Archive | December 2011

A Resolution for All

Happy New Year, Lovelies! It’s 2012; have you made a resolution? I have a few general goals in mind: for the body – make smarter food choices & keep up a regular exercise schedule; for the mind – read more books & learn a new skill; for the heart – give more than receive & think of others first. For everyone: love. Let’s all resolve to love in 2012: love each other, love ourselves, love our families & friends just as they are, find something to love in everyone we meet, love the world. In 2012, love can make a difference. Let it begin with us. I mean, as long as the world doesn’t end. ; )

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A Craft for Love

Today is our anniversary! We don’t typically do anything big for our anniversaries for a few reasons: 1. it’s during the holidays – a time when you put a lot of effort into getting together with your families seems like a silly time to run off on your own; 2. we aren’t into any big numbers or anything yet; 3. we spend most of our time together anyway; 4. we’ve just spent plenty of money on Christmas gifts; 5. if we want something or to go somewhere, we usually do it whenever we have the chance and don’t wait for special occasions. That may seem pretty unromantic, but it works well for us. Or you could look at it as we treat every day like it’s our anniversary, so the actual day isn’t any different. We have always done a little something though. This year, I borrowed an idea from Pinterest for a sentimental little something to give to the hubs. Here was the inspiration:

The steps I took were find a cute deck of cards, make reasons, attach them, and ring up cards. So here we go:

Airplane spotting cards from WW2 off of Etsy. The hubs like planes.

I wanted to use the back of the cards, so as not to ruin the pretty plane pictures. I measured out the space I wanted them to take up and cut them from card stock. I wrote out my reasons & attached them to the cards with Mod Podge.

Punched holes in the cards and put them in order on the rings.

Voila! A personalized & inexpensive anniversary gift.

Sam is scrambling to figure out what to do for me now because my gift is so awesome. Victory! Also, sorry the pictures are poor quality; they are from my phone.

I just spent an hour on this website…

Ok, you should totally check this out. Thanks to a tweet from Zooey Deschanel I have discovered cakewrecks.com. As a person who dabbles in cupcakery, I can understand the daunting task that making your baking look as pretty as it tastes can be. I have only once tried to legitimately decorate something – baby bird nest cupcakes for a baby shower. They were iffy at best and could probably easily be made a mockery of by the cakewrecks lady; I wouldn’t mind.

The birds were little, ribbed blobs with funky beaks and non-uniform eyes. Some were even cool enough to be sporting shades. But at least I’m not claiming to be a pro, like the people on cakewrecks supposedly are. Here’s a fun sampling of all the lovelies this lady has collected for us. Her snarky comments are nothing to snivel at either. She snarks with the pros! I consider myself a pro-snarker at times. Anywho, here goes the cakes…go to the site.

From messed up & directly transcribed instructions…
to just straight up fails…
to werewolves & grammartrocities

The bottom line is that this site tickles my funny bone. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas, Lovelies!

Here’s to hoping you are spending it with the ones you love: family, friends, pets, or all of the above! If you couldn’t be, hold tight to the warm memories & be kind to those around you. Christmas is full of traditions that differ with each person and family. My family spends time together, watches the Muppet Christmas Carol, makes & eats lots of food, and goes full-out on the gifting. I love it! Enjoy keeping old & making new traditions this year. Try to remember the reason for the season. The one who came and what he stood for. Love one another, & we’ll see you in 2012. For now, enjoy this poignant tune from Relient K:

Christmas Pins

Here are some fun Christmas finds from Pinterest!

First, wrap it up:
Simple trimmings

Stripes
Fun with color & texture
Crafty touches

Second, if you are lucky enough to have a mantle, dress it up:
Not crazy about the center picture, but love the silhouettes & stockings.
Crisp whites and simple holiday cheer
Golds and personalization
Romantic and quoted

Finally, no matter who, what, or where you are, eat it up:
Individual pear & cranberry pies
Peppermint bark rice crispies
Melted snowmen cookies – perfectionism not required for this treat.
A non-sweet – Cheese Trees
A twist on a classic
Precious cakes
Raspberry hot chocolate cupcakes
Dreamy & Festive
And wash it down with a Cup of Cheer!

5 more days!

A Lack of Attention to Detail

When your head is all a jumble and things fall through the cracks, you aren’t the only one who suffers. My head has been quite a jumble lately from a combination of too little intellectual stimulation and to much extraneous stimuli – a.k.a. not working or having a set schedule and having a lot of random things going on in the periphery. It is not uncommon for me to do dumb stuff, but absent-minded has not previously been my M.O. Lately, it seems to be my defining quality. The unfortunate incidental sufferer this week has been sweet pup. Now, as you can see, I did not slack off in purchasing cold-weather protection which he hasn’t quite warmed to (you should know by now that I will never slack off when it comes to purchasing), but two of my shining detail-oblivious moments this week involved him.

