Friday, September 30, 2011

My (not so) Storybook Life

One of my favorite bloggers, Elizabeth Owen is giving away a few advanced copies of her up coming book: My (not so) Storybook Life. You can check out an excerpt here and head over to her blog to enter for yourself!

Once one has breathed in the deep pungent aroma of sewage, you never again forget the nose-hair singeing, eye clawing, throat gagging experience. It comes over you slowly. You begin to feel like a character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as your muscles involuntarily jerk and you run screaming and blowing raspberries. Anything to get away from the mind-numbing stench.
But let me explain.
It was 6:30 a.m. I was standing in my retro pink tiled bathroom trying to open my bleary eyes and ready myself for work. As I stood there, peering into the mirror and wondering what demented nighttime fairy had planted four new wrinkles on my face, I paused and sniffed.
“Matt… what’s that smell?”
Matt staggered from the bedroom in his underwear, eyes half shut. “I don’t smell anything.”
I pointed my nose into the air like a hunting dog. “Seriously? You can’t smell that? Did you go to the bathroom in here earlier? I told you to use the room spray when you do things like that.”
Matt puffed out his bare chest and gathered his pride as best a man can with sleep in his eyes and a small hole in the side of his underwear. “I just woke up!”
I frowned, catching a glimpse of my makeup-less hot-rollers-in-hair state and tried not to think about the fact that I looked fifty instead of twenty-nine. “Well, help me figure this out. Because something smells ripe.”
We sniffed the sink drain and ruled it out as a suspect.
“Is it coming from the toilet?” Matt asked, examining it from top to bottom.
“No, that’s not it,” I snapped. I’m not known for my milk of human kindness in a disaster. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a survivor. I plan on eating my radish like Scarlet and clawing my way out of the nuclear dust while dragging my loved ones with me. But I won’t be doing it with positive phrases and a smile.
“Hon, I just don’t know. We’ll call a plumber after work, maybe it’s coming from under the house.” Matt staggered a little, trying to get past me and out of our tiny bathroom.
“Well, that’s just great,” I moved aside and pulled the shower curtain back so I could perch on the side of the tub and give Matt room to move out the door.
That’s when the full brunt of nastiness filled the air around us, a swirling mix of excrement and acrid stench that would have brought the sewer dwelling Ninja Turtles to their knees. Where the normally slightly-clean-with-a-hint-of-soap-scum bottom of the tub should have been, there sloshed gallons and gallons of brown sewage.
I clutched the front of my sweatshirt and held my breath. Matt began to dry heave.
“Get out and shut the door!” I screamed as we bumbled into the hallway.
“I’ll deal with this,” Matt grabbed my shoulders, trying to talk and hold his breath at the same time.
I could feel my eyes glaze over, the horrors of typhoid and hepatitis in our bathtub filling my mind. But more importantly, I could envision our evaporated savings account. In my mind’s eye I could see the long, gray hallway at the bank. A worker shrouded in a black suit pulled a set of keys from his pocket and unlatched a small locker labeled “Owen Bank Account.” Inside were two small stacks of quarters and a few crumpled dollar bills. It was bleak, not only because the banker with an unimaginative wardrobe gazed at me with an expression that could only be interpreted as “You’re a Big Fat Loser,” but also there was a very definite possibility we wouldn’t be able to pay for a plumber.
I wasn’t necessarily a spend thrift. In fact, I was downright frugal when it came to decorating with thrift store furniture and rewired vintage lamps. But the fact was, we were poor. We were starting out at starter jobs with starter salaries. We were starter adults with a starter bank account.
“Okay,” I nodded numbly, thankful that Matt was taking the lead on such a disastrous biohazard. “But make sure the plumber is super cheap. We don’t have much money!”
I left for work like a wino stumbling through a fog, not really remembering my commute, not really doing any work as I sipped my coffee and stared blankly at the computer screen. A disaster of such gargantuan proportions had previously been unthinkable in my life, and now I found myself attempting to push the image of a vast sea of bathtub poop from my mind. But I was sure of one thing: Anne Shirley never had to get ready for work while breathing raw sewage.

Happy Hootlidays!

The theme of our little get away last weekend was "Craft Cabin" so with that in mind I pulled together a very quick and easy craft that we could all do in addition to the crafts we brought with us. Using this pattern found via pinterest and some craft supplies I just had hanging around my house we were each able to make one small owl to adorn our Christmas trees. This project was great because almost any skill level and style of crafter can do it, you can easily talk while working on it, it doesn't take a lot of special materials and you can easily complete it in one sitting. I highly recommend it for social groups that want to work on a little project while spending time in fellowship. I also think it would be great for older kids to do at a birthday party or a play date.

