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12/30/08

pick me up, wear me down

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I have been wanting boots like this for about 10 years. I don't have them yet.

(Image from Indie Cult Vintage)

12/29/08

Delish - Lily Lambert



I just bought this delectable fragrance from Lily Lambert's Spectrum collection of Perfumes. There are 8 total, one for each letter of the word. This is perfect for me because I've been wanting a spray perfume/eau de toilette that is without the chemical bite that I get from both my Chanel perfumes and an Armani perfume that I have. (Actually, my Chanel No. 5 isn't so bad, but the Coco Mademoiselle eau de toilette that I have really does give me a headache).

These are all made with essential oils and are really yummy - I think there is at least one scent for every woman. I had a tough time deciding between a couple of them, but went with this one since it resonated strongest. Go with your gut, right?

Check out her other fragrances and collections here. She is local to Portland and also designs some killer jewelry. Aaannnd, to top it all off, Imp on 14th and Alberta is closing shop and marking everything down by 50%. They carry a number of Lily Lambert products, and that's where I got the perfume. I got the last "E", but there are so many other good ones. Go! Support the locals!

Thoughts on laughter and growing up

In high school, I used to laugh so hard that I peed my pants. It happened fairly often, and was a total drag. Few things are as inconvenient as peeing your pants. I realized yesterday that I never do that anymore. Which begs the question, did I laugh harder then? Or am I just better at holding in my pee?

12/28/08

Top 5

Top 5 favorite things about today:
Samples at New Seasons
Bed
Earl Grey tea
Cutting ferns and holly
Baby foreheads

Top 5 signs that you have a bouncy child:
Headache
Cut and swollen lip
Spilled glasses of water
Couch pillows always on floor, never on couch
Very, very wet bath mat

Top 5 favorite things to wear:
Leggings
T-shirts
Boots
Socks
Booty shorts

Top 5 things to eat during Christmas vacation:
Toast with butter and jam
Soup
Eggs
Satsuma mandarins
Chocolate

Top 5 signs you are a mother:
Fantasies involve uninterrupted DVD watching and solo grocery shopping
Lots of cute high heels that you swear you will wear one day
Crumbs in your sheets
Greasy smears about 3 ft from the ground on all full-length mirrors
No white shirts

Top 5 things that will suck:
Cleaning the car
Cleaning up the dog shit that someone left out front
Putting all the rose bush clippings in the yard debris bin
Trying to get thank-you letters out in a decent time frame
Getting my guitar callouses tough enough so they don't hurt anymore

Top 5 things that will be awesome:
Getting my guitar callouses tough enough so they don't hurt anymore
Recording another song
Finishing my work
Downloading the next This American Life podcast
Finding a new book that I love

Poems + Tee shirt = YES


I just ordered this super snuggly looking oversize t-shirt from Dallas Clayton. Dallas writes radical poems that make me really happy. They leave me with that same feeling you get when you find a dollar bill on the ground, or the feeling you get when you have been thinking about an old distant friend all day and then they call you on the phone.

Dallas has also recently published a children's book called An Awesome Book, which has apparently already sold out (so has the t-shirt), but a second printing is in the works. I should probs order one for Asher. Everyone needs an awesome book, I think.

Anyway, I will report on the awesomeness of my shirt when it arrives. As a mama who works from home on my computer, my daily wardrobe consists largely of leggings and t-shirts (comfort & cuteness, right?), so I'm always looking for a way to keep it interesting.

Oh, and click here to read the poem that is on the shirt.

(Image via dallasclayton.com)

12/27/08

More remembering

More from my old journal. I found this very brief email that I had copied and pasted into my journal. It was to my friend Allison:

December 30, 2007 10:31 pm

Dearest-

How are you? I am teetering on the brink of insanity. It is a truly female insanity, driven by deep oceans of emotion and cycles of stress and heightened empathy. LUNAcy. Ruled by moons and tides. I am trying my best to stay afloat. I usually do, it's just always hard to breathe. I wish i had someone here to pick me up, hold me, tuck me in. But it's just me. Full moons and babies.

Novembers and Decembers have typically been a really crazy time for me. Drowning in rain on so many different levels.

This year has been different. I must have built a raft.

Remembering

For some reason, I decided to delve into my journal tonight, to read about my heartaches and heartbreaks over the past three years. What beauty comes from the deep pain of loss, of love. It makes me cry still, though years have passed.

I found this entry from December 2006 (I had spent the entire Summer prior to this completely buried in total heartbreak), and thought I'd share it here, in honor of this December, past Decembers, and the Spring that awaits us on the other side of this Winter.

