A Clockwork Orange

That’s right. After six very long months of waiting on an ironically unpunctual clock repair store, I can finally FINALLY use the pun I’ve been hanging onto for approximately five months, 29 days.

Remember that cute little 1970s German alarm clock I picked up at that Sugar Land arts and crafts festival forever ago?

Well, it was all disassembled, cleaned up, reassembled and now fully functional (despite a couple of cosmetic issues that occurred because apparently German plastic clocks were not built to break, and therefor not built to be easily serviced and repaired.) Even the bells for the alarm work.

Isn’t it cuuuute?

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Sunshine State

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Greetings from the Sunshine State, otherwise known as Sugar Land, Texas!

After spending the whole dustbowl rainless summer in the Falls, I have to say this week coming to Houston I felt like a kid first seeing Disney World.

Look at all the pretty colors! My parents’ house = practically a botanical garden and tropical paradise. (In other words, look at these pretty pictures until I have time to actually sit down and write something, haha. New posts soon, I promise!)

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The Song Johnny Cash Never Wrote

Lana Del Ray has been through some interesting PR highs and lows since Video Games first became popular. First there was the SNL performance that wasn’t, then the endless play of the techno-fied version of Summertime Sadness, then there was me, going through every music video Vevo had to offer, wanting to see if she continued the retro Priscilla Presley look through every cinematic moment.

In short, the answer is yes.

But then I got to this song called Ride. (Video below.) And I spent the next several hours thinking about it, trying to figure out why I felt like I had heard it before. It feels like something old, covered by Lana, even though Wikipedia says otherwise.

For me, it’s somewhere in the Johnny Cash arena between his cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt and Devil’s Gonna Cut You Down.

But I don’t know if that description quite nails it. I keep trying to put my thumb on it and never quite get there. Curious to hear what you guys think of the song?

PS – Warning, the actual singing doesn’t even begin in this video until 3:27 minutes in, but I have to admit the beginning spoken word part is kinda sorta maybe a little brilliant.

Thoughts?

Catching Mono, Part 2

DSC_0445Lately, I’ve become self-obsessed.

Okay, that’s a lie.

I’ve always been self-obsessed. I write a blog about myself for heaven’s sake. I recognize disfunction in myself. But that’s beside the point.

Lately, I’ve become self-obsessed I’ve become obsessed with getting my name professionally added to things I own. Above is my growing little collection of goodies.

Below is my growing little collection of customization and monogramming resources:

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From L to R: Embroidered Hoop, Cufflinks, Rubber Stamp, Embroidered Hoop Necklaces, Nameplate Bracelet, Travel Bag, Mousepad, Clutch, May Designs Notebook.

phonesiPhone cases from Lucy Celebrates

The Dinner Club

Here we are. The Dinner Club.
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Two of my very best friends in the entire world and I like to do something I am somewhat ashamed to admit.

We like to be fancy. Obnoxiously fancy. We dress up, we spend way too much on food, we go to only the trendiest restaurants. And there is much talk and deliberation and telling others what we are doing before we ever actually arrive. We are THOSE people.

There’s something about enjoying this aspect of life with two people that you have the most unfancy relationships with. Because when we get together, we are crude, we are rude. We talk about things in our lives that suck, and reasons we are gross people, and give no-holds-barred updates on our lives. We are unashamed of anything as we nibble crowd around and gorge like cavemen enjoy overpriced charcuterie.

So, when my birthday coincided with a recent business trip, it was ON.

(This photo doesn’t really go with the blog post, but it’s too cute a picture of my “niece” and the present from her “mama” not to include.)

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Anyhow. We gathered again. This time at Uchi. And it. was. amazing.

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kara kyuri cocktail – cold sake, cucumber, thai chili, yuzu

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saba shio – grilled norwegian mackerel٠parsley٠preserved lemon

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makimono – “ham & eggs” – katsu pork belly٠yolk custard٠espelette

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good enough to be dessert – brie ringo – tempura-fried brie٠apple chutney٠ sweet potato crisp

Not pictured, but also AMAZING menu items: crispy brussels sprouts with sweet chili, and the “hamachi nabe” (baby yellowtail٠koshi hikari rice٠ farm egg٠soy broth).

Takeaway: Some of the best food I’ve had in Houston, but GO AT HAPPY HOUR. Surprisingly good deals for an otherwise PRICEY restaurant. Probably wouldn’t get my sake cocktail again, but it was unique, which is sometimes hard to do in Houston. The “eggs and ham” roll was not my favorite, but I did love the presentation. Every single other thing I would order again, and order two.

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Then the next business trip, we reunited to try a trendy little place called Down House in the Heights.

