Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Springtime Feelin's in the Middle of December: My Top 5 Christmas Albums

You guys don't understand my love of Christmas music.  You just don't.  I could seriously listen to it all year round if I didn't think the people I love would murder me for it.  I have three separate holiday-themed radio stations on Pandora.  I sometimes listen to my Mariah Carey Christmas cd in my car in the summer and then if someone overhears, I just laugh and say, "Christmas in July!  Don't you do it?!"  When I worked at Younkers, I couldn't wait until Black Friday when the Christmas music would start playing, and then, when my coworkers complained about hearing "Run Run Rudolph" for the 456th time, I would sigh and moan right along with them, but secretly, like, trembling with joy. 

I love it so much.  I probably have more Christmas cds than I have regular ones, so this is a very hard Top 5 list for me to make.  But I'm gonna do it. 

5.  Hey, It's Christmas (Volume 1) - Various Artists
I originally found this (free!) downloadable cd from the blog Rockstar Diaries, and now they're on their third volume!  (Go here to download them all.)  If I remember correctly, I was alone at college and very sick of hearing upbeat holiday tunes...I thought to myself, "Don't they make...depressed-sounding Christmas music?"  Hmm.  Maybe I had my period.  Or, more likely, I was sick of eating ramen noodles every day.  And then I found this.  And it's awesome.  It's a compilation of up and coming bands and artists doing crazy things with cool instruments.  It's definitely nontraditional, but it's also very fun and can suit any mood!  (And I mean any mood.  Jared and I were recently listening to the decidedly unmerry "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas", and he said that it sounded like the singer needed some Prozac.)
4.  Family Force 5 - Christmas Pageant
I am not a fan of what you would call "Christian" music.  I don't generally listen to Family Force 5, nor do I care to.  However, there is no denying the awesomeness that is their Christmas album.  A student who sat next to me in a human identity course in college told me about this cd and described it as a mix of "rock, electronica, punk, and rap."  Mmmmwhat?!  But yeah, that's basically what it is.  I like to listen to "Carol of the Bells" with my (extremely meager) bass cranked up as high as it can go in my Pontiac Vibe, lean my seat really far back, and pretend I'm an especially festive badass.
3.  Michael Buble - Christmas
I'm not sure why, but I don't want to like Michael Buble.  I really don't.  Whenever I see his face, my brain always thinks the words, "smug bastard," which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, because I have never actually used those words together before in my life.  And I can also never figure out how to make the little ' above the "e" in his last name, which annoys me.  Anyway.  I didn't have high hopes for his Christmas cd, but unfortunately for me...I loved it.  I loved every minute of it, including the annoying way he sings "Santa BUDDY" instead of Santa baby, and including the irritating French girls that simper "Merry Christmas, Mister Buble!" at the beginning of Jingle Bells, and even including the way he massacred "Blue Christmas" into sounding like a 1920s stripper theme song.  I loved it all.  And you probably will too. 
A small side note:  I was once contemplating breaking up with a boy I was dating because he consistently made clicking noises with his tongue (I was in eighth grade, and it was weird.  It's fine.)  So we were riding home from a "date" in the back of my dad's van (again, eighth grade) when he said, "So, if you like John Mayer, you'd probably like this other guy..."  "Oh yeah?  Who?"  And then he said..."Have you heard of him?  Michael 'Bubble'?"  Bubble, you guys.  He said Bubble, like you blow with your gum.  And I cocked my head to the side and said, "Hmm...no, I don't think I have.  I'll have to check him out."  While subconsciously hammering the final nail into the poor boy's dating coffin.  I'm so mean.  But seriously.  Michael Bubble.
2.  Now That's What I Call Christmas 4! - Various artists
Sigh.  If this Christmas cd were a man, I would marry it.  Actually, I'm already married, so I would just buy it a drink.  While the Now that's what I Call Music! cds are sadly lacking in quality, containing only the poorly edited songs you hear over and over again on the radio, all the Now! Christmas volumes are pretty great.  But I'm partial to number 4.  It is the Rolls Royce of Christmas compilations.  Everything you would possibly want in a holiday music collection is right here:  Rihanna!  Mariah Carey and her classic "All I Want for Christmas is You!"  Carrie and Martina, the two most beautiful voices in country music!  It's Britney, bitch!  PLUS festive Michael Buble, sexy Adam Levine, and the classics like Burl Ives, Elvis, and good ol' Bing. 
To be a bit more specific...Lady Gaga's "Christmas Tree" is the only filthy dirty Christmas song you will ever hear.  And you will love it.  You will get "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by the Temptations stuck in your head for approximately all of December and most of January too.  The "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" medley by Bing Crosby and David Bowie is the best thing ever.  The only bad thing on this cd is Christina Aguilera and her over-reaching her voice on her merry little Christmas. 
I'm gonna rush through the rest of this list so I can go listen to this cd.
And Number 1.  Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton - Once Upon a Christmas
This album is literally the soundtrack of my childhood Christmases, and I know every word.  Sigh.  There are just no descriptions for the cheesy fun that is this cd.  Dolly's squeaky voice in "I Believe in Santa Claus," Kenny's dramatics in "Once Upon a Christmas."  And "Christmas Without You?!"  Oh my gosh.  SO the saddest Christmas song ever - forget Blue Christmas. 
Old Christmas songs we knew (sniff)
And used to make love to...(okay, eww)
Make it hard to get used to
Christmas without you (sob!)
If you haven't heard this cd, then immediately go download it.  It's especially fun if you make your significant other pretend that he is Kenny and you are Dolly and you sing to each other.  ...Not that I've done this or anything.
Side note:  I hit a deer two years ago at night while listening to the sweet sounds of Dolly singing "Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride" on full blast.  It was a little bit traumatizing, and the song has never been the same.
But now it's time for us to go, as our hearts melt like chimney snow.  There's just one thing I want to know...can we do this next winter?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oh Oh Ombre!!

