Thursday, August 21, 2014

Living the good life (and other randomness).

I've been pretty darn introspective lately. It's been known to happen. And while that is certainly not a bad thing, I often wonder if it gets a little too, well, real around here sometimes.

I try to be as open and honest as one can be, yet I certainly can't share everything. My husband's life and Kiddo's privacy must be respected. Some stories are simply not mine to share. I work hard to make sure this is a space that reflects my imperfect life; to not be just another blog that gives the reader a keyhole glimpse of my life through a rose-colored filter. 

For instance, yesterday I threw together a quickie post about a recent day trip we took to the Pendleton Wool Mill. Yet I couldn't help but expel some anguish about my wee one suddenly becoming all grown up, armpit hair and all. But, you know, there's always more to the story. The human condition cannot be summed up so neatly. There's always more, as I always assume when I read other blogs (even the pretty rose-colored ones).

I'm a ruminator, you see. Oh, boy am I (just ask my poor husband). It can be excellent in terms of self-discovery, but it can also be agonizing for an anxiety-prone person like myself. So despite my best efforts to mix things up around here, to keep things light-hearted for the most part, sometimes my head space isn't quite there. Which in turn leads to a rather inauthentic post. Because you can typically tell when writing is forced.

This space is a reflection of me. Imperfect, ruminating me. If I'm sorting through some gunk, this corner of the interweb will likely reflect that. It is what it is and so it goes.

The key word here is balance. In every aspect of my life, including this blog. As I've mentioned before, the part of The Happiness Project that really struck a chord with me was the part about acting how I want to feel. Fake it 'til you make it and you just might end up believing it.

So today... today I'm going to write about all the great things happening right now. The fun, exciting things. In snippet form, my favorite way to write. (Besides, I've written enough essays for one week.) Because honestly, aside from the occasional hiccup, life is good. Really good

(Warning: photo dump ahead.)

// Do you ever look at your partner and have a moment of How did I score him/her? I definitely married up. I mean, Come. Oooon. That was one of those moments. Mario had been traveling all week and we met him and a coworker for dinner the night he got home. I laid eyes on him for the first time in days and he looked like this. Looking at the photo gets me twitterpated all over again. Kudos to me for buying him that shirt. (He is not just a total stud, he's also an all-around over-the-moon amazing dude. I'm not just saying that because I'm clearly biased. Ask anyone who knows him. Also, I apologize for the level of mushiness in this snippet. I'm even grossing myself out. But, I mean, Come. On.) //

// Post haircut, sun radiating from behind. Stop. It's all too much. //

 // This kid is my little buddy. Mario has been crazy busy with work, or traveling, so Kiddo and I have been left to explore on our own. He even helps me out around the house. Just this morning he hung out with me at a coffee shop so I could get some writing done. The fact that he still likes hanging out with Mooom makes me really happy. // 

// A friend of ours sent this cool Welcome Home basket. Surprises are the best. // 

// This happened. It is currently sitting on our living room coffee table waiting to be hung. It frightens me every time I walk by, but I'm sure that will fade with time. I hope. // 

// I've gotten carried away with the throw pillows. In fact, I have two upstairs that match nothing and have no where to go. But I love them and have zero regret. Once you go throw pillow you never go back. (I'm also digging the black and white color scheme in the living room.) //

// This oatmeal is killer... Jared and I are hopelessly addicted. The PB&J flavor is off the hook. We may have to pace ourselves, lest we spend a small fortune on oatmeal. // 

// Our friends Troy and Kathi invited us over to her sister's house to pick blueberries. Not only did we fill two containers, they loaded us up with tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans from their garden. We get pretty excited about such things. // 

// You know that go-to place to eat when this or that runs late or you need a quick meal on the cheap? We found ours in Burgerville. //

 // We like to pretend we live in Ikea. Totally normal, right? Okay then. //

// Our house came with rose bushes along the front porch. I have nary an idea how to tend to them, but they have this innate ability to make me feel quite cheerful. // 

// One of the many statues in downtown Portland. I've done a little research, but have yet to understand Portland's association with stags. // 

