Wednesday, November 30, 2011

sometimes christmas is too boring

The Blogivers
Woohoo-- it's Way Back When-sday!!

So since I'm in the midst of decorating the house for Christmas, what I planned to share today was some photos of our 'first' Christmas...ya know, the tree, decor, house, whatever.
So I go back through my (extremely organized, of course) picture files to reference December 2007, which is naturally where all the Christmas pictures would be, and....

I don't know. I don't know what was up that year. Obviously we celebrated Christmas. Obviously I decorated. It's just that I must not have felt like it was terribly worth remembering, because there are only TWO pictures of our tree and THAT'S IT.
And this is the better of the two, if you can believe it. Hi, tree. I wonder what the rest of the house looked like? I guess we'll never know.

Wanna know what else was in the folder for that month?
This. And this is a SMALL sampling of the bounty I found.

 So apparently Christmas was completely un-noteworthy, but entertaining ourselves for the evening with eyeshadow? Amazing. 

Oh, and then we found our wig. LET THE FESTIVITIES COMMENCE!

 I guess we can file this one away under "way too easily amused." And cross reference it with "Grinches," because seriously-- who takes only two pictures of CHRISTMAS??

Happy Wednesday. If you happen to be bored and poor, as we evidently were, may I recommend the brown eyeshadow?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the highlight reel

Is Thanksgiving Break really almost over?? Sheesh, that went fast. Let's skip the play-by-play and go for a highlight reel, shall we? (Boy readers, I hope you are appreciating all the sports metaphors I'm using here. Just wanted you to know I do talk about something other than makeup and tampons occasionally.)

1. Black Friday Shopping

Yes, I did partake. Luckily, I wasn't forced to be an ultra-crazy going out at midnight or anything. Since we got the camera deal online early, there was nothing else I was desperate for. We did some leisurely 6am mall hopping and got lots of good deals and very few crowds, so it was a win-win.

2. Food

There was lots of it and it was good.

3. Crafting

I got a lot of crafting in this week/end. Comprehensive list of co-crafters: ALL OF MY SISTER IN LAWS, including but not limited to- Amy, Jessica, and Emily. OK, so I only have 3 SILs. That's still some pretty good stats. In addition to all my SILs, I crafted with Matt's cousin Alaina and my own mom. Good times (and awesome crafts) were had by all.

4. Goodwill

Mom and I hit up Goodwill yesterday morning to get some tshirts for our crafts. We also did some general shopping while there, and I am happy to report I got a pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans for $5.50!!!! (Well, free, since Mom paid) I also got several other great things, including work pants and skirts. And the aforementioned tshirts that later evolved into scarves. Love ya, Goodwill Where Rich People Take Their Stuff!!

5. Smartphone

I got one!! So if you're keeping track, I have successfully crossed off almost half of my own Holiday(s) Wish List. Between ordering our camera and getting the phone, I'm looking forward to a very anticlimactic birthday and Christmas morning, ha. In case you care, I got a Samsung Stratosphere
 I was won over by the 4G-ness of it and also the fact that it is awesome. So far I have gotten it almost organized exactly the way I want and I am having lots of fun. 

6. "I Believe" Contest

I did it. I entered. About 15 minutes ago. I did not show anyone, including Matt, my essay-- just pounded it out and hit 'send' before I could change my mind. Now we're back to waiting and hoping and praying...not unlike the past three years. 

And now I have to go. Goodbye!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thankschristmas to us!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for all kinds of cliche things, like family and friends and our house and our dog. God and freedom and jobs and our church and our health. All of that.

But let's be honest. Right now, right this minute?? I'm extra super thankful for one thing:

The fact that yesterday afternoon my dad spotted the best deal YET on the camera (and bonus LENS that we were NOT expecting to get) package that we wanted, and we (Matt, me, and Dad) decided to GO FOR IT and order the dang thing! We had to wait until 10pm CST for the sale to start, and you better believe we were waiting at the website at exactly that moment, determined that we would NOT miss out on the limited quantities available. Note: waiting in your office, sitting in a comfy chair, wearing your PJs, is HIGHLY PREFERABLE to waiting in a long line outside of Best Buy. And we GOT IT. Or rather, ordered it. It shall be arriving at my home shortly (FREE SHIPPING, bonus!).

