I think I've written about it before, but every year, the one Christmas tradition Scott and I have is to pick out an ornament for that year. It can be cheap, expensive, have some meaning, or just be something we happened to like.
This year, we wanted to find something that commemorates my new greeting card business. We came across this one at Macy's, and it's now on our tree.
Granted, it's not a Christmas CARD per se, but it's a scroll. Close enough, right?
Here's a look at the other ornaments we've gotten each year since we've been married:
Well, I guess it's not so much the tree itself that's special. It is, after all, the same tree we've used for the last three Christmases. What makes it special is the tree's location.
You might not recognize it because we've moved around some furniture, but that tree is in the exact same spot it was last Christmas. Which is the first time that's happened since we got married six and a half years ago. It's the first time we've been in the same apartment for two Christmases.
So even though every year's tree is special, this one's just a little bit more so. It's funny to say we've put down some roots here, because we feel far from that, but I guess it's a little bit true. There are some options in the cards for being in a different place next year, but all things the same, we'd love to still be in this apartment come next Christmas. But we'll see what the winds of change have in store.
For now, I'm going to enjoy my little tree in my little apartment for the second year in a row.
Everybody knows Santa lives at the North Pole. But what they didn't tell you is that he originally lived in the South. Not the South Pole. The South South. The y'all South. I bet you're wondering how I know this, aren't you? It's because I've seen him twice in the last week.
Reason #1 we know Santa's from the South: He flies Airtran (which is based in Atlanta). And he said he had spent the past week in New Orleans. On one of our flights this week, a jolly-looking man with a big white beard sat behind us on the plane. Someone else asked if he was Santa, and he said actually, he was. He travels for a photo company letting kids sit on his knee and make Christmas wishes to the Jolly Old Elf himself. (Super-nice guy. He even let us out of our seats on the plane without trying to push past us first.)
Reason #2 we know Santa's from the South: He eats at Chick-fil-a. While he and Mrs. Claus were visiting a shopping mall in Delaware this week, we spotted the couple dining at my favorite joint. And what self-respecting Southern boy don't like him some fried chicken?
So there you have it. Santa's a Southerner. I was going to suggest replacing his cookies with some waffle fries, but on second thought, we Southerners like both, and you DO want to be on Santa's good side, don't you?
I am a firm believer that when you find something that makes you feel beautiful and sexy, you should act on it. Because we don't feel that way about ourselves often enough. Or at least I don't. So whether it's an $80 bra (and that was the cheaper one!) or a $130 haircut, sometimes you just have to go for it. (If you're lucky, sometimes it's a $10 shirt). It's easy to let cost get in the way of feeling amazing. Granted, none of us can just run out and buy whatever we want that makes us feel good whenever we want it. But, you know, occasionally, I think it's absolutely necessary.
If you don't mind, I'll not share the bra. But here's the haircut!
It's pretty windy today, so I had the girl at the desk at the salon snap one with my iPhone before I walked out the door.
I read a blog post yesterday that contained tips on being a good blogger. One of them was to blog often/consistently, or you lose your readership.
Yeah, I can attest to that.
I've been busy lately. If you didn't see the post a few months ago (if you didn't see the post a few months ago, you're probably not reading this now, but anyway) I've started my own business. And I don't know if you've ever started your own business, but if you have, kudos to you, because it's a tough, exciting, grueling, rewarding, and SLOW process.
But I'm not posting this to beg for business. Really. I just wanted to tell you about what's been going on in my life. What starting a business is like. At the beginning it was a lot of running around getting paperwork in order. Most of that part is done now. I mostly just wait. I've been working on new Christmas cards that I hope to have up soon, since we'll be in full holiday swing after Halloween.
I think a big part of starting a business is patience. Which is hard, because if you jump through all the hoops to start a business, you're obviously passionate about sharing something with other people. I just wish other people were as excited about the cards as I am.
