Sunday, April 22, 2012

uh oh!

so today, i finished painting a chalkboard wall. and also, jack pooped on the floor. and in case anyone was wondering, yes! jack can open the refrigerator door.
i was grabbing my camera to capture my little bookworm in action, and when i came back, HE WAS SCALING THE CLIMBING WALL IN HIS ROOM. seriously, munchkin?! it was a fun, albeit exhausting, day. headed to bed... happy real housewives of new jersey season premiere eve... which, in my opinion, is basically like CHRISTMAS here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

moustache bash.

i realized that i never mentioned THE EPIC MOUSTACHE BASH that went down a few weeks ago.
my dear friend whitney was back in dubuque from tampa. and when we are reunited, there's no telling how many bottles of wine will be drank, cigars will be smoked or popcorn will be eaten. add moustaches to the mix and it's bound to be nothing short of LEGENDARY. which it was. to the best of my recollection.
the tiniest partygoers. they came, they ate cupcakes.
custom cookies were an absolute necessity.
if there's one thing i know how to do, it's WORK a theme. and the theme was VINTAGE moustache, as i carefully explained to my husband.
theme parties are sort of like beating a dead horse. over and over and over again. which, as my husband reminds me during occasional disagreements, i am very good at.
so anyway, everyone wet their whiskers and had a lovely evening... that continued into the wee hours, as per usual. the custom cookies haven't convinced whitney to move back here... YET, but if that changes, my dear blogreaders will be among the first to know!

Friday, April 20, 2012


you know things are getting a little hairy when you get to work and your secretary has placed a card on your desk that shows a kitten hanging from a rope and reads, "some days... it's tougher to hang in there than others."

or maybe it's just that i have a really awesome secretary.

either way, HAPPY FRIDAY!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

whilst shopping for pantalones...

OR a rollercoaster of emotions at the outlet mall OR too big for my britches.

on the way home from a weekend out of town, i convinced john insisted that we stop at the outlet mall. i have been parading around town in work pants that are at least 2 sizes too big, and i have needed to purchase a few new pairs for quite some time now. john was less than thrilled about the detour, but i promised him he could buy a few t-shirts, which seemed to appease him momentarily.

first, i went to the gap. the last time i went shopping at the gap, they had a bunch of rows of pants. it was like size 0 (short, regular and tall), size 2 (S, R, T) and so on and so forth until my size. apparently now, there are many more options. there is the hadley, the harper and the audrey. i have never been a fan of naming pants after people as it tends to both annoy me and complicate further the process of purchasing pants. each style of these pants was off in some way because the design concept was for a very exaggerated body type. the curvy style (which should have been up my alley) had an excess amount of fabric in the hip area. and i have never been known to not fill out the hips portion of a pair of pants. it was a little outrageous. the straight-no hip version was obviously not going to work for me, and the somewhere-in-between harper's (or were they hadley's?) were very awkwardly fitting in the waist. after 40 minutes of trying on approximately 20 pairs of pants, i gave up.

i moved on to ann taylor. ohhh, ann taylor, you devil woman! with your rows and rows of spring fashions and your shiny, glittery accessories and your camisoles and cardigans and skirts and pants, i can't decide where to begin. i grabbed some pants that looked promising and was helped to the dressing room by an attractive girl wearing a party dress and army boots. because they go together very well in magazines like vogue and on the runway, i am told. i had a renewed sense of optimism. after trying on 10 pairs of pants, i realized that in petite sizes, i am one size, regular sizes i am THREE sizes smaller, and in particular styles, the sizes fluctuate within that range. i would try on one pair, and REJOICE! all is right with the world... it's like 2009 up in the dressing room, and i emerged to flaunt it down the dressing room hallway to the three-way mirror, priding myself on fitting back into a pre-pregnancy pants size. moments later, i was deflated when i switched to a different style and realized i'm now three sizes larger and back to the size i wore when i returned to work 2 1/2 months after giving birth. ANN TAYLOR, I CAN'T RIDE THIS ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS WITH YOU! not unless you're going to start serving hard alcohol at the outlet mall. i'm up, i'm down, i'm skinny, i'm fat, i'm elated, i'm going to slit my wrists. can we just stick with a style and a size? is that so much to ask? it's not really the number, but the uncertainty of it all, and after a time, i became so disgusted that i handed the whole pile to army boots, settled on a nice cardigan and a couple work blouses and called it a day. (john, who had been waiting in the car reading ernest hemingway for the entirety of this jaunt into PANTS PURCHASING HELL, was noticeably unenthused that i didn't even buy one. single. pair. of. pants.)

