Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have a real spirit of Christmas.

~ Calvin Coolidge

Merry Christmas! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday! May the spirit of the season stay with you all year long.

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 18- A Saying, Quote or Scripture

{image from pinterest}

This is the Holstee Manifesto. I first came across it about a year ago. It was features on several bogs that I read: Elements of Style, La Dolce Vita, and more.

There are so many inspirational quotes out there in the blogosphere, and as you can tell, I like most of them. Choosing just one quote was not an easy task. Here's what I like about this one- it's big. It's not just about love, it's not just about getting ahead on your career, it's not just about surrounding yourself with the people who bring out the best in you. It's about all of that, and that's what I find appealing.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 17- A Store

It seems like an interesting thing to be thankful for- a store. In a time when we're all paying so much attention to the way we spend and how we spend, it's nice to take a moment and be thankful for the ability to spend at all. We could be in a very different place than we are right now, and I'm very grateful for all that the Big Guy and I have achieved and all that we're able to do. We work hard, and sometimes we take our opportunities for granted.

In thinking about a store that I love, there's one that comes to mind right away. Anthropologie. I love their mix of home decor, clothing, kitchen accessories, jewelry and shoes. Some of my favorite pieces have come from their store, and some of the pictures that are most inspiring to me in terms of home design and fashion come from their catalog.

Some of you may remember the frames that are a floating headboard in our 3rd bedroom- well all of the images in those frames are actually pages from old Anthropologie catalogs.

There's something about the store that I seek out every time I'm in a mall that has one. I love the atmosphere they've created, and I love being able to bring that into my home as well.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Big Guy Studies the Classics

In the under thirty crowd these days you can get a strange look from your friends for ordering a dirty martini or a Manhattan. It’s partly due to the atmosphere of most bars we are in. Once you get past the post college blackout phase, you start thinking a lot more about what sort of atmosphere you enjoy. You start looking to nicer places and all of a sudden the drinks of our parents and grandparents become way more common.

To give your home that grown up atmosphere, you need to learn of a few of the classics.

2.5 oz of gin or vodka
.5 oz dry vermouth

Shaken over ice and put in a tall martini glass, (Yes you should have martini glasses at your disposal). Garnish with an olive, pickled onion or lemon twist. To go Dirty just add a half oz of olive juice.

Big Guy’s Manhattan
3 oz bullet bourbon
1 oz sweet vermouth
.5 oz maraschino cherry juice
A dash of bitters

Shaken over ice and put into a highball glass (or a martini glass if you feel dashing) Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

White Russian Brought to you by the dude…
3 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz Kahlua Especial
1 oz half and half

Fill an old fashioned glass halfway with ice. Pour the vodka in first, then add the Kahlua. After that add the half and half and a stir straw. Stir and enjoy.

Long Island Iced Tea This is the frat punch that doesn’t make it look like you are still in college
1 oz clear rum
1 oz gin
1 oz vodka
1 oz white tequila
1 oz triple sec
1 oz lemon or lime juice
2 oz cola

Fill a tall sling style, or double high ball glass with about a third of the way full with ice. Mix the liquors in the glass with a long bar spoon. Add the cola and lemon juice last. Garnish with a lime or lemon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 16- An Experience

If you want change: choose it, leap, act. Don't wait for life to happen to you. Make things happen.
~ via Making Things Happen

The summer after my junior year in college, I had an internship with a small theatre company. In London- Chickenshed Theatre.
It was an amazing experience, one that I wouldn't trade. At first I was nervous, I wasn't sure that I'd get into the program- it was  a study abroad program with Purdue. I think there were about 20 of us who went, and all of us worked with different companies. The way the program was structured, we had two days with class in the morning and four days a week we were working either all day or just in the afternoon.

That left us with 3 day weekends every weekend. Amazing. I spent a weekend in Paris where I actually woke up to the sounds of an accordian playing La Vie en Rose. I swear. I backbacked through Scotland and Ireland.

The theatre company was amazing. Their philosophy is that the arts should be inclusive and that everyone has creativity in them, they just need an opportunity to express that creativity. You can dance in a wheelchair, you can sing a beautiful song even if you can't talk. You can read more about them and what they do on their website. It's amazing.

I'm itching to plan a trip back. I'd love to show the Big Guy where I lived and where I spent my time that summer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 15- A Recipe

We try a lot of recipes. The Big Guy and I like food. We like all kinds of food. My favorite things to cook tend to be comfort food. Thick sauces, pastas, rich flavors, aromas that fill the whole house. Here's one of those recipes. Really easy to make, but delicious and plenty of left overs.

