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Breakfast remix, and a return.

22 January 2014

satsuma orange votive candle

Last May, the boyfriend (husband) and I schlepped out to New York City for a quick springtime trip. Some of Troy’s work was being shown at the Bordo Bello show at the AIGA gallery in midtown, and it coincided with his birthday, so our relatives graciously gifted us with plane tickets to go.

We basically ate our way through nearly every borough, which is our measure of a good vacation. I mean, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to get pizza, so it cancels out in my book. And, vacation calories never count.

One of our favorite breakfast stops was Le Pain Quotidien, where the food is fresh and delightful in just about every way. It’s one of those places, like Whole Foods, where even if you’re eating two chocolate covered croissants, you still feel like you’re the healthiest person on earth.  I ordered a usual breakfast for me: some bacon, eggs, fruit, and was surprised when out it came, looking delicious — but with a side breakfast salad.

Turns out, breakfast salad is totally a thing.

And it should be, because it was delicious, even it my pre-programmed breakfast-only-food-at-breakfast(!) neurons in my brain were scrambling with confusion.

And then a week later I returned home to my regular breakfast food and promptly forgot all about it.

Until today, when, after months of the same breakfast of bacon/sausage, eggs and fruit, I was feeling seriously over my oeufs.  We eat pretty healthy over here at the 525, which means I have to plan and cook a lot. I typically like the same breakfast every day, some variety for lunch, and lots of variety for dinner. Apparently I need a predictable routine to start my day, and then I can get all crazy at night.  I also was wondering if bacon/sausage and eggs was too much for me — I like protein and fat at every meal, but was just not interested in eating both anymore. And, according to Beyonce, I’m a grown-ass woman and I do what I want.

And I wanted breakfast salad.

So, the boy prepared me bacon (he cooks breakfast every morning like a boss), and I made a simple spinach salad. And by simple, I mean really simple: baby spinach and a satsuma orange on top. But, BUT, here’s the fancy thing that made all the difference:  I topped it with Peach Balsamic-infused vinegar and olive oil.


In a stroke of genius, before I stuffed raw spinach down my throat out of sheer willpower, we remembered we had some peach balsamic-infused vinegar that our sweet neighbors Matt and Molly (who have now abandoned us to move to a bigger house on the north side, those jerks!) who run the Venice Olive Oil shop downtown brought over to us one night. I typically don’t like sweet salads, sweet salad dressings or fruit in my salads EVER, but apparently breakfast salads just confound my long-standing, rigid salad rules.  I drizzled that liquid delicious over my satsuma spinach salad, and it was like a fruit explosion all up in my mouth.

Breakfast salad FOR THE WIN.

And then I promptly made a votive candle out of the orange peel. Who am I today?

Breakfast salad makes you do things, people. You heard it here…probably last. Because it’s already totally a thing in fancier zip codes than the one in which I live.

P.S. Hello again, all 3 readers left on the blog.  I’ve returned-ish. 

2012: A Very Dickensian Year

1 January 2013

In lieu of my typical year-end resolution list this year, instead I pored through my photos this year to remember the momentous occasions and take a stroll through what we’ve referred to as our Very Dickensian Year (“it was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”) I find the richness of life to be found in between those moments as much as the moments themselves, but remembering the highlights often helps to sear that life in my consciousness, and I want to reflect on those times all in one place.

In January, we adorned our apartment walls with a little Beatles-inspired wall art. If we were real bloggers, we would have whipped up a fancy little label, wrote detailed how-tos and tips, captured close-up process shots, and pinterested the crap out of it.  Instead, we just did it. Enjoyed it. Took a few photos. Shared it.  Whatevs.

Love Me Do

In February, we launched our website redesign for Fixer Creative Co., our business, from our friend Joel’s living room, snowed in during a blizzard. We were selected to create our city’s logo after a lengthy, interesting process you can read about, and were in the midst of redesigning our sorely out-of-date website.  With an announcement like that comes a decent bit of attention, and we didn’t want people to click on our old website, so we kicked it into high gear, and were fortunate to have friends who understood why we needed to spend hours tweaking and hitting refresh over and over again at their breakfast table.

February 1

We also took our first company retreat to Boulder to talk about goals and dreams for the upcoming year. And I bought two really great rings, one of which I can no longer find.  Sads.

February 2

In March, we hosted a dinner party for a small group of friends who we wanted to intentionally coerce to spend more time with us this year.  The theme was “old-school”, so we served everything on cafeteria plates and everyone came armed with some photos/artifacts from their childhood for some show-and-tell. A fortuitous gathering, as these were many of the people we spent much time with this year, working and playing, to our great happiness.

