the most for the most reasonable price.  I stuffed some gold tissue paper in the tureen so I wouldn't have to waste all of my acorns.

I laid down a strip of burlap ribbon to give a little warmth then placed acorns on top of the tissue paper to make it appear that they were overflowing with the lil nuts.

It was starting to come together but needed something else.

I took some of the leftover eucalyptus and tied it together in the middle and called it done.

But as you live with things for a few days, you have the prerogative to change your mind a little and add things here and there until you get just the right look.  I added two vintage books under two of the pumpkins and tied a rust colored bow on the eucalyptus to add a little interest.

I moved the other pumpkin down in front of the vase, picked up some dark burgundy dried leaves I saw at the grocery store floral department to add to the birch vase and then called it done.   It has stayed that way ever since!

I knew it was perfect when the Mr came home and gasped and told me every day for a week how proud I must be of that.  That meant he was proud too.

Then it was time to move on to the armoire.    I'm so pleased with the way the Fall colors look with the gray and white.

On the top shelf is the second tube of birch bark that is long and narrow.  I used more of the eucalyptus and dried leaves in there to tie the room together.  I had a vintage Log Cabin syrup tin that I decided looked kind of fun with it.

There are those two extra pumpkins I bought.  I knew they'd look cute on the vintage scale I had.  I paired them with a Fall print and a French biscuit tin I picked up in wine country when we were on vacation in May.  (Dang, we came home four months ago today.  No fair!)

On the bottom shelf is the sewing box I spruced up from an antique store with some Fall colored old books, a ceramic glazed pumpkin with some leaves and acorns underneath in a cloche from World Market.  On the other side are more old books with another mini tureen o' acorns.  I picked that baby up for $1.  Someone probably would've chucked it otherwise but I get to use it to decorate...woo hoo!

So there you have it.  My process on how to create a Fall vignette.  I hope the pictures of it coming together were somewhat helpful.  I know for me when I see scenes like that already together, it is a little beyond me as to how they got from A to B but I hope this helped someone else out there who might have things on hand but not sure how to arrange them.

Tips to keep in mind:

Varying heights and textures are key as it adds interest.

Grab some old books the next time you're at a garage sale.  Often they're only a few bucks a piece and can be used to display their pretty book spines and/or covers.

A trendy piece or two is great but stick with classic pieces that'll never go out of style so you can mix and match as trends come and go.

Create a style that feels warm and inviting.  It will not only welcome guests during this fun season but it'll make you smile every time you see it.  I know I do.

Linked up with: French Country Cottage, Blesser House, The Shabby Nest, Whipperberry, The Answer is Chocolate,, TMTOMH, Tatertots and Jello, Between Naps on the Porch

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Heavy machinery, suburb soul suck and opportunities

**I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on it being 10 years today since the Mr's dad passed.  He was on loan to me as the dad I should've had for 12 years and I'm so grateful for the time we had.  We miss him every day.**

I was so exhausted from the weekend, I overslept and only got to spend two minutes with the Mr before he trotted off to work.  Sigh.  I don't know what I did but I slept wrong a few days ago and the top of my spine between my shoulder blades is all jacked up so turning my head has been a joy.   Not.

I tried getting caught up on some paperwork I'm way behind on and most of it just ended up being research.  I guess that's a step in the right direction, yes?  Nothing like deadlines to kick your booty into gear.

I don't know what's going on in the last part of the field behind the homestead but some heavy machinery was just running and running and I've got supersonic hearing so it drove me up a damn wall.  Urban sprawl is real, yo.  When we first found our place, we completely lucked out.  It was a new build we could afford as soon to be newlyweds and it was in the middle of a field.  We were the first development in a two mile radius and in the 18 years we've been here, it has been choked with restaurants, strip malls, every grocery store under the sun and gyms.  We can barely get onto the main drag out of our own place because of the heinous traffic.  It's so bad we're considering moving into the city where there is LESS traffic over the madhouse we have to deal with here.  An opportunity may open up for the Mr where a lot more options could be open to us.  So right now we have to bide our time and see what life throws at us over the next year or two.  Some days I want to move to the city.  Some days I want to move to an atoll in the middle of the Pacific and live on fish and breadfruit.  