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Tempura Zucchini Fritters, Quick Pickled Cucumbers, Cardamom Chile Yogurt, Mint

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Houston Dairymaids’ Cheese Plate, Three Cheeses with Pairings, Slow Dough Bread

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Chicken Fried Portobello Mushrooms, Mashed Potatoes, Spinach Salad, Spicy Pepper

Takeaway: Delicious, but a little overrated/overpriced for what it was, and had a lot more Asian influence to the menu than it really gave the impression of from the website, menu, atmosphere. My “chicken fried” Portabello mushroom had a honey soy glaze that pulled it away from the “country fried” experience I was expecting. Wilted spinach salad with pears and endive was amaze-balls. Potatoes were potatoes. Zucchini fritters were the best thing there. The cheese plate was a tiny portion, and their second-cheapest bottle of white was $30. The end.

A Day in the Life: Falls Fest 2013

Remember how I said I would tell you the story of how a stranger gave me a box full of cash and I made a joke about adult diapers all in the span of about an hour?

Yeah.

Backing up from that, let’s start at the beginning. I’ve been a Provisional Member of the local Junior League for almost six months now. In that time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many smart, kind, wonderful, witty girls I’ve met, many of which already GET my odd sense of humor, and the fact that even if I come across as sugar coated rainbows, I’ve got some sass and nerdiness that will never really go away.

Fast-forward to the last weekend in September – my first big volunteer shifts at the League’s first big event of the season. Shift one at the Kids in the Kitchen committee’s kids’ station started with helping the kids make crafts and assemble healthy snack packs. (Me and my friend Sarah pictured below.) And of course, the obligatory applying of temporary tattoos (a huge draw for real kids and me a like).

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After a costume change, I was back for round two – the evening shift at the concession tickets booth.

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Observe, my box full of cash, given to me as soon as I stepped on duty. It was of course organized to OCD perfection almost as quickly. It was during this shift I discovered a few things:

  1. Playing cash register is fun.
  2. I’m one of those people that gets an inordinate amount of pleasure from relatively small amounts of power and authority.
  3. My math skills have declined significantly.
  4. At the end of the shift, if your register is not balanced, the difference is on you (still waiting to hear on this one – terrified of how bad my math actually got during the big rush).
  5. Don’t make weird jokes with people you’ve just met. So yeah, this is how the diaper thing happened. One girl asked the lead girl if she could leave for a minute to go use the restroom. I decide this is the perfect time to pull out my obscurely referenced crazy NASA lady joke and retort “No, don’t you know you were supposed to wear adult diapers to every shift? No leaving our posts!” As a “really, I think you’re good” nod of support to her request.
  6. This is not funny to anyone but me.
  7. My new friends are in fact wonderful people who get me. They totally got the reference to my joke, and continued to like me anyway, when explained over cocktails the following week.

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MOVING ON, I also made a wonderful little discovery thanks to a tip from my friend Claire. (Thanks, Claire!) Turns out, our town has food trucks afterall! This cute little thing below called “The Gypsy Kit” had a rather inspired menu for a carnival, and the fries topped in kimchi Sriracha mayo sauce were out of this world.

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Last but not least, deep fried Oreos. Because any good carnival has them, and any good blog has a little gratuitous food porn every once in a while.

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October in Texas

This is where I started my day – cool breeze, warm mug of coffee in hand, in my pajamas. Because my backyard is awesome.

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Fall in Texas is one of my favorite times of year. Lows in the 50s, highs in the mid 70s, and lots of gorgeous days in between. One of the great parts of living here in North Texas is that when it does actually rain (you know, one of six days a year) my yard turns into a green Utopia, even in spite of how absolutely wretched I am at keeping plants alive.

Illustrated point:

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That is Oscar, who is survived under my care for almost four years, next to a tomato plant planted way too late in the season and two “Summer Survivors” I was sure would kick the bucket at least a half dozen times over the last four months.

Always managing to do something wrong, I had been holding the record for the world’s largest tomato-less tomato plant – until today.  Thank you, Texas October. Behold, hope:

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(Aside – these are the uber-delicious “Sunny Boy” tomatoes, so they’re supposed to be yellow. Maybe not in such rough shape, but at least they made it to “adulthood”)

Yes, in Texas, you can grow tomatoes in October, because let’s face it, the weather is about the same as what most people experience as Spring.

In other horticultural news, Aaron and I visited a local garden store/pumpkin patch, then went about decorating:

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(PS – If you giggled immaturely at this photo, you’re in good company.)

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And our attempt to recreate the look at home:

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Va-Va-Vintage!

The Junior League has recently hinted that this Spring there will be a big event that will necessitate the wearing of some vintage.

So of course this announcement was proceeded by several late-night hours scouring Etsy for something delicious and reasonably priced.

Here’s a small collection of the dresses I think put the va-va-voom in vintage!

Daytime:

1960s Vera Neumann floral

il_570xN.482292968_aelzLichtenstein-esque patterned early 90s cotton frockil_570xN.503350505_1sdf

1960s geometric knit dress (would be GREAT with a belt)

il_570xN.461367332_fereSilk DVF bubble dress (in a size 0)

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1950s striped chiffon party dress

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Evening wear:

1950s copper tulle princess dress

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1960s Austin Powers twist on the LBD

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My absolute favorite at a heartbreaking price in a bulimia-inducing size. (Seriously, what human with a rib cage has a 25” waist and 34” bust?)

