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.