Monday, November 21, 2011

"god is what happens when humanity is connected."

Sometimes I get... apprehensive? at the thought of writing a blog.  When a blog is written well, it can be a insightful, thoughtful, valid contribution to the world.  When done not so well, it can veer into silliness, vapidity, and self-indulgence.  It is the latter that I worry about becoming (high heels; blazers).

But oh how I love the blogs that I read.  Even depend on them, at times.

Because if Heather Armstrong never wrote about her depression, I wouldn't have had her company on those dark days and nights when I was very much drowning.  Because if Gretchen Rubin didn't write so honestly and so optimistically about making life worth living, I wouldn't have a spot to retreat to when I'm trying to pull myself out of darkness. 

I can tell my boyfriend wonders about all of the blogs I read, and those to which I'm especially devoted.  I can tell he doesn't get it.  He's never needed to, and that's okay.  But for people like me, the sensitive ones, the ones with emotions raw and undisguised, the ones with high highs and low lows, it is so important-- so vital-- to connect, even if just through a screen, to somebody who has been through it, or understands it. And that is why I'd like to blog. To share experience. To connect.

This morning, I read The Happiness Project, which led me to Crooked House, which led me to this video, titled "The Internet is my Religion."  So here was this video with a title I initially interpreted as trite, and I took a chance and watched. And I was very much moved. What this man expresses so eloquently in his talk, I will (inadequately) reduce to a few words: The internet is important because it connects us, and in the end, connection is everything. I believe that.  I believe IN that.  Please watch this:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I always love when people use plain old "this" as a comment or response on the internet. That succinctly describes how I feel about the photograph below. 

via getty
P.S. Every ounce of my energy and the majority of my waking hours are getting poured into work right now. I'll meet you at the other end of the tunnel. See you in summer?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

gratitude, mindy style.

Photo of Mindy Kaling's new book from Amazon.
How did I not know this is coming? And now that I know this is coming, how am I supposed to wait until NOVEMBER? (You can pre-order here). I just found out about Mindy Kaling's book via The Happiness Project, where I've been going for a few years now for a pick-me-up when I'm feeling down. Now that my vacation is over, I'm feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done at work.  So my mind was a little bit blown when I saw that Mindy was the latest subject of Gretchen's interview feature, and that she talked about just that:

Gretchen: What's something you know now about happiness that you didn't know when you were 18 years old?

Mindy: When I was 18 years old, I took a semester off from college and was an intern at Late Night With Conan O'Brien. It was the most glamorous job I ever had, and I idolized the writers there. I remember lying in bed every night telling myself that if I ever got a job as a comedy writer, I would be so happy and all my dreams would have come true. Six years later I got that job, working on The Office. I felt incredibly happy and grateful for a about a week, and then a whole new set of complaints set in. This would've shocked and disgusted my 18-year-old self. It's helpful to remember the younger version of me because it reminds me to feel grateful when I want to be snotty.

Thank you, Mindy and Gretchen, for helping to remind me to be grateful.  I am grateful that I HAVE my ideal job that has me overwhelmed with things that need to be done. 

Also, I love the title of that book.  It reminds me of my paranoid internal monologues, which feature gems such as, "Why is everyone else having more fun than I am?" and "How come everyone else's lives/houses/jobs are cooler/better/more glamorous than mine?" This is why I've reduced facebook time to once in a blue moon, if that. Perspective and gratitude-- I've gotta work for it, but it feels good when I find 'em.

Happy Easter, from our home to yours!  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

abstractions, or "i love luli."

Like many a blogger, I've been really into colorful abstract art lately.  In fact, Camila, one of my faves, recently posted some multicolor geometric prints that are really pretty over on Effortless Style.  Here's a print from Twoems, the shop she featured:

"Pink Triangle" print by Melanie Mikecz. Photo via Twoems Etsy Shop.
I left her a comment on that post about one of my favorite abstract artists, Michelle Armas.  A few months ago, I bought a print of her "Wise Math" painting for our living room, and I love it.  

 "Wise Math" print by Michele Armas.  Photo via Bigcartel.

We've had it hung with rolled painter's tape (taped-up prints, pillow upholstery attached with rubber bands... are you seeing a pattern with my home decorating style?) as we contemplated different locations for it, and just yesterday we picked up a square Ribba frame from Ikea.  I'll post pictures once it's up.

