Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Winter Times

Going into this winter, I feel like I'm actually prepared. Not just with clothes and things, but mentally, too. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the way we have the living room arranged, or all the plants I have around the place now, or the new tiny lamp we put on one of the bookshelves that has single-bulbebly transformed the entire room. Also, I started singing in a church choir again, so it could be those few hours each week where I'm just focusing on the notes on the page and my breathing, and not my phone or the dirty kitchen or the TV that's making a difference. Regardless, here are a few products that are also helping me out:
Dove STYLE+care Invigorating Dry Shampoo 
In an effort to save my skin and hair from the stresses of cold weather, I'm focusing on not showering every day and trying to wash my hair as little as possible. I have tried so many dry shampoos, ranging everywhere from $4 to $20, and this Dove dry shampoo is hands down my favorite - and the cheapest! It really makes my hair look and feel less oily, and I love the texture it creates. (My next favorite is Matrix, fyi!)
L'Oreal Colour Riche Nail Iconic Muse Collection
This one's for fun! This color looks exactly like that perfect army green jacket you were coveting all fall, but just as you were about to splurge it got really cold and all you wanted was a big coat. A little grey, mostly green - it's perfect.
Spectrum Naturals Almond Oil - 8 oz
This has been my mom's go-to moisturizer for as long as I can remember, and recently I've started using it, too. The first time we went to Cancun, my face flipped out the first night I washed it with a face wash, so this year I opted for cleansing with oil to remove the salt, sand, sunscreen, and sweat that had accumulated throughout the day, and it worked - no dry scaly breakouts this time! And it's so soothing in the winter, too. I use it all over my body and on my face and lips. (For my face, I made a mixture of almond oil, EVOO, and vitamin E oil and a tiny bit of essential oils.) Plus, I think it's helping my nails and cuticles.
My friend started making all-natural products this year, and now I swear by this sun balm. I put it on every morning that I'm not wearing Bare Minerals for protection from the sun and for moisturizing. It smells a little almond-y and I love it.
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, Fragrance Free - 2 oz
Just trust me on this one. Get yourself some Norwegian Formula Neutrogena. You can thank me later.

Monday, November 25, 2013

No pictures. Just a list. List of books. My favorite kind of list.

Here's a list of the books I've read this year, in no particular order, and I'm sure it's not the complete list:

1. World War Z by Max Brooks - So good. I read it surreptitiously all day on my iPad while at work. Took me 2 days. I've never been a "what if?" doomsday planner type of person, but you can't help but start to look around and take stock of your surroundings and wonder how long you'd last if an epidemic began to run rampant over the entire world, and how you'd try to survive. It's not so much a zombie book as it is a book about individuals, cultures, relationships, and civilization. <---worst description ever. The Oatmeal describes it perfectly, I think. {Conclusion: DO read!}

2. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill - I think I read it in one day. Pretty spooky, and really well done. I loved it! Spooky/ghost stories are totally my thing. Highly recommended. {Conclusion: DO read!}

3. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McReight - meh. {Conclusion: I mean, if you have nothing better to do...}

4. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka. J. K. Rowling - LOVED this one. Couldn't put it down! You will fall in love with the main characters so, so hard. {Conclusion: DO read!}

5. The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant - This is the book that the made the movie "Lawless" out of with Shia LeBouf and Jessica Chastain and a bunch of other people. I didn't like it (the book, I mean: I haven't seen the movie), but it wouldn't take much to tell the story better than this author did. He had good intentions and good material, but someone else could have probably done a better job. I slogged my way through this one and I'm not sure if I actually finished it. {Conclusion: Read something else.}

6. Serena by Ron Rash - This one was pretty cool overall. I think it could have been a tiny bit better, but I really mostly loved the writing and the characters. A friend described perfectly it as "Appalachian Gothic." Jennifer Lawrence is starring in the movie adaptation. It will be interesting to see her as a character to hate! {Conclusion: DO read!}

7. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles - This is one of those books where I wanted to underline every other passage, it was so well written. "It was as if America had launched the Depression just to teach Manhattan a lesson." The whole book was just unbelievably good. I read it on my Kindle in Cancun but I want to get a hardback copy to keep forever and ever. {Conclusion: DO read!}

8. A Mind to Murder by P.D. James - Not my favorite P.D. James that I've read, but still good. Adam Dagliesh has got to be one of the most well-written detectives out there. "Original Sin" was way better, but still, you've got to love James. {Conclusion: Just read everything P.D. James has written.}

9. Night Chill by Jeff Gunius - This one must have been a $0.99-er on Amazon or something, but I love reading scary stories, even if they aren't totally great. A little creepy, a little fun - I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but if you're like me and love reading for the sake of reading, then, whatever. {Conclusion: I mean, if you have nothing better to do...}

10. Dirty Weekend by Helen Zahavi - Jaw dropping. So entertaining. Dark and weird and icky and awesome. I don't even want to tell any of the plot at all, but I can say that Bella woke up one day and decided she'd had enough. READ THIS BOOK. (Also, I'm not sure what it says about me that I think everyone should read this, but I'm pretty sure I'm not a psychopath.) {Conclusion: DO read!}

11. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill - She's no Shirley Jackson, and I didn't think this was as scary as other people had reported, but maybe I read it too fast. Dracula is way better. Not that this has anything to do with Vampires, but as far as first-person recountings go, Harker wins. {Conslusion: I mean, if you have nothing better to do...}

12. Inferno by Dan Brown - Ugh. Seriously, I should have stopped with Deception Point and Angels & Demons. Don't read this. But do read this! {Conclusion: Read something else.}

13. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson - Larson uses primary sources to recreate the experience of the family of the Ambassador to Berlin in 1930's post-war pre-war Germany. Really incredible read, and makes you think hard about how you would have acted at the time with the information that was coming out of Germany at the time. {Conclusion: DO read!}

14. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - started off so good! But then the main character turned into another Bella Swan and turns completely daft and obsessed with her "angelic looking" vampire boyfriend. Or whatever he was. I don't remember, and I don't care to go back and find out. I also don't care to read the next two books of the trilogy. {Conclusion: I mean, if you have nothing better to do...}

15. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I can't remember now if I read this this year or last year, but it was a page turner! I read the first half on a Monday after work and as soon as I got home Tuesday I sat down and didn't move til it was done. I will definitely be re-reading this one before the movie comes out! {Conclusion: DO read!}

16. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - As soon as I finished the second one (see below) I turned right back to the first page of this and started them all over again. I can't get enough. I almost don't want the third one to come out because then it'll be over. {Conclusion: DO read!}

17. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - see above. I honestly can't say which one I like more. These are probably my two most highly recommended books ever. I've read them each at least 2.5 times now. {Conclusion: DO read!}

18. The Magicians by Lev Grossman - Grossman captures so perfectly what it's like to be an adolescent and young and bored and scared and curious. Yes, the kids go to a school for magic, but I assure you, this is no Hogwarts. {Conclusion: DO read!}

19. The Magician King by Lev Grossman - Just go ahead and read the both of them. The third is coming out (hopefully) next year. {Conclusion: DO read!}

20. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling - Mostly pretty funny. Read it, don't read it, whatevs. But DO watch the Mindy Project. {Conclusion: I mean, if you have nothing better to do...}

21. ROOM by Emma Donoghue - told in the perspective of a 5 year old boy who lives in the same world we're all in, but who perceives it totally differently for a very icky reason. I don't want to give it away, because I like how Donoghue slowly reveals bits and pieces about the boy and his mother's situation. {Conclusion: DO read!}

22. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - the movie's coming out and the trailers seem pretty close to the book, so I don't need to go into much detail. Just do yourself a favor and pick this up. (It's under $3 on Amazon for Kindle right now, if you're into that sort of thing!) {Conclusion: DO read!}

23. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - Read this for book club. So bad. All tell and no show, and it's one of those where I want to slap the author because she has no business writing (or selling!) books! {Conclusion: Read something else. Like, anything else.}

24. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - A friend was clearing out her book collection, so I re-homed 38 of them to help her out. This one I grabbed is YA Fantasy, and damn good YA Fantasy at that. Dragons, music, court intrigue - what more could you want? {Conclusion: DO read!}

Reading now:
1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - David gave me The Secret History really early in our relationship, so Tartt is kind of special to the two of us. He saw Goldfinch at Costco and picked it up! I started this last night and I'm already hooked.

2. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak - at the rate I'm going I'll finish this in about 8 years, but I think it'll be worth it.

3. Snow by Orhan Pamuk - I can't believe I haven't read any Pamuk yet, considering how close Turkey is to my heart, but he's a mesmerizing writer.

5. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

6. Sandman by Neil Gaiman - rereading this one, really. Kindle had a deal for the first volume so I snatched it up. It's my dream to someday have the entire (physical) collection.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

S&P Bison

Pewter Bison Salt And Pepper Shakers
...aaand I think this pretty much covers everything I could possibly want to register for...

Monday, September 16, 2013

On Belief and Breaking Bad

We ended a weekend of general carousing with a showing of The Faculty, that modern masterpiece starring Josh Hartnett's hair and Usher and ugly-but-then-she-takes-off-her-glasses Famke and John Stewart and Elijah Wood and Piper Laurie. You know the movie: aliens start taking over all the humans and it's up to the last two outcast high schoolers to save the planet. Everything about the movie was completely unbelievable, but we watched it all and accepted every silly, goofy little thing, right up until the point Josh Hartnett's character is dressed for football practice and not five seconds after taking off his helmet he takes a drag off of a cigarette that has just inexplicably appeared from out of nowhere. Was someone holding it for him? Where did he get a lighter out of those tight football pants? Why is it already half smoked? Will someone please explain what is going on here?

We're willing to suspend belief for such huge things that when the details don't match up they stand out as glaringly obvious. Last night's episode of Breaking Bad had just a few such moments:

1. How did Todd not see Jesse under the car? There are literally two places he had to look - inside the car and under the car. Todd was all "he probably ran down the wash. That's what I'd do." but if you really consider being in a shootout, I think it's pretty clear that you'd roll out of the car and try to make yourself as flat and inconspicuous and un-shootable as possible. So you get under the car. Todd's not that stupid, but I guess how else would the writers get Walt in a position to rat out Jesse?

2. I definitely need to re-watch, but I don't remember Jesse ratting out Marie. I thought he said "just him and his partner, that's it!" even though I can't really imagine Jesse having the guts or brains to protect Marie or anything like that.

I've been (pretending to be) mad at David for jumping on the Breaking Badwagon (see what I did there?) only at the start of this season. He hasn't known Tuco or the twins or Badger and Skinny Pete. He hasn't known Gale Boetticher and he didn't get to see Gus poison Mexico's drug lords with the tequila. He hasn't experienced the exploding tortuga. So it was not with a small amount of glee that I got to hear him ask last night "wait, who's Jane?"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kitten needs a home!

We found this poor, pathetic little creature crying and mrow!!-ing at 4a.m. on Saturday morning, curled into a ball mere feet away from the busy road behind our house! He's so adorable it's not even funny, and I want to find him a good home! Any and all help is welcome :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Best thing ever

Me and this guy.

We're getting married.

And it's the best thing ever.

Monday, April 8, 2013

spring muse

I saw this name in the obits recently:
variant on Aretha (Greek), meaning "excellent; righteous"

Doesn't it make you stop and say it out loud to yourself? 

Other beautiful names from the paper:

Monday, March 11, 2013

A list, of sorts

DVD I wish I hadn't lost:

If you're anything like me and you love books, literature, words, or stories, then you have to love Neil Gaiman. Sorry, but there's no other option. While I adore everything of his I've ever read, this is one of those rare instances where I actually think the movie is slightly more enjoyable than the book. This movie has it all - Peter O'Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Henry Cavill - hell, you've even got Ricky Gervais in there! The icing on the cake is Robert De Niro in a delightfully flamboyant turn as a not so tough ship Captain (the ships fly in the air and harvest lightening!) whose crew loves him so much they don't let on that they know how tough he isn't. It is honestly delightful.