Are you a crafter? Have you ever made a felt Christmas ornament? Please share I'm always looking for fun new projects to do!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lets Wrap It Up

Hey friends, because I've been in a celebrating mode these days I thought it would be nice to share a gift wrapping idea with you today.
I started by wrapping all the boxes in white paper (I have big roll of butcher paper I use for things like this and pattern making etc.) and taping the boxes together.
Then I taped some crape paper streamers up to the box (you will be able to see how this works better at the bottom).

I then taped a bunch of little loops of crape paper together to make a little bow.
Ta Da! I think next time I could make the bow a little better, but not to bad for a first try of an idea.
Do you have any great ideas for gift wrapping? October and November are big birthday months in my family so I've got a few more of my own that I'll be working out and sharing with you soon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Little Changes: Ironing Board Storage

Because I do my ironing in my down stairs hallway (more on that later) my ironing board lives in my office/craft room. Up until a few days ago it hung on the inside of the closet door by balancing one side on something that I guess was used for more hanger space (the last owners of my house were big on installing 1950's storage solutions, so time I really should do a post on all the fun little gems hidden around my place). This wasn't the worst thing ever, except every fifth time I opened the closet door the iron board would come crashing down on me.
I've been on the look out for something that would solve this little problem for months and then one day last week I was at TJ Maxx when I spotted this split over the door hook I knew it would work perfect. And wouldn't you know it did!

P.S. sorry about the blurred photos, there will be better ones when I do that room tour I've been working on.

P.P.S. my ironing board cover is from City Chic Country Mouse.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What I'm Watching: PanAm

Did anyone else see the new ABC show PanAm on Sunday? I already wrote about how it was the new show I was most looking forward to, so you know I didn't miss it. I for one found it to be enjoyable. You know I love me some Mad Men so it isn't a surprise that I would be into another show set in the 1960's, but what about you? Did you watch? Do you like it? Do you think it is silly? Fun? Dull?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Craft Cabin!

Late Friday morning I jumped in the car with a few of my favorite girls to head out of town for the weekend to celebrate my dear friend Mel's 30th Birthday! We drove from our hometown in south eastern Michigan to the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. Where we met up with one more gal to craft the weekend away.

Our weekend was filled with chatting and laughing, car dancing and beach walking, blanket stitches and yarn hooking, snacking and game playing.

It is a little late in the year to have a full enjoyment of the lake, but I feel like anytime you can fall asleep to the sound of waves hitting the sand and wake up to pink sun shining on blue water it is worth it!
Saturday morning I took a watch on the beach with my little cousin Peter (seen in a much smaller form here) we both felt like it was a little early, but very pretty (please note that this picture was taken just after he spit up inside - yeah inside - my shirt)!
I'm sure that there will be a little more about the trip showing up this week, so stay tuned for that!

Friday, September 23, 2011

CooCoo For Coconut

Okay I don't do a lot of review-y types of posts, but because I keep seeing references to LaCroix Coconut sparkling water popping up all over these here internets I thought I'd through my two cents in. You know, because everyone wants to know what I have to say about Coconut water. Okay guys, I don't really love it. I thought I would because I love almost anything coconut flavored (I get this from my mom, my dad has a deep seeded hate for anything that has to do with coconut) and because I'm a fan of most LaCroix waters. So I wanted to love it, I really did. At first I even thought I did, but then I drank another can and then another and even had my coconut loving mom take a sip, this is what I came up with; it tastes like a melted lip smackers. Plus it kinda made my mouth feel a little buzzy. Oh the coconut smell is just way to much. So in closing I'm going to stick with the Grapefruit LaCroix.

If you want to try it for yours self (we say yours self in my family I have no idea why) unlike other flavors of LaCroix the only place I have seen it is Target. Oh and for the record can we say how annoying that this is because I will have to return my cans to Target, where they don't have a can/bottle return machine, if I want to get my 80 cents back (another weird thing the Coconut water came in an 8 pack, not a 12 pack). Not worth it. So these bad boys will be going in the recycling.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So Cute!

I'm not sure where I first saw this and I'm not sure what it is for, but I thought it would be a nice little something fun for your Thursday morning!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm Diggin': Urban Outfitters

Today I thought it might be fun to showcase a some things that I am lovein' from UO right now. Lets get started. I think this little guy would be a super easy and cute DIY, deff going on my to do list.
I can't tell you how much I love this shelf, I think it would look great with books or plants or stacks of fabric or pots and pans.
You better believe that this lamp is going on my wish list.
This is the home of a gold fish that is far to cool to hang out with me.
This is such a great idea for anyone living in a small space.
I'm a fan of using wood crates in home decor, but I think you should look for vintage before you buy a replica.
I'm brainstorming a place to put this octopus hook so I can justify buying it. I really like the slightly worn out look of this wall hanging.