It's baked rigatoni pasta in a tomato-vodka-cream sauce with ground turkey. I can't post the actual recipe, because the cookbook I have it in is still in print. I'm pretty sure that's less than legal. But I do have a lot of pictures from the last time I made it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 14- Something New

If I'm honest, I have to tell you that I still read fairy tales and I like them best of all.~ Audrey Hepburn

My something new is a collection of Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales. This book is one of the latest additions to my collection of the Penguin Clothbound Classics, with cover designs by Coralie Bickford-Smith. Not only do they look great on the shelf, but the list includes some of my favorite titles. Adding this book to the collection is also progress on Goal 36.

{image from}

30 Days of Thanks: Day 13- Something Old

I got a little out of order on this one, but that's ok. My something old is my teddy bear.

I've had him since I was a baby. His fur is worn and his nose came unravelled on a regular basis. From my perspective, that just adds to his charm. Sure I'm 30, but there's something about that bear that just makes me smile. Lots of good memories.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 12- A Gadget

This is my kindle. I was totally the girl in the commercial who's all "no I don't want to give up actual books" and then falls for the kindle. Don't get me wrong, I still love books and will never give them up entirely. There's something about the feel of the pages and the binding and the smell of a brand new book that I love. (Yes, I'm a giant dork for writing that. That's not news.)

Now I can be a bit more selective about what actually sits on the shelf. A nine volume Hemingway collection with ivory cloth binding and gilded lettering on the spines? Of course that can be on the shelf! A trilogy written for young adults about a secret troll society and their princess who doesn't know that she's a princess with incredible psychic powers? Ummm, I maybe don't need to be seen carrying that one around. (It's the Trylle series by Amanda Hocking in case you're wondering and it was FANTASTIC.)

Plus, if I'm ever on an episode of hoarders, it will be because of books. That tiny little thing holds up to 1,000 books. Challenge accepted. I think it'll be easy to get to that number with the help of sites like Pixel of Ink, a blog that posts great deals and free downloadable books for the Kindle and the Nook. Some are great, some are not, but when they're free I'm willing to give them a try.

If you haven't tried one out, I highly recommend it. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 11- A Tradition

Today is Veteran's Day, so it seems fitting that the tradition I'm thankful for is our military. I find myself humbled on a regular basis by those who choose to serve our country and protect our ideals and our freedoms. As the daughter of an Air Force veteran and the grand-daughter of Navy veteran, I am immeasurably proud today. I'm proud of them every day, but today I get to take a few minutes out of my day and really think about all that they've done.

So to all those soldiers and their families- Thank you. The sacrifices you make are not easy, but they are appreciated. Though we frequently take them for granted, we would be lost without the opportunities provided to all of us through your sacrifices.

{image found via pinterest}

Big Guy’s Bar Etiquette

Every man should be prepared. They should have flashlights with batteries if the lights go out. They should have cold weather gear in their car in case they have to change a flat in the winter. Likewise, a true friend keeps his bar fully stocked. This way when company comes he is ready to entertain at a moment’s notice.

Stocking a bar in college was easy, all you needed was a handle of Captain Morgan and whatever cheap vodka was nearby. Often both of these items could have been kept in the freezer. Now that we have jobs and careers the bar says a little bit more about you. It reflects on if you are a reserved and sophisticated or looking to party at the drop of a hat.

First, start with the basics. I believe a liquor cabinet should have a bottle of rum, a bottle of whiskey, a bottle of vodka, a bottle of gin and a bottle of something fun like tequila or cognac. When setting up your bar you should think about everyone you might have over. I keep a high end bottle of bourbon in case my dad comes over. I also keep a honeyed whiskey because I know it is on of my friend’s favorite.

Making sure you have the basics, and then adding a few fun pieces helps show your guests that you no longer live in the fraternity basement. You can go from classy to trashy depending on who you are hosting.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 10- A Time of Day

There's something about the quiet of the evening, right around sunset that pulls me in. I think it's got something to do with that transitional time of day.

For me it's a break between work and school. It's a few minutes to sit clamly and relax before moving on to the next thing on what can at times be an overwhelming to-do list. It's time where I can just be with the Big Guy and not be thinking about what's just been done and what's next. There's something very relaxing and almost zen about it all.

Sadly, it never lasts quite long enough. Too soon I'm jarred back into reality and am moving on to the next thing that needs to be done.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 9- A Blog

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
~ Mother Teresa

There are a lot of blogs out there in the world. The list in my Google Reader seems to get bigger all the time. Every now and then, a blog really stands out for one reason or another. In this case it's because I know the blogger and have come to think of her as a good friend. Her name is Lindsay, and her blog is the one that inspired me to do this 30 Days of Thanks series that you're reading. This is her blog. She's funny, she's stylish, she's great at what she does, and she's a great friend. Basically, she's the type of woman I want to be when I grow up.

