Sunday, August 28, 2011

Love

I am convinced that I have the most talented friends on the planet. One of my friends is entering this photo into a contest - the contest is for creative use of light...


Seriously?! This is among the coolest pictures I've ever seen. If it doesn't win the contest, then the winning photo must be of a real live unicorn sitting on a rainbow or something.

Have a great week, friends!

UPDATE: The name of the photographer has been removed from this post until after the contest is over! :)


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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Pillow Karate Chop

Designers put together these amazing, lovely rooms, and then they wield their power against innocent pillows with the extremely popular...
PILLOW KARATE CHOP!

Dub. Tee. Eff. What did that poor pillow ever do to you!?

In light of making sure both sides are heard, some designers and decorators claim that they use the chop to make the pillow look inviting and fluffy. Now that you've heard that argument, let me prove to you that it's wrong.

Personally, I am on the "throw your throw pillows and let them be" side of the fence.


Alas, violence against pillows is a pervasive problem in the design world. In the spirit of shedding light on this tragic treatment of decorative pillows, please enjoy some fabulous examples of the oddest trend in home decor.

Check out this great room...with chopped pillows:

Wow...this took some serious pillow karate chopping skills:
Did you notice the fabulous sofa, or were you too busy staring at the pillows?

You took the time to chop the pillow, but not to un-crease the slip cover? Go all or nothing, man!

Look at this one...somebody is trying to sell these pillows with screen printing on them, but heaven forbid they allow the customer to actually see the full design. "Wow - that's some great screen printing you have there, but I think it would sell better if you couldn't see the top of the image..."

I love these pillows...I would love them more if they didn't look like they had ears.
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Side note - do you see the little words at the bottom of this pic? "Trendy Pillows?" Does anyone else see "Golden Girls Pillows" when you look at them? Anyone?
You know you wanna sing the Golden Girls Theme Song. You're welcome.

And here's an awesome room..."WAIT - don't snap the photo of my perfect room just yet - I forgot to karate chop the pillows! HIIIIIYAH! Ok - ready!"
I actually love that room despite the pillow chops. If I were visiting though, I would definitely grab those pillows by the horns and straighten them out a bit.

Here's a twist...how about a little karate chop squeeze action?
Seriously?

{DRUMROLL PLEASE}

Aaaaand, here's my favorite version of the pillow karate chop:
Pillow Cleavage!
WARNING: this is completely indecent - make sure the kids aren't around:
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Holy pillow boobs! What do you think? D? Double D maybe?

I am not a pillow chopper...
Maybe my pillows look uninviting and fluffless, but I just can't condone violence against pillows.

If you are a pillow chopper - that's ok with me -- everyone's pillow chopping philosophies differ. I think we should focus on the stuff we have in common instead of the stuff that divides us. You and I will just have to agree to disagree on this one.


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Friday, August 26, 2011

30 Before 30 - Anna Karenina

22 down, 8 to go! I am officially 11/15 of the way through my 30! I only have 8 books to go over 12 months...I think that officially gives me the right to stop whatever I'm doing and read The Help which is, according to hundreds of posts on my facebook newsfeed, "like, the greatest book ever."

Alas - I own it, so I know I'll get to it!

On to Anna Karenina!
I think you should know that when I put Anna Karenina on top of this stack tonight, it wobbled like crazy! It's like a book version of Jenga...I'm starting to worry about toppling books every time I add a new one!

Anna Karenina has been called "the greatest novel ever written." I don't know about the greatest novel ever written, but it certainly feels like the longest novel ever written. Ok...that was a slight exaggeration, but 736 pages is nothing to sneeze at, kids.

I can't give you my customary spoiler because the book is just too darn long. There is SO much I would have to leave out. For those of you who only read these things so that you don't have to read the books, though, here's a (not-even-close-to-robust-enough-to-be-considered-comprehensive) snippet. This will give you a taste, but if you want to feel like you've read the novel (without reading the novel), by all means, buy the SparkNotes.

Major themes of the book:
faith/spirituality
fidelity (and conversely, adultery)
politics
social progress
family
forgiveness
farming (and the inherent values therein)

In the beginning of the novel, the title character is presented as pretty much perfect. She's beautiful, charming, the model wife and mother, and apparently she looks great in a formal gown. Over the course of the book, she accidentally lures away the beau of the young and pretty "Kitty," becomes pregnant with the beau's baby, leaves her husband (who honestly doesn't really love her, but he's not an altogether bad man other than that) and abandons her child for this guy. She almost dies during childbirth of the other man's little girl, and her HUSBAND takes care of the baby and loves it while Anna recovers. What the heck? You know why? Because babies are awesome, and it's not their fault when their parents are stupid. Her husband had to take a role in the baby's life because her own father (you know...the "other man"), has shot himself (missing fatality by a hair's breadth), and is incapacitated.