to whom it may concern in the fashion industry:

can we just get a nice store with a bunch of nice pants that fit normal sized people? just rows and rows and rows of pants. they don't have to have fancy names or distinct personalities. they just have to be... pants.

yours most sincerely,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the mental health indicator theory (or, the evolution of my self development by hairstyles, or i found a lot of really old pictures and spent some time scanning them)

yesterday i announced that i was trying to kick a bout of the funk with a trip to the hairstylist. as the afternoon passed, i realized i was really putting a lot of stock into the idea that my mood and general mental outlook can be correlated with the degree to which i love my hairstyle. which reminded me of an article i once read about some economic theorists who posit that the economic stability of the nation is directly correlated to the height of women's heels. anyway, i got to thinking about stages of my life and hairstyles.

i emerged from the salon last night feeling polished and uplifted. maybe it was the five minute scalp massage or the complimentary chai tea or that moroccan oil liz puts in my hair, but i did feel much better. can you help but feel on the top of your game, a little spring in your step as you're walking to your car fresh from a haircut & color? unless some scissors went terribly awry or something, i think the answer to that is most definitely not.

there was a stage in my life when i didn't think about this.

it seems that from about a year or two on, i had very blonde fine hair, shoulder length-ish and i was big on accessorizing with headbands or clips. i'm not the family historian (that would be my sister, cathy), but i do vaguely recall these hot pink clip-on-earrings and headband set. i believe there was not much to my hair maintenance routine at this point, but sometime after this picture was taken (approximately three years later), i read a laura ingalls wilder book where she discussed brushing her hair 100 strokes a day. i do recall going through a period where i wanted to be laura. and so i think i added that to my beauty routine.

in third grade, my sister and i got perms for our big debut as flower girls in our uncle's wedding. [insert picture of two little blonde girls with kinky spiral curls. also, insert some very large plastic pink glasses on the older girl.] after my aunt's wedding, i can imagine life went back to normal and a depressive haze settled over my young world. gone were the bridesmaid luncheons and invitations to showers, and to assuage my grief, i chopped off all my hair. it was very short. [insert picture of awkward looking third grader with very short, very wavy hair with very large plastic pink glasses. but at least the girl had her ears pierced, so she was pretty cool, afterall.]

from third grade on, i let my hair grow. and grow.

in sixth grade it fell below my very flat chest. i can barely remember this. this was the longest my hair has ever been and probably will ever be. which is also fitting because i hit a very cool peak in sixth grade. i had a brand new baby brother which ultimately elevated me to a very cool status among my friends. i was on the junior high volleyball team and my coach was very cool. there was some talk that she may have been a (gasp!) lesbian and so the whole experience was dramatic and terribly exciting.

on a whim one evening, i decided i wanted my hair cut. and my mom snipped my very long locks until they just barely grazed my shoulders. this was a defining moment as this decision would shape my hair length for the next 15+ years of my life.

sometimes my mom would french braid my hair. i was always struck with awe at her ability to create such a stunning masterpiece that i'd run my fingers over and admire in the bathroom mirror. i'd try to recreate the look on the heads of barbies or the tails of my little ponies, but could never quite do it. i longed to be older and more sophisticated and dreamed of the day i would have the skills to master a perfect french braid.

me, in 7th grade with my youngest brother. sidenote: does jack look exactly like my brother or what?! uncanny.

around this time, my mom was pretty good friends with a woman from our church named hope. hope and her husband had three kids, two boys and a girl, who was a few years younger than me. we used to spend some good times with this family and we'd often have them over for superbowl sunday parties. and because we were never too interested in watching the game, the girls would gather in our upstairs bathroom where hope would let me play salon and curl her blonde hair. she ate the whole experience right up, playing along while i primped and preened her locks. very complimentary at the end, she assured me of my hairstyling skills and i felt confident that if i so chose it, i had a long career awaiting me at super cuts or some other equally plush establishment.

my hair hovered around my neckline for a few years and then right before the beginning of my junior year of high school, i did something drastic.

