Thursday, January 31, 2013

Long Term Knitting Project

I love having long term knitting projects going on because then you don't have to constantly be thinking of what your next project will be! I've been wanting to make a sort of shrug/shawl thing for a while now. JoAnn's had a 50% sale on yarn a few weeks back so I stocked up on this gorgeous purple yarn!

Here is what I have so far:

So much more to go! Yay!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DIY Braided Headband

Time: 15 minutes
Listening to: Murder She Wrote

I got this inspiration from good ol' Pinterest...what did I ever do without it?!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DIY Simple Framed Vase

Time: 20 minutes?
Listening to: Gosford Park
Drinking: Water

I've been wanting to make one of these for some time now. I keep picturing them in my cute would that be? I had an old cheap frame laying around and when I found a little vase for 25 cents, I knew I had to make it happen!

I even found a little flower to put in it!

make a gif

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Reading Goal: Frida Kahlo 1907-1954 Pain and Passion

My latest book on my 2013 reading challenge is Andrea Kettenmann's book on Frida Kahlo.

Rating: 4 stars
Frida Kahlo: 1907-1954 Pain and Passion
Image from Goodreads
For my 2013 challenge, I've been thinking a lot about self-portraits...what they mean and why they are important. I figured it would help if I started looking at female artists who delved into the realm of self-portraits. When I started brainstorming artists, Frida Kahlo was at the top of my list. I really didn't know too much about her before this book so I was happy to find a good introduction to her life and her work.

And what a life she lead! I had no idea about all of the medical problems that surrounded her life. The whole reason why she started painting in the first place was because she was cooped up in bed recovering from surgery.  They hooked up this canopy with mirrors on it so she could see herself. She said, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best." She often had to wear a steel corset to help support her back and she was almost always in constant pain. She had dozens of surgeries on her back and on her leg which were themes that often arose in her work.
Kettenmann did a nice job throughout the book on showing insights on her paintings. When you first look at her self -portraits, they often can look emotionless...mask like. Kettermann writes "Frida Kahlo's self portraits helped her to shape an idea of her own person; by creating herself anew in art as in life, she could find her way to an identity. This may explain why her self-portraits differ in only relatively small respects."

When she lost several pregnancies, she painted some gruesome paintings that show just how sad she was...even though her face stayed pretty constant. Every now and then she would paint tears going down her face. After one surgery on her back, she was discouraged by the lack of progress that was made so she painted her head on a deer's body. She then painted arrows all over the deer to show what she was feeling. It was amazing how much her inner turmoil was captured in her paintings--even with her wearing her "mask" in most paintings.

I was really surprised at the subject matter that she took on. Her miscarriages, death, her sexuality, her pain were all themes that arose in her work. Diego Rivera said about Frida, "She [is] the first woman in the history of art to treat, with absolute and uncompromising honesty, one might even say with impassive cruelty, those general and specific themes which exclusively affect women."She really did not shy away from what she was feeling and going through.

Towards the end of her life she had to have her leg amputated which lead to severe depression. She ended up dying young (in her 50s) because of pneumonia but the book hinted at suicide since her last entry in her diary seemed much like a good bye. It surprised me that once again, a talented female artist was at least somewhat tied to the idea of suicide.

Fourth lesson of the year: Self-portraits are important in the role of self discovery. Look at what is going on in my inner life...and reflect that in my self-portraits. I am the subject that I know paint! 


As I mentioned in my 2013 goal, I’m reading mostly women lit that focuses on women authors or complicated, strong female characters this year. Here is the list of my previous book reviews that I've done on this journey:

First: Madame Bovary
Second: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
Third: Patron Saint of Liars 
Fourth: Bird by Bird

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Self Portrait Sunday

I'm not feeling so swell today so this is mostly what my day has consisted of...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

DIY Wine Cork Trivet

Time: A couple hours
Listening to: Project Runway
Drinking: Water
Eating: These

So I've been collecting wine corks for some time now and wasn't sure what exactly I wanted to do with them. I never had enough for anything that I really wanted to do so they just sat in my cupboard for a while. But the other day I was in a store that had a huge tub of wine corks...25 for a $1! So I got a bunch and finally had enough to make a wine cork trivet!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Baked Cinnamon Anytime Bites

Time: Under an hour including cleanup
Listening to: My Top Rated mix on itunes
Drinking: Crystal Light Peach Tea

Folks, it has been so long since I baked anything! I have been craving/needing something sweet for a while now and have just been too lazy to do anything about it! But alas, I've turned the corner on baking laziness. I saw this recipe over here and got to it.