This makes me extremely thankful, and also extremely unable to sleep because I am apparently an overexcited 3 year old. I've been up since 5am. I certainly hope this excitement wears off because it will probably be a few days before the camera arrives, and I can't survive without sleep for that long. Also, you can rest assured that I will NOT be waiting until Christmas to start using the camera. The plan is that I will be basically a professional photographer by Christmas, actually, and it's gonna be awesome.

OK, so did I say yet what we actually got? It's the Canon Rebel T3, with a 55mm lens and a 300mm lens. And a carrying case and memory card. Last night (while waiting for the appointed time to arrive) my dad and I pulled out his old SLR cameras and had a lot of fun playing with all the lenses and everything. His biggest zoom lens was a 200mm and it was SO AWESOME and made me almost pee my pants that I am getting one even zoomier (technical term). I didn't even know what a zoom lens really WAS until I played with his. Then I was fully convinced I needed one of my own. Also, my dad has a super badass leather camera strap that is in AWESOME condition and he let us we will have a Matt-appropriate strap, since all of the ones I'm currently lusting after on Etsy are decidedly not-manly. Feel free to investigate my Pinterest board labeled "wish list" if you want to see what my idea of a good camera strap looks like. :)

OK. I know I should probably go cook a turkey or something, but I am TOO EXCITED to do anything except Google more stuff about my camera...and brag to you people, I suppose.

Happy Thanksgiving (slash early Christmas, to all of you buying yourselves presents on this blessed consumerism-driven weekend)!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

playing hooky, brewing tea

 I'll have you know: I'm only up this late because this blasted tea-brewing process is a friggin ALL NIGHT ORDEAL. I kid you not.

When Matt brought home the dry concoction (in a brown paper bag) last night, I quickly dumped it out into a bowl so that I could examine it.

Uhhh....let's see...random leaves, hunks of wood and bark...unidentifiable shriveled up things...sticks...

Nothing that looks really nasty or anything...just also not really anything that looks like something I'd like to consume. Unless, of course, I was stranded on an island or lost in the woods. Then I'm sure this would look very appetizing. 

Unfortunately, we own NONE of the equipment necessary to actually prepare this tea. I already mentioned the non-Teflon pots. Well, there are also about a hundred more rules about the pots...not to mention, they have to be able to hold like 24 cups of water/forest remnants. So they needed to be huge. Luckily for us, the in-laws had some pots that mostly fit the bill (I say 'mostly' because the directions specifically stated that stainless steel is not ideal, but would suffice if you lacked a more preferable pot, such as ceramic or glass. Uhhh...anyone out there have a cabinet full of giant glass stock pots?? Anyone?? Clearly I was led astray when registering at Bed, Bath, and Beyond...). So here's what we look like tonight, getting the process going:

Yes, all of those pots are getting some sort of action. Along with half of our other cookware. I'm telling ya, the Chinese herb folks do NOT want to make this easy on you.

As for how it smells when it's simmering (for hours on end)'s not bad. It's strange. It just doesn't smell like anything you would expect to drink. A very earthy, foresty sort of smell. Like the way I might expect it to smell if I buried my head in the dirt in a rain forest and inhaled deeply. It also sorta smells like Peanut Lovers Chex Mix, a delicious treat I am well acquainted with. So I try to focus on that.

After the tea is finished simmering, being strained, being re-cooked down and adding more water, then cooling, then being refrigerated, then being re-heated...I'll be sure to let you know how it tastes (according to Matt. I, of course, have no intention of trying it).

In other news, I played hooky today. Well, okay, I "took a personal day," which is the technical term for it...which is nice, because it means I don't have to lie about being sick or anything, and I still get paid! It's basically the best part of working...the paid days off. I know it's hard to imagine, but after the fun times I had yesterday at work, I just didn't quite feel like going back for round 2. And also, my sister- and brother-in-law and nephew are in town. So I decided to spend the day doing something I love instead of going to work. Craft day with the sister-in-laws it was! (Note: I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be 'sisters-in-law' but it really kills me to put the 's' on sister. It's just too weird.)

You're probably getting sick of pictures of my crafts. But I don't really care, so... 

 Today's theme (for me) was: Do Something With Books Besides Read Them! Catchy, I know.

First up: make a Christmas tree! Or a whole village of trees!

I just found a tutorial on Pinterest and followed it to a T. And now I have 4 book Christmas trees. Holla!

After that, I decoupaged a clear Christmas ornament with book pages, Mod Podge, and glitter. And forgot to take a picture. But it looks like the ball-ornament version of what was my NEXT project: decoupage a B with book pages, Mod Podge, and glitter.

