currently // june 2014

curently_june14

using… Dior Nail Glow. This is the best nail polish in the world. It is basically clear, but it has some magical property that makes the pinks of your nails become pinker and the whites become whiter. It also has a super-hard finish and lasts forever. Plus, you can just layer on another coat if it does start to chip. I seriously think this polish makes my nails look way better than any manicure and it is a lot easier and cheaper!

eating…. Tons of organic, local fruits & veggies. Travis and I joined the Local Roots CSA through his office, which means we get a random assortment of fruits and veggies each week, and meat and bread every other week. We’ve tried a lot of new things, like sorrel, quelites, tat soi, bok choy, and garlic scapes, plus the usual stuff like strawberries, apples, carrots, and beets. We’ve really enjoyed cooking a lot of healthy, tasty meals at home.

wishing for… this metal shelving unit from Room & Board. I need to drastically purge and organize my office, and this set of shelves will fit into a small space.

watching… Star Trek: Voyager. I’ve been working my way through the series whenever I have down time. (Usually, when Travis isn’t around. He doesn’t seem to love it as much as I do.) I watched it when it originally aired, but not religiously and not the final few seasons. At first it was too cheesy and I thought I wouldn’t finish it, but the series gets better and better. I am in Season 6 right now and will be sad when it is over! I love Tuvok. He reminds me of Travis.

working on… Swap-bot! Travis and I have been doing a LOT of work on the ‘bot to catch up from when we were away in Europe. Travis has been upgrading the backend infrastructure of the site and I just announced our new Ambassador program. I am excited about it and thrilled that we have so many excellent and enthusiastic members!

///

What are you up to this summer?

clutter love

I always thought I could create one of those beautifully styled homes you see in decor magazines. I know that they are not reality, but I still thought I’d be the one person who could make it a reality. Ha! In my actual reality, I have a love/hate relationship with clutter. I want a tidy home, but I love to surround myself with little tidbits that remind me of the people and experiences that I love.

This is my office desk area. It is craziness. Really. So many little things — hung on the wall, arranged on the shelves, stacked on books, and pinned to bulletin boards. I really worry people who visit will think I am a hoarder, but I actually do have a semi-successful organization system.

All of the things near my desk are reminders. Reminders of things I need to get done or reminders of people who make me happy. In this photo you can find representations of nearly every one of my family members, plus Swap-bot goodies, Team in Training memorabilia, and just plain, pretty stuff that I like to look at. I don’t think I’ll ever change my cluttered ways.

Decorate book signing

Last night, I attended the book signing event for Decorate, the new book by blogger, Holly Becker. Holly runs decor8, a home decor and design blog. I’ve been following decor8 for years and was excited to get my hands on a copy of the new book.

The book signing was held at the Anthropologie store in Soho, and I’d estimate that as many as 100 people showed up for the event. I purchased my book and then waited in line to get it signed. I had fun talking to BKLYN Contessa (Hi Nicole!) and her husband, David, while we waited. Cookies, wine, and sparkling water were passed around while we all chatted and exchanged business cards.

Holly was lovely and friendly when we made it to her. She has been on a grueling book signing tour across the country and this was her last stop. I am impressed she was still so upbeat and sweet.

I am also very impressed with the book. In the past, I’ve been disappointed by blog-to-book attempts, but Decorate is beautiful, professional, detailed, and huge — 288 pages of design ideas! I can’t wait to read every page!

I’d never make it in Starfleet…

So…. I read this article today. It is sort of about “mommy blogging,” but more specifically about a subset of female bloggers that happen to be Mormon and sort of happen to be perfect in every way. Perfect in every way on their blogs, any way.

I don’t really care for the predictable arguing that results from this type of article and plays out in its comments (“religious people are simple-minded” “nuh uh. liberals and feminists are jerks” …that sort of thing), but I can relate to a lot of the feelings expressed in the article, like how some more mainstream parenting blogs “make parenthood seem like a vale of judgment and anxiety,” and if the more perfect bloggers can “help women like me envision a life in which marriage and motherhood could potentially be something other than a miserable, soul-destroying trap, I say, ‘Right on.'” But that is not what I wanted to post about… I wanted to post about my low self esteem.

Do you think some people are fundamentally just better than others? I know that a blog is a curated view of a person’s life and that no one’s life is perfect, but some of these blogging women are just too much to handle. (And not just cheery mormons — the perfect woman comes in all types! Like her, and her, and her, and her, and her, and so many more I must stop myself before I go crazy.) Their perfection makes me depressed. How can they have a beautiful house, perfect clothes (some of which they make themselves and others that they carefully collected from adorable vintage boutiques), beautiful children and/or a fab career, home baked cakes, cute crafts, peppy parties, hipster husbands, and cute thick-rimmed eyeglasses, etc etc etc… plus, the lovely design sense, writing skill, and photography prowess to make it all look fantastic on the internet? I mean, I try. I’ve been blogging for over seven years, but I can’t make my life look that good.

It’s like on Star Trek — everything in life relates back to Star Trek, obvs — only the best got into Starfleet Academy. And everyone in Starfleet Academy was uniquely perfect in their own way. Of course, they were all physically and mentally superior to their peers, but they also had unique and intellectual hobbies, like horticulture or playing concertos on the violin, and they read Shakesphere or did Tai Chi in their spare time. I know, I know. Star Trek is just a tv show. But that is how I feel about these perfect lady bloggers. They are in Starfleet and I am just some lame colonist trying to scrape out an existence on some distant desert planet. ugh. I’m nearly 30. Shouldn’t I have grown beyond all of this self doubt and jealousy?

