holiday help

This holiday season, I’m being a responsible adult.

It’s always a bit difficult for me to do my Christmas shopping, pay for the rental car, pay for gas and tolls and then eat my way through Cleveland when I go home for a week at Christmas.  I usually end up back in Iowa with an empty bank account and 10 extra lbs (okay, okay—15).  As you guys know already, we’re “making” family gifts this year and I gotta tell you that I really like it.  Channeling my inner ‘crafter’ has been quite the new experience.

As a back-up plan, I thought I’d get all ‘in the Christmas spirit’ here on the blog and give you guys a gift guide.  You know, in case you all have an ultra cool 32-year-old in your life that you’re having to buy for and you just don’t know what to get her.  (wink face)

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First, foremost and only – she deserves this turntable.

Guys, let me get all nostalgic on you here.  There is something so rich and magical about vinyl.  This was a great year for albums and how nice would it be to relax by putting on a…. record…. after a long, hard day.  I’ll tell you right now, I’m all about it.

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Looking for something a bit less expensive and more personal?  I’ve got you covered.  For me, personally, one of my goals for this winter is finding a new signature scent.  I’ve been feeling like I want something that almost borders on masculine—because, and let’s be honest here, there’s something super alluring about musk.  Here are my top recommendations to achieve that desired affect: Oud & Bergamot – it’s both smoky *and* ladylike; Dark Amber & Ginger Lily – this one was surprising because the aroma of the Ginger Lily wasn’t near as overpowering as I thought it might be; Wood Sage & Sea Salt – this was quite literally a day at the beach followed by a bonfire at the shores after dark – very bewitching; and finally there’s the trusty Kiehl’s Original Musk.

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Still not quite getting there?  I submit this for your consideration.  It’s perfect for people like me who can’t quite handle actual animal heads on the walls but cool enough that it’s still considered pretty b.a.  I’m always looking for animal-friendly ways to gain street cred.  Obvi.

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Who am I kidding though… thoughtful gifts (and for me, experiences) are the best kind of gifts.  So this year, give from your hearts and I’m sure you’re all going to please everyone you love.  Even if that gift is edible (hey, that counts for craftiness, right?!).

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stuff i love: fall edition (aka back to school)

We’re in what my dad referred to as ‘the dog days of summer’.  I knew that was a phrase, I just didn’t realize it was one people actually used in the course of conversation.

It’s HOT here—and I don’t just mean the temps are hot—it’s sticky.  The days are shorter and it’s positively miserable to be outside.  I’ve stopped wearing 90% of my makeup because it just runs down my face the moment I step outside.  And after my lunch time workout it’s pointless.  I am so excited for the days to get cooler, the nights to get even cooler and for all things fall to begin.  I think Des Moines is probably doing this to me on purpose (like how I said “me” right there?!).  It’s getting me primed for my favorite season, which also happens to be the shortest.  In the back-to-school vein, I thought I’d post a couple of my favorite internet finds here.  I am known (mostly to myself) as a queen of the internets so I thought I’d share some with you guys.  Let’s get ready for fall!

  • Some new spectacles for fall. I’ve loved Warby Parker since I learned about them five or so years ago. Reasonably priced stylish glasses?! Yes, please. I’m surprised I’ve held out so long but I’ve been searching for the PERFECT crystal frame. I think these are them.
  • With the nights getting cooler in the fall, it’s the perfect time for bonfires! Since DSM has been beating us down with heat since about May, it’s made fire-lit evenings few and far between. What else goes better with fire than s’mores?! I submit for your snacks this recipe, and this one, and this one (cause I obviously have one thing on my mind).
  • I recently made my way back to Ohio for my summer trip home to spend time with my family (read: AVERY) and while I was home, I ate some amazing food. One was a dish that my mother made. We had a cookout for Avery’s dedication and my mom made panzanella and guys… this is a tried and true success for grilling family get-togethers. Also, *I* cooked one of the nights (what, what). Rach and I went to stay with my mom and I suggested this dish which I could pretty much eat every night for dinner. I’ve made some modifications of my own to fit it to my tastes and it’s a very forgiving dish. I aim to impress and mission: accomplished. There were also A&W root beer floats consumed that same evening…. and my mom beat us both at Phase10 but then what else is new.
  • I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of creating the perfect inspirational home office. These pretty things could go a long way toward creating that space.
  • THIS APP!  Guys, I am an app snob and pretty set in my ways…that is till Mailbox came along. I actually deactivated my Apple Mail apps on my phone and desktop in order to use this. It’s pretty much organized the chaos that is my mailbox at all times. You can snooze messages to come back, archive, delete and sort all with one swipe. Through the generosity of RDB and through my own usage, I have 4 bit coins available to anyone who wants Mailbox Beta for their desktop OS (it’s still in beta but I’ll hook you up)—otherwise you can download the app and start using it for FREE on your iPhone (or other smartphone).
  • Currently reading: this, this, and I’ve kind of been meaning to start this. The Goldfinch is amazing. How authors can basically take the everydays of life and make them so emotional and engaging is beyond me. I’m definitely feeling all the feels in this book. I had to take a small break cause I’m at that point where I want to kind of draw it out because I want to be able to be a part of that world just a little longer.