So between the business and my regular job, for which I've been staying late a lot because of baseball playoffs, not much time to blog. And not much interesting happening besides the daily grind.
But lucky for you, I've got at least two other posts in the works, so hopefully it won't be another month before I post again, and I promise they won't be about my business :)
So, apparently, I have come face to face with a 2012 presidential candidate. Pretty cool, huh. And would you believe he was naked?
That's right. The Naked Cowboy, aka Robert Burck, has tossed his cowboy hat into the ring for the White House. Actually, make that the Tighty Whitey House. For the briefing, he wore real clothes, and even a tie. He says he's serious, although he began a run for mayor in 2009, but changed his mind.
First change after being elected? Casual Friday every day.
And you know he'll be running against Donald Trump, right? Yep, the mogul himself is considering another real estate acquisition, one of the most coveted addresses in the country. And in keeping with his theme — Trump Building, Trump Tower, Trump Plaza — the White House will heretofore be know as the Trump House. Got a hankering to be vice president? I'm sure he'll be casting soon for "The VP Apprentice."
Personally, my vote is for the Naked Cowboy. Nobody can do more with less.
Note: This post is intended to be fun and light-hearted. Let's not get into real politics in the comments, k?
Not me, of course. That would be the stuff of a terrifyingly horrible nightmare. But this guy ... it's his living.
I've heard about the Naked Cowboy, and I've seen pictures of him, but this was the first time I've seen him with my own eyes.
Flexing his ... muscles
But this guy is more than just a mostly naked, good-looking man wandering Times Square. He's a business man. He's a musician. He's a legend. He's a ... what? What song was he playing when I passed him today?
I'm sitting here at 4:30 a.m. on a Friday ni ... uh, Saturday morning ... reading old blog posts from nearly two years ago. Like this one about how to get free Starbucks. Or this one that unknowingly predicted the future. Or my theory on snow globes. I forgot I said some of that stuff. But you know what I noticed? I put myself to shame! In 2008, I posted 77 blog posts. In 2009, 75 blog posts. So far this year? Thirty-two. Not even half and we're nearly three-quarters of the way through the year.
My husband today sent me this article written by a woman who doesn't drink. And yes, by drink, we're talking alcohol. The title of the article is "My not drinking bothers friends," and I was immediately interested. See, I don't drink either. At least, not much. But I find that often in social situations, I feel weird about drinking a Coke, or just water. Although to be honest, it's probably more my issue than my friends' issue. I'm the one who's self-conscious. I can't even have dinner at a nice Italian restaurant without feeling weird that we're the only ones without wine. Why is it SO taboo to NOT be a drinker?
There's a great line in the article where someone asks the writer's husband (who also doesn't drink) why he's not having an adult beverage. His reply: "Listen, I'm a 30-year-old man. Whatever I'm drinking is an adult beverage." I love that.
The writer, who used to drink, quit because she didn't like where it was taking her. My excuses are a little different:
1) I don't like it. Plain and simple. I don't have a problem if you want to drink, go right ahead. But I just don't like the taste of it. I'd much rather spend my hard-earned cash on a Coke than a Cosmo, Corona, or Cognac. (And why ruin a perfectly good Coca Cola with Jack?) Sure, there are times where I feel like indulging, and I do, but it most likely involves a mojito or something peach. And just one.
2) Ignorance. I wouldn't know the difference between a Fuzzy Navel and a Sex on the Beach. All those bottles on the back of the bar look nice, but I have no idea what's in them, and my will to learn is nearly nonexistent.
So there you have it. I don't drink. At least, not much. So next time you're taking me out to dinner (see what I did there?), be glad I'm a cheap date!
I have issues remember things on, in, or about August and September. (Apparently, I also forgot to blog for most of August.)
Seriously. I can't remember what number corresponds with those months (5, easy, May, 10, easy, October) and I literally have to count them out to remember that August and September are 8 and 9. I also have a terrible time remembering dates in those months, particularly birthdays. I'm really good at remembering birthdays in any other month, but if you were born in August or September, I'm just going to apologize now, because I'm going to forget. I might remember that you were born in August or September, but I'll have no idea on the day. Or maybe I could guess within three days on either side...
