30 December 2010

2011 Here I Come!

Yesterday I talked about the resolutions I completed, and...didn't complete...in 2010.

Here is my list for 2011. The following are things from 2010 that I would like to complete!

12. Rent bikes somewhere and ride them around
14. Paint the apartment
18. Lose 30 pounds
20. Finish writing one of the four novels I have started right now
21. Stay up to date on my magazine cataloging
24. Have a tea party. Complete with ridiculous hats (Thanks, Emma! It's happening in 2011!)
26. Update the logistics of the blog
27. Join a book club
29. Spend a weekend in a B & B somewhere pretty
33. Have an Arrested Development party
35. Learn how to drive stick-shift
36. Learn how to use the darkroom in my house
37. Take a class for fun (yay Emma, thanks for reminding me!)
38. Try tennis again once it gets warmer outside
40. Get out of credit card debt.
41. Go skinny dipping
42. Read Metamorpheses
43. Ride an exotic animal
47. Make gnocchi from scratch
49. Create a craft night get together once a month
51. Open an Etsy shop
52. Take a glass-blowing or letterpress class
53. Get all the "good art" in the apartment framed
54. Have a boudoir shoot
57. Start commenting more on all the blogs I read
58. Buy flowers for my parents on my birthday
61. ...go skydiving...?
62. Read all the Babysitters Club Little Sister books in one day. Eat little kid food and take breaks to call childhood friends
63. Write fan letters to 12 people - one per month.
64. Go to a blues or jazz bar in Chicago
65. See Chuck Berry in concert
66. Suck it up and go on a rollercoaster
67. Take a candle-lit bath
68. Sew something for real and wear it
69. Learn how to play chess
70. Learn calligraphy
71. Embroider another pillow/blanket/something
74. Help build a Habitat for Humanity house
75. Give to NPR
78. Create a clothesline when it's warmer out and dry clothes on them
79. Volunteer on an organic farm
80. Participate in NaNoWriMo in November 2011
82. Watch the rest of the movies from AFI's 100 Greatest Films
83. Grow a bonsai tree
84. Revisit SARK and actually take her advice
85. Start and display a collection of something
87. Stay up all night long and watch the sun rise. Preferably somewhere pretty
88. Have a bed day - read, doze, watch stuff on the computer, doze...eat minimally
90. Graffiti something, somewhere
92. Get a bikini wax
93. Make cheesy/hilarious Christmas cards
96. Have something to brag to Swatek about
98. Finish an entire coloring book
101. Get a passport
102. Go paintballing - with very nice people that won't hurt me too much.

Now, here is my addendum for 2011:

+ Work my way through Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook. (I received it for Christmas and was WAY excited about it.) I want to read the whole thing (clocking in at 719 pages) and take as much advice as I can.

+ Bake every recipe from Artisan Breads (I bought this book as a Christmas gift for myself. My first project is proofing currently).

+ Start saving more money.

+ Organize my craft room and start making more things.

+ Floss everyday.

+ Use my free time more constructively.

What are your resolutions for 2011? Tell me tell me tell me!

29 December 2010

2010 New Years List

Last year, I created a list of 102 things that I wanted to accomplish this year. Some of them were big (like getting my first full-time job, getting married, etc) and some where much, much smaller (eat a piece of pizza backwards).

I got through half of my list. I had hoped to be farther along in my quest, but alas, I tried my best.

As a recap, here it is.

1. Graduate from college (May 15, 2010)
2. Find a job
3. Get married
4. Go on an amazing honeymoon
5. See the sunrise or sunset at the Grand Canyon
6. Gamble in a Las Vegas casino
7. Drive up Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco
8. Visit Disneyland

9. Drink my own Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista (I tried but it was WAY too strong. Pete had one.)
10. Stop at any bizarre road-side tourist attractions we see
11. Get to the beach. It's been too long.
12. Rent bikes somewhere and ride them around and stuff.
13. Have a giveaway on the blog (whee aren't you all excited?!? Sooner than later, I think.)
14. Paint the apartment (we painted one room. I want to paint more.)
15. Adopt a dog.
16. Buy a new couch (broken)
17. Buy a new bed (the bed frame/headboard part. The mattress is fine)

18. Lose 30 pounds (I gained three pounds. oh well. However, I signed up for this today. Hopefully I'll get going now.)
19. Get a doctor.
20. Finish writing one of the four novels I have started right now.
21. Stay up to date on my magazine cataloging.
22. Keep a tidier, more organized apartment
. Make a ton of crafts (watch the blog for developments on this)

24. Have a tea party. Complete with ridiculous hats.
25. Buy an original piece of art.
26. Update the logistics of the blog (I'm ashamed this hasn't happened yet.)
27. Join a book club
28. Write more letters
29. Spend a weekend in a B & B somewhere pretty
30. Get fresh flowers for the house once a month (I did for nine of the three months
31. Go on runs with that dog we're apparently going to get. (We didn't get a dog, but we did get Scout!)
32. Make dinner for friends and family more often
33. Have an Arrested Development party
34. Spend an entire day in the Central Library, taking photographs and reading whatever I want
35. Learn how to drive stick-shift
36. Learn how to use the darkroom in my house
37. Take a class for fun (sewing, cooking, knitting, baking, SOMETHING)
38. Try tennis again once it gets warmer outside
39. Get a credit card
40. And never be in debt, once said credit card is received. (I got a credit card stemming from Pete's credit card account, and he was in debt. Not in a LOT of debt, but debt nonetheless.)
41. Go skinny dipping (after I lose those 30 pounds, duh)
42. I have had this book since the day after I saw the most amazing, inspiring play of my life. I want to finally read it.
43. Ride an exotic animal (camel, elephant...something weird)
44. Put my arms around an enormous redwood tree (Muir Woods)
45. Have a portrait painted/drawn of Pete and I (we've already decided that this will be our wedding gift to each other)
46. Start a garden