We dealt with some business crap that left us both in foul moods and late to workout.  Well, I shouldn't say late, I should say it was the same time we've been working out and I was hoping to start changing that this week.  I plan, God laughs.  But when we went down, we did a free weight workout and the Mr threw on the weighted vest (20 lbs) so I copied him.  I forgot how much I hated that thing.  I'm sure it did wonders for my already screwed spine.  But I pushed the weight up a little and while I didn't burn more than I normally do, I'm sure walking will be interesting today since we focused on legs and upper body.  We're cutting strength back to twice a week.  They'll be good strong ones but we need to up the cardio.

For dinner we had spiced mahi mahi over quinoa duo from Trader Joe's.

Then it was time to settle in for the evening, I caught up on Witches of East End (almost poo'd myself) and Dallas which hasn't been recording so I'm super behind on that one.  ARG!  I lit my cinnamon roll candle and let the light shimmer on the mantel and the smell of cinnamon waft through the air.  I'm so ready for this time of year!

Do you live in the city or the burbs?  What are the pros and cons of where you live?

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekend warriors

Holy crap man.  I feel like someone drug me behind a jacked up truck on a mountain road.  It was a super busy weekend from Friday to Sunday and I think I'll need a week to recover.  Then, of course, it'll be time to entertain the next batch of friends next Saturday and the following Wednesday.  Somebody stop me!

Friday we went to a huge craft/vintage show and walked around for 2 hours.  It was a mad house but it was nice to poke around a bit.  Then we put ridiculous undue pressure on ourselves to have our vacation video, which we hadn't even looked at once much less edited, thrown together in case my friend wanted to see it.  (She and I are the two people on Earth who actually like to see each others vacation videos)  It wasn't going to come together in time but it was a valiant try.

She's been begging for any of her 8 zillion Facebook friends to make her these high heel cupcake shoes for her birthday.  I was going to make them for her last year but because of other family obligations, we were unable to get together for our usual birthday celebration.  I decided for once I wasn't going to put that kind of pressure on myself to throw those together, printed out a pic from the internet and told the local bakery what I wanted.  I think they turned out cute.

It's a cupcake, milano cookie and pirouline stick cookies.  Given it's the week Aunt Flo shows up, I didn't trust myself not to attempt to make them, fail and be scraping thrown cake off the walls.  I was glad I did it and she almost crapped her pants with excitement so win win!

We had a good time catching up.  We've known each other since middle school and she lives a state away so we don't see each other often.  We both took our turns getting chatty and the Mr just kinda sat there taking it all in.  He's a trooper.  He threw in a few quips here and there but you know, it probably wasn't the most fun 10 hours he's ever spent.  We did try a new to her restaurant and I got a not so impressive meal.  Then we tried a new to all of us place for dinner and while what I got wasn't bad, it just wasn't necessarily anything I'd go back for.  I HATE it when I feel like I've wasted meals on the one day we allow ourselves to eat out.  Sigh.

We then got on a gabbing roll ourselves when she left and stayed up until 2am talking.  Sunday morning was grocery refuel day and I told him to just forget the alarm, we'd get there when we get there and brace ourselves for the worst.  You know you're a regular when the cashier at Trader Joe's says "you guys slept in today!"
Yep... slept in, I made breakfast and we moseyed our butts in there about 10am...two hours later than normal.  By the time we were done, it was time for lunch and we relaxed for a bit.

Around 1:45pm, I grabbed the Mr some water worthy clothes, told him to come with me and I had arranged for him to test a Tower Xplorer 14' Inflatable stand up paddle board he's been dying to try out.  We can't really purchase it until next year but you know how it is when you get something sight unseen.  So the opportunity to give it a test run was more than welcome as he paddled around the water on that 14' beast.

