Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Things that make me happy

There was a time in my life when I thought tea was completely disgusting. I mean, it looks like bathwater and it doesn't really taste as good as a Jamocha milkshake from Arby's. So, why bother?

For whatever reason, I have turned the corner on my utter disgust for tea leaves everywhere. I can't get through the day without a mug of green tea to warm me up and it is really quite soothing. Plus, it's been said that green tea is good for your metabolism. Sign me up,  please.

My current love: Yogi tea. It's a bit expensive, but it's really quite delicious and it's a nice little splurge. The best part, if you ask me, are the inspirational sayings that adorn each bag. They make me want to be a better person. Here's today's message:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

W.I.N.


As the wife of a coach, it can be difficult to avoid wise sports analogies invading your life. For me, as someone who was not an athlete as a child, I can’t really say that I “get” the great passion people feel for sports teams and athletic events. While I was not raised by wolves, I was raised by parents whose lives were not dominated by sports. Their passion and interests have certainly rubbed off on me, but a love of the game is not one of those things.

For my husband, he has truly become a seeker of inspiration from books written by successful coaches both in the college and professional arena. He pores over these novels, making notes and gathering thoughts from the wisest of coaches.

Recently, he was asked to speak at the National Honor Society induction ceremony at his Alma Matter. Being the good wife that I am, I wrote his speech after receiving some direction from him on the content. Not surprisingly, he wanted to talk about the idea of winning. Actually, he wanted to talk about the acronym WIN: What’s Important Now. So often we allow ourselves to become distracted, he said, and lose focus on the task at hand. The background noise distracts us only if we allow it to invade our heads. When we’re present in the moment and don’t lose focus, we live fuller, richer lives. I love this idea and ran with it for his 5-minute speech.

Ideas like this one, though, always get me thinking about my own life and ultimately, the big picture. For me, the idea of WIN is realizing what parts of my life are truly important and which comprise that “background noise.” So often, we place importance on things that don’t matter. Actually, they are the things that we think matter—but they really and truly do not mean anything.

In the “girl world,” a great importance is placed upon the size and carat of one’s engagement ring. You can say it doesn’t mean anything and no one cares, but you’d be lying. It does matter—the first thing that crosses every woman’s mind when she hears someone got engaged is, “What does the ring look like?” We want—NEED—to know how big and sparkly it is and inevitably, a case of ring envy soon develops. We judge one another based upon this simple, but expensive, piece of hardware. We stare longingly at oversized rocks adorning the fingers of friends and pine over the possibility of slapping a big hunk of diamond on our own hands.

What, though, does it really mean? Does having the biggest, most expensive ring guarantee the happiest, longest-lasting marriage? I look to ladies like Elin Woods, Kobe Bryant's wife and one of Donald Trump's ex-wives for my answer: not so much. Things are just things--nothing more. The moment we allow our posessions to run our lives, we forget about what is important.

I don't have a big engagement ring by traditional standards, but that's not what matters to me. It's exactly what I hoped for: a new ring with the qualities of an old, estate, Victorian style. I wanted a ring that looked old and had all the charm of the 40's and 50's with an attention to detail. It's simple, beautiful and is a symbol of something that means a lot to me--and that is what's important.


Yes, I realize that I have the hands of an 85 year-old woman. It's a problem and I'm working on it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Saturday feature: My Current Obsession

In an effort to drastically improve my blog relations, I've decided to begin a new weekly feature each Saturday. That is how the premise of my brand spankin' new feature, "My Current Obsession" came to be.
So, what am I obsessed with today? Why, Liberty of London for Target, of course. If you haven't checked it out in person yet, I highly suggest you drive your car to the nearest store to take in the beauty. Or, check it out online. While I can't say that I've ever heard of Liberty of London before it came to Target, I'm beginning to wish that I had, because this stuff is drool-worthy. The patterns are rich and beautiful and the quality is amazing. Oh, and so are the prices.

