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{U} UV Rays.

30 November 2011

it’s the last day of november, which means i am officially only 4 days behind of my posting-every-day-or-bust schedule.

correction: 5 days behind, because somehow i missed the letter H.

[update: correction to the correction–i found H. right on my screen, between G and I, hidden SO WELL.–s.]

but, i can’t neglect the rest of the alphabet, so we press on.

perhaps we’ll have to rename it National Blog Posting Month And Some More.

NaBloPoMo, meet NaBloPoMoAddSoMo.


here is yet another Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys SuperMystery update of Epically Unimportant Proportions.

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these are my favorite sunglasses of the moment.  classic mid-century shape, dark enough to become a stranger, and tortoiseshell to go with everything.

i got them on vacation in chicago, at urban outfitters on state street for about 15 dollars.  i actually was drawn to another pair (which i ended up getting as well), but the boy insisted that these were a good idea.

i should always listen to that boy.

i subsequently ended up wearing them every single day all summer long, until i promptly lost them in the abyss that is craig, colorado on our first trip up to grand junction.

for a week i wore other sunglasses, and although it was not the month of november, i was decidedly NOT THANKFUL for the sunglasses i already owned.

and in this grey cloud of first world problems, i came up with a truly american solution:

i had to re-buy them.

so i did.

(please tell me i’m not the only one who either re-buys identical items that they’ve lost/broken or buys multiple pairs of beloved jeans/glasses/shoes whenever possible?  yes, i see that hand.  and you, sir.  thanks guys.)

so, this is my second-pair of first-favorite sunglasses.

i need to take them off now, though, because i learned that the only two people who wear sunglasses indoors are blind people and assholes.

and i’m not blind.

here’s to sunny days ahead.

{T} Thanksgiving, and solving crimes.

27 November 2011


Hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving with wonderful food…and solved crimes.

If you’ve known me for approximately 1 day or sat on my green couch in my living room next to the television*, you’ll know that my favorite television show (probably of all time, and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who can’t name her top 5 anything with definitive answers) is the West Wing.

[*because I often use analogies or examples from the West Wing to communicate to people and because I own all 7 seasons which the boy and I watch nearly year-round–and that’s not an exaggeration.  the show is that good.]

So, as we do every year, we celebrate thanksgiving with the following:

1. actually giving thanks–which, if we’re being honest, requires me to think about what my life could look like in an alternative universe without divine providence and blessing.  without this imagination of a sadly-ended choose-your-own-adventure-life, i honestly don’t feel thankful for my current life, even if i say/write the words “i’m thankful”.  i find that true thankfulness requires a bit more…meditation on what that actually means.  is that odd?

2. the requisite food/family–your standard thanksgiving fare plus one odd dish called “slimy green stuff” that my husband loves and i revile.  (it involves pistachio pudding, nuts, and other stuff not worth mentioning, because once i heard the first ingredient i was done.)  the family varies, depending on if we go up to craig (which we have the last 3 years out of 4) or stay in town with my family.  i missed my sister’s first hosting of thanksgiving, which was sad, but got to spend time with troy’s family in craig.

3. the west wing episodes about thanksgiving–our favorites include the episodes with the butterball hotline, pardoning the turkeys, and (as you see above) rob lowe’s idea for a new thanksgiving action-adventure series.

I’m curious — what are your traditions, or do you have any?

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, all.



{S} Snapshots.

23 November 2011

here is where we’ve been spending our days and years.

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the boy and i went on a date to a local tapas restaurant in old colorado city called the tapateria.

i like the idea of things being a ‘teria’ (see: other failed restaurant ideas).

they give you a big picture menu of all of your tapas options, and you proceed to order about 20 different things, all of them tasty.

the company was particularly delightful.

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another Flamingo fashion post from today (named after my amazing mirror pose, yes?), this time with more chartreuse courtesy of the puffy puffy vest my father recently gifted me.  my torso has never been so warm in my life.

also, i LOVE me some chartreuse.

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if someone walked into my brother & sister-in-law’s kitchen at 3:35pm on thursday of last week, they would have seen one 30-year-old babysitter with a banana in one hand, an iphone in the other for texting the parents to ascertain the magic cure for the fussy baby, and her knee wedged against the tray of the high chair to keep it in place because she couldn’t figure out the child-lock mechanism while holding a baby who had been crying for approximately 9,000 years the last half hour.

turns out, the magic cure was FEED THE HUNGRY KID.

bananas for the win.

