29 September 2009

Away We Go

I don't think I ever mentioned Away We Go, except for when I told you all what movies I was excited about.

Well, it came out on DVD today. Pete and I made a quick trip to our nearest Borders (he's a teacher and it's Teacher Appreciation Week - 30% off everything!) and picked it up.

We're watching it now and I remember loving it but forgot how much I LOVED it, you know? The story if all about Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Burt (John Krasinski). Verona is pregnant and they suddenly realize that they have NO idea what to do, where to go, how to raise their kids...so they go on a big trip, all over the place. They decide to visit various friends and family all over North America - old bosses in Phoenix, a sister in Tucson, friends in Madison, more friends in Montreal, and a brother in Miami.

There are hilarious parts (basically, John Krasinski being adorably hilarious) and really, really beautiful sad moments, too. I laughed a ton and cried a ton, too (typcal). Also, Maya Rudolph was AMAZING in this movie! I wasn't really sure what to expect. I was never a huge fan of her on SNL, but we were all so pleasantly surprised by her acting chops in the film.

I recommend this movie - to ANYONE. Especially mommies. I feel like mommies would get a lot out if it. When I'm pregnant, I can't even imagine all the thoughts that will go through my head for NINE MONTHS. This film really helps me feel better about that.

Also, while we're on the subject of being pregnant and having babies and stuff, I'm super excited to have kids. And I feel that it's more okay to say this now, since I'm engaged, than it would have been before.

So. Go rent this. Put it in your Netflix queue. Do whatever you do to get a movie. Even buy it, because it's THAT good.

PS: My favorite scene is when they're on the trampoline.

PPS: My favorite family is the Montreal one.

Crafting on Alfred Avenue

I know I've been sparse in postings lately - for a couple of reasons.

First of all, there's actually work to be done in school now! It seemed nice and slow at first, and then all of a sudden, I had three papers due last week. What?! Believe me, I would much rather spend my time blogging and finding cute pretty inspiring things online, but alas - I think dad would be angry. I would be too, I guess.

Second of all, I started a new blog! It's for a class - my senior English seminar course. I'm not really sure how web-writing has to do with English. I mean, I understand how, but in a way, I kind of wish I was able to take a class that culminated my English career where...I wrote a paper. Or even read a book. We don't do either of those things.

Anyway - check it out. It's called Crafting on Alfred Avenue. I just finished the header today (FINALLY. I spent three hour and a half class periods on it) and I think it looks pretty good. Any feedback you have for me is invaluable!

The new blog will be about crafting projects, essentials for crafters, and reviews of websites and projects and stuff. I'm pretty excited about it.

I also have some more writing type-things to share with you, but that probably won't be until a bit later. I got a job writing for a blog! But like I said, I want to actually have things to show to you. Right now I just have one article written :)

As per usual, thanks for all your support! Like I said, I'm super excited about starting these new ventures. I'll keep you updated!

[image from Chez Larsson]

24 September 2009

People from Chicago! Help!

I'm going to be up in Chicago for my cousin's wedding in mid-October. My sister (Emme) goes to school there (at Elmhurst University), and me, mom, dad, and Pete are driving up to the area for the wedding and then staying for the weekend.

Mom, Emme and I decided to go wedding dress shopping while we're up there! I'm pretty excited about it, but the thing is - I have NO CLUE where to begin to look.

Anyone have any thoughts? We'll be out in the suburbs, in Oak Brook/Naperville/Downer's Grove/Westchester. But I wouldn't mind going downtown, either...

Any help is greatly appreciated!

[image from here]

23 September 2009

Strangely Fitting...

Saw this on my tumblr feed this morning. Keep thinking about it... From papertissue.

22 September 2009


Pete and I don't really go on dates anymore. I'm just fine sitting in, watching a movie, reading books, crafting...whatever. And I'm super content with that. But as for dates - they don't really happen as much.

On October 3, we'll be celebrating our 3-year anniversary. WHAT?!? I know, right?! Insane! I can't believe it! Three years. It doesn't feel like it's been three years, but at the same time, it feels like it's been forever. I planned a little surprise-trip getaway for us for the weekend. He doesn't know where we're going yet. I'm really bad at keeping certain kinds of secrets - mostly when I get gifts for people. Like around Christmas time whenever I see a friend, I am just bursting. I want to tell them SO BADLY what I got for them! Sometimes I do. But I try to keep my mouth shut.

Anyway. That weekend we're going away somewhere for a romantic little weekend. In a fancy place. And that's all you're getting.

I came across this list of date ideas - titled "Very Definitely Not Dinner & a Movie". I really, really like some of the ideas!