Sorry that the lighting and photography are crappy and you can't even tell what that is supposed to look like. Maybe in a few days when I have a SUPER AWESOME FREAKIN CAMERA you will not have to suffer like that.

All in all, I concluded that Craft Day with the SILs (while receiving paid time off) is far superior to Work, and I wish I could receive my same salary for just not going to work and staying home and being crafty instead.

Well, I wish I had more to say, because there's at least an hour left on the Tea Project and it's already midnight...but...I don't. Oh, except...thanks for all the wonderful comments/emails/texts yesterday. I read all of them (multiple times) and felt such love and support. It really means a lot to me. Thanks for being so patient and understanding and for reminding me that it's okay to feel angry and confused. I wish I knew more of you in real life. :)

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie and maybe if you're lucky, Matt will let you snitch a sip of his Magic Tea to wash it all down. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

another sad rant about infertility

Actually, I'm pretty sure I don't even have enough energy to rant. I only have enough to manage being sad.

Twenty miles is the distance between my school and my home. Twenty miles is a long way to drive on-the-verge-of-tears. It's a long time to keep it together.

I wonder if I could count the number of times I've kept it together for 19.75 miles and then collapsed in a heap on my driveway, unable to finish driving into the garage.

I kinda want to start a different blog, a totally anonymous one, so that I can freely tell about all the insanely insensitive things people say and do and not have to worry about them reading it and getting their feelings hurt.

Comments I actually heard today that caused me to breakdown at work (this from a girl who found out last week she was pregnant on their first month trying): Yeah, it wasn't really a surprise. I mean, we're's a good time to get pregnant. We definitely wanted to have kids before we were really 30...don't wanna be like...Gramps is having a baby!!

My reaction to that paragraph (in my head, of course...and now here...): Yep, we started when we were 26 too. The day I TURNED 26, actually, which was a horrible decision in retrospect. It was a great time to start trying. How sad that despite that, there is probably zero chance that I will have a baby before I'm 30. Actually, there's probably zero chance I will have a baby EVER. So thanks and GET THE EFF OUT OF MY OFFICE. I can't CRY when there are people in here.

Note: I'm not actually mad or bitter at the girl who's pregnant. I don't think she has any idea about my situation, and I don't expect everyone in the world to walk on pins and needles JUST IN CASE they might be offending someone. This is just an example of normal conversations (that stab me in the gut) I find myself overhearing far too often. 

I keep trying to think of things I'm thankful for this year. I think the main thing I'm thankful for is that I haven't actually gone insane and stabbed anyone or myself. Because then I would be in jail or in a mental institution and that is possibly the only thing that would be worse than being stuck in an elementary school/church/life full of fertile people.

Although I am thankful for crafting. It's been the high point in an otherwise low-filled year.

Today Matt got a special tea from his acupuncturist. Apparently (I haven't seen him/it yet) it comes with a veritable BOOK of instructions regarding how to brew/mix/store/warm-up/drink it. First of all, nothing can be done with a Teflon pot. And after the 3-hour-mixing/brewing procedure is done, you have to store it (in the fridge, I presume) and then drink it every day with breakfast and dinner. Only it has to be hot to drink, but you CAN'T USE THE MICROWAVE to heat it up...only your non-Teflon pot on the stove. I'm surprised we can even use the stove. I bet when I read the 'book,' I'll find the part where it says you actually have to warm it up over an open fire. And then I will go hunt down the person who invented this stupid tea and warm HIM up over an open fire.

Also, I am getting sick of seeing acupuncture appear 281839 times a month on my credit card bill. We're gonna have to cut off that money leak soon.

But back to this tea-- I can't wait to see the list of ingredients and Google them to see what they are. Another IF blogger did this once (the tea was for herself and apparently stunk to high heavens when she made it, which prompted her to wonder what was actually IN it)...guess what was in the tea??? SQUIRREL POOP. Yes. You read it right. Squirrel poop. So I don't know if that's what's in Matt's, but we're calling it Squirrel Poop Tea anyway just for kicks.

I haven't written my story yet. I am too intimidated and will probably punk out and not do it. Someone else should do it for me. I'm too busy feeling sorry for myself.

