Tuesday, December 30, 2008

music to my ears…

the lovely craigslist piano. Isn't she beautiful?
(and the ivories are yellowish because they are real ivory with the wood grain look and texture which apparently is very unique)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

card sentiment

Over Thanksgiving, Mark and I cleaned out the last few things from my parent's house in Kansas City. It was just a couple boxes on the shelf in my old room's closet. They were quite a treasure trove of my collected junk over the years. Among them are my rock collection, my shell collection, my McDonald's Barbie figurine toys collection, my coffee sleeve collection and random assortments of papers from elementary school to college. Apparently, I enjoy(ed) collecting things. This phase of mine has seemingly passed as now I tend to pitch things faster than anyone can blink. I usually figure that if I take too long to decipher my or Mark's feelings for something, we may keep more junk than we need. And I'm from a home that has had several generations' sentiments move in and collect in every available shelf and box. So I enjoy throwing things away more now.

With this in mind, I come to the point of my ponderous post, my largest collection that I have yet to rid myself of… greeting cards. It has recently been brought to my attention that they are an obsession for me. And I must admit it is true. Ever since I was little I have kept every card I have ever received. I have thrown out a few along the way depending on their attached sentiment or my enjoyment of the card, but that has only been a handful or two of cards over my 24 years of life. I have a lot of cards. Mark eyes them skeptically and questions what I want to do with them and I honestly don't know. I just love looking through them. When I was very little, my mom started a card scrapbook for me and I still have that and love to look through it over and over again. I would need several more books now to hold all my cards. So, what do I do with them? I have no idea, but I love my cards.

Monday, November 03, 2008

a first anniversary

It doesn't seem possible that it has been a whole year since Mark and I got married and started this crazy new life. We went away this weekend to a cabin near Sevierville. It was beautiful, not only because of the colorful trees and silly heart-shaped jacuzzi, but also to just get away and think back. Although it sounds so strange to say we have been married a year, when we stopped and talked about all the things that have happened this year it seemed like it should have been much longer. Between the move to Knoxville, the job search, the church search, learning the grown-up way to make friends and the house purchase—I get a little overwhelmed just thinking about it. It has been a crazy but wonderful year. I wouldn't have asked for anyone different to share it with. Here are a few snaps from this weekend. Although they are not the best photos, I think they are lovely.

And yesterday, our actual anniversary, while I spent 6am to 4pm decorating Pottery Barn for Christmas, I received a beautiful bouquet of daisies with a single rose from my sweet husband.

What a lovely year.

Monday, September 22, 2008

happy birthday to me!

Mark made me a delicious cake. I got some amazing presents from family including Juno and special Maryland coffee. And Mark and his parents got the lovely apple green raincoat for me. Yay for being 24!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

a great Saturday

The house is wonderfully clean, the windows are open, a delicious fall candle is burning and a Billie Holiday record is playing loudly throughout the house. Who could ask for anything more?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

back in the saddle again… sorta

Last week I started working 3 days a week for a studio that I've been doing freelance work for. 20 hours a week through the month of September. It's been really great to be back in an office, interacting with real people, and getting a paycheck a little more regularly. It's also been a strange switch. I'm back to a schedule now, meaning I have to actually get up in the morning, think about appropriate work clothes, pack a lunch, and attempt to be on time. I had forgotten how tiring it is to actually sit at a desk for hours straight, and my eyes are really showing the wear of it. The past several days my eyes have taken turns being incredibly bloodshot and tired. It's a great way to show up to work.

I'm really enjoying this opportunity and yet am so shocked at how quickly I can fall behind in the work environment. It's only been 10 months since I was at a desk job and yet, I feel the change of schedule hugely. I also have incredibly tight deadlines, which is great for my creativity but adds to the stress. I'm pretty sure I didn't ever have such tight deadlines at SCLE, but so far thankfully I've made them here. It's been a good feeling to have something productive to do 3 days a week, although the house is not looking so good and Mark and I actually ran out of some much needed clean clothing yesterday. I'm still figuring out the balance of work and home stuff. It's nice to feel useful again. And yet, it is difficult to balance that with the knowledge that this is temporary.