Speaking of turning 30, what else do I need for my party? These are the things I have planned so far:

Sounds like a party to me! (whew. That cheered me up a bit.)

midwest girl

This post is based on the blogging prompt “What do you like best about your hometown?” from IndieBizChicks’ September Blogging Special.

western Kansas prairie

The photo of the flat land you see above was taken in Western Kansas. Not exactly my hometown, but close. There is nothing I can do about it, I am a midwest girl – born in Saint Louis, raised in Kansas City, college in Iowa, vacations in Chicago – and everyone can tell. In New York, people go out of their way to tell me I am the most smiley person they have ever met, or that I am too polite, or that I am definitely NOT a native New Yorker. I just don’t think they were prepared for the midwest invasion…

I always wanted to explore the world. I had aunts and uncles who traveled nearly everywhere and I intended to follow in their footsteps, but now that I am away from my hometown in Kansas, I have definitely grown to appreciate it more.

A few of my favorite things about suburban Kansas City:

The wide open spaces.
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art where I had my wedding reception.
The running/hiking trails, which are remarkably flat!
The large and numerous movie theaters. (without bedbugs!)
Inexpensive real estate.
The Country Club Plaza.
The freedom to drive anywhere and buy lots of groceries!
My family! xoxo

There have got to be more…. what am I missing?!

I think the thing I like the very best about my hometown is just how comfortable it is. I guess that is what everyone would say about their hometown… even if it is bustling New York City!

p.s. I thought I should add, that while a lot of my personality traits could be traced back to my midwest upbringing, there are also a lot of ways in which I am not a typical midwesterner… my religious and political preferences being two of them. I guess it is never quite accurate to stereotype someone, even when the person I am stereotyping is myself!

p.p.s My brother, who lived for three years in far western Kansas, has informed me that you can’t see the Rocky Mountains from there… so the photo above may actually be from Colorado. (Travis and I have driven across the country twice and I didn’t label my photos extremely well.) So, here is a photo that I KNOW is from Kansas:

Prairie Dog Town in Kansas

party time. excellent.

partypeople

I have been threatening for over a year to have a party/open house at our “new” New York apartment, but the time just never seemed right… until yesterday. Travis and I finally invited our friends over for what I deemed our “Party in Park Slope.” Sounds pretty wild, right?

It turned out to be a really fun evening with a great mix of people. (Above is the group from Team In Training.) It was awesome having access to our roof because it allowed us to invite more people and really spread out. We also played some raucous Rock Band thanks to the generosity of Brian (second from the right above), who dragged his entire set over to our place. I would love to share the video I took of the band in action, but I’m afraid that certain people may never speak to me again if I do… so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

partyfood

I was nervous about what type of food to serve, this being my first New York City party, and all. I imagined that New Yorkers enjoy much more sophisticated food than what I was used to serving at midwest parties… but I went ahead and made the pigs in a blanket anyway. And, of course, they were a hit. Turns out, everyone loves pigs in a blanket. Also a hit, Baked by Melissa cupcakes. If you are having a party, get them. They are so cute and easy to eat! All in all, I think the food (and the whole party) was a success…

partyfood2

goodbye Subaru, hello new knee

ripsubaru

Life has been changing and moving quickly lately. On Saturday, we spent all day at the Handmade Cavalcade craft fair, then on Sunday we took an all-day trip to New Haven, Connecticut, to sell our car. Boohoo. I feel sad about it. We bought our 2004 Subaru Imprezza WRX about two weeks before our wedding in 2003. (The photo above is us driving off in the car after our wedding ceremony.) It felt like our kid, or maybe our home. We drove it across the country twice, and it had been our only car for five years. But for the last year here, in New York, the poor thing just sat parked on the street. We hardly used it (maybe driving 200 miles in the last six months) and Travis had to move it to a new parking spot twice a week. Yuck. Plus, the insurance was expensive. So, it is on to a new life via CarMax and we are car-less. It is a relief to not have to worry about it any longer, and after one last trip to the DMV we will be able to cancel our insurance. I do love extra money!

Early Monday morning we headed to the hospital (by hired car and driver) for Travis’ ACL reconstruction knee surgery. The Hospital for Special Surgery was fabulous and everyone there was very professional. You can read Travis’ thoughts on the experience on his blog. The surgeon said that the surgery went perfectly, and it seems like it did because Travis is recovering quickly. My only complaint is that it now falls solely on me to take Crusher down and up the three flights of stairs to our apartment every time he needs to go outside….

travissurgery

Life is good and all of the recent excitement has gone as smoothly as we could expect, but I am definitely ready for some downtime! If you need me, I’ll probably be taking a nap.

view from a NYC window

nycsnow

Another snow storm hit New York yesterday and it has been snowing non-stop for the last 24 hours, at least. It is really beautiful… especially since I get to stay inside and watch it through my window!

holiday motivation

newbedroom

I am not sure what got into me, but this morning I was suddenly motivated to clean our apartment and put up some holiday decorations. Usually, I am not very enthusiastic about either of those things, but today I dusted and vacuumed and decorated. I convinced Travis to help me rearrange our bedroom. I even hung a few pictures! I put Christmas decorations up around the freshly clean living room and hung a little garland on our bed.

I really love our new bedroom and am happy to have a clean home, but man! It took all day! I was worn out by the end of it all…. BUT, the good news is that my hard work paid off because the holiday fairies rewarded my good behavior by delivering the December issue of Martha Stewart Living to my mail box today. It is full of over-the-top holiday crafts and recipes! Fun!

Here is a close up of the holiday garland and new picture wall in our bedroom:

garland

the best things in life are free

us

We’ve been hanging out at home a lot these days. It is cheap and easy and fun. We make our own dinners, work on our websites, play with Crusher, and watch old episodes of Arrested Development. It is not exactly what I expected when we moved to New York, but it is just the way I like it!