So are we all over chevron? No. Good because I just love both the rug and the bedding.
I have had these mettle flowers on my wish list for years. I think finally have a place for them to go, I will let you know if I end up picking them up.
Clearly I'm into the whole letter wall art thing right now. Can you tell?
Yellow - check, Seedstitch - check, on my Christmas list - check!
Is there anything not to like about this chair? I didn't think so.

All of this stuff and so much more can be found over at the Apartment page on Urban Outfitters.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tips From A Recovering Over Packer

Oh yes I am squeezing those 36 hours spent in a car for everything it's worth and getting yet another road trippin' out to ND post going. Lets start by saying I was once a major over packer, just ask anyone who has traveled with me! I'm not saying that I've completely gotten over my desire to just keep stuffing things in until I walk out the door, but I am getting better. Here are a few of my tips:
Tip 1: Take a smaller bag! When the airlines started charging for checked baggage my life as committed over packer was changed. I couldn't stand the idea of spending all that extra money, just to take more stuff for a long weekend. I now take only a carry on sized suit case for any trips less than a week.
Tip 2: Work in outfits. I start every packing adventure by making a list of the days that I will be gone, any events or special items needed. For example for this trip I needed something different for the rehearsal dinner than what I had worn all day on Friday so Friday got two sections on my sheet one for Friday during the day and one for the rehearsal. I list every item needed for each outfit, I then put each outfit in a pile everything from bar to shoes. Moving repeat items from pile to pile, just to make sure I have it all. Then everything gets packed away nice and tight.

Tip 3: Do you need to take fancy shoes? I like to pack nicer dress shoes in a shoe box so that they don't get smashed.
Tip 4: How not to forget toiletries - I like to pull out my handy dandy toiletries bag a few days before my trip and then over the next few days anytime I use something that I will need on my trip I put it in the bag. That way I know I wont leave anything behind and it's no big deal to live out of a toiletries bag for a couple of days.

Tip 5: You can buy almost anything you leave behind. It is really freeing to know you can pick up pretty much anything that you need almost anywhere you go.
Tip 6: Treat your jewelry like your clothes. I pack my jewelry just like I do my clothing, by outfit.
For example my jewels for the wadding. I also recommend picking up one of these little travel jewelry boxes.
Closing Confession: This is everything that I brought with me (oh and an un-pictured bridesmaid's dress). Because I was driving I allowed myself to bring a few extra bags, if I was flying I would have ditched my craft bag and packed an empty purse after putting all my pursey things (cell phone, wallet, ipod, etc.) into my computer bag.

So are any of you over packers? Do you have any great packing tips. I feel like packing is one of those things you just get better and better.

Monday, September 19, 2011

mirror mirror mirror mirror on the wall

This morning I thought we'd take a little look at a rarely seen corner of my house. Okay it isn't really a corner, but a stairwell. Unlike the back stair (where is oft photoed white board lives) I don't think I've ever snapped a shot of one of my favorite parts of my little house. When I moved in I thought that lining the walls of the stair up to my bedroom with mirrors would help bring light into the space. Just for fun I also took some glamour shots of my favorite mirrors of the bunch.
I really love this faux victorian by way of the 1970s one with the stain glass.This beauty was a gift from my brother Andrew and sister in-law Lauren.
The multi colored one was once just a black mirror from Homegoods, marked down because of damage that I covered with fabric.
Finally there is nothing special about this one, but it has lived in the bedroom of every "grown up" place I've lived so I have a soft spot for it.

Do you have a great way you have used mirrors? Do you think I'm crazy for being willing to walk past all those mirrors before I make it to the bathroom every morning? I'd love to hear all about it!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This Week: Is it fall yet?