February 3

I began playing roller derby, helping to start a new league in town, despite not having been on skates in over a decade.

March 2

We also won six gold awards and the overall Best in Show at the Addy Awards, which is an awards show recognizing work in advertising.  I have to say, I was pretty stoked, as every piece we entered won a top award in the category (gold), and then won the overall award.  We were greatly surprised, but excited to begin the year with a bang for Fixer.  It’s not often you get awards for your adult-career work (or at least, we don’t), so it was quite a lovely night.  And then we drank beer out of the huge stanley-cup-esque award we got.  Classy.


We also began looking for houses at the end of month, finding some pretty hilarious things like this pristine, mid-century oven in houses we looked at.

March 3

In April, after only looking for about a week, we found our first home, on Cedar Street in downtown Colorado Springs, closed on the house, packed up our first apartment together, and moved in.  Our cozy bungalow (that’s how it was officially listed) turns 100 in 2013, and we are only the third owner. The story of how it came to be sold is quite charming, but a story for another day.

April 2

In May, with the lion’s share of work done by my green-thumb, big-hearted parents, we set up the first of what I hope is many vegetable and flower gardens (what my parents call Veggie Camp) in our yard — just a stone’s throw away from the pear tree we inherited from the previous owner.  We unpacked our things and made an epically long list of things we wanted/needed to do in it, which we ceremoniously ignored after a few weeks because it was stressing us out. We agreed to revisit the list later in the year and just call it good.

April 3

In June, we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary with truly delicious food from Motif, our favorite place for good food in town, and a quick overnight trip to Denver to meander around the Tattered Cover and take in Moonlight Kingdom at the Mayan.  The theater was delightful, with the exception of having outdated air conditioning amidst a particularly sweltering heatwave, producing apologies from the manager and a mass exodus of any pregnant woman in the theater about 30 minutes in.  We also took in the Yves Saint Laurent show at the Denver Art Museum, and I laughed every time Troy tried to pronounce it.


I bought blue suede shoes on sale from the Gap and promptly compared myself to Elvis every time I wore them.


We took another trip to Craig (as we had taken a few already this year), but this time brought my brother Tucker, sister-in-law Julie and the 3.75 kids (Julie was about 7 months pregnant) with us. They camped in a campsite by the highway (ooof, there aren’t a whole lot of great camping spots in Craig), we ate doughnuts at Milk Run in Steamboat, and took the family out on the boat at the lake.


In a scenario of mistaken identity (i.e. my teammate mistook me for someone not on her team), I injured my shoulder at roller derby practice. I kept skating (and falling) on it for the next few months, which was probably not the best idea I’ve ever had. There are no photos of this particular event, thank GOD.

At the end of June, our city caught on fire and we decided to screen print a few shirts with our friends to help.  That little lemonade stand was called Wild Fire Tees, and it became an eensy weensy bit bigger than we planned. To date, it’s grossed about $650K, and we’ve given away about $250K for fire relief.  It’s one of the craziest and most awesome things I’ve ever done, and we did it with our friends, which is just about the best thing ever.

June 3

June 2

In July, we celebrated 4th of July at the Sky Sox game as we do every year with my family.  Tucker got his photo with the mascot, Sox the Fox, in his Wild Fire Tees shirt.


We gave away the first $127K raised in about 2 weeks from Wild Fire Tees, and got interviewed by our local NPR station (certainly a highlight for me).  Apparently I also continued to smile for photos with my mouth closed, like a doof, looking perpetually like I’m only having a marginal time.

Summer 2

July 2

I participated in a coke slurpee of the season on Slurpee Day, 7/11.  Many, many slurpees followed this summer, because I HAVE A PROBLEM.   Coke slurpees are my gateway drug.

July 3

We enjoyed some delicious firsts: the first harvest from our garden, our first grown-up furniture purchase (Fillmore couch), a fun new client who brought us flowers to our first meeting, and our first visit to Lastleaf Printing to see some Wild Fire Tee prints made and hanging with Mo, the owner and a great new friend.

July 4

July 6

Summer 3


In August, we welcomed Ella Claiborne to the world. Her middle name is my mother’s maiden name, and she’s the squishiest, loveliest, big-eyed wonder-baby ever.  Easy labor, easy baby, and the last Wannamaker grandchild until we start having ours.  I celebrated by taking Ella to her first beer festival in town.