// Aforementioned roses and my first edition of Kinfolk magazine. Though it's loveliness cannot be debated, I think I lack the sophistication to really get it. I want to, but something eludes me. I think I'd like to get it, and maybe one day I will, but the writing makes me sleepy and I sort of feel, well, beneath it all. You know what I mean? The recipes look good, and I like the photographs, so perhaps I'll give it one more shot? (Though it is 18 bucks an issue. Though my mention of the price perhaps shows my lack of sophistication? Does one who really gets it put a price on such things?) // 

// Kiddo and I ventured into the city earlier this week and picked up some finishing touches for the house. And when downtown, can one pass up a visit to Powell's? Not really. Kiddo and I set up a time and place to meet, then went about exploring our own interests. (One of the great things about his age is the ability to do such things. Glass half full!) Mint iced tea, lovely things tucked away in Anthropologie and West Elm bags, and the magazine section. Bliss. (Wait! This picture indicates, somehow, that I should be able to read Kinfolk without feeling melancholy. What gives?) //

// Earlier this summer, my boyfriend-in-law (is that a thing?) showed me how to upload my iPhone photos straight to my laptop via iCloud. I finally sat down and figured it out yesterday. My foolish eyes have been opened! For the past two years I have been emailing the photos to myself (five at a time), uploading them to my computer, renaming them, and transferring them into folders, yada yada yada. It was a laborious and time consuming process. Now I select my photos, press a couple buttons and wallah! they are magically transported to a folder on my computer. Let it be known that Jonah is my hero and shall be from this day forth. //

// Sometimes Birchbox just gets me. //

// Kiddo is slooowly overcoming his fear of the auto belay at the local climbing wall. It seriously freaks him out and he gets stuck on the above ledge every time he attempts this section of the wall. Poor guy. Fortunately, his dad is an expert belayer so this only happens when Mom brings him. //

// I have amassed quite the collection of succulents. In fact, I've fallen madly in love with at least one plant each and every time I've been to Ikea. Then we stumbled upon these darling Marimo moss balls at Pistils Nursery while walking around North Mississippi Avenue in Portland. Have you ever heard of such a thing?! Kiddo and I were instantly smitten; Mario (somewhat understandably) rolled his eyes. (Check out this Marimo aquatic terrarium. Swoon.) //

Am I capable of writing a non-epic blog post? It seems not. So, for today, I'm signing off.

But first, I want to leave you with this:

I know I feel safer with him around. Don't you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A brave new world.

This morning I took my tot to sign up for classes at his new school. His new high school. High school classes. Stop! I can't take it. 

He is living proof that your kids grow up in the blink of an eye. All those times I wished I could take the 7p CrossFit class or go see Hotel Budapest with my husband on a week night... those days will be here all too soon. And I imagine when I enter that phase, I'll wish for the days when I had a little less freedom. The days spent curled up on the couch with Kiddo. It's a nerve-wracking time for all of us, but also an exciting one. Change is upon us!

We have a couple more weeks before said classes begin, and I tackle reentry into the working world; in the meantime we've been enjoying weekends spent exploring our new region and nights relaxing in our new digs. We're pretty fond of this place already: the city and the house.

Last weekend we ventured out to the Pendleton Mill Store in Washougal, Washington. You guys. Their blankets are amazing. The price is a little rich for our blood, at this juncture, but we still found ourselves justifying the price: They are heirlooms! It's something we'll hand down to Kiddo one day! Luckily, we came to our senses, shook the stars from our eyes, and walked away. But not before noting my favorite color, pattern and size. It was the prudent thing to do.
Do you spy Mt. Hood? It's our faithful friend to the east. Did you know you can ski on it year-round? Amazing but true!

After leaving the store, we took a short walk down to the banks of the Columbia River. We live here. Pinch me! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

So I've entered this weird space where the house is almost but not quite done, Kiddo doesn't start Cross Country for a week and school for another two. I have little to anchor my day, except an activity of my own making, which depends solely on my motivation at any given moment. I'll get up and jog at 7a! says 9p Sarah. I don't know about you, but 9p me is vastly different than 7a me. I wish it weren't so, but you know, a zebra changing his stripes and all that.