Book I wish I could read again for the first time:
Gone Girl

I knew I wouldn't escape this one for much longer. I have yet to read a bad review, plus the author is from Kansas City so I felt obligated. I've had a copy since January but everyone warned me I would get sucked in and not be able to put it down, so I waited until I had a healthy block of free time to start. It's a good thing I did. I read the first half after dinner on Thursday and finished it after work on Friday. Oh. Em. Gee. If I hadn't been reading a loaned copy I would have underlined half the book with lines I found underlineable. I really don't think anyone but a Midwesterner could have written this book, which is definitely part of its appeal for me, but as the overwhelmingly rave reviews have proven, anyone and everyone will be sucked in by Amy and Nick's stories.

Something I need to learn how to do ASAP:

We're going to Colorado in 2 weeks and I have no idea what the hell to do.

Ordered online without trying on, hope it fits:
BR denim shirt (in tall!)
Because the one I bought at the Gap in 2008 is just now starting to fall apart. (Which doesn't mean I'm ever going to get rid of it or stop wearing it, of course.)

What I need to do right now:


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

...and then George Takei posted our snow creation on Facebook...

So, this last week has been ridiculous. For many reasons.

First off, the weather: it's been decades since Kansas saw the kind of snow we've had these last two weeks. In between storms we went to Lawrence and stayed the night with our friends Corey and Megan. After a lovely walk downtown for brunch at 715 we moseyed our way back, discussing the upside-down snowman Megan had dreamed of building. Which didn't happen. But something better did: Snowda

So, we built Snowda, posted some pictures on Instagram and Facebook for our friends to see, and that's it. Right? No. First, the local paper included a picture of Snowda along with some other amazing creations from around town. Then, the incomparable F*ck You, I'm From Kansas! posted a picture on their page. David and I kept updating each other last night with "did you see? It's been shared 500 times!" and "look! A thousand 'likes'! Fun!". THEN, this afternoon, this happened on Facebook:

It's basically the ultimate geek approval. Ever. We thought we were good when an 10 year old kid told us "yeah, it looks pretty cool" while we were building it (I mean come on, 10 year olds are super hard to impress!)  Pretty much the only way it could get better from here is if Ellen shares it or President Obama (in that order).

May the Force be with you!

Friday, February 22, 2013

starting to feel like home...

When I lived alone, on weekend nights that I didn't drive to be with D in KC or he couldn't get to me in L-town because of work or other obligations, I always managed to somehow stay up super late (after 11:00p is super late for me, to be honeest) bingeing (binging??) on netflixed TV, or making cookies or doing crafts or reading too many blogs (design/mommy/funny/wedding/funnydesignymommy) until late in the night, to the point that the dog would put herself to bed and I would begin to nod off at the keyboard.  I haven't really had many of these kinds of nights since moving to KC, because all the hours together are just better than the ones spent alone, but I still relish in the moments I have to myself because although they are to myself, I'm a mere few steps away to my loves in the other room rather than being 40 miles away from a complete heart. 

So tonight I felt like sitting up late by myself in the dark, catching up on online-y things, and post a few catching-up things for myself:

My brother's girlfriend adopted a one-eyed dog who is just about the cutest thing since sliced bread/my dog:

we got a record snow here in the midwest - D got a snow day while I worked and had meetings from home (Google hangouts - you're pretty great!):

snow day all day with my love:

I'm pretty sure the technical term is "snow zoomies":

FINALLY getting to utilize the amazing Sorel boots D got me for my birthday 2 years ago - they're the most amazing boots ever (paired with flannel and eddie bauer warmness for the victory):

And it's just about March, for the love of goodness. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


"Learning new things helps diffuse stress like nothing else. Instead of freaking out, see what you can be taught that will help you more forward. The end result is much more rewarding if you get there without unnecessary turmoil." - me, today, to myself.