Ella beer

My nephew Thomas asked his dad if he could come over to my house, and I melted like a popsicle in the stifling August heat we experienced. He gave me a heart attack by riding his bike dangerously close to traffic, but we survived and had a great time. I loved spending more time with my nieces and nephews in general this year – picking up Addie from school, giggling with Benjamin, long talks about college with Hayley, school plays with Heather.  Good stuff.


We took Morgan to up to college and spent some time with her and Troy’s mom and stepdad in Grand Junction.  We ate at the Red Lobster.

Red Lobster

On the 21st, I had shoulder surgery, my first surgery ever, to repair a tear, scar tissue and inflamed tissue around my right shoulder.  I exhausted my yearly deductible in the span of about 30 minutes, but thank God, truly, that we finally got me private health insurance this year about 5 days before my injury.  Troy took great care of me, our friends brought us meals and entertained me, and I learned how difficult it is to actually put deodorant on one-handed.


September was a very full month for us.   In September, we enjoyed the very last of our first pear harvest, which we foisted upon our friends as much as humanely possible.  We are pear dealers, make no mistake. Next year I’ll need to get a burner phone to make quick work of it.

Pear harvest

We celebrated my mom’s birthday by taking her to a painting class, one of those deals where you drink wine while an instructor shows you how to paint.  Troy basically schooled all of us without even trying, but we had fun nonetheless.

September 2

September 3

We went to our annual Broncos game with Troy’s dad and stepmom, the season opener this year! We’re not avid football fans, but Troy knows quite a bit about the game and I love watching sports in person (I’m a sucker for fanfare.) This year we dressed the part, thanks to Troy’s dad gifting us some Broncos garb for Christmas last year.


Wild Fire Tees was invited to the Tour de Fat, a large beer/bike festival sponsored by New Belgium.  It’s a pretty crazy event, involving costumes, copious amounts of beer in the hot sun (always a great combo), and a lot of fun.  We encountered an artist who would ‘draw’ any six-word phrase you gave him in all of 5 minutes, and then you could pay him what you wanted for your drawing.  Our six word phrase was: “Married for two years; still awesome.”


Troy’s mom and stepdad came to visit us for a weekend, which turned out to be the last time we were able to talk to his mom where she could communicate with us in conversation. Their camera got stolen out of their car (lame), but we had a better and less crime-ridden time on the Royal Gorge train in Canon City with my parents. We opted to upgrade our tickets to ride their refurbished mid-century Vista Dome car as we took a slow train ride through the gorge. Such a great time, and I highly recommend it.

September 4

We installed an interactive design downtown to cover over a vacant storefront and it turned out great. It was a project that had been in the works in some way since May, so we were happy to see it go up. We started working on the Christmas campaign for Downtown as well.


At the end of September, we headed up to Denver to receive an award from the Art Director’s Club of Denver, where we won for our client gift design in 2011. We were asked to design the t-shirts they give as part of the new member package, and it was great to see some pretty impressive work in our state, as well as be a little intimidated by all the impressive work we saw. I wore a new dress I got with birds on it, and apparently feel that the dress is good enough to mention it to you specifically.  You’re welcome.


In October, we contributed a few boards for our second time at Bordo Bello, a fundraiser for a youth arts program in Denver. They provide the board, you provide the art, and everyone participates in a bidding war to get a board.  We lucked out last year and got the board we wanted, but this year we didn’t come home with anything. However, we found that it’s way more fun with friends, so luckily Chris, Jenny, their son Keagan, Austin, Allyson and their daughter Gwyn came up, contributed boards, and we all had a good time.  There was a last-minute bidding war on Troy’s board, which was fun to watch.

bordo bello 2

October was the month we completed a Whole30, a month where we reset our metabolism and focus on consuming foods that are real, in addition to starting working out at Ed’s Gym in town.  What does that mean on the food-front? No sugar, grains, dairy, refined anything, gluten, crappy oils, processed foods.  I made my own mayonnaise for the first time (successfully, at least, as I’ve tried it several times before with curdly results) and realized that sugar is in EVERYTHING.  It went amazing, and we’ve pretty much kept eating that way (with some slight diversions during the holidays) since.  We’re doing our second Whole30 this month.


I ran (and by run, I mean walk) the Waldo Waldo 5K that benefitted fire relief in our city with Tucker, Julie and the kids. We had a Wild Fire Tees booth there, and it was a searing sight when 1,000 people dressed as Waldo (or Wallenda, the female Waldo, as I learned) came over the bridge into America the Beautiful park.