I was tired of my hair.  It's been pin-straight and brown with blunt bangs for about five years now, and it's getting old.  However, I'm not tired of it enough to grow the bangs out yet...I'm not ready to say goodbye!  So I decided to do the ombre thing.  It's very subtle, the bottom is just a lighter honey shade - believe it or not, that is a drastic change for me.  I was inspired by Lea Michele off of Glee, whose hair I've been obsessed with all season!
(picture from here)
So pretty!
I'm pretty sure I'm about three seasons behind on the ombre trend, but that's pretty typical for me. :)  Since the change in hair, my eye has been drawn to all things ombre - don't get me wrong, I'm still obsessed with chevron - but this has definite possibility to be a new "thing" for me.
Etsy Roundup - Ombre Edition!
1.  Hand-dyed ombre tights - Though I am intrigued by this trend in hosiery, I would have no friggin' clue how to go about wearing these.  Maybe with a plain black skirt/dress and boots?  They are cute, but they confuse me!
2.  Ombre chevron painting - AAAAH!  Ombre and chevron in the same pretty piece!!!  I love!  This would be super easy to replicate at home too. 
3.  Set of 5 ombre hair ties - These kinds of hair ties are my favorite because they don't leave dents in your hair when you take out your ponytail.  The pretty dip-dyed colors are a bonus!  Plus, they would look awesome on your wrist when they aren't in your hair - I wear mine as bracelets sometimes.
4.  Custom ombre aisle runner - I love this idea!  If I had to plan the wedding all over again - God forbid, moststressfulthingever - I might use something like this.  The downside is that what's shown in the picture is actually flower petals, which I would think would get all kerbobbled in the train of your dress and drag all over hell and mess up the pretty ombre pattern.  But...it's a nice idea. :)
5.  Ombre beaded necklace - I love the simplicity of this orange statement necklace.  It looks like something you could easily handmake, but it would look so awesome with a plain white T.
6Ombre infinity scarf - Infinity scarves are my favorite in the winter - they're so easy!  This one is a pretty rust color and looks super warm.
7.  Pink ombre cardboard Christmas trees - These laser cut trees are so fun and unique for a holiday centerpiece!  I kind of want to buy them for myself!
A sidenote:  You would not believe how many pairs of ombre dip-dyed denim hot pants are up for sale on Etsy.  My Lord.  Sorry those didn't make the list.  Yikes.