I don't know what it is about those months, but they just don't stick for me. Anybody else feel this way about August and September? Or any other months? Or am I completely off my rocker? (Don't answer that.)
I saw this headline today and was slightly alarmed:
One-fourth of renters will never buy a home: survey
Uh, that's not cool. I want to eventually own a home. Pick my own paint. Stop buying furniture purely on the basis of how easy it is to move. But thankfully, the key word here is SURVEY. It doesn't say STUDY. Which means, this was a survey of 2,000 renters, and 27 percent of them never plan to buy a home, as opposed to a study saying those of us who are renting should just put away our dreams of ever owning.
I have to wonder, though, how many of these renters that were surveyed live in New York, because real estate prices here can crush your dreams real fast. With a median home price of $403,600 — and that's a home of maybe one bedroom and 700 square feet — it's just a leetle bit 'spensive to buy here.
We started with a mission — cool cards, warm wishes — and a goal: doing all things for the glory of God. We've launched with two lines of cards: 1000 Words, blank cards that feature photos on the front that remind us that God is in the little things and a verse on the back, and No Vacancy, which are cool Christian Christmas cards.
To the few of you who knew about RLPCo., thank you for you support and encouragement along the way. Thanks to my husband, who has listened to all my ideas and given his honest opinion, even when I didn't want to hear it. And thanks to Kari, who without, RLPCo would never have existed. Most of those photos on the 1000 Words cards? Yeah, they're hers. But above that, and above her publishing and business knowledge that have come in exceedingly handy through this project, her support and friendship have meant the world. Kari, I can't say it enough, but thank you, thank you, thank you.
So now you know why I have blogged so infrequently in the last few months. Opening a business is a lot of work. And it'd be great if it makes money, but mostly, RLPCo is a way for me to express worship by using my talents for God, and if some other people benefit from them along the way, even better.
If you're interested in buying some cards, you can use the code ILOVERLPCO at checkout for 10% off through the month of August. And sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on new cards and special offers. Oh, and we're on Facebook and Twitter, too. :)
Let's face it, hot dogs are a quick and easy (and tasty) meal. Even tastier when you use a pretzel as a bun.
I don't know if you're familiar with Philadelphia-style soft pretzels, but they're not your typical shape. They're more like two links of a chain. (You'll have to Google it. I'm not sure what the rules are for stealing photos.) I'll wait...
So you can see that its long thin shape would make a perfect bun for a hot dog. All you have to do is split it and add some mustard. So tasty.
But sadly, the Philly Pretzel Factory near our apartment has closed for good. We actually had to go buy hot dog buns in a bag so we can eat the ones we have in the fridge.
I'm bummed we won't be able to have hot dogs on pretzels anymore. It was really, really good.
Oh, hmm, there's one a few blocks from the train stop in Newark...
Three posts in just a little over a week. It's almost like I'm back in this! (And don't tell me you didn't just hum the Reading Rainbow theme to yourself. We all know you did.)
Anyway, what I wanted to talk about is books. Reading books. I've always been a reader; I read the whole Laura Ingalls Wilder series by the time I was ... oh I don't know ... really young. I'm sure my parents can tell you better.
Lately, I've been having the urge to read, but I've been really busy with other stuff and just haven't taken the time to sit down and amend that. Well, this weekend, I fixed it. I read three books between afternoon Friday and now, which is 2 a.m. Monday morning.
(I suppose you want to know what I read. Nothing earth-shattering. Books from the free bin at work, but here you go: 1) Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel [eh, kinda depressing], 2) All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost [better than the first] by Lan Samantha Chang, and 3) April & Oliver by Tess Callahan [just finished 5 minutes ago, so I'm still processing but it was my favorite of the weekend].)