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Hiatus

I am a blog delinquent. Sorry everyone for the impromptu hiatus!

Here’s the posts I haven’t written yet that I promise to share with you soon:

  • More (mostly food-related) adventures in Houston
  • The time a complete stranger handed me a box full of cash, and I decided to make a joke about adult diapers (True story.)
  • A collection of vintage dresses on Etsy that would motivate anyone to lose weight (Why was everyone so small in 1955?)
  • Pictures of plants. Because my life is that interesting. And also because I’m really proud of not killing them.
  • An inspiration board based on my recent obsession with all things monogrammed.

In the meantime, enjoy this cover of Lorde’s “Royals” by a fellow Texan:

And check out their equally awesome No Diggity/Thrift Shop mashup cover. It’s like watching the movie Pitch Perfect again. Super fun. 🙂

Update: AND this amazing cover:

The Shallow End

I have an utterly unstoppable fascination with Rich Kids of Instagram.

At first I took it for what it was – an opportunity to fill a voyeuristic desire to observe a lifestyle that’s shiny and decadent and completely foreign.

Then the more time I thought about it, and the more and more pages and pages I wasted time clicking through, I began to think about the specific pictures that made me disgusted by their opulence, and the ones that made me most envious of this rare class of Americans.

In my self-imposed social experiment, I decided to pick a selection of just four photos out of nearly 50 that made me most envious. No one was more surprised than me at the results:

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It seems the things I crave in life actually don’t have much to do with fancy cars, expensive jewelry, oversized bottles of overpriced champagne or frequent parties filled with reckless spending and the excessive wearing of white linen.

What I really want is experience and adventure. The opportunity to see parts of the world that are beautiful for free (negating the costs involved in getting there and finding lodging) and to have the free time to savor them.

One of my dad’s favorite sayings is that in life, there are three things of importance – time, money and good health – and that you will never have all three at once. Either you will have time and no money (Hello, unemployment! Been there.), or money and no time (most likely the parents of these Instagram kids) or money and time, but not enough health to enjoy it. (Their grandparents? Retirees?)

Having all three, the Rich Kids of Instagram give us a unique window into the lives of people struggling with a question few ever do –

What now?

What else is there to work towards? Live for? Achieve? Derive meaning from? What do you DO when you are born in a state that most people work their entire lives to achieve?

In many ways I’m excited about the prospect of the tumblr theme spurring a TV show – I imagine it to turn out like My Super Sweet 16, but it really has the opportunity to be so much more.

“Bookish”

Sometimes I wonder why Kate Spade just doesn’t call it what it really is. Because their new “Bookish” collection is really just the “Lauren” collection.

Get out of my head, Ms. Spade!

A delicious sampling of my favorites:

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The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but the road to financial ruin is paved with Kate Spade accessories and traversed in exceptionally stylish footwear.

The thing about pajamas

Today Design Sponge is featuring some super cute pajamas, for outrageously pretentious prices.

Observe.

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And of course, I totally want them. They are cute, they look soft. But not soft enough to bely the presence of rational thought.

Because, the thing about pajamas is…

1. That they don’t really exist. They’re a superfluous category of clothing for a marketing-created dressing occasion. I sometimes wonder if they were created for the sole purpose of indicating that 50s TV characters were in fact, in the state of about-to-go-to-bed.

2. That spending a lot of money on them is insane. I don’t know about you, but my “pajama” collection is 90% free t-shirts. Where else am I going to wear my “YOLO so be FAB!” shirt and Allison’s club soccer shorts from sixth grade?

(Sorry Allison. Or Aaron. Or both.)

3. That rompers aka “Teddies” are absolute bullshit. Why would anyone buy them? Why would I spend $97 for what I imagine to be a wedgie-filled night of tossing and turning and willing yourself not to have the urge to pee? Seriously, who thinks “I want to wear something that makes it as hard as possible to get up and go pee in the middle of the night”? I suppose it beats the prospect of the daytime equivalent, whereupon you would have to get almost completely naked (assuming your weird ass wears bras) in a public restroom just to relieve yourself.

Everything about #3 is giving me anxiety just thinking about it.

4. That the only time they are really worth wearing is for when they’re going to be viewed publicly, which is the exact opposite of their reason for existing. Like Christmas morning. Or theme parties. You need something that’s presentable, which basically goes back to point #1. Except for when it’s Christmas, they’re almost exclusively made of flannel, and when your Christmases are spent exclusively in Texas, they are about as useful and comfortable as owning fishing coveralls in the Sahara.

5. That you still want them, in spite of everything. Because they’re soft and cute and more fun than plain sweatpants or anything else remotely acceptable in public.

Did I mention I added these to my Christmas wish list?

😉