Thursday, March 27, 2014

throwback thursday, courtesy of myspace

Myspace was totally my thing in college. Working in radio, it was the way to connect with listeners and played a huge part in how I met my husband. I recently needed to pull something from an old email account and saw multiple emails from Myspace trying to welcome me back. While that isn't going to happen, I still wanted to go through the pointlessness of my college years to share a few entries with you and a little current commentary (in bold).

Spring Break, either in 2004 or 2005 with my middle and high school best friend.

Posted: 10/06/05

i think males are really fun. girls, we complain about them all the time, but really, what would we do if we couldn't bitch about how much they annoy us? and some are so good looking. and they have nice hands (yeah i'm weird, i know it). and their little games are fun for you to figure out with your friends. I mean, still kind of true, but so glad I don't have to deal with the boy games anymore.

Cell phone pics used to be so tiny! This is with my older niece who looks about 5 here... she's almost 14 now.

Posted: 11/26/05

i'm in the mood i get in where i want to listen to dashboard confessional and read the perks of being a wallflower for the millionth time. i'm in my "no one will ever understand lauren" mood. i'm feeling very unwanted and unnecessary, and i know i shouldn't, but i do. i don't know why i let people have such great effects on me. i have a tendency to take everything too personally and overanalyze every little thing. it really irks me for people to be mad at me. argh. expectations ruin everything. Ooooh feeling so emo here. I was in college and working part time - no idea why I was so sad - life was good!

Posted: 02/08/06

damn me and my luck. i don't want a guy. but somehow one fell in my lap. and he says all the right things all the time and he is already putting up with my moods and he's good. and he makes me happy. This is totally about Andrew, and we hadn't even met in person yet. I didn't want a boyfriend when we were introduced. Sorry those moods are still a thing all these years later, but at least he knew what he was getting into...

One of the first pics of us ever on social media - definitely early 2006

Funny to see how some things haven't changed...

Posted: 9/28/08

a lot of people i have known in passing throughout life are setting up house and living domestically. it's good to know that i'm not alone. of my 3, literally 3, friends, none of them are doing that, so sometimes it is kind of weird. not weird, but it makes me feel old to be worried about bills, taking my weekly trip to the grocery store, and joking about dividing up chores. plus, i SUCK at being domestic. andrew says that everything i cook involves velveeta, and he is basically right. but, i try to keep things from getting gross. i am bad at picking up on a daily basis. he has to remind me to pick up my shoes and not leave them piled by the front door and stuff like that. i am glad to have found someone to put up with my slobbishness. i just hope it doesn't get old anytime soon! 4.5 years later, I could basically have written the same thing and it's still true.

So, there is plenty more where that came from! I'm glad I had the option to download all these little gems so I can look back one day at all of the many 100 question surveys I wasted time on in my myspace days. It's funny to see how I still pretty much look the same and act the same all these years later...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

confession: i'll settle for a tankini body

I love blog friends for many things that I have posted about many times. But, one unintended side effect of widening one's social circle, especially when one is female, is additional people to compare oneself to. I love that I follow bloggers who seem to be from many different walks of life and appear to be in different stages in their lives. But, really no matter who you are, there seems to be a common thing that every blogger has touched on somehow, at least once: their weight/health/fitness. And mostly how they wish it was better or less or something different.

This is where the giant disclaimer comes in that you do what works for you; however, this post is all about me.


You know that saying that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels? Yeah, well I have never tasted skinny but I have tasted french fries and ice cream, so guess which one I will pick every single time? Clearly I like to eat. I can't enjoy a salad as much as I enjoy... nearly anything else on the menu. I do worry, especially with adding the word "eat" to my social media persona, how that is interpreted by anyone who comes across this space, especially those with the "food is fuel" mentality. Do you think I am fat because I have never had a thigh gap? Am I a little fluffier than you could ever imagine yourself being? Do you think I don't know that I could stand to lose a few pounds and go to the gym a little a lot more often?