(sorry tucker + julie for all the texts.)

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this was the scene in our apartment this week, midway through a current creative project for our local ad-fed group for our company. you can follow the adventures of Mog (the mug-dog) here, if that’s what you’re into.

otherwise, i’ll keep you posted here soon enough.

two observations:

we must look really strange to the neighbors who walk by our apartment window.

i strangely feel like i’m one step closer to getting a dog.

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i made potato-leek soup.  it was tasty.  leeks are like onions. our house smelled oniony for days.

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i’ve been going through our pictures from grand junction (we’ve been caring for my mother-in-law who had treatments for brain cancer at the regional center there) to put in an album for her.

when we were driving around we stumbled on this general store that she remembered from years ago, in the middle of nowhere.

it was as charming as you’re picturing, and i was wishing that i could shop there regularly.

but not enough to actually move out in the middle of nowhere.

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beer me some milk with my dessert, please.

{at my nephew’s 3rd birthday party}

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The (R)oastaurant.

22 November 2011

{bad idea jeans, SNL: “Sport the jeans that scream ‘it’s a bad idea!}

When we were kids, my older-by-one-year-and-two-days brother Tucker and I occasionally collaborated on Really Fantastic Ideas (trademark). One of our RFI involved ridiculous brilliant ideas for opening a restaurant when we got older.

We figured that we would expand on the idea of restaurants focusing one one general cuisine, and have them instead focus on only one type of food.  Hey, it works for ice cream, right?

Here were the names of the restaurants we came up with, and the food focus concept should be (painfully) obvious:

Are You For Cereal?

The Roastaurant


And, my absolute favorite:

The Loafeteria


My brother and I don’t, in fact, own or operate a restaurant now that we are adults,
so to the food-enjoying public: you’re welcome for that.

{Q} questions + answers, for a monday morning.

21 November 2011
{christmas presents for the boy | december 2011}

What are you…

Obsessing over: Both where we want to go with our business next year and how I’m going to wrap Christmas presents this year.  I tend to like packaging way, way too much for a healthy person a lot, so it requires thoughtful consideration.

Working on: Designing and producing a Christmas/New Years present for some of our clients.  I’m super excited and want it to turn out really well.

Thinking about: How to cook all of the squash we got in our CSA.  Our CSA is great, but in the winter it’s like squashapplapalooza.  Also wondering when I will outgrow being intimidated by people I perceive to be way more cool than I can even think about being.

Anticipating: A dinner party that I’m planning that won’t be for two months.  And lots of pumpkin pie this weekend.  I fully intend on “gobbling until I’m wobbling.”

Listening to: The Fuel/Friends Autumn Mix 2011: Nothing Gold Can Stay.  It’s free and you should download it immediately, if not sooner.  And if you like great music you’ve never heard of and some illustrative writing, bookmark this blog to put in your reading rotation.  Seriously.  Also in heavy rotation at the Fixer Design offices: Feist’s Metals, Florence + the Machine Ceremonials.

{ don’t you love this virtual cover for the mix? designed by ryan hollingsworth for fuel/friends }

Drinking: Plain, unsweetened, decaf iced tea.  My favorite, year-round.  Also, because it’s come up several times this past week: No, I seriously don’t like coffee.  I have never liked it.  In anything.  Even when it’s 90% sugar, I taste something and think “hmm, that sugar was sweet, but what’s that bitter taste happening in my mouth?”  It did not change when I lived in Seattle, and it did not change when I was a first year teacher, and the outlook looks grim.  Hear that, former boss who gifted me a giant Starbucks gift basket after I worked for you for four years?  I. don’t. like. it.

Wishing: I had equal parts laser-like focus + patience for the things I have to do and that I could create all of the things in my head with my own skills and hands.

what are you obsessing over, working on, thinking about, anticipating, listening to, drinking or wishing? 

do tell me in the comments…

{P} problematic words.

