Other Musings

Winter is here! (and I'm addicted to my phone.)

Geese a laying via courtney khailStumbled across these little guys on the way home from the grocery store yesterday. I then of course started singing the 12 Days of Christmas. Good thing I was alone in the car.

Hmm. November 6th was my last post? Where the heck has the month gone? To be honest though, I'm still getting used to writing "2013." Per usual, I bet I will finally get the hang of it come Christmas time. And then I will promptly have to change that to 2014 come January 1st! I accidentally wrote 1986 on a letter a month ago, which no only is really wrong, but is also kind of funny because that's when I was born. I must have been a really smart baby if I was already penning letters by 6 months old.

So let's see what has been goin' on.

Ski season started! Which for all of you that do not enjoy the snow, I bet that sounds miserable. But for me... someone who would happily do snow angels anytime I see snow if it wasn't for my paranoia at what is underneath the snow, well it just makes me super happy. Second only to fall, winter is my favorite. I love the fashion, and the traditions, and the music, and the food (I am kind of on a soup kick right now and I'm counting down the hours until I get to devour green bean casserole)... it's all amazing to me. Cap that off with glistening snow- which I personally feel makes everything magical and beautiful- and I am one happy girl. Winter also means that if you're having a hard time getting in touch with me, it's probably because I'm skiing. And seeing as I still have a hard time taking a photo on the mountain with my camera, likelihood is I'm not going to be making calls or checking emails. While I attempt to catch up once we're back home, I have to admit it's pretty nice to just check out for the day and not worry about the little "dings" alerting me to something new.

liam walsh cartoon for new yorker via courtney khailLiam Walsh cartoon for the New Yorker

Speaking of, did you read this New York Magazine article about the various ailments our phones/devices are causing? Separation anxiety, sleep deprivation, burnt thighs, pulled thumbs... it's crazy. After J. and I discussed my not remembering the last time I read a REAL book (I'll give Kindles, etc. a pass here- I'm talking about something non magazine, blog, Facebook, etc. related) I realized it was about time to turn off my phone/computer/etc. even more. I always thought I was really good at balancing it. I try never to check my phone when I'm with someone unless I have to and I can go hours/full days without even having it on me, but I realized that's really only when I'm away from home. When I'm at home and have free time, the first thing I do is pick up my phone. Or the ipad. Or turn on the tv. It's crazy and I'm trying to be more aware and present and selective with my time. Even if that means putting away/turning off everything and just making myself sit there and read. Or paint. Or cook. Pretty much ANYTHING besides falling down the electronic rabbit hole.

Which in my round about, kind of not related at all way, brings me to tomorrow!Two of our friends are hosting Friendsgiving at their place and I'll put my phone away (for the most part. I'll probably still use the camera) and just visit with everyone and stuff my face. (See above comment about green bean casserole.) Y'all have any plans for this weekend?

Things I'm Afraid to Tell You

via creature comforts

I’ve been lectured by strangers, been accused of being a broken woman, and been told I’ll never understand what true love is, all because of a decision my husband and I made after many (many) discussions. And while our family and friends already know (and for the most part accept our decision even if they don’t all fully understand,) it still never fails to surprise me how harsh we're usually treated whenever someone new hears it. So when Ez sent me an email about a blog concept entitled “Things I'm Afraid to Tell You*,” I knew exactly what I wanted to write about.

I just wasn't sure I had the courage to actually share it with you all because I wasn't sure how you'd would react.

You see, my husband and I made the decision not to have children. (And for all curious, yes we discussed this before marriage.)

I know we are not the only couple who has ever made this decision (I actually have friends and family members who have made the same one) but it seemed any time we'd tell someone, we were looked at like some kind of freaks. People didn’t understand why we'd choose that and many seemed really angry with us. They assumed that our decision meant we hated kids, that we didn’t think other people should have kids, or that we wouldn’t be happy for them if/when they had children of their own-all of which are completely untrue. (We’re actually really excited to throw showers and then spoil the crap out of our nieces or nephews- whether they are blood related or simply linked by love.)