When I sit down to read, I do nothing else until I've finished the book. I know not to start a book in the evening, unless it's short or I plan to be up till the wee hours of the morning. (I mean past my normal wee hours of the morning.) I absolutely cannot STAND to put a book down in the middle. It drives me nuts to have to draw one out over more than a day. I HAVE to finish. Maybe I just get so drawn into the characters that I must know what happens as soon as possible. Maybe I just enjoy losing myself in another world. I'm not really sure why I feel such a draw to read a book in only one sitting, but I do. It just drives me insane to have it drawn out over a period of time. I can't claw my way back fast enough to finish it if I didn't the first time around. Although technically I should be saying "novels," because books I feel I should be learning something from I like to read a little and give it a few days to digest before reading more.
What about you? Do you feel compelled to read an entire book in one sitting? Or are you ok with putting it down every few chapters and picking it up again hours or even days later?
On July 4, Scott and I spent the day on an extended date. We're not big into crowds, at least I'm not, and we wanted to be home during the fireworks to make sure our big scaredy-dog was ok during the show.
So we decided that since we weren't attending any cookouts, we'd go get some barbecue of our own (and later we went to go see a movie). There's a place here in the city called Daisy May's BBQ USA. It's been on the Food Network a few times, and recently was featured on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Barbecue)."
I'm just gonna cut to the chase. Good barbecue. Even better sides. Really. Fantastic. Amazing. Sweet Tea. I mean like, maybe possibly the best sweet tea I've ever had. And that's saying a lot coming from a Southern girl.
It came in a Ball Mason jar, which is very southern, but it was fresh, had just the right amount of sugar, and something I haven't really experienced much in sweet tea — fresh mint. Which I think was the kicker for me. Man, it was just SO GOOD. I would go there just to get the tea.
Who'd'a thunk I'd find such amazing sweet tea north of the Mason Dixon line?
I can't tell you how long I've had a laptop. It's been a long time that it's been my computer model of choice. I think maybe before or around the time I went to college? Which was 10 years ago. (Cripes.)
But like all computers over time, my much-loved Powerbook just wasn't cutting it for my increasing need for it to do more, and faster. So I did the inevitable: bought a new computer. But not just any computer. Not a laptop. A desktop. An iMac.
As I've grown into my career as a designer, I've developed the need for a little more so-called floor space on my monitor, and the added flexibility of a mouse over a trackpad.
And then I was hit with a realization. I would be using a mouse again. Which is fine. (And it's not just any mouse, but an Apple Magic Mouse, which is totally cool.) But you know what a mouse means right? A mouse PAD.
Ugh. I feel some kind of weird pressure that your mouse pad has to be cool but not geeky and somehow represent who you are. I was already fretting over having to pick one out before my computer even arrived. But then we went to Scott's parents' house last weekend for Memorial Day and he got into some old boxes of his stored in their garage. And he found one of his old mouse pads. And I kinda love it.
Firstly, Dr. Seuss is way cool. But the particular text on this mouse pad really has a deeper meaning for me. I've been struggling for a while with my confidence as a designer. And I have a new project on the horizon (more on that at a later date) that is forcing me to trust myself with my mouse. And to trust God with my mouse.
So would I, can I, with a mouse? Why, yes. Yes. I would. I can. I will. I will!
Did you know that only 4 percent of people on earth are redheads? And in the U.S., only 2 percent of the population are redheads? That makes me special. (Well, special-er. We already knew I was special. In a good way.)
Other redhead facts and lore I found interesting:
The color green tempers red. Look at a color chart. This is why redheads are taught as children to wear lots of green. As if red hair is a shameful state of being. I don't know about shameful. But I do wear a lot of green...
A 2002 study found that redheads are harder to sedate than any other people requiring 20 percent more anesthesia. Inadequate doses cause people to wake up during surgery and have increased recall of procedures. This has, in fact, seemed to be the case for me.