All this work waiting that I've had since I got married and moved has really lead me to realize how job focused our culture is. I've been amazed at how many people's first question to me is "what do you do?" and then followed by "where do you work?" Actually, worse than that, has been the drop in conversation when I've said I'm working from home, or I'm an independent designer, or I'm looking for a position. I constantly get the impression that I suddenly lost value and interest when I "confessed" that I don't have a job. Lately, it has been worse. Several people will ask "have you found a job yet?" and then follow it with a brilliant idea that I should apply for secretarial work at some place and then maybe I'll be promoted to a design position or something else. Coming up with pleasant responses to this has been difficult. My head usually follows a train of thought similar to: "Hmm, that definitely wouldn't work in the design world. And oh, that makes me feel great, as you are basically saying I must not be good enough for anyone to be interested in as a designer, so perhaps I should look for something else. Forget about that Design degree I worked so hard for and oh, it couldn't possibly be that the economy sucks right now and no one is capable of hiring." Thankfully I've successfully kept these thoughts to myself, but I'm beginning to feel as if I'm not allowed to not have a job unless I'm a stay-at-home mom, which we're definitely not ready for and I'm definitely not sure I want to give up design when we are. I was thinking about Spain the other day and how the first questions people ask you there are how your family is. I miss that. Why are we so focused on what you do and rank your value according to that? There is so much more to a person than what they can do.

Well, for now at least, I have an accepted answer to the questions. And, I'm working on that continued patience as apparently I'm supposed to be in temporary stuff for a while. I enjoy it, the insecurity just gets to me every once in a while. I need to remember that my value however does not lie in whether or not I have an acceptable job. But, there's a little mailer brochure calling to me right now which desperately needs to be finished before 5. Off I go, little designer that I am…

Monday, September 15, 2008

the time of year to buy school supplies and pumpkins

(As a side note, I have not been intentionally neglecting my blog this time. My little 6 year old ibook decided to have a lot of issues last week including the battery refusing to charge past 32% and eventually the power cord smoking and burning a hole through itself. As I use that computer more than any other, I just haven't sat down to write or catch up on my friends' blogs. So, here I am, for now at least. Hopefully the new battery will arrive today…)

I love fall! It is my most favorite season. I love the clothes, the smells, the foods, the school supplies, and the list could go on. This morning, I almost pulled out my sweater box but decided I should wait at least one more week. Yes, it is a wonderful 75 today and has that brilliant fall coolness to it, but I'm not quite convinced that it will stay.

I also love the month of September. Such a lovely month. Not only does fall officially start in September, but my birthday also comes. I love birthdays! It's silly and I've always suspected that I would grow out of it considering no one in my family really cares about their birthdays, but here I am, 5.5 days away from turning 24 and I am so excited! Anytime I think of something special that could happen around my birthday, I always sing a quick little part of the birthday song, "happy birthday to me" and Mark just laughs and rolls his eyes. Birthdays are so fun. Sometimes I wish I was still a kid so I could tell people it is my birthday or that my birthday is in 5.5 days. Not to get gifts, I just want them to know.

Last year was a terrible, horrible birthday. Mark was already living here in Knoxville and was supposed to come to Arkansas for the weekend. The night before he was to leave, he got really sick and couldn't make it. Terrible. On top of that, no one at my work remembered my birthday, even just to say a "happy birthday" and that night, I ended up calling some friends to go out for dinner since I couldn't bear the thought of eating leftovers alone in my apartment. It was such a dreadful day.

This one is already turning out amazing and it is not even here yet. I've already received several gifts and know of one that I'll get on that actual day. My in-laws gave me a few gifts when they were here, and they also gave me some money for whatever else. So spoiled! It has been so fun to order some of the silly things like a movie or cd that I've been wanting for a while, but haven't wanted to spend the money on as there are many other married and house things that we need.