Guys, I know this. I judge myself enough for all of us and I could nitpick my flaws for hours, I promise. But in looking at life lately, it isn't what has been important to me. Margaritas on Friday night after a long week are important. Surprise cupcakes from my husband are important. Having a bikini body may be your goal, but right now, it isn't mine. Besides, I hate the sun and only swim at my parents' house anyway. Fun fact: the first and only time I wore a bikini as an adult was on my honeymoon. I ended up with a terribly sunburned tummy because I have never had to apply sunscreen there before. I'm not making that mistake again!

If you work out to relieve stress, then cool. I'm jealous. I have never gotten that runner's high and looking for it was too damn tiring. If eating clean makes you feel good, then do it. I like fresh fruit and veggies too. I want to be healthy and I don't go out to eat daily, I do eat salads sometimes, I'm mindful of calories, and I try to choose the lowfat option when I can. I would kill to look like some women look, even on their "fattest" day. I do wish I could blink and look like nearly anyone who has ever dated Adam Levine. But it doesn't happen that way - that body requires sacrifice, and quite honestly, it isn't one I want to make right now. I'm choosing to settle for an imperfect body, sure, but I am trying to look at it as trading that mostly unattainable dream (for me, anyway) for some extra sleep and food experiences that I will in turn share with you. Let's consider it a sacrifice I make for my blog friends.

This. This made me giggle.

So today I confess to you that even though blogs are filled with workouts, recipes, lifestyle changes, and motivational quotes, I'm busy going against that and keeping up the demand for Coke Zero, Ben & Jerry's, and Barilla. But at least I buy the whole grain pasta. The internet has taught me a thing or two.


Linking up with Kathy

Monday, March 24, 2014

long weekend, short update

Even though it was four days, I have surprisingly little to talk about from this weekend. So let's keep it short.

Haircut: I only cut my hair 2-3 times a year because I am cheap and have been growing it out. I am never happy with my stylist but since I have been using my friend Sara as a life coach and doing what she does, I asked who did her hair and went to see Jodie at Fringe Salon. Sara gave her some off-the-record insight into what I wanted before we met, which I thought was really helpful (basically she told her that I was tired of every stylist saying "Oh yeah, long layers works for you" and just doing that and offering nothing else.) Jodie was super nice and informative and I will definitely be back. I'm liking the changes she made.

Bye-bye fried ends, hello bangs, waves, and texture. I will never get it to look that way again...

Coltivare: This was our second trip (read about the first here) and it was definitely great. I was kind of "eh" on the restaurant after our first encounter but this trip redeemed it. I ate lots of things out of my comfort zone - broccoli, cauliflower, duck, and mussels - and mostly liked them all (the cauliflower was fantastic)! We also got to take advantage of the great weather (and good lighting for blog pics, which I am saving for a guest post) and sit on the patio. This is a place better suited for four or more people so who wants to join us next time?

Water: Kelli is encouraging us to take out our cameras and use them more often, and I really want to play along. However, I lack creativity. I remembered to snap this pic at dinner for this week's prompt: water. I will try to do better and use a real camera in future weeks but I am giving myself bonus points for remembering to participate!

"Houston's Finest" aka tap water, a candle, and the bucket of silverware. I'll try harder next week...




Friday, March 21, 2014

another five on friday

It was a short week, a long weekend, and I have no photos to share with you but here are five things nonetheless.

1) There are a lot of things to complain about when you work for a higher education non-profit, but getting a few extra days off thrown your way during student spring break isn't one of them. I always look forward to a four day weekend for no reason. But, don't hate me too much - I don't get any extra time off for Easter, so it kind of balances out.

2) Blogs get quiet on Thursday which is totally cool because everyone needs a day off and when everyone takes one at once, no one has to feel like they're missing out. Question for you, though: do you ignore blogs completely and mark as read, read but don't comment, or read and comment but don't post? I'm just wondering. I mean if I have what I think is an awesome post idea, I may not post it on a Thursday just so I can make sure people see it.

