Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a little color on a cold, gray day

Blustery and gray, January is not my favorite month. And it's been a cold one in the Dallas area. We've had days and days of simply nasty, foul weather, monstrous winds, and dark, dreary clouds. It's enough to make me want to hibernate. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year, with October 1 claiming the prize as my favorite day. Fall is followed closely by a slew of holidays and special events, so when January comes around, I'm depressed and wishing for warmer weather, something to life my spirits. To top it off, I've been hit with one of the worst colds of my adult life. I'm coughing and hacking up my lungs half the day, and today, the runny nose made an appearance. So I'm counting the days until February, when a number of uplifting events occur, including my birthday. February also means that spring is right around the corner and our daffodil bulbs begin to peak through the soil. (It's always a cheery moment for me when I see them outside my window.)

Tired of the depressing, rotten gloom that January can bring, I decided to lighten up the house with some greenery. So I stopped by the neighborhood Central Market and picked up some Columbian solidago. The bright emerald stems are gorgeous, aren't they? I separated the bouquet into three different arrangements. This one, nesting on my living room credenza, looks so shabby chic in an old vintage milk jug, no?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Unofficial New Yorker

"One belongs to New York instantly." This sentiment from Thomas Wolfe is exactly how I felt when I visited New York City for the first time. It was strangely familiar, having seen so much of it on TV and in the movies. I was all alone my first day in the city, and I remember walking down Broadway with a bagel in one hand and a coffee in the other. It was freezing, and I was bundled up to my ears. After walking from Times Square to the Met, I spent the afternoon at the museum and then hopped a taxi back. I've heard people compare NYC to London, and having lived in London during college, I don't see the comparison. Sure, they're two large metropolitan cities, but the similarities end there.

I'm happy to report that I will be taking a trip to New York in a matter of weeks with my good friend Renee. I am so excited about so many aspects of the trip-to-be that I almost can't stand it. The shows, the restaurants, the egg sandwiches, the unashamedly over-priced everything. There's so much to see and do in New York, it's impossible to do it all. So I know there are tons of things I've missed. Anyone have any recommendations?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Weekend Clean-Up (in More Ways than One)

The Husband and I spent the weekend doing what we do best: shopping for shoes, hosting a dinner, meticulously cleaning, and wiping up puppy messes (and then re-cleaning). And I've discovered that I am deliriously happy when the house is spotless. Everything smells good and shines in the afternoon light. I've also discovered the key to a lasting marriage (besides having separate bathrooms): breaking up chores evenly. I hate doing the dishes, and he downright refuses to change the sheets, so we compromise. (I'm convinced that The Husband would sleep in the same grimy sheets forever if he didn't have me to change them.)

We also took Maggie Mae, our sweet golden retriever mix, to the groomer. This is always an adventure. The only thing Mags likes better than swallowing human food whole is riding in the car. So as soon as I produce the leash, she's jumping fluidly in the air over and over. I'm talking all four paws coming off the ground in unison. She is then so anxious to get to the car that she's running around in circles and back and forth between the front door and garage door. The cat is then in on the action, chasing the end of Maggie's leash as it drags on the floor. When we're finally in the car, Maggie's demeanor quickly turns to worry when we turn right instead of left at the end of our shady street. (We always turn left to head to my parents' house, where Maggie's best friend and mentor, Ramsey the basenji, is waiting.) She knows that turning right signals one of two dreaded things: vet or groomer. Upon pulling into the parking lot, Maggie is beside herself with grief. She is now in the front seat with me, hoping to escape out the passenger side door, which she knows is against the rules. The journey from car to inside the establishment is a sea of disturbing smells and noises, and by this point, Maggie has started to shake. Her entire body is trembling, from her toes to the tips of her floppy ears. And then, after all the anxiety, we have to leave her there for three hours. And yes, we've tried to groom her ourselves in order to avoid this scenario, and it wasn't a pretty picture. (Imagine The Husband I in the backyard with a shaver and tiny pieces of golden hair flowing in the breeze like cottonwood. Not anyone's idea of a good time. Especially Maggie, who has to endure her mom and dad trying to cope without proper grooming equipment.) Nope, I think I'll leave it to the pros. The good news is, Maggie looks wonderful and smells ... well, she smells better.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Getting Creative with Fabric

As promised, here is my own Amy Butler creation. It has absolutely nothing to do with sewing needles. I simply ordered some Amy Butler fabric from the Nigella collection and framed it. It looks great in an Ikea Ribba frame hanging in my living room. I'm developing a bit of an obsession for fabrics lately, and I have this crazy idea to order tons of it, cut it into little squares, and frame each one to cover an entire wall. A bit much maybe?