I've also yet to figure out the flow of everyday things. We went from a one to two story home with a vastly different layout so even ordinary things like where to sort and fold the laundry or plug in my computer and phone seem to elude me (note to self: stop charging your phone on your nightstand. Instagram stalking at midnight is no bueno and certainly a contributor to the problems before you). Needless to say I hear Moooom! I'm out of shorts! on a regular basis. And then there's irregular bedtimes and wake up calls and overall I'm a bit of a mess. Not a hot mess, but a mess no less. (I'm a poet!)

What's more, Husband is integral to some huge work project, so while I flail about the house, phrases like progressive profiling, going live, scrum meetings, marketing automation, landing pages and soft leads emanate with authority from behind his closed office door. This project is a rather demanding girlfriend and sucker of time. Not a moment of our day is safe: phone calls during dinner, emails during The Good Wife, and webinars during prime breakfast date time. I miss him! The younger, less evolved me wants to stomp her foot and demand attention. I am not a needy creature by nature, but I want things to fall into a rhythm and they simply won't cooperate. I want normalcy, damn it!

These are First World problems, believe me I know, but we all have our things. Sigh.

This all brings me around to my point. Because there is one! These days, when I start to get into these funks, I'm quick to nip them in the bud. But first a little spiraling must occur for me to identify said funk. One place it often manifests itself? The blog. Yup, I start obsessing and tweaking and Google analyzing and all that sort of stuff. Hours disappear and my anxiety rises.

I should explain. You see, all this fretting is usually triggered by something and this instance was no exception. You see, there is this fellow blogger, and all around lovely person as far as I can tell. We started blogging at the exact same time, almost to the day. She took a familiar route to blogging: weekly outfit posts, sneak peeks into rooms in her home, glowing moments in her personal life, etc. There is zero wrong with such things, lest you think this is some sort of criticism. To each their own, I say. But I will admit that it's a formula many, many bloggers follow. Successful bloggers. You go to their site if you want to see how they mixed and matched an outfit; not if you want to read about marriage and living simply and, well, anything deep and insightful. And these days I'm looking for the latter.

We started our blogging journeys at the same place but ultimately took very different routes. About a year ago I stopped joining in on link-ups that required I follow twenty blogs and hand over my first born. Instead I focused on content, perhaps at the expense of my potential for popularity. There are no outfit posts here: I simply don't have the figure or wherewithal or desire, if I'm honest. The last few years have been spent in academia, and although I never once showed up in the requisite college uniform of Pink sweatpants with Ugg boots, there was nothing special to share. Besides, there are very few cute ways to survive a New England winter during a polar vortex. It's true. Perhaps that's why so many bloggers reside in Texas. 

During this period of roaming funkiness and overall lack of direction, this and that about a blogging conference was popping up all over my blogroll. Pictures with two of my favorite bloggers lit up her posts.

And a very dangerous thing happened: comparisons started being drawn.

I started to wonder how and why she had more than me. I'm honest and raw and real, and yet I rarely garner a single comment. She routinely has over a dozen (the depth of those comments is unknown). And so it went. You get the point.

Sour grapes over here, guys. I'll admit it. She played the blogging game well. She put in the time and earned each and every one of those pageviews and followers. I commend her for that. But I also resent feeling forced into a mold just to get noticed. 

I only want to follow blogs that I want to read. I want to see amazing photographs and read thoughtful writing. Writing with substance. And I only want to write a post when it means something to me. I want this to be a space I'm invested in. I want more. I'm sure she feels the same way, but it just so happens that her likes and interests seem to fall more in line with mainstream blogging.

Instead of coming to my senses right away, I started questioning Mario endlessly about SEO and whether or not to connect Google+ with my blog and switching around my template and creating a dedicated email address for the blog and, well, if you've been there, you know. And it seems that once you tweak one thing, you fall into a black hole that is impossible to get out of (is this just a Blogger thing or is that true on every blogging platform?). Change one thing and a domino effect occurs.

But with all things, rational Sarah took over after a couple days. She said things like "Stop following that person if it gets under your skin!" and "Spend a few bucks and hire someone who knows what they are doing to design your layout!" and "Switch over to Wordpress!" and "Get yourself together, woman!" Rational Sarah is very stern but also super wise.