Oh, and this year I joined a Fantasy Football league at work. I think it’s going to change the way I watch football this year and I’m pretty excited about that. I hope you guys liked this post of some of my favorite finds.

stitchfix and a shout-out

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m easily excited.  Maybe you guys know that about me already?  So when I (with added facilitation) stumbled on a little thing called StitchFix, I got really excited about it.  It didn’t take long for me to sign up, get accepted and schedule my first delivery (called a “fix”).  And it’s not just because I hate shopping for myself—cause I really do.  It was more of a chance to have fun with shopping.  When I lived in Ohio, I’d “shop” my sister’s closet and accessories and wonder why I don’t have more fun with what I wear.  The sad truth is that I have an overwhelming amount of grey in my wardrobe and don’t even get me started on the same Target pocket tee I have in every color they make.  And as you may remember, my go-to is to add a scarf to everything.  StitchFix seemed like a chance for me to do one better.  The premise: I fill out a style profile and someone else picks out something on-trend just for me and I get a little “care package” (if you will) of goodies.  It’s like a present (that I pay for).  I can either keep it all, just a few items or send it all back.  I can schedule these fixes as often as my paycheck allows and they can even gear the fixes toward special occasions if I tell them.  Listen, I know that I’m sounding sales-y here but I think it’s a brilliant idea!  Here are my top three reasons why: 1. I’d rather try on clothes in the comfort of my own home; 2. I like getting packages; 3. it’s too easy for me to screw up.

I got my first fix on Saturday and what was inside was exactly my style.  Friends, if you want to check this out, let’s both get credit—shall we?  http://stitchfix.com/sign_up?referrer_id=3109266

Huge thanks to this blogger for the information: Justine at Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One.  Guys, she’s hilarious.  And enviably stylish.

what’s going on?

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I have to tell you, time has completely escaped me lately!  I had to make an unexpected trip back to Ohio last week on the heels of my extensive vacation while Rach was in town.  My grandpa passed away so my mom flew me home so I was able to be with my family.  While it’s never easy in those situations of loss and mourning, it sure was good to see my family.  I just wanted to give you all a quick little update to keep the blog momentum going!

The National : I am supremely obsessed with them lately.  As the self-proclaimed queen of melancholy music I don’t know how I wasn’t a groupie before now.  I say that because I have ‘High Violet’ on repeat and I’m pretty sure it’s very two-years-ago.  Bloodbuzz Ohio was my theme song on the trip home.

Orange Leaf : I am thisclose to needing an intervention.  It’s right around the corner from my apartment and that spells danger.

Family : So I was home for my grandpa’s funeral recently and my sister and I stumbled on a treasure trove of family goodies.  There were some old pictures of my grandma from when she was a girl and I found myself getting lost in them.  They were just black and whites but she was such a lovely girl.  I got lost in the idea of the picture-taking itself.  Those photos were simply a moment in time, captured on film back in the 30’s and 40’s.  They are surprisingly special to me.  We also found our great-grandma’s journals from the 80’s and 90’s.  I was able to see another side of her that I was too young to know.  She was as pure as the driven snow.  I think about my own journals/diaries and how they’re loaded up with feelings and desperate attempts to sort myself out.  Hers were so much more of the day-to-day activities and had such little family gossip and really focused on her hopes for her loved ones.  Seems I get my optimism affliction honestly.

Shoes : Okay, this one is less of a proper “update” but I got myself some new running shoes today.  The last time I went running I had foot pain (what’s that about?!  Certainly not that I’m the 3-0).  We’ll give those little babies a try when we stop getting this monsoon that’s forecasted for the next two days.

Remy : I’m starting to get the distinct feeling that she’s lonely.  For the first time last night, since we moved in to our place, I caught her playing.  The rest of the time she’s hiding in the closet, looking out the window by the bed or following me around.  I’m considering getting another cat.  Be warned: I’m dangerously close to being a cat-lady based on my ‘cat to square footage’ ratio.

Reading : I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire on this one.  I just finished an amazing book called “One Last Thing Before I Go” by Jonathan Tropper.  Amazing.  I’m also reading the new Gwyneth Paltrow Cookbook, Unbroken (still), Love 2.0, A New Earth, and another Jonathan Tropper book.

Looking forward to : warmer weather that motivates me to get out of bed early, organizing my kitchen, the new National album, learning how to use my new digital-I’m-a-real-photographer-camera (!!!), and maybe trying out Cross-Fit.  I’ve been getting that summertime feeling of wanting to learn something new.  Last week it was playing the drums, this week it’s knitting.  I can assure you, I have enough to learn on my plate (um, WordPress, still) but I’m hoping to channel my creativity into something.

Lastly, I am loving my Olive Button earrings.  I have mustard and chambray and am eyeing the gray chevron to add to my burgeoning collection.

Whew.  That was a lot of stuff but I’m glad we’re all caught up, you guys.

stuff I love: the home office edition

You guys!  I’m going to try a photo post and see if it works.

What better intro to photo posts than to show you a few things that I’m currently loving.  I’ve been lusting after many of the items from west elm.  They’re mostly all centered around the Parsons Desk, which I have to convince myself on a regular basis I shouldn’t buy.  I would love all these items and they’d make the perfect home office!

This is the Parsons Desk.  The most perfect desk.  It’s the cornerstone of my home office.

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Then we have the chair.  I like the pattern on the left.  It looks perfectly comfortable for hours of blogging for you all, friends.

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A little bit of a shelf for my many, many, many, many books.

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And the rug to tie it all together… grey chevron with a touch of mustard.

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Okay, okay… the mirror is a tad unnecessary, but it goes with the desk!

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