19 November 2011

i’ve noticed lately that several words are, shall we say, conspicuously overrepresented in my vocabulary.

and by present, i mean WAY overused.  to the point of obnoxious.

but i can’t stop saying them.

one word that i find myself almost daily is the word problematic, which just means that whatever it is that i’m describing as problematic has become a problem.

i like it because it is efficient, using one word to take the place of four.

but i use it ALL THE TIME.

it’s become, well, problematic.

i mean, it’s not to the rachel zoe level with the word literally, and at least i use my words correctly. [side note: if you’ve never watched the rachel zoe project, it is a hot mess of crazy, which i find entertaining. in our nearly 5 years of being together, rachel zoe’s show on bravo is the only one that the boy has made me turn off because of how obnoxious she is, and this is coming from someone who has endured an entire ice road truckers marathon.)

but still.

here are the others that probably need to take a hiatus from my everyday speech:

funsies (like, let’s do this for the heck of it–which is ridiculous because it’s not even a real word, people.)




problematic (it’s seriously bad, so i listed it twice.)


what are your overused words?  anything that makes you sick as it’s coming out of your mouth but you can’t stop?  words that you love, but your significant other hates?  is there an anonymous group or 12 steps to do?

do tell.

(N + O) New + Old.

18 November 2011

ha! i missed yesterday, but today i’m back with a double-post, a humdinger of a post, a whapdoodle of a post…

i’m pretty sure that last one was made up.  has anyone heard anything being described as a whapdoodle?

and see, now i’m worried that i’ve hyped it up too much and you’ll just be disappointed.  it’s like what happened to me with the matrix.  back when the movie the matrix came out, it’s all i heard about for weeks.  from everyone.  it’s like occupy wall street.  or twilight.  or, if you’re local, the new logo and tagline for our fair city, which makes it look like we all play for a rest-home-sponsored little league team circa 1993.

and the more i heard about it, the less i wanted to see it. (i wasn’t much of a joiner at the time.  it was/is one of my unfortunate, skinny-jeans-wearing, eye-rolling, hipster traits.  i hate myself.)  i ended up seeing it years later, after all the hype went away, and my mind remained un-blown by the viewing.

so, forget everything i said about this post.  it’s your average, friday post.  nothing special.  nope.

except it’s a little special. you’ll see why.

several months ago, the boy and i went to the denver modernism show.  he had some artwork up there, so we drove on up to visit it and see the rest of the show.  i kind of expected it to be just a normal art show, albeit held in an enormous event center typically reserved for cattle and farm-related exhibitions.  lots of paintings, artists, wine, and we’d be out in about 45 minutes.

whoa.  i was wrong.

this place was packed to the brim with everything modern you could think of: furniture, art, tchotchkes, books, gadgets, and a live pageant of some kind.  (to be honest, the pageant was a little weird).  i should point out that when i say modern, i mean modern in the design sense, not in the time/futuristic sense, so picture more 50’s furniture and less modern dance from dieter.

we spent hours poring over vintage books, pretending to eat dinner at the authentic 50’s kitchen sets, and drooling over the furniture we will own SOMEDAY, right? these people love their old stuff (and i do too).

oh, and the boy’s painting also won an award.

we did find a few things that we loved and that handily fit the capabilities of our wallet, including these lovelies:

and, in action (with some inadvertent side-eye):

gorgeous, no?

and the best part is that the silvery-grey color goes with almost anything, but makes it that much more fun because it’s SHINY.  at first i imagined they would be reserved for dressy outfits, but i’m finding that i like to wear them as a neutral earring for whatever it is that i dig out of the closet to wear.  to prove my point, here’s what i’m wearing my earrings with today:

and that’s why this post is special, see, because of this little picture right here. if it isn’t (painfully) obvious, a fashion blogger I AM NOT.  (gasp! what, you say?  no, never!)  this is why i will never be a fashion blogger, or someone who often posts envy-worthy outfit pictures, or anything close to it — because, i look like an idiot.  from the ridiculous surprised look on my face, as if to say “what ho!  who goes there!  i see land ahead!” to the odd standing-on-one-foot pose (seriously, i don’t remember doing that…maybe people look skinnier with one leg?), my career as a fashion-anything (other than enthusiast) is D.O.A.

but no matter, because the point of this is to show you that sparkly awesome antique earrings have a place in your every day (affordable) wardrobe.  the shirt and jeans are old navy, the sweater is h&m, and the earrings are from a basket in an event center, or what the fashionable people call “vintage”, which just means old.

they are actually vintage, however.  i’m pretty sure that fastening mechanisms have come a long way since the screw-post on these babies.  at first, if we’re being honest, it’s a little pinchy.  but that lasts for about 2 minutes why you admire yourself (on one leg, of course) in the mirror, and by the time you’re done, it’s gone.

they’re my favorite new/old things ever right now, so much so that it made me write a song about them, sung to the tune of the old girl scout favorite campfire hymn, “make new friends” (they hit the chorus at the 10-second mark):

buy new earrings
especially if they’re old.
go for silver
unless you’re into gold.