So here I am. Blogging. With nary an outfit photo in sight. Because, at the end of the day, that's not who I am and not where I want this place to go. Besides, there are a million other people we can go to for that kind of thing. And while I know I need to be better about networking and otherwise putting myself out there, obsessing and comparing myself to others will get me nowhere. Likewise, joining a zillion link-ups might help with readership, but in my experience, not meaningful readership. Aside from a few great bloggers I've connected with over the two years I've been doing this, my comments and bounce rate haven't shown any correlation with the number of followers I've gained. 

(Another reason to ditch Blogger, maybe? Despite removing my GFC widget over a year ago, that number still sits on my dashboard and every so often goes down by one or two followers... because obviously there is no way for it to go up. I try to ignore it but, well, again, you know. But anyway.)

I can see why some of my favorite bloggers have faded away over the years. They've either stopped writing altogether or made The Announcement followed by a courtesy period before shutting down their site. It can get in your head, this whole blogging thing. And as much as we assert that this is simply an online journal, written for oneself, that is a fib we are fond of telling ourselves. A diary is a secret-keeper, kept tucked away in a nightstand, while a blog is for the world to see. Readership is an affirmation that you are not alone; that the hours spent putting it all out there on the internet are not for nothing.

I, too, can go to a blogging conference and meet great speakers, writers and bloggers. I, too, can garner knowledge from them. I, too, can get my picture taken with them should the desire strike. Anyone can, for a price, so there is no use pouting about being one-upped.

At the end of the day this is my truth: I curated this blog when the only person reading it was my husband. And if all my readers fell away tomorrow, I'd still write it. (Which may just be the case should I choose to switch platforms.)

But what I won't do is try to change my stripes.

P.S. The above photos were taken the first week we moved here. Mario's family rented a house in Seaside, Oregon and we decided to drive down for the day. I'm so glad we did. These, in particular, are at Cannon Beach, home of Haystack Rock (of Goonies fame). It's a magical place, not unlike most beaches in the Pacific Northwest (in my humble opinion). They have nothing to do with this post, but I rather liked them here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DIY: Paper Source Flower Wreath

I've discussed this a lot lately, so I won't harp on the matter too much, but looking back I feel as though we gave up on our last house. Not intentionally, mind you. I just think the to-do list that came with owning a fixer-upper overwhelmed us to the point that we stopped trying to improve the esthetic of the home. We decorated, sure, but with the exception of our room (after 5 years of ownership) we didn't make it ours. It all felt very temporary, and in hindsight I can see that it showed. It was all very impersonal-feeling.

Fear not! I am nothing if not determined. In this case, to learn from past mistakes. So in just a few short weeks, I've taken huge strides in my quest to make this house a home. And one thing I've come to understand over the years is that handmade things are essential to hominess.

True story: The walls of the guest room in our last house were adorned with Kiddo's preschool painting projects mounted in frames. A good friend of ours spent the night once and come morning asked me where we bought our art. They consisted of squiggly lines and shapes in bright colors, typical of a small child (though utterly brilliant in a mother's opinion), so it just goes to show you that some of the best pieces for your home are right in front of you (and often made by hand... in this case a tiny, chubby one). And people may just think you dished out some serious dough to get it.

I've learned a few lessons like this along the way, though they seem to be coming in spades these days.

During this period of hunting for and collecting new furniture and art and such, the inspiration to make has struck. An undeniable urge to create, adorn and personalize that I've seldom had before. A desire to use my own two hand to contribute elements that add character to a room. I was inundated with ideas and sudden, consistent bursts of DIY inspiration. Needless to say, you should expect to see more DIY 'round these parts in the near future.

The current state of my kitchen table, with no less than 5 projects underway.

To get the creative ball rolling, I decided to make a trek to the nearest Paper Source store to load up on their paper flower wreath kits. (Side note: all throughout the store I kept thinking of my lovely friend, Jenn. A good egg, that one, and a rather pleasant person to ponder. I finally realized she made one of these wreaths a while back and perhaps was subconsciously my inspiration for tackling one, too. She's such a trendsetter.) (Side side note: enough with the asides already, Sarah. Also, drink more water.)