(no, i didn't always dress so awkwardly; i believe both of these photos were taken during homecoming week despite the fact that my friend appears to be dressed quite normally beside me... hmmm) yes, i cut all my hair off. it was a very liberating experience in which i decided i owned the world. i remember standing on the top of a cliff in quetico, canada, running my fingers through my very short hair thinking how cool it was that all i needed was a dab of gel and my hair looked awesome. john later ruined a lot of the fond memories of this time in my life by snickering, jeering and referring to it as my "ellen degeneres" phase. however, even his adolescent jokes cannot marr the memory of this fabulous haircut. this haircut changed my life. no, really. you get a haircut like this and you can't just go about your business. YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE. you have to sit in the smoking section at perkins and discuss "confederacy of dunces" and other important literary masterpieces. you have to drink cups and cups of coffee and pretend you are an intellectual. you have to spend a few hours picking out the most divine tank tops at reality check. you have to attend ani difranco concerts and lament over unrequited love. in short, this was the perfect hairstyle to announce to the world, "hey, i am a teenager. i am filled with angst."

ironically enough, this haircut marked the beginning of an era in which getting my hair did was a real event for me and my friends. we were in a very close and committed relationship with our hairstylist, brooke, and we loyally followed her from salon to salon as she maneuvered her budding career. we brought snacks and to-go coffees to her chair, everyone gathered around, chatting and discussing coloring schemes, brooke's boyfriend-of-the-moment or her crazy antics. we laughed with her as she shared tales of her OWI charge (late one night, she had driven down loras blvd. and instead of stopping at the red lights, paused, then proceeded on through.) she was just, like, so, like cool.

(brooke, teaching the art of highlighting to a friend)

brooke encouraged us to be daring, to try new things. there was always a new product or a new technique she wanted to try and we were an over-eager audience. not plagued by the indecision or THOUGHTFULNESS that comes with age, we switched lengths, colors or styles on a whim.

i let my hair grow a little senior year of high school. it was blonde until brooke thought it should be red. as graduation approached and i thought about starting a new era of my life at college, i agreed.

the red hair phase circa 2002.

i went off to college and discovered the straightener. it would become an essential part of my daily beauty routine. wake up - shake off hangover - shower - heat damage hair with blow dryer - sizzle hair with straightener - repeat.

it was blonde and straight. except if it was raining, and i had to walk across campus to a party or something, and then it could be curly.

one night during sophomore year of college tragedy struck one of the girls bathrooms in hessler hall. naively, i had trusted my friend to highlight my hair. and when we rinsed out the color, i noticed the horribly dark root line she had failed to disguise. oh, and the fact that instead of highlighting, she had really painted the paris hilton blonde all over my head. except for those random parts she had missed. it looked horrible. we each took a shot of vodka, hidden in the recesses of her room in our alcohol-free dorm hall for just these sorts of occasions, while i made a frantic call to a salon back home. they could fit me in, and it was decided that i would go home that weekend to remedy the disaster.

that night, however, there was some partying to do.

(photo from that night. horrible dye-job somewhat concealed. NOT PICTURED: the friend who considered herself the hair stylist)

to this day, i can't quite understand why i didn't just find a perfectly capable hair stylist in the city where i went to school. which was larger than the "city" where my parents lived. it might have had something to do with another horror that had happened freshman year at supercuts. some lady had given me quite a butchering and my friends and i got drunk and left terrible messages on the answering machine at supercuts inquiring if this woman was actually a licensed stylist.

(and, AFTER hometown stylist fixed the dye job)

after college, i headed off to law school where i spent the first semester remembering how to do real work again. (i had battled a very serious case of senioritis the year before.) i was much too busy to worry much about my hair, so it grew longer than it had in recent years.

the length factor was good because all of the sudden, i found myself engaged and planning a wedding. in the year leading up the wedding, i did very little to my hair, as i hemmed and hawed over the right do for the big day.

(the night before my wedding, very blonde.)

as soon as we got back from our honeymoon, i went in for my new married 'do. i had a new name, lots of new housewares to fill my cupboards, and thus, i needed a new look. i had discovered a new salon and a new hair stylist i loved.

i loved this cut. i loved this time in my life. i think back on it very fondly. you know that time when you can't really believe you're married, and all your new towels look pristine, and your apartment is spotlessly clean, and you have free time and you go out for drinks with friends on a whim? yeah, that's what this haircut represents. a carefree time in the lull before real life started.

the next spring, i graduated from law school and started studying for the bar. i was a ball of nerves, wondering if i'd ever make it through the next few months. what if i failed? what if i couldn't force myself to stop watching law & order SVU marathons and actually study? one day i walked into my hair stylist and did something drastic. because when it's go time, you shed some locks, get your highlighters out and start memorizing future interests.

it was shaved in the back and stacked, and it gave me the kick in the pants i needed to get going on bar studying. or at least it helped me believe that.

then i did the modified kate gosselin....

and then i got pregnant, had a falling out with the hair stylist i thought i loved in dubuque (this may or may not have been induced by raging early pregnancy hormones), subsequently entered into several dysfunctional relationships with several other area stylists until finally settling on my current gal, liz. the end.

in between, i met zach, a fabulous guy who pampered me while i was pregnant, rubbed my belly, gave me long scalp massages and served me sparkling water like it was dom perignon. i would have remained a customer had he not also been very, very slow. i just didn't have the time commitment he required, but i have often lamented the end of our time together.