And despite being completely secure in our decision, it’s still hard to have a stranger (or someone close to you) say that you and your husband are making a huge mistake, that we’ll change our minds (which side note, pretty much means that you don't think the person is capable of making decisions or that you'll gloat if they ever did change their minds) or interrogate us like we’d broken some kind of unwritten law.

But looking back, I'm actually really grateful for having experienced it (and I guess, continuing to experience it.) It's made me a stronger and more secure person, it's further strengthened my marriage, and it's taught me that not everyone will like what you do, who you are, or what you stand for, but that in the end you still have to be true to yourself. Which is exactly why I decided to share this with you all. Because whether you've been in my exact situation or just in a situation where you maybe felt attacked, judged or alone for following your heart, I wanted you to know you're not alone in the feeling. We've all been there to some extent.

Thanks for letting me share you guys and don't forget to go check out what everyone else wrote about too.

*The concept of "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" was inspired by this Jess LC's post, and you can read more about the it on Ez's blog after 1pm EST today, but the basic idea is to show a more realistic look into our lives- instead of the perfected versions that are often portrayed on the internet. The lives where our laundry isn't always folded and color coordinated, dinners aren't always spectacular and styled, and where we're met with real situations that aren't all rainbows and glitter.)

Have a wonderful weekend!

wouldn't this be amazing? via here

I've spent the day painting, sketching (and a short break to play outside because it it absolutely BEAUTIFUL today) but thought I'd stop in and wish all of you lovelies a wonderful weekend. I'll be splitting it up 50/50 with work and fun and maybe, if I want to get crazy, I'll take down our "New Years lighted tree." That is, unless it makes me too sad to say farewell to the holidays just yet and then I'll just add glittery hearts and say it's a Valentine's tree. That's completely normal, right? I mean, my sister hasn't taken her silver tree in like three years...

craving: red lips

Kate Bosworth in Instyle via here

I'm loving red lips this holiday season, and apparently I am not the only one. Red lips are everywhere! I've mentioned before that I can't just wear any ol' thing (thanks sensitive skin) but there is one brand without a doubt that I can wear every time. Which one you ask? No other than the beautiful lipsticks at Chanel. If the black and gold packaging doesn't get you, the wide range of colors should. I just picked up a tube of Gabrielle yesterday and can't stop admiring it. It's so bright and playful- perfect for the holidays!

And for all those out there that want the red pout, but can't stand it wearing off and leaving you looking like you just ate a messy Popsicle, try these easy steps.

1) Prep. Exfoliate your lips with a warm wash cloth to get rid of any flakiness.

2) Use a lip pencil. Do the edge, and then fill in the whole lip to create a "base. "(I can't always make myself to do this because I get lazy, but I promise it does make it last longer. Thing to remember though, is to never wear too dark of a liner. You can match it to your lipstick, but if you've chosen a dark shade, go one shade lighter with your liner. Otherwise you'll look like you're bringing back the 90's- and not in a good way.)

3) Apply. You get more pigment straight from the tube so don't feel like you have to use a brush. After the first layer, blot, and then reapply.

4) Powder. It seems kind of counter-intuitive, but adding a small amount of loose powder (use a big brush lightly) actually sets the color and doesn't dry out your lips. If you want to reapply color again, use a brush this time or it can come out cakey.

5) Protect your teeth. The only thing worse that the lipstick ring, is lipstick on your teeth. (Well I guess the only thing worse than that is no one telling you that you have lipstick on your teeth...) I think it was Cindy Crawford who first made this popular but the trick is to take your index finger, put it between your lips, pucker up and pull your finger out. Any lipstick that would have made it on your teeth is now on your finger.

6) Smile. Because like Audrey said, happy girls are the prettiest girls.

What about you all? Have any good tips?

We're back! and happy birthday

this perfectly describes J. (He is playing with a fountain on our honeymoon) via my personal collection

Hey everyone! We're officially back. We'll be taking the next few days to recoup and unpack (do you ever feel like you need a vacation after your vacation?), but recaps will start on Monday. I have so much to share with y'all!

Most importantly though, today is my husband's birthday!!! (!!!!) I cannot wait to celebrate with him. Happy birthday, honey!!

Hope you all have a wonderful labor day weekend. See you next week!