And a very unflattering picture of my hair.  You definitely notice the color difference more in person :)

I love it love it love it!!!!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Gift Guide: For Your Trendy Older Sister, whose Dog is her Baby and who Always Knows the Latest Celebrity Gossip

I will have you know in advance that I recently discovered this amaaaazing website, fab.com, that highlights new and talented designers in everything from clothing to home design to techy gadgets and offers them at pretty decent prices.  The stumbling upon of that site led to a three-hour long binge of pure eye candy and birthday-list-building, and it explains why I got a little out of control with this list :)

1.  Well...okay.  This is odd, but let's just admit to ourselves that the kangaroo balls of the 90s were crazy amounts of fun.  (Side note:  don't ever google "kangaroo balls".  Ever.  Apparently the proper name for them is "Space Hopper.")  Also, maybe your sister is frequently asking you new and fun ways to get exercise that do not involve running, and maybe you are running out of answers...so here's a solution.  Who knows, this "adult jumping ball" could be the new answer to rock-hard glutes and thighs!  ($24)

2.  These cozy Sperry boots from JCrew would be the fashionable replacement for her thin Uggs she wears in the winter to put her puppy outside!  They are totally waterproof; the bottom half is lined with rubber, the top half with warm shearling...they also come in pink. ($138)

3.  This shiny little fox would be perfect for organizing her pens and pencils at her work desk!  (Also, if she doesn't like it, she can give it to me, please!) ($15)

4.  A happy little pillow reflects her love of cupcakes! ($35)

5.  She's been needing a decent cutting board for while now, and I love this one!  It's made completely from bamboo, and the bright yellow strips at the corners are actually silicone grippers to keep the board in place as you cut.  ($13 - a steal!)

6.  Sigh.  How fun is this relic from the 80s - a hot pink door stop masquerading as a rollerskate?!  The fact that she is obsessed - obsessed! - with rollerskating almost makes this quirky skate worth its steep price tag.  Almost.  ($130)

7. Here we have a dog stroller.  Featuring a canopy and basket, mesh windows, an orthopedic memory foam pad for your pup, a drink holder for you, and, yes, even safety LED lights.  Because she totally would if she could. ($240)

8.  I really love this idea.  You send this artist an actual photo of your pet, and she creates a silhouette print of it; you customize the color, background print, text, and size.  Such a great and cute gift idea!  ($45)

9.  Or how about an original poster of one of her favorite movies?  Because no, nobody puts Baby in a corner. ($23)

And a Bonus Book Gift for Sisters...
Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright
I read this a pretty long time ago, so I don't remember specific plot points.  But I do remember being impressed with the author's ability to write a sympathetic main character who, in actuality, shouldn't be all that likeable.  See, it was the first time I had ever read a novel in which a character cheated on his/her spouse where I actually supported or felt for that character.  Elyse is in emotional turmoil after a chance encounter with a man on a plane...who she begins a relationship with though she is seemingly happily married.  This affair throws her whole life - not just her marriage, but her friends as well - off course, and she questions herself and her choices.  This book is basically about a woman finding her freedom and independence, and though I didn't particularly want to like the main character, I did. (From $5.60 on Amazon)
What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen
This was one of the most amazing memoirs I have ever read.  Alice has such a witty and honest voice, and she maintains her sense of humor even as she describes the medical disaster that she went through.  The author has been told for years that she is infertile; but after a bout of stomach pains, she finds herself in the midst of an incredibly high-risk pregnancy.  This was definitely a page-turner, and it included heartbreaking moments with humor thrown in to lighten the somber mood.  Really really great.  ($9.98 on Amazon)

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Oh, come on.  It's fine.  Just read it already.  ($9.00 on Amazon)

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I have never had a dog.  Or any pet, really, besides the multiple fish I had that died within three days - excluding the freakishly large goldfish named Fishstick, which I swear lived for nine years or something.  When I was little, I wanted a cat or dog so badly that I even poured my heart out to my first grade teacher in a heartfelt journal entry:  "I want a pet SO BAD!  All I've ever had is fish, and they all died.  I think they died because my brother touched them with his finger.  I just want a cat or a dog.  Dad hates them, and Mom won't get one.  I will do anything.  JUST GET ME A PET!!!!!!!!!!!!!" 

How could they have turned me down?!  That was one persuasive essay.

So I distracted myself by playing with my aunt's dog Molly as often as I could and, um, later on, I may or may not have hung out at certain boys' houses specifically so I could be around their cats.  Then, not too long after Jared and I were married, we went into a PetSmart where they had kittens for adoption.  I fell in LOVE with an extremely mischievous kitten named...Janet.  (It had four brothers and sisters, and they were all named after Jacksons.  I know.)  She was brown and black spotted, and she got her tiny paw caught in my earring.  Oh my gosh.  I wanted to take her home.  And then I looked over at Jared.  And he looked...weird.