So my birthday weekend, as Mark decided we would call it, is going to consist of P.F. Chang's dumplings, funfetti cake, Juno, and probably at least part of You've Got Mail. Not to mention that one gift that Mark has been hiding from me for a couple weeks now. I feel like I'm 6 again! 5.5 days!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


As a child, I remember my parents requiring head protection anytime I desired to ride around our neighborhood and even as a small child, I remember being embarrassed by the dreadfully unfashionable look of typical helmets. Really, it is nearly impossible to not feel like a complete dork when riding around in a traditional helmet. And then, in high school, I went through a big rollerblading phase. I spent hours playing and thinking about playing street hockey, which is an incredibly cool and fun sport, and, being the ridiculously competitive person that I am, often a bit dangerous. Not only was it difficult to not be dorky on a regular basis while making it through the horrendous puberty years of high school, but add in trying to play such a cool sport as hockey while wearing a hideous and obstructive helmet. And, typically, I was the only girl on our street who played. (Somewhere I missed the memo as a teen that I was supposed to get into clothes and makeup and talking about boys like the other girls in my neighborhood. I instead was the athletic and rarely feminine girl on our block.) Luckily, my mother took pity on me at some point and stopped nagging me to wear head protection as long as I kept the knee pads and often wrist pads (which I started wearing on my own anyway, since I was tired of slamming the pavement and nearly killing my wrists). Thankfully, I think my mom understood my need for limiting dorkiness as much as possible. Not to mention the nasty, sweaty helmet hair that always resulted.

But now, they finally come out with something that at least attempts to mask the ugliness of helmets.

It's about time. I'm sure they are probably still a bit clunky, but at least they have a tendency towards fashion instead of ignoring it completely. I would wear one, too bad my bike got stolen back in Arkansas. Mark's did too. But maybe someday, when we can afford to repurchase some bikes, we will add these helmets to our cart. Thanks to AT (one of my favorite design blogs) for bringing these to my attention.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


maybe we will have a Red and White Irish Setter

for now, I'll just look at them online.

pictures from www.irishredandwhitesetterclub.org and www.dogbreedinfo.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ode to the raincoat… and that beloved Oreo bedspread

There is a quite a lovely rain falling today. It tends to put me into that You've Got Mail, ponderous sort of mood. I feel the need for a nap, but I also want to make some cookies. I'm not sure which will win out right now. Unfortunately with the rain comes my thoughts towards a certain apple green raincoat that I fell in love with at the Gap Outlet a few weeks ago. I could not buy it as our present state of finances does not allow much room for silly clothing purchases, but alas, I cannot forget that coat. Although I cannot purchase it, I've searched for it online and at our local Gap store in hopes of seeing it again, but no, it can only be found on that little rack in the Sevierville Gap Outlet. It is very rare that I come across something in a store which I regret not being able to buy immensely and cannot seem to forget about it for several weeks. I hate these random materialistic obsessions. This will probably turn in to the same story as the Oreo bedspread I didn't buy for my first year of college. Yes, I'm still sorry about that non-purchase 6 years later. I loved that bedspread and matching throw pillow. I'm sure I'm a better person because I don't get what I want all the time, but it really sucks when something sticks with me and I regret not being frivolous every once in a while. Perhaps I'll make cookies.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

our house is a very, very fine house…

And finally some pictures of our lovely little home. There are more on my facebook if anyone wants to see the whole place, but here are some of my favorites:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'll pass this on too

I recently stumbled across this video while reading a design blog. I decided I would put it on here too, not only to share, but so I can find it again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

it's funny that salt makes me smile

I just love the Morton Salt brand. It's silly really, but every time I see it's vintage design and lovely illustration, it just makes me feel nostalgic and smile. It was created in 1914 and there really aren't that many logos out there that have lasted as long as Morton Salt's, although the little girl has gone through changes of her own. The tagline: "When it rains, it pours" is something that I find to be very unique, considering I don't think I would have thought of rain when advertising salt. It is just lovely, and I'm confident that it will continue to be so.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

somedays I wish I had my own cooking show…

but I'm definitely not a good enough chef, I just pretend. This however is a post about how I made my slow cooker lasagna today. It is a delicious recipe and I decided it was time to take pictures. Since the pictures turned out fun, I decided to post them. And since I figure whomever sees these pictures might want to try the recipe themselves, I decided to write out the recipe steps and make it my version of a cooking show on my own blog. So, here it is…

| recipe originally from Real Simple
2-28 ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
Kosher salt & pepper
16 ounces fresh ricotta
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
12 ounces dry lasagna noodles
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems removed & torn into large pieces (I use baby spinach instead, since I can never find Swiss chard)
12 ounces mozzarella, grated

chopped parsley, oregano, garlic, and cut up baby spinach

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper

In another medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parsley, Parmesan, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Spoon 1/3 cup of the tomato mixture into the bowl of the slow cooker.
Top that with a single layer of noodles (break them as necessary).
Add half the Swiss chard (or baby spinach).
Dollop with a third of the ricotta mixture and a third of the tomato mixture.
Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella.
Add another layer of noodles and repeat with the other ingredients.