After she recovers (there was a 99 in 100 chance she would die - she's super lucky, I guess), she leaves her husband and young son so that she can traipse around Europe with new dude who is now recovered from his near fatal, self-inflicted gunshot wound. They live the high life and spend lots of aristocratic unearned money, and then settle back down in Russia. Eventually she goes crazy in jealous fits over new dude. She lays herself on a train track, and we all know what happens when oncoming trains strike people who are seeking a permanent end to temporary problems. Lights out.

Anna's character is balanced by a character in the book whom I love: a man named Levin. Levin marries Kitty (you know, the one whose beau Anna accidentally stole at the beginning). They have a wonderful life, make babies, and develop spiritually. All the stuff that the good guy is supposed to do. PS - Levin is supposed to represent the feelings (and to some degree the life) of Leo Tolstoy, the author of Anna Karenina. Maybe that's why he was written as such a cool guy?

So anyway - that's pretty much it. Levin's always talking politics and trying to figure out God. Anna becomes (isn't at first) completely self-absorbed and unable to separate her fantasies from her reality.

It is a really interesting book - it had quite a few tangents that I didn't really understand, a few characters that were GROSSLY underdeveloped for the amount of face-time they got in the book, and a few parts that were so Russian and so particular to that specific era, that I just couldn't grasp them without re-reading paragraphs (or whole chapters).

Ya know, I started this book in 2007 and got to page 40. Putting it on the list and plowing through it was a big deal for me. So glad I did it! I honestly don't think you'll be missing out on much if you don't read this one, but as it's considered by some "the greatest novel ever written," maybe I'm mistaken. You're a pretty good judge of what you should feel obligated to read, right?

Next Book(s): Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (reading them concurrently because we're reading The Little Prince as Sadie's bedtime story each night).

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Errant Thought Roundup 38

I love, I love, I hate, I hate,
I like, I wish, for goodness sake...
I hope, I hope, I pray, I pray,
I will, I won't, and for today...

I love that I just uploaded all of my photos and videos from before we got our new camera.
I hate that my little Charlie can't live with us right now. Here's a (very poor quality) video of him when we first got him:
I hate it when I'm burnt out.
I like that Sadie can make jokes...this morning she made an entire Dr. Seuss-esque rhyme about going to Target. Pretty good stuff.
I wish my Mamaw Edna could see Emmie now... Here's a video I found tonight of them dancing. I'm so sad that Sadie never got to meet her Mamaw Edna:
For goodness sake, don't cast pearls before swine. There are some people that don't know a good and genuine thing when they have it.
I hope that Great Expectations is better than Anna Karenina...so glad to get started on it!
I hope I get to do a project soon...I feel the need to sew something.
I pray that I get to catch up on sleep soon.
I pray for the next 9 days to fly so that I can see my BFF and my other mom :)
I will not forget to water my plant. It requires water only once every 14-20 days and somehow I'm managing to kill it still...
I won't hesitate to throw away McDonald's happy meal toys. Those suckers are good for maybe one or two playtimes, and then they are T-Rash.
And for today, my career is not my life. I know I'm a woman, and I'm supposed to take the corporate bull by the horns and show those boys how it's done, but honestly, I'm MUCH more in my element when I take my heels off at the end of the day and go through a reading lesson with my little girl.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vacation Videos

I love my kid :)

Sadie breaking it down at WDW - just when she was getting into it, they made everyone leave the street!

Check out this run...and we have no idea who the people in front of us were, but they were seriously cramping Sadie's style...

Again with people we don't know cramping the kiddo's style...watch for the arm punches - I made her run the peoplemover TWICE so that I could record it. :)


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Friday, August 19, 2011

Before the Storm

We tried to host a "park night" with some friends from our church at our local park tonight. Unfortunately, the sky was completely ominous, so we all ended up bailing after the first crack of thunder.

Pre-storm, the sky was this amazing greenish gray color, and the breeze was AWESOME - especially after a week in 100 degree weather, so we paused for a photo to commemorate one of the prettiest storms I've ever seen.


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I Don't Mean to Brag...

...but we've been hanging out with some seriously famous people this week.

Check out Sadie's autographs!




















