Archive for November, 2010

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Theme Schmeme

November 30, 2010

That whole theme idea? Yeah, that’s totally out the window! After trips to the Dollar Store, Walgreens, Home Depot and Target – and the ensuing orgies of Christmas purchases – we ended up with A LOT of new decorations and they are all a mish-mash of decor!

Last night we got the tree and the mantle done, but we are still a ways off from achieving the desired level of Griswold festivity! Our front windows still need some serious festooning.

Now that I look at it more, perhaps our theme is “Holly Jolly“!

And, surprisingly, our neurotic dog is unfazed by all the lights. They are nowhere near as distracting as the shadows cast by his ears or the reflections off his dog tags 😀

(he also does not look too amused with this game of keep-away)

 

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Christmas decoration inspiration

November 28, 2010

Every year we choose a theme for our Christmas decorations: red/green, blue/silver, sports, more is more, etc. This year I am finding that the style of our house is giving me decorator’s block. Hopefully some of these ideas will help me break free from the Craftsman confines 😀

Since I can’t have snow and barren wintry landscapes here in the temperate land of evergreens.

Playing with scale!

Um, helloooooo? SHINY!!! aaaacccckkkkk!

I am oddly attracted to this modern meets country look.
I need to ponder that for a hot minute…
nope… the word ‘country’ still gives me the dry heaves

(pssst… notice the light fixture!)

What says CHRISTMAS!!! more than shiny, hanging balls?

More is more, especially when it comes to twinkling things!

Ok, so let’s recap. What have we learned here?

  1. I like modern
  2. I like MORE
  3. I like sparkly, twinkly, shiny things

Groundbreaking stuff here, I know.

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Giving Thanks

November 26, 2010

We certainly had a great Thanksgiving Day and a half! I sure hope you did, too!

Our merriment started on Wednesday night when we went to see the Blackhawks get beat to holy hell by play the Sharks.

As soon as we got home at 11:30p I headed to the kitchen. I didn’t think I would last long because I was so tired, but the next thing I knew I had finished the cranberry relish, cubed and toasted bread for stuffing, baked a cake, made sweet potato pie and cleaned the kitchen.

Our fridge was packed to the gills!

I hadn’t broke out my trusty Kitchenaid sidekick since last Christmas. Oh, how I have missed her! I shan’t keep her out of commission that long ever again!

I was back up at 6:30a to bake the sweet potato pie, make stuffing, make frosting and set the table.

At 9:30a, done with all my cooking except what had to be done right before we sat down, I slipped out for a nice ride.

Boy am I thankful for the ponies – especially our pony, Fiona. She’s a special little beast. She’s incredibly sweet and gentle and a joy to handle from the ground – but get on her and she’s a firecracker! The big horses can’t keep up with her cracked-out-pony speed walking 😛 The day was so gorgeous that I was back in the barn before I realized I didn’t take my camera. That’s ok… it was amazing to have a couple hours break from Thanksgiving preparation to be with the wee one for a wonderful trail ride. (Next time the mud ball will get a bath!)

While I was gone, The Man was busy cooking his first bird. He did a great job! He even made his mom’s traditional stuffing. (I love him!)

Because we had some guests that usually eat vegetarian and gluten-free I really had to put on my cooking/thinking cap. It was SO FUN to have to think and be creative in my cooking. I actually glanced at recipes!!

I even took it up a level and it’s all vegan and gluten-free! And it was DELICIOUS!! I stumbled upon 2 new concoctions that will surely be seen again – the sweet potato pie topped with candied pecan crunch and tofu cutlets with creamy mushroom sauce. YUM!

I know that our guests enjoyed it!

Let me take a moment to tell you how much I love Scott’s friends. His best friend John and his parents are great. And I’m not sure I could love Steve and Nancy any more than I do! It was really a great bunch!

And to top off a lovely holiday the freeways were deserted this morning. It took 11 minutes from our house to the office.

Thank you!