3) I felt like such a blogger this weekend because I had third day dirty hair that I wore in a bun high my head - I believe pinterest calls that a top knot? Whatever, it hid my grossness and if the internet says that's a cute look, then sign me up! Lazy always wins.

4) Since revamping the living room (thanks for your sweet comments!), I have wanted the rest of the house to feel better. I spent a lot of time Thursday cleaning out closets and rearranging things. The things that I have hoarded away are a little ridiculous. Do you have any idea how many leftover candles and candle holders I still have from my wedding? And the number of candles I bought at Bath & Body Works over the summer is criminal. I purged a good amount of stuff and organized the rest and it feels SO good - and that is a big deal coming from someone who would usually prefer to ignore a mess than deal with it!

5) My husband started a blog! It's about Houston and food, naturally. He wants to be fairly anonymous so he asked me not to link back to him but I wanted to talk about it anyway. Finally, he understands my crazy. He understands the "How do I make people read this thing?" feelings and the happiness when someone who is a big deal talks to you on twitter. It makes me laugh because I can tell how crazy I have sounded to him for the past year. He barely started it, though, and has already gotten invited to a food event... with a plus one, of course! Unfortunately it's during the day on a week day and in Galveston so neither of us could go but still... I was impressed!


That's about it. I have a few things lined up for this weekend but if I blogged about them now, what would we talk about next week? Also I am having fun with this snapchat business and if we aren't friends, we should be - eatdrinklauren.


              THE GOOD LIFE BLOG       

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ridiculously easy DIYs

Hi, my name is Lauren and I have no eye for design. Also, I am too lazy to craft. However, these are some projects I did to personalize my house that require little effort and even less design skill. I'm linking up for Wedding Wednesday since I used so many leftover wedding materials, too.

In case you want to pin this, I'm helping you out...

1) Make an event shadow box: I did this pre-blog so no pics of the process, sorry. I got a shadow box from Ikea (I think it was $10. They also sell them at Michael's) and put things that were important to our wedding in it. The fabric is what I used to cover our card box, I stuck in an invitation, ribbon used to tie the favors, stones from the centerpieces, a favor box lid that we folded and stamped, the flower clip I wore, and a photo booth strip. I have saved things over the years to commemorate other trips but haven't made them into shadowboxes. So, so easy though.



2) Tile wall art/photo coasters: Since food is a big part of our lives, I wanted to represent that somewhere in the living room. Since I had an extra paper coaster from The Spotted Pig in NYC and some Mod Podge, I just stuck that thing down to an old tile (left from the coasters we made from our wedding - I think they are .30 at Home Depot or Lowe's) and then went over it with 2-3 coats of Mod Podge. It's hanging with a Command strip. You could also get larger tiles for larger art, or just do the same process to make coasters to display at home (but if you do that, buy cork or felt to place on the bottom). The pics that you get from Walgreens using the Printstagram app are the perfect size for this project.



3) Bottlecap art: We have  been saving bottle caps for years for no real reason. Andrew tries lots of different beer varieties, so we have many different types. St. Arnold's, a Houston-based brewery, prints silly, punny sayings on the inside of their caps (like "I love brew" and "Foam Sweet Foam"). I went through the caps, pulled out ones I liked, and pulled out sayings that were good for our home. I had a frame that was double matted with cardboard between each layer - basically, the art wasn't going to touch the glass. Then I got a piece of cardstock the size of the opening and hot glued the bottle caps to it. It may not be everyone's thing, but Andrew and I like it and had it not worked out, all it cost me was my time. One of my friends had the idea to glue the caps to a wooden plaque you can get at a craft store, but I was impatient and used what I had on hand.



4) Collect stuff to hang: A long time ago, I saw the idea to save menus from special dinners so that you can hang them in your home. Since then, we have done that, and I have a few already hanging over my buffet. I'll post pics when the table finally comes. But, it's an easy, free, frame-filling thing to put up. If you were into theater, you could do the same with programs, and if you were into parks, you could probably get park maps. I just love to display memories. Lots of frames I used for this and my next project were left from my wedding.