"We need to leave," he said, wiping his eyes.  Okay, my husband is crying in the kitten adoption enclosure?  Hmm.  A little more sensitive than I expected, but...all right, I'll roll with it.

I reluctantly handed Janet (shudder) back to the nice lady, and we left the area.  Jared gasped for air and a big wheeze left his chest.  "Holy crap.  My allergies and asthma were so friggin' bad back there.  I thought I might die."

Thaaaaat's right.  Jared is allergic to cats.  Goodbye, Janet. :(  Here's hoping your new owner treats you right and changes that name!

So cats were out of the picture.  BUT THEN we found the best little kennel in Iowa, and one of the puppies snuggled right up under my chin and wouldn't move.  I did not need to hold any more puppies, not even the tiny adorable Yorkies shivering in their cages (don't worry, they were sold already!)...she was the one we ended up taking home.  We named her Bella, and she was tiny and cute and so afraid when we got her home that she hid behind a picture I had leaning up against the wall for a full two minutes :)

(PS:  Here comes a lot of dog pictures, so feel free to skip the rest if you hate dogs or, y'know, have no soul.)

Look at the little sweetheart!  (Bella, of course, not Jare.)  She is a Maltese-Shitzu mix, and was extremely good and quiet for her first two days with us....

And then she kind of turned into a little shit, as puppies tend to do.  She never barked or had accidents, but my goodness, she liked to bite!  Her inner dialogue sounded, I imagine, something like this, "Play! Play! Play! Play!  Treat?!?!  PLAY!!!!"  After a week or so, it got a little bit exhausting, but it all became worth it when the three of us settled down for the night to watch an episode of Modern Family - Bella actually really likes her cage that she sleeps in and rarely whined.  We were a little family!

 And then it started.  Jared would come home from work, be fine for about a half an hour, and then start sneezing, itching, rubbing at his eyes, and doing this awful sniff/snort combo.  Uh oh.  After a few afternoons/evenings of this, I heard an ominous wheezing coming from his chest.

"You're allergic to Bella."

"No!  I'm not!  I've had plenty of dogs, and I've never been allergic to a dog before!"

"Maybe not...but I think you're allergic to our dog."

We washed her and shampooed her, just to make sure it wasn't something the kennel had used on her that was bothering his allergies.  But nope.  Jared was allergic to our Bella.  And his asthma makes it so that his allergies are pretty serious...he already takes daily meds for it.  We were very upset and weren't sure what to do with our new puppy.  I cried...A LOT.  I didn't want to get rid of her!  And, of course, neither did Jared.

But in the end, Jared's parents took her in; they live about forty minutes away and have a shitzu of their own that Bella just loves to torment.  The situation worked out very well!  Yes, I still cry basically every time I leave their house because I have to leave her behind, but they are taking great care of her and making a good home for her.  And she is still just as naughty as ever.  She has taken to giving kisses while simultaneously biting ears, eating ladybugs (living or dead, she isn't picky), and wrestling Oscar - their other dog - to the ground even though he has about ten pounds on her. 

She also gets fixed tomorrow afternoon, the poor thing, and to tell you the truth, I'm a little bit terrified :(  Sorry for the novel-length post today :)


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Well, Y'Know...

Christmas has officially arrived at the Price household! 

Farewell, fall.....