The perception of the color red, scientifically speaking, enhances the viewer's metabolism and increases heart rate and respiration. *evil grin*
In the late 16th century, the fat of a redheaded man was an essential ingredient for poison. Um, eww.
Bees are thought to sting redheads more than others. So my fears are justified!
In Greek mythology, redheads turn into vampires when they die. Muahahaha...
My husband drew my attention to an article recently about how the font you use can save you money when printing. It makes sense — sans serif, less dense font, less ink, ink lasts longer, printer lasts longer, BINGO! Save money. But anyway, they determined the font that would save you the most dough is Century Gothic, estimating a $20 savings a year (compared to Arial) for the average person.
I know I've abandoned the blog. Sorry. Not gonna promise I won't do it again, cause I'm just not feeling particularly inspired these days.
But I wanted to write about something cool we did last night. One of Scott's favorite musicians, David Bazan, has this neat thing where instead of playing in venues to a couple hundred people (well, he does that too), he asks for people to open up their homes to about 40 people and he will come play. Just him and a guitar. (And the world's smallest amp.)
So that's what we did last night. We made our way out to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where the space seemed to be an old warehouse loft. I don't really think anybody is living there at this point, I think it's just a gathering space owned by someone with a big open expanse of flooring. But anyway, Scott and I wound up sitting on the floor (we didn't want to invest in pillows to sit on, so we took some doubled-up towels and that worked out fine) about 20 feet from David Bazan.
Now, Bazan is one of the few of Scott's favorite musicians that I don't hate and maybe even like a little. So I agreed to go, because I thought the format of this show would be really cool. And I was right. It was really intimate, very laid-back. He took questions and played requests. It was almost more like a bunch of friends getting together. And the guitar and his voice really blended well in that space.
It was a really cool experience, and I have to say I'm a bigger fan now than a I was before the show. I think all musicians should do this format once in a while. Out of the concert halls and back in touch with reality — and the fans.
If you don't follow too many sports, or baseball in particular, you might not know that the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves have one of the most spirited rivalries in Major League Baseball.
Growing up in Atlanta, I am, naturally, a Braves fan. My husband, however, is a Mets fan. You can imagine this has led to more than one moment of discontent.
On Friday, we made a spontaneous decision to go to a Mets game. We really just wanted to get out of the house (and Scott was trying to avoid the NFL draft) so we bought cheap seats in the nosebleed section and got out of the house for a while. But this wasn't just any Mets game...it was a Mets-Braves game.
I decided to take on a covert operation to cheer on my team while appearing as though I was a Mets fan.
Decked in one of Scott's Mets hats...
and my Mets duffle bag I got for free at a previous game...
we headed to the stadium.
Last time we went, I wasn't able to get this shot because of the crowds...
but this time, success! (And I already knew he was a home run...)
We arrived early to check out the stadium, since we got there late the one time we went last season, and Scott got to see the 1986 World Series trophy, won in a game which he remembers staying up late to watch when he was 12.
I took a picture of him down near the field, cause I figured that was as close as we were gonna get.
Behind the big screen in the stadium, there's a promenade with a few restaurants and things to do. Which apparently includes the torture of Braves fans in dunk tanks!
Even Scott got in on this. Hmph.
My disguise was so good, even Mr. Met shook my hand and wanted a photo with me.
As we made our way to our seats, this made me laugh:
The seats were actually not as bad as I expected them to be. We had a beautiful view of the river behind the screen.
BUT...in the fifth inning, I spotted an official-looking guy in our section looking around, and I caught his eye. He came over asked if the two of us would like to move down to field level, for free! Uh, lemmethinkaboutthatYES!! Our new seats were about 10 rows from the field, behind the left-field foul pole. Here's a view from our new seats. You can see our old seats.
Here's our new seats in a view from the old seats:
The Mets ended up winning the game, so a score for Scott. Not so much for me. But it's ok, 'cause I like it when he's happy. So in the end, we were both happy.