A sneak peek of the dining area.

5) The darn gallery wall: I googled "how to hang a gallery wall" and looked at a million inspiration pictures before just doing it. Mine is definitely not the best you will ever see, but here are some tips nearly anyone could use:

  1. Remember, most things can be returned, so buy more than you think you'll need. Take sizes, shapes, and picture content into consideration (for example, I didn't want too many artistic things together without breaking it up with a photo).
  2. I thought that making paper templates of each frame to hang to the wall would be a waste of time since I had space to place everything out on the floor, but it was the best thing I did to actually see what I wanted. I highly recommend it!
  3. I chose to (attempt to) hang everything along the same bottom line. I taped a piece of string the length of the wall and it helped.
  4. If you use Command strips, the part where you clean the wall with alcohol isn't just a suggestion. DO IT. Also, they are not perfect. I may have a few missing chunks of paint beneath some of those frames. But you will never know for sure...
A progress pic. Once I got everything on the wall, it was way too close together. So glad I didn't skip this!

So there you go - DIYs for a non-DIYer. Many of them could make quick, easy gifts if you know people into handmade stuff. Any other ideas for easy DIYs that I can incorporate before I put my hot glue gun away?

Wedding Wednesday

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

welcome to my (new) living room

You know how when you go to the eye doctor and get a new prescription, you can suddenly see so much better, even though you didn't know your vision was impaired in the first place? Or how when you fall in love, you don't know how you lived life without that person, and you only wish you had met them sooner?

Guys, that is how I feel about having a living room of my own. Yes, I have been an adult living in a house for nearly seven years and yes the room has technically been mine, but it has never felt that way. And I didn't realize it. Until now.

I never knew what my style was, so the most I would add to the space was a $5 picture frame here or there. I printed photos from our wedding and never displayed them. Never bought things because I had no shelves or space for stuff. So I had an empty, mostly bare, functional-but-not-inviting living room. And of course it served its purpose but now? Well I am dedicating a blog post to a room so you can see how I feel about it. The thing is, though - I didn't know I was missing out. I didn't know I could love a room. But I do.

Here's a little before and after...


I never knew how to decorate around that TV stand (it was too small for the wall it was on). I didn't know what colors to add to the blue and brown, a color scheme chosen based on some vases we agreed on at Garden Ridge years ago. Bauer ate our last toss pillows, and the coffee table was always getting rolled around because it was on wheels - the walkway to sit on the couch was very small and the chair was never used.

So it started with a flip of orientation and a decision to mount the TV. The only thing Andrew refused was new paint (I don't really blame him- the old TV stand is 6'8", to give you an idea of ceiling height). I had to work with the bright blue that I had grown so tired of. We chose a neutral sectional - an investment that will last. The dining table and chairs that we both loved (I think I may have gasped when I saw them) is what added an industrial touch to our house, though. Wish I could show them to you, but they won't arrive for two more weeks.


Keeping it real - my coffee table will never be free from clutter.

I fell in love with some very out-of-my-comfort zone curtains at World Market. They had light blue in them, but also red, yellow, orange, and green. I decided that if I got those panels, then anything could go. So I had to find them (I did) so matching wouldn't be as necessary. I found colorful pillows at Kirkland's and Target and even though I didn't know what I was doing, I just crossed my fingers that they would look good together. I found a rug on Target.com that was mostly neutral with enough color to match the accessories. I didn't want it to look like a kid's room, after all.

Hobby Lobby lantern, Walmart candle warmer, thrifted milk glass, crystal hurricane (gift), and HomeGoods candle holders. 

Since we don't have a truck and I didn't want to pay for any more delivery, all other furniture (buffet, sofa table, coffee table, and small media stand) were purchased online with coupon codes and free shipping. And using Ebates, of course. I wanted visible-grain wood and metal legs to match the dining room table, so we just had to hope that the wood finishes would blend well enough.

