Friday, May 30, 2008

Cutest Retro Kitchen Ever


My favorite kitchen of all time is almost laughable. It's tiny and compact, but there was just something so charming and cute about Doris Day's kitchen in Please, Please Don't Eat the Daisies. I scoured the net, trying to find photos of it, but to no avail.


So, as you can see, I took my own from the TV. Not great quality, but you can still get the general idea. I love it all; the painted furniture, grey and white tones, retro gadgets and dishes, cute fabric. I actually kept this kitchen in mind as I've decorated my own, not to create an exact replica, but I just love the feel of it.



I hope you all have a lovely weekend. I'm still hacking up foreign bodies from my lungs (it's all very Alien'esque), but hopefully will be on the mend soon. See you all Monday!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Curb Appeal



I'm always a little embarrassed, b/c our house's outside does not match the inside. I'm fanatical in my decorating (and sometimes cleaning) but when it comes to the curb appeal, I prefer to ignore it. This is how our porch has looked for the past two years.



But my sweet husband worked on it and...






This is how it turned out. So much better! Now for flower beds and perhaps some turquoise or red paint on the front door?

Sick, Sick, Sick


Be back soon. Oh, and word to the wise; when you find yourself cramped in an office with a coworker who coughs for a week... a modern day Typhoid Mary... you will get sick.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Why I Dont Like Art From Target or It's Mom's Fault


My mom painted this. It's a large painting, and it's hung in our house since I was born. The walls of my childhood home are covered with her paintings. She paints everything; horses, landscape, birds, houses.


There are several problems that come alone with having a talented mother.


1. Somewhere around the age of six, when I was still happily drawing with my crayons, I gazed at the walls, gazed back at the bright pink stick figure on my notebook and said, "Never mind." Seriously. Why try.


2. It made me a dork. Imagine this: you're ten. You're at a sleep over and trying desperately to blend in with your scrunci wearing friends. And as you trod into the kitchen, you notice your friend's mother's Maxfield Parrish calender and make note of it. Her mother's eyes light up and before you know it, you've become immersed in a conversation about "Parrish blue" while your friends roll their eyes and retreat into the den to play Nintendo. Without you. See what I mean? Dork.


3. Varicose veins. I used to think I got them from standing on my feet and waitressing. Now I suspect I started acquiring them from standing around in art museums for hours. And hours. And hours.


4. And lastly, I hate art from Target. Or Bed Bath and Beyond. Call it childhood brainwashing. Don't get me wrong... I don't mind it in other people's homes. But when you've grown up surrounded by original art, it's just too hard to go out and buy a canvas still-life from the haphazard isles of Garden Ridge Pottery. I do make exceptions (as you all know, I'm a sucker for old movie posters or vintage ads), but for the most part I do my best to con Mom into giving me a painting here and there. Hmmm... speaking of conning... this bird painting would look great in my office. Wouldn't it? Mom?



Thursday, May 22, 2008

Off They Go...


These are my baby sisters, as you all well know. I realize I talk about them incessantly, but I cant help it. They're too big a part of my life, too loud, too ever-present and far too entertaining not to pay attention to.

I wrote my book about them, or about us. Three sisters. Except that my characters are exaggerated versions of them... I joke that Rebecca's character is on steroids.

Things have changed in a hurry for them. Rachel graduated and will soon be bound for an exciting new summer job on her own. Rebecca is interning and living with us this summer, which I'm finding a delight. And a horror... since she's the most athletically fit person in the world. I, however, prefer to eat Cherry Garcia while watching marathons of King of Queens.

Last night she duped me into going on a walk and I ended up running for the first time in five years. It wasn't pretty; my hair stuck to my neck, I wheezed, and my backside actually JIGGLED as I clodded gracelessly down the street. I'm starting to worry she's enrolled me in her own personal boot camp.

Either way, they're off. They're grown. I'm misty eyed about this, and a little worried. Whenever people asked me when I would have children, I always joked, "When I finish raising my sisters."

It would appear that I should edit that clause. New rule: "After I get them married off." There, that should do it, especially since Rebecca has vowed to be single until the dawn of time. :)

It's called hedging your bets people.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seven Years Later


I met Matt when I was 19 years old. I'd like to say we had a romantic, Jane Austin'ish first encounter. Like a candle-lit first dinner, or dancing under the moonlight. Don't get me wrong, we've done those things, but that wasn't how it started out.