47. Make gnocchi from scratch
48. Stay home on Valentine's Day this year and cook an amazing meal and watch Disney movies
49. Create a craft night get together once a month (I did this a few times. Not enough.)
50. Ask for help. (Working at a new job? Constantly asking for help.)
51. Open an Etsy shop this year (also ashamed that this didn't happen.)
52. Take a glass-blowing or letterpress class
53. Get all the "good art" in the apartment framed
54. Have a boudoir shoot (scheduled for 2011!)
55. Be comfortable enough in my own skin to go swimming with the kids from Wilson. (HA! I'm done with that place. This one doesn't count.)
56. Get completely off Paxil. (I tried. It couldn't happen.)

57. Start commenting more on all the blogs I read. I'm horrible at that.
58. Buy flowers for my parents on my birthday and my wedding day
59. Send a message in a bottle
60. Throw those rocks into the ocean
61. ...go skydiving...?
62. Read all the Babysitters Club Little Sister books in one day. Eat little kid food and take breaks to call childhood friends.
63. Write fan letters to 12 people - one per month.
64. Go to a blues or jazz bar in Chicago
65. See Chuck Berry in concert
66. Suck it up and go on a rollercoaster.
67. Take a candle-lit bath.
68. Sew something for real and wear it.
69. Learn how to play chess
70. Learn calligraphy
71. Embroider another pillow/blanket/something
72. Make a 100 Books To Read list and read 20 of them this year (SO CLOSE. 19.)
73. Clean out my apartment and donate, donate, donate
74. Help build a Habitat for Humanity house
75. Give to NPR
76. Buy cloth napkins and use them
78. Create a clothesline when it's warmer out and dry clothes on them
79. Volunteer on an organic farm
80. Participate in NaNoWriMo in November 2010
81. Visit Rodeo Drive in LA and maybe (maybe) buy something. Small.
82. Watch the rest of the movies from AFI's 100 Greatest Films
83. Grow a bonsai tree
84. Revisit SARK and actually take her advice.
85. Start and display a collection of something (I have started a collection of Pez dispensers. They are not currently displayed anywhere.)
86. Talk less, listen more
87. Stay up all night long and watch the sun rise. Preferably somewhere pretty.
88. Have a bed day - read, doze, watch stuff on the computer, doze...eat minimally.
89. Go to a drive-in movie
90. Graffiti something, somewhere.
91. Dance in the rain
92. Get a bikini wax
93. Make cheesy/hilarious Christmas cards for me and Pete's first "official" Christmas together and send them to everyone we know (After sending hundreds of wedding invitations, thank you cards, graduation announcements, etc...I was sick of buying postage. Next year, for sure.)
94. Learn my blood type
95. Get a massage

96. Have something to brag to Swatek about (this will definitely happen in the later part of the year)
97. Really, really surprise Pete. No hints allowed.
98. Finish an entire coloring book
99. Eat a piece of pizza backwards (how have I not thought to do this until NOW?!)
100. Make some delicious baked goods every month and take them with somewhere else - mom's school, Pete's school, fire station, etc.

101. Get a passport
102. Go paintballing - with very nice people that won't hurt me too much.

and one big fat MAYBE
103. Try surfing. We're only going to be in LA for a short period of time but I would LOVE to take a surfing lesson. I've wanted to learn since freshman year of high school.


Most of the things that I didn't complete in 2010 were simply because of laziness. Others - I couldn't afford it financially. Or I just ran out of time.

For 2011, I am planning on attempting to do all of the things above that I couldn't complete in 2010 (within reason - I won't be returning to San Francisco to drink my own Irish coffee). I will also be making some more resolutions, but things that are a bit more...simple. Definitely not 102 of them. I'll share those tomorrow.

19 December 2010

Sunday Roundup

You guys, Christmas is in six days! Insane!

It certainly feels like the holidays here at the Wissinger Complex...we've been getting Christmas cards in the mail, all the Christmas presents have been bought and are (mostly) wrapped, stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and we're almost finished with school and work! We're heading up to Chicago to hang with my family on the 24th, and then driving down to Cairo to be with Pete's family on the 26th. I'm excited to see everyone and, as usual, get out of St. Louis for a little bit.

Here are some fun links from this week!

The 30 Most Important Cats of 2010 made me giggle like a little girl.

Thanks to my friend Lindsay, I was able to enjoy this lovely story.

Tips on putting together a holiday cheese plate. Yum yum yes please.

Dreamy prints from California.

Perfect Christmas sweater.

These earmuffs and this scarf would certainly jazz up my plain black peacoat.

Love this homemade tote.

Beautiful colorful Christmas trees.

Pumpkin pancakes = perfect breakfast.

I would like to try to make Fleur de Sel caramels.

Liz's wreath is gorgeous.

Salad pizza sounds delicious right now.

This wedding looks super fun!

Homemade felted Katamari set - Bridgett, this one is for you.

Christmas is everywhere!

What a pretty little letterpress studio.