I've loved mercury glass and lanterns for as long as I can remember. There is going to be a subtle pig theme in the dining room, so I brought that in with a small brass pig in the living room. Most accessories were things I already had combined with Target lamps and some thrifted finds.

Target lamps, Garden Ridge shades, vintage railroad lantern, HomeGoods frame, Target clearance section vase | Crystal candlesticks (wedding gift), taller one thrifted but originally from Target, thrifted brass pig, wrapped candle from our wedding | Thrifted card-catalog style cabinet originally from Hobby Lobby, vases from Garden Ridge forever ago, thrifted bowl. The black leather thing actually stores my wedding album.

I had no idea what to do with the wall over the couch. I love decor that has meaning - I mean prints and paintings are nice but hanging a picture of something that has no significance to my life in my living room wasn't what I wanted. I toyed with floating shelves but I couldn't find any I liked, making them was out of the question, and they were expensive. I wanted a gallery wall but feared all the holes I was going to make. A coworker suggested Command strips and I went off to Michael's with a 40% off coupon to grab some. 

I swear it looks straight in person! Pillows with white background from Target, red and blue ones from Kirkland's.

The photo with the wide, white mat was a gift from my father-in-law; it's an edited version of the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, where he lives. That frame matched one I already had, the top middle frame that has a wedding photo in it. I found a few more frames to match that and then planned to use a lot of black frames I had left from our wedding. I found the 3D tree art (each color is a different cut piece of paper so it looks neat in person) at Target and a print that says "you are my sunshine" (a favorite, oft-parodied song in our house) in coordinating frames, then I went back to Target to grab a few more frames to coordinate with them. They are an unfinished, grey-ish wood. The shelf with a bud vase was a resale store find and the bud vase was Andrew's mom's. I think that's my favorite thing on the wall - it's different. The Blue Dog art was from a calendar from 1995 that has been saved all these years; we have other framed Blue Dog art in our house as that was one of Andrew's mom's favorites. I like that it's bright and quirky. I also have a sketch of our wedding cake, a shadow box of wedding stuff, framed bottle caps, and a decoupaged paper coaster on a bathroom tile. Oh, and the sideways pic of us isn't staying that way. I am going to make a simple print with lyrics from Dave Matthews Band's "The Best of What's Around" to put in there. I love the idea of a gallery wall because it can change or expand as we get tired of old things and find something new.

There is still room to get new decor (and say goodbye to some of the old stuff for good) but mostly, I am in love with my living room. I didn't want to write this to brag or show off,  but it is what's going on in my life right now and I often like a peek at other people's houses. Since I don't consider myself to have an eye for design, I also feel accomplished for creating a space that represents us and that I can't wait to welcome family and friends into. If you don't love your space, you definitely should, and I never knew that love was missing from my home. The stuff we have isn't important, but the fact that this feels like ours and we did it together just makes it feel special and like home. I love that we reoriented the room, but that was definitely an expense; I wish I would have done some of the low-cost things, like new curtains and pillows, long ago! Using things I had in new ways and making my own art was a lot more fun than just picking out framed art, so tomorrow I am going to share my super-easy DIYs that require little to no artistic talent or skill. If you are pinterest-averse, this will help you out! Is there anything you've done to make your house feel more yours?

Friday, March 14, 2014

five pieces of awesome

I am ready for the weekend and ready for some rest! But first, I needed to come up with five awesome things to share today. Does anyone feel like the whole five on Friday thing is like show and tell and you have to think of five worthy things to bring to class each week? No? Just me? Okay then. 

1) Last week, we went to Happy Hour at a fairly new restaurant called Caracol for dinner. In Houston, we have lots of sprawl and outside of downtown, you rarely pay to park. You may get stuck tipping a free valet, but parking is usually free. Not here (for the locals, it's right by the Galleria). Parking was $5 for the first hour and $8 after an hour, so you better believe I made sure we were done in 58 minutes!