Waldo Waldo

In November, we went on a week-long Texas vacation tour.  We stopped in Houston for several days to hang with my Uncle Jeff and Aunt Helen, where we spoiled by great company, good food and wonderful hosts. We continued on to Austin, where we ate at every food truck in existence, stayed at the BEST hotel I’ve ever been to (the truly amazing Heywood), where we shared beers with the owner and got a hand-drawn map to the best places in town. We rode bikes to Barton Springs, an outdoor natural spring pool, where we dangled our feet in the water and kept cool in the 80 degree weather (in November!)  From Austin we stopped in the quirkiest town in the middle of nowhere, Marfa, Texas, and stayed a night at the El Cosmico in a safari tent after eating grilled cheese from the Food Shark guys at the Museum of Electronic Wonder and Grilled Cheese Emporium. From there, we headed home, with a slight detour to walk through the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which did not disappoint.  In our five years of being together, this was hands down the best vacation we’ve ever taken.  There are countless stories, details and anecdotes to share, but this is a highlight reel, and I’d like to retain you all as friends.  There’s many more photos on my Instagram (I’m @saradarling).

Texas 3

Texas 2



Barton Springs

After months of deliberation, we bought a rug.  It is now referred to as our valued rug, and it really does pull the room together (see: the Big Lebowski for that pop culture reference).


We spent Thanksgiving in Craig, and I cooked my very first Thanksgiving meal nearly all by myself (with some help from Troy and Morgan on pies.) It was a cherished time with family, as it was the last time we spent with Troy’s mom and although she wasn’t able to talk much, she communicated to us with facial expressions and one-word answers, which often made us smile and laugh. We got to share in Morgan’s recent engagement as well, and talk about wedding plans.


Oh, with the nudging of my very effervescent friend Katie, I finally made something from Pinterest! We made this lovely straw wreath for Christmas, and I dusted off my hot glue gun skills after many years of unuse.


In December, we buried Troy’s mother after contending with brain cancer for 15 months. There’s so much to say about this time, but not here or now.  It was a beautiful service, and Troy wrote and delivered a touching eulogy. It was so nice to see so many family and friends gathered to honor her life.

Mom and Troy

Her passing, although we were certainly at peace with her joining her savior in heaven, certainly put a grey pallor on the rest of the month, for sure, but there were a few joyful moments:

– seeing all the holiday marketing we created go up downtown

Skate Park

– celebrating with the Wild Fire Tees crew for all the fun we had this year giving away money

– revisiting our home improvement list and getting some paint up in the living room

Christmas paint

– putting together our client gift this year, which was an old-school Viewmaster and a really fun project we got to do.

Merry Fixmas

– spending Christmas at home with my family

Kids Lights

– taking my nieces and nephews to see the “singing lights” (all the Christmas lights set to music at various houses around town)

Oh, and we also bought 1/4 of a grass-fed cow from a sustainable farm in town.  We now have a freezer full of beef, so should you come over anytime in the next year, odds are good that’s what you’re going to be eating.

After a fairly exhausting month, we opted to spend the time between Christmas and New Years home instead of heading up to Craig, which has meant about a week and a half off to just spend time at home, with family, watching some great movies and recharging, which is good because January 2013 looks hella busy.


I can’t say that we’re in the place yet where we are challenging 2013 to ‘bring it on’, as some are want to do at this time of year, as I think we’re just trying to regroup a little in anticipation of a very busy first quarter (at least work-wise).  Despite my shoulder surgery, a few times Troy’s back went out and a few nasty bugs in the last few weeks for me, we’ve had a year of good health, which we hope continues in the coming year. We’ve had great blessings on the work front, and we continue to pray for favor and that we would be good stewards of any talent we’ve been given.

I do know that this year we’re hoping for a little less of an adventurous year than last year, but one of steady growth and peace.  2013, we’re here, so cheers.  Courage.

Marfa 2

things charming me today: august 28.

28 August 2012


I don’t know when I’ll be able to work “a malapertness of pedlars” into a conversation, but if I can’t — really, I need to be having better conversations.



my glorious pear tree in the backyard that supposedly has five kinds of pears but no partridges and only currently half its pears because they are heading, without haste, into my mouth and the mouths of friends.

mouths of friends seems like a really terriblific band name.

that wasn’t a typo.


coconut macaroons.  you only need a few, but since when do we only take what we need?  we are Americans after all.

i kid.