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Big City* love

November 23, 2010

* Yes, we all know that San Francisco is not a big city in a literal sense but don’t harsh my buzz, kthx? 😛

Last night The Family went out for an unusual treat. We went out for pizza and we ate it in the restaurant. There is something homey and old fashioned about eating pizza in a pizzeria since pizza in the city has become a delivery-only phenomena. We are very lucky to live in a formerly Italian neighborhood that has a number of forgotten restaurant gems (one of which is where we’re holding our wedding reception!)

This morning The Man made his Thursday morning breakfast for The Child, egg-in-a-hole, since we won’t see her again until Saturday when we have Thanksgiving at my brother’s. I find that routine of theirs to be so adorable, it really warms my heart. After The Child and I BARTed downtown I treated her to an eggnog latte (hers was decaf) and waited with her for her bus to school. Mmmmmm… our first taste of the holidays!

Standing there it felt like New York for a minute. It’s been really cold the last week even though we’ve had rain. Everyone was bundled up in their warm winter coats, some with hats and scarves.

It was one of those minutes where you breathe in the cold clean air while you’re surrounded by urban hustle and bustle – and you feel so happy to be in the “big city”. We don’t really get seasons here in San Francisco being that temps really only range from 45 to 75. In fact, our season are quite backwards:  our winters are warmer than everyone else and our summers are colder.

I’ve never lived where there are four distinct seasons. I think I would like it very much. I think I would like to unpack my winter clothes when fall approaches and revel in the season’s first snowfall. I think I would like to pack away those coats and hats and scarves and mittens in the summer and wear nothing but summer dresses and watch things grow like crazy. I think I would very much like to feel the first crisp morning of the year and see the leaves changing color. I think I would like to see the snow melt and see green pushing through.

But today I couldn’t be happier to be living right here. Thanksgiving is in two days and we will have a house full of our friends who we call family. It will be cold outside but our house will be filled with much love and warmth. The Christmas decorations are going up around town and I can’t wait to get decorating in our house.

Life is good in the Big City. Yes, indeed, it is.

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Wet and wild and wooly weekend

November 22, 2010

Just as planned I braved the elements Friday after work and went shopping.

I managed to get myself in to 9 different stores (4 of them in a…. a…. a…. MALL!).

If something didn’t fit, I tore it off immediately and did not allow myself to wallow in self pity. The brief glimpses I caught of myself in my underwear in the dressing room mirrors were not obsessed over. I didn’t allow myself to stop and think at all. Either it fit and was cute, or it didn’t and it was tossed aside immediately. I was a shopping machine.

Three hours later I could no longer navigate crowded stores easily because I was lugging too many bags in a heavy overcoat while also carrying my regular large tote and a huge umbrella.

My haul included 3 dresses (one of them Calvin Klein), a pair of Liz Claiborne slacks, a pencil skirt that claims to smooth the tummy, a bright green cardigan (my new favorite piece of clothing), a pair of cargo pants, a pair of wide leg trouser jeans that can also be worn to the office, 2 long sleeve t-shirts, a pair of heels and 2 pairs of flats. Oh, and the most awesome military-style overcoat – ever.

For $240.00

The Child was home this weekend so we spent a stormy two days snuggled on the couch watching movies.

(dual lightning strike on the Bay Bridge! click pic for link to original)

Saturday night Cousin Rachel came up and we all went to one of The Man’s friend’s house to watch the UFC fights. That was fun but mostly I’m super grateful for the conversation we had over a couple glasses of wine. She made me think about some things – and more of what she said has sunk in long after our conversation.

THANKS RAE! I love you and am so glad we are close!

I was even SUCH a good girl and cooked a super veggie lunch yesterday AND made my lunches for the next two days.

Super veggie bowls with brown rice, black and kidney beans, broccoli, carrots and a bit of cheese – with home-made yellow pepper and tomato salsa. Mmmmmm.

Of course I forgot my beautiful bowls in the fridge this morning and now my tummy is rumbling at the thought of their deliciousness.

Question:  why is it when children make an honest attempt at being helpful it often fails so miserably?