This is my third holiday season of TTC. The first two seasons I mostly thought "this will surely be our last kid-free Thanksgiving/birthday/ year we will certainly have a kid or be pregnant!!" and I was all optimistic and BS. This year I am under no such delusions. This year I'm like...yep, just another year without kids or hopes of kids...just like last year and the year before, and just like next year and the next year and the next year are probably gonna be too! Get used to it, buck-o! Just think of all the money you're saving not buying plastic junk...which is dumb, because all savings there are completely negated by the money wasted on IF treatment.

Gosh, I am SUCH a ray of sunshine! It's a wonder more people don't want to be my friend! Just look at all this hopeful optimism and faith!!

Nope. Fresh out of that here. Try back some other time.

Goodbye and sorry if I offended you. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

craftiness lately 2

Can you believe that I already have another post titled "craftiness lately"?? Me either. Sometimes I think of something so original and then...turns out, it's not. SO, since today's post is all about crafts I've done lately...we'll just throw a  2 on the end and call it a day.

Several times this week I mentioned the craft I did with my friend Jessie last weekend, but didn't have the finalized product ready to show off...well, you shall wait no longer! 

 This is not going to be a step-by-step tutorial like I'm sure you've become accustomed to me doing (haha)...but I will show you some pictures of us in-progress so that you are even more wowed by the final product!

We started out with lots of fabric, scissors, ribbons, needles, and Jessie's brand-new rotary cutter which we ruined in about 15 minutes (who knew you shouldn't iron on that mat thing??).

Then there was sewing, and plenty of it. And it was at least 11pm at this point, so please don't judge my sleepy eyes and greasy face and general troll-like-ness.

And finally-- ta daaaaa!!!!-- we had our trees!

These 3 are actually mine, and they make me very happy!! Especially the tall skinny one!

So the Christmas Tree Craft was like a level 3 craft in my book, because it involved lots of equipment, time, and sewing. I rarely attempt such advanced crafts, but am glad that Jessie encouraged me to- and provided the sewing intervention I require to do such a thing!

These next 2 crafts are much more typical of my normal crafts. And by that I mean: easy.

This is just a little sign I started making probably a month ago. I was just in the mood to paint stuff. :) So I got Mattie to cut me a piece of plywood and I got to painting. I didn't get the tiny brushes I needed until recently so that I could paint words on it...which is why it was a month-long project.

Ya know, just something I need to be reminded of frequently!

Finally: my first CHRISTMAS WREATH! As you know, I went absolutely nutso on the fall-colored yarn wreaths. This is my first foray into the Christmas-colored version, and I'm so happy with how it turned out! My front door is happy, too.

We did do one other craft yesterday, but it's not ready yet (and will never be quite photo-worthy)...we (and I say 'we' because Matt is absolutely the one responsible for looking up and spearheading this project) made our own scented pinecones! When we were at Michael's last week, we saw some...and Matt was APPALLED that people apparently are willing to spend $5 or something on scented pinecones...I mean, they're pinecones. We have at least...I dunno...50 million of them? Roughly? In our backyard? Right. So yesterday we bought some essential oils and made our own dang scented pinecones. Except they have to stay sealed in their bags for a week, so we can't enjoy them yet.

Unexpected cool thing about the project: you're supposed to bake the pinecones (in the oven! on a cookie sheet!) for an hour (at 200 degrees) first, to kill any bugs that might be living in them. And when they were done 'baking'...there were SO MANY little dead spiders on the sheet! It was crazy! And kind of intriguing.'re welcome for that factoid.

So that's my craftiness lately. Now I need to finish getting some food prepared for our Vineyard Thanksgiving dinner tonight...I am SO EXCITED because I love Thanksgiving food SO MUCH! Yum!

Friday, November 18, 2011

charging up

It got cold yesterday. And QUICKLY. We're talking 75 degrees on Wednesday, 50 degrees yesterday. And 300mph wind (rough estimate). COLD. But I shan't complain. At least it means I can spend my Friday evening doing this:

Why yes that is Lola and I curled up in a blanket on the beanbag next to a blazing fire as we watch football! And yes that is a really run-on sentence, but who cares?

I am really excited about a break from work Thanksgiving next week, but I always have to spend a few days emotionally preparing for being surrounded by people for days on end. Tonight's plan (dinner with our uncle followed by a night of lounging around alone at home, as per the above picture/description) is right up my alley: lots of quiet and alone (with Matt) time. The thing that will be lacking in the next week as we're surrounded by family and friends. If the being surrounded part can best be described as 'draining,' then I guess what I'm doing now is 'charging,' right?