December 28, 2006 12:14 am

Love fades slowly, and then surges again. Like the tides, yes... like the moon, yes.... but also like an entire planet. A whole season. Beginning so small and then suddenly so vast.... everything goes in cycles... sliding through the seasons. The solstice came again, the moon whispered her longest words and our heads bowed in reverence. The light of the moon stayed longer than before, and longer than is to come. Though it marks the first day of Winter... to me, it marks the first day of Spring. Now, each day will become longer. Bit by bit the light will sustain, the sun will set slower, and the morning will be brighter. Until suddenly it will be blossoming all around us. The grass in the gutters, the trees on the curb, the smiles from the babies. All things that were planted and resting will suddenly spring to life and smell good. I won't be able to sit still. The love will take a new shape, dancing toward fruition.

12/25/08

Frye Me a River - I'm in Love


I have recently upped my drool-level again for the ever-popular Frye harness boot. In brown. I want the brown ones. I really wanted these a few years ago, and then kinda got over it. But then Anna showed up the other night wearing some, and they looked really hot. And I've been wearing boots nearly every day, so of course I'm like, but I don't have THOSE boots....

They're expensive (remember, "expensive" is always relative). So if I were to buy them, I'd have to think really hard about it and make sure I'd wear them enough. Who knows... Sometimes I get so fixated on something I want so badly, but then after a couple weeks, I totally forget about it.

Sooo...while I was doing a little research on the Nordstrom website, just to check'em out...look at what I found! The Frye Marta Pump. These are totally drool-worthy. Maybe even more so than the harness boot, and in a much less practical way:


Are you kidding me? How beautiful are these? They come in black as well, but I think the olive green is more up my alley. These are a perfect combination of almost casual and almost glamorous. It's like wearing a really excellent perfume...they are sure to add a little bit more meow to whatever you're wearing. The wooden heel makes it so they aren't quite what you'd want to wear with your little black dress, but that's not really the point of a shoe like this, is it? The square toe with the stitches and the heel pleats really get me going, especially with the t-strap. I think they'd be way less cute if they had a regular mary-jane strap. Okay, I'll stop drooling now, it's probably getting on your keyboard, too.

Last but not least, I am adding these to my wishlist as well - the Marta Bootie. Stunning.

And to all a goodnight

Tonight is the end of Christmas. We had a good solid week of holiday lounging - eating gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pie, drinking cups and cups of tea and chocolate stout, and watching plenty of movies. Thanks to the sky nymphs for the extra fun snow explosion, and while I'm sad to leave the week of sleepy sparkling snow bliss behind, I am also a bit excited for my car to defrost and to maybe drive somewhere sometime soon.

I am grateful for the creative burst I had during this week of downtime, I sewed a few keepers and a few Christmas gifts, and I cooked more than usual. I will try to carry this bit of creative energy with me throughout the winter months ahead, which undoubtedly will bring much rain. And finally, I want to say that I had a wonderful Christmas eve and day; one of the best in recent years. Mellow as can be, filled with a lot of love. I think it was the simplicity that made it so excellent.

Here is a quick video from today of Asher playing in the melting snow with Izzy (Jenny's dog):


12/22/08

Oh, innocence

As we know, I have a 4-year-old son. And, as anyone who has raised a child knows, they learn and grow so much each day (option: insert other child-rearing cliché here). Lately, Asher's big learning adventure has been... you guessed it... the internet.

Some of his favorites so far are the interactive games on the Bob the Builder/Thomas and Friends websites, as well as clicking through endless photos on my Facebook profile. He also is very keen on YouTube (particularly Rolie Polie Olie or Caillou clips), and finally, he likes to create long strands of jumbled letters in blank emails.

While I think this is very cute and fascinating (internet skillz already!?), it also has become a bit annoying because every time I open my laptop (which is essentially my entire briefcase, file cabinet, and Rolodex all in one), he immediately runs over and wants to do something for himself on it. Before this internet breakthrough, he had little use for my computer.

So tonight, I was browsing some pointless fun as usual, when he came over to try and elbow me out so that he could build a fountain with Bob or whatever. But I stood my ground and told him this was my turn and I needed my space. I said he could not sit on my lap, but was welcome to bring a stool over to watch me if he wanted. He bolted into my closet and tossed all my folded pants off my footstool onto the floor so that he could drag it over to join me in front of the blessed laptop, the illuminated idol of the modern era.