Lindsay is one of several women that I met on a popular wedding planning board a  few years ago. The only thing that we had in common at the time was the month we were all getting married- October 2011. I don't think I knew what to expect at the time, aside from a place to go and share all the little details of the planning with people who would be just as interested and making some of the same decisions at the same time. It saved my friends from conversations about the best napkin colors and whether the sash on the chair should be tied in a bow or a simple fold. (Black and a simple fold in case you're curious.)

Somewhere along the way, these women became more than just names on posts, and we found that we had a lot more in common beyond the weddings. We've been there for each other through some of life's biggest moments- marriage, divorce, births, infertility, death, new jobs, new homes. We've been there for each other to share little moments as well. We're all there to support each other and occasionally remind each other that we're not crazy after all.

It's funny looking back on it, but I really have gotten so much from them. I'm better for having known them, and happier for having them in my life.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 8- A Restaurant

Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.

Not sure exactly where I came upon that quote- but it really is a perfect tie in for today's post. One of our favorite restaurants here in town is Brugge Brasserie.

It's a Belgian gastropub in Broadripple, and we always have a fantastic time when we go. It's a great place to go with friends for dinner, or to sit outside in the summer with a pot of mussels and french bread, some fries and their roasted garlic aioli and people watch. One item on their menu that we get when we go with friends is the L'Enorme- it's a giant cone of fries with each of their sauces: fresh mayonnaise, horseradish, blue cheese, hot curry, homemade ketchup, sweet chili, aioli, roasted garlic aioli, sea salt & sherry vinegar, poplar syrup and French dijon, and fresh herb pesto. It's huge- as the name implies- so you'd definitely want to share with friends.

The crepes are wonderful- my personal favorite is the grilled chicken with Roquefort, endive and spinach. The Big Guy is a fan of their mitrailettes- sandwiches piled high on French bread. They brew their own beer as well- one of which is actually in the Big Guy's 1,001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die book, the Trippel de Ripple. It's one of my favorites.

The atmosphere is relaxed, the food is great. There's really nothing missing!

{Both images are from the Brugge website linked above.}

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 7- A Scent

"Sometimes," said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
A.A. Milne

{image via pinterest}

Here's why I love this scent- my mom wore this when I was little. I remember her srapying it on my pillow before my first sleepover so that I wouldn't feel scared and it totally worked. 

30 Days of Thanks: Day 6- A Pair of Shoes

There is no formula for glamour. It combines shimmer and charisma. It's elusive but you know it when you see it. ~ Mary McDonald, Mary McDonald Interiors

That's what I love about these shoes. I always feel glamorous in them. They're satin and the best shade of apple green. I wore them to our rehearsal dinner. They're also surprisingly comfortable, which is just an added bonus.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 5- A Place

The place I'm most thankful for is our home. (Oddly enough, I have no pictures of the outside of the house. I'll have to work on that.) We're extremely lucky to have our own home, and proud of the fact that we've done it all on our own. It's got everything we need, and plenty of room to grow.
Most importantly, it's the place where we get to relax and just be ourselves. It's the place we come back to that allows us to come back to each other. You know that feeling you get when you've been away on vacation, or even just after a long day at work, and you walk through your door? You know how in that moment everything just feels better?

I love that feeling.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 4- A Snack


{image found via pinterest}

Yup, I'm thankful for nachos. Seems like a silly thing to be thankful for, but there's a pretty good reason for it. Before the Big Guy and I were an item, we were friends. We met at work, and frequently found ourselves at functions hosted by the company. After one of these functions, a few of us went out for drinks. While we were out, there was a guy at the bar who was getting a little too friendly for my taste and I asked the Big Guy to pretend to be my boyfriend so that this guy would back off. He agreed, but was pretty sure that by the end of the night I would want him to be my boyfriend for real. (He'd been trying to get me to date him for a while at this point.) We stayed out for a while longer and went to get some nachos as a late night snack.

You can see where this story is going. We had a great time, and it turns out the Big Guy was pretty good at predicting the future after all- I did want him to be my boyfriend.

He's cute when he's right. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 3- A Cozy Place in Your Home

A house is much more than a mere shelter, it should lift us emotionally and spiritually.~ John Saladino

I love our house. I love making little changes here and there that make it really feel like it represents us. One aspect of my personality that gets incorporated in almost every room is the fact that I'm a bookworm. We have books everywhere. But just having the books isn't enough, there has to be someplace to read them. This is one of my favorite places in the house.