Onto the food, which was great - we got raw and baked oysters. I normally won't eat oysters but these had chipotle butter on them and they were amazing. None of the rubbery texture oysters are often hated for. Just warm, meaty, and covered with butter with a little breadcrumb crunch. So good. We also shared a tuna crudo tostada. Raw tuna is also on my rarely-eaten list; I prefer my meat cooked. But, I wanted to try it and I'm glad I did. It was different, texturally, but no fishy taste and it was accompanied by a little sour cream and a hot sauce. We also shared some pork taquitos, which were fine but honestly nothing special. I would have preferred another half dozen baked oysters! The restaurant was really sleek and modern, service was good, and sangrias were strong. I would love to go back for dinner!

When I try to take sneaky pics, the angles get weird. Baked oysters, raw oysters, tuna crudo tostadas, and pork tamales.


2) I had a pretty fantastic Saturday. The Heights is an area of Houston with lots of great restaurants and shopping. If you live there, you're cool, and when you are less cool like me, you get excited about spending an afternoon there. We went to 19th Street to check out all of the antique stores which I have driven past but never had a reason to go in. They were a bust but probably only because Andrew was encouraging me to hurry since we had a lot to do that day. I want to go back with a girlfriend and sort through vintage menus and milkglass vases and old barware to my heart's content.


This sign at Revival Market made me smile.


3) Houston has an Art Car Parade every year, which is pretty awesome. I haven't been since I was a kid but I often see the cars driving around the city, or parked in the more eclectic areas. While we were walking through the Heights, we saw an old hearse with a cigarette butt wrap and a message that smoking kills. It was really cool - I wish I could have gotten the whole thing in the pic. I also wish I could have captured the man standing less than ten feet away smoking a cigar. Not a cigarette but close enough - guess the message didn't hit him.




4) I have talked about the coffee and biscuit at Blacksmith a million times but I finally tried their BLT and it is holy cow amazing. It has smoked gouda and green tomatoes sliced thin that are peppery and fantastic. The bacon was a little overdone for my taste but I would go back again and again for the tomato goodness. If you follow me on Instagram then you got to see the pretty lattes and if not, what are you waiting for?

5) Fun fact: I was kind of weird in high school and got really into kiddie things. Like I thought I was really funny and ironic. So my thing of choice was Blue's Clues and I got really acquainted with the songs, characters, format of the show, etc. I mean I think I only watched like one full episode, it wasn't that creepy. Anyway, there's a song they sing about the mail and I have gotten it in my head every afternoon when I drive toward my house because of all the online shopping I've done. Check out those boxes. And most were heavy. I owe my UPS man a beer or something...


When it comes I want to  yell Maillllllll!


This post ended up being really food-y and Houston-y but I guess that has been life lately! I am super excited for my couch to be delivered on Saturday so I can put my house back together. I am still working on wall art but I think I am going to use a lot of what I have. I am really excited to see how it all turns out. Hope spring is heading your way and you have a great weekend doing what you do!

              THE GOOD LIFE BLOG       

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

my cat smells like brisket and other nonsensical confessions

I confess that when life gets busy, blog life is the first thing to suffer. I'm just preoccupied with selling all my furniture, picking out new, getting TV mounting estimates, and attempting to decorate at night. It definitely isn't a bad thing but it leaves me with neither time nor desire to hang out with my laptop every night. I know we have all been there. Luckily I have had a confessions post in my draft folder halfway written for me so I won't be totally silent this week...

- Speaking of my house, it is oddly empty right now. We have three barstools, two lamps, and an entertainment center that we are hoping to sell ASAP. The TV and DVR are on the floor. We had  picnic on the floor sitting on pillows and eating at the coffee table for dinner the other night... until someone came to buy the coffee table.

- When I know I am right and someone else is wrong - I mean, beyond a shadow of a doubt know a FACT, not an opinion - I get really ragey at the person who won't listen to or doesn't care about the fact I know. I get a little consumed with wanting to prove them wrong and you can see it on my face. Clearly this is not an attractive trait and I should work on it but I can't help it - when you're right, you're right.