 Lola seemed pretty happy with the evening's plans. Although she will be even happier next week when she spends her days frolicking in my parents fenced-in yard (aka Heaven on Earth for a lab), terrorizing their small dogs and just generally having a grand old time.

There's something to be said for a quiet, cold night spent by a fire. And yes, that is cookies you smell. They just got out of the oven and have to cool for a minute. How very Norman Rockwell-ian of me, right??

Happy Friday, friends!

Edited 11/19: YALL! I can't believe I've forgotten to do this (ok, twice)! You need to hurry thyself over to Amanda's blog and enter her Christmas mix CD giveaway! Trust me, as the recipient of one of her fantastic mixes (non-Christmas, though): she makes a mean mix CD. So mean that your husband might even steal it. You have until 11:59 CST tonight to enter, so hurry!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the one with the false eyelashes

The Blogivers

Yep, it's Way Back When-sday again!! And look-- Allison got us a little button thingy!! Movin' on up, I tell you.

Tonight at dinner, Matt was thumbing through a drugstore ad that was laying on the dining room table. We probably get much more enjoyment out of the Sunday paper than most couples do-- we keep the ad inserts around for practically the whole next week so that we have things to talk about at dinner, because we're truly exciting like that. We usually play some variation on 'Would You Rather?'...would you rather wear this outfit or that outfit? Which shoes on this page would you pick? Would you rather have this washer-dryer or this new refrigerator? Ya know, exciting stuff like that.

Tonight, pointing to two items on the same page in the ad, Matt posed the following question: Would you rather have fake nails or fake eyelashes?

A tough question, to be sure. I've never had fake nails, so I can only imagine what it would be like. In my mind, I'm paralyzed by my inability to touch things/type/do anything that requires fine motor I'm not inclined to want to ever wear fake nails.

As for the false lashes? I've worn them once.

It was Halloween 2004, and Kristina and I had some awesomely coordinated/invented costumes, as you would expect us to. At the last minute, we decided our outfits would not be complete without false eyelashes. And in typical fashion, we decided to go big or go home.

Go Big Or Go Home, Lash Edition:

Upon deep reflection and examination of the above photo, I decided that if I have to choose between fake nails and fake lashes, the lashes are going to win every time. Because seriously, those things are awesome and I kind of wish I had some right now to make my dirty gym clothes look a little more spectacular.

I guess this means I'm adding "false eyelashes" to my wish list.

Happy WBW!! I'm off to craft! (PS. I wonder when 'to craft' became a verb?)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Sorry if this ruins your preconceived notions about me being a totally original human being. I'm basically just a big copier (just like the rest of you), which is why I've decided to jump on the early bandwagon of bloggers posting holiday wish lists. (Note: I am NOT one of those people who refrain from offending people by avoiding using the word 'Christmas' and substituting some 'holiday' crap. I only call this my 'holiday' wish list because since my birthday is 2 weeks before Christmas...then this list is encompassing multiple holidays. So it's appropriate. "Holiday" is more concise than saying "birthday and Christmas"...although this paragraph-long explanation is much longer, so's not like I saved myself any typing or anything. MOVING ON!)

Right, so, wish list. Just wanted to go ahead and throw it out there into cyberspace in case Santa (or relatives, or generous blog stalkers) were wanting to get a jump start on things. As per usual, I will provide plenty of commentary to go with each let's get to it!

1. A "Big Girl" Camera:
 OK, if there's anyone who should be wanting me to get a decent camera, it's probably you people. You're the ones that have to suffer through all of my half-assed pictures taken with all manner of point-and-shoots (that seldom find it in their hearts to be working), webcams, and, drawings on Paint when all of my other cameras are failing. My camera issues have been ROUGH this year, and I'd like to apologize to all of your eyeballs. This does mean, however, that for roughly the past year, Matt and I have been toying with the idea of getting a decent digital SLR camera. This is not because we are photographers or have any delusions that we are going to be. I will be the first one to admit that I have no idea what SLR even stands for. But I do know that even with my lack of knowledge...when I use a friend's 'real' camera and just snap a looks WAAAAY better than the same picture taken with my point-and-shoots. Also...we just want one. We have these plans that we will LEARN about photography (and what all the initials stand for, and what f- something means, and shutter speed, and all the other things that blow my mind when I'm trying to 'research' cameras) and it will be a hobby that both of us can enjoy. And, naturally, we will be awesome picture-takers by the time we give birth/bring home our fantastically photogenic offspring, and then we will high-five ourselves for thinking to do this in advance. That's the plan, anyway.