(Ikea aside: for the second time this year, I had to ride IN THE BACK OF THE CAR home all the way from Schaumburg.  Not in the back seat, mind you-- in the back of the car.  With huge boxes holding Billy bookcases.  In a two-foot space. Planning, measuring, preparing, etc-- not our forté.  I was worried cops were going to pull Kevin over on suspicion of abduction upon seeing my head peeking out of the rear windshield.  Check out my view below. Jealous?).

I lead a luxurious lifestyle.

Anyways... back to art.  Abstracts, specifically. Here are some additional paintings by Michele Armas that I love.  Some of her original work can run as low as $200, so I can't wait to own one one day.

"Remember This," by Michele Armas.  Photo via Michele Armas at Big Cartel.

"Valience," by Michele Armas.  Photo via Michele Armas at Big Cartel

"Austin," by Michele Armas.  Photo via Michele Armas at Big Cartel.

I got the new West Elm catalog in the mail yesterday, and today when I sat down to look at it, I spied something I liked very much.  Can you see it on the ground there, right next to that little blue stool?

West Elm is right, I AM loving Lourdes.
It's art by Brooklyn artist and textile designer Lourdes Sánchez and it's called "Color Blotches." Fifty-nine bucks gets you the print in a black frame with a linen mat.  Not bad, no?

Image from West Elm.

 I'm also a fan of this one, called "Color Wedges."

Image from West Elm.
 I'm hoping the former will go nicely with the "Wise Math" print, along with a few other pieces in the living room.  After a little clicking around, I discovered that Lourdes, who goes by Luli, has an impressive portfolio of art and textiles on her website. I got curious and-- HOLD THE PHONE, GRANDMA. Go check it out. Seriously. Leave me, I won't be offended. Everything is so beautiful, I'm freaking out a little.  Aren't you?

Compiled by me with photos of Luli Sanchez's work from the artist's website.

I want all of those.  As prints, as fabric, as socks, ANYTHING.

And... back to earth. Last but not least, here's my absolute favorite abstract art at the can't-beat-it price of $4.50: the ubiquitous pirouette marbled paper from Paper Mojo, which I first found out about via Little Green Notebook.  We laid ours in an antique frame and hung it above the television.  Et voilà! Art, or something like it.

P.S. More art, abstract and not, via the woman I'd like to be when I grow up.

Friday, April 22, 2011

bedroom progress & no-sew pillows.

Admittedly, this isn't for those who enjoy professional quality or durability in their pillows.  But for those looking for a quick fix for decorative pillows without the cost of a seamstress-- BAM, you're welcome.

Let's start from the beginning. A few months ago, I found fabric that I loved courtesy of a World Market curtain (still available here).  It has a yellow-green base, with shades of pink, navy, and teal, which was the perfect way to bring color into our navy and white bedroom.

We bought three curtain panels, and I began this adventure by making a no-sew bedskirt (I just positioned the curtains on the boxspring at the length I wanted, and pinned).  At the time, we had just finished painting our white walls a deep grayish navy, and had gotten Euro shams in the same color. See?

I knew we still needed more to make it look "right," so we got the pillows embroidered with oversize monograms in the same yellow-green shade as the bedskirt.  It was better, but still not enough.

Then last night, as we finished up dinner and watched "The Office," inspiration struck.  (Side note: "The Office" was SO GOOD last night! I get so frustrated that they've had so many misses this season when they can be that good. Also, I cried at the ending.  I also cried during a commercial about cancer AND during a preview for "The Voice." See what Kevin has to deal with?)

I cut off some extra length of fabric that I had folded over to make the bedskirt and decided to tackle to plain Ikea pillows I've had around for a few years.  I only used the materials I had in the house, which included an iron and some rubber bands (yes, I am serious).

I started by cutting a piece of fabric that was the width of the pillow and long enough to wrap around it with some overage. Then I used the iron to press makeshift hems using the steam setting.

Smaller squares were cut to wrap around the sides of the pillow.  I used a rubber band to hold each square in place and made sure I pulled the fabric taut.

The last step was to wrap the larger rectangle around the pillow, burrito-style. I still have to pick up some velcro to secure the closing, but this is how they look:

They're not the most spectacularly assembled things in the world, but they'll do until we have enough money to pay someone to sew them.  And they make me very happy when I see them on the bed!  It feels much more complete.