{M} Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Part 2

16 November 2011

Remember Marcel the Shell with Shoes On?

This adorable creature inspired a book:

And now he’s back with more.

I love this little shell.  I would totally dress up as Marcel for Halloween, if I liked dressing up in costume.

My favorite bits:

“We slept 8 to the muffin.”

“I would call myself Sheldon Conch.”

“We don’t have newspapers, but sometimes I read a receipt.”

“Treats & snoozing, snoozing & treats.  That’s it.”

“Oh god, I can smell his face.”

L is for libraries. and the Lolympics. and L..books. (this isn’t working, is it?)

15 November 2011
(engagement photo courtesy of jannelle althoff)

Last week, my friend Kayla left me a comment asking this:

I want to know how you pick your books. Do you see them in a store with a fancy cover? Do you read of them in magazines or other blogs? Or are you following some sort of list?

Oooh, I do love questions. 

[Reading note: tangent approaching. Buckle in.]

Why? I think (besides the obvious assumption that perhaps I can be self-involved at times — who isn’t?) it’s that questions do several things for us.  For one, they show curiosity and interest in the questioner, which is a delightful trait in other people.  After high school I took essentially a “gap” year where I went to a program that espouses to build service, leadership and spiritual development.  Although I don’t think it really taught me what it intended, I got way more out of it than even I expected, mostly in the form of some of my favorite people EVER with whom I am still friends.  One of those friends is Kristin.  Someone asked me once what made her one of my favorite people ever, and I remember telling them this:

She’s the type of person who makes you feel as if you are the most interesting person in the room when she’s talking to you.

I think that comes from a place of genuine curiosity, as Kristin is obsessed with so many things in the most delightful way possible.  Part of how she makes others feel so interesting? She asks them questions, genuinely (or at least faking it really well) interested in what they have to say.

The other reasons I think we like questions about ourselves are related: they cause us to reflect and they allow us to be an expert for once.

I am not an expert, by any means.  When I was a kid — and, who am I kidding, still now as an adult — I was obsessed with the Olympics.  I mean, OBSESSED.  I would take out the TV Guide that I got out of the newspaper, since I felt bad about stealing the actual TV Guide magazine that my friend’s mom got each week, and pore over it to map out my Olympic-watching schedule.  I performed my interpretation of ice-skating routines in my socks behind the large, olive-colored recliner my dad sat in.  I practiced my flip-turns (while holding my nose, of course) at the pool.  I accompanied my stuffed animals on the Olympic podium in my room, awarding medals and waving to the crowd.

You would think that this obsession would mean that I was an athlete.

I was and am not.

What I really was enamored with, beyond the beauty and athleticism of olympic sports, was that these people were experts.  They were focused and dedicated enough to be the very best at something.

I never had that kind of dedication or focus to a singular thing.  I often longed for that particular sequence of DNA to show up magically in my blueprints.  At other times in my life, I even hated myself for liking too many things, as if that was a sign of weakness and unreliability.

I’ve grown up a little since then.  What was once a perceived weakness is now an asset to what I do.

But from this experience, I grew to love being asked questions about myself, because — for once — it was a subject I could speak about as an honest-to-god expert.  I am an expert on me, so ask away.  Pretty, pretty please. I (luckily) learned how to temper that (most of the time) by developing a genuine curiosity about other people, too, which saved me from becoming a pompous jerk at all times to everyone around me.  Thank God.

However, some things never change, because when my friend Kayla asked me her question recently in my comments, I immediately got real excited (comment + question = awesome).  The way to my heart is paved with a question mark, people.

[Reading note: Here’s where we finally get back on track.  Geez…]

So, here is my answer:

(image linked of jessica hische’s book covers which I love.)