2 food-related items and a grammar website.  THIS HAS BEEN A POST.

Cake Unappreciation Day

1 June 2012
tags: ,

In the car yesterday:

Me: Dear, do you know what tomorrow is?

Boy: Um…Friday?

Me: Yes…and?

Boy: June 1st?

Me: Yes…and?

Boy: And…what?  I’m starting to get nervous, here. [Our anniversary is on June 5th, which my darling Boy always remembers, but he started to second-guess himself and get a little sweaty.  In find nervousweaty to be terribly charming.]

Me: It’s National Doughnut Day*!

Boy: Oh.  Why?

Me: We don’t ask why when it comes to doughnuts, dear.  We just eat them.

Boy: Duly noted.

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*National Doughnut Day, not to be confused with National Doughnut Appreciation Day, which is November 5th.  I’m not entirely sure how you have a national holiday without appreciation, but nevertheless WE DON’T ASK WHY.  See above.

*That is our wedding cake above, made entirely of chocolate glazed doughnuts.  Why? HAVE YOU NOT LEARNED YOUR LESSON?  We don’t ask why!


But I’ll tell you anyway.

A. I love doughnuts.  Chocolate glazed are by far my favorite, and I will love them eternally.  My road to heaven is paved with doughnuts.

B. We’re not the biggest fans of cake.  Now, I’m not going to turn down a good piece of cake, because that would be crazy-making, and my 4,368 attempts at avoiding desserts and thus wanting to kick everything/one in sight can testify to that.  However, on the dessert-hierarchy, cake is maybe 4th or 5th on the list, depending on season.  And nobody serves my favorite cake anymore, yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  And the Boy’s favorite cake is way too complicated (German Chocolate) to make.

Betty Crocker, I am not.

C. It was CHEAP.  Enough Krispy Kreme doughnuts to make a Towering Cake of Doughnutness (or TCOD, as I will cringe-inducingly call it) = $100 plus a drive to Denver.  Wedding Cake?  Like, 9 billion dollars.  Or thereabouts.


D. I really, REALLY, really love chocolate glazed doughnuts.  My roller derby name might actually have a double-meaning to include a tasty french doughnut.  Unintentional, but welcomed.

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Last story.

The Boy’s friend Justin LOVES wedding cake (referring to it as if wedding cake were an actual kind of cake instead of just a category).  He had gone to several weddings prior to ours in 2010 that all had cupcakes instead of wedding cake, much to his disappointment.  When he received the invitation to our wedding, he mentioned to the Boy’s dad that he was really looking forward to our wedding because if anyone would have cake at their wedding, surely it would be him.

Imagine his surprise and anguish at our beautiful doughnut cake.

A few weeks later, the Boy’s dad had a small, red-velvet ‘wedding cake’ made up just for him and sent it to his business.

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About the Dog: One Imagined and One Real Conversation.

22 March 2012

I’m very excited about our recent house-hunting adventure for one big reason:

It means I can finally get a dog.

Oh, and it also means we can get out of apartment living and the douchebag parade that has installed itself recently in our building, smokers that have now resorted to smoking inside the apartment with windows closed so that we can’t visibly catch them smoking, have a dishwasher and laundry in our own house, reclaim furniture that his been so nicely stored by my nice parents for a nice long time, relax on a front porch, and all that jazz.

But, DOG.  The important things, right?

We decided that I wouldn’t get a dog until we had a house and a fenced in yard, which makes a lot of logical, grown-uppy, smart sense but does absolutely nothing for my childish, exuberant, sad-face-when-I-see-dogs, dog-loving heart.  But now that a house is (hopefully, fingers-and-toes crossed) imminently near, I’m getting very excited about my new future dog.

Notice I’ve said dog, and not puppy.  I do not want a puppy.  My long-standing theory is that if you’re going to get a puppy, you might as well just have kids.  They seem eerily similar in many, many ways, and I’m just not quite yet hopping on the having-a-kid wagon.  

Here’s another odd comparison between thinking about kids and dogs: Whenever you mention to someone you are thinking about having a kid/dog, someone ALWAYS pipes up with their unwarranted opinion about your choice of breed (we’re back to dogs, now, if you haven’t noticed.  Does anyone talk about breeds of kids?  I hope not.)

It goes like this:

Me: “We’re thinking about getting a dog.”

Vocal Opinion-Sharer: “Oh really, what kind?”

M: “[Insert breeds here that we’ve carefully thought about.]”