This is a corner in our master bedroom. There's a small table for my glasses, the book I'm reading, and a glass of wine. The faux fur blanket is super cozy, and it only takes about 5 minutes to fall asleep for a little nap between chapters. Because of that, not much studying happens here. I might try, but it never works. Here's what we have in that corner that makes it work.
  • Chaise- Craig's List
  • Table- Pier 1
  • Lamp- Crate and Barrel
  • Blanket- Z Gallerie
  • Painting above the chaise- I actually painted that with my friend Mandy at a Wine and Canvas event. It's an art class with a bartender. How could I not try that out. We've been twice.
It's just a comfortable, cozy place.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 2- An Animal

I'm pretty sure you know which animal I'm choosing for today's post. It's Loki. (It's kind of his blog too, it would just be mean not to include him in the list.)

There's something about those big brown eyes and that wiggly butt that just makes me smile. Like all the time. I love coming home to such excitement- all because I came home, I haven't really even done anything. It's hard to remember a time when we didn't have him. It's been four-and-a-half years since we adopted him.

If you have a pet, or have ever considered one, you know that they're a lot of work. But totally worth it. There's more to it than vet visits and bags of food. There's the companionship, and that unconditional love and acceptance that only a pet can provide. He doesn't care if I've had a long day at work, or if I'm struggling with an assignment for school. He doesn't care if the bed is made or if the floors have been vaccuumed. He only cares if his bowl gets filled at dinner time and if his belly gets rubbed and if I scratch behind his ears.

He's easy, and reminds me that at the end of the day it really doesn't matter all that much if the bed is made and the floors have been vaccuumed. It matters that we spend quality time with the people we love and who make us feel loved in return.

He's my favorite furry partner in crime- assuming that crime consists mostly of afternoon naps on the weekend.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 1- A Person

Take chances, take a lot of them. Because honestly, no matter where end up and with whom, it always ends up just the way it should be. Your mistakes make you who you are. You learn and grow with each choice you make. Everything is worth it. Say how you feel, always. Be you and be OK with it.

The first thing on the list to be thankful for is a person. I'm actually cheating a little bit on this one, and I'm picking two people.

These are my parents. If you've met them, you know how great they are. This is the two of them dancing at our wedding. They're preparing to celebrate 37 years of marriage at the end of this month. That's pretty amazing. Their commitment to each other, and the way they approach their marriage as a partnership is inspiring.

They raised me to always believe in myself and to trust my instincts. They listened to me and taught me that what I have to say is important. They came to ballet recitals, high school choir performances, musicals, singing competitions and plays, and they still have the videos to prove it. Really, my husband has seen them- including the kindergarten Easter program where I was a lamb. Yup. Furry white hat with black felt ears.

They taught me to respect myself and other people and to treat them the way I want to be treated in return. They always told me and showed me how much they love me and made sure I knew that I was important. They make home a wonderful place to be. Their encouragement and support has meant more to me than I can really say. I wouldn't be where I am or who I am today without them.

For that, I am grateful.

30 Days of Thanks

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of travelling.~Margaret B. Runbeck

How easy it is to forget all the little things, and not so little things, that make life unique and special. It's far too simple to take things for granted. Even as one of the 99% in this country, there's very little for us to complain about. We're all exceptionally lucky and should take some time to remember that.

I'm not always great about it, but I try. So for the rest of this month, I'm participating in something that my friend Lindsay is doing on her blog. I've added a new button on the right side of the screen for it. For the 30 days of November, I'll be posting about something that I'm thankful for. Now I'm a little bit behind, so I've got some catching up to do. That just means you get to hear more from me than you're used to, which can't be all bad right? Right. I thought so.

So what's involved in this 30 days of Thanks? There's a list- which I like. You're not surprised by that. I'm pretty sure the big guy laughs out loud when he hears me say that. Ask him about the Gantt chart I made while wedding planning- well, on second thought, maybe don't. So here's the list that I'll be working through for the rest of this month:

1. a person
2. an animal
3. a cozy place in your home
4. a favorite snack
5. a place
6. a pair of shoes
7. a scent
8. a restaurant
9. a blog
10. a time of day
11. a tradition
12. a gadget
13. something old
14. something new
15. a recipe
16. an experience
17. a store
18. a saying/quote/scripture
19. a favorite piece of clothing
20. a keepsake
21. a disappointment or fear
22. a book
23. a feeling
24. a photograph
25. a luxury
26. a charity
27. a song
28. a gift
29. something in your home
30. the thing you're most thankful for

I'll be adding pictures along the way. I need the practice with my camera. Not for anything in particular, but just for fun. So here's to the next 30 days, and to having the opportunity to be thankful.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary

The best thing to hold on to in life is each other.