Baked Cinnamon Anytime Bites

What you need:

1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup rice cereal, coarsely crushed
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter flavored shorting (I used butter instead)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
--Mix flour, cereal, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt
--Cut in shorterning (butter) with fork until it is crumbly
--Add milk and stir just until moistened
--Roll into 1 inch balls
--Melt butter and in a seperate bowl combine cinnamon and sugar
--Drop balls into the melted butter then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixt
--Place balls into a greased 8 or 9 inch round pan
--Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stumbled On Favorites

A few of the favorite things I've stumbled on recently.

Loved my recent trip up Spencer's Butte...such a cool experience being above the clouds

18 Things That Actually Exist--too funny

Sworn virgins--wow, so interesting!

I'm loving my Women Artists: Self Portraits Pinterest board

This is so funny.

I can't wait to see my first whale! Hoping to go whale watching soon.

The cutest little sea turtle.

Such a funny little monkey.

Baby Bald Eagle Camera---new obsession?!

Love good ol' Kurt Vonnegut

These photos are amazing. I want to make some of my own!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Reading Goal: Bird by Bird

My latest book on my 2013 reading challenge is Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.

Rating: 5 stars

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

For some reason, I have never gotten around to reading this book until now. I am a big fan of Anne Lamott...mostly only because I fell in love with the book, Traveling Mercies, several years ago. I've tried to read a couple of her other books but never connected with them as much. Even so, I still call myself a big fan of Anne Lamott. And this book reminded me why I do.

I checked this book out from the library and immediately regretted not owning it. I used 22 sticky notes to mark passages/pages/excerpts that I adored...and that was me being conservative.

This book is a guide to writing. A very helpful, funny, and practical guide. But Lamott is able to do so much more with it then just tell you how to write. She tells you why it is so important to write and to read. 

Throughout the book she tells these stories that are dark, haunting, and beautiful. She shows how important the process of writing is...both for ourselves and as readers. She writes, "Because for some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world...Books helps us understand who we are and how we are to believe....they show us how to live and die. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift."

She inspires us to find the truths inside ourselves that need to be told. That need to be added to this conversation. She says, "You need to put yourself at their center, you and what you believe to be true or right. The core, ethical concepts in which you most passionately believe are the language in which you are writing. Telling these truths is your job. You have nothing else to tell us."

So much of what she says makes me love books even more. I love the idea of connecting with the truths that other authors have inside them. I love the idea that I'm seeing whats important to someone else...what they've noticed and seen to be true. Lamott writes, "Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you're conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader." I love those moments that I have in books and I love the idea that it comes from the author really caring about the truths inside and around them.

She wants us to wake up, look around, and care for the people around us in order so that we can be more truthful in portraying the world around us. She says, "I honestly think in order to be a writer, you have to learn to be reverent. If not, why are you writing? Why are you here?" So she shows us some examples throughout about the times when she has reverently watched and been apart of the world. From one especially beautiful story, she says, "...there is still something to be said for painting portraits of the people we have loved, for trying to express those moments that seem so inexpressible beautiful, the ones that change us and deepen us."

In the last paragraph she sums it up perfectly when asked the question of why writing matters. She says, "Because of the spirit, I say. Because of the heart. Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul."

My 4th lesson of 2013 is:  Find the truths that are important to me so I can add to the conversation that I love so much. The best way to do that is by reading, watching, and listening to the world around me. And by being disciplined in writing. Every day!


As I mentioned in my 2013 goal, I’m reading mostly women lit that focuses on women authors or complicated, strong female characters this year. Here is the list of my previous book reviews that I've done on this journey:

First: Madame Bovary.
Second: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress.
Third: Patron Saint of Liars.

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIY T-shirt Dress

Time: A couple hours
Listening to: Ellie Goulding
Drinking: Two buck chuck

I've been seeing ideas like this around quite a bit and have itching to make one myself. So here it is!