A few hours, some tacky glue, and one bone folder (?!) later, I have my first bona fide paper flower project under my belt. (I say it counts, albeit most of the cutting was done for me. But still.) I will admit that it took some finessing, and my inner perfectionist reared her ugly head a couple times, but all in all it was a rather pleasant way to pass the time.

Step 1: Acquire coffee and a tv remote.
I've recently relapsed in the nail-biting department. It has been a life-long battle. Note to self: put on some glittery nail polish and stop it already. But this is entirely beside the point, as usual.

  • I initially resisted buying a bone folder. What is a "bone folder" and why is it even called that?, said I. After opening the kit I got a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of petals to be curled and caved. I scored one for a couple bucks on sale at Jo-Ann's; because I purchased two wreath kits, it was a sound purchase. (Says I.)
  • Curling the petals felt a lot like curling ribbon. It took a few tries to get the hang of it, but after that things went smooth as butta and it was as if I'd been using a bone folder my whole life. Just make sure you hold the base of the petal with one hand while curling with the other. I ripped a couple off, but it was easily repaired with a little tape and no one will be the wiser.
  • I was contemplating hanging the wreath on our front door, and still might, so I wanted it to have some staying power. My little heart would break should blooms start falling off willy-nilly when we opened and closed the door. So instead of using double-sided tape as the instructions suggest, I used a dot of tacky glue (the old standby in the gold bottle) in between the layers to adhere them. 
  • Once the blooms were finished, I roughly arranged them on the cardboard backing to get a feel for the overall design. Then I used hot glue to adhere them (again, for staying power), working clockwise.
  • I placed my blooms a little too close together, I realized halfway through, so I was concerned about a gap at the end. I remedied this issue by Frankenstein-ing an extra small flower out of the leftover pieces and adding it to the mix. I'm not sure anyone could tell. Fun game: find the odd bud out!
  • I attached the leaves last, using them to cover any cardboard that was peeking through. I also used almost twice the amount shown on the directions, but they give you enough paper to make a lot and I liked it with more. I'm a renegade that way. Also, use the bone-thingy to crease them down the middle.

The whole process took me about 3-4 hours from start to finish, over two days and several sittings, often while simultaneously working my way through DVR'd episodes of NY Med and Pioneer Woman. The point is, this is not a 30 minute craft project. But boy is it gratifying when you're done. If you are into this thing, and who isn't, give it a go! Totally worth it. [Next up, the Paper Source Succulent Wreath Kit.]

P.S. This may go without saying, but Paper Source doesn't know me from Eve. I just dig their stuff. In fact, I completed a furniture project a few days ago and dreamt up the idea of using some of their gift wrap as a wall paper of sorts. They don't know I did that, either.

P.P.S. Maybe I should get a gig writing for the Paper Source blog.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Settling in.

// We found these three mix-and-match pieces for about 60 bucks total at Fred Meyer. (Is it a grocery or discount store? What are you Fred Meyer?) Eventually there will be some cushions and perhaps white spray paint, but now we have a place to drink our morning coffee. Mario and I sat out on the porch just last night and had a mini date. //

When Kiddo was a wee thing, I used to put half of his toys up in the closet. Out of sight, out of mind. And when he seemed a little indifferent to his playthings, I'd pull them down and put the others up. It was a constant rotation that kept his attention piqued and gave him the sense that he always had something new and exciting to play with. That's how it feels to unpack a house. Sure, I saw that tchotchke not a month ago, where it sat perched atop my dresser for years, but in new surroundings, under different light, and when seen with a fresh perspective, the way I feel about it can change. I can better decide if it's a treasure or a space hog that flew under the radar for far too long. Put something in a box, and it emerges without the old filters that let it hang around unnoticed. One of the great, and often underestimated, side effects of moving is its ability to provide renewed insight into the things you have (or don't have).