I don't know if I'll be back around the blogosphere until after Christmas, so if NOT, Merry Merry Christmas! I hope you and your families and friends have the best Christmas ever.

[image via here]

16 December 2010

Advent Calendar

The last couple of years, Pete and I have tried to make an advent calendar and stick to it. And when I say "advent calendar", I mean "plan one Christmas-ey thing a day and DO IT" leading up to Christmas Eve.

We've done a pretty good job this year. I wrote each item on our calendar in red Sharpie so I would remember what to do every day. We haven't really done them in order, but this is what we've done so far:

- watch A Christmas Story
- wrap presents
- get and decorate a tree, plus the rest of the apartment
- make homemade marshmallows and hot cocoa
- go to a Christmas party
- watch our Christmas shows (Christmas episodes of TV shows that we like a lot)
- watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- drink eggnog with friends
- exchange one gift with each other
- go to a Christmas concert
- watch Love Actually
- make snowflakes and hang them up

Other things that are on the list, but haven't been completed yet:
- go ice-skating
- make Christmas cookies for our co-workers
- have a full traditional Christmas breakfast while listening to Christmas music
- watch Charlie Brown Christmas
- watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- finish making Christmas presents
- drive around and look at lights

What do you and your loved ones do to get ready for Christmas?

picture: via here

13 December 2010

Honeymoon Day 7

Driving! Up! The! Coast!

This was one of the best parts of the whole trip, although our day started slowly. We woke up late, thought about hitting up the new Magnolia Bakery (it opened in LA THAT DAY, but the thought of cramming another cupcake into my mouth was just...bad...) but then decided against it and drove towards CA 1.

But it took forever to GET to CA 1, and once we hit it in Santa Monica/Malibu, we were in traffic for close to two hours. The traffic moved occasionally, but it was so slow.

But we had some great views - beautiful architecture and houses on one side, and the Pacific on the other.

We stopped at the vista points a lot, which means that we took a LOT of pictures...

Pete climbed the rocks and I thought it was fun for about a minute and then I started yelling at him to get down.

Our stopping point for the night was in San Luis Obispo. We checked into the hotel, got some dinner someplace in town (I don't remember where) and then walked around the downtown area. THEN we went to the Sunset Drive-In Movie Theatre. And it was AMAZING.

[complete with retro paintings]

[the evening fog rolls in]

[I could even put my feet up without disturbing anyone!]

We saw Inception, which was excellent. I highly recommend drive-in movies. The next showing was the new Twilight movie, which we did not stay for. Just in case you were curious.

12 December 2010

Sunday Roundup

Hola, everyone! We're only 13 days away from Christmas. Can you believe it?! I love Christmas so much. Pete and I started wrapping gifts this weekend - our theme for this year is brown paper packages tied up with string! But with red and white bakers twine, specifically. I love how they look. We also nabbed some gift tags from a small letterpress studio down on Cherokee Street. They look pretty rocking, if I do say so myself.

How is your holiday shopping going? I'm hoping to share some gift guides and ideas for people this upcoming week. And after Christmas, I'll share what I got for everyone in our family. We stayed pretty close to the resolution I set for myself to only buy handmade! But then I amended it and allowed myself to buy things in a store, but only in local stores. So that was good. However, we did do some shopping at Target and Hobby Lobby for picture frames and craft projects...so, it was close.

Here are some wonderful links to kickstart your Sunday!

Is it warm yet? I like this suit.

Coldplay is one of my faves and their newest song/music video is stupendous.

I think orange is the new white.

20 untranslatable words. I love wabi-sabi and hyggelig.

Remember Paris vs NYC? Well, prints are being sold and I want ALL OF THEM.

A flickr stream devoted to all things Anthropologie.

So dreamy and magical.

Embroidered slides are something I would never ever have the patience for.

When I open a storefront for my yet-to-be-created Etsy wares, it will be decorated like this Spanish place.

Have you been following Melanie's easy DIYs? I love this chandelier and these sparkly ornaments.

Scout's Christmas present from us will be a scratching post of some kind. (However, it's hard to justify $40 on one...)

The last few days I've wanted to move out of the country. If it's ever REALLY a possibility, I would want to be a house caretaker on the side.

Vodka pie crust. I'm curious.

When we have kids, I want to recreate this Advent calendar.

Have a great week, everyone! My first big project at work will be finished (fingers crossed) by Tuesday, and it's gone very well so far. I hope I have a few moments to wind down and process it at work this week...

P.S. We got a Christmas tree, and Scout has been super curious about it. This morning I was baking cupcakes and he wandered into the kitchen with a head full of tree sap. We had to give him a bit of a haircut, because the sap wouldn't come out with baby shampoo and water, and now he has a bald spot on the top of his head. It makes me giggle and feel bad every time I look at him.

[image from here]

11 December 2010

Honeymoon Day 6

This was our weird day in LA. We wanted to go to Graumann's Chinese Theatre and do the Walk of Fame and stuff, but I had forgotten how INCREDIBLY touristy it is, and Pete was interested for about a half hour. So we just sort of wandered throughout LA.

We began the day with fish tacos in Los Feliz - this is the menu:

Then we headed to Hollywood, where it took us about 20 minutes to figure out where and how to park (we parked underneath the Kodak Theater, in their ridiculously huge underground parking lot. It was a little...scary. We wandered through the mall, then went to the handprints, and then debated between Ripley's or The Hollywood Museum. And we went with The Hollywood Museum.