~Audrey Hepburn


Here's to three wonderful years being married to each other. I'm a very lucky girl. Occasionally I say that jokingly, but I hope everyone knows how much I actually mean it. I have the luxury, and I truly believe that it iss a luxury, of going home every day to a wonderful man.

He's my partner, my cheering section, my reality check, my reminder to laugh about the little things, my shoulder to lean on, my access to high shelves. He's my best friend. I can't imagine where I would be and what I would be doing without him as a part of my life.

I love you.

I'd marry you all over again.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

The internet is filled today with thoughts about that day and the people who lost their lives, and the survivors who lost friends and family members. I consider myself to be incredibly blessed that everyone I love was safe that day. I know how easy it can be to take that safety for granted.

I think there were many of us who, up until that day, took a lot for granted. Our safety was certainly one thing, but our freedom was another. We are so lucky to live where we do and to have the choices and options that we do. To live, to learn, to worship, to love the way we choose is not a God-given right elsewhere in the world. It's far more unique than any of us want to believe it is.

There's so much that we have to celebrate, and a day like today helps us remember that. It's hard to think of September 11th and celebration in the same sentence. It almost feels insensitive or disrespectful. But we have to celebrate life. We have to. We have to celebrate opportunity. We have to celebrate everything that makes this country and its people great- the things that make us different and the things that bring us together.

Today is a difficult day for many people, for many reasons. Today, I am grateful. I am grateful for my husband and my parents. I am grateful for our family and our friends. I am grateful for the opportunity to make choices. I am grateful to live in a place that allows me to have those freedoms and more. And most importantly, I am grateful that there are people who fight to protect those freedoms and the people that I love.

So today, take some time to be thankful for all that you have, and make sure you tell someone that you love them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tis the Season

Well hello there cold and flu season. How nice of you to stop by. Right before we go on vacation.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Half-Full Glass

It always seems impossible until it's done.

Well, it's not totally done. Last week final papers and exams were finished and turned in. As of this morning the final grades have all been submitted.

I'm officially half-way through my MBA program.

You're probably wondering what this all means. Me too. For starters it means three weeks without classes. Three weeks without homework. Three weeks to enjoy spending time with the Big Guy in the evenings instead of running away to hide in something to study after dinner. It means reading things that have nothing to do with activity based costing, lag time, or management structures. It's more likely than I'm really comfortable admitting that what I'm reading now involves teenage paranormal romances. You can't get much further away from activity based costing than that. It might even mean more blogging. (I missed you guys!)

More importantly, it means that I'm 50% closer to achieving this major goal I set for myself. It means that my family and friends have already supported me through the toughest part of this journey. I can't promise that there will be that many more Friday nights that I show up to things than there were in this past year, but I'm optimistic. I'm halfway there.

So the glass is half-full. As in half full of knowledge. Knowledge and awesome. Assuming of course that awesome can be defined as a unique combination of wine, chocolate and Skype chats with some pretty amazing people.

Yeah, I didn't make it this far on my own. I couldn't have. The program has a strong emphasis on team work and having the right people is extremely important. I might be biased, but  I think I had the best teammates. This past year would not have been the same with any other group, and I will forever be grateful that I had them to rely on, laugh with, keep me in check and on track.

So now it's time to prep for the next half of the program. I'm not sure what exactly it will bring. A new team, new professors, new classes, new challenges, and this time next year- a new degree.

It's a lot. I'm not going to kid myself that it's going to be a walk in the park. I know that's not true. But I've done it before. I know how to manage my time, and more importantly my expectations. I can only do so much, and those things will be what's really important. So maybe the dishes sit in the sink overnight and the laundry gets pushed to next week. I'd rather be spending quality time with the Big Guy and Loki anyway. The dishes won't go anywhere and we can always buy more socks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Because I Have Too Much Free Time

Somewhere between the statistics homework, the corporate governance scandal research, and general obsession that is studying for me these days, I had a chance to visit my parents. The purpose of this visit you ask? Well, aside from a much needed reminder that there is life outside of textbooks, and that they're the most supportive people ever, my mom wanted some help picking out paint colors.

You see, my parents have lived in their house for over 5 years now and have yet to paint a single room. I could barely go 5 minutes before putting up paint chips to see what I liked best to change my space. I'm teasing because I care, Mom.

I loved it. I loved everything about it. From pushing my mom outside of her beige comfort zone (into greige if you were wondering), to seeing how the promise of new colors can make everything look new again, to being able to capture the right personality for the space so that it reflects the people who live there and welcomes their guests.

None of this really ties in with the title of this post yet, but I'm thinking that a few of you have guessed where this is going. Probably because I've told you. I'm the type of person that has to say something out loud, preferably several times to several people, before it can become real. So here's me saying it again:

I'm starting my own design firm.