1. Wake up at 4 AM and watch the sunrise together
2. Have an extravagant brunch at 8 AM.
3. Bring your favorite book and read the first chapter aloud.
4. Collaborative art date.
5. Take cameras and explore an abandoned place.

Go to the link above and look at all of them. It was hard to choose just five to post here! I want to do all of them...

The first pictures taken of me and Pete together...almost three years ago :) Oh, and we were at the City Museum - where we got engaged. Funny how things come full circle, huh?

Funerals are Hard.

I know that this is nothing new. But they still are. When I was younger, I always thought that the older I would get, the easier they would be. Not true.

Pete's Uncle Tom died last Friday. Probably a heart attack. He was only 59 (I believe). He was the pastor at Sacred Heart church in Du Quoin, IL. The parish secretary brought the mail into the rectory Friday morning and found him there on the floor.

What a rough story. The funerals this past Sunday and Monday were rough, too. We started in Du Quoin, with an hour-long visitation, then a mass. The whole family went out to lunch afterwards, and then we high-tailed it down to Cairo as fast as possible to meet the hearse and have the three-hour visitation in Cairo (where Tom was born). We said the rosary there. I can't even remember the last time I said the rosary. According to the brothers Wissinger, the rosary is said at many visitations in Cairo, but I had never heard of that. I thought that was interesting.

The next morning, there was another visitation from 9-11 in the Cairo church, and then a mass. A huge mass. It was actually very, very inspiring. Since Tom was a priest, there were about 40ish other priests from the Belleville diocese. It was very powerful to see all of them up on the altar, quietly reciting the words that the speaking priest was saying. And then they all sang a final blessing song in Latin, which just sounded amazing.

Then: the burial. I had been to the cemetary outside of Cairo once before, when Pete's Uncle Leo died last spring. I'm actually very fascinated by this cemetary. I've only lost one other relative- my grandpa, last summer - and since he had served in World War II, he was buried in the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary. THAT was cool, actually. He died in August 2008 but he was cremated, so we did not actually have a burial ceremony until the day after Christmas 2008. He was placed in a columbarium, which is a housing center for human ashes. At the burial ceremony, there were soldiers present who did the shooting thing (I feel horrible for not knowing what it's called but I don't remember) that honors a past soldier.

Anyway - enough about that. This weekend, Tom was buried in the cemetary where his parents were buried. I just think that is so cool. Like I said, no one else in my family has died except grandpa. I've never really spent time in cemetaries. I find the whole "family plot" really interesting. Tom could have been buried in the Stout plot, or where the rest of the priests are buried. It was very powerful being with the other Stouts, the ones I never had the pleasure of meeting, while their son was joining them.

Anyways. I know this post isn't exactly "happy" by any means. But as the cliche goes, death is a part of life. And even though I dread funerals, for anyone, I found this whole experience very powerful. There was just something about all the priests that were there. What a joy.

On another note, I was really, really proud of Pete this weekend. He, along with twin brother Steve and older brother Mike, and other relatives, were asked to be pallbearers. Which is just hard - physically and emotionally. As we pulled up to the cemetary, Pete and Steve jumped out of the car and brought the casket to the burial site. I watched from far away and caught Pete's eye...and all of a sudden, all of this pride welled up in my heart. He was carrying his uncle. I've never done that. I don't know if I would be strong enough (again, physically and mentally) to do that. And I was so proud of him.

It was a hard weekend. But I'm so glad I was able to be there for the family. And it was great seeing people I only see every couple of months, even though it was for a sad occasion.

18 September 2009

(501) Days of Summer

It's too bad I didn't think to do this before - it would have been perfect for my 500th post.

I saw (500) Days of Summer twice - it was that good. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned the massive girl-crush I have on Zooey, and I totally fell in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this movie. One of the big reasons was this scene - turn the volume up and watch!

Kurt Halsey

Kurt Halsey is one of my favorite modern artists. I've received lots of his reprints for birthdays, Christmases, etc...but this one is my favorite.

He just updated his site, and it looks great. Out of the new work that he posted, I think that this one is my favorite:

In other news, this is my 500th post! Exciting! Thanks for reading :)

15 September 2009

Kreativ Blogger!