VOS: “Oh, you don’t want XX dog.  They’re horrible/smell/break things/will eat your furniture/ruin your life.  You should get a XX dog instead.  My sister/cousin/husband/plumber/candlestickmaker/baker had one and they were great.”

M: ….. (inward eye-rolling, and let’s face it, sometimes outward)

[End scene]

Don’t get me wrong, I am sometimes an inadvertent Opinion-Sharer.  We all are.  I think it’s our way of relating to the subject matter and having a conversation.  But when it’s EVERY TIME I say I want a certain type of dog, it’s obnox.  Like abbreviating words.

That being said, I had this great idea last night around midnight about Future Dog, and I had to share this with the Boy. It went a little something like this:

Me: “Dear, I had a great idea.  We’ll buy the house, then get a Basset Hound* and name him Mr. Bates like the valet on Downton Abbey.”

Boy: “He really doesn’t seem like the most Basset Hound-y character on Downton Abbey.”

Me: “Who’s more Bassetty than Mr. Bates?”

Boy: “That other waiter dude.”

Me: [Looking it up on Google] Mr. Carson?  Yes, I suppose you are right, even though Mr. Carson is considered a Sheepdog.  But I think Mr. Bates sounds better.”

Boy: “Yeah, that’s not going to happen.”

[Cut to scene of me, acting out all of the scenarios wherein we are petting Mr. Bates, talking to Mr. Bates, feeding Mr. Bates his food, all while talking to him in a very formal, British tone.]

Boy: “Never going to happen.  You want to know why?  Because at some point I’m going to have to yell out the dog’s name repeatedly to get him to come in, and all the neighbors are going to think I’m yelling out “Master Bates”, which is very, very bad.”

Me: “I don’t understand.”

Boy: “Just say it a few times to yourself, dear.”

Me: [realizing that yelling Mr. Bates really loud does, indeed, sound like an inappropriate out-loud word that I refuse to type on the blog so as to avoid skeezy Google searches and associated comments.]

Boy: “Exactly.”

Me: “So, Mr. Carson it is?”

[End Scene]

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*Yes, we are considering a Basset Hound.  Yes, we know what they look, sound, and smell like.  Yes, we are concerned they might be a trifle frumpy and/or the wrong dog for us.  Yes, they look like they’d be so adorable in a smoking jacket and pipe.  No, I do not want to know what you think about Bassetts, unless your name is Renee and you are my Basset Hound-pimp because you own one.

*All photos courtesy of

Nothing says “I Love You” like 80’s music references.

14 February 2012

Any excuse to show people how much I love them is alright in my book, even a crimson-saturated singles-awareness hallmarky holiday in celebration of a guy who wrote the first valentine in prison to his jailer’s daughter before being beheaded.

I’d like to see that sentiment on a candy heart.

Speaking of candy hearts, I’m a little sad to see old “fax me” traded in for the trendier “text me” on these little chalky treats, even though neither of those are ways I’d consider to be charming ways to communicate your love.

I’m a big fan of ye olde printed material for heartfelt sentiments, so I decided to design myself up a little valentine this year to send to some of my friends.  Inspired by Ever So Lovely’s Valentines Exchange program as a deadline, I set to work, armed with my extensive knowledge of 80’s love songs, an array of colorful sharpie pens and some charming fonts courtesy of the great folks at Lost Type Co-op.

With only an eensy bit of photoshop help from my uber-designy boyfriend with whom I share both marriage and a creative business, I cooked up something I thought was a little bit cheeky fun (my favorite) and a lot of heart, brown sugar and heavy cream.

Wait, no, that last bit was from my recipe for frosting, but I think it applies anyway.

And the best part– besides giving my friends a little smile– is that I designed it myself, which I promise is you is a BIG DEAL. Since I hold down the more writing-oriented things at Fixer Creative (our business), my involvement in design is more of a creative director who dreams up fun ideas and a design editor who gives feedback on design until things feel just right for our clients–but I don’t spend time immersed in Adobe programs myself, despite wanting to acquire enough skills for me to create some things myself.  This year I decided to so just that, and you only learn by doing.  Self-directed projects for the win!

I’m super excited about these little guys who went out in the mail Saturday and are hopefully showing a few of my friends some love today.

I sent them with one of the little army guys with a big red heart.  Wouldn’t you like a little help navigating the battlefield of love?

My heart feels quite safe now.

Happy Valentines Day, or as we like to celebrate it, Van Halen-stine Day! 