I get goosebumps looking at that logo. I really do. Right now it's just some squares and a little text (Edwardian Script and Book Antiqua in case you were wondering. Which I doubt you actually were. See why I should be doing this?), but soon it's going to be bigger than that. Yup, a desk in the guest room. Whoa. I know crazy fast, right?

Honestly though, I'm nervous and excited. Currently I exist in Indiana as a sole proprietorship, but will be filing the official paperwork to become a corporation soon. This could be the best $40 I've ever spent!

In the meantime, I will be making some plans. No, none of them involve leaving my job. I like my job, and I like the people I work with. It's hard to give that up for some text in boxes, or even for a desk in the guest room. But I will be looking to get some more things to put in my portfolio. So if you're looking for some design help, let me know! Maybe you're like my mom and need help picking out paint colors. Maybe you've painted, but you're not sure how to style the room, or need help with a space plan for art or furniture. Maybe you really like my logo and want one of your own. Maybe you need some help with some graphics for a presentation.

I'd love to help!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Mini Marathon

I just finished my first half marathon; it was the Indianapolis Mini Marathon in downtown Indianapolis. I was fortunate to finish alive, let alone with a decent score. I came in at 2 hours and 38 minutes and 40 something seconds. I was shooting for 2 hours and 30 minutes, but at least I was close.

A great friend trained me and helped get me into as good of shape as I really expected over the last few months. Without Michael it would never have been possible.

The one thing that really helped me get through it all was my play list. I know you are not supposed to use an IPod or other music device during a half marathon, but I did, so sue me. For the first six miles, every time a song came on, it reminded me of a story and a friend. Thank you all for inspiring me.

Stand Tall The Dirty Heads – Michael, thank you for helping me stand tall. It was part of the mix I did on the 10 k. Your leadership and guidance was the main reason I survived.

All My Life K Ci and Joe Joe – It was our first dance, so it always makes me think of my Wifey, you have been so sweet even though you are going through so much with your degree. Thank you for being there for me after all my runs. So many more songs remind me of you but that would make this even more boring…

I’m Coming Home Murder By Death – The song is about coming home, and my brother introduced it to me. Thanks to my family for supporting me even though me running a half marathon was not always completely plausible.

Yeah Usher – After our exciting ride to Hilton Head it would be tough to forget Tim, thank you for coming up and joining me. All the tips and newsletters helped put me at ease. Thanks. I will even include your lovely wife. I am so glad you could make it out Courtney.

Smash the Offspring – Best song to take you back to highschool. Danny took me to my first real show. Thanks for the cigars.

Iron Man Black Sabbath – It was probably my third real CD ever purchased. Bought it with Steve when we went up to Canada in 8th grade. Thanks for keeping it light even though I’ve been stressing.

Time of Your Life Greenday – Thanks for all the fond memories of Where it’s @. Bryce you have always been such a great friend. Glad we could grab a few drinks over the holiday.

Party Hard Andrew WK – Thanks to Nick for getting me pumped up. One of the best roommates a man can ask for. Wonder twin’s powers activate!

Deliverance Bubba Sparxxx – for the Schultz family who introduced it to me. Thank you for what you are doing for our country. I am proud to consider you part of my family.

Country Grammar Nelly & Living on a Prayer Bon Jovi – all my boys from Freshman year at IU. It has been a while, but we will always be boys.

Jesus Walks & Never Let me Down Kanye West – Thank you God for all the blessings you have bestowed on me. I am humbled.

Lastly I would like to thank my new favorite podcast, Filmspotting. You can find them at They provided much of the entertainment that kept me going through the early runs. Thanks guys.

There were more times than I can count where I wanted to give up, but it always seemed like something came on the IPod that got me excited and gave me that extra push. It is always cool to me how things like that work out..

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fairy Tale Friday

Have you seen the pictures? Of course you have. I'm talking about the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. AMAZEBALLS!

I thought about getting up super early to watch, but just couldn't do it. I give a lot of credit to everyone like my mom who did. I've got it recorded though so I can watch it later. :-)

Not everyone does, but I love the pomp and circumstance of a formal wedding. I love the ceremonial air that comes with the celebration of two people making such a profound commitment to each other. I think it's a serious thing, one not to be taken lightly, and as such deserves special attention. Now I don't know that I would have wanted the attention of the entire world watching me on my wedding day. I have to say, Kate handled it with so much grace and poise. Exactly how a princess should carry herself.

Love this picture of Kate and her sister, Philippa. So sweet.