It is actually a skirt sewed onto a t-shirt. I also sewed a belt to go around it to help some of the elastic lie better.  The tutorial I linked to above is super helpful so I won't try to improve on it!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Self Portrait Sunday

It was fantastically moody, cold, and foggy last night and I was so inspired to take some self portraits.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

DIY Dinosaur Print Sweatshirt

Time: 2 hours total?
Listening to: Birdy
Drinking: Two buck chuck

I saw this shirt from Zara and was convinced that I could make one myself. My first step was procuring a cheap shirt from Old Navy. I then proceeded to wear that shirt once just in case if I ruined it with my fabric paint. After being satisfied in my wearing experience, I decided to get to it.

I first traced a dinosaur I found from a good ol' Google search. Then I cut it out in some foamy material that I found. I had some leftover fabric paint from this project so I decided to use that. It is a dark blue so I was so scared of messing up some place and then ruining my soon to be dino shirt. But, after a few sips of my wine and some encouraging words from my hubby...I painted and printed away.

It took a while as I tried really hard not to mess up. Also, I ended up having to use my paint brush quite a bit to do touch ups because I was a bit stingy with the paint on my stamp. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, though!

Just how pleased?

This pleased.

Enjoy! Let me know if you make any of your own dino shirts!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

15 Things I’ve Learned from 6 Months of Biking

  1. Yes, raising your seat up higher does make pedaling easier. Raising it so high that your feet just barely reach the pedals does not, actually, make you ride faster.
  2. You must resist the urge to buckle your seat belt every time you get on your bike.
  3. This one may surprise you...other bicyclists, walkers, and joggers can all hear you. For some reason, I constantly am surprised when someone actually says something to me while I'm biking.
  4. There is really no need to panic over every yapping dog at your feet. This may or may not save you from a slow-motion falling incident three feet away from the dog's elderly owner. Not like this has happened to me before...
  5. Riding without your prescriptive eye glasses on makes for a fun ride. Suddenly, everyone looks just like someone you know or someone famous!
  6. Pretending to be the Wicked Witch of the West actually makes the ride go faster. As does practicing biking without hands. Just remember the advice from #3.
  7. Quality rain gear makes all the difference. Shell out the extra bucks for the hurricane rain pants. It is totally worth not having a giant U-shape of wet on the inner part of your legs every time it rains. I swear I will never make fun of people who are obsessed with outdoor gear again...
  8. Always remember that it is a game between every stop light. Pace yourself so that you never need to fully stop.
  9. Give yourself an extra ten minutes on the wind-going-against-you-the-whole-way days. Your thighs will thank you.
  10. Make sure to always look walkers and joggers in the eyes as you pass them so they know just how much faster you are than them.
  11. Wearing a dress or skirt while biking is risky. If you take that risk, make sure to bike extra fast.
  12. If there is a 40% chance of will rain on you. So just put on those unflattering, swishy rain pants.
  13. You always tend to overdress for cold weather because you are sure that if you don't wear five layers, hypothermia will surely set in! Because of this, you usually are near death from heat exhaustion by the end of your ride. Therefore, armpit vents in winter jackets are truly amazing. Simply unzip and enjoy!
  14. Just give up on wanting to look good when you arrive some place. No matter what, you'll either have helmet hair, red cheeks, or sweaty armpits.
  15. Obey the traffic signals--they serve the perfect time to casually glance over at the drivers next to you. Suddenly, it becomes pretty clear to them just how tough you are to be biking in 20 degree temperatures when they have their heated seats on full blast. Go ahead and give 'em a small nod. Yeah...I am that tough.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 Reading Goal: The Patron Saint of Liars

As I mentioned in my 2013 goal, I’ll be reading mostly women lit that focuses on women authors or complicated, strong female characters this year.  First book: Madame Bovary. Second book: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. And here is the third.

Rating: 5 Stars! (and an exclamation point)

The Patron Saint of Liars
Photo from Goodreads
 I read an interesting article a while back in the New York Times about the loss of faith in fiction. As a religious person myself, I’ve been thinking a lot about the fiction I read and if there are any books that tackle the depths and complexities of the religion that I know. I think it is incredibly hard to portray religion with truth and not have it seem hokey or overly dramatic. One book that I immediately thought of was, The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett. And lucky for me, it was on my list to (re)read this year. I've read a bunch of different reviews on this book and it really surprised me how little religion was brought up. Even with such a great, seemingly contradictory title! 