[Pete and Harrison Ford]

It was nice to get in from the heat (LA had a heatwave while we were there, which was funny because we're from St. Louis and when the heat index is 93, it isn't THAT hot) and enjoy the air-conditioning, but I wouldn't go back. It was pretty cheesy.

[Me and Marilyn, outside of the museum. I originally tried to give her a kiss, but bronze gets hot in the sun.]

After we wandered around the museum for an hour or so, we hopped back into the car and just drove around aimlessly. I love doing this in cities I'm unfamiliar with - it's such a great way to explore. And since LA is SO big, we never ran out of places to go. Plus, having the iPhone was handy because if we got REALLY turned around or went off the map, we could locate ourselves pretty easily.

We drove by the Klasky-Csupo studios and soon after that found our FIRST cupcake stop of the trip - Frosted Cupcakery. It was delicious.

[but we were in a hurry to get somewhere else so we took them to go]

We somehow found our way to Larchmont. This area was AMAZING. We went to the Village Pizzeria and then to Crumbs Bake Shop. Needless to say, we were STUFFED by this point. Two cupcakes each and a huge slice of New York pizza. We were also getting kind of cranky because we didn't know where we were and we also didn't have much of a plan. I realize that a lot of people, on their honeymoons, want to rest and relax and spend time together being calm. Pete and I were very different on our trip, though - we just wanted to cram as much in as we could.

[peanut butter & jelly cupcake and that famous pizza]

We jumped back in the car after reading about Judy Greer's favorite hangouts (she probably sat where we sat at Village Pizzeria!) and walking around and window shopping. Then we headed towards Beverly Hills.

BH was fine, but also kind of boring. We went to Rodeo Drive but couldn't find a parking space, so we never parked. We couldn't have afforded anything anyway.

However, we DID find the Sprinkles. Which is (you guessed it!) another cupcake place. I didn't even WANT another one, but Pete and I both waited in line for a half hour (yes, a half hour) and each got a famous cupcake. I ate mine the next morning for breakfast.


We slowly headed back to the our hotel and relaxed there for a bit, before we ventured out for In-N-Out burgers. Oh. So. Good. We took it easy the rest of the night, as it was time to begin our drive up the coast the next morning!

DISCLAIMER: After writing this post and looking at the pictures that I included...I am afraid that I look like a HUGE fatty. We did do more than eat cupcakes this day, although it isn't worth noting... Also, I just didn't take pictures of us sitting in traffic.

06 December 2010


Some of you will know exactly what this is.

For those of you who AREN'T huge Arrested Development freaks, there is a story about a girl who creates and then eats a Mayonegg.

I love this.

05 December 2010

Sunday Roundup

The last few weeks have been CRAZY. Thanksgiving was great with our family; we went down to Cairo (where Pete's from) and hung out with his parents, siblings, sisters-in-law, and nieces and nephew. It was wonderful. We got some great family pictures taken, too, which I'll post once we get the proofs. Yay!

I've been really busy with work, and I've been doing a lot of staring at a computer, so the last thing I want to do when I get home is to continue to stare at a computer.

But in the last three (!) weeks I have found some great things that I will share with you all!

How to make your own dry shampoo.


Things on my Etsy Christmas List: baby Narwhal, pretty pink ribbon bag, a candy red lamp, and felt flower prettiness.

Rock candy Christmas wreath.

Wouldn't every dress or shirt be better with a Peter Pan collar?

Such a delicious sounding hot cocoa recipe.

Would it be weird if I wore a whole sweater of these Christmas pins?

I want to do this in our front window.

I know it's kind of silly, but I'm pretty sure Scout would love this house.

This travel video (of 4000+ photos) makes me want to drain our savings account and travel.

Love the Bill Murray/Wes Anderson artwork.

I'll be making these dog treats for Louie, Jackson, Bruno, Savannah, and Wheezy this Christmas.

More amazing travel photos.

Love Elise's new pegboard.

Have a great week, guys! Only 20 more days until CHRISTMAS!!!

[photo: via here. I love that Christmas is coming up, but if I magically found myself transported to a beach right now, I wouldn't complain...]

14 November 2010

Sunday Roundup

Happy Sunday! It's less than two weeks until Thanksgiving, which means so many wonderful things: spending time with family, extra time off of work, Black Friday shopping, and of COURSE loads of delicious food. Pete and I are going down to Cairo with (I think?) pretty much the entire Wissinger & Stout clan for Thanksgiving, and I am super excited.

How was everyone's work week? Mine was busy. This weekend has been lovely.

Here are some fabulous links from the past week!

101 reasons to buy handmade this year.

This tart is mouthwatering. (via cakespy)

And speaking of cakespy, this is my new favorite card.

If I had kids, I would customize this calendar in a heartbeat. I love the watercolor effect.

Absolutely positively adorable video about Christmas decorations from Anthropologie.

GUGH. Stranded jellyfish.

Things Organized Neatly (thanks, Emma!)

More Martha Stewart crafts - I especially love these leather belts, homemade planners, and button necklace.

I would love to see any and all of these things in my Christmas stocking.

Rachel (of Black*Eiffel fame) was in San Francisco recently, and reading about her trip makes me homesick for our honeymoon.

Design Mom posted her essentials for a tool kit and car kit. I love the photographs and I want to go buy everything she lists right now.

The holiday cards at Rifle Paper Company are adorable.