Wheee! The lovely Marisa behind ...or so i feel tagged me last week in the Kreativ Blogger Award! It's so exciting to win awards. Thank you SO SO SO much, Marisa! I love reading your blog and if you hadn't tagged me...you most certainly would have been one of my Kreativ Blogger picks :)

The Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Seven Things You May Not Know About Me:
1. Before I met Pete, I had one other long-term relationship that lasted close to two years. He was kind of mean towards the end. That's why it ended.
2. Even though I tend to poke fun of Apple products or whenever something goes wrong with an Apple product I immediately say, "GAH I HATE MACS" I secretly really a MacBook Pro.
3. At one point, I was very skilled with Photoshop. But I haven't used it in years and I really, really want to re-establish my skills.
4. I've been to all of the United States besides the following: Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North & South Dakota, Minnesota, and Maine.
5. If I could have been alive in any other decade, I would pick the 1920's. This is mostly because of the flappers.
6. I really, really hate touring docked boats. We've been on many ("we" as in mom, dad, Emme and I) throughout the country. I feel claustrophobic and I think about all the germs and disease and the men that lived there that are all dead now. It's not good. My dad, on the other hand, LOVES them and so on family vacations we are always touring them. The worst one, by far, was the USS Alabama, docked in Mobile, AL. There's also a submarine that dad dragged me into and I swear, I almost passed out.
7. On a similar note, when I first saw the Blue Angels perform in Evansville, IN, I really, really wanted to become a fighter pilot. This lasted for about five or six months...but in that time, I was set on joining the Navy. Looking back on this moment, I shudder...because I know I wouldn't have lasted long.

Yikes! Those are long.

My Seven Kreativ Bloggers are...
+ Laura, at Quirkology
+ Bridgett, at South City Musings
+ Rosemary, at 1017
+ Missy, at oh missy me
+ The lovely lady behind Me Sme and I (how do I not know your real name?!)
+ Katie at Carrots and Chocolate
+ Karen at I Don't Think Prada is the Answer They're Looking for...

Happy writing and sharing, ladies!

12 September 2009

Cityscape Stamp Set

I love this. I saved it in my "stores and desired items" folder so as per usual, I have no idea where it originally was seen.

But how awesome is this? I spend hours playing with it.

I Remember When...

I'm house/dog-sitting for my parents this weekend, because dad is riding in the MS 150 down in Columbia, MO, and my mom is there volunteering and taking care of him at night after he rides 100 miles each day (grosssss).

So I reached into the freezer of my house and as I pulled out the carton of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, I saw five muffins in a plastic baggie. And I was instantly taken back to the early days of school, when I still lived at home (obviously).

I've always loved bananas AND chocolate chips. Mom used to make huge batches of banana-chocolate-chip bread and muffins. She would freeze the muffins in batches so that they would keep and not get icky. Emme and I would run down the stairs in the morning, sometimes in our uniforms, sometimes not, sometimes with our hair and teeth brushed, but sometimes not. Our breakfast consisted of cut up cantaloupe and honeydew some mornings (which I later found out I was allergic to...yikes!), or cereal, or toast with jam...but my favorite mornings were the mornings when we had muffins. Mom would take them out of the freezer, pop them in the microwave for a bit, and then put some butter on top and they would be plopped where Emme and I sat, waiting for us.

They were SO good. I loved how hot they were. They tasted and felt like they had just come out of the oven...but they hadn't! It was like magic.

Anyway. Now I'm engaged, not living at home, almost finished with school. Almost ready to have a real job. And yet I am still at home, still ready to eat muffins at a moment's notice.

I'm totally have some of those for dinner tonight. Heated up in the microwave with a slab of Country Crock on top.

11 September 2009

Self-Portrait Challenge

I religiously read a little sussy, which is a blog that photographer Nicole Hill created and is constantly updating. Her photographs are gorgeous. I just want to jump into them!

Anyway, she posted a challenge - take a self-portrait of yourself. Email it to Nicole by September 30, then she'll post her favorites and the winner wins her textbook! (Which would be awesome...because I love her technique).

So, get a-clickin', ladies and gents! More details are here.

I don't really have any self-portraits (well, there are a couple, like when Pete and I were far away from each other for a summer and a half and I took pictures of my new hair after I got it cut and stuff) but I couldn't find him. So here is a little vanity - two pictures I like of myself that Pete took over the summer in Chicago. I especially like the one with the hot dog.

Grouped by Color

Jordan pointed her readers out to this awesome flickr page - things grouped by color.

I want to do this with my stuff! Someday, maybe.

08 September 2009

Springfield State Fair

Ah, the state fair. Loves it! Pete and I decided to go on a Saturday and explore the goodness that is fried food, crazy exhibits, and stinky animals. It was SO much fun!

Some highlights:

The cow and "Abraham Lincoln" made of butter. PURE BUTTER. Gross. And if you get a good luck down at the bottom of the case, there is just...BUTTER. Butter that looks like grass. It was disgusting but I couldn't stop looking at it and taking pictures.

Pigs running wild! They were on their way to the pig show, from their pens. Cute!

I just think this picture of Pete is funny.

Pete just had to take a picture of me coming out of the Porta-Potty.