Hi guys, boy what is it about a weekend away that makes you drag the whole next week. I'm also getting back into the groove of my school year schedule (I like that I have been out of school for EVER, okay like 6 years, and yet I still have to do a little reworking every fall) so that doesn't help. Anyway one with the show or weekend round up, whatever you want to call it!
  • Did anyone buy anything from the Missoni for Target line. If your Target looks anything like mine there is nothing left. The one thing I really wanted was a pair of ballet flats, but it was not to be. I did get a few gifts for a few little(ish) girls I know. Let me know if you had any good scores!
  • In case you missed I broke down my long weekend by the numbers.
  • Recommended by my new sister in-law Kelsey, Picker Sisters is my new favorite show!
  • I will be wearing my hair like this over the weekend. The one with all the yarn in it!
  • Please read what might be one of my all time favorite posts on a blog and not just because I love the mom and the little girl it is about.
Do you have any big plans for the weekend? I'm hoping to get a lot of work done and enjoy the crispy fallness of it all!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two To Tango

I'm still in post trip catch up mode, so today we just have a quick tip/buy. Here is my tip: buy more shoes! As you know I was in North Dakota over the weekend for my brother's wedding, but did you also know that I was a bridesmaid? No, well I was! And as I'm sure you know that task involves spending a lot of time traipsing around in high heals and not just any high heals, the fancy kind that wage war with your feet. The shoes I wore for the service/pictures/dinner were this cute pair of peep toes, with black satin ruffles from Nina, picked up for a song at DSW. In addition to my party shoes, I also picked up a pair of dancing shoes. These black sparkly flats are by Wanted and can be found on I'm not going to say that my feet didn't hurt at all by the end of the night, but I will say that it is a lot easier to stumble up to your hotel room after a night of dancing when you aren't trying to cram your feet back into heals (because I know that if you don't have a back up pair of shoes, you are for sure dancing in your bare feet by the nights end!).

P.S. I'm also a fan of the sparkled flip flop for such events.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Numbering a Weekend

This past weekend I traveled to North Dakota for my brother Sam's wedding. I thought today it would be fun to break the trip down by the numbers. So here we are some of the things you would have seen or experienced if you had joined me this weekend.
2,160 - miles traveled (round trip) in a mini van with my aunt, uncle and cousin, just like when I was a kid and went on vacation with them.
36 - hours spent in a car seat.
25 - Finks gathered together to welcome one more to our ranks!
23- people (if my math is right) that drove from Michigan through the night.
16 - guys and gals in the wedding party.
13 - cousins dancing out on the dance floor.
10 - million bobby pins holding my hair up.
9 - ty (90) % of the guests on the bride's side confused by the wedding party dancing like crazy to this song! Yes that would be Sam's pick. The guests on the groom's side, just understand that we were mostly just a group of kids from Ypsi.
8 - girls in black dresses holding yellow flowers.
7 - times I listened to the Meg and Dia album Cocoon on the drive.
6 - states driven through
5 - siblings hugged (I think it was the first time the 6 of us have been all together in a year)!
4 - AM the time I finally went to bed Saturday night (okay it was 3:00 local time, but to me it felt like 4)
3 - giggling girls sharing a hotel room (many thanks to our friend Lynn for letting Phoebe and me crash her pad).
2 - grown men crying like little girls (the groom and his father).
1 - newly married happy couple.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Long Weekend

Both wonderful and exhausting more to come!

P.S. Check out those fantastic raccoon eyes! HOT!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fabric "Wall Paper"

How About Orange is one of my fave design/craft blogs and this post about how to wall paper with fabric is a must read. Don't be surprised if you see this project popping up in pictures of my little house.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Go Ahead Give It A Try

Fox is letting us all get a jump start on our Fall TV watching, you can now get the pilot of New Girl on iTunes. Give it a watch and tell me what you think. I'm not in love with the show yet, but I'll give it a few more episodes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


First Day of Class - Re-imagined

Oh Sunday I realized that it was the 10 year anniversary of my first day of college. Now that sure will make a girl feel old(ish) and wonder what she would do differently if she had to go back. I don't want to dwell on if I'd only known then what I know now my life would be so different thoughts. It is fair to say that I wouldn't have done some of the things I did and I would have done some of the things that I didn't, but that isn't the point of this post. No no, the point of this post is fashion! Specifically what I would wear if I had to walk into my first day of classes at Calvin once again. I haven't a clue as to what I wore the first time around, but I'm sure it wasn't as fantastic as the one above.

P.S. I am loving those small heart earrings so much, I'm going to have to add them to my Christmas list!

P.P.S. You should be listening to Better Than Ezra's Closer on repeat while reading this post, that is what I was doing 10 years ago.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Read Something Good: The Devil in the White City

Oh my in all the hub-bub of last week I missed posting our Read Something Good book pick for September. With murder and mystery set against the background of the Chicago world's fair, The Devil In The White City, sounds like the perfect read to keep you up on crisp fall nights!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This Week: The Joy of Laboring

Hummm that kinda sounds like this post is about giving birth. It is not. It is about making the most of the "last" weekend of the summer. So do you have big plans for the next 2 and 1/2 days? I wrote a big list, but I'm going to end up reneging on post of it I already know! I hope you have a fun holiday weekend.
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