Good question! I find books a bunch of different ways.  Once I discovered that I could pay library fines online, I returned to the library after a long, shameful absence that came from my wanting to avoid the steely admonishment by the desk clerk when I paid my fines in person. (I will probably always have library book fines.  And crumbs in my purse.)  This return to the library helped open up more books to me, because I wasn’t worried if I’d regret buying them. Here’s how I’ve found the most recent books I’ve read this year:

1. The Internet Machine.

I follow a few different bloggers/tumblrs, some of whom are avid readers and talk about the books they’re reading.  I also check out the New York Times Bestseller list for some of the big titles right now.  Around this time of year, I’ll check out the end-of-year lists that are published to see a compendium of books I should possibly check out this year.  I’ll even do a google search like this to find lists, although I find this is the best way of finding a list of classics that might interest me.  [Jay-Z’s Decoded and the Steve Jobs biography I started/finished last week came from a blogger and the NYTimes, respectively).

But, you often find books mentioned in an article not about books.  On my list right now is Born to Run, which I had seen on my friends Garrett & Courtney’s bookshelf, but became interested after I read this article in the NY Times.

2. Magazines.

I read several different magainzes — right now, Vanity Fair and Wired are at the top of the list — and V.F. has a section called “Hot Type” that previews a bunch of different authors and books.  Sometimes one of them piques my interest, so I’ll check it out.

3. The Bookstore.

Good design often gets me into a book.  When I wander around the bookstores, a good cover will pull me in, and good jacket writing can seal the deal.  I was sold on a book I read last month, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, for it’s cover design — although, I had heard about this book mentioned casually on a blog I follow a few months earlier.

4. My Online Book Club

A few friends and I have a very, very loose book club online at Goodreads (we’re all in different parts of the country) where we suggest a book for the month, read it, and then post what we thought.  I LONG for a real-life book club with cocktails and food and more talk about the book and life in general, but I do not have similar taste in books as any of my friends, it seems, and nobody is all that interested.  One day, one day.  This is the closest we come, and I end up reading books that I wouldn’t have chosen but are glad I read (see: Emma Donahue’s Room, which was a book club selection).

5. My bookshelf.

Seriously, I own more books than I’ve read, which is ridiculous.  So, I either need to get rid of books (I do) or I need to start reading them (I do).  Or, more honestly, I need to finish books that I’ve started and then abandoned.  I have that nasty habit sometimes.  Some of my favorite authors live on my bookshelf, though, so I often will check to see if they have a new book coming out.  Chuck Klosterman’s book The Visible Man came about that way, and so did Dave Eggers’ book Zeitoun (which I finally read this year and was amazing) came from seeing other books they wrote on my shelf and then checking out books of theirs that I haven’t read.

So, there’s where I find books to read.  I like good books, but that means that I like a lot of different kinds of books.  I mix it up a lot.  In order to keep the pipeline filled, though, I found that I needed to log them somewhere that I can remember them when I’m ready to read something. If you can find a way to record what you read in the same place, that works great.  This online idea is kind of cool.  If you are into the journal thing, they have several book journals that are lovely for this sort of thing.  This is one I kind of like:

My sorry excuse for a system is a combination of putting newer books on hold and getting on the waiting list, sticky notes on my mac, and writing them in my spybook.

Also, forgetting wholeheartedly about it and then picking it up years later when you remember you had wanted to read it?  Works great too.

I also love to lend books, so if you’re local (or don’t mind shipping it back to me when you’re done if you aren’t), I’ll send them your way, because I’m all old-fashioned, and don’t read books on computers.  Everything else, sure.  But not books.

Happy reading…and if you want any suggestions or to ask me any other questions about the subjects on which I am an expert (read: me), ask away.

[Reading note: you made it.  Drinks for everyone.]

Update: I’m considering reading Moby-Dick next after reading an article about a book that someone wrote about it.  Anyone want to weigh in?  Epic idea, or just epically bad? Especially my English-y friends, I’m looking right at you.

{K} kids “music”.

14 November 2011

i watched this kids “music” video the other day, if we’re using that term loosely. but seriously—it’s one of the best things i’ve seen all week.   it is ALL kinds of special, people.  yeah.. just…wow.

it should be mentioned:

– the chorus might be stuck in your frontal lobe for weeks.  sorry i’m not sorry, as it is still stuck in mine.

– if your kids like obnoxious music, DO NOT SHOW THIS TO THEM.  they will beg you for it, which you will soon regret. you’ve been warned.

– the overly-earnest informational breakdown sesh at the 2-minute mark is, i feel, particularly awesome.