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28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Posting from the mobile today. Forgive the poor formatting, horrible photos, etc.)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

So much to be thankful for this year!!
Here are just a few:

My parents (photo from May, 1985)

The whole famdamily, really!

Cutie patootie little sisters (bad photo taken last night as I tucked them in)

Everything about the faith of the Catholic Church

And a whole lot more, which I don't have photos of:

1. Many friends, new and old
2. The chance to be back in school ad learning
3. A warm home, working car, and full pantry/fridge
4. All the blessings in the last year, and all the struggles and pains that have proven blessings. 

And last but not least: Cheap gas (finally, though most likely fleeting)

I hope you have a happy and love-filled thanksgiving! What are you thankful for this year?

09 November 2013

Bringing Order into Chaos (a house tour)

I've been in my new house for a little more than three months. I guess it's about time to introduce you to the place, no? We (my roommates and I) are pretty settled in at this point and we've hosted a couple of get-togethers. I have been sensing your mounting jealous of said guests. So--calm DOWN--here is a house tour for you!

To show you exactly how far we have come in these three months, I present to you a picture summary of where we are and where we've come from (I hope the philosophers out there appreciate that pun-attempt..). Because this is a long, picture-heavy post, I've decided to try to keep words to a minimum. Youuuuu'rrreee welcome!

Before going any further, I must say a big thank you to Sole, Paul, Brandon, and Holly's family for helping me move. Also, a HUGE 'thank you' to this girl, my sister, Gracie.

People often mistake her as me, or as my twin. Wrong and wronger.
I do not have a twin. But if I did, she would play the part famously.

The move ended up being much more complicated than I anticipated (thanks to the fact that the house had not been cleaned before I moved was as gross as it sounds). I might have been a big(ger) hot(ter) mess if I had gone through with my original plan of moving all by myself. So, yeah, extra big thanks to Grace.

Living Room:
Right after emptying the moving truck
At the end of day two
The living room stayed like the above photo until [1] my roommates moved in (bringing a necessary area rug and bookcase (see below pic)) and [2] wall hangings. The empty white walls started driving me nuts by about week two.

All finished!
View two
View three
View final
True story: I live less than five minutes from campus, though typically I stay on campus until I finish with classes. One day, I had had enough of the naked walls. Finding myself with a spare hour between classes, I bolted home, hung all 16 paintings/icons/sconces/etc., and was back on campus in time for class. I felt like I had conquered the worlddddd!

remember these?
All of the books on the bookshelf belong to one of my roommates, and it is only half of her personal library!


Poco a poco, se va lejos. "Little by little, one goes far." This was the official mantra of my junior/senior year high school Spanish class. I think it is a pretty fair and accurate description of the ever-ongoing styling project in my bedroom.

Throw in a few rugs and some wall decor...

Viola! (Wrong language. Mea culpa.)

After sleeping in not-my-bed for three months, my home mattress felt like heaven!

I don't know why I didn't tidy the desk area before snapping this pic

There was some kind of Explosion of Nasty that happened in the kitchen (and bathroom) before we moved in, which meant a 7-10 hour delay in the unpacking process since it had to be cleaned up. It was gross. And Grace was a total trooper through it all.

Don't let this picture fool you. Grace was amazingly upbeat actually!
Making some progress. And eating lunch.  
In the picture above, you can tell that we are our mother's daughters by the fact that we put on a tablecloth, used glass dishes, and had a centerpiece [a] on moving day and [b] for a simple meal of PB&J. Bringing some semblance of beauty and normalcy goes a long way in actually making the transition from house to home! 

Also amazing is what food can do: Change a hangry badtitude to a happy camper. Turn a frown upside down. Okay, I'll stop...

 And some extra deets:

getting all artsy-fartsy

When it was all said and done, Grace and I made ourselves a fancy-pantsy dinner and dubbed it the official "first meal" of the new house. Maybe it was cleaning-chemical-induced delirium, maybe it was exhausted hunger, but we both thought it was the best meal ever. 

The end!

09 September 2013

Back with a vengeance

It has been one heck of a long time since I have posted a project. Over the summer, as I was in my temporary residence, I was itching to do something creative. I couldn't wait to get in to my new, permanent house and go crazy making it lovely. Seriously, there were moments I was giddy with anticipation. Embarrassing picture? Yes. But I am not above embarrassing myself, and now you know what I sometimes do in my free time. Yeehaw.

My roommates and I have been in the new house for a month. Things are getting pretty and pretty settled as of a few days ago. For the first few weeks, I had spurts of organizing, hanging pictures, and general new-house activity. This weekend, we hosted a house blessing-housewarming party. It was an excellent excuse to put the medal-to-the-metal, as it were, and finish up my To Do list. While I am still editing House Tour pictures, I wanted to share two projects I tackled in the last few days.

These two projects are ones I've been wanted to do, and simultaneously putting off, for two years.  Perhaps because I am a procrastilaxer extraordinaire, I suddenly felt very motivated to complete each last week instead of doing other things that might have been more worth my while. Something tells me this is a skill I should leave off my resume....

Moving on. There was an informal "Thirsty Thursday" organized for people in my program. It was optional, so I took them up on that. Instead of getting my drink on, I locked myself in my basement with some paint fumes and gave this set of boring black mirrors a face lift.