At this particular moment, I was browsing the Kiki de Montparnasse website because I had just read a note from my roommate that they are offering 40% off holiday orders with a special code from another blog she reads. Anyway, I was checking out this page when Asher jumped in. He took the mouse from me, and clicked on each item, saying "oh that's a cute one!" when the new page came up. He would carefully hit the "back" arrow, and then select another one (oh, that's a cute one, too!), until we had gone through all of them (there aren't that many, don't worry). We then clicked over to the lingerie section, and he perused a few different designs, but clicked on this one twice:



Undoubtedly some of you are horrified by the fact that my darling child was shopping this site with me. But you have to admit, it's kind of adorable. He never asked what anything was, he just clicked through for the sheer joy of clickage and enjoyed the visual goods. Despite our best efforts, the apple never falls far from the tree.

Anatomy of a snowflake

My first two days of Christmas vacation have been great. I owe much of this greatness to the unexpected snowstorm. The snow, first of all, brings along lots of amazing physical qualities - the sky glows an electric gray, the snowflakes fall quietly, as though life is simple. The snowflakes then gather on surfaces - on cars and roads, on lawns and rooftops, on leaves and blades of grass. By gathering on these surfaces, the snow absorbs the typical sounds of a day. The city grows quieter, my neighborhood sits as if in stunned silence. Even the wind is quiet, because it blows now through branches softened by snow, branches temporarily relieved from their skeletal December design. In this quietness, life slows down. Cars remain parked, people stay inside and read books, bake cookies, call their mothers. The plants in the grocery store parking lot sit still, encased by a thin layer of ice, frozen as though rooted in underground glaciers.

Perhaps it is because of snow's physical qualities that it delivers its magic. The feeling of peace, of nesting and creation. I think, perhaps, that it illuminates the ancient tradition of winter - of hibernation, of carefully choosing the seeds that you want to plant when the ground thaws.

Because of this snow, I find myself reveling in Christmas vacation like never before - we've watched movies all day, made 3 pots of tea, walked to the store for Satsuma mandarins, a bottle of wine, potatoes and smoked salmon. I've pulled out the sewing machine, wrapped Christmas gifts, and even watched movies for myself!

Most significantly, the snow has helped me stop. No errands, no spending, no driving, no stressing. Food is in the kitchen, bed is in the bedroom, and the hot water bottle is buried somewhere in the covers. Sometimes I forget the importance of breaking routine. I get so rooted in my routine, I eventually fail to notice how it surrounds me, how it clings to me unnoticed, like a perfect pair of underwear. Sometimes I need something else to stop it. Or someone else....or sometimes I need snow to stop it. Once the routine is stopped, we can suddenly turn back and look at it; simultaneously, we can look forward and see what alterations can be made. It is this moment of stopping that ties the next thing to the last thing, it is the solder in the link of a chain, it is (quite simply) a breath of fresh air.

12/20/08

Jedi babe

Video from last night when we were all hanging out at home. Darrin dressed Asher up in the leftover clothes from our naked lady party on Thursday. The consensus was that he looked like a hobbit/jedi fusion. Adorable as ever.

I stand unabashedly proud among the vast ranks of mothers who think all videos of their children are wildly entertaining and that everything they draw is brilliant.

Reconstruction: Arm-Warmers

Possibly one of the most reconstructed accessories of all time - the cozy-riffic arm warmer! It might lag a bit behind the popularity of reconstructed leg-warmers, but both are super easy and super satisfying. Some can even be used as both.

As many of us know, there is the no-sew version of reconstructed arm warmers, where you simply cut the sleeve off an old sweater and cut a thumb hole in it. Bam. Arm-warmers. I have also used this technique with an old pair of wool argyle socks that had holes in the heels. Likewise, any cool socks that are looking thin in the foot, can usually be cut into cute leg warmers. No-sew projects are some of my favorite. I love scissors. I have been known to make many a cool item with scissors alone. And I have been known to ruin many a cool pieces as well. This risk comes with the territory.

Last night I made these. These were reconstructed from a vintage sleeveless wool sweater top that was kind of cool, but not really that cool. I just cut the front panel into two squares, and sewed up the seam, leaving a hole for the thumb. I love the sequins (I am a sucker for sparkles)...they were a bit overwhelming on the sweater top, but seem to be quite darling on the arm-warmers.