Though fall is by far my favorite season, and I was disappointed to put away all of the pretty pumpkins and the apple cinnamon-scented candles, the Christmas decorations are definitely starting to grow on me...even Jared's beloved white tree. :)  And no, your eyes don't deceive you, that is indeed the most badass wreath you have ever seen or will ever see.  It's the 8-bit Nintendo wreath from thinkgeek, and if possible, it's even cooler in person - the gold coins light up and twinkle!
Also, now that our furnace has begun to blow out cold air instead of warm, it even feels like Christmas in here.  Gotta love Iowa!
I bought an advent calendar exactly like the ones I remember loving sooo much as a kid - the little piece of chocolate in different holiday shapes was always the highlight of my morning - thinking that Jared and I would, I don't know, flip for it every morning or something.  But I don't know what happened.  Did they change these?  Or did I just grow up?  Because the chocolate legit tastes like meat.  Jared, I believe, described it as..."rotten charbroiled hamburger?"  So instead of fighting over who gets to eat the delicious treat, we fight over who has to eat the meat chocolate...can't waste that three bucks, you know. :)  So anyway.
Instead of this crappy advent calendar, I figured I would join in with many other bloggers and participate in the 12 Dates of Christmas!  And once, we track down an evergreen branch worthy enough for our wall, it will hang above our couch, like so:
(tutorial and picture via here)
The date ideas I have thought of so far are as follows:
*Volunteer to walk dogs at the Humane Society
*Drive around Clear Lake to look at the beautiful houses and Christmas lights
*Go to Gamers and pick out two games to buy and play together that night (N64 for Jared, Super Nintendo for me) - guess whose idea this was! :)
*Shop for vintage Christmas wrapping paper and decorations
*Wrap gifts together while watching Christmas Vacation - "Don't throw me down, Clark!"
*Go to the mall and shop for Christmas pjs to wear on Christmas Eve together - sooo dorky :)
*Write and send out couple's Christmas cards
*Bake Christmas cookies and go ice-skating
*Have a fun little Christmas get-together at our place!
Do you have any romantic ideas planned for the holidays??

Christmas Gift Guide: For Your Fashionista Cousin/Niece whose Favorite Color is "Sparkle" and who can Give Manicures like Nobody's Business

And okay.  I probably wouldn't say no to any (or all) of the items on this list either.

1.  I am obsessed with this trendy arrow ring from one of my favorite online boutiques, BaubleBar.  It's been seen on the most fashion-savvy style bloggers, like Atlantic-Pacific.  ($24)

2.  Give her this Ticket Stub Diary so she can preserve and document all of her most memorable events, like sporting events, concerts, and movie dates!  It includes spaces in all the margins to write down little notes about the event :)  ($11)

3.  These handmade, crocheted earmuffs would look quirky-cute atop her peacoat...and they're hiding a secret!  There are headphones inside, ready to hook up to your iPod!  ($38)

4.  A fun updated take on the friendship bracelets she used to exchange in elementary school.  The Liberty print mixed with some sparkle is gorgeous...but most of the stuff from J.Crew is.  Unfortunately, the prices tend to be not so pretty.  ($39.50)

5.  If she's artsy, this artist's attache case from Anthropologie is so sophisticated and luxe!  The tweed-covered box looks just like a vintage suitcase, and it's full of paintbrushes, watercolors, colored pencils, and envelopes.  (Sorry, price not included!)

6.  This gemstone magnet set would spice up a boring old dorm-room refrigerator; I would also use them as decorative paperweights.  Each sparkly set of 8 comes with unique minerals - no set is exactly alike.  ($36)

7.  Give her this gilded gold feather tray so she can organize her sparkly rings, her many nail polishes, or her ponytail holders.  Each of these beautiful trays are handmade and unique.  ($45)

8.  I have been lusting after different nail polish trends lately, and this nail caviar set is no exception.  This is a set of 8 - four colors with four coordinating bottles of "caviar" that almost looks like your nails are covered in pretty little sprinkles!  Love it!  ($29)

9.  I'm not sure if there can be such a thing as a trendy umbrella, but if there was, this would be it.  Help her keep her hair dry with this chic printed bubble umbrella.  ($29.99)

And a bonus book gift for fashionistas everywhere...

This book, from popular lifestyle blog Cupcakes and Cashmere, brings us gorgeous photographs and glossy how-tos on everything from the smoky eye to throwing a great New Year's party.  Organized by season, it covers fashion, beauty, entertaining, and DIY projects all in one book.  Though obviously a light and fluffy read, it's definitely worth a peruse - this girl can dress.

And one more for a closet book worm....

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly bridges that thin line between young adult and adult fiction, and it does so beautifully.  A young boy who loves his books begins to find reality and fantasy blurring together, and the result is a pretty dark and sinister world that will absolutely draw you in and not let you go.  No matter how little imagination you think you have, or how much you think you hate fantasy, you will not be disappointed by this unique novel.


Monday, December 3, 2012

What? A Video Game I Actually Like?!