[picture: i would LOVE to hang this in my craft room]

09 November 2010


If you read lots of other blogs, it is very possible that you have heard of thxthxthx: one thank you note a day.

I enjoy writing thank-you notes. I think it's a really important thing to know how to do, and I always appreciate receiving thank-you notes.

But these are not your average thank-you notes. THEY ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT. What a great exercise in thankfulness and joy and happiness. I should start doing this; maybe it'll curve my current kind of pessimisstic outlook on life.

08 November 2010

Patrick Wessel

A couple of weeks ago, Pete and I learned that a friend from college passed away. He was 25.

It was a huge surprise to us. We learned on his facebook page that he had been diagnosed with cancer awhile back. His dad had been updating Patrick's facebook page for awhile, keeping all of us college kids updated on his life, after Patrick did not have the ability to do so. And then all of a sudden, he had passed away.

I'm not used to people dying. I've been very lucky - my grandfather passed away a few summers ago, and other than that, the rest of my family is still around. Some of my friends' parents have passed away, and that was heartbreaking (every death is heartbreaking, I suppose, but when you have a friend in high school and their mom or dad dies? Just thinking about my friends that this happened to makes me tear up).

And now, Patrick.

Pete and Patrick were RA's together their junior year. When I first saw Patrick, I kind of had a huge crush on him. Then I felt so silly when Pete introduced him to me. Patrick was so nice, kind, warm, friendly...and absolutely hilarious. Diane Benati, a SLU graduate, wrote this article about him for the Riverfront Times. I cried when I read it.

It also really inspired me. She mentioned that Patrick thought that watching TV was the biggest waste of time. And as I read that, as I was watching TV and screwing around online on Friday night, it was like a giant hit in the face. I was never really great friends with Patrick - when we passed each other on campus, we would stop and chat for a second, but we never hung out. So when I read that, I just felt like he was pushing me to get off my butt and do something. I am constantly planning for big projects or trips or parties, and sometimes they happen but mostly they don't.

So I got up and started working on my ornament wreath.

My senior year of college when I realized that I didn't want to be a teacher, I did a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do. I thought about entrepreneurship for awhile, and since Patrick had majored in that while at SLU, I sent him a facebook message. This is what he said back to me, copied and pasted (ignore the first part, where I tell him I am Pete Wissinger's finance, and he makes fun of me for that):

pete wissingers finance??? i knew you were money, but... i'm just teasing. seriously, a huge congratulations to you and pete!

of course i remember you, how could i forget ye??

well, this might not be the answer you're wanting to hear...but i look back on college as a pretty big waste of my time because i wasn't interested in anything i was studying. so as long as you're interested in what you're doing, i say go for it. personally, i wasn't interested in entrepreneurship or being a businessman because i had no passion for it. i should have gone after the things i was truly interested in...

you only live once, kaylen hoffman. so do whatever makes you the happiest. don't waste your time working for someone you don't want to. do anything you can to move to a place you've never been, and you'll grow more than you know.

so if you're tired of english + education, try the entrepreneurship, but only if you're passionate about doing it.
the entrepreneurship stuff wasn't for me, i was doing it because it seemed pretty easy.

i wish i could go back and do what i really wanted to, which was play rock and roll and do film acting.
i'm doing both in new york city right now and go camping upstate on the weekends and couldn't be happier.

i can't stress it enough, make yourself happy sooner rather than later.

the best teacher in that entrepreneurship program is tim hayden. he's awesome.
that's about all i know.

every best wish,

patrick wessel

What a wonderful guy.

A lot of college friends made fun of him in a goofy/hilarious/buddy-buddy way because he couldn't grow a very good mustache. One mutual friend on facebook wrote, "I bet you have the best mustache ever now, Patrick."

Patrick, you are so missed.

[image 1: Patrick moved to New York and jump-started a modeling/acting career. This picture is from Interview Magazine. ]

[image 2: from Patrick's now-defunct modeling website]

DIY Ornament Wreath

It's my pride and glory!

When I saw this ornament wreath on Design*Sponge last year, I knew instantly that I had to have one of my own. And how fortunate, when the directions are provided!

This wreath was pretty easy to assemble; it just took a lot of patience and time.

I followed the directions on the tutorial pretty closely. I got a straw wreath from Hobby Lobby for $4 (although all Christmas decorations were 50% off, cha-ching!), then covered it in fabric I had on hand at home. I just used hot glue to glue the fabric to the wreath. ALSO: I wound ribbon around the wreath and then hot glued it into place before I put the fabric over it - so hopefully when I hang it up, it won't fall down.

Then came the accumulation of the ornaments. I started slow, but then when I actually started to put the wreath together, I realized I needed a lot more ornaments than I thought. I got some ornaments from Macy's (all still 40 - 50% off), some from Hobby Lobby, and some from Target. I wanted to stay in the same color scheme, of course, so I went with the brightly-colored glass balls (and some hearts!).

What do you think? I'm kind of afraid to hang it. And I need to do a bit of patch work on one side, but I LOVE how it turned out. It looks so festive! And I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

Hobbies I Will Never Actually Take Up, so I Should Stop Kidding Myself

I am limiting myself to five things, inspired by this post.

1. Skydiving. I've wanted to skydive since John and Dana moved in next door to my parent's house when I was eleven. Well, it's 11 years later and I still haven't gone. I'm not getting any younger and since I'm afraid to get into a plane, I don't really see how I will ever be brave enough to jump out of one.