Guest Post: Chelsea from frolic

Chelsea's blog {frolic!} was one of the VERY first I ever read. (It was also the first blog I advertised on and the blog that sent me my very first really big order so I kind of have a soft spot for it.) I love how light and airy it was (and is) and it's still one of the blogs I make sure to check daily. Not only is Chelsea a fantastic blogger, but she's also an incredibly talented event designer and a commercial floral and prop stylist (and she does weddings so someone go get married and hire her- promise you will not be disappointed.)  And even though as of right now we haven't met for real (I'm writing this before the fact, but by the time it's published we will actually have met in person! Yay road trips and Portland!) I already consider her a friend. She's just that nice and real of a person. And cool. Did I mention she up and moved to Sweden for a little while? Yea. See what I mean? She's cool. Thanks for posting, Chelsea!

One of my warm weather rituals is to flee work and head to the park at dinner time. I take my food to the green grass and watch the sailboats on the river. The smaller boats are my favorite and I like to dream about owning one. But for now, they help provide a peaceful moment during busy days and a way to savor this short season. Happy summer!

Photos and post by Chelsea Fuss of Frolic!

Guest Post: Kathleen from the mirthmobile

The story of how I met Kathleen is one of the best examples of "wow, what a small world it is." You see, I found her then wedding blog on another site that my work had been featured on and every few days would find myself checking in to read how everything was going with planning. Around the same time, I went to watch soccer with my sister and two of her friends- one of which was Emily. Fast forward a few months and while looking through photos of Emily's younger sister's wedding on Facebook I realized that I'd already seen them. On Kathleen's blog. Because they were of Kathleen's wedding. So yea. All that time we were each reading a "strangers" blog, our sisters were actually hanging out in real life. Small world, right? Anyhow. When we found that out we quickly made lunch plans, went to Lavish together, and have kept in touch via emails, twitter, and the blogs all while trying to make real plans again sometime soon. So when it came to having a "blog friend" guest post, I knew I wanted to have Kathleen stop by since if it wasn't for her blog, (and our sisters) we'd never have become real friends to begin with. And if you haven't read her blog yet, go do that now.You'll thank me when her old timey Tuesdays bring back familiar childhood memories!

Hey y’all! I’m honored to be here guest-posting while Courtney is off with her husband exploring the open road. The only instruction she gave me was to write something that had to do with summer, so here goes!

One of the highlights of my summers has always been an extended-family beach trip to the coast of South Carolina. For as long as I can remember—with the exception of a few summers during our college years—we’ve decamped to a place called DeBordieu for a week with my dad’s cousins and their kids, who range in age from a year or two younger than me to a year or two older than my big sister. Sometimes my dad’s folks and his cousins’ parents came too. As much fun as these trips were back in the day, they’ve been even more awesome in recent years since we’ve all graduated to grown-up status and added a few hilarious spouses and adorable babies to the mix. The only drawback is that the bill we run up at the package store is markedly higher than it used to be.

After so many years vacationing together, we’ve developed a few hallowed beach traditions, most of them revolving around food. We aren’t going to the beach this year—the cousin calendars didn’t jive, alas!—since it's August (aka beach time) I’m bringing the beach to my place via this classic family recipe.

The quintessential DeBordieu crowd-pleaser is something we call Beach Nachos, usually served as an appetizer. They could not possibly be simpler, and they could not possibly be more delicious. You will need:

  • 1 bag Nacho Cheese Doritos
  • 1 hunk jalapeno jack cheese, grated
  • 1 small can green chiles

Doritos, really? you might be thinking. Yes, Doritos! Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. Plus, Beach Nachos carry the seal of approval of Aunt Connie, our family’s resident health nut, so they can’t be all that bad.

I digress. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the Doritos on a rimmed baking sheet or jelly-roll pan and sprinkle as much grated cheese as you like over the chips, followed by the green chiles. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt and some of the edges of the chips begin to brown. Remove the nachos from the oven, place the pan on hot pads in the middle of the table, and get the hell out of the way lest your arm get taken off by the hungry masses!

Of course, just as cookies are for the recently health-conscious Cookie Monster, Beach Nachos are a sometime food. That’s part of what makes them so special—and also what makes it okay to ravenously wolf down fake-cheese chips covered in actual cheese a few times every summer.

*all photos via Kathleen