This story begins with the beautiful Rose, who has grown up in the church and believes so strongly that she is entitled to a sign from God that she looks everywhere for it. She says, "I did not ask for more than my share, one sign. That which was by rights mine because I believed and was so ready to listen." In the very next paragraph she says, "Nun or Wife, my choices loomed above me like giant doors, and I waited, listening for God to give me the word." She believes that those are her two choices and that God will clearly tell her what she should do.

So when a romantic, handsome man comes to her and tells her beautiful things...she assumes that this is her sign. She marries him and she is happy at her wedding. She believes she is doing what God has called her to do and she is happy about it. After a couple years of marriage, she suddenly could no longer breath unless she was out alone on the in her car. She realized that she had "said yes to Thomas Clinton and later thought that I had said yes to God and later still realized I had said yes only to Thomas Clinton." She was nineteen years old and "knew so little that I took [sexual desire] to be a sign from God." 

Rose finds out that she is pregnant and she panics. She doesn't want this life...boring, routine life because she thinks that God has some other sign for her. She runs away from her husband and her mother and flees to a home for unwed pregnant women. She lies to all of the nuns, telling them that she wasn't married and that the father had died. Rose feels like she can leave her husband without telling him that she is pregnant because she will have to suffer herself by giving up her mother. That is her idea of penance...since she will suffer, she feels like she doesn't have to be remorseful.

It was also intriguing to me how all of her images of God are tied up in the men that she knows. She is so incredibly close to her mom, but she is always looking for the men to show her God. First she thinks Thomas Clinton is her link to God. Then she admits that whenever she asked for forgiveness at church, she really just asked forgiveness from her priest, as she often viewed him as her father.  Later at the home for unwed pregnant women she describes the maintenance man, who happens to be named Son, that he "seemed to bear all of our pains." Her language implies that she thinks of him as some Christ figure.

Rose fully intends on giving up her baby. She never picked out a name for her, she never made baby clothes...she really just shut her mind off to the fact that she was pregnant. At one point, she has a kind of exhaustion induced meltdown. She goes out to this field in the cold and demands that God gives her another sign because she misread the last one. She yells, "Your will be done. Okay? Tell me what in the hell that's supposed to be." Rose is so eager to do what God wants her to do but she is so lost at what that might be. Suddenly in her state of delirium, Son comes to save her from the cold. Patton writes, "The figure that came toward me in the whiteness was huge, big enough to be the Son of Man. He who so loved man He sent His only Son."  And suddenly, she decides she is going to marry this Son. She thinks that God is once again telling her to marry a man that she doesn't love. So she does it. She marries him so she could keep the baby. 

So she stays on and runs the kitchen. Somebody mentioned to her that suddenly, she was treated like one of the sisters. Rose replies, "That's an awful thought." And I have to wonder why is that awful? Is it awful because she always believed that she either had to be married or be a nun...and if now she is like a nun...she made terrible mistakes twice in her life? 

The book is divided up into three different parts, the first is Rose's story. The second is Son's and the third is the daughter's story, Cecelia. As the book progresses, Rose drifts further and further away. You begin to see just how closed off and weighed down from all her lies she really is. Rose cooks, raises her daughter, and is married to Son.  She barely has time for Cecelia and is definitely not the mom that Cecelia craves. Rose was looking for her own mom for so long that she couldn't even think about being a mom herself. I better stop there before I give any of the ending away!

As you step away from Rose, Cecelia takes a more center stage. Growing up among a hotel full of unwed pregnant girls and nuns, she has a unique upbringing to say the least. But in many ways she is lucky. She is growing up with religion but she has people that can help her negotiate the complexities of God. When she is dealing with something, Sister Evangeline tells her directly that "This isn't any sign from God." She is surrounded by various people who can teach and help her along her path. She isn't isolated and alone in her religion, like Rose. Yes, Rose was very close to her mom, but never did she mention that they were close in a spiritual way. They talked about make-up, beauty, marriage, movies, etc. Maybe this is why Rose was always looking to the men in her life for that spiritual void.