Before aaaaaand After

I went into the project intending to paint two mirrors solid gold and two solid silver. Though I didn't snap a picture of it, I found the scheme too boring so I went on to add the check/stripe effect on the two gold mirrors. I was, and still am, very pleased with this second result.
Can you say, "Fabulous"?
The quartet now takes up wall residence next to our front door. Prime location for last minute beauty checks as we dash out the door.
I know you love it.
Up next is this baby:

After returning home from dinner and drinks with friends for one's birthday, I whipped this pillow up. No sewing machine. No pattern. Just an uglya$$ pillow, new fabric, and needle'n'thread. Oh, and can't forget Grooveshark.
closest thing to a before-after...I.e. I still have another one to cover=the fun ain't over yet(!)
As I said, I had no pattern to follow while sewing. I have a little experience making pillows, but I did not want to replicate that pattern since this pillow would be in the same room as the first. Still, with no sewing machine, my options were pretty limited since there is no way I can hand stitch as well as a machine. So--simple it had to be. Thanks to my mom, I know how to make a ruffle, which came in handy in making the design less boring that it otherwise might have been.

I have to admit, I am pretty surprised and impressed with the outcome. Call me a design geek, but each time I catch a glance of this baby I'm like, "Did I seriously made that?!"

Talking to oneself = Super-cool.

As they say: Pride cometh before the fall; I expect to face-plant sometime soon. So I should probably stop while I am ahead and you are still awake. As always, thank'ya muchly for reading. Up next: Re-cap of the move-in and a house tour. Get excited!

04 September 2013

Sharing the spoils of summer

*warning: picture-heavy post right he'er*

Summer twenty-thirteen was good to me. Very good to me in fact. I regaled some of my adventures along the way - the weddings (btw: I went to two more weddings after that double-header), the move(s) and temporary house, my Pennsylvanian road trip adventure. And because I am a person so generous of heart, I am back to test your patience with some more anecdotes.

Up first is a weekend pleasantly spent in Chicago in late-June. While in town for a wedding shower, I joined my sister, Rosie, for a roof-top BBQ at her beaufriend, Matt's amazing top-floor condo just north of the downtown area. 
lovers in Chicago
The food was delicious. The views were amazing. And Matt has the coolest fire pit I have ever seen in my entire life.

the coolest, prettiest fire pit I have ever seen
In mid-July, after three rip-roaring awesome years in a first job that will go down in infamy, I peace'd out in anticipation of starting graduate school this fall.

my now-former office, snapped moments before I switched off the light and closed the door for the last time

They are big fans of my work. I wish I were kidding...
Because I enjoy the quiet life, and am exceedingly humble, I used the occasion of my last day of work to throw a "Last-Day-of-Work-Appalooza" party. The guest of honor was a unicorn piƱata.



I had three weeks between the end of work and the start of graduate school. Two of those weeks were spent dashing around like a crazy person, packing, moving (for the second time), unpacking, and grad-school-prepping. One week was spent in the glorious state of South Carolina with my beloved family.

howdy-do, Dad and Dan
Vacation was extra-great this year because all eleven of us were there (something that had not happened since 2010). To assure family bonding, we packed all eleven people into the familymobile and drove ten hours to our destination.

Grace and I taking life seriously in the back seat

Dan kindly humored my effort to document his catnapping efforts

John and Katie (SIL)

artistic shot of Betsy drooling on her pillow
While most of our time was spent lounging in the sun--some tanning nicely, others burning to a crisp, and still others perfecting our imitation of beached whales--we did throw in some excitement with a day-trip to Beaufort, SC, and a night on the town.
Rose is the reliable party-pooper of the family

Rose had the brilliant idea of having a family talent show one night. Hidden talent abounds.

anxiously awaiting the first act

Rose, the evening's MC. (the soup ladle was her "microphone")
We had dancing:



Mom, Rose, and Betsy re-enacted this Sesame Street classic
And singing:


Betsy and Gracie, in an impressive re-enactment of this scene from the Phantom of the Opera

The vacation ended on a bit of a dramatic note: On the last day at the beach, Mom and Helen (the youngest) were met by two sand sharks while wading in the shallow waves. Seeing two sharks between yourself and your mom and baby sister definitely ranks as one of the scariest moments of every one of our lives. My dad and brothers ran into the waters, ready to beat the crap out of the fanged fish if they got any closer to Mom and Helen. Most thankfully, shark-interactions were avoided and Mom and Helen got back to shore safely. Needless to say, I was a little too distracted to get pictures of the event...

The end of the summer was bittersweet. Okay, actually, it totally stunk: my BFFs Johnny and Holly moved 800+ miles away. You will remember that I lived with Holly for two years. She and Johnny are two favorites in my life. I don't know this town, or adult-life in general, without them!

at the going-away dinner for Johnny and Holly (far left)

I didn't have much time to mope after John and Holly's departure. Grad school was nigh upon me. The two-week orientation flew by and then classes started! After an incredibly overwhelming first day (of orientation), I solemnly informed my older brother that I hadn't met a best friend yet, but the prospects were promising.

Things have only been looking up since then. I am thoroughly enjoying every bit of being a grad student (okay, not everything--loans are totally the pits). Classes are interesting. Course work is engaging and practical. People (i.e. new friends!) are interesting and fun. Oh, and there also is football.

LaSandruh is the coolest person I know

surprise visitors are so much fun!

old and new friends!

Gabsauce had her sassy pants on
I mention "classmates/new friends" above, yet none make appearances in this post. These pictures are of people I've known for years. To be honest, I sometimes feel a bit timid (I know, I confound myself too sometimes) about getting pictures with people I don't know so well.  Also, being that all of the people pictured know that I have a blog and my new compadres don't, I would feel a bit awkward (Wait, MK, you have qualms about being awkward? --Believe it or not, my friends, I do [sometimes]) about broadcasting people's faces on the inter webs . If you are one such "new friend" reading this, be forewarned ;)

Was that disclaimer-slash-explanation necessary? I don't know, but whatever, there it is.