It started out in a pool hall. Yep. A smoky, rock'n'roll filled pool hall packed to the gills with less than mature college students. I was a freshman at the time, fresh from a somewhat dramatic break up. I had holed up in my dorm room eating Cheetos and watching TLC marathons for two weeks when my roommate Mindy stormed into the room, yanked me out of bed and stated, "You are coming out tonight. This is ridiculous."

I slunk over to my closet, donned a flannel shirt over my cheeto stained jeans. I realize that in the early 90's flannel shirts were cool, but this was 1999 and flannel shirts had long since died. Which was exactly why I put it on while simultaneously eyeing Mindy with rebellion. I then stuffed my very long hair (I know, I can hardly remember having long hair now) into a messy bun on top of my head, shrugged and said, "Fine, I'm ready."

Mindy eyed me with a scowl, "Did you shower today?"

Me, scowling back, "No."

Mindy, scowling harder, "Don't you at least want to put on some makeup?"

Me, crossing my arms stubbornly, "No."


Mindy, reaching into her backpack, "How about some gum?"

Me, silent and pursing my lips.


So off we went to the ever-classy local pool hall. I'd never been there before, but Mindy went every week. Truthfully, it was a veritable treasure trove of available college guys. But after the sting of my recent break-up, I could have cared less if all men on earth were rounded up and forced to make suicide jumps from the tallest cliff.



We entered into the dimly lit room; pool tables lined up on either side of the long narrow room. We made our way through the crowd (who knew a pool hall was crowded on a Thursday night?) and to the last table on the right. Mindy morphed into meet-and-greet mode (she was by far the most social person I knew in college) and I hung back, sullen and scowling in my flannel ensemble and Doc Martins. Across the table, seated in a chair, a guy was staring at me. He was, for want of a more literary term, hot. Big blue eyes, black hair, squared off muscled shoulders; somebody give me the smelling salts.


I made eye contact and he grinned, a big all-encompassing grin of self-assurance and ease. My forehead creased and my lips turned down in disdain. I disliked him immediately. For you see, beside him, perched happily on his knee, was the most slutty looking girl I'd ever seen. Sorry, but she was. Low cut blouse, over-processed hair, and she was all over him. Despite her fawning (I think she had her hand in his hair or something), he proceeded to stare and grin at me. Me. In all my depressed, stringy-haired, cheeto-eating, man-hating depression. And so I leaned over to Mindy (while simultaneously glaring back at him) and said, "Who's the jerk?"



And that's how I met the love of my life.



Matt hates it when I tell this story, but I love it. You see, he quickly tossed that cleavage-wearing chick out of his lap and immediately started talking to me. I scowled and crossed my arms and he grinned and talked more. He began asking Mindy if I would date him, and between the two of them I was duped into a first date. And upon said date, I was shocked to find behind that gorgeous face, was a guy who made me laugh. A guy who thought I was the greatest thing since the introduction of Mario Brothers in 1983. A guy who loved my quirks, my flannel and cheeto binges.



So here we are, seven years after saying 'I do.' I haven't worn flannel since that night, but he still grins at me, and I still like it. Happy Anniversary Matt... I love you.


*** Matt wanted me to add that Mario Brothers was released in JAPAN in 1983 and the US in 1985. Goodness knows, we must keep our Nintendo facts straight on a decorating blog.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Busy Bee


It's amazing to me how much of our lives revolve around one word. Waiting.

Waiting for a car, graduation, job, raise, spouse, house, child, success, happiness. The more immersed I become in trying to find an agent, the more I wait. And the more I think about what that means. But that's what I'm doing. I'm waiting.

After several agent queries, I finally heard back from one, a very nice agent who is currently (hopefully) reading my book. It's been a few weeks, but as we all know... it can take months to hear back. So I wait. I'm staying busy; working on a sequel, cooking and cleaning and living my life as if I weren't waiting at all.



Maybe that's the key? Living as though we aren't waiting for anything, going about our business like busy little bees. Easier said than done. Maybe I should take my own advice about being a busy bee and clean my front window. Look at those cobwebs!

Monday, May 19, 2008

House Crush


Am I the only one that does this? I get house crushes. I wonder what they look like inside, I get excited when people fix them up, paint them, plant new flowers.