(I wasn’t lying about my childhood pHd program in 80’s music. Blame/thanks go to my sister Amy.)

a turtle-y life.

31 January 2012

Watch this.  Pay no attention to my crappy screen capture that shows my contest to see who can have the most Google Chrome tabs open (I’m winning) and just click.  It’ll be the most peaceful thing you see all day.

Filed under: things charming me today.

For some reason, this looks exactly how I feel life is for me these days.  Nothing fast and exciting, and certainly not moving as fast as other people — but we’re going to get where we’re going.  And bring a little joy on the way.

January Photo A Day Roundabundlewrap . Week 2

21 January 2012

I’m participating with approximately 9,367 (totally unscientific estimate) people out there doing FatMumSlim‘s photo-a-day project for January and roundin’ all of these little pixels here each week, generally on Saturdays. Why a photo a day challenge? Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because I find myself (as a writer) seem to find myself at a loss for words these days and am preferring more to take pictures on a daily basis rather than natter on about my life.  Or I needed yet another seemingly productive procrastinatory tool in my toolbox.  Or because….nothing.  There’s nothing there.  See, I told you I couldn’t seem to locate words lately.  This could prove to be problematic, but we’re going to worry about that less right now than other things.  Like what’s for dinner tonight.

I started to round-a-bundle them all up for you last Saturday, and didn’t finish…until today, which makes me about a week behind — or, OR, it’s a treat, really: you get two weeks right in a row!  See how I make it sound like you’re getting quite a steal through exclamation marks, strategic words and subtle compliments, you Uber Thrifty Person Who Is Awesome?

If you’d like to take a gander, week one is here, and week three is just around the corner.


Day nine: Routine.  

The picture above was taken in the Ikea cafeteria while consuming way too many meatballs, which I should really make a daily routine.  I could move to Denver, change my name to something Swedish like Annnnikka, which in my mind justifies the eating of meatballs from my home country every day, and shop for cheap Scandinavian goods all the live long day.

I could also remain married.  Dilemma.

The funny thing about routines is that I really love having one as long as I can abandon it at anytime, which somewhat goes solidly against the definition of what a routine is.  Without a routine, though, I feel willy-nilly, drifty, and other unpleasant adverbs that start making me itchy and desperate.  So, what I’m saying is, I’ll have a routine, break it, then make a new routine, break it all the time, rinse and repeat.  I don’t know if it works for me, but it’s what I do.  I am both pro and anti-routine.  So, sue me!  (Actually, don’t sue me, because then I won’t have money for Ikea).

Two things that do find their way into the routines I create and destroy are reading + eating, preferably together.  Every single day, I can honestly say that I stop to eat (no eating on the run, even though I do always have snacks in my purse) and stopping to read something.  And we’re still working on adding more meatballs to that.


Day ten: Childhood.  

In my office I have three shelves filled with all of the cameras I’ve used over the years–from my very first Canon AE-1 to the six different polaroid cameras I collected over the years.  My very first camera, however, was this one.  A little wooden point-and-shoot with a bright red string for a camera strap, and a wad of fossilized pink gum on the back (not pictured because I’d like to retain you all as readers and friends).  I thought I wanted to be a photographer when I grew up (this was before the proliferation of what my friend Megan calls “fauxtographers” out there who simply own nice camera equipment rather than skill and talent, but after being hired to photograph one wedding when I was 20, I promptly ended photography as a career choice. Words are way more my speed, and they don’t have to constantly be reminded to stop smiling so weird.


Day eleven: Where you sleep.

Can I just say that my bedroom is one of my very favorite rooms of the house, and not for the “this is where the magic happens” MTV Cribs-style wink-wink-nudge-nudginess?  Why am I asking permission; I’m just saying it RIGHT NOW.  Permission-be-damned! Power to the people! (I may have just had a little too much sugar.) We inherited the bedroom set from my grandmother, and it is some olive-wood-laminated goodness circa 1940’s that I love, including those great lamps that I keep contemplating painting until I get way too nervous and back down.

But, the art project on the wall was recently completed, and it’s one of our very favorite projects we’ve taken on–and SO simple.  If When we get our Fixer Creative Co. website up and running hopefully before it’s 2013 or kills us both we’ll do a full tutorial on how to make it, but in the meantime let me tell you that you just need a whole lotta nails and some string.  We did it in an afternoon and I really find it charming, don’t you?


Day twelve: Close-up.  