2. Knitting. I mentioned knitting here, and I appreciate all the feedback! I got two facebook messages from people I didn't even know who read this blog, offering to help me learn to knit. Thanks guys! And really, I would love to learn. I just wouldn't be surprised if I never took the time.

3. Exercising. Yes, I totally stole this from the original list. I have bought good running shoes, I even went to Curves once. I know I need to get into shape but just the thought of getting my butt off the couch is exhausting. Work is so incredibly stressful and emotionally draining every day, so that when I get home, the very last thing I want to do is move more than necessary.

4. Letterpressing. I wanted to learn how to letterpress SO BAD this year but it's really expensive and the one place I know of in St. Louis that teaches people is really, really expensive. I just can't justify spending that much money for a couple of days of instruction. Maybe someday.

5. Researching my family tree. I LOVE reading everything that Bridgett unearths about her family. But she's patient with this project (at least if you aren't, Bridgett, you're fooling me) and has spent hours learning. I could just see myself paying for the website use, and then forgetting about it until it expired.

07 November 2010

Sunday Roundup

Happy Sunday, everyone! It's officially the holiday season, and I LOVE IT. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, and while it isn't quite Christmas, decorations are showing up on the streets and in shops, and people are beginning to plan for the holidays!

This weekend, I spent a LOT of time working my first Christmas project of the year, which I'll be sharing tomorrow. Friday evening, Pete and I stayed in, made spaghetti and bison meatballs, and he did some graduate school work and I worked on my project. Saturday, I got some more supplies for my project, Pete studied more, and then Mary (my lovely sister-in-law) came over for a crafty girly movie night. We watched When in Rome and (most of) Sleepless in Seattle, crafted, drank wine, and ate grilled cheese and tomato soup and some deeeeelicious chocolate. It was a lovely evening.

Here is some internet awesomeness from this week!

I would love to outfit a room in this mountain wallpaper.

These state pillows are really fun and colorful (via Gifted Magazine)

Wish I knew how to skateboard...

It's really interesting to read about how parents deal with excess Halloween candy.

Are you wanting to get into the Christmas spirit? Martha has tons of ideas...

When in New York, we WILL be going here. How delicious does everything look?!

Seen on Joanna's blog, Paris vs New York City makes me smile.

This guy does good work.

Foxes are so cute.

What the average American consumes in a year. Kind of gross.

I would wear this sweater every day.

This Japanese website has some really, really fun stuff on it.

These feather pistachio cookies are works of art.

Paper is so pretty.

Have a great work week, kiddos!

[image from oh, hello friend]

06 November 2010

Conversational Missteps That Make Me Want To Hang Up On You In Real Life

This is fun. Maybe I'm too mean, but here are my picks.

1. Acting like you are on a reality TV show and using long, dramatic pauses. "Kaylen, I looked over your newsletter, and.......................................................................................you did a good job." I'm sorry, but this isn't Project Runway or Biggest Loser. Just tell me what you think/what other people think and I'll go on my merry way.

2. Using "like" or "um" waaay too often. I'm guilty of this myself sometimes. But working in an all-girls school makes me realize how often teenage girls are capable of this error.

3. Plain old interruption. Pete is awesome at this and when we first started dating, I just let it slide. I wanted to be charming! But now, over four years in, he should really know that I HATE when he interrupts me. And if he does, he gets an earful. However, this doesn't stop him from interrupting me.

4. Talking over another person. My office is like this. They all have something they HAVE to say at the same time. I understand having a good idea and wanting to share it; I'm not against that. But just take a deep breath and bring it up when someone else isn't in the middle of saying something, or write it down for later.

5. Not making eye contact. It's okay to not stare deep into the soul of the person that you're talking to, but I can't stand having a conversation with a person when their eyes are wandering all over the place, the whole time.

6. Saying things like, "oh, I know how you feel" or "I know exactly what you're talking about." Maybe that isn't right of me to say, and sometimes it is nice to complain to a friend, and then to have her say, "oh yeah, I totally know how you feel. My dog ate my favorite stuffed animal when I was three, too!" But sometimes I just want to sulk in my own story and not be upstaged by anyone else's past experiences. I'm sorry if that makes me sound awful, but it's true.

7. Shoving your beliefs down another person's throat. I like hearing what you have to say about the election or your favorite ice cream. But maybe I disagree, and you giving me all these reasons to "change my mind" probably won't make me actually change my mind. Especially if you're talking to me aggresively.

Wow. I thought it would be difficult to come up with more than three things. Guess not!

05 November 2010

Pandora Stations That Make Life Worth Living

I wasn't really a big Pandora person until I started working here. Sometimes you just need to listen to music, and since I don't really lug around CDs and I have an iPhone but don't really use it for music...Pandora has become my best friend. I highly recommend checking it out, if you're unfamiliar!

Anyway, here are my favorite station picks:

1. Christmas. Maybe it's too early, but I LOVE Christmas everything - especially music. So I made myself wait until November 1st to start listening to Bing Crosby and Perry Como and Ella Fitzgerald's. My favorite Christmas carol, by the way, is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".

2. Nick Drake. He has such a wonderful voice and I get to hear favorites like Jose Gonzalez, John Lennon, and Andrew Bird. It's nice and relaxing and perfect for wintry grey days.

3. The Avett Brothers. I love the twang. It took me awhile to get into these guys, but I'm kind of obsessed now. Bonus: this station provides me with Ryan Adams, whom I love.