My husband spends roughly three hours a day playing video games.  And these are the days that he works, mind you.  When he has the day off, I can sometimes come home at five o'clock to find him unshowered and bleary-eyed, his thumbs twitching from an intense game of Black Ops.  But I have never really seen the appeal in video games, mostly because the ones he plays are of either the football or the shoot-everything-in-sight variety.  Not for me, thanks - I come from the "Thank you Mario, but our Princess is in another castle!" school of gaming.  BUT EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED!  Jared came home the other day to find me similarly unwashed and stringy-haired...and it's all because of this game.  No, no.  This piece of art.

The Unfinished Swan.

Some might say that it's a video game for children.  Those people would be wrong.  (Actually, they wouldn't.  I'm sad to say that I'm pretty sure this game is for kids.)  A sweet little game in which you are a boy named Monroe searching for his mother (by way of a magical painted swan), you are dropped into a totally blank white space and must throw paint in order to get an idea of your surroundings.  Soooo crazy unique and unlike anything I have seen before in a video game.

(image from here)
Once you've reached the second chapter, more colors are introduced, and the main goal is to throw water at vines.  The third chapter involves manipulating light in order to keep you safe in darkness, and the fourth and final chapter involves building platforms. 
The concept of the game is extremely simple, it's true.  All you really do is walk around, pushing obviously bright red levers, squirting water and paint, and paying attention to the "swan tracks."  There's not really much objective to it, other than following the swan and gathering balloons along the way.  But the entire journey is like walking through an amazing, interactive modern art museum!  And the game itself is like a little fairy tale or storybook.  It doesn't have to be challenging.
Another thing is that the game is very short.  I beat it in a day...which means you people out there can probably beat it in about two hours.  It's only four chapters long.  And I'm not sure about the replay value, since once you know the "secrets," you aren't likely to forget them.  But the colors and the total uniqueness of this game made it worth the $15.  I abbbbbsolutely loved it!  It was like reading a really good book that comes with a strangely relaxing soundtrack.

(picture from here)

The worst part of all this is that as soon as I finished The Unfinished Swan, I kind of went crazy and desperately started asking Jared for more video game suggestions.  Is gaming an addiction?!  I had no idea...like cigarettes!  Or porn!  I needed more PS3 and I needed it now.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a game that is even half as good as this one.  (But...though extremely disturbing, Limbo is pretty fun.)  Maybe I need a 12-step program.

Happy gaming!


Christmas Gift Guide: For Your Mother who Averages 3 Books a Week and Always Lets You Have her Leftover Meals

Now that the holidays are upon us, I thought it would be fun to start doing Christmas (Hanukkah, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, what have you...) gift guides!  There are tons out there on the blogosphere, and the Oprah magazine version alone nearly blew my mind - how can there even be so many beautiful things in the world?!  I saw a sweater with a fox screen-printed on it, along with a chevron-printed urn, and I nearly decided to do the first gift guide as things I would like for Christmas - 'cause we are living in a material world, and I am a material girl :) - but I decided to be a little less greedy and dedicate this guide to moms instead.  Now, if my own mother is reading this, I will have her know that this gift guide is purely hypothetical, and I have in fact had her gifts wrapped and ready to go since late October.  Not to brag or anything :)

1.  These beautiful, hard-cover classics like Jane Eyre, Little Women, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland would be cherished eye candy in her bookshelf. ($20-22)

2.  A hot apple cider-scented candle inside a pretty enamel mug is a wintery gift good for any mom!  ($24)

3.  This hand-altered Moleskine journal featuring a quote from The Wizard of Oz - a favorite of my own mother's - would be perfect for jotting down birthday lists, recipe ideas, you name it!  I love this etsy seller! ($11.25)

4.  For a few years now, I have been wanting to buy my mom this adorable, quirky bracelet made of vintage Barbie game pictures - featuring hunky Ken right next to Barbie, of  course!  Only problem...the price.  ($65)

5.  I'm not sure why, but this dip-dyed, ombre blanket just kind of screams MOM at me.  It comes in three different shades of beautiful, soft blue. ($49)

6.  These lidded mason jar sippers are soooo so cute for a little summer family get-together.  I think I may need to buy these for a gift, but keep some for myself :)  Pretty sure my mom is already a little mason jar-ed out from the wedding, anyway!  ($4 each)

7.  My mother is basically obsessed with the beach - OBSESSED.  These pave starfish earrings would look great on her.  ($24.50)

8.  Buy your social butterfly of a mother some gorgeous, gilded stationery so she can keep in touch with her nearest and dearest.  ($20)

9.  A winter-wonderland-scented Philosophy gift set.  Because she takes more bubble baths than anyone you know.  ($38)

And a bonus book gift for moms...