The lesser but still ridiculous of the two happened yesterday. Sam and I are sitting at the dining table working on different things, and Jack is whining. He had been to the dog park earlier that day, and Sam had just taken him out for a short walk/potty. He has food & water, so the only thing we can assume is that he’s just being a punk. He can be pretty clingy and isn’t fond of us sitting in chairs that don’t have space for him to sit too, but surely he can entertain himself for a few minutes. The whining gets to the point of ridiculous, so I finally get up and go over to him. What can possibly be so wrong?! That’s when I realize one of the tags on his collar somehow got tangled with the rug and he’s stuck to it. The poor thing couldn’t do anything but sit there until we finally payed attention to what was going on. What a couple of jerks! At least Sam was with me on that one.

The largest of the weeks mishaps took place on Friday. I had been to boot camp and came home to quickly get cleaned up for a Christmas party the girls in boot camp were having that I had just found out about. The plan was to do a quick walk/run with Jack in the immediate neighborhood then get ready for the party. The other thing you need to know is that apparently our door knob lock will remain locked after being unlocked with a key until you manually turn it to its very specific happy place of unlockedness. I throw down my purse, snatch up Jack’s leash, & we are out the door. Before we get to the driveway, I realize we are out of potty bags, so I back-track to grab a refill. You guessed it, the door is locked. All of the doors are locked, and I am phone, key, & ID-less. So, poor Jack had to spend an hour outside with me in 35° cold. Absolutely brilliant, Kim!

Disclaimer: our dog is very loved & spoiled (ask anyone), so please don’t look at these two isolated incidents and think us un-fit puppy parents. We do our best, which is all anyone can do.

To sign it off, just remember, wake up to your life & pay attention. You never know what you could be missing!

A Jane Austen Education Review

 I have finally finished A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz. You’ll understand the “finally” here in a moment. I first became aware of this book from one of my Barnes & Noble emails back in April. Living in a removed town for some time will drive you to internet shopping which will inevitably put you on plenty of retailers’ email lists. In fact, my inbox became so crowded that I have formatted them to go straight to their own folder. This unclutters my inbox & removes the temptation. I only look in there when I am already planning to shop for something. So, before that, I saw the book in the email and surely thought to myself: “What is this? A man giving credit to Austen in a stylishly clad book? I must have this.” Luckily, I no longer lived in that small, removed place and picked up a copy the next time I made my way to B&N. It then got added to the pile of books to read. Unfortunately, that pile is big and two-parted; there is the pile to read that I own and the pile to read that I am borrowing. The second pile is mostly fed by my mother and gets the priority of the two, so I can make sure and get her books back to her. It also is practically never ending because I was a late bloomer when it came to reading for enjoyment, and Mom really likes to catch me up on her favorites. Despite being slow to the reading party, Austen has always had a special place. In fact, I think Austen was the first real books that I read without being assigned them and truly enjoyed. There are so many layers to her books that I continue to enjoy them. My young self was drawn to the romantic aspect of them, in plot & setting. Her wit & cleverness became more clear & entertaining, and more recently, the deeper lessons of her tales are only beginning to dawn on me, helped along greatly by this book. Yes, the book, so, I didn’t get around to reading the book until our Hawaii trip in October. I read it while we were traveling, but once we hit the islands, we were continually occupied. I took it with me when we hopped over to Kauai and stored it in a shopping bag with a few other things to keep handy that was then tossed into the trunk of our rental car.  I was hunting the sunscreen when I discovered the tragedy: my charming little book had fallen prey to the depressed nob of a continuous spray SPF and was drenched & stained. I was so distraught! This was a book that was chosen not only for its content but also its style. It was meant to be informative and cute, and the latter was ruined. I was so upset by the sticky, yellowed mess that I knew I would have to replace it, but you will not find me so silly as to throw away a perfectly good book. It was dried, wrapped, & taken home to be given to my mother. My mother’s home is a safe haven for books with plenty of space to be stored and no fast-approaching moves to worry about. I knew she would figure something out; I was right because I saw it on my sister’s bedside when I visited her a couple weeks ago. The Mom Loaning Library is always at work. I had to order a replacement copy as our new B&N didn’t have it in stock. Silver-lining, I only had a little more to spend to get free shipping, so I justified throwing in a book about Audrey (Hepburn, of course).  So, here we are, about 7 months after buying my first copy, and I’ve finally finished.

The premise of the book is what one man learned from each of Austen’s novels. Bill was an intellectual elitist who looked down his nose at Jane, like most men tend to do. He supposed her trivial, boring, & unable of teaching such a smart man anything; however, being forced to study her works in graduate school proved him wrong on all counts, and like a real man, he’s going to admit it…to the whole world… Did I say real? I meant, ideal. He goes on to tell how each of Austen’s books brought him greater understanding of himself & the people around him, how they helped him grow up & into a better man. He seamlessly weaves his findings with the tales of his journey and the story of the author, herself. How wonderful! If you like Austen at all, you must read it. It will give you a greater understanding of the author, her works, and the meanings & messages she meticulously yet subtly laid out for us as she tells her characters’ stories. I see my favorite tales in a new light. It makes me want to read them again and pay more attention to every word, as nothing was placed by chance but with purpose. Deresiewicz’s style is thorough enough to bring us through his many realizations, but with enough feeling to keep us interested. He is unreserved in the telling of his own story and doesn’t take himself too seriously, which I can always respect.

Bottom line is that I enjoyed it, and if you like Austen or even if you don’t, I think that you’ll enjoy it, too.