Even though we were out of dishwasher detergent, The Child really wanted to run the dishwasher. Uggghhhhh. But I was very proud of myself: I didn’t get mad. In all honesty, I did the exact same thing once when I was a kid and Sandi didn’t get mad. It was an honest mistake and she had the best of intentions. (It did help that she immediately started crying as soon as she saw the mess! Poor thing!)

Yeah, that took a half an hour to clean up and now we’re afraid to run the dishwasher lest the bubbles come back to life.

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Submitting to retail therapy – against my will

November 19, 2010

Shopping, oh how I hate thee! Let me count the ways!

I am sitting here in a completely empty office in the dark save for the one light in my cube. The only sound is the soft whirrrrr of my computer fan and the HVAC. It is very calm and peaceful and I kind of wish it were like this all the time.

To add to my morning zen I actually put 2 minutes of thought in to my outfit. I am accessorized. I’m having a good hair day. I even managed to put on perfume! (Yes, Rae, the French whore perfume)

And, thanks to The Man who insisted, I have $300 cash waiting patiently in my wallet for a shopping trip this afternoon.

Cue anxiety attack!

Seriously. My stomach is in knots at just the thought of stepping foot in stores and – even worse – trying on clothes.

But as I admitted to The Man as he was delivering me to the front door of my office, I’ll never improve my self image if I’m always feeling like I am wearing sausage casings.

My wardrobe has become incredibly limited and I have stubbornly refused to buy fat clothes. I am cheap and I don’t want to admit I’m not a size 6… 8…. or 10 *ACK!!!* any more.  It’s hard to get out from under the wet blanket of self-loathing when there’s nothing you can put on to make you feel good about yourself.

So I am going to do that thing that I hate most in life… I am going to shop. My strategy is this:  a few multi-use pieces, mostly in black, with lots of colorful accessories. Hopefully I’ll soon be able to ditch the fat clothes and I’ll still have a lot of cute accessories. Then I will go home and purge my closet of all but a few things that don’t fit. No more reminders of what size I was.

Wish me luck.

Oh… on a happy note here is another smidgeon of  progress on the home front.

You may remember this picture from the first day we were in our house. We took a LOT of crap on Facebook for our sexy TV stand (and blow up mattress and cardboard dining table) even though our real furniture wouldn’t arrive for a few more days.

Confession:  that was still our TV stand until last weekend. Actually it was another tote higher! HAHA

That’s fixed now with a much more practical solution…

p.s. I got another 10 straws done last night! At this rate I may have a lamp shade before the world ends in December of 2012!

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Pick one, because clearly I am insane.

November 18, 2010

I want to redo my dining room chair seat cushions. Clearly I want green. I have narrowed it down to the following…

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

All of these will be a huge contrast against the chairs – which I am redoing a la this black chair. Wicker painted in gloss black = HolyEffingFabulous!! (And OMG that room RULES!)

Tell me in the comments which one you like best!

Don’t make me shame you lurkers for your lack of participation!

You know who you are! And I know who you are!

😛

Now on the topic of crazy… If I ever could lay claim to even a shred of sanity I can no longer. I have undertaken the Grand Daddy of All Ridiculously Time Intensive Projects.

The bare bulb on the sun porch just cannot remain naked. Nooooooo. I could just go buy a shade, right? Again, nooooooo. Why? Because the shade I want costs $10,000. That’s right – $10k!

Me being the cheapest of all frugal, purse clutching, bargain shopping, penny-pinching sorts is determined to recreate the look of said shade for the princely sum of $4.50. Of course that does not take in to account the 12+ hours of freakishly tedious labor it will take for me to complete this project.

The major material used is drinking straws – and cutting them in to about a gazillion pieces.

So I got about 6 done in an hour. A box of straws has 100 straws in it.

Think I’ll ever finish it? Shall we start a pool?? Or should I just “do not pass GO, go straight to loony bin”?

Again, pick one.

Starstone/by Veronica Merlin

All content is copyrighted © to Veronica Merlin or Dark Mare Pictures

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