- My work office is tiny but nicely furnished with an antique wingback chair for guests to sit in. It's actually pretty comfortable. If I carpool with Andrew and didn't get enough sleep the night before, then I may curl up in said chair for an hour before I'm supposed to start working. I lock myself in the suite, keep all the lights off, and close the blinds in my office. I feel like George on Seinfeld when he slept under his desk and would be so embarrassed if I got caught, but some days I know I just need a little extra rest! Don't worry, it's during my "extra" hour before my work day starts, not while I'm on the clock.

- Also on the subject of my morning laziness, most days I come into work without any make-up on. Since it's so early, I rarely pass anyone on the half-block walk into the building or as I make my way to my 2nd floor office. Then I just put it on at about 7:58 and start my day.

- Reading blogs all the time has made me realize how modest I am about so many things - specifically, the (over)sharing of bathroom habits. Ladies, I know that we all go through a lot of the same things behind closed doors, but you will never see me blog about it in any detail. I just can't. I am all for keeping it real but I guess a part of me wants private things to stay private, too. I feel like I am alone in this - any other "don't ask, don't tell" people out there when it comes to bathroom habits?

- I spent way too much money on fancy coffee on Saturday. I'm not even sorry because I couldn't decide between hot coffee and iced coffee so I got both within a few hours. Houston, if you have not had iced coffee from Greenway Coffee (served at Blacksmith and Revival Market among others), then you are missing out.

- My cat smells like smoked meat. Andrew smoked a brisket and some ribs this weekend and apparently something Bauer has been close to still smells like it. My cat should definitely not smell like food. (Andrew tweeted this fact and got retweeted by Houston's biggest food critic so he is extra happy about this...)

That's about all I've got on the confessions front. Linking up with Kathy as one does on a Wednesday.






Friday, March 7, 2014

five not-so-shiny life things

Bloggers have a reputation of painting pictures that are way too pretty and perfect about what their lives are like. Well, I like to do my own thing so instead of making my life seem perfect, I am going to flat out tell you about some of the less-than-glamorous things happening in my house these days.

1) The cat. You know I love Bauer more than I should, but cats can be gross sometimes. He drools when he's happy. He was cuddling before bed the other night and drooled right on my lower lip. Nothing like nearly French-kissing your cat. Ew. And his asthma is back so he hacked up his dinner tonight in the one carpeted room he can go in and changing his litter box is probably my least favorite chore. So next time you are amazed with how cute he is (because he is), remember that he only looks perfect.

But he's such a sweet snuggler while I blog...

2) Freaking trees. I live in a house that's over 30 years old, so our trees are at least that old. There was an ice storm that only seemed to hit my suburb this week and it made many large branches snap off. We own two Honda Civics, so we need to pay someone to haul this mess away. Some company wanted $1000 to do that and to cut down a tree that has a fungal disease. Um, they are trees that live outside - how do you protect them from fungus? So the damn trees will be an unpredicted expense - but we are definitely shopping around because $1000 is just crazy.

3) Long Hair is Everywhere. I have been growing my hair out for years. People keep commenting on how long it's getting. The trouble with long hair? The strands seem so much more noticeable since they are so much longer. Hair on the floor, on my coat, on my towels, stray strand on my desk... let's not even talk about the shower drain. It's unfortunate. Luckily I have not found any in mine or anyone else's food yet.

4) I'm a terrible adult. I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30 and went to bed at 9:30 and it was amazing. This shouldn't require explanation but I wasn't sick - I was just tired. I am an adult and this should not be something I need; my evenings should be spent reading or doing my taxes or checking my stocks and bonds or other adult-y things, not telling my husband to leave me alone and let me sleep when I accidentally kick him for the tenth time in an hour.