This has been my house crush for quite some time. Isn't she adorable? She's a little thing (no more than 1100 square feet), built in the 1930's, arched doorways, giant trees in the yard. I know this because she's currently for sale. Sigh. I have no intention of moving (and truthfully, she needs a lot of work), but a few days ago I parked in her driveway and peered in the windows.
I fell in love with her stained glass, her ivy covered windows, hardwood floors, original sconces. What a lovely little place. Wish she were mine.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Missing This Place...


I miss Little Italy.



Or, maybe I'm just missing carbs. Who cares. All I know is Dunkin' Donuts is NOT cutting it this morning. Now that I've inflicted my pastry cravings on you, I bid you adieu. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cooking Stuff


Every now and again I have to flex my cooking muscle. As I've explained before, Matt is the chef of the house. He cooks almost every meal, while I clean. That's been our arrangement for the past year. I've got to admit, I'm spoiled. He is an excellent cook, you know, one of those, "Gee, I'll toss this in with that, and use this over that and see what happens."

And what happens? It's delicious. Every time. So now and again, I feel the need to reassert myself in the kitchen. Just to prove to myself that I can still do it, so that at least I wont starve during his business trips.


I made tilapia and an Ina Garten inspired salad, with pound cake and strawberries. And if you'll notice, you'll see Mabel's plastic container of dog food sitting ever-so-closely on the counter. We're super classy around here folks.



I also discovered Mabel's kryptonite: strawberries. This dog (who lives to misbehave, snap at joggers' ankles and chase ducks) will sit like a statue for hours when she spots a strawberry. Just look at that intense glaze in her eyes. She nearly took my finger off, not that I blame her. There are plenty of days that I'd consider biting someone's finger to get at a strawberry, or chocolate. Mabel and I, we understand each other.



All in all, it turned out well. Whew, it's always good to know I haven't completely lost it. And now I can return to my dormant cooking stage; content to slide back into my nightly routine of eating, washing dishes, and reading a book while rolling my eyes as Family Guy blares in the background.

It's good to be queen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Procrastination


We've all known 'procrastinators.' You know. Those folks who never studied in college until the night before a final. The people who only remember to pay bills once every two months. The ones that skip jury duty, forget to file their taxes, and never get around to giving their dogs flea medication.

I usually take stressful things head on, like an attack. Bills to pay? I itch to get it over with. Trip to take? I pack two days ahead and end up living out of a suit case. But procrastination still creeps its way into my life. I suspect its some bizarre, never before seen hybrid case of procrastination. I put off seemingly easy things, even enjoyable things.




For example; this table. I bought it over a year ago. I purchased this thing with full intentions of painting it. I had no desire for a natural wood table. I bought it specifically to paint it white. But somehow, that weird little procrastination virus bit and the table stood untouched for over a year.


Why? During the course of the year I did plenty of things I didn't WANT to do. I got my wisdom teeth pulled. I wrote a check to the IRS that made me very, very angry. I pulled weeds, watered plants, took vitamins and started a grueling work-out program very early in the mornings. But paint that table? Nope. I just walked by it, several times each day thinking, "Wow, I really should get that project done." And yet, nothing. For over 365 days.


Either way, I've finished it finally. It's not the best paint job ever, but at least it's done. Except for the top coat. And who knows; at the rate I'm going it could be another year before that happens.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Smelling the Roses


Perhaps my last blog title was a smidge misleading. Lest anyone think I'm a fisherman (which I do enjoy, but grabbing the squirmy fish on the end of a hook ALWAYS makes me squeal like a girl), I did not 'fish' this past week. I was using the phrase 'gone fishing' metaphorically. I checked out, took a break, took vacation and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. But alas, the only fish to be had were some tilapia from the freezer.


I painted, cooked, and blissfully watched HGTV during the DAY! I cant tell you how excited I was about that. I also sewed a little, which turned out to be one gigantic disaster and I was reminded, yet again, why the sewing machine usually stays hidden in the spare closet.




I tackled a project that's been a year in the making and reorganized some shelves. It was heaven really, just being at home during the day, hearing lawn mowers and birds through open windows.

But now...back to reality. It's not so bad really. As I sit here typing I'm happy knowing my house is finally clean, the laundry done and projects completed. OK, almost clean and almost completed. Either way, I'm savoring the moment. This is a VERY rare occasion.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Gone Fishing



I'm off for some adventure. See you gals later next week.