(one of zach's looks)

my first solo outing after giving birth (at 4 days post-partum) was to the salon. my friend whitney was getting married that weekend and i was not going to be frumpy new mom. black circles under my eyes? check. spanx to hold in all that extra stomach skin? check. new do? check check check!

as i think back over the past few years, i see how intricately new hairstyles help determine how i'm feeling. if i need a motivator, a cut and color will do. if i want to celebrate or pamper myself, i book a salon appointment. if i'm in a funk? i call my girl. i guess you can chalk this one up: hair appt.: 1; funk: 0.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

in a FUNK.

when i was in law school, i would hop on I-57 and head north to chicago on most breaks. upon entering the city limits, i would meet up with my friends, do some shots of jager and then we were out in da clubs til the wee hours. or at least that's how i remember these somewhat hazy memories five or so years later (has it really been that long?!) anyway, after a night of drinking, laughing with friends, dancing, avoiding stereotypical frat boy advances and offering legal administrative assistant jobs at my future law firm to bathroom attendants, sometimes we'd end up at FUNK, a groove bar. i don't remember much about this place, except that it seemed like there was a fog machine running constantly because the air was all hazy and misty. or maybe that was my eyesight at that point in the evening. there also seemed to be tin buckets of beers around, like it was a backyard basement bbq. i don't know for sure, though; like i said, my memories of my time at FUNK are a little hazy.

anyway, i've been in a funk lately. not FUNK, the groove bar, but i've been feeling a little hazy anyway. i have decided to employ the following resources, in no particular order, to pull myself out of said funk. i shall report back on any progress.

(1) doing something to my hair after work today. i'm on a first name basis with my hairstylist, liz, and i told her this morning on the phone that if she didn't fit me in than there was no telling what i might try to do myself. she called back 4 minutes later with an appointment time.

(2) unnecessary target run. i don't need anything. i don't even really want anything. but maybe perusing the aisles at our newly renovated target with help lift the haze.

(3) dessert date with jack & john at the village inn. "let them eat PIE!"

(4) delving into the david sedaris book our book club is reading and that my husband has been bogarting all month. did i mention i own an autographed copy wherein david wrote a personal message to me?

(5) buying more burlap. back in october i bought something like 15 yards because my local fabric store had a super sale, and i became convinced that after fall was over, burlap might not be kept in stock. if you can believe it, i am close to the end of my stash. maybe the anxiety over that is behind this FUNK in the first place.

anyway, that's a start. as i said, i'll be back with any progress updates. any more ideas on how to end the funk? maybe i should add "keeping up with the blog" to the list. i do owe some updates on life events including the MOUSTACHE PARTY held a few weeks ago... and which, i believe, was a grand success!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

this is the story...

of how yesterday gave me a rake, a headache, four chairs and a parking ticket.

i was at a settlement conference at another firm that just so happened to be located next to an antique store that i've wanted to check out for some time. it proved as fruitful as i'd hoped, and i finally bought a rake, hung it on the wall...

and added the wine glasses.

if that was where this story ended, it would have been a pretty boring post, no? it probably won't be too exciting either way, but in the process of buying this rake, i received a $15 parking ticket from a very nasty parking attendant for, get this, DOUBLE PARKING. my license plate was like 2 inches, if that, into the next parking spot, and there was NO ONE around. there were literally 9 empty spaces that i could count. I AM NOT A DOUBLE PARKER. i drive a ford escort, for goodness sake! i know my place... and i stay in it! i was pretty irritated by the whole thing, and annoyed that my awesome antique store bargaining skills meant nothing when the $15 ticket was added on.

so then i drowned my sorrows and brought these little treasures home. a complete set of four wooden children's chairs. they are sturdy and adorable.

i had some ideas last night about painting them... maybe like a cream color and distressing them? making them more of a focal point in the decor at my house, rather than something that is hidden in a playroom or a bedroom... i don't know. dreams of something restoration-hardware-ish are playing out in my head, but, as they say in "the wire," i'm going to think on it.

and that, my friends, is all she wrote.