You Know When the Men are Gone - Siobhan Fallon
($9.58 on Amazon)

If I could write a book, this would be the kind of book I would want to write.  This was a breathtaking set of intertwined stories set on an army base in Fort Hood, Texas.  Each tale gave us a poignant and intimate look at the lives inside the walls of waiting army wives, abandoned spouses, and tortured former soldiers.  Though not particularly uplifting, the writing is lyrical and memorable, and the stories are ones that will stick with you. 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Date a Girl Who Reads

For a bit of filler while I'm busy unpacking and decorating our new house...and um, watching a lot of Harry Potter...I thought I'd share this beautiful piece of writing with you.  I randomly stumbled upon it on the Internet today and loved it!  It's so me :)

"You should date a girl who reads.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.” 

- Rosemarie Urquico

The first few paragraphs are me in a nutshell.  Not gonna lie, I'm pretty sure Jared was getting pissed off at the amount of books I kept hauling out of boxes this weekend.  Every single closet in the house (and there are a LOT) is full of books.  Possibly...even the Goosebumps series, although forget I told you that.  (For nostalgic reasons, asshole!)  I also may or may not have spent the majority of a recent NBA game reading the book Shanghai Girls.  Much more interesting than squeaky shoes and Kevin Love. :) 

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little space-waster!  I know I did!  Pretty sure I'm going to print it out and give it to Jared.  So he understands the awesomeness of nerds.  Our house is looking wonderful, by the way; you should stop by!  We have fondue and neon-colored bendy straws!  Although, you'll have to push the books off before you can be seated.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Moving Day Approaches....

I really, really, really did not want to live with Jared before we were married.  Not because I don't believe in that kind of thing, but because I was afraid that once we moved in together, then after we got married, nothing would change.  We would have a piece of paper saying that we were husband and wife, sure, but the fun decorating/painting/move-in stage?  Over and done with.  But then I thought:  Who cares?  We are still doing all of those things, just a bit out of order, if you will.  Besides, what really matters is that we'll be together.  Okay, puke.  ANYWAY.

We happened to fall into this really great deal of a house in my hometown...3 blocks away from my parents.  I KNOW.  I'm not thrilled about this part, but my gosh, I'm in love with the house.  Tons of shelving, a beautiful red kitchen, and his 'n' hers bathrooms...What more could I want? :)  And we get to move in...drum roll...this weekend!!!!!!!  I am more excited than I can express, though I'm not sure I can say the same for Jared.  My poor fiance is basically in shock of how many boxes I have already packed full of my stuff.  And we've only just begun.  Oh, the joys of moving!

So since I stopped buying Teen Vogue and started buying Martha Stewart Living and House Beautiful (I'm officially old), I've dog-eared hundreds of pages and ripped out even more pictures of pretty houses.  And over the years, I've noticed a theme of sorts, several things that kept on popping up within the shreds of paper.  And these things are as follows, the parts that make up my Dream House:

1.  A unique headboard
There are so many things you can use for different headboard options, and I think all of these are beautiful!  You can use a large piece of fabric, a pretty piece of art, an old wooden pallet, a folding screen, a fabric-covered canvas....
(from here)

A cool piece of shelving...
(from here)

An old wooden door...
(from here)

Or even a pair of old shutters!
(from here)

2.  An accent wall
I also love the idea of having one accent wall somewhere in the house, whether it's one wallpapered wall, one slightly different shade, or a bright splash of color.  I think it's so fun and attention-getting!
It can be obvious...
(from here)

Or more subtle.
(from here)

3.  A black and white bathroom OR walk-in closet
I don't know why I like this so much.  Jared and my mom both hate it and say it reminds them of a circus.  But maybe that's why I like it?
(from here)

(from here)

4.  Bright front door
You've already heard all about my obsession with this.

5.  Bright yellow paint SOMEwhere
Maybe a door...

Maybe a room...

Or maybe just a dresser.  Love!

6.  A photo wall
(from here)
Enough said.  Beautiful!

7.  A beautiful, clean, white and grey bedroom
If we could have this exact bedroom, we'd pee in our pants.  For real.

8.  Chalkboard
(from here)
I love the idea of using chalkboard paint as a kitchen backsplash!

Sigh.  If only, if only!  Well, back to packing!