Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Years

What are you doing for New Year's Eve, or as my dad always says, amateur night? We're laying low with one of my close cousins and her family, which at this time of my life is exactly what I want to do. But if I was going to a New Year's party, I'd be wearing one of these fabulous gold beauties. From Ban.Do of LA, found on A Cup of Jo. Happy Happy New Year. See you in 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Midnight in Paris

We recently watched Woody Allen's latest movie Midnight in Paris. I loved it. Not necessarily for the acting or even the cast. Owen Wilson isn't one of my Hollywood favorites. And while I'm no Woody Allen expert, I don't think it's one of his very best movies. But what's not to love about a creative, romantic movie based in one of the most amazing cities in the world? I loved the scenery and the costumes - partially because I'm obsessed with Paris, partially because I've always been fascinated with the style and glamor of the 1920's era.

Midnight in Paris may not be Woody Allen's best, but it's certainly one of his more creative, thought- provoking movies. It got me thinking about all kinds of things, and stirred my imagination.

Where would I go, if I could land somewhere at any point in history? Honestly, I'd probably go right into the movie set first, Paris in the 1920's. Next stop would be Chicago during that same time period, in the height of that city's artistic, theatrical, and underground speakeasy era. Stop number three would be NYC in the 1980's, just to see that city transforming from a grungy city with a tough rap into the artistic, cultural mecca that it is now. Where would you go and when?

Next question I thought about with the movie - would anyone want to come back to the present to visit? What legacy are we leaving, and will anyone ever want to jump back in time to now? Was the past a more intelligent, interesting time, or is there a romantic quality to the past that makes it seem that way? After all, the computer came of age during my lifetime. Women couldn't vote in the 20's, and definitely didn't have the opportunities we have now. People of color didn't stand a chance at becoming President. Was the past really all that great or do we just think it was? I think I could go a million different directions with this discussion. I'll wait til I have a bottle of wine in hand. Do you think anyone will come back to now?

The movie also got me thinking about style and fashion. Why am I so obsessed with the beautiful dresses, hats, gloves, and shoes of the 1920's, when all I wear are cheap jeans and Converse with a t-shirt? I like comfortable fashion and I'm glad I don't have to wear a corset or anything crazy like that like women in the past, but part of me wishes there were more places to dress up nice for a fancy night out, like old-school dance halls or speakeasy type places that require nice clothes.

Who would I visit in my trip to the past? In the 20's, I'd want to visit many of the writers and poets in the movie. I'd also want to visit Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart, women I admire for their brains and courage. In 1980's NYC, I'd visit one of my favorite artists, Keith Haring, probably found spraying graffiti on a subway car or wall in the city. Who would you visit in the past?

And now that my mind is sparked from this movie, I want to see all of Woody Allen's best movies. What a brilliant writer he is, a brilliant mind, from our very own time period - maybe someone would come back in time to meet him??

In 2012 I think I'll watch all of his movies, starting with Manhattan. And we'll see where my mind goes from there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book By Its Cover Sketchbook Series

I'm so happy to have just discovered the blog Book By Its Cover, and the amazing Sketchbook Series on the blog. Book By Its Cover blogger Julia Rothman (who is also an illustrator, pattern designer, and author) features the sketchbooks of various artists and graphic designers in the Sketchbook Series, with photos of the sketchbooks, a little about each artist, and links to their personal sites and blogs. A very inspiring blog and series that I'll be visiting often! Here's a sample of a few of the artists featured, be sure to visit the site for many, many more artists and photos:

Best Christmas Present Ever

I think I've complained about how tired I am with a toddler more than once on this blog. It is tiring, all those mornings up so early, dealing with tantrums that come out of nowhere, trips to the pediatrician, and on and on and on. The whole toddler experience can be really tiring. But then, out of nowhere, that crazy toddler does something like this that makes it all worth it - Bean snuck into the other room and wrote her name, without anyone knowing she was doing it. She had just started writing E, we had no idea she knew the other letters or that she knew how to put them all together to write her name. She very simply walked out of the room and walked back in and said "Daddy I wrote my name." I wasn't there to witness it, but she called me on the phone herself to tell me all about it and according to my husband she was jumping up and down with excitement at this monumental achievement. Toddlerhood is tiring, for the little crazies themselves and for us. But it is by far the most amazing thing to see the leaps and bounds they make on a daily basis at this stage, and how incredibly excited they are about it. Those early mornings and struggles with coats and shoes to get out the door are all worth it. Bean writing her name for the first time ever is the very best Christmas present I think I've ever received. Merry Christmas.

It's a little tough to see, but there's an E, M, M and A there, written all by herself. Amazing.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wine Etiquette from A Cup of Jo

Did you know that you're supposed to only pour a third of a glass for red wine, half a glass for white, and three fourths for sparking? I did not, but now I do, thanks to this fun little wine etiquette guide from A Cup of Jo blog, with illustrations by Gemma Correll. A perfect lesson for wine drinking for the holidays, with funny but educational commentary and great illustrations. Check out the original post for the complete guide, and also be sure to check out Gemma's site for more of her very cool illustrations.

Cheers, and thanks to A Cup of Jo for sharing this post!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Photo of the Day: The Elf

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf who lives in your house this time of year? We do. His name is Phinneous Phin. Bean loves finding him. She's a little scared of him, so we had to say that he doesn't hide in anyone's bedroom at night to avoid nightmares of him landing on her head while she's sleeping. This morning we caught Phinneous attempting to take my bottle of wine to give to Santa.