Finish with a layer of noodles, remaining ricotta, tomato mixture, and mozzarella.

Set the slow cooker to low and cook, covered, until the noodles are tender (2 hours).

It is delicious! Try it if you want. Usually only takes about 25 minutes to put it together. Of course, you can always come visit us and request that I make it…

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ikea, guests and oh my… the Olympics

I love Ikea! It was such an incredible experience. We probably could have spent a couple days there, but ended up going twice, stopped on the way up to Maryland and on the way back home. And yes, we bought a guest bed. It was a tough decision, but ultimately we bought the best priced one. I would put up a picture of it, but our guest room is in use for the first time by my parents. It has been a bit of a whirlwind since the trip. We got home around 9 on that Sunday night. Monday, I finished painting the trim in the guest bedroom and bath. Monday night, Mark and I purchased a mattress at a local store, spent some hard work putting the bed up, and finally got the guest room together. Tuesday, I hung pictures throughout the house, cleaned like crazy and got some groceries. And Tuesday night, my parents arrived from Kansas City. Our first guests!

This weekend we took them around Knoxville and saw some of the fun sights. We also went to the Tennessee Theatre and saw the 1937 movie It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. It was so much fun!! The movie was hilarious and even better since majority of the audience probably saw it when it first came out in 1937. The Tennessee Theatre is incredible in itself. It was built in 1928ish and is simply beautiful and historic. We also took them up the Sunsphere, which always gives me a headache, but is a fun outing.

We've been watching a lot of the Olympics this weekend too. The opening ceremonies were so great. But last night took the cake. If you missed the 4x100 men's relay swim, then you missed something amazing! Michael Phelps is the first leg of that relay, but the anchor Jason Lezak dominated. It was the best Olympic experience for me so far. I was jumping up and down and screaming. Watch it, seriously. I love the Olympics!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the long road ahead

I'm tired. The house is still quite a mess, but I'm tired. I've taken two hour long naps today, not a two hour nap, but two separate times of one hour naps. I am however very proud of how lovely the house is coming together. Mark rebuilt the shelves in our closets last night and he did an incredibly impressive job especially with him being new at this whole home improvement thing. I'm so happy to finally have a usable closet after living here over a week. My clothes now have a home too. Our bedroom is officially done now. We put our headboard up this weekend that we've been making for a couple of months now and that really helped to tie the room together. Other rooms still have a little ways to go. We don't have anything hanging on the walls yet, which is starting to bug me, but we'll get that started soon. Probably tonight. We paid our first mortgage payment yesterday so it's all starting to sink in.

The title of this post however doesn't really have anything to do with our house. We are leaving for Maryland early tomorrow morning. Very early. It is an eleven hour drive and we are going to make it there by tomorrow night. Yes, we will make it! I'm looking forward to the weekend in Maryland (we're driving back Sunday). We're going to Mark's friend's wedding, meeting his aunt, and going to chill with his Grandma whom I love dearly. Not to mention that I get to shop with his mom and probably clean out his old room. Should be fun. But, the thing I'm looking forward to the most is our stop at Ikea on the way. I've never been to an Ikea before and we discovered that one is directly on route in Woodbridge, Virginia. This is very exciting. I've heard it is quite an experience. I have a wishlist for Ikea, but the budget is not going to support all the purchases we crave, so hopefully there will be more stops in the future. I must come home this trip with a bed for our guest room. We need one. We like theirs. But we refuse to pay almost the price of the bed in shipping. So, Ikea here we come. Back in a couple days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

can I just lick the walls?