So really, we're getting a camera (note: not sure which one. The picture above is only an illustration of one of the many possibilities). We're planning on getting it as our gift to each other. Unless someone else is dying to get it for us, in which case, be my guest! We have been zealously scoping out the leaked Black Friday ads already, and have a game plan that begins at midnight...because if there's anything that will get me even more excited about owning a Big Girl camera, it is the thought of getting a great deal on it.

2. A 21st century phone!!

 I know...who is this girl and what has she done with Erika? Like, if I own both a working camera AND a non-ghetto phone, what will I have left to complain about? (Answer: Infertility, obviously!!!) I guess I have decided that smartphones are probably NOT just a passing trend and therefore I should get on board. Like the camera, I have been decidedly lusting after a phone for a solid year now, so to me, that means I should get one. Unlike OTHER THINGS I have been lusting after for a long time (like, ya know...babies...)...this year I decided that the things I CAN get? I just think I should. So, a smartphone it is. I'm tired of texting with one finger (YES, I have the kind of phone that DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A QUERTY KEYBOARD. How I've made it this far, I don't know). Like with the camera thing, I'm not so picky about what KIND of phone? As long as it's smart. So if you have lots of experience and advice about things like phones, you can feel free to let me know your opinion. My main question is: does it matter how many GBs there are?? I'm having a hard time imagining why I'd need more memory on my phone than I have on my computer.

Note: in addition to the phone, I would also like $360 to cover the cost of one year of the data plan. Thanks, Santa!

Phew! This is a technology-filled wish list, so far. That doesn't feel very "me," so let's change directions.

3. All the things on my Pinterest.

I know, not very specific...but just go peruse around. It's safe to assume I want everything I've pinned, so you can craft it or just buy it, whatever! I just need it. Thanks so much!!

4. Toms!


Hahaha, that is the smallest picture ever. Not exactly representative of the actual size I will be needing (9.5, thanks for asking. Don't judge! I'm tall! My feet are proportionate to my height!!). Much like cameras and smartphones, Toms are the kind of thing everyone else has had for 5 years and I have been busy squinting my eyes and trying to 'get it.' Now that probably everyone else has decided to stop wearing them, I have adjusted to seeing them around and have decided I might like to have some myself. Perferably in a neutral-ish color and pattern (like plain gray), because I like my shoes to be versatile. 

5. Plane tickets.

 Do they make airline gift cards? That would be perfect. Basically, I have lots of friends/family that live far away and I would like to see them all. So...plane tickets it is! (A private jet/pilot would also work, rich stalkers.)

6. Bath stuff.

I know, not very specific. But here's the thing. I haven't really ever been a 'bath girl.' We've lived in this house for 2.5 years, we have a HUGE garden tub thing, and I've taken maybe like...2 baths. Until last week. Since last week I've taken about...30. And I have come to the realization that I have an embarrassingly tiny amount of products to give me the ideal spa-like experience. I'm actually a little ashamed about the whole thing. SO, pick your favorite bath product (what...salts, scrubs, soaks, bubbles...aren't there like a million things?) and help start the Erika Bath Collection. Promoting relaxation since 2011. 


That should be enough to get you started on your shopping. Consider this Part 1. Still to come: specific clothing items, makeup products, and crafting supplies! Could you BE any more excited??!

(Note: I mentioned this earlier, but seriously: if you have relevant (or not relevant, I don't really care) advice/opinions/recommendations about anything I mentioned, feel free to share! Share slash buy me whatever it is you are recommending, of course.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the easiest christmas craft ever

Anyone else in the mood to start crafting their Christmas decor? Anyone else lacking extra wads of cash to spend on aforementioned Christmas decor? Well, today is your LUCKY DAY!!! Welcome to my first ever step-by-step DIY craft tutorial. And possibly last ever, too. We'll just see how it goes.

Yesterday, I was dying to get crafty. I'd done some crafting with my friend Friday night (photos of that still to come), and Saturday morning I woke up itching to get my craftiness on. And no, before Pinterest was invented, I had never woken up with that particular itch before. But that's beside the point, I think. Anyway, it just so happens that yesterday there was a home game in Athens, which meant that driving to a craft store was just not going to happen. I don't need ANYTHING badly enough to deal with that mess. So I was stuck at home, trying to think of something I could make with what I had on hand. And then it came to me. 