He's more obsessed than ever now, which I expected, but hopefully this means he'll stop trippin' over his lower lip about how the summer was ruined because he didn't get to paddleboard.  ;-P

After that, we went on a nice, long walk.

Funny how even 70 degree days can feel ungodly hot when the sun is beating down.  Cool retreats in the occasional pockets of shade were quite welcome.

When we got home, it was straight to making dinner.

Orange BBQ pork chop and pumpkin butter twice baked sweet potato.  Nothing like homemade pumpkin butter and not grotesquely sweet like store bought.

Just when we thought we were in for the night, I realized we forgot our protein shakes and we had to trek back out to TJ's.  Then it was listening to jazz for the night, my new favorite ritual.  It was good to be done with everything by 9pm and relax for the first time all weekend!

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Ahead of the game and what I'm reading this week

Happy Friday all!

You would be so proud of me, I was ahead of the game and I actually typed this post up 2 days ago meaning I wasn't furiously throwing this together from 10-11pm last night!  

Is there hope for me yet?  

Time will tell.

While we're waiting to see if my procrastinating ways win out or not over the long haul, let's get to...

Air Rage: Why Does Flying Make People So Crazy?  (Because other people lose their friggin' senses when they fly, if they had any to begin with.  I'm just glad when I reach our destination airport without incident.)

DIY Wreaths to Get Your Home Fall-Ready   (Mine is already up but in case yours isn't.  Hee hee)

Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'  (I'm not a fan but what he says, sadly, is kind of true.)

11 Foods With "Bad Raps" That Deserve Another Chance!  (Yes indeedy, Ally Sheedy!)

A Rare Peek Inside Walt Disney's Fairy-Tale Home  (I love that so much of the original detail was kept!)

10 ways to get 10 minutes of exercise  (Whether all at once or broken up, it all counts!)

7 Ways to Silence a Squeaky Floor  (While our friend got a majority of them when he screwed the subfloor, there are a few I still want to get.  Hoping a shim will come to the rescue!)

19 Things Everyone Who Sucks At Texting Understands  (I don't text but this applies a lot to my FB messaging habits.  I've established with everyone in my life mama gets back to you on HER time!  HA!)

48 Top Slow-Cooker Recipes  (So ready for crock pot season, yo!)

13 natural remedies for the ant invasion  (Will try some of these to keep those little bastards at bay.  We just dealt with our worst invasion yet but I think it was due to our roofers doing a crappy job on the siding replacement.  We filled in any gaps with that foamy stuff)

Billy Idol - Kings & Queens of the Underground - Episode #1   (SO excited for Billy's new album!)

9 Pumpkin Spice Recipes (That Are Way Better Than a Latté)   (Pumpkin!  Pumpkin!  Pumpkin!)

Fall Garden Cleanup  (Time to clean up and think spring!)

Road Rage and Fat Shaming  (NSFW language.  A friend passed along this heinous video that's going viral.  As if her reckless behavior wasn't bad enough in front of her kid, she fat shames this poor guy like a 5 year old after practically assaulting him!?  If you read the comments, you'll be horrified to see what she does for a living.)

Simple 100-Calorie Food Swaps  (Good idears!)

19 Wicked Ways to Use Mason Jars This Halloween  (Super cute, especially if you have kiddos)

Here’s Everything We Know About ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season Two   (I CAN'T WAIT!!!!  I repeat...CAN. NOT. WAIT! The Legend of Sleepy Hollow narrated by Tom Mison is available for free by clicking through thanks to!)

How one couple is paying off their 30-year mortgage in half the time  (Yes please!)

Home Depot Confirms Data Breach, Investigating Transactions From April Onward  (Great, first Target now HD.  I'm getting a little sick of being hacked!)

The Simple Steps to Protect your Feet...FOR LIFE  (Listen up peeps!  Great exercise!)