The first time I read this book, I naturally assumed that the Patron Saint of Liars was Rose. Her very first sentence mentioned how she was going to be a liar for the rest of her life. The word liar or lie must have referred to her at least a dozen times in the book. She was constantly lying to herself and the people around her. But the second time through, I couldn't' help but think of her daughter as the Patron Saint of Liars. Cecelia is surrounded by girls who lie about their lives--their pasts especially. She grew up with her lying mother. Even her father (Son) lies to her about being her real father. Yet, there is a part of the book where a girl mentions that all of the girls want to be her because she is different than them...but doesn't judge them. They all look up to her in a way. She is one of them but isn't one of them. She is guided by the nuns to see and have the touch of holiness that the town has in its water. 

And I can't help but think that if Cecelia really is the patron saint, then maybe her mother, Rose, was really missing her sign from God all along.

My lessons from this book: Learn from those around you. Talk to others about religion and God. Even when you can't articulate what you feel...try! Be open, be vulnerable.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Love Affair with Bookbinding

Time: 2 hours
Listening to: Teacher

I took my first class at The Craft Center on Thursday and had so much fun! In an art class that I took back in 2005, I was given the overwhelming introduction to bookbinding by having to make my own sketchbook. While it was lots and lots of work at the time, I actually really liked it. Yes, my fingers were very sore by the end of it, but I enjoyed the process.  Over the years, I kind of stepped away from making books and I have missed it! I've been wanting to  take a class at the Craft Center and thought this would be a good introduction to the center and also a good reintroduction to bookbinding.

Here are some of the books that I made during the class:

Simple book with a hidden knot inside

Inside hidden knot

I forget what this is called but it actually has two different "books" inside it!
Write one book---flip it over---and you have another one!
I also learned the running stitch!

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Reading Goal: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress

As I mentioned in my 2013 goal, I’ll be reading mostly women lit that focuses on women authors or complicated, strong female characters this year.  First off I read Madame Bovary. The second one I knocked off the list was Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing up Groovy and Clueless
Picture from Goodreads

I had a hard time getting into this book. Even after about 100 pages, I kept thinking...jeesh...300 more pages to go? Couldn't someone have edited this down some? But then things started to get interesting for me. While sometimes she'd be way over the top and I'd roll my eyes...other times she would hit upon  parts of her life that resonated with me. I loved the stories about how she wanted to be a feminist but she was still learning and struggling with what that all entails. She wrote about always believing that girls were just as good as boys...chanting on the play ground from a young age "Girls Smart, Boys Fart." She also "made a point of reading hundreds of biographies of famous women, then sprinkled my dinnertime conversation" about them. Then she would hit up her dad for money and not understand the ironies of that. She writes that her dad told her "I just think it's cute how you call me a patriarchal oppressor, then fifteen minutes later, you hit me up for money so you can go to the movies."

One of my favorite bits was about her first job as a coffee barista. Her boss was always giving the girls advice on how to get married. In one story she faced the idea of hairy legs..."I was chewing over the remark about 'hairy-legged women's libbers.' I'd always shaved my legs, and what did leg hair have to do with wanting equal treatment under the law, anyway?" I loved the moments in the book that were like that. Moments that really illustrate how a girl wanting to be a feminist suddenly is struck with the idea that she might be doing something wrong! Or just not understanding at all what something like a hairy leg might imply or symbolize. Gilman also tends to exaggerate and be over the top with things so some of the stories or moments of enlightenment are quite funny.

I also think that her struggle with becoming engaged and married were interesting. So many of the women lit that I've read in the past all have to do with women shedding the confines of marriage. Stories where the women can't breath or can't be herself because of the social constrictions on who a woman can be. While reading those stories as a young woman, I just assumed that I wouldn't ever get married. I've always been rather stubborn and not always the most "think of the other person before you" person so I figured I just would go solo through life. It seemed easier almost. But things turned out a bit different for me when my boyfriend at the time went away for a semester to another country and I was stuck behind...absolutely MISERABLE. I didn't want to live apart from this guy, this best friend of mine ever again. As I grew up, matured, and learned more about who I am...I realized that marriage did not have to be a box that I had to contort myself into. It could actually be more freeing. BUT it still was strange for me to suddenly be talking about weddings, dish sets, and linens. And Gilman does an excellent job on telling that side of things. She writes, "But as a feminist, nothing was as daunting to me as getting engaged. Because as soon as Bob slipped the ring onto my finger, it was as if we were instantly catapulted back into 1956. Virtually overnight, people stopped treating us like individuals and began relating to us instead as a traditional Bride and Groom--sex roles as shallow and reductive as the symbols on public restrooms."