There are endless variations on arm-warmers like this, or on no-sew designs. You can make really short ones, or really long ones that are like a sweater with no torso. I also like to make ones without a thumb hole, so they act as kind of an extra long sleeve layer with what you're wearing. And then there is also the bell/flare arm-warmer. This is easiest if you cut the sleeve off a sweater, and then flip it - so that the armpit side goes down by the wrist, and the cuff goes up on your bicep. These sometimes require a small bit of sewing at the cuff so that you can make it tight enough to not slide down your arm. But sometimes it works fine without the reinforcement. You can also do a bell/flare leg-warmer as well. I used to totally rock the flare leg-warmer with short skirts practically everyday. It was like bell-bottoms and a miniskirt all at the same time....heaven!

My final tips on reconstructing arm-warmers:
  • It's beneficial if you can reinforce the thumb holes with stitches. This makes the whole product more durable and long lasting.
  • If you are sewing, it looks really nice if you hem all the edges.
  • These make great gifts - no one can have too many sets!

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Sadly, I have never been to an Ugly-Christmas-Sweater-Party. Total bummer. I hear great things. However, when I found this gem at the bins last month, I was so relieved to hear that my girlfriend Sophie had an occasion to wear it to. If I can't wear something, someone else has got to do it, right?


When I was in 3rd grade, the mother of my best friend Amanda made sweatshirts like this. I remember seeing her craft room, filled with perky-themed iron-on decals and rows and rows of puff paint. Amanda had a sweatshirt for each season and holiday, the iron-ons carefully outlined with puff paints. I drooled over these sweatshirts. Coveted them. Amanda also had a bedspread that matched her curtains, wastebasket, and tissue box cover, along with a TV in her room. I coveted these things as well. My mom never had tissue boxes, never mind covers for them that matched things. (We also never had paper towels, and I also coveted these at my friends' houses. I remember on a few occasions finding a roll of paper towels in our kitchen, staring in awe, and wondering just what, exactly, was worthy of wiping up with this disposable convenience. I am happy to report that in our absence of paper towels and Kleenex, we always had plenty of toilet paper.)

One Halloween, Carla (Amanda's mom) made me my very own pumpkin-themed iron-on and puff paint sweatshirt. I was way stoked. I wore the hell out of it, pairing it with my skeleton dangle earrings, and carefully preserving it during the summers so that I could bust it out with glittering pride come Fall. It was one of the best gifts ever. There are, in one's life, moments wherein you receive something that you've been wanting so bad, and the gratification in that moment is irreplaceable. In my life, it has happened with material goods (puff-painted sweatshirts, shoes, jackets), and it has happened with boys (I can think of one particular boy who managed to avoid my gaze in high school, but when I returned for a summer in later years, grown-up and prettier, he stood much closer to me in crowded rooms. I wasted no time taking him to bed. The experience was not terribly memorable, but the conquest was unforgettable).

Needless to say, when I saw this sweatshirt, with an iron-on Santa carefully outlined in sparkling puff paint (you can't really see the detail in these photos), I had to by it, for nostalgia's sake at the very least. Even though it's ugly, there is still something about it that triggers that part of my brain - the coveting, the desire... the 10-year-old girl, breathless at the beauty of a holiday sweatshirt and at the unattainable happiness of the characters in an iron-on decal.

Freshly-fallen snow

Well, I've moved to Blogger. Here I am! All the cool kids are doing it, and I love all things Google. Plus I can customize this much easier, and it seems to have a more user-friendly setup - for me, anyway (and I am by no means a serious blogger). I will leave my old blog as an archive, in the hopes that one day the Blogger braniacs illuminate a path to import my other entries from Wordpress.Link

This past week in Portland has been remarkably wintry. We've had snow days, icy roads, and temperatures below freezing (gasp!). Today is the most beautiful of all these winter days so far. The snow has been falling all day, and it's still going strong. Everything is soft and white, and kids are sledding anywhere they can. Tea kettles steam, pots of soup simmer, and sweet smells seep from ovens. Added bonuses are Christmas lights and piles of chocolate everywhere.

I am shamelessly staying inside all day. We had one adventure to the movie store and I slid (very slowly) through an intersection and hit another car. Luckily everything and everyone was fine, but it was still scary. So I drove even slower the rest of the way, and we made it home with Wallace & Gromit and The Nightmare Before Christmas in hand. We are now cozy and cuddled eating endless pieces of sourdough toast with butter and homemade peach jam from Kristin's mom.

Here are some photos from the past week of snow adventuring - Asher with his backpack of DVDs at Sophie's house (note: Polar Express is a scary movie! Not the cozy Christmas vibe I was going for at all. Elf is a much better choice), and cleaning my car off earlier in the day. This was the first snowstorm, last Sunday.