And the dress. Swoon. It was designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. I've seen a few places say that it looks like she's channeling Grace Kelly on her wedding day, and I agree. Kate's is definitely a more modern and accessible take on the look. Both are timeless, elegant, and so much what I picture a princess's wedding dress to be. I'm not one who pictures a lot of sparkle or bling for something like this. Instead I think of things are very traditional, like lots of lace and impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail.

What a beautiful bride! I can only imagine what it must feel like to actually be a princess. Probably a lot more work and responsibility than most of realize, or would even want in real life. But on a day like today, it's awfully fun to get caught up in the fairy tale.

Loki’s Hot Tub Party Machine

My lovely wife neglected to mention our newest addition to outdoor hosting. It has proven fantastic through the winter months and we are both amped up to start using it this summer. We were able to get a great deal at the end of last summer on a brand new Tropic Seas 7 seat hot tub. It took a bit more work to get set up than we had expected, but after having a qualified electrician come out and run a 220 amp outlet to our back yard, we were able to power up.

There are ten rules for hot tubing in Loki’s Backyard

10. My tub, my tunes.
9. Frozen hair feels funny.
8. Always bring a cooler; the wife gets angry if you track water from the door to the fridge every time you run dry.
7. Even hot tub water freezes after it sits on the patio long enough, and stamped concrete hurts when you fall.
6. Loki likes the taste of the water, but does not want to go in the water.
5. Alcohol is magnified ten times over, if you want to play hooky and bring a bottle of bourbon, it is not smart to try and finish it before the wife gets home from work.
4. Seven man hot tubs do not hold seven men, especially if they are my size. It gets way to friendly.
3. Drunk is not an excuse for a wardrobe malfunction, because so far it has only been dude malfunctions.
2. No peeing in the hot tub!
1. Don’t ask what goes on in the hot tub after hours, if you aren’t careful I might tell ya.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Big guy in the backyard

Hello all you people out there in internet land. With my lovely wife working so hard on all things MBA and the weather becoming very nice out here in the Midwest, I will be starting to contribute to the blog. I will be looking at landscaping, patio design and other super manly things like that. If you are lucky, I may even contribute a few of my summer grillin recipes.

I look forward to keeping the fun in Loki's Backyard going!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quote of the Week

There are people who have money and people who are rich.

~ Coco Chanel

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Completed Goal: Goal 99

Goal 99: Turn 30 and like it

Life is not a dress rehearsal. Stop practicing what you're going to do and just go do it. In one bold stroke, you can transform today.

~ Marilyn Grey

This was tougher than I thought it would be, but I have to admit it got easier. I struggled with the idea of turning 30. I kept having all these thoughts about where I thought I'd be by now, and whether I was close enough or just really far off. The more I thought about it, I realized that it didn't matter. When had I put this "plan" together? College? High School?

Basically I had made some decisions about what my life should be without actually giving myself a chance to live any of it first. I don't know that I could have predicted where my life and my opportunities would have taken me when I was 16. I don't know that I could have predicted what the next 14 years would bring. I could barely predict what the next weekend was going to bring. But that's kinda how things are supposed to be at 16. Now I like to plan ahead a little bit. OK, a lotta bit.

So where did I think I'd be. First, I thought I'd be married. OK- check. I thought there might be a kiddo around. Not so check. I thought that I'd have some high-powered title. Not so much with the title, but a little but on the high-power. Not that I'm quite in the C-Suite yet, but I get to work on some pretty cool projects, and overall I'm excited to go to work. I think that rounds up to a check. I thought I'd have a house. Check- a big ole mortgage sized check and a stack of design magazines with pages dog-eared to prove it.

I came pretty close to everything on that list. And to top it off, I did some things that maybe I didn't expect.

I lived in London and worked for a theatre company for a summer in college. That's a dream come true right there. I've seen Paris at sunset and the hills of Ireland at sunrise. I've stood backstage for countless performances, both at work and for shows that I was actually in, though none of those happened outside of Illinois or Indiana. I tried out for American Idol. Didn't make it on TV, but that also means I didn't get made fun of on TV. That's a win. I've stood next to my best friends while they got married and had them stand next to me. I get to come home to a dog who acts like seeing me walk through the door is the best thing that happens to him all day. I've gotten to hear my parents say that they're proud of me and that they love me. I get to hear my husband say it every night.

All in all, the first 30 years have been pretty fantastic. Who knows what the next will bring? I don't. And really that's going to be part of the fun.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day

Apparently, today is International Women's Day. I didn't know that there was an International Women's Day until I saw it in a few emails today. Side note- I get a lot of email. Some of it's useful, most of it's not, but I'm willing to delete and glance through on the off chance that I get something useful. Like finding out about International Women's Day.