Go Veggie! (Well, Sorta)

When I was 14, I gave up red meat. I know what you're thinking: That lasted about two months, right? Nope. I've stuck with it. And at the prehistoric age of 28, I'm still red-meat-free. I've never been brave enough to try the full-time vegetarian thing, and my meat-loving husband would mostly likely faint at the thought of even less animal products in the house. (He's just too cute to scold!) Besides the typical humanitarian excuse, we now have another reason to cut down on our meat consumption. I just learned this astonishing eco-friendly tip:

Meat production is so resource-intensive, if 10,000 people gave up meat once every seven days, it would conserve enough water to annually fill 22,719 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Just one day a week. That's it. There are some great veggie pasta dishes out there, not to mention my favorite vegetarian feast: tomato, bell pepper and pineapple pizza. Yep. That's what I said.

Amy Butler, I Think I Love You

I've become increasingly obsessed with Amy Butler fabrics. There always seems to be a pattern that illustrates my current mood, and her new collection (above) is so happy and dreamy. I recently completed my own decor project with Amy Butler fabric, which I'll post photos of later. (Stay tuned for the DIY!) I just had to post these because my heart was pitter-pattering.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Oh, Sweet Unnecessary Cravings

I'm swooning over these two items from RianRae. I'm a bit curious about my obsession with the deer heads. For starters, I'm sternly against any kind of animal murder, especially the kind that involves grown men running through the forest in camo with guns a-waving. But if the deer are made of wood, does that make it alright? You tell me. I developed my thing for wooden deer heads after eating at one of my favorite Dallas restaurants, Tillman's Roadhouse. The decor in that place is simply fantastic. I love the chandeliers mixed with the woodsy atmosphere. Brilliance.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Puppy Love

Meet Linus and Lucy, my newest little snugglebugs. This duo was in line for euthanasia just a few short days ago. Their days were numbered, but a wonderful organization called City Pet Rescue pulled them out before it was too late. I've been a foster for CPR for a couple of years now, a difficult but very fulfilling volunteer job. We rescue animals from shelters (or the streets depending on the situation) and find them new loving homes. These two buggers will be up for adoption in a couple of weeks. It's my job to potty train and get them accustomed to being household pets. We don't always have a foster in the house, but when we have one (or TWO, in this case), the Husband and I have our hands full. When we're not cleaning tiny piles of poo, we're talking in squeaky, high-pitched voices, coaxing and praising the little fluff balls. We sound quite silly, but I wouldn't change a thing.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mesmerized by Pandora

Meet my newest obsession, Pandora (music from the Human Genome Project). Just type in a musical artist or song, and (poof!) you have yourself a radio station created just for you. It's all about science. I promise. Give it a try. You won't be sorry.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

All in the Family

Trying to decide the subject matter of my first blog post was difficult. After all, it's a historic moment (well, at least for me), and I didn't want something too dramatic or (heaven forbid) dull. Overwhelmed by the pressure, I made the decision to go with simplicity and post a photograph. Pictured in the image above is my great aunt, Ruby, and her husband, Charlie, from sometime in the 50s. I adore this photo. Perhaps it's the romantic notion of a time long lost or that I'm related to the figures in the image. Either way, I find myself staring at it quite often from the confines of my home office.

Ruby was a looker, huh? I love her hair and the clothes she's wearing. I only wish I could see it in color. The funny thing is, I've never called her my "Aunt Ruby." She's always been "Irv" to me. When my mother was a youngster, she couldn't pronounce "Ruby," only, "Irv," and the name stuck. To this day, she's crazy Aunt Irv. She worked for the telephone company for many years, and she and Charlie, a firefighter, lived a quiet, humble life together. Charlie died several years back of a heart attack. But I can still hear his chuckle, and I have so many memories of fishing with him when I was a child. Aunt Irv is still very active, and for a woman in her 80s, she has a real cunning sense of humor and somewhat of a potty mouth.

But perhaps my favorite aspect of this photograph are the endless bottles that seem scattered about, evidence of a truly fabulous night at whatever bar or club they happen to be socializing in. I can only imagine what life was like then. I somehow picture it as so much more glamorous than today.