Why not make a Christmas tree out of sticks? I've seen lots of stick projects on Pinterest. I think I've even seen Christmas trees made out of sticks. But I couldn't find anything that quite suited my current mood. So I did what all crafty pioneers do: I made up my OWN project. And it was good. Feast your eyes!!

If you feel underwhelmed, it's only because you haven't made your own yet. But don't worry! In case you are completely lacking in brain function can't figure out how to make this, I have taken the liberty to create a step-by-step pictorial guide for your convenience! Possibly the only reason I did this was because yesterday I discovered Picnik, but that is also beside the point.

Here we go!

 Step 1: Find some sticks. This should be extremely easy, unless you live in a city or something, I guess. For me, this involved finding shoes (the longest part of the process), putting them on, and walking around the woods in my backyard for a few minutes. Challenging!

For extra artistic points, you will want to find sticks that don't all look the same (aka don't pull 10 sticks off the first dead tree you see). Different textures/barks/widths will make your project look more interesting.

Step 2: Break or cut your sticks so that they are all different lengths. Find a sturdier one to be your 'trunk.' 

Step 3: Arrange sticks so that it (duh) looks like a Christmas tree.

Step 4: Hot glue sticks onto the 'trunk.' I would definitely recommend doing this outside, since I was getting the long 'webs' of hot glue EVERYWHERE. I was very glad that I won't be vacuuming those things up for the next year. Also, the sticks are going to be crumbling and generally making a mess as you handle them. Better to keep mess outside.

Step 5: Cut and arrange some smaller twigs to make a star. No tree is complete without a star, right?? Hot glue the points of the star together. Then hot glue the star to the top of your tree.

Step 5b (not pictured): Hunt around your garage for a suitable pot to 'plant' the tree in. Then go get your rock bucket (where you collect all the rocks you find when you're tilling the ground in the summer to make gardens, of course) and get some small rocks. Fill up the pot with rocks and your tree's trunk, arranging rocks for maximum tree stability.

Don't have pots in your garage and/or a rock collection? A) What kind of person are you? B) You might have to figure out something else for display purposes. You could just lean the tree against a wall or shelf? Use string to hang it up? You decide!

Step 6: Enjoy your handiwork. Obviously.

Step 7 (optional): Spend the rest of the day congratulating yourself for your amazing creativity, your cost-effectiveness as a crafter, and your commitment to using locally sourced materials. Not that I did this or anything. You just might want to.

Total money required for project: $0 (cost of hot glue consumed is negligible).

Total time required for project: 1 hour, including picking all of the hot glue webs off the finished tree. (24 hours if you spend the rest of the day doing Step 7)

Total awesomeness of project: Infinity.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

easily amused much?

Hello and HAPPY SATURDAY! I am only a tad bit excited about it myself, as you can tell.

Last night I had an awesomely fun and crafty night, but I can't post about it just yet because the craft is not quite look forward to seeing pictures of that soon.

But SPEAKING of pictures...

Recently a few friends (Lisa and Amanda, I believe) mentioned using the online photo editing program Picnik. Today I thought I would see what all the fuss was about.

It's about FUN is what it's about!

In case you don't know, you can do all sorts of useful things with maybe make some sort of picture thingy to use on your blog? If you know how to do stuff like that?? Like I figured out the part where you make the thing. It would be a whole 'nother thing to figure out how to make it become something useful on the blog. Another project for another day, right??

But more importantly, Picnik allows you to unleash your inner four-year-old artistic side and turn semi-boring pictures like this...

 ...into freaking FANTASTIC pictures like THIS!!!!!!!!!

 Yes, that actually IS what I'm doing on a Saturday morning. Try to contain your jealousy. And for a small fee, I am willing to awesome-ify your OWN picture!! Just think of the potential!!

So long, and happy Saturday from me and the mustached King of the River, holding the world and a hotdog in his hand beside his two beers on a rock.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

a time for kankfulness

You probably thought I'd given up on Way Back When-sday, didn't you? Well, you would be wrong. It's just that I forget a lot, or I run out of time and/or creativity. But today-- you are in luck. Or you're about to be bored. One of these.