The Lumberjack contest! Amazing! Our guy (pictured) was a cutie pie! Oh, and he won the contest overall. The above picture if him in the axe-throwing contest.

Then they did a pole-climbing contest.

The food contests crack me up. I think it's so cool that people get to taste hundreds of entries of cakes, chicken dishes, all kinds of stuff.

This was the grand-prize winning cake. Cute!

I bought the cookbook.

Prize-winning vegetables.

I've always loved the look of amusement parks and carnivals at night. We spent a good amount of time in the ride-area at dusk and on.

This is really the best part of the fair, in my opinion. We ate a ton of junk. But it was so good.

Pete waiting in line for cheese curds.

The best corn dogs from the best stand there. Kyle was right.

As usual, Pete ate his much faster than I did.

We were lucky - we picked a day to go to the fair that was just beautiful! Except it was hot. But we did have a beautiful, blue sky that matched the bright reds and oranges of the food stands perfectly.

COTTON CANDY. And can I just say, it came in a bag. So sad. I even asked if they had sticks, but they didn't. It was sad. But still delicious.

All in all, it was a great day! Tiring but wonderful.

07 September 2009

New Life Plan!

Okay, okay - I know you've all been waiting with bated breath.

I have decided to drop the certification of my education degree and pursue English.

It's kind of hard to explain. Basically, as an secondary education student, I pick a content area. My content area is English. So, I was getting a double major - English and secondary education. However, if a student goes non-cert (non-certified), the student does not student teach, nor do they take the portfolio class which is 0 class hours but occupies 60% of your homework time.

So, I decided to go non-cert. Meaning that, since I'm pretty much finishing up my classes for both majors this semester, since I planned on student teaching next semester, I can take WHATEVER class I want in the spring! And no student teaching!

I could be a teacher still, in a private school. Private schools don't require certification but most of them will have you get certified after you're certified.

And I know it's weird. I'm less than a year away from graduating, but I decided that I really wasn't sure if I wanted to be a teacher anymore. I may have mentioned it around the blog before, but probably not - I tended to push it out of my mind because I just figured, eh I'll do the education thing but then just do something else if I want to after graduation.

But I realized, why spend so much time doing something I may never use? Honestly, as much as I respect teachers, I really don't want to be one anymore. Watching Pete and Steve and Tim teach the last year or so have really opened my eyes. There are wonderful moments and not-so-wonderful moments, and I'm not sure if the wonderful moments will really outshine the bad moments for me.

So, what do I want to do? I would LOVE to write for a living. I'm not really sure how I will get started. I'm hoping to get an internship next semester, and take a lot more writing classes (it's sad to think that I would have gotten a double major, one of them English, and had only taken TWO writing courses), like The Art of the Memoir. After graduation, hopefully I can get some type of job/column at the place I interned with (that's ideal).

And there's always my writing. I've written two full novels (now, they aren't great, but they are written and there's a plot and character development and junk). I love reviewing concerts, CDs, and movies. So hopefully I can maybe make a little living out of that.

Also, I would love to open my own bakery. Or my own crafting supplies store. I mean, there are so many things I want to do. And really, while it may sound silly, you guys (the readers!) really helped me realize that I AM creative and that I should do something with it. Thank you all so much for the kind words and comments that you leave here. I see them and get a huge smile and it instantly makes my day better.

So, thanks guys! I'm really excited about the new direction my life is taking, and I hope it's fun! And in the meantime...if anyone knows of a group/business/whatever that needs or wants a writer for something...I'm around.

03 September 2009

Mad Men

Well. Everyone's been talking about Mad Men for years, and I always wanted to watch it but never did.

Until last night. Pete got the first disc from the first season on Netflix. And. It's. Awesome.

We only watched two episodes last night but we both fell pretty hard. You should watch it. And even if you don't care about the story lines and the drama between characters, there's tons of sweet sets and costumes from the '60s.

And the opening credits are sooooo cool.

Here's a re-cap of season 1. I didn't let myself watch it, since I've only seen the first two episodes. I apologize if there's any bad words or anything.

Like a Rolling Stone...

For some reason that song has been stuck in my head all day.

I've been somewhat quiet lately because there's a lot going on in the life right now. I've decided to make some big life changes (education/schooling wise). Lots of reflection, meetings, and tearful phone conversations have been going on.

I want so badly to share it with everyone but I want to wait until it's all final. So...suspense!

So. Bare with me.

02 September 2009

Once Again...the Cherry Blossom Girl

She's either just finishing up a road trip through the US or she's back in France already...but seriously. Her photos from the past couple of weeks have made me feel so dreamy. I keep imagining about all the adventures Pete and I are going to have on our honeymoon, which will go through Albuquerque, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, up the PCH, and San Francisco.

01 September 2009