Yard Drama



While things inside my home may have reached an all-time low in terms of proper housekeeping; the yard ain't so bad. In fact, it's turned into the place where I go to NOT think about what I should do inside.

Catch 22; pretty house on the inside: ignore the mess on the out. Pretty yard: sit in it and ignore the trashed house. Who needs balance?




And in other yard news, there was a major show-down last week. We refer to it as Mabel vs. Birdie. As you can see, Mabel didn't lose. At least it wasn't a bunny rabbit. Yesterday she took off across the back yard after one, a precious tiny brown bunny. I went streaking after her screaming (and apparently channeling Rosie O'Donnell) "NO MABEL, MOMMY SAID NO!!!!!!!!!!!"


It was all very dramatic, just like a movie. I'm fairly sure people would have paid to watch.


Mabel cornered the poor thing, but I got there fast enough to grab her collar. The little bunny kicked around, trying his best to exit out of the chain link fence. Then, in sheer panic, he ran to the other side of the yard (while I nearly choked my darling, snarling dog to death holding her back) and exited under the gate. Whew. It was a close one.


Too much yard drama people. I really need to go back inside and just do some laundry. My heart cant take anymore animal-in-peril episodes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Air-Conditioning Already


We fought it and fought it, but this past weekend the air-conditioning had to be turned on. I know, right? It's early May. But nonetheless, it's just hot enough during the day to make coming home at night a very sweaty ordeal.


In other homes I've lived in, leaving windows open and fans on usually took us into at least late May, but there's something about our house that doesn't lend itself to it. I suppose when they built this neighborhood in the early 50's (at least our side of the street), people were excited about the modern, ranch, air-conditioned houses and shunned the idea of creating draft friendly homes. I suppose when they purchased their state of the art turquoise fridges and stream-lined, plastic covered couches, they hoped never again to open windows, light fires or do any of the things their grandparents had to do.


I've opened every single window and turned on every oscillating fan I could get my hands on in hopes of getting a breeze, and let me assure you, air does not move around in here. So, last night, I relaxed on the patio, burned my citronella candles and listened to the faint whir of the air unit. Ahh... nothing like the sounds of modern technology to drown out those pesky singing doves in the evening.




Monday, May 5, 2008

We Survived


This was the garage-sale room. For two weeks the guest room was full of miscellaneous items; exercise equipment, old clothes, un-used vases and frames. This is what it looked like after the yard-sale; still cluttered with a few meager things bound for the trash, but relatively unscathed.

Unlike me. I was definitely scathed.

I always underestimate a garage sale (or in our case, carport sale). Thank goodness for my extremely organized neighbor who thought of everything (extra tables, strong coffee at 5:45 in the morning). But there is something so exhausting about watching people peruse your stuff, haggle over a fifty cent item that they want for a quarter.
Even more exhausting was the point at which I realized I was not a teenager anymore. I sat on the driveway, enjoying the sun for several hours, my derriere resting happily, although obliviously, on the hard pavement.

And then late Sunday night I realized I couldn't move. It felt like my spinal column had collapsed into my tail bone. My nose was sunburned and I kept waking up during the night shouting "NO! I will not sell that vase for $1.00!"

But all in all, it was definitely worth it. I made a lot more money than I thought I would, and even more importantly, my husband sold his elliptical. Has anyone ever tried to work out on a wobbly elliptical? It's not only embarrassing, but also fairly dangerous. But that's another story for another time.

Hopefully I'll roust up enough energy to clean my ransacked guest bedroom this week. But until then, I'll be applying aloe vera to my nose and sitting on pillow.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Shout Out


Is this NOT the most fabulous thing? Check out Jane's Apron... she's sells them on her etsy shop.
(photo courtesy of Julie)
Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Remember When


Remember when you were a teenager and your room looked like this? Yeah, me neither.




This used to be my bedroom. After leaving for college, it was re-inhabited by my youngest sister. She has attempted (with much luck) to cover every inch of my Laura Ashley wallpaper. She constantly ribs me about my past decor choices, but I would like to state for the record that that wallpaper was SO gorgeous and chic when we hung it in 1992!


Anyway, this is what became of my old bedroom. And I snicker when I remember Mom's decree that I could only make 10 nail holes in the walls.


I see that house rule went to dogs long ago.