She also tells the hilarious story about how much she resisted the white wedding dress...until everyone twisted her arm and guilted her into trying one on. So she goes into David's Bridal...puts one on and refuses to take it off because it makes her feel so good. She writes, "As I stood there, something else occurred to me: why did it take so long to have this experience? Every woman should have this experience--and not only if or when she gets married. Every woman should see herself looking uniquely breathtaking, in something tailored to celebrate her body, so that she is better able to appreciate her own beauty and better equipped to withstand the ideals of our narrow-waited, narrow-minded culture."

I gave the book a 3 1/2 overall...but I think I'd give it a 4 1/2 for the last 150 pages or so. I think she really hit her stride there---or maybe I was just able to connect more with it.

One last part I loved...she wrote about how she felt when her and her husband move to Switzerland. While I didn't move abroad...I did recently move 2000+ miles from my family and friends so I feel like its another country. She says..."Funny how glamorous stories about people going abroad always conveniently seemed to leave out this part--the unnerving schizophrenia of arrival--the panic you can feel in a strange city when you realize: whoa. This is it. You're not going home next week with a bagful of snow globes to hand out."

Lessons from this book: Embrace the contradictions! Don't be afraid to get everything right the first time. Be a life learner! (Insert other cheesy, motivating sayings!)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Simple Tank with Contrasting Ties

Time: A couple hours
Listening to: Grace and the Nocturnals (my current craft-to obsession)
Drinking: Twinings Chai Tea

My lovely sister gave me some perrty fabric for Christmas and I was itching to work with it. She also happened to send me a shirt idea like this one months and months and months I figured it was destined!

It is a little bigger than I like currently so I will have to do some tweaking. I do like how it looks on my dressform, though!

A close up of the side and sleeve

Friday, January 11, 2013

Birchbox Love!

I've been subscribing to Birchbox now for half a year or so and it is so much fun. You sign up to get a box full of fun beauty samples sent to you every month for $10. We cut back on our spending a lot since moving to Eugene...but I just can't give this up. To get an adorable package in the mail every month full of fun little samples is worth the $10 to me! You first fill out a questionnaire about your beauty habits, your hair type, your skin type, etc...and then you sit back and wait for your fun box to arrive!

I thought I'd share some of my favorite samples I've received...

Nuxe's Masque Creme Fraiche de Beaute----great mask for winter skin
Color Club Professional Nail Lacquer in Disco Nap----love this gold nail polish
Harvey Prince's Hello perfume----such a great smell! Light and fresh
Fresh Citron de Vigne eau de perfum----a bit musky at first then settles into a great, fresh smell
12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment----great for before blow drying
Etoile New York (nail polish) in Navette----A great slightly sparkly nude shade
G-1 Hydrating Cream----leaves your skin feeling so good
Fibre Lashxtend Extreme Black Lengthening Mascara----Love this mascara! Plus a huge sample!
Model Co Ultra Lip Gloss in Showgirl Red----The name sounds intense but it actually isn't. Smells good!
the Balm Stainiac Beauty Queen----Gives a hint of color to lips and cheeks
Jouer Perfume Oil----A bit more flowery than I usually like but I love it!
Lulu's Hair Powder Lavender & Clary Sage----Works great for days I don't want to wash my hair!
the Balm Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter----A nice highlighter that also works good for eye shadow

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stumbled on Favorites

A few of the favorite things I've stumbled on recently.

Found this over here!

I love this five story tall rubber ducky!

I LOVE this playful art on crumbling buildings.

Beer barrel bed! How cool!

I want to try this recipe pronto. is so great.

This made me laugh...the skipper.

I just found out about this site and I am so excited to delve into it more. I think it will really help me with my 2013 goal!

Amazing lecture on the meaning of life..definitely made me cry.

19 Things to Stop Doing in Your 20s...good stuff!

My aunt told me about Irena Sendler...what an inspirational woman. Can't believe I've never heard of her before.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 Reading Challenge

Some of you may know that I am a sucker for reading. I almost always have a book in my hands, next to me, or on my mind. I'm focusing on women authors and/or strong, complex female characters this year.