If anyone had seen me in Target this morning, they would have laughed at me as I wandered throughout the store searching for the Liberty of London endcaps and displays. I had to touch and admire everything: storage bins, lampshades, picture frames, bags and purses, clothing, swimwear, intimates, gardening implements, pillows, bedding and dining accessories. They also have the world's most adorable floral bicyles online. Everything was so beautiful and I totally fell for the marketing scheme and beatuiful hot pink and floral displays. I'm a real sucker when it comes to quality marketing campaigns, for realz.

While I really wanted to buy just about everything I saw (and touched lovingly, of course) I held myself back to a few items that I thought I might actually need or use. I have quite a way of convincing myself that I need things, but considering how much I was drooling and smiling in the aisles of Target this morning, I'd say I did quite well for myself. The quality and beauty of every piece I saw was fantastic; I just love the beautiful patterns that are the shining star of this line.

I anticipate this beautiful mug (which was only $4, btw) will make my morning coffee taste so much better:





Likewise, I just know these "prep bowls" ($19.99) will drastically improve my cooking skills (I told you I was a sucker for beautiful packaging, right?) :






And, OMG, check out this beautiful top ($19.99) that is so feminine, frilly and fantastic that I couldn't help myself:





Please feel free to ignore the gigantic pile of clothing behind me. Underneath my husband's garbage-like pile of clothing is a very charming leather storage bench that has been converted into a catch-all. We like to fix things!

Anyway, I'm usually not into patterns, florals or things that could be described as "hippy dippy" in general, but I just couldn't resist the pull of this beautiful top and pattern. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear it with a fantastic pencil skirt. Also, the fact that it was the only one left in my size seemed to add to the ambiance of the purchase. It's made of polyester, which is usually really scary, but you wouldn't know unless I told you. Which, I guess I just did.

So, t here you have it: My Current Obsession. Be sure to return next week when I obsess over something else fantastic!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Don't mind me...just cleaning some things up around here!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Looking Like a Lady

I have officially fallen head over heels in love with the Spring trends. From embellished tees and ruffles to floral cardigans, I love the super feminine attention to detail that has filled the pages of my J. Crew catalog for years and has slowly invaded the mainstream clothing world. If I had my way (and a bigger wallet) I would dress entirely in head to toe J. Crew clothing. If I had children, they too would only wear the super-adorable Crew Cuts line. That, however, is an unrealistic goal. But seriously, is that not the world's most adorable and charming child in a newsboy cap??


When it comes to clothing, I have very specific taste and a discerning eye. My husband says I'm "too picky," but I like to think that I just have really high standards. He should be flattered. Seriously.

I love very classic, traditional styles with an unexpected pop. I love wearing big, crazy statement necklaces, oversized cocktail rings and insane shoes. Not all at the same time, natch. Fashion should be fun and should make you feel good about yourself; if it doesn't, it's time to go shopping. My goal is to have one "statement" piece in every outfit I wear; if I'm not sparking a conversation with my clothing, I believe that I'm doing something wrong.

I like to look feminine, put together and classic; if I could take a time machine back to the 1950's, I would be in wardrobe heaven. I'm all for women's rights and I think it's great that we've made so much headway in the world of independent women since the 50's, I really am. But, some days all I wanna do is wear a suit with pearls, gloves and a pillbox hat...if it were socially acceptable, of course.

One of my very favorite trends is the statement necklace. I love that a bold, colorful, humongous necklace can make a cheap white t-shirt and jeans look like a million bucks. I love ribbons, pearls and flowers and I simply adore them all rolled into one fabulous package. I have a tendency to become fixated upon things, and over the weekend I became fixated upon making my own floral bib necklace(s) after realizing how rediculous it would be to shell out nearly $100 for someone else's creation.

There is a long-standing joke in our family that when my sister Jody sees something she likes in a store, she often says, "I could make that!"

Nearly 100% of the time, she can. She got all the artistic/crafty genes and I got all the creative writing genes. It's just the way the chips fell in our family.

So, with that being said, I decided to forge ahead and attempt to make some of the designs I'd been drooling over for months. Even my less than crafty self managed to whip up a total of 3 necklaces and a cuff bracelet over the weekend--with extra fabric flowers to spare!