I'm not a crazy femi-nazi or anything, but I definitely believe that women deserve to be treated as equals to men. Note I didn't say identical. Equal is not identical. There are certain innate differences between the sexes, and I think that's a good thing. Evolution and genetics have made us that way. Rather than minimizing or working to eliminate our differences, I say we embrace and celebrate them. It's part of what makes us interesting and attracts us to each other.

I think it's good to have someone who's strengths compliment your weaknesses. For example; the big guy and I tend to score on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to introversion/extroversion. I'm super-introverted; give me a book and some music or a bottle of wine, and I'm set. The big guy is super-extroverted; you don't earn sales rep of the year for North America by being a wall-flower. He helps bring me out of my shell in situations where I might be shy at first, and I get to show him how relaxing a quiet night at home can be.

What's nice about this? We're a team. There are countless other ways that we compliment each other. Compliment, not complete. I'm a complete person on my own, as is he. By acknowledging that we need each other, we actually get a little stronger as a couple, and as people. We live in a place that makes this partnership possible. Our parents have set this example for us, our society encourages men to treat their wives well. But what about women who don't have that?

A while ago I finished, Reading Lolita in Tehran, and found myself being extremely grateful for something as arbitrary as the geography of my birth. There are so many places where women are taken for granted, where women are undervalued, under appreciated, and worse. I'm not naive enough to think that those same things don't happen here, but I am hopeful that our culture doesn't encourage it and that someday we'll have the courage to change it, for good.

I also found myself grateful for some not so arbitrary things.I'm grateful for the women in my family and my female friends. As I read the story, I was amazed at the way they came together and supported each other. That need for female companionship and that shared experience is universal, I think. We all need someone to talk to who gets our perspective right away. Someone who understands what it's like to be a woman and face the pressures that bombard us all every day. Someone who understands the unique trials and tests we face every time we walk out the door, turn on the TV, or open a magazine. I've been truly blessed to have some amazing women in my life. Whether it's over dinner and drinks, or across the Internet.

Today, and every day, I'm proud to know them. And I'm proud of the woman they're helping me become.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bathroom Saga: Day 7

Day 7 had us getting into the fun stuff for me- namely paint. There's finally some color in the room! Very light color, but color none the less.

We wanted to bring in the blue of our duvet cover in the master bedroom. You can see a good picture of it in this post. To do that, we decided to go with Olympic paint in Beachcomber (B56-1). It's the lightest on the color card it comes on. We knew that we had to go light with the blue, otherwise it would wind up feeling like we were stuck in a swimming pool. We're definitely OK with deep colors in a bathroom, as you can see in our guest bathroom, but we wanted something a bit more serene for this space. I'm not what anyone would consider a "morning person" so I need to kind of ease myself into the day.

These are the new shelves. Perfect for what we need to store in this room. It really wasn't much, so losing the space we did won't be a big change. It may actually be better for seeing what we have! I'm constantly forgetting if we have cold medicine. If the door is open, you actually can't see them.

I love the way the wall color plays off the tile.
It's very similar to the color scheme in the bathroom on page 108 of this month's issue of Traditional Home. I know that because when my issue came in I dog-eared the page so I could show it to my mom. Which meant that the next time she and I were on the phone I told her to grab her issue and turn to that page so she could see it. Yup, there we were talking on the phone flipping through Traditional Home together. Not a bad way to spend some time on a Wednesday night :-)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bathroom Saga: Day 6

Day 6 was the last of the tile installation. The shower is complete! We did the same accent tile here that we used around the tub.

I don't know what it is, but I love the look of white subway tile. I know it comes up a lot in various design blogs, but I think there's good reason for that. It's classic and it goes with so many different styles. We're going for a slightly more modern feel in this space, and it fits right in. With the right accents and the right color palette it would look equally appropriate in my mom's house which is much more traditional than ours.

 A close up of the tiles, and me attempting to get a cool angle with my camera. I should probably not be attempting to start a photography business any time soon.
 And the floor tile. We wanted something that would give us the look of marble, but definitely not in that price range. Enter a ceramic tile with a carrera-esque gray vein pattern.

 So much more light now. This corner was so dark before, it just felt closed off from the rest of the room. The whole thing was more like a series of cubbies. Now it feels like a cohesive, open space.

 We added a piece of trim to the half wall to mimic the one we have at the top of the stair case. It's identical. We do want to keep some flow throughout the house.
 This little cubby is what's left of the linen closet we removed to expand the shower. The brackets are for shelves. We'll have plenty of space for all the things that we need to store in the room. We were really using less space than this in the linen closet anyway, so it's not going to be a big adjustment.
I can't wait to show you what comes next :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bathroom Saga: Day 5

With all the changes we made to the structure of the bathroom, we had to fix the drywall.

Oh the glamour of construction.