5) Time management is a skill I've yet to master. I have a coworker who lives with her dad and takes care of him, has a 16-year-old son, works full time, has gone back to school, and has a packed social life that makes me jealous. I have no idea how she does it all. I get home from work an hour after I leave, attempt to help Andrew with dinner or clean up, and then sit on the couch to unwind. I wish I knew how people found the time to have spotless houses and write five blog posts a week and be up on social media and edit all their photos and watch all the good shows but I just really like sleep and doing nothing too much to get any of that done. Are you people allergic to rest? I must know your secret.

So see, life isn't perfect. Some people only want you to see their pinterest-ready homes or perfectly cooked meals but I bet they have some less-than-shiny things going on behind the scenes. The ones who are human enough and have a story to tell are the ones I find the most interesting - what about you?

              THE GOOD LIFE BLOG       

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

making a house a home

It was a Saturday like most others. I wanted to sleep in, but Andrew was up early. After we finally decided to get moving - we had to get out of the house because it was a beautiful 75 degrees - I talked him into a trip to HomeGoods to spend a gift card I've managed to hold on to since Christmas (how? I have no idea...).

Walking through HomeGoods, I pick up everything metal/rustic/unfinished wood that I see and mention that it will look good in our "someday kitchen." We started talking about someday and how it is going to stay... someday. For now. The plans we had a year ago of selling our house for newer construction and possibly a new suburb need to stay paused. Houston, unlike a lot of other cities, is doing well economically and houses are selling fast. That's great for us as sellers, but not so much as buyers. What we could have gotten for our money last year is dramatically different this year, and to be frank, our income hasn't jumped enough to raise our budget substantially. So, while criss-crossing the aisles of HomeGoods, going from gourmet sauces to dish towels to pet supplies, we decided to bring a part of our someday house to our house now.

All of this buildup to say - I AM GETTING A NEW COUCH AND I AM THRILLED.

By now you know that Andrew bought our house when we had been dating for six months. He also furnished it then, with my help, and the help of the kind Swedes at Ikea. It was a lot of starter furniture, which was great for a 25 year old bachelor with a roommate. Shortly after our engagement, his dad's company's contract in NYC was cancelled, so his dad went back to working overseas and had an apartment full of furniture and no one to use it... except us. So we inherited his basically brand-new stuff. It was very nice but not at all my taste - very large and brown and oak-y.

When you don't have a ton of friends, you don't entertain often. You don't see your home as much beyond where your butt rests on the couch and what collects clean laundry when you are too lazy to fold (that would be the table, for me). But as I now have friends and might want to invite them over, we have both been looking at our house more critically. It's time to make some decisions, and time to make it our home. Finally.

So, long story even longer, we bought a couch. A sectional - no more both trying to lay on one that's regular-sized. I figure if we are going to commit to our sloth-like lifestyle then we might as well do it as comfortably as possible. Of course there was a sale so we got a table, too. My ability to make a decision on these large purchases with no outward signs of panic should be noted.

This will be me when it finally arrives.

I have no design skills and no idea what I am doing, so I have turned to my archenemy, pinterest, for some guidance. Would you be surprised to know that my favorite restaurant, Underbelly, is the inspiration for everything? And let me be clear - it's not that I am ditching all my old knick-knacks and stuff; it's that we don't have much! I am so indecisive that we have very little with which to decorate. It's almost an empty canvas. It's fun. It's hard. It's challenging when your husband wants everything to look awesome right away and you are a slow decision-maker who wants everything to look found and collected and be personal. Oh, and also? I'm still cheap.

If you see somewhat-vague tweets (how old is too old for your house to be all-Target? Because really, I love everything) or know what you are doing when it comes to decor or if I disappear for a few days (likely napping on the new couch...) that's what's going on. It feels good. And adult. But it's time to make this house a home.

Anyone have any tips on decorating or favorite resources? I have been to most of the usual places and still need a ton of stuff! Do you just want to shop for me? I'd be happy to show you some inspiration and just let you go... Besides the people in it, what makes a house feel home-y?

Glossy Blonde