Although we took great pains to purge pre-move, and I'm so glad we came to our senses on that front, there are things we couldn't place a value on until we tried to fit them into our new abode. That antique bench we used in our old entryway? Love it. But do I want to curl up in it with a book? No way! And so we must decide if it's worthwhile finding another place for it until we have a proper entryway again one day. That big screen tv stand from Ikea that no longer has a giant circa 1998 tv to support? I had the brilliant idea (if I do say so myself) of making a seat cushion for it so we could use it for additional seating and storage in the living room. I had visions of a Pinterest-worthy creation and my mother-in-law declaring me to be an unrivaled homemaker. Until we drug it in from the garage last night and realized there were too many hurdles to overcome. But that whole experience was not for nothing: I am using the practice of shopping my own house to come up with ways to make things as cozy as possible (a concept she discusses in The Nesting Place). I'm not running out and buying new things and, most importantly, I'm thinking outside the home decor box for perhaps the first time. For instance, we had to split up our couch and loveseat since the living room fireplace precludes its use in that space (I've never met a room more intended for a sectional sofa). And you know what? It's working out great! The upstairs loft needed small but comfortable seating and found it in our loveseat. I just had to force myself to reconsider its purpose--which is to not sit side-by-side with its mate.

In the end, if something doesn't serve our purposes in the way we need it to at this point in our lives, it has got to go. Easier to say than do, of course, but who likes to live in clutter or surrounded by unloved items?

The it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful mantra sure applies to our home right now. While mostly done, we still have a couple empty walls and unfinished rooms. Mario and I are sharing an office for the first time in our decade-long relationship, and I haven't quite figured out how to meld our two styles. (He's had a room dedicated solely to his home office for over 10 years. Because he works from home when he's not traveling, it was necessary to have that space. Unlike me who had my desk in the corner of the living room. But, you know, he conducts actual business while I mostly read blogs and order things off of Amazon. Except for the 4 years I spent writing papers and tackling organic chemistry problems. One pays the rent, one spends it. Potato, potatoe. Still, his office space was his own, complete with teetering piles of letterhead that I could ignore simply by closing the door. Now what do I do? Draw lines with painter's tape like I did when I shared a room with my sister? If you cross that line, you are sooo dead. But I digress.) 

Another example: we need something for the end of our bed. A bench? A trunk? Who knows. But the point is, the perfect piece will present itself when the time is right, so for now we are leaving the space blank. Because I'd rather have it unfinished than toss something we don't love in its place. We also have additional wall space for more art. Instead, we'll collect pieces that speak to us when we come across them. So what if that wall collage is a little lopsided for the time being? See? Imperfection can be lovely, too.

In the meantime, I have some projects underway and a few more boxes to tackle. Oh, and a closet to unpack. I found my t-shirts and shorts right off the bat, but things could get dicey come September if I haven't found the pants box and cardigan tote. I'm also relieved to have found my underwear... they were missing for some time and I was close to a mandatory rationing period. But there is storage for when all things wearable are rediscovered! (Yay for small victories! The glass is half full around here!)

Here is a glimpse into just how perfectly imperfect things currently are:

// A collage wall in progress (carried over from our last house, with a few additions and subtractions). // Rods hung and curtains hemmed by yours truly. Not a handy husband in sight. //
// Kiddo's handmade treasures, gifted to me over the years, awaiting their permanent homes. //
// A family photo collage in the upstairs loft--one of my first projects in the new house (and my favorite so far). I upgraded all of the frames almost a year ago, then immediately had to stow them away while the house was on the market. They are finally making their debut. // Throw pillows! Oh, throw pillows! Why haven't I used you before? //
// The loft area at the top of the stairs came with a huge built-in shelving system. We originally discussed asking the owner to remove them (they stumped us a little since we hadn't actually seen them in person), but I'm so glad we didn't. This nook we've created is perfect! And because we have storage for all our tchotchkes, miscellaneous collections, games and books, we were able to ditch all our old decrepit press board Ikea bookshelves before we moved (complete with sagging shelves--one actually disintegrated moving it out of the house--apparently we like good meaty books) and gave Kiddo the custom made solid wood bookcase from our previous living room. //
// Kiddo's room, unmade bed and all. After hunting for a bed frame for weeks, and finally resigning ourselves to an Ikea model, we stumbled across this one at an antique store (for less than Ikea, can you imagine?). Kiddo loves it the way it is, which saved me from having to refinish it. The woodwork, oh the woodwork! Swoonworthy, this bed. It must have once belonged to a ship captain or someone named Wadsworth. (A shout out to my main man Mario for building a custom box spring with his own two hands when our existing one wouldn't fit in the frame. If smoking wasn't so darn bad, I'd nominate him for a Marlboro commercial. 'Cause he can ride a horse and birth a calf, too. Did you know? It can be rather annoying, his innate talent, but I try to take the high road. Besides, I can name all the phases of mitosis and bake a mean cookie.) // The room has some rather loud wallpaper on one wall, which we initially were going to ask if we could remove, but somehow it just works. How lovely when that happens. //
// The Legos made it! Praise be! //
// The avocado plant made it, too! Despite Mario's best efforts to kill it in a hot car! //
// A woefully unpacked closet. Which is a disservice to a rather wonderful, fits all my clothes and I don't have to share a single square foot with my husband, closet. Once I unpack all the boxes, it will be the perfect place to hide from my family. //
// An anniversary present from Husband. Bought at a street market last weekend. Before I even realized our anniversary was coming up. It was Tuesday, our anniversary. (Isn't it sad when your anniversary falls on a work night and your husband is out of town? Being a grownup isn't all it's cracked up to be, I tell you.) Eight years under our belts and we still like each other! //
// A little windowsill candy. For the record, I loved succulents looong before bloggers were supposed to love succulents, though I'm not unhappy to finally be on trend, if not a little late. //
// Dining room chairs, and not a two shall match. //
// The poor generic light fixture we love to pick on. It can't help that it's boring and gold. (Though somehow this picture makes it look almost cute. It's like one of those glamour shots people used to do in the 90s, minus the feather boa.) To be fair, it was hanging much lower when we moved in and I cracked my cranium on it not once, but twice. Goose eggs and all. We didn't get off to a good start. It shall get tucked away once we find The One. //
// Our old chopping block that used to be in my husband's grandparents' summer camp in Upstate New York. We hauled it from his parents' ranch in Montana back to New Hampshire where it served as our kitchen island. We had it powdercoated in red before we left; she's now a stunner and also perfectly imperfect with her charming little dents. Here's to third generation furniture! //
// A funky vintage antler mount Kiddo and I found the other day. It's not broken; it was born that way. Asymmetry can be charming, no? //
// A piece of Pyrex turned key bowl. //
// An attractive landing spot for our bills and junk mail. //
// Tiny entryway still in need of storage solutions. //
// We are still in the process of establishing our favorite delivery joints. //
// One of the first things unpacked. Must. Have. Coffee. //
// Oh, Pyrex. You're such a charmer. //
// A home for our rather large cookbook collection and my next big painting project. (It will be this pie rack's third color since we got it for free (!!!) when the shop below our apartment closed in St. Charles, Missouri nine years ago. Handmade, solid wood and a forever piece. The owner's husband was a carpenter and also made the bookshelf that now resides in Kiddo's room. Also free. And also a forever piece. That phrase the best things in life are free rings so true here.) //
// A seltzer bottle turned vase and the perfectly imperfect tabletop surface. //
// Marquee letters spelling out our initials. //
// We'll find a place for you, bench. We love you. //
While we are on the subject of housing and home decor (again! I swear this isn't turning into that sort of blog. I've managed to make this space about everything and nothing in particular this long, why find a focus now? Besides, I'm woefully underqualified to write about such things.), I have to give a shout out to the natural light this house gets. Not a single one of these photos was edited. Our last house was in a wooded area, and all the big windows were north/south facing, so we seldom got natural light. It was hard to photograph things with all the shadows, but I never really noticed how dark it was inside until we moved here. Perhaps that contributed to my glum disposition? I feel like I've upgraded to HD. Glorious natural light! I sing your praises! And cool breezes! Cool breezes! Despite 90 degree days, we've only turned the air conditioning on 3 or 4 times, and only during midday. Sometimes I almost reach for a light sweater in the morning. I feel schoolgirl-ish inside!