Michael C. Hall to Star in Broadway's 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch'  (He has to be thrilled.  I know he wanted to go back to Broadway after Dexter went in the chitter.)

"We Can't Stand You" and Other Confessions of a B&B Owner  (Sounds like these people need to get into another business!  But given some of the contracts I've had to sign, I can only imagine the stuff cleaning people have seen.  Our condo on Kauai had people who were there for a month and that poor cleaning woman had to take laundry back to her OWN house and have her hubby do it to get our place ready on time!)

12 Surprising Uses for Bobby Pins  (I've already got one on my toothpaste thanks to this)

These 20 Tips Will Have You Asleep in No Time   (This looks interes.....zzzzzz)

The Ugly Side Of Beautiful Rooms: Design In The Age of Internet Comments  (I think this is true about all sites and it's a dang shame when people can't just keep their mouths shut.  I have seen plenty of things on home blogs that I admire and I'll wrinkle my nose and not comment.  Sadly, the internet can make it super easy to be mean instead of constructive in criticism.  Thankfully you people are awesome!)

My friend is coming to town tomorrow to celebrate my birthday.  We're hanging out, going shopping and hopefully won't be tempted to tell the same stories from our glory days and sound like Springsteen in '85.  Sunday is grocery refuel day and that means no sleeping in.  Errrg!  If the weather is cool, maybe we'll go for a walk for our workout.  Woot!

What's on tap for your weekend?

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Healing through laughter

What a gut wrenching day for those of us gals who had crushes on the two funniest men of the early 80's...

It has been 11 years since we lost John Ritter and one month since we lost Robin Williams.

Can you look at that picture and even IMAGINE the complete and utter joy of watching those two riff off of each other?  I'd like to think maybe that's what they're doing right now.  Actually you can watch them do it back in 1978 here.  (Language-NSFW)  Even someone as talented as John Ritter had a little trouble keeping up with Robin's quick wit.  It was truly adorable to watch and I'm so glad we have access to things like that.

When John died, it was like some cruel joke.  How could something that could be diagnosed take him like that?  But just as in life, his death allowed him to take care of his brother Tom one last time when he got a test done that showed he had the same issue and got it corrected.  It let you know the fragility of life and when you lose someone that funny, the world dims a little.  I think of him every September 11th and I smile.  I'm thankful for him and him ushering me into my first crush.

When Robin died under very different circumstances, it was a cruel joke in a different way.  You look at someone who brought so much joy to others was suffering so much inside. PBS aired a beautiful tribute to him the other night and if you have an hour sometime tonight, watch it if you didn't already.  I'm not sure when the interview with him was but it includes some of his friends and co-workers over the years.  I believe Pam Dawber gives the best summary of any I've heard in the last month..."if only he understood what happened to the world when he decided to leave.  The whole world is in mourning."

Amen, girl.

I know everyone is remembering a different event today and I'm sorry, I feel like if I glorify that event yearly, the terrorists win.  So on this day, almost every year, I choose to remember the loss of a great comedian taken too soon...someone who influenced me as a youngin' and made my heart flutter.

I will occasionally catch Three's Company on TV Land at midnight when I'm supposed to be going to sleep and there he'll be making me laugh at losing at strip poker wearing nothing but a box, making me cry when he sprays himself with the water after playing mean jokes on Terri or making me love him with a simple flash of his smile.

I know as time passes, I will feel about Robin the way I feel about John which is nothing but smiles.  I won't cry every time I see him like I do now.  I won't always think of the way he died and remember more how he lived like his family wants us to do.  It won't always hurt so much which is another thing John taught me.  Men like them want fans like us to remember the joy and the laughter and to spread a little to others in this cynical world.

To learn more about the condition that took John Ritter's life, click here.

To learn how you can help the John Ritter Foundation every time you shop through Amazon, click here.

What was your favorite role/episode of John's?  

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