This is a close-up of my wedding rings and the boutonierre (which my computer is telling me is misspelled, but you know I totally looked it up to make sure) that my friend Sarah and I made for my wedding.  Basically, now that the wedding is done, you’re looking at the most expensive and least expensive souvenirs from my wedding.


Day thirteen: In your bag.

Oh, I had grand illusions about this one.  See, I really love looking at what people have in their bag.  Like these photos from Fresh Pics? I could look at them every day.  It’s very telling, I think.  So I was going to pull out all my stuff, organize it all neatly and catalogue it in a photo.  But when it came down to it, I had to go meet a friend for lunch and I work up late, and after peering into the deep recesses of said bag I realized I would have to fully clean out my bag just to unearth the things that are in my bag and round up the small creatures who have now signed up for mailing addresses and utilities in my bag in order to take a photo of whats IN MY BAG.

And I got tired just from typing the phrase “in my bag” about seventy times.

There are reasons for this crazy hot mess in my bag, sure, like switching between bags that can hold my computer and ones with fun stripes and ones that match my shoes, but really — I’ll always be the girl who has crumbs in the bottom of her bag.  Always.  I think I can live with that.


Day fourteen: Something I’m reading.  

I always have an epically long list of books that I’m going to read, but sometimes I’ll find a few that just weasel their way up to the top, cutting in the book-reading line.  This was one of the first books I read this year, a decidedly fascinating entreaty into the world of haute cuisine.  If you don’t know what haute cuisine is, you are a) not alone and b) can understand it by just calling it “really fancy and expensive food.”  Kidding aside, mostly, the author takes a look inside elBulli, a restaurant that I can’t seem to encapsulate fully in one sentence.  Basically, they make really fascinating, tasty, avant-garde food, and until 2010 when they closed down only to reopen next year as a sort-of culinary “think tank”, was only open 6 months out of the year and you could only get reservations if you were friends with Gwyneth Paltrow or the mayor of Spain.  (Note: not real sure Spain has a mayor as its head of state, but I was writing this while wikipedia was on a clicky-strike against SOPA, and I moved on.  As should you.)

The kitchen hosts a large group of interns each year, called stagiares who all do a rotation, or stage, at the restaurant and try to absorb as much as they can from Ferran Adria, the big cheese (pun intended!) and try not to complain about creating thousands of spherical olives by dropping goop (scientific term) by syringe into a specially made bath.  Every day, for months.

It’s actually really interesting.  Or I’m just easily curious about everything.  But it’s definitely one of the two.

But, reading + fire = amazing, no matter what you’re reading.  Am I right?  I am.


today’s truth:

17 January 2012

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.

— Anne Lamott

i’m trading in my resolutions.

13 January 2012

So, a few weeks ago I wrote about my thoughts on 2011 and promised I would be back with a way to plan ahead, to get more done, no–scratch that, to BE more in the next year.

Awful good plan that actually might be…if I was someone else.

But I’m not.

I’m me.

And I’m seldom ready for Audacious New Goals the very first week of the year.  Or ever, really.

Goals, as I’ve written about before, have always been yet another opportunity for me to disappoint myself.  I’ve been in awe of people who accomplish amazing things, but I never counted myself among them.  On the flipside, though, I want to have direction in life.  Without goals, how do you get things done?  Aren’t goals good?  Like, maybe if you made real goals, or goals that have all the requisite acronym-y details like being measurable, attainable, etc.?

I’m sure they are.  But you want to know what one of the hardest things for me to do is?

Decide what I actually want — and how to get there.

Determining what is attainable to me, what would be useful or beneficial (which my mind sadly twists around to mean “perfect”, like it has positivity-specific dyslexia) just ties me all up.  It binds my hands, slows my feet, makes me inert.  Paralyzed to do anything but maintain the status quo-hum.

Something about unmoveable goals that MUST be set at in January, before I’ve even gotten two steps in the door of 2012 and hung my coat on its hook, waiting around for 51 weeks to pop up again, unfinished and guilt-laden—just isn’t working for me this year.


I’ve got a meditation (or mantra) instead, which can be applied to specific areas of my life this year; a consistent approach to the most troublesome of challenges and the mundane simple things that just seem to need attention:

This Christmas gift by my dear love which now hangs in my home office reminds me that little things matter.  That I matter, even when I feel small.  That the choices I make every day mean something.  That consistent actions will lead to unimagined, remarkable things.

That every little bit has an infinite potential.

So, 2012, welcome.  Things are going to happen this year, bit by every little bit.  Can’t wait to see it (and share it with you, friends!)