4. The Polyphonic Spree. I hear the Beatles, Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens, and Belle & Sebastian.

5. The Arcade Fire. This was my first Pandora station and I am obsessed. You know how when you make a station, you know some of the songs, and the rest of them are nice, but you haven't heard of them? I know EVERY SINGLE SONG on this station (thus far). It's great.

6. Iron & Wine. So nice and quiet. It's perfect for those days when I just want to scream.

04 November 2010

Movies That Never Fail to Make Me Weep

Inspired by this post.

The Christmas Box - Yes, it is a made-for-TV movie. But it's based off a book that both my mom and I read and we both just cried and cried and cried. So when we watched the movie, it was one big blubber-fest.

Forrest Gump - when Sally Field dies. When Jenny dies. When he meets little Forrest. I love this movie for many reasons, but there are so many moments that make me tear up.

UP - but really any Disney movie. Especially Pixar/Disney movies. But especially UP! Have you seen this? Don't click on it if you don't want to cry!!

An Education - such a great film, but I cried when I saw it in theaters, and Pete and I recently purchased this and watched it again and I cried like a baby at the end. If you haven't seen it, though, you really should - it's wonderful. Carey Mulligan is one of my faves.

Love Actually - always made me cry before, but NOW, having used a song from the movie for my walk up the aisle with my dad at our wedding, well, it will just be at new heights of cry-dom.

The Hangover - I laugh so hard I cry.

Juno - at the end(ish) when Juno is in the hospital bed, and Paulie comes in...Pete and I saw this movie in theaters three times, and I bawled in all three. Like, I had to hold my breath to keep from actually gasping for air/sobbing embarrassingly.

Away We Go - it's hard for me to think of this movie without getting teary-eyed. Let's just leave it at, "you should watch this."

Stranger Than Fiction - have you seen this? I pretty much wrote it off, until a friend and I watched it a few years ago. Will Ferrell is fantastic - absolutely fantastic - and plays such a different kind of role. It's all so real and gratifying and wonderful. And absolutely gut-wrenching.

Sleepless in Seattle - um, HELLO?! How could you not cry during this?

These are some of MANY movies that make me cry. All are great. I highly recommend each and every one!

03 November 2010

Things My Mother Never Taught Me (and Things She Did)

Sometimes when I have free time (which is more and more fleeting these days) I go through my bookmarked blogs. And I rarely get past the first page, which is really a shame because it's not their fault I didn't find them first, and that they happen to be closer to the bottom of the page.

Anyway - my love affair with Secret Society of List Addicts has been rekindled. I'm planning on doing some scheduled posts (which I'll have to talk about another time; they are AWESOME) into the future but for right now, see the title of the post for what I'm talking about.

Things I Never Learned from Mom
How to put on make-up. My mom really never taught me how to do this. I've complained to friends and to Pete that I'm upset about this, and sometimes I truly am - I wish I knew how to apply eyeliner, or the best way to figure out what color my foundation should be. But it also makes my life immensely easier. I NEVER wear make-up, which means a few more minutes in bed every morning : )

How to walk in high heels. I am absolutely hopeless at this. Some girls from my floor when I was an RA tried to teach me, but...I don't really know if it helped. I try to avoid these whenever possible. I think they stayed on at our wedding reception for about twenty minutes.

Patience. It's funny, because my mom is a pre-school teacher and was a kindergarten teacher for many years, and she's super patient with her kids at school. But she doesn't have much patience for me and my younger sister. Maybe she did when we were younger.

How to be a Packrat. I figured this one out all by myself.

How to Not Cry at Everything. If you know me, and you think I'm awesome at crying at everything, you should meet my mother.

How to Spend Money. My mom is, um, frugal. Perfect example of this. For my parents' anniversary a few years back, my mom bought a little print of a baby lamb smiling with "I love you!" written underneath it for my dad. My dad bought my mom a giant bronze butterfly (I'm talking three feet in diameter) that he always planned to mount on the playhouse that used to be in our backyard, but it broke when he accidentally nudged it with his car...in our garage...that we knocked down the playhouse for. My mom usually just shops at when she sees a big SALE sign, or when she has to. I, on the other hand, LOVE LOVE LOVE to go shopping. I like grocery shopping, shoe shopping, salt-and-pepper shaker shopping, everything. I don't care much for swimsuit shopping, but who does?

Things I Know Because Mom Told Me
How to mend a broken heart. I realize that this sounds cheesy, but my mom and I are pretty close. Sometimes she drives me crazy, and I know she feels the same about me (what kind of bride wants fake flowers, anyway?) but throughout adolescence she was always there to hold me when I cried about my current crush making fun of my saddle shoes or when I gave a poem to a boy in 8th grade and he laughed in my face, then started "dating" a good friend. There have been some problems in my life lately that I wish I knew how to handle like the above situations. I feel as though I learned well.

How to Make One Mean Chocolate Cake. The Peluso family has a chocolate cake recipe passed down from my great grandma, to my grandma, to my mom, and now to me. I tweak it every time I make it, and so the cake always tastes differently, but I am always pleased with it.

How to Make Mistakes but Move on Anyways, and THEN Forgive. Sometimes they were small mistakes (coloring on the kitchen table with permanent marker) and sometimes they were much bigger (huge, huge lies in high school that, of course, I was later caught in) but I was always forgiven, regardless of the immensity of what I did.