Even if you don't have an Elf, you have to read this blog post about over achieving Elf on the Shelf mommies. I was laughing out loud at this post. Although admittedly it inspired us to have our Elf do more funny things. I don't think I'll ever have the time or desire to make it look like he baked cookies or had a marshmallow fight like those over-achievers. But it is more fun to find him in precarious, naughty, or dangerous places around the house. Happy Holidays!!

New Idea Tuesday: Joy to the World Map

I love this idea for holiday-themed DIY map art from Angela Hardison, inspired by Emily's holiday special. I also spent a good few hours on Angela's blog, she has some really inspiring ideas and links. See the post for more pictures and the FREE printable PDF of the template. Thank you for sharing this fun idea and template Angela!

Monday, December 19, 2011

What We Did This Weekend: Then and Now

This weekend we got together with a very special group of families who we met after Bean's adoption. I love these families, they mean the world to me. It's so important to have other adoptive families to talk to. Parenting is parenting in most ways, but there's always extra questions with adoption, and there will be more as the kids get older. We're blessed that we have them, for us and for Bean as she grows up. I can't believe it's been two years since we saw everyone last. The kids have grown up so much, but it's still the same chaos trying to get them all down for a picture!! 

Here they are back then in 2009

And now in 2011, the same chaos trying to get them together. 
Can you guess who is who?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2012 Resolution #1: Write

My #1 resolution for 2012 is to write. Not a lot. But at least a little something every day of the year, even if it's just one single thought I had in my head that day. I've been searching for a recycled notebook or journal to use for this, one that's small enough so I can travel with it, but big enough to last for the year. In my search I've found so many cool notebooks. My only problem is now I don't know which one to get. I like them all! Good thing I have a lot to say usually. I'll probably end up getting one smaller notebook version to have with me at all times, and one larger journal for home so that I have no excuse to not fulfill my resolution. If I had more time, I'd maybe even try and DIY one of them, using this online tutorial for Rescue Books from the Sketchbook Challenge website. But since I don't, I'll stick with the pre-made, ready-to-buy versions from other crafty and creative people. Here are a few of my favorites from Etsy:

Recycled game board notebooks from Recycle Moe - Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Scrabble, Monoply. Also love the "wee" notebooks made out of game cards.


Creative notebook using old floppy disks from Piping Hot Papers.

Recycled Golden Books and other kids books at Recycled Arts.

Mixed paper journals and mini mail books at Bad Books.

Vintage library card mini notebook at Ivy Lane Designs.

For Keeps mixed paper journal at Lil Thoughts.

Flash card mixed paper notebook at The Everyday Life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Old Christmas Tradition

We have a new old Christmas tradition in our house. It's new to us, old to me. This is an advent calendar my mom made many years ago when I was little. We haven't used it in years, this is the first year it's been used since my sister and I enjoyed it over two decades ago. We used to love it, we'd take turns taking out the tiny toys and ornaments and hanging them on the tree. I always got my birthday no matter who's day it was supposed to be. It was a fun tradition that I loved and will always remember.  Most of the original ornaments made it and we're able to use them, but we did have a few casualties that I had to replace. A very favorite teddy bear was replaced by a sea shell. An old piece of candy replaced by a toy dinosaur, and a tiny ceramic mouse replaced by a scrabble letter. I'm happy that Bean is old enough to get it this year-she loves it and runs to it every evening when we get home from daycare. Our first new old Christmas tradition.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

For my birthday, my best family ever got me two great gifts. One is a half share of an organic fruit and veggie crop for the Spring/Summer next year from local farm Green Meadow Farms. I'm very excited about this, as I think it'll give us a great excuse to try new recipes from some of the fruits and veggies we get, and it'll give us an excuse to spend time at the farm at least once a week which is great for Bean. 
The second gift is this awesome schoolhouse pull down map of the US and the world. I've wanted one of these forever. We can't do a lot of travel these days with our budget and kiddos, but at least with this giant map we can all daydream about where we want to go. Happy, happy day. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Want This - Berg Little Printer

I'm not really a tech nerd, but I definitely want this little guy when he becomes available sometime in early 2012. Check out more on the Berg Little Printer here. How cool and creative is that?

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Heart NYC

Just got back from the best NYC weekend trip ever. The weather couldn't have been any better for this time of year, and we got to see some of the best sites, best museums, and best friends and family. Sometimes when you plan a trip like this it doesn't turn out as great as in your imagination, but this one did. I seriously heart NYC. Here's a few pics from my iPhone from this fantastic weekend.

The center of the Occupy debate - Wall Street. I don't care what side
you're on, this place is impressive in it's grandness.

My very favorite place in the world, the Brooklyn Bridge.
I don't care how many times I've walked over the bridge,
I still find it so amazing. The bridge itself and the story behind it,
and the views. Wow the views.

A trip to see the Carsten Holler Experience at the
New Museum in SoHo. Ok, maybe it's not "art" but it was
definitely an experience that we'll never forget!
 You gotta love an exhibit that requies goggles and waivers.
 A funky elevator
A giant slide from the 4th to the 2nd floor.
That was the highlight of the exhibit.
Definitely worth the long wait even if it was just a 4 second drop.
Totally worth it.
A mirrored carousel. A little slower than expected,
but beautiful with all of its mirrors.

My favorite of all buildings in my favorite of all cities, the Chrysler Building.

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