And my very favorite autograph of the trip:

We didn't have a "real" autograph book, but we like our version...and Sadie got to pick the autograph colors to match the characters!

We had SUCH an awesome time - wish we could do it every day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Land of Sunsh...What?


"Welcome to Florida, the Sunshine State!"
Really, Florida? Really?!

Alas, I bought three ponchos tonight, and we're taking a towel to dry of any particularly rain-drenched seats on rides. On the bright side: The lines are going to be shorter!

I'm not worried at all - we're going to have a blast on this trip rain or shine!

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Entertaining Kids on an Airplane

We only have three days left on our countdown which means our vacation is nigh! I am so excited I could burst!

With the big trip comes a big airplane ride...and in our case a layover (on the way there AND on the way back). I'm no expert, but I've had my fair share of plane rides with my preschooler. Because of that, I think it's important to plan for a young child on an airplane. Airplane rides are notoriously long and boring, but with a little advanced preparation, you can save yourself (and your fellow passengers) some whining-induced headaches.

For us, activities for kids on an airplane ideally meet the following criteria:
1) Engaging: Airplane activities should keep kids occupied for at least 15 minutes so that you don't have to keep rifling through your bag for the next fun thing (15 minute intervals can get you through a flight faster than you think).
2) QUIET: I saw a website that recommended giving kids bubble wrap to entertain them on a plane. Are you KIDDING me? If you bring your kid on the plane with bubble wrap, I will wrap them in it. You've been warned.
3) Compact: Small enough to get in your carry on and pull out of the bag mid-flight - perfect!
4) Self-contained: It will make your life much easier if your small pieces have a container (a baggie, a box, etc.). Large items sort of contain themselves.
5) Non-Messy: I saw a website recommending play doh for an airplane ride. While I am a huge fan of play-doh, I'm not sure that it's right for the trip because it gets in your finger nails, and if you drop it on the floor and step on it, GOOD LUCK getting it up. If it makes a mess...we skip it.

On our upcoming journey to Florida, here's what we'll be taking on the plane:
1. I SPY book - Why I love it: I Spy is like hide-and-seek in a book! The books are great because they give you hundreds of images to "spy." We once used one of the I Spy books for a full hour and a half on a plane ride once without ever getting tired of it. These books are a GEM.

2. Dry Erase Board - Why I love it: They're great because they're disposable fun. The one pictured above was $1 at Target - it's just a piece of shiny cardboard, but we can draw pictures and play tic tac toe on our flight without worrying about cleaning up the paper on our way out of the plane! (A travel-sized magna doodle would be awesome for this too...and even less cleanup!)

3. Sorting shapes - Why I love it: We are currently teaching Sadie about patterns (you know, in our spare time). These little shapes (also $1 at Target) came with their own little baggie. For $1, I won't mind throwing them away after they get gross on the plane, but we can play sorting and pattern games until the trip is over!

4. Lined Dry Erase Surface - Why I love it: Sadie is practicing her letters right now. Just like lined paper, lined dry erase surfaces help teach letter size and shape in relation to other letters. Sadie loves writing her name AND using dry erase markers...this will be a fun combo!

5. Magnetic Toys - Why I love them: They're magnetic, so they stick to the tin that they're stored in (which means they won't get lost). This is good for at least an hour of mindless fun, and Sadie helped make these magnetic paper dolls, so they're that much more awesome!

6. Gel Window Clings - Why I love them: These were the genius idea of my friend Aisha (Madison's mommy). They are fun, gooey, colorful, sticky shapes. You can stick them all over the airplane windows and then TOSS them after the plane ride. Take two sets - one for the outbound journey and one for the inbound. So fun!!
We used these on our last flight as well:
They were a hit!

We'll also be taking awesome, non-messy snacks because, let's face it: peanuts aren't really an awesome snack.

Cost breakdown:
I SPY Book - already owned (thanks, Nana!)
Dry Erase Board - $1
Sorting Shapes - $1
Lined Dry Erase Surface - $1
Magnetic Paper Dolls - $10
Gel Clings - $2 (a dollar each)

TOTAL: $15 of in-flight fun!

In case you aren't quite inspired, here are a few other good airplane ideas for your munchkin(s):
  • Stickers (and something to stick them on)
  • Magnetic create-a-face
  • Coloring books/crayons
  • Board books for the tiniest passengers (especially new ones and/or touch & feel ones)
  • Card games like Go Fish and Old Maid
  • Binoculars
To infinity Orlando, and beyond!

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