A long time ago, back in the year 2003 (can you remember back that far?), I was a junior in college and I shared a townhouse with some of my favorite people in the whole world (and also one girl who was NOT OUR FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD, but I think that by this point she had left and anyways, I'm not bitter or anything still. Hahaha. Girls, are you with me here???) (OK, seriously I'm NOT bitter still. I hadn't even thought about that in a long time. It just came to me.) ANYWAYS, getting back on track. We were, as all college-aged girls living with their BFFs and living the American dream (my American dream, anyway), very thankful for our many blessings and our friendships and our sweet kitty-cats and our amazing hostessing and cooking skills, and so- much like our ancestors before us (although not MY ancestors, because my ancestors were still living in Italy until like 15 minutes ago or something)- we decided to host a feast in order to celebrate all of the good things in our lives. And YES, I should receive an award for the World's Longest Sentence (see previous sentence).

No doubt, we all loved our families very much. We looked forward to spending 'real' Thanksgiving with them, and we still do. But there's something to be said for having a special event just for the friends and roommates and neighbors who make your everyday life so worth living. So we set a date, and we made invitations, and we planned and cleaned and cooked and decorated within an inch of our lives, and this is how Kanksgiving was born. Kanksgiving: A Time to be Kankful.

It is possible that you don't understand the whole "kank" thing, and that's probably because you weren't a part of my circle of friends from 2001 until present, and for that I am sad for you. To define 'kank' would be to strip it of its glory, so I will have to move on without further explanation and leave you instead to ponder and wonder about the meaning.

We celebrated Kanksgiving in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008. We planned and prepared to celebrate it in 2007, but were unable to due to the sudden and unexpected death of a good friend of ours on the very day of Kanksgiving. That year, our joy turned into mourning, but the mourning was 'better,' if that is possible, because it was in the company of the friends who had all already traveled to be together that weekend. We ended up cooking our turkey anyway, that day, because he was already defrosted and seasoned, we were all hungry, and what the heck else were we supposed to do with a 15 pound bird? I have no pictures from that year.

But in the other years, there was never been a shortage of pictures at Kanksgiving. Trying to narrow down the pictures to post here was really tricky, especially because these early years of Kanksgiving were PRE-FACEBOOK (which will no doubt one day be an actual designation of time, just like B.C. or something) and it occurred to me that some of the roomies actually might not have seen these pictures in a really long time/ever!

 First of all, the hostesses ALWAYS take pictures of themselves cooking. It's just the way things are done. And also, the Santa apron was an essential.

Me, 2003

Kristina, 2003
The hostesses/roomies: Kristina, Elizabeth, me, Catherine (2003)
Our banquet table, food, and friends (2003)

Most years (except, I guess, 2003) we remembered to take pictures of the ceremonial Stuffing of Tom. (Every turkey is named Tom, by the way) This is photo-worthy because, as suburban-raised 20-year-olds, we hadn't had much experience touching raw poultry, and this gave us huge amounts of Mom Points to do this nasty thing. I'm pretty sure, actually, that ONLY Kristina and Elizabeth even touched the bird for the first 2 years. I was a little slow to jump on board THAT fun-train.
Elizabeth and Kristina stuffing Tom, 2004

Me stuffing Tom, 2005

James, stuffing Tom, 2008


Kristina and Elizabeth with a nicely baked Tom, 2004
Hostesses, 2004
Hostesses, 2005

We used to wonder, as young, pre-marriage, pre-"real life" adults, whether our future "real" Thanksgivings would ever measure up to the greatness of Kanksgiving. We even discussed one day, when we were "real" adults in charge of our own families and lives, choosing to continue celebrating Kanksgiving...perhaps even on THANKSGIVING DAY (instead of a convenient weekend in the months surrounding Thanksgiving: yes, Kanksgiving has been celebrated as early as October and as late as December! Note: it really sucked trying to buy a turkey in October!! No one had them!). Because Kanksgiving was the perfect mixture of friendship and love and laughter and teamwork...exactly the kind of drama-free fun that every Thanksgiving should be. And so really, I'm still hoping that one day we do it. :) Or at least that we re-institute our tradition, even if it's not on Thanksgiving Day. EVERY day is a good day to be Kankful, after all.

Stine, Lobello, and Ray: Writing this made my heart feel very happy and also made me miss you all very much. And miss posing for pictures in that corner of the living room. And miss the Santa apron. And the 115. And Elizabeth's sofa-bed with green and white checks. And lots more. I love you girls!