Letting a few website tutorials be my guide, I forged ahead with making my own floral/bib/statement creations. I messed up a few (OK, maybe more than that) times, but I was pretty darn proud of myself when it was all over. Really, I was just trying to make up for what is known as "zipper necklace disaster 2009" at our house. That was truly a case where leaving the making of necklaces with zippers is an art that should be strictly relegated to the experts.

I managed to spend the entire weekend working on this project, which provided a much-needed distraction for my overworked brain. Conversely, it allowed my husband to watch college basketball games all weekend without hearing me complain even once. Win-win, right?

So, without further explanation--I told you I was the writer--here's what I made with some old t-shirts I found stuffed in the back of my closet:







Here's what I made with some faux silk I bought at JoAnn Fabric for less than $10:










Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sticks & Stones

Whoever came up with the whole "sticks and stones" addage is really full of it. I mean, let's not fool ourselves into thinking that broken bones are painful, however the awful things that people say to (and about) us really aren't all THAT bad. Hey everybody, let's look on the bright side while we cry ourselves to sleep: at least our bones aren't broken!!


The truth is, we say these things because we like to pretend that words are just that--words. We attempt to fool ourselves and others into believing that they can tear us down with words but we'll still be fine. "You can call me a fatty all you want, but just don't pick up rocks and tree limbs and hurl them at my chunky body! Please, anything but violence!"

We undergo many sneaky tactics when it comes to saying dumb things. Most of the time, people attempt to make themselves feel better by beginning something offensive with an automatic defense.

Examples:

"Don't take this the wrong way, but..."

"I probably shouldn't say this, but..."

"I think you're great and all, but..."

"Well, I gotta be honest..."

It's like you can say whatever you're thinking, so long as you begin it with a phrase that implies you know it's wrong.

"Don't take this the wrong way, but I hate you and I wish you would fall off a cliff to your sudden death."

"Oh, don't worry--I understand! Also, I can't think of any possibility that I could take that the wrong way!"

The funny thing is, we have a tendency to remember the horrible things people say to us and forget the compliments. Ten insults and one compliment might as well be eleven insults. Ever notice that when you feel self-conscious about something specific, you never forget when someone insults you about it? You think you have a big nose; ergo, you recall all negative comments regarding the largeness of your massive, beak-like honker. It's like you are actually seeking comments to reinforce your own, often unwarranted, paranoia.

Most of the time, people mean well with their comments. But, when people don't know what to say to you in an awkward exchange, they desperately scrape the bottom of a deep, nearly-empty/empty barrel for words to offer you in possible comfort. Usually, this results in saying something regrettable, aka WORD VOMIT.

Ever heard of word vomit? It's chunky, liquid regret. It is usually, but not always, accompanied by the imbibing of an alcoholic beverage. Anything that you sorely regret as you're say it and desperately wish you could shove it back into your mouth is word vomit.

Real, actual examples:

"That's an interesting dress. It kinda makes you look Amish."

"Is that a weird scar on your neck or a hickey?"

"You're really skinny. Just wait until you have kids; you'll never be skinny again."


This is where my penchant for biting sarcasm and my own word vomit come in handy. When some word vomits on your new shirt, you have no choice but scrape it off and throw it in their face, right?

My real, actual responses:

"Well, I'd rather be Amish than fat."

"No, it's actually a traumatic melanoma scar. Thanks for asking. Did you eat paint chips as a child?"

"I can hardly wait! Let's build an underground fortress, stock it with nothing but Little Debbie Zebra Cakes and wait out this exciting situation together!"

I know, I'm pretty horrible. Sometimes, I just can't help myself from my own horrible self. I often cite the over-used, under-appreciated, "But they started it!" excuse when returning the favor to others. Usually, it's because they did in fact start it. Other times, it's because they totally deserve it.

Either way, the stupid thing saying in your life isn't going away anytime soon. Therefore, you should stock up on witty, quick responses in case of disaster. I'll let you store them right next to my super delicious Little Debbie snack cakes.

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