How to Laugh a lot at Seinfeld. My mom, my dad and I all LOVE Seinfeld. My sister hates it. We used to watch it all together and just laugh and laugh and laugh.

Creativity. Mom is ridiculously creative, even though she doesn't really admit it often. She's a wonderful artist - she paints, she draws, she sculpts - and she also loves music (both listening and playing piano/clarinet) and going to concerts and plays. I'm a culture nerd when it comes to the arts because of her. And also my dad.

How to Play the Piano. I had a piano teacher for many years, but before we started having Becky teach us, mom taught Emme and I. She put stickers on the keys with the notes and we learned "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Chopsticks" and stuff. Becky later taught me "Canon in D", but my piano roots are from mom.

Thanks for everything, mom! I love you!

[pictures: top - me and mom the night Pete and I got engaged; middle - Louie, Emme, mom and I at my 20th birthday celebration (that cake is the famous chocolate cake); bottom - not of mom and I, but it is my favorite picture of my parents, hands down. I am SO happy that I caught this shot back in 2006.

02 November 2010

Big Time Rush!!

No big deal, I was totally hanging out with these guys last week.

So here's the story:

Y98 and Walgreen's (I think?) were sponsoring a contest - whichever high school cast the most votes at a Walgreen's in the area won a concert by BIG TIME RUSH at their school.

And the lovely girls of my high school just voted and voted and voted their hearts out.

And then they came.

They played for a half hour, in our gym, this past Thursday.

We were all pretty excited.

And if you think I'M excited, well, you should've heard the buzz of the 401 girls in the hallways...

This is my favorite song. Keep in mind, I've only listened to one of them. And it's this one.

In general, the concert was great - we didn't really invite anyone from "the outside", so it was just the school community. I was one of the adults up front creating a barricade between the screaming girls and the boy band, which was...interesting. A new thing to add to my job description!

But it was so high energy, and everyone had a great time. I can't embed the video here, but you should totally go take a look - the screaming girls. Oh, the screaming girls. I was one of those girls for four years. And may I just say, one of the teachers brought a handful of ear plugs for the show, and I am SO SO SO grateful. It's not even funny. They were SO SO LOUD.

[image from J-14, which is the ONLY magazine I subscribed to when I was about 12 years old. I'm happy it's still around]

01 November 2010

It's a Scott Pilgrim Halloween!

I don't know if you remember, but once upon a time Pete really wanted to do a "boyfriend guest blog" on happy notions. And so he did. And he mostly wrote about Scott Pilgrim.

So the movie came out, and we saw it like four times, and then Pete decided that we would be characters from the movie for Halloween.

So he was Scott Pilgrim, and I was Kim Pine (the angry-at-the-world drummer in the band, Sex B0b-omb).

I'm not a big Halloween person, truth be told. In fact, even as a kid, I really just got dressed up for the candy. So now that I can't just take candy from my dear neighbors as a 22-year-old, I don't really see the point.

But I dressed up for Pete (Scott) anyways, and here are some pictures.

Pete = Scott Pilgrim. Scott has a katana at some point, so that's why Pete has one in the picture.

Me = Kim Pine. Angsty with freckles.

And here's a real picture from the movie:

[Scott has the ZERO shirt on, and Kim is the second from the right]

Next year, I really, really want to be Angelica from Rugrats. I already have the dress and the shoes and the hair ribbons. I just need the right tights and the right shirt.

31 October 2010

Sunday Roundup, and Happy Halloween!

What did you do this weekend? Luckily, our weekend isn't over yet - tomorrow is All Saints Day, and since Pete and I work in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we have a day off!

Friday evening, I enjoyed a delicious pumpkin scone and caramel apple cider from this place with Shannon, and yesterday Pete and I did some shopping and went to a Halloween party that my friends Marcy and Torgerson threw. It was great!

Today, we're planning on doing laundry, writing some more wedding thank you notes (we're about halfway finished!) and hanging out with my parent's dog.

Here are some of my favorite things from around the web this week!

I love Christmas, and this will be my first big project of the season.

A tetris bookshelf.

I love this bubble wreath tutorial from CB2. Speaking of CB2, if one opened in St. Louis I would shop there aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the time.

These spoon cookies from Orangette look delicious.

Since I'm a sucker for all things bright and colorful, these staircases did me in.

18 of the best bistros in Paris...I'll get there someday...

Pete and I will be making these for all of our co-workers come Christmastime. Any suggestions on what cookies to use? I'm thinking Christmas-themed sugar cookies...

We received a cast iron skillet for our wedding and sometimes I forget how important it is to take care of it - I'll be seasoning mine this afternoon!

I wish our teacher's lounge looked like this.

Also from curbly, boats turned garden sheds.

31 Things Learned in 31 Years. Love.

I want to copy Katie's bedroom almost exactly.

This skirt from ModCloth is calling my name.

Picture: I'm not a big Halloween person, but this is just perfect.

Have a great week, everyone!

27 October 2010

Ming Makes Cupcakes

This is absolutely delectable.

Ming makes a new cupcake/cookie/savoury-something every week and posts a picture and the recipe for it. Love the simplicity. Also, is it bad that I want to eat every single one of those cupcakes right now?

Bonus: homemade thin mints. Looks sooooo good.

Bonjour Celine

Bonjour Celine is one of my favorite new blogs (well, "new-to-me" blogs).

I especially love these pictures of rain. We haven't had rain in St. Louis in so long. I miss it.