Last weekend, Mark and I finished painting our master bedroom in the new house. We move in Saturday, and as we have a platform bed, we really wanted the bedroom done so we could setup the bed and not have to paint around it. We did some great horizontal stripes (I'll be putting pictures up sometime in the future). The bottom stripe is this gorgeous deep brown color that reminded me so much of fudge. Every time we poured it into the paint trays I really wanted to taste it. Over the course of the painting, I started wondering what it would be like to paint with chocolate. Then I could just taste the walls whenever I needed a chocolate boost. The practicality of it isn't there, but I'm sure someone like Willy Wonka could have done it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

a little introspection

I have always thought blogging to be intriguing and yet a little bizarre. I have had this blog for many years now and cannot call myself an avid blogger as my times of writing are always few and far between and most often I don't really enjoy it. I do however, read several people's blogs daily. Most being people I know or know through someone and find relatively interesting, or some just being design blogs by pseudo well-known design people. This morning I stumbled across an old acquaintance's blog and skimmed it for content to see if I was interested in reading it. This is where I found an article from the New York times by a used-to-be-public blogger. It is very long and I did not intend to read it all, but I did. I found it to be interesting, thought-provoking, and a little sad. It blows my mind how far this blogging practice can be taken and how it is used societally to share gossip, stalk people, and as this article seems to think—turn into a way to comment and ridicule someone else without even having to know them. I'm not against blogging by any means, I've just never quite understood why people take it so far.

Turning back to my personal story on blogging, I feel like a phony. Somehow, I enjoy writing on my blog on rare occasions even though I don't think anyone actually reads it anymore. And I don't know that I really care if they do or not. Of course, it would be nice if someone found me interesting enough to follow, but I don't really set myself up well for that. And I don't think there is a chance of me being very interesting in blog-form. I know myself to be more of a sit-and-have-coffee-with type.

I keep stopping and staring off into space attempting to figure out why I keep this blog and continue to post when I don't think anyone reads it except perhaps my husband on the rare occasion that he thinks about its existence. I never enjoyed or felt the need to journal or write in a diary. Oh, I had plenty of diaries growing up, but none that have more than 1-5 posts in them. I always received diaries for everything. It seems that a large majority of women, especially an older generation, finds diaries and journals to be necessary to everyday life and hoped to urge me to write my random daily activities down for someone many years from now to find and read. I think I received 3 for engagement gifts—none of which I used. I wanted to. I do find the idea of them nostalgic and almost beautiful, as I would greatly enjoy coming across my now passed grandmother's diary, but every time I sat down to start this journalling thing, nothing I had to write down seemed remotely within the categories of nostalgic, beautiful or readable.

And yet, when I do want to write, I keep coming back to the blog. Perhaps it is because I am of the technological generation and I prefer typing to writing. I've always appreciated the quote from "You've Got Mail" when Meg's character says "Good night dear void." Or maybe it has something to do with me getting tired of so many diaries piling up in the bookshelf with only a few pages written in. Maybe I do want some sort of documentation of my existence over the years. Or maybe this is just my way of actually verbalizing thoughts sometimes, especially those that I would not be able to communicate well in person or would have anyone that might find the verbalization compelling. No matter what, here I sit, writing yet again in my unpatterned way and wondering why I do.

Friday, June 27, 2008

what's going on

1. I have a freelance job with a design studio here in Knoxville. It's so nice to finally be designing again. I finished one job for them last week and they contacted me again today to offer me another one. Looks like the start of a beautiful friendship.

2. I may have a job offer next week for a full-time position. I interviewed with them 2 weeks ago and they really liked me. They had a position possibly opening up July 1, so that's what I'm waiting to hear about. Here's hoping…

3. We just bought a house! Yes, I am now a homeowner. We are going to eat dinner at the empty house tonight and I'm going to take some pictures so perhaps they will be posted soon. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, but it is so exciting. It is such a darling little house. I can't wait to start painting! Pictures coming soon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a lapse in information

I was skimming over my past few posts and realized I forgot to mention that I got married in the past 5 months. Big thing. Sorry I forgot that little tidbit. So, married and now living in Knoxville. A quick sum of things I forgot.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

and it's up!

After several weeks of excruciating work, I finally have my personal website up and running: my website
Let's hope it does the trick of getting me a job…