Here is my not-set-in-stone list of books I want to read this year. 

1. Margaret Atwood--The Blind Assassin
2. Margaret Atwood--The Handmaid's Tale
3. Jane Austen--Mansfield Park
4. Jane Austen --Northanger Abbey
5. Lynda Barry--What it Is
6. Samantha Bee--I Know I Am, But What Are You?
7. Elizabeth Bowen--The Death of the Heart
8. Kate Braestrup--Beginner's Grace
9. Willa Cather--Death Comes for the Archbishop
10. Kate Chopin--The Awakening (reread)
11. Kathleen Davis--The Thin Place (reread)
12. Debra Dean--The Mirrored World
13. Simone de Beauvoir--The Second Sex
14. Emily Dickinson--The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
15. Annie Dillard--Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
16. Rachel Dratch--Girl Walks into a Bar
17. Louise Erdrich--Love Medicine
18. Helen Fielding--Bridget Jones' Diary
19. Fannie Flagg--Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop
20. Catherine Gildiner--Too Close to the Falls
21. Susan Jane Gilman--Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
22. Mary Gordon--Spending
23. Frances Hodgson Burnett--The Secret Garden
24. Frances Hodgson Burnett--A Little Princess
25. River Jordan--Praying for Strangers
26. Barbara Kingsolver--The Bean Trees (reread)
27. Anne Lamott--Bird by Bird
28. Jhumpa Lahiri--The Namesake (reread)
29. John MacArthur--Twelve Extraordinary Women
30. Carson McCullers--The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (reread)
31. Margaret Mitchell--Gone with the Wind
32. Liz Murray--Breaking Night
33. Irene Nemirovsky--Suite Francaise
34. Kathleen Norris--The Cloister Walk
35. Flannery O'Connor--Mystery and Manners
36. Flannery O'Connor--Three (reread)
37. Ann Patchett--The Patron Saint of Liars (reread)
38. Ann Patchett--Truth & Beauty
39. Dorothy Parker--Complete Stories
40. Sylvia Plath--The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
41. Adrienne Rich--The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977
42. Marilynn Robinson--Housekeeping (reread)
43. Marjane Satrapi--Persepolis
44. Amy Sedaris--I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
45. Lucy Shaw--Breath for the Bones
46. Alice Walker--The Color Purple
47. Sheila Weller--Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon
48. Edith Wharton--The Age of Innocence
49. Mary Wollstonecraft-- A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
50. Virginia Woolf--A Room of One's Own
51. Virginia Woolf--Night and Day

Let me know if you have any suggestions of books I should definitely add to my list!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

DIY Paint Chip Sample Wall Hanging

Time: A couple hours
Listening to: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Drinking: Coffee with creamer

I've had a stash of paint chip samples on my desk since August and finally decided it was time to do something with them. We have a lot of white space in our bedroom and I've been itching to add some color.

First, I cut apart all of the paint chips and arranged them to my liking. I'm a sucker for color gradation (like how I organize my books) so I decided to go that route. I then sewed them together and hung them up. I just used tape for now but if they keep falling down, I'll use some string to hang them up better.

Nice and easy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Journal Prompt Jars

Time: A couple hours
Listening to: Doctor Who
Drinking: Country Peach Tea

One thing that I've realized from my 2012 challenge is that I don't write nearly as much as I'd like. I'm someone who needs to process things and often writing is the best way I can do that. Even though I know is hard for me to sit down and just start writing. It takes a lot of energy so I often don't do it. One thing that I thought might help me begin writing more is my own journal prompt jar.

I first sat down and did a major brainstorm on memories and topics that I'd like to write about. Some are really simple and others are very broad. I took a lot of time in this part of the process because I figured the more thorough it is, the less often I'll have to refill my jar. Then I wrote my prompts out on cardstock and cut and folded. This I did with the help of Doctor Who (Season 3!). I then found an old cashew container that we were going to recycle and made it into my little journal prompt container.

Here's to writing more in 2013!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Self Portrait Sunday

Part of my journey for 2013 is to take self portraits to connect visually with what I'm learning. I read about someone who did a 365 day challenge and how she learned a lot about photography and herself. I'm not sure I'm really interested in doing a 365 day challenge but I